Friday, September 11, 2009

On cyber buddies

Friendships that sprout on the internet turn out to be as good as or sometimes even better than those that have lasted several years. Is it that our vetting skills of faceless folk have reached an evolutionary high? Is it that we self-select ourselves into like-minded cyber-circles? Or is it just me?

In the books I read, no matter how intricately the author sketches a character, there is much left to my imagination. I suspect I enjoy what I imagine a wee bit more than the starkly evident. Maybe people I cross paths with in the virtual world have a similar allure too. In fact I attach a certain personality to most regular readers of my blogs- just an intuitive picture drawn from their comments, which makes them a little dearer and makes me anticipate their visit and second guess how they are likely to react even as I write a post. Sometimes I feel I take comfort in the extent of choice virtual friendships give me in deciding how much of myself to bare, how quickly and to whom, which is rather absent in settings such as schools and workplaces where we are slaves of situation. I am well aware that what I get in return is not a complete picture of a person either. But that is the beauty of cyber-friendships- no expectations, no pressure. Just a picture vivid enough to feel secure or hazy enough to delude, whichever we choose.

Whatever be my motivations, my luck (for lack of a better word) in cyberspace has been exceptional. During my b-school application days I read Iday's blog for 2 weeks, chatted with him online for the next couple of weeks and then we exchanged applications way before we met in person. We built, read, critiqued and obsessed together over our applications for 6 long months. The distance between Madras and Bangalore was hardly a hindrance. It is a time I cherish. And we both admit that we had a tremendous positive influence on each other. Such trust is hard to find, especially considering that we were competing for a spot in the same 5 schools. Today, after 3 years of great times and terrible times, we are still great friends, confidants, sounding boards et al.

About a year and half ago I discovered that Arun, a regular reader of my blog and vice versa, lived in Philadelphia through a very random post on his blog. We met, became travel buddies and zoomed across the United States in a car. Our story thereafter is well documented in our joint blog- Footloose on the Freeway. Today he is my biggest source of support and the calm hand of reason every time I reach new lows.

There are others- Ganja Turtle, my friendship with whom started off with a 12 hour long delightful discussion on poetry and books over Skype. There is "the Being" who I've met all of 3 times but with whom I share an impossible optimism which we call each other to reinforce now and then. And then Meera and Anuradha who were nothing short of academic rivals at school, who I rediscovered through their blogs years later and found them to be wonderful writers and extremely like-minded people.

I guess this is just my customary verbose way of saying I am really glad I did not shy away from looking to the blog world for friends. Till a new thread of thought beckons...