Ishtiyaq Sibtain Joo*
Recently one of my female Facebook friends (male readers beware of leaving the write up half way through to browse my friend list as it is not going to fetch you the desired results. She has blocked me) on Facebook posted, “Describe me in one word”.
Before, I tell you the story, let me give you a little background.
Unlike most of girls who normally shy away from uploading their profile pictures, my female friend despite being beautiful have always dared to use her own picture for her profile. Her daring is duly rewarded by huge rush of friend requests she gets. As expected, the friend requests mostly come from males.
Every time she changes her profile picture her admirers put their hearts on plate to express their emotions. The number of “likes” for every new picture she posts is sometimes so high that it makes one wonder if the owners of the pressing thumbs had taken day off from their professional work to keep on pressing the “Like” button.
The barrage of “comments” overwhelmingly fIlled with the affection written by beauty admirers (read mostly married men) make me wonder for how they are still married? And where are their wives? Yet, the “poor” she always thanks them all, mostly with emoticon smileys.
I can’t blame her for being beautiful for at least she gets acknowledgement mostly for something which is visible to eyes. There are many in our virtual world who can go to any extent to make people share, like and comment on their post. Some play “fear psychosis” by posting images and videos with an assertive message to “Like, Comment, and Share” it. Obedience to the message guarantees a place in heaven, while its failure is a harbinger for a big disaster waiting round the corner.
Coming back to the story, where my female friend, late in evening, posted, “Describe me in one word,” created an emergency like situation on the social media. Everyone, (read mostly married men) jumped into the fray of finding the magic word, as if it was a call for a holy war or call for national duty. The writers exhausted all synonyms and adjectives to describe her beauty in her comments section. With some renaming her as “Desi –Cleopatra”, others found her as good as beauty of “Aspasia”. The comments for her super brain might have given inferiority complex to the world greats like Einstein. Some went on to equal her with math genius Ramanujan, and they went on explaining their rationale by recalling her weird techniques she had developed to calculate 5+5. For others she was “memory bank” who was good at remembering questions related to general knowledge. Going down the memory lane some of her male friends recalled how she had helped them to win a quiz show on Doordarshan by timely remembering that “New Delhi” is capital of India. Apparently the show was taken off air as the episode was widely criticized. Such was the uproar that the Station was forced to suspend the producer for delivering the worst episode in quiz history. Although, he later on managed to get a stay order from the Count, and challenged the Station Head to put a finger on one show telecasted by the Station which is worth watching! But that is not our concern.
Meanwhile, my female friend’s post was continuously receiving praise messages to highlight her brilliance in various fields. Some of her admirers to justify their one word used to describe her for her brilliance at science wrote for she wanted to build a lid over the earth to protect water-vapor from leaving the earth’s sphere. Unfortunately, she had to discard the idea after some equally brilliant mind advised her that it will be too expensive to build the lid. But for the hurdle, the girl would have put a permanent lid on the global warming issue.
Reading all these comments made my head spin. My little intellect failed to make me understand for why the girl with such great brains has befriended an ordinary person like me! My pursuit to check for what is keeping the beauty with brains busy these days, reached me to her present job profile which read, “in between jobs” (polite way of saying, jobless). Brilliant brains always find it suffocating to work with slow brains as the latter is not able to comprehend them well.
It was getting late in night, and strain in my eyes was also indicating to go to be now. So I went to bed without even realizing that I was leaving the turf open for people to come and “win the war”. It was only at dawn (read around 9 am) while checking my phone for messages I noticed THE POST had created an emergency like situation. It had generated more than … comments already. Probably many of her followers had spent their night not counting stars, but thinking for the perfect word which could win them, the “unannounced trophy”. I noticed people have been continuously commenting from last evening till the morning next day. The whole thing made me feel so bad about myself. I felt as if by not describing her in one word, I lost an opportunity to score a point in the ongoing competition where the winner would probably get the “forbidden fruit (pun intended)”. Somehow, the word thesaurus was failing me. Except for clichés I was not able to put a pin on a word which would have done the trick for me. I thought about it while travelling for my work. I worked on the word, while attending my meeting with Minister. I did brainstorming even while writing a press note for the meeting, yet I didn’t get the “killer” word to win me a brownie.
After returning home exhausted with the whole day exercise of figuring out the “WORD”, I opened my FB account, only to make my fears come true. The competition was over. Yes, my female friend an hour before had expressed her gratitude to each one of her admirer for their flattery. Although, it was not clear who won the competition, but for loser’s nominee I was sure I was the lone runner for the award.
Nonetheless, with heavy heart I logged off from the account, and asked my wife to pour me a cup of tea. Taking hot sips of traditional noon-chai (salt tea) with an intention to seek relief from the day long tension of finding the word, my wife asked, “If I would ask you to describe me in one word, what it would be?” “Torture” was the word that came out of my mouth, without thinking for a fraction of second. But before, she would have taken me to cleaners for the blunder I had committed unintentionally, I said, “I go through so much of torture in my office, and then you start to play one word substitute game at home. Please let me have my tea in peace.” Without looking at her, I immersed myself into my cup of tea.
If you liked the story, press “like”. If you really liked it then post your “comment”, and if you really really liked it then you are welcome to even share it. Lolz….
Note: Sought the consent from the girl who was my inspiration to write it. So just enjoy the story.
*Author is a journalist based in Srinagar. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org