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Living A Virtual Lie

10/06/2016 8:35 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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We all have become a bunch of fools. A bunch of self-indulgent, spoiled-for-choice, depressed, angry, stupid fools.

A lot of that has to do with the expansion of the virtual word, which to many of us has become more real than reality. We live for it, we believe it, we find happiness in it, we are in love there. We also put a huge stake of our ego there. The virtual world fosters the illusion of availability -- of objects, of people, of change, of power to make a difference, of hope. How much of it is real?

I look at videos about women's empowerment, I read stories about it, I start believing in it and yet when I open my ears a little in the real world, I see the same old crap that I've seen over the past two decades. Women still work 20-hour shifts, divided between their job and housework, people still think rape is all the victim's fault, wives are still beaten as par for the course. Closer to home, my husband still thinks that him taking care of his child is "baby sitting" or a "favour" to me and not "parenting". The reality is that I still have to struggle to make my husband give my work equal importance to his.

I look at my timeline on Facebook and I believe that I am in love. Such a beautiful life. Such a loving relationship. But it obscures a far more complex reality.

I look at my timeline on Facebook and I believe that I am in love. Such a beautiful life. Such a loving relationship. But it obscures a far more complex reality.

I see others' lives, their smiling faces, their vacation photos, their new homes, their cars and I get depressed. I get jealous. Should I be? Probably not, because their reality is probably just as far removed from their Facebook posturing as mine is.

It has become very difficult to switch on and off between the real and the virtual worlds. In the real world, we are angry, depressed, powerless. In the virtual world, we're still angry but we feel we have power, illusory as it is.

Everybody has got a voice in the virtual world. We are completely spoiled for choice. We think we have freedom. Having the choice to be faceless has given us a weird sense of power. And it is this power which we have not yet learnt to use properly. We have become downright rude under the garb of being honest. We have an opinion. We have a voice. People are reachable to us. We are somebody. But the fact remains that it is just an illusion, this idea that we matter so much, that we have the power to judge.

We have started to completely disregard other people. We have become selfish. We have become harsh under the garb of "having an opinion."

Don't show me empowerment, unless equality is a reality in the world. Don't show me these choices. I am not capable of handling them.

Life has actually come down to swiping right or left. Tap tap tap and we can pass a sentence. We cannot tolerate mediocrity. We calculate our own worth by "views" and "likes". We cannot tolerate a mediocre attempt at comedy by a stand-up comedian who might have pushed the boundaries a little. We cannot tolerate a little harsh truth. For all the venom we spew in the virtual world, we keep getting more and more angry and depressed in the real one.

There's too much information. Information that doesn't add to my peace of mind. I can watch a religious leader defend his fundamentalist beliefs in the most outrageous of terms, I can watch politicians ruining the country one square inch at a time. I have the luxury of tuning into atrocities as they happen all over the world.

And I cannot switch off. I just get more angry. I just get more unhappy. I get more scared. Instead of being thankful for my life, I worry, I crib, I doubt, I accuse. I am a mess.

Don't show me empowerment, unless equality is a reality in the world. Don't show me these choices. I am not capable of handling them.

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