I am 37 years old and like most people these days I am “socially active” which means I have all the necessary apps and more passwords than I can remember. I belong to the generation which survived Y2K. Remember that! 31st Dec 1999 was a night of pure terror for the newly booming IT world when the thoughts of civilization at the brink of extinction were foremost. The computers threatened not to be able to comprehend the year “2000” and our lifeline was about to be extinguished. Thankfully we moved on without any scars and went on well beyond it. Emails and chat rooms became common place and became “the” mode of official communication. Who remembers memos and registers anymore! If it isn’t “e” then it doesn’t exist. We clicked and typed away to glory. The means to these were still expensive and beyond common reach. Mobile phones weren’t common place and smart phones were yet to be invented. So there was great pride in declaring one’s email id and tremendous snoot value mentioning it to family and friends who didn’t have one. Trying to explain how email or internet worked to parents was sweet revenge for all those tortured nights of learning multiplication tables!
Cut to 15-20 years since. Even the most basic of mobile phones is now smarter than its owner. Grandparents are getting savvier and check their grandkids Facebook account to keep tabs on school/college attendance. Spouses use FB as an effective mode of communication. If you haven’t put it on FB then your vacation wasn’t worth it. All lives are largely well concealed open books. To this voyeuristic mumbo jumbo came WhatsApp with more immediacy than FB had to offer. A ping did what a poke didn’t always do. Self-flattering selfies swarmed everywhere and DP became the latest buzz word. WhatsApp added to this where anyone in your contact book suddenly came alive on a WhatsApp DP. So Ajay property had a face and Gas delivery’s dog donned the screen. The crank calls that I had received a few years ago and the number saved to be avoid came alive with unrecognizable reality.
Long lost extended family suddenly got together on WhatsApp. 3 generations of cousins, nephews, nieces, grand parents, siblings all connected and happily chatting about travel plans, online support to set emoticons, getting Wi-Fi in hotels. Virtual chess tournaments started as well…half way across the globe and cutting through time zones. All so wonderfully engaging, more so than they have ever been in real life. Thank god for the option to mute notification which would have been abuzz 24/7 otherwise.
School folks connected as well and created another group of all batch mates. Across some 200 odd people in the batch some 30 odd connected here. Some memories are best erased…the shift delete kind. Like that guy who stood at the back of the bus and stared all the way to school…or that girl who always had something to say about you behind your back. So many more faceless and forgotten people suddenly appeared professing how they haven’t had real friends post school and how great it was to reconnect here…small question…what took you 20 years and a forum like this to connect if it meant that much. Time to exercise another option and a rather good one at that – delete and exit group.