You are out on a date. The painted skies flaunting pastel hues of the setting sun are to die for. The lights grow mellow. Food looks drool-i-cious with chilled Champagne by its side glistening in the evening rays. And the breeze on the yacht gives you this feeling of living some Hollywood movie with that perfect stranger. Suddenly, you forget you are supposed to be in the present; live in that moment and make memories for life. Instead, your mind starts conniving a masterplan to attain the next 500 likes on Instagram and FB. The thought is so viral it forces you to leave your date unattended, touch up your lipstick and begin pouting for selfie after selfie after selfie until the sun sets, the food grows cold and the champagne warm. And your date, well, withers away into the virtual world of likes and forwards. Sounds familiar?
You have a decent standing on social media, don’t you? You post religiously, every week, every occasion, looking your best, smiling till your jaws ache and posing with who’s who like it’s your wedding reception photo shoot. You polish and hone each of those pictures with meticulously written descriptions to engage people. After all that labor, you see progress. You go from 20 odd likes to your current 150 or so. If you are really popular, you could stand anywhere between 200 and 300 likes. Anything beyond that, and hey presto, you are the real star, not King Khan. Life has turned into a popularity contest, hasn’t it? Self-propaganda, pictures of holidays to exotic destinations, love for spouse and affection for kids, need to pass the Social Media Test. How else do people define, you are alive and better than the rest?
Until last week, I had pretty much stereotyped social media as a bare necessity meant for the educated, reserved for middle or upper middle classes, especially students and white collared professionals. But every myth bursts someday, especially in a nation of over a billion souls fragmented into diverse economic levels. Last week, I faced my moment of truth. While I may have secretly tried taking an Online Course or two on ‘Social Media Stardom for Dummies’, a telephone call to my sister in law in India turned out to be a real eye-opener. I couldn’t believe when I first heard it. The Domestic Helper, a.k.a. Kaam Waali Bai – famous on Instagram? Impossible, I brushed off the news. But some stalking on her profile later, I felt the need to go bottoms up on Tequila shots at 2 in the afternoon.
Imagine your Domestic Helper who can now afford a smartphone, thanks to Jio, flaunting herself in her new saree, gifted by the man of your house while you didn’t have a clue since you were struggling for some limelight yourself, hopping to Kitty Parties and PTMs and volunteer work for the poor and needy and of course posting sensible pictures, not to miss live videos of a variety of noble causes. The Bai, on the other hand, poses in the living room of your abode, reclining on your latest rocking chair, pouting for her best selfies. And before you know, her pictures become showstoppers on Instagram and Facebook.
Feeling shocked? Well, that’s when Bai rocked. While you may spend hours at the parlour thinking, squandering those big bucks on facials and branded make-up will transform you into this head turner, she is already the Katrina Kaif of her locality. Your ego feels grief-stricken, somebody with smelly armpits and sweaty body beats you on likes in the virtual world? Romeos zip and zoom on their two-wheelers around this real-life heroine all day. The Bai is enjoying her TRP. And no, her FB and Insta pics aren’t sleazy. They are regular – with husband, with kids, wearing sunglasses (although you may want to check who is the real owner of the same), but always well dressed and smiling.
Now, quiz time. Make a wild guess. How many likes do you think she garners? Don’t cheat. The answer is 400-1000. Yes, you read that right. Are you still reading or recovering from a fall off your latest Italian design of motorized rocking chair that cost you 2000 dollars but never received more than 50 likes? By the way, it’s the same chair she abused for her selfie. Looking for that bottle of room freshener?
There is more. Comments on her pics range from average to hilarious. And guess what, she loves the limelight. She is unstoppable. She is a Wonder Woman. Every morning, like any other working woman, she enters the war zone, inviting domination and insults from up-market women like you and me, to make a living. And no, she doesn’t get a Sunday off. She finishes really late, after all of us, like 11pm daily, when everything, personal and professional is taken care off. Then, she gets online, she posts and her fans react, squirming in delight for a smile or a glance from her in real life. This is her ticket to stardom. She loves the attention but is fiercely loyal to her family. Her husband is upset with her newly found popularity, but so what? Wasn’t your date upset too?
She stands a good chance to get into alternative professions. She is skilled enough to lend a helping hand to one of her friends to zero-in on the stalker who has been troubling the lady for days – with a mere 4 questions to shortlist profiles from her list of friends on FB to trace the culprit down. It’s about time Shivaji Satam surrendered along with his team of completely unattractive men (who do nothing more than breaking doors) and let this woman take center stage on CID or Lady Faster Fene with Fastest Finger First. And before you know, she may be working on her YouTube Channel creating videos on ‘Doing Selfies at Zero Cost’ and ‘Beating the Boss with More Likes’.
After recovering from multiple shocks, I decided to call this woman the Instagram Queen. She sure gives you a complex and makes you think – (What does she have that I don’t) Usme Kya Hai Jo Hai Mujh Mein Nahin?(music still playing in my ears from VIP underwear advertisement from the 90s).