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All for that one E-Mail! August 29, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, General, Love and Life, Personal.
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Forwards Galore

My TATA INDICOM broadband connection has gone online for the tenth day this month, which means it was off for all the other days.  After haggling with a half-aware call centre support person, who was badgering me in his heavily accented English, for feedback on the now-temporarily-working connection, I got back to my laptop in right earnest, hoping to find that ONE mail, before the connection goes blip, blip again.

I check, recheck and check again. What do I find here? 10 more of those email forwards, at least 4 of which  have been doing the rounds for the past 10 years – some child is lost, and is in a police station near so and so bus-stop(some clue this!) and we are requested to find her parents somehow, and save the child -from the cops, I suppose! All well-meaning adults in my circle, immediately forward it to me, with a “please, please, please forward it to everyone in your address book, so that this 4-year old has a chance to go back to her parents. You never know who may be able to help!”

What was that? I never figured out why no one asks the questions that come to my mind:

  • Where and when did the mail originate?
  • Where is this child now – Which police station and in which part of India?
  • How are we supposed to know who her parents are, just by looking at the mail?
  • Are we expecting the child’s parents to be reading emails and hoping to track their child through chain mails?
  • Is everyone supposed to act the Perry Mason or Sherlock Holmes, while the cops in India sit and play marbles and word-builder with the child in the police station?

I am sure by now that young 17-year-old maiden must be graduating from secondary school and have all those good cops funding her school time and play time – marbles to cooking magpies and etiquette classes, including email etiquette, of course.

In the digital age, all those wannabes, seem to suffer from OCFD – Obsessive Compulsive Forwarding Disorder. They read something, then they want their group to know that they’ve read something, and they want everyone beyond their group to know that they are well-meaning citizens, and later they even want to glorify/defend, depending on the reactions, why they forwarded it to the group!  And they’ve planned it out. They know the trouble mongers in the groups – “yeah, that one lady who thinks she knows it all.  This must set her wondering why she isn’t the one to know it first.  Then there is this guy who comes up with too much explanation for a silly thing.  Yes, he needs some conversation, old goon – let him have it.  Then there is this expert who will hyperlink to something and keep the conversation going. Good my mail will serve as the starting point and I am the starting point.  And the thread can be alive for at least a few days, while I can bask in the digital limelight.  And if someone snubs me with some practical nonsense, I’ll get my armour ready to give it back to them, the next time I meet them in person. Yes, all well thought out – for those moments of digital glory.

And poor me, with a haphazard broadband that sucks the life out of me, I get at least 10 such mails everyday, along with 30 others that sell Viagra, Rolex watches and Get Rich Internet schemes –  I wade through all this for that one mail – That one mail from my client with the next work order!

And now you know why I am tired of those OCFD characters.

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