Six degrees of Social Media!


My cook sent me a friend request on Facebook the other day.

It was her all right. There was no mistaking that round, smiling face, red bindi plastered on the forehead and brightly coloured saree. The message ominously said “Shakti D wants to be friends with you.”

Below the friend request was a lineup of people Facebook thought I should befriend. They included my plumber, Acquaguard service technician and the cab agency owner I hire taxis from regularly.

As I stared at the screen in disbelief, I realized that six degrees of separation was not an abstract idea anymore. It had become a rather grim reality, in my case.

Now it’s one thing being connected to Kevin Bacon through someone or the other you may know in life. I mean, Footloose is one of my favourite movies. I’ve practically grown up watching it and drooling over Bacon and his dance moves. But the rest, I have a problem with!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not me being snobbish and class conscious. I’m an intensely private person and the only thing I share with the world at large is my writing. It’s bad enough that my family and relatives have invaded my online space and I have to befriend them on various social media platforms and read and dutifully like their Whatsapp messages (read spam) on a daily basis so that they don’t get offended. Relationship quotes, inspirational sayings, funny videos and memes. Bring it on. My phone is struggling to function with the burden of the those.

But when I get a message and a picture of an ugly-as-hell bouquet of flowers from an unfamiliar number that says: “Didi, how do you like my latest flower arrangement? You can buy it from my shop” I have a problem. I mean, I’ve just ordered flowers from the guy once and he is already on my Whatsapp list of contacts behaving as though he were an old friend!

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Block. Block. Block.

As for my cook, I’m still wondering what to do with that invitation. I really don’t want to offend her. My life depends on her turning up to work at the right time and putting hot food on the table for the family. If I jeopardise that relationship, my life will be turned upside down. Literally.

I could live without my relatives but not my cook.

Kevin Bacon can wait. I will make do with Shakti D for the time being.

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