Sunday, May 20, 2007

O for Orkut

Google has a company policy which allows its engineers "20 percent time" in which they're free to pursue personal projects which aren't necessarily related to their official assignments.
This according to Google creates a healthy environment for creativity to prosper.
Of course our Indian companies need not come up with such policies as we already spend around 35% of our time in office on our personal interests and an additional 45% on that of our colleagues'.

Anyway one of the employees of Google made use of this time to create a networking site which he not very modestly named after himself Orkut.
Thankfully he chose to leave out his surname Büyükkökten from the address of the site as having to type in the text www.orkutBüyükkö each time to log into a socialising and networking site would have soon led many to severe demophobia and chronic depression.

Soon after the public release of the site, it was alleged by his previous employer, Affinity Engines, that he had created something similar while he was working in their company and they filed a lawsuit against Google claiming that the code of Orkut was infact theirs.
Rumours have it that Google pulled a few strings here and there, bribed a few judges, kidnapped a handful of relatives of the CEO of Affinity Engines and thus amicably settled the lawsuit out of court.
It is such gentlemanly behaviour of these large companies that must truly be appreciated.

Orkut surely has come a long way since then.
In early April 2007, the number of users having an Orkut profile was over 49 million, majority of whom hail from Brazil and India- two visionary countries who are contemplating laws which would soon make it a criminal offence for its citizens to not have an orkut account.

Nowadays in our Hindi film industry, they do not anymore make movies of the type of "Yaadon ki Baarat" (The Bridegroom's party of Memories) where 3 brothers, separated at childhood recognise each other and finally reunite after around 20 years by singing that common song which their composer and lyricist mother had so affectionately taught them just minutes before she was shot dead by masked dacoits. So ecstatically did they come running to embrace each other after thorough mutual verification of the lyrics from a distance that one would have to be a true stone-hearted demon or an employee of my company to not shed a tear at this emotional reunion.
(While true stone-hearted demons do not cry, we in our company exhaust all our tears on the days we get our salary.)

In one of the other masterpieces, the elder brother takes a very difficult vow to never have anything to do with water again as he had been separated from his kid brother while he had gone to fetch some drinking water for him !!
No wonder that they named that movie Haath ki Safai or Cleanliness of the Hands.
(See, tissues never really caught the fancy of the Indian public.)

Anyway Orkut addresses such potential hardships brilliantly.

No longer do you have to rely on songs and fortune to find your long lost loved ones. A simple search in Orkut is all that you need, for there is rarely anyone who does not have a profile page in Orkut today.
What accounts for its huge popularity is probably the concept of open profiles where anyone and everyone can browse and read your personal messages, take a peek at your photo albums and drop in their own messages as well.
(No Ma, they cannot wash my dishes and do the cooking for me.)

This unique opportunity to discreetly invade the privacy of other people under the pretension of socializing was too good to let go. Quite naturally you would come across many known faces while carelessly wandering around here and there.

There are many kinds of characters that you would meet in this wonderfully interesting forum some of which are discussed below:

The Evolutionary kind:
Do you faintly remember that fat kid from junior school who used to fervently dig his nose with all his ten fingers as if in anticipation of excavating some gold from there? He is there in orkut and has pictures with a lady so beautiful that you would want to go back to those days and dig his nose for him, for maybe just an introduction with her.

The Missed-the-boat kind:
The doe-eyed girl who gave you those coyish and inviting looks in your tuition class but whom you could never manage to ask out is also there. You look at her album and there is a wonderful photograph where she is seen hugging a cute chimpanzee in a beach in Pattaya.
While you are admiring her love for wildlife, a small caption below the photograph saying 'Me and my cho chweet husband' would affect your attention momentarily.

The Friends:
This extremely interesting creed is in abundance in orkut. Frustration is given a new dimension by this junta. All you need is a name resembling a female and if you have a picture as well then you are done for.
The brigade would march up in full force to pay their respects.
Some actual extracts are jotted below.

First Stage:
Scrap - "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii girl king wanna ur freind"

Scrap - "I know I m stranger 4 u.may b u have some problem to b my friend.
I think friendship is the word which introduce two strangers and bond them in a lovely relation called “FRIENDSHIP”."
(Wow did anyone know this about friendship???)

Scrap - " are you ya.i am dude from Kurnool no.i want to be your friend ya.
if you agree than
........plzzz reply me
else if dont agree than
........also plzz reply me ya
else I sorry no.
(Syntax Error: Endif statement Missing !!! And is this guy from Kurnool or not ?)

Intermediate Stage
Scrap - "Why no I not coal?
(No,you are bitumin and tar my friend... why restrict yourself to just coal!)

Scrap - "I think I have wastting my time,by disturbing you.........
anyways,if you can`t reply......delete your self."
(Just how exactly does one delete oneself ????)

Final stage
My personal favourite in this category is this one

Scrap - "wat a person u r guess i the guy...........................anways wats up ........................???"
(Last ditch efforts by attacking the ego I guess)

And did I read somewhere that Orkut is an old Turkish word that means city of happiness, pleasure, joy and luck ?????

There is then this concept of communities where a group of people with some common interests get together to share and discuss views on a common platform.
So we have varied communities like Funny incidents in Dentistry (2,559 members), I hate Greg Chappel (2,885 members), Down with Apostrophe Abus'e! (721 members), A Glass of water (5,653 members), Alcohol improves my english (4,059 members), George Bush´s Penis (853 members !!!!), Men are big pigs! (109 members ), Why are girls so dumb? (1,855 members), This Is Not A Community (65,938 members) and so on.

Indeed this is a motley and colourful congregation here and for people like me who are reluctantly social,this site is just the answer to our prayers.
No more do you have to go through lengthly telephone calls or emails to get to the point.
Scrapping is the new Mantra !!!
"Hi wanna frenship ?"