Something nudged me from behind; I ignored it as I my gaze was transfixed at the work of art before me, then again, this time at the neck. My charitable instincts told me to turn around and help the old man with the walking stick (for there is never an old lady in the stories; they are created to be forever young!) and I did turn but to my utter dismay, there was no old man but a young couple hand in hand with a protruding rod and a Goddamn device at the end of it, facing them. They were pouting, smiling, kissing at the gadget and of course poking and provoking all around them! The pedagogical mind coerced me to action and in a jiffy, I yanked the rod and whacked the self obsessed deuce black and blue – well all the Jackie Chan action was in the mind only. Getting back to senses, for better or for worse, I know not, I shooed them away like a crow that has just splashed white excrement on my newly laundered shirt! But they rambled on at their own sweet pace oblivious of the surroundings – the place, the purpose and the plight of people around them!
The ruling passion of the day, for ignoramuses like me, was taught the hard way by the brood as it seemed to be omnipresent….in malls, in multiplexes, in stadiums, in places of interest, in food courts, in schools and colleges, well literally everywhere and soon it was implanted in my bird brain that this “rod” was called the selfie stick and the device attached to the end of it was a device with camera, it could be a mobile, a tablet or a pad. I soon realized that after the creation of Adam and Eve and the discovery that Earth was round, the third most important invention of man had to be the mobile with all the paraphernalia! The compulsive disorder to click, click and click and then to share, share and share and be liked, liked and liked is the most popular activity of this “narcissistic era”! And the mobile makers too made hay while the sun shone by adding xxxx megapixel into the front camera. The days of autographs are long gone, now it is the dictum of selfies and groupfies that governs – from Prime ministers to celebrities in any field to the “aam aadmi”, the stamp of remembrance or sharing space takes the form of getting into the frame. Zooming in, one admires every contour and admonishes the flaws – hair ruffled, lips too full, or a pimple peeping out of the cheek, or yellow teeth and then begins the untiring effort to rediscover and enhance the picture with all sorts of “tools “that are available which crops, cuts, brightens and adds special effects to the portrait! God save his never satisfied creations, who are turning out to be self centred, obsessed and gloating with their selves! The extreme infatuation with one’s physiognomy shows no partiality or discrimination and covers everyone, like in seven stages of man, from the thumb sucking infant to the kid who spends his first day at school ready to let his tear glands work, the bubbly teenager, the starry eyed lover , the newlywed and the person ready to kick the bucket!
Welcome the new age self loving, egocentric narcissistic maniac for whom the thing of beauty lies within the photo frame in the stick-held. Man, in his quest for monomania, invented the stick and substituted it for the long, tired and pained outstretched arms to simplify the self glorification process! This frenzy of vain glory drives nincompoops like me into fits of fury and all I can do is cast a sardonic glance at the avant-garde fools behind the outlandish stick!