Amar Bail

A plant of eternity

Archive for September, 2010

Social Networking

Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 23, 2010

I’m not sure if the social networking websites we have had in the past few years have really helped us grow our social networks or not, but I guess it definitely has had an impact on the way we used to socialize previously. A good impact or a bad impact, that’s for us to decide…

I didn’t know much about MySpace. For me, it started off with Orkut. Having an Orkut account at the time it was launched was thought to be in style. A person was considered famous if he had an Orkut account and if he could send out 4 invites (That’s what the limit was if I remember correctly). 235 I got my invitation sent by a cousin and I felt like a super star when I tried finding many of my friends there only to come to know they didn’t have an account yet. Back then, whoever had more friends on Orkut was considered to be more social. Having more than a 100 friends on Orkut was like achieving a milestone. It didn’t matter if the people you had as your friends were actually your friends or not. And then Orkut also had an option of marking people as an acquaintance, a friend, or a very good friend, so that sort of justified having far off acquaintances to be added as friends as well. The scrapbook and the comparisons people used to make about the number of scraps they had. The birthday reminder feature, the photo sharing feature and other similar features were new and hence attracted a lot of traffic.

Then came Hi5, though for a short time only I guess. Right when it started gaining popularity and when it was getting into the lives of everyone just the way Orkut had, Facebook came into action, and that too with a lot more features than even Orkut was offering. Facebook defined social networking a completely new way. Although chat was not launched with facebook initially, but the addition of chat feature from within facebook worked wonders for facebook. Developers could build applications, account holders could do whatever previous social networking websites offered plus a lot more. You could write notes and upload videos as well. There were applications like the Graffitti that were very famous initially. 290 Then there were features like tagging people in pictures and in notes. The privacy features were supposedly better than Orkut until recently. The feature of making events and inviting friends, making groups and pages etc, the embedded emails and similar features made a facebook user stick to facebook. In short, Facebook proved to be something people were eagerly waiting for.

As the case was with Orkut, things didn’t change much with Facebook either. The way people added friends remained the same. The race to have more and more friends continued on Facebook as well. People used to remind their acquaintances when and how they met and why they should be friends on Facebook. Being friends on facebook with your real life friends was considered to be equivalent to keeping in touch with them, although the frequency of interactions, as I see it, declined exponentially. Keeping in touch with friends through facebook chat or writing on facebook wall was considered enough, and an occasional comment on a shared picture or a video meant you care for that friend. Keeping up to date with friends now is as simple as signing in to facebook.

But the question still remains. Has Orkut, Hi5, facebook or even twitter for that matter, really helped us improve our social networks? Has it improved the way we interact with our friends and acquaintances? Has it helped us socialize more than we did previously? Have the applications such as games on facebook helped us interact more with people we didn’t interact with previously? Have these social networking websites had a positive impact on our lives?


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An Alternate to Love

Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 16, 2010

Love. One word, but it has several definitions. Each one of us defines love our own way. We see it differently, we react to it differently, but at the base of it, there is this common feeling of care and affection that stays the same for everyone. Love, in essence, is a feeling…

This is what I thought about love. 141I thought love is a concept that cannot be replaced by any material object. I thought love is abstract, but just like there are several ways this “concept” can be defined, there are several shapes this “concept” can take. Sadly enough, these different shapes of this “concept” are taking away the feel out of it, and making this “concept” a more material thing rather than an abstract thing. The common feeling of love is now being replaced by the uncommon material things of this world.

Feelings show themselves. Without being explicit in your action or words, you can show that you care, that you love. But then people thought they needed a token of appreciation, something physical that others could remember for long, something that could remind people someone loved and cared for them. They started giving gifts. Even though a gift was something material, but the feeling behind that gift was what actually mattered instead of the price tag behind that gift. But then people wanted to show they love “more” than others, or that they care “more” now than they did before. They started sending expensive gifts. The price tag started to represent the associated feelings.

Now that the “value” of the gift was becoming important, people started having a shift in priorities. People now wanted to work more so that they could earn more and give more to others, only to show they care. To work more, they needed more time that they ultimately had to extract from the time they used to give to their families. More money started flowing in to the household. 115 The wife has more to spend, and supposedly, she is happier than she was before. The children have more to spend and even they are happier. The family picnics and gatherings decreased because everyone got busy in the race to show they care. The family dramas that all members of the household waited eagerly for and watched together are no more watched together. Almost each member of the household has his/her own television to watch whatever he/she wants to. Housewives thought they needed to give a helping hand to their husbands and need to find jobs, so that their family could be happier. Maids were paid higher to “love” the kids even more. Although love was still there, but the shape of it was changing. The feeling behind it, the essence of love, was fading away…

I thought there was no alternate to love. I thought no feeling or no material thing could replace love. But I think I was wrong. Money has so easily become an alternate to love, that it is now considered if you don’t have money, you cannot really love or care. This material world has found an alternate to love…

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The Spellings

Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 4, 2010

I have noticed that many people are sensitive about the way others spell their names. This includes me. Although I once heard that the spellings of nouns do not matter, but I guess they do for the person concerned…

My late friend Muhammad Umar Khan was so very conscious about the way his name was spelt. He would make sure his name had the initial Muhammad included as his first name and was spelt with a ‘U’ and not with an ‘O’. As in, only Umar Khan was not OK for him. And Umar also had to start with a ‘U’ and not an ‘O’, and it had to have an ‘A’ in it as well. The other forms of Umar, like Omer, Omar, or even Umer were not acceptable to him :-). Similarly, I had a friend who spelt his name as Ale, although it was pronounced as Ali. This makes me wonder how the simplest of names can be made complex :-P.

I don’t know why but it irritates me as well if someone spells my name with double ‘R’ instead of a single ‘R’. With two ‘R’s, my name sounds like an English name :-P, and it seems that a lot of accent has to be put in if two Rs have to be pronounced in my name. To me, just plain and simple, single ‘R’ name looks so beautiful :-). I make it a point to explicitly correct anyone who uses two Rs in my name…

This list goes on and on. This is not only the case with males, but female names can be made equally complex. Take for example Mariam. It can be spelled as Mariyam, Meriyam, Maryam,  and what not. Similarly Javaria and Sumaira can have a lot many permutations as well :-P. I even know people who would argue if their name should be spelled exactly the way it sounds in Urdu. Muneeba is one example. In Urdu, the sound this name ends with is that of an ‘H’, hence Muneeba should rather be Muneebah. Sounds good for an argument, No?

Are you sensitive about the spellings of your name? Does it irritate you when others spell your name differently than how you do it?

Posted in English | 21 Comments »

I will blog

Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 3, 2010

This year has been rough for the blogger part of me, or maybe I find it convenient to blame this year for my laziness, but whatever it is, I will blog (I think I’m repeating this for the thirteen hundred and seventy ninth time :-P).

I have this feeling that I’m busy. That I don’t get time for myself. I was asked why am I not blogging anymore and I answered that there was a time when I used to observe the smallest of things and I used to have a point of view about the way things were being done and the way I thought they should have been done. I used to discuss and share things. This is no more the case, or maybe I am busy enough to observe things around me and to have an opinion.

I was just going through some of the blogs I follow and was reading them when I realized how long it has been since I have blogged regularly. Although I have been writing occasionally, but that has only been once a month or so, which is so not the way I thought it would be when I started blogging. Hence, I am coming back to blogging yet again :-P, and this time, I am coming with some new stuff (this just popped up in my mind).

How about posting some Urdu poetry on my blog? I’m not a poet myself but love reading Urdu poetry, and I have been thinking to start a poetry section on my blog. So if I’m not observing things and am busy enough to think about what to write, I’d at least have some poets do the thinking and I’ll post their stuff (well in most cases, the poets would be long dead, so the thinking is already done, only the posting part of it is left :-P).

And I’m also planning to start a picture quotation section on my blogspot blog, along with a question of the day series. Well, I’ve realized that a lot many questions just keep on popping in my head. Questions about life, about destiny, about everything (seriously), so why not just post those questions for you guys to answer. I guess I should see what opinion you guys have about things that get me confused :-P.

So, this is just to say that I will blog, and even if I have to say it for the fourteen hundred and thirty seventh time, I will :-P. CIAO.

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