My First FACEBOOK Friend!!

Guess it was the month of June, when I returned from my gran’s place after a short vacation celebrating the end of my Class 12 board examinations. I simply couldn’t bear the pain caused by my dad who had created a Facebook account before me!! We had moved to a different part of the country after my Class 10 board exams, so creating a Facebook account was a good way to keep in touch with all the good souls whose phone numbers I forgot to procure. (This is almost 7 years ago, so back then smartphones weren’t much popular in our circles)

My mom always believed that having a Facebook account was a ‘SIN’. She always refrained me from staying out of it for my well-being. I had grown tired of mailing and calling my friends back in my previous school. The most common question I was subjected to was,’ Why aren’t you on Facebook?’

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A diificult question back then..

For I was about to start my college in few weeks and I felt almost illiterate, whenever I blurted out the truth that I was not a Facebook-er. So this was the end!!

Exactly the night, after my dad’s arrival on Facebook, I was creating an account for myself, and the world of Mark Zuckerberg welcomed me!! It looked awesometastic!!!

Now I had to search my friends and send then ‘Friend Requests’ to have further fun on this social networking site. Like a flash all the names were moving in my mind but the first name that struck me was of a guy who shared a seat with me throughout Class 6. We were three musketeers who shared a seat those days. He was a very special one to me, as we were the invincible THREE who had immeasurable fun that year. We had equal SHARE in everything be it punishments (the wrath of our Hindi Mam was the worst) or occupying the same space on the desk, the maths we had for food (1 parantha == 2 idlis) and eating it up in the first hour itself, the class test answers of course 😉 (He used to help in Maths, me in English and Social Studies and the other one in Hindi and Punjabi). They introduced me to the new genre of Cricket and Cars. There were many memorable moments we had spent together that year. They too were among the good souls whose phone numbers I didn’t have as we were in different sections later.

His pic appeared the moment I typed his name (though he had put on considerable weight in his dp), and I sent him my first friend request and a second later a notification appeared that my request was accepted by him. Another second later a message came popping up in my desktop screen.

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#1  F.R.I.E.N.D.

‘Hello Madam, finally you are on fb’, my first Facebook friend had just sent me my first Facebook message. The second musketeer also accepted my request in a few minutes and we had a good conversation that night after 6 years. The former was an amateur cricketer during school. We had relied heavy hopes on him, that he would surely become a world-class cricketer. To everyone’s surprise he proved his mettle by getting into an IIT, a reward he received for sacrificing two years of cricket.

Our chats were limited after the beginning of college days. Occasionally, we would find time to chat on Facebook. He got into his IIT’s cricket team and was on tour ever since then. One night in June 2015 we started a conversation at 8 PM and wrapped it up at 1 AM. Guess it was my longest record of chat. I had mentioned him in one of my blogs and he was delighted to read it. Even our shortest chats always ended in brutal trolls. Friendship was at its peak with him.

A few months later in October, I was reading newspaper when my eye caught an article with the title, “2 IITians drowned in beach.” My eyes glanced into the article to read further. The IIT mentioned in the title was the same one in which he was studying. I prayed hard that it shouldn’t be his name. For the probability was minimal that it would be him. In the first line I saw the words ‘aerospace engineering’ and ‘final year’. Both matched perfectly for him. Again I convinced myself that it wouldn’t be him. But the next line gave me the biggest shock of my life. I saw his name 😥 he had drowned the day before. My heart skipped a beat for the first time. I checked Facebook for any news about him. But it was only the next day that newspaper clippings carrying his photo were posted in our school alumni group and everyone was expressing their condolences. The remorse feeling never left me.

A day doesn’t pass by, without his memory popping into my head. For I had lost my best-est friend forever. The second musketeer felt the same too, he told me on my birthday. For my timeline was missing his birthday wish. No more long Facebook chats now. No more trolling. All that’s left of him is a Facebook timeline carrying a ‘Remembering’ header before his name.

 

Note: This blog is an entry for the ‘Tagged’ contest by author Kaarthika in association with ‘The Chennai Bloggers Club‘. You can pre-order her book at Tagged:Amazon:Books

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Travel Tales 🚂 #1

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The best pic that explains how you can end up with FUN-tastic people sometimes😜

Travelling consistently from a very early age ,across many states , life has given me numerous opportunities to interact with people from various cultures and professions , especially during train journeys. Some people usually give a good company , chattering with the same frequency as me. Some still prefer to stay in their cocoon ,  well concealed in their own worlds , fearing us as though we would churn out all family secrets from them.
Needless to say the ones who did give a good company , still rule my memory. A decade ago we were accustomed to travelling long routes from Chandigarh to Kanyakumari and again a decade back from Dibrugarh (Assam) to Chennai. It would roughly take us 2-3 days to reach our final destination. Back then there was no Facebook or WhatsApp for time pass.  Well two decades back even mobile phones were a distant dream. The only way to wail away time was to make new friends on our journeys.

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This train traverses almost seven states...

Once we met Mr.Ashok on Dehradun Express , who was a manager in a pharmaceutical company near Shimla. Since there was no direct train from Chennai to Shimla , he would break his journey in Chandigarh. He had a good sense of humour and had a close resemblance with one of my dad’s friend in terms of appearance and body language. At the end of our journey we had exchanged phone numbers just in case if there was a chance to meet in future. It so happened that Mr.Ashok happened to visit Chandigarh after two months of our meeting. He rang up and asked about our whereabouts. It was a wonderful meeting with his family who joined us for lunch later that day. This incident took place in the year 2005, more than a decade ago. Mrs.Ashok was equally delighted to interact with us, as no one in her locality(near Shimla) spoke Tamil.☺
Another interesting thing that happened was , we met a family during one of our journeys to Dibrugarh(Assam). They boarded the train in Kharagpur. The most peculiar thing about them was that the mother and daughter in the family had a habit of getting down at every station and taste the local quisine which was famous in that region. There was hardly a station in between ,which their taste buds had spared. They too were an entertainment throughout. After a year we were coming back to our hometown in the same for summer vacation. And what a surprise OMG😂😂 the same family landed in our coach, boarding from Kharagpur.

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I made sure to taste all the local delicacies in stations after getting inspired from the duo😋

In Tamil Nadu Express once we had a brother and sister, duo in their early forties going to see their ailing mother, who was in a critical state in hospital. Both of them were constantly praying for her speedy recovery. Calls were disturbing the brother throughout the journey. His sister went to the washroom when he told us that his mother had expired , the news coming from his last call. A tear rolled out his eye which he quickly wiped away. His sister came back and he was pretending as if nothing happened. The next morning when all us were getting down he told us, ‘I cannot handle her alone and don’t have the courage to tell her the truth. Don’t know what’s gonna happen now.’ Terrible situation really:'(
Even when I get to travel alone , I thoroughly enjoy the company of senior citizens;) It’s true they pierce our ears with advice but I won’t deny some core issues on which they enlightened me. Some of them being the importance of casting our vote in elections, the pathetic state of engineering students and their blurred future(myself falling in that category unfortunately)😤, being obedient to parents, politics😩 and keeping aims high. Fiction books and WhatsApp get aside when I get such people to chat along.

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One train == Many stories

I’ll keep you posted on more travel tales in #2. Hope you enjoyed reading.☺

Disclaimer: Names of people have been changed for privacy.

22 Yards One DREAM…

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One pic says it all about the Gods and Legends!!!

If there is a religion in India, which unites the whole nation without discrimination on any basis, I bet; you can think of only one. Yes, my dear fellas it’s none other than CRICKET. The religion transcends across all the borders of our country and other nations as well. People worship cricketers and literally breathe cricket during tournaments. Men, women and children of all ages offer their sincere devotion to this religion. Also it is to be noted that this religion has the largest number of followers, making it consistently dominant throughout ages.

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Million Dollar Moments…

Proud to say that I was lucky enough to witness the following events(on TV of course):

1. Sreesanth’s wining catch due to Misbah-Ul-Haq’s unfortunate shot (Heart rate went to 200 😮 )
2. The second ODI quest which was conquered after 28 years since Kapil’s Devils did it in 1983 😀
3. Sachin’s farewell speech (Never cried so much for anyone 😥 )
4. Yuvraj smashing 6 sixes mercilessly(Felt sorry for Stuart 😛 )
5. Dhoni’s destructive stumping (Bangladesh match being the magnum opus😎).
6. Sehwag’s 300s. (He’s got the thing 😉 )
7. Sourav’s shirt waving at Lord’s at NatWest series in 2002.
8. Rahul’s and Laxman’s  200s 😎
9. Anil’s 10 wicket haul.
10. Virat’s chase off in last the OZ match 😀

** These are the few moments I was able to quickly retrieve from my memory. There are countless other memories like the historic Eden Garden win to India’s many last ball wins in T20. Harsha Bhogle’s commentary is something that adds up a unique favour to all the cricket matches immensely.

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These six balls created history for Yuvraj  

With the arrival of IPL in cricket, many aspiring cricketers who couldn’t make a mark in international cricket, got a golden egg in their fortune. It’s just like a rags to riches story for many local players who were picked up for crores by their respective teams. It was and still is a rare potpourri of different cultures, players and celebrities and is a solid entertainer.

The integral part of this game is their FANS – who elevate the match to thrilling finishes chanting INDIA…INDIA…INDIA… at the top of their voices. It’s a beacon of moral support which pumps up the adrenaline levels of our players in home grounds. No wonder most of the records are broken on home grounds.

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Remember this FAN ?

I quit watching cricket after Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement in 2013. Two years passed on and here I am; now sitting glued back to TV without missing the last over of all T20 matches. Irresistible totally. Watching India beat one the best teams(the recent matches) mercilessly is a priceless feeling.

Well seriously I got no idea if India will win this ICC T20 World Cup or not. The outcome of this league won’t deter the spirit of fans in our country anyway. They ostracize, think a lot about it, talk for a few days and then move on. The TV’s in our households will be switched on for the next match and, celebrations with whistles will rule the nights disturbing our sound sleep.

I repeat cricket is not a sport in India; it’s a religion.

Witnessing it LIVE!!!

Sometimes life breaks silence by taking you through tumultuous times, and the way you look at things changes forever. It was a regular day, the regular sun, the regular college, the regular chats and eventually the regular evening was about to begin. I did the petite favour of accompanying my mom to the green grocers when, on my way back I noticed Ram and Shyam (who lived in our vicinity) engaged in a bitter feud. I crossed the drunken brothers to reach home. After a while I was strolling around my terrace for time pass I observed the quarrel grew louder and a new element of violence was induced in their process. A reluctant crowd had gathered around to witness the big fight and I joined along with them. In a fraction of a second raged Shyam ran into the house and returned with a dagger. Everyone thought that he was only going to threaten his elder brother with it.

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The bloody wrath.

In the next second unexpectedly, he plunged the dagger into his brothers abdomen, not realised the repercussions of his act. Ram was bleeding profusely and I saw a fear gripping in his eyes: the fear of losing his life. Seeing this everyone in the crowd started running in all possible directions, dispersing quickly in a moment. I stood still, unable to overcome the shock I just got. I could hear my mom screaming to the top of her voice calling me back. I just couldn’t move. And I was the only soul left back in the scene from the crowd. Ram’s son came running towards me, held my hand, with teary eyes he told me, ‘Anna (brother) do something!! He just stabbed my dad!!’ I stood speechless and frozen. He went back to his dad who was slowly dying now and living the last few movements of his life. Meanwhile my brother came in and dragged me back home abandoning my chances of helping Ram. Trembling already, I immediately rang up the police and ambulance, the least I could do. The police arrived after half an hour and the by the time ambulance arrived Ram was almost still as dead. En route to the hospital Ram breathed his last and was declared dead. I felt shattered as my efforts to save Ram went in vain. Had I taken him on my bike, today he would have lived.murder_death_blood_sparks_24412_2560x1440

Life’s value cannot be estimated easily. Seeing a life being taken away in front of my eyes was the most disturbing thing I could ever imagine. I made it a point, that in future if I ever come across a similar situation I will step forward with my presence of mind and lend a hand, instead of running away like the herd of cowards did that day.

From the eyes of: Chris G

Disclaimer: The names of the people involved in the scene have been changed to maintain privacy.

Life on the edge…

Most of us in the present era just don’t realize the importance of a default gift that is given to all –the gift of a LIFE. Taking it for a granted we have a move on strategy, and follow it strictly. It so happened that  weeks back, when I was standing in the regular queue of our mess hall to get my dinner, I encountered something unusual. A very familiar, pretty face of a girl appeared in front of me with a veil covering her head. She was missing from the campus for a long time as she was diagnosed with cancer. Months of chemo had put a hold to her academics, and the most unbearable thing in this story was that she was her class topper. Chemo had taken away her long gorgeous hair but her face still had the serene beauty which hid the mild sadness from within.

She was right in front of me and I plucked up the courage to ask her how she was. Giving a broad smile she said she was doing good and joined our line. I went back to sit at my regular place but my eyes could not avoid catching a glimpse of her again. When she settled down, all the eyes in the hall were staring at her with curiosity. Hearing from her friends I found out that she had come back to write the exams that she missed in both the previous and current semester. Her treatment was still going on side by side and she was allowed to leave the hospital for a few days.

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Life is too short to achieve..

I was deeply motivated hearing this. From semester to semester we rub our benches simply to pass on time and carelessly appearing for the exams, it was like somebody kicking me hard to realize a life I had to live on. A silent battle that she fought amidst her ill health at one side and her ambition to excel in the exams on the other side is just a distant dream any cancer survivor could have thought of. She has the prayers of all of us along with her which will help her return to the pink of health soon.

I have always heard that life could be challenging at times, but surviving a life could never be such a mammoth task for few like her. Life could turn sides at any instant throwing obstacles unexpectedly in our smooth trajectory. Reckoning how most of us waste our time and energy on useless things one big thing I learnt from her was not to live an empty life like the crowd around. Inspiration can be anywhere hidden around you to discover and unravel the true meaning behind it.

Women in Technology

All of us are familiar with the Father of Computers-Charles Babbage. Not all of us know who the Mother of Internet is. It’s Radia Perlman the software engineer, who is famous for the invention of spanning tree protocol. Spanning-tree is a network protocol that ensures a loop-free topology for any bridged Ethernet local area network which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges. It has got loads to do with the present day computer networks.

Lady Ada Lovelace – a programming maven gained recognition for translating Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. Her notes were considered to be the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine, making Ada the world’s first computer programmer. To commemorate her achievements the computer language ADA was named after her by the Department of Defence in 1980.

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Lady Ada Lovelace

ENIAC one of the world’s earliest computers were programmed by six women at machine level during World War II. Another path breaking innovation came in the programming world with the arrival of a new programming language called COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language). It was invented by Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper way back in 1958.

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Admiral Grace Hopper

A beauty with brains-Hedy Lamarr, played a key role in the invention of spread-spectrum technology by conceptualizing the idea of frequency hopping. It served as a base to many modern technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and CDMA.

With the advent of twenty-first century, digitization came into existence as the number of internet users increased drastically. The current era doesn’t belong to the ‘Inventions’ as it’s the age of ‘Innovations’.

Social media has scaled unprecedented heights with billions of users across the globe. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, YouTube are the frequent words in use which will soon enter dictionaries. We do know that most of these giants were founded by famous men. Our knowledge about the women holding top positions in technological giants is very much limited. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook is one of the first women to be in Facebook’s board. She is also the author of the bestseller book ‘Lean In’.

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The author of Lean In

Ursula Burns joined Xerox Corporations only as an intern after finishing her polytechnic degree. She was then offered a job in the same firm and currently she is the Chairman of Xerox. Gini Rometty too joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981 but now, she is the first female CEO of IBM. The world’s largest video platform YouTube is also headed by a woman Susan Wojcicki. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman was also the CEO of e-Bay for more than a decade.

HP (Hewlett-Packard) President and CEO Meg Whitman delivers a speech during the Global Influencer Summit 2012 in Shanghai, China, 10 May 2012. China is no longer an emerging market for Hewlett-Packard Inc because of its huge potential which HP will continue to tap by raising investment. HP will pump more funds in manufacturing and research in such places such as Shanghai, Beijing and west Chinas Chongqing. The company will continue its leadership in hardware on PC and printer and fully commit to China through designing products specifically for the domestic market. I dont think China is an emerging market anymore, as it has already evolved, Meg Whitman, president and CEO of the worlds No. 1 personal computer maker, said on Thursday (10 May 2012) at the HP Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai, her second visit to China within a month.

Meg Whitman

Having a glorious past with programming geeks and a promising era with leading female techies, the future is lucid and hopeful of encouraging more women to take the lead in technology. Women are not far behind men in any field, they are steadily catching up with the pace. All they need is a little empowerment, and equality to boom up their vibrant career for the betterment of humanity.

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#WIE take the lead