The Attic In Your Inbox

Have you ever wondered what kind of a person you were ten-fifteen years ago? How you’ve evolved over the years? I’m sure you have. Yesterday was a sort of a blast from the past for me. I managed to access my very first email inbox on Yahoo! Mail – something that I had created way back in 1999. And when I went through some of the mails I’d written and exchanged with old friends (some of whom are no longer in touch) it made me feel stupid, excited and happy. Stupid because of the ridiculous nature of my writing, completely ignoring the basic rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation and propriety.

Yahoo Mail
Part of an email conversation I’d had with a friend, on whom I had a tiny, little crush 🙂

But, on the other hand, I was happy and excited to access my old inbox because it proved to be a veritable attic of forgotten treasures. I found a few old love letters that I’d written to my very first girlfriend. I found old photos of classmates, girlfriends, forgotten friends, forgotten moments and events that have had an impact on who I am today. I spent a lot of time digging through this inbox, trying to remember exactly what the conversations were about, who the people were, what my state of mind was, and there was no satiating my nostalgic indulgence.

I came across an email fight I had with a friend of mine over something that seems so trivial now but was perhaps the straw that broke our friendship back then. I came across old emails where I was making plans with a few close friends to meet up a certain pub for a few beers. Oh, those were weird times. I sent some of these photos to a friend of mine with whom I’m not in touch very much, hoping to rekindle some contact. I told him how weird we were back then. He thanked me for the trip down memory lane and responded by saying, “I think we’re still weird, but we’ve managed to embrace that reality.”

Reunion
Photograph of a class reunion that I found in my Yahoo! Attic

I think we should all stop running for a few seconds and look back on the path we’ve taken to get where we are. It’s just astounding how quickly time flies and we hardly recognize ourselves from back when we were younger. I read these old emails now and I am filled with an immeasurable curiosity to know more about myself – more precisely, to know what people thought of me back then. I look at my old photographs and I can hardly believe that I looked like that, wrote that way, spoke that way, used those phrases, and yet managed to have a normal life and turn out the way I did.

Last night, Mansi and I were at my parents’ house for dinner. One thing led to another and pretty soon my Mum decided that my wife need to see my kiddie photographs. So, out came the huge albums and the report cards from my kindergarten and school days. I looked at my photographs as a kid – the moments when I was with cousins, aunts, forgotten relatives, and I am a bit sad that I don’t remember much of it. These few memories that have been frozen in time are all that remain of my past. I wish I could remember it.

Go check out your very first email inbox and you’ll be thankful for the blast from the past. 🙂

Advertisements

The Evolution Of Spam

A long, long time ago, when I got my first email ID on Yahoo, like the rest of the world, I was warned about something called ‘Spam’. I was told that bad people will mail me asking for my personal details and then, before I could realize it, they would steal my identity and all my money from the bank. They would sent a virus through an email and kill my computer and make my life miserable.

Of course, none of this actually happened. It was just my mum’s way of instilling fear in me.

The very first spam mail I got was from a guy claiming to be ‘Princess Charlie’ and he wrote to me about investing my money in a time-sharing apartment in Nice, Italy. This was way back in 1998. I still remember this mail because I’ve saved it. Or maybe because I haven’t opened my Yahoo mailbox very often after I created it, like the rest of the world.

A few years later, the nature of spam mails changed dramatically, and unknown people (or robots) started sending unbelievable amounts of hyperlinks in each mail. Things that read: “Click here for free antivirus! Click here for free viagra! Click here for free sex!” and so on. I remember one particular email that went on for three pages, and the entire body of the mail was hyper-linked. It was ridiculous.

Then came the African scourge. Millions of people were killed by their own family members and the lucky few who survived, got access to a computer and an internet connection and mailed everyone on the planet asking for financial help. One particular mail was heart-wrenching. A woman mailed me, claiming to have survived a bush fire in the Sahara Desert. The fire claimed her three kids along with all her money and documents. Her relatives, seizing the opportunity, drove her out of her own house because she didn’t have the documents to prove it was hers. So, she mailed me, of all people, asking for help and a chance to start a new life. Moron that I am, replied to her mail: “Are you a hot chick?” I never heard from her again.

Spam Culture

Then came the Age of the Unclaimed Bank Account. It turns out that a lot of very rich and very dead people had bank accounts in Nigeria, of all places, and the bank manager invariably turned out to be a very generous man. I have mails from at least a dozen such manager asking for my help in transferring million of dollars of a dead guy’s assets into my country. If only I had enough money of my own, I would invest it in a Nigerian bank and die peacefully in a place crash (that would be reported in a popular news site), knowing that my millions were in the hands of such generous souls.

And now, today, we are in the Age of the Lottery. Kind, generous people all over the world are entering your email ID and Phone Numbers in unnamed lotteries as we speak and within the next few days, “…your number will win a billion GBP in the LuckyLoser Sweepstakes!” Congratulations!

Maybe its time we started a new spam trend. Maybe we should hurl abuses are total strangers just for kicks. Or death threats? Nah, might get arrested for that. Think of something new and spam-worthy, and put down your ideas in the comments here. Best one gets a free spam kiss from me.

Image Courtesy: Blogwaybaby.com