Since when has unwinding become so hard? There was a time when one could scoot off for a movie in the middle of the day and not have to Instagram it with a #middaymoviegetaway #secretplans post. You could drop in for a cup of chai at your friend’s place unannounced without having to do that ‘feeling refreshed with mah chai-tea latte and mah bestie’ check-in on Facebook. You could go on vacation to Goa and not share a photo-story of your temporary fake tattoo against the glistening sun, that only a million people have shared before you. You could go to a spa without sharing a before-after selfie of your transformation. You could go for a walk without taking a picture of the road and a connecting tweet on deforestation and global warming. Or take off on a run without sharing your Fitbit stats. You could eat a gooey burger without checking out the calorie count online and sharing the picture of your dining debauchery. A meditation retreat is no good without a well-meaning quote post on ‘breathing in the present and letting go of the past’.
Yeah yeah, you say, what about Netflix and chill? But can you Netflix and actually chill? I mean, who Netflixes and doesn’t screenshot scenes and Instagram it into their stories? Who Netflixes and doesn’t simultaneously YouTube interviews of the cast or Google the entire season storyline when you are on Episode One? I mean, who watches shows anymore without live tweeting through it?
There are days when I want to curl up and read a book the old-fashioned way. Then I wonder what if books read my mind, tracked my eyeball movement, figured out which word I lingered on and which paragraph I skipped. What if they knew exactly the kind of male character I liked, you know, the brooding, handsome, intelligent, caring, warm, non-existent-in-real-life type and gave me more of him, chapter after chapter. What if I could balance a book under my chin, leaving both hands free to take selfies rather than having to turn the page painstakingly. What if I just switch to a Kindle and before I know it, I am wound up again.
When we are in a hyper-connected, hyper-sped up world, disconnecting takes actual effort. A Google search for the word ‘relax’ came up with 5,77,00,000 responses in less than 0.64 seconds. What we are looking for online maybe could be found offline. How about a week of day-dreaming? No posts, no stories, no shares, no check-ins, no pins and no videos. Just a few days of just staring into nothingness. Doing nothing, being nothing, saying nothing. Just go off the grid and see what’s it’s like NOT to tell the world you are off the grid. I am sure that will be an interesting social experiment.
Right now, though, I’ve to go and post online that I’ve finally managed to finish this piece with a carefully crafted hashtag. Oh, for any more tips on how to unwind, you can hit me up on Insta, FB, Twitter, Quora, Soundcloud, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Tinder, Hike…