Sarahahaha

Sarahah-rich

Okay, so Sarahah has taken over social media, which is weird for an app that guarantees anonymity to users. Like Gujarat tourism being endorsed by Kingfisher.

Getting back to Sarahah, my Facebook wall this week has been plastered with turquoise green screenshots – until then I thought turquoise was a mythical colour.

I don’t get it. First you ask for feedback with the guarantee of anonymity. Poor gullible feedback provider (PGFP, for short) takes time out to fill in some shit, and literally it can be any shit – lovey dovey messages, giveaways of how he stalked you, spiteful venom, uncle-esque advice. Could be anything. Well dude, PGFP must be saying, you asked for it, so now suck it up. Bhugto. Being faceless in the virtual world is an aphrodisiac; words surge from his fingers. Going by the content, I can’t say they surge from the brain but that’s another thread to be discussed at another time.

And then PGLP hits the send button. Reveling in his secret identity. The receiver in all his wisdom shares the feedback publicly. Ghanta anonymity. If the sender’s name was listed, he might have even tagged him publicly.

What a simple way to receive feedback, yes? I mean, it must be really complicated for person A to ask person B for feedback. Probably because, it involves an actual conversation. And there’s listening involved. That’s way too difficult. So fuck this shit, why not have an app for this. Because that way I can give you feedback without being burdened by responsibility. Wow, this must be what utopia looks like.

But of course, it’s not all that bad. Calm down, I tell my skeptical self. It can be fun even if I don’t participate. I can be the audience this freak desperately needs. So I grab some popcorn, sit back and keep scrolling through these screenshots.

All those souls who are sending, receiving and screenshotting those blue green messages, thank you for all the entertainment.

The man who shrank the earth

Prompt: Write from the point of view of a person who changed the course of history.

You might know me
and my friend Larry.
If you don’t,
you can just google, haha.
Who knew a research project would take us this far?
We connect bits of information scattered over the earth,
Melt it in one large crucible,
And fuse it, make it accessible
to everyone at a click or a touch.

Don’t be evil, that’s our motto,
the Chinese though, treat us with a mountain of caution.
We don’t need your checkin.
We’ll still track your location
when you are at places you don’t want to be seen.
Your neighbour might not catch you,
but we will, trust me.

We know what you’re looking up the internet for,
yesterday it was ‘How to get over my ex’,
today you keyed in ‘How should I sext?’
Easy man, I was only kidding,
that’s not what you looked for, I know.
We don’t mess with your privacy, bro.
If you still have doubts, use incognito.

My vision goes beyond Search.
Soon we’ll produce energy that won’t drain the earth
and self driven cars and tourists in space, we’ll foresee what you’ll need in the next decade.
Our bots will learn from your data,
The AI will train you late-ah.

Again, your history’s safe, you can be certain,
Wait, you want to know what goes on behind the curtain?

Okay bye.

Written all in jest from the pov of Sergey Brin. Of course, you guessed that, didn’t you? 😉

NaPoWriMo 2017, poem 19

Faking it!

So, Faking News published this piece I wrote after the incessant rain in Bangalore this week.

Fishing poised to replace IT as Bengaluru’s top industry

Any more heavy showers next week, and we might see water sports mushrooming in the city too.

How to be a smartphone

1. Connect to hundreds (or thousands, if you can) of other smartphones through Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram. For the definition of a smartphone, read the rest of this list.

2. See a fraction (say 10%, not more) of population in point 1 in real life.

3. Love yourself. Befriend the selfie, and if possible the velfie. Aspire to be the new-age Narcissus. You may not be alone in this quest, but you will survive the cut-throat competition. Whatever happens, strive to be the best.

4. Brighten the Narcissus halo by broadcasting daily snippets from the life of your companion (a.k.a. smartphone owner). From the time said companion wakes up till he crashes to bed. If you wish to be a smarter smartphone, automate to broadcast events during sleep.

5. Load yourself with apps that improve productivity, which in turn will give you more time to spend on said apps.

6. Buzz / beep every minute to remind your companion of your existence.

7. Capture companion’s data w/o his knowledge so it can be reused to create his digital clone. Flesh and bones can be loaded later.

8. Guide companion when he’s lost. I mean geographically. For help with any other kind of lost, point him to Google.

9. Become companion’s soulmate. To do this, follow steps 2-8.

100 Days of Happy Poems, Poem 4

Name mangling

No, this post is not about the name mangling that programming language compilers do. This is about a much more profound occurrence.

whats_in_a_name

On April 30, 1981, a young man named his new-born son after the West Indian pace bowler Malcolm Marshall. That young man was my father; the new-born turned out to be yours truly.

I wonder if my father hoped to unearth in me a tearaway pace bowler, teeming as the Indian cricket team was in those times, with amblers like Roger Binny and Madan Lal, that even Kapil Dev was considered a quickie. No pun intended. I figure Carvalho Sr. must have realized how misplaced that aspiration was by the time I entered my teens. Let’s just say I ‘bowled’ at a pace that would have made Rajesh Chauhan appear medium fast and Venkatesh Prasad look express quick. If you don’t remember, or worse don’t know, who Chauhan or Prasad are, please write in to Saqlain Mushtaq or Aamir Sohail respectively, for details.

I digress. So letting down a nation’s fast bowling expectations was still okay. Till I left school, Malcolm was pronounced just the way it is. If you don’t know how that sounds, stop reading further and google it right now. There was the occasional Hindi teacher who would call me Mohammed, or even Makarand. That though was just the beginning of the twisting my name would be subject to. Entering college, my name was put through the wringer with all permutations applied to the two syllables that make it up. Mal-column was one, Maal-kum was another. Add to it my surname Carvalho and you get maal kum carvalho. It did not help that I was emaciated enough to justify the epithet. Sometime after graduating, I discovered the European pronunciation of my surname, and would proudly tell people how Carvalho was to be said as Carvaliyo. Well, as you can expect, as I now do in hindsight, this did not better things. Maal-kum-carvaliyo sounds just like the past tense of Maal-kum-carvalho.

I then thought of avoiding my full name altogether and using just my initials to sign off emails. Yours truly, MC. Some readers thought this was short for M@darch0d and directed all subsequent emails from me to their Spam folder. The more puritanical ones clicked on Report Abuse.

Perhaps I should have had a more common name. Like Prem. Prem as in the Rajshri movies. But then, Prem could also mean Prem Chopra. Or, what if I had been named like one of these guys here? Maybe I should just be thankful for small mercies.