Just picture this scene.

I have just returned from a four kilometer brisk walk, am all sweaty and pleasantly tired and satisfied with the evening’s outing during which I had met many friends and spent some time among my regular group which is always therapeutic.

I turn on the water heater in the bathroom so that I can take a shower in a while and turn on the computer to catch up with mail and perhaps visit a few blogs and leave comments, or respond to comments left on my blog posts.

It is around 8.00 pm Indian Standard Time. But the story can extend beyond 9.30 pm!

As I am often do, I seek a friend in the UK who lives alone, to check if everything is alright there and to share my own day’s activities. I am on Instant Messaging System primarily to chat with this friend. I turn on my status as Away Or Busy, DND (Do Not Disturb) and hail my friend. Mind you my friend is on GMT, or 5 1/2 hours behind, meaning that it is still early afternoon there. Dinner and bed time for me and tea/coffee time for my friend.

We start chatting and I am keeping a wary eye out for other contacts on the chat who may just decide to try to chat with me despite my status discouraging them.

Having exchange all possible news for the day, I tell my friend Good Night. But no, my friend is in no mood to let go of me! Something or the other comes up for further discussion and eventually, I have to find an excuse to get off.

I have used one or more of the following excuses to get off.

1. I need to go to the toilet urgently.
2. I have just received a long distance telephone call.
3. Someone is at the door. With variations that the grocer or the chemist is delivering preordered stuff.
4. I am all sweaty and desperately in need of a shower.
5. I am tired and sleepy.
6. I have got myself a new book which I am eager to start reading.
7. I have to cook/eat my dinner.
8. A mentee in distress wants to chat.

And, after my father moved in with us,

1. Have to medicate/feed my father.
2. Have to wash the dishes.
3. Have to put him to bed.
4. I am being summoned by him.
5. He has fallen down.

You get the drift?

Yesterday was classic. I had just informed my friend that I had gone shopping and got myself a new bedside lamp for reading in bed. After other pleasantries, I begged leave to go offline and I got this comment: You are dumping me for a lamp?

How my dear reader, will you handle that question?

I will wait for some responses before I take you on a fascinating journey on what was really exchanged.

Instant Messaging.

I reproduce an exchange of instant messages exchanged with a young friend.

Me: I would like to take a crack at your new status bar message.

YF: Please do.

Me: At my age and situation in life, that is the only place where it can be.

YF: What?

Me: It.

YF: I don’t understand.

Me: I am not surprised.

YF: Why?

Me: You have a long way to go before you reach my age and hopefully never my situation.

YF: I still don’t understand.

Me: Okay, go offline and think for a while and if you still cannot come up with the answer, come back to chat. Bye for now.

YF, After thirty minutes: You are impossible. I have changed my status message.

Me: Why? It applies to me, not to you.

YF: Ha! Ha!!

Me: Now go and do something about it. Bye.

YF: Yes Sir! Bye.

The Challenge: What could the status message have been that generated this exchange?

Pep Chat.

Yes, I am sure that you have heard of pep talks. I just received a pep talk over the Google talk Instant Messaging System.

The chat was between a very dear friend from far away and me. I reproduce below most of it. I have just edited portions which can identify people.

Me: My life has never been mine since the late nineties. Some times I feel that the best part of my life went away due to no fault of mine and continues to do the same.

Friend: ******* saw an ad on TV about an 80 year old father and a 60 year old son and she said that it reminded her of you. Ramana, the best is yet to come.

Me: Things I want / wanted to do, friends whose fellowship I miss, places that I want to visit etc the list is endless.

Friend: There’s plenty of time. Besides you have us! Me, ******* etc, you know!

Me: Except that all eligible women call me Uncle. Or Brother or Bother too.

Friend: But just see how attractive you are. ******** fantasises about you and she’s never met you! Just see the aura that comes off you even over the net! You are no bother at all.

Me: Aura will not get me what I want.

Friend: You have an aura of magnetism. Besides there’s that gorgeous dark brown voice, not to mention your aristocratic bearing.

Me: Ha ha!!

Friend: For Heaven’s sake pal, you’re a babe magnet. The sort of women who like reading M&B romances would swoon over the likes of you.

Me: Send some over will you? The locals all want to know my bank balance.

Friend: Ah! just say less and keep them guessing.

Nice to have such motivating friends in my life, don’t you think? Do you have any who can pull you out of a spell of whymeitis like this friend did me?