It’s the ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ that gets to me all the time. If your antennae are picking up signals of a plaintive note in that sentence, you will be dead right. This ‘H’ with all those squiggly little ‘i-s’ following closely behind like that gregarious Uncle at a family get together, with a bunch of little nephews and nieces tagging along in a game of Train-Train, irritates me no end. I mean what the heck! Won’t a plain ‘Hi’ do?? Doesn’t a solitary ‘i’ after the ‘H’ convey the essential?? It is not as if it is some long lost friend, like the one who shared the same wooden bench with you beneath the thatched roof of the mud-walled old village school you went to, has just found you after donkeys ears. If the ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ had come from such a friend I would have appreciated it. But coming from unknown nincompoops, who don’t know you from Eve it has me rolling my eyes and reaching for the nearest red brick with intent to harm.

I joined Orkut a couple of years back being invited by some fellow blogger friends. I used to look in casually now and then to exchange a few words with them. It has always been my hope that I would chance upon some old classmate from schooldays or even college which hope made me retain the account. Chances though looked (still does) slim. No, it’s not because I have changed (read aged) beyond recognition. In fact those who have known me from my diaper days say that I have the same chubby face that I had as a toddler and that I sport the same vacuous grin. The only difference is, the grin now displays several molars (and some pre molars too) wearing stylish silver caps.

By the way the dentist, the know-it-all teeth-man, wanted me to trade in the silver caps for the latest in teeth cap technology, which according to him ‘look like original teeth’!! (Ooops! I hope he is not a blogger or even a lurker!) I went ‘Whaaaaat??’ He probably thought it was the bill that made me go all saucer-eyed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I had more important issues on my mind. Lose my trade mark grin with all those silver capped molars (and premolars) on show??!! Not in a thousand years, errr ….or whatever is left of my share of it.

He is crazy if he thinks I am going to let go of my silver caps for something however latest the technology that will make it ‘look like original teeth’! Egad, I’d lose my very identity with them gone. As of now, people recognize me even at a distance in matter of seconds just by the light reflecting off my silver capped molars (and pre molars of course). What does he know of the pride and thrill I feel when little children point with curiosity and clap with glee on seeing my silver-capped teeth. They want me to open my mouth wider so they can have a better look at the sparklies and do they sparkle or what?!. They then go ggugguggu and also ggaggagga to their Moms, probably asking them if they could have a set like mine, all shiny, when the time comes!

Omigosh I have done it again. Digressed and how! How did I come to talk about silver capped molar (and pre molars) when I was on the subject of the Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii -ing public at Orkut??!!

So there I was at Orkut hoping to find a few of my long lost buddies. But instead I have nincompoops scrapping me ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ by the handfuls followed by the inevitable, “Can we chat??” ‘Oh no buddy I don’t have time for chat,’ I used to reply civilly once upon a time, the babe-in-the- woods (or net??) that I was. “Then why are you on the net??” came the return question one day. More such irrefutable logic started flowing my way. Oh yeah?? Oh double triple yeah??

So I designed a profile page for myself, not mincing words, to keep at bay all the members of the come-lets-chat-and-rejoice gang. What’s my objection to chatting you may ask. None at all, except for the fact that I am ill-equipped to deal with these brilliant conversationalists, their praiseworthy logic and assumptions. Awww come on now. We all know where what begins with but a ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ ends. As a self respecting individual I resent strongly this belief among some of the species that a woman on the net is a lonely starved specimen at whom you just have to ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ to have her follow you into the glorious sunset of ‘fraindship’! But who was I kidding. The ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ guys were all bally illiterates unaffected by the words that I hadn’t minced while creating that profile page and the literate ones kept a safe distance out of respect (or awe??)!! Hmmm…

There was this guy who sent me an invite. I dutifully trotted over to his page to check and what do I find?? He has lifted sentences right off my page. “I am NOT interested in chatting” it read “I am sure NOT is a simple and easily understood word. I am NOT interested in chatting or increasing my friends list, Anyone who scraps or sends invite better give me a reason or tell me what if anything we have in common” Hmmmm… what else has the fellow copied, I wondered. So I continued reading and (excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing out loud (you may too, but after reading this) against ‘Passions’ he had written “Chaaaaaaaatttttttttttiiiiiiiiiing…………….!!!!!!” See what I mean?? How can I handle the pressure of conversations with such bright minds??

The copying saga doesn’t stop here though. Recently there was another invite and as usual I trotted over to check. Actually its fun, this getting invites and trotting over to check. Sure enough I found (again) the page adorned with sentences filched from my profile page. “I don’t have time for the idiot box, but when I do watch TV, I prefer the music talent shows” I had written. The fellow had faithfully copied it. Look at the cheek. Copy from my page and then invite the very person to be their friend. Have some sense kiddos, don’t copy from those you intend inviting!

There was this guy who asked me why I used a picture of myself from twenty years back. Grrr… what the heck! Ahh well, on second thoughts ‘Vanity thy name is woman (Just a little twist there to your ‘Frailty thy name is woman….” Shakespeare ji do forgive me!) and all that, so I took it as a compliment, of course not letting him know that I did so. Or else he would want to be my ‘fraind’ and how would I scale the intellectual heights needed to sustain a conversation with him?? Poor me. If only I had it in me, I would have been showered with more such compliments and ‘frainds’!

Then there are the innumerable movie stars who want to be my orkut buddies. They ‘scrap’ me all the time. Mohanlal, Sharukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan…. And sometimes a Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit too. Ahhh I see skepticism on your faces when you read this. You think I am making tall claims. But believe me you, there are even more well known faces who scrap me, but they daren’t show their faces or let the public know and so hide behind blank profiles. Sadly, I am incapable of the pressures of being ‘frainds’ with them either. So I simply decline to accept their mobile numbers and their offers of ‘eternal’ ‘fraindship’!

It has been an enlightening experience at Orkut. People of all ages can be found there. Many of the older men are fathers who have followed their wards ‘to keep an eye’ on them and then got hooked to it themselves. All those pretty faces have done them all in!! Mothers of course who have followed their kids ‘to keep an eye’ on them are fewer in number. Some of the mothers are only vaguely familiar with the term ‘orkut’ as just something the children keep referring to. ‘You mean you are over there too??’ they ask me in puzzled tones. They just cannot fathom what I am doing over there where these youngsters congregate.

All in all I have had a wonderful time (and still do) at Orkut making friends as also connecting with family members living at a distance who I would otherwise have met only on rare occasions or not at all. The young nephews and nieces know me and so do a whole lot of cousins, distant ones too. But I am yet to find any of those classmates I am looking for. Maybe one of these days I will….

Reposted from shail-mohan blogs @ sulekha.com