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Short Take: ‘Virtually’ happy
January 06, 2018
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‘Virtually’ happy

Media is the most powerful tool with a huge reach of audience. If media is considered an arrow swiftly moving towards its target, it has definitely got it completely right and hit the spot right on.

Living in the age of the virtual world and virtual reality as it’s ironically called, creating a world of mind-boggling visuals is done with absolute ease. It makes me wonder about the amount of creativity the mind behind this, compared to mine which is filled with coffee and most times with everyday’s anxiety.

In this addictive world of social networking, people step into a world of exciting and interesting visuals, which drift them away into la-la land, far away from the brutal actual reality.

I appreciate the growth and the tremendous effort it takes to create a make-believe world which is too mesmerising to step back into the real one, but for someone who just keeps the gadgets and the smart equipment away and actually looks into the eye of another human being while conversing, it’s a little difficult to digest.

The part that’s the most difficult to digest is the fact that we are taking baby steps and sometimes even leaps of progress which is kind of taking us far away from being real. The human touch has become a bygone thing.

Whatever happened to body language, eye contact, the warmth of a touch. It has rapidly evolved into statuses, profile pictures, snapchat updates and even tweets of appreciation, love, or even hate which is pretty predominant.

Now we can say we no longer touch to believe how someone feels, we now go by updates. Unfortunately, a virtual hug emoticon cannot ever replace an actual hug when we feel low. The emptiness remains.

There’s a void inside you that hurts so much because love isn’t a feeling anymore. It comes in the shape of a heart and it beats on your face in numerous numbers.

Precisely why most people who are not socially active or not having the time to update their life’s happenings on social media are actually feeling crumbled as they scroll through other peoples “I’m having the time of my life” updates.

But I am happy for the ones who are at least “virtually” happy.
Niloufar Saleem

Timely help

Have you ever missed taking your passport to airport while rushing to catch an international flight?

My family - including my husband, daughter, brother and myself - were preparing for our annual vacation. We were busy with our last minute packing and I was the one responsible to take the ticket copies and passports.

I carefully placed four passports and ticket copies in my handbag. To be on the safer side, my husband repeatedly kept on asking if I had taken the passports on our way to airport. I double checked my handbag and was relieved to see four passports and ticket copies in it.

We reached the airport two hours before the boarding time. All our faces were brimming with joy as we were about to start our one-month annual vacation. With plenty of time to spare, we all marched on to the counter to collect our boarding passes, only then did I realise I had mistakenly taken my husband’s expired passport instead of my brother’s.

All those cheerful thoughts were replaced by tension and anxiety. I had no clue what to do or what happens next.

Fortunately, my husband took control of the situation instantaneously. He called our family friend who had a spare key to our flat and directed him to collect the passport and rush to the airport.

Thanks to timely action by our friend, we all boarded the flight on time. Our friend was kind enough to keep aside all his work and was happy to help us. When he spared 30 minutes of his time for us, he rescued our 1-month annual vacation, and our friendship grew stronger.

Eustache Deschamps, a medieval French poet had said, “Friends are relatives you make for yourself.” We might have numerous friends, but only a few extend a helping hand during our tough times. Nowadays all are busy with their own lives and are seldom ready to spare a few minutes for a friend.

Let’s all take a New Year resolution to be a better friend, keep in touch with the old ones, and stay with them through thick and thin.
Divya Sunil

New Year eve shock

“What did I receive on the New Year eve?”

“Panic?”

Yes, it was almost midnight, just a few hours before rising of the sun for a fresh day, fresh year, fresh thoughts.

I realised something had to be redeemed before the end of the year and rushed to a nearby shopping mall. The voucher remained in the wallet, I yet had a look at it again to check its expiry.

Shopping was done in a hurry and when I reached the counter the cashier informed that the coupon could not be exchanged there as the voucher had to be claimed where the purchase had been made.

It was a New Year eve shock.

Without thinking much, I rushed to the nearby outlet from where the voucher was originally issued. By the time it was almost midnight.

While looking at the readymade pieces on offer, I noticed something attractive and checked its quality as well as size, but I could not find what I wanted.

After much running around, the shopping got done, voucher exchanged and I returned home. By that time it was already the New Year.

A day after, I realised that the special offers on display never matched my expectations, though I was happy I could buy something for a fresh beginning.

The New Year just came in with such a gift that I could remember it on the eve of every New Year.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Write choice

I think I must have been in Grade 3 or 4 when I first had this urge to write something on my own. Something like the little poems in my English Reader or the fascinating stories in the children’s magazines that my father used to buy for me.

Only, I didn’t know if I could write. I mean, was it alright to come up with something of my own creation? Did the world appreciate and accept new writers? I didn’t know because, unfortunately, there was no one to help me on this count.

Those were the days when the world was not hyperlinked by the Web, the only mouse we knew was what we ran away from when the rodent scampered between our legs, and social media was, well, who knew what it was. So neither my parents nor any of the elders in my family were exposed to anything beyond the realm of their limited sphere of existence.

Then there was school and our language classes in which we had something called “Composition,” a forerunner of today’s Creative Writing classes.

Except that we didn’t compose anything and there was nothing creative in what we wrote.

We had these composition books that you could buy in any store and when teacher gave us a topic, we had to scan through the pages of those books, find what we wanted and simply had to copy the essay down in our long notebooks, word for word.

Even the topics for the essays were stereotypical. From Grade 3 to Grade 9, I recollect writing about my ambition in life. And each year I presented a different essay depending on the composition book I had with me, which again gave us only what was within bounds.

I am therefore amazed that considering the uncreative background I’ve gone through and having not once been allowed to mention in all those years of ambition essays, I have eventually ended up being a writer!
Vidya Shankar

Great escape

I still remember when we bought our first black and white television in Karachi, we could watch only Pakistan Television (PTV).

After a few months my father subscribed to Dish TV to get more channels. We marvelled at the magic of the remote to shuffle channels at will. We were amazed at what technology could achieve.

The TV held us together for most part of the day in a state of conjugal tension, alternating between bickering and bonding. I came to an understanding that my role was to simply stand and stare when serials of my family’s choice were aired.

This understanding marked our watching a film that evening when one of the defining events of my life happened. The movie was The Burning Train.

“What kind of dress is that hero Dharmendra wearing?” I commented unwarily.

“Why don’t you watch the film? Commenting on everything as if you are perfect,” my sister yelled at me without taking her eyes off the TV.

While in the movie the train was speeding into a dark tunnel and the screen went shady, I sensed a part of the kitchen come alive over the TV screen.

I sensed imminent danger following a foul smell.

“There’s something wrong,” I shouted and darted into the kitchen. I then called my mother for help.

She had forgotten to switch off one of the two burners of the stove and a cloth was nearby.

We stumbled back from the kitchen into the living room, each able to hear the drumming of the other’s heart. The TV was still coping with the fire on the train.

That night we couldn’t sleep well thinking about what would’ve happened if I had not averted a likely fire at the kitchen.

Next day, my mom shared the entire story with the neighbourhood in unconnected bits and pieces, just like television serials.
Zakir Jawed

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