Saturday, 10 April 2010

When Google wipes you out!

Under normal circumstances, I thoroughly enjoy the entertainment one finds in running a google name search. When I last searched my English name (Ruth Forrest), I found that I was not only a world famous woman’s snooker champion, but also a renowned philanthropist living in Japan! Searches for ‘Roshni Hafeez generally throw up more relevant results, but If you search far enough down the many pages that appear, you’ll find me writing profound Urdu poetry (yeah I know, if Only my Urdu was good enough!), and also running an elderly care home in India!

Inevitably, time, space and circumstances sometimes result in us being separated from friends, colleagues and acquaintances, and for the most part, this is where google name searches come in to there own, (that is, if you have been round the block enough times!). One of the main problems with said name searches is that, if you’ve not been standing on your head, shouting or creating scandal in the right places, you’ll be virtually non-existent on google, and, if you have been doing the above in the early nineties, but have piped down in 2000, all searches will be completely irrelevant to the frustrated and disappointed searcher!
My advice? Blog, make news! Create and post to Egroups and forums, write your name randomly any where you can on the net in order that you can be found! This message is to all of you hidden majority out there (though apart from the lurkers, most reading this blog have made a sufficient internet mark I expect!), that said, often the people you expected to be vocal and easy-to-find are often the most hard to reach!
This happened to me today when searching for a long lost friend and colleague by the name of Deven Kainthola.
Deven, his family and I were incredibly close when they all lived in Scotland from about 1997 to 2006. The family returned to India, leaving Deven behind in Edinbrough to do phenomenal things for humanity. I don’t quite know why or how we lost touch: I suppose, I went to Pakistan, was out of work when I came back, went through a period of depression, counselling etc, and it took some time to get my life back on the conventional track it had been running upon.
Deven Kainthola was a Hindu spiritual guide, teacher and community worker. Searches on his name now will reveal a list of his qualifications, and his selfless dedication to serving and improving the social and economic potential of India’s mountain communities. He worked in Scotland, building trade links with India, completing his education, and serving on a multitude of local voluntary organisations spanning homelessness, religion and health/well-being.

I was trying to track down Deven, not just because of the friendship aspect, but also because I am currently organising an Interfaith event to take place in June 2010 (watch this space for more), and truly couldn’t think of a better speaker to take on Hinduism. So, I ran a google search, only to find all the entries I knew of from early 2000 staring back at me. The latest entry I found was 2008, along with a vague news paper column that said Deven was from Greece (I think not!), so, although I have a couple of old leads I can follow up, I am stuck for the most part! This got me thinking the worst about my dear friend: is he dead or alive? Is he in India or the UK? Where are his wife and daughters? Is his health OK? Why hasn’t he tried to contact me? …, and so on!

While this entry may not necessarily find my friend, my aim is to do 2 things, by writing his name, Deven Kainthola, continually through-out this post, I have assisted the poor soul by increasing his paw prints in the online world as it were! Some one might read this, know where he is and contact me! Or better still, if he has a 3 PM moment, as I often do, he may run his own name search and jump with joy when he sees that the tubelight is after his back (that is, so long as he happens upon a 3 PM moment prior to June 9th so that he can speak at my seminar!).

So, Deven Kainthola, if you are reading this (remember me!!), drop me a line, tell me you are well and agree to travel to London with me in 2 months time (that too will increase your much needed net presence!). Even if my friend doesn’t read this, stats show you are in reality only 10 people away from any one you wish to contact! If, between my lurkers and my 5 followers we can reach 10, then who knows, we might just track my friend down! He has a tough call to fill come June, and I’m counting on net power coupled with tubelight optimism.
I leave you with that mission one and all, oh, and just in case Deven is reading this, you owe me an aloo and shimla mirch sabji: you promised me in March 06!! No kidding! And …., I’m waiting!!!

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