Forward/Backward or what?

Somethings move forward or go backward. Word forward elucidated the movement or a player’s position in Hockey or Football. A country was developed or under developed, sometimes called backward. But as things change in life the meanings of words change too. Now the word forward implies the action of sending a message, received by someone, to the next person or a group (mostly in a hurry!) on WhatsApp!

This word has become very important in our lives but it brings out different emotions from various people. Persons are so excited on WhatsApp that if they receive a message and they like it, in their excitement, they are very uncomfortable if message is not forwarded. It is like a game of pass the parcel! They will not even bother to check if the message has been recently forwarded on the same group. I have seen same message forwarded on the same group, by different people, within 2 to ten minutes of each other, five times! Have these folks read the forwarded message..nah.. no way (in most cases)

Some are very uncomfortable if too many forwards are received by them. As in life, in this new medium of WhatsApp, there are likes & dislikes, pros and cons of doing various things. We are all learning to live in harmony. I feel that a good idea will be to define a “Forward”.

My definition of a Forward” is as below.

A message received by a person

o   Which cannot be verified

o   Message in which the sender may not believe- people find a way out by saying “forwarded as received”. To me all forwards are “forwarded as received”.

o   Which is known not to be proven or proven in a small sample size

o   So called stories assigned to dignitaries

o   Anything derogatory to a race, religion or to political persons

o   Suddenly flooding with 10/20/30 messages on the same subject

o   Suddenly remembering old unknown patriots with some unknown stories and glorifying them.

o   Glorifying India’s greatness by discussing things from mythology and trying to prove how we were scientifically advanced.

o   Jingoistic stories of patriotism

o   And many more

What according to me is not a forward?

An article, poem, painting created by an individual is not a forward. In a close group of friends, relatives sharing a link about something of common interest is not a forward. For example in an alumni group if they share some news link about the Alma Mater or about a classmate, I will not treat it as a forward. Sharing a link about some new things of current common interest for example “cashless transactions” is a non-forward. But sharing old story link of recession in 2008 will be a forward. Of course this statement can be challenged and there could be improved suggestions. It’s about trial and error being done on a new medium. Sharing normal news items is a big no no! Suddenly you start getting so called home photos where Jayalalitha supposedly lived? Why would groups be interested in such photos? You may suddenly get a battery 20 photos giving details of home remedies! Oh come on! Every family has its home remedies!

There is always a question asked if we cannot send “forwards” what do we do on a group? Well on one group I see that people put puzzles and discuss them and dissect them for a couple of hours to many hours. On the same group suddenly a discussion started about the hostel stay from college time. If there is a will one can discuss many different topics but people always want to find an easy way out. On some groups people discuss songs, one of the friends is a painter who shares his paintings with others. Some people share photos taken by them or their family members.

Advent of WhatsApp has proliferated Ultracrepidarian – it is pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise. At the same time the “non-forward” group objects to information, link, article shared by an expert in that field. This is treated as breaking the rule!  I understand that it is tough to find a golden mean.There is a sudden proliferation of people who have become experts on demonetization, in medical field, internet, and old mythology, Shivaji, lately on Jayalalitha and on majority of the subjects existing on the earth. This is because they just “forward” messages on any of the subjects. When challenged they get very excited and try to defend the forwards without any knowledge on the subject. When all their arguments fail they go to the last resort “Forwarded as received”. I tried to question this “Forwarded as received” by someone, I asked him if you did not believe in a message why did you forward it? He replied, “Just in case it is right, it may be useful to someone!” I had no argument on this statement. I am talking about the persons who are professionals and who have worked in large organizations and have seen the world. The interesting aspect is they don’t “own” the forward so why the need to justify? Ego?

The suggestion of non-forwards group is fought valiantly with freedom of speech argument! But what about freedom of not receiving stuff which is not sent by known people, which is not verifiable, which cannot be proven? At the end, non-forward thinkers can prevail only if they are patient, persistent and logical.  

I will finally tell a story of extent to which people go and try to prove things and create stories and forwards out of the same. A story suddenly started circulating on WhatsApp about Shivthar Ghal, a valley in which Ramdas swami, Shivaji’s guru, lived. The story came with a website link about the valley. The story said that this Valley is a very special space and world’s ultimate place, where no signals from anywhere in the world reach. Ok I agree and be done with it. But story does not end there. It says that Ramdas swami wrote the treaties, Dasbodh, in the valley because of the ultimate peace the valley provided, as no signals could reach the valley. To prove this, a so called satellite signal scientist Bhopale was created. He is supposed to have tested with 24 satellite devices that no signals reached the valley. A curious person will naturally write to the website about apprehensions. They had engineer available to reply to such queries in a scientific language so that one felt that well may be it is possible! Ramdas Swami died in the year 1681! My current tools, including Google, are still searching which type of signals were present in Shivthar Ghal at that time.  When there were no signals there was peace anyway! When you drive through a long tunnel, you lose your FM signal, is it not?



Modern world is changing so rapidly that whatever was thought politically correct till very recently, is turning topsy-turvy. I am sharing a poem below which is very appropriate.

Topsy-turvy Land

by H. E. Wilkinson

The people walk upon their heads,
The sea is made of sand,
The children go to school by night,
In Topsy-Turvy Land.

The front-door step is at the back,
You’re walking when you stand,
You wear your hat upon your feet,
In Topsy-Turvy Land.

And ‘buses on the sea you’ll meet,
While pleasure boats are planned
To travel up and down the streets
Of Topsy-Turvy Land.

You pay for what you never get,
I think it must be grand,
For when you go you’re coming back,
In Topsy-Turvy Land.

Similar thoughts came to my mind when I read in the papers recently that, Amruta Fadnavis wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister dancing with THE Amitabh Bacchan for a video being shot! Ok you will argue that Bacchan danced with her because she is CM’s wife! Of course it is obvious but then it goes with the territory. Once you are in the stratosphere of social circle, you remain there as much as you can. Now what is topsy-turvy is that banker Amruta Fadnavis is turning into a dancer for a video, simultaneously! I am absolutely happy that Amruta is attempting this move. Now how does Axis Bank take to their VP openly moonlighting for a filmy video? During bank timings she sanctions loans or does whatever bankers do in the bank; do waiting customers see her video, on bank waiting lounge entertainment TV , while they wait for their meeting with her? This creates an interesting scenario. I am absolutely for women doing whatever they want to do as professionals, so on that front I have no problems. But how will Axis Bank handle this? This is the topsy-turvy I am talking about. Let’s see how this moves forward.

This topsy-turvy trend had started somewhat when Vilas Rao Deshmukh was the CM and his actor Son Riteish stayed with him. Deshmukh faced the wrath of people when a film maker Ram Gopal Varma tagged with him to take a round of devastated Taj Hotel during 26/11 terrorist attack.

Then we have Mr. Trump winning the US presidential election. Trump the man who made below the belt, rough, nasty, ugly political statements and was supposed to be also ran. Everybody said there is no way he can win the election. The topsy-turvy happened and now he is President Elect! Till very recently everybody was talking of globalization but Trump’s inward looking policies have hit a raw nerve. When he talks of getting jobs back to US, not allowing any more jobs to be moved out of the US, globalization gets tossed out of the window. I recently read a book “Hilly Billy Elegy by J D Vance; this book explains the inward looking phenomena and its reasons. Trump does not say these things discretely and is proposing them openly. Same about his statement regarding Muslims.

Same inward looking stance was never visualized by outsiders in Britain but during Brexit it came out and ensured the vote to take Britain away from European Union. A few years back this was unthinkable. How is the world going to handle such topsy-turvy scenarios?

Till 8th November “Cash is King” was the motto in India! We loved to do everything in cash. According to some experts cash kept the wheels of the economy greased! Biggest topsy-turvy as far as we are concerned happened. The demonetization, a frontal attack on strong black-money hoarders was unthinkable even a few days before 8th November. I have seen the world of certain people turning topsy-turvy in an unthinkable manner. Similar attempts were made in olden days but were damp squibs. In days of KYC, Aadhar card linking, direct linking of TDS to PAN card, in short various forms of electronic linking are going to make it very tough for people to hide their undeclared incomes. People have said that Govt had no plan and acted without going into details. It is not so they have an action group which is creating new methods of helping people to overcome tough times, at the same time making it difficult for defaulters to hide behind Jandhan Yojana!

All the events mentioned above have happened in the year 2016 which can be considered as watershed year. One may argue that where does Amruta Fadnavis story fit in these other major events? Yes it does. It’s changing the definition of political correctness. Will be it ok for a lady Collector of a District to give public dance recitals as she is trained dancer too! Is it ok for Senior Vice President of a large Private organization to be in advertisement as he/she started their career as a model? Or you need to be CM’s wife to be able to do both? Trump the candidate and Trump the President, will they be speaking the same language, the so called politically incorrect ones? Because when President says some such thing it becomes a policy! Friends I think we are at a very interesting phase in this world of topsy-turvy changes so let’s see how it works out in the end. I am sure 2017 will be even more interesting!