As Yahoo is shutting down its chat rooms on Dec 14, I decided to write a little tribute to Yahoo chat rooms as they really meant a lot to me and played an important role in my life since the past ten years.
I was 14 years old when I first got the internet. And it was then that I was introduced to the world of chatting and Yahoo Messenger. I was really hooked on Yahoo Games, especially Bingo. Nowadays, Yahoo Games are like a lost cause. But at that time, they were a really up and happening place with a chat function too. And people would ask if they could add me on Yahoo Messenger. And I’d be like, “What is that?”. Eventually one kind chatter explained to me what Yahoo Messenger is, so I downloaded it and thus began my ten year chatting career.
I am not going to go much into my history and past with Yahoo Messenger here, though. But there is a part of my YM history that deserves an honourable mention. But when I initially joined YM, I was really into aliens and space and all that business. (Those of you who know my email address, yes it was made during this era and yes, I know I need a new email address.) So that is how I found myself in a room called Extraterrestrial Life 1. Ironically we never talked about the topic of the room at all, except for one person who kept on trying to bring the room on topic, but to no avail. It was like a person who felt so different from others that they don’t belong anywhere, finally was embraced into a community. And I managed to make some really good friends there. Actually met the very first friend I ever made on YM there. We remained friends for several years until he passed away in 2005. It was the connections that I formed there was the only reason why I managed to keep my sanity and stay alive during the most difficult patch of my life.
Anyways, Yahoo made some changes which then resulted in everyone leaving that room and me losing all the friendships that I made there. But I will always appreciate, and at the same time never forget, the support I got during that difficult time. It meant a lot to me.
I know that many people are very hesitant to form online friendships believing the internet is like this dirty dangerous place. And yes, the internet is a very dangerous realm where you really need to protect yourself properly and fiercely unless you are in a mood to be burned alive on the very first day. In my ten years, I got to see all dimensions of chat, from the very good brilliant side to it, to the depths of hell side of it too. I definitely have come across the worst kind of garbage and filth which I am sure came from some the depths of some gutter which is located in the basement of hell.
But, at the same time, I came across some of the best people in the world. The most awesome and best people that I have ever met in my life. And I made some of my best-est (Before the grammar squad comes on me, yes I know there is no such word) friends ever. I have always been a strong believer in the idea that a friend is a friend and when it comes to friends it does not matter if you have met face to face or just through computers only.
The last part of my life on YM was spent in a room known as Books and Literature 3. As I am really into books and really in love with the written word, I tried out another Books room where I met this chatter who introduced me to Books and Literature 3. This room became like a homeland to me. It was like one big happy family in there, and just like any other big happy family we fought, we laughed, had our fun and messed with each other. And like any other family, you always knew that someone had your back. Just an international big happy family that was. It was like a room where before entering, at the door, there is a basket lying around where you have to dump your issues or anything that is troubling you in that basket before you enter, like a compulsory requirement or something, because just going there would solve everything. Some of the best times of my life were spent there. Unfortunately, the sad reality of life is that all good things must come to an end, hence the chatroom is gone, which in a way dismantled the community we had going there. But still, I will never forget the people I met there and the times I spent there. It will always be a part of my memory forever. I wish all of the friends I made there all the best.
I usually make it a strong fierce point never to talk about myself or ever share anything about my personal life, but I had to add a little bit about my personal life here, because without it, my tribute to YM would be incomplete. We are talking here about the kid who, while growing up, was that kid who was the alienated or rejected kid, the one who had no friends, no siblings. The kid who was on their own, picked on for being different, while at the same time fighting their own unique war due to the circumstances they found themselves in. And the world of YM gave that rejected teenager the thing they wanted the most: acceptance and, at the same time, allowed them the opportunity to embrace their individuality.
For all of this I have two words to say to YM – thank you.