When was the first time I really used the "net"? This is a questions that I asked myself after speaking to my brother who is currently in the 9th standard. He does not have a mail id, does not chat with his friends online and lets dad do all the searching for his projects.

If I can remember correctly, my first brush with the Internet was when I was in 8th standard. The internet was just starting off in Oman then and my dad had recently subscribed to the service. Around the same time a lot of guys in school were talking about ICQ and how they were chatting up the whole night etc. Curiosity got the better of me and I went about downloading the software(which took hours then) and then decided to try it out myself. My dad was always watching over me cos he knew the kind of bad influences the world wide web could have on his son. Anyways the fact that ICQ could actually mean "I Seek You" was the only interesting thing that it had. Chatting with friends whom you might as well call up and speak to on the phone and whom you were gonna meet in class the next day was not a big deal for me.

The next step for me in the virtual world was having my own e-mail id. The only free service that existed then was Hotmail and I had heard that it was run by an Indian and that got me really excited. But even filling in that simple registration form was a scare. My dad over my shoulder kept saying things like " God knows why you need a separate mail id" & " Why are these people asking for your birthdate, are they going to send you gifts?". The other important thing was choosing the nickname and id cos that signified how "kewl" you were. Just having a mail address was no longer enough. It had to be catchy, zingy, had to rhyme and satisfy a lot of other criteria. Anyways I managed to come up with something that I still continue to use today and is also the identity of this blog. Good or Bad, that had been my nickname on the net since forever.

So much for the origins of my net experience. I am determined to make it happen for my brother too. Let's just say it's "Project NET" for this summer. It's time to sit him down in front of the computer and give him a stern stare at first and then some friendly brotherly advice."Beta. This is Google. This is where all your future projects and reports are going to emerge from. This is Meebo. Here is where you keep in touch with all your friends and make new if that's what you want. This is Gmail. The sexiest mail service till date. And this is Blogger. Where you can give vent to your thoughts and hope that a book publisher reads it and gives you a $500 million advance. And if you want to become even more famous, then copy a few lines from your brother's blog and then TOI will keep putting your photos on the frontpage everyday for at least a week and in the inside pages for the next month. Guaranteed."

Some time later, read what my brother had to say.