One look at your facebook account is enough to overwhelm you, especially if you are a struggling writer or a struggling anybody. And, I am both, and I have just had that one fleeting look at the virtual world we all love so much.
In the photographs, all my friends appear to be leading a great life, almost otherworldly. A pang of jealousy courses through my veins, and I want to close the page. A divine intervention takes place: my finger develops its own brain, and turns the scroller on the mouse. Helpless, I see more pictures. People all around the world are ecstatic about something – smiling, giggling, laughing their hearts out.
Promotions are happening; world tours are common. Marriages, I mean honeymoons basically, are giving people reasons to feel happy again. Newborn babies are completing the lives of some others.
Alumni meets show the camaraderie that was so missing in the days when they all graduated, ten years back. Bottles clinked bottles. Laughter followed laughter.
Friends…they truly are everything.
Where are my friends?
I see them on facebook, alright, but why am I not with them in the pictures?
I remember the time clearly when friends were what I lived for. Morning badminton and evening cricket were followed religiously. School, college, work, and at home – they were everywhere. Quite a contrast to the current situation.
I know we have all grown up, and today, we are all busy.
But the others still manage to meet and enjoy drinks – and post the pics too.
Well, my work is lonely. I like being within myself – contemplating. And, people tend to forget you if you are not social – or in this time of technology, if you are not a social media addict. And as far as I am concerned, I only post one picture a year on facebook, primarily to let all know that I am still alive.
As I mentioned before, it was not like that always. I too had life, once. I remember correctly, how it all began:
My father wanted me to appear for a few competitive exams for a job in the Indian Civil Services. And, since that required a lot of preparation, persistence, doggedness, focus, I decided to opt out of that. But the father had to be made aware of my decision, and that required courage on my part. Luckily, I didn’t have it, so I thought about a way of communication where I wouldn’t need to be facing him.
Yes, I could write all that and slip the letter under his pillow one night. I did exactly that.
I wrote him a big five-page letter (front and back), detailing all the reasons why I was not cut out for that job (or rather the exam).
That letter, written with honesty, focus, and intent impressed…guess who…
No! Are you crazy?
Not my father. He was beyond the petty concept of getting impressed with his offsprings. He was way too impressed with himself. His fitness, his language prowess, his looks (seriously dad!), his oratory, and his achievements.
The guy it impressed was me. Yes, I loved the way I wrote that letter. And that was strictly my personal view. Soon after my father read my masterpiece and pointed out the grammatical errors. He concluded that I actually wasn’t brilliant enough to appear for the exam. And I was free.
I realised I could write. The inferior quality was acceptable to me. I could improve that. An ambition was conceived inside of me. I immediately abandoned whatever I was doing, and ran out to join my very alive friends – the ones I thought would care.
That’s how they boosted my confidence, and appreciated my enlightenment:
‘Writer!’ they all shrieked in unison.
‘F**k my a*s, you can become one!’ This one took it as a personal insult.
‘Hahaaa haaaaa..you know..haaaaa..crap…’ Let’s not talk about this best friend of mine.
And my face was dripping of cold water. This one wanted to wake me up.
‘Wow, a writer, how romantic.’ This girl was looking through the wall (it appeared), at the horizon, and smiling dreamily. She was instantly pulled by her boyfriend (the same one who took it as a personal insult), and given a deadly stare. She never said a word about it after that. She is married today – not with this psycho.
Another girl just looked from the corner of her eye at her boyfriend, scared, and noticed him scowling at her already. She put a hand over her mouth, and closed her eyes.
I decided against telling it to another human being after this incident. And I maintain that that was a good decision.
In hiding, I kept scribbling – working all along, gradually creating a shell around me which no one was allowed to enter. Friends were no more than a distraction. They were anyway doing very well in life, and could do with one less friend.
I am best friends with books nowadays. And, this friendship is here to stay forever.
Disclosure: The views are purely based on the character’s imagination. I just created the character. 🙂