TODAY -

Online Chatting: An Insight

James Watson *

Chatting online is fun, funky, interesting, and very relaxing in its own way. The best thing about 'online chat' is that you can say whatever you like, to whoever you like without any fear of being caught in a legal tangle.

As such one can express one's views on various issues freely with an open mind in a chat room. The icing on the cake is that one can do all this without disclosing one's identity.

My tryst with 'online chatting' began in my first year of graduation. It was a friend who introduced me to the art which was very much in vogue at that time and considered "kool." I found it very alluring and it was an instant hit.

The very idea of talking to someone miles away from you (without being face to face), live, was a huge delight. I took to it like fish to water. I started frequenting cyber cafes and got myself hooked to chatting. It was impossible to walk past a cyber cafe.

The temptation was too strong for me to be able to resist. I found myself inside the hot, humid and crowded little room in the basement over and over again. Once you get into the flow of things, you get used to it. The humidity and the extremely hot and uncomfortable conditions of the place could easily be driven to oblivion.

What was more interesting and inviting was the idea of a "chat fren" waiting for you to come online and chat with you. I made lots of friends, chatters like me, in the process. It was some kind of an addiction. What began as a 'time pass' turned to a necessity. There was not a single day when I didn't think of chatting.

There came a time when I felt something needed to be done about it. One couldn't help, but feel guilty. Whereas it was fun and delightful, the idea of it developing into an obsession was dreadful. It was then that I started talking to fellow chatters. And it was heartening to discover people facing the same dilemma.

Most chatters, like me, started it off as 'time pass.' But soon they got hooked to it and before they could understand what really was going on, they realized 'chatting' had become an obsession of their lives.

I also came across 'chatters' who managed to find themselves 'soul mates' in 'chat rooms.' First they start as strangers and then come closer as they get to know each other more. They start enjoying each other's company soon.

Then, one fine day, they decide to exchange 'pics' (photographs) online. After that they end up fixing up a date in some fancy restaurant. And finally, they decide to take nuptial vows, uttering 'I do' in response to the priest. Some might find it too fantastic to be true, 'surreal.' But its happening in cyber world today.

There have also been cases of married couples newly falling in love with each other, though unwittingly. Only to his/her chagrin does he/she reaslises that the stranger who has won his/her heart is the same person he/she has been living with for years.

'Online chatting' has also given a new lease of life to recluses, who are not so confident to express their views. Here, they don't have to reveal themselves. They have the license to be anonymous.

And this helps them become the persons they really are and express themselves confidently without any inhibitions. Online chatting, in this sense, serves as a catharsis to this group of netizens.

For a large majority, 'online chatting' is 'time pass' and an exercise that helps you relax. But there shouldn't be any complaints if someone finds it a 'serious stuff.'

After all it's a free world. No?




* James Watson (also known as 'Hiyang') contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be reached at musingamong_cauliflower(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on February 05th, 2009.

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