Short Stories

A perilous blog post

‘Ufff! It has been a long time since I blogged,’ thought Shwetha as she opened her WordPress blog homepage on her Google Chrome browser. For a few moments, the svelte and sophisticated 21-year-old pondered on what to blog about. Her deep-set eyes focused on the screen with a dainty amount of anxiety dancing between her crescent shaped eyebrows. She had a vague feeling that the world might forget about her existence if she did not blog. She had gone through blog posts of her friends to receive some inspiration. She had even read tips on overcoming ‘Blogger’s block’ but nothing could help her in achieving her 49th blog post. Her mind swirled with various topics right from state affairs to fashion tips. ‘I have blogged on all topics. They are all tried and tested,’ she thought tiredly.

After two cups of steaming filter coffee, she decided to call up her best friend Lavanya for help. She was a professional in the blogging sector, with her blog posts receiving worldwide appreciation. Although Shwetha felt proud about her, a little bit of envy played around in her mind. However, she had firmly stuck to the virtue ‘Envy kills a soul while competitiveness enhances it’. So, she categorized the envy of hers as competitiveness. She was trying to be like Lavanya, keeping her own identity at stake. Competing with her had always been her topmost priority.

Three rings and then Lavanya attended the call. “Shwe? You could have WhatsApped me. Why have you called?”

“My net pack expired, Lava. That’s why. Now listen! I am in dire need of help.”

“Help? I am surprised. The brainy one is asking for help?”

“Shut up! I ain’t brainy as you. Well, well, I need some tips on writing my next blog post. Can you help me?”

Shwetha’s hurried speech shocked Lavanya who couldn’t understand the intensity of emotions brewing inside her friend’s mind.

“Shwe! What’s this? There are such a lot of things to write about. You could have browsed through my posts to get some ideas.”

“I did it, Lava, but you know, I cannot plagiarize your style. I want to be me. I just need a brainstormed idea for my next blog post, not the ones, which have been already blogged about.”

 “Okay, I got it! Ummm..Why don’t you blog about some personal stuff? Till now you have been blogging about serious issues, relationships, politics, stories, etcetera. Why don’t you share something about yourself?”

“About myself? What can I….hey okay! I am hanging up. Got an idea! Bye Lava.”

Shwetha hung up abruptly even before Lavanya could respond –

She placed her laptop in a comfortable position and started typing the title of her next blog post.

Title: Things that I cannot live without

‘I am going to blog about something that will make me happy.’  She smiled.

A.R.Rahman songs topped the list while the rest consisted of food, sleep, books, piano, kohl, rain, Wi-Fi, fresh juice, earrings, Ooty, her upcoming novel, and a few songs. She typed it out as a listicle, added relevant images and gifs, and clicked on ‘Publish’. She shared the post on all her social media profiles. Within a few minutes, the post received many likes and reads. Her friends appreciated her tastes and advised her to post more personal blog posts rather than discussing issues of the world. She WhatsApped Lavanya.

Shwe: Hey Lava..have u read my post?

Lava: Yup it’s ossom dearie.Hw did u get this idea?

Shwe: I found such a post in ur blog.Sumthng named ‘things that make me happy’.So I jus blogged abt things that I can’t live without.

Lava: It was wonderful to read.Keep coming up wid more posts like this 1.Okie bye..I need to go.

Shwe: Byeeee…

Shwetha had the most satisfied sleep that night.

*****

“No, no, you have to come. You have to spend the entire day with us,” pestered Malini, Shwetha’s 13-year-old cousin. She was being asked to join for an outing to VGP Universal Kingdom. She was refusing as she had her novel waiting for her. However, she was cajoled by Malini and, finally, she reluctantly agreed.

She dressed up and joined her aunt’s family consisting of her aunt, uncle, and their two daughters. Throughout the car ride, she kept to herself, engaging in music and quipping in with occasional ohs and okays to her aunt’s family conversation. ‘No travel is boring when I am with music,’ she thought. She was listening to her favourite playlist ‘A.R.Rahman Unleashed’.

Reaching the amusement park, they acquired entrance tickets. They were allowed inside after tying a wristband as identification. Once they reached the first ride, Shwetha decided to unshackle her adventurous side, which had been hidden for the past ten years. She had never hopped on to any rides due to horrific incidents that had occurred in amusement parks, but now, she decided to try them. The first ride was a track ride similar to a roller coaster, sans the upside down feature. She got into it along with her aunt. The ride was a furious one with the speed capacity being maximum. As a result, Shwetha’s eyes were filled with particles of dust. She kept scrubbing her eyes at regular intervals.

After sometime, Malini wanted to go for a Kangaroo ride. As adults were prohibited, Shwetha stayed back. She cheered up Malini who was enjoying the ride to the core. However, her right eye itched a lot and she rubbed it hard for one last time. The next second, she could feel something amiss with her vision. The left eye was intact, whereas the right eye’s vision was blurred. Then it dawned upon her. The contact lens from the right eye was missing!

She rubbed her entire eyeball with her fingers for the lens. It was not there. With some difficulty, she looked at the ground. Alas! The contact lens was lying there. She bent down to pick it up. As she held it in her hands, she knew that someone had stamped it. A muddy contact lens was the last thing in her mind. She crumpled it with her hand and threw it away. For the first time in her life, she cursed herself for using daily disposable contact lens and for not carrying an extra pair.

 “Chithi, the contact lens from my right eye fell on the ground,” she complained to her aunt.

“Oh, my god! Don’t you have a spare one?”

“Nope. I forgot to carry.”

“Will you be okay? Can you manage with err…one eye?”

“Yes, I can. No problem.” She faked a smile.

Only she knew how difficult it would be to manage with one eye. She was short-sighted with a power of -5. For the rest of the rides, she could only see a mélange of clear and blurry images. She could not even enjoy the Horror House properly!

That night…

Shwetha hurried inside the house as soon as her uncle halted the car. She rummaged through her cupboard for a spare contact lens. As she was taking the lens out of the solution, realization struck her. The blog post! Yes, she had blogged about things that she cannot live without and she had totally forgotten about the thing that provided her with vision – the contact lens! She felt bad as she held the tiny transparent thing in her hand.

She could feel the lens yelling at her, ‘You forgot me! That’s why I taught you a good lesson and spoiled your entire day.’

*****

Shwetha switched her laptop on, connected to the Internet and logged in to WordPress. She clicked the ‘Edit’ button beneath her recent blog post and proceeded to edit it.

Where shall I add the contact lensPondering for a few minutes, she decided that the contact lens was the topmost thing that she could not live without. She had not even imagined a life without it. She changed the serial numbers of the other things by pushing ‘A.R.Rahman songs’ to the second place. Then she typed about how much she loved her lens and added an image related to it. She placed it in the first position and clicked on ‘Publish’.

Then she informed about the changes to her friends on social media and shared the new link with them. Some were curious to see the changes while some did not even bother to click the link. On the whole, Shwetha was completely satisfied and happy with her blog post.

*****

“You haven’t heard the song, Lava? Wait, I’ll play it for you now!” Shwetha opened the music player in her Smartphone and pressed the Playlists tab. The next moment, her eyes widened and she froze.

Noticing the change in her expression, Lavanya questioned, “What happened, Shwe? Do you have the song? Or shall I download it? The movie name is OK Kanmani, right?” She was bombarding Shwetha with questions. She was met with dead silence.

“Shwe? Is everything okay? You look like a ghost. ” She shook her friend. With eyes bulged out, Shwetha turned to her, sweat beads sparkling on her forehead.

“My..my playlist ‘A.R.Rahman Unleashed’ is…is gone!” Shwetha stuttered.

“Gone? How is it possible?” Lavanya snatched the phone from Shwetha’s hands and looked at it. True to her words, there was only the name of the playlist and under that ‘0 songs’ was displayed. She found an error symbol in the notifications panel and swiped it down.

 “Hey, dumbo! There is an error in your device. It says ‘Less memory space. Some system functions may not work properly.’ That’s why the playlist got deleted….”

Shwetha grabbed her phone back and went through the other playlists, which were untouched, containing the same number of songs that she had added initially. Once again, she opened the ‘A.R.Rahman Unleashed’ playlist and stared at it. The entire collection of 300-odd songs was gone. She reminisced about the day when she had lovingly and painstakingly created the playlist. It had completely vanished!

Realisation dawned on her as she stared at the display picture of the playlist. A.R.Rahman was smiling at her from the image. It was an evil smile, slightly different from the other days. She could feel the picture speaking to her, ‘You pushed me to the second place in your blog post. How can you do this to me? You could have added the ‘contact lens’ at the end of your list. Why did you push me down? That’s why I deleted myself from your phone. Now, have a good time in recreating it!’

Shwetha could do nothing except slap her forehead. Once she reached home, she sat down to delete the wretched blog post, which was not her own idea, actually.

She learnt not to borrow blog post ideas from others. As she kept staring at her blog post count of 48, she could feel her laptop laughing at her. Laptop was of paramount importance to her existence in the blogging world…. It was speaking to her, ‘You did not include me in your list. That’s why I made you to delete the blog post.’

Thus continued Shwetha’s perpetual loop of ‘Things I cannot live without’!


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