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“I hate rains and I hate getting wet.” Alekhya said as stepped over the puddle in the middle of the road.
“This is the seventh time you said that in the last ten minutes. Why don’t we call it off then?” Reema quipped.
“No, No, No. We have to do this. But you have to be quick” she said as she puckered her mouth and struck a pose while the rain drops fell over her mercilessly.
After a few minutes of the photo shoot, and after checking whether the photoes were to her satisfaction, both of them exchanged places. Finally, after a few selfies, they ran across to a nearby shelter.
Giggling excitedly, they ran through the recently clicked photos to choose the good ones. After editing the selected ones with proper filters, lighting, contrast etc., they posted them on their respective instagram handles with captions like “enjoying the first rains,” “Rainy fun” etc.
The minute they posted their photoes, they started receiving notifications of those likes and comments bringing out smiles and peals of laughter in them both, as they strolled together on the paved path. So engrossed they were in their phones that they collided with an old man walking from the opposite direction. They walked past him ignoring his angry looks.
“Grumpy old man” Reema whispered and they both chuckled away.
Alekhya couldn’t wait to reach home and change into dry clothes. As she was rushing into her room, her Mother Rukmini saw her dripping, and asked her how she got so drenched despite her having carried an umbrella with her.
“Stop policing over me all the time.” Alekhya snubbed at her mother before slamming the door of her room shut.
She changed herself into dry clothes and came out.
“Mom, I am hungry” she yelled.
Seeing Poha on the table, Alekhya blew up saying “you know I don’t like Poha. Nothing else is there in the house or what?”
Her mother silently took the plate away. She made some instant vegetable sandwiches and left them on the table. While munching on those sandwiches, Alekhya lazily browsed through her instagram page. Suddenly she came to life when she saw a series of posts of her friends with their respective mothers.
“Oh! Shit. I totally forgot” jumping to her feet she rushed into the kitchen. “Happy Mother’s Day Mummy.”
“Thanks, Lekhya.” Rukmini replied smiling at her daughter. In fact, she was feeling a bit let down when her daughter failed to wish her earlier. Now that she did, she was all smiles and forgiving.
“Wait Mummy. Let’s get a nice picture of ourselves” Alekhya said as she took a few selfies with her mother.
She liked one particular photo hugging her mother and she posted it on her page with the comment “Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Love you to the moon and back.”
Her mother, totally oblivious to all this, went back to her work in the kitchen.
After a few minutes, Rukmini’s friend Radhika dropped in. Radhika worked in the field of Artificial Intelligence in a reputed Software firm. Since Alekhya was very much interested in the said field of study, she respected Radhika a lot.
She liked to converse with Radhika about the latest trends in the field and Radhika too was very happy to engage with a bright mind like Alekhya. Radhika’s daughter Nandini, who was a couple of years older than Alekhya, was at that time, applying to some universities abroad for her under-graduation in the field of Machine Learning. Alekhya, who pursued similar dreams, showed a lot of interest in knowing how Nandini’s search was progressing.
After a couple of minutes of small talk, Radhika asked Alekhya “Lekhya, are you doing something special for your mother today or not?”
Alekhya was taken aback by this sudden question out of the blue. Not knowing what to say in reply, she fumbled before answering “not really Aunty. I wished her and expressed my love for her on the Instagram though.”
She looked at her mother for endorsement. Her mother nodded silently though she was getting to know about the Instagram part at that very moment.
Radhika grew silent for a while before saying “Why don’t you cook something nice for your mother today Alekhya? While I am here Nandini has taken over the kitchen saying that is my gift today.”
As Alekhya grew totally silent not understanding how to respond to this, Radhika continued “If you don’t mind, I have a word of advice for you Lekhya. While I am not against the social media, don’t you think it’s what we do in the real, physical world that matters to us more? AI and virtual world are supposed to enhance our real life experience, not to replace it, right? No matter what we do, our lungs need to breathe, hearts have to beat and mind has to think for real, doesn’t it?”
Noticing that she had Alekhya’s attention, Radhika continued “Nandini and I have been off all kinds of social media platforms for a while to enjoy the beauty of the natural world and the real life friends. As it is, we spend enough time on our laptops for work or study related matters. Don’t you think we should be away a bit from them during the rest of the time? Between the real love and the instagram love, we have a choice, don’t we? I know an intelligent girl like you knows what is more important.”
Patting Alekhya on the shoulder, Radhika left. A worried Rukmini kept glancing at her daughter from the corner of her eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, she saw Alekhya turning the mobile off.
As she heard Alekhya say “Mummy let’s bake our favourite chocolate cake together today,” Radhika couldn’t help beaming from ear to ear.