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Saturday, 19 July 2014

INSTA-SPECT : Living For Likes.

Instagram, snapchat, whatsapp, viber, hike, facebook.

You’ve got to be on at least one of them to validate the proof of your existence. Social media is no longer just a medium to communicate and neither are our “cellhphones”; but we hardly use cellhphones these days it’s all about the Smartphone generation! The tablets, the I-pads, the laptops and god know what else is to come.  These gadgets are such an integral part of our lives that living without them even for a day seems like an impossible scenario.
My family loves eating out and it just so happened that we were at this fancy restaurant, you know the kind where they decorate your cloth napkins into ducks and swans? Yeah, that kind. I was enjoying the ambience, soaking it all in. The rich tapestry, the deep blue Turkish centre pieces. It was living larger than life, elegantly. I scanned the room, drooling over the exquisite looking food contemplating if I should stick to the cuisines I know or be bold and try something different, something rather strange like squid or sea urchins when I saw a small family celebrating the birthday of their son at the centre table. The kid had just turned five as the candle on his expensive looking dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache suggested and even more expensive was the jacket that his mother had casually draped over her chair. It was Gucci.
I was fascinated by everything about the family and their lavish celebration for a tiny little child. I noticed the mother more carefully, she had an I phone (of course) which was connected to a portable charger and the father who had a pleasant smile on his face was busy ordering more food , tipping the waiter more than he earned and then he went back to his blackberry probably typing an email which would earn him millions. And then it struck twelve; the kid was so eager to cut the cake he could barely contain himself. Holding the steel knife upside down, butchering the cake he giggled in glee and soft but audible claps could be heard which surprisingly came only from the waiter. The mother was busy tweeting her son’s birthday update and uploading his birthday cake’s photos on Instagram with not so relevant hash tags. The kid took a piece and instinctively looked at his mom to take a bite from him but mum was busy so he turned to his father. His father looked at him, ruffled his curly hair and received a call on his phone. The kid didn’t wait; he just had the piece instead. And another one after that. It was good about fifteen minutes when his mother finally looked up from her phone and gave him a kiss on the cheek while the father was still busy on his phone. I am sure the kid didn’t really feel bad about it or even understand that this isn’t how he was supposed to have a birthday. It was normal for him. He had seen his father on the phone daily, his mother on the laptop uploading photos of her as well as him. But was he going to remember this day? His Instagram photo? I don’t think so. The only memory he would probably have is of well, nothing. 15 years from now his fifth birthday, although expensive and lavish is not going to be one of his favourite childhood memories and it could easily have been!
“Hey mum, don’t put chocolate on my face, ewww!”
“Hey dad! Don’t make a mucchi out of chocolate!”
THIS. This would have stuck in his mind for a very long time but his Instagram photo? I’m not so sure. It’ll just be one of the many pictures his mother uploaded.
We see it every day, people sitting across each other busy checking the number of likes their photo got instead of making memories. We are so busy trying to be popular in the virtual world that we’ve forgotten how to feel; how to live, to experience the memory. To be a part of the photograph we take.
The internet is a part of our lives and we cannot do away with it; it’s a boon for the twenty first century but a bane if we let it become our life. Our facebook account is OUR profile and not the way around.

So let’s put those gadgets away, have a meal with our loved ones and for once not post a picture on Instagram? Let’s cleanse ourselves of this infectious disease, free our minds of the internet please.