I walk down the streets, and none look up from their magic mirrors. It’s like everyone is Snow White now — with duck faces.
And when they do look up, and I smile at them — I don’t even receive a nod. I get stared at, with raising eyebrows; sometimes I get questioned over it too, as if I’ve committed a grave crime — maybe I‘ve, of intruding on their chats with the mirror(s) or maybe they’re just thinking that I am odd or whatever.
I can not blame them, or judge any of them. They, to me, come across as bored or frightened of personal contact, frightened of saying “Hi” (not via text) or frightened of hearing actual voices; frightened of opening up to strangers like us, right there on the streets— I mean, we’re trying to smile at them, and there’s something gotta be wrong with that, right? They, I think, have built these shiny walls around themselves that lets only messages, swipes, likes or anything else that comes forth from their magic mirrors, within.
Thus, I’ve realized that the new form of being human, is to interact via keyboards, texts, snapchats, swipes, retweets, and whatever else there is that exists within the scope, and domain of magic mirrors. This, further has led me to believe that we, and not them, are the ones who’re not human anymore.
I’ve also noticed, this while sitting amongst friends, that boredom sets in quite fast now a days. They only escape, apart from leaving, are those screens. Being quite, amongst your connected friends, and not being on your smartphone makes you seem off; you come across as having something wrong with you, and of not being your own, usual self. Again, it’s not them. It’s us. We’re definitely not adept to fit in. And, there’s nothing wrong with that I guess.
It’s not that no one is telling their stories anymore. It’s just that the medium that they share their stories on has changed. It has evolved. And us, we’re trying to still play catch-up. Everyone’s a teller now. Everyone shares everything now. Except, maybe, us — which I think is also not entirely correct.
I really do not think that it’s so dark a cloud out here that everyone is thinking of twisting words, and hurting us; of hurting you. I think it’s our loneliness that has made the cloud appear so dark.
We’ve been waking up for 9–5 jobs, before the advent of the Internet; before computers. We’ve become even more simple minded — with the only things on our minds being our loneliness, our selfishness, and ourselves; with everyone wanting to fit in, wanting their peers to press that like button, or double tap that super awesome selfie. It’s just that the rules of validating each other have changed.
The man you saw, the one who was being suffocated by his tie, probably made a series of decisions, and choices that led him down there. Pushing the buck to society (I used to do that a ton), is a way of running away from whatever you’re running away from. At the end of it all, is how you perceive your dreams. And yes, nothing is impossible — only if those words come from within, and not from society or peers or whomsoever else.
You don’t have to swipe left, or settle for a love that puts a filter before a memory. It’s your choice. Yes, finding someone has become difficult, if you’re not using apps to swipe left, or registering yourself on dating sites. But, I am sure there are still people out there who value picking up the same apple at the supermarket; who also do not wish to swipe. Finding the places they hang out at, that is our work — if not the supermarket, then maybe somewhere else? Easier said, than done. But, it’s possible if you’re willing to try, and keep trying.
The world has always been the same color that it is now. It has always judged a book by its cover. The difference now, is that the blow of rejection has softened over. It’s more easier to swipe right, and then wait for the other person to swipe right too — as compared to asking someone out, in a supermarket, and then being rejected flat on our faces. Those likes on the those duck faces, they softened the blows further; often, validating book covers.
We’ve always been lonely; just that now it’s easier to be lonely, while not being lonely. If that makes any sense at all!
The world is not numb, it’s just changed the way it expresses now. Every now, and then I do get a smile back. I do get a response back. I do end up meeting, and having conversations with wonderful people. Most of them, I am glad, I can call friends now.
As long as you don’t go numb, the world cannot either.
— with Love, Manoj.
First published on medium.