Of married friends, status updates and Facebook

As I reached the end of yet another awe-inspiring episode (okay, back-to-back episodes) of Powerpuff Girls, I realised I just couldn’t avoid visiting Facebook any longer. I had been away from it for nearly two hours- a record of sorts, unless you consider the 3 hours I stayed away from it when my mother had locked me up in the bathroom, because she was getting bored and had nothing better to do.

I have been mortally scared of Facebook for some time now. In fact, as a lasting testimony to my unfaltering creativity and ability to play with words even in times of unspeakable panic and terror, I have decided to rechristen the website…Fearbook! (Why, you uncouth, unsophisticated brutes. Stand up and applaud already!)

Anywho, what is it that’s turned my near unhealthy love for Facebook into the kind of indescribable fear that I feel when I switch on the telly while India starts questioning and demanding answers night after night? Why has my passport to perfectly legal voyeurism turned into a one-way ticket to instant depression and several bowls of instant noodles and tubs of half-melted, pre-Neolithic ice-cream that normal human beings like you, Digvijay Singh and Lady Gaga wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot-pole?

The reason, my friend, is that every 19th friend of mine has decided to get married. No, it’s not that. If all these people who just got married would keep the news to themselves and be kind enough to not share it with their entire ‘friend list’- one that’s usually longer than the list of do’s and don’ts in public that my ex swore by- it would still be okay. I would still stop at just a few bowls of instant noodles and skip the ice-cream entirely.

But no, that doesn’t happen. Not only do people get married at an age when some of us are still trying to get over the suite life of Zack and Cody coming to an end, they also insist on letting everyone know that they have the kind of emotional stability, financial security and sheer guts that are prerequisites for tying the conjugal knot. In their pictures, they look gorgeous, radiant and impossibly happy in the manner of a glowing Prince William after exchanging ‘I do’s’ with Kate Commonfident Middleton.

Do I have a problem people looking happy and content? No, unless they are hardened criminals on the run with proven record of looking incredibly satisfied right after claiming their latest unsuspecting victim.

From the bottom of my single and, therefore, battered and hopeless heart, I wish all my married friends all the best. It’s a wonderful thing that’s happening to all those who feel they’ve reached the stage in their lives where marriage looks like the logical step forward.

In fact, please pardon me (or not. I know you left this excruciating piece of boring harangue for Bigg Boss approximately 2 minutes ago anyway) as I digress a little to talk about my kind and their take on life, marriage and everything else in life in general. I don’t know how they do things in far-off countries such as the US, Italy or Nepal. But here in middle-class India, we live and die by this handy little list of things-to-do. A list that’s sacrosanct and meant to be followed unless you die or something-

1. Take birth.
2. Go to school.
3. Crash into college.
4. Get a job.
5. Make the symbolic trip to Goa and do the symbolic zipping around in a ganji on a scooty with friends and take 5,000 pictures of each frikking spot visited.
6. Indulge in the perfunctory activities of cool rebellious self-harm such as cigarettes, drugs, an occasional protest Facebook sign-up /march against female feticide, etc.
7. Dodge the marriage question long enough to repeat points 5 and 6 in no particular order.
8. Get a promotion.
9. Get a second promotion.
10.   Repeat points 5 and 6, though a little more discreetly than earlier.
11.   …
12.   …
13.   Get married.
15.   Be happy or pretend to be happy for the rest of the life.

This looks like the perfect plan, the neat little blueprint that makes sense for most normal adults who had their last imaginary friend at least 18 years ago. Not for us, who can’t wait to finish boring work every day and speed home to fill the pages of their color books while ‘Banker to the Poor’ lies unattended and continues to gather dust for yet another year.

Coming back to Facebook and purely avoidable announcements on its much abused pages, I would implore my married friends to define joy and happiness like they define it on the pages of a dictionary. And look happy too. Pray, look happier than the model who sells Happydent. But please, don’t flash big happy pictures on my wall without prior warning in all caps. Be kind enough, people, to put a status update that says something like, “Beware, all the single ladies. Photos of engagement/marriage/honeymoon/1st kid/kid’s 1st birthday/2ndkid’s 1st recital coming up. So if your jobless folks are masochistic enough to insist on letting them ‘see the photos na’, then don’t. Scroll. Down.”

Such warnings will act as useful red flags, which would help some marriage-scared chicken like me distract my mother away from the computer screen. I could quickly point at the window and yell, ‘Oh look, big bird’. Or better still, “Oh look, Bigg Boss on neighbor’s television.” Fishing her binoculars out from her tool-carrier would obviously take her some time. And that would allow me to bring the page down to where some Farmville-maniac would be discussing the discounts available on manure for their apricot saplings or some such.

That tiny window of opportunity would be enough to ward off parents, who would then return to their normal parental duties such as watching Australian Wipeout or throwing stones at neighbours who frown upon Rakhi Sawant’s show or at those who insist on putting wallpapers on their walls. It will let me read, surf the net or do some equally productive work like staring at the ceiling fan or practicing my teleporting skills.

A little bit of care and discretion is all it takes on the part of my now-married friends to keep my ties with my family friction-free. It is all I need to avoid conversations that always begin with, “Daughter, Sinha uncle was saying…” and ends with, “Dodge! Run! By god, impressive marksmanship skills the girl has!”

You, my married friends, can ensure things remain super-smooth till the next day, when one little question from another jobless uncle-ji would make sure the question of marriage, etc comes crashing back to my parents-

“Aur Kumar sahab? How’s the family? And the daughter? When’s the big party, hain?”

PS: Did I mention those who just got married aren’t supposed to read the blog? I hope it doesn’t come between me and that nice lunch invitation you guys were planning to send me. 

2 thoughts on “Of married friends, status updates and Facebook

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