The only book I read on a regular basis is Facebook. I don’t even have to worry about carrying it. My phone does the job for me. Unlike any other book, this one’s always got something new to offer, without me having to pay an extra penny. The only two occasions I can recall when I closed it (basically deleted my account) was when its overdose saddened me to the point of extreme loneliness. With 987 faces peeping into your window, I guess it is normal to start expecting some activity on your wall and some friends, at your doorstep!! After all, the ratio in reality was much better than this: In a class of 40, by the time I finished school, I had 4 friends, at least. None happened here, though! Can’t list many friends in the friend list.
After going through that feeling of dejection, which is primarily a collective rejection, the decision is made: Not going back to the pages of this book with blue borders. App deleted. Did that on a Sunday night. Decision was rock solid, self-unflinching and resolve strong as anything.
That apparent feeling of being self-content. Walking through the streets, climbing stairs and also while driving to the office on Monday morning, my chest was swollen with pride: “I don’t need anybody. I am good. Gonna do my work with full passion and dedication. And use my time in between doing something ‘productive’. Ya, something productive. This ‘something productive’ could be anything. Actually, that was the problem. Finding out that ‘something’.
At lunchtime, as I stood in the canteen que to get my food, a colleague said: Bro, did you see Suhasini’s fb post? “No” I said, maintaining an equanimity on my face. He goes on to say: “you should totally check this out. It’s hilarious”. “Ya ya, I will” I said, just about successfully hiding the fact that I am no more—on Facebook.
With total honesty I tried hard to love my hatred, developed last night for my blue-bordered book, but in my remaining four hours at work, I ventured at least thrice to the Goolge Play store. Guys. Relax. I just checked some of the more “useful” applications: only the editor’s picks. But, yes I saw it. The white (f)- staring at me, asking me to touch it with my thumb!
Reality 1: “You have 2 new notifications” drop message surely excites me. That feeling of anonymity: who could be behind the notification is sure good.
Reality 2: SK Bhatia posted on Flats and flatmates in Bangalore (A city I left more than two years ago); Awdhesh Upadhyae invited you to like his page: talks with morning walks.
Emotions quantified (431 vs 104)
Recognition, we all want. It is good to be validated. Its presence instills a certain confidence in us. Even then, when it could be fake and depend on various factors that go beyond the merit of our acts. In reality, in our day-to-day life, which involves person-to-person interaction, a certain emotion cannot be quantified. But, in the virtual world, it can be. In the most absolute of terms. You have certain tools at your disposal like: ‘Like’ ‘ha ha’, ‘love’, ‘wow’, ‘sad’, ‘angry’.
A picture that I posted a year ago from my Ladakh trip has had generated maximum likes for me. 431 to be precise. It also attracted 8 ‘loves’ and 72 ‘wows’. If I was an artist and Facebook a stage, my Ladakh performance was super hit!
On the other hand, an FB live that captured my guitar performance could generate only 104 likes. Honestly, I did not like the numbers. For someone who has seen 431 people liking his photo, receiving a meagre 104 thumbs-up on a five minute performance is heart-wrenching.
Mondays in the corporate world have the capacity to suck life out of you. Ok. That may be overstating, but they sure have this psychological impact, which takes a toll on you. So when I get back home, I feel like engaging myself into something which has the capacity to unwind me.
Strumming the guitar and humming a song right before my dinner I tried to get along with myself and my last night’s resolution—not going back to the book. As I spent the next 30-odd minutes with the instrument, my younger brother was also at work.
Some 45 minutes later, as we sat for dinner, I heard an acoustic version of neele neele ambar par, only to realise that it was my own voice. My drawing room intone had been secretly recorded by my brother on his phone, who was, as I said was at work. By the time I snatched his device to have a closer look, the video was uploaded with the title: Drawing room dhamaka. As I watched the three-minute clip, likes, smilies and wows had started to come in. With a sense of delight, I gave back his phone. Watching that clip drawing appreciation made me happy.
I picked my phone to set the 6:30 am alarm. Did that and went straight to page 59 of the book, Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Had been lying by my bedside for at least two months with a bookmark placed on that page. Flipped through a couple of pages, but was finding it hard to stay in the narrative. The Booker Prize winning work was failing to hold my attention. The desire to see the reactions on the just-uploaded video was distracting me.
What happened after that can easily be guessed. In less than five minutes, I had the blue-colored app on my phone, with my fingers busy deftly typing the responses. I was back in my virtual world.