Until an year ago I detested facebook to the fullest. Ever since my kids and husband had joined the network five years ago-life at home had transformed. There was a queue and constant quarrelling over the single PC we had then. I couldn’t get a head and tail of what they meant when the three of them constantly talked of checking their posts. They took turns to do so but came out with no post in their hands.
” Where is the post?” a technologically challenged person in me would ask.
T hey found the question too ridiculous to even give an answer. The indulgence was so continual that I had to put a ban on the internet for a month during their exams.
One fine evening, my daughter led me to start my own account on the FB—less out of love for me and more to get rid of the nagging that she got from me. I thought it was beyond my comprehension. I had no clue what these Latin words stood for—wall to wall, profile, privacy settings, status etc. etc.
Unwillingly I was grilled into learning the FB science by these techy teens. Little did I know then, what was the future unfolding for me through FB.
Slowly and laboriously at an ant’s pace, things started to make sense. With some guidance and some trial n errors the FB intoxication was taking over.
Long lost neighbours, school mates and college friends kept surfacing on the friends list. Exchanging wall posts or mails with them and checking the recent wall posts –I too joined the bandwagon at home.
FB for me is a time machine that takes me into the past in an instant. Exchanging mails or wall posts from different friends flashes the memories as colourful as the aurora borealis on the north pole.
Recieving a wall post from an old friend who I last saw 35 years ago transported me instantly to those beautiful days when we both played for hours with our dolls and even arranged their weddings.
I could clearly remember that red polka dot frock I always wanted to wear while going out to play. This friend once wrote a post on my wall referring to me as ”girl . My nasty son rolled over the floor on that word and asked her to come out of FB to see who she was calling a girl. It was annoying but embarrassing too.
A friend from the Grade VII who is now an architect, wrote a nostalgic note on my wall reminding of the silly things we did, and how I had acted as a messenger for him when he asked me to take this slip to my best friend saying “Will you marry me?”
Again the kids giggled.
I retorted, “Boys in our times had good morals and asked for marrying not dates”.
Their giggles turned into a hysterical laughter. I knew I was cornered, but I tried my best to act cool.
A friend from Grade X, who is now a CEO of a renowned software firm, adds me to his list. I couldn’t help but remind him of the day when he screamed at me for being “the meanest girl” on earth for betraying his trust. My wicked daughter looks wide eyed at me—demanding an explaination without saying so .Since his roll number came after mine and we sat adjacent in the exams—we had struck a deal. I would study the inorganic chemistry and he would learn the organic. We will then exchange notes in the exam in a collaborative effort .The exam began , I kept whispering my inorganic chemistry answers to him and he kept copying them obediently. When came his turn, his eagerness to tell me his part was worth recording.
The mean girl that I was, I had studied for the organic part too. I told him the paper was easy and I could manage it on my own. Nothing happened for the next one hour.
As I stepped out of the exam hall, a redfaced dragon was waiting to spew fire at me –hurling all kinds of allegations. I explained I had told him all the answers—but alas he was upset that I betrayed him and didn’t take his help. The whole school knew what we had corroborated.
A nerdy school senior who is now a Physics Professor and a very good friend chats on FB. We talk of the golden school days and the talks stray towards our chemistry Sir and his message screams :”Oh Julie”. That was like a password and it opened up all the memory boxes right from his pronunciation to how he used to erase the black board, to how he compared the protons to girls and electrons to boys with the protons in the nucleus and the electrons revolving around them in the orbits.
I forgot for that hour how old I was.
Brother XYZ of Sacred Heart adds.He was the vice principal of our school and a person we could crack jokes with ,without any fear of reprimand. We talk about the other Brothers. He tells me he knew very well what all names we had coined to the whole fleet of Brothers.
We talk of our strict and dangerous Principal, and that he too knew what we called him behind his back. He revealed that he even knew how we girls walked past him taking a deep breath trying to check what perfume he was wearing that day. Too embarrassing to know but thanks to FB I was behind the laptop and not face to face .
A friend from high school writes on my wall. She reminds me how we both were expelled out of the biology class for constantly giggling at the lame jokes the boys sitting behind were cracking, telling a running commentary of the actions and the expressions of the poor lady explaining digestive system on the blackboard. For once I managed to hide this post from the two monsters and succeeded in maintaining the holier than thou image.
My brother adds me and these two monsters at the same time. They narrate all my secrets to mamu. He offers them another occasion to poke fun at their mother. He explains how it took me some hours in the Grade VI to understand simple algebra—not until Papa had to elaborate 2x + 3y as 2 horses and 3 donkies.
My kids cry foul.
”So why do you scream at us when we don’t get it the first time”.
I have no answer to them but a sheepish grin.
I got smarter on FB with time and learned the tricks and privacy settings to not to expose the shady sections of my past to these monsters.
I even got the art of closing the window after typing “BRB” at an infinite speed when there were: “bachas right behind”.
It may be embarrassing at times but revisitng the past through FB is a trip to heaven.
I admit my addiction to the intoxication of this time machine. Even if that occurs at the expense of becoming a butt of joke from my kids, I dont care.
It makes me escape the daily grind of the four letter words that keep me held up— WORK, READ, COOK, WASH and YELL at these bundles of joy I call my children.
All credits to Mark Zuckerberg for making the ‘reliving the past’ experience possible.
Thank you Mark.
29 AUGUST 2010