But First…

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Pouting lips, crinkled eyes, and crooked smiles. “Aww, poor girls! Beautiful but handicapped,” crooned my 85-year-old grandmother.

She was looking over my shoulder as I flipped through my friend’s selfies on Facebook. My friend, along with her cousins, had gone to Goa for the weekend.

From what I could see, they had had great fun. They’d spent all night in the casino, all afternoon at the Agoda fort, and all morning going from the Basilica of Bom Jesus to the Se Cathedral. And all these I knew because I could see fantastic structures looming behind their heads.

My 20-year-old friend was at the peak of her life. And life for her was travel and photography. Or selfies, as they now call it.

She’d been to all over South India and has over a thousand selfies to prove it. She neither remembers the names of the places she’s visited nor know how old some of those churches are, but she knew she’d been there.

Until a few years ago, if we’re on a road trip and notice a monkey chasing another, we’d dive into our bags hoping we had a camera with. We yearned to freeze moments in time to make them last forever. But that was once upon a time.

Nowadays, though, we have a camera on us at all times; we may forget to pack our lunch, but never our phones.

My friend, for instance, travels just for the sake of selfies. And with every selfie, she becomes more conscious of her looks. Her photos now show a slender, lip-glossed, powder-puffed woman posing in front of an old, waning Chitra Museum.

Once, people travelled to get away from their routine lives, for solitude. Now, however, people go places for selfies that would fetch them likes and love.

My friend is no different. She goes for the rush of standing before a renowned construction as if she’s conquered the old conquerors. Her parents stay abroad, and she with her grandmother, who, by the way, is too busy doing charity to keep up with her grand-daughter. Every time she posts a selfie on Facebook or Instagram, she writes a message to us, asking for opinions. And she’d accept nothing less than a Like. And thanks to Facebook’s new updates, she can also get the Love she so craves.

We’re all a bit like her. Smiling for the camera, dressing up for a like, or making fools out of ourselves for some acceptance.

Perhaps, we should leave our phones behind, and climb a mountain just for the fun of it. Or go on a hike just because our knees are strong enough. Perhaps, for once, we should live the moment — flyaway hair and all.

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