In my relentless quest for ways to improve my QOL (Quality Of Life), I signed up at SecondLife.com. A friend sent me the link, guessing that I would find it irresistible. Who wouldn’t? Here’s a place where you can own property, build yourself a palace, earn fake money and enjoy a complete virtual existence WITHOUT LEAVING THIS ONE.
Of course, I didn’t complete the registration coz it required the kind of details that I am far too paranoid to part with—my real name, for instance. Still. The schizoid element in my personality was sorely tempted. There’s a sitemap in which you can see the extent of the area under occupation and it looks like one of the better continents (i.e., Europe). There are browsable links to some of the properties of virtual residents —typically dust-free, fresh-scented and good-humoured. It’s easy to be good-humoured in a world that contains neither head-lice nor religious fanatics.
It’s easy to be paranoid too. Last week, friends called to say I’d been interviewed in the March 5th Sunday Hindustan Times JUST A MINUTE feature. Only problem? It didn’t happen. After a bit of sleuthing, the Bombay-based editor of the books page solved the mystery. The ditz who claimed to have spoken to me had dialled the number of another "Manjula", omitted to confirm surnames and published that person’s responses as mine! With a photograph of me taken at the This is Suki! book launch in 2000. The moral? Believe nothing. Not even the byline here. [cue scary music] No one knows who REALLY wrote this piece! Could be that girl in the little cartoon, holding a raccoon! Or the raccoon! Or the proof-reader! Or the editor! [maniacal laughter fades into the distance]
This article originally appeared in Delhi City Limits, March 31, 2006