Social Media Influencer. Food. Fashion. Lifestyle. DM for details.’
I was staring at my cousin’s Instagram profile (called Official Pinky) because I was asked to. Pinky, who had just finished her schooling, was the first member of our middle class family who refused to go to college because she wanted to become an online influencer. Her father wanted me to talk some sense into her and both of them sat in silence while I went through her other social media accounts. An influencer who couldn’t influence her father, I laughed at the irony.
I couldn’t believe that people were getting paid to do this. Imagine thousands of years of evolution leading up to this point where people make a living by telling others what cream gets rid of pimples faster. Also, what stories are we creating for our generation? Would we ever be able to defend our honour in heaven/hell? Imagine the conversations between the people from different eras:
19th century: We invented ships to travel above the water.
20th century: We invented submarines to travel under the water.
Us: We reviewed three rose water brands and created #Roj_Lagao_Rose hashtag out of it.
19th century: We fought the French War, took years to heal.
20th century: We fought the World War, took years to heal.
Us: I fought two online trolls today, need to heal. Going for the sacred Lomi Lomi massage, will soon post a video. 20 per cent discount to followers who can describe what ‘Lomi Lomi’ means.
I looked at Pinky who was busy posting to keep her followers engaged. Some of the famous online influencers are like God to their followers and I couldn’t help but feel jealous. I mean, wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of giving signs, we could follow God and he kept us engaged. Some updates like these would definitely help:
Feeling cute, IDK, might send a storm later.
Hopeless romantics who fell in love over the weekend can be assured that it was a small prank I played. No one loves you really.
Yes, you heard it right. People who are going to give out Game of Thrones spoilers are definitely going to hell! Also, they will be made to watch Tik Tok videos on loop.
I tried to focus on the task at hand and went back to Pinky’s profile. I realised how different real Pinky and official Pinky were.
Official Pinky wakes up every day to bliss! She shares the positive vibes with her followers and posts a picture of her Twinings green tea. She then uploads a motivational video and tells everyone to ‘seize the day’. Throughout the day, she shares pictures of either the books that she’s reading or the documentaries that she’s following. In the evening, she tries out various outfits before stepping out and then clicks random outdoor picture saying ‘body is here, mind is at some beach’. She then proceeds to review some restaurant with her homies where she invades the privacy of every food item by taking its pictures from every possible angle. She then returns home and tells her followers that she’ll now relax in her bath tub and will digitally disconnect to connect with her spiritual side.
Real Pinky wakes up every day to taunts from her father for her excessive use of internet. She then follows the morning routine of fighting her brothers for the prestigious title of ‘who uses the bathroom first’. After eating her breakfast that consists of everything butter, oil and potato offer, she spends her day watching TV shows like Crime Patrol and CID. In the evening, she wears her sister’s clothes, uses a range of Patanjali products that her family stocks and applies boroline to skin before stepping out. She goes out with her friends to a chai tapri to spend hours talking about the latest episode of Koffee with Karan and in the evening, returns tired complaining about the pollution and the traffic. She sleeps after applying odomos to her body while mosquitoes keep at their task.
I felt bad for Pinky. She had to live a fake online life just so that everyone believes that she’s cool. Being an influencer wasn’t as much fun as it sounded. It was more like acting, only here you had to make more videos and dance daily.
I decided to have a word with Pinky in private; this influencer influenza had to stop. I started my TED talks with the ill effects of this life on her mental health. I told her about Jessy Taylor who lost her Instagram account overnight and wasn’t skilled enough to apply for any kind of jobs. I even told her that this wasn’t a career choice; it was more like a hobby that wouldn’t earn her daily bread. I ended the speech with middle class keywords like ‘hardwork’, ‘patience’, ‘2bhk’ etc. Pinky sat quietly for a while and then told me that 9 to 5 job was for losers. I was about to protest when she told me how much she earned working only two hours a day. Fun fact: It was 4 times of what I earned.
I went and told her father that she knew what was best for her. Boiled water for my green tea, opened my Instagram profile and updated the bio — ‘Social Media Influencer. Food. Comedy. Travel. DM for details.’
(Sudhanshu Ramteke is a standup comedian)