Thanks to a little blue bird, I have moved up in life. From being ignorant and opinionated, I’ve become marginally informed and annoyingly opinionated. Now finally I have the chance to flourish my up-to-dateness and worldly wisdom in front of my family and friends.
Twitter provides the perfect antidote to my inborn (or was it acquired?) reluctance to read newspapers. Which, for a while, have reminded me of sci-fi movies with dystopian landscapes and no happy ending in sight. Whatever surprises are in store are hardly ones to bring a smile to the face – or even tears to the eyes. Most often they just make me grit my molars and flare up my nose…before turning away.
Plus the emphasis on the dark, desolate and doomed, with the good bits hidden in the bottom corners of inside pages, does bad stuff to my already chaotic head.
I don’t like sci-fi movies with dystopian landscapes either.
So like any self-respecting ostrich, I used to bury my head in fiction and poetry, leaving the painstaking perusal of morning paper to my journalist husband and the rest of the world whose heads and hearts could handle it.
Now, though, I can nibble at the 140 character bait that the bird has to offer, and then choose whether or not to sink my teeth into the rest of it. Imagine this! In less than thirty seconds, I can decide whether this-or-that-happening-around-the world deserves my attention. Or not.
Its relative anonymity also provides a good outlet to those 140-characters-or-less thoughts that pop up in the head. And images I capture in passing, along with some clever-sounding lines, that I choose to believe other people are interested in.
On the flip side, it does a lot of damage to my self-image. When I see 20-somethings spout brilliantly written (albeit completely self-indulgent) words of wisdom, I literally turn green. No, green is such a nice colour, actually. What I turn is whatever the colour of pure, unadulterated envy might be. And it becomes more intense when I see their complete lack of self-doubts – something I suffer seriously from, even when I can see my half-century landmark towering in the horizon.
Besides, 2015 is drawing to a close now and Twitter is replete with year-end book lists – full of fantastic books I can only lust over. The enormity of what I haven’t read makes me feel like an individual entity in a zooplankton trying to size up a blue whale for future devouring.
Let’s not even go into book reviews – some admittedly so-so, which I can ignore, but some so well-written that if I had my way, I’d grab my purse and head to Kinokuniya Book World – which is the nearest possible option – or wherever those books are available. Right now, though, all I can do is to click on links, live vicariously, and go on coveting my neighbour’s books. Neighbour in the Twitterworld, I mean. My own neighbours, a well-meaning family of four, are book-free, happy souls, I know.
Like any aspiring writer, I follow a dozen publishers at least, from Seagull Books to Verso to Zubaan, and a host of writers from Neil Gaiman to J.K. Rowling. Ok, I stopped short of Chetan Bhagat because my sense of humour doesn’t stretch enough to tolerate the stuff he puts up on Twitter.
Now, talking about sense of humour, Twitter feeds my appetite for a particular genre of the same (lame, my humorously challenged family tells me), which no one else – apart from Rajni, I think, because we laugh uproariously at stuff – finds funny. Twitter tells me that I am not alone in this wide world – there are others out there who share my penchant for quirky one-liners like ’11 Powerful Stories Of Poets Whose Instagram Accounts Have Less Than A Hundred Followers’.
And guess what? Sometimes I challenge my teenaged students to write a story in 140 characters or less. Believe me, they have come up with gems!
I know, I know. Twitter has become a place I visit too frequently for my own good! It’s time I weaned away and created a healthy circle of real-world friends to socialise with on a regular basis. A few good people who read and write book reviews and talk about politics and the rest (which I shall pretend I know all about), show me National Geographic-worthy photographs, and still find lines like ‘Poet calculates whether supporting latest social-media outrage will strengthen personal brand’ hilarious.
I forgot to add ‘who also drive’ because I don’t. So how will we socialise if they too don’t drive?
Anyway, the search shall begin. Soon. Meanwhile, let me hit the Tweet button just once.
*All images courtesy Google Images.