Manage WhatsApp for a saner life

Sudhir and his wife have been looking to harvest their kidneys for the past 4 to 5 years. The kind family members of these good people, who have been proclaimed brain dead after an accident, have requested their colleagues to post this request on their behalf and have given their contact details too.

As my kidneys seem to be the only organs which are not giving me any problems, I have decided to not take up this offer. For now, I am forced to be content with just this article.

WhatsApp has taken the world by storm since its inception in 2009. It is an amazing way to keep in touch with your loved ones and acquaintances. It is the go-to place to form a group of like-minded people. This ubiquitous platform is used to create groups within an hour of attending a workshop, making strangers of the morning pally by the end of the day.  

It is an easy medium to share photos and videos besides wishing everyone good morning. It also helps the do-gooders of the society send some thought-provoking forwards — with or without reading it or understanding the implications of the messages, such as the forward about Sudhir’s kidneys.

Organ donation of brain dead people in India or in any country is a complex process. It can be done only with the assistance of experts and after completion of detailed paperwork. The organs need to be properly harvested and can be transplanted to the patient who has been registered with the hospital that does the procedure.

Sometimes, there is a long waiting list for the same. Matches need to be determined and rules and regulations followed. Yet, people keep forwarding, sometimes back to back, without any thought.

On a more sensitive side, we have high alert messages going viral on WhatsApp of a group of ‘outsiders’ who are involved in child trafficking. While child trafficking is a real concern, the fact remains that such messages create a fear psychosis among the public leading to unwarranted attack and lynching of innocent people as was the case in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana.

It is indeed sad when ‘doctored’ videos make innocent people victims of such messages. Leave alone the ‘unlettered’ of our society, even the ‘knowledgeable literates’ fall prey to such dubious messages.

Most social media have the knack of taking over our life in an insidious manner that we often find our sensibilities outraged, our propriety abused, and our values shaken not to speak about our lost time.

Ruled by blue ticks

Our genuine concern of FOMO (fear of missing out) has created in us an urge to be available 24/7. We see the double blue tick to understand if our message has reached the recipient, agonise over the fact that our message sent at 6.06 pm should have been read as the person was last seen at 6.07 pm and wonder why the person has not replied. We compulsively wish people over WhatsApp at the cost of barely making eye contact with our loved ones.

There are so many videos being forwarded that a soft skills trainer friend lamented, “Most of the videos that could be used in the sessions are already forwarded over WhatsApp and people are in their best behaviour during these sessions as they already know the ‘right way’ to behave while in a team! I not only lose out on an apt technique but also on the novelty value!”

I realised that my pre-occupation with what was happening in the world made me compulsively forward half a dozen messages, comment on a dozen more, all the while forgetting that none out there even knew that I existed.

They continued to make millions while here I was losing my hundreds, not to speak about people who I managed to alienate. 

When the talk turned to present day’s foibles, a colleague of mine came up with a beautiful term that eases our everyday stress if managed well. She termed it: WhatAspp management.

We initially laughed at the idea but later asked ourselves, “Why not?” If managing our weight, diabetes or cholesterol for a healthier life is important, Whatsapp management is also crucial for our mental health. 

While it is an amazing platform to stay connected, we have to keep our mental equilibrium intact with a sense of humour and not allow it to eat into our senses, time and emotions. Needless to say, both Ws in our lives need to be tamed — one for the health of our girth and another to retain our sanity!

(The writer is a behavioural skills trainer and a certified counselor)

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