Social Networks of all kinds have sprung up these days. Whether its Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora, Instagram, Pinterest or any other, people seem to have become social in more ways than one. Whether its chatting with friends, asking queries about all and sundry, making professional connections or even following people who have similar opinions as you, social networks cater to each and every taste.
And so when I was recently asked to review ‘State.com‘, I was quite curious to know what’s it about. At the outset it is a social platform for people to express their opinions on anything and everything under the sun. From Rafael Nadal’s performance in the French open to the Nigerian army’s response to Boko Haram, from Miley Cyrus’s dresses to the taste of hand cooked chicken, this network gives people a chance to put their opinions forward.
The dictionary defines outrage as a kind of emotion which is related to anger aroused by degradation of moral and societal norms. But who defines outrage? What are the causes which result in people outraging left, right and center? Most of you would say that it’s the beliefs and values people have which define what’s morally correct and morally wrong for them. But is it the only thing? Do people outrage just for the heck of it? Has outraging become a fashion statement? Let’s check it out.
The Delhi gangrape incident last year resulted in protests across the nation. Every Tom, Dick & Harry had a view about what should be done. From reforming the rapists as Rahul Bose had mentioned to chemical castration; people were frustrated, angry and ready to do their bit to save the country from such beasts. Or so it seemed. Yes, many were genuinely frustrated and angry. But to think of it, there many who were just commenting for the sake of commenting. Whether using social media or posting blog posts, during conversations over tea or making bold statements, people were outraging as if this meant so much to them.
Madhumita Mukherjee grew up in Delhi and did her medical education from Calcutta National Medical College. She has been living and working in England since 2001 as a Paediatrician. She has a special affinity for epistolary novels as well as novels written as journals and diaries like ‘Diary of a Provincial Lady’ by E.M. Delafield, and ‘I Capture the Castle’ by Dodie Smith. Besides these, she takes special interest in novels with medical themes such as ‘A Country Doctor’s Notebook’ by Mikhail Bulgakov.
‘The Other Side of the Table’ is her first novel. She joins us here for a small tete-a-tete -
Aseem: Who or what inspired you to begin writing?
Madhumita: Nothing in particular and certainly not anyone. I suddenly had the time for the wrong reason and I wanted to distract myself by telling myself a story…
A veteran journalist, Oswald Pereira has worked for leading newspapers and magazines in Mumbai, New Delhi and Muscat. Oswald, who has taught journalism at The Times School of Journalism, is an editor and an English language trainer. Oswald is the author of the widely-acclaimed, best-selling crime thriller, The Newsroom Mafia, published by Grey Oak Westland in December 2011. He was born in Thane, Maharashtra, and studied at St Xaviers College, Mumbai. He now lives with his wife and son in Noida. Revenge of the Naked Princess is his second novel.
He joins us for a small little chat –
Aseem: When and how did you decide to start penning down novels?
Oswald: Before entering journalism, while doing my post-graduation in Economics in Bombay University I wrote my first novel in the young adult genre. It was liked by the editor of a top publishing house. But the editor-in-chief overruled the editor. I was unfazed and wrote my second novel in which the protagonist was a priest who falls in love with a girl. Then I joined journalism and reporting and writing front page stories seemed far more exciting than churning out fiction. My two novels written back then, which still remain unpublished were a forgotten story. They still lie somewhere among my old papers that include a big scrapbook of hundreds of news stories.
‘The Other Side of the Table’ is Madhumita Mukherjee’s first novel. She has pursued medicine and works as a consultant paediatrician in Manchester. She has a special affinity for epistolary novels. And that’s what she pursues in her first attempt at writing. Does it work? Let’s check it out.
The blurb goes like this –
A world drawn and woven with words.
A bond punctuated by absence and distance . . .
Two continents. Two cities. Two people.
And letters. Hundreds of them.
Over years. Across oceans. Between hearts.
Between Abhi, who is training to be a neurosurgeon in London, and Uma, who is just stepping into the world of medicine in Kolkata.
As they ink their emotions onto paper, their lives get chronicled in this subtly nuanced conversation through letters . . . letters about dreams, desires, heartbreaks, and longings . . . about a proverbial good life falling apart, about a failed marriage, a visceral loss, and about a dream that threatens social expectations . . .
Letters that talk. And don’t. Letters about this and that. Letters about everything . . .
Letters with a story you would never expect.
No, it’s not really about Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or any reference to any form of communication on the Internet or movies for that matter.
I love to travel. Looking at the list of countries I have visited, I’m quite proud to say that I’ve been to Thailand, Indonesia, China, Australia, Cambodia, Turkey, Italy, and France. I am 25 and recently got married and moved from Malaysia to the United Kingdom. Of course, I don’t intend to end that list just yet!
I was enjoying a nice long bath not too long ago, and this triggered the thought of my friends back in Malaysia. Don’t get me wrong – we don’t share baths! But the nice warm feeling reminded me of the common poolside area we have in the condominium where I used to stay. That was where we neighbours usually met, gathered with friends, ate and bantered about life. That made me suddenly realize that I probably know more about the rest of the world than without realizing it!
So Facebook has introduced its new newsfeed and various other features in the f8 conference. All the Facebook lovers, techies, developers, everyone’s greatly excited, isn’t it? Obviously many of these moves were influenced or sped up because of the entry of Google Plus into the market. But whatever it is, its being regarded as a unique change.
But then my post deals with two particular changes which form the core of its new strategy. They include the Facebook Timeline and the tracker. So they have blurted out the usual things like “It makes you more social”, “You can connect to your friends much easier”, “The features are for the benefit of the users” blah blah blah!
“Tweeting”, “Retweet”, “You know, I have 39 followers”, “Oh my God! Gul Panag replied to my tweet”. Wondering what am i talking about? If you are, then someone like me will surely be shocked. Ask why? Because Twitter has taken our nation by storm. A storm which has made celebrities and minsters across the world take notice.