Saturday, February 02, 2008

Those were the Orkutting days...

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!

23 comments:

Nithin said...

Whew! Thank god, there's someone in this country who doesn't have an orkut account. :D I tried deleting my account, but then my pro-orkut friends refused to answer any of my emails until I went back. Apparently, they don't answer mail unless it's on their orkut scrapbooks.

Guru said...

I'm close to doing 'it' very soon. I can relate to the initial hype that you describe here, and right now i'm totally bugged with this. Even with all their supposed pro-user options, orkut still is useless for me. And i guessing this sudden lack of interest in Orkut might be cos of blogspot. Now that i have my blog, **** orkut ..

Aravind said...

Hey Nithin, I guess I know the pro-orkut friend who you are reffering. :P Right? Just remember that you are a google-holic and orkut is a google venture. :-)

Alexis said...

I took an Orkut account because I got invites from friends. Still keep it as there are many friends there. But these days it is more abused than used and as you have said there are a lot of better options to stay in touch.Nice one...

Anonymous said...

omg!! they actually went to ur college and inquired about you?! that is the freakiest thing i have ever heard!
+pri

Rockus said...

Great post!
I was also an early adopter, but never really hit off thanks to my "inability to converse beyond a few syllables to strangers" at that point of time...Later on it was fun, when all the friends in college joined. But then voyeurism got the better of me and I decided to put an end to it.
I am thinking of going back when OpenSocial takes off, hopefully this time older and wiser :-)

silverine said...

nithin: If your friends are scattered and on Orkut then it makes sense to stick on :) It's easy to scrap than mail I guess!

guru: When something stops becoming fun or useful, one should just dump it :)

Alexis: Thank you and nice to see you back :)

Anon: This usually happened to girls who were not careful with their profile information and gave away too many details.

rockus: We never understood the concept of networking! For us it was just a fun activity amongst ourselves and hence we never scrapped strangers nor went to other peoples accounts except to snoop on friends :p But you did the right thing to move out from your description :)

Alameen said...

BINGO..
Somehow i too feel it's time to close my orkut account.. But then at other times i want to know what's happening with K & J.. I just peep into their scrapbook. In the end I decided to stick on..

One thing i dont like in orkut is the way people project themselves.. The sports always include snooker, pool, golf... :)

And in album, most of the ladies keep the photo of a cute cat with a caption 'Cute Na?'

Deepti said...

It was amazing to get in touch with long lost school/college buddies when it just started .. Now the craze seems to be wearing of.. and yeah I think the most common scrap on orkut is "whassup" or "howz life?"& they would make up for my srap collection .. ( i wonder where they got this scrap term ..maybe its really something to do with the junk value it has .. :D)...

Strider said...

Have you tried facebook?
Its better than Orkut I tell you.

No?
You're wondering if I read the post at all?
:-P

mathew said...

I came across your profile.I find you bootiful and nice.am lonely and sad seeking honest friends and companions.Will you be my friend please.I dont drink and drive.Yours sincerely..

But on another side Orkut is like a dusty old phone book..although it is not as fun as old times..I still think it is good place to keep in touch just like that..

Ajith said...

I love orkut just for the fact that it helps me to get back in touch with my long lost school & college friends. I think I've reconnected with about 40+ friends through orkut which I dont think I would have done without it :)..
Btw, I didnt know girls scrapped guys asking 'Do I know u :)? ' ..Why all such interesting things dont happen to me :D

ap said...

Orkut is more useful for ppl who studied in diff cities.....

I did find so many of my classmates there.....

Btw even boys get friend requests from girls!!!!Many of my friends and I got sucha request and we asked her whether we know her???
ans:"ingane okke alle parichayapedunne"

Hammy said...

I do believe you have captured the sentiments of a lot of people in this article... at least most of my friends... I don't login to my scrapbook at all now, except on the REALLY rare occasions where someone sends me a scrap. Orkut is a memory now. A good one, but faded. Your tale of evolution and demise of the orkut frenzy captures my foray there... more or less...

Nowadays, there are many friends beckoning me to Facebook... But it simply doesn't interest me anymore. Orkut was there, and served some purpose, at one time. But it is now nothing better than a history lesson of sorts...

Now I AM grateful to Orkut for a few things. It passed my time, it helped keeping in touch with some friends who were in 'orkut-or-bust' mode, and in some way, it helped me think about a lot of stuff as well...

And new friends... Though most of the strangers I met were... strange at best, I managed to make around four good friends there. You can't keep a price on good friendship. But since none of them use Orkut anymore, we continue to keep in touch via phone, email, chat, or face2face meetings... the old and reliable methods...

I, for one (among a million, apparantly), am glad that you moved on to blogger.

I was introduced to blogger rather early on, but remained idle mostly... I spent more time emailing friends than blogging. But now, let's say I'm trying to jump-start the blogging vein...

And what do you know... I'm ranting again...
:)

hamishjoy.com

silverine said...

al ameen: If you want to know what is hapening with K&J then you should stick on :) What I never liked about Orkut was the testimonials. Each and every guy
and gal was the best specimen of a human being on Earth acco to the testi :p

deepti: I think a "wassup" is better then no contact at all:) And I think Orkut is great for scattered friends.

strider: lol! Yeah, Facebook too doesn't interest me.Orkut is def better.

mathew: "Dusty old phone book" is the best description of Orkut :) My cousin brother regularly snoops on people as part of pre matrimonial snooping via Orkut. He has found almost 80% of his target on Orkut.
Howzzat!! :p

Ajith: Maybe it will happen to you soon :)

AP: lol!! That does make sense doesn't it?:))

Hammy: Orkut was/is a great tool. Sort of a milestone in our lives. I have some fond memories. The not so fond memories I prefer to forget :)

Jiby said...

I took to orkutting only by 2006...for me the greatest fun i have had in orkut is the game of one-upmanship i sometimes get into with some of my friends, on who can fell each other with the wittiest malayalam one-liners. Orkut is my lighter side offering some temporary real-time fun but blogspot is the real thing that has lasted!

DD said...

I rarely use my orkut account, but I must admit I have found tons of people from my school with whom I was never in touch with for a long long time. Of course, I extract their e-mail IDs from their profiles and mail them separately instead of bombarding their scrapbook with random scraps. The only other reason that keeps me on orkut is the birthday reminders :)

silverine said...

Jiby: How could I forget the one liners!! I must admit Orkut tested me to the extreme in the very same :)

DD: A friend of mine is considering leaving Orkut due to the new application that allows you to send emails to everyone, plus Spam scraps.Her scrapbook is flooded with Spam, Xmas, New Year and Pongal greetings. So you do the right thing by mailing people separately.

| Balu | said...

LOL reminds me of a scrap conversation I had with my room mate two years back
Me: going for dinner
He: Na, not hungry
Me: Not hungry? It's already nine
He: Na not cos of that.. mess food sucks today
Me: Watz in?
He: Rahul scrapped that they have stale chappatti and yucky dal
Me: Oh.. how about paratta point then
He: lets see
Me: Okay ou'see' a leaving
Sign out
PS: We were sitting in the same room.. speaking would have been faster but at the cost of 4 new scraps no ways.. scrappaya namaha.. ah those good ol' days

silverine said...

Balu: LOL!!! Scrappaya namaha indeed!!I used to scrap my bro cos he would have the music on full blast and door closed. So scrapping was the easier way to reach him :p

flaashgordon said...

I ddnt realize orkut was so old, i heard of it only like last yr or so....Neway as I dont have to worry abt crazed fans ,stalkers or "fraandship requests" am findin orkut pretty nifty .Trackin old classmates ,frnds etc who i'd have never ever got in touch wth otherwise, has been the best part. Moreover, we in Tokyo, use the "Indians in Tokyo" communities trading tips and pieces of wisdom on survival here..Any new guys comin here , i direct them to these communities who are treasurehouses of information about anything from indian restaurants to learnin japanese.. I keep in touch with Quizzing via quizzin communities and other common interest communities.And of course the orkut albums, finding how those old school heartthrobs have turned aunties , with albumful photos of their kids-thats the best part ;-)) ...Neway extra careful to delete scraps as often as possible and never use the send message to all options

Solitaire said...

I can identify with all of this!!!
BTW, salwars to college are a no-no?
When did that happen? I must b really outdated!

silverine said...

flaash: From your description it sounds like an ideal meeting ground for expats!

Solitaire: There was a move to introduce salwars a couple of years back :) We resisted and won! Christ college was not so lucky :p