June 28, 2014

My 'Other' Happy Life..

Disclaimer : The characters are purely fictitious..

Tomorrow is our mortgage due date and it marks 5 months of my husband’s unemployment. I re-read the email stating my PF is already overdrawn. I know mummy can help again, but she will suspect something is wrong with Karan’s job. I really don’t want them to feel less of him and my choice.  I didn’t want to go home and start the conversation about how Karan had the opportunity for a foreign assignment last year and why I was the reason he didn’t take it.
My hands tapped on the favorite spot voluntarily. The Facebook app opened up.  I scrolled down to see yet another series of posts from my friends telling how happy they are in their lives. Everyday someone checks in at the ‘Eiffel Tour’ or some exotic resort. Everyone looks so happy in all the pictures. To stress on their happiness they post infinite number of emoticons. The only sad faces in the feed are when their favorite Soccer/ Cricket Team lose.  I looked again and again to see a face that resembles my state of mind. I viewed my profile. The most liked post was an ‘Aunty Acid’ post about marriage, “Marriage is the only war in which we sleep with the enemy“. The last time I updated my profile picture was when someone clicked a picture of me and Karan at our annual office party. My profile looks as dull as my life. A series of unanswered candy crush requests and ‘You viewed my Profile’
I scrolled again and to find one of my school mates is now the President of a reputed financial Institute. I still remember how he was de-promoted twice and I could feel a jealousy creeping inside my head. I feel more low every day after going through these happy achievements, baby pictures, vacations, restaurant checks ins, sexy selfies what not.  I fiddled around to find the deactivate button in Facebook.  But then someone gave me this motivational idea. I decided to be happy in this new world.  To show the world I am just as happy as everyone else. I took the first bold step. I posted my first very check in “Enjoying a relaxing dinner with my hubby at Taj-Malabar- Feeling loved”. Thank God Karan is not in Facebook. I closed my app and headed home with a sense of unknown happiness.
I woke up with couple of red notifications on my Facebook profile after a really long time. To my surprise my posted was liked by 13 people and have a handful of ‘aww’ &  ‘enjoy’ and ’ Stay blessed’ comments. I felt strangely motivated. I feel refreshed like I really had a relaxing dinner last night. I wanted something nice to work today. I decided to try a dress which I had kept aside to return. I didn’t bother to wake up Karan to ask if I look ok. I felt confident for some reason.  On the way, I noticed a group of school kids taking a ‘selfie’.  I was in the lobby and happened to see bright red roses.  I stopped by to try taking a selfie.  I was not sure how to do that camera angle,   was proud of myself to figure out my phone indeed had a front camera, and then I clicked. I could see my face and my dress and red roses on the background. I was happy with my first one. I headed to my desk feeling like a teen who was told by someone she looked pretty. At break, I decided to check Facebook again, I have likes from even friends I don’t remember being in my list. I felt I am now a member of the happiness club. I decided to post my selfie. To my surprise, within seconds, I started getting likes, my ex- boyfriends also in the list. I decided to be thankful to these likes and comments.This is a give and take world. I randomly started liking and commenting on my friends posts. My feed started getting more active, so did my profile. I started getting personalized messages; invitations to various closed groups, whatsapp messages form those ‘happy’ friends asking ‘Wassup’. I felt like the newly inducted babe in the club. I decided to update my pseudo life. I made sure I had a weekly post on how we ‘enjoyed’ some activity. I managed to find all the pictures of us together and started posting them. I even wanted to be happy with Karan in real life. I started talking to him about my friends and his friends and things we could do. Clearly he is perplexed at my changes. I started posting pictures of the ‘ordinary’ home food which looked fab in the Instagram. My likes and comments skyrocketed and I continued reciprocating those. I started molding my life into a series of posts.  My dress, my food habits, my shopping, get-togethers, I made sure those are Facebook worthy. I didn’t want any repeats on my pseudo life. What I missed, I gained in my other life.  I slept hoping for more notifications and I wake up excited to see those. I am nauseated in the happiness and attention I receive in my virtual world. I am addicted. To be happy and to hide what I am in my real life.  I wonder how many are like me in the real world. I wonder. ..Miles to go before I update my next post on Facebook.

March 6, 2014

Why I might say goodbye to Facebook..

As a self-proclaimed social media addict, Facebook was indeed a part of me. Like rest of the world, I was excited to post pictures, share my thoughts, updates and life events.  Facebooking was like the happy-hour at the end of the day. I used to look forward to open Facebook and see my friend’s walls, their pictures, fun videos they post, find long lost friends, read movie reviews, recipes and what not.  I even get to know world events even before I get a chance to read the news.
But like phase after the honeymoon, the bitter reality strikes.  I remember my mother telling me not to pay attention to certain things people post on the walls (I mean the actual walls and hoards back home). I guess it’s time for me to be prudent and filter out what I need and what I don’t want to read in the virtual walls of Facebook. With the entire generation on Facebook, friends ranging from your 8 year old niece to your 80 year old grandmother, it is difficult for me as a person to post something universally acceptable. I have to screen and sensor and even think about the consequences of the wide range of friends seeing what I have to say or what I promote. There is too much information to process. From a social media its now like being in a public chat.
This thought struck me after I started seeing a lot of political/ religious/ cult postings in Facebook.  The so called ‘Friends’ promoting their religious beliefs on their wall, feeding these posts on the ‘trend’, ‘Friends’ promoting their political beliefs, fighting on the ’walls’ in support of their individual political beliefs.  A very unhealthy religious promotion is happening in this virtual world of FB. A competitive and dangerous tone is seen in many posts and people who share it fails to understand that simply by clicking a ‘share’ they are being judged and assessed by people like on their interests, beliefs and even their outlook in life.  I was shocked to see this ‘other’ side of people. I even wanted to remove a few from my list not to come across certain foolish postings on my FEED.
Interestingly, if you take my FEED for this week, the most discussed things among my friends are
•         Aravind Kejriwal – AAP People promoting this, people tarnishing them.
•         Narendra Modi- Modi Fans, Modi Haters
•         Amritanandamayi – Exposers and supporters
•         Film Gossips-Celebrity Private lives, divorces, breakups
To all those people who are in this heated discussion on Indian politics, be it be AAP Fans, BJP Fans, Congress Fans or the ‘X’ party Fans, How many of you have actually voted even once? How many of you are planning to vote for these upcoming UPA elections. When I took a survey of my friends who regularly post promoting their political ideology, I realized that most of them live outside India. I myself has never casted a vote in my home country.   Can they really get their feet dirty and go to India and promote what they believe rather than sitting at the comfort of their homes and posting stuff on Facebook at the cost of their Wi-Fi connection? You can have a political opinion, freedom of expression, but can’t we just confine it to separate groups for such discussions?
Coming to religious beliefs - I really don’t know where to start. From atheists to extremists to moderates, everyone is fighting hard to mock at each other.  All the religions teach us acceptance, patience and tolerance. I am disappointed to see people my age bluntly post such derogatory comments without a proper understanding or research on their own belief.
If you really want to have a good laugh, you should read how common people advice the celebrities on their personal choices. I have been following this Actress who is believed to be separated from her husband. I was ashamed to read the comments of certain male chauvinist. People advising her to do with her life, how to be a good wife and even cursing her decision to come back to films just because there is a rumor she is separated from her husband.  I was so curious to know what people comment on her husband’s Fan page. Surprisingly except for a few comments, his page doesn’t have anybody advising him on his decision to separate. I found this very interesting. How much ever we consider us to be educated, there is always a stigma for the woman when a separation happens, but not for the man. Having said that do people really think, these celebrities are going to read these comments and take advice from you? Seriously?
I think it’s time for a transition. I am still in Facebook for my own reasons. I want to know where my friends are, see the happy things they do in life, share their happiness. But I doubt I will be able to filter what I want to see and what I don’t want to see. May be I should just remain a silent spectator. See the world go by and even see the demise of this giant empire of social media.