Saturday, February 18, 2012

Facebook Etiquette :-)


Few things I thought every facebook user should know: 

1.       If you know me, add me. If you don’t and you have 112 mutual friends with me, you don’t need to add me out of courtesy. I wouldn’t mind it either.

2.       Facebook will not give a dollar each for clicking ‘share’ button to any of the distressing pictures you circulate around. It is only like those chain mails from the 90’s which says that if your forward the photo of Virgin Mary to 20 people in less than 8 seconds, she will appear in your room today.

3.       Do not poke me if you don’t know me. There is nothing more disgusting in the virtual world than being poked by total strangers.

4.       Seriously I wonder how people get the time to check ‘Anita’s predictions’ and the ‘Meaning of your name’. They even ridiculously go to the extent of requesting innocent people to use the same.

5.       Half of the people who share random sceneries with the tag ‘I love Kerala’ and ‘Proud to be a Keralite’ do not live in Kerala. They don’t even live in India. A few rare specimens do not even admit of being a Keralite when asked.

6.       In photos of happy-looking couples, some people post comments like ‘You both look so much like each other’. I really don’t understand how a husband and wife can look like each other. You can get away with ‘Nice pair’ without provoking people to think you are weird.

7.       There are some pictures of kittens and puppies going around for more than a decade through forwarded emails. Please do not reshare those in facebook saying ‘cute puppy’. They must be dead and gone by now.

8.       I had to unsubscribe from some people’s posts because they constantly upload youtube videos of ‘mile sur mera tumhara’ and other songs from a long time ago and say that it is ‘nostalgic’. If you upload them each and every day, it is not nostalgic anymore.

9.       All of us who have access to facebook have access to youtube as well. You can say that you like such and such songs, but sharing the link of each and every song you like, on every single day is frustrating. Nobody is going to watch them anyway.

10.   Trying to ignore the n farmville requests...now what the hell is cityville and castleville ? Please !

“Heal facebook... Make it and better place…For you and for me and the entire human race…”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Special: A true story.


While most of you might kill to go back in time to your college days, I would rather die than go back to it. A bunch of people who were far from being anywhere near the wavelength as me were my batch mates. As a result I had no other deviation or entertainment I could turn to, just to place a blame for my declining marks, so I found studying as a way to overcome adverse effects of this pathetic species on my otherwise blooming youth.

So there was this person, let’s call him Ken. Although he was in a different department, he was famous notorious in college for more reasons than one. He also had a very famous affair with one of the girls in the hostel. This girl, let’s call her Ms.Weirdo, was weird even before she fell in love with him. 

Calling her weird would be an understatement, as ever since this guy had got into her veins, she’d been aloof from her own friends. Although she was in a different floor at hostel one could see her heartthrob’s name carved and written on her pillows, walls, ceiling fan and on every surface on which pen could make a mark on.  However, Ken made it a point that he ridicules her when she was not around, so that the general public knows that he wasn’t serious and the affair was just a prank. Even the studious and insignificant me knew this. However Ms.Weirdo was in a different world altogether and was oblivious to everything around her. No one would dare open their mouths about Ken in her presence.

One of those days Ken, who looked quite drunk on a study leave evening, even insulted me and my friend by passing a derogatory remark as we visited the college canteen for snacks. I never had any reason to hate him before, but after this incident, like every other female in the campus I hated him too. (Ms.Weirdo was not considered as a part of the female community).

Anyway, I graduated from that college and started living a life. Ms.Weirdo was a junior so she must have been there a few years more, I don’t know.

I was finally back home for good, and CV-printing, job hunting, interviews, group discussions, aptitude tests and the like started. Six months went by, and I landed a job at my own home town. The pay was small…but who cares. I was staying with my parents- so food and accommodation free. Whatever meager salary I got was used to buy clothes, shoes and to recharge my prepaid mobile. The initial six months at my new firm was a training period, during which we had to do a project too. We burnt the midnight oil for getting this project done, and I stayed at a working women’s hostel a couple miles from my office, with a friend for around a month.

Now working women’s hostel is the new definition for hell. But our super busy schedules made us stay most of the time at office itself. Arriving at midnight to the hostel and leaving early saved me the energy to kill cockroaches and rodents which were permanent unpaid tenants and added to the misery of us losers who have no other option but stay in this building. There were three girls in a dingy room which could hardly accommodate one. My friend, me, and a stranger. Lets call this stranger Ms.Despo.

 Ms. Despo was desperate for love. As soon as it is morning, all she can talk of is about her boyfriend. We figured that out anyway because this woman never slept and talked on her mobile all night in low voice under the blanket. In such a small and closed room, one could even hear the footsteps of cockroaches, when this disgusting female would whisper sweet nothings on her mobile all night. Either she wanted us to vacate the room or she thought that we were deaf.

One Friday, as I was getting ready to go home, Ms.Despo asked me:

“Anita, which college did you go to?”

“Oh its XYZ. Why?”

“My boyfriend went there too. He knows you”.

I noticed from the corner of my eye that she was blushing at the mention of the word ‘boyfriend’, but I was rather focused on wondering which guy it was.

“Whats his name?”

‘Ken Mathews”.

I was stunned initially but extremely amused within a few seconds.
“He wants to talk to you”

I took that mobile, whose keypad was hotter than KFC chickens due to overuse and placed it gently near my ear and I said,
“Hello?”

“Anita, this is Ken here. I am sorry, really very very sorry for whatever I said to you at college, please don’t tell anything about Ms.Weirdo to Ms.Despo. I am serious about Despo and “might” marry her also please”

He finished that in a fraction of a breath. I tried to pinch myself to stop the roar of laughter brewing within me. I am not sure what he meant by “might” and “also” in that sentence. I got goosebumps and it felt like a Bollywood climax when this once self assumed Don, Ken begged me to not spill the history of his wayward life to his prospective bride.

 I replied nonchalantly “ Okay..hope you’re doing good” and ended the conversation briskly.

Years later I found Ken Mathews on facebook. He’d actually got married to Ms.Despo and has put up their wedding photo as his display picture. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Its now..or NEVER.



Long back there was this incident when I had a lot of dresses in my wardrobe which were either worn out or unfit. I gave it to my mother who donated them to people who couldn’t afford them. Later when I came across a send off party photo from my mother’s college I found a girl wearing that dress which I discarded. It was probably the day everyone dressed their best and that was her best dress. My eyes welled up as I confronted the painful reality of the financially challenged and how destiny doesn’t favor everyone.

My parents were givers and not receivers, in all the two plus decades that I lived with them. Clothes, money, food, moral support, advice, you name it , they gave it. However what they received had always been criticisms and brickbats. But I believe that blessings come from God and not from the thankless mortals we extended a helping hand to. And yes, over the years I have seen my parents blessed by the Almighty abundantly by each passing day  through all the pains and hurdles that befell them.

It had me thinking… which is right? Donating something which you don’t need, or something which you selflessly want another person to have? As per logical and practical conclusions, no deed is selfless in this world, which may be true if we perceive it that way. There are scores of people who contribute to charitable trusts and orphanages by being anonymous. And there are people who pose for photographs and get a receipt from them as a part of their personal finance management and cheap publicity. However I cannot comment or start a debate on this, because, frankly speaking, I do not know. But as per the scriptures, the one who has is expected to give the one who doesn't.

So when I was having a late night chat with my mother, she casually mentioned about her maid, who was so poor that she and her daughters lived in a single room hut. When they went to church on Sundays, dogs and cats would break into their home – which was now closed with plastic sheets as the rain washed away the mud walls- and eat the lunch they made for that day. I fought tears as I heard this. One of these daughters was getting married and this woman was trying to make some money for the wedding. Well, affording gold was out of question, but for good clothing? Any girl, rich or poor would want to look good on her wedding day. It is the single most important day of her life, whether she gets married in a thatched chapel or at a Cathedral. 

I made a decision.

I made some phone calls, and made arrangements with the help and support of my in-laws and parents....and I gave my wedding reception saree to her. This saree, which I wore just once, is not something I would discard. Even though the chances that I will wear it again in my life are very remote, I’d save it, as it holds an emotional value. As a part of this so-called “emotional value”, I would stack it up in a wardrobe and over the years it will be eaten by insects. But today, it could change a woman’s life.

 And so it did.