When a village old man departs these days, the news breaks on Facebook. This is how I got it when a friend’s father died, and the morning after the funeral, the bhog announcement on Facebook read: “No separate cards being sent”.
‘What an excellent idea!” Quick delivery of message and not a penny spent on printing cards. Facebook now is embedded so much into the psyche of the village youth that they cannot imagine life without it. There is not a boy or a girl who does not use this popular social-networking medium to share every moment of daily life, whether it’s going to the fields or riding the buffaloes into the village pond, or playing cards under the banyan tree.
They share the images of even trivial activities with online friends from cities, and to no surprise get many likes and comments from the world for which all this is novelty. When Facebook first came to India, it was an urban fad of only tech-savvy youth. In a short time, it took over the rural masses, and now the entire village seems to be moving on it.
A soldier coming home on holiday will first declare that in the status update and only then enter the house. From the railway station itself, he will put online a photograph captioned: “Desh da raakha apne pind ja reha
” (country’s defender going back to his village). The first shower of monsoon flooded some villages. Some youths of my village took the initiative to change the water’s course. The photographs of group effort were on Facebook an hour before the task was accomplished. Then there was a flood of comments and likes.
A young boy of my village is so addicted to the Zuckerberg miracle that he shares his every activity of the day on it. One day, he shocked us with an update about going to the fields for morning walk and easing himself subsequently, saying to all: “Naale sair, naale jungle paani
” (Doing two things together). Mercifully, he stopped just short of posting photographs of the activity.
In many posts, the village folk bring to light their problems. If there is a faulty sewer, you’ll get the images of water running on a street. You’ll also receive shots of people bathing in canals, dancing and drinking at the “motor” (tubewell), playing cricket in the empty fields, and organising community kitchen.
There will be posts about controversial decisions of the panchayat, dilapidated roads, and the catching of a thief during ‘pehra’ (night watch).
Sometimes funny images make their way to the social media. When a snake entered a house, the entire expelling exercise was telecast live on Facebook. The serene images of the natural landscape of the village also feature on the online pages. Beautiful surroundings, a flowing golden wheat crop in the fields, rain drops dancing on the banana leaves, you really must see and like.