4 Nov 2015

That Girl With The Spaghetti

So there is this girl I used to follow on Instagram. I don’t know how I found her; maybe she liked one of my pictures and I found her handle interesting enough to go check her account out, maybe I was ‘discover’ing and stumbled on a beautiful picture that took my breath away and I was curious to know what this particular sharer on social media thinks like.

Finding people is no task anymore, is it.

Anyway, so I found her. And I followed her hoping to pick her brains via her photos for better angles and technique on my own. She had a very discerning eye; she managed to get just the right angle on that plate of spaghetti in marinara sauce and framed that bird just right. She has a dog, Rufus. One wall at her place is painted buttercup yellow and she always seems to have a vase with red long-stalked flowers in them on the table against the wall (they might be fake, I can’t really tell. But if they aren’t, respect for having the patience to change them every single day). She is a messenger girl of some kind (the dignity of labor afforded to people by most countries blows my mind – except here, in India, of course. Here you have to be an engineer or a doctor to have any dignity. Writer? Editor? Thu) and she is saving up for college.

There is so much you can find out about someone through the pictures they post. I wonder if she realizes that. Most people don’t.

She’s in a different time zone, I think she is American (but then, all white people are Americans in my head. A brown-skinned 25 y.o. liberal being racist. How about that?). My sleepy eyes that need the light of the smartphone to pry them open at the ungodly hour of 6.30 a.m. (smarter the phone, dumber the things you use it for) run through her last #ootd post. She is pretty (blue eyes, blonde hair, perky smile – exactly how I picture Americans) but surprisingly there aren’t too many selfies in her feed. And my interest in seeing people’s selfies is inversely proportional to the amount of selfies posted.  Her selfies are extremely interesting.

Her white ruffled top is pretty, and considering it is Friday night, there is a bit of cleavage on display – the modest Indian in me tut-tuts before I shut it down (amazing how long and hard you have to work to recondition yourself to react the way you actually feel and not the way you have been taught to feel by your society). And that red skirt is definitely something I want in my overwhelming-pile-of-clothes-stuffed-into-a-wardrobe-that-might-topple-over-any-moment-now. I double tap the picture and swing my feet off the bed. Picture was posted eight hours ago. I vaguely wonder if she had a nice night and if her life is anything like those depicted in movies/ series while I squeeze shaving cream on to my toothbrush. Maybe not, I realize – we don’t break into a dance and a song (complete with backup dancers and orchestra) every time we fall in love or it rains or <insert event>, despite Bollywood’s best efforts, right?

I forget about her for the rest of the day. And the day after. And the day after, as well. After all, she IS a nobody in my life. A week later I scroll through my feed and a #labradorable on my feed reminds me of Rufus. That’s when I realize I haven’t seen her posts since the #ootd; I type out her handle in the search bar and click on her profile photo — no, that was the last thing she posted, nothing new here. I scroll through her feed aimlessly before my internet connection gives up its ghost. And I engage myself in other activities like eating the noodles in front of me.

Another week passes by before I remember her again. The search exercise is repeated, but no, no new pictures. I wonder what is keeping her busy. Is she on a social media detox of some sort? Did she get married? Did she lose her phone? Did something untoward happen to Rufus? I shake my head and put a stop to the increasing morbidity in my thoughts.

But out of sight, out of mind is the most honest statement ever made. I forget about her for a good six months.

Then again, one day, I think about how I knew this girl on Instagram who just disappeared and I seek her out. Nope, no more posts. The binge-watched-Criminal-Minds part of my mind seeks permission to paint gory tales of kidnapping and rape and torturing to death but the love-cookies-and-rain-and-books part shuts it down and I’m thankful for that. I force myself to not worry about her because I do have to go for a run in the deserted park today.

What happened to my American girl who got just the right angle on a plate of spaghetti in marinara sauce, though?

Sigh. I will never know.