Last Sunday, after church, a small friend of mine who is studying in 3rd standard, came to me and asked, “Chechi, are you there in Facebook.” I replied, “Yes Allen, why are you asking?” He asked me back again, “What’s your profile name? I have to send you request so that we can be friends.” I was shocked. At his age, I didn’t even know what computer was. As I had my phone with me, I logged on to Facebook and searched for him and added him as my friend. That evening, when I logged in again, I had received a notification, “Allen Aji has accepted your friend request. View his timeline.” When I clicked on his timeline, I saw a cover picture of him standing along with his friends, maybe, of same age.
As I sat there looking at his timeline, I went back to the day, I had created a Facebook account for myself and the reason behind it. It was during 2nd year of my college. We had just entered our department and had our core subjects to study. So our department had organized an industrial visit to a lab. After the tiring tour around the lab and the boring explanations about what an autoclave and a fermenter does, all of us found rescue in a room that they showed us to take rest, stretching our legs which were paining after standing continuously for almost three hours. Ours was a girls-dominant department. 43 out of the sixty were girls. So all the girls huddled in a corner, in which I was also pulled in. The topic of discussion was “secret group” that was created in Facebook. “Bio-titans”, was created by a couple of our class guys, which had almost all the students of our class who had a Facebook account as its members. Here, Bio stands for our department and “Titans” means Gods, hence we were the Gods of Biotechnology.
When they saw that I wasn’t an active participant of their discussion, they asked me, “Aren’t you a member of the group?” “I don’t have a Facebook account”, I replied back. Few of them were shocked, but one of them told me, “Create one. You can be connected to our class.” That evening as soon as went back home, I switched on the system and created an account for myself. The very next day I was added to the group, “Bio-titans”, hence becoming the member of the elite group of Gods of Biotechnology.
The privacy of this group was secret (which still remains the same), for a reason. There were four types of students in our class: The nerds, the studious ones, the waiting-for-study-holidays-to-study ones and the never-open-the-book ones. Now the last three categories wouldn’t even come in the perimeter of a lecturer’s way if given a chance but the first category were so close to them that they were even friends in Facebook. Hence the group was secret so that none of our classmates were left out but at the same we would remain under wraps, all the time, from our lecturers.
Now this group has its own peak time and down time. The peak time is generally from the time our semester model exams starts and would last till the end of our university exams. The downtime, no doubt, is our semester holidays span. The peak time starts when the hall tickets arrive. Then comes the study holidays. Even though the activity would become diminished there would be occasional posts that says, “How many of units of lessons are over?”, “Frequently asked questions in the university exam.”, “Which book is for which subject?”, “Are there are any local author books available?” etc. Many of us would be dusting our bookshelves and pulling out the books that they gave us on the beginning of the semester, only at that time.
Then comes the university exams. Two days prior to the first exam, one of them would post the possible-important-repeated university questions in the group. What would follow will be a series of comments, mostly asking for page numbers, sometimes in worse conditions, the book name. Hence after a couple of exams, she started posting with book name and pages numbers included along with the questions. After the exam is over, posts start appearing, either thanking our luck that the question paper was easy or cursing the person who set the QP according to the difficulty of the paper. Mostly all of us would be tired due to less/no sleep the night before, that everyone would sign off, trying to catch the long lost sleep. The next day, we would find a post already made stating, “Started studying guys?”/ “How much done?” If by any chance the person who posts our regular updates of important questions go missing, then a post asking about her whereabouts would appear. Once one of us called her up as she didn’t post the questions in time.
This cycle would continue till all the end of the exams season, ending on a happy note that the exams are finally over. The group would go dormant till the semester results are out, after which the flurry of activity would start again.
There are lots of other things that happened in our group, as I remember, sometimes some posts would have 100-200 comments. This group had an interesting role in our two tours that happened, pre-final and final year tours. Will post as separate write-up.
Well, now the Gods are currently scattered, many of us turned to IT, while only few pursued higher studies.