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I was reading this article in New York Times which said:

In the fourth quarter of 2007, American cellphone subscribers for the first time sent text messages more than they phoned, according to Nielsen Mobile. Since then, the average subscriber’s volume of text messages has shot upward by 64 percent, while the average number of calls has dropped slightly.

Teenagers ages 13 to 17 are by far the most prolific texters, sending or receiving 1,742 messages a month, according to Nielsen Mobile. By contrast, 18-to-24-year-olds average 790 messages. A separate study of teenagers with cellphones by Harris Interactive found that 42 percent of them claim that they can write text messages while blindfolded.

Reading this piece of article, I could actually relate myself with it. Somewhere I personally feel that I have become obsessed with technology. My mom used to make me and my brother write greeting cards, and letters to our friends with colourful pens and pencils during our childhood. But today when I think of writing a letter to someone, I instantly think of emails. Till 5th Grade I used to have poor handwriting and got remarks such as ‘untidy’ and ‘improve your handwriting’. I think all these remarks were hitting somewhere deep inside me and I finally asked my mom to bring me ink pens and cursive writing books so that I could improve my handwriting. Well! I used to practise a page of handwriting diligently and developed beautiful handwriting, which got me compliments over the years. But I guess that phase was short lived in my life or I can say till the time I didn’t buy a laptop. My handwriting actually had a life from being bad to good to beautiful and back to bad now. The beautiful, smooth movement of the once mighty pen, have been overshadowed by the swiftness of the fingers in tapping keys, atleast in my case..

I can boast of a huge collection of stationery that I keep buying from every other place. In fact, my friends bet that I cannot step out of a stationery shop without spending a few bucks on pens, pencils, short notebooks, diaries, and what not. But now when I see, that collection is just adorning my cupboard and room. The screen has completely replaced my writing pad; when I want to use cursive writing, I have a number of fonts to select from; the colour palette in my wordpad has replaced my colourful pens and pencils, the delete button has replaced my love for beautifully shaped erasers and finally my signature is also digitalized now. The only relief that I see amidst all this is that I am still not addicted to reading books online; I was telling someone the other day that I like the feel of paper in my hands and the smell of new books enchants my senses.

Your handwriting shows the basic traits of your personality but during this era when we don’t use the stokes and the curves with our hands ,should graphologists pickup a career called typology? Although I agree that that technology has made our lives simpler in many cases but that feel of joy of writing on a wonderful piece of paper, folding it, putting it in an envelope, applying the stamp and posting it finally can never be replaced by the quick tic tac of the keys.

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While checking my mailbox on Gmail last night, I noticed an ad was flashing on the top saying- Lunchtimers.com. Out of curiosity I clicked on the link and visited the site. Wooh!! It is a flash game website for all the time wasters in this world. I knew that google picks up key-words from your inbox and flash ads accordingly; I have no idea from where did it gauge that I end up wasting umpteen number of hours every single day.

The main page of Lunchtimers opens with a flash game named ‘letters’. It is a simple and quick game for all those scrabble lovers or wordaholics. There are rooms where 40- 50 people can login at the same time, and make their own sentences or words using the wide range of words lying on the board. The twist in the game is that whenever you try to spell a word, someone else tries to steal the alphabets from your word, and arrange the letters in their own words. Hence, you end up wasting a lot of time in arranging just one word. When I logged in, there were around 40 people so you can imagine the kind of loot that must be going on there. It took me around ten minutes to finally spell ‘Scratch Bags’ on the board. It actually reminded me of the alphabetical refrigerator magnets my mom used to buy for us and for the refrigerator, of course. (all images can be clicked and enlarged)

Letter Thieves

A lot of people spell good words and try to be nice. While I was playing, there was someone who was trying to strike the conversation by saying ‘Hi, How are you doing?’ or ‘Where are you from?’ but at times a few people make nasty words as well. Again, the alphabets from these not-so-pleasant words are stolen by the nice people on the board and this stealing process keeps going on until you realize that you have wasted enough time and you need to leave the place.

As I surfed through the site, I came across many other games mentioned there but apart from one, I didn’t bother to spend waste time on more.

This was a Scratch Pad. I couldn’t have left this one. As the name suggests, you just scribble whatever you like but again as you write or draw something there, other people logged in the same room try to scratch your work. The good part is that this game has a time limit. After every 180 seconds, the board clears out and you get a clean board again. There are three rooms where one could enter. Also, there is live chat going on in the sidebar, so you could interact with people who are present in that particular room. When I entered, Room 1 there were more than 50 people so it didn’t accommodate me; in Room 2 there was some racism talk going on so, I left. In Room 3, I guess there were just 2-3 people. I wrote ‘Scratch Bags’ and made a smiley but if you click on the picture below you will find that someone (with black ink) was making really sweet drawings, I was just watching without interfering him/her, and quickly took a screen shot.

Scratch Pad

Lunchtimers is fun but only when you have ample time to waste.

Someone here also likes investing wasting a lot of time. Huh?

Olga Investing Her Time

And someone here has revealed Olga’s secret.

Talking of alphabets and words, if you notice I have changed my avatar but I am not very sure about it because it is not very clear. I made it on software on flickr. You just have to type the word in box provided, and it picks up words from the album and comes up with a wonderful set of alphabets. Everytime you clik on a alphabet, you get a new picture. Mine was this:-

I loved the way it came out but I wasn’t sure where to use it. I had already made some changes in my Header Image yesterday, so I thought I’d change my avatar. But then even after a putting in a lot of effort in bringing it to this small a size, I am not very sure about this avatar. What do you say? Should I keep the present one or the previous ‘sheep’ avatar was better?

I have provided you with enough stuff to waste your time upon. Do let me know whether you were able to scribble anything successfully or make words before anyone stole them from you?

The Flickr one is a must try but the only catch is that the images may be copyrighted so, you can never be sure. Rather you can click and upload your alphabets, and create something interesting.

It has been raining since morning, there seems to be a new energy flowing in the whole environment. The plants look more fresh and green, the tip-tap of the dew drops is adding music to the ears, the smell of the wet mud is enriching the senses; all in all a perfect romantic ambiance. Professionally it’s a big day for me because today we have launched our first ALL India Mock Common Admission Test Series. For the uninitiated, Common Admission Test is one of the toughest MBA Entrance test for admission in premier Business schools in India such as Indian Institute Of Management. Every year around two hundred thousand people compete for 1200 seats across six IIMs. Hence the competition is tough, and so is the preparation. Students take a number of Mock Tests before the main Exam, which is held on the third Sunday of November every year. People from across the country register for these mock tests to judge their performance viz a viz the rest of the lot with whom, they would be competing for the big game. This is a big accomplishment for us because Scratcher launched this company in November 2006, and then I joined him in May 2007. Till November 2007 it was just the two of us who have managed the company; then in December 2007, we launched our second company with another partner. Since then, things have rolled in at a pretty fast pace, within four months of launching our second company we opened our 2nd office as well, and with God’s grace have got an excellent response so far. The competition is neck tight in our industry because there are a few players, and most of them have got strong hold in the market from past 25-30 years. This day would be registered in bold letters in the history of our company.

I am both elated and depressed at the same time. Elated for the aforementioned reasons, and depressed because I would not be there to raise the toast in the evening with the rest of my partners. This feeling of loneliness and helplessness has been sinking in me from many days now. All the more because of the behaviour of my parents who keep scolding me, and asking me to choose between Scratcher and them. Since morning I have not been talking much with anyone but somehow I am never able to avoid my talks with my mom.

Today we were watching a reality show, which is apparently hosted by one the celebrities from Bollywood. This man has a record of dating many women in the past. My mom and I went to the kitchen after watching the show to prepare lunch, and she cautiously says:

Look how people move on…date someone at sometime and then move on with another one. You can’t keep clinging on to one person all your life. Leave that guy(Scratcher) and we will find a better* guy for you.

I said-

Oh! You mean I should date someone-leave him after sometime- then move to the next and then next and I should keep doing this all my life.

Suddenly she realized that this is not what she had wanted to say or rather what she had wanted to listen to. She changed the topic but I think she took a bitter gulp then, and kept it inside her to take out the venom later on.

Later we sat down to watch television, and suddenly she said-

I pray that you be born as an orphan in your next birth. You also pray the same for yourself.

I was spell bound, and felt so claustrophobic that I left the place. Tears trickled down my face as soon as I entered my room. I am not eloping so that my parents don’t have to go through all the disgrace, and this is what I get to hear on and off. I agree that my mom must have not meant what she said but she did SAY. I wonder whether parents can use such words for their own kids. Words are like scissors; they can cut you deep and would leave a mark even after the cut is healed.

* Would she please define the word ‘better’ for me? She hasn’t met Scratcher, she doesn’t want to know anything about him, and she has decided that he is not the guy for her daughter. How can she find a better guy for me until and unless she least of takes an idea about how Scratcher is. I don’t know who is behaving immature- my parents or I?

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