Friday, September 23, 2005

Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to raze the city & rebuild it!

In my previous post, I had mentioned that there was a follow-up article by Ravi Belagere, who had written the original letter to Sudha Murthy.

Here is the original Kannada version of that follow-up article: Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to raze the city & rebuild it!

Given blow is my unofficial translation of the article. Similar to the previous letter, the Kannada version of the article is in down-to-Earthy everyday colloquial language of Bangalore. Hence, I have tried to retain the same style and mood in my translation.

Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to raze the city & rebuild it!

Excerpt: 'If a Kannadiga raises his voice today, IT bosses will go away to Hyderabad. Then what will become of us?' Let the people who are shouting thus, know one fact: Even the Telugus, Marathis, Bengalis and people of Madhyapradesh know to raise their voices. Then will Azim Premji build the IT industry in the sky? The (apt) response to the arrogance of IT bosses is here...

by Ravi Belagere

The open letter I wrote to Sudha Murthy has heard responses ranging from, 'your head is not right', to trash, bull shit, nonsense, fu.. you man. Kannadiga IT engineers from different countries of the world have expressed their response to this publication.

You probably know. One of the foremost Kannada journalists S. K. Shaamasundar (we call him Shaami) has taken on the responsibility of Therein, every week, my column named 'Suryashikaari' is published. Many a time, Shaami selects one of my articles published in 'Haai Bangalore!' and publishes it on his portal. The letter I wrote to Sudha Murthy was so published a couple weeks ago. Kannadigas all over the world are able to read it. Hence, responses from corner corner of the world. IT workers from nearby Infosys, Wipro and other organizations have also sent their responses.

'Your argument is definitely right. We will also come to the protest against the IT bosses. Let us know immediately, the venue, time, date and other details of the protest.' The friends from IT industry have written thus too.

There are also other thousands of readers who have joined their voices to the voice of the magazine. I have browsed all the opinions. Honored all of them. 'Look here Belagere, what you have written is meaningless. It is ridiculous. It is trash. I don't have time to explain how it is meaning. Understand? For just know this. Your argument is meaningless' - this type of meaningful(!) mails have come. I laughed and kept quiet.

But the real and useful response has come from Sudha-akka's 'Infosys' side only! They have given 5 million dollars for America's Katrina disaster relief. Similarly, they have decided to give 5 million rupees to the Chief Minister's relief fund for the victims of North Karnataka's flood. The collection of that money has already started on Infosys campus. If an open letter brings this level of results, what is happier than that? Thanks to Sudhakka. But the problem is not related to Infosys alone. I wrote that letter keeping Sudha Murthy as the center because she is a daughter of a Kannada house. I have made that clear in the letter itself. This problem is not limited to just helping out the people of North Karnataka.

The IT bosses came to Bangalore because they felt it is suitable for establishing the IT industry. Our government started to lay out the red carpet to them because they started to come. The demands-pressures-threats-black mails of the IT bosses had started even from the time Deve Gowda and J. H. Patel were chief ministers. Looking at it that way, Patel himself got irritated and declared like a half-revolutionary, half-scoundrel, "If you want to stay, you may stay. If you want leave, you may leave. If you are not here, will we die starving? If we open ten cabaret joints, the wealthy who will come, will come!" At that time Chandrababu Naidu was (in power) in Andhra.

Administering the state like a typical IT company CEO, Naidu borrowed crores of rupees for the same infrastructure and made the roads of Hyderabad. The IT industry also flourished well there. However, by the time Chandrababu Naidu realized what a big chasm the IT industry created between the city and country lifestyles, the naxalites had risen up in the villages and woods of the Andra. The Raayalaseema movement demanded a separate state itself. The naxalites bombed the car of Naidu himself which came to Tirupati. At that time the IT industry was shaken up.

Such things have not happened in Karnataka until now. The people of Bangalore are peace lovers. Among the IT companies here, even one does not have a trade union. Bangalore is not attacked by floods. It is not hit by the heat. It is a guaranteed airconditioner which works without being switched on. Just a few months back, there was Chief Minister SM Krishna here who behaved as if he was born to the IT bosses. The things that the bosses signalled with their feet, he did them with his tongue. Starting from giving ten years of tax holiday, he snatched thousands of acres of land from farmers and gave them to the IT bosses and stood in front of them with folded hands as if to ask, 'Do you want anything more'. It is then that the real blackmail of the IT bosses started. As per their orders, SM Krishna built roads in Bangalore, using the money which would have been enough to build roads in all the towns and cities of Karnataka. He built flyovers which are not of a naya paisa use and at the same stage brought Indraloka itself for his IT bosses, vowing to turn Bangalore into a Singapore.

The IT bosses are asking for that very same thing. Dharam (Dharam Singh, current chief minister of Karnataka) is shaken and frightened.

World Bank's report is not necessary to bring the government to the street and slap it on the face. The roads here are not good, there are frequent power cuts, there are traffic jams and again, if it rains the low lying areas get flooded - you know this type of problems? These exist in any city like Bangalore, in any third-world country of the world. Mumbai, which was built with better planning than Bangalore, and which grew with grandeur, got caught in the rains recently and struggled to survive.

When an America like America could not bear the hit of Katrina and came down to the position of begging in the street, of what account are Bangalore's Bhoopasandhra, Shivanahalli, Ketamaaranahalli? As you know all the dailies from The Times of India to the Vijaya Karnataka are publishing reports, complaints, rants about the roads of Bangalore on a daily basis. Even after these magazines publish these reports for years, the bad roads, open pits and manholes, flooding areas will always exist in Bangalore. That does not mean they should not be written about.

On the one side, when we have the man who has no houses, no roads, no food to eat, who has lost everything in floodwaters, who is begging for at least an overhead shelter, there is no need to offer warm water for the feet and welcome the IT bosses who order, "Immediately build for us a road which will enable our cars to reach the airport in 5 minutes without any obstructions".

Life here is growing amidst broken streets, dirty gutters, traffic jams, a public life which is shattered by even a light rain, unnecessary traffic density. New things bloom. Our children study and become smart. America invites them and gives them jobs. Infrastructure doesn't mean just roads, toilets, airports, right?

But let us take this opportunity of the issues raised by the IT bosses and criticize our people also a little. What did you do with the road tax we paid? You started a projects of thousands of crores five years ago? How much did you eat out of them? Where are the people who said they would turn Bangalore into a Singapore, released crores of rupees for that? Let them give accounts. Let us gather all the MLAs and corporators of Bangalore in one place and ask them, how many crores worth of work was done in their jurisdictions, their areas? When were the bills approved? What is the state today of the roads built yesterday? What is the state today of the houses they stayed in yesterday? How many times did you become a minister? How many times MLA? From which ward how many times did you win as a corporator? How much work was done? What is your wealth then and now?

Let us begin this habit of demanding accounts at least due to the excuse of the issues raised by the IT bosses. Bangalore should not become Singapore for the sake of the bosses coming from Singapore: it should become so for the sake of the man of this land. If the IT boss wants to come sit here and do business, he should protect and respect the laws and regulations of this place, the social well-being, regional honor, etc. India is not a country like Thailand which is living based on prostitution, to present a throne to every boss who comes and destroy the fabric of our society.

Despite all this, a few rogues among the IT bosses talk thus: 'Not a bad idea. Send a few MPs, MLAs, corporators to Gurgaon, Hyderabad or Mumbai to learn what infrastructure means. Is this thing called Bangalore really a city? It should be totally razed down and rebuilt.'

These words were said by Jack Anderson of a company called NOVASOFT. Before this, an idiot had said that Bangalore should be brought under the Central Government's rule. There are people who have called Bangalore a dead city. But all the people who spoke like this know: All the foreign companies based in Gurgaon are getting work done with their factories full of police. If there is a traffic jam in Calcutta, it takes eight hours to clear. In Hyderabad, if the naxalites burst even a single bomb, Azim Premji's shop closes doors. Which IT boss will make an umbrella for Mumbai's rains? Non sense.

We shall provide facilities for the businessmen and industrialists who come to the city. That is a different matter: Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to raze the city and rebuilt it for his sake. Let pimps like Yediyurappa (BJP leader from Karnataka), who shoot off their mouth shouting, ''If a Kannadiga raises his voice today, IT bosses will go away to Hyderabad. Then what will become of us?', realize one thing: even Telugus, Marathis, Bengalis, people of Madhyapradesh know to raise their voices.

After that, will Azim Premji build the IT industry in the sky?

-- Translation of the article ends --

The letter to Sudha Murthy and the above article together provide interesting insights into the opinion of the average non-IT Indians towards the IT industries.

The angst of the man on the street is understandable. From their perspective, all they see of the IT industries is this: Organizations which employ mostly non-local people, who mostly speak English, who are paid very high. These people move in from outside, increase the population in the city, drive the demand and costs of everything very high. The local public doesn't really know or understand what these organizations do. All they know is that these companies do something for foreign countries, and contribute little or nothing to their own country or locality.

In the case of traditional hardware factories, the local population knew what the factories manufactured. They could see how they contributed to the locality and the country. Most of the people employed were from the local communities. They could see how the factories helped the local community develop. The factories seemed to care for their employees beyond just paying them. They appeared to care for the local communities beyond just using their resources. Not so in the case of IT companies.

The chasm, it appears, is more than just in payscales of the IT workers and the traditional industrial workers. The capitalist-style focus of the IT companies almost exclusively on the profits, with little or negligible care for the personal lives of their employees, and the state of the communities in which they are located, is not helping matters at all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

An Open Letter to Sudha Murthy (Translation)

The original Kannada version of this letter by Ravi Belagere, dated 5th Sept 2005, can be found here: Sudha Madam, do something to flood affected people...

Given below is my own unofficial translation. The Kannada version is in down-to-Earth everyday colloquial language of Bangalore. I have tried to retain the same mood in my translation also.

The author seems to be quite displeased with Bangalore's IT industry. He is merely using the incident of the floods in North Karnataka as an excuse to express his deeper angst against the industry. I admit that it is quite despicable if the IT industries of Bangalore did not rise up to help the affected people in North Karnataka, even after being aware of it. However, the general rant against the IT industry in Bangalore exhibits a dangerously narrow focus, a lack of deeper understanding of the issues involved and an absence of honest accountability. It also, of course, shows a politician in the making!

The irony is that the same IT power this author seems to so despise, has given him the tools (the computer) and the power (the Internet) to publish his belligerent and arrogant rant, giving him more exposure than he would have otherwise deserved or gotten.

The translation follows.

To Sudha Murthy, the eldest daughter of Infosys

Excerpt: Sudha-akka (akka = older sister), you were the ones to bring home the bundle from the first labor of liberalization. Is it enough for the society to have engineers alone? We need farmers, teachers, mechanics, auto-drivers, barbers, cobblers, potters, laborers, everyone. If the farmer suffering from the attack of the floods gives up his plow today, will you eat dollars tomorrow? Will you eat computers? Please help out the farmer, and reduce your sins...

by Ravi Belagere

Greetings to Madam Sudha Murthy.

Recently, if Deputy Chief Minister M. P. Prakash had not given that kind of a statement, there would have been no need to write this kind of a letter to you. "I called all the IT company folks and spoke to them, Ravi. The entire North Karnataka is devastated by the attack of the floods. They have been beaten and washed away. There is no water to drink. Cows and calves are dead. Houses have collapsed. At this time, being richer than anybody else, you IT companies should lend a hand. Adopt a few villages. Build houses. During times like these, the affected people get 10-20 thousand rupees to help them rebuild their houses. We will give those funds also to you. Add your funds to those funds and build houses for the homeless. The government requested this of all the principal companies. As a Deputy Chief Minister, I personally requested. Having said, 'We will come back on this issue', they got up and left, and none of them have called us. They have not contributed a single rupee," said M. P. Prakash.

There was pain in his voice.

Sudha Madam, I believe you will understand why I have left out all the other companies and am writing this letter only to you. You are Kannadigas. An elder daughter of our land, our house. You read and write. You will understand the difficulties of the women in Belgaum who have lost their homes and belongings. One reason is that, you will spread the message of this letter in English to others in Infosys, and similar IT-BT organizations. The second reason is that, being a Bangalorean, a Kannadiga myself, I have the right to write such a letter to you. I am explaining in advance that the intention of this letter is not to hurt you.

You probably don't know. The people of North Karnataka lost their houses by the attack of the floods. But by the attack of our IT companies today, we are not able to find houses in Bangalore. Houses which were available for Rs 3000 rent, have Rs. 15000 - 18000 rent today! Leasing houses has been stopped for many seasons by now. Having brought the culture of service apartments, your IT industry has pushed the rent to Rs. 1500 per room per day. If there is any nursery school in Indiranagar with a donation of less than Rs. 30000, can you show it to me? Observe how high the price of beer in pubs is. Real Estate stands on a ladder, even higher than the sky. Just 7 years ago, I had bought a site for Rs. 400 per sq ft. It costs Rs. 3800 today. From where did you come and why did you come to our Bangalore?

After you have come, out of the 100 streets which were constructed in Bangalore, 75% are in your IT industrial areas. Just as every river flows towards the ocean, every fly-over of Bangalore stands facing your offices. When we think of building a good school in Bangalore which demands no donation, with good lady teachers - we don't find lady teachers at all. Reason: even if you find girls who talk just one-and-three-fourth sentence English, your call centers kidnap them.

The lady teacher who was supposed to teach thousands of students, works day and night, getting verbally abused by some big-headed client in America, any way he chooses (to abuse). The reason is just this. Our schools give a salary of 5-6 thousand. Call centers pay 8 thousand. The boys of our IT companies, the ones who returned from 1-2 months stay in America, talk like smart-asses- "You too pay higher. Teachers will stay with you." If we have to give high salaries, as usual, we have to break the heads of our students' parents. How costly have you made our sites, houses, schools, hotels? Where did you come from and why did you come madam?

Day before yesterday M. P. Prakash was saying: "our IT people were urging, 'Build a fast, direct road from the IT park in Whitefield to Hosur road, to be able to travel in a few minutes. Give 139 crores for that. Release it today itself'." What do you have to lose? If there is a mild rain, the areas of poor Bangaloreans like our Tyagarajanagara, Sampangiramanagara, Shastrinagara, drown away. Our Mayor Narayana Swami does not have a single paisa in his pocket to build rain water drainage for those (areas). But let water enter two houses in Bommanahalli? The sons of Saraswati (goddess of learning) for your IT industry, the Times of India, gives out a special report that day. The reason is that, Bommanahalli is the cradle of your IT industry. The rest of Bangalore is just a (begging) bowl for you.

Accept without hesitation. You have not done anything to Bangalore till now. Someone (probably your people) was recently making a speech that, "Bangalore has a place on the map of the world because of Narayanamurthy." A proud Kannadiga like me who was standing there responded, "Yo! Before Narayanamurthy did that, did Bangalore have a place on the map of the moon? Sit down, I say." But I am not saying that your husband Narayanamurthy has not done anything. But he has done everything good to America. He has done it very professionally. If we look to see if he has done anything for Bangalore, we find that he has diverted all the facilities which were supposed to be available for the entire Bangalore, to your IT parks, and once again done the great job of delighting your American clients.

But madam, before this, when Tata-Birla-Kirloskar and others built their factories in small small towns, they would also build a park, a road, a temple and such for those towns. You are ulta! You swallowed our park, road, lake, temple and made your IT park beautiful. Why the heck did you come?

You know talks such as, thousands of our boys have jobs because of you, they have visited and returned from foreign countries because of you? There is no talk more meaningless than that! You selected our boys from our college campuses, sent them to America and made them work as low rate coolies. Did you do that as a favor to us? Instead of that, if you had constructed an Infosys engineering college in every district, given free seats to smart boys from poor homes without charging a naya paisa, made them into engineers and sent them to America... madam, you husband-wife would have ridden in this year's Dasara ambaari (elephant procession), instead of the gods.

After using every facility of this state, and realizing that to be insufficient, your IT industry blackmailed the government declaring that, "We will go away to neighboring Hyderabad." You were the ones to bring home the bundle from the first labor of liberalization. Is it enough for the society to have engineers alone? We need farmers, teachers, mechanics, auto-drivers, barbers, cobblers, potters, laborers, everyone. If the farmer suffering from the attack of the floods gives up his plow today, will you eat dollars tomorrow? Will you eat computers?

Neither M. P. Prakash nor this state's most unfortunate citizen are asking you for alms. You are being warned that you have sucked the essence of this land, and so repay your debts. You are of one type (onthara). You are like the British, who are among us and of our own color, madam! If your insensitivity, your anti-town policies, blackmails continue like this, the days may come when we will have to start a movement to say, "You go to America". Before that I am giving you a signal. To Bangalore, Tamilians came, Malayalis came, Telugus came - oohoom! It did not feel so heavy when anybody came. When you came, you IT people? You became a burden to the whole Earth.

Understand your responsibility a little. Come to the help of your neighbors. When the tsunami waves struck somewhere, we are the big-hearted poor Kannadigas, who made truckloads of chapatis and took them from here. You are staying here. You are also eating chapatis: ours. At least build houses. Construct roads. Get a pair of bullocks to the poor farmer. Get clothes to school children. It is not just the government which is sitting, believing your, "We will come back to you on this issue." The devastated farmer sits looking at you with hopeful eyes.

Read this in English to your IT people and tell them, "This guy is some boor. He has written like this," Sudha-akka. I am like your younger brother. Don't be offended. You are our house daughter. Did you not do anything even after I said all this? That is okay. When you come this way, come to our house, take kunkuma (sindoor) and go: to America.

PS: There is also a follow-up article by the same author (again in Kannada): Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to destroy the town and rebuild it (for visiting businessmen, industrialists). I suppose you can guess that this article is even more belligerent towards the IT industry!

Update on Sept 23, 2005: My translation of the follow-up article is available now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Guide to a guy's thoughts

1. When a man says that he loves you, he either just wants to get in your pants or he truly loves or both.

2. When there is no way for a man to get in your pants and he still says that he loves you, he means it.

3. Lots of times, men won't use the actual words "I love you", even if they really love the girl.

4. If a man takes less than 2 minutes to say bye to his girlfriend/wife, it does not mean he loves her any less. Men just take less time with their farewells than women.

5. If a man cannot have endless conversations with his girlfriend/wife on the phone, it does not mean he loves her any less. Most men are just not phone people. Especially when there are other practical stuff waiting (like starting the day's work, a game or movie on the TV, etc.).

6. If a man flirts with another woman, it does not mean he loves his girlfriend/wife any less than he used to. Women probably think so because in their case it's true - when they flirt with another man, it usually means they love their own man less than before.

More to be added whenever...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Email Forwarding Etiquette

Forwarding non-formal emails (jokes, interesting facts, x-rated pictures, gossip, etc.) is a fact of life for most email users who have time to spare, and for many email users who don't have time to spare, but still make time to read and forward such emails. Most of the times, it is a relatively harmless pastime. However, it is essential to follow a few simple rules of etiquette to keep this practice harmless and to protect our friends as well as ourselves.

1. Use the BCC field: This is very important. Unless there is some truly essential reason to list all the recipients in the To or CC fields, use only the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field to address recipients when forwarding non-formal emails. By doing this, you protect the privacy of your recipients, protect their email addresses from reaching spammers and other unwanted people. Imagine this scenario: You forward an x-rated mail to a bunch of friends, addressing them all in the To or CC field. They forward it to their friends, keeping the names and emails addresses of your friends and yourself intact. Their friends forward it to a bunch of other people. And pretty soon, everybody in the world might have seen x-rated emails with the names of your friends and yourself in them. Do you really want everyone and anyone to know that you are reading and forwarding x-rated material on email? Do you want your friends to be exposed too?

2. Clean up the clutter: Yes, we are all busy people, and it's only a forwarded email after all. So, why bother with any clean up? The first reason is simple courtesy towards the recipients. It is irritating to have to scroll through dozes of lines or pages of information about previous recipients and senders of the email before reaching the actual content. The more important reason to clean up clutter is privacy and protection of others and yourself. The most common forms of clutter that you should delete from an email before forwarding it to others are, information about the person who sent it to you, information about other people who might have read it before you, any signature or footer information which may be automatically added to the email before it reached you. Often, such footers include information about the company or organization of the sender(s). Please clean these up before forwarding the email.

3. Use personal mail boxes: Talking of companies and organizations, almost every company these days makes you sign Internet and email usage agreement papers when you join them. Part of the agreement usually states that you won't use these systems for personal or unofficial purposes. Part of the agreement almost certainly states that you won't use these systems to share or distribute objectionable content. Almost every circulating forwarded email is personal and/or unofficial and/or contains objectionable content. Everytime you receive or forward such emails from your official mailbox, you are breaking company policy, which can cost you dear (including being penalized and/or fired). So, make it a point to use personal email boxes (your own as well as those of your recipients), and not official company email accounts, to share these emails. Access these personal email accounts from home. Even if you access personal email accounts at work, do not open forwarded emails. The objectionable material such mails contain might include a virus which could put you in big trouble. Also remember, most companies these days have content filters on their email servers which scan every incoming and outgoing email for objectionable content. Depending on how the filter is configured, it could stop the email from being sent or received and it could alert someone (like your boss, for example) about such email traffic.

4. Size matters: Keep an eye on the size of the email you are forwarding. Do not forward emails with huge attachments. These days, most of us have high speed Internet connections and most of us have high storage capacity email accounts. That does not mean that we bombard somebody's email box with several megabytes of junk email forwards. Let's have some courtesy. Let's be aware that our careless actions might clog up somebody's email box, cause their machine to crash, slow down their server, use up their available bandwidth, bring them unwanted attention, etc. I don't know what size emails are "okay" to send. I still remember a time when an email with just a 1 MB attachment could fill up an email box and take a long time to open. These days people casually send emails having attachments several MBs large. A lot depends on the kind of Internet connection and email account the sender and recipient have. So, there is no magic number I can recommend. Also remember, even if you forward a moderate-sized email to a large group of people, somewhere on your mail server, this moderate-sized email is copied as many times as the number of your recipients. So, the emails you forwarded might end up occupying a large amount of space on the server (for however brief period of time), clogging the network, causing trouble. Just use your common sense. If in doubt, check with the intended recipient or do not send at all. It is just a forwarded email for god's sake.

5. Reply-All Hazard: Every email which is addressed to a bunch of people automatically has a reply-all hazard built-in. Use email systems long enough (especially in an organization) and you will certainly come across instances when people make fools of themselves by doing a reply-all, when they should have only been replying to the sender. You might do it/have done it yourself! Normally, a forwarded email will not need a reply-all. If your sender is smart and has followed rule 1 above (using BCC field), even doing a reply-all will address the response only to the sender. However, in the rare cases when you feel the need to reply-all, check the name of every intended recipient to ensure that you really want to send your response to them, anticipate the effect of your action and do it only if you must. Apart from the potential of making you appear like a fool, reply-all responses sometimes have a way of going out of hand, and you wouldn't want to suffer unforeseen consequences or trigger an email avalanche.

I guess that's it for now. Share this with others who might need the lesson. Have fun forwarding emails and enjoy responsibly.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Innocent Flirting or Mental Foreplay?

Disclaimer: I did not write what follows because I am prudish. I wrote it from personal flirting experience, watching other people flirt, and witnessing the consequences. All of what follows comes from, as they say, a practicing professional in the field of flirting!

Recently, I came across a guy who claimed to sincerely believe that flirting is not sexual. I have heard a lot of people use the phrase "innocent flirting", to mean flirting with no sexual intention/connotation.

What the heck is innocent flirting? The kind that you indulge in with someone of the same gender (assuming you are heterosexual) or the other gender (if you are homosexual)? The kind you would indulge in with a sibling or a close blood-relative? The kind you indulge in with a person whom you intensely dislike? Do you understand where I am going with this?

My point is that, we usually choose to flirt with the kind of people who are sexually oriented to us. By "people who are sexually oriented to us", I mean people who have 60% or more of the qualities which would allow us to have sex with them. We only flirt with the opposite gender if we are heterosexual, we flirt with the same gender if we are homosexual; we rarely flirt with people who are younger than or older than the age window within which we prefer to have sex; we almost never flirt with people whom we don't find attractive.

Gender, age and attraction are some of the most important criteria we use to choose the people with whom we have sex. If flirting was not about sex, why would there be very similar criteria for people whom we choose to just flirt with and people whom we choose to fantasize about/sleep with?

Even the very language of flirting is romantic and/or sexual. It may range all the way from being very obliquely romantic/sexual to blatantly romantic/sexual. But the romance and/or the sex is always there in the language. This is true of even the body language. The flirt and the "flirtee" display similar body language as a person who is being romantic/sexual with her/his lover. Even when the flirtee is not interested or dislikes the flirt, her/his reaction to the flirt is similar to her/his reaction to an unwanted suitor.

I don't think flirting is ever devoid of romance and sexuality. It may be true that the flirt and/or the flirtee have/has no conscious intention of taking things beyond verbal flirting. It may be that they don't really want to get physical. But I don't think the mind is truly devoid of the romance and the sexuality.

If someone thinks that they are flirting, and there are absolutely no sexual thoughts at any level in their mind, they are either deluding themselves or they are not flirting at all!

Flirting is the foreplay of the mind.

If it is true that sex is more in the mind, than in the body, then flirting is a much more significant and important act of foreplay than the actual physical foreplay.

Applying the Pareto Principle (or the 80-20 Rule): If one needs to score 100 points to have sexual intercourse with someone, 80 or more points are scored during mental foreplay (flirting), and only 20 or less points are scored during physical foreplay.

Flirting is almost purely about verbal communication. When future historians analyze the catalysts for the failure of the institution of marriage, an institution which seemed to control majority of the human society during a brief period of human history, they will conclude that the advancement in communication technologies (telephony, Internet, who knows what else will come in the future) was the main catalyst which broke the institution of marriage. Why? Advanced communication technologies enable mental foreplay, i.e. flirting, like never before! Naturally, this leads to more non-marital sex, than ever before!