Rahul da Cunha Column: Boggles the Emoji-nation!

Ever since emojis have made it to the Oxford dictionary, I’m obsessed with these 'face with tears of joy'. Wordless pictograms in a book full of words... a true sign of our times! For the semi-initiated, an emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. For the total tech ‘anpads’ like myself, it’s those smileys or sad faces that you put at the end of an SMS. It’s like we are now in a new era of ‘face language’. Why speak when you can show? Why elaborate when you can ‘emoticon’?

However, human emotions today are rarely black and white. I mean every time one of the hardline ‘bhakts’ opens his/her mouth, I feel 5,000 emotional expression possibilities between blood curdling rage and mild annoyance. Hell, between the LOL (laugh out loud) and the smile, there’s the chuckle, the giggle, the chortle, the wry smile. So I’m appealing to the emoji designers of India, to kindly create special emoticons for us Indians.

Merely sad and happy emojis aren’t enough. I mean just take these possible expressions:

Say you’re a guy who’s produced a brand of instant noodles. You force yourself to eat them only to realise they’re pukeworthy. Then you try and do yoga breathing exercises while you contort your body. All this while you’re eating tasteless noodles. That’s the expression I’d like to catch in a single emoji.

Or say, you’re the leading politician of a country. But you have a problem — extreme foot-in-mouth disease. You are unable to utter a word without making a complete ass of yourself. How about a series of emojis, each one expressing a palette of different faux pas.

Or say, you’re a film idol — the masses worship you, and then, one day, you make a statement that you don’t feel safe in your own country.

You experience the sheer avalanche of the nation’s flip flop fickleness. Every Tom, Dick and Anupam wants to drive their knives into you.

And you’re wondering, I’m just voicing a fear. It’s my right. The next thing you have police cases against you and rewards of Rs 1 lakh are being offered for anyone to slap you. First they love you, then they lynch you. Now, that’s a smorgasbord of emojis that my ‘dil’ definitely ‘chahta hai’.

Or you’re just a regular corporate guy; chalo, you also run a TV channel. You marry a social climber. Many years later you are rudely awakened to the fact that you’re her third hubby, your step daughter is actually her sister, she has murdered her sister/daughter, corpses have been stuffed into suitcases and all through this, incest has run amok.

You’re not sure if it’s your life being played out or your watching an episode of Game of Thrones. Plus you’ve been made a complete fool of. And you’re possibly guilty of some ‘jugaad’. What expression do you emote as you get hurled into a police van? And a 1,000 cameras capture that moment?

What is that cliché... ah yes...a picture is worth a thousand words. An emoji is worth a billion.

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

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