The 22nd of February was a day like every other. It was a lazy Saturday when everyone wanted to do nothing but sit at home, catch a couple of movies and sleep. Everything was normal until the night. For in the night, 22/02/2014 turned into every youngster’s worst nightmare. The unthinkable happened.
Whatsapp servers went down.
Reports of facebook acquiring whatsapp for a massive 19bn dollars had met with mixed emotions. While some felt satisfaction in having contributed to its success, others felt facebook had overpaid for a simple messaging service. But it isn’t just a messaging service, is it? It is a lifeline for millions. A lifeline for the thousands of young love birds for whom talking over the phone for long hours wasn’t as convenient as sending a voice note on whatsapp. A lifeline for the thousands of guys who choose to profess their love on whatsapp because they can’t muster the courage to walk up to their love and open their hearts . A lifeline for the millions of youngsters whose monthly allowance has to be spent judiciously and spending it on calls and texts just isn’t an option. For the millions of students who share pictures of notes, question banks, answers to questions banks and lab manuals, whatsapp isn’t just a messaging service. Whatsapp is life.
On meeting a long lost acquaintance after several years, the first question one asks isn’t “Where have you been for so long?”.It is now, “You were last seen on whatsapp on 20/1/2012! Is everything alright?”.
To discuss matters of importance, there used to be a time when people said “Ok. I’ll call you in a while, let us meet over coffee”. Not anymore. “I’ll whatsapp you! Let’s make a group and discuss it there” is the new way of doing things.
If you were lost on your way to a friend’s house for the first time, remember how you called that friend and panicked and said “I’m lost! Which jungle do you live in! There are so many roads here!”. Yeah , that is SO 2005. The new trend is to calmly send your location to that friend on whatsapp and he’ll give you directions based on that.
In schools, teachers used to have to deal with problems of bullying and kids hurting each other. Today they must deal with problems such as ,“ He is ignoring me on whatsapp” and exchanging the “I’ll punch you” emoticon.
Radio stations have moved on from “Call us at 01201217672” to “leave us a message on whatsapp”.
Whatsapp has changed the world. It was no surprise then, that when Mark Zuckerburg announced that facebook had bought whatsapp, it created an online storm.
Then late in the night of the 22ndof February 2014, merely days after that acquisition, the unimaginable happened. Whatsapp servers crashed. Youngsters around the world were being hypnotised, staring at the little circle that went round and round saying “Connecting”. Surely, this was some evil master plan that Mark Zuckerburg and Facebook had come up with. The popularity of whatsapp was hurting facebook and they decided to take it down. For 19 billion US Dollars.
The time was 12:30AM on 23/02/2014: Whatsapp had now been down for at least half an hour. People started calling each other as if someone was in the hospital. “Will it be OK?” was the single biggest thought in every one’s minds.
1:00AM : The worry was now turning into agitation. “I hate Zuckerburg. Jealous idiot.”.
1:15AM: Facebook witnessed a massive rise in usage. Everyone had decided to come on facebook and check if all was fine there. On finding that it was, the agitation grew. Facebook saw thousands of status updates that were “anti-FB” and “anti-zuckerburg”. ( It was actually mainly anti-Suckerburg and predominantly another variation of that name with a different starting letter, too explicit to put on this blog.)
2AM: Anger was now turning into frustration. Even those who usually weren’t awake at this hour were awake today. Sleep, was hard to come by with whatsapp not working.
2:30AM : Many people have decided to deactivate their FB accounts in protest. Mark will pay for this treachery. Nobody will be on FB when he checks in the morning. “UNITE fellow-whatsappers!”
3AM : Apparently, Mark is too stubborn to convince. Whatsapp is still down and everyone is tired of this 3 hour online Dharna. Time for sleep.
7AM: Drowsily, people check their phones, a practice that they’ve got accustomed to. On opening whatsapp, the circle thing that went round and round was still going round and round saying “connecting”. “This is going to be long day”, everyone thought to themselves and closed the app, when suddenly, there was a sound. Like the sweet sound of freedom. Of revival and redemption. The notification tone! People jumped out of bed, rubbed their eyes to be sure they’re awake and opened the app once more. Messages began flowing in. Whatsapp was working once again.
People began messaging each other in a frenzy that was last seen in India when the cricket team won the world cup in 2011. “It’s working again! Woohoo! Thank god!”.
Thank god indeed. Just imagine if Facebook had pulled the plug on whatsapp. What a travesty that would’ve been! Imagine having to actually talk to other people! With your mouth! Unthinkable. Thank god it didn’t come to that!
Sensing the mood in the country, both the national parties have started ad campaigns claiming moral responsibility for bringing whatsapp back to life and have also put the moral responsibility for the blackout on the opponents shoulders. NaMo has taken credit for the service not blacking out in Gujrat while RaGa has said that this is another step to empowering the youth. Prime Minister Singh said, ” “.
Meanwhile somewhere in Delhi, Kejriwal is sitting on Dharna against Zuckerburg, asking where he got the money to pay for this 19bn dollar purchase. On being told that he paid only 4billion in cash, that too paid over paypal, where the records are available, Kejriwal has started another Dharna next to the first one asking for the lokpal.. I mean Paypal bill.
More updates as soon as we get them.