WhatsApp/Email Dashavatara – The 10 Types of Chain Message Forwards

I have analyzed forwarded WhatsApp messages, and based on my 2 years of WhatsApp experience, I have classified them into 10 types. You may have seen some of these messages in your WhatsApp too…Dashavtara

Here is the gist of my analysis.

Avatar 1 : Freebies
Like the one you forward from Facebook, there was one more floating sometime back… saying Microsoft has designed a new software to track messages and the more you forward, the more money you get, and the amount was running to a few thousand dollars. I am sure Nadella is more sensible and will not be giving away thousands of dollars to junta for just forwarding such messages.

Avatar 2 : Crazy Individuals
Sometime back there was a beautiful girl working in an MNC in Bangalore… and the company, being a software company created certain group IDs to enable employees to broadcast to the entire organization… God knows who misused this girl’s ID, but a chain mail was triggered to everyone in her address book and all the email ID groups.. the mail’s content read like this…

‘My husband is suffering from … disease.. we need to do this, that.. please donate.. also pray for me.. blah.. blah..’

By the time girl could react, enough damage has been done… the mail has been circulated across the globe.. and whoever received it, felt pity on her and forwarded to their friends… and a month later.. the girl mailed saying that the mail was a hoax…  Finally someone on WhatsApp started messaging the same to all the groups, and now it is spreading across the globe again!!

Avatar 3 : Charity messages
Forward this message to 10 people and XYZ company has agreed to pay Rs. 1 for every message forwarded to some charitable foundation. We also get fooled and forward it to 10 people. Such messages arise during calamities and disasters, like the mails that floated during the Nepal Earthquake and Chennai flooding… The media also plays a major role. For example NDTV / TimesNow announces flood relief, P&G ads appear on your TV screen and says for every pack of  a P&G product you buy, the management would donate Rs. 1 to the earthquake relief. No one knows what actually happens.

All these ads lead people to believe that such messages may be true… and we forward it to 10 more people, instead of taking up the initiative to collect money/materials yourself and giving it to the social organization that will send it to the people who really need it.

Avatar 4 : Lord Balaji chain messages
This is the supreme avatar of such WhatsApp messages… it will be terrifying if you read such messages. It would say

‘This message originated from Tirumala in 1950s.. (I don’t think WhatsApp was there at that time)… and since then it had gone around the world 8 times.. This is the 9th time and a well wisher (is he ??) has forwarded this to you for good luck… Mr.Kim of Korea forwarded this to 10 people and he won a lottery… Mr.John of England forgot to forward and he lost this job… forward this to 10 people and your wish will come true’.. and it goes on…

I think God knows what he wants to give to us! Gimmicks like donations/charity will not matter in front of him… so I am happy/content with what he has blessed me with…

In a variant to such messages, even shlokas (particularly Ganesha shlokas) with lot of spelling mistakes may get forwarded to you…and there will be a warning, if the message is not forwarded within 10 hours or if you choose to delete, you will face grave consequences.

Avatar 5 : Sentiments
While Avatar # 4 appeals to your superstitious sentiments, the message of this avatar appeals to your other senti’s like friendship etc,. ‘This has been forwarded by a friend to you.. forward it within 24 hours to people whom you consider as your friend… and send it back to the sender if you want to reciprocate his friendship’… Total crap… Is it really possible to remember all your friends.. right from childhood and send it to them within 24 hrs.. and will they be really happy to see such a message from me, out of the blue…all of a sudden…Never…

Avatar 6 : ATM fraud and the like
This will look genuine.. some guy would have lost money because he lost his ATM card and the finder has misused it.. then he will send an elaborate message to all his friends…saying ATM is fraud…Citibank is fraud and the like. C’mon.. the bank gives clear instructions on how to safeguard your card and PIN numbers.. also it tells that bank should be alerted immediately on loss of card…

You forget the basic steps and send out a mail/message to the world, as if they have a significant lesson to learn from your bad experience… Sometimes such mails can be sent by some people with vested interests to tarnish the image of some bank/organization.. remember a mail that said a guy (working in a reputed Indian software company.. deliberately not mentioning the company) committed suicide abroad, because of work pressure and continuous abroad stay.. whereas the real cause was his parents forcing him to get married to someone whom he didn’t like.

Avatar 7 : Patriotic
‘Friends! Times/CNN is conducting a ‘Person of the Century’ contest… please vote for Mahatma Gandhi…’ Come on.. give me a break.. He is already a ‘Mahatma’.. what more title can be given to him.. maybe some foolish politicians may try to give some awards to him (like they gave ‘Bharat Ratna’ to Subash Chandra Bose posthumously.. a few years back) And if you go to the Times/CNN website you will find Jesus and Mohammed Nabi too competing in the race to become ‘Person of the Century’… definitely some religious bigots have written some code to vote for these people…

Avatar 8 : Specific Occasions
This avatar is rare.. suddenly picks up like a craze… The latest jokes/mails on Cows/Arvind Kejriwal/Rahul Gandhi/Obama.. you would have received the same jokes from different people.. what do you do? simply delete maadi… These are definitely not worth your time.

Avatar 9 : Greetings
Have you received greetings for Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Id, Halloween, Thanksgiving… etc.,. I have received not only for the festivals I celebrate but also for the ones like Id and Halloween which I don’t observe… And more importantly these greetings come from total strangers… I would have been in to To or cc list of some of the mails and this stranger got and he did Reply All and I get a greeting card for Thanksgiving… I believe there should be a personal touch in your greetings and somehow I do not appreciate such mass greetings even if it is from a close friend…

Avatar 10 : General Mails
Like the sardar jokes that keeps coming in regular intervals… For all you know even this article that I am sending now… the ‘Email/WhatsApp Dasavathara‘.. has the potential of becoming a chain mail… if you find it interesting you will send it to your friends and they will be sending it to their friends.. and in the process, I may also be getting a copy of it, just to prove Magellan’s theory that the world is round and not flat…

Moral of various avatars
Every avatar of God is made to convey a specific message to humanity… so what does this Email/WhatsApp dasavathara teach us?
1. Email/WhatsApp is a powerful and dangerous tool.. nothing less than a nuke.. needs to be handled with care…
2. Avoid using it even at the slightest provocation..
3. Always check the list of people to whom you send… because once you have sent (triggered) it, there is no way that you can control it…

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