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My perfect selfie

chandigarh Updated: Nov 06, 2014 10:14 IST
Dr (Maj) Ankur Malhotra
Dr (Maj) Ankur Malhotra
Hindustan Times

Inspired by the crested black macaque or the monkey whose selfie went viral online and made him an instant celebrity not so long ago, I too began my quest for the perfect selfie. My desire for the selfie was fuelled further by images of US President Barack Obama and UK prime minister David Cameron taking one at Nelson Mandela's memorial service and Narendra Modi clicking himself after casting his vote in the Lok Sabha elections.

The headlines these leaders made motivated me and I began dreaming of my selfie going viral on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, transforming me into a mini celebrity. I imagined that my selfie could be my big ticket to Big Boss or Kaun Banega Mahacrorepati's hot seat, where I would get to share the dais with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan. "If a monkey with a stolen camera can become famous, so can I," I reasoned.

My search for the perfect selfie led me to Google's website, where I learnt that in November 2013, 'selfie' had been declared the word of the year by the Oxford English dictionary. Instagram has over 53 million photos tagged with the hashtag selfie. The word selfie was mentioned in Facebook over 3,68,000 times during a week in October 2013.

But man's love for selfies isn't such a recent phenomenon. Self-portraits were common during the 15th century when artists such as Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh indulged themselves. Selfies can thus be described as a modern day equivalent of self-portraits.

In today's world, you do not have to be a great painter to indulge in this expression of self love. With the help of the smartphone, you can click a selfie anytime, anywhere and instantly post it on social media. Instant likes and tweets by friends and family pamper your ego and vanity.

It's the 21st century barometer of your social value and likeability quotient. On the contrary, not getting enough likes makes you grumpy, irritable and prone to depression. Recent studies have even suggested that people who post selfies online struggle with low self-esteem.

Undeterred by my findings, I posted my first selfie on social media sites. I believe that the internet gives an equal chance to monkeys and men to be famous and worthy in this competitive world. I had butterflies in my stomach as I waited for likes and comments on my social media page.

But to my anguish, and frustration, my perfect selfie got fewer likes than I'd like and still fewer positive comments, forget about the retweets. Yes, my selfie adventurism was a big flop. The monkey won this time, I consoled myself, as I was forced to live with a shattered dream and a bruised ego.