Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The social network – gender paradox

Most people today, live dual lives.

The first one, their real lives, in which they have to deal with recession, pollution, rising onion prices, A. Raja, Bigggg Bosssss (or whatever it’s spelling is) and Rakhi Sawant.

Second, is the virtual life – emails, Google and most important of them all, social networking. With social networking I am talking predominantly about Facebook, which has over 500 million users and growing.

Facebook is no longer a medium where you just keep in touch with friends and have an active pseudo-social circle; you’re living a parallel life. This parallel life has a lot of factors similar to your actual life, like social standing, acceptance and popularity amongst peers. Don’t agree with me?

The notification window
Doesn’t your face light up when you see the red figure on the left top corner of your screen displaying notifications?   

Don’t you get disappointed when you put up a really cool status message, one that you were thinking about the whole day or a profile picture in which you think you’re looking a lot like Brad Pitt, and don’t even get a single “like” or comment?

Doesn’t that tinge of jealousy crop up when you see your friend’s ridiculous status message and pictures having tonnes of “likes” and comments?    

If yes, you would know what I’m talking about. If no, still read on, you’re not being charged for it.

I have no issues when a well deserving status, picture, video, link or any other virtual garbage is appreciated on the basis of content but there is nothing more irritating when people do it for every other reason other than content.

Women’s reservation is a concept I have been hearing about for as long as I remember. My personal opinion about the idea in the real world is immaterial and would undoubtedly create a controversy, so I will choose to abstain from talking about it here. However, in the virtual world, the scene is a lot different and it’s the male gender that’s most vulnerable.

There is a Brobdingnanian* of a difference in a woman’s and man’s virtual life. I’m not going to lecture you like I’m the president of some men’s welfare society fighting for their rights but will merely point out the glaring dissimilarities.

*before you open Google and try finding out what Brobdingnanian stands for, let me help you out. It means Gigantic or Colossal. I was looking for a word worthy of pointing out the discrepancy between the genders and accidently stumbled upon this one.

Still feeling lost? Let me elaborate and elucidate what I’m trying to say with an example.


Boy’s profile: Talented movie maker, extremely creative, smart, fun, 5 ft 6 inches tall, plump, average looking, blah, blah, blah. He has been working his ass off on a project for the last 6 months and has finally completed all the post production activities and finalizes his trailer.

Excited and filled with anticipation, he puts it up on his fb wall to get some reactions. This is what his wall reads

Iamamoviemakerbutnobodygivesashit: Guys I have finally finished making my movie and I am putting up the trailer. Let me know what you think of it J J

3 hours later, he logs on, curious to see the response the trailer has been garnering.

4 new notifications à Click

Honey Singh found out his year of death and thinks you should find out too.

Anand Sharma, Sneha U like your link.

Mohan has commented on your link.
“Dude! Are you coming for the movie tonight”?

Disappointed and dejected he switches off his laptop, kind of used to this by now.

Girl’s profile: Wearing a mini skirt in her profile picture. Period.

This is what her wall reads:

Iamsohotithinkiamgoingtoburn: Heyyyyyyy fnd this reeeeeeeeeaaaallllllyyyyy cute video of babiezzz making funny faces....awwwww shhhooooo cuuuuttteeeee....muah muah :* :* :* XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX 

13 nano seconds later...

78 new notifications à Click

Ram, Ram’s brother Raja, Ram’s cousin brother Ravi, Ravi’s younger brother’s friend Rahul, Ram’s father Rajeev and 33 others like your link.

(The comments is where it starts to REALLY get ridiculous)

Krish has commented on your link
“ROFLMYAONAHHEYRMJSLDHRNDKWD!!!! That’s how funny it was :D :D :D awesome stuff...what are you doing on Saturday night?”

Mohan has commented on your link. (Btw, this is the same Mohan from before)
“Awww that was sooooo cute...but I duno which is cuter, the babies or you ;) ;) :P :D (and 30 more smileys)

Aisha has commented on your link.
“Bitch that was shoooooooooo cutie you muah muah XOXOXOXOX”

Mohan has commented on your link.
“Hey Aisha. How are you long time no see J J

Michael has commented on your link.
“Awesome stuff sexy...hey display pic looks really are you?”

Ali has commented on your link.
“HA HA HAHA soooooo have you been?? “

Mohan has commented on your link.
“@Michael-- Stop trying to flirt around with her. ”

Michael has commented on your link.
"@Mohan--- what are you trying to do then?"

.......and it goes on. You see what I’m talking about. There a million other instances I can go on and on about.

I’ve heard guys making some ridiculous statements such as, “She is such a stuck up girl. I “like” everything she puts up but she still never responds to my chats”.

Dude! She also knows what she puts up is stupid. So whom are you kidding?

Technology might have made life easier but you are not going to impress a girl by hitting the “like” button like a maniac and commenting that you find her cuter than kittens, puppies and piglets. Unfortunately, to woo a girl, you still have to do that the old fashioned way.

Before the girls get too pleased, let me clear the air, I’m by no way saying that you are all descendents of Mother Teresa and are all noble. There are girls who do the same but the magnitude is negligible when compared to the weaker sex (in this case, male).

So how do we really overcome this paradox? I thought hard and long, 7 minutes to be precise and came up with the following results. To make this post irrelevant (read solution), I give you two options: 

A)    It’s necessary that we keep aside all temptations and appreciate content solely on the basis of merit OR

B)    The girls would really need to buck up, chat more, poke, flirt (or socialize as G likes to put it), send random friend requests and everything else a lot of guys today do ("the wanna be do franship types), to maintain the equilibrium on the social network (I’m doing these guys a favour here). Not desirable, but a solution nevertheless.

Now that I have given the world the solution to end the gender paradox on the social network, I’m feeling extremely proud and hungry. While I find something to eat, I’d wish you wouldn’t spend too much time thinking about this issue since the virtual world can and will never replace your real world.

I may not be very pretty and might not look hot in a mini skirt but if you like what have just read HIT THE BLOODY “LIKE” button. Let me see if I’ve made my point.


1) The views expressed in this post are wholly that of the author and you have all rights to disagree. However, all abuses on my comments page will be deleted and you  will face my cyber wrath.

2) All names used in this post are fictional and resemblance to anybody dead, alive, missing or forgotten is purely coincidental and I don't remember what else I am supposed to write here but I hope you get the point.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


....Continued from Endhiran (Robot)- The build up

Chennai wouldn’t sleep tonight.

But I did.

As I lay peacefully in my bed having some weird dreams, the true hard core Rajni fans were up and getting ready to go for a movie. The fanatics were up all night bursting crackers, singing, dancing and raising a toast to their God in their usual style, in a plastic tumbler with cheap rum and a banana to go with it. The wait for the movie and the alacrity that comes with it is more fun than the movie itself.

The celebration went on till 4 am - the time for the first show.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to such a theatre to witness these scenes but from what I hear, the atmosphere inside is like that of a cricket stadium rather than a movie hall. You wouldn’t get to hear a thing but the entertainment provided otherwise is totally worth it.

The Rajni craze- A garland of sweet lime
I reach office at 2 PM and meet guys who have already seen the movie twice. Half of Chennai had apparently not come to work today. I just couldn’t contain my excitement. It was Friday and I still had 2 days to go for my movie. I decided not to work and celebrate Rajnikanth.

I had the audacity to tell my HR head that I wasn’t going to work that day because I was excited about Endhiran. Instead of being reproached, he asked me, “You got tickets?” Proudly, I respond, “Yeah, Sunday” to which my HR head says, “That’s so sad! I got tickets for tonight”. The conversation went on for 10 more minutes, much to the shock of my colleagues and trainer.

You see the magic? Thinking about it now, I don’t even know where I got that kind of courage from.

Through the day, I kept hearing stories of hardcore fans and their antics, each more crazy than the previous.

I was getting restless and I am getting restless now so I’m skipping my painful wait and coming straight to THE SUNDAY, my turn to watch Endhiran.

Sunday morning...

The Chennai shared auto
FINALLY the day was here! Excitement was at its prime. M and I got ready and left well before time. Or so we thought. Just as we started, we encountered our first speed breaker - Chennai traffic decided to play party pooper. To make matters worse, we were aboard a shared taxi (the first mode of public transport that came our way), those weird looking vehicles that gives every indication of being a cross between an auto and a mini bus but moves at the speed of a bullock cart. We wouldn’t make it on time. Nothing was going right and it wasn’t a good feeling. All the anticipation, excitement, hype, extra money spent and finally ending up late for the movie seemed just wrong.  

The most exciting part of a Rajni movie is the start, right from the censor board certificate followed by the animated entry of the letters to form the word S-U-P-E-R-S-T-A-R and finally the super dramatic entry of Rajnikanth himself amidst cheers, screams and flying lungis. I really wanted to witness this.

If we continued by the shared auto, reaching the theatre on time was next to impossible, so we got off half way through and decided to hire our very own, personal auto (which is quite a luxury in Chennai).

I ask him, “Anna. Satyam?” (That’s all that is needed to get the message across). The driver gives a nod. “Evalo?” (How much?). He starts with Rs 220 and finally agrees for Rs 40 and we are off (those of you who find this weird, this is how autos in Chennai function. Meters are for aesthetics).

We were still well behind schedule, hope was fast running out and right then M uttered the magic words, “Anna. Sheegram go (Fast go). Movie. Endhiran. Rajnikanth”. I swear to God, everything went into slow motion for the next 20 seconds. Slowly, frame by frame, the auto driver turned to look at us, didn’t say a word and smiled. The smile said it all. In slow motion he turned back to drive, locked the fingers of his hand and made that crackling sound (even that in slow motion), kut kut kut one by one, and that’s when we snap out of the slow motion and also, everything else changed.

Like a man possessed, he revved his engine and drove at a speed that would qualify the auto to race at a formula 3 event. Probably the auto was a Rajni fan too. No obstacle was too big and no turn was too sharp for the driver since he was in charge of the holy duty of making sure we made it in time for the movie of his God. However, we still needed a miracle if we had to reach on time. I did something really strange (I shit you not and I swear this is not made up). I held my hands together (in the Namaste position) and prayed out loud to Rajni (half as a joke and half out of pure desperation). Taking cue, M did the same.

Three minutes left for the movie to start and we were almost there. My other friends were already in the theatre waiting for us. We could actually make it on time. Was this going to be a miracle? One minute to go and I was actually wondering if the driver in his excitement wouldn’t take the money and say that it was just a part of his duty. We reached with 30 seconds to go and driver seemed to lose all the brotherhood and asked for his money. What was I thinking? Anyway, we paid up and rushed towards the theatre hoping that we don’t miss much.

Inside, I see my other friends walking casually towards me. Have they gone crazy? Don’t they want to witness the spectacle at the start? Exasperated, I ask D, “Dude! Why the hell are you out? Hasn’t the movie started already? D starts smiling and realization dawns as I ask, “What time does the movie really start?” and a smiling D responds, “10 more minutes’ macha. I knew you would be late”.

I was annoyed and relieved; and at the same time I couldn’t help but wonder about the prayers we offered in the auto. I didn’t have much time to think about that as we walked towards the screen. We had made it. In a few minutes I was going to experience a movie experience like no other.

No, I wouldn’t describe what went on inside since a Rajnikanth movie on the weekend of its release should definitely be on your “things I need to do before I die” list. It's like a holy pilgrimage that each of you must be a part of at least once in your life time. And for your sake, I hope Rajnikanth makes another movie. If not, my condolences.

If Christopher Nolan could do it in Inception, so can I. So swear all you want, I know the feeling. I did the same after inception.