RELATIONSHIP FORMED IN PERSON OR THROUGH ONLINE PLATFORM?

If 20 years ago, you asked, “what is the basic amenity to sustain a life?” then the answer would have been its food, clothes and house… And maybe education to be an added aspect to the earlier ones. However, in today’s era, the answer has a slight change, with the technology also being a part of it. Technology has become an integral part of our lives at least from last 10 years or so. Almost every little work is dependent on technology in some way or the other. Even our personal life and relationships have technological involvement. In earlier days when there were no phones Whatsapp and Facebook, people didn’t stay in touch like they are in today and had less meet up, somewhere people had to put effort to keep their relationship long lasting, but now real-life relationships have turned into virtual relationships.

I am not saying people these days don’t fall in love, they do. In my point of view, the whole idea of two people falling in love is still the same but now with the technology in our hand we feel very easy and convenient to maintain our relationship. No doubt technology is bringing us closer, we can easily stay in touch with our respective partners regardless of the distance.

It’s no wonder in saying two people meeting on a social media platform can fall in love. At times, it may happen that we meet someone in real life and then through social media, we come close. See actually, the thing, in reality, is, at first we may be attracted towards a good and appealing personality but eventually it’s the human behaviour we admire and adore. A similar thing happens on social media or say when people meet online. Sometimes the person we meet online turns out to be unfit for us and at other time we find the right person. Now you will ask how? So, I am going to tell you my experience on this.

I met a guy in a cultural fest. Although we didn’t intermingle somewhere we felt a spark. After the cultural fest, we went to our respective places and we weren’t in touch for 4 years. We had added each other on our social media accounts but still, we didn’t talk. Two years back we started chatting. Very soon we added each other on our Whatsapp too and hence late night chat was what we loved to do. Obviously, the spark was still alive and it ignited more and more. We used to chat every day. Gradually and slowly both of us realized we are way too different and we couldn’t be compatible. Mutually we decided that we needed a fling and so it was.

Another story is: I met another guy two years ago at a house party. Again the same story, not a single word for months. There wasn’t any sign of interaction between us. One day, we met online and had a casual conversation and again no words for many days. Yes, we did find each other being attracted and hence we became friends. Our chatting routine wasn’t so frequent nevertheless we enjoyed chatting with each other. We admire each other and now we are really good friends. Despite any meeting, we understand each other so well. So here technology brought us closer and it gets easier for us to stay in touch for all day long as we stay in different cities.

Not only this, many of us have many friends whom we meet virtually and find solace. We find very easy and comfortable in maintaining friendship and relationship with whom we meet in real life. No matter if it is day or night, raining or storming, we can easily reach up to our friends. As it is said excessiveness of anything harms and so due to the excessiveness of technology people ruin their relationship. No matter whether we fall in love online or in reality, people want to have mutual respect and trust. So I am not saying against or support of any one of the ways to keep relationships but I would say it is always better to keep a check on ourselves. 

THE VIRTUAL SUGAR CANDY

The online world creates a virtual connection between people. It allows us to more efficiently gather news about family, friends, acquaintances, celebrities and so on. The virtual connection inspires many fantasies and fools people into believing they know much more than they know. It provides a way for people to connect with many more people than they can in person.

For shy people, the online world creates a safer way to reach out and get to know more people. It helps find people who appear to be like you much more quickly. It makes a lot of people feel less alone.

The online world makes it a lot easier to gather information that is useful in our lives. We can find the cheapest place to buy something. We can find health information that saves our lives. We can find employment or business opportunities we would probably never find if there were no internet. I have been utilising internet for my need as much as possible too.

Drawbacks of the Online World

Unfortunately, because people value online relationships so much, they take the online world very seriously, which gives others a new way to bully people, con them, steal their money, and otherwise hurt people — only much more efficiently. Also, some people have a hard time understanding the difference between the virtual world and the real world. Because there is much less complete information about others in the virtual world, but it seems like there is more information, many people can be fooled into thinking they know things that aren’t true, and this leaves them much more vulnerable to being deceived.

Despite the access to more information, the online world also leaves out a lot of information that most of us use on a daily basis without being aware of it. Most people do not realise how much information their brains assume based on the information we gather online. We make all kinds of assumptions, which I think it is fair to call fantasies about the meaning of online events. This is particularly true when we meet people online, and come to think we know them well. We have no idea how much we don’t know and how relevant that information is. The online world makes us feel as if we know others, but if we are unaware that this feeling may not reflect reality, we are much more vulnerable.

People can create fake news. They can use counterfeit avatars and fake personalities quite easily on the internet. There are many ways to deliberately or inadvertently make things seem different than they are. It is easier to fool people online because without seeing the way people behave in a variety of contexts, it is hard to be able to verify what people say about themselves.

The characteristics of the way our brains function make this difficult to detect. Our brains automatically fill in pictures for which we only have a few verified data points. Our minds do this in a way that is difficult to be aware of. Mostly, we are fooling ourselves. Our desire to connect with others, together with the absence of real-world data and the propensity to automatically fill in details that don’t exist in the real world makes the internet a dangerous place for the credulous. Because few people see this, it is easy to like being online. Being online is like eating a candy bar instead of a lot of protein. We get a sugar rush and forget that this will not last until suddenly we bonk, running out of energy.

Stay Safe!!!

A VIRTUAL BLESSING IN DISGUISE

Isha returned back home after a tiring day at work. Day long client meetings have kept her busy all day. After a long time, she logged into Facebook. There was a message “Hi Isha, I have come across your website today, glad to have crossed by your site. Pretty impressed by your ideology” – Kartik

Isha sent a reply thanking him. Kartik and Isha soon became friends, they kept in touch over instant messaging app. They used to message each other whenever they get time during their work hours, and once they are back from work, Kartik used to ensure that he dedicates some time for Isha almost everyday. 

Isha who is a girl who doesn’t share much about herself to anyone, opened her book of life to him. She had no hesitation because she could trust him. Kartik also respects her for what she is. He has put maximum efforts to understand Isha, her interests, her likes, hobbies, part time activities. 

Isha started to feel happier with every day that passed by, her once dull and boring life has now become interesting. She used to eagerly wait for Kartik’s messages. Kartik never gave Isha a single chance to be disappointed, starting with a good morning wish everyday, he took care of her feelings, her worries in her personal life, stress at work. Isha couldn’t believe how life has changed with arrival of Kartik into her life. She now has a person to talk, she knows the value of having one such acquaintance. 

Kartik became parent of a dog. Isha had the chance to name the dog, she spent hours searching for a nice name. She named the dog Buddy. Kartik used to share many pictures of Buddy with Isha, she used to feel delighted. Her happiness could not be expressed in words. Kartik came in as an angel for her, she respected Kartik all the more… Kartik filled her otherwise lonely life with joyful moments.

It has been more than an year they were chatting, she doesn’t know how Kartik even looks. This hasn’t bothered Isha but she preferred associating Kartik to a face, an identity. She wanted to meet him. Kartik was reluctant to meet her so soon. He even expressed the same to her, Isha was definitely surprised by this.

They continued to talk the same way as earlier, Isha never brought up the topic of meeting him thereafter. After a few months, one day Kartik asked Isha if they could meet. Isha agreed as she was eager to meet him. They made a plan for weekend to meet at a cafe. As in movies, Isha told him what color dress she would wear, Kartik replied “ROFL” . She innocently asked him, “How will I recognise you?“, “Now that I know what you would wear, I will search for you at the cafe …” was his reply. 

Isha reached the cafe well before time, seated at a table, curiously looking at every person entering the cafe. She noticed that her cousin Nandan came to the same cafe. She greeted him, Nandan took the seat opposite her. They talked for sometime, Isha is now concerned that it’s time for Kartik to come, she should tell Nandan that she has to meet a friend. Nandan was continuously talking, Isha couldn’t break the conversation in-between. Nandan asked Isha, “Are you ok? You look tensed”. Isha told him she came to meet a friend…

Nandan has put his hand forward as if he wanted a handshake, when they were shaking hands, he said in an introductory fashion “Kartik…”. Isha was surprised to listen to the name, then she realised his name is Kartik Nandan. “Was it you who chatted with me everyday ?”, he nodded in acceptance. She was confused, couldn’t find words to talk … 

I am sorry Isha. It was me. You may be thinking why I did all this ? Let me explain“, after a pause he continued, “It is one thing to be there for you when in need and all together different thing to make you feel that you are cared. I am sure there would have been many people who would have told you to reach out to them if you needed help, it is courtesy to offer help when one is in need, they care, they really do. But, I know it is very unlikely for you to reach out to them…

If I would have told you that you can talk to me whenever you feel like talking, would you have opened up the way you did with ‘Kartik’? May be not. After Rajiv (Isha’s husband) passed away, you became very lonely. I can understand how it feels when you lose someone who was everything till yesterday and today you don’t have anyone to look up to. There are family and friends but the emptiness cannot be filled so easily. On the back of your mind, you may also feel that they are sympathising even if they haven’t intended to be so, not your fault just the time is so…

Isha felt very emotional, she couldn’t help but cry. After a few minutes, she composed herself, “You are right Nandan. Every word you uttered is true, but not everyone understands the feelings of another. Who would care for a lonely person? Actually loneliness goes totally unnoticed at times. People would force me to be happy. I have work, hobbies, many other things that keep me occupied all day long, but at the end of the day and early morning I feel very lonely. It used to frustrate me so much to not have anyone who I can talk to, but could not express this concern to anyone. 

How would I ask anyone that I want someone to talk to. Nothing important, but a casual conversation also has become rarest of rare. Communication, which is basic need of human being is so tough to have, I have never known this. It is very tough to manage everyday. I find myself ‘odd man out’ when my colleagues converse at lunch table. Once one of my colleague asked me why is that I don’t have any complaints / concerns  about anyone, when all others share so much about their families. There is nothing to share, so I am just a passive listener… It hurts so much…

I am very happy to know that you understand those feelings which are unexpressed, can read the innate need of another with ease. God bless you Nandan. Thank you !!”

“Isha, saying this you cannot escape from me, I would continue to be Kartik for you, I would continue to talk the same way as earlier. Now, we can even talk not only chat.. I will look forward to meet you soon…” said Kartik. Isha felt very relieved and happy to know how blessed she is. 

They continued for many years happily sharing their feelings, fighting like kids, being each other’s support. 

ASL, PLEASE?

Her: Hi
Him: Hey There
Her: ASL, please?
Him: How are you doing?
Her: Is that your ASL?
Him: NO, but age is just a number
Her: Well, I am 27, I am from Delhi
Him: WOW, a Delhi girl, today is my lucky day
Her: You a flirt?
Him: No, just an average man, 28/US. But I was a Delhite too once
Her: Oh, were you? I am a dancer
Him: Gawd, Can this day get any better?
Her: Yes, if you are a Guitarist
Him: You never know, I could be
Her: LOL, are you? Seriously ?
Him: Nah, I can’t even hold one correctly, though I tried, sincerely
Her: You know, I know that feeling, I worked hard to learn Piano, but no luck
Him: I have a feeling we can be good friends….
Her: I have that feeling too…..’

This is how it starts every time. Two people are meeting, finding sync and becoming friends. It all seems unlikely to people who can’t relate to a relationship named or unnamed made virtually.

I was living a life of completeness darkness in January 2016. All hope and positivity had eluded me for long enough to leave me completely devoid of optimism. And on the verge of a psychotic break when I decided I need to talk and to vent. I needed to interact with people. Enough of PC games and enough of bots. And in March 2016, disgusted with life and lonelier than I have ever felt I went to the chat room.

Simply_Me was my id cause I didn’t know what will better define me at that moment. And requests started to pour in. I chatted with many Tom, Dick and Harry. But I was not able to find what I was looking for, a friend, a real friend in that virtual world. And then one day I got a message from a Peace_Lover. He was interesting. He told his name was Rahul, I told him, yeah, sure, every other boy is Raj and Rahul thanks to SRK. His name was genuinely Rahul, and he became my best friend.

He and I haven’t met till date, 31st is his birthday. But he is such a patient listener; I told him all about me, A to Z, thought the name I gave him was not my real name, reason being chat sites tell you to keep your personal details to yourself, especially if you are a girl; Later I was so afraid to lose his friendship that I never told him my real name, but now he knows. And never once he complained. He accepted me as I am. I never thought that I would find someone so special online. I don’t know if I helped him in any way or not, but he helped me loads, and I am no more lonely cause we talk daily, be it just for few minutes.

We don’t know who sits behind those screens, is he good or bad, boy or girl. But I believe that behind that screen is a heart, a mind, a human being who wants to connect. I know that virtual friends and virtual relationships are hardly a lifetime thing, or sometimes they even turn out to be a disaster, but I also know that in real too all friends are not meant to stay forever and heartbreaks and mishaps are waiting to happen between real time friends as well.

You must have heard that money and materialism spoils all things good. That is one more thing that makes virtual friends real special. I know that my virtual friend and I won’t be exchanging any gifts or letting financial status stand in between us. It brings peace to be able to chat with someone on the same lines, all that matters when you chat is the rapport you share.

Today I have numerous virtual friends, and a handful of them are real close to my heart. A couple of them have changed my life 180 degrees with timely emotional and psychological support. I think I would have made a huge mistake if I had not let them come near me owing to the prejudice that having virtual friends isn’t a healthy practice and can hamper my growth in real or bring me harm.

When I can fall in love with Ben Affleck, someone I have seen just on screen, never talked and never interacted with, when I can be awed by Khaled Hosseini, a writer I never even saw, but just admired his works, when I can have love for an RJ, just cause he makes such good pep talk in his deep voice then I think it is so much more obvious to be friends with someone online, someone I never saw or heard or met. But rather someone I felt and knew could feel me and all that is going on my mind.

Image result for virtual friendHaving virtual friends is a blessing for people like me who are introverts and find themselves looking for lonely corners at parties and feel dumbstruck when they need to strike a conversation. But while I am chatting, I feel like the most open and outspoken person, the obscurity helps me come out of my shell and spread my wings. I don’t like to call my online friends as my virtual friends, especially once I exchange numbers with them. They are as real to me as my school friend is. They are not a figment of my imagination written in binary codes of 0 and 1. They aren’t an OS, they are blood, and bones and flesh too. I am proud that I made some very true friendships in a very fake and unstable world. I love them, and they love me back.

There are many pros and cons to such bonds, one of them is the perception of time. While in real friendships grow slow and nurture slow, in virtuality time moves many times faster. If I am friends with you for the past one month, I am your good friend, if it’s been two months, we are thick as thieves, if three, we have been friends a long time, if four, we are friends since forever. Cross the six months barrier, and you are entitled to call yourself a lifetime friend. And this is the very reason that most online endeavours are short lived. One more drawback is I need to be real sensitive, I have to just close my eyes and feel your hugs, your smiles, your laughs and your tears through the emoticons you send. This at times leads to a misunderstanding as out radar can’t always catch your mood. The one that really kicks me is, you can’t send FOOD. Lol…

That green light that blinks next to my friend’s name when he is online brings an instant smile to my face, and I know that now I will be talking to him and exchanging my happy and sad moments with him and he will listen and even thought he might not be able to help me in any way, he will always tell me “I am here for you.”

TAKE NOTE OF CYBER SENSE – IT’S VITAL

I was just navigating through the week and reading all the articles once again before starting my “Final Views” on the topic “Cyber Sense.” 

In the Mega Article, Prabhjot, gave an excellent introduction of the topic “Cyber Sense” with few Dos & Don’ts reflecting on her personal lifestyle. She concluded with a catchy statement –

“Get some ‘real life;’ not a ‘cyber life.'”    

The very next day, I mentioned about few ways of how proper use of internet can be so helpful to voice ourselves and earn a name worldwide.  

Thaddeus, encouraged us to take time out from social media and have meaningful relationships in the real world. His catch line was –

“We’ve become the most connected disconnected society in history.”  

Ruth, warned us about all the evil practices prevailed in a cyber world.

Avinash, wrote how to draw a line wisely while using internet.

Finally, yesterday Khristina alerted us about the adverse effects of technology on our physical as well as psychological health when we constantly overuse it.

Technology advancement is good. It’s for the benefit of mankind. Mankind is the master and technology is the servant. But when the mankind allows technology to be their master and becomes its slaves, things started to go haywire.

So be careful on the cyber world.

Stay Blessed!!!

FRIENDS: REAL OR VIRTUAL?

Social networking has made it possible for people in every corner of the world to connect to each other. Mere strangers get added to one’s life as ‘friends’. Unfortunately, this virtual world of friendship has robbed the true meaning from the word ‘friends’. Catching up with buddies every weekend over steaming cups of tea and coffee or platefuls of mouth-watering pani puris, seems to have become a long-term plan that one needs to carefully plan for. Now with professional goals taking the centre-stage in life, friendships are better nourished in the virtual world than in reality.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in forging friends across the globe without meeting them. But, the problem arises when virtual friendships threaten to replace real friends. Research studies have shown that people with bigger list of friends over social networking sites, more often than not have weaker family bonding, suffer from a sense of low self-esteem and harbor feelings of inferiority about themselves.

Strong face-to-face ties with a few real friends ensure emotional stability, strong familial ties and increased work performance. A friend who stands by at the time of adversity and rejoicing is a friend worth having by one’s side.

Cherish the world of real friends!