WhatsApp is an important social media messaging application in our daily lives and I use it to message my wife in the next room asking about breakfast.
”I don’t know,” she replies. “What do you want?”
“Egg bhurji with roti and pan-boiled tea”, I message her from the bedroom with the door closed trying to keep all human sounds out.
My wife then shouts to the maid in the kitchen, a few feet away, and it is once again another lazy Sunday morning for me, thanks to latest technology.
The other useful use of this messaging app is when I suddenly lose sight of my wife in the hypermarket among the hundreds of busy housewives and career women pushing trolleys with their clueless husbands and dazed partners ambling behind them.
“I am in the pickles and poppadom aisle, number eight,” she says.
The app is very popular, especially among Indians, and among the 80 billion messages that are sent worldwide daily, many of them are messages of cheer for a wonderful Good Morning.
When we arrived in India, my chat TL was inundated with messages every morning, that said something like this: “Seize the day with all your might, as you awaken from a peaceful night. Take on life’s challenges with a confident heart, as each day is a brand-new start.”
The poetry had pictures of ridiculously cheerful flowers and a coffee cup at the side, with biscuits in the saucer. I realised that for some reason many Indians love cheesy English poetry.
Then it got too much even for my super smart, smartphone and it just died. The guy in the mobile phone stall at the market said my phone had a load of trash and he would delete it, and for some mad reason I said, “No, I will do it myself.”
Getting a nerve disorder
I wanted to see all my messages before I deleted them, and it was super maddening as I hunched over my phone every night. “What are you doing?” asked my wife, as I realised I was getting a nerve disorder in my right hand, with the ominous name, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
Wall Street Journal reports that one in three Indians run out of space on their cell phones every day. Apparently, Indians’ obsession of sending Good Morning messages is driving everyone crazy, not just me.
Google also found there is a huge surge in data use every morning, as many Indians got online for the first time.
So, WhatsApp engineers, in their infinite wisdom, added a status message that allowed people to send zillions of Good Morning messages all at once, to all their contacts, with just one tap on the screen.
It was reported in the newspapers that India recently conducted one of the world’s biggest vaccination drives against Coronavirus infection. It was but natural that millions would be involved as India’s population is the second-largest, after China, and will soon even overtake China.
Besides mornings, the other thing I dread is the New Year. As soon as I get into bed, hoping to sleep early for once and get up in the New Year fresh as a daisy, the billion messages start popping in.
I peer into my phone with its bright blue light that drives all sleep away, and see this message: “Wishing you a very joyful New year despite these difficult times. We really wish things were different and that we could visit you. We hope that the New Year brings your family much happiness and prosperity, and that in time the world will be a safe place again. Take care, and see you on Zoom soon.”
“Put the phone on silent,” says my wife.
Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi