“I have wished you a Happy Birthday. Did you not see it on your wall?”
This was my brother-in-law (cousin!) from
How did he reach my wall in Bangalore
and why deface my wall to remind me of the passing of another of my dwindling
stock of years?
“Your wall on Facebook!”
Ah! In the bygone years, I had suddenly acquired something called a Facebook page, of which I knew for the first time when I started getting ‘Friend’ requests in my mail. I have always been moved by the fact that people wanted to make friends with me and, thus, had acceded to every single one of them – which was about my only activity on Facebook. It will always be a mystery to me as to how I got a Facebook page in the first place considering that I had never shopped for one in my life. One of the unfathomable mysteries of the online world!
I felt impelled to see what Facebook was all about. After all, I could not let someone, a decade-and-a-half my senior, upstage me!
“I had a great upma today for breakfast”
Who was this Varun and why did he think that I was spending sleepless nights worrying about what he had for breakfast and whether he liked it? I racked my brains and only ended up developing a dizzy feeling north of my neck. I proceeded to read the comments and found myself deeper and deeper at sea. “Reminds me of my mother’s upma” said one. Was the mere mention of the dish sufficient to send the commenter into transports of reminiscence about good old Mom’s upma or was there something – what was it that the youth keep talking about? Apps, or some such thing – that actually transmitted the smell and taste of the upma Varun had?
“I love aloo parantha for breakfast” said another. Ah! Well! Precisely what Varun wanted to know, I suppose, but why tell the world? Information to all potential hosts? I scanned through the rest of the comments but when it got to a link that lead me to a post comparing upma, aloo poha and paranthas as breakfast foods, complete with nutritional details and health hazards, I gave up. I was well in over my head and did not know swimming.
I could have pressed the Like button to register my presence, I suppose, but I did not know whether that meant that I liked Varun or I liked the upma or whether I liked Varun enjoying his upma. Not knowing Varun or the upma was a grave handicap in choosing to ‘Like’ it, so I played it safe and skipped to the next message.
“I just love this Avril Lavigne song” was the next one, complete with a link to Youtube.
Who was this Shilpa and who was Avril Lavigne? A scan through the comments intensified the rotary motion of the insides of my head. So many singers in the world and I had not heard of even one. I clicked on the link and found that I could not ‘Like’ the song! When had I become so hide-bound in my musical tastes that I had ended up preferring the songs of my youth, much like I used to blame my parents of being when I was young? I sighed feeling unutterably weary and feeling every one of my forty-nine years in my bones.
Could I add a comment, at least, even if I could not ‘Like’ it? Much as I would have liked to I had a faint suspicion that a comment about how much I liked Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Carnatic music would not be a welcome addition to the feast of reason here. Regretfully I passed on to the next message.
“I am feeling blue today”
Really? Having never noticed the existence of Akash, I could not bring myself to care deeply about what color of the rainbow he felt on any given day. I went over to the comments to see if I could add to the gems of wisdom there. They ranged from a curious “Why?” to the scintillatingly original “Cheer up!” to the companionable “I am feeling blue too”. This last, I think, would have cheered up Akash no end. After all, misery loves company and when you are in good company you cannot help cheer up, can you?
But, wait! Twenty-seven people ‘Liked’ this? And they called themselves ‘Friends’? I had always thought of people who rejoiced in my misery as enemies! Apparently, now, people who liked the fact that you were miserable are friends and people who do not like the fact that you are miserable are not! Never had the generation gap yawned wider than now! This very thought made me feel gloomy and the only thing that stopped me from plunging into the depths of despair was the fact that forty-five people would, probably, ‘Like’ it!
I wearily switched off the PC, tottered to my feet and groped for the walking stick that I never possessed but desperately wanted then. One minor brush with Zuckerberg’s world had left me feeling aged and decrepit. I do not think that I can survive another!