Also published on Huffington Post India
Sharing political and religious beliefs on social media is like airing your dirty laundry. It forces your ‘friends’ to show the true colours of their laundry as well. Once you wash your dirty laundry in the same lot as theirs, your pristine whites may get damaged for life.
If you are tired of being a like enthusiast on Facebook and ‘hahaha good one’ samaritan on Twitter that everybody loves, I suggest you start sharing your beliefs on religion and politics. This is a foolproof method to awaken the dormant Arnab Goswami (ArG) in your dearest online friends. Beliefs, for the uninitiated, is like the softest, worn-out tee-shirt that you’ve held on to for years. All of us have one and we stubbornly refuse to let go of it even as it waits to be reborn as a duster or a mop. Slipping into its soft fabric is the closest we feel to our mother’s womb – where we felt safe from the heartless world of loudmouths. So, when an opinionated cretin’s grating voice such as yours infiltrates their warm, soft cocoon, their ArG comes out in full force.
Interestingly, this process will greatly facilitate in bringing out your own argumentative ArG as well. Pretty soon, we’ll be reduced to a hollering mass as we point fingers accusingly at each other, our eyes blazing with righteousness. Everybody will engage in the fine art of debating each other’s views by screaming more loudly.
The only way to counter your enemy is to behave exactly like them.
Before you begin this exercise, I suggest you develop paper thin skin by scrubbing yourself daily with dailies. The print media ensures we begin our day on a cheerful note by publishing reports on rapes, murders, ungrateful sloganeering students charged with sedition, Jats going on a rampage to show the government who the boss is. Once your skin has reached the correct level of bristliness, power your words with your supressed anger, imagine the audience as your spouse and start typing. Make sure each sentence ends with a string of exclamation marks longer than the Great Wall of China!!!! Be liberal with the usage of terms like pseudo-intellectuals, bhakts, right-wingers, anti-national, presstitute, or feminazi, depending on your favourite bias. Convincing yourself that everyone but you is a fool, helps greatly. Also, make sure you close your mind with a secure lock.
Once you’ve pressed the publish button, simply wait to make the heartbreaking discovery – that when you express opinions, you will be bombarded with counter opinions. Some of it will be abrasive, hurtful and come from your previously agreeable friends.
I understand it is not easy accepting that friends, unlike pets, are capable of having opinions contrary to yours. You will promptly deal with it with a maturity expected only of you by either unfollowing or unfriending these pests. Else you can follow the great thought leader Anupam Kher’s reasoning and call it pest control.
You can finish off by writing an emotional post by lambasting unnamed people for making Facebook such a negative place.
If you are on Twitter, you can experience the delight of being attacked by a mob of blood thirsty patriots who will not only question your loyalty to your motherland but also call you ugly, fat, frustrated and a moron. If it’s is your lucky day, your old tweets will be dugout from the graveyard of the past as further proof of your treachery. Your future will be banished to Pakistan. Since no argument in India is complete without your family members being dragged in, they will be anointed with the choicest epithets. Make sure you memorise them all. They will come in handy when you’re dealing with that entitled a%s^#le when he hits your car while driving on the wrong side.
If all the planets favour you, you might even get arrested for inciting sedition or hurting some unknown person’s religious sentiments. In India, you are guaranteed freedom of speech but nobody can guarantee your freedom when you’ve made that speech.
Such unsavoury incidents would never have happened had you made all your would-be friends sign a contract before accepting their friendship request. Thou shall love me as much as I love myself. In case of an argument, thou shalt always be on my side, which is always ‘Right’. If you question my beliefs and dare to disagree with me publicly, I will question your motives and wonder if you have a hidden agenda behind this unbridled hate. Also, you will be promptly declared an anti-national having ties with Hafeez Saeed.
Alas, life would be much easier for all of us if we could accept that critiquing the government and its knee-jerk reactions is not practising our fundamental rights but siding with the enemies of the nation and disrupting “our great leader’s” dream of development.
And if you find this too difficult to practise, I suggest you stick to sharing exciting news such as ‘Is Mira expecting a baby’? If anybody dares ask, who the eff is Mira, don’t bother replying. Just make sure you make them a Shahid!
Else stick to advice given by the self-proclaimed wise author of this post – someone or the other will get offended irrespective of what you write. Soon you’ll realise that you can’t please them all. Once you stop caring what others like, you will start saying what you really think. Because a debate is about two opposing perspectives. And at times, truth is the casualty. Caught in the crossfire of unyielding righteousness.