It was late July, 2023. The sky was morose, drained out of its qi. It looked inward to find an ounce of rain only to come back with a loud thunder, a yearning for water.
The sky was invisible to Ria. Like it is to many Mumbaikars. Just a dab of grey in the distance. The screen in her hand was large, foldable, hypnotic. She was walking with purpose.
Eight minutes later she found herself at the new tofu bar. It wasn’t long ago (four years?) when she’d announced that she was a wellness influencer, an advocate of intentional downtime. ‘Twenty minutes of nothing’ was her mantra then. She’d even set a limit to her screen time in the early days. But then, those were the early days.
Today, she’s seeking eyes. Eyes that promise to be vivid, human, alive. The new wellness mantra is to ‘Look into eyes and beat the algorithms’. Her date is waiting to play this being human game with her.
It’s a thing now, to just meet at bars and look at each other until you weep and weep and the waiter offers to make a picture of your humanity and you upload on the gram using #eyedidit
As Ria walks out, the sky lets out a gentle rumble. Her phone’s unfolded, and she’s staring at it, overwhelmed. A hundred comments in three minutes. The kindness of strangers is relentless.
As she types out ‘thank you fam’, a tear drop lands on her screen.