Tuesday, May 20, 2008

#404 Error: Game vs. G-AIM

"I wasn't really spitting game / I was scrimmaging" - Kanye West, "This Way"

We Indians aren't really spitting game either, Kanye, just spinaches...from our Palak Paneers. If game recognize game, like Twista said, then we wouldn't know game if it called us up, told us it was our second cousin and asked for an H-1 sponsorship. In real life, game, to Indians, is an over of cricket and an hour of carrom. Online, however, game becomes G-chat convos and AIM seshes, or G-AIM, a thing with which we're well familiar. Intel crore duo? We're 'bout it, 'bout it.

Indians, being an awkward people more likely to watch the movie Prom Night than go to their own, have thrived in the recent environment that has valued social networking over socializing. If there's anything Indians know a thing or two about, it's networking, whether it be servers routed together in your IT department or that salubrious, meat-packing NETIP mixer at Club Buddha Bar for "young professionals" next Friday night. Forget your MOBILE number. Lose your STYLE number. What's your IP number? Sexy, yaar.

Gaming on g-chat and AIM comes with its own virtual advantages. For example, G-AIM allows you the chance to look things up on the web in order to appear more well informed than you actually are while talking to a prospective Priya online. Quick Google searches, tabbed Wikipedia entries and frequently refreshed deli.cio.us accounts allow the Indian G-AIMer to speak intelligibly on topics ranging from Margaret Thatcher's Monetarist policies to Mariah Carey's recent nuptials.

The most advantageous aspect of G-AIM that Indians have been able to exploit, however, is its cloak of anonymity and possibilities of redefinition. Who you are in your cubicle at the actuarial firm you work at with Qdoba salsa on your shirt means nothing when you're Broruah23@gmail.com. On G-chat and AIM what you say is what matters - how quickly you type it and how well you spell it - both things at which Indians excel (not including Excel).

In person, though, there are high pitched voices, slight speech impediments, adult acne, and soft Bausch & Laumb contacts forced on to eyes tearing and lashing out with the red ire of thousands of exacerbated capillaries screaming, "You can't wear contacts, it's allergy season!"

Online, you can define your personality and lazily find common ground by rapidly sharing links to things that interest you and describe you in a URL: Indian parody videos on YouTube, South Indian flim scenes appropriating Michael Jackson dances, songs buffalaxed beyond recognition, an NY Times article on the latest 28 year old Punjabi-American from California who sold his web start-up venture that your parents forwarded to not so subtly encourage you to study for the GMATs. All these things say to the other person, hey, look, we kinda maybe might like the same things and visit the same websites - information I never would have learned from you if I saw you in a public place, stared at you for too long and lost my voice due to an endocrine problem resulting from crippling social anxiety.

Doubters of the Indian proficiency in G-AIM should ask themselves: why have online dating sites grown in popularity among Indians? Why do Indians run Friendster and Orkut like DJ Khaled yelling "We the best" at Shore Club down on South Beach?

Because we're a social people. Not in real life, but in Second Life, a world in which the existence of avatars alone is enough to lure any Indian remedially versed in the 10 incarnations of Vishnu. Why call when you can message? Why touch when you can poke? Why say I love you when you can type it on her Wall? This impersonal courtship is no new development for Indians accustomed to love stories told by their parents of two young graduate students who never spoke before meeting on a tarmac in Aurangabad, flying Continental to O'Hare, and learning to love their arranged marriage in a duplex somewhere in Skokie.

Indians, arguably the ethnicity most represented by teenage awkwardness around the world with 1 billion people and 9.7 trillion IB credits, have nearly perfected the art of G-AIM. When you're plagued with unsightly facial hair, braces, and overactive sebaceous glands by grade 9, you're not left with many social options other than Duke Nuk'em 3D and AOL Teen Chat #89.

Question: Age/sex check?

Answer: The age of digital interaction, and yes, please..seriously, good god.. please let this happen.. please let this happen...for once.


harry said...

hey yaar, this post is scanty in its links. it took me only an entire viewing of lagaan to get through it. think you could throw in some more? heerrmmmmm?

varsha said...

You write very well....keep it up! Came across your blog since I was a subject of one your reader's blogs. Good stuff. Quite entertaining.

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