It was a quarter past eight on a Wednesday evening. It was somewhat cold, such are Novembers in Mumbai. I was all set to leave office after scratching my head over the presentation I had been working on. But before I could call it a night, I thought of logging on to my Facebook to get connected to the digital world. After all that’s the need of the time we live in – to show how social, how closely knit and well connected we are with people.
As I was going through my Facebook feed, I came across a post which shocked me and rendered me speechless.
Somebody had written a message on a beautiful friend/ex-colleague’s Facebook wall. She was always happy and full of life. She always spoke a lot about movies. I couldn’t stay in touch with her for quite a while, but always wished well for her. I subconsciously knew that somehow we were both doing well in our lives.
Kavita (name changed) – I remember her to be one of the most kindhearted people I had met. However, that one post among all the birthday wishes on her wall shook me to the core. I got lost in the memories of those days when we used to work in the same office. How things had changed over the years!
The fun days of working with her at the ad agency were etched in my mind. She used to sit next to me with a long music playlist and made sure I listened to each one of them.
Her stories of pen friends, celebrity crushes, being overweight and her transformation to the girl she had become always kept me entertained. She had a list of things she wanted to do in life and the most important one of them was to write her own book. I still remember that day when she pinged me and informed me about her book launch. Her book did really well and was loved by many people.
We went our different ways, but still stayed in touch.
I was so happy seeing her do what she always wanted so gracefully and successfully. I was running the same race everyone else was running. The office routine, the rush to make it big, the rush to earn big. In that race, I totally lost touch with her.
I was lost in my thoughts when the voice of our office boy dragged me back to the present.
“Sir, everyone has left, you are the only one here. Are you going to stay in office tonight?”
I packed my bag and left for the day. But the Facebook post stayed in my head as I made my way to the parking lot and from there, to my home.
“Friends, the girl whom you all are wishing a happy birthday and praying for her prosperity and good health now lives in another world, from where no one comes back.”
My heart was sobbing and I felt disoriented. What does it really mean to be connected? Is it only about being connected on social media?
Which world do we live in where we don’t know what/how our real friends are doing? What are they going through? We are so tied up in making friends and gaining followers in the unknown virtual world that we forget about our real friends.
Does it all comes down to only wishing people on their birthdays or anniversaries on social media pages, where we don’t even feel the connect? This too is reminded by an online program.
With all the benefits technology has also brought a lot of negatives too. It’s a great source of information and it helps us stay connected with our long lost friends. However, at the same time, it is disconnecting us from the real world.
Later, I got to know that she passed away due to a kidney failure. Her mother donated her a kidney, but her body refused to accept it. No matter how advanced science may get, some mysteries remain unsolved. Kavita was only 35 when she passed away.
Through this story, I have learned a lesson the hard way. Life is short and unpredictable, so please live your lives in the real world. A million likes on social media can’t match the laughter you share with your friends at a tea stall. Meet those who matter and talk to those who are important. Ring their bell, knock their doors, you never know when one might want to share their last story with you.