Ideamarked July2011: Social Networks, Twitter Talk & Internet Memes

Birthday month! Among my many gifts were a trip to The City of Joy, the last metro I’ve been to. I also had an article published in Marie Claire India this month and a post on FriendsOfBooks. That apart, I’ve been cooking, dressing up and having fun! Nothing much else to say I guess; happiness is simple!

  • Bizarre but funny, this Twitter baby will probably be the next internet meme. (via Twitter)
  • A striking review of Google Plus & Facebook (via StrikingArrow, link courtesy Pushpa). Also see my first thoughts on Google Plus.
  • My second post on books – let’s go ride a dragon, let’s find a vampire to bite, a broomstick to fly, a tree to talk to…let’s go hunt some troll!: ‘Fantasy For Beginners: 10 Books To Get You Started’ (via FriendsOfBooks)
  • Use the power of social media to give your career that edge! My article in this month’s issue of Marie Claire India ‘The Careerist: The Online Advantage
  • A funny metaphor on food (via Twitter)
  • A chilling story on how dreams are lost, by Sidin Vadukut (via Livemint, link courtesy Gautam Ghosh)
  • The world’s first matrimonial social network! What an idea! Login to Youpid
  • Former journalist & still a friend, Arcopol comments on the sad state of the profession he left behind. (via Twitter)
  • The Indian middle class is apparently responsible for a whole lot of things! (via Twitter)
  • An interesting look at India’s online celebrities, by Pinstorm founder, Mahesh Murthy. (via HindustanTimes)
  • A list of countries that an Indian passport-holder could travel to, visa-free. I didn’t realize there were so many of them! (link courtesy Mahesh Murthy)
  • Status update jokes are the new party trick. (via MakeUseOf)

From Island City To City Of Joy

I paid a flash visit to the City of Joy this month. Kolkata was the only major metro that I was not familiar with (I was born in Delhi, grew up in Mumbai, have family in Chennai and have stayed in Bangalore). Moreover, the artistic associations and all the many people I’ve loved, who hail from that place, beckoned.

One of my first thoughts was, the food was delicious! Everything from the roadside phuchka to the traditional home-cooked meal that I was served, to the maple syrupy pancakes I had for breakfast at a cafe across the street to the pop Chinese fare I devoured at a mall. We Mumbaikers really don’t know much about food, do we? Where’s the time for us to enjoy it when the train is 3 seconds away, when a bratty filmstar may come bearing down on us in our sleep, when terrorists may bomb our offices or our restaurants or even just mow us down on the roads? We live in perpetual fear and worry, a fact that’s glossed over and overglamorized when terror strikes the city with that hated phrase, ‘The Mumbai resilience’. Sometimes you need to leave home to understand where home really is. I don’t know if the City of Joy will ever be home to me but it certainly was a comfortable, welcome haven to me.

I was also delighted at the responses to my saying that I was a writer. Here, in Mumbai, that statement is met with an unimpressed (and disinterested), “Oh. Good, good.” with the obvious attitude of ‘That’s not really a job’. At best, I can hope to be mistaken for a script-writer since apparently that’s the only paying work for a writer and well-paid work is the only kind that matters to the average Mumbaiker. The people I met in Kolkata, instead, asked about my writing, talked to me about literary influences and were genuinely interested in what the world was like for a contemporary writer.

I came back to a birthday and overwhelming gestures of affection from friends and family. For perspective, that very evening, bombs exploded across South Mumbai and my phone, thus far buzzing with birthday wishes was innundated with phone calls checking on my safety. Mumbai, how long can I continue to call you home when I don’t even feel safe here anymore?

Much happened, all of which I’m still processing. But Kolkata gave me memories of a pleasant (well, not literally, the weather was sweltering) laidback city of delicious food and gentle people going about minus the stress I see in my own city.While I collect my thoughts, here are two distinct images I caught on Marvin:

Proudly displayed on the wall of an ice-cream parlour:

Spotted pasted on the walls of a bylane.

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