I woke up one morning to the petulant ping of a Facebook notification. It was a friend request, from my father.
I ignored it, shuddering to think what it would mean to have my father as a friend. I would have to stay away from controversial posts, reveal judicious little about my everyday doings, filter my comments. The idea that my father would have a keyhole to peer into my life, was unnerving.
Over the next few days, I got other disconcerting notifications. My father was befriending all my friends. He began commenting on their posts and they, in turn, were having delightful conversations with him. He then began sharing his new found passion with the rest of the unconnected world. He sent out invites with detailed instructions on how to join, post, and partake of the manna of social media. Soon, Mr. Raja, Mrs. Kumar and Mr. Venkataraman all wanted to be my friends.
I think of my generation as straddling two disparate worlds; the nostalgia of ‘dial-up’ with the euphoria of ‘instant’. We have the millennials racing ahead, creating a whole new virtual world. And there are the baby boomers behind, still encased in the physical world. My generation was supposed to be the bridge between.
While I struggled to define these boundaries, my father was breaking them. I had asked my parents to adjust to my life choices. Now, it was my turn. Finally, after days of ‘gentle’ persuasion with guerrilla posts, comments and tags, I surrendered.
I pressed the confirm button. My father was now my friend.
I read his early morning political rants. He browsed through pictures of his grandchildren. I smiled at his forwarded jokes and frowned at some of his comments.
Over time, we fell into our respective comfort zones.
Then, one very early morning I heard another ping. I reached groggily for my phone.
“Does your father-in-law have a WhatsApp account?” My father asked.
With a Perspective, I’m Sandhya Acharya.
Sandhya Acharya was formerly in corporate finance and is now mother of two boys and a dance enthusiast living in Santa Clara.