The Evolution of communication over digital media.

With the real time communication becoming a very popular means of self expression, there seems to be a new etiquette, or “lingo” so to say being put in place. Also, there is entirely new arrangement as to who communicates to whom.  Some folks love the concepts. Others loathe it, depending on age, gender and geography of the individual, without any consistent trend being applicable.

I could start from the Morse code, and fax but I do not want to dig so deep and beat around the bush. The following are very recent trends.

First and foremost, is the telephone call. It’s called  simply a call now, and is more often used as sync up medium. It is indispensable medium for friends who’re trying to meet up to be used as a coordination tool. Sample this conversation sequence. This does happen. All on a cell phone.

1-1-2012 9:00 PM

Mr. A:Let’s meet up tomorrow, at inorbit mall.

Miss B:sure, 5:00 PM then.  cya!

2-1-2012 4:45 PM

Mr. A:I’m running a little late . will reach by 5:30 PM.

Miss B:No problem, just gimme a missed call when you start.

2-1-2012 6:15 PM

Mr. A gives a call to Miss B, disconnects after a single ring, as a response of which Miss B starts to go to inorbit mall.

2-1-2012 6:30 PM

Miss B: I’ve reached. Come to Costa Cofee. I’m waiting there.

Mr. A: Sure. I’ll take another 5 minutes. cya!

2-1-2012 6:40 PM

Mr. A: Where are you, I don’t see you in Costa cofee.

Miss B: I’m on the end close to center.

Mr. A: Oh I see. I was coming in from the north end. And I see you.

I’m pretty sure Mr. Alexander Graham Bell would not have had the vision to see this kind of use for the device he created. I’m by no means complaining, but in fact noting the use of this voice call’s use. I’m sure if dead folks can see us, he’d be happily grinning up there somewhere.

It also kind of kills the concept of relying on each other. I mean see how soon you’ll call up friend/date on a meet, when you’ve turned up on time, but the other person is late. 5 minutes? 10 maybe. The cell phones have kind of de-valued the importance of other people’s time and plans I feel. It seems so convenient to call up 15 minute before the appointment and say I’ll be late, or not coming at all. Again I’m not suggesting that one has to be on time on all the occasions. Some times, being late is not by choice, but how soon before the appointment is the correct margin to notify the other party of your inability to make it. Cell phones have blurred those margins.

Text/Instant messaging.

Good for times, when you cannot do it on voice. When you need to get reminders, or addresses. People have however developed means to converse over messages too. Blackberry phones and the qwerty key pads are (were) a step in that direction. To enable people to carry out a conversation on text messaging.

Not just those devices, there is a new vocabulary developed to facilitate the expression of the ideas, with minimal effort. Read key presses. The language seems to  be a derivative of English, with all the vowels knocked out, and numbers being used for their phonetic values. The following line is actually something which has a conversational meaning, and is English.

“I hv bn lkng 4wd 2 mtng u.”

The buck certainly doesn’t stop here. The latest in thing is in social networking sites.

Status updates.

With social networking sites being all the rage, the newest trend here is updating what you’re up to with a phrase or a line. People are doing it, and some are doing it really effectively. This kind of communication enables one to be addressing a mass audience, and with that connect, you have a real time encyclopedia with a personal touch. Use it for crowd sourcing your problems, or networking. It’s quite an amazing way to communicate.

Of course there are people who don’t quite get the idea on what’s the use of this scheme. There have been status updates suggesting status updates with a post frequency of 5 mins on the lines of :

    • got up, brushing teeth.
    • taking a bath now. water is too cold.
    • eating breakfast. milk is too warm
    • leaving for school now.
    • Reached, ready for the grind … blah.

All of the preceding technologies are based on a single idea.

As humans, we feel the need, and realize the importance of communication. I cannot emphasize enough on how important I feel communication is. The ability to express one’s idea across, be it with analogies, humor or with supplement actions, leads to a sense of liberation when the point one makes gets across.

I hear you.
I hear you.

Keep talking. 🙂

Of random plans, and unexpected surprises.

So it was decided, that we’ll go to the western coast for sure. Goa, perhaps. Nothing finalized but lot of speculation and tentative ideas thrown in the mix. Even people who’d go was not decided.

“It’ll need to be a road trip” he said.

“We’ll take turns driving” was the verdict.

So after not much planning and one night of food and music, when everyone was in good mood, it was decided that we’ll all drive to a place called Gokarna. 750 kms from Hyderabad, the connecting roads are pretty decent, up till all the way. Major part of the journey would be at night, so was expected to be fast, and without major stoppages.

There’s also a stretch where one has to drive by the western ghats, and that stretch is even more beautiful than the contemporary straight highways.

The fact that monsoons were approaching also added to the charm. For those unaware, western Ghats during the time of rains is quite a sight to see. Lush green, and moist everywhere. The road spirals around with delightful curves. The slope is not daunting. The quality is impeccable. So it is not uncommon for people to drive at 60 – 80 kms an hour.

We hit the ghats early in the morning. So everything was visible.

The look is surprisingly similar to the climb from siliguri to Rangpo. 🙂 . Brings back those memories. One thing different though is that I had the steering wheel. Back in college, we’d curse the cab drivers for rash driving, and dangerous banking on roads. Now, I think I know why they did that.

Well, after hitting the ghats, one does not feel as though there’s any beach around . It looks as though you’ve come to a hill station. I kind of detest going to hill stations, because all my life I’ve been to hills for most of my vacations. So it was a very weird bit of the journey.

My eyes were desperately looking for anything that remotely looks like a beach. It was a road curving around the ghats, so the obvious look that emanated  was of a hill station. The GPS suggested we were very close.

I ranted about how hills hate me and follow me to most of the places, I go to, and kept looking out for anything that would resemble a beach.

Then, at the last descent, after the car reached up to the seemingly last hull, when you would not expect such a feat, there was the sea . Big and endless. looking to swallow the land, with all it’s might and size.

At once, the towering giants of hills looked like ants to the sea. We were approaching down to the juncture where the two boundaries seemed to merge. And there, bounded from one side by hills, and the vast Arabian sea on the other was a white sand beach. Sweet!

Where is the love?

This is not about the black eyed peas song.

It was the topic of a seminar by TT Rangarajan of Alma Mater I attended yesterday.

It’s not about that either.

I had this amazing realization today. While eating, yea, while eating, and with some people having rave takes about the seminar we attended yestarday. The very capable orator had emphasised a lot about the importance of physical touch in a relationship between two people, be it friends, husband and wife, parents and kids…..

So, there came a classic citation of how have things differed at now, having friends at a proffessional ground, as opposed to having friends in college, or better yet, a hostel.

Now, when we talk, we sit at a certain distance and talk of very restrictive topics. Being cordial, they call it.

Snap back in time, in hostel, as friends we would talk about random things with friends. We would also be just huddled over on each other, and since that is an example of physical touch, it manifests to how much more in love we were and we are.

Is it?

Really, think of it. I was pointed to by a friend of mine, that’s the closest friends have been those with whom you’ve been the most foul mouthed with. I was initially very surprised by that observation. But a quick reintrospection, and I realised the weight of his words.

Foul mouthed, as in speaking with lots of swearing, and a whole lot of cuss words.

Not in anger or retaliation, but foul mouthed, during the course of a regular conversation.

It might be?

I’m at a most comfortable zone (not exclusively though) with people, who I have spoken in that filthy, rowdy and “unfit for civil people” type of language. Where often at times more imagination and creativity was used decorate the phrases and sentences, than the context of those phrases and sentences. It still feels great to have a go at them, and them getting on to me.

The happiest of couples I’ve known and seen talk like that to each other (mind you , I’m not refering to any bedroom activities here).

My birthday buddies from college are known to be epitomes of what one does not describe as “homely, refined and cultured”.

Another group of friends would “talk the talk”, once a little high and tipsy, in an edearing and non threatening way.

Interns who break the barrier by getting out the college lingo.

Many stand up comedians use it as a de-facto technique to roll in the cheers.

Writers, do it all the time for humor, anger, revolt , just to establish that connection with the reader.

How does being cordially foul mouthed put others in a comfort zone?

Does it even make sense?

It doesn’t, and I by no means am advocating going on and trying it on to your friend or spouse. Do not try this at home. You have been warned!

In fact when I think about it, guys together would do the talk with quite a flamboyance, as though the talk had merits associated with it. I’m not so sure of how it hapenned in girls hostel though. My imagination takes a downfall at “Kutti, Kamini … main tera khoon pee jaaoongi” . I have a certain Ekta Kapoor to blame for this mental limitation.

But I’m sure even females from a hostel would have their version of the dirty talk.

Is it me, or is it us?

If you’ve read it so far, and have been pally with certain someone from college / hostel days, I’m going to urge you to take a thought dip, and try to recollect the last interesting conversation with that someone.

Now would be a very good time to call up that someone and say “B#$%^&*”, and Kamini…. 🙂

It does apply to me, but do you feel the same way ?

What is the purpose of life?

It all came to being when we (me and some friends) decided to get together in bombay.

Amongst the lots of food eating and guzzling cocktails  came a point when someone (not in the group, but in a distant land, pursuing a MBA degree) had to give out a presentation on the topic,”What is the purpose of life?”. This was an ideal setting for finding that out, because there had been excess of good food, and nice tequila sunrises. The view was equally up to it, a lake surrounded by lots of green, absolutely lush, and full with life trees. The weather was murky, and the rain played a lively game of hide and seek.

All that good stuff had made us really merry, and when such a question pops up in the middle of such a scenario, there was bound to be lot of thought put into it. The conversation started off on a gentle note with lot’s of one liners being put on the table, including some of the cheesiest ones. Nothing was left to imagination.

  • Purpose of life is to have tons of money.
  • Kawaski Ninja
  • See the seven wonders of the world
  • Being a housemate with lots of scantily clad, well chiseled out males/females.
  • To be able to do things one fancies, without a second thought or major concern.
  • Being successful -> What might be success to you may not be success to me ? So what is success? Well, having your own yardstick and leading up on it.
  • Getting married
  • Having kids
  • Purpose of Life (universe and everything) is 42. But the sad thing is while we come to a more precise question to that answer, we’ll blow it all up, and go extinct.

I guess you get the drift. Then came a pensive phase, where we all went into some self thought process and lot of introspection. The objective was to come up with non trivial purposes. First observation : For different people, there exist different purposes. I mean, the purpose of life for various people in world is to just scrape it throught the day. This post is not addressing that.

This kid’s situation is a basis of the set of people we were talking about.

After we all came to concensus on that point, the other points emerged.

  • Purpose of life is about a feeling of well being, and safe state. Where one is able to express their thoughts without fear, and concern. Of course one should not be voicing offensive statements against others, but be able to call  spade, a spade.
  • Purpose of life is to make others happy. It starts with the ones who’re near and dear to a person, let’s say parents, spouse, kids and expands up to people who depend on them like those who’re employed by them, are their clients.
  • Purpose of life is to have enough time for leisure, where one can forget about somewhat petty things like getting the food on the table, and contemplate onto other non obvious thinking activities, like what is the purpose of life?
  • Purpose of life is to get involved in various activities and things that stimulates an individual. Offers new skills. Then making a mash up, and form a niche. Find a new road, and discover new purposes.
  • Purpose of life is to procreate. Some of us are the messengers. The warriors need to be in order to get the message. (This one was a little inspired by Transformers 3, with a spin from cocktails in Happy hours)
  • Purpose of life is doing those things which one feels for, which one is able to look back, and smile about thinking to self “I’m so glad I did that”, or smile and think “I should not have done that” and not of the types “What if I had done that?”
  • Purpose of life is pursuit of happiness. Not happiness, mind you . If you’d want to be just happy I could recommend drugs, and mind altering substances.  I repeat, pursuit of happiness.
  • Purpose of life is to locate and communicate with other like minded people around you. Those who are also looking for the purposes of their lives. Otherwise, one will feel like being present in the wrong century.

Do you have a purpose in life?

Of movies based on books.

Almost all the movies I have seen which have read a book associated with them seem like a pale shadow of the content in the book. I always try to find an exception to this rule, and get drawn into watching yet another movie, hoping that this one time, I’ll be surprised pleasantly, and I can finally toss out the half baked theory out of the window.

Also, it doesn’t have to do with the order in which I do it. I mean, if I read a book after watching a movie, it still seems like a mere gist of what the book is.

I first read the book Godfather, and then watched the popular flick. It felt bland, mostly.

It is not even based on the genre of the movie, be it Sci Fi, thriller, or pure fantasy, the book always surpasses the flick.

The Lost world, as a movie seemed to have no fizz. After I read the book however, it’s one of my favorites.

I feel a book houses so much detail around every scene, and you’re forced to take notice of each and every bit of the detail is why a book leaves you with a more richer, fulller experience.With a movie, you can choose to ignore a part of the picture, by not looking at it. Doesn’t quite work like that in books. But that’s just one theory.

Classic example : The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy. Book – Legendary. Movie – Avoidable.

Another reason, I’ve heard people come up with is, that while reading, you excercise your own imagination in conjunction with that of the author’s. This exercise gets you much more involved, as opposed to watching a movie, where just your visual and aural senses get the upper hand in being active.

Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings? I could not watch the movies, because the books left me high. Everything else seemed dry.

Also, somehow I feel, that a book just cannot be captured in a 90 min. video. It’s too less a time frame. When you read a book, it sinks in, and then you move forward. With a movie however, it moves forward, regardless of weather you miss a dialogue, or part of a happening scene.

 

I suppose a very solid founding theory could be, that reading is a more immersive experience because one tends to use the brain a lot more (imagining), the plot moves at a pace which the reader can alter (sinks in), and the content is serialized so not much of it is lost.

Doesn’t work like that with comics though. I quite enjoy the movies that are derived off comic strips. In fact they even, at times surpass the original source. The batman movies for example. Batman Begins, and the dark knight. There the director has managed to add quite a bit of color to the otherwise mundane and monochrome type of a comic strip.

Maybe it’s because of the character that has been thrown in by the director of the series. I do not enjoy batman comics much anyways.

Maybe it’s to suggest that Human brain is not a natural multi tasker .

Also, this does suggest that writing is a powerful medium, no matter how much technology and innovation continue to wrestle it.

Then, there are those who do not wish to read …. 🙂

I am a certified wierdo.

Every one has a quirk or two. Right?

What if I can list 9. I guess some people like to make it large. My quirkiness borders on the periphery of eccentricity. Let me know if you can top this !

Here’s a list of things, and my attempt to provide a reasoning for why I succumb to doing them this way.

  1. I like wearing old and worn out clothes. Also, I  prefer loose and seemingly shabby outfits to smart and well fitted ones. It’s comfort mostly. Even my bed sheets are the ones that have been washed a hundred times, and basically discarded by my sister. A few of my pillows have been with me before my college days. I like clothes which seem like a second skin, and not an alien cover on me.
  2. I have not seen the popular sitcom “friends“, completely.People I know have done it at least three times over. I do find some of the episodes engaging, but I could not mantain a consistent watch like I did with scrubs, OC, How I met your mother or That 70’s show. (Yep, I’m a sitcom buff otherwise).
  3. I need to talk myself into going to a hospital/doctor. It’s not injections that scare me, it’s the phenyl smell. I think I mentally associate that smell with death and suffering. I’m always on the lookout for floral/fruity smelling disinfectants, because it’s that smell I cannot live with.
  4. I do not get super excited to celebrate my birthday at 12’o clock during the night. I feel that’s the time to sleep. But off late I have realised the value of being with friends and people. But really, I’d prefer a party round the next weekend to my Birthday. It’s not related to “you never ask a lady her age” syndrome. I am what I am.
  5. I think there can be no chocolate better than cadbury’s fruit and nut . Yes I have tried the more expensive, and fancier ones, still no go. There are always a couple of F&Ns in fridge. I have been gifted a stack of F&Ns on my birthday once 😀
  6. When I’m listening to music on headphones, and get interrupted by someone who’d like to ask or tell me something. I do this drill of “first putting my music player to pause, and then taking my headphones off to respond“. I just feel that it’s a respect I must pay to the musician. On a related note, I always try to complete a song before stopping.
  7. The music type I listen to keeps on changing alarmingly. There might even be cases where a song that I hated previously, becomes my most played track. Some of the songs on my mp3 player are not even in a language I understand. When it comes to music, I can’t explain. 🙂
  8. I honestly believe that I will not survive if I don’t eat for a day. Some people have such groovy engines for their bodies. Mine is a fuel guzzling (but not a SUV like 🙂 ) old fashioned Ford T. Anyways, it’s better than many out there, but it freaks me out as though how people can go carrying on fasting for days and days. Heck yesterday I realized I eat as much as two similar sized people do.
  9. I thought I knew it all, but now I feel I do not have a clue, about the bigger picture of life. There did come a time when I could look back and say “I’ve got it all figured out”, and be smug about it. Not so much now.  Forget the bigger picture and all, at this very moment, I’d be happy if I could say I know myself through and through. I know I don’t. And I’m not ashamed to admit 🙂

Facebook peculiarities.

Perhaps there is no other site which invokes so many range of emotions as facebook does. There are people who cannot function without it, some who love to loath it, and there are others for whom it acts like a wonder drug.

Very recently, my mom decided that she’d make her own profile on the site. The primary reason for that was to check out my newly born nephew’s photos which my cousin had uploaded. Then she discovered that many people she knew, but did not expect to find on Facebook were there. There was a definiete thrill in that discovery. After that it was photos. Photos of me, my sister and other people she knew of.

Well, this was the original objective of what Facebook had set out to offer. It was kind of  nostalgic to see people use it in the original ways.

Then, she kind of freaked out on a few things.

  • The number of friends some people had : When she checked out my cousin’s profile, I told her about the Time line and wall concepts (well, tried to) :). There was this pane to the left that read Friends(x). I told her, this means that SS has x number of friends. The expression I recieved was a mixture of hysteria/disbelief. How can anyone be friends with x number of people (Now, x was a 2 digit number). I tried to explain it to her, that there even exist people with x nearing 4 digits, and I saw the classic Jaw drop. But it got me wondering.
  • The kind of photos that had been uploaded by some people she knew : Why would these photos be clicked like this ? She said “this is a profile page, but it looks like a theatrical cover“. Yes, I admitted, there are people who tend to tell stories through the pictures they upload, and again, I was lost in thoughts.

 

Facebook Savies / Facebook junkies.

I find users of FB particularly interesting for they derive unique pleasures out of using it.

Social Butterflies – have upwards of 500 of people on thier friendlist and may even not recall all the ‘faces’ on thier home page, if they were to sift through the list.

What should be a reasonable number of friends one can mantain a social interaction with ? 200 I guess.

I read in an artcle published in some online publication that a person can only be in active social interactable state with upto 150 persons.

My own friend count? Upwards of 300.

How many of them I haven’t said ‘hi’ to in past year? 200

How many I haven’t met ever ? about 10

Scary trends ! If I do a proper analysis, I’m sure I will not  be in a comfortable feeling about my Facebook profile.

OMG kiddos !!!! – They discover something happening on the world wide web, and take it on to themselves to be the first one to report it to thier ‘friends’.

They have a minimum if three exclamation marks with each of their comments/remarks.

They exhibhit the evangelism on a multitude of events and products.

Super models – There profiles would be studded with thier own photos with all the glitz.

Photos with hot babes/hunks.

Photos with the ferraris and the porches

And more photos ……….

Marketeers – They realise the potential of Facebook as a viral friendly medium .

Not to be confused with OMG kiddos !!!!, there fascination is highly bound to one entity.

Creepy Lurkers – Random people that add you as friends without so much as an intro.

Even a look at thier profile does not suggest any common ponit of interest with your own.

You wonder what they want from you ?

 

How did it get here?

Facebook has been an evolving entity. It has been a solution to many of people’s needs. I enlist the roles it plays, and how it scales the popularity indes.

  • Facebook as a gossip monger. Remember how those kids back in school/college/friends circle used to be the toast of the town. Other people liked listening to them, and in the process also, at times spoke of things to them which increased the stories they’d carry.Nobody minds a good gossip, right? 🙂
  • Facebook as a collaborative photo album. There  are things we cannot do, and places we cannot be. But it’s always fascinating if someone you know shows you exactly how it looks when it’s done, and been to. This is one of the primal urge of mankind, isn’t it?
  • Facebook as a relevant search engine. While google gets out a lot of search results that might seem totally irrelevant, a search on FB seldom goes out of focus. For example the videos and stuff that lands up on my FB page are always of great quality, as opposed to those which are popular in youtube.  Advantage of humans giving page ranks, as opposed to pigieons :)? Now we have Google+, right!
  • Facebook as a podium. We all wanna be rock stars. It’s the ultimate truth. 500 friends on FB ? Who are we fooling. It seems like a status symbol these days. I read people congratulating others on being friends with 250 people in one week 🙂 . Scratching that itch, right ? Maybe Facebook’s definition for friend is different from mine, or maybe I’m getting a little old in here.
  • Facebook users as a targeted audience.

Well, I could go on, and on. But I’m sure I’ve given you a picture.

I’m sure there are tons of other reasons why people visit facebook. The fact that it has a simple UI, and it is available on all the connected devices, does add substantial fuel to the fire, but for me, I guess I’m going to review my privacy options in there, and catch up with some people who seem to be in a different world from mine.

How many of your FB friends have you said hello to, till day?

What real beauty means to me?

I get goose bumps when I experience something beautiful.

Beauty that really gets me singing is not usually in form, as applicable to things or beings. I find that immensely overpowering feeling in situations. Yes, situations. They lead to feelings.

For example, consider these scenarios :

Putting a kid’s palm against mine,and realisation that I’m fine!

Noticing how mine seems to be a scaled up replica of the kid’s. This makes me feel I am myself a kid in nature’s lap, and makes me realise the futility of me trying to expect a certain outcome on which, truly speaking I have no say in. This moment is so relieving that I think it’s  a beauty.

Trying too hard, in vain and getting a ‘Eureka’ near the shower drain!

When I’m thinking over a certain problem, or trying to find my keys/pen/bag etc. I try relentlessly checking out every single place in the house, but to no effect. In the end, I give up. I start doing something totally unrelated thing, and them suddenly I get a picture in my mind, like a snapshot. This moment,  (I’m sure we all have experienced this) seems really beautiful.

Experiencing someone’s  craft. More so, if they don’t show, best if they don’t know!

Talented people are definitely attractive. Then there are those who have not realised what they are capable of. Or they have but do not put themselves on a pedestal, and demand to be looked up to.  Those are the ones that seem really beautiful to me. Came across a humble performer ever ? That’s the kind I’m talking about.

Also, there are kids (let’s talk smart interns) who seem so carelessly briliant. You tend to know how that person’s graph going to be like. That picture might not be even visible to the other person. That discovery seems so beautiful.

Sharing a song, creating a bond!

Ever heard a catchy tune, and shared it with someone. I do that a lot, and the glint in the eye of the person recieving tells a story which words need not say. That story is worth a thousand words and it’s beautiful.

Helped by stranger when astray, other person might have to go out of his way.

This is the most touching moment in your life. You feel thankful ! You have been at mercy of nature, but you’ve been rescued by a knight in shining armour. You suddenly have faith in mankind. You root for the other person. If this is not beauty, then what is?

A busy day leading to a good sleep’s way!

No matter how much I emphasise on the importance of proper sleep, it seems underrated. A well slept person is any day better than a well fed, well humored, well groomed person. Ever had the kind of sleep after being tired to the core by some activity (physical) . That state of sleep is beautiful.

 

The forementioned list of things may not be exhaustive, and for that matter not applicable to us all, but I’m sure you experience the beautiful moments, on your own grounds. This leads me to yet another question. What is the primary reaction on a beautiful experience? Gratitude, thankfullness might come later, with contemplation.

Instinctively, I feel the natural reaction to a beautiful experience is a smile. A simple unassuming smile. It has the potential to unite warring parties, solve interpersonal tensions, convince others about your vision.

 

 

what beauty means to me
what beauty means to me

You smile when you ask for help, and you smile when you recieve help.

You smile when you get to hear a good song, and you smile when you sing.

You smile when you’re well fed, and you smile when you feed someone.

Smile is the natural reaction to beauty, Smile might be the most beautiful thing.

Alas, I might not be able to corner and pinpoint what beauty is, but I suspect such is the nature of beauty. Till we figure out better, stay beautiful …. keep smiling! 🙂

 

This post has been written for Yahoo! India and Dove “I Believe in Real Beauty” under the topic “What does real beauty mean to me?”

Do Visit Yahoo! Real Beauty.