Who are the People who matter

This morning I received a mail from my friend, S with whom I have sent many a hour expounding and discussion practically everything under the sun. Those were the good old Infy days, when there was this set of people who shared interests and each had a view of his/her own. What makes these discussions particularly interesting is that it is not about agreeing/disagreeing with the speaker, however, it is about having a healthy discussion.

S’ complaint was that he could not just ping me or one of our gang members over the messenger and just share his thought/appreciate a song/ article/blog/anything of interest.

I have since realised that without good discussions, life becomes insipid. I feel the biggest dearth is when you cannot find, at least one person, to connect intellectually. Finding the right people around you all the time is now become a matter of luck. It is subject to a number of conditions and in this ever changing world, the parameters that vary are also numerous.

I suppose that is why all these social networking sites are thriving. People want to share, want to know what others say and here are platforms to do so. Come to think of it, personally, I do not like to share all these thoughts with everyone. As I feel that it may not be appreciated by all. But do I really have a choice in deciding who sees it and who don’t when I put up in a public forum? I suppose everything has its pros and cons.

So, who are the people who matter in your life with whom you would like to share your spectrum of thoughts?

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Orkut – Seemed useful

Orkut was a craze when introduced and one’s presence on it was considered in vogue. These days that glory belongs to Facebook. I have always wondered what use Orkut can ever do for me, except for connecting (temporarily) with long lost friends. Well, I must admit that going with the latest fad I took to it, or rather tried to with quite a bit of enthusiasm. May be I have aged and my priorities differ and I only check my profile very rarely. In fact I still find it easier than Facebook, where I did create an account and successfully forgot the password. For some reason when I try and reset it, I never get the updated one, so I just let the whole thing fade.

Coming to Orkut, one thing is for sure, I got to see what kind of person my hubs was before we even met and yes, it can help a lot in knowing the general bent of an individual. Apart from that, I find most of the social networking sites – esp Orkut a real waste of time. Linkedin might differ a little, but it yet to catch up and will take time to be recognised as a reliable recruitment reference site.

My cousin is leaving for the US and she informed me that she managed to get in touch with her prospective roomies through Orkut. She managed to fix up everything through Orkut links, emails and some local references. Six years back, when my close friend left in pusuit of happyness she only had her senior to rely on and that was the case with many people before her. For the second time in my life, I found Orkut being useful (to someone, at least) as a social networking site. But once again, it caters primarily to students and I doubt – having now found my partner – if it can ever be useful to me in a better manner than congratulating friends upon weddings, engagements, babies, birthdays etc.

Social Networking & Billu

After a long hiatus of four months, we went to a movie on Valentine’s Day. The movie was Billu Barber. Not particularly a celebration activity for V Day, but merely the fact that me and hubs got the time to go to a movie and also the fact that this movie theatre is the closest to our lil abode. 

Having cleared that, let me get on with Billu. It is a run of the mill story with two long lost supposed friends. One becomes extremely rich and famous – Sahid Khan (or King Khan) and the other remains where he was – Billu, as barber, tied down with family responsibilities and difficulties. Their paths cross in a small village named Budbuda. The King Khan is there to shoot for his film (wonder why, when all he does there is some space setting and fights, nothing rural). Here starts the social networking bit. 

In today’s world, it is not enough to be well educated or well qualified to go up the ladder, it is all about whom do you know and hence what can you do. Social capital can be defined as:

  •  Recourses available in and through personal and business networks

                 o    Information, ideas, leads

                 o    Emotional support, goodwill, trust, cooperation, power, influence

  • Potential resources inherent in an actor’s set of social ties 

Hence, coming back to the movie, Billu also reaps some advantages. Simply based on the rumour that Billu is the famous actor’s friend, things change drastically for him. Some of the changes are:

  •  Billu couldn’t pay the school fees for his children and now the school authorities come to his home to tell him that his children’s education would be funded till 12th standard – IF (there always is an ‘IF’) he brings the famous actor to the school function
  •  Billu’s barber shop is in dire straits. He hasn’t been able to spruce it up like his competitor, but the man persists. With the “supposed” new ties, he has a line of unending customers to gain – Sahid Khan’s hairstyle and the village bigwig sponsors new equipment for his shop – Once again, IF Billu can introduce the village bigwig to the superstar
  • Billu’s wife is now seen with envy and her social status is elevated over night. There are polite IFs, which require her to get a picture of the star or autograph or in one case, his handkerchief (I wonder if men today carry such a thing anymore)

So, the rise in Billu’s social status and the respect and advantages he is now able to enjoy is due to the “supposed” social connection that he has with this superstar. I wouldn’t want to tell what actually happens in the movie, but the climax dragged on and it was too obvious towards the end. All through, director Priyadarshan has maintained a light and funny script that has kept the audiences quite lively. 

I enjoyed the movie, primarily because I am a die-hard SRK fan and loved him on screen. Yes, it is for die-hard Shah Rukh fans! But then, it is definitely not one of his or Irfan Khan’s best performances. You really don’t have to see this movie. The reason this movie kept me interested is because of  this social networking connection that a lot of Bollywood movies sport.

It is not an observation out of blue that – “People who do better are somehow better connected” and yes, towards the end, it is left for us, the poor audience to understand that Billu’s life has changed, for the better, due to his – Social Network.