“I’m not going to take any selfies throughout Lent,” was a declaration that caught my attention in a crowded, high-octane compartment of a local, a day before Ash Wednesday. The day marks the beginning of Lent a solemn period when Christians across the world fast and abstain from a host of choices and options that are particularly close to them. Times, of course, have changed, and with it, are different ways to observe this period.
Keen to hear the 20-something girl’s reasons for this rather interesting choice, I leaned in further to catch snippets from the conversation. This girl, sporting a strikingly coloured red shade on her hair, told her friend, “Nowadays, it’s so passé to simply give up chicken or pork; besides, beef has been struck off our list in any case,” she sighed, continued. “So I thought why not try to give up this obsession; you know, there are times when I take up to 10 selfies in one day…can you imagine!” Egged on, by the confession, the friend chipped in quickly, “Would you swear on your boyfriend to not breathe a word about this? I’ve decided to give up online shopping for Lent. There’s Sameera’s birthday bash at HRC, and...” After a pause, it dawned on her, “I am in a fix as it’s bang in the middle of Lent. It’s too late to do a U-turn. What do I do?” she asked the redhead friend, as a mini panic attack seemed to have taken over her; never mind that a fisherwoman’s drippy basket was threatening to tilt over the luggage grille.
Redhead pacified her friend and agreed to lend her a cool ensemble. Left with no choice, she agreed, and the two bid their goodbyes for the day, since one of them had to alight at Dadar. “I’ll see you at morning mass, tomorrow? Don’t be late.” It was a most engaging, insightful conversation on Lent that one had been indirectly a part of, for a while. Over the years, one has come across all kinds of innovative and new age choices of abstinence. And that exchange on the local train reconfirmed the changing times and the youth’s newfound, reassuring approach to be different and yet, make a difference. Expectedly, social media played a big role in such picks. Sample a few:
>> No Twitter and/or Facebook
>> Just one daily upload/update on Facebook
>> Not more than five tweets everyday
>> No spying on ex-partners on social media
>> No trolling on Twitter
>> No abusive language on Twitter
>> Get off Instagram
Gone are the days when giving up on fish, alcohol or watching your favourite soap was routine. On a lighter note, as one celebrated Easter Sunday service, one could only imagine the sigh of relief (and perhaps a lesson or two in self-control) that might have come over such souls. And somewhere in between the heady choral experience at mass, we swear we heard Bob Dylan’s classic, The Times They Are A-Changin ring in as the morning sun played hide and seek through the stained glass windows.
Hope you had a good Easter.
The writer is Features Editor of mid-day