There are few perks in working in a digital agency. Apart from surfing on social networking sites, I learn that a server somewhere has identified me as a part of a community and I am shown a communication because I am part of that community. Brilliant isn’t it! Millions of people are shown controlled messages and they don’t even know about the trait bucket that they fall under. I was sitting on my computer, reading my normal news-feed. I came across a profile which intrigued me a lot. It was the profile of my school classmate – Neha.
It was the year 1998. I was sitting and listening to my English teacher teaching us the poem, Death the Leveller by James Shirley. My friend beside me was showing me her poster of Nick Carter of ‘Backstreet Boys’ that she had just acquired. I looked at my right and Neha was sketching something weird. I took a closer look and I saw her drawing a picture of the tree near our school. We all loved the Gulmohar tree near our school. It looked like a tree which was on flames – crimson, red and orange interspersed together. The tree shed its flame every monsoon and was born like a phoenix again by April.
I take a look at her Facebook profile, she is working as an art curator in France. She was hardly noticeable back in school. A thin girl and was always sitting quietly in one corner. Her friends were like her – subdued and gentle.
“It’s 3pm here. Let me add her as a friend now. Maybe she will respond now,” I thought. She added me within 10 minutes. “Ok. So she remembers me”.
I browsed through her profile and I saw she had graduated here in Mumbai and received a scholarship. To my surprise she had a series of exhibition here. I saw her in a fancy skirt with a fairly good-looking chap. I browse through more photos and I establish that this James fellow is her boyfriend. They are in a relationship past few years. I see few pictures of her exhibition. I did not know what exactly I was looking for. But then I saw it – the Gulmohar tree. A massive painting of Gulmohar tree on a barren ground. I saw it first. I saw it before everybody else. I found her first.
There are times when I wanted to close my Facebook account. But, I realized I like it. It is my storyteller – A book of endless stories of different genre written in real-time. Everybody is present solely for one reason. We are there not for prying or stalking. We all want to hear a new story every day. Our story is not enough, gossip is not enough, books are not enough. We want real stories -illustrations, voice, feel and all the works. We want to know the story of Messi’s goal or we want to know how the next election in Indonesia through someone else. We all want to know the story of the girl in our college who did not make it. We want to feel better about our telling. Did we narrate it better? Did we structure it right? Is my story perfect?
As I open my Facebook account today I ask – So my story-teller what do you have in your box today?