(Article written exclusively for India Today)
The year is 2015. Homo sapiens have just about mastered the skill of using SMS lingo in oral conversations.
"Laugh and the world laughs at you, LOL and the world ROFLs / ROFLMAOs / LMFAOs at you (depending on their stage of human evolution)."
However, mankind is still struggling to come to terms with selfies. Back as a kid, life was a lot simpler. There was one Kodak camera in the house, and the internet was basically a medium with the sole purpose of getting to see plump green and blue MSN messenger icons rotate in circles, on loop. Pictures were clicked stingily and the people getting clicked were legally obligated to strike a flamboyant pose even if it was a funeral ceremony. The cheat codes of striking a good pose were perfected and passed on from one generation to the next.
Recently, at my college, we had a mock fire drill ie that part of the year where everyone is supposed to fake traumatised facial expressions (like the ones you get after seeing Mexican dosa on the Dosa Plaza restaurant chain menu), and also, tragically, the only part of the year where you compulsorily burn calories by taking the staircase for no noble intentions, but only because the lifts have been out of order.
For a change, I indulged in the much loved selfie craze and willingly became a part of about 40-60 group selfies during the six minute walk downstairs. This was pretty much like a social experiment for me. You know, like the ones you see on Facebook, where they run a car over a cat and check if a dead kitty evoked any public sympathy, with hidden cameras.
I was born with average looks and a gazillion or more diverse facial expressions than Arjun Rampal could ever achieve in his lifespan. I like to keep myself pretty low key. Unlike others who inhabit this planet, I religiously change my Facebook profile picture only once every five years. I do it not because of any narcissistic pangs, but as a token of appreciation to all my friends for bearing the same profile picture of me for such a long time. Needless to say, I get bombarded with loads of positive messages such as "Woah! You won't stop growing your waistline, will you?" to touching ones like, "Dude, do you like get paid for playing with our emotions or something?"
I pretty much gave up on deciphering the enchanting world of selfies during my last trip to Goa, when I spotted a group of girls pouting next to a statue of Jesus in deep pain on a cross at one of the main churches there.
The world was a happy place before commercialisation set in. Corporations around the world battled it out with each other to answer fundamental questions like "How do we make humans look stupid and intelligent at the same time?" And voila! The selfie stick was invented.
Selfie sticks are yet another pointless contribution to mankind, following Diet Coke, Oreo pizzas and glow-in-the-dark skeletons. Recently, all hell broke loose as President Obama was spotted using a selfie stick in an online video by Buzzfeed, USA. Now I do understand the utility of carrying selfie sticks to save random strangers the pain of clicking distorted pictures for you. Nonetheless, I wish you good luck with your selfie supremacy conquests.
Spoiler alert: Just in case you come across any murders being committed, using selfie sticks with inbuilt Swiss Army knives, I may be the culprit. Thank you for your understanding.