If you are Indian, there is a 99.9999% probability that you have seen the wedding pictures of Virat (the captain of our cricket team) and Anushka (a famous Bollywood actor). Our country has two obsessions – cricket and OTT musicals. Add to this, a really inspired wedding trousseau designer, an exotic wedding destination, and the aesthetic qualities of a good-looking-and-in-love couple, you have all the ingredients of a blockbuster. Sort of the Indian version of Clooney-Amal, or the royal British wedding.
After our one wedding ceremony, my husband – SG – and I have concluded that it was one too many. I suspect that we stay married to each other, because we are really apprehensive about going through the embarrassing rigmarole again. But the Virushka wedding had me imagine, fleetingly, what it would be like to have Sabyasachi as a designer. I quickly quashed those feeling down, because they felt a bit like betrayal.
Instead, I turned to SG and asked him his opinion about the wedding pictures (Virushka’s, not ours). He said he hadn’t seen them. I stared at him in complete shock. Was he not on Facebook, did he not look at Twitter, did people not Whatsapp him?! I think the snaps even popped up on my LinkedIn feed. He shook his head, with a sage look, and professed he was too cool for such goings-on.
And that I was obsessed with social media.
Now there are many hurtful exchanges in any relationship. But to accuse your own spouse of being uncool is quite not-cool. After he established that I seemed to peer into my phone screen from morning to night, or was perpetually browsing on-line – I swore that I would prove otherwise. At one fell swoop, I would demonstrate my coolness and be victorious. There is no sweeter vindication than to prove the Other Half wrong, and even better if it is accompanied by an ‘I told you so.’ I grinned. I was so going to seize the day.
Here’s how it went.
6:32 AM: Two minutes into waking, I resist the urge to check my various social media accounts, my work email, my personal email and Whatsapp. Even if it meant, not seeing the baby pictures of my baby nephew, sent by his parents who lived in another time zone.
6:35 AM: I conclude that baby videos don’t count as social media and watch baby nephew gurgling at his Christmas gifts, on loop. Not doing so would hurt an eight-month old’s sentiments.
7:00 AM: I have six Facebook notifications that I ignore, with great bravery
7:12 AM: I consider going on-line, for a brief moment, to explain to people my strategy-to-prove-that-I-am-not-addicted-to-social media, but decide that it defeats the purpose.
7:56 AM: My Facebook notifications have grown to 9, and I seem to have a couple of Insta messages. Grim faced, I persevere.
8:30 AM: My sister Skype calls me to tell me how cold it is in New York. I tell her my plan and we agree that Skype is allowed.
9:00 AM: I switch off the internet.
9:10 AM: After battling a piece of frustrating work thing, I feel the need to see some soothing cat videos. Surely, animal videos, like baby ones…
9:43 AM: SG checks in on how I am progressing, and I hastily shut down the the-world’s-stupidest-cats page.
10:00 AM: Deciding that checking my LinkedIn page, like how I normally do, once in three months, is not good for my career/networking, I spend the next 23 minutes congratulating people I don’t remember connecting to, on their job anniversaries.
10:30 AM: I head over to Facebook, because it is rude not to wish people on their birthday.
11: 05 AM: I start wondering what to eat for lunch – soup/salad/sandwich. My friends on Twitter help me choose through a snap poll. It’s not social media, if used for critical decision-making.
1:00 AM: After scouring Food Network, looking through Yummly, checking the posts of the usual food bloggers that I follow, I dish up some roast-pumpkin with mixed greens, with an onion-vinaigrette dressing. The addition of Feta screams its Insta-ness. I melt. It’s so not fair that my friends are denied such a healthy recipe and such delicious pictures.
1:35 PM: SG calls again (the guy has trust issues). The discussion turns to how we need to plan our travel for February. I gracefully acquiesce to be the trip planner, and excitedly download the Lonely Planet Guide on my Kindle, and go through Tripadvisor forum posts, and read travel blogs on the subject. I look for Airbnb options that will cater to SG’s long list of travel requirements (must have tea-kettle). I am nothing if not a doting wife.
2:00 PM: A friend messages to ask why I am not responding to her vacation pictures on Facebook. Since the entire de-addiction thing is too complicated to explain to someone who is looking for some simple positive reinforcement while eating street food in Vietnam, I sigh. I spend the next few minutes looking at various pictures of various people, in various countries, in their various vacation selfies doing various cool things. To show moral support, I like, love and comment. I am not at all envious.
2:41 PM: I watch a TED talk on the psychology of addiction. Fascinating.
3:13 PM: A friend, seeing me offline on FB messenger, and away on Whatsapp, spots me on-line on Gmail. She needs urgent help planning her child’s third birthday – he wants Spiderman. Pinterest obliges, yet again.
3:56 PM: Since SG would totally count Candy Crush as a part of screen-addiction, I solve a few 15*15 nonograms on-line. It’s a cerebral activity. It’s brain exercise. I was introduced to Nonograms by a bunch of virtual strangers through an on-line group that I don’t remember joining, but whose discussions I try to contribute to.
5:11 PM: I wonder if I should try working Tumblr out. It may prove to be important some-day, like first-aid skills.
5:33 PM: I feel book-ish (my version of being peckish for a book). Something fiction, with apple pie, funny, and with a Colin Firth like hero. My on-line book club people have plenty of suggestions.
6:00 PM: After twelve hours from start, I examine my de-addiction experiment log and reach the following conclusions a) I am addicted b) I am not cool enough to not do social media c) SG will chortle ‘I told you so’.
I log onto my e-mail and send him a link to this blog post, and a few pictures from Viruksha’s wedding.