Share your food, share your thoughts and share your happiness. Those are the lessons that most of us, across the world, have been taught as a child. But I guess, neither our parents, much less our grandparents, even imagined the extent to which we will go ahead and follow it. Today, we share everything.
Vacations-night outs-parties-birthdays-death-global calamities-art works-opinions-jokes-photo shopped images, and as they keep saying all the time, what not?
But then, what is so bad about sharing? Isn’t it something that we all always wanted to do?
How many times did you say in the last few weeks, oh these are such great gulaab jamoons or perhaps such lovely gelatos! I wish I could share it with Ma! Or, perhaps, what a great movie, X would have enjoyed it so much. Or, even better, finally, I am in the US and Baba would be so proud to see me in a Harvard setting. Or, oops! My first chapatti!! ‘Click’ with a ‘smiley.’ Delivered.
Isn’t it wonderful that you can send across a link to X or send a selfie to your father? And, with gulaab jamoon images, you can tempt Mom to come and stay with you for sometime?
Walk across the room and ask your Grandpa or any of the elderly members of the family, did they feel the same way in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s? Did they, then, want to share too? Did you say, yes? Hallelujah!
Well, that is the answer then. YES. People across generations and across countries always wanted to and still want to share. Today, if technology is making it possible, let us celebrate and not sulk.
In an article in Guardian, dated August 19, ‘ Kate Bush begs fans to put smart phones away ,’ it says that the 56-year-old singer “…is taking a stand against fans watching her shows through the digital veil of a screen.”
It goes on to say that “as she emerges from her 35-year time capsule to perform once again, singer Kate Bush is faced with a different world.”
Yes, things have indeed changed. So much so that in 2012, Kodak, the company that pioneered the handheld camera, announced that it would stop making digital cameras. The fiasco, experts say, can be attributed to the fact that the company never took to modern technology.
Coming back to music, more and more vocalists, stage performers, painters and cultural pioneers are expressing disappointment at an audience who are busy shooting the ‘event’ than actually listening to/seeing it.
That may be true to a certain extent. And, like every other over-indulgence, there have been serious cases of privacy violation in the name of public sharing, which needs to be handled with as much severity as any other crime.
But, at the same time, think of a performer’s reach. Recently, a friend in New York was thrilled to hear a local guy whistling a Tagore song beautifully. She went and spoke to him and it transpired that he learnt it from one of his Indian/Bengali Facebook friends. Thanks to the friend and his talent, he may be viral on social media websites and who knows, have some interesting future?
Then, why the resistance?
Sense of hierarchy
Maybe, ‘ghettoisation’ of everything high-browed is a sense of power and hierarchy at every level — in terms of exorbitant tickets, elite access and an established authority of the higher echelons of the society. And when the ‘elite’ becomes ‘mass’ it loses its social command.
As to distorting the experience through digital means, why is it so that a certain kind of experience is considered to be the ultimate one? Some tap their fingers on the knee while listening to a classical concert, some close their eyes and assimilate and some just express themselves joyfully!
Maybe, for someone, to capture all the quirks of his/her favourite singer, along with her mellifluous performance, is also part of the experience? Maybe, we are learning to stretch our best moments by passing them on to a lot more people and reliving them?
Or, maybe, sharing gives one uninhibited access to ‘everything’. And that is why the urgent need to guard it, as one’s exclusive possession. Being out in the open poses more challenges, more competition, perhaps?
It is somewhat like one’s kitchen secrets. Also, it makes everyone more vulnerable to criticisms, more accountable for their actions on stage or off it, more open to scrutiny and hence, public dissection. Maybe it is time to face the music?