Now, you don’t have to wait to die to have a second life; there’s one available online, thanks to 3D Internet.
In virtual worlds, of which Second Life is the most popular, you can create an avatar and live a parallel life — own land, a home, have a boyfriend, go dancing at a nightclub… and now, watch Bollywood movies. People can also make money in SL (as its “residents” call it) where real commerce takes place among not just landowners and buyers but also those offering goods and services and the avatars who avail of them.
For 18-year-old Deepak Badane, who works as a chai-boy in real life, SL represents democratisation in a virtual society. His semi-literacy (he has studied till Class VIII), lack of English skills and socio-economic pedigree are no barriers here. So, Badane is Deepak Mesmer, a football pro, in SL. He dons expensive-looking denims, sports a chic hairstyle and of course, plays football like a dream.
Badane, aka Mesmer, represents the tip of what might be an Internet-led revolutionary iceberg in India. “Imagine what 3D Internet can do for distance education in India. We can reach out to people who have never spoken a word of English,” says Siddharth Banerjee, the 26-year-old CEO of Indusgeeks, a Mumbai-based firm that functions as a virtual guide for companies and individuals who want to set up shop in SL.
Child Relief and You (CRY) has roped in Indusgeeks to set up an action centre in SL, one where avatars can actually visit, interact with representatives and engage in charity work. On Children’s Day, November 14, CRY hopes to kickstart an awareness and fundraising campaign in SL, complete with a Bollywood star’s presence.
“Companies like IBM, Toyota and Reebok can and are doing everything in SL — from virtual conferences and product development to training and orientation,” says Banerjee.