Mission Delhi – Paridhi Narayan Singh, Ghaziabad
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s early morning and Paridhi Narayan Singh is struggling to open her eyes at her parents’ Ghazaiabd apartment in the Greater Delhi Region. She instinctively reaches out for her mobile.
But not to check social media. No, no.
Instead, she turns off its alarm and decides to remain in bed for a few more minutes.
Ms Singh is something of a rarity for a person of her age. As a B Tech student, this extrovert 20-year-old can’t be found on Facebook or Instagram, and certainly not Twitter or Snapchat. She’s probably the only one in her class of 70 without a social media presence.
Doesn’t she feel cut off?
“Not at all,” affirms the woman with a laugh. “I do not feel the need to know how people around me spend their day, or what their opinions are on various political topics.”
Facebook anyway isn’t for young folks, she observes, although she does concede that Instagram is in vogue. “But I just can’t get myself interested in the pizzas and pastas people ate yesterday.”
Ms Singh believes that social networking sites defeat the idea that they claim to espouse. “You think you are more connected with the people around you through Insta, but at the end of the day you end up feeling lonelier than ever.” She is telling from experience. She’d first joined Facebook when she was 12 and Instagram at 17. A year back, she deleted her accounts “because those sites were getting negative for me.”
Even so, is it possible in this time and age to engage with the world without tweeting your opinions?
“But I know what’s going around in the world,” she insists gamely. “I feel nearer to the real world when I’m out of the virtual world.” As a member of her college basketball team, she explains, she finds more fun in meeting players during “inter-state sport fests” than following friends’ social media handles.
Most friends accept her choice to stay out of social media though sometimes one or the other does good-naturedly coax her to return to Instagram etc. with lines likes “Tu bhi aaja!”
To be sure, Ms Singh has not totally seceded from the online world. She keeps in touch with friends through a dozen WhatsApp groups. “That’s how I get to know which class is cancelled, which test is postponed…”
And she does love some of the Bollywood dance channels on YouTube.
Ms Singh now bids adieu and heads off for her classes at the Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women. She commutes on the Blue and Red Line Metro, armed with her trusty mobile set to the caller tune of Doin’ Time by Lana Del Rey.
[This is the 282nd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The girl outside FB/Instagram/Twitter