How Social Media has changed the Definition of Friendship

This is what I updated on my TL last night after a very annoying message in my inbox.

I don’t understand food.
I don’t understand clothes.
I don’t understand make up.
I don’t understand sarcasm.
I don’t understand partying.
I don’t understand friendships behind the walls.
I have rebelled family, friends and society.
And no I don’t regret.
I am what I am. I can’t change myself as per someone else’s convenience.

Now go, judge me.

The message was not from a stranger. The message was not from someone I wasn’t friends with. The reason it annoyed me was that the person had asked me the reason for not regularly liking their posts. For your information, the posts are mostly fashion and food updates, silly jokes and sarcastic updates. When I politely said that I don’t usually like food posts because I’m not a foodie and I am not sure if my like would be taken as an endorsement by someone on my list. That’s exactly the reason I have turned down lucrative offers for reviewing food and baby products on my blog.

Then they asked why not like their page and share their clothing brand updates. To which I had mentioned that I am not a fashionista and I don’t quite understand the new trends in fashion. And this person went on to tell me how backward I am and how very rude and conservative.

No. This did not quite annoy me as I am used to getting bitched about. They were at least saying it on my face…errr inbox. I did not respond because I am myself aware that when in anger, I blast. And I will never be able to take my words back. Have lost enough people because of this bloody trait. I allowed them to type out their frustration.

When they were almost done, I just wrote that there is an unfriend and a block button which they can use any time of the day without anyone’s permission. The reply I got for this amused me and annoyed me.

No. Let’s remain friends. If you have an issue liking my posts, just accept tags on my photos. That way your friend list will be my audience too. 

Can you beat that? I have always used the block button after much thought, but this time I didn’t have to think twice.

How very convenient and opportunistic!

So why am I sharing all this? I am sharing this here to make it clear to everyone on my list, feel free to unfriend me/block me if you feel that you’re friends with me to get likes and shares. Feel free to do it if you feel I am not in agreement with your opinion. Feel free to do it if you feel you want to be friends with me behind the TL only. Feel free to do it if I have in any way hurt your sentiments or demeaned you.

The sad reality of these days is that we can’t be friends if we have contradicting views on a certain issue. Opinions are no more respected for the different perspectives they provide. Rather, they are the basis on which your identity is judged. Gone are the days when you could still be fast friends in spite of having differences in opinion. It hurts to see how our lives are getting restricted to likes, shares, number of friends and followers. And how a certain button has the power to allow us to cut off people from our lives partly or completely. I have done that too. And I know how stupid it feels.

I just want to make it clear that feel free to remove me from your group, your friend list for whatever reasons you may have. I am not here to agree or like anything and everything that you think, write or share. Nor do I expect it from you.

A three or four digit number on a certain social media handle does not define me. I am defined by my real life with real and sensible people. I am defined by my principles and beliefs. And I have not given anyone the power to demean my identity. Go, get a life!

Cry I will.

What happened? Stop crying. Aiyye! Strong girls don’t cry“, Prabha teacher said.

That day Acha left for the first time to Saudi Arabia early in the morning at 4. I was only five. I saw him again only after three years.

I pulled up my uniform frock and wiped my tears. I’m strong, I told myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are you crying? If you cry who’ll console your sister?“, Geetha aunty said.

Mom had fainted for the first time because of low blood sugar. I was twelve.

I wiped my tears with the back of my hands and tried to put a smile.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are you crying? Stop crying. Strong girls don’t cry. Mummy aur Renu ko kaun sambhalega?“, Raj uncle said.

Dad had met with an accident and was not recognizing any of us.

My eyes which had already welled up, started pouring. I escaped into the restroom.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are you crying? What will happen to my son?“, said my mother-in-law.

I had entered her house for the first time after tying the knot.

You have no right to cry. You have chosen your way. What will happen to my husband and my daughter? If something happens to them, you’ll never be able to live peacefully. I’ll never forgive you.“, said Amma from the other end of the phone.

Dad said, “I have nothing to do with you. I am only worried about my wife and daughter.”

I didn’t know where to escape in that foreign land, the house that was supposedly my new home. I swallowed my tears.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t respond to her angry outburst. Please do it for the peace of the family. And don’t cry. Your tears will curse my house. Mere liye beta…”, said my father-in-law as I travelled with him in the chartered bus every morning.

Honestly, tears had stopped flowing even when I wanted to cry.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are you crying? You family will listen. How will they feel?“, asked my doctor and anesthesiologist as they pricked yet another set of needles into my lower abdomen to pull out endometriotic fluid for biopsy.

I screamed no more. The last set of tears still rolling down my cheeks. And as I feared, my Dad was right there outside the room in tears. But I remember. He spoke to me that day for the first time in eighteen months. “Was it you?”, he had asked. I felt like I had woken up from a trance.

~~~~~~~~~~~

And because I had held on to my tears for longer than required, I broke down inconsolably when I first held my firstborn close to my chest. That cry was not out of pain as the doctor stitched me up. It was all those tears that I had held up for consoling others. I had allowed them to flow for hours much to the curiosity of my mother and the nurses around. I cried because I no longer wanted to live with those tears. I wanted to let them go. I wanted to truly rejoice the birth of a new life I was responsible for.

I had promised myself that day that I will not let this happen to her. I will not let her stop her tears because she has to care for any of us. But I failed myself. I do ask her many times to stop crying for fear that she might catch a cold. For fear that her head will ache. For fear that her throat will dry up. For fear that she may throw up. For fear that she will get more hurt.

Strong girls do not cry!

Wrong!

Strong girls do cry. Strong girls should cry.

In fact, everyone should cry when they feel like and not hold onto the grief. There is no point holding on because you’re still crying within. You’re not letting it out. The pain doesn’t go away unless you give it an outlet.

I had written multiple diaries thinking that it will help me let the pain go. It didn’t. In fact, the written word kept it alive. Every time I saw or remembered them, it hurt. And so, I have burnt most of them. The ones with sorrowful memories. The ones with memories of friendship lost. The ones with people who have hurt me like no one else. The ones that has made me scared of getting friendly with most people. Burning them has actually helped. Every page that got burned and every word that blew up helped me forgive the person, the situation and above all, myself. You must cry. It helps get rid of pain. It helps forgive. It helps get rid of negativity. It helps control our temperament.

My man spoke to me at length the other day and I thank him for doing that. And as promised to him, I forgive every single person who hurt me, including myself. I am human. And so I failed. I failed myself more than anyone else. I always thought I was sensible. But I had chosen to be senseless and lost precious friendships to gossip-mongers. I regret. But, I have to move on. I have to move on for myself and for others. Nobody can be blamed for the same mistake for longer than required. We must move on. We must forgive. We must help ourselves heal.

A big thanks to Sridevi Datta whose words made me open up to myself and acknowledge what hurt within.

Grief

The problem with us humans is that we get entangled in the web of life and relationships. And in the race to maintain relationships, we forget to care for ourselves. It is easy to lend a listening ear to a friend or a family member. But it is difficult to acknowledge that some days we need an ear or a shoulder too.

And now on when a friend cries, I will let them cry. I will help them let go. I won’t say, “Don’t cry. Strong girls don’t cry.”

The One You Cannot Live Without

Food, Clothing and Shelter.

We need oxygen to breathe, food to eat, clothes to wear and a roof for protection. But what is that one thing or who is that one person whom you cannot afford to live without?

My children believe that I love them more than anything and I can’t live without them. Absolutely true. But equally true is the fact that I yearn for those few hours of freedom when they go to school and my mind, ears, hands, throat, basically my entire body gets some rest.

The parents believe that I will be hurt if they leave me and shift to some other place. True again. I’ll be broke if they ever leave me for more than a week. But deep within I am aware that even when they’re living so close by, I hardly take out much time for them.

I always thought that I’ll never be able to live without my little sister. But that happened too. And I have survived for almost seven years now.

The man. Oh man! He drools at the very thought of us cuddling tight with my head resting on his chest and me whispering in his ears,

Sweetheart, I love you! I cannot imagine my world without you.”

Awww!!! I can imagine how he feels. I so want to accept that I cannot survive without any of them. But the fact is, none of them is as important as she is. The part-time help.

Early in the morning, her husband called up and said, “She’s not coming. She’s unwell.

Thankfully I am not the one who receives the call. It’s one of my neighbours. And so I escape a cardiac arrest.

When the good-hearted lady came to inform me about the help’s yet again leave in her sweeter than sweetest tone, I almost yelped. Invisible tears ran down my cheeks, as if someone had left the tap open. It was like suddenly my entire world had crashed right in front of me. The mountain of dust on the TV trolley and the center table, the pile of used dishes inside the sink, the mess on the floor that the girls created out of their creativity. All these pictures triggered a slideshow in my already shattered mind.

This is her third leave in the new year. I am already done with washing, dusting and cleaning. It all took just about three and a half hours. But those few hours, I cried and cried.

How on earth could she leave me so helpless! Didn’t she for once think about how I would survive the day without her. Sob! Sob!

And that’s when I also realized how much I love the ones who created the fully automatic washing machine, the vaccum cleaner, the food processor, the roti maker, the microwave oven, the electric kettle, the electric geysers, the mixers-grinders-choppers and other such life-saving tools.

Trust me, a human being can survive alone without anybody but the house help. They have a very special bond that no one else understands. And the beauty of this relationship is you’ll never let the other person know that you are so dependent on them and you cannot survive without them.

Is she the one you cannot live without?

Watch this funny video that shows the reality of this situation.