2014 was a year of reunions. A lot of people around me have been part of some big reunions – ones that extended over long weekends or 3-4 nights. Yes, yes, I belong to the age group where reunions are big, the big 4 and 0. As I sat back and thought about it, I wondered how many of these reunions would have been possible without Whatsapp.
Sure, Whatsapp and in general tinkering on phone brings its share of eyerolls from the people around you, and maybe justifiably too. You will also find yourself complaining about the 1000 inane forwards a day you receive on Whatsapp. Or make that 250, just that you get each one from 4 of the 20 groups you are on, which is arguably more annoying. But, what is ignoring a few forwards compared to a reunion worth a million bucks?
Test this – from the gang of 20 people I studied with in college, 12 of us got together from 7 countries, across 5 continents at a central location – Dubai! Yep, currently we are spread all over the world from the US to Australia, via Africa. Impossible to have coordinated it all without our Whatsapp group.
In fact, we had lost touch because something called ‘life’ happened between college and now – marriages, kids, job changes, career changes and all. Then, e-mail and Facebook brought us back in touch and before we knew it we were cursing each other for our taste in jokes, and debating over political views and philosophical.
Organically, some connections were taken to personal chat – time zones notwithstanding – and conversations became richer and fuller.
Sure, if a person is close to you, you will find a way to keep in touch, with or without technology. The ones that you didn’t expect to be in touch with but are now connected to – they are the ones that technology has added to your life.
So, the next time you or someone you know starts getting cynical about how phones, tabs and the IM world in general has encroached on physical spaces, maybe we can reconsider and re-evaluate our judgement. Is it really that bad a thing?
My answer like always lies in balance because my virtual relationships would be meaningless if I didn’t meet the people physically. But, I wouldn’t have met them physically had it not been for the online rendezvous and day-to-day connect. A lovely virtuous circle, I’d say. What’s your take?