Disclaimer: All characters here are real time living people. To protect their identity, names have been omitted!!!
A notification on Facebook! I felt like getting the first drops of rain on a barren land. With hours of sitting in front of my laptop and doing nothing other than switching windows from Assassin's Creed and Facebook, I got a response from the virtual world.
Ezio was not able to progress the mission to obtain the Apple of Eden and none of my friends on the other side of the virtual world seemed existent.
The notification glowed red and the mouse pointer moved in haste to open up the hidden treasure wrapped within.
The page moderator had accepted my entry into the institute's FB page.
It would be the start to networking with peers, all of whom I believe would be along with me, from the time of entry to the corporate world to, well only God knows till when.
Around 50 members were there in the community, all involved in heated arguments regarding whether to join or not.
My entry time seemed good. They were involved in shooting questions about whereabouts of alumni, placement prospects, college facilities and last but not least 'daaru' availability and opportunities.
Scrolling through the page, I felt the urge to check out who all were going to be seated besides me in the large amphitheater styled classrooms (I got this news from the that heated argument)
The next click opened up to the world of my 'future classmates'. As a normal human being, first thing as any man would do, I too did the same- eve hunting. With the satisfaction of spotting a couple of good looking ones, I did what the next top priority ought to be- searching people from the God's own country. My eyes went from top to bottom of the page searching in vain until I found a name resembling a local name. To confirm, I entered into the person's personal virtual space earmarked for the public.
He was from my own state, lived almost 5 kms from the place where I previously lived and studied in one of the most prestigious schools of that particular city. Thus went the click on the 'add friend' link, the first friend request to the my soon-to-be classmates.
One minute passed, two minutes passed. Poof came the change in the notification tab. Mr. Local had accepted my friend request. After a short Hi and Hello, followed by small intros from both sides, we bade each other goodbye and went on with our own piece of life.
Soon, my cursor point went and clicked many a 'add friend' tabs and it seemed many of them too did the same. Friend requests were piling in and after a long time, my FB was active. Really active.
Chats and discussions seemed to make that miles apart feeling nearer and nearer.
The day was nearing and the threshold of excitement was at its peak. Everyone was thrilled on the prospect of meeting and making new friends, intended for a lifetime.
As the days got closer, more and more people were joining the group. My friend list was filling in with new faces. These new faces, within a small span of time became close buddies. You never know, meeting people from Srinagar, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Ahmedabad , whom you would be meeting in person in a few days seemed fun. All of them would soon be under one roof, fighting the way out to the make it to the other side victoriously.
But the flipside was that the thrill and excitement of meeting new people has died down and meeting the bodily incarnation of the virtual existences has sprouted up.
As excited as excited can be, I packed my bags and set forth to the new destination. My mobile was constantly beeping with real-time updates of group check-ins at various airports in the country. Their friend from the south too boarded the flight with the zeal of best hopes and expectations.
At the gates!!
The gate was wide open and I set foot on the place where, life was to happen for the next 2 years.
I walked with my documents towards the door of the most happening place of the 1st day. The registration room.
The door was slightly ajar. I walked into the amphitheater styled room and over a 100 pair of eyes made contact with this towering personality. I scanned the room and caught the eye of many of the familiar faces I knew from the virtual world.
Post registration, I was struggling to get all luggage from the taxi and get them to my room. Somehow, all that occupied the boot was hauled upstairs and was to occupy the dingy downstairs of my cot. After the last bit of cloth found its place in the cupboard, I dragged myself to visit the dining hall for a cup of coffee, just for that little bit of caffeine.
Climbing down the stairs and walking to get my caffeine boost, all I saw was not new faces, but faces that were very much known to me, on the virtual world.
Distances seemed inexistent in the world that is so connected. People seemed close in the virtual realm and never so outside.
Walking towards dining hall, I was all praises for the virtual world and was getting ready to face the real world which would soon be unleashing its wrath upon the innocent and unsuspecting.