Dec 30, 2011

Google+ and unequal relationships

Much has been penned on google+ and its pros and cons. The one real problem with google+ is that it does not create equal relationships.

For example: If you accept a friend request on FB you both become each other's 'friends' and
can access atleast some content posted by the other. You also get to see the other party's friends who do comment, etc. This is how you can increase your own network. It's like being at a friend's party where you get to meet friends of friends. (Rarely do people accept friend requests and also block the new friend from accessing all of their content. Psychology.)

This does not happen with G+. If I add you I can only feed you with my posts. But I would still not have access to any of your's unless you add me, separately. Nor can I see who your friends are or add them as my friends. No network growth opportunities in short. And if the other person also does not add you to their circles, you start feeling left out.

Till google does not rectify this its chances of becoming a real networking platform are low. 

Dec 1, 2011

Life for the aged in modern day India

Met this woman at the grocer's. I used to come across her ever so often. In her late sixties. At library, at the park, at cultural events in our neighborhood. A sprightly, smart and lively soul. We used to engage in small talk at times. Then she dropped out of sight. After almost 3 years I saw her again. Her hair had turned white,and though she readily smiled in recognition, there was this weary look around her eyes, at the corners of her mouth. It seems her husband had died after a prolonged illness. She does have two children, but they are settled abroad; neither visited even after the news of their father's death. The other relatives are - how shall we put it?  'non-interfering', ie they do not wish to be burdened in any way with her. But life has to be lived. And so she continues.

Then there is another old lady who can barely see, but hobbles to the park twice a day. Everyday. Because otherwise she would never see or hear another human being. Again, the relatives have vanished.

This condition of old and lonely people - lonely because nobody wants to be the 'fall guy' in case they ever need help, assistance of any sort - has climbed up sharply in India in the last few decades, with the demise of the joint-family. They are left with no support network just when they really need it. And the government does a damn all about it. The old-age homes only accept people who are fit; the younger the better!