Friday, October 30, 2009

Graduating from Orkut to Facebook

Yes, I have finally done it. I am now officially on Facebook. I am now a part of the millions who use Facebook everyday of their life to share stuff with their near ones. Surely there must be something right about all this. (I hope i am not sounding like SRK in the Airtel ad).

Wow, Facebook, what can I say. Good, cool, clean interface. Very nice. What’s more? I have found something that I just hoped would be on Orkut i.e. Community photos. Ahh. ..I wish this was available on Orkut. There are so many Brazilian footballers’ photos that I wish to add to my “I Love Brazilian Football’ community. But anyways, no issues.

Unlike Orkut where you have a scrapbook, in Facebook you have something known as a wall. (Now wait to minute, I have not joined Facebook only to get a wall. My house has more than 1). Well it’s not that kind of a wall. A wall in Facebook is something where al your friends can share with you stuff and post things on…hence wall. Neither the Great Wall of China nor the Berlin wall, simply a plain wall. Now though this wall may have its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. If this wall is yours then its also everyone’s. What I mean is not only all your activities and those related to you are displayed here, all your friends and their activities, all your communities and their updates and discussions too are displayed. Its something like in Orkut terms a fusion of your scrapbook and updates section. Now this thing makes sharing stuff really easy. You get all your friends updates and posts at a single place. You know what your friends are upto, all the applications they are using, all the games they are playing, all the things they are challenging you at, almost everything. That is something really awesome.

However the biggest drawback comes into the picture if you have many friends who are really active in Facebook. In that case, if you manage to find some stuff you are looking for in particular, then least I can say is that you are looking for a needle in a haystack. With time and posts everything just keeps going downwards. Time here is not measured in hours, its not minutes either, better say seconds. At the end, most of the time you'll give up just after a few clicks on ‘Older Posts’. Well but there is partly a solution. It may not be fool-proof but it does happen to help in certain cases. That is checking out your own profile. That is the only place I think that is yours alone on Facebook. Here you will find only your stuff and everything posted by you and none else. Its also over here where you can edit your profile, change your profile picture, etc. basically all the tasks you could do in the Profile section of Orkut. At least something’s similar.

Well apart from the many cool features on Facebook like the page doesn’t refresh when you become a fan of a community (same as member in Orkut) and sharing options (like pictures, videos, links, etc) and also the many famous people being online, I truly find Facebook truly lacking in user-friendliness. I must say that if you are an avid Orkut user, it’s really going to take a lot of patience and time for you to get accustomed to it. Orkut has everything organized. All your videos are in the videos link; your scraps are in the scrapbook, etc etc etc. But you know as the saying goes that “One man’s food is another man’s poison” this not-so-user friendliness of Facebook is probably one of the main reasons that it has a very less number of fake profiles.

Choosing from Orkut and Facebook is not easy. While Orkut boasts of user-friendliness and a very large Indian base; Facebook boasts of privacy, cool features, global reach and amazing applications to never get you bored. If you are out there to make a choice, then heaven help you. If not, then be like me…use both.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Peace and Harmony - can these be fostered in today’s circumstances.

As I sit down at my desk to pen down my thoughts on this topic, I can’t help but begin to realize that more than a topic this is a question in itself. A question that probably each of us should ask ourselves. In my view it’s a question that hits us hard in our face. Can this so-called peace and harmony that we all wish and aspire to achieve possible? Or is it like a lucid dream? One in which all things are right, all things are just perfect, but not reality. Given today’s circumstances where killings, bombardments, deaths are nothing but mere news (after all we read about it everyday), an article on peace is surely a headliner.

So as I try to come up with points to write this essay, I suddenly remember once reading an article titled “Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam’s important message to every Indian”. Amongst all things, there was an experience in it that just caught my eye. I must say that it has left a deep impact on me.
“I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.”

Tough this experience may seem one of the motivational kind, to me it spoke of peace and harmony. It spoke of the difference in perception. No matter whatever the situation may be there is always a reason to smile. Something like behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

I remember when I was a child. Before I could go to play, my mother would always tell me, ”Nelton, no matter what, you will not get into a fight. You will never lift your hand, come what may”. At that time those lines seemed weird (Did my mother unintentionally want her son to bashed up black and blue???….i hoped not). So everyday I just kept those words in my mind and carried on with life. Slowly by slowly as time passed by, I began to realize the harsh realities of life. I had begun to understand as to what exactly my mother meant and why. Gandhi’s “Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and Christ’s “If a man slap’s you on the left cheek, show him your right” now began to make sense.

One of the easiest things to do is to hit back at others that too in equal measure (if not more). If the other has thrown a stone I shall not throw anything smaller than a brick, that’s the mentality. That too without any hesitation, without any thought. This thing goes on. And before we realize, we are dealing in nuclear weapons. It’s needless to say more.

It really takes a lot to not be intimidated by anyone. It really does. Hitting back probably may seem cool. Take a look at Israel for that matter. You attack it (probably even think of) with a pen knife, you can least expect swords coming your way. But it’s not the right way. At the end of the day, all you know is the countless number of wars you are involved in and the death of your loved ones and fellow countrymen. India’s dealing with the Kashmir issue probably makes sense in this regard. It’s much better having to hear of a few deaths in a year, than of hundreds in a minute.

I truly believe that no matter what the situation, peace is most definitely achievable. Yes, we can. It may seem impossible, but impossible is itself I M possible. After all, the sun still shines brightly even after a long and heavy downpour (What’s more, if you’re patient enough you may also get to see a rainbow).
No matter what today’s times and circumstances may be, there is still more than one contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Even though you may have had a former US president who dragged the world in two unnecessary wars, you now have a US president who talks about reducing nuclear weapons and disarmament (He even gets the Nobel peace Prize for it).
Situated on the banks of the icy Lidder River, a 900-year old Shiva temple is the only shrine run by Muslim priests in Jammu & Kashmir.
Naved Siddiqui, a muslim has been organizing the Navratri fest at St Xavier’s College for 20 years now.
A Brahmin funds Muslims for Haj.
The Neenuram Ashram in Tharparkar in Kerala serves as a beacon to all souls irrespective of caste and creed.
These examples are by themselves are an indication that there are people who work towards it. All hope has not yet been lost.
At the end I would just like to say that like in the past, peace has, can and will be achieved no matter what. As I believe, God comes in various forms, but His message is the same, that peace be upon all. It may seem impossible for a lay man, but as the great Mahatma Gandhi, a man who himself may have not won the Nobel Peace prize but inspired many others by his doctrine, said,” “I claim to be no more than an average man with less than average abilities. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.” I too feel the same.
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