So I’m faced with the biggest quandary of my adult life. I’m racked with potential guilt. I wish to exit my school WhatsApp group.
There, I’ve said it! You understand my dilemma, na? As chaddi-buddies, we ran around the school quadrangle, but now as adults...uhm...I don’t know... when nostalgia morphs into the now... not so much fun.
Be honest. Are you ok, dear reader, with the relentless chat that goes on 24x7? That soundless ping, that call to attention, even on ‘mute’? Free app and free time — a lethal combination. Here are ‘categories’ of Whatsappers in my school group:
1. Nostalgia king
For this guy, life ended when he graduated from school. He will post stuff like, “Hey guys, remember how we put that blue liquid from chemistry class into Mrs Ratnam’s ‘chai’?”
Uh no bro can’t remember... but life has moved since 1978... much has happened.
2. The Meme Master/Forwarding Agent
This character lives for jokes that are not his own, but tries to palm them off as his own. So stuff that’s been forwarded and retweeted all over social media like –
Gabbar: Kitne aaadmi thhe?
Kaalia: Sirf do aadmi sarkar
Gabbar dropped everything and ran to the ATM.
This he’ll try and patent, till he’s caught.
3. The Gossip Google
This person is an encylopaedia of internal knowledge, the Wikipedia of the group, so to speak. you Google him and every disaster, divorce, dalliance of anyone in the group over forty years, he knows. He’s a gossipmonger, info-gatherer and bulletin board manager, all rolled into one.
4. Star Mother
Invariably, she was top of her class...serious ‘mugoo’. Alas! Parents married her off early and now she lives solely through her kids. Every day, she will post selfies of her daughter in such incredible close-ups that it’s scary. “See how my Chuchu has grown... Isn’t she beautiful? She looks like Alia Bhatt na? All my Indian friends in Baltimore say so,” she will post. “Yeah,” I’m thinking, “she could look like Alia Bhatt...with much help from Photoshop.”
5. The Festival Planner
This religious person needs to remind us all about festivals through the year. Diwali greetings will start 15 days before, with diyas in various styles – impressionistic, figurative, cubist, realistic – adorning our mornings. Christmas tidings have already started. Today, there was a reindeer wearing a red cap. Even Baisakhi will have animated farmers jumping up and down in Punjab fields to a bhangra beat. Each one of the 365 days is an auspicious day in some part of Bharat. And, we must celebrate from 6 am onwards.
6. Nostradamus meets Narad Muni
This is the group’s harbinger of bad news, drama queen, panic master. So he’ll post, ‘Okay guys, I had predicted riots over demonetisation. First signs of big trouble – Angry customers outside the ATM machine in Vakola (E) shouting, “Hai Hai”! Turns out Mr Nostradamus was incorrect. It was municipal workers laying a huge telecom cable in the ditch outside chanting, “Hayaa Ho!”
7. The Nosey Nutritionist
She wants us to be healthy. Pretty cool, except she will post videos of herself performing feats even Houdini would have found complex, with accompanying recipes of vegan dishes.
So, yeah, think I’m being unreasonable, dear reader?
In the meantime I’m off, to stand in an ATM queue for my daily cash output. Then off to PVR to stand for the National Anthem.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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