Skip to main content

It's a wonderful world out there!

Witty, smart, charming, affectionate, sad, all these come easy on social media. Try that in real life and it is a different ball game altogether. I thought about this as I asked (on Facebook) someone I know to be brave as he had just lost a young son. How easily I said it. Not that I did not mean it. I meant it from the bottom of my heart. And yet, Facebook had made it easy for me to say it, somehow. That's how it is on social media. Log in: FB reminds you it is a friend's birthday. You wish her. Someone else has announced it's her anniversary. You wish her as well. And then someone is grieving. You say sorry. Someone's unwell. You wish them a s
peedy recovery. Someone's posted holiday pictures. You like them. Someone's cooked a fantastic meal. You like the pictures. Someone's being extremely witty. Like the post. You mean well, and do all this. You feel you have made someone's day, effortlessly. It is really easy to pull all this off on social media.

Try articulating the same in real life, over face to face conversations, and see the difference. It is so difficult; and therefore FB comes as both a boon and a bane for most of us. Especially for some of us who are introverted and find it so painfully difficult to say what's on our minds. In a physical world, I'd struggle to pick up the phone and tell someone I'm sorry for their loss, but on Facebook I could articulate my thoughts easily. In that sense, social media is a great leveller. We can all come off looking like great people, feeling and sharing and empathizing with everyone. In real life, all our flaws come to the fore so painfully.

I'm really awkward when it comes to small talk. I can't chat up a neighbour or my maid effortlessly. I think hard about what exactly to say to them. I don't so easily attend social get-togethers or parties; it has to be a close family member or a really good friend to take me there. Last year, when I heard that my neighbour's mother had passed away, I really had to gather a lot of willpower to get up, ring the doorbell of their house and offer my condolences. It is not as if I don't care, it is just so difficult to articulate my thoughts, and then, there is the fear of the whole thing not coming off well. A residents' association meeting can be a challenge for me; I really want to be of use and help around, but to make small talk and to be able to have a half-decent conversation with most of them would be a struggle. So, in real life our flaws are horribly exposed. Your neighbour might think of you as someone who doesn't give a damn (while in fact you do!) and your maid might think you are snooty. Your local vegetable vendor might think you are always frowning and your cousin or aunt may feel you haven't the decency to pick up the phone and wish them a happy new year! Fact of the matter is that in real life you need to put in a lot of hard work into every relationship to make it work. You have to try to figure out a way to say something to people around you to show that you care. You may really care, but sometimes, showing is equally important. In real life, if you don't work at something, you are losing the game.

Not so on Facebook or Twitter. I'm winning all the time. I know exactly what to say to whom; I can articulate my thoughts effortlessly. I express my points of view on a range of issues, from cricket to politics and cinema. You wouldn't be able to guess I struggle with small talk because see, I chat every second person up so easily there. I share smart status updates, I like other people's posts, I appreciate someone's efforts, I express my sadness over something. It is always a win-win. There's no hard work involved. I am impressed with myself, what an amazing person I am! From one right thing to do to another right thing to do. All that I can never be in real life I can be on social media. It brings out the best in me, and also the lazy in me. Before FB, I'd have picked up the phone and wished a friend a happy birthday. Now, I said it on Whatsapp. He can't say I haven't wished him, I don't have the guilt of not wishing him. What's more, I come off looking good. Real life can make you look awkward, lazy, reserved. Not FB. We are all one homogenized lot. Patting each other's backs and pecking each other's cheeks and feeling for each other. We are all in it together, aren't we?





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vidurashwatha

Re-plug of an article I wrote five years back ahead of Independence Day. On Vidurashwatha, which is known as the Jallianwalah Bagh of Karnataka. Vidurashwatha is actually very close to my hometown and the temple there is a much-visited one by my family.





Of lives lost under the peepal FREEDOM STRUGGLE Vidurashwatha is known as the Jallianwala Bagh of the south. At least nine people died in the summer of 1938, when British authorities fired indiscriminately at a fair held there, writes Savitha Karthik
If the giant peepal trees here were to tell a story, what would that be? That of the Mahabharata character Vidura coming here to plant a sapling of ashwatha, or the ficus religiosa, in botanical terminology? That of the holy peepal being worshipped by generations here, along with hundreds of idols of the snake god installed by believers? Or would the peepal trees choose to tell another tale? Of nine brave souls who fell victim to an oppressor’s guns, right under the stoic trunks?

The ficus…

Remember Sadanand Vishwanath?

I write this as I watch the post-lunch session of the first Ashes Test 2017 at the Gabba. Watching it on Sony Six with the Channel 9 line-up of commentators (plenty of flak for that line-up, of course), my mind goes back to the Benson & Hedges series of 1985-86. I was too young to remember much, but certainly remember the Audi car that Ravi Shastri won. That was also the first time that DD telecast the Channel 9 feed -- I know now not then. I only remember the famous animated duck walk past the screen as the batsmen walked back to the pavilion. That series saw the emergence of a young, dashing wicket-keeper who kept the chatter going behind the stumps -- Sadanand Vishwanath. A Google News search told me what's up with him now. Here's a link:

http://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/vishwanath-seeks-to-live-cricket-again/article20628906.ece


Let me know if you need help or something like that!

I have spent time as an attendant to a family member on more than a couple of occasions, for at least a fortnight or more each time, and am just recording my thoughts, in a random fashion.


When you are a caregiver, you often get offers like, "if you want help let us know". But how often does a caregiver remember your offer, especially when he or she is caught up with taking care of the patient? How does the caregiver know what kind of help you are willing to offer or whether you are reliable? The burden of providing you with opportunities to help can be too much for the caregiver, especially sitting in an ICU waiting room or a ward with a patient in pain. If you really want to help, show up, find out how you can ease the burden off the caregiver in little ways. And act. Often, you could be offering help just to satisfy your conscience or as a nicety. You move on, once the caregiver says, "Thanks. Will let you know." The caregiver doesn't know if you really wan…