“I need a PC appa. I would have to do a lot of work for my project. It will be tough for me to go to friend’s place and sit every time”. It started at that and obviously I would require internet for searching for the study material. So there I was, all set to enter into a whole new world. The virtual world which was a doorway for meeting total strangers, e-mails with funny (stupid) forwards, pirated music and of course unlimited porn. The small monitor in front of me started looking much better than my 21” television.
I would click my way away to glory on anything that popped up on to the screen. PC for me was nothing more than an entertainment box. Those IPs, formatting and configurations made no sense to me whatsoever (It still doesn’t!). All I could do was to open a browser/messenger and go on with my daily dose of fun. Suddenly I bumped into this thing called chatting. I was never a chatter box. I used to find it rally hard to initiate a conversation even, unless it was with the people I was close to. Suddenly when I started chatting with total strangers, who might not even exist, I took to it like mad. The whole of the final yr of my Engg, I would logon dot at 9 P.M to my messenger, when the free hours of browsing would start. Then it was party time. I suddenly started speaking with people of different verities. There were people who wanted to make friends, people who wanted someone virtual to share their woes in life, people who could not tell the real world that they are Gays, people who wanted to make out through their PCs , the web cam people and most popular of all people who were looking for a life partner. And before even knowing, I was chatting with people from different parts of the world. MSN messenger would lead me into chatting with foreigners. For me Foreign was only US at one point of time. That perception changed in a flash.
Me and my friend, Ram, would ping each other and keep saying “Apram?” (And what else) till late night as if we are friends catching up after long. Well, 2 Hrs was must have been called Long during those days, I guess. Even after failing at umpteen attempts of trying to find someone sensible on the other side of the chat window, I would keep logging on to Yahoo Chat room for hours together. I created fancy profiles to attract people’s (ladies’) attention. To list a few I was “raindrops in ocean”, “ infinity2zero”and “other side of mirror”. Can’t imagine people bought it! I did manage to find a few people to talk to. Girls too. And the Chandler Bing that I am, I kept finding faults with each and every one of them. I still do that in the real world too! I have met the most Bizarre people over the net. And some nice ones too.
One of the best things you can do on chat is to fool someone with the fake IDs. Not strangers. I never could understand the fun in doing that. But it was the easiest way to play pranks on your friends. So I became Shalini and my partner in crime, Ram, became malini to fool this over acting guy in our college. Extensive planning went into it - Showing him my friend’s picture (with her permission) and asking her to speak to him once to convince him that he has struck gold. The thing went on for 2-3 months before we summoned him to a coffee shop to give him a shock of his life. Well, I have been a victim too. But we would not talk about that here, would we?
Except for the momentarily fun, chatting had not done much good for me. But yes, it did help me to turn into an extrovert. I do not find it difficult to start a conversation with total strangers. I had decided that the day I would find “the one” through net or at least a sensible friend through the net, I would give up “chatting”. And the latter did happen when I found my good friend, Padma, through online. It is a totally different story that we had chatted only once before we started talking in the real world. And she has been there till date as one of my best friends. And that was the last time I asked some what their ASL was!
Song for the occassion: Ek Ajnabi ......