We leave bits of ourselves behind. Our thoughts, words and actions. Leaving a mark on the world is immediately around us. No, I’m not talking about shredded skin and nail trimmings.
There are a variety of roles to play and a number of masks to wear. You never quite know which mask you are wearing until it becomes a part of your regular face. Then it becomes difficult to actually open up. Tell anybody, “You are wearing a mask. This is not the real you” and chances are you are on your way to roadside astrology fame and fortune. Either that or some sluggish stagehand superglued your current expression — wood, paint et al.
Many of us walk with smiles so frozen that it’s a wonder the temperature doesn’t drop to sub arctic levels. Or with tempers so flaring, your goose is cooked for the next few weeks. Then there are the lifestylists, radiating more joy than a lampshade will cover. Hmm.. I can imagine quite a few people who’d look better with a lampshade on.
Sometimes it’s easier to wear a mask than to actually be yourself. Of course, it’s easier to talk to strangers than to familiar people. Now you know the reason behind the success of gossip columns. Only now they are called “Survival strategies”, “Life’s lessons”, or “How to freeze your mother in law with a K look”. No, seriously, it’s much easier to open up to a random person imagining your anonymity preserved than to pour your heart out to the people who truly can make a difference. What difference can a few bits of advice or concern make? Pun intended.
So we discuss everything under the sun with our netizens. Those cyberians who “connect” to life with their yard long wires dangling out of their hardware. Some of them are wireless. In real life too.
And then one fine day you realize that your online existence has crawled into your offline one. Some of us just log in to the net. Most of us live there. We spend our time chatting up folks, talking into the wee hours of the morning or the pee hours of the night, playing games and hearing tales of woe until you realize your own life has become nothing more than the page of a gossip column. Your every move discussed threadbare. Your every thought processed by a billion minds, or worse, stored in a search engine server. And a malicious pleasure in trying to get inside someone’s mindspace. Whatever happened to trying to get into somebody’s pants in real life?!
We are so empty of true human contact that we resort to emptying our already depleted bowels of emotion over these wireless lines, not realizing that the person or persons to whom we are venting to get affected. They absorb our personalities to such an extent that they can almost predict our next thought. Then we get scared and move back. And find some other pot to put our steam into.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.