Indians are looking beautiful and so are their homes. A quick glance through people’s Diwali Facebook posts presents a stunningly new India in HD, thanks to increasingly superior camera pixels. In the eyes of beholder smartphones, megapixels have gone up 8 times up to 20+ in the past decade. Aperture is brighter and the sensors larger.
Anything new or news qualifies to be a post. Festivals bring home newness. Gleaming floors or large floor areas with creatively designed motifs in vibrant colours and perfectly positioned earthen lamps present the spectacle of festivals. More and more Indians are downloading new references and expressing their own art. A quick scan through Diwali night posts on FB holds one's observation to increasing number of stunning pictures. Indian families look professionally styled in new ethnic wear for the occasion & photography with just the right level of energy and composure. After all, the entire pre-production exercise of Diwali must project an awe-inspiring image of the family on social media to get that envied gaze and number of likes or comments. The ‘Manyavar’ish urban Indian men still look a little patriarchal as they keenly take the central position of power shot. We also see a caring fatherly arm around family in most portraits or selfies. ‘W’omen look younger, prettily inspired by Bollywood and richer Indian ethnicity being retailed with more enthusiasm every autumn winter. Pre-teen girls evoke innocence to newly acquired attitude in fashion with visible melting patriarchy in many pictures. With friend’s comments ranging from ‘soooo cute’ to ‘grown so fast’ to ‘lovely family’, more the achieved ‘likes and comments’, the deeper is the sense of relief. The “audience poll” seemingly has never been so important in our social lives. On this ‘look the part’ stage of life, adolescent boys sheepishly pose behind florescent lights as the new Indian homes refract shimmers of juvenile affluence.
Somehow Diwali family pictures without daughters don’t look complete. Families with two sons present the most predictable Fabindia Kurta visual merchandise. The mother in otherwise a picture perfect shot, looks quite a graceful individual.
Amidst all Indian family pictures, the cultural beauty is visually unmistakable in FB posts from Bengali friends & families. The festive sparkles amazingly continue after Pujo but with art designer rangolis, music, pictionary, sumptuous food visuals and of course brilliant compositions – gracious ladies sitting, young girls lounging, men standing tall and all boys sparsely floored on with loads of food & drinks lavishly presented in the foreground.
With divine intervention, the engagement and wedding season coincides with Diwali. Soon to be married daughters shift positions in pictures as father’s arms are duly withdrawn to hold on to nothing but themselves. His wife is now blessing her son-in-law. Abundantly nourished with dry fruits in the season, Indian men in 60s also look younger to win comments like ‘Smashing Sharma ji’, ‘Smart uncle’ from random social nephews and nieces. In a rapidly changing timeline, our Facebook posts are streaming films of Indian Culture. You may also come across a probing post asking people why do we use Urdu vocabulary like ‘Diwali Mubarak’ instead of ‘Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein’. Be it Hindi or Hindutva supporters, legal eagles on crackers ban or pollution experts, Facebook is emerging as India’s social insights repository.
So one scrolls down to see more ‘love u beautiful family’ type comments. The two plus one families look happier, younger and more beautiful than a family of four. Don’t ask why but there is a visible delight of economics of emotions. Smaller families look warmer, happier, and closer. The mother and daughter in these pictures could be sisters or friends with a balding male invasion. However the larger ‘friends as families’ pictures are equally well-crafted and look great ‘Diwali party sign-offs’ posts.
Cut to Awadh. On the banks of river Sarayu, approx. 170,000 earthen lamps have decorated Ayodhya. The birth city of Hindu Lord Ram also looks beautiful in pictures. Comments on Hindu themes expectedly divide the trail. Back in National Capital Region, someone is still screaming, hello #Delhi. Can you pls stop burning #crackers today!
In ‘view more’ photos, Indian professionals look really happy in their true complexion and veneer of Indo-western ethnicity as they pose for group photos in their softly lit new offices with pastel shades of interior decor. They evoke novel aesthetic sensibilities. “Love what you’re wearing” is just the desired appreciation one would splurge the monthly salary on. The mix’n’match looks passé and boringly ordinary. The expensive, original ethnicity looks engaging in style & visual content on Diwali pictures.
Indians who preferred to remain single in life are smiling on their own terms. They have a different take on life. It's not familial however equally beautiful on Facebook. Shots of interesting compositions of artefacts, beautiful lamps, flowers, fragrance bottles are posted as if singularity’s longing and wait still continues. Comments on their posts are carefully measured to compliment on her or his artistic ways of wishing happy Diwali.
Singles are not the only ones who are alone, a father feels unaccompanied as he misses his son who now studies in Canada. He creatively themes Diwali in his love by designing beautiful maple leaves rangolis as his world is in Canada.
Quite disappointingly, NRI homes look the same old plush with massive snow white sofas, vacuum cleaned carpets and large abstracts on walls with focal illumination. The lighting looks coldly electric and not warmly rustic in smokey Indian air. Be it the islands of Diwali festivity in the silicon valley or fancy homes in APAC, NRIs posts merely mark their festive attendance.
Led by Facebook, Indians look well-styled and their pictures cinematographically finished & open community. It is estimated 300 million pictures are globally uploaded every day on Facebook by estimated 2.01 billion FB active users (June’17). India has already a crossed 241 million active users ( more than half below 25 years age) and are growing faster than 240 million active users in US- 27% over 12%.
Keep streaming pictures, pressing the ‘like’ button, commenting on a friends’ photo or video, or simply messaging.