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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Facebook: What Activates Your ‘Deactivate’ Urge...!

In the olden ages Facebook was a manageable affair. Your indulgence time in this fascinating book had to be found, because you could either do it on your desktop or on your laptop and everywhere it was not convenient to do so. The moment the smart phones inundated the eager hands of users things changed completely—for the better or for the worst is yet to be ascertained. Facebook indulgence became an anytime or rather a full time activity, to such an extent that if one picks up the mobile for doing a specific thing one inadvertently gets distracted to FB notifications, and finally forgets about what s/he picked up the mobile for. Its use stopped to be location-specific—it began to haunt users everywhere including travel time, in public transport and in public places apart from very private encounters.  

As a corollary to the above users started getting restless thinking about the time being devoted to this indulgence, if the time devoted or wasted is too much, if the things one is doing there are of any earthy meaning or significance, if one is mentally disturbed over this indulgence and so on. Therefore, people who had suffered intensively owing to the above have started thinking of ‘deactivating’ their accounts or have done so temporarily, and the ‘to be or not to be on FB’ became arguably the biggest existential dilemma for the existing users. Here we are going to put the light on some situations that may propel you to ‘deactivation’ of your Facebook account, and these situations are eked out on the basis of a cross-section of users’ sentiments/compulsions/disillusionment. In this essentially egregious analysis one must, of course, possess the unique ability or rather ‘humility’ to distinguish ‘celebrities’ from ‘lesser mortals’.

Uselessness: Most of the users think it’s useless and a sheer waste of time to indulge in this most vibrant form of social media. After devoting hours, days and months to it standing sitting sleeping or waking up they find nothing lastingly viable at the end and decide all their time has been wasted. They also complain that most of the so-called viral posts or videos are absolutely undeserving or fake in nature, and the moment they inadvertently click on a particular video an ocean of videos surge up making it unviable for them to go any farther.

Irritation: When you take 10 hours to generate 10 responses or more aptly ‘likes’ and witness others generating 100 in less than 10 minutes. You realise the utter meaninglessness of your user-existence, forced to ponder that making a century in cricket is somewhat easier.  

Anger: When you get caught in some posts unawares and withstand the 20+ selfies uploaded by a particular user whose photogenic presence is also immensely questionable. Why the hell should I go on watching the unimaginable angles to the same faces, again... again... and again?

Infertility: When you find yourself suddenly pregnant with some fertile or timely thoughts and think impulsively of putting it down on your timeline. Emboldened by the sizeable number of friends you do possess you post it with great expectations and wait with bated breath for responses or more preferably ‘comments’ since you have already devoted the time for an uplifting interaction. And, nothing comes in for an unbearable length of time.

Much Ado About the Obvious: When you witness ‘friends’ or ‘friends of friends’ or ‘friends friends...’, whatever, posting their faces in the acts of cooking, eating, sleeping, partying or travelling you ask yourself a profound question—why should I bother about what they are cooking or eating, where they are eating and why, where they are travelling to and why, what company they are keeping and why and why they are converting this public forum to a mere family album! Also, you start pitying the endless number of users responding to such posts and liking.

Futility: Finally one realises the futility of the whole experience with not more than 10% of one’s friends responding most of the times, with most of one’s fertile or newsy thoughts getting utterly ignored and even the occasional ‘faces’ of one not generating positive traction.

Facebook: Most often the ‘horse’ itself kicks you up again and again—prompting you to write endlessly, disturbing you with ‘memories’ you’d want to forget, informing you brazenly that someone has tagged you along with 100 others without any valid reason, circling your ‘face’ in some uncouth photograph and asking you to tag yourself, notifying you with ‘friend’ requests of some who are already your friends and so on so forth.

The impulses generated under any or all of the above situations most often drive you to ‘deactivation’. However, mind you, such ‘deactivation’ deeds are almost always temporary in nature, and in actual practice you ‘activate’ to ‘deactivate’ again, and again..!

(Note: The current status of this writer’s Facebook account is ‘Deactivated’! It is not at all clear if one or more of the situations listed above are responsible for this dastardly decision!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Festive Thought...!

The ‘festive’ thought as mentioned above could be interpreted as controversial after the words that follow are swallowed up, and therefore I clarify at the outset that there is no malicious intention behind this thought. There is only the spirit of celebration.

The Indian festive season starts around September every year with various non-religious, religious and intra-religious festivals taking place almost every week. Since all such events of worship or otherwise are now called ‘festivals’, these get naturally opened up for everybody to participate. Like the quintessential slogan given in West Bengal by the Chief Minister during the Durga Puja ‘festival’, ‘Religion is mine, religion is yours; festival is for all’. For example, in this year’s Christmas ‘festival’ on the streets of Kolkata you would hardly find a ‘religious’ being among the thousands of intense merrymakers. So then, everyone waits for the occasion from September to New Year Day to participate which translates into roaming around, extensive use of public transport and a lot of eating.

Business enthralls on every Indian street with quick-bite stalls, fast food joints and the usual restaurants each of which gets literally surrounded by ‘celebrating’ revellers. It becomes ‘binge eating’ in the truest sense of the term. And, it is not at all a joke to indulge in this over a reasonably long period of 3 to 4 months.

While it is definitely a positive development of religious occasions transcending all barriers and allowing all across all religions to take part wholeheartedly, there is a bit of a concern, at least for this nondescript writer.    

You see, after continuous ‘binge eating’ bellies around are sure to grow faster. In fact, the human observatory data as revealed to this writer indicate this very phenomenon. As you know, in India public transport is very crowded, particularly during the festival season. Nowadays while travelling in a public mode you need to be on your constant guard to counter the pushes and pinning by the backpacks. Even non-celebrating normal commuters carry the omnipresent slinging backpacks. And, they bulldoze through to create a space for themselves, maybe just to indulge in the inevitable mobile surfing. Now, after bellies start growing faster you’ll have the added misery of countering the front-packs too. No alternatives. At least till the New Year pledges which may or may not contribute to a bit flattening bellies...

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Munching Ways Of A Miser...!

He is employed with a good monthly salary, but he always wanted to save every paisa of it. By hook or by crook! Of course, at times he fails, and in those occasions he goes for the cheapest possible options or prefers to forego the comforts or eating altogether.

He never wants to pay monthly rent on an accommodation, because he feels it’s a dead draw from his bank accounts with no productive benefits. He only goes in the night to sleep there. So, why pay money for that mundane detail? He is a perfect manager for such tasks. Initially he forced himself on a friend and began staying with him in the city of his employment. He managed for a reasonable period constantly telling his friend that it was only a temporary arrangement. However, that place was quite at a distance from his office, and he had to incur daily expenses on public transport. He heartily hated that and was desperate for a solution.

He found one soon. Discovering another friend with a house very near to his office he again forced himself with the same modus operandi. He was elated at being able to save all his salary plus taking healthy daily walks to his office. As far as the ‘food for living at no cost’ or ‘munch management’ was concerned he concentrated on the events or programmes or seminars or conferences or parties where at least one of the three meals was guaranteed. Those events mostly took care of his free breakfasts and lunches. He thoroughly relished those meals what were ‘free unlimited downloads’ for him! As for the suppers he participated joyfully whenever his friend decided to cook at home. On occasions when dinners could not be ensured he preferred to remain hungry and healthy for the next free meal next day.

He would take only mineral water on robust health grounds. Office provided that facility free of cost with the water jars coming in daily. He collects free bottles, fills those with the office water and takes those to his house. He considers the tap water there unsafe for drinking.

On weekends he visited his native town and feasted on the food fiesta offered by his doting mother who was amicably able thanks to her husband’s good pension. Our miser showed implacable dexterity in avoiding the expenses of his weekly bus trips to his native place too by managing a government pass.

He never entertained any of thought of getting married after arguing it out conclusively for himself, ‘I’ll never marry an unemployed girl...obviously because her daily food requirement will be a dead burden on me! ...Even if I marry an employed woman I’ll naturally become her finance manager... and her money will be my money! ...This is bound to take a turn for the worst at its clumsiest because of our mutual food requirements...’ Once he was really caught in an ominous wedlock situation due to the insistence of his parents. True to his frugal abilities he managed to wriggle out convincing his parents that the marriage could result in him being taken away from them for good by the wife.

On office days when he failed to manage‘free-meal’ events he existed on biscuit bites. At times he bought the cheapest biscuit packets available or collected those from safe sources and stockpiled in his room for future use. On some occasions he used to sit continuously in the room of his boss purportedly for selfless advice and companionship. The boss invariably ordered lunch at the appointed hours, and because our miser continued to sit he was offered food as a rendered-compulsory gesture of hospitality. He ravenously coveted office tours, because all his needs were taken care of free for days. On rare occasions when he failed miserably to arrange free food or even biscuits he magnanimously decided to starve during the day. We mentioned this fact earlier with regard to the nights.

One night his friend went to dine out without informing him. As he entered the house he had to face this extremely unpleasant fact. He cursed himself for not having the foresight of keeping some biscuits at the house too. We forgot to mention one important fact—our miser never took tea. If this decision was habitual or made in light of the consideration of the concomitant costs was not known. Anyway, this ‘habit’ or ‘decision’ saved him loads of money in terms of having teas himself and/or offering those to guests. Then he brightened up. He managed an invitation for a forenoon seminar the next day where at least lunch had to be provided.

Coming to office he immediately rushed to the venue only to find that the fixture was cancelled at the last minute due to unavoidable reasons. He asked his assistant for a cheap restaurant nearby. On being told that there was no such restaurant in the immediate vicinity he came back to office dejected, depressed and ravenously hungry. He dashed to his boss’s room for humanitarian considerations only to find it empty. He slumped in his room chair and gulped down a few biscuits with some free water.

His food situation worsened in the evening as he found his friend out on a date with a girlfriend. Later he somehow got hold of the soft copy of an invitation for an important event the next day starting before the lunch hour. He decided to starve that night too in the hope of the ‘free unlimited download’ next day. His mind was in turmoil for some other rickety reasons. He could not contact his boss for the formal assignment to attend the next day’s event. Maybe some other persons get the assignment or have already got, he pondered anxiously. He had to ensure it come what may. His starving body called for desperate measures.

He rushed to his office very early in the morning, waited eagerly for his boss to arrive. The moment the boss entered he barged into the chamber almost clamoring for an assignment mercy. Eliciting a formal nod he preferred not to meet or inform any other executives in the office for possible delay or confusion and literally ran to the venue.

Whether our miser finally got his free meal and accomplished the ‘free unlimited download’ at the conclusion of the event was not immediately known.

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