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April, 2009:

Internet is about punching in emoticons and !!!!

The best thing about all technological developments at the consumer level is that it is constantly evolving, which is to simply say that all the products available in the market right now are all tremendously outdated and we are fools to invest our money and intelligence on them. The irrefutable rule of the market is: If a product is available then it has to be obsolete.

Take for instance something called Pager, which was introduced to us as cutting edge technology, a sterling breakthrough in communication that was to deliver to us 21st century in 20th century itself. So we morons all went out and shelled wads and wads of rupees acquiring that little thingie which we were all sure would stand us in good stead for the rest of our lives. And now, don’t even try to remind us what happened after that. All of us who bought them are now trying to create a picture that we never owned them in the first place. The little thing is now probably tucked in some forlorn corner in our closet, sharing space with those Discmans, Polaroid cameras and VCRs, all that were once shining symbols of our sharp intelligence and refined taste but today reduced to being simple scars of our stupidity. We shudder the thought that we once owned them with unlimited pride. Technology, as we agreed, keeps proving what we essentially are: Fools of the highest order.

But don’t lose heart and stop reading the column further (This does not apply to all those not reading this piece. They have to lose heart). The smart thing is to be ahead of the technological curve. For this, we have to figure out what this damn ‘technological curve’ is. It is quite simply one of the usages that tired journalists resort to whenever they want to show off some verbal hi-jinks. The same sentence will read all right even without the term ‘technological curve’: ‘The smart thing is to be ahead.’ See, I told you nah?

But now we have to tackle this ‘verbal hi-jinks’ and understand what the hell it tries to mean. Remember the first principles: Remove the words that don’t make any meaning. So the sentence will make perfect sense even when it is read: It is quite simply one of the usages that tired journalists resort to whenever they want to show off.

This is also the roughly the same idea that make up much of modern technology: All that is difficult and impossible to figure out is not worth figuring out in the first place.

Let’s take internet for example. Internet, as we all know, is that branch of technology that has become such a rage across the world as because it allows for the usage of symbols and keys that we wouldn’t otherwise have known why they were featured on the keyboard.

Till internet came about nobody in the world would have felt the need to use ‘@’. Nobody knew what it was and how it was pronounced. And then internet came and gave a new life to ‘@’. Now, if you take out ‘@’ from the keyboard the entire internet industry will come crashing down. This is the power of technology!

Ditto with other hideous hieroglyphics (don’t worry, the last two words don’t make much sense and just ignore them) like #, ^ and * . Now, not only we use #, ^ and * with authoritative gusto, but whenever we feel that our vocabulary needs enhancement we delve into the rich panoply of emoticons that come handily attached with any application for writing.

Emoticons, if you don’t know, are the leering faces not dissimilar to the ones painted garishly on pumpkins that the superstitious use to ward off the evil eye in these parts. Somebody seems to have photocopied those pumpkin faces and put out on the internet. Naturally such things become an instant hit on the Web.

If you are happy and for some reason want to announce to your friends that you are happy, you should not just tell that you are happy. On the internet, the written rule to write such sentences is: hey guys, I am feeling happy () !!!! (Internet people, needless to say, use lots of exclamation marks. Shakespeare in his entire career perhaps used 33 exclamation marks in today. Today that it is roughly the supply to compile a single paragraph on an email).

And your friends will know exactly how to decipher your message: They will disregard all the words, and from the emoticon, which infuses the sentence with all the meaning and grammar, will comprehend that you are indeed happy. But if you had written: hey guys, ‘I am feeling happy () !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,’ your friends will understand that you are actually unhappy. As you can say, it is a strict no-no to say anything directly on the internet.

Let me amplify with another example: If you say ‘Barkha Dutt is a moron’ and attach an emoticon to it, like this: ‘Barkha Dutt is a moron ()’, all the world will understand that Barkha Dutt is a moron but you are just saying that in jest without any malice. By this way you escape being slapped with a defamation suit, which is a distinct possibility if you had just said ‘Barkah Dutt is a moron’ without the pithy presence of the wide and senseless smile that this () mug stands for.

‘http://’ was another of internet’s fixation not long ago. What those ‘://’ stood for is anybody’s guess. Probably they were the semiotic substitute for an emoticon. You never know. Anyway, now nobody knows where it has gone. Probably it has taken an VRS or something similar.

If you are still wondering whether we will get to the point of this article, which is to understand technology, well, we will: In the new upgraded version of Crank’s Corner, which shall be named Crank’s Corner Plus.

If you had understood technology by now, which is all about introducing the same product in seemingly new versions, what you will find next week is an announcement for Crank’s Corner Supreme Plus.

So see you next week () !!!!@#!!!!!!!!!!! (Lol).

(This is the column I wrote for my publication this week).