Rubbing your eyes, you are trying to bring into your focus the world around you. As always, your eyelids continue their non-cooperation movement, rolling out of focus. When you finally open your windows to the world, your system gets booted slow, but steady. Your fingers slip under the pillow trying to get hold of your lifeline that plays hide and seek. You scan the bedside table and find your window panes- ah, that set of glasses. You can curse poor self for falling bait to the words of the optometrist- “Ma’am, you know…you look like Mia Khalifa when you wear these glasses”. Once the glass is ready, perched fine on your aquiline nose, the hunt for your ‘lifeline’ continues. You finally spot it under your cot, must have fallen down your sleepy form the moment you shut eye, after your ‘adventurous’ day.
A digitally enhanced day
You key in the password to freedom on the touch screen. Why should passwords always be the wedding day, your honour? That’s actually a ploy to remember your anniversary, simple! Your day begins as you pout for the “early morning-not brushed my teeth, yet gorgeous” selfie. Posting it in Instagram and Facebook, you wait for hearts to show up on the screen. The more the hearts, the brighter will be your day! The art of winning hearts in ‘insta’ is a cake-walk, all you have to do is scroll up and down your feed and keep pressing the heart icon for anything under the sun posted by your peers. Ufff…the preen peer pressure! Fifty likes in Facebook and fifty hearts in Instagram later, you brush your teeth like mad and join the run for the mundane.
It is cooking, packing lunch, waking the children, getting them ready to school and seeing them off in a record time, as you keep flitting online now and then. “Whatever happened to Gujarat elections?”, “Why Mrs. Sharma isn’t online this morning?” kind questions pop up in your subconscious as you chop the potatoes. The next ritual is the “Good Morning” motivation. You google for GIF images where sun rises, birds sing, flowers bloom and send it as a broadcast message through Whatsapp. You forgot to add your bank manager’s first cousin’s second daughter to the list that you remember now and dutifully add her, as the potato gravy on the stove has turned to roasted potatoes with a dash of charcoal!
Your commute to office is filled with songs from Saavn.com. Your headphones are glued to your ears as you cross the road to your office, oblivious to the world around you. In the process, you have created a traffic jam for half a kilometer, either side! Of course, your lifeline dangles in your hand, your eyes scanning for the latest Rahman hits. The office conundrum gives you the creeps as you hang your head down and scroll for more ‘juicy’ information. Files may come and files may go, your eyes are there only for your lifeline. You admire the cookery sites, watching Hebbar’s Kitchen for umpteenth time wondering where the poor girl might have learnt cooking. Probably she didn’t have a smart phone! As you read fashion magazines online and start adding to cart plus sized lingerie from random sites, you imagine you are indeed Megan Fox. Alter ego, guys, alter ego!
Your “office tea time” selfie which you edited and photoshopped has brought in a hundred likes by lunch time, and your lunch box photo has 20 comments on “How to make it?” The poor husband now in front of his lunch box would be wondering “How did she cook it?” or rather, “What did she cook?” Your evening commute is again filled with musical notes as you post status on “Who is the better composer? Rahman or Burman?” World War #3 ensues on your Facebook wall and boy, you are happy to have kick started a #save burman campaign. It is again chapatti-s and dal (overcooked – as you were busy reading the gossip columns of the day)
Children? Ah…what do they do? Do they ever listen to the mother? All they are interested in are their video games and PS4. Their love for PS4 always tops the chart, followed closely by temple run. They hole up in their rooms as you yell and shout ‘dinner time’. The dining table is filled with clicks of four mobile phones – of everyone in the family. Poor dada and dadi will be munching the ‘super soft’ chapatti-s with disdain. Post dinner is the time for ‘night songs’ and ‘good night’ messages on Whatsapp groups. Whatsapp groups, did I say? If there must be another World War in this world, it must be because people have taken WA groups seriously and have accumulated nuclear power in their backyards to fight in the ‘alumni’ groups! School groups are the funniest of groups, because everyone there still feels they are in V Std C section, waiting for the teacher to arrive and say a sing-song “Good Morning”, thumping chests and hitting each other in a free-for-all! Maturity exits the moment you enter one such group. Sanity leaves you the moment you start two topics – one, religion, and the other, politics. The war between religions in random Whatsapp groups can give the crusaders a run for their rusty blades.
Being a member of 1499 groups, you can really wonder at the time of the day ‘Good Mornings’ are being sent all across the globe. Your American Silicon Valley dream guy will be ‘good morning’ (yawning) at your dinner time. The faux Aussie would be wishing you a good night as you roll your chappati-s. So far, yet so near. Post a meme on economic reforms and all hell will break lose in the group with you wondering- “Hey Ram”! You love the antics of the groups so much that you place all 1499 of them under MUTE option for a year, to give you piece…oops, peace of mind. One on one communication has become a rarity, you feel like you are ‘performing’ to an audience, rather than ‘speaking’ to someone close.
And oh the language you use – ‘How are you?’ and ‘What the hell?’ brings a leer in the social media. Know it or not, like it or not, it is hru, wth, idk, brb. Remember you are always the ‘in’ girl, not the 30-40 something mother of two when in social media. Posting pictures clad in wranglers, sporting Ray-bans and free hair roaming all over the place like tree branches and roots of exorcised trees isn’t going to help you or your 40-plus friends! Keep the STB on. Ahem…that’s ‘Scratch The Back’ of your friends. It’s a mutual exercise where you try to lose weight scratching each other’s back for ‘likes’ and comments. She might well look like a meringue in a wedding gown sporting her Anarkali. Do NOT scroll. STOP. Look. Or don’t even look, hit the like button and post a drool emoji. That about does it. She remains your dogmatic angel, hitting likes and posting ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at the mere wagging of your finger!
Social media is here to stay. So are we the three to four decade vintage women here! We will be posting our cookery debacles, our make-up antics and party tragedies. You better like them, get used to them. Rain or shine, it is Facebook and Whatsapp all the way! We are rediscovering ourselves – painting, hand work, art, writing – all those hidden dreams slowly emerge from under the haziness. Playing it safe and sound, I wish all my 30-40-something friends, a happy time in social media. Learn the ropes, enjoy your stay here and cherish the new found ‘lifeline’ to happiness. Tweet happily, without inhibitions, and forward carefully. It is after all our life, babes!