|Entertainment Sites: PlayBuzz, QuizzDoo|
Help me find a word for what I am feeling. It’s neither resentment nor annoyance. Not even embarrassment. Frankly, reading about the ten favorite books of all my friends has been hugely overwhelming. Who are these unknown authors with complicated names that I haven’t read? And why should non-fiction readers feel like an outsider in this tagging game? I know of folks who detest reading fiction but enjoy reading mythology, history and other books on ideas and idealism. Going by the somewhat pretentious social media tradition, everyone mentions Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Haruki Murakami, and I am having second thoughts about writing. At the risk of being sidelined by my writer friends, I publicly admit that I couldn’t go beyond the first chapter of ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’.
There, I said it.
Wonder how Chetan became a bestseller when most image conscious folks on Facebook refuse to admit reading CB. They will admit reading TinTin or Champak, but reading Chetan is like alighting from a rickshaw in the foyer of a five star hotel. Tacky!
Anyway, now I know how Penny (The Big Bang Theory) feels when her scientist friends examine the perturbative amplitudes in super-symmetric theories, leading to a re-examination of the ultraviolet properties of multiloop super gravity using modern twister theory.
Since the tagging tide was threatening to drown my self-worth, it was best to admit that I belong to the low-brow intellectual club of 'Cha Cha Cha'. Champak, Chandamama, and Chacha Chaudhary.
So, after going through the gratitude lists, book lists, videos of rice bucket challenge and bowel movements of my friends, I gravitate towards activities that make me feel better. Games on entertainment sites like QuizzDoo and PlayBuzz tug at my heart - begging me to click on options to find my real age, my past life boyfriend and my IQ.
Like the movies, the internet offers escape from the mundane, and I happily fall for the trap in order to run away from boredom and that feeling of Penny-ish inadequacy. Moreover, when your forty year old friend posts a status update saying, ‘I got 32, what about you?’ you are enticed. I have been avoiding such lame distractions, but the kid in me wants to feel good. So I click on a few options and get Elvis Presley as a boyfriend in my previous life. I can visualize the dazed look on my mother's face, but the answer makes me feel like a rock star.
Then I move on to, ‘How would you look like when you are old?’ The adorable thing that the internet is, I get a picture of Salma Hayek. Considering the lady is almost my age, I am hooked.
Encouraged, I click on, ‘What is the first body part people notice about you?’
Now, this one plumbs the depths of stupidity. Anyway, logic is the last thing on the mind of the site developer. Why should people notice a body part? How about noticing the invisible - intellect or humility? Having lost faith in my intellect after reading the ‘top ten book list’ of my friends, I continued clicking on various options. Surprise. I get Angelina Jolie’s lips. Given that these sites are US based, I wasn’t exactly expecting Anushka Sharma’s lips, but this was a humongous lie by any stretch of imagination. Amazing how we delude ourselves in believing that beauty is goodness.
Coming back to the book business, someone at Amazon and Flipkart is laughing all the way to the bank. Next social media fad could be mentioning top ten movies that come to mind, and tagging ten friends to list the same. Kindly note, you can’t publicly mention any Govinda movie unless you wish to be ostracized on social media. Or wish to nurse a black eye and a broken jaw.