Everybody has the one best friend of their spouse they want to impress. Mine was Shravan, who enjoyed mothering N. When we first met, I fully expected him to run his checks and see if my nature complied with the background information he had collected on me. Just as I was about to exchange a few mundane pleasantries, he said, “Hey Shakti, you look just like your Facebook profile picture!” I blushed. It was the best compliment I had ever received. He had just aced my test.
We are a generation whose thumb eternally twiddles with the phone camera. We want to document everything and showcase it all on the social media. Our motto being let’s take a flurry of pictures, the odds are at least one of them will look good! Every time we wear a new dress, it warrants a picture. Get-togethers must always end with the customary group huddle for a selfie. We also like to stage our ‘candid’ shots.
It is hard for me to compete with the gym selfies, the filmy wedding albums, the exotic vacation albums and the scrumptious food platters. Right now, I can contest only in the ‘see-how-cute-my-baby-is’ category, and the chronic lack of sleep isn’t helping that cause either.
There comes a good day when the sun bathes the room in perfect lighting, the hair behaves and the zits make a brief disappearance. I employ the perfect angle at which my cheeks appear less chubby and flash the perfect number of teeth. Yet I have to plead my innocence with #nofilter!
I recently read a story on HP inventing a wearable camera that is always on to capture our life moments. Well, Google Glass is already here.
But let us face it, we are not leading the most exciting of lives. We never meet the cute co-passenger we have an instant chemistry with. Adventure is when we get lost in the maze of our city traffic. Instead of being the cool person I think I am, I am now busy scrutinising the colour of my baby’s poop. Imagine, our wearable cameras churning footage more boring than that caught by an apartment lobby’s CCTV.
At the risk of sounding old, I must say that I marvel at the enthusiasm of young girls today to pose in front of cameras.
I once shepherded a bunch of 20-year-olds on a college trip. “This is the temple where Buddha attained enlightenment,” said the tour guide. “Wow,” they chimed. Out came the cameras. Inhibitions were shed, tresses were tousled up and hands were strategically placed on the hips. The girls I had labelled as coy magically metamorphosed into pouting divas. The next hour flew past in furious clicks from different angles. By then, everyone including me had forgotten who Buddha was.
During all the marvelling, I realised that I was in the process of raising one gen-next member myself. I still look cockeyed in all my selfie attempts, not knowing where exactly to focus, but my eight-month-old daughter never misses. Evolution has already prepared her for the survival of the fittest!
When N and I decided to get married, I squabbled (unsuccessfully) with my father over doing away with the reception. “I feel stupid, standing and clicking pictures,” I groaned. My legs hurt. “But how else will we know who came?” my mother argued.
Now that I think about it, the albums certainly helped given that the whole spectacle was like a blur. Our parents may be a generation older but in reality, we are no different. The desire to document every moment only seems to have doubled!
But we will never find the sepia-toned photo, partially crumpled and fading at the edges, in the pages of a book and remember the story behind it. We are the owners of hard disks with gargantuan masses of pictures that will perhaps never be revisited. Here I am, desperately waiting to document my daughter’s first walk. She is probably going to fall fat on the floor not being able to see her mother’s reassuring smile. It will be hidden behind the camera, obviously.