Selfie-less Girl

 Selfie-less Girl

“Mom, why is it that we never take selfies?”, little Ivana ranted as she stomped behind her mother from one room to the other.

“Honey! We do take sometimes”, replied Savita, albeit a bit indifferently, for she was too engrossed thinking about her work project.

“Nooo…but they’re just photos. They are not selfieeees!!” Ivana’s words dragged in rebellion while her mouth pouted.

“That means the same”

“Nooo Mom! As if I don’t know!!” Then after pausing for a while to think, Ivana asked “OK! Do we ever do like this in our pictures?”  She came in front of her mom and pursed her lips out in a pout, to make a duck-face. But the mom was amused.


“Hah! And why should we do that?”

“All of my friends do. And their moms too!”

“Ha ha, in their pictures? I won’t pose like a duck. Naah!” amused Savita retorted as she left her project and walked towards the kitchen, for it was almost dinner time and she had not even planned the meal yet.

“Yess yesss! As if you know everything. With your Facebook picture in bad clothes. My friend asked why is your mom looking so sad in her picture?” Then holding her mom’s hand Ivana suggested “Can’t you put a better one, mom?”

“I will see”

Sitting on the kitchen chair, Ivana continued her whinge “And we never take any food pictures. My friends take so many colorful photos when eating in restaurants”

“But we do go sometimes, don’t we? Pictures are not needed. Even your dad won’t like to show off.” Thus Savita made her see the pointlessness of it all.

At that moment Ivana’s friend Riya came to her rescue, in fact to her mom’s rescue.  Riya being older to Ivana by a few years, had a better phone with a good camera, so she was quite deft in the tricks of the trade.

Both of them went out and got busy taking pictures. Pictures of anything bright they could lay their hands on. A pigeon with rainbow chest as it sat in the sun, wobbling its head. That red car as it reflected light and looked glary.

“Tree! tree!  And that flower is so pretty!” excited Ivana was getting creative now.

But unimpressed Riya had better ideas. “Flowers are sooo boring! That crawling insect…click it Ivana before it vanishes!”

“He he! Insect for your science class? Or for your profile picture?”, thrilled Ivana couldn’t contain her excitement as she acted funny and witty.

It was getting dark so both friends came indoors and went on to click selfies using the lip color that Riya had in her sling bag. Ivana decided that some food pictures will complete her first ever portfolio of colorful pictures, so they raided the kitchen and took snaps of half-ready dinner items, all this while mom Savita was temporarily away from the kitchen.

With Riya’s help, Ivana copied all the photos to her study computer. Happy with her efforts, that evening she uploaded the pictures to her newly opened Facebook account, while adding a catchy title – ‘My Colorful Selfies.’

Now the whole neighborhood knew that Ivana and her family had humble ‘frozen garlic bread and steamed vegies with tinned baked beans’ for dinner. Little did she know what her mom had told their intrusive and idling neighbor Leena. That their family will be away tonight, as they are eating out. With an all important office work to finish, she merely wanted to stop Leena from disturbing her for at least one evening.
But the truth was, they were at home. And now the secret was out.

Next morning, annoyed Leena made sure she visited Savita to shower her with jibes “If you so badly wanted to avoid me, you could’ve told me point blank! As if I care! Why cook stories about going out for dinner?”
As she walked out of the door, she looked back  and remarked, “By the way, do scholarly bores ever go out to eat? For sure some people enjoy being a doormat!”

While that left Savita stunned, Ivana asked her mother, “Mom! Why did she call you a doormat?”

~~~ ~~~

Savita had learnt a few lessons. That she can no more deny the existence of social media, for it is a reality here to stay. That growing children exposed so heavily to media cannot be happy isolating themselves from norms around them.

All in all, not only did she take charge of her family’s media image, she also bought a new smartphone for Ivana and decided to teach her how to use camera sensibly, with all the dos and don’ts.

32432977-madre-e-hija-haciendo-una-selfie-Foto-de-archivoSavita also clicked some nice family pictures that Ivana would feel proud showing to her friends.

“I don’t care at all for pretensions. But why should my daughter be made to feel that her family is any less, esp. if it is not!”, she murmured to herself as she took out her formal clothes.

Savita had realised that in this virtual world of make-believe, it is not what you have or what you are that matters. It is what seems to be, and what this world wants to see.
Actually she had derived this fact long ago, only now she decided to use it to her family’s benefit.

© 2016 Alka Girdhar

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17 thoughts on “Selfie-less Girl

  1. Another great write, Alka. I love the message about social media in this one. One one hand, social media can connect us with the world but on the other, it can give an image of pretence as you so rightly suggested – that is, social media is about pride and face too. “It is what seems to be, and what this world wants to see.” Maybe it is also what we want to hope and believe too…that we want to believe a part of our life is perfect or at least it’s a tactic to make us feel good about ourselves.

    I found it cute Ivana wanted to selfie with her mum. It does sound like she wants to show off. But on the other hand, maybe it is a way to capture moments. Personally I like taking selfies with others as a photo with someone encapsulates a moment in time – captures a friendship and our feelings at that point in time…that we may forget over time. Sometimes it is nice looking back at the past 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mabel! True that social media has got us connected like nothing before, but it also gets us peeping too much into each other’s lives. Charmed by others’ fake or real media image, people start pretending as well as copying and impressing each other. Thinking positively, sometimes this has a capacity to improve lives, as you too said if it is our hope and belief that makes us, thus even a fake belief/image that our life is perfect can add actual happiness to our lives. Reinforcement formula.

      Ivana is not showing off as some adults do, she’s rather childishly demanding and curious, quite like any other pre-teen. Previously little girls used to get enamoured by other things new, now in this net era it is Facebook, cameras and selfies. Being a girl, she has an eye for beauty or at least she wants to act like her age-mates. Her behaviour is normal but the dilemma is due to the open nature of social media. How much is enough and how much is too much…that’s something that parents have to define and decide.

      I too like taking selfies 🙂 and yet after Word Press I kind of lost interest, even deactivated my original FB account; only one I have is for writing and my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it’s wonderful for learning and like adults, children too like to experiment with it…but with all its pros and cons, sometimes there’s too much exposure hence very young children have to be guided by their parents and teachers. Thanks for your views!


  2. It’s a theme I never would have thought about. Good story, lesson learned by Mom. The only change I would make is that the daughter also had a lesson to learn–she caused unneccessary embarrassment to her mom through revealing private things.

    Which, by the way, is a major objection I have to social media. Privacy is no longer valued.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sometimes some idea strikes and we end up writing about it. I like your suggestion. Here the daughter was too immature and needs to learn many things, but often teenagers and young adults object to their parents’ interference in their social media accounts.
      I too feel that way about privacy issue, and yet we have liberty to decide how much to display while maintaining our privacy.
      Thanks for your input, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The story depicts media related complexities faced by any random family with growing children; esp. where busy parents like Savita continue to be old-fashioned while time has moved on, so they now want to catch up.


  3. Your story engaged me to the last word…we live in a complicated world and you highlighted dilemmas involved with photos and social media..and of course some of the themes are not new but in new packages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Media has a capacity to complicate lives esp. it did when it all just started but nowadays families are smarter and children too are more aware of security issues while most people are almost bored with Facebook.
      I thought of this story more than two years ago so yes Janice, some themes in this story are a bit old.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My reference to themes being in new packages was to issues that existed even before social media such as what is shared outside the family and conformity … to what degree do we need to conform to trends if they do not fit with values, for example… my reference was vague. 🌺

        Liked by 1 person

        • I misinterpreted your casual remark…maybe due to my own feelings 🙂
          I made these observations about Facebook when it was quite new, and now at the time of writing these ideas I had felt my story may sound a bit outdated.
          You are right! Themes are the same as these issues existed even before the arrival of social media. Growing children in all times felt the same about changing trends and fashions, and parents too got anxious as per their particular era.
          Have a great week!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m not in the loop with Facebook–didn’t get into it–so no worries about me viewing your observations as outdated 🙂 wishing you a great week too!


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