My world is the same one that you inhabit, but my human interactions ( and soon you will realise why I use such a technical term) have reduced to a point where it sometimes concerns me... On most days, the only thing that constantly talks to me is the television - left ON most of the time for the prime purpose of talking to me ( not entertaining me, mind you, I rarely even glance at whether news or a show is playing). While I was a busy broadcast journalist, talking televisions were a work hazard or rather a necessity. Now that I work from home, mostly in my pajamas, they are a force of habit and a comforting, familiar presence.
The only face-to-face human contact I have are with my cook, who arrives at sharp 8.15AM in the morning for forty minutes. If I have had a late night working, then all I do is open the door, mumble what she could possibly cook for me and return to my snug bed - she knows her routine pat and does not disturb my sleep but leaves quietly afterwards, shutting the door behind her. My maid comes around 10.30AM, by then I'm up and about and usually already settled on my beanbag with my laptop, wading through the mails that have arrived in the eight hours since I last checked mail! And then there's the poor, long-suffering sister - as if I wasn't enough to weigh her down, her work takes her out of the house by 9 in the morning and only lets her drag her bedraggled self back home late at night, by which time all she wants is to crash. So much for human interactions!
So then does that make me deprived? Not really, most part of my day is lived on the internet. My friends call me garrulous, I can squeeze in ten words in under five seconds. And my vocal chords aren't overworked - my fingers are and my keyboard shows distinct wear and tear. I cry, laugh, pout, leap with joy and love using just a few punctuation symbols - did you know colons, semi-colons and random alphabets could be mirrors to your mood?? :-) ;-) :-)
My emotions and longings, my relationships- love, lust, heart-to-hearts, counselling are all laid-bare over skype, g-chat and what would I do without Facebook?? Funnily for a journalist, the mobile phone is really not my preferred mode for communication. I'd any day choose a skype chat through the laptop over talking for hours on the phone or for that matter living life via SMS.
My close friends are spread across the country and the world, there are just a few who are in the same city as me, the others are in Delhi, UK and the US - I share more of a virtual relationship with all - thanks to clashing work hours and the physical distance and more importantly, the few hours that now constitute off-hours (for them and for me)!! A number of people who were acquaintances and smile-when-you-run-into-them kind of friends while at school, college or work now know more about me and are in tune with the thoughts running through my head, thanks to my virtual personality. Funnily, the hitch is when they think they know me and are trigger-happy to make value-judgements on how I live my life or relate to my world around me. And that's when the hackles rise, tempers fray and the need to dish out liberal doses of sarcasm tinged with censure takes over. Imagine the irony of life, when your effort at sarcasm rebounds back at you with LoLs( Laugh Out Loud for the lazy typers) and ROFLMAO (Roll On the Floor Laugh My Ass Off!!)
These days, I have a new love - online games - no gunfights or treasure hunts mind you! But Scrabble and Pictionary and Word Games. Now this is the confession bit, I don't play games on Facebook like a number of my friends. That to me, is too public because Facebook believes in notifying all and sundry what I'm upto. Now I could be jobless and looking for a diversion, but my 'friends', close and otherwise don't need to know that, do they?? So I seek out like-minded strangers, who are willing to play a surreptitious game of Scrabble online with me, on the phone or on the Facebook through a different id..So these days, as soon as I wake up, I look for Jenny's ping or Slobiiii to come online to play their turn. I don't even know whether they are men or women. It does not matter. These two draw very well, so its easier for me to play Draw Free with them. I don't like Maddox much - very rude when I don't understand the drawings and a spoilsport, who often writes out the word when he/she can't think enough to draw it. But then, in the next round, along with the picture clues, there's often a Sorry that is posted...that is a connect - with a nameless faceless person on the other end of a computer or iPhone. There are a couple of cheats who play Word Games with me too...Aaah..let's not get into that contentious topic!!
That virtual connect makes up for the lack of cousins and aunts and uncles and colleagues and neighbours having a regular stake in my life. These faceless virtual friends are convenient too - antiseptic. If they don't know me, they can't interfere in my life can they?? My interactions are increasingly getting anonymous, however, my private life has never been more in the public eye - thanks to a life lived largely on the internet.
Where do I head from here? Where do you head from here??