WhatsAppSolutely…

Friday, September 09, 2016

I am a part of 13 WhatsApp groups… of varied sizes, norms, social, cultural and a general worldly orientation…

3 groups I am willingly a part of… and another 10, where I have been ‘volunteered’ to be a part… incidentally, as Social Media matures… I discover both come with abundant grain, grudge and granted responsibility…

From my WhatsApp existence in a Chemical State… I am a WHATSAPP-SOLUTE in those 10 groups where I have been ‘added’ as a part… I am expected to contribute to the emancipation and upheaval of humankind… and bring the native intelligence once in a prescribed while, so that I am relevant to the group…

And in the 3 groups where I am in, out of my volition… I am a WHATSAPP-SOLVENT… a bigger responsibility than the Solute… as here, I am not only expected to bring in the content, but create the content myself (largely)… and ensure that the content that others bring in, is of a palatable and digestible variety… and… in a normal existence, does not harm any mortal, biological structures like the mind, body and the soul…

And both the Solute and the Solvent states often cause some momentous misgivings… WhatsAppSolutely… 

——————–

“Ravi… add Sumit to the group please… he is Amit’s brother”…

I get a ping in the middle of an office meeting last week… this is one of my many granted responsibilities as a Group Administrator… the Solvent role of mine… to add newer members to the Group…

For the last many years that I have lived in this chemical state… I have often meditated about my meaningfulness to my WhatsApp groups… more so at those times when the group size is about to increase… and that happens every time a ‘Homogenous’ Group – say, my alumni from my scholastic institutions… or my professional affiliations… or work / hobby interest groups… or simply put, all my cousins who did not exist before I was ‘WhatsApped’… over time, becomes amorphously ‘Heterogenous’…

And that day… in the middle of this very important 8th meeting in the middle of another ‘meetingful’ day…

I wonder “Who the f*** is Amit in the group…?”

Is it Amit Khanna… or Amitava Dasgupta… or Amith Nair… or Amitabh Iyengar…?

For the Gen Xer in me… the world is full of possibilities when it comes to the names of friends that I grew up with… and someone like me who has grown up in a more cosmopolitan Delhi, where Punjabi is the preferred behavioural language… I discarded the Dasgupta, the Nair and the Iyengar possibilities immediately… my Unconscious Bias, if you will…

Trust me… logically…

  • Amitava Dasgupta cannot possibly have a Sumitava – as his brother… I haven’t heard that before…
  • Amith Nair’s father, I know, had gone over to Saudi with a gleam and glint of petrodollars when Amith was just about a year old… so, the possibility of a brother was quite ruled out…
  • Amitabh Iyengar, a recent addition to the group and a cousin of one of my childhood sweethearts… is an ‘outlier sample’ in an otherwise densely populated ‘Krishnamacharis’ and  ”Ananthakrishnans’ of the ‘Iyengar World’… come on… how can you be an Amitabh Iyengar… till, of course, Amitabh told me of the secret fascination his mother had for the angry young man (the Bachchan himself)… around the time when Amitabh (the Iyengar) was born… so, for the outlawed nomenclature that Amitabh is… I am sure the Iyengar clan would have thrown up a grumpish ire, if at all there were a possibility of a Sumitabh…

I added Sumit nevertheless… indeed he is Amit Khanna’s brother… I had added Amit last month… I had learnt Amit is called ‘Sonu’ at home… so it left me with no imagination that Sumit is the ‘Monu’ of the house…

——————–

I have many Solutes in my groups… some of my misgivings are when they live up to the labels and characteristics for which they are world famous in these groups…

For example… I have Vijji in my ‘Cousins’ group – who wakes up at 0500 and sends this freshly plucked, flower filled ‘Good Morning’ message… unfailingly, morning after morning… and she puts me to shame every time I wake up at 0505 and respond to her message with a ‘return’ Good Morning…

In my ‘Alumni’ group, there is Shelly who keeps winning awards… with his Food and Culinary exploits as a Chef in Kenya, he has amassed many awards in the last 25 years… enough to adorn his walls, mantelpieces… and wardrobes… now, I tried doing that in my early life and I discovered I ran out of real estate to keep my trophies in places like Delhi and Mumbai… and I had to give up somewhere in the middle… but guess what…? Shelly keeps shaming the rest of us in the group to no end, with photographic evidence of his achievements…

And then there is this ‘Professional Interest’ Group that I am a Solute in… a Group that has been created by my very good friend Arun primarily stemming out of his own interest in books – reading them of course… and with the increasing size of the group, he is often up with a tough task of keeping the members in check… primarily keep them tuned to the purpose of the group, i.e. ‘books’… with much cajoling, coaxing and finally bullying, Arun has been able to achieve adequate sense and sanity… of course, with an occasional joke… or a Deepika Padukone reading a book…

And in this one Group where I have still not been able to figure out my ‘raison d’etre’… there is Simi… a frequent traveler… and Simi would make sure she would post photos of the last trip… while she is on the trip and when she comes back… she makes sure I feel like I am a couch potato, with that TV remote in my hand… and that I live in locales devoid of naturally endowed mountains… the seas… the lakes… and the turtles in those lakes…

Come on, Simi… I travel too… I don’t think anybody travels the kind of miles that I do… 90 miles to and fro work every day…

I see people around me… people with mobile phones in their hands… many on WhatsApp… many with a smile on their faces… they just received this joke from one of their friends in their group… a funny photograph… or just another invitation to party tonight…

How beautiful is that…!

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

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