Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prominent Facebooker has Close Brush with Death

Aman, a prominent Facebooker, became a minor celebrity after his close brush with death last Tuesday. Fire broke out in his workplace after the popcorn he had put in the microwave burst into flames and caused a short circuit burning out the electrical wiring in turn.

"The fault was mine," admits Aman, "I put the popcorn in and went back to my computer and put my headphones on. I was so lost in music that I completely forgot about the popcorn. I didn't even hear the fire-alarm. I only came to know about it when I smelt something burning real bad."

By the time Aman reached the microwave, the fire had already burnt it out and the flames were spreading all over the room.

"It was amazing," says Aman, "I immediately got my camera and set it on the shelf on the other side so I could capture everything. It was going to be a chance of the lifetime. At that time, the topmost thing on my mind was the waves it would create among my facebook friends."

Aman's Facebook friends were not disappointed. Living up to his reputation of 'the most happening person on facebook' (as rated by 237 people on 'Rate My Friends', a facebook app), Aman not only took videos of the entire incident but also took pictures from his mobile phone.

"Pictures are usually clearer than videos," Aman told this reporter, "And I can blog them real time on my iPhone. The feed is linked to my facebook account so it immediately gets published to my friends. Some of my friends were already commenting even before I'd started putting out the fire."

But the fire was not that easy to put out, as Aman discovered.

"I was trying my best to put out the flames but they were all over the place. And it was really hot. And I had to keep in mind that if I did it too soon or without some struggle, the video wouldn't come out all that great. I mean, there are thousands of indoor fire videos on YouTube. This one needed to be special. I wanted to keep the fire-extinguisher for the very last so that the whole thing had a nice, you know, climax."

Things got much worse before Aman could finish with a flourish.

"I was updating my Facebook status all the time. As I ran repeatedly between the fire and my computer I had this sudden, brilliant brainwave. Why not get burnt a little bit? Now that would make for awesome pics, wouldn't it? all the sympathy comments I'd get from the girls," Aman says with a naughty smile.

So, determined to create the most spectacular Facebook even of all time, Aman jumped bravely into the flames. Little did he know how dangerous that could be.

"Have you ever been in a fire?" Aman asks, "I mean a real fire? The worst part is not that it's so hot. The worst part is that it spreads so quickly. I'd decided to burn my left arm. But as soon as I thrust my arm in, it was all over me. My t-shirt was burning all over me and maybe even my trousers, I think. I couldn't make anything out in the smoke. I suddenly realized that this was not going to work and rushed for the fire-extinguisher. But I didn't even know where it was! Imagine that! I have been working in this office for five years!"

The irony of it was, as Aman was frantically searching for the fire-extinguisher, his colleague, Shravan, who was following the entire incident live on Facebook had posted several comments telling Aman where the fire-extinguisher was.

"It never occured me to call him," says Shravan, shaking his head, "Aman is always on Facebook. And since he was tweeting the whole thing live on his facebook status, I assumed he'd get my messages."

"But I could not get to the computer while I was burning," says Aman, "It could have caught fire. And I didn't have a webcam either so I couldn't even set up a live feed. What use would that have been? It would just have driven me out of frame of the handycam I'd set up."

Shyam, the watchman on duty at that time, was the one who finally saved Aman's life. By that time he'd seem the flames coming out the window and knew Aman was trapped there. When he broke into the room, he found Aman rolling on the floor wreathing in pain.

"I don't understand why he didn't just rush out immediately and call me. I know these sahab-log aren't that good with these things, you know, things that require using your hands, running around etc. I could have taken care of the fire in two minutes. It wasn't a big fire."

While Aman thanks Shyam for saving his life, he has no real regrets.

"In the end it was worth it," he says, "It became the biggest facebook event of all time. I got 1026 comments in total and 527 wall posts. They even started a group for me -- "The Burning Man". More than 2000 people are members there. Even today I get friend requests from completely random people. I just tell them to join the group. I've become a celebrity!"

The smile on Aman face as he finishes his story is reassuring. All's well that ends well.

"It's about loyalty," Aman adds as an afterthough, "You owe it to the guys who follow you on facebook. They put in so much time to take an interest in you. You can't but not give them your best."

Indeed. Aman's sentiments and loyalty to his Facebook friends are commendable.


  1. I dont know whether to be amused or appalled at this. I can't help but wonder how enslaved one can be; beyond reason and well

  2. @ Semantic Overload - True.

    I personally believe that the internet is fundamentally changing the way we communicate, just the way writing did all those thousands of years ago, or printing did a few hundred year ago. We will just have to learn to recognize the 'good' and the 'bad' of the internet.

  3. Very well written yaar! Only I think you should've labeled it as 'satire' instead of 'humour' -- it has that irony. Sonik had told me a while ago ke log 'paagal' hain Facebook ke liye US me.

    Fortunately, I've never had an addiction (heck, not even an affection! :D) to Orkut or Facebook despite being a frequent user of the internet. (Although I must say I'm slightly crazy about the Google Reader for sure :D)

  4. @ Hussain - True. But I like to keep the number of labels on this blog to a minimum. Humor was the closers category.

    People are crazy about Facebook everywhere. It is just that in India we don't have that much of net access.

  5. What an awesome take! :) Great job Vinod!

    Now I'm being a little further deterred in joining the Facebook bandwagon.

    But very well written :)

  6. @ Instinctivecuriosity - Thanks a lot!

  7. That is the exact reason why i loath all the networking sites... its just so inane of Aman.
    Guys here in the hostel also are also crazy for Facebook,more specifically Mafia wars. They actually get the feeling they are achieving something when they get their level up.

  8. @Vaibhav -- Yeah, I still need to figure out this whole mafia wars/farmville craze. People just have too much time on their hands.