Monday, July 28, 2008


Recently, yet another of my friends asked me if I was on Facebook. I said "Nah, being a member of one social networking site I don't use is enough!". I was, of course, referring to Orkut.

The first invitation I got to connect on Orkut was ages ago - maybe in 2004. That time I simply ignored it as one more specimen of junk unsolicited invitations. Around 2005-2006, the Orkut craze started picking up. Finally, I too got on board.

The initial months on Orkut were a heady rush. It was just so much fun to try and locate long lost friends. Either done by yourself or with someone else. Shilpa and I located a classmate from the seventh grade with the aid of cobbled together snippets of information.

Of course, once we figured that most of our blog buddies owned Orkut accounts, we became quite proficient at locating them based on the hints that their blog posts unknowingly dropped (of course, some of the people locations were a lot more straightforward with the people in question simply sending us invites to connect).

I remember getting quite a thrill when I located a classmate from fifth grade. Considering that I switched schools (and cities) every three years on an average throughout my schooling, this was no mean feat. Of course, once I did connect to the classmate and say hi, I discovered I had nothing more to say. Oh well - the journey had still been fun.

But like too much of any good thing, slowly the attractions of Orkut started to pall. There is only so much scrapping and so much hunting you can do before the boredom of sameness sets in. My logging into my Orkut account dwindled from multiple times a day to about once in two or three weeks. By the time the Facebook craze hit, my only reaction was: ho-hum.

Today, I logged into Orkut for a lark. I just clicked on a random contact of a random contact of a random contact and landed on an album in a stranger's profile. Call me weird, but I *like* looking at pictures of people. It can be pictures of people I have never met in my life and don't know from Eve. As long as the pictures have some variety to them, I can happily browse through them with interest (which one more reason why I stopped frequenting Orkut as a time-passer after they introduced the concept of photo locks - if you are hung up on privacy, use picasaweb or something, no :-)?).

Anyways, this stranger had mercifully not locked his album and I generally browsed through his pictures. Which was when my eyes finally fell on the name of the album's owner. It rang a bell. Could it be that guy? Then it struck me that the name was unusual enough for it to be belonging to the person I thought it belonged to. Some more research and hey presto, I found his brother's name in his friends list (the names of the brothers rhymed - so I have always remembered them). Tada!

I knew this guy when I was around six years old. We both were among the youngest kids in our entire apartment complex and hence were slighted together by the "older" kids. Regardless, during the long summer months as well in the busier school months, we were in a gang of indefatigable younger kids who were always ready to run out and play whether in the blazing hot noons or in the sea-breeze cooled evenings.

Thus, today I have set a new record for locating a person from way back in my childhood on Orkut. The interesting part is, I was not even "hunting" this time. Which is why, though I am not planning to add yet another person to whom I will never say anything other than hi to my friends list, I still am grinning.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bits of unrelated and random notes

Missing mouse pointer. Today my computer mouse died and became a ghost. So while I could see things getting highlighted and cursors magically appearing when I clicked on text pads, I could not see the actual mouse pointer. This kinda of thing *might* be fun if you have nothing better to do than to play "guess where the mouse pointer is". Unfortunately, I did. I heaped only about 2 million imprecations on Bill Gates' head while I rebooted my laptop which as usual, restored sanity. Aargh and double aargh.

A song. Very nice, this one. I read somewhere that looking at it from a Carnatic music angle, Harini has not sung it properly. But I don't care - the song is just so soothing and I love listening to it.

Height of sycophancy. I thought our Indian politicians would be the recipients of the best sycophancy in the world. I was wrong. Have you heard the lyrics of this song from Dasavatharam? Even with my not-so-strong lyrics deciphering skills, I heard lines like "Tamilnadu is so proud to have given birth to you", "You are a great artist and ever youthful", You can even understand Freud" (wth) - really, I am not making any of it up. If anyone plied me with even a fraction of the praise in that song, I would probably die of embarrassment.

Most spurious argument ever. Ah, you don't get it! followed by a "Hence proved" look. Got reminded of this after n number of Kamal fans offered this statement as argument whenever anyone expressed not-so-favorable views of Dasavatharam. That phrase conveniently substitutes logical argument with a flaky presumption that you have to be in someway gifted to be able to understand something. Which is a very poor argument as arguments go. Oh, I have used this non-argument before. Once when I was explaining why I thought Calvin and Hobbes was funny to two non-fan friends, I smugly said, "You just don't do get it do you?". The look that I got that day will forever keep me from thoughtlessly uttering those words again.

Fireworks. After five years of living in the same city, I finally decided to go to the local city park to see their 4th of July fireworks display. I dragged my parents along too - a slice of Americana I said (hahaha, Americana in the Bay area - that's a good one). The road in front of the park had been blocked off. We joined the happy crowds as everyone made their way to the park. The display was simply awesome. It all ended with a fantastic finale. Gets a complete five star rating for the atmosphere as well as the actual display.

Latest crush. WALL.E. How can a robot be sooooooo darned cute? Especially one which is so rusty and looks like a dabba** from all possible angles? The folks at Pixar must be hogging approximately half of the creative genes in the world I think.

Enthu beans. Talking of creativity, even software engineers can be creative. Yesterday, as part of an exercise during training for some software development process, we had to design a travel brochure for an imaginary company offering tours for Martians visiting Earth. I was pretty surprised by the creative, interesting and fun inputs from everyone (all hard core software developers) in the team. Software engineers are not always from the stereotypical nerdy and boring mold, I tell ya.

SATC. I finally watched the SATC movie a couple of weeks ago. Watching the movie reminded me all over again why I liked the series. The bond between the four female leads is believable and true to life. Thus Carrie walking practically all the way across NYC to meet Miranda just because Miranda felt lonely did not seem dramatic but an entirely plausible scenario. Thank God for female friends. BTW, though I enjoyed it, I thought the movie was just average.

Cute lyrics - These lyrics "nadanthu kondey parandhu sellum azhagu*" sound super cute, no? It so vividly captures the image of someone happily skipping across.

Mandatory rant. Apropos of nothing, I hate singer Madhushree's voice. It puts me on the edge and I feel like yelling "shut up, shut up" into her ear whenever I hear her singing. Kinda sad since these days she gets to sing a lot of otherwise very nice songs. I assume someone out there likes her voice - can't see why else she gets to sing in spite of going "gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan" as soon as she opens her mouth.

TGIF folks :-)!

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* sorry, you got to know Tamil. Translation will take away the charm