December 2005. I had just given what would later be termed as the zaniest written CAT ever, and was working as a temp with a marketing & event agency. College mates recommended me to a website that discussed MBA related stuff, as I was hunting for data all the time. I brushed it off as another online data repository, from which mining ANY information from which would be painful.
Early January after CAT results, we were waiting for other exams’ results to be out – SNAP, XAT et al – when a colleague introduced me to this world, named PaGaLGuY.com. And I was hooked. Delayed entry truly – I missed the whole prep & exam season, entering during result season – but the hook dug deep. I joined as many discussions as I could, SIBM, MICA, bschools I had applied to, Chit Chat, everything. Back then, Myspace et al didn’t exist in India. Orkut was invite-only, yet to blast off. Nobody knew what Facebook was. PG was the only social network a lot of us had, technically. But it worked. We cried together, enjoyed together. We prepared for MBA together. We partied together. We commisserated, shared anecdotes, and learnt together. We prepared for life together.
My digital footprint has changed only recently. If you hunted for ‘Harshal Modi’ or ‘Grondmaster’ as late as 2011, you’d be shocked to see how many pages from PG showed up on Google. In the later years, you’ll see my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and the lot first, but PG stands tall even today.
I have absorbed PG so well into my life that my parents have a separate category of my friends: School friends, College Friends, MBA friends, Pagalguy friends. And everyone else I’ve ever met online – FB, Twitter, LinkedIn et al – gets ghettoed into ‘Internet friends’. A fair part of my life would suddenly find itself blank, in a hole, were PG to disappear from the face of the earth.
Today, I complete 8 years on this wonderful platform. In these 8 years, I have made friends who are today my closest, I have made enemies whom we reconciled with later. I have acted as a counsellor advising youngsters on their paths of life – which bschool to choose, what to do there – as long as I had experienced it in the past. I have seen couples get together after meeting on PG (at one point there were so many couples around that we were hinting the PGHQ start a dating service to make matchmaking official) and break off as well. I have attended weddings of PG friends, crashed their homes, visited them at work, worked with them, lived through accidents and their aftermath, done everything that friends do, and more, no matter where they are from.
I can say this with ease: my mother, teachers and bosses may say otherwise, but I’ve never wasted a moment of time I spent on PG. I would have done nothing else. Period.