Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Geek Streak

This is a tribute to those bespectacled (or otherwise; it would be stereotypical of me to associate specs with spods since I sport dorky eyewear too) friends of mine, who are wedded to their technologies, those wonderfully open-minded beings who have never failed to enlighten me with valuable pieces of information that have proved highly instrumental to me in passing my exams. Those models of intellect and eidolons of perseverance who have proved the most faithful and reliable comrades on the night before exams and those simple-minded chaps with child-like demeanours who are way beyond emotions and sensitiveness of any sort, whose highest forms of joy reside in the world of middle-earth beings and X Men. Kudos geeks!  

I was resting my head against the cool window of the bus, feeling lucky to have found a seat. Just then I noticed a puny guy with thick black spectacles trying to grope his way to the conductor. Just as I felt pity for this little schoolkid(or so I thought) with a bag slung over his shoulders, he placed his ringing phone to his ear and I heard him saying- 'the shellscript needs to be modified for it to install...'
The moment I heard the words, I dismissed him as another geek, another nerd...
After sometime, it set my bored mind thinking...that guy is either a very enthusiastic schoolkid or a software engineering student...so...do engineers ultimately turn into geeks? Or nerds? More importantly, was I one of them? Being a geek was bad enough, being a girl geek, even more disconcerting. I started checking myself for signs of 'geekiness' and asked myself-what makes geeks so? Though nerd is listed as a synonym of geek on Thesaurus.com, are nerds and geeks actually synonyms?
What I have seen is that people who are very involved in a particular subject or hobby are tagged as geeks. Although the dictionary definition of nerds is almost the same as above, the word is used interchangeably with the word geek, which connotes a computer enthusiast. Another word though a tad less popular than the above- dweeb refers to a mega-nerd.
Geeks remind me of a popular TV show The Big Bang Theory that portrays the characters' geekiness in very entertaining ways. However, I feel geeks are not necessarily (though generally so) so full of brains as people normally make them out to be.  They are just intensely involved and passionate about what they do. At times, they resemble philosophers, poets, even scientists in the focussed way they lead their lives and by the love and passion they possess for their hobby.
At times, the societal hypocrisy makes the sensitive sort of people coil into their shell and makes them uncomfortable and unable to blend with the society. A lot of these sensitive ones can be found in the geek section who look for sanctuary from the 'callous world' in their hobby. When life looks untoward and goes retrograde, when nothing appeals to them, they go for the unreal- some medium where their innermost ideas can take shape and they can realize their dreams. Just as fabricating stories is a medium of liberation for a poet, similarly, delving into the various aspects of the computer world spells freedom for a geek. The latest Lenovo ad that says “For Those Who Do” is an apt expression for these ingenious minds whose hobby is to unravel all the secrets of the software world.
The virtual world is easier to handle, devoid of the twists and turns of the manipulative human mind; the virtual world is facile and lives up to the expectations and the sensibilities of these minds. Where reality mocks them and hurts their senses, this world welcomes them with open arms, allows them to live the life they have always dreamt of leading. This is the foundation of the social networking mania that has gripped the world at large. In today's fast-paced world where none has the time “to stand and stare” (Wordsworth), people seek refuge in all sorts of domains. Addiction is the next stage of hobby as the present world and the work sphere, peaked with stress, does not leave any space for personal gratification or self actualization.
The ease and the cogent functioning of the cyber world attracts all sorts of people. It has something for everyone. There is a certain sense of equality here which is lacking in our own real world. In the computer world, there is no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, sex, religion -  the internet is  open for all to use...Google does not care who you are or where you are from...this search engine makes us wish - had RTI been half that efficient, life would have been so much better. The only form of inequality that might exist would be in terms of the filthy lucre- as in the softwares which have to be bought in order for us to avail all its features. However forerunners of the open-source software movement have removed that roadblock too. The emergence of new technologies and the power to not just use but create and implement such technologies attracts and infuses in people great self-esteem, an adventurous spark and a feeling of exuberance which is nearly druggish in nature.
 I believe, the geek streak is more out of habit and lifestyle than genes. Unprecedented and unlimited exposure to gizmos have not only created possibilities of more spoiled kids but also more geeks. The interest gradually leads to intense involvement and finally turns into cybermania bordering on addiction.  Computer lovers are sometimes born out of a need for personal domain, an independence which this medium makes available for them.
There might be some people who prefer sitting and doing stuff rather than going out. At times, these fellows turn into geeks out of sheer laziness. Though there are rare such cases like me.
Just as I was about to class myself as a non-geek, the bus lurched to a stop. An ostentatiously dressed girl with jazzy thick maquillage, chattering away at her bluetooth device, came and sat next to me. One look at her and I dropped the idea of untagging myself.

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