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punjab Updated: Apr 11, 2013 09:32 IST
Charu N Thakur
Charu N Thakur
Hindustan Times

"I have reached the 1,000 mark!" screamed my friend. She is not a cricketer who has scored runs or taken wickets. It's the score of her Facebook friends. Anything less than 200 is pathetic and not being on Facebook means you do not exist. It is something like a teenager not having a mobile. This is the march of civilisation, or rather communication technology, for you. Despite the scandals and scams, one cannot imagine life without it all.

The friends can range from 10-year-olds (illegal) to septuagenarians. Why is my two-year-old niece not on FB? I need to take up this issue with my brother. So what if she can't even recognise the letters and has no concept of counting. She can definitely 'like' cartoons, photos and nursery rhymes. And of course, accept birthday wishes. Her proficiency in the use of iPhone can beat hardcore users. My brother has no business curbing her freedom of expression, her fundamental right.

It's essential to devote 2-3 hours every day on Facebook, otherwise you are bound to miss what your cousin has shopped and from where, whether your friend is going for yoga these days or not, whether your aunt has been cooking Chinese or continental for her party, and where did your colleague spent her vacation. This essential information is the basis of our social fabric. Our social life has never been so good, and the best part is that it is all during office hours.

If your friend has spent days to sort out and place 500-odd photos of her foreign visit on FB, you can devote at least 10 seconds to click on 'like'. One need not pore over all photos trying to find the good ones. A 'like' for the whole album would do. Remember the time when a visit to the newly-weds' house meant going through the wedding album, followed by the torture of watching the marriage video. The ordeal used to be compounded if one had not attended that wedding and there was no hope of seeing oneself in all the finery.

But if the friend himself/herself loves to face the camera, then there is no choice but to go through all portraits and give comments. Similarly, listening to all songs uploaded by friends on YouTube for your entertainment is an uphill task. And the profound statements of life, the nuggets of wisdom may not make anyone wiser, but everyone pretends to nod the head (or, in this case, write a comment) wisely.

If one has been careless enough to be friends with one's seniors, then the only option is to stay alert throughout the day. The moment the senior posts something on Facebook, be the first one to like it. If you have been lazy and your rival has not only liked the post but also made a witty and praiseworthy comment, your day is ruined.

The other day, my mother and I were at home, both busy on our Smartphones. She shared a page on the cucumber's benefits. I liked it and shared a page on the cost of generic medicines. Silently typing away, we were in touch on Facebook. What happened to being in touch face to face?