Last night, after much humming and hawing and even more relentless ranting, I finally deactivated my Facebook and Twitter just to get away from the din for a bit and calm myself down.
You know the turf wars of social media since 2014? Yup, the one that is going increasingly down the drain with each passing day? I may have got over-involved in it recently. And why not? Considering I had practically taken it upon myself to call everyone’s bluff! Yup, everyone. Not only the liberals or the bhakts, no sir. Not only the misogynists or the rural Americans or the free spirited ones. Oh no. And what started as some strong opinions over NDTV ban and moved on to the currency debate with bits and pieces of US elections escalated quickly. Not abusive. Well, a little abusive. But when you’re called a “fake liberal intellectual hypocritical desi unpatriotic” and “bhakt” within a span of one week, you do start to wonder if the problem lies with you and your need to voice all opinions, no matter how odd, how contradictory, how quickly changing. How full of angst, at practically everyone.
First came the Fawad Khan and NDTV bans. And yes, in a country as free spirited and democratic as the desh I know, there were still people who totally stood by it. Because.. You know.. Jawaans. Then of course came the demonetisation. Which was by and large appreciated by everyone except a few. They didn’t stop to hear about or even see the implementation or what steps had been taken, both in the past and now, to take care of those without bank accounts. No, we all jumped the gun. Some of us in praise, some of us full of rants. Of course when the implementation was horrid, to say the least, op-eds after op-eds came about, some repeating rhetorics, some just blatantly fear mongering. And obviously, bankers started to feel like jawans on national duty, claiming their share of waah-waahi, which really became the breaking point for me. Especially after my own experience with HDFC and some power-trippy stories I heard and experienced in banks. Seeing the exact same behaviour that I had foolishly assumed the move would solve, was not a happy feeling. I’d forgotten who we really are as a population. I have been an agency slave and I have known corporate slaves. Hell my father has been a PSU-slave for over 15 years now (yup, they exist). So working, willingly or unwillingly, after work hours doesn’t exactly define “national duty” in my world. But oh the self-righteousness of bankers claiming to be the new jawans because they worked extra hours following a GOVERNMENT directive, was a new low. And I was done.
A few words that have stayed with me after seeing live how social media drama really unfolds following any major government decision in our country – turf wars, self-righteousness, hero-worship/ rebels without a cause, confirmation bias. And it is all so bloody sickening, I wonder if there is a way to filter out all social and political commentary (if only to avoid enraging or engaging), bad grammar, and other such polarising things on social media without the extensive and often, grossly politically incorrect task of unfriending, unfollowing, and starting afresh. I wonder if there is a way to retain only happy smiley greens, awesome travel feeds, and jokes. Or do I just have to stay away from all of it except Instagram. Or if there is a way to have everything go on as it is but not get so involved that it ends in blocking, unfriending or worse, deactivating.
Yes, social media and popular opinion does tend to take up an inordinate amount of mindshare from me and maybe, that is the problem. How does one stop being a news junkie? How does one stop getting so damn affected? How does one consistently and relentlessly remember that everyone has their reasons? Or stop wondering if they really do?
In other words, do I need a therapist?
(Not all of it has been bad. I had an amazing few days back in Patna, seeing all over again the things that make me who I am, the things I escaped, and finding incredible evolution in the most unexpected places. I want to write all about it but in a way that does justice to it. So first, I need to space out for a while. Even if just to decompress if nothing else. Mountains are calling, and I am hoping that everything will fall in place as soon as I see the Himalayas. I will be back. Soon.)