Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Facebook and the protagonist

Around the same time, I join one of the popular social networking websites. Hundreds of faces and names suddenly bloom marking the disremembered motifs which had marked my life since Windsor Manor – corridors, truancies, football, picnics, borrowed bikes, canteens, photocopied notes, binges, lectures, politics, night outs, messes, beer cigarettes and marijuana, fall outs, uniforms – competing narratives snagging chafing and bending against eachother – and yet all bereft of their underpinning now; the intimacies which had defined these shared lives forgotten like shifting dunes.

I peek into the pages of these separated lives, read the comments they pile on each other’s photographs and statuses and flip through the albums marking their passage from ranging bachelorhood to domesticity – a wedding, a spouse, a honeymoon, rearrangements for better for worse, a bundled newborn, visiting greying parents, a toddler finding his feet, reunions, another child – gathering along the way the trappings of new-found prosperity. Their footprints criss-crossing the globe from Goa to Las Vegas to the seven wonders of the world to the thousand places to see before dying; some of them pinning and sharing their conquests in maps. How far we have travelled – and yet never strayed.

The eyes in the photographs suddenly swivel and pin me down behind the peephole. Friendship requests pile, I get tagged in a few photographs, poked, notified, receive invitations from groups around start-ups indie-bands communities books, launches applications links are suggested, howdy where’ve-you-been messages stream in. The vortex sucks me inside; briefly I resist; but the ache to belong is stronger than the anxiety. Within a week, I have added a hundred friends and more eyes swivel and more requests and invitations rush in.

A friend surprises me with an intimate message. He tells me about a failed marriage and how depressed he is and how he remembers the times from college as the best years of his life and how he was thinking of me only the other day – I take a day to frame a reply but instantly decide against posting it when his next message informs me that he would be in Gurgaon the next week and looking forward to catch up. I do not respond in the end and after a reminder message he also falls silent.


Pankaj said...

you just wedded social networking with existentialist angst (whatever that is) in that writing.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Now all you're doing is making me very, very, very curious to read the entire story! :)

Kholu said...

"the intimacies which had defined these shared lives forgotten like shifting dunes" ...mmm nice

Bland Spice said...


so am i! :)