Its Complicated

By: Lata Jha

Scrolling down my news feeds yesterday, I came across a relationship update by a 15 year old junior from school. She had gone from being ‘in a relationship’ to saying that ‘it’s complicated’ (whatever that means). A few other stories later, I also found the same girl’s melancholic lament about not having known her love’s true worth and regretting having lost the special someone. A giggle and I sat down to thinking how normal this must’ve seemed to a lot of people I do or do not know. For today, as clinical as relationships are, the need to shout about them from the rooftops nears equally alarming proportions. I do not doubt the girl’s fondness for the guy, but I do ponder over how different their equation, or most equations today, for that matter, would be had it not been for our interpretation of the social media as a platform that encourages us to give voice to the most mundane, private aspects of our lives.

Public display of affection is a matter of choice. I do not judge the ‘muaah, sweetheart’s, ‘mah lyf would b nothing widout u’s and other incoherent stuff I read. The pictures you click and waste no time uploading within minutes are also fine. There are people who are comfortable with it and as an evolving society, I think we should accord them that space. What I do not understand is the constant need to make your presence felt and let people know that you have an opinion about everything from wafers to the Anti-corruption movement. To let every bit of you stand out there in the open, to be scrutinized, judged and often ridiculed. To let the world know you hate someone’s guts. Especially, as celebrities, who otherwise, go on endlessly about the need for the media to respect their privacy and not intrude into matters that concern only them and their families. Or, refrain from making a mountain out of a molehill and inciting people who are otherwise ‘proud members of the same fraternity’. What happened to the old school which knew how insignificant and short lived rumors are? Which understood that the best revenge is to let your foe know that he doesn’t make a difference? Which believed in the dignity of strength and silence?
Did we need to know what Shirish Kunder thought of Ra.One? No, we could’ve watched the movie for ourselves. We also could’ve done without Sonam Kapoor’s catty comments about senior writers. Or Ayesha Takia’s outrage against Kingfisher, fuelled of course by the scion of the family himself who couldn’t take a word against the brand he’s known by.

We live in a demonstrative world. But even today, I don’t see the need to express oneself constantly. Not every grouse, every emotion needs to be made public. It’s a bit like road rage, except that instead of screaming in front of a crowd of strangers, you let yourself go with people you met once at a party or were friends with till class 2 or in some cases, who follow you because they think your username or profile picture is cool. I can’t imagine anyone of our parents switching between different relationship statuses when they were our age. Or Jaya Bachchan and Rekha taking pot shots at each other through tweets in their heyday. The private space is exactly that. It’s private and sacred.
At the end of the day, we live in a democracy where we’ve all gained the right to lead our lives the way we want to. But from what I gather, the whole point of social media is to retain old bonds, form new ones and engage in fruitful, intelligent discourse where people with varied points of view can learn to respect each other. It doesn’t want you to wash dirty linen in public. That is neither democracy nor evolution. Somewhere, I think we’ve lost our way on the Information Superhighway. The way back is complicated. Even more complicated than the life of the girl who spends all day sobbing over the guy who’s decided to move on.

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19 Responses to Its Complicated

  1. I really liked the concluding paragraph. :)
    ‘well-written’ seems a word too small to compliment you.

  2. That’s a brilliant piece of work, Lata…

    My best wishes…keep writing more… :)

  3. Each n every word is placed so correctly! loved reading every bit of it!! :)
    God bless u :)

  4. Shraddha Chaudhary

    True for the most part, and something I think of often. BUT, to play the Devil’s advocate, when you write this article, are you also not making your opinion known? For that matter, journalism itself, is a lot about expressing opinions.

    • Thank you so much for your feedback :)
      Totally. I am expressing an opinion,which concerns a growing trend, a socially relevant issue for all of us as a generation. Which is,what my job is all about. I’m not discussing private aspects of my sad or exciting life or using the medium to even things out with people. I haven’t made a spectacle of myself based on things that hardly concern anyone but me. Journalism is all about the ordinary,because we,as ordinary people are fortunate enough to give voice to things that affect as a society,generation and world.

  5. Shraddha Chaudhary

    Agreed, but who decides what is or is not relevant? The girl of whom you speak definitely believes that her boyfriend troubles are of paramount importance. It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

    This is not to say that you do not have a valid point. You do. Our culture is becoming increasingly exhibitionist. And you and I as part of the generation that heralds this transformation are duty bound to see it, notice it and where necessary, critique it. Which is what you’ve done. We are also bound, as the rational generation with its cosmopolitan, modern, rational and outward approach as opposed to the ethnocentric, traditional, ritualistic and inward perspective), to understand rather than judge.

    Let us say, therefore, that such and such changes are taking place…but let us leave out the longing for what is bygone. Because much that is bygone was also undesirable and drawing a parallel with that is not possible today. As contexts change, people and ways of life also evolve. That is the way society functions (you already know this :P ). I do hope I’m making sense…

  6. Shraddha Chaudhary

    And that ‘need to make your presence felt’ is a very basic, animal instinct in us. Each of us does something or the other to distinguish ourselves (or to put it bluntly, draw attention to ourselves). Some of us write moving articles (:D), some of us run incredibly fast, some are argumentative, some are intelligent, some creative, some trendy, some pretty… it’s all a part of the game- which bird has the brightest plumage?

    Some focus these energies differently. Hence the need for ‘gimmicks’. Is that it wrong? Who are we to judge. We’ve all done it, in some way or the other, consciously or unconsciously.

    By the way, I’m not saying that you were judging. You opened a line of inquiry where you said you don’t understand the need to constantly make one’s presence felt. I am merely commenting on that… :)

    • Agree with you again. But I also feel it’s important that we introspect a little better on channelising our energies and giving a little more time to knowing what our platforms offer us. As the rational generation that we are,we can only try and understand.
      Thank you again :)

  7. LOL so true…see it everywhere.

  8. i likes it:) especially the conclusion..:)

    • Thank you, Sadaf :)

      • Its like the “pursuit of happiness”, our generation keeps, searching for love and seldom finds it, cuz they’re trying to hard!. . no one is “the one”, and if u try hard enough , anyone can be!! once again lata d!, well written!!

  9. an intresting topic, very apt one, to write on!, and of course, likhti to tu acha hai hii ! and il be goin at a tangent, everyone these days is in such a hurry to fall in love, hook up, make out, break up(not necessarily in that order), and most importantly, let the world know they did. its like

  10. It’s rather baffling to even think about people advertising their relationship statuses through facebook. I think the whole notion is downright preposterous, as relationship statuses serve no purpose. They have no real use, unless the social butterfly takes pleasure in keeping her friends updated on her so called relationship with her partner. I believe if you really like someone, you should be the one to know it, not your friends, unless of course, you’re looking for social acceptance. I cannot fathom what he/she stands to achieve through this act…
    A hugely pertinent piece, I congratulate you on a job well done. Cheers and all the best!

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