speaks English, the whole world tries to listen — to other sounds. It is truly a torture, a malicious unending attack on all things grammar.So this time when he came knocking, and for some weird reason started in Queen’s language, I took a deep breath and began silent meditation.
Some words, nonetheless, fell on my forced-deaf ears. ‘Crisis happened in home. I am agree she needs freedom, but no money nah? But she’s so hard. (sic)’
Now before your mind goes on an ‘inappropriate’ tangent, let me clarify that Chaddha ji was innocently speaking about his daughter Bansuri, who, for the four hundreth time was threatening to go on a hunger strike over some demand.
I could vaguely make out from Chaddha ji’s ramblings that Bansuri was demanding some new vehicle, because he kept saying she already has cab facilities from her office. But then you can’t trust Chaddhaji of having understood anything correctly, so I decided to check with Bansuri. ‘Thank God you called. My father is driving me mad,’ she cried. ‘I just told him I wanted to get on tweeter (sic) and he started grumbling, thinking I want some new type of scooter. Didn’t even give me a chance to explain I wanted a computer with Internet.”
Now, only if you, Bansuri dear, had pronounced twitter as it ought to be, rather than tweeeeeter, it could make things easier. But then God knows what Chaddhaji would’ve made out of twitter. Anyhow, Bansuri went on to elaborate on what’s bugging her. Apparently all her friends are on Facebook or Tweeeeter (Oh God), they keep talking about it, comparing the number of facebook pals and followers they have. And since she’s not ‘social networking’ savvy, she feels left out, in fact obsolete. ‘I’ll be happy only when I’m able to prove my true popularity — when I’ll have more facebook friends than shweta (a friend) Someday, Shahrukh Khan would follow me on tweeeeter,’ she said.
Well, Shah Rukh one day will surely follow your ‘My Name is Chaddha’ page, I assured her, but let’s get some things straight.
Are those with a large number of ‘friends’ on Facebook etc are really happy…or truly popular? For one, despite its 350 million members, Facebook, or for that matter, twitter and orkut etc remain what they are —online forums. Since when have they become decisive parameters on how cool you are? And then, let me assure Bansuri, and a lot of others, that there’s also a large population of Internet users who are sick of the stress and pressure given by these sites.
A friend, who used an ‘online suicide site’ to kill her presence on Facebook and Twitter told me that keeping up on these sites was proving more stressful to her than even examination stress. Her day started with the stress of coming up with a ‘cool’ status update, followed by the stress of accepting or sending friends request. She was depressed for days if someone rejected her friend request, reading deep meaning into all such rejections.
If you are one of those who keeps reading about the whole world and its cousin getting on twitter or facebook — and wants to join the bandwagon, please go ahead but remember to take it as one of those fun things technology throws our way. It will be a sad day when the definition and value of ‘friends’ in our life would be judged by a list appearing on a computer.
Sonal Kalra prefers getting on a real scooter for a fun ride to a getting on ‘tweeter’ and bumping into tension. Mail your calmness tips at