No thanks, I’ll pass!!

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I turn around and see technology engulf me. Sometimes I wish I was born in prehistoric times, dressed in animal skin, living in a cave, starting a fire with stones, eating raw vegetables, feasting on roasted meat and most importantly living a technology-free life. Why you ask? Well let me elaborate…

Around a year ago, communication technology had its latest addition to the family: WhatsApp!! And the whole world got hooked onto it instantly. SMS has now become a thing of the past.  Somehow, I never liked the app, and that with good reason. Now, let me tell you why I’d rather try a dozen other applications to stay in touch with my near and dear instead of using WhatsApp.

Ban Whatsapp

Reason 1: Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Lack of privacy is the biggest downside to WhatsApp. Not only does everyone in possession of your mobile number get to read your status and view your profile picture, you also get to view status updates and profile pictures of some people who are on your contact list, only because you should never ever pick up their call, no, not even by mistake!

Reason 2: Guru of emoticons!

I agree emoticons are a good way of expressing one’s feelings in the virtual realm, but 651 emoticons?? You gotta be kidding me! I think I’d have to be forming new feelings and emotions just to put WhatsApp’s smileys to good use. For e.g. there is a kissing smiley with a heart, and another one without the heart. We send kisses only out of love, so what does the emoticon without the heart really depict? A fake kiss? A sly kiss? A formality kiss? I wonder to whom I can send a kiss like that! The only set of emoticons I find appealing in the technology world are the ones on Skype; they are few and fantastic! Dear WhatsApp users, let’s see if you can use all the WhatsApp emoticons at least once in your lifetime. Take it as a challenge!!

Reason 3: Adamant Application!

I don’t know how WhatsApp works on other phones but on my phone, it’s one application that can never be shut down. It keeps restarting automatically every time I kill it through my phone’s task manager. Talk about being adamantly annoying!! The only way to keep the app under control is to restrict internet access on my mobile or use a firewall.

Reason 4: Tracks Activity!

WhatsApp displays either your online status or the time at which you were last active on the app. This is absolutely unnecessary. I hardly respond to messages or emails instantly, though I check them regularly. I take quite a while to respond, especially when I’m busy or preoccupied. This means that I maybe active only to glance and watch out for any urgent or vital messages. People could misunderstand thinking I’ve been active but I’ve not responded to their messages. The iPhone version has an option to switch off this activity tracking. But what about people like me who have a Nokia?

So far, the only good thing about WhatsApp is that I’ve not seen any ads whatsoever. Now all that’s left for us to do is to wait and see how long this lasts.

Don’t you wish you could get those good old days back, when meeting in person was the only way to communicate? How easy it was to express feelings while talking face to face.

The next generation will only experience the virtual realm. They will never know how life was before the internet came along. I think that’s really sad.

As for the present, for latest technology, for WhatsApp and what it has to offer, I’m relieved as I say, “No thanks, I’ll pass!!”

An Alien on Earth

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Ever imagined how an alien would feel if he grew up on earth for the first 25 years of his life and then returned to his planet? Well I think I know how that feels! Chennai was my home, but I never got a chance to live there. I had spent 25 years of my life living in a stranger’s land. That eventually became my home… until… suddenly one day I was forced to return to my real home.

This real home was a lot more different; a lot more messier, a lot more sicker and a lot more hopeless than I had ever imagined it to be. But now, 6 years down the line, I have mixed feelings. Why do I feel different now? What has changed? When I got to this city, I was thinking of a thousand places that I could rather be than here. But now, I wouldn’t mind living here if I had to.

I’m still trying to figure out what makes me feel this way. Because there are many times when I still say I hate the place and even the people’s mentality.

alien6

The one thing I didn’t get in Dubai after living there for 25 years was good friends who really wanted to stay in touch and had a sincere concern over my well being. Out of all those years out there I got only got one friend who stayed in touch regularly. I remember the many festivals and functions that were spent lonely and cold, with no one to celebrate with. Even relatives were like strangers there. It was cold. I had the best lifestyle I could have ever had, yet, I was so empty.

6 years here in Chennai and I have the sweetest dog on earth (something I could have never had in Dubai), good friends who stay in touch and a kind or freedom amidst the daily madness. Day in and day out I meet sincerely concerned people, who are happy to show kindness.

I keep thinking to myself, Dubai gave me a lifestyle but Chennai taught me how to live. From the crazy times at the beaches, eating bajji from roadside shops, to the local train rides, to pani puri on the streets, it added a special flavour to life. A flavour that was missed at the posh restaurants in Dubai, the fancy malls and in the clear and clean environment that was just so beautiful.

I sometimes watch big groups of girlfriends huddled together enjoying at the beach, or just hanging out, or shopping for fun and I can’t deny that I’ve missed out on a lot of real living. More than anything else I missed the opportunity to befriend some good people who may have been with me for a lifetime.

I still can’t say I love Chennai, but I’m coming to terms with its state. But yes, I do love very dearly some of the wonderful people here who have made me feel so special, loved and cared for. And after all, what is life without love? :)

Drivers That Drive Me Insane :)

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So now I’m riding to this new place every day and the route is extremely chaotic. The roads are decorated with pot-holes and stones. I’ve been driving in Chennai for the past 2 years and I think I’ve ended up having to take worst route in town. The roads have no separators (which is the biggest disappointment) stopping vehicles going in the opposite direction from barging into my way. The crazy drivers on the roads nearly make my heart pop out every day. Nevertheless, I’m trying to look at the humorous side of things. So, what if I were to classify these skilled disaster masters by the abilities and talents they display on the roads? I gave it a try and came up with these…

1. The Hysterical Honker – He is happy to honk all the way. He honks if you drive slow, or fast. He honks when the signal is red or green. He honks if he is blocked in traffic, or driving wild and free. He honks even when the road is empty and he’s the only person driving. His skill lies in making maximum use of the horn button. I wonder how mad he’d get if his vehicle came without a horn! The only way to get around this type is to pretend being deaf.

2. The Steady Speeder – He risks his own life and those of the people around, but never reduces speed. It is Greek and Latin to him. He zooms by like lightning and disappears by the time one takes notice of the flurry he created. He covers distances in half the time that others take. Speed breakers along the road make him fly but never intimidate him. The best way to deal with this type is to give way and save one’s own life.

3. The Networking Navigator – With his phone resting on his shoulder and his head tilted to hold it, he’s the one who stays connected come what may. He also specializes in texting while manoeuvring his vehicle. He’d make a good fit for a circus act. His concentration is divided and therefore he navigates unsteadily and sluggishly along the road. So it is best to overtake this one.

4. The Rebellious Rider – He drives to break the traffic rules. He skips red signals, never slows down where required, does not use the indicator signals, overtakes rashly, turns into the wrong side of the road, scares the life out of other drivers, and is an absolute menace on wheels! The highlight here is that he’ll yell at other people for every mistake of his. The only way to deal with this rogue is to be patient and let the tornado pass.

5. The Possessive Pathfinder – He is selfish and does not like to share, no, not even the road! He drives without giving way to others. He may go at snail’s pace and yet drive right in the middle of the road. All the honking at this fellow falls on deaf ears. He assumes he’s taking a stroll in the park. Overtaking this fellow is a bit of a challenge but has to be done somehow to reach one’s own destination on time.

6. The Jaunty Journeyer – This fellow is unpredictable. He doesn’t know where he is going, so he keeps slowing down, gazing at places or people, taking unexpected moves or turns and has a lost look on his face. Either he is on a casual fun ride or he is seriously lost and doesn’t know what to do. It is best to steer clear of his path.

7. The Confident Cyclist – Although he isn’t really a driver, he is high-minded enough to be considered one. He pompously rides his cycle on the road like the road’s been laid for him. He will not drive on the extreme left, giving way for bigger vehicles. Also, because he doesn’t have a side view mirror, he cannot check to see what’s approaching him from behind before he makes a particular move, thereby making it complicated for those driving behind him. Honking does not disturb him and one better not disrespect him. He’s a dignitary on the roads.

So that was my attempt to look at the funny side of things despite the pathetic situations that prevail on the Indian roads.  And amidst all this chaos, I drive, I ride, with utmost insanity!!