It’s complicated

Aditi Sengupta | Updated on February 01, 2019 Published on February 01, 2019

Zero FB Day can’t be all that difficult, can it? Tell it to the bored fingertips

1. It can make you feel like your life isn’t as cool as everyone else’s.

2. It can lead you to envy your friends’ success.

3. It can lead to a sense of false consensus.

4. It can keep you in touch with people you’d really rather forget.

5. It can reveal information you might not want to share with potential employers.

6. It can become ADDICTIVE.

The list of deadly side-effects — a few of which are given above — demolishes every argument I could offer in favour of Facebook (FB). Strangely (or maybe not), I find this on FB itself, during one of the 63 random visits on my weekly off. It is curiously comforting, sounding like my mother’s verdict on her only child’s life choices.

Almost on cue, the phone rings that minute and my mother uses voice modulation effectively to express unhappiness over my new hair colour. Someone who knows someone’s someone on my friends list has broken the news to her over her 11 am tea. And that someone’s someone’s someone has also spotted a lit object between two fingers of my right hand.

I employ a familiar excuse to cut short the maternal outburst.

“I have some work, Maa. I have to go.”

“But it’s your day off!”

“Work from home! I have to upload today’s stories on FB…”

It’s tragic that I couldn’t think beyond FB even for an alibi, I later tell myself. Why couldn’t I come up with something more “cerebral”? Has Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild sucked the grey matter out of my central nervous system? Like Maria from that abbey in Salzburg, Austria, I break into a song — I have confidence and confidence in me — as I set myself a task until the next morn: Zero FB Day.

It’s 12 noon when I start, and 12 hours should be a breeze, I think. I have to just pretend I am in a no-network zone. And keep a log, like all great minds, of how I fare.

Here goes:

12.17 pm The phone is under the pillow. The pillow is making muffled sounds. Is Fawad Khan waving back at me?

12.39 pm Landline rings (pillow still smothering smartphone). Cousin J from Kolkata wants to know why I haven’t liked her boss’s mother’s page on the benefits of mock meat. “Digital detox, you see,” I reply. But she really thinks she can get me to like such a page! The things people do during appraisal month!

1.23 pm Star Movies HD. Social Network. Bad idea. Switch to DD Bangla for Bhakt Prahlad.

2.05 pm Hunger pangs. Duck resting in kitchen sink. Recipe on… oh damn! That FB page I follow! Now what?

2.25 pm Bhature from neighbourhood shop looks good! Let’s click a photo for… Don’t utter the word! Just eat, will you?

3.50 pm Snooze done. Ready for tea. Phone still under pillow. Fingertips look bored.

4.45 pm Neighbourhood market. Grocery store. A new range of Mediterranean dips on display. Friendly volunteer offers lavash with basil pesto. I buy small jar at big price. Friendly volunteer asks me to like dips page on FB.

5.37 pm Back in the den. Bed overflowing with laundry. Time for a bigger cupboard, but I won’t look for it on FB — on the page where expats sell four-poster beds and underwear when they are leaving Delhi.

7.15 pm TV time again. Breaking news: FB data breach compromises 6.8 million users. Stick to Bhabhiji. Or kho-kho.

8 pm Dull headache. Aching fingernails. Wrists going into a freeze. Do I need a paracetamol?

9.10 pm Nails for dinner. With restlessness as starter. There’s also bread and eggs. And the poor duck in the sink.

9.30 pm Modem looks forlorn and forgotten — since being switched off at 12 noon. Tense day for Airtel broadband.

10.10 pm SMS from Delhi nephew: Have you read X’s musings on Nathuram Godse? Where are your fangs? You unwell or what?

10.55 pm Sheep census: 1 lakh, 23 thousand, 737.

11.26 pm 34 minutes have never looked this attractive. Don’t I know what a 34 waist-size can do to self-worth!

11.53 pm Lit object between two fingers on the right hand.

11.57 pm Move the pillows one by one, gracefully — like a dignified prisoner approaching end of jail term.

11.59 pm Main aur meri smartphone — happily reunited.

12 am Welcome back, Aditi Sengupta, you have zero notifications.

PS: If you have stopped subscribing to print, this log will soon be available on FB. Catch you there!

Published on February 01, 2019
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