Life Before the Internet

A few months back my colleague Rekha came up with a pretty neat idea for the magazine… One topic, two different viewpoints: e-books vs. tree books (FYI, Rekha was for e-books. Yes, yes, I know I’m old school and all that jazz…). We decided to extend the ‘debates’ to our respective blogs and this is the first in a line of many (I hope).

For me it this is not only the perfect excuse to start posting again but I think it also gives us something to talk about (not that we don’t have much to talk about… our extended coffee breaks speak for themselves – yes, that obvious and not-so-funny pun was totally intended).

Anyway, after much deliberation (you’ll know exactly why if you read Rekha’s fabulous blog post) we decided to talk about ‘Life before the Internet’.

To be totally honest, I didn’t have much of a life before the Internet… but erm, come to think of it, thanks to the Internet I don’t have much of a life now either (damn you, Reddit). I guess it would be easier to break my life down into three phases: Before, During (when we used dial-up), and After.

Before: Nothing here. I can’t remember my life before the Internet. I had loads of board games but that’s irrelevant since I still love them.

During: I was 12 when my dad first introduced me to the marvels on the Internet. Before that, all I did was use the computer for MS Paint. Initially however, my life didn’t change ‘During’ either. I still played outside, read books & played board games. I think it was because my parents were super-strict about how much time I spent online and also because my activities were primarily confined to Yahooligans! Oh, I’d also spend time downloading images of [insert name of boy band] for my desktop wallpaper and signed up on various pen pal websites (another blog post about that).

As I grew older, I had more freedom when it came to Internet usage (and uh, also figured out the password *evil grin*). By then ICQ, MSN & Yahoo! Chat were all the rage. We’d use ICQ/other chat applications to “talk” to our crushes (mostly seniors in our school) and they became the preferred mode of communication for those with boyfriends.

After: Well, we all know what ‘After’ comprises. MySpace, Orkut and then Facebook. I can’t seem remember most my life during ‘After’ either. Seems like I’ve come full circle.

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A Quickie

So I’m pretty bummed out after the disastrous match tonight. Thought I’d post something funny – this is the moment you realise my sense of humour kind of sucks. Here is a random bunch of Twitter messages from the past week that made me laugh.. or at least chuckle.

  grumpy cat

Jay Leno

Joan Rivers

sister roberta

tweet of god 2\

Tweet of GodAlec Sulkin

frankie boyle

Horrosc0pes

Sanjeev Kohli

Made up stats

Growing up in the 90s

The 90s was a fantastic decade to grow up in! We had awesome TV shows like Buffy, Roswell and Charmed; pop music wasn’t about being a ‘Stupid hoe’; we read magazines like Smash Hits; watched awesome cartoons like Duck Tales and TMNT; and decorated everything with glitter. Yep! Good ‘ol days indeed.

Here’s a list of my favourite things from the 90s:

Boy bands: Boyzone, Backstreet Boys, N Sync, Five (or 5ive), Ultra, 911, A1, Another Level, O-Town, Code Red… I’m gonna stop right there. Looking back, I often wonder why I even spent my precious pocket money on half those records (audio tapes and then CDs) but boy, was I hooked!

MTV: Remember the days when MTV actually played music videos? And awesome ones at that too! I ‘discovered’ bands like Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, R.E.M. etc. solely thanks to MTV. (Yes, I did listened to all those bands in the 90s as well.)

Freddie Prinze Jr.: If you were a dorky girl back in high school – heck, any girl for that matter – I totally bet you had fantasies about meeting a guy like Zack Siler who’d sweep you off your feet. All my teenage fantasies revolved around Zack, come to think of it.

Fear Street: If you grew up in the 90s and without reading Fear Street (or for some others, Sweet Valley High) then I feel sorry for you. My Fear Street collection was something I was really proud of and I think I’ve read almost all the books in the series. Party Summer was my favourite.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: How the heck did we go from the likes of Angel and Spike to Edward Cullen? Tsk. Tsk.

Top of the Pops (magazine): I remember saving up aaaall my pocket money to buy TOPT. I’d immediately pull out the gigantic poster and put it up on my wall… and then do the same with the single/double page posters. Yes, my wall resembled a decoupage box.

Young Times: Which kid growing up in the Middle East in the 90s didn’t read YT? Best magazine ever!

Daily Prompt Post: Far from normal

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

Right. I have no delusions about my existence. Right now my life’s pretty mundane and predictable. However, I’m sure I can dig up some odd bits about myself for our entertainment… (some odd, some not so much)

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1. I live in Oman. Might not be unique to some, but when I go travelling it’s always fun to meet people who have never heard of Oman before. I always say, “Muscat (the capital city and where I live now), is a four hour drive from Dubai.” Yep, people have heard about our posh neighbours the UAE – but Oman has a charm of it’s own.

2. Some of my closest ‘friends’ are my ‘cousins’ (by association) – ages ranging from 14 to 19 – and I often go ‘partying’ with my parents and their friends. Yes, this is true. We have a very close-knit circle of friends and I’ve grown up around them… and sometimes I prefer hanging out with them over anything else.

3. I (like to think that I) have an eclectic taste in music. Have had the chance to watch artists/bands like: Incubus, Joshua Bell, Children of Bodom, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Angela Gheorghiu, Dimmu Borgir and Michel Legrand among many others.

4. I write letters which I’ll never post, to people whom I’ll never again meet… (usually deceased friends).

5. At 28, I have no clue what I’m doing.

6. I haven’t watched Sholay. Trust me, if you’re Indian – this is a BIG deal.

Random Top 20 Highs

1. When your last meeting/appointment with a client just before the weekend’s about to kick in, gets cancelled. (Awesome! The weekend starts a whole hour early.)

2. Entering your home after a hard day’s work to be greeted by an enthusiastic and overly affectionate pet.

3. When your iPod magically predicts your mood and plays your favourite song (when it’s on shuffle mode).

4. When a dress you’ve secretly been coveting gets it’s price slashed.

5. Re-discovering your favourite band.

6. Successfully separating the yolk from the white.

7. Reading old journal entries, laughing and thinking, “I can’t believe I actually wrote that!”

8. Making an accurate medical diagnosis solely based on your Grey’s Anatomy watching experience (hehe!).

9. Watching your favourite childhood TV shows (TMNT & Duck Tales specifically).

10. Unexpectedly winning a round at Tekken just by pushing some random buttons on the controller.

11. Getting a strike (in bowling).

12. When the shampoo & conditioner get over simultaneously.

13. When your favourite football club wins the Champions League.

14. Watching your favourite band perform live.

15. Driving around with my girlfriends, listening to our favourite songs and singing at the top of our lungs.

16. When you wake up with awesome hair.

17. Hearing someone speak with a Glaswegian accent.

18. When you drink water and it’s at the perfect temperature… soothingly cool.

19. When you wake up in the morning just to realise it’s the weekend.

20. Laughing about silly stuff with your folks.

Dating Woes

Dating isn’t a breeze. We all know that… Girls, you know what I’m talking about. First you find a guy (and there seems to be a serious dearth of guys lately), then you date and then after five or six months, you slowly start getting ‘serious’ (considering at this point of time you still can tolerate each other) and then before you know it, someone gets cold feet and bam! it’s over. Just like that! And you’re back to square one…

Nope. Dating just isn’t easy.

Wouldn’t it be much better if we could foresee the route that a ‘potential’ date might take? Well, I’ve found a pretty handy (more or less, depending on how much time you have on your hands) way of ‘filtering’ out guys. The key is stereotyping the fuck outta them. Yep! You heard me right. Certain stereotypes apply to ALL desi guys. Once you’ve picked up on the traits, construct a suitable dating regression curve and tada! you know when exactly things will start going downhill.

And even if you’re not into regression curves and all that jazz, generally stereotyping people is always fun! Here are some examples to kick things off…

The Artistically Vain

He is the one who looks down upon anything mainstream. The desi version of the East Village hipster, he watches Satyajit Ray/Fellini films, reads translated works of Pablo Neruda and listens to only Rabindra sangeet. But every once in a while – if you’re super observant – you can hear him imperceptibly hum along to the latest item number on Radio Mirchi (if you point it out though, he’ll completely deny it).

The Mind-numbing Bore

This guy can talk his way into a comatose – yours! He drives a Merc while listening to Imran Khan’s Amplifier on full-volume and peppers all his sentences with liberal doses of benchod. Having a conversation with him is impossible for he only partakes in verbose soliloquies. He’ll buy you flowers and call you jaan or – eeks! – his hunny-bunny.

The Wannabe Metal-head

Metallicaaaaaaaaaaa! (Because you know, they invented the genre.) This guy attends every metal fest in his staple insert-name-of-band black tee and maybe found headbanging to Megadeath at the local pub every weekend. He’ll judge you based on your musical preferences because, you know, he’s SO metal! Ways to piss him off? Say shit like, “How can you listen to this? It’s just noise!” or “You can’t even make out what they are singing!” or even better, “Don’t you listen to Sonu Nigam?”

The Techie

He’s perhaps the quietest and mellowest guy on this list. He’s the one you friendzoned 30 seconds into your first conversation. Now he just listens to the Eagles and hopes that someday you’ll realise what an all-out good guy he is. If you’re already dating this guy, then beware: he secretly balks at your habit of making ready-to-eat rasam rice and mentally compares your puliyogare to his moms – Every. Single. Time.

This is just a mini-preview of the different ways you can stereotype Indian guys. Then there are the overly enthusiastic football fans, the WoW geeks, the psytrance beach bums, the sexist snobs… the list goes on and on. Your best bet is to make your own framework for classification and then jump right into the horror pool that is the desi dating scene.

Good luck!

Drunken Theories

Over the years, my various best friends and I have spent many (inebriated) nights discussing ‘deep’ stuff… existentialism, Mayan history, men (haha), Functional dichotomy of neutral and acidic sphingomyelinases in tumour necrosis factor signalling – OK, I just kind of threw the last one in to see if you were really paying attention ;) (If you’re more interested in reading that though, it’s available on Science Direct: Cell, Volume 78, Issue 6, 23 September 1994, Pages 1005-1015)

Anyway, moving on… although we tend to discuss the ‘serious’ topics mostly when we are more-than-just-a-little tipsy, there have been plenty of times when we’ve just talked about silly stuff and spent hours laughing/giggling over apparently nothing. But my favourite moments from these (seemingly) inconsequential conversations are the times when people come up with quirky theories … some of them funny, some ridiculously random… but all worthy of a blog post!

So here goes:

Survival of the fittest: The real reason why babies are so cute

Now most people find babies cute, right? My friend Ping came up with an excellent theory as to why. Her theory’s simple: if babies were ugly no one would clean their poop. Genius! Babies can’t talk. Puke & poop at every possible opportunity. Cry. And are a gigantic drain on your finances. Why would anyone in their right mind even want one?!? Because they’re effing cute, that’s why! Clever little snots. If you think N Korea is planning world domination, you’re wrong. It’s them babies.

Faghag’s way outta marriage (sorta)

This one’s a gem (thanks S!). If you’re a woman in her 20s, chances are everyone’s been talking about getting you married. Not ready for commitment? Don’t want to be tied down to one guy for the rest of your life? Marry your best guy friend – you know, the one who’s gay! He doesn’t have to come out to his (ever so judgemental) family. You don’t have to ‘settle’ for some random, boring investment banker your parents pick out for you. Win-win. You’re welcome.

Quest for a ‘Soul Mate’

On a slightly more serious note: How often have we talked about soul mates and finding “The One”? Too many times to count. According to my close friend V, instead of looking for a best friend, a lover, someone on the same intellectual level, someone you can talk to anytime, someone to share your troubles, etc. in ONE single person, we can have them [the qualities] in two or three people. So instead of finding one person who checks of all the boxes on your perfect-guy list, find someone who checks the really important ones. This works smashingly if both the guy and girl give each other enough time to build friendships outside the relationship.

I could give you a few more… but let’s not make the first post too long, eh?

Hasta Mañana!