It was a day of light showers when I hopped on to a bus that would’ve taken me homeward. There were a group of guys sitting in a section of seats in front of me. All of them seemed to have one of those latest smartphones and needless to say, their attention was riveted on those four or five inches of backlit screens. Possibly due to lack of awareness of propriety that spanned beyond those phone screens, their conversations were loud enough for me to overhear.
“Hey, look at this. Akshay Kumar just took the Ice Bucket Challenge. Hold on, I am sending you the YouTube link.” Said Person A.
“Oh yea, I saw that, someone shared it on my Facebook timeline. He looked cool, didn’t he. He certainly seemed to have a ton of people throwing buckets of ice on him.” Replied Person B.
“Who challenged Akshay Kumar?” Person C was curious.
“I don’t know. I saw Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan and Mandira Bedi’s videos yesterday. I don’t remember the person who challenged Akshay.” Person D chimmed in.
“The ALC Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral hasn’t it?” asked Person A.
“Oh true. How many people have taken it. Last week I was seeing videos of Harrison Ford, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg take the ALC challenege.” supported Person B.
“Wait, hold on. Is it the ALC bucket challenge? Wasn’t it something else?” queried Person C
“I think it is ACC. Or maybe was it ACL?” Person D opened up more possibilities.
“Whatever it is, it is funny to see celebrities downing ice buckets like crazy. I love it when those female actors do it, you know. Mandira Bedi, Sunny Leone, Katy Perry, Kaley Cuoco…. You know these damsels make ice bucket challenge real hot.” Person E came out of his silence to add another dimension to the conversation.
“Gwyneth Paltrow as well dude. Did you see her ice bucket challenge? She posted a video of her doing it with a bikini.” Person C chimed in.
“Shut up dude. Respect the cause for this celebration.” Person B silenced Person C.
“I forget what the actual name was. I saw it even today morning in Sonakshi Sinha’s Twitter handle. She had tweeted about it.” Person A was scratching his said.
“You know the funny thing with Sonakshi Sinha, no one challenged her. But still she took it upon herself.” Person B was anecdotal.
“The initials, I think it represents the company that came up with the idea. Think of it, they come up with such an idea, they promote it, and suddenly it looks ‘cool’ to dump a bucket of ice over your head and post the video on Facebook.” Person C shared his wisdom.
“Is it? It is amazing that these marketing people come up with such amazing ideas. Such a ‘cool’ idea of publicizing one’s own products dude.” Person E was not be silenced this time.
“Well, they are paid to do that. And they are paid heavily to do just that my sir.” Person C was supportive.
“No no, I don’t think that’s some company. If that were the case why would people like Bill Gates, Zuckerberg and Bazooka guys do that? Why would they promote some other company than theirs?” Person A was looking at it rationally.
“Bazooka? Who’s Bazooka?” Person B couldn’t recognize.
“You order so much from Amazon, you don’t know the founder of Amazon? That’s Bazooka” Person A retorted with a guffaw.
“It isn’t ACL guys. I googled it, that is Ambuja Cements. Obviously, they have got nothing to do with it.” Person C said without taking his eyes off his phone screen.
“Okay, let me look for ice bucket challenge on Google.” Person A was busy switching windows on his phone to bring up the browser.
“Got it, it is ALS. Ah, they have a big Wikipedia page. Who will read through whatever that is? It doesn’t seem a company because I don’t see a logo in their Wiki page.” Person D emerged triumphant.
“Hey you know what? How about we do this ice bucket thing over the weekend?” Person E suddenly had a brainwave.
“Yea, that’s right. You anyways don’t take bath over the weekend, so it would be certainly beneficial to your flat mates at least..!” Time for a potshot.
“Am not joking. Let’s each do it, make some funny video and put it on Facebook.” Person E ignored the potshot part of the previous commentator.
“What he said makes sense. I’ve not been posting anything on my Facebook wall for a while. If we can make this video funny, I’ll end up getting some ‘cool’ likes.” Person B was supportive.
“Plus let us challenge some girls from office as well. Who knows, they might also do it. Would be fun to watch.” Person C chipped in with an idea.
“We definitely should challenge Person X. He’s a darn coward but his posts in Facebook gives the impression that he is the coolest dude in town. Let’s challenge him, I bet he’ll piss in his pants than take the ice bucket challenge.” Person A was in a vengeful mood.
“Totally agree. I’ve always wanted to expose him, he irritates me posting all those fancy photos and statuses on Facebook.” Person B exhorted.
The automated announcement filtered through the bus’ speakers indicating my stop had reached. I picked up my bag and alighted from my bus and walked away, pretty sure of what was going to appear on the Facebook timelines of these unknown fellow travelers over the next few days.
For the curious, you can read more about Ice Bucket Challenge, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis a.k.a ALS, and ALS Association in the respective links.