“I have only a hundred likes for the picture that I uploaded yesterday. She posts the picture of her shoes and she gets a two-hundred.” This is the mindset of many Instagrammers and Facebook users who crave for getting the maximum number of ‘likes’ for their uploaded pictures. Instagram is a good repository that can contain the colourful pictures of your lives in a single frame and maybe even inspire the other users to visit those places that you have posted or may lead up to them imitating your stylish way of posing. All these aspects of Instagram attract the users to it as it involves sharing the wonderful moments of your lives with others and nowadays, it has also become a vociferous platform for the socially good movements that require the attention of the humankind. This has become even more resounding and sonorous now as the celebrities have started sharing videos and speeches that necessarily demand our attention. Inspite of all this, it is the likes that we crave for. If one posts a gracious picture on their account but end up getting just a few ‘likes’ on it, then the essence of the goodness of the picture vanishes and the person eventually archives or deletes the picture. (This might not be true for most of the people, but I do have a few friends who used to follow this ritual regularly.) One would be surprised to know the existence of like-enhancing-applications which automatically add a certain number of random followers and likes. (What exactly might be the user’s satisfaction on getting such fake likes?) Well, there would be an exception in this case; the professional photographers and people who are looking for a career through Instagram might need an appreciable number of likes for them to get acknowledged by the respective authorities. Now, putting an end to all these absurdities, Instagram has come up with the new feature of not showing the total number of likes received for a picture. This, I would say, is an excellent move towards reducing the kinds of eccentric views that people have when it comes to getting likes on instagram.

Resolution: That One Promise We Never Fail To Break

January 1, 2020.

The day I finally decided to look back at my long-forgotten and neglected blog. Well, there is absolutely no surprise that today is the day I eventually chose to come back here; today, the day of new resolutions, one or two or maybe three in the case of many whereas an umpteen resolutions in my case. This day is a much awaited day for me because I am a person who loves to plan new resolutions and wish earnestly for them to happen. The same is true with anyone who makes vows on this day.

The extent to which we look forward to this day each year is revealed in the following excerpt taken from my own life:

Dec 30, 2019.

Mom: Meena, come wash the dishes atleast today.

Meena: Mom, you know what! In 2 days, it’s gonna be 2020, the year that I start helping you with the dishes, which I will be following for a whole year.

Dec 31, 2019.

Meena’s positive half of her mind: Come on! Start reading a book today. It has been a long time you’re wasting time.

Meanwhile, Meena’s other half of her mind: But why should I start reading today when tomorrow brings with it the day of new beginnings, which will ultimately lead me to become a voracious reading champion!

All of us knowingly or subconsciously believe in this somewhat superstitious belief, no matter whether it fails each year or not.

If you happen to be a die hard fan of the TV sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., the first thing that might come to your mind when you hear the word ‘resolution’ is the episode in which the six friends gather and pledge to take a resolution each. Even though one of them (Phoebe’s) is an impractical one (which is, by the way, probably the one that many of us would love to try out), two among the others always tempt me to follow suit, namely, Ross’s desire to do a new thing each day and Rachel’s ambition to never gossip. I could say that I somewhat succeeded in achieving Rachel’s ambition (well, somewhat, not yet fully).

I happened to watch this episode on December 31, 2019 and immediately felt a zealous, ardent spirit push me towards planning my own vows for the coming year. As I was planning on what it should be, I received a call from one of my friends who told me about a guy who had taken a resolution to finish reading 19 books in the year 2019 and had done it very successfully. The moment I heard this, I knew what my 2020’s resolution would be: to start a book club with my voracious reader friends and read 20 books in the year 2020. After all, it has been quite a while since I and my similar-minded friends have been complaining about ourselves having become utterly lackadaisical when it comes to reading a book fully. We have a strong positive feeling that this resolution would definitely work out and that we will do wonders. All the very best to us! Happy New Year!!!

The Placement Journey That Many Of Us Dread!

It was the season of placements in my college. Everything that we learned till then seemed to lead up to this day, or more aptly, these few moments that tested our eligibility to move forward in life, or so we believe. Despite me having convinced myself that this wasn’t the end of my career, I somehow ended up believing that my life would come to an abrupt halt if I failed in getting a placement offer.

Two or three (or four or five?) companies had come and conducted the placement drive and the unique factor that bound them together was that each of them hired only finger-countable number of candidates. I was fortunate to reach till the final round of one of them but wasn’t fortunate enough to get selected. The same thing continued to happen for the other companies as well.

Like everyone else, I also became frustrated and started relying on absurd superstitions, which didn’t seem illogical to me, such as wearing my ‘lucky’ outfit, not getting angry even at those incidents that required me to become angry and most importantly, not informing my parents about the drive being held. (This was done just to not spread my grief to them and certainly not because of the fear of getting chided. In contrary to my notions, they were unbelievably supportive which abashed me on not having told them earlier.)

After a few days, there came this company, XYZ, that offered a special package compared to the prior ones. I may sound bragging a bit but I did experience a somewhat optimistic feeling after I gave my placement aptitude test. The results were published soon and an overwhelming number of candidates had been selected into the next round, namely the Group Discussion (GD) round. Again, I felt a wave of optimism rush through my body. But there, in the midst of it, was hidden a trivial problem. I had to have an idea of what the topic would be based upon. Though I may claim myself to be a regular newspaper reader, I do it just for the sake of pleasing my moral-self and not because of my love for gathering the daily news. And for this reason, I often fail to remember the content.

From that day onwards, I tried reading the newspaper with ‘forced’ interest. Finally, there came the eve of the placement day. I believed that I had a general or atleast a vague idea of all the current affairs. It was then that it struck me, almost pierced my lungs, that I had done nothing for the interview process.

I ran to my sister’s room, pleading to help me by sharing her ‘Computer Science’ notes (because the interview was supposed to be based on that) and I rushed through the logics of various programs in ‘Java’. I went to bed with the least satisfaction regarding my interview preparation but with a strong inclination to participate in the GD. Till around 6 AM the next day, I couldn’t sleep, thanks to my stomach that was growling with excitement to begin the GD session. I quenched its thirst by reminding it of the interview.

This time, I had told my parents about there being an interview that day so that I would get their prayers and support and besides, my grans were there as well. I asked them not to be too loud while sending me off at the gate as it would attract the neighbours to the scene which was the last thing I wanted. ( In case I didn’t get hired, I didn’t wanna get embarrassed in front of them.)

And so I left for the college, wearing my ‘lucky churidhar’ (the formals), with this surprisingly unnatural vivacity. It was the first time that I left for an event before the reporting time.

The Written X The Visuals

“Reading a novel, getting the characters into your head in a way that their visual appearance of your creation appeals so much to you, then finally watching the movie version of the book wherein you expect to see the characters of your fabrication but instead get failed to be allured by the cast members as they hardly cater to your taste of your imagination” : ever experienced this feeling?

Indubitably, it is a feeling of intense disappointment but in my case (as in many others’ cases), I use it as a shield to protect me from the ineluctable wrath of the hangover injected by the book. I honestly have no idea how that works.

There might be a few exceptions to this. For instance, the characters I imagined while reading the Harry Potter series turned out to have a striking resemblance to those cast in the movies. I was delirious with happiness and an inexpressible satisfaction on seeing the Sirius Black of my imagination in the movie (Gary Oldman).

For me and a bunch of congenial souls that I know, it remains our bailiwick to watch the film after reading the book and is not so thrilling, doing it the reverse way.

One of the reasons that can be attributed to this might be that we expect too much of the cast (who play the roles of the characters) and envisage them to be doppelgangers of the heroes and heroines of our dreams. Or it can be because they are forced to cut down the one-thousand-paged novel into a two-hour film and it might appear to be a mare’s nest.

I have performed an experiment on myself and analysed it:

(a) I read the novel and I acknowledged the fact that we are open to a wide variety of ways in which we can develop, form and change even the minutest details attributed to the characters.

(b) I watched the movie first and later when I read the book, I was inadvertently forced to imagine the very same actors who were cast in those roles, every time I tried to deviate from them.

Nevertheless I watch the films of whichever novel I read until the blank screen after the displaying of the credits appears. I try my best not to decry the efforts of the innumerable people behind the films. After all, who knows, if I had watched the film before reading the book (although that would be in contradiction to my interests), I may as well have enjoyed the film!

Too Many Emoji, Too Little Emotion

One often quotes the approach of the day that is going to witness communication among people that exists just via the electronic devices irrespective of whether the sender and receiver are just at arm’s length or not.

If we examine ourselves (provided we are users of social media), we will be surprised to acknowledge the fact that we are also a part of this journey towards a taciturn kind of communication. For instance, if we note the pattern of our chats, we’ll find that seldom do we communicate without using emoji. If one wishes one’s friend on his/her birthday devoid of an emoji, chances are that he/she might misconstrue it to be a perfunctory wish.

The day has come when it is considered inappropriate if you do not react with a teary-eyed emoji to an obituary post.

People’s mind-set now is such that if you respond with an emoji, then it means you’re experiencing the same emotion, regardless of whether you are or not. This evolutionary phenomenon might not be prevalent among all but it is applicable atleast to a majority of the people.

The Darkness Of A Seemingly Diabolic World

Darkness is the absence of light.’

This is the hackneyed statement that anyone would give when asked to define darkness. But, if you ask the same question to a rogue thinker like me (who likes to explore the hidden side of everything), then he/she would claim that it is much more than just the absence of light.

As kids, we are afraid of everything: the bogeyman under the bed, the serial killer or the ghastly shadow of a criminal staring at us from the window. And we pray for morning. For the monsters to go away.

This happens to us not just in our childhood but in our adulthood as well, especially if you are a bibliophile voracious for a murder-mystery combination. Be it a book or a film, unless and until the denouement is revealed, we would lose our sleep over the unfinished work. Moreover, we would hesitate to even partially open our eyes in the fear of the fact that the criminal in the story might be standing right next to our beds, ready to stab with a knife. And then, out of the blue, we suddenly become devotees and start tugging at our amulets trying to ward off the evil villains.

These are the only times that we loathe darkness. On all the other normal days, we embrace darkness upon its much-awaited arrival after having lived a busy day; the prime reason being, able to sleep with a hope to start the next day afresh by fulfilling our daily endless resolutions.

Well, who am I kidding? I’d be doing injustice to myself if I state that as the reason. The real one is that it is the time that I contemplate on all my doings on that particular day, reflect upon it, judge myself, act out the entire scenario that affected me on that day (be it positive or negative) with my pillow being the fellow actor and finally I would fall prey to this short-timed lullaby, known by the name of ‘darkness’.

The Unrequited Childhood

“RAMA, go get the ball and come fast. Mama’s gonna call us back home soon, you idiot!’
“You fool, who’s gonna listen to that? I’m not coming home until 7. You can go if you want to.”
“Ha! You think! Okay now, frame an excuse to tell mama then.”
“How about you getting attacked by a gang of 3 robbers and I gathering help to save you?”
“A bit more realistic, please! How about this, I fell down and couldn’t walk till the pain died away?”
“Perfect! Come, let’s play now.”

Rama and Radha, ‘the naughty siblings’ as they were popularly called by the victims of their childish pranks, hailed from the Indian city of Palakkad. They always fought with each other but were inseparable.

Years passed by and Rama started working in the Railway sector, far away from home meanwhile Radha got married and settled in Bombay. Nevertheless, they found time to update each other on whatever minute things happened to them each day.

A few more years passed and Rama’s wife, Meera gave birth to three children while Radha had become the mother of seven children. The frequency of the calls gradually began diminishing and finally reduced to about one or two calls a year.

Soon enough, they both entered their eighties and had their own ailments to lament for.
One Tuesday, Meera woke up at 6 AM as usual and started with her daily chores. At 7:30 AM, the phone bell rang and she attended it, only to hear about the sad demise of her husband’s sister, Radha. Rama was still asleep when Meera ran to inform him. He woke with a start and was soon left on pondering over the matter, all the old memories rushing back to him. He felt so sorry that his old age wouldn’t permit him to travel to Mumbai to see his partner-in-crime for a last time.

Nobody knew what was going on in his mind but his granddaughter knew for sure that he did miss the best friend of his childhood who had dominated all the bedtime stories that her grandfather narrated to her.