I heard the news today. I’m sorry, I know it’s tough. I haven’t been in touch since we broke up in 2006. When Google said that it will be all over for you this September, I must confess I felt a slight twinge. Is it guilt? I don’t know. But just like in the movies, my brain went into montage loop, spinning memories of all those hours I spent with you. It’s all coming back to me now.
You were my first. It was 2004 and you were new and friendly and so easy to use. You showed me the world online, and I spent hours looking at profiles of people I knew and didn’t know. You were more than the flavour of the month, you had thousands of us clicking and scrolling up and down the site; in time, India would boast of the highest number of users after Brazil — that’s what you meant to us. You were so much cooler than you are now, without privacy settings and I could stalk my brand new ex-boyfriend to my heart’s content.You were there for me when I saw photographs of his latest girlfriend and cried my eyes out. Orkut, you made me come out of my shell.
In turn, I revealed myself to you. I felt I could be the person I really am: shallow, selfie-centred and judgemental. I had friends take pictures of me, but only if they had DSLR cameras, and preferably in black and white, so that my double chin wasn’t too visible. I would upload them and then I watched as my friends told me how pretty I looked. The school crush sent me
a scrap: “Cute.” Sigh. I lived for such attention.
My inner copywriter emerged thanks to your encouragement. I thought of clever things to say to my friends because I knew their friends would read them too. You taught me that I am a voyeur and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I left you for Facebook, but it wasn’t me, it was you. A year had gone by and you were still the same but I’d changed. I felt important when I received friend requests from the posh people in school and college, and I was dazzled by Facebook’s clean, minimalist interface.
Farewell, dear friend. I’ll never forget you, I promise. In September, I’ll post a news link about you on my Facebook profile and we
will talk about how great you used to be.
But right now, I can’t even.