There is a reason I consciously stay away from Whatsapp groups. These groups are usually filled with a deluge of fake news, forwarded messages, inspirational quotes written by questionable authors, blessings from God, and low-IQ jokes I do not need to read. Some of these jokes are so sexist and misogynistic that I am surprised women (and men) share, read, enjoy, and smiley-emoticonize them. Most of these stereotype women as shopping-maniacs, mother-in-law-haters, diamond-hungry (from the husband) people who are unable to stand up for themselves. Then there are saints walking on water, doctors performing medical miracles and transplanting the liver where the lungs should be, dating and mating tips no one needs to know, and so on. You can see why I am wary of these groups.
However, sometimes, I share my number with specific individuals because there was a need to stay in touch or sync up at some point of time. "Let's meet in downtown at 6 pm. Send me a Whatsapp message when you get there." That kind of thing. But then, some of them start sending me good morning messages and inspirational quotes every day. Why? Did I ask for them? These messages are usually appended by multi-colored flowers or sunrises in the background. Why am I being sent these? Why don't these messages stop even when I am not responding to them? Sometimes, my phone dings a good morning message in the evening, just because it is morning in some other part of the world. Sometimes, there are twenty quotes by Einstein that Einstein never said. Am I missing some social etiquette that I am supposed to know, etiquette where you wake up and instead of making coffee or using the bathroom, start roll calling random people good morning messages?
All these messages get muted first, and then blocked for life. But my question is, if that person was walking in front of me, in person, would they repeat the same thing that they just sent me? Imagine waiting at the bus stop and someone walks by me, suddenly shouting, "Good morning! You look like a flower today. Strength does not come from physical capacity, but from will." Or someone stopping by in my office and saying, "When a girl says that she can't live without you, she has made up her mind that you are her future." Or, "For every girl with a broken heart, there’s a guy there with a glue gun." Who is this making such sweeping generalizations? And why are they sharing these nuggets of wisdom unsolicited, even though they never hear back from me? I am not asocial by any stretch of imagination, far from it. Those who have met me know that I can talk about different things for hours. But again and again, I find myself at a loss for words when someone shouts out that "The Indian national anthem just won the best anthem award of the world by the UN," or "Good morning friend, have a nice Sunday, be with someone who is good for your mental health." Because, you, my unsolicited Whatsapp friend, are certainly not good for my mental health.
I was cell phone-free for 2 years, between 2014 and 2016. Those were the best two years of my life.