When you are driving, apart from the advertising billboards one gets to see numerous messages informing you about the hazards of DUI (driving under influence). However you never see anything about the hazards of SUI (Surfing the net Under Influence) which is more dangerous to your health than anything else. How, you might ask.
Well it’s like this; Every time I open my browser out pops an advertisement and most of the time it is an ad for some matrimonial web site that has a lovely smiling girl enticing me to join for free. Now, in normal circumstances I just click on the “X” on the right hand corner (as I see it) and forget. But last Sunday I had been to a party where the drinks were plentiful and free, and I drank as if there would be no tomorrow. I guess my hand slipped as I clicked as usual on the “X’ and out popped another page asking me to register. Of course the lovely girl was looking lovelier, (Thanks to the Whisky). I could/should have stopped there, but started filling the form. I even uploaded my photograph (the Rum made me do it) instead of that of some Bollywood star as is done by so many of my fellow netizens. It is interesting to see so many girls resembling Preity Zinta or hundreds of Salman Khan clones. I even gave my real phone number (Thanks to the Gin I had consumed). That night I slept or rather passed out on the PC. The next Monday I had a king size hangover, but what followed was even worse.
I opened my mail box only to find it full. So much spam! I swear to God I have never visited any Adult site but still I get mail giving me addresses of Pharmacy’s that sell Viagra or clinics that can enhance my …ummm …err height by two inches. Anyways that spam was dealt with as usual. But there still remained a hundred more. Most of them were from various matrimonial/dating sites that urged me to join. I deleted them in a jiffy. Then I opened one from a Ms Piroza Batliwalla aka firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘How did she know I like bottles?’ I thought to myself as I opened the mail. Two ladies in identical dress smiled at me. ‘I must be seeing double’ I thought, but I hadn’t had a drink for at least 8 hours so I was sober. The text seemed normal and the mystery was solved as I read the mail. It went thus: – “Dear Mr. Vivek, I am Piroza Batliwalla and I am 62. The other woman in the picture is my elder sister Shirin. We are both unmarried. You look quite handsome (is it your photo?) I wish to marry you, and at your age you won’t get a better bargain. Also in keeping with the present marketing trends set by the Bacchan family if you marry me you will get Shirin for free.”
Reluctantly I clicked on the delete button. The next was from Shirin Daruwalla aka email@example.com. Needless to say it was a repeat of her sister’s offer with appropriate changes. Click, click and it went to the trash bin.
The next email was very mysterious. It was from firstname.lastname@example.org. I opened it gingerly. “BEWARE” it said in size 32 Arial font. “Look before you leap” was another quote albeit in a smaller though red font. I leapfrogged that one.
My heart did a turn when I saw an email from a female chat friend. “You b…….” it screamed. “You lied to me all this time. You are twenty five years old eh? You said you were tall, dark and handsome…ha ha. Then who is this old pot bellied buffoon staring out of the profile on a marriage site?” She went on and on about my ancestry, mainly conforming to the theory of evolution by Darwin, but with one exception that instead of apes I had descended from some cross between pigs and dogs. I will spare you the exact details. I had lost one good chat friend and did not know how many more I was about to lose. Still, I carried on patiently searching for the email from that lovely girl who had enticed me to join, when my phone rang.
“Hello, this is Vivek”
“Hi Vivek, how are you?”
“I am fine but who are you?”
“Oh sorry, I am Subhash…”
“Hey I am Subhash Agarwal, your college buddy; have you forgotten me?”
“Ah it is that Subhash. No I haven’t forgotten you. (How can you forget someone who tried to steal your every girl friend?), but we haven’t spoken or met for the last twenty years so I wondered.”
“Yea you do have a point. Say when did you get divorced man? I have registered my daughter on a matrimonial site and as I was going thru the list of eligible grooms… I saw your bio data.”
A chill ran through my spine. I had registered there to get proposals from that lovely smiling girl and not phone calls from friendly girl friend stealers turned into prospective fathers in law.
“Err… Subhash I haven’t divorced.”
“Aha you plan to get married the second time! Wahh Sunil babu!” he said imitating a corny ad for some paint company.
The call waiting signal was coming through on my cell phone and when I saw who it was from, I started sweating like a commuter crammed in the 7:55 up slow local to CST.
“Hello darling,” the voice at the other end was saccharine sweet, “how are you?”
“Unhhh Hi sweetheart” I croaked “I am fine”.
“You Idiot……” The phone spewed venom and fire for about an hour and I better not tell you the foul language used by my better half.
So this is the crisis I am embroiled in. If the ad hadn’t popped every time I logged in or opened a page this would never have happened. That’s why I think Surfing Under Influence is bad. At least there should be a statutory warning that clicking on ads indiscriminately when under influence of alcohol is injurious to health (literally, as the lady of the house has my head in bandages due to a perfectly aimed rolling pin). Sigh, I still think the effort would have been worthwhile if that lovely smiling girl in the ad had written me an email.