If Caesar were betrayed in current times, it would have been via a tweet. And he would have responded by posting a quote on his Facebook wall: ‘It’s amazing how little you know those who you think you know best’. Or, ‘It’s hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it’.
Random people would ‘like’ it, comment on it, without realising that it’s meant, solely, for the eyes of that one newly-turned enemy.
Brutus, in the meantime, would, while cleaning the knife with one hand, pick his phone with the other. He would write on his Facebook wall, ‘Well, if you love a friend deeply, how much more should you love your country? <patriotic emoji>’
It reminds me of the ‘party songs’ of the ’60s movies. The heartbroken lover would pound the piano breaking into a song so melancholy and bitter that the milk in the kitchen would curdle. But, the only person ‘getting’ the message would be the girl: that beautiful heroine with hair-do the size of a low-income housing scheme flat. She would twist her pallu-end with desperation. She would wipe tears no one noticed. And clutch the balustrade like she were having stomach cramps. Her grinning fiancé would notice not a thing and would swoop her into a dance. The other guests would also find partners, almost immediately and begin a well-coordinated waltzing flash mob. The jilted lover would, by now, probably gouge his eyes out with toothpicks served by liveried waiters before starting Verse 3.
We have invented our own version now of the ‘party-song’ revenge. It is the internet-supplied meme. Or, a wise quote or a GIF. Even a well-written shayari, if bitter enough, works. So, when we have a bone to pick, we search these up. Some of us even have a ready stock in a folder called, ‘Revenge and Shaming’.
So, the moment we need to reach a message to just one person, we post these on social media. On Facebook. Or in WhatsApp groups. It is important to keep the tone extremely self-righteous. Like you have suddenly received a halo in an Amazon delivery and you are as noble as the Pope, twice over.
Recently, my husband, who has the stoicism of a monk, twice over, faced a barrage of such posts intended for him. He, of course, remained unmoved. He seemed a little amused. As for me, I swung between pity (for the venting party) and disgust (for the venting party)!
People who resort to social media to vent, in my scheme of things, are an entire ladder (not just rungs) below those who wish their spouses ‘Happy Birthday’ on the same. They have the maturity of silly strings gushing out of pressurised cans. Not only the ejection is uncontrollable, it is also, well, silly.
It’s perhaps, time for the government to take some action. How about a law? Maybe, an additional clause to the one that prohibits mass forwarding of WhatsApp messages? This one should haul up the pouty, self righteous avengers. Grow up, it could say. Or, maybe, provide them a piano on easy EMIs. I really preferred the party song venting.
(Bestselling author Rachna Singh is a sit-down comedienne)