Back in 1998, the internet was rather the bitcoin of today’s world. It seemed important, but also like a scam.
I was also part of the bunch which grew up in the 80s and were kind of familiar with the network of computers having had their first flavor in ‘Wargames’.
But being a teenager, I was more interested in how the internet could solve another puzzling predicament that afflicted me and others — Somehow have a conversation but yet avoid actual talking to a girl on the phone because thats what you were supposed to do once you miraculously managed the number itself: Tongue tied, brain freeze, cold feet — name it what you want but it was a lifesaver to find out for the first time that there was a way to writing and sending messages and reading (or just endlessly waiting) the responses. This was our Tinder, Facebook and Whatsapp back in the day.
The place was known as the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) — it had its own servers and rooms and best of all, it was all text based so needed the minimum of bandwidth to work.
IRC reached 6 million simultaneous users in 2001 and 10 million users in 2003, dropping to 371k in 2018.
The most famous client to the IRC was the mIRC — snappy: fastest loading rabbit on my Windows 98 — with its own scripting and automation.
On IRC, you could meet anyone from literally anywhere and back then the sheer excitement of that was alone overwhelming. It was heart stopping if it ever involved a girl with a fancy handle (their nick name on the chat room)
So, this story is about meeting a girl who was from another city but before you assume the best , the reason she was talking to someone 1200 miles away was to spy on her boyfriend who happened to be in my city (Islamabad, Pakistan) which literally had 2 degrees of separation. She was also about 7 years older so for me it was about getting her expert advice on matters closer to my age group.
During our long conversations, she also told me about a guy who was apparently in love with her in her own city but since she wanted to run this perfect love triangle, he was usually left high and dry. That guy did however own a successful restaurant business in one of the most hip corners of that city. And to profess his love for her, had a drink named after her — her name being Kaneeze!
The entire episode lasted for about a month — Life moved on but the creativity of naming that drink stuck with me through the decades. I do not know who that gentleman was or if Kaneeze is still somewhere out there, but lately when my wife was looking for a cool name to advertise her home made cooking and baking, I came up with something similar.
In essence, I suppose I am trying to not take any credit for the naming (in case it goes viral) and publicly acknowledging people I have never met but who have extended their influence through time — 24 years — to relive those moments right now on Medium.