Some of you may remember the piece I wrote in October about WhatsApp being an out of control monster because of the jokesters who flood the app.
Just like Mr. Kejriwal and his cohorts, who are now more entertaining than any other reality show on television, I am amazed at my complete U-turn on this. I still don’t post jokes, but…
It started innocuously. On Dec 27th, a few of us from the 82 batch of LTMMC met up at MIG Club for dinner. Sometime during that dinner party we came up with a plan to hold a communal 50th birthday party in January 2015.
On Saturday afternoon, I put together a small WA group of those who were to be involved in organizing the 2015 event. While I was doing this, I realized I had the numbers of at least another 15–20 batch mates and I added them too. The groups just exploded. By Sunday afternoon, we had clocked 300 messages. A few friends gave me some more numbers to add and by Sunday evening we had hit the group limit of 50. Three weeks later, we are still at an average of 200 odd messages a day.
Daytime belongs to those in India. By noon, the UKites join in. By late evening, the Americans jump in. By midnight, the Indians are off and the UK and American residents keep the group alive, along with the one odd Australian, until the Indians wake up. And so on…
I haven’t seen this volume and chatter on any other WA group. And I suspect this has a lot to do with who we are and where we come from.
People don’t really change, though the masks we wear multiply and become more refined the older we get and the less we know the people we work with or meet socially.
We were 100 when we joined, whittled down to 80 odd when we passed 3rd MBBS. Like all batches, we made friends, fought, fell in love, broke up, formed groups, lied, cheated, helped, shared, stole and competed. Most of us were together for 8 1/2 years, which is too long a time to be able to wear any kind of mask. By the time we finished, all of us had been stripped off all pretences and we got to know each other quite thoroughly, some more, some less.
We then went our separate ways, some in touch, some not, a few individuals cutting themselves off completely from their past. With Facebook and email groups, some of us did reconnect, but sporadically and without much intimacy.
Now we are older, touching 50 and perhaps a shade wiser. Most of us seem to have mellowed, with kids in their teens or already young adults, slowing down at work and with some spare time to boot.
While I have my school, galli and junior college friends where I can be myself, it is refreshing to connect with another group of friends, in whose company, we can let our masks slip off for at least some time each day. Facebook doesn’t count since it is by itself another mask. WA on the other hand allows us to drop our guard, without having to bother about who will stumble upon our posts and conversations.
I don’t know how long our WA group will stay alive the way it currently is. But at least for the time being, every very few hours, I look forward to checking who is saying what to whom and staying abreast and updated…with a big smile on my face.