Remember the festival time we had as children? I especially recall Diwali and New year when all of us used to get so many greeting cards, all colourful and we used to put them up all decoratively. The arrival of Archies card changed it for the better as more custom made cards made our day. Then came the internet and "123 greeting cards" earlier in the decade and it became an instant hit especially on Birthdays.
And then came 'mobile telephony' and the era of 'text messaging'. It all started with innocuous personalised messages which included greetings on festivals too. And then came the season of "forwards". A nice message is received and is promptly forwarded to all in the friends list. The same is true for all the jokes...which fall in two categories - i) "non-veg" jokes which are promptly forwarded to all the close 'buddies' and ii) decent 'gyan' pseudo-philosophical jokes/statements which are then forwarded to all uncles/relatives and all those whom one is trying to make an impression upon.Such 'greeting forwards' have become the order of the day..so much so that one ends up receiving anything starting with 100 text messages upwards. I counted roughly the smses I received this Diwali ( and i must confess I am not one of those very social types) and I was surprised that I had received around 170 smses during those two days. I do try and respond to each of the text messages I receive and it was during this exercise that I started noticing a very interesting trend emerging from these text messages! And based on the kind of texts sent, I have tried and put the senders in the following categories:
1. Family type of a person
He/she is the one whose message reads soemthing like this" Preeto, Bittoo, Pammi, Guddi, Pappu & Maxi (our doggie!) join me in wishing you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali".
And worst is when the sender forgets to write his own identity and if the number is not saved then one is left wondering to make out who he could be whose descendents are mentioned so royally in the message! In my irritation scale ranging from 1-10, with 1 as interesting and 10 as the most irritating one, such messages would get a rating of 7!
2. A person who wants to spread the light of knowledge
" Diwali is a festival of victory of good over evil. Lets join hands and defeat the evil with goodness".
Now, either I am a foreigner visiting India for the first time during Diwali or am too dumb not to be knowing anything about the festival. Why do people presume that others wont know such basic facts about Diwali. Such messages would get a rating of 8.
3. An environmentalist
"Lets take a pledge this diwali that we shall not burn any crackers! Lets light up earthen 'diyas' and lets not add to the pollution"
I still recall my childhood days when I used to look forward to Diwali so that we could all burn "cock brand" crackers..that sound, that smell ! And the senders of such messages are the guys who themselves will have 2-3 cars at home, 3-5 ACs ( of course, all these wont add to pollution 24/7, 365 days an year!). I personally hate all such pseudo concerns towards environment from people who themselves pollute on a daily basis little reaslising that we are depriving our younger generation of real cracking fun which is confined just one day in an year. Ofcourse, one should be careful and I feel our messages should be confined to that extent. I do burn crackers even today and gift them to all the kids I can get hold of. Such a message would get a rating of 8!
4. A non-veg "langotia yaar"
"**** ka Rocket
****** ****** and it goes on"
Such messages cant be shared with family and you can see a guy smiling quietly, having 2-3 pegs down, as he goes through such a message. It's a reaffirmation of the 'langotia' yaari among friends and they are all surely going to recite them together as and when they catch up next. Such a message doesnt deserve a rating (censored hai bhai).
5. A boring conformist
"I wish you all a very happy Diwali"
It's the most routine text and conveys nothing. The only personal touch by the sender is his name (if he decides to write it as an add on ie). My rating would be 7.
6. Miserly person
It's as if the sender will have to pay for every extra word sent even within that 160 characters limit. Nothing personal and its better if a person is not wished at all . Rating of 7.
7. Hindi lover
"aapke ghar dhan, dhanya, sukh, smridhi ki vridhi ho...etc etc"
Interesting message but the receiver must know Hindi . In percentage terms, the hindi messages will not be more than 10-15% and thats why sometimes they are a pleasure to read. I give them a rating of 2.
and the list goes on.....