Mirror, Mirror on the phone

by Chandrika R Krishnan

My friends and I were in our revolting tweens and snickered at a woman who regularly spoke and gestured to herself in shop windows, as we waited for our school bus.

A teacher happened to notice and chastised us, one fine day. She said, that the woman must have had some mental turmoil that has made her behave the way she did.  We all felt suitably chagrined and became a little more empathetic towards people who spoke to themselves.

Speaking to oneself was considered tantamount to losing the marbles.

Fast forward many decades, we smile, gesture, pout,  smirk and preen on our mobile phones. The nether world of technology is far rosier than the immediate surroundings and family members would ever be. So, we had people talking to someone far away while ignoring the person seated at the same table.

The world of Facebook, Instagrams and Twitter has made its presence felt that it has opened a whole new door and windows to all of us. All of a sudden we want to be heard, seen, appreciated and liked, by the world at large. Holidays and sightseeing haven’t been as colorful as they are today.

“You haven’t taken my stole and focused on the monastery behind me?” shrieked a woman of indeterminate age as she stomped her heels like a five year old but was dressed like an eighteen year old and was accompanied by a middle aged husband and a child of around eleven.  Brought back from the fifteenth century to the present, I wondered if the stole would have photographed better and cheaper in the drawing room in the plains of India, rather than on the steep steps of Thikse Monsastery in Leh/ Ladakh

Throw in the world of Selfie, we have a whole lot of people asking “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, do I look the fairest of all?

It might be as mundane as a traffic light and out we whip our phones, fluff out our hair, tilt our head to a very promising angle that hides our innumerable flaws and smile that elusive smile and we have a shot, worthy of the queen. How cool is that? We take photos at a temple, at a historic site. We show our back to the jaw-dropping splendour and all we can see is our own face. Be it a monastery or a marble structure, be it an ancient tomb or an accident victim, we feel the urge to immortalize the same in the digital world. If we are lucky to travel in the famed Bellandur/ Whitefield road, we have opportunity to take hundred odd selfies.

From Leh to Arizona, the scenario remains unchanged. A middle aged woman literally stomped her feet in frustration when yet another picture taken by her companion in the awe-inspiring antelope canyon was found far below par from her exacting standards. Unfortunately, selfies out there could not do justice to the background unless we could do a bat!

Narcissism is a cool term and more we make love to ourselves on the camera of our smart phones, the cooler we turn out to be.

Are the young the only victims of selfitis- an obsessive need to post selfies?

From the Facebook posts, unfortunately the not so young too seem to become self-obsessed, thus becoming a role model of sorts.

Even idols (not the matinee kind) at the neighbourhood temple are not spared. These days, I get the impression that the goddess at the temple I frequent, pouted into the camera!

The SHUT (service for healthy use of technology) at NIMHANS have identified an obsessive need to post selfies as a genuine mental disorder.

Besides affecting our personal health and the health of your fellow beings, it is the major cause of accidents across the world leading to Selfie deaths.

As we compulsively post the pictures of us having a good time, it does give rise to metal health issues like envy, depression, sadness, frustration, and anger as others are ostensibly happier than us.

As for me, I spend equal amount of time watching the sights and hearing to the sighs!  Meanwhile, I am looking for some step by step module for taking a decent selfie.





Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash





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