An exhaustive exercise in vanity

Gone are the days when accomplishments were kept under wraps, away from public gaze. The common refrain used to be ‘nazar lag jaye gi. Hence, sharing of good news was discouraged. Not true any longer.

In the age of social media, everyone seems to be flaunting achievements and crowing about one’s accomplishments on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Not only is there a generous over sharing of good news, but every activity, even a visit to a mall, is to be announced on social media. For some dining out is not a private experience, the dishes they order, the food they eat is meant for public consumption on social media. Every moment must be clicked and uploaded instantly to get likes and comments.

These and many more trends I have observed ever since I joined Facebook a couple of years ago. I am horrified to see everything from a hook-up to a break up being flashed by the Gen X and Y on social media. Public display of affection may not be a part of Indian culture but privacy doesn’t seem to be a hall mark of romantic relationship for the youngsters. Lovey-dovey couples can be seen on social media platforms in romantic poses looking at into each other’s eyes. It is another matter that some of them may be having a rough ride in relationship but they are head over heels in love with each another on Facebook and Instagram.

Social media gives a sneak peek into people’s life, their public persona but you won’t know how much of it is real. The fact is social media is deceptive giving an impression that everything is hunky dory in the lives of others which may be a pretence. Online spaces are often oriented towards exaggeration. Everything on social media platforms is glamorous from people to places to food. It is here you find stunning beauties, the most exotic locations and the happiest people having an awesome time.

Seeing everyone having a perfect life, you wonder if you are the only one leading the drudgery of an ordinary life. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Social media sites prove to be killjoy. By triggering comparisons, these are quite capable of creating self doubt and anxiety over illusions. Especially damaging is the comparison in the battle of likes and comments, which are more often than not, based on the principle of reciprocity, responding to another’s action with an equivalent action, like for like, and comment for comment. The more you give, the more you get. ‘

Most of us do understand the reality behind wow comments and exhilarating likes yet continue to be trapped in the web. A WhatsApp joke sums up the predicament of many like me. ‘Not so young a woman is contemplating exiting from Facebook but she can’t. The reason: A person of her age will not be able get anywhere else the compliments like ‘beautiful’, ‘gorgeous’, and ‘elegant’ garners that she garners on Facebook.’


Jokes apart, social media has proved to be a blessing by helping us stay connected especially in these challenging times. Of course, it is up to us to steer clear of the superfluities.


14 Replies to “An exhaustive exercise in vanity”

  1. FEBRUARY 4, 2022 AT 12:58 PM
    ‘Exhaustive Study in Vanity ‘ is so impressive the’ Title ‘as is the write up. As you said Theodore Roosevelt had put ‘Comparison is thief of Joy ‘These days we have forgotten how to ‘Spend the time Well ‘ in productive activities. Social media has put blinkers in the achievement of our goals . At the same time we remain well connected with each other at all times. No loneliness. It’s up to us whether to become content creators or content consumers

    1. Thank you so much Mrs Chopra for reading and giving your feedback.Hats off to you for the wonderful analysis. I agree social media allows us stay connected, help us fight loneliness blues and a good time pass.
      Vipul created my FB account almost decade ago but it was lying dormant for years together. It is only after retirement, especially in the last two-three years that I have become active on his platform.Whatever I may say, the reality is now I am hooked on to it.

  2. Wonderful write up Rama. Once again we all can relate to it. We all are slowly getting hooked to the social media. But definitely it steals time.
    We have to create a balance, you said it so right. Thank God our generation is not posting many pics of their visits to Malls and the food they order. Maybe we are conditioned otherwise. We are happy for being socially connected.

    1. As always a positive take from Alka. I agree we are also getting hooked on to social media. We may be a little conservative in our postings on these sites but definitely feel happy being socially connected.

  3. ‘Online spaces are often oriented towards exaggeration. ‘ So rightly put Rama.We seem to be living in a fake world sometimes..But social media has its virtues too.As ever before a beautifully written article on the contemporary scenario.

    1. Your comment is nothing short of a blessing for me.Thank you so much Mrs Dhawan for reading and leaving your comment.

  4. That’s true Dear Rama Ji
    Our generation still shy from this new world
    My Mother-in-law used to say give me fitkari Nazar Uttar dia saria di still deeply miss those blessings
    Now everything on display window…,

    1. Absolutely Simran, it’s a different world altogether.Even our generation, at times, feels odd with the display. I wonder how our elders would have reacted to flaunting and generous sharing of good news- totally shocked ! All the more a reason for nazar utarna!

  5. Rama, you being a writer can express anything whenever you feel like , we just keep on nurturing the feelings with out sharing with any one to save our self from the tags of backward thinking or jealous of others happiness.
    How should it ever matter to others that you are in Simla or Switzerland, U are eating fish or vegetable.lts nothing else but ego satisfaction.
    One can satisfy their ego in either ways . show it off boldly or cover it under the mask of politeness like our political leaders.
    The other reason is fear.l find it curse on human being, that we all are always in the grip of fear to loose, and that makes us convey our love and hugs through media fr validation , where as our theory was mohbbat ka chupana hi hai mohabbat.

    1. Oh my God ! Such a hard hitting comment on social media posts! A reality!! Absolutely,it doesn’t matter to anybody what you eat , where you are holidaying, yet all this is being flaunted on Facebook .We belong to the old school of thoughts . It is equally difficult for us to digest open display of love, something so common on social media .
      Thank you so much Mrs Behl for sharing your views.

  6. A very masterly write up, once again, striking at the heart of matter.
    Social media has its advantages, no doubt, but it seems to have exaggerated superficialities, pretensions and one_upmanship.

    1. Thank you so much ma’am. It is a matter of joy for me , ma’am, that you not only read my pieces with interest but also leave your valuable comments. Feel blessed …

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