This article was later published on Women’s Web here.
Gone are those days when sheer pleasure was derived from making handmade cards and writing heartfelt letters to our near and dear ones, no matter how close or far they stayed. It was pure fun jumping in muddy puddles no matter how dirty we got. Sitting together with crayons, pencils and paints and then unleashing one’s creative side, no matter how colorful the floors and the walls got, is now a thing of the past. A personal touch is what everything was about way back then, when no matter how self-indulgent our actions were, but the fact that the emotions came straight from the heart made even the silliest of the silly acts all the more endearing. Be it playing out with friends in fields or scooting down the narrow alleys hunting for pebbles and kites, be it making paper boats during monsoons, or even counting the number of snails and slugs in the garden, nostalgia always reminds us that there is always something we leave behind when we enter future. However, nostalgia in many ways, reminds us that certain things in the past were seemingly much better than ones from the present, forgetting for a moment that the present shall soon become the past in future.
And today, there is nothing laced with a personal touch. In a fast pacing world of internet savvy crowd who are perpetually glued to Internet, personal touch is nowhere to be found. Well coming to think of it, I too get glued to the Internet, and that is when my father gently reminds me, “ Wasn’t the world functioning when there was no Facebook or Google?” Knowing my father well, I knew he had asked me another hidden question as usual which was, “ Wasn’t the world much better when social networking was absent”? I couldn’t bring myself to answer that because I agree I was happy and sane when there was no social networking, but cannot firmly believe that I am not, now. Networking in a virtual world is like getting hooked to a drug. You know the cons, but you still crave for it. And now, it seems to be dragging all of us away from the real world which is livelier and safer than the virtual one. But then forbidden fruit is always the catch. You want to do what you are cautioned against doing. You want to try the untried. You want to express in a way you never do in the real world. Perhaps, the thrill in taking the risk or perhaps the veiled pleasure in trying the untried makes one gets bold at most inopportune times. And it reflects in the way people react on social networking sites today. A comment, a tweet, a post is enough to instigate trouble, worse arrests. Is it because you never tend to face the real person you are addressing, on social networking? Or is it, because you get a kick out of voicing your opinions, thoughts and ideas, how much ever unsolicited they are? May be, maybe not. But what is most disturbing is the fact that people tend to judge you on the basis of your updates on social networking sites, which is absolutely ridiculous. Here the question is not about freedom of speech, but about the impact social networking has on the world today. A ‘like’ can boost moods, a ‘share’ can spread news like fire, and a ‘comment’ can spur a volley of arguments. The most affected lot are students who not only get addicted to it, but tend to associate themselves with it, on a very personal level. Photos and likes followed by comments and arguments which on the real world would not have been so apparent snowball into unexpected problems, considering that certain expressions become a way too public on social networking. This thereby, affects the adrenalin levels in teens, who in the spur of moment get too personal on absolutely senseless incidents and impulsively take foolish decisions pertaining to rivalries.
Needless to say, one has to be careful when posting anything on social networking sites. Because, nothing on Internet is private or classified. Whenever you feel like voicing your opinions aloud, ask yourself, “Would you say that on someone’s face?” I doubt. Of course, opinions and ideas are one thing. And living in a democracy, one has every right to express. But there is a way of doing it, without getting embroiled in a controversy and without inciting someone. Right thing, right time and right place are what matters when you have to say or do something you feel is right.
Wish, people did not take social networking that seriously. Wish, we again start writing letters on paper, rather than emailing them. Wish, we could personally go to our near and dear ones to wish them on special occasions. Wish, our children play with each other more than playing video games on Internet. Wish, we enjoy the life on nature’s lap better than enjoying face book updates. That is, I guess, too much of wishful thinking. Sometimes, I feel forced to agree to what my cousin quoted on her Facebook update – Nostalgia is a scam perpetrated by our brain to make us detest our present. So true…..Sigh!