…and making up again (well, sort of!)
Hello. My name is Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce and I am a social media addict. Or used to be. Or used to think that I was one. Till I got overdrunk and exhausted by it. Or by the combination of it and taking care of three children (Who all happen to be my own). You know what I mean. Parenting is challenging by itself without having to do in with a constant play out on social media.
So I opted out. And it had nothing to do with Zuckbook and it’s controversies. As if a data leak could deter me. I am an Indian – I grew up in a world where even aunties I did not know existed on my family tree, knew my exact birth weight and mole in unmentionable nether parts. Yes, so thank you very much. My skin is quite thick when it comes to people trying to trick me into anything other than eating just one more helping of rice.
So why did I do it? I have no idea. I can remember the precise moment though – I was gagging on a IG post which just said : “This Easter – I give up!”. Ha! Ha! Get it? Get it? So as I was laughing at the snarky humour of yet another bedraggled parent on Instagram, I realised that I’d been honestly giving up a lot of time to other people’s parenting or non parenting horror stories. I had even spent a good few months watching video upon video of outstandingly gifted painters who vanquished every trace of God’s work on their canvases aka the human face. Oooh yeah, they also call themselves MUAs – which I realised after many months does not mean a type of ammunition or fancy university degree but stands for make up artist. No offence really. But for plebs like me, a dash of foundation and mascara and two lashes of lipstick construe make up. However, as may be the case – I digress.
So, I just sat up straight and deleted the Instagram app from my phone. One little square down. The Facebook and Twitter apps went next. Just like that: press, hold, watch icons dance, cross – delete! Whoosh. Gone.
I expected to last less than 24 hours. I had twitchy fingers and my eyes did not know what to look at when I did random life stuff like waiting at school pick up line or while feeding the baby in the dimmed lights of the night. Even the poor phone looked a bit sullen every time I picked it up and scrolled through my sms-es and emails (which is in my case is just a choc-a-bloc scambox). On day two I almost succumbed. I sneaked back into the app store cloud and downloaded the – Kindle app.
Yeah! I’m a Taurean and bulls don’t give up easy. In the next 15 days I read 7 books. On my phone. Books that I had downloaded ages ago – including Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series and The Handmaid’s Tale – books that I had been ‘meaning to read/finish’ for years. Added to these I read up a bunch of books that I borrowed from the Library. My reading on the phone actually stopped pretty quickly because – err – eyes started hurting (words from the wise – Kindle app on phone is good for the in between times when you are not carrying your kindle, but without a backlight, reading on any device is really a eyesore!).
At the end of 40 days (Yes, it did end up being something I gave up for Easter) I can safely say that I do not miss the constant availability of social media on my phone. I do check my FB and Twitter accounts once in a while on the laptop – but that in itself is a rarity. I do not think I’ll be downloading the apps again on my phone in a hurry. As for Instagram – it is back on my phone. And for the time being I have mostly forgotten that it is there, which is not to say that I may forget about it forever. Truth be told, I do crave some human interaction, as ephemeral as it may eventually turn out to be. Being the only parent in the school pick up line who does not have an important funny cat video to look at is very isolating.