"Tu orkut pe hai?" asked Rahul Bhat or Bhatti as he was known. Puberty had hit him late and in his 2nd year of engineering this genius of the class was asking me if I was on Orkut.
I kid you not, I thought it was some sort of software, something related to mechanical design or analysis or something. The year was 2005 and I wasnt too much into anything those years so you could forgive me for not knowing what had already started to become a phenomena in India back then. I called it the #1 thing that changed India in the last 10 years. You can read that blog post here.
But this is not a nostalgic post highlighting the good old days of Orkut and superior privacy and how they didnt conduct experiments on its users. This is a post about how Orkut empowered guys like me. How it made us more confident among other things.
I was a shy guy. I would never be able to walk up to anyone and say hi. It always had to be the other guy. If it was a girl I had a crush on, she would never know till many years later by which she would have already changed two boyfriend and the newest one would have a CBZ (its a bike, kinda big deal back then)
There's this song by Boyzone, dont remember all the lyrics, but it goes - It's only words, and words is all I have to take your heart away. -- Those words could be spoken words, or thanks to Orkut, these words could now be written. Much simpler for guys like me, we could write things down, without having the fear of shot down or laughed at. You like a girl in your class? Or Computer Science class? (if you are an Mech Engineering student) Send her a friend request. If she accepts it could mean only 3 things -
1. She likes you back
2. She has no idea who the hell you are but shes nice so doesnt want to seem smug
3. She just wants to increase the number of friends.
It was usually the 3rd one. But that was okay. Boys like us were one inch closer to girls. Maybe the girls will say hi the next time they meet in the hallway. How could they not, we were "Orkut friends" after all. Even if they didnt, it was okay. We could always send them a scrap - You looked very nice at the freshers' party. 3 other boys would paste the exact same thing below. Demand supply mein problem hai actually...
I found myself on Orkut. Though a late adopter, I was hooked immediately. It was so much fun. You could form communities, troll your friends, scrap each other and the best part - Write testimonials. There were 3 types of testimonial writers -
1. Who write testis only for friends out of genuine respect for friendship
2.Who write testis expecting a testi in return
3. Who write testis only for girls, praising them, hoping they would notice them and talk to them, heck even go out with them.
Mostly 3rd type.
I am thankful to Orkut. It made me the cool guy that you see today and wonder how he can be so awesome. But seriously, I got my long time girlfriend and now wife on Orkut. No, no, I didnt send her a frandship request or anything. We were friends in school and then she moved to the United States. Somehow she found me on orkut and added me.
She was always out of my league. Today, for as awesome as I am, I still think I am striving to be better everyday so that I can deserve her. If I feel that when I am so full of myself today, had I met her in person back then, it would have been impossible for me to woo her. Orkut and the distance between us made sure we didnt meet face to face too much and I got my written words to do the talking for me.
Orkut gave me the confidence guys like me deserve. There are so many of us out there, ladies, its sad most of you would never manage to meet us, had it not been for Orkut. I feel the we live in a much better world now where most of us have a level playing field. And this is not just for romantic relationships.
Now that they are shutting it down, I feel sad. It seems like yesterday Bhatti had animatedly asked me to come on Orkut. I want to thank him for the idea. I havent logged on to the site in ages. But I didnt think they would turn it off. For me, it was something I would show my kids to -- this is where it all started. Maybe they would read this post one day and marvel at the times gone by.
But for this moment, all I wanna do is, save and read my testimonials again and again and again...
Editor in chief arshat chaudharyCurrent Issues: girls, How i got my girl back, orkut