Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Casualty friendship

My dear friend Ananya, once posted in her facebook status-'It is easy to pretend death. Switch off your mobile and stop coming online, people will start asking whether your are alive or dead!!!

Times have changed but people haven’t. Rules of friendship has changed drastically. The actual proverb should have been ‘A friend for nothing is a friend indeed’ instead of the original one. Well, here friends mean colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends of friends, acquaintances, old classmates, new classmates, old classmates of my old classmates etc.  This post isn’t about my friends ( I have many of them and consider them the best of my life), but about those ‘friends' who appointed themselves to the grade. The other day, I received a call from an unknown number. If a timer was set to record the difference of time between my ‘hello’ and his ‘onslaught’, it would be somewhere in fractions of seconds. The conversation went on like this

Me: Hello?
Unknown caller: Where the hell have you been?..............................................( it went on for some time…)
Me: Am here. But who is this?
Unknown caller: So you have forgotten my voice too now?
Me: But… Ok… Who is this?
Unknown caller: I will kick your ass if you say that again.
Me: Fuck you @#$%&*!!!

Why can’t people speak normally here instead of expecting the whole world to remember their voice? And they always choose the busiest time of the day to call and expect me to entertain them by playing their game of guesses. They are no less than those tele-marketing guys.In fact more, because those guys do it for a living.

This is just the tip of an iceberg with lot of more dangling under the water. To say you are busy, has become a crime. Invariably you can’t avoid them behind the mask of being busy. Especially, when ‘busy’ isn’t a mask but a great feeling of doing something constructive. Last week, I was at a meeting in office, a training to be more specific and I was getting a call on my mobile. Despite my repeated non-answering of calls, the calls wouldn’t stop at all and after a while started coming from two different numbers, one after the other continuously. My manager noticed my discomfort and asked me to attend the call & come. I came out of the room answering the call, only to find out that couple of my friends had come to my office & waiting at a tea stall opposite my building. My office is in outskirts of the city. I, out of curiosity asked them why they had come. None of them gave a straight answer but a sarcastic answer laced with humour (so called).

“ So Mr. Busy, we have to take appointment to meet you now? Get your ass down. Tera office tak aye hum.. ek chai tak nahi pilaoge?” (We came near your office…wont you offer us even tea?)

Did I want to shout at them? Or did I feel sad for their lonely life, I don’t know because I couldn’t really understand the psychology behind this visit. Of course, they were in the same area for some work and thought of me. I truly appreciate the fact, that people remember me. Even I call up (once) people when am in their vicinity. But only to find out, if they were free enough to meet. And I also don’t tell them that my sole purpose of coming was to visit her/him. But that’s the answer I always get. Every time, when asked what they were doing in this area, I get the same reply.

“ You don’t come to visit us Mr.busy, so we came to visit you.”  Ok buddy, now fuck off!

There are another set of people who have self induced notions about certain things and come to conclusions about it. Well, I live in Uppal area (Hyderabad). For those who don’t know, Hyderabad’s cricket stadium is in the same area. During international matches in Hyderabad, my mobile doesn’t stop ringing for a very stupid reason. People call me for tickets to the match. From when did this bill get passed in parliament that tickets are to be distributed for free to people living in and around the stadium? Or am I to resign my current job and work at the ticket counter at the stadium to get the tickets for my friends? Or am I to understand that my friends expect me to stand in the line to buy the tickets for the match, I wouldn’t be watching. Their reason for calling me is- I live nearby the stadium. With that logic, those who live near parliament should be allowed to contest for next elections. World cup is coming in 81 days. To all those who might be thinking of calling me for the tickets, think at least once please
I don’t understand whether it’s the loneliness or plain sadism, but people expect to be entertained always. A friend sends me those bland forward messages every day. I don’t mind receiving them but he expects me to reply to them. Even a simple ‘:-D ‘ from me, would encourage him to send me 10 more messages immediately. But if I don’t reply for some time, I get a string of questions marks in my inbox. In my youth, this was called, height of vanity. There are another kind too-the blackmail kind. I received a message on my mobile-‘You really changed. You were not like this before. Do you think, only you are busy?’. I felt bad. I tried explaining him, wrote few long messages. So, after a few days, when he asked to meet up with few old friends, I said okay and went. All through the meet, the smirk on his face made me realize, he never meant the message he had sent me. It was just an attempt to make me feel guilty of something. Sadism? Sorry bro, lesson learnt! I won’t feel guilty for nothing.

I still remember those days when I was jobless, I was desperately calling up friends in the evening to meet up. I am sure I myself would have made mistakes similar to these to irritate my friends who were busy in their offices. But I learnt from them but I dont see any signs of them in people around me.Earlier people used to hate me for not calling them. Now they hate me for not scrapping, walling, blogging, tweeting, mailing, messaging, meeting. A friend is not a person you call at the dead of the night. A friend is one who won’t call you at that odd hour because he would know you are sleeping.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Headlines Today

Can one industry change the way people think? 
Media is a powerful tool. It has the power to break or make things in our world. May be the term ‘Breaking news’ originated from this power.  A lot has been already said about Indian media. They have been sneered for their ‘breaking news’ and shoving the news down our throats. I will not get into all that. I want to give my 2 cents on internet media like online newspapers. 

Personally, I prefer the news websites online rather than their counterparts on television. That’s because, at least I get the freedom of choosing which news to read and which to avoid. On television, I get to see the same news in all the channels with just the anchors different. But I have later realized that though these websites are of lesser evil, they are evil nevertheless. The tactics they use to get people read their articles (news) can put some of our self promoting bloggers to shame. The fact that, these websites are already popular and considered a brand makes this even more evil, considering the fact that people actually go to their websites to catch up on NEWS around the world. If it is the TRPs on television, then it is the number of hits per post in the internet world. More specifically in blogger terms, it is called ‘Traffic’. A phrase, every blogger would know and strives hard to get even before he has any content on his blog. It is sad, that news websites aren’t exception to this online phenomenon. 

Unlike the shameless bloggers, there is a streak of intelligence in promotions by news websites. Of course that shouldn’t be considered excusable because even the most intelligent thief should be jailed. Here are some observations.

     1. Like headlines, electronic media thrives on ‘Title’ of the article to catch ones eye. Interesting title invariably can make the viewer click on it to read the complete article. It’s perfectly acceptable to conceive captivating titles to grab the eye balls. We all as bloggers, do that to be frank. But creating a title which has no connection whatsoever to the article is something as a reader can piss me off. I was once browsing through a popular news website where I came across a title, ‘Saif is a bastard’. Immediately I clicked on the link and began reading the article. It was an interview of some guy, not even related to movies and the whole thing was not remotely connected to Saif Ali Khan. Finally before the last 3 lines, there was one line which said-‘I never said Saif is a bastard’. Was this the basis of making it the title of an article Mr. Editor? If I remember correctly, I don’t even think it was referring to the actor specifically but readers will definitely click on the link thinking so. Pure blasphemy.

     2. Most of the time while reading such news websites, I find a third rate journalist, trying to write something to fill up the page. No, I am not commenting on the standard of English but of the article. The modus operandi is simple. The first part would present you with all juicy details which would make us rub our hands with glee at what is unfolding. Glossy gossips take the center stage as the article proceeds to tell us how the elite behave or misbehave.  The second part would be an exact opposite of the first, clearly negating everything that was written above. Most of the time, it’s written in such a way that those involved would be denying the gossip. The third usually would be just one or two lines claiming ignorance of truth in the above report, aimed at laughing at us for reading the whole shit. 

     3. In addition to the above point, the silliest aspect of this kind of reporting is, they would not be ready to take the blame. They cleverly put the blame on ‘Sources’. I don’t know who these sources are but every time I read a crappy news article, it’s always attributed to their elite sources, which bring in the news to them and hence clearing themselves from getting accused of misreporting. Of course, even a kid can see through their farce. In all probability, there would be no sources, I mean who in the world would employ informers to find out what Kareena or Deepika wore for tonight's party?

Attention to ALL news websites: If you are posting something which you are not sure of its authenticity, which has been told to you by some outsider (sources) and which is not even important to anyone, then why post it?

It is indeed sad, that any forms of media are eyes and ears of public and if they are so grossly misused by third rate journalists and SEO crazy editors, then God help them. Talking of God, if you guys have noticed, comments below ANY article in these websites have religious flavour in it. There would be hundred of comments below these posts, abusing each other using choicest words to degrade each other’s religion. And this is true for any damn article of any topic under the sun, from science to cricket, politics to glamour. Jobless youth of India?

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