Sunday, July 15, 2012

On deactivating a facebook profile


So off late, I have been coming across this general tendency of people to label deactivating a facebook account as a ‘publicity stunt’ or a ‘girl thing.’ I beg to differ and this is my take on what could/might/will happen when you deactivate your facebook account.

You are going to be wonderfully surprised when you get to know who notices the absence of your profile first. As queries begin to flow, surprises will increase as you realize how many people had really bothered giving your profile a look at every day to notice that it is gone one fine day – they could be people who are genuinely interested in your life or what you think about certain aspects/things in life, or they could be expert stalkers. There is something quite personal in the way people text or call you up to inquire if you are fine. And there’s something very endearing in the way some make it a point to meet you in person and give you a hug before assuring you that it will all be okay and in all probability, they wouldn’t even be prying to know what exactly did happen.

You will think twice before automatically hitting the new tab short cut and typing ‘f...’ Logging in just for a peep would also mean reactivating the account and you’d remember you didn’t leave the place for no reason. You may migrate to twitter, gtalk, google+, but   everything and anything would make you feel like you have a much more personal conversation with the other person than just ‘liking’ pictures, stuff shared or posting on ‘walls.’  Facebook will flash the DPs of 5 people and say ‘These people are going to miss you’ as a final desperate attempt at playing with your emotions and making you stay and these 5 faces will somehow linger  in your mind for a long time to come.

You will be amazed by how less depressed and more at ease you feel by not knowing what goes in the lives of people around you. You will go back to visit your long-forgotten blog, web page or probably even end up renewing your gym or music classes to fit in to the huge amount of time you suddenly seem to have out of nowhere. You read more. You think more. The temptation to peek will take time dying down, especially when you know the password(s) of the facebook account(s) of your friend(s), but eventually, you will get around it.

You will probably go back to your phone and check out old text messages where someone had asked you to read or see something. You will finish checking out every webpage you had bookmarked. You might develop a whole new interest. Going for a walk and observing what people do apart from logging in to facebook every 10th minute will genuinely interest you. Instead of sneaking a look at the profile at the traffic signal, you’ll relax and let a song play on on your mobile. It will be quite entertaining to see how some friends really try to persuade you or blackmail you into joining the network again irrespective of whether they put it directly or subtly. They’ll mail you, call you, take you out and sometimes annoy the hell out of you. But at more than one occasion, these instances are going to fill your heart and make you realize how very dear even the profile that seemed so empty to you had meant to these people.

And more importantly, you might also get to know how one or more people whose presence on the cyber world mattered a lot to you had never once realized that you were off the network in the first place. They might tell you that they had barely logged in, they only barely glanced at their news feed, they certainly didn’t look at messages or wall posts, but when the duration we are talking about exceeds a week and still you end up hearing the above said, you simply need to know where you stand in their lives.

I am not saying that facebook is the beginning and the end of life, but for people like me, it has indeed become an integral part of our connectivity. When time asks for it, when we need to maintain some long-distance contacts or stay to fit in to a new environment, sites like this are a true life-saver. Of course I do not support the idea of deactivating the account at the drop of a hat, every alternative day. I don’t really have much respect for people who keep running away from their profiles and think that that would help them run away from reality as well and hence is the end of the problem. But it might be true that at least temporarily, that might be the beginning of you seeing/seeking a solution. And yes, this is a personal opinion.

If you haven’t done it before, take a break – a week, month, several months or maybe even a year. Get back if you want to or give yourself more time to explore away elsewhere. Either way, chances are that you will be gently amazed looking at, soaking in and living in the events that follow and you will see the world around and the people on it in an altogether different perspective. On the other hand, if you are never going to be up for it, at least understand this: if a friend has gone ahead and done it, either be there to give a hug and a chocolate or politely stay away. It might be your turn tomorrow to feel blue and you’re not going to enjoy being poked fun at, trust me.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

MCC - The first impression.

College and course have been chosen for a PG. M.A Communication at MCC it is.

Let’s start with what I already know for sure. The campus. Beautiful is an understatement. There’s this one particular road that I took a fancy to right from the first day I’d gone there for admissions. Just behind the main block or the administrative building or examination center (or whatever it is, I am yet to figure), past the canteen, on one side are these set of really tall, picturesque trees with pinkish white bell-shaped flowers on them and around them. Walk through them at some time past 4 in evening when the sunlight but graciously dances between them and for one fleeting moment, you will be lost in its beauty. I assure you, this is just the beginning.

So we go searching for the department and this sir brings us to this road, gives us directions to find our class and leaves us on our own. We count the roads branching away so as to take the correct left and when we arrive at the specified one, we are left wondering if we heard him right. There’s thick shrubbery on both the sides and at the far end, there seems to be a ground. We decide to walk along the dirt road and find out anyway, we are mildly surprised to find the specified building smugly sitting right at the specified spot. ‘If you had been on the main road outside, you would have never guessed that a building could be hiding in here!’ a classmate says loudly. A small voice in the head says, ‘Oh, boy. Welcome to MCC.’

I personally think our H.O.D’s amazing. Ramya ma’am. She’s got one hell of a voice to catch the attention of everyone. Then there is Benz sir. I somehow have a feeling he sees deep into you when his careless eyes but rest on you for a few seconds. There are these moments when he knowingly say the wrong fact just to initiate argument and initiation among the students and silently, with observant eyes, he would look at each student, smile a measured smile and then resort to bringing about peace in the classroom.  There’s someone I don’t particularly like yet. Methinks the person has no idea what he/she is doing.

Seniors decide to celebrate birthdays of Benz sir and H.O.D the next day and invite us. They surprise the teachers and they’re made to cut the cake. The usual singing and clapping and all. And then, like one carefree lot, there is a lot of running and chasing around and happy screaming and all us first years remain rooted to our spots, mouths a little open in surprise as we see teachers and students run around alike to either smear cake on someone’s face or escape from a similar attack from someone else. After they tire down, they pose together for pictures and make fun of each other and all this during class hours after which our H.O.D asks us all to take a quick break and get back to our respective classes.

Still dazed, we shuffle at the lab waiting for Benz sir who comes with the same quizzical smile and says, ‘This is a common sight you will gradually get used to at MCC. When there’s celebration, the teacher-student boundary vanishes, almost.’

We gather in front of the department the following day and Benz sir takes us to the theatre for a movie screening. A THEATRE! Now, how many colleges other in Chennai exactly do we know of that has/have a full-fledged movie theatre for academic purposes, and with properly functioning air-conditioners also? We watch ‘Peaceful warrior’, have a small discussion session later. It’s 4:30 and we get to go on a break and assemble later. Seriously, a 4-hour college with a 30 minutes break! Though I should probably add that when the last hour it’s Benz sir, it almost goes without question that you’re in campus till 6:30 is what I hear.

No, I am not going to be honest or anything to talk about classmates here. The ceremonial adding up of each other on facebook shall happen soon, methinks. 

There’s a lush green sight to behold everywhere. Boys and lots of them! Sometimes, it does slip my mind that I am no longer a UG student and that a lot of those boys could be much younger to me. This knowledge shall take time to get used to and shall remain a little scary also. I am getting old. You wouldn’t have to use your mobile phone in secret or worry about how long you talk/hang out with a person of the opposite gender. There’s barely any network on campus, which I kinda think is good. We tend to forget about the phones after a while and get to talking to the people around us. The temperature’s at least a few degrees lower than what is outside and if you are lucky, you get to see beautiful insects, birds and at times deer walking/hustling/flying past you. MCC is definitely the Arts Colleges’ answer to them sprawling IITs and the campus is nothing short of being poetic. Let’s hope I make some good friends and brilliant memories here.

Siddharth and Karun and Berty and everyone else who gave a thumbs up for joining this beautiful place, thank you!

Photo courtesy &
(Hopefully, I'll click some of my own soon.)