Saturday, October 31, 2015
Selfie obsessed much!
In 2013 a new addition was made in the Oxford English Dictionary - selfie. While we had all studied and experimented with self portraits as part of our curriculum in media school, this new word along with easy social media access brought about a new found selfie culture.
What I really find interesting is the fact that today the moment I step out of my house, I find these ladies and gentlemen pouting and making funny faces on the front cameras of their mobile phones. I once travelled almost 35km from my place on a metro and observed a certain lady sitting next to me, who kept clicking selfies till I got off. What I didn’t realize was that she was the first of many such specimens that I was to encounter.
At cafes, restaurants, malls and even movie theatres, I see these men and women taking their own pictures while keeping company of their friends and family. There’s a mother asking her daughter if she’d have a pizza or a Sub, while the daughter is engrossed in taking selfies. There are couples taking their individual selfies while spending together time.
A friend once borrowed my mobile phone for a “minute” and returned that to me after almost half an hour and my memory card full of some 117 odd selfies. However, this is not even the trailer of what has now become a selfie rage or selfie obsession.
I recently had to travel out of town for some work and had to take an early morning flight. What began the moment I got out of my cab at 6.45 am was nothing less than a Selfie zombie movie. So, I stepped inside the terminal and started locating the counter of airlines I was travelling with. All of a sudden a young man who was walking along pulling his luggage suddenly came to a halt. What happened next rendered me numb for a while. This young man was posing against an airlines counter holding his selfie stick.
Once recovered, I finally checked-in and proceeded towards security check. On my way, I encountered several people taking selfies or dualfies or groupfies. But again, this was just the beginning. Thankfully, security checks still demand putting all devices on a tray, so this region had people walking straight, not tangling in the feet of fellow travelers and for a change looking at each other like human beings.
Out of the security and in the terminal mall, as I like to call it, began another round of selfie-bombardment. People were not just taking their pictures but also pictures with the merchandise in those stores. As a site-merchandiser, my constant struggle is to improve footfalls on the website. These stores are definitely in the footfall area if not conversions.
Finally, boarding was announced and for a moment I thought that the now the focus would shift to the immediate task - “board the bus-deboard the bus-board the aircraft”. But, oh so wrong was I.
What began now was another series of selfie onslaught. So, there were selfies in the boarding queue, selfies at the boarding gate, selfies while walking towards the bus, selfies in the bus AND, selfies with the aircraft in the background. Phew!
While this went on amusing a larger part of me, a smaller optimistic part of me still banked upon the faith in human intelligence. Well, actually not faith in human intelligence but an evil, sadistic feeling that what are these selfians going to do inside the plane.
What began once we’d boarded and seated was an amazing experience of my lifetime. That flight alone gave me a great perspective into human psychology and behavior.
So, there was a middle aged man sitting next to me and two men sitting in the front row. The guy next to me turned the flight mode on and as the aircraft started taxing towards the runway he switched his front camera on. In the next 150 minutes he took vertical selfies, horizontal selfies, diagonal selfies, selfies with different filters, and selfies in different modes.
And the gentlemen sitting in the front row were even better. They took their individual selfies - vertical, horizontal and diagonal. Then they took dualfies, again - vertical, horizontal and diagonal. And the middle of their precious photo-op, they turned around once or twice to give me the dirtiest of the looks. I wondered what really invited such as glance and then realized that being seated in the middle of the row, I was unintentionally photo-bombing their dualfies.
I gave out a sigh of relief the moment this flight touched down at my destination as I was glad that this was hopefully the climax of the Selfie Zombie movie that I was caught in.
What I really found curious in this entire selfie spree was that none of these brilliant self photographers bothered to capture the beautiful sunrise at Delhi airport nor did they bother about the view outside of their windows. They didn’t even try to fix the camera angle to get a better composition of light and shadows. It was just their selves that they sought to redeem in some magical manner by consuming the potion of infinite selfies.
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