Net Deprivation Syndrome!

......Addiction to Internet. Yes, Addiction...just like one is addicted to Drugs....Coke....Alcohol. I too have succumbed to this new to speak!! And what do u have when u are deprived of ur addiction....Yes....Withdrawal Symptoms....!

So these days, after 5 Email Ids, 3 Messengers, 2 Blogs, and endless number of WebPages, I end a conversation on my handphone by clicking a button on my computer (Thanks to Voice Chat and VoIP), and gets irritated when other landlines doesn’t respond to the clicks on my computer…. I end up with a unique urbane disease called IDS or Internet Deprivation Syndrome. My fingers are itching…My eyes are twitching….

It has been 6 hrs already. Yes 6 looong looong hours. Yesterday, I chatted for three hours and 27 minutes with my chat buddy ‘love_an_ice’ (it is her online nickname). When ‘Nandini’ came and told me proudly that she chatted for three hours 14 minutes on her handphone hooked to the internet with her online friend from ‘Greenland’, I told her that I chatted for 23 minutes more than her, with this ‘love_an_ice’, from believe it or not, ‘Cyberia’. U should have seen her face then….talking green, she has indeed turned ‘green’. For a difference, she was the loser this time around, and I, the victor. This ‘ice cream lover’ is my online pal. I chat with her almost everyday. Daughter of an Iraqi Colonel, she tells me all the latest gossips from her university and her evening job in a small city in Iraq called Karbala. She even tells me how her people are fighting the ‘Invaders’ and how she heard a giant thud of a bomb dropping just across her street. I tell her all about my life in an Indian metropolis. To the rest of the world, I am ‘Me’, the meek, the quiet, but to this ‘ice cream lover’, I am a ‘Neo’, the oh so cool, the one that all flip for! To this ‘ice cream lover’, ‘Neo’ (Oops! I forgot to tell u, it is my online name) is the epitome of manhood. I can do anything I want. I invent. I tell her all the things I wish had happened to me, as if they actually did! Who is to know? She does not know my real name, my address or anything else. ‘Neo’ actually exists. Here, inside my computer !

As u may have guessed by now, when it comes to the Net, I am a hardcore Nut. I love chatting. I love telling this ice cream lover and anyone else who might want to listen, all about the imaginary ‘Me’. As someone said, “No one knows u r a dog” how true…no one knows ur plain ‘ol ‘Me’ either. True, if otherwise, my life would be made to a movie....would you have brought the tickets...? I don’t want an answer to that.

Next to chatting comes music. In fact, more often than not, while I am chatting or not, I am listening to music. Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Phill Collins, Ricky Martin, Richard Marx…These are my favorites. All my friends ask me, with that music system behind me, why is it that I have to listen to a sou…sou…l… rendition by Phill Collins on the net, with so much static delay and hiss, that too at a low volume. Say what u will. There is something about the net. Something about the fact that u can actually get some great music out of this box that other people use for spreadsheets and word processors (Ugh! J . Aah! See I couldn’t resist it…the similes - J - or have u seen the saddie L…?

….That is what I am…a saddie…. when I can’t get through the chat line of ‘love_an_ice’. Yeah, I do have problems when I withdraw from the net – withdrawal symptoms which I earlier mentioned - I feel like an insomniac…with an utter lack of appetite…even at midnight, my eyes are wide open…eardrums close…breathing becomes heavy…body feels the weightlessness…mouth dries up…palms sweat…heart races…mind crawls….BP rises…stomach sinks…and I am sleepless…! …Withdrawal symptoms when one is deprived of his daily quota of Cocaine…U must’ve heard of this when u talk about Hash…or Diazepam…but not with the internet….well, that’s the age we live in…Yeah!…I am addicted to the Cyberia!

Now, as I lay in the darkness at the dimly lit ceiling. A bright halogen lamp on the adjacent road envelops my room in a strange, sci-fi glo. I expect ET to crawl in through the window, or the entire star trek team to march in. I try humming those melodious songs, or going over the day's happenings. I even try resorting to pleasantly distorted memories of my college days, lacing them with wild exaggerations and silly fantasies. But Nothing works...and sleep is hard to come by...and so I have to log in to internet again...

So, other than chatting and Music, what does the ‘Neo’ do online? All my friends love walking down the super malls in the city, window-shopping. What do they know? That this information super-highway is the largest window-shopping mall in the world. True, true, I cant buy my favorite kurta here (but believe it or not…sooner or later, our very own Dilli Haat is going to be online…) . But I can check out the latest styles. Levi is here. Versace, Armani, Tommy Hilfiger is all mine. Even the designer malls of MG Road are here, so that I can tell my ice-cream lover who the leading designers of my country are and what they have in store for her….Infact, she does the buying too… Indeed!! Who want to ogle at platform stuff in the local bazaars? And in the net, there is no one to question me, asking why I am loitering so long. In fact, they welcome it. Oops, what about Movies, check out that online clips of dreamy Kate Winslet and Micheal Pfeiffer, she is here too…. I can even have a chat with Lara Dutta or Priyanka Chopra, if I want to. Trailors, I watch them long before the guys in my office even hear the movie titles. And Aamir, Aishwarya, they are all here, just in front of me, and even J Lo…Wow! This world just Rocks!!!

Speaking of Cheese, have u ever tried a Maurya Sheraton Kadai Paneer? That is my other hangout! The websites of five star hotels. Have a look at their menu, and yummy, ur stomach is full. Other place where I frequent is the recipe sites. Okay agreed, I am no King when it comes to making home dishes. But when it comes to Egg Florentine, or Cheese Dumplings, dipped in Thousand Island sauce (don’t ask me what I used instead of the thousand island sauce) I certainly have the last word and it just thrills!!

Oh! I am hungry again…where’s it? Where’s the dial-up?, Where’s my GMail? Where’s the ice cream girl? Is she online? Wonder whether the tele department will operate today? I badly need my ‘fix’. Clark Kent goes into a tele booth to turn into a SuperMan….Peter Parker goes in to a washroom to turn into a SpiderMan! And I logon my computer to turn into ‘Neo’…HERE I COME……..‘love_an_ice23’...!!!

EndNote :- Its been a looong months since I heard anything from ‘love_an_ice’….Wonder what happened to her….? May be, one of those precision bombs fired by US might have hit her computer. Now even as I log in each day in the hope of finding her on my chat room, I hear on my TV that MCD has bull-dozed the MG Road Mall as well though it still remains on the Cyberia….And as the title song from ‘Titanic’ wafts across the room from the Celine Dion Site, what remains at the end of the day is the Hope of finding ‘love_an_ice’ once for all!


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