Thursday, September 01, 2005

Friends With Fewer Obligations?

My hair stylist Sharon is a sweetheart. She used to give me these nice razor-edged layers that nobody else could. She would finish off with a few stray bangs in the front that I loved. I would always tell her how happy I was that I had discovered her and abashedly tell how she was one of the best things Boston had to offer. The nice fat tip would follow. Off late I have moved to a longer more natural looking mane. No straightening, no curling. Just the natural waves with the occasional trim. She is usually done in 10 minutes but as I gather my stuff to leave, she will wait with an expression on her face that tells me I need to add something to my “Thank you”. The tip I leave behind has remained the same, so it’s obviously not about the money. She expects the gushing. Or at least a “Nice job Sharon!”“It’s only a trim!” I feel like yelling sometimes but I realize this is my own doing. She is now a friend who shares with me stories about her son and her daughter and her marble-cake recipe, I am supposed to leave some comment.

We post and wait eagerly. Reload, reload. What would she say to this? What would he? The comment section keeps a blog alive, long after you publish your thoughts. The names and the no-names all become real to you. Even the Anons have a face. I can sometimes swear I recognize an Anon, the style and the type of comment they leave behind is almost always a giveaway. And sooner or later, the question will arise, “Should I meet him/her?” Though I have an email account that I use just for communicating with my readers, I have voluntarily come out to only one person so far. Though I did it enthusiastically enough, I think I regretted it at some level later. And I will not deny that I was more than a little annoyed when I heard that one person who knows who I am had let slip to another blogger my real name, resulting in one gleeful email from the little scamp, complete with references to where I work and what I have for breakfast. And though the scamp in question is one of my favorite pains in the neck, I was left feeling more than a little uneasy. More recently, a blogger I admire much suggested meeting up and I enthusiastically agreed. As I started to think about it, I recognized the old reluctance creeping back. I began to dig deeper. Why do I hold back from meeting and getting to know people I really admire and have so much in common with? I know of blogger friends who have met and befriended hundreds of other bloggers and are the happier for it, and yet, I can never see myself do that.

I think it all stems from the reason you blog. I used to write quite a bit before I began blogging and the stuff I wrote always elicited comments from friends and relatives that were nice to read. But they were my friends and relatives. The blog on the other hand lets people say what they like and every so often I will get an honest “Your prose is any day better than your poetry” or a “You have lost your marbles”. We are all already bound by the thoughts and comments we leave on each other’s blogs, do we need the personal relationships that meetings bring around too? Maybe the person who left that comment on my blog could say that because I am not really a friend he/she will exchange an email with tomorrow. Maybe it would have been a just a wee bit sugarcoated if we had actually met for coffee the previous weekend? And I think that this hits the core of my problem. I am afraid I might end up pulling a “Sharon” on you. You will be forced to come by, to leave some comment, any decent comment, if not a fat tip. And it will no longer matter if I gave you edgy razor layers or a plain trim.

104 Comments:

Anonymous Ashok said...

Excellent analysis Gratis. Turning readers into real time friends does have a downside.

But maybe it is worth it.

4:21 PM  
Blogger pingoo said...

Well what to say....hmm...what a neat coincidence....after two months or something I just went for a hair cut and came home..and here you are talking about my Helen. I have a hair stylist named helen. She does a good and keeps asking me personal questions. I guess hairstylists have a mundane job and if there is no small talk the job gets really boring. That apart, its a good way to make people come back to you not just for the good work but also for that personal touch. Usually they have a loyal customer base. And yea Helen does a good job when it comes to really shortening the hair and leaving some medium length strands in the front for spikes :p.

Anyways, Though I have an email account that I use just for communicating with my readers
where is that damn email id you are talking about ?? I don't see it anywhere !!

ok..I know you are eagerly reloading this page..so I will better post the comment now ;-).

p.s- Alpha can drop in and leave some comment about pingoo's hair style :-).

5:41 PM  
Blogger visithra said...

end of the day it is a personal choice to meet or not to meet :) And no you aren't a sharon :)

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love this post! :)
now go ahead, guess who!!!!! :p

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely written. Its a fact that what keeps us bloggers going (at least what has kept me blogging for the last 2 and a half years) is the feedback and comments left by others. Its almost like an online conversation which we wish to continue....

Ashwin
www.infinitelimits.blogspot.com

9:54 PM  
Anonymous ?! said...

If I know you, the truth that it would hurt you is of more importance than the truth that I do not like some facet of you. Juxtaposing real life constraints to virtual persona is to degrade the experience. Real life friends have a very important role to play : so do the freedoms that the Net/blog offers you. After all, it isn't as if you could soulfully sing " chalo ik baar phir se, ajnabi ban jaayen hum dono" ... and be done with it!

9:55 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

It's totally your call to meet or not to. But does a name really matter? Cause there's always so much we give away when we write. Sometimes complete with pics. So your readers already know quite a bit of you. But then again, WHEN you are comfortable, you'll be ready to meet.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Parna said...

bingo Grabby. couldn't have said it any better. that is also one of the reasons why i ahve met so few bloggers till date, even though have been blogging for more than 2 years now.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Parna said...

err sorry the 'r' in the name was a slip

11:52 PM  
Anonymous karan said...

nice analogy with "Sharon"! You on a phrase-coinage roll...now its "doing a Sharon".
I think I'm going follow the buzz here, publish a lexicon of new-and-hep lingo, and profit!!!
What..does that mean we don't get to meet you on ur house warming ?!! 8-O

11:55 PM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Yeah, there are indeed a lot of differences between the real person and his/her online personality. I remember a post by someone, about this effect. And your words are very true when you say that the comments are the ones that keep the blogs alive... yours is fighting fit, by those standards :P

12:32 AM  
Blogger Swathi said...

to meet or not to meet -thatz the question, but it wud fun actually to meet 'coz the curiosity is alwayz there that how is this person in real life?

as to my blog even though i publish my name n foto, not many ppl i know read my blog - infact none of my family members know i blog so it is as gud as writing under a pseydonym.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

I dont know - I could never make up my mind on this. Sometimes I felt like you and desperately sought to be faceless and sometimes I just gave up (like now). for me the main drivers were when u write something just for the sake of writing (for ex praful - remember) then no one will blv that ur not actually talking about urself. i dont know. at times that really irritated me. anyway, the thing is ok i dont know ur ms. xyz abcde living pqr but in my mind u still have an identity, right? when i come to work i will still think ok lets see if r has written something really spooky today or ill read some post and think wow a always writes so sweetly, or v always writes so neatly - u cant help it ya. even if u hide behind a mask, the mask then becomes a identity, doesnt it? in the readers mind u are still someone and i'm sure most of them have xchnged words with you somewhr on some tag / zonk / comment board. what im trying to say is its like saying that u will never think evil from today till eternity - its v unlikely u will achieve this - in spirit atleast.

bah - maybe its all just rubbish - ignore me. love the way u've formed and written the piece :)

3:31 AM  
Anonymous ?! said...

Plus, I COULD be a closet axe murderer! ( On the other hand, you COULD be Indra Nooyi)

4:38 AM  
Blogger alpha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post Gabby!!! Mixing of the online and real personas is not always seamless and I have been burnt twice in this regard. And now I keep a low profile as far as meeting and getting to know bloggers goes.

I couldn't have said it better.

-Peggy

6:22 AM  
Blogger alpha said...

“Your prose is any day better than your poetry” or a “You have lost your marbles” are really not that honest if you ask me. One of the comments still praises you and the other is for fun.

So my dear, friends or no friends, bloggers will never say anything very mean that would hurt you...no real critics you will see here. Everyone is really nice coz in turn they would like you to be nice to them. If comments get rude, there is an option to turn off the comment section or Delete (which is a normal thing- this is a blog for heaven's sake).

Eventually as the days pass, people will pull a Sharon on you and you will on them...whether you know them personally or not. Enthusiasm fades. There will be newer bloggers who will discover you and keep this going...

my point being..IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL. Meet if you feel like...if you don't, tell them directly.

Regarding your name being out there..Again..not a big deal unless you are a famous stripper. I used to think it was..but hey, they still will insist on calling me Alpha. Suman can go take a hike.

6:26 AM  
Blogger alpha said...

pingoo, send photo with real name, place you work and breakfast you eat..comments will follow.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Passerby said...

It's a tough call. Meeting your readers lowers that degree of separation which is required for an unbiased view. I have made some great friends from the time I used to blog though, and I don't regret meeting them one bit.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL @ reload, reload! :D

7:21 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Ashok - Thanks. Yes, I very often think it's worth it but the reluctance inspite of that is what I'm exploring.

Pingoo - I'm so glad that the hair stylist piece matched with yours and all that...I like to give my readers something (any part of the post) to relate with. If the hair bit got to you, so be it :) PS: I'm sure the spikes are lovely. Do you use a lot of gell? Is it one of those super-stiff hairstyles?

visithra - Amen! And if I become one you will let me know!

Ashwin - Very true. And being able to guess which post will be taken how is IMPOSSIBLE, no? There's no way to predict!

?! - I LOVE your second line. And though I'm not sure I agree 100% with your first, you get me alright. There's no return, and what has been diluted will remain so.

8:03 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

Gabby: I am not sure whether I wanna come to your house warming (you were gonna invite me right?). Cos, do I want to be called a scamp and a "pain in the neck"? hmmm...
But i totally empathize with you....with the kind of stuff you write, you might wanna stay anonymous all the way, lest you get bumped off by someone from the D-company. Already you are supari material, with all the talk of beaches, peaches and teases. So anonymity is your best bet :D

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Ash said...

Hi Gabby, nice post ! Hmm, looks like I'm going to have to cancel our pending Boston trip ?! :)

But seriously,I do agree that meeting a fellow blogger does make you vulnerable. Online, however much we reveal of our personal lives, we're still buffered by the vast expanses of web space.

But at the same time, I think it would be fun to meet some close blogger friends; the online friendship may blossom into a great offline one too ! Alpha and Patrix for example !

So I guess it's more a question of who you feel comfortable enough to meet. Because if you're comfortable, that means that person's a potential pal in the 'real' world :)

8:18 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Anumita - No, just the name can do no harm, but it's the beginning. There is a reason people start off blogging anonymously. And that is what gets diluted with taking the relationship further. What I was trying to get across is that getting to really KNOW your readers will increase the degree of obligation one can feel. They are still my friends even now. But friends with fewer obligations.

Parna - Ah, so you relate? While exploring this facet of online-turned-real friends I also concluded that one must decide what is more important to them. Making new friends or just writing. I have friends who have met online and are married now and happy! But the purpose was finding somebody there ....so obviously they couldn't wait to exchange pictures and chat on the phone. The cookie crumbles very differently here.

Karan - See, I'm wondering aloud here, about the reluctance and the fears (Ah I need my Dr.Phil huh?)...we don't know what will happen. One big coming-out party might be around the corner. Or not.
And the lexicon, do I get a cut off the profits? I'll give you many more. My hubby says I need to step out of my bubble! :)

Sudipta - Thanks man. One blogger actually suggested I don't ever tell people my real name as when you get to know a person she/he will NEVER match up to the online persona. Maybe better, maybe worse but what is important is that it will not be the SAME. Maybe he speaks from experience, I don't know.

Swathi - Lucky baby. Best of both worlds. I guess having your picture or your real name but not meeting/talking to your readers is another line you could draw. But that's even more difficult to maintain isn't it?

8:21 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

prerona - Well said. Yes, we all already have an identity...now the question is will it match (upto even) our real one? will they have drifted so apart or would they nicely bundle into one classy one? That's a case-by-case thing. Will it effect our reader/writer relationship? I think it will. I'm not even getting to the "enigma" factor here, there's so much before that. I do the back-and-forth on this too...and like you I often feel the "Bah!" :). Thanks for the compliment.

?! - Ah yes, verry possible. A CEO with a LOT of spare time :) But you have actually touched upon a serious side of the issue. I have seen people get quite hurt by the online-matrimonial set ups...and though there is so much lesser at stake here, the crux of the issue is the same. I don't know who I'm talking to. I think they are nice people, but I can't be sure.

Peggy - Very sorry to hear that. There are a lot of really nice people out there though and I hope that if you choose to meet some of your readers again in the future, it will be a good experience.

Alpha - I totally disagree with your statement about there being no real critics out here and people will ALWAYS be nice cos they want you to be nice. I have several visitors who don't even have blogs of their own and their opinions have come in all the time. They have been free to express disappointment and I can show you posts where they did. "Our Unmentionables" had a very frank view from an Arjun and it made me go back and read what I've written. Yes, every piece will not be good and when that happens I will know, as people will not bother with comments. If this whole thing was based on just goodwill, every post of mine/yours should have the same equal number of comments! The name as I said to somebody else is not harmful, but it is the beginning of furthering a relationship. There is already a friendship, but the degree/extent of obligation one feels does get altered when you gossip on the phone or in person. It's only natural. And that in my mind IS A DEAL. Why do you even bother with an anonymous blog if it's not a big deal?

8:50 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

passerby - That is what gets me talking so much about the issue. I know some bloggers who I just KNOW I will get along with like a house on fire!

Anon - Sad no? :)

ANTI - !!!! Supari material??? My innocent first-romance story and I'm now supari material? But yes man, anonymity might just be my best bet what with gripes and rants and whines on what-not and who-not! :D But if big war-dance coming-out party is on the cards you get the silver invitation!

Ash - The noodle is in a muddle. I wonder about which way to go...by exploring my reluctance I'm taking the first step. (God sounds like an AA class)
So a Boston Tea Party might not be too far :)... As you know, I'm trying to get the venue down!

8:59 AM  
Blogger alpha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:15 AM  
Blogger alpha said...

blogging anonymously is one thing..but giving out your name to fellow bloggers who are just interesting in knowing you better is a totally different thing. Well, your call. For me, letting my guard down has seen some nice experiences.
I've met people I have clicked with and the blog personality usually clicks with the true self..except in the case of Patrix (which was a good thing).

No way will I want to blog as my real name till I become a saint.

9:17 AM  
Blogger alpha said...

Gabby, if you ask me (not that you wud, but I'll still oblige) the number of comments sometimes have nothing to do with the quality of post (if you havent figured out already). There are many bloggers that I truly admire, but have never commented even once for some vague reason.

if you still remember a negative comment from months ago, there probably isn't much of that in your blog..which does prove my point slightly.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous ?! said...

The point is not whether they are good people or not. The point is the loss of freedom that "people" as opposed to "ids" entails. "Hell is other people", said the gent. All the people ( and more) who are essential are around in real life: the Net ids are better off staying so! (Plus, I also am a strong proponent of the philosophy behind “Once out of nature I shall never take/My bodily form from any natural thing/but such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make”) - how gratifying to pose intelligent and witty n romantic et al ! AND I have met ppl off the Net in real life with whom I've discussed books and music and life, and seen their not well- disguised enough shock at my nondescriptness. (whew, thats almost an autobio)

9:49 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Alpha - When you say "Suman can take a hike", your sense of "anonymity" is very different from the general one, I'm afraid. I agree the number of comments does not signify quality of writing but it is an indicator of whether what you wrote provoked/inspired people to even care/bother to react.

I do remember comments, negative or otherwise. The reason I used that example is because Arjun does not have a blog and hence would not have the motive you talked about (i.e.,so I would be nice to him).

?! - The good/bad people is a side issue of the same dilemma. My main concern though still is what you're talking about, the effect the real persona has on your online relationships. Which version will fail to measure up to which? In any case it wont be the same!

PS: You have QUITE a way with words. Ever thought about having your own blog?

10:27 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

Gabby: Thinking about this issue, gave me a thought. In case you did not know, I am someone who draws from my past (not to mention my vast theoretical knowledge, if not my, ahem, experience) to come to terms with new experiences. So I remember READING (I said READING, lest someone says something) somewhere about the use of "safe words" or "safe phrases". The actual context is quite different and beyond the scope of this (mostly) "work-safe" blog, but the concept is applicable.
This is how it could go. Bloggers meet at a convinient location and decide on a "safe phrase" ("Edukundala vaaaaada", for example could be fitting in your case)and whenever you think the conversational thread is going in a direction that would make one blogger uncomfortable, that person utters that phrase and the conversation should change track. This can be applied to all meetings between different combinations of bloggers and readers (excepting interactions between two readers, which ideally is unrestrained).
So theoretically, I could take you up on the "silver invitation" (whatever that meant as long as silver is not synonymous with Dutch in some alternate universe that you live in) that you offered to me (which I am gladly accepting in PUBLIC so now there can no backing out) and if I enquire about the tidal conditions in Vishakapatnam during certain times of the year, you can roll your eyes and say "Edukundala vaaaaada" and I'd stop. Temporarily that is, cos sometimes i suffer from short term memory loss.
So technically, you can meet and still maintain the distance. If you are planning on providing lunch or dinner or breakfast or all of those meals then you can outsource it to the nearest eatery of choice so that no one actually comes to know if the talk of mouth-watering dosas or the lack thereof is true.
And yeah in case you ask, waiting for phone calls makes you day dream and blog surf endlessly.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous ?! said...

Gab : Proves my point at Axe murderer. Now I bet ya dint think anti was that type @ safewords!

10:31 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

?! - You clever clever scamp... I said READ.. READ..READ...I am a seedha saadha desi grad student turned job hunter. Does that fit the description of "safe word" user? LOL

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Passerby said...

LOL I love this :D

Is ?! the little scamp? Or is it Anti?

10:49 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

Passerby: Anti is always "aNTi" or "Anti" or "anti". He is never an anonymous collection of punctuation marks straight from a Victor Hugo anecdote. Haaa, there you go ?!, got one back at ya for that slur on me :D

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Zoheb said...

I have no such problems. Saala, I am running practically naked on my blog and nobody even wants to know my mail id, much less meet me. And when Gabby asked me when I would be visiting Boston, I did not realise that it was for pre-emptive reasons. I can imagine the conversation.

Me : I am coming to Boston next week to warm your house and oven and stuff.
GB : Uh ... Oh ... I am so sorry. We are out of town next week.
Me : Where to ?
GB : Uh hmmmmm, Paris .... no wait ... Lululand.
Me : For how long ?
GB : Hmmm, lets say 2 years.
Me : Oh man !!! what about my booked trip next week then?
GB : Don't worry I can set you up with the indigenous tribals museum committee.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

Hmm...post raises a few issues worthy of consideration and long discussions punctuated with coffee, reminds me that I need to do a 'where-has-the-blog-taken-me' retrospection soon. And hopefully you'll be able to tackle the Sharon-comment dilemma soon without endangering your tresses. :)

12:03 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Anti - ROTFL! I like safe phrase idea but really when/if I come out, I don't plan on holding any "safe" meetings *no wicked grin* :)
Everybody can be themselves and it's all cool. All my bitching will have to become mellow and polite though *shudders down my spine*
Dosa part is true! True! Every word! Dosas from scratch along with chutney and sambhar HAS to happen...else what is left in my life? :)

?! - Hee Hee! Anti can be a wee bit shady at times...look at him showing us his back! Hiding his paan-stained snarl maybe? :D

Anti - Ummm I don't know...

passerby - All I have to do is sit back and enjoy! Glad to be of service, I don't charge no rent.

Zoheb - ROTFL! No man, I was trying to end "WHAT? HOW? GO AWAY!!" kinda conversation with some politeness that's all :)
I was wondering when the F.P.I.M.N would appear! Indigenous tribals get special treatment in Gabbyland. They get their ears twisted :D HARD!

12:09 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

rhyncus - And ever so conveniently you get away without expressing your view :)

12:17 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Gabby: Now I have to put another disclaimer, that I am just well read! What was that "Ummm I don't know" for in any case?

1:26 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Ants - I am suspicious by nature. And I sometimes think these Anons and "?!"s could be bloggers I know saying stuff they can't say as themselves :) You come across as a straight arrow but ummmm, I don't know!

I'm kidding, relax! :D

1:31 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

*looks around..*
Gabby: you talking to me?

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice analogy.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

Ah well, didn't want to clutter this place with my 'views', especially when I'll probably be verbose enough to make a post out of it. Maybe I'll write about it and then you all can come over there and comment. ;) Free dosas R there. What say? :)

3:35 PM  
Anonymous ?! said...

(This is turning out to be a series of mini-posts)
Anti : even if I admitted my name was Veera Venkata Appalanarasimha Raju, it still would not make a difference until either somebody from my circs read my blog (unlikely) or I admitted one of my readers into my physical world (phone or meet). So bet a chess notation, Anti and VVAR, aint much of a diff.

Gab: (a) If it's "unsafe" meetings you planning, mebbe this can be a criterion : "Do you know what a safeword is ?" Anti qualifies! ( Errr, I know it through reading wonly, onest... how else would a VVAR know it?)

(b) Used to blog, long story.

(c)As for knowing you, Gab, here are two replies (i) "If you dont know me by know, you will never ever really know me" (ii) " To know know know me is to lurve lurve lurve me" , as the big-hearted lady sang.

(d) Finally, treasure the anonymity."Now I can't say my name, and tell you where I am/I want to roll myself away, don't know if I can/I wish that I could be in some other time and place/With someone else's soul, someone else's face" said the gent. Blogging gives you that opportunity!

(e) As always, thankee for the space! last of the verbose comments, pwomiss

8:51 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

?!: No offense... Was pulling your leg, nothing more. Should I elaborate on the Victor Hugo mention? You seem to have taken me too seriously :)

10:20 PM  
Anonymous ?! said...

Do @ Hugo ... and serious ? heh, it's a BLOG, cupcake. ( I talk ponderously all the time, it doesn't indicate seriousness!)

11:18 PM  
Blogger Prahalathan said...

Friends are people with whom you can really be yourself...
Like it goes You can't choose ur Family or Workmates But can choose ur friends...
Just because You're my friend it won't stop me from criticizing you or mocking you when u do something wrong or when our opinions differ.
Just because you're my friend, that doesn't mean I would lavish you with praise even if u do something silly....

BUT... Thats just me;)

PS: I hate Word Verification!!
PS2: Nice Blog!

11:57 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

its true one feels vulnerable..now I feel maybe I shouldnt have met ppl and stayed cocooned in my shell..but then on the other hand you have the pleasure of meeting 'real' people and that's what they are - not an online persona. You would be taken by surprise to see that mostly the online persona is *very* different from what you perceive when you read someone.

Besides, you could always hit it off real well and get good friends..bloggers who you think give you honest critiques will always keep coming..but bloggers who can be good friends as well, may not...
and that makes me add..no bahanas, if and when I try meeting you :)
Remember I also know your real name and have your pics.. he he.. enough ammunition to black mail you :D

6:56 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

?!: Cupcake..hmmm... :p
Anyways, about Hugo, here goes. The release of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables happenes with Hugo on vacation. The guy does not hear anything from the publisher for a number of days and then sends a telegram to his publisher to ask about the books' sales or whatever. The content of the telegram - just a single "?". The reply telegram from his publisher duly arrived, with the contents - just a single "!".
*smiles after getting a chance to pass on a trivial fundae after a really lonnnnggggg time....*

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

twilight fairy, you have some interesting information. could i interest you in a deal?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Huma said...

Hmm…. nice thought but I wonder if it’s turning into a detailed chat whereas it used to be a reflection of ur thoughts about something special or even ordinary in ur life that’s related to your life?
I am concerned about the symptoms…they are same to what people used to notice in individuals addicted to chatting. Right?

4:25 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

Huma: I don't think its turning into a detailed chat. On the other hand, I think its turning out to be a conversation where the subject is now much broader. And are there rules that say that the contents of the comments section should reflect the contents of the post? Off-topic / grey area comments are as much of a conversation builder than "on the money" comments. Also, unless you are referring to the sad jobless Friday I had (hence the comment flood from me), I don't think this is anywhere close to "chatting"! :) Actually this is much more fun than chatting!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous ?! said...

Gab lifts up the quill, but it's weighted by so many comments,it drops back.. guess its RIP for this post then. ( And chat, huma ? if ya notice, the gab is MISSING!)

8:51 AM  
Blogger Huma said...

Anti...My comments were for Gratis over her desire to meet people behind all the comments and blog. But you got carried away for nothing. lol. I commented about the bit Gratis talked about. I do not even have a habit of going through the comments on the post. I just do not bother. I liked the bit Gratis was saying and still waiting for her to justify my feelings about the scenario. Lets wait what the lady of the show says.
?!.. Yes, I am waiting for Gratis to reload her page.
Gratis….anybody home:(!!!

2:59 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Anon - Thanks

Rhyncus - And again, how convenient :)

?! - We like long stories. Have you looked at this comment box? Do tell! I appreciate point (d) but (c) went slightly over my head? Where did that come from? And promises can be broken so keep up the verbose-ness and continue to lurk around!
Anti a cupcake? LOL! You made my day! Have you ever thought of calling him a tulip? *grin* Anti will tell you what I mean by that. If he doesn't I will :D

Prahalthan - Oh yes. But that's in true blue friendship world. You will most likely be able to count on your fingers the few who DO fit that picture...the rest go by friends too, right?
PS: Sorry, it sucks I know but too much spam arm-twisted me into that.
PS2: Thanks. Will check out your place!

5:11 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

t.fairy - Special people are special people. :) Boston continues to wait with open arms...no bahanas! Now don't say things that will have some Anons up in arms over nothing.

Anti - BLEW me away with Victor Hugo funda. You smarty you. I am so gonna use that story in the next party...and as I blog anonymously I won't be able to credit you! Hee Hee..this thing does have fring benefits! LOL!
And do you feel some relief now? *Sigh* we kept you for so long..you've been dying to tell the story from some comment #10! :D

Anon - Go away! The Lady is not interested in any deal! Err..., by the way, what do you have to offer?

huma - Good thing I got a chance to read your next comment, so I can reply accordingly. Yes, the reader will transfer into a chat-friend and mundane things WILL follow...you will then naturally start talking about other bloggers and hey, suddenly it's just another gossip-ring!...But on the other hand I have seen fellow bloggers rally around to help another in ways nobody else can do....And would that kind of a bond exist if they were just writer-reader? I'm not sure...but I hope so!

Anti - Anyday, this is more fun than chatting. I couldn't agree more! I am a very poor "chatter". People have left messages in Yahoo/IM/MSN whatever in despair and have finally abandoned me...but THIS, I can't wait to do. This weekend was more of a Reload, paaaauuussseee, reload tho :)

?! - This thing called a life got in the way! :) It's been a good weekend so far and blog-worthy stuff has happened alright...but it might take a while to make it's way here :(

huma - hope you're hitting reload too...hitting publish in a sec here :)

5:31 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Huma: I committed the cardinal sin of looking at certain keywords and skimming over the rest of your comment without thinking too much about the comment. Hence the mishtake. Excooose me...
Gabby: I DO have a lot of such stories and no one to tell to. Useless trivia is one of my strong points ;) And you gonna stop with all the talk of tulips or not? This is the second time you have sought to enlighten people about my soft core :p *rolls his eyes at the mention of the tulips that never seem to go away!*

7:39 PM  
Blogger Rash said...

very well written Gabby! It's something I've been thinking abt too but couldn't have put it better than this :)

10:58 PM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

no comments :)

1:00 AM  
Blogger phatichar said...

Hmmm...this could be a great idea for a short story - with a twist. What kinda twist wouldja prefer, gabs? ;))

1:39 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

hmm methinks that I am comfortable reading you and unless you want to share your self its okay with me too..

Though I am very open in my blog... I do hesitate a little before meeting bloggers but the ones that I have met are cool people and have made good friends with them... the rest.. its great to be online with them all...

And yes I guess everybody expects a Sharon.. once in a while... :)

2:11 AM  
Anonymous ?! said...

I notice DesiPundit has taken note of your post. When will comment writers get their 15 ?

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Suma said...

Hey there, GratisGab. I don't exactly claim to be a veteran of blogging, but have been around on and off for two years now. The thing is, it's kind of become easier to communicate when the person you are communicating with is separated by a medium that offers no intimate connection whatsoever. No voice, no face, so what do you have to lose? Honestly, I prefer this kind of communication to anything else as of now.

But, here comes the moot point - the trend that a virtual relationship follows is pretty much the same as the *normal* realationship does. (I honestly don't know what's normal, though, but that's a topic of discussion for another day.) Once the novelty wears off, it fades away like everything else.A sense of obligation sets in, and ka-put. The problem is, one tends to make this whole virtual acq thing out to be this larger-than-life phenomenon. I know, I've been there and done that. The honest in-your-face truth is, it isn't. The advantage - it has brought the world closer than man ever thought possible. The disadvantage - nobody wants that kind of proximity anymore.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

On an aside, enjoyed reading you immensely. Bookmarked you. Now that I hope to blog unsporadically, will be back soon :-).

8:53 AM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Hey anon who wants GG's KK (gratisgab's khufiya khabrein), whats the deal?

GG, dont worry. I have a deal for you too.. you gimme dough, I add some mirch masala and pass it on..anon makes a parantha and gives me whatever earnings the parantha sale gets :)

11:34 AM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

Btw, I kinda like the way the comments have gone, meandering all over, shadow of Sharon in the background but no longer immediate. Poor Sharon. And as far as relationships go (hasn't the discussion veered firmly onto this now?), what's the internet but a meeting ground freed of geographical shackles? And a related point, in a blog, the writer-reader relationship remains an active-passive (or action-reaction) r'ship, however involved the reader may be. Lastly, it's all got to do with the connection you forge with people, whether it is through a blog or over coffee is immaterial.
There, now do I get the dosas?
(damn word verification, I cannot make out if that's a 'wv' or a 'vvv'!)

1:11 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

rhyncus... the deal was about Paranthas, not dosas.. or would you prefer milk instead? :)

3:30 PM  
Blogger Khushee said...

I've met only a few bloggers, and I'm glad that I did meet them in person. However, there are certain bloggers that I do enjoy a good internet relationship with, but am not too keen about in meeting in person. I don't know why I'm like that.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA HA! Good post. I was never keen on meeting my readers in those days I used to blog. It's a tough call and I could never make that step. Good Luck!

Nick

5:54 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Anti - NO. :) When something has the impact tulips had on me, we seldom stop talking about it!

rash - thanks much!

manu - why ;)

phatichar - throw in a psycho killer please! but then make them fall in love! gross and fun :)

pallavi - well put...the rest are fun to hang with online...so they become chat-buddies right?

?! - the comment writers MAKE the party! they deserve more than a 15 :)

7:34 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Suma - Loved your thoughts. Yes, I see what you're saying...it's the same game we play in real life. I wonder then, is the sense of obligation we feel in either case the same? Will I feel as bad not commenting/visiting a blog as I feel when I don't return a phone-call or reply to an email? The answer is what makes me feel like you do...I prefer this kind of communication as of now...I think! :)
Great to see you here and hear what you've got to say. Do come back!

T.Fairy - You enterprising woman, are you an MBA by any chance? OK cut your deal with Anon but give me my 15!

Rhyncus - good point about action-reaction. yes, i don't need to check in on you. you post, i like, i comment...else I slink away! I like. God, how lazy am I?

T-Fairy - There are different deals in diff states of evolution on all over this comment space...a glass of milk to top off the meal sounds good in any case!

Khushee - you have a mild case of the same problem I have :)

Nick - Thanks. So you fought the same battle huh?...I seem to have ended up with equal number of readers for and against meeting fellow-bloggers!

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Suma said...

Aah, you've replied. That's a question you have to ask yourself. Once you know the person on the other side is going to be there, (the so-called *taking for granted* phase), you tend to go lax, be it in communication, appreciation, or connectedness in any way. It takes a jolt or if you're like me, a nagging sense of guilt to make it up to THAT person for ignoring him/her for so long. Same thing goes with virtual ACQs as well. It starts off with enjoying what they say, the rapport building period, getting to know them more, either online or in real life, and then, ok, so you know all you want to know. There's nothing more to it. So, staying in touch becomes perfunctory.

I guess it's the same with everyone. I'm not blaming you or me or anyone else. Sometimes, you are the ignorer, other times, you are the ignoree. Once you transcend the 'getting to know', 'taking for granted' et al phases, it follows the out-of-sight, out-of-mind routine. And then, out of the blue, you get some reminder of how things used to be when you were in touch. And then, you go through the whole rigmarole all over again.

I think both virtual and real ACQs go through the same phases. But, the flipside is, there ARE genuine people out there in the virtual world, (I'm looking forward to meeting TF and Prero some time, I've known them both for quite a while now, even though it's been pretty much virtual all along - we are continents away from one another) whom you do connect with. It's all a matter of personal preference, comfort level and trust. As is with real people :-). So much for my lengthy analogy. Ha ha!

As for visiting blogs/commenting, that's strictly your prerogative. If I may say something totally tongue-in-cheek, *tongue-IN-cheek*, you don't need to, honestly. You have a darn decent readership, if the comments are anything to go by :D.

To each his own, mate :-).

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Suma said...

TF, now that Gab calls you enterprising, I think you should put your initial scheme aside and copy ALL the interesting points everyone's raised here, make a nice article, shoot it to a good magazine or something and earn some indecent money from it, wotsay ?

9:12 AM  
Blogger pingoo said...

PS: I'm sure the spikes are lovely. Do you use a lot of gell? Is it one of those super-stiff hairstyles?

lol..sometimes its super-stiff(when "gelled") but not always ..I don't use gel everyday. As a kid, I was taught to apply "thenga ennai" everyday(nuff to fry 1/2 pound of nendrangai sipps)...so that the hair is greasy,blacky and shiny ;-).. and not to forget that saturday-saturday temple going type look.

10:01 AM  
Blogger FunnyCide said...

What? Now you have a security lock on your door? :))

My two cents worth in case you care. Meeting bloggers is definitely a personal choice based on your comfort level. It is a blind date with a friend. Go with the caution. Have a back up plan in case you need to bolt. ;)

Did you know what people who knew PGW personally had to say about him? That he was very pleasant, sweet and good-natured, but also rather boring. He was never witty. His conversation centered around writing and sport. So basically what I am trying to say is that we build a very different picture of people through their writings and more often than not, the picture is very different from reality. Be prepared for the difference [or disappointment!!]. Funny writing doth not a funny man make!! :D

Anyways, what I dont get is the big ado about anonymity and privacy. Like "anumita" said, we give away so much through our blogs, sometimes more personal stuff than we care to share with our friends. About our sleeping/eating habits, our pet peeves and so on.. so a name to all this behaviour is not too much of extra information.

Coming back to justifying my two cents, when you are meeting people you dont have a lot of history with, it is upto you to be careful [for your own good]. Information like your last name, where you work, where you live, your home phone number, your credit card numbers [oops I got carried away!!] is off limits. For one, they dont need it. For another, there is no need to trust people you dont know much about.

In the end, it is our personal choice. Everyone has a different social style of making friends.
Peace out. :)

10:19 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

*recoils in horror hearing the words "impact" and "tulips"

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is this about Tulips?

Twilight Fairy, is there any blogger you are curious about?

11:22 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Suma - You know, it is that possibility of meeting and getting to know those genuine think-alikes that prompted this post. The "What ifs" are boggling...Loved dishing the dirt with ya :)

and Suma, TF has promised me a post, JUST for me she said...i'm still waiting...don't divert her from that all-important task by giving her all these ideas!

pingoo - there you go again, using tamil words when you know i don't understand the language. Amazing :)...Ease out on the gell...all girls don't find those super-stiff styles appealing...we go for touchable locks, much like ya'll I guess!

funnycide - ROTFL! Will keep credit cards at home, you know, just in case I get into one of my spill-my-soul moods! :) It's true we talk a lot about ourselves on our blogs, giving away all kinds of personal stuff but would we do that if we got to know all our readers? As raised correctly, we don't say many of these things to our real-life friends...WHY? And when virtual-life-friends become real-life friends would we continue to find it that easy to bare our souls? And I would like to point out that it's easy to give away intimate details while being a faceless id, all the while never giving away actual physical personal details that would give you away.

Anti - :)

Anon - You will have to find out for yourself. Anti is a friend. Now go away!

12:15 PM  
Anonymous ?! said...

"Humne dekhi in aankhon se mehekto khushboo, haath se chooke inhe rishton ka ilzaam na do" ... Too spirited to explain.. capisce?

PS The werd veri has got me half sober awready

12:23 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Gabby: Thank you. I was planning on deleting that post when i read your reply... :D

2:18 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Aah.. I keep pressing 'reload reload' on GG's comments section (not even my own, i must be crazy)and there's nothing!
And just when I go away thinking GG is actually busy thinking up some KK, out here there are comments for me! kewl.. mogambo khush hua aur mein bhee..

Gratis, no..didnt do MBA in the MBA sense..(distance learning doesnt count)..but 'striking a deal' is a way of life :p :)
And about that post I promised..well it's gonna take some time :p..I need to do some homework before that..which is a little dependent on my handycam..which met with a terrible tragedy, because it was sandwiched in my bag which contained my laptop and an orange juice can.. sigh.. punjabi bottomline - 'bag vich juice dig peya' :| sab kuch barbaad ho gaya :( ..mujhe thoda waqt chahiye me-lord..
BTW there's another post up in the meantime.. I think you would have an interesting story to tell about the same context.

Suma, (I prefer maddie-doo) I sell to those who I think will pay for it :p.. general junta already has these points.. but GG's KK..he he.. siraf mere paas hain :)..and anon shd be interested. And good for you, you mentioned my name there in the 'allowed' list..or else..

pingoo, I know nothing about those spikes and that hair gel..but these things when uttered in context of each other, remind me only of that scene from 'There's somehting about Mary'..

anonymous, yes, I am almost a cat now due to curiosity .. are u same as the GG's KK anon? or a new one?

3:32 PM  
Blogger Peg said...

In real life, can honesty really survive? Does honesty really survive? And can I inturn survive honesty?
What a shame that it has actually came down to whether or not honesty is truly the best policy? Or has it? ;-)

...And they walk away wondering if tomorrow can ever be the same!

all my love,
Peg

3:51 PM  
Blogger FunnyCide said...

>> As raised correctly, we don't say many of these things to our real-life friends...WHY? And when virtual-life-friends become real-life friends would we continue to find it that easy to bare our souls? And I would like to point out that it's easy to give away intimate details while being a faceless id, all the while never giving away actual physical personal details that would give you away.

Gratis, All I would like to point out here is that it is not a very unique feature of virtualness or the internet as is. How often do you find yourself opening up to a stranger on a flight or on fellow passenger on a long distance train.. and tell them things.. about you and your life? Some of them we keep in touch later [rarely though], some of them we forget the moment we step outta the train/plane. Such is life. Virtual or real!! Again I repeat, how much information you give away depends on your shrewdness, the situation and your comfort level with the person you are dealing with.. and of course quite a lot on your gut!! :)

And also, all virtual life friends that you meet might not end up being your real life friends, in fact very few will, I would guess. Showing your face to them doesnt obligate you to be their friend. You still get to pick and choose. SO in the end, the game is still played the same way, whether virtual or real!! This is where the line blurs.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Suma (Maddie) said...

The lady say - 'LOVED to'. Ok, ok, I can take a hint :-).

TF, of course you are there in the list. And you can call me Maddie, the entire blog world still does :)). I'm thinking of doing away with all other pseudonyms, including my real name. Will stick to Maddie from now on.

?!- Hahahahaha. You're good, man. Correction, you're bloody marvellous!

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Suma said...

And apropos the point that Funnycide raised, it's easier to connect with someone you don't have to be connected to all the time. It's that simple. Having your own little space in this world (to quote Coldplay, 'we've been living life inside a bubble') has never been so important. "I need my space" is a cliche no more.

Lordy! This has been the most refreshing discussion I've had on blogs in MONTHS! Thanks all :-).

10:10 PM  
Anonymous ?! said...

TF : you go for Hindi movie lines? Yay! Nahin nahin, pagli, yeh khushi ke aansoo hain!

S & M ( err... something wrong in that, but we'll let it pass) : Love me like I love me and I'll love me even more!

The analogy with Stranger on a train is OK to a point, but the fact is that while such interactions are not anonymous, just shortlived , unless you keep it up. The Net can be enduring, but anonymous, unless you cross the line.

Like journeys, like life itself, so too the Net : Unmein se kuch log, bhool jaate hain, kuch yaad reh jaate hain ...

PS: Touchable locks ? Hmmm. Looks at his collection of Godrejs : will buy a Yale, methinks. Ennada ithu vamba pochu

10:24 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

?! : should I give you a name?!, ?!..see how confusing even my comment has become?!, ?!..I am quite adept at thinking up nice names BTW :)

Talking of hindi movie dialogues..oh.. I have actually stopped doing all that when my friends started labelling me as 'melodramatic'..but it sure makes you enjoy the same stuff so much more.. hai na?!, ?!, bolo, bolo?!, ?!

PS. that school was TAPS = The Army Public School..not KV

2:05 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

?! - wah! kya quote hai! tho i suspect many a *hic* accompanied that, your presence of mind has left long lasting impressions here :) LOL @ S&M!

Anti - Don't worry. I won't let that kinda ammu get over-used...we save 'em for occasions :)

T.Fairy - You're on a roll baby! OK you've managed to buy yourself some time alright. Remember that time is money though! And please, don't ever let go of the dialogue spouting habit! Your 'bolo bolo' hit home there and look where it got ?! ! Suddenly man is being much noticed :)

Peg - Sad but true huh? It really doesn't survive...and so we go looking for other mediums!

Funny - When we walk away from a train/plane...we can choose to never contact that person again. It's not so easy in blog world. Paths cross all the time...I'm usually very cautious while striking up a conversation with my neighbour if the travel time is greater than 1.5 hours! Choosing to chat up a long time reader calls for even more caution no?

Suma - Nahin! Nahin! I've been misunderstood! Let dishing continue! Forever :) So you go by Maddie? What's the story behind the transformation?

With Funny and Suma's analytical skills, ?!'s creativity, Peg's pragmatism and T.Fairy's business acumen, we have a winning team ladies and gentleman. Maybe we should just start something of our own! Hee Hee :)

7:51 AM  
Blogger pingoo said...

Gabby - Well u figure out what those tam words mean..get your sources together ;-). I am easy on gel...I use it rarely...not to worry..locks are very very touchable(on that note...remembering a quote from the school textbook's back cover - untouchable is inhuman...I think that is an MKG quote..not sure though) and Yes, Are you gellin ??

TF - Where have u been all these days ?? :O You totally made my day.Thanx a bunch for that ek-anek clip..luv u for that :).

I know nothing about those spikes and that hair gel..but these things when uttered in context of each other, remind me only of that scene from 'There's somehting about Mary'..

what is *that* scene ?? if you need more info about spikes and gel...I or even gabbar..err...I mean gabby.. can give you a crash course :p.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Priyavadan said...

the question arises because of the curiosity, the curiosity if the person who blogs and writes things that makes one feel that we have many things in common, actually is the way he/she portrays him/her. One holds back simply because of a fear, a fear of meeting a completely different persona in real life?

But, being afraid would not do any good, one does not know for real what one fears, actually exists until one faces it.

just my thoughts though.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous burf said...

u know wat, i have a solution - write a '100 things about me' kinda post (for example - http://rightmore.blogspot.com/2005/08/things-i-know.html)

and then people would know so much about you that they wont wana know more (and for stalkers, they would know that ur a dedicated firewalled server already :p)

:D:D

8:49 AM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Pingoo, I have been here only .. since 2 years :p..

*That* scene..err.. Mary lands up with something on her head which she *thinks* is hair gel..but actually the outcome of a rather passionate 'thought' on part of the hero :).. there I have put it in politically correct terms now :)

8:53 AM  
Blogger WA said...

92nd Comment:) This town has been home for over 4 months now and I still putting off my visit to the hairdressers, all the women here seem to have 80s hairstyle. i swear, I am not joking. Gonna take a risk and go for it this saturday, keep your fingers crossed for me

8:57 AM  
Blogger pingoo said...

Twilight Fairy ji - do saal se aap yahin pe ho :o..hmm infact I remember seeing u here and there :).

*That* scene is verry interesting lol...thanx for reminding me that never in my life should I use *white* color gel !! haha :). Ok lets keep this blog *:p*G-13.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

OK, now I want to see the comments hit a round 100 at the least. My 4% towards the same. :)

11:33 AM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Pingoo, how come I never saw you then? Your profile doesnt show any blog. :|

12:20 PM  
Blogger Priyavadan said...

number 98, helping rhyncus all the way :D
pingoo, tf: oldies..hummein toh sirf ek saal hua hai..

gratisgrab: since feb 2005, impressive.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

GG you seem to be really 'grabbing' attention :)

1:17 PM  
Blogger Priyavadan said...

and there it is #100, mission accomplished!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous sqrl/nt said...

Hi Gabby
Remember me? well I gave up. Considering current circumstances,I just cannot blog, because my head is full of muddy water..

anyway.shall keep dropping by, and inform you of developments.:)

1:52 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

*hops, skips and jumps on one leg for a full minute and then realises that its only #102 and there are still 9 more to go...

1:54 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Pingoo - My sources are not giving me the time of the day today! Trust you to bring MKG into your gell story!

Priyavadan - I think you just hit the nail on the head...it's just fear in most cases. A justifiable one though.

Burf - LOL! Too much information might just solve the problem! Man we have some innovative thinkers out here!

TF - Very true. Pingo is a mysterious fellow. Never lets on much. Keeps us occupied with gell talks.

Wicked Angel - Time to take the plunge I say. Your town seems scary though. Go for the best...& keep us updated!

Rhyncus, Priyavadan, Anti - Thanks for your valiant efforts. *Takes a bow*...

Hmmm...Where would I be without you all? As I once said THE GUESTS MAKE THE PARTY!!

Anti - What's special about #111?

sqrl/nt - LADY! Where have you been??? Much missed you were. Do drop by once in a while! And hang tight in all the muddiness!

Sorry for closing the curtains on this happy discussion people...sudden change of mood. Today is Ganesh Chaturthi....Ah well, that's life.

2:38 PM  
Blogger tilotamma said...

Thanks for never suggesting we should meet because I feel the same way.

But I met maitri of New orleans and I am glad I did.

7:17 PM  

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