Shrirang had created an account on Twitter without knowing why he did. He wasn’t social media-friendly at all. In fact, he wasn’t friendly at all. ‘Bore’, ‘shy’, ‘arrogant’, were the adjectives often used to describe him. How could he tell people that his lack of confidence made him the quiet one? He hated how his tongue knotted up in the presence of others. He went red in the face at how his accent sounded to his own ears. He cringed inwardly at the amusement in people’s eyes when he talked to them.
This is why he chose to be a graphic designer. His colors were his voice. His art did the talking. When people complimented his art, he acknowledged it with a shy smile. No one knew that his heart was thudding madly inside his rib cage or doing a wild dance of happiness as he smiled shyly. They called him mysterious when he just smiled. He liked to keep it that way.
So there was no one more surprised than him when he joined Twitter. What would he do here, he wondered. There were so many opinions here, flying back and forth. What could he contribute when he didn’t have a single one? He thought he should delete his account, but then his office colleagues said they couldn’t live without Twitter. So he decided to be patient and explore.
Thankfully he hadn’t used his true name, so his office people wouldn’t know it was him. Should he put up his pic, he wondered? A silhouette of his face would do, and up it went.
He began looking for his colleague’s accounts, careful not to follow them. They were all so active on Twitter, stating opinions, sharing their views. Even the shy Sonali, who was a wallflower in the office, was so lively on Twitter.
Politics was something that did not interest him, so he steered away from that topic. He never knew enough about sport, so had nothing to contribute there. Which was the last movie he watched, he tried to recollect it but couldn’t.
What should he tweet about, he asked himself again, idly doodling on a sketch pad that was always at hand. Doodle. Yes, he would doodle his thoughts. What he felt, what he thought, that is what he would put up, without words, via a Doodle.
That is what he began doing. Putting up a Doodle a day. Not a single acknowledgment via a like happened. He was confused, even hurt. His art rarely went unnoticed.
The more upset he was, the more intricate and stunning his doodling got. It formed layers that everyone interpreted differently. Putting them up was no longer about people noticing them or liking them. It was about him pouring his heart out, hoping another would connect to it.
Akanksha called herself @TheJaggernaut9 on Twitter. She had as many followers as the number of opinions she had. ‘Your handle should have been called AcidTongue / Venom’ and the like was what she heard often. As if she cared. No one knew who she was really. No one could even guess the subtle twist to her handle. Her poison was the Jagermeister. Poison indeed as her love for it has classified her as an alcoholic. A recovering one, she had to remind herself.
What else could she have done, to get away from parents who believed that being strict meant you had to stop your child from doing everything she loved. A boyfriend who thought that love meant to control, and a slap or punch meant that he was just reigning her in because he cared. Twitter was one place where she could be herself.
When a random doodle appeared on Akaknsha’s Twitter timeline, she almost scrolled down, then stopped and scrolled up again. That doodle reminded her of herself. She could see a woman screaming her way out of a fire. Did it not, she tilted her head to the left to see it differently. Yes, it did! She couldn’t stop looking at it and clicked like.
A notification vibrating his phone startled Shrirang. He checked the screen to see it was from Twitter. As he logged into his app, a string of notifications followed. 17 in all, for all the days he had been putting up his doodle. He couldn’t contain his joy! ‘What are you smiling at?’ asked his ever-curious mother, as she chopped vegetables. There were times he wondered if she had eyes all over her head, he wondered. Before he knew it, that was what he doodled and it was up as soon as it was done.
‘This is certainly my mother’ was an instant response to it. Hey @dudeinamood11, u r gud! and Shrirang had his 1st follower.
@TheJaggernaut9 he read and immediately googled to find what it meant. She had so many followers, and she was following him! Shrirang’s fingertip did a dance on the surface of the screen before he hit ‘Follow back’.
Someone tweeted about their Twitter Crush today, and that intrigued me enough to ask a related question on my timeline. The answers I got, spurred me to write this fiction. Do take this story forward, if you wish to, giving it your own twist.
— Mayuri 🌷 (@Mayuri6) February 18, 2022