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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Aunty ki Ghanti: When trolls step out in the real world

It’s just sad, the desperate attempt to get attention, in whatever form. The Internet is a powerful medium, but with great power comes with great responsibility, and we must put it to good use. It’s also a bit scary that an unthinking mass of shrill folk can be summoned for just about anything.

Written by Anuradha Varma | New Delhi | Updated: September 18, 2017 1:29:22 pm
aunty ki ghanti, Omprakash Mishra latest rap, Delhi aunty ki ghnati event An online group sang the lyrics of rapper Omprakash Mishra’s sexist lyrics for and to nobody in particular. ( Source: Trending India/ YouTube)

So, over a hundred actual people gathered in Delhi’s Connaught Place recently to yell “Aunty, main aun kya? sot mai lagau kya?” That’s it, there was no other purpose. There was no Aunty, just a misogynist, misguided and perhaps, really idiotic bunch that decided to come together to show the world, what exactly? And, before one could blink, there were similar events being announced in other cities.

Till now, there were the trolls, a species that crawled out of the woodwork to threaten rape and other unmentionable acts on social media, and there was the real world, and the twain would never meet. But, in a move that reportedly even stunned the organisers, the online group came out to be counted as they sang rapper Omprakash Mishra’s sexist lyrics for and to nobody in particular. We don’t know what they did next, whether they disappeared where they came from like a zombie army or went out to grab a coffee with friends. The first question that comes to mind is, “Who are these people?”

A look at the various Facebook pages dedicated to the online sensation “Aunty ki Ghanti” offers few answers. In one post, one man writes about how his brother has no idea about the song and maybe even what the double entendre lyrics mean. The response is tame as many congratulate his brother on having a life (unlike them, we suppose). So, where is this self-awareness when it comes to turning up in daylight to chant something that would have you smacked in the face if there was an actual Aunty passing by? It’s just sad, the desperate attempt to get attention, in whatever form. The Internet is a powerful medium, but as we all know, great power comes with great responsibility, and we must learn to put it to good use. It’s also a bit scary that an unthinking mass of shrill folk can be summoned for just about anything, however ridiculous the event, or anti-women in this case.

Millennials, I’m assuming that’s who they were, need to shut down their phones and engage in the real world. Learn the art of conversation, create real bonds and meet up for something of consequence. Heard of a book club or a play, anyone?

In an interview, author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek quoted a Harvard study, which determined that the rush we feel when we get a text is similar to a release of dopamine associated with food, money and sex. In practical terms, it means that social media is highly addictive. Sinek states, “We have age restrictions on smoking, drinking and gambling but we have no age restrictions on social media and cell phones. …An entire generation now has access to an addictive, numbing chemical called dopamine, through cellphones and social media, while they are going through the high stress of adolescence.”

This leads to them not investing in deep, meaningful relationships. If they did, they would have something better to do, than gathering to hit on an imaginary Aunty.

And, if they had actually set out to hit upon any Aunty, read a liberated and experienced older woman, they would need to offer a lot more than just eve-teasing rap. You need conversation, wit and a unique personality before any self-respecting Aunty takes any notice. And you can’t work on those if you’re trolling online!

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