Friday, April 3, 2015

WhatsApp-ealing, WhatsApp-alling?




So we are driving out of our apartment complex when we see a lady walking in the middle of the road. Since it makes sense to avoid honking in the residential area, we slow down and wait for her to make way for the car. But the lady with head phones is busy smiling at her mobile even as she continues to walk. When we rev up the engine, she gives us an angry urban middle class stare. Then as we drive past, she does a little pantomime with her hands to say something like, ‘Can’t you see idiots? ‘Andhe ho kyaa?’ Or some such polite sort.
Amazing how we dedicatedly engage in an activity called WhatsApp-ing. Almost everyone is gazing at his phone absent mindedly as millions of ingenious bots push the limits of creativity. With more than seventy million users in India, everyone and his nephew are rattling jokes and laughing mercilessly with tears rolling down their eyes. After they have lolled and rolled, they urge you to forward the joke because ‘market mein naya hai.’ The overpowering desire to laugh and to make others laugh convinces me about the inherent goodness of human beings.

Being tech challenged, I woke up late to this technological wonder. Repeated ‘Why don’t you come on WhatsApp’ nudged me to buy a new phone after being sidelined by friends who used this app to plan ‘meet-ups’. Little did I know that WhatsApp will bring me closer to relatives I had never met. Or have no desire to meet. Those who never said hello in person, wish me ‘good morning’ at five in the morning. The good person that I am, I reciprocate by forwarding the longest possible lame joke around bed time. Even the following message is enough to wreck a good night.

Moreover, I wasn’t good with religious issues but I now wish all my friends a happy ‘Guruwar’ by sharing divine pictures of ‘gurus’. I am so ‘sanskari’ that even if Baba Ramdev winks on my phone one fine morning, I will share his picture among all my groups. What began as a party planner tool has made me so devout that much before I debate breakfast choices, I forward holy messages lest some unforeseen tragedy befalls.

For someone who was historically challenged, unaware of different kinds of ‘New Year’, this miraculous app enables me to wish Chinese, Islamic, Thai and Hindi New Year. What’s more, being poetically challenged, WhatsApp has also infused the spirit of ‘killer’ shayari in my staid atma. 


Apart from above mentioned challenges, I also face visual challenges. So when I post a ‘thumbs-up’ in response to the loss of an Indian wicket, know that I am not a traitor. I was either groggy or without my reading glasses. Worst, I wasn’t aware of an icon for ‘shit’. As recently as last month, perhaps in my slumber, I posted the dirty icon in response to a picture of my cousin’s fiance. Needless to say I wasn’t invited for the engagement party. 

So what’s my quibble? None. Except, I wish there was a way to restrict messages longer than twenty words. I also wish there was a way to exit the group without anyone knowing about it. Of course, I have the choice to mute  but sometimes important messages get lost in the clutter.
Finally, somehow, just somehow if I get access to the WhatsApp messages of AAP members, I would love to know who is a ‘chor’, who is ‘mila hua’, and who is the real star of the movie ‘Kaminey’. Who knows, with such a sensationalist script, I could even publish a bestseller. 


24 comments:

  1. hehehe Alka. I can totally understand you. I read a joke that no one can walk with their heads held higher because of WhatsApp. I have very few people on WhatsApp and no one forwards very long jokes to me. :) I was in one group that had vela folks posting mile-long messages. I requested the admin to quit, and she was gracious about it. The assault on my senses ceased. I really hate people constantly engaged to their phones and laughing at random jokes. This was such a fun read.

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    1. There are some creative ones but sometimes it gets a bit too much.
      Glad you enjoyed this.

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  2. After having endured WhatsApp forwards that read longer than the Ramayana and mastered the tricky use of emoticons to placate over-zealous friends, I deserve the Nobel Prize for Pissed.

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    1. That's the way to deal with the over supply.

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  3. Very nice article you have written
    Get Updates about Online Shopping discount offers, Coupons and save money while shopping online www.savemoneysale.com

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  4. I have heard so many cribbing about social media and its mostly on these lines... My solution everytime is 'Why dont u leave it?' and the answer I always get is 'no no thats not possible... i wud miss important things'... i wonder what important is between a myriad of jokes...
    anyways... these things are bound to stay with us forever...

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    1. Well, the important things are like when your husband or children are away, you get instant free messages about their well being and whereabouts. The jokes part is just a new fad, it will fade away.

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  5. Somehow I have managed not to install WhatsApp in my phone and I hope to remain disconnected on my mobile for the foreseeable future! Facebook takes enough of my time, I don't want another social network that will send notifications and distract me. LOL @ not being invited for the engagement party because of WhatsApp!!

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    1. Good for you. Mine is often on mute. I check it once a day.

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  6. Hahaha! Alka! Now that I know what is in store, I shall NEVER buy a Smartphone - it has proved a convenient way of staying off Whatsapp thus far :)

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    1. You are blessed, truly. But you can send instant pictures of your forthcoming trek...tempted?

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    2. Nope :) AND not only because I am the only chap who can snap the Empire State Building on a digital camera and make it look like a Cubist Painting :)

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  7. Alka i prefer to make do with yours and a few other humorous bloggers' posts for perking up my mood--this scourge is not for me.I simply can't devote the time and energy required for such pastimes. I wonder how people communicated before this deluge.

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    1. I wonder too. Too much communication happening.

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  8. I used to be annoyed with the incessant pinging sound of WhatsApp, especially the groups that people make us a part of, thank God they're not grouchy like me, or the world wouldn't talk, at all.

    Only recently have I made peace with them, by muting most of my phone sounds, and also reasoning that at least somebody is keeping families together in the absence of real get-together. They're having fun, that is fine by me.

    (And now WhatsApp has introduced calling too, I hope it would replace long messages)

    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Does it bring families together? When we share a joke or a picture, do we really care about what the other person is going through?
      I am not too sure. I believe in the tradition of calling and talking to my loved ones. It's good for planning meet ups or sharing instant pics. Mine is on mute too. Unless I am expecting imp messages from my son or husband.

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    2. It would be a little tedious to explain how I came to this point of making a trade-off between (for when I say family, I don't talk of Mother, Father and Brother, but a much larger family). But you know, our eyes can be trained to overlook the images, ignore the videos, or remain unbothered about the 'market mein naya aaya hai' jokes, but what is more precious is the banter that takes place amidst that.

      A family that used to meet at least twice in a year has grown apart as children grew up, and families dispersed by distances which seem not worthy enough to cross for a single day when everyone would be together. In such an arid world that we are ushering into, yes, I believe it is bringing families together. Phone calls have their place of one-to-one conversations, but you don't get to sit in a room full of people you call family and talk, and have a good time.

      That is what I think, even when I am no good while I am there :P
      :)

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    3. I get what you are saying. Yes, it is an easy way to connect and renew bonds depending on what you share.

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  9. A fun read, Alka!
    I keep my What'sapp activity highly limited. The only one group that I am a part of stays on 'mute' throughout the day. And next morning everything gets deleted after a cursory look at the stuff. In the last six months I might have forwarded only one or two things....yes not the right What'sapp behaviour, I know :) But my sanity is more important I guess!

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  10. Thanks Beloo.
    That's the way to go. For sanity sake.

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  11. Hahahah....so can I add you on whats ap now? :P btw, sach mein there is an icon for shit kyaa? I want to know what it is yaar...would copy and paste it on FB...hehe...I am bad. Btw, I am on whatsap all the time...cutting down the addiction these days. A guy from my class group always keeps sending fwd of pics and videos...aj toh mein bol diya...dude, you are hijacking the space man...he said ok, won't post again :P

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