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.