Don’t get me wrong – I love old people. As long as they do old-appropriate stuff like praying, taking long walks and eating their mashed vegetables. I can even live with the early-morning throat clearing which sounds like a jet engine trail, only made entirely of phlegm.
I like talking to them, ruing the loss of values in current times and criticizing the young people. I love taking walks with them. I even do kapalbhati with them sometimes. In fact, I get into the character so much that I attempt removing my teeth after dinner only to realize that they are real teeth, not dentures.
But, where I draw the line is social media. I am petrified ‘adding’ old people as friends on facebook. Of late, there has been a flurry of the superannuated entering the online garden to smell the flowers. The problem is sometimes they don’t even know where to enter from. A friend’s father, for instance, mistook her facebook page for his and sent out a bunch of friend requests from it. The next morning, her computer screen looked like a brochure from a senior citizen’s club, much to her shock.
Once in the garden, the trigger-happy elders are quite footloose. They are ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ with the abandonment of a bee drunk on nectar. They prefer commenting using all capital letters. And, they throw in blessings as well. So, on your nautical-themed ladies brunch on a yacht, your photo with your fashionable girlfriends holding champagne glasses in your manicured hands might get a comment like –
JAI MATA DI. GOOD COLOUR SUITING YOU. MY BLESSINGS AND BLESSINGS OF BABA SANKATNATH.
They have learnt to type and know that the little bar below photographs is where they can key in whatever comes to their mind. And, sometimes, there is a query that is urgent. So, a photograph of yours with your spouse at an anniversary candlelit dinner may get a comment like –
PLEASE GIVE PINTU CHACHA’S TELEPHONE NUMBER TO GUDDAN MAMA. IT IS REGARDING BITTU’S ADMISSION EXAM IN BOMBAY. CHACHI SUFFERING WITH ULCER PROBLEM.
Now, God forbid if you’ve left your facebook wall settings open allowing anyone to post on it. One fine day, you will have a series of posts that you’ve seen five years back. Some will be hoax messages like the photo of the tourist on observation deck of the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001. Or, a message telling you that kurkure has plastic in it. And, a picture of a cloud in the shape of a God. And, to sign off, a message with the benefits of meditation.
You ask around on how to find a solution. Any best practices? Anyone has succeeded in avoiding this situation or remedying it? There isn’t any. Not even with the blessings of Baba Sankatnath.