February 14, 2016

People are found taking selfies at funerals, too


Last month, there was news that a youth lost his life on a railway track in Lahore, trying to take a selfie with the train in the background.

Selfies (self photographs) have become such an obsession with the young people -- and it’s the same all over the world -- it won’t be wrong to say that this is a ‘selfie age.’ All our hobbies and entertainment activities now centre round taking selfies -- whether you are out somewhere or holed up indoors.

Mobile phones with cameras are the original culprit. You are trying on a dress at a boutique, and you pull out your mobile and go click, click, click. You visit a loo in a five-star hotel and the mirror beckons you to do the same. And, yes, you will take selfies wherever you go, with whoever you meet (of course, if it’s a celebrity that you have run into, chances are you are not the only one mobbing the poor man/lady).

Don’t be surprised if people are found taking selfies at funerals, too.

Social media has upped the popular interest in this mode of photograph. Now you can flaunt your new dress, your new look, your new house, new car, and even a new friend, on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. And, these don’t even need to be ‘new’.

Instagram has made uploading even more instant -- and tempting. The instant feedback, usually from the people who ‘follow’ us, prompts us to post more selfies and photographs online.

Oh, before anyone thinks it’s a photograph of you with your mobile’s front camera on which is a selfie, a group photo is a ‘groupfie’ and one with a large-screen phone is a ‘grandfie.’

Recently, I happened to attend a gathering at a house owned by a cousin of mine, where the most conspicuous activity turned out to be the guests meeting their cheeks for selfies. The event was in honour of a newly-wed couple but the attention had conveniently turned to something else.

And did anyone spot the young doctors in the streets taking selfies in the middle of their protest demos?

I am not against selfies. But I believe the situation becomes absurd (if not awkward) because the purpose for which you gathered at a place is lost. Well, kind of.

Perhaps, the most annoying part about selfies is the standard ‘pulling of face.’ The idea, obviously, is to give the ‘defined jawline’ look. Where you thought this would be true of people on the plumpish side, those with slim faces are . Most people raise their hand (the one holding the phone camera) as high as possible to capture what they think is their ‘best profile’. God knows the ‘effort’ almost always shows.

Last year’s Academy Awards are responsible for popularising the ‘genre’ by creating an "Oscar selfie." So far so good. But I wonder if I take a selfie with my favourite book in hand, should it be called a ‘bookfie’?