Short Stories

The Age of Opinions


Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Jinay had no idea it would lead to this. A few days back, when he decided to rant out his frustrations about the plight of necessities in the country, he was looking for a platform to get his frustration out.

He wanted to bring the concern to people’s attention. But the response he had got on that single post had brought him a name and fame he had neither sought for nor thought of.

But it did happen, and he enjoyed it while it lasted. He was a hero everywhere. Be it on TV, social media, or print media, he was being spoken about and spoken to by everyone.

It was a good feeling until it lasted, but he soon forgot about the purpose of the post in the fame game. It was to question the lack of basic infrastructure and facilities available to the commoner and solve it. Thus, the success of his post became a talking point about a subject without any fruitful results. This leads us to a burning question: Are we losing sight of success and our purposes in pursuing instant gratification?

Social validation has reached a point where people like Jinay are desperate and impatient for getting hands-on success immediately [which we are confusing with fame as well]. After a few days, the fame died down, and Jinay became just another lost face in the crowd.

What followed, for him, were days of frustration and depression. He had gotten used to being the center of attraction for a while. It was toxic; it gave him a different high. And now he wanted it again; he wanted it to last forever. Isn’t that the path many, generally, are leading down to and eventually ends up becoming disturbing one too?

What followed, for him, were days of frustration and depression. He had gotten used to being the center of attraction for a while. It was toxic; it gave him a different high.


Then came a time when Jinay’s own colleague, in fact, his junior, put up an idea about this issue in the next office meeting. He got approval for it and was later promoted to the same level as Jinay. This worked as adding fuel to Jinay’s frustrations.

The inferiority complex and comparisons drove him to the point of depression where his work, personal life, and even his health started taking a toll. He was in a constant race, trying to outdo others at every point. He wanted approval, liking, and fame [confusing it with recognition] on everything he did.

It was at this point that he heard about Sarahah. It became his escape from the real-life lack of recognition and approval that he anticipated he wasn’t receiving at all. It was also one of the things he felt he just had to do because everyone else talked about it and did it.

What if someone asked him, ‘Have you heard about this?” and he hasn’t and that became the reason for him being a loner.

Does his story sound familiar? If we hear about something, at times, we want to be the first one to break it to others or voice an opinion about it. Why is that so? Because we don’t want to miss out. Because we start to believe that everyone else is going to talk about it sooner or later. And we wish to be second to none!

If we hear about something, at times, we want to be the first one to break it to others or voice an opinion about it.


In the race of this fear of missing out and the race to prove who knows it first, we lead ourselves to misconceived perceptions. All in the name of attaining gratification instantly, in any case, anyhow. And believe it or not, for Jinay (and for many of us too), this race for getting instant success is a never-ending one!

The words by Aaron Levie strike me here, “Does it better” will always beat “Did it first”.

Amidst all this, Jinay forgot what he could, what his purpose was, and even his own identity somewhere. His motivation was only social validation rather than doing something meaningful or even doing anything at all, for that matter. The race for which he once ran was to act and to do. This was now replaced with the race to grab instant gratification. Fear of missing out, or what we generally get to hear, FOMO, did the rest.

He did not strive to know, learn and evolve. He just wanted to be in the category of ‘know-it-alls’ and act like he knew it all. When, in fact, he actually did so without ‘knowing-at-all.’

All Jinay wanted was some credit and to be successful in his own way. But with his impatience to reach there and in the race to getting social validation, being accepted and liked, he lost sight of what it was he actually wanted.

In the race to getting social validation, being accepted and liked, he lost sight of what it was he actually wanted.

The other part that aggravated this was ‘the fear of missing out and the feeling of ‘inferiority complex. The comparisons always drawn between him and somebody or the other made him seek out acceptance. There was this constant feeling of being left out. Hence he started pretending to be just like everyone else and, in fact, even trying to pretend to know more and better.

His phases of joy lasted only as long as he felt “thumbs up” coming in and would soon drown when he felt left out. This feeling of being left out, being the last one to know, made it difficult for him to focus on the things that mattered and act on things that brought him real happiness.

His phases of joy lasted only as long as he felt “thumbs up” coming in and would soon drown when he felt left out.

Was it worth it? No, of course not.

Was it ever going to end? That’s doubtful too!

What is it all for?

In the name of doing it first and for getting accepted by all, if not in reality, at least virtually.

****


Note: This story was originally published on The Naked Truth and later on The Venting Machine

Thank you for reading.

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