AF and BF!

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them!

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The caricatures will indicate the subject of my blog!

AD‘ is the initials of the Latin words anno domini, which means “Year of the Lord” – in other words, (approximately) the number of years since the birth of Jesus. The modern equivalent is ‘CE’, which means “Common Era”. ‘BC” is the initials of the English words “before Christ” – a way of counting backwards in time before the current era. But now new terminologies have come up, BF is Before Facebook and AF is After Facebook. Facebook started in 2004 February and WhatsApp in Jan 2009. They have made a great revolution in our lives.

These technologies churned out because of two behemoths of the modern technology, Internet and Cell phone. As normally happens, FB &WA changed our methods of communications totally. These helped us to locate old friends, long lost pals! Everybody was thrilled. We got controls in our hands and we could communicate with anybody and everybody, anytime, be it midnight or be it noon!

In 70’s the communication with each other was by mail and telephones; telephones in our part of the world were a rarity. There was methodology and etiquettes, in their usage,  which were established over a period of time. There were certain etiquettes for business letters and there were some for personal letters. World over, the postal departments were doing the job of delivering the mail. This conventional mail slowly came to be known as snail mail as the time taken for a letters to reach was 3 to 6 days within the country and 3 to 4 weeks in foreign countries.

Slowly with internet came e mail, personal telephones called cell phones became available. But these technologies also came up slowly in nineties! In the 21st century two technologies started galloping and these proliferated world over. In India cell phone usage has increased at the break neck speed. From the same two technologies were born FB and later WhatsApp! Once people realized how easy it is to use FB &WA, the numbers simply became billions! Another thing that helped was increase in Internet speed and Bandwidth, added to it was the local language availability. Video calls became possible as easily like voice calls. We think that these developments happened suddenly but technology does not work this way. These developments of Video on cell phone had started in the year 2000/2001. In 15 years, better hardware, software and Internet changed the face of the technology.

How was this useful to human race? I can say that, had this technology been available before 2nd world war, it was possible that Hitler could have won the war. He had a very fierce propaganda machine led by Goebbels but with FB & WA his reach could have been global. There were enough desperados in this world, who would have joined Hitler!

I don’t want to flood you with statistics about usage of these two apps and all apps in general. From what I have checked on the net the time spent is between 2 to 4 hours in working and retired people; the same use is even more in student community.

https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/whatsapp-statistics/

I have noted that usage of these apps has increased during the time in offices, office time which is supposed to be productive. I go to various industries and the new trend is that people still seem to be busy, but many are busy looking at their cell phones. These organizations prohibit access to the social media apps on their office computers but with smart phone prices spiraling down, large number of people can afford smart phones. Access to these apps on personal phones cannot be stopped. Once we were waiting to meet a senior officer in an organization. We were told that he is busy in a conference call. He was sitting in a designated area. We passed by that area two or three times; every time he was busy on his cell phone screen. Never saw him talking on phone.

Social issues created by these apps are worse (loss of productivity, loss of family time) than the advantages offered by them. Out of 3 to 4 hrs time spent on these apps, important time is eaten away from “family time”, after reaching home.  Of course, the whole family is busy looking at the screen! The so-called group usage of WA is a curse. More than 90% messages are forwards! This facility has been used for spreading rumors and has resulted in killings of people, based on rumors in India. WA is struggling to prevent this from happening, under government pressure!

 

I will share some experiences with you. The above caricatures show how today’s lovers enjoy, they don’t look into each others eyes but.. at their own cell phone screen! The other day a couple came home for coffee. After usual, hi and hellos the gentleman got busy on his cell phone. After more than five minutes he had to be bluntly asked if he came to our home to check his WA messages? Once we had gone out for a family dinner with young family gang. One of the kids, 20 years old was addicted to her cell phone. She was sitting opposite me. After 15 minutes or so, I told her to put the cell phone away as we were having a lovely dinner. After that episode she avoids me in family get togethers. How do we resolve this?

Now I am semi-retired so it hardly is going to make any difference if I wasted time on FB/WA. But, I have decided that in future, I will access Facebook only on days when I publish my blog. (All these days publishing was automatic but FB does not allow automatic publishing from WordPress from 1/8/2018) I will communicate with friends on their birthdays/ and some special events privately, never on the wall.

On WhatsApp, I may be required to react on a couple of groups as I am Admin in one, and the other is our society group where I am the chairman. So, I will be accessing WhatsApp only once in a day, early mornings. Similarly, I will use WhatsApp to circulate my blogs only!

There was a movie called “Back to the future” which took the hero back to his parent’s school time zone. I am going “Back to Pre FB-days”. I have been trying it for last week or so and I am happy.

Please forward this blog or like it! My purpose for writing this is just to communicate with you by “New or maybe OLD” method of communication in future. After all there is life beyond Facebook and WhatsApp!

Retrospection!

Retrospect, take a breath and move forward!

One must always retrospect and analyze. This helps us to get good perspective and throws light on path we take in life, work, and thought process. This retrospection is  about my blogging and society in general! So here goes!

Vijay, my best critic after Jaya, told me yesterday that I am no more a blogger but a writer! For me, first and foremost is, I have tried to enjoy the love shared by all of you! Word Press gives me the statistics. When I started my journey in 2012, there were 21 visitors. In 2017 this number grew to 10500 views and in first seven months of 2018, it has reached 9500! Yes, my speed of publishing blogs has gone up but I feel that your love is increasing at a much faster pace. This puts more responsibility on me that I must continue to write the way all of you want it.

I keep on getting feedback through comments, through personal mails, on WhatsApp and by way of phone calls. Ganesh shared with me that one of my blogs was not up to the mark. I accept such comments with humility but my suggestion is please let me know where I can improve. Vijay said that sometimes there appears to be a bit of repetition. This happens when the subject is same but treatment is a little different. Like when I write on EV’s my blogs give incremental details, when I write about death and rituals additional thoughts come into picture. Like in the recent one I have suggested that we should respect the people who believe in following rituals though my views are opposite! This can sometimes cause repetition of points.

About my being a writer! Vijay, your yari puts me on a pedestal but blogger is some kind of a writer anyway. Blogs are personal views and they are conversational. I am somehow comfortable in this format. Cricket shaukin in me again makes me put some statistical data in front of you. My blogs are 1000 to 1200 words long. If we multiply by 258 blogs, I have churned out 2.6 lacs of words! Phew, I never realized that I have written so much! A friend of mine told me that there is always upside for everything. He said, “While you were writing, Jaya had peace of mind! You kept your mouth shut while writing!”

I have two bosses who help me in maintaining the quality of my writing! Shrikant Manel and Shashi Inamdar. There are of course faux pas from my side! Ever alert bosses inform me immediately and I quickly correct the errors. Errors are factual or language related. But these are simply not acceptable. Thanks, my bosses! I think now this is enough about yours truly!

Let’s move on to the retrospection of our society! In India, public places are, of course, public place. You can do whatever you feel like. The other day, I was waiting for someone at Tilak Smarak Mandir where there was a function to felicitate a renowned scientist. I was standing on the side for about half an hour, waiting to meet someone. I saw one troupe of Brass band. Every five minutes or so they would  start playing music really loudly.  The video below is for people who are not aware what a Brass Band is!

I tried to think why they were playing music at an interval. Then I realized that every time a dignitary arrived, the brass band would create a ruckus, called music. It was their way of welcoming the dignitary! After half an hour, I was almost hearing challenged! It looks like this is someone’s idea of welcome. I asked an official sitting in the office, an old man, about this. He said in surprised tone, “Oh, obviously this is to welcome our dignitaries!” (What an idiotic question, the smirk on his face told me the real meaning) With so much cacophony in our lives, do we need to add more? The program was organized by supposedly educated people.

A politician, builder cum land mafia boss abetted one of his business associates into committing suicide. Police filed a case against him but the boss simply “vanished”. How could police “find” him? Then he applied for anticipatory bail, from the lowest court and finally the Supreme court rejected his bail and asked him to surrender! While he went to surrender and was being taken to court, about 500 of his supporters assembled to  show moral support to him! I am not sure if there was a Brass Band to welcome him! Police have arrested him under the toughest possible Penal Code because of so many illegal things he has done. In our society, such people become celebrities, dignitaries and then maybe ministers! This has been happening in Bihar and UP for a long time. Should the society do something about it? Are we going to accept such people as our future leaders? Where do we go from here?

For last few weeks we see some groups of people trying to push the government for more benefits, under the garb of reservations! This is a political issue so I don’t want to make any political comment on this subject.  But there is one thing that no government can solve. Supreme court has given a decision that under no circumstance total number reserved seats for anything can exceed 50 %, and this number is already reached in all categories. But what about you and me, the common people? Are we not all the time being held at ransom?  One day milk supply is stopped, one day vegetable market is closed, another day wholesale market is closed. Do we not have right to live normal life? Some cities are forced to shut down and then the whole state is closed down. Who is government? It is you and me. It is made of people elected by you and me. Does it mean that democratic process is meaningless? Should these protests not be independent of party politics? Sometimes it looks like games played in view of forthcoming elections! Time has come for serious retrospection!

Another disturbing and dangerous trend is also seen during these protests. To push their agenda, some people have started committing suicides. We will never know why they took this drastic step. But the information that filtered says that they had financial difficulties in their lives. I can’t imagine that people become martyrs to overcome their personal difficulties. Age old question in case of suicides is what about others around you? What about your families? I am not a psychologist but I am not sure even the experts will be able to explain this phenomenon. In one incident, about 10 people tried to self immolate themselves but were somehow prevented from doing so! Such incidents bring in melancholy feeling.

Friends, all is not so bad with this world. This last one is pleasant and interesting story I read from Facebook. Two ladies from Pune-Mumbai area met on Facebook, a year and a half back. Their friendship bloomed. There is an age difference between them of about 15 years (this is my guess!). Within one year of their meeting, the older lady was detected with Cancer. Looks like it brought them even closer! They took a 15 day holiday in England together, recently. On the side they worked together and created their women’s clothing brand which is being kicked off soon! Wow, the speed with which friendship bloomed in tough times, the work done by them together in not an easy field, gives us an assurance that “All is well” in this world, like the song in the movie Three Idiots!

Its 150!

My musings on completing 150 blogs!

150

In cricket parlance, I have become a bit of Rohit Sharma. My century of blogs was completed on 13th August 2017, after about 3 ½ years of serious blogging. Before that, I used to just dabble in blogging. Today, 6th December, I am hitting next half century in about 3 ½ months! How did the scoring rate increase? It is mainly due to support from all of you! You have been praising, criticizing, pulling my legs. (Vijay Saheta is the puller in chief!) Sudhakar Sonavane has been giving his critical analysis and finding new meaning from what I write (sometimes I did not realize that there is such a deep meaning involved) He has analyzed what I have been writing with brief comments which themselves were Gems! Jaya and Priya always gave quick comments; Jaya said after one blog “Pramod, looks like you are boasting in this blog”! Priya once told me, “Baba, today’s blog is not as fluid as your usual writings!” This immediately made me think and fine tune! Anil Malik is another friend, a prolific blogger himself, responds quickly and almost always he is the first one to do so.

 These are the names of only some of the people who interact with me about the blogs but number of people who track my blogs is increasing day by day. They keep on sending their comments all the time. It appears that my blogs will get about 10000 hits in the year 2017. Thank you so much all of you! आप सभी का बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद!  With increase in frequency of my writing, I find that people find it difficult to keep track of my blogs.  I have now created a word document where I store the blog name with its link. I try to share this document with all every ten to fifteen days. But friends, you please store the link for the word document in a safe place. The document is saved in the cloud, on Microsoft One Drive. Any time you open the word document, latest updated blog links will be automatically available to you.

During my first century of blogs, I used to struggle to find right words, right thoughts and finesse! With practice, I think it has become a little easier for me to write the blogs, to choose subject but I still need the same time to fine tune in the end. Finesse, is never easy as the bridge players will tell you! I try my best, reasonable number of times I succeed, sometimes I am not so sure.

What subject people like is a mystery to me. I had a written a blog about Para normal behavior; it appears that it is all time favorite of people with 1500 plus hits! It was a good blog, but I never expected it to become all time hit! This was an experience  which I have seen from very close quarters, and it happened to someone in the family! Before this event, I had mainly read about it and seen it in public.

There is a lot of formal history written about blogging, there are definitions and there is information about blogging evolution and its different stages. But for me, blogging is putting on piece of paper what comes to my mind. Since I do not do it for commercial purpose, there is no business angle involved and there are no deadlines. My favourite subject is humans, their behaviour, their reactions! So much is happening all around the world, if I am able to capture tiniest of the part as a subject for my blog, I am happy. Best of the subjects come out of watching young kids. They are open, they are blunt, they are true, and they are innocent. They are closest to the nature during this phase. As we grow, we try and assimilate with the society. We “mature” and lose the abilities to be open, blunt and true! We always say or write things that are politically correct! This is the phase where we become cunning, we lie, and we hide our emotions. So many complications in life arise because of the new traits that we acquire! After watching situations, I am always asking How? Why? Who? Sometimes I get the answers but at times I don’t get them! This little brain storming for me is my blog.

Of course, sometimes I write about some technical things, but I try to write the same in non-technical language. When I write my blog on such subjects, I get opportunity to research, analyze and study the subject in detail. Sometimes I get the opportunity to gaze into future, e g I wrote a blog about Electric Vehicles which gave me ample opportunity to study the subject. Sometimes I just share my personal experiences. When I wrote about my cancer treatment the idea behind sharing the experience was the hope that it will help somebody to try and remain positive, take quick decisions about treatments. Sometimes, I am in the musing mode, sometimes I am very uneasy at apathy shown by people. I am always positive and gung ho about India and Indians in general; but sometimes they drive me crazy when I write Why? Why? Why? It is sheer frustration.

It has been a great journey with all of you my friends and let me thank all of you again from bottom of my heart with a humble request, “Please, please write to me, criticize me, flog me, pull my legs!” But don’t be silent about what I write! I come to know that you “read” my blogs; this is thanks to the technology used by WordPress which gives me statistics of clicks! This is a request is to all of you so that I improve further in my writings!

thank-you

My Favorite Blog!

I started blogging very casually in the 2011, honestly I do not know why! It was more of a start and stop journey in which there were more stops! Post my health issues in late 2013 and early 2014 my frequency of writing improved. I publish my blogs on Word Press and wordpress helps one understand how to increase the reach of the blogs. Slowly I started incorporating those suggestions and I find that reasonable number of people read my blogs, some of them comment also. I have good friends who are my Critiques; we discuss why I write something and why I write in a certain way. They also point out important points that I miss out! This tête-à-tête with friends encourages my grey cells to become more active, helps me understand and accept different point of view.

 Out of 100 plus blogs I have written the most viewed blog, to my surprise is, “Paranormal behavior or “Angat Yene” or “Devi Ana” was published on 17th July 2017. This is a blog about my first experience of a known person suddenly going in trance, during a religious program at home. That lady was like you and me but the change in her behavior and persona happened in front of our eyes. She went into trance and was behaving in the way that can be described as paranormal. She came out of it when the religious chanting got over; she was sweating profusely and looked visibly tired! Question that comes to my mind, why this blog is most viewed? Is it because of the subject? Is it because the way I have written it? I don’t think so, I have not done anything special in this blog! Is it the curiosity? Is it that as human population we secretly want to understand what paranormal behavior is? Is it that people were hoping that I will explain the mystery? Honestly I have not understood this phenomena at all. I thought it will be good idea to retrospect and analyze my other blogs!

In the very early stages of my blog writing, I had written one piece called “These are the few of my favorite things”! Similarly I am trying to find out “Few of my favorite blogs”! I am going to select a few which I like the best and why I like them. I request you to give your opinion too! I have written the name of the blog and the date on which it was published. When you go to my blog page panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com you will see on the right side the list of recent posts and & archives. The details I have shared, will make it easy for you to locate old blogs should you want to read them!

“Dance of Civilization” was written on 19th January 2016, is my most favorite blog. It is tricky and is like trying to find out which is your favorite child? I am like Dhritarashtra, father of Kaurava’s who had 100 children, now I have 100 plus blogs! Why this is my favorite blog? I felt that I was able to make a proper mix of life’s small events with philosophy! Along with this, I was able to mix up view point of a small child; in fact they have no view point, they do what comes to their mind! This is the advantage of not having any “experience” in life! The child’s slate is a blank one and they will express what comes to their mind. This can be understood where I discussed the different ways of entering the Mandir! Rhea my grand daughter sometimes just did not want to enter the Mandir, she was more interested in drainage cover, she was interested in tearing up tree leaves that had fallen on the ground. She was more interested in jumping in the water puddle! She was keen to see how the crow was drinking water from the puddle! With our life’s “experiences” we become too rigid, too ritualistic and too stiff! In the blog I was able to compare the child’s view of life and the adult’s view!

“God! Where are you?” 10th March 2016 is a blog about how people believe more in rituals rather than achieving their goal! It’s about a group of people singing their hymns in a Mandir! Obviously they are trying to achieve peace of mind or maybe they were trying achieve Niravna! Two things in this world are really pure, the nature and the children! While trying to achieve their goal, the group was  disturbed by joyous shouting of kids! I feel that if I get to watch small kids enjoying their evening games, everyday, I will achieve Nirvana! Recently we achieved Nirvana by enjoying the nature at its best for about two weeks! What more do you need? I felt that this group of people had lost their path hence the title “God! Where are you?”

“Life’s Speed breakers” 15th October 2015. I always feel that people should share all their experiences with others. This blog is about the sudden detection of cancer in December 2013. My discussing all the events as if it was a third party event, I have tried to keep things impersonal. Even if a few of those who read this blog are benefited by this blog, in handling life’s difficult events, I will feel that I have achieved my goal. In tough situations, it is the positivity of the family and friends, quick actions, trying to get the best possible solution is the key. In case of issue like Cancer, Dr. Maiyya, my radiation Oncologist told me that Doctors, Equipment, Medicines do a play a major part but he felt that it may not be more than 60/65%. Balance is positive attitude of patient, family and friends. Luck of course also plays a major role! I have used a story format, telling date wise events to make it brisk and more readable by keeping the reader interested!

Parijatak उर्फ Nyctanthes arbor-tristis 5th November 2014. We look at many things in life but we never give thought to things in understanding that each living thing has its own usefulness and in case of flowers, its color and fragrance. I was able to get perfect simile where I could compare human traits with those of flowers. I have compared exotic flowers with highly skilled humans like pilots, engineers and doctors. Flowers like Parijatak are common folks like artisans, carpenters and nurses. But life is complete only when these two traits come together! I felt that sometimes we forget one of groups, depending on which group you are in. But I thought that I was able to explain how’s and whys of working together of Heliconia’s and Parijatak’s of this world!

From being grounded to going Sky high 8th June 2014. This blog is written more than three years back. During this phase I feel that I was becoming a better writer. The subject of this blog is an event from life where I changed home; I moved from a town house on the ground floor to a condominium on the 7th floor! This small change, made a great difference in my thought process and opened my mind to a much wider horizon which the seventh floor physically gave me. This maybe one of my smaller blogs but I was able put in a lot of thoughts in the blog. I was able to express a deep meaning in this blog. Probably my thoughts were also becoming more mature after recovery from health issue. In short, I have tried to say that every change in life is an opportunity!

Friends you must be wondering if I have written this blog because I have a writer’s block. No that is not the reason. Ever since I published the blog about Paranormal behavior, it is viewed everyday by sizable number of people; what is this phenomena? why this is so? Please read these other blogs also and give your comments! I would also love to know, if you read more than one blog, “Which you like the best”!