You can find them everywhere, irrespective of the snob value of the location; living rooms, trains, malls, coffee shops, bus-stops, colleges, or one particularly disturbing one I came across recently, in the toilet.
They look into their smartphones and distort their otherwise pretty faces into a wannabe Angelina pout, an expression any sensible parent or person would instantly frown upon and a body language trying to exuberate more confidence than they actually possess; and go click. Welcome to the trending selfie world!
Few days ago, ten of us went for a trek, with the weather playing the perfect host. Right from the time we started, there were non-stop drizzles which we unsuccessfully tried to shield us from with our raincoats and umbrellas. We wanted to make it to the top and were hoping that the wrath of the rain gods wouldn’t get in the way.
The distance which would normally take around half an hour to cover took almost an hour and a half that day owing to the numerous stops we made on the way to click pictures! Now, who can resist getting under a waterfall and sipping the cool clean mountain water with someone clicking you while you do that? Ditto happens for the dense fog and the faintly visible buildings behind it, the grey clouds, the lush greenery, the mountains, the rocks, the flowers in bloom, the insects, and what say you.
While most of us posed happily with each other requesting passer-bys to click us, a small group of college girls who were accompanying us cared only for selfies. While I captured a beautiful stream of water, they took a selfie with it. While my friend held a colourful umbrella and stood on a parapet wall with a lovely tree in the background while I clicked her, they borrowed the umbrella and flocked together under it for a welfie.
We weren’t the ones to sermon them, but it did initiate a conversation between us. How sensible is it to go out in such a lovely weather and witness extremely rare picture-worthy moments in a city like Mumbai, and limit yourself to clicking pictures of your own? It can be done any other day right?
I don’t have anything against selfies, I click many with my kids. Us matured ones too clicked selfies on the trek, after we felt we had enough nature shots. Although selfies aren’t age-restricted, the younger brigade seems more obsessed with it, is what we all echoed.
I wonder about the sentiment behind them. A plausible explanation can be unavailability of anyone to press the click button when you’re alone. But even with people around selfies have become a rage, even though they are hardly accommodating. Your face covers a large part of the frame, sometimes accentuating a big nose, bagged eyes or a wayward pimple.
In welfies, all one can see is a few heads struggling to hog the frame, almost banging against each other and might or might not serve the purpose of ‘not leaving anyone behind’.
Aren’t pictures supposed to tell us stories? Don’t they have to tickle our imagination and make us see the larger picture? Are these selfie trends forced by smartphone manufacturers to widen their market? Are gullible and impressionable youngsters with increasing access to gadgets and social media falling head over heels for it? And most of all, going by current statistics, are they worth losing your life for?