Monday, November 7, 2016

Forward This At Your Own Risk

Image courtesy - Google images

Dear kids (PS - anyone younger than me qualifies), did you know when we were growing up, the only forwards we got on Diwali were Milton jugs and casseroles? If we prayed hard enough, the set of 6 melamine cups in cream and pink that Mom had gifted Mrs Ahuja 4 years back would land at our doorstep, just like a long lost forward. But Mom far from weeping like Nirupa Roy while hugging the cups close to her chest would get an eye twitch like Lalita Pawar (if you are unfamiliar with these names, just ask Siri).

As a reciprocal gesture, Mrs Ahuja was gifted a box of kaju katli that was only a month old.

In case you did not know, casseroles, thermos, tea-sets of yesteryears were the Soan Papdi of gifting. Nobody wanted them yet everybody gifted them. But those were simpler times. We would start bursting crackers weeks before Diwali without feeling guilty for fouling up the air. If we were chased by a jhadoo wielding Pammi Aunty for disturbing her afternoon siesta, we extracted revenge by bursting our stash of bombs in front of her house till Christmas. Festivities were more about stuffing our faces with sweets more colourful than Govinda’s wardrobe, and less about ‘OMG, I have put on weight! Now I will punish myself and have only lauki soup for a month.’ Phones were actually used to make calls. And one had to visit friends and family to exchange festive greetings. On the eve of Diwali, I was religiously sent off to our neighbours with a thali full of mithais, covered with a cloth napkin. And the celebrations would conclude with coughing all night from all that smoke.

You kids are lucky. You’re growing up in an age where you get more forwards than gifts on Diwali, unless you’re the son of the baap who owns the road you drive on. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than a forwarded forward that goes round and round like unclaimed baggage on the luggage carousel. In the age of HBD and thnx, only a moron will bother typing festive wishes. Since the flavour of the season is animated gifs, by the end of Diwali week I had collected enough to fill the Milky Way with flickering Diyas and animated Lakshmi jees showering me with blessings and teen patti winnings.

And I don’t even play cards!


Anyway, this Diwali, gripped with nostalgia of bygone days, I decided to visit our neighbours to wish them personally. When I rang their bell, they took such a long time to open the door, I was convinced they’ve mistaken me for one of the staff asking for baksheesh. They looked more stunned than pleasantly surprised when they realised their neighbour was so jobless that she had decided to drop in with her husband for a visit. The silence was so awkward that I finished an entire bowl of cashews to put them at ease. When that didn’t help, I asked the lady of the house for her number and promptly sent her a glittery Diwali forwarded forward. As expected, it worked like magic. Her face lit up like a made in China electrical diya. The ice between us melted so fast, we actually thought we were responsible for global warming.

We are now besties. We keep in touch by spamming each other with recycled jokes and only communicate using emojis. The other day when I met her in the lift and tried sticking my tongue out and winking at the same time, just like my favourite emoji, the kid from the 9th floor started crying and wouldn’t let go of his Mom.

Pfft…He’s obviously not part of any WhatsApp group!

I’m telling you, these forwards and morning motivational quotes help us upgrade to a sleeker, better version of ourselves. If it weren’t for them, we’d end up with too much time to make real conversations and pretend to be interested in each other’s lives. Plus, it’s so much easier to express our caring and sharing sentiments through lolz, super-like and too good, yaar! There’s nothing more heartening than opening WhatsApp and discovering 855 unread messages in your school group, all of them forwards. The smart lady I am, I save all of them, following my Ma’s philosophy on hoarding junk. God knows, when I might need them? What if in the future the only way we communicate is through forwards and emojis? Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a library suited for any occasion and emotion! Since I am such a lovely person, I’ll happily share them all so that you aren’t tongue-tied.

Of course, there’s a section, most of them snarky and a blot on humanity, that thinks forwards are a mindless waste of time. Idiots. Do they know, besides keeping us informed about new style robberies on highways and airports, UNESCO awards for our national flag, anthem and PM, Amma’s deteriorating health, they are like wonder-bras for our moods. All you need to read is yet another misogynistic joke created by the ‘distressed husbands society’ that has been denied sex for years by their heartless wives, and you are rolling on the floor with laughter! Plus it’s a wonderful platform to hone your rumour spreading skills. If you do your job really well, you get to boost your spirit by spending time behind bars.

WhatsApp forwards are like friends we never had. They motivate us with quotes, make us feel proud to be Indians (especially around Independence and Republic Day), share health advisories and how diseases can be prevented by drinking dewdrops from grass. We can claim to be well-read without even picking up a book and feel productive without even lifting our butt from the chair.

It unites us in agony, nationalistic pride, laughter and keeps us happily occupied and content. Hey UNESCO, where’s the forward announcing WhatsApp forwards as the most influential non-person of the year?



48 comments:

  1. Biting wit and so very true. WhatsApp forwards are so lame. Like you pointed out, we are almost shunning normal human contact. In our community, we still go around armed with mithai (this year homemade besan laddoos and namak paare) and sit and chat for some time. With horror we realize that this is an annual ritual even with a neighbor just a few doors away. And wishes, now WhatsApp had made us lazy. No calls or even personal emails. Just send a silly GIF or fwd and you are done. Annoys. And this year as well l got two dabbas of Soan papdi that l gifted to my maid who apparently eats them.😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you have an annual ritual. I meet my neighbours only in the lift. I call them my elevator circle.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hahaha! Soan papdi isn't that bad, is it? Why does everyone hate it so much? :P
    Did you get that 'Lakshmi ji's feet' waala gif this year? I got it from at least a dozen different people. :D
    My Dad is super crazy about these animated festive greetings. He told me to find some good ones on google and send them to him, so that he could then forward them to his contacts. Parents on Whatsapp! What can I say!
    - Chicky @ www.mysteriouskaddu.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chicky, I am ashamed to admit, I did not download a single Diwali WA forward or gif. But I did reply to all of them with a thnx :p

      Delete
  4. never heard of this kinda celebration for diwali in south india. it sounds really weird. we exchange apples ,toffees and sweets on new year's eve but never did such during diwali. diwali is about lots of fire crackers and lots of bakshalu or holige or puran poli. till date i did not use whatsapp and i dunno what its all about and did not buy smartphone cuz i did not like something phone as smart and carrying such a huge thing in hand all the time.a basic phone is comfortable to me.

    neighbour kids used to gather at my home whenever i burst lots of crackers(more than any one in entire residential complex).concept of diwali has become too commercial with people rushing to every sweet shop without making sweets at home.worst thing in life is buying sweets and having food at restaurant on festival day.SO WHY DO PEOPLE USE WHATSAPP,FACEBOOK,TWITTER,INSTAGRAM,ETC ETC. TILL DATE I DON'T UNDERSTAND PEOPLE WITH 452 PEOPLE IN FRIENDS LIST AND HAVING 8 LIKES.am comfortable with old ways of using laptop and a basic phone to make calls and to use internet. i think its nothing to do with age old or young,its about culture of origin intact or not.





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sir, you are God's gift to mankind. Please clone yourself immediately for unfortunate northies like us.

      Delete
    2. hahaha,people from north bengal too felt like that.i really like bengalis from north bengal like darjeeling and kalimpong and they too like me a lot.first time i came across a bengali who is sarcastic enough.i dunno, north indians are loud and superficial like karan johar films.

      Delete
  5. OMFG, this was super funny and true. You said what I wanted to and you said it so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMFG, did you just say, OMFG :p

      Delete
  6. Full on nostalgia reading the first 2 paras of this post, Purba. And 1 more word to add to the modern neo-contemporary dictionary of 'HBD', 'thx' and 'wbu' - my favorite - 'k'.

    Wonder whether WHO will conduct a study to find out whether the true reason for poor visibility in Delhi is the gesture of you sending a WhatsApp forward to the neighbor. Her heart probably melted and led to pollution.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was intended to be a full on nostalgic post but then I dithered and dithered and realized its too late for a Diwali post.

      Delete
  7. Nostalgic and funny at the same time! I just love your analogies!! "Her face lit up like a made in China electrical diya" "The ice between us melted so fast, we actually thought we were responsible for global warming" Rolling on the floor laughing!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe...I get ample practice on Twitter.

      Delete
  8. Ah the tale of our times and I got so nostalgic thinking about the Jugs and casseroles.. And the line about global warming .. priceless still smiling .

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was very miffed this year when the nearest relatives and friends forwarded the message and didnt even bothered to type a personal message. As I said we have evolved this way personal visits - writing letters - telephone calls dialing the number - speed dial - sms - whats app - no personal touch at all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All because we are too busy reading forwards and sharing our private moments with strangers on FB :p

      Delete
  10. Loved this one, Purba! So true and made me go back to my own childhood celebrations when we used to carry the thali to neighbours and bring back their sweets and namkeens. What was started off by mails and sms has been finished by Whatsapp - the end of communication as we knew it. Wonder if the only way I can stay in touch with the world is by joining Whatsapp. After all, even the maid and her aunt are on it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I loved the fact that I finally got you to read my blog :p

      Delete
  11. This was seriously lolz stuff! Soan papdi kinda gifting is so true! I was somewhat surprised myself this Diwali when a couple of my friends called up to just wish me a Happy Diwali....I kept waiting to hear some announcement or bombshell but nothing like that happened. Seriously with WA,FB and the likes we've lost touch with our natural communication skills, leave alone gen next! A brilliant read Purba!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diwali these days is all about card-parties and selfies. The personal touch is almost non-existent.

      Delete
  12. Lol. Not to mention the hours spent in clearing up space for newer notifications. But now we can add them to the cloud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I spend a sizable chunk of my time deleting WhatsApp pics.

      Delete
  13. It felt like a movie of the yesteryears playing before me as I read this amusing post,Purba. Enjoyed every bit:)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Perfect reading for a dull Tuesday morning. Can't stop laughing at this. "The other day when I met her in the lift and tried sticking my tongue out and winking at the same time, just like my favourite emoji, the kid from the 9th floor started crying and wouldn’t let go of his Mom. "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try it too. Believe me, it works like magic every single time.

      Delete
  15. I agree with you 100 percent. Being in 6 WhatsApp group of which Admin of one Group ,I spent most of time in pointing out Hoax messages forwarded by enthusiastic members without verifying the authenticity of the same. The best part is even after pointing out that the message is an Hoax, another member will forward the same message within in half an hour- a clear proof that many members are interested only in forwarding messages and not reading messages posted by others.If WhatsApp started charging Re.1 or Rs.2 for each message all these forwards will vanish in a day !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If WA starts charging money, all its enthusiastic subscribers will vanish.

      Delete
  16. Thanks for a hearty laugh :-D :-D

    And people actually think you are insouciant enough to hurt their genuine feelings if you do not forward the wonderful memes and wishes your friends have forwarded you. I have been accused a lot of times. Mostly, the groups of school friends and relatives are to be feared most. They put you between the devil and the deep blue sea, you neither can leave them nor can tolerate the dawdling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeez! What's wrong with them!

      I have been accused of not liking pics on Facebook :D

      Delete
  17. Commenting after a long break...

    These days me and my friends are playing Politics politics on Whatsapp. All friends in a group broadly split into two groups- for Modi and Against Modi. Share troll videos and memes, pick up fights.. then its chaos... great fun. You should try once...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As if I don't get enough of it on Twitter already :p

      And thank you for reading :-)

      Delete
  18. WhatsApp forwards .. You can love them or hate them, but you can't ignore them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Part of life, whether you like it or not.

      Delete
  19. What would life be without WhatsApp.......:D...?!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Purba now you are guilty of getting one snarky ignoramus rolling on the floor.
    Seriously,i wonder how my neighbors will react if i go to their home looking for tasty sweets(that would be my main motive).Here we all meet up in a park on choti Diwali.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ignoramus! How British are you :p

      Delete
  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Woah! Too good yaa! I am only a recent convert to whatsapp and morning spent in getting all the saucy jokes and the latest one is bout Donald Trump! haha. Unfortunately, the human touch has flickered out of our lives like the Chini dabba phones. Love the wit and I am so tired of blurting out the same thing but I don't care as long as you make me laugh:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No..no..please don't stop. I will never get tired of reading it :p

      Delete
  23. The post is as good a mirror and satire of the times and changing hearts of people as it is a time-travel to the days of yore. Beats me if we or the Gen Y is lost. Beautifully written, as always.

    ReplyDelete
  24. ha ha ha ha I had a wonderful experience this year on diwali day, the plan was to get together at my house , so I cooked and got stuff ready but On diwali day things went a bit haywire and the whole shabaang was cancellend, I had all this food so I thought i will give some to my neighbour.. who i had never seen even .. yeah i know , my bad but I go out of the house very early and come late..

    I knocked on the door , nothing , then a curtain opened and someone peeked.. a girl came out looking at me .. as if she had seen a indian for the first time in her life..
    so i explained to her I am her neighbor, she could not understand and then a Man walks out who knew english :) I explained and VOila they invited me in and wanted to know everything about Diwali .. It was a lovely evening spent , and now we are good mates.. saturday evenings we share a beer or two over the garden fence ... They are polish, on my other side the neigbhours never opened the door although i could hear kids running and someone did see through the curtain.. but seen a bag in my hand they could not be bothered to open the door.. it is a south indian family I know now .. maybe it was my brown face which frightened them ...



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All we have to do is step out of our cocoons to discover a wonderful word that exists and is waiting for us. And the few minor unpleasant experiences can always be brushed off.

      Delete
  25. Thank you for such a sweet tutorial - all this time later, I've found it and love the end result. I appreciate the time you spent sharing your skills.

    temple run 2 |  bloons tower defense 5 |

    ReplyDelete

Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...