Saturday, May 14, 2016

Things I've done on Facebook That I'm not Particularly Proud of

Hi, I can't believe I'm writing this. I'm having a high fever and that might explain why I am being so reckless. My justification is I'm sure this is all relatable.

#1 Stalking
I have stalked plenty of profiles on Facebook. No, it's not a creepy way of stalking into a complete stranger's profile. Maybe it is, that's up to you to judge. My parents are trying to find a suitable match for me and when they give me someone's name and college, I'll be stalking his profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Quora. Most often than not, Quora gives you a picture of his character. But none of my detective skills have paid off as the horoscopes won't match and apparently if my parents do not get a match by this August, I'm not getting married for a long time!

#ForeverAlone #LoveYourCareer

#2 Trying to get 100 likes on a Profile Photo
I am so guilty of this obsession when I started using Facebook. There are some standards I hold dear. I won't directly ask anyone to like my photo. But I will dutifully like everyone's profile photo change. Believe me, girls have a long memory. We know when we see your profile photo change, whether you liked our previous profile photo or not :P Whether we use that information or not depends on how our mood is that particular day. First the photo will be visible to Friends except Acquaintances, then paranoia will drive me to restrict it to a Close Friends circle. I never crossed 100 on the photos I tried :P


#3 Trying to get untagged from a photo

Yes, I do some questionable things with my friends that I definitely don't want some of my friends to see :P Before you go overboard with your imagination and think of shady places, it would mostly be a dinner I went out without informing my parents on the spur of the moment. Or some photo in which I look hideous and I do not want to get advice on how to look better. The scramble to get untagged from that photo is something Michael Phelps would be proud of!


#4 Over-reacting to Social Posts

If some post is anti-feminist, no matter how obscure the post, the fact that one of my friends shared it makes me explode like dynamite. This may or may not be a good thing. Sometimes I feel guilty, that the person is not to blame, they are also products of the society. Then I'll feel if we are to change the society, we need to call this out. To make up for it, I'll like all other posts by the said person to assure that it was that one post and not that person that affected me.


#5 Judging People by their Online Status on Facebook

Yes I have done this :P Forget blue ticks on WhatsApp. If someone is online on Facebook and not answering me on WhatsApp, a call will be resounding soon :P



All these things are absolutely useless as you'll realize when the years tumble down. It's been seven years since I started using Facebook. When I didn't try I got many likes for many ordinary, run-of-the-mill photos because they depicted me. The maximum likes I've got are for my academic achievements and I'm proud of that. My communication with my parents has improved by and large such that untagging isn't too much of a deal. I still do react to anti-feminist or sexist posts, I do think everyone benefits from feminism and there is a negative connotation behind it today. But I try not to over-react. It's a balance I still struggle to find. I've stopped seeing who's online on Facebook completely. People who care about you will talk to you, meet you, no matter what, You don't have to put the effort for it. We're adults, we've become busy, there is no need to feel lonely. Finally, yes, stalking in small doses is fine as long as it's not the only basis of your opinion of a new person.

Facebook has brought a lot of people distant and near together and given us exciting ways to share, learn and grow. Let's use it to celebrate our lives on this planet together!

This is my entry for the 'Tagged' contest by 'The Chennai Bloggers Club'. 'Tagged' is a new book releasing this May by debut author Kaarthika. Here is the link to pre order the book -… .

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Speaking on Stage

About a month back, I gave a talk on women in technology. This is the blog edition where I pretty much describe how the day went.

First of all, I was very excited when I was approached to give a talk on something that I'm passionate about. I was also touched by the confidence the organizers had in me even though they had never heard me talk.

I started preparing for it, in true Indian student style, two days before the day. I had spent more time sharing pics than I had in actually preparing for the talk. That guilt surged in me and I worked hard to produce the best talk I can.

I enjoy talking on stage. I have a stage accent, that may be borderline annoying to people who aren't used to it, but to me, it sounds of dignity and assertion. I had thought-provoking questions, an element of comedy and a few slides. My theme was to point out that there is a requirement to reach out to women, give out true stories and present alternate societies in a compelling way.

With all these intentions, I arrived at the venue and predictably got lost. By the time I found my way, the lift wasn't working. Welcomed auspiciously thus, I walked into the venue. I was one of the first people to arrive.

Nobody is going to come. At this stage, I became nervous. No matter what the situation was going to be in front of me, a packed audience or a desert without a fly or a crow, I was nervous.

Finally, the event started to about a 120-member strong audience. The first speaker spoke so casually about her life and I was astounded by many similarities. But much to my chagrin, this was not a formal talk! There she was jumping on heels and pretty much connecting with the audience. I started taking mental notes. I realized my formal self is not going to fly with this audience.

However, I'm somebody who plans out every detail in my mind's eye. To change my approach completely in the last moment made my blood pressure shoot up! I delved into the chaotic mass of memories and pulled out bits of stand-up comedy, initial attempts at English and school and a bit of a gossipy voice I heard somewhere and strung together an accent. I think it made me more relatable.

Well, I started off without a mike and nobody could hear me at the back. Years of being appointed leader in school has given me a loud voice albeit it is often mellowed down due to a lack of confidence. With a silent exhalation where I imagined my fears disappearing, I started once again.

The rest is history. I was talking about me, things that matter to me. The words came effortlessly. Yes, the audience was laughing, they were catching my eye, they were paying attention, with every passing slide my confidence soared. Before this experience, any attempt at me being funny would be an abysmal fail because the intersection of the things I find funny and what others find funny is usually the null set.

At the end of it all, I enjoyed the questions. They brought out facets of my character that I had hitherto not explored.

I'm really happy to have had this experience. I had a lot of positive feedback after the talk. As a person, I also feel like I'm steadily improving my emotional stability with personal altering experiences like this.

Kudos to Swathi and Karthik from Skcript who invited me for the Google Women Tech Maker's event. Everybody was a winner that day!

To sum up, I am grateful to my parents and teachers who refused to give up on my painful shyness and pushed me on to the stage. It is on stage that I learned to face my fears and it is there that I learned that I can help conquer others' fears as well.