Orkut burst into the youth scene when I was in college. It was such a rage then. Getting an invite was next to impossible and we went around on man hunts looking for people with Orkut accounts! After getting an account, the initial thrill of making a swanky profile and joining communities was indescribable. For most of us, this was our first “website”… the first taste of “Freedom to publish”. It was like getting your very own room. You wanted to personalize it and make it as “you” as possible! And the only place that allowed that was the Profile page. And we were creative. Profiles were changed every week and it was really interesting to see the creativity and thoughts of even the most silent girls in class. People seem to get very eloquent given a Web space.
Soon the race was on as to who got the max Scraps. We would scrap each other with a “Wassup?” so that we would get a reply and hence increase our Scrap count! Childish thrills, but then we enjoyed it and had a lot of fun doing it. Scrapping was fast and furious during internships due to unlimited access to high speed Internet at work. And we made max use of this chance to Orkut. There were the umpteen “Friendship” and “Fraanship” requests too, but these were ignored and not deleted as they added to the Scrap count.
Some girls were bold. They would Scrap random strangers with a “Do I know you?” They would inevitably get a reply saying “No”. In turn they would reply with a “Sorry”. That would be three scraps added to the tally without much damage. Some would find guys/gals with similar Surnames and scrap “Nice to meet another Krishnan”. Sometimes they got a reply. And that would be an additional scrap added to the tally by scraping the bottom of Orkut barrel. :p
The most hilarious of the lot was the Secretaries of various associations in college. They would have a profile photo, in which they would be smiling gloriously and their Scraps informed us about upcoming fests and other College activities. What was hilarious was that the expression never changed even if they were giving a bad news like “Nina Pai’s father passed away yesterday. Let’s pray for his soul.”
Or a scrap like “Students union is observing a black day tomorrow to protest the proposed Dress Code by the management. Please show solidarity or be doomed to wear Salwars to college” in which the scrapper would be wearing a Salwar [:p].
We looked out for each other too. Putting photos in our group was a big ‘no-no’. Instead we put silly pictures to frustrate the Orkut account hoppers. Some of us got into trouble when random guys found out who we were and landed up at college and asked for us by names at the Reception. The resultant fracas made parents force their wards to delete their Orkut account. Many would sneak back with names like “Dumbellina” and “Malice in Blunderland”.
Unlike many girls, we soon learnt that hiding our real names was the best way to negotiate Orkut. Of course all of us knew who ‘Hot maal Cool gal’ was. It was an unwritten rule that we never revealed who was who. I don’t know why we took so much trouble in the first place. But like every other fad, Orkut too took some dedication and perseverance in following it.
Then came Blogspot and I was the first to leave Orkut. Blogger gave me more than a profile page to vent my creativity. It gave me an unlimited blank space to rant about just about anything.
I didn’t think twice about deleting my 13 k plus scraps account last year. The scraps were no big deal. Just “See you in college” to “Did you write the book review” to “Come down. Amma is calling you for dinner” (to my bro whose room is on the first floor of the house.)
With all my friends in Bangalore and on Gtalk and SMS, most of us have left Orkut. Some hold onto their accounts for sentimental reasons after deleting personal details.
But it was fun while it lasted. Besides Orkut taught us our very first lessons in Cyber prudence! Lessons well learnt and used in the increasingly Cyberised world of today. However more than that I will always remember Orkut for the fun times it gave all of us.
Thank you Orkut!