Our think about things
Think Stream

Beautifully Facebooked Indians

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.

Stay Facebooked.

Atulit Saxena
08 Nov 2017
Atulit Saxena Before Futurebrands, he was Director of Euro RSCG Advertising, one of world's leading advertising agencies. A post graduate in business administration from University of Rajasthan, Atulit has more than two decades of brand development experience across apparels, FMCG, consumer durables and services. His principal areas of work and interest include Startup Brands, Brand Finance, Brand Licensing, Brand Partnerships, documentary films and teaching. Atulit has given lectures at franchising & brand licensing conferences, FICCI , CII seminars, and management schools in India.

Atulit Saxena
08 Nov 2017
Share this article
Related Posts

The Quiet Charms of Khichdi

It now appears that there is no proposal to anoint Khichdi as the national dish of India, but regardless of whether khichdi deserves that title or not and glossing over the question of whether in a country like ours, any one dish can or should be classified as such, it certainly gives us an occasion…
Santosh Desai
13 Nov 2017
 

The Impossible Burden

For those of us living in cities who only encounter food related crisis in the form of exorbitant prices at our neighbourhood mandis from time to time, the crisis faced by our farmers across the length and breadth of this vast country seems like an bewildering knot of complications and contradictions.…
Anirban Mukherjee
01 Nov 2017
 

The Alcohol Genie

The Supreme Court has clarified its order on banning liquour sale within 500m on highways, and many parts of India are sighing with relief. That such a ruling caused such anxiety is a sign of the role alcohol has come to play in our lives today. Social legitimacy of alcohol has increased significantly…
Santosh Desai
31 Oct 2017
 

Punjab in your rear-view mirror

Growing up in a far-flung, prosperity-starved Bengal of the seventies and eighties Punjab was something that I perceived either through the veil of history and mythology or through limited interactions with the Sikh community of transporters and traders. They were seen to be a bulwark of moral uprightness…
Anirban Mukherjee
31 Oct 2017
 

Polio and the Power Paradox

There is tiredness with the imperfection, inefficiency and slowness of this large democracy called India. At times one has caught a fairly strong strand of disbelief especially amongst the young in the audience as Amartya Sen reiterates why democracy is good for our economic growth. The unwieldy and…
Sraboni Bhaduri
17 Oct 2017
 

Futurebrands Workshop: Aesthetics emerge out of conversations

At Futurebrands we love telling stories. It could be a visit to the Mysore zoo or the changing nature of Indian cities, any story can be told beautifully, if the right tools are given to the right people. On 15th September, Delhi office of Futurebrands hosted Ankur Choksi, Principle & Co-founding…
Futurebrands
26 Sep 2017
 

Futurebrands Workshop: Media Planners School Their Clients

It is widely believed that if you are a creative person then you must hate numbers. But at Futurebrands we believe that creativity and brands lie at the intersection of many forces.  On 13th September, the lush green premises of the Futurebrands Delhi office became the site for such an intersection.…
Futurebrands
26 Sep 2017
 

Bioscope 1: The birds, the bees, and the lush greens

It was an evening filled with exuberance: of the lawns and the powerful opinions that Paromita Vohra brought with her for Futurebrands’ Bioscope series’ first presentation: ‘Paro-Vaani.’ Paromita is a well-known documentary filmmaker, writer, teacher, actor, feminist, founder…
Futurebrands
20 Sep 2017
 

Evangelize an Idea first. Build a Brand later

Soon we will have request from business schools in India to co-author case study on Brand Evangelism as Patanjali (an Indian cross category FMCG brand) will reportedly grow to  INR 5000 ( USD 757 Mn) FY 15-16 since its launch in 2009-10, at the fastest growth rate in Indian FMCG market,  as…
Atulit Saxena
30 Mar 2016
 

Majstro-ji

Cooks in India are usually men seen in dhabas (highway restaurants) and on open street food stalls. They pick cooking skills and do not gain deep knowledge from other men in the business or perhaps just start cooking by default for livelihood. The professional and brahminical superior race is of chefs…
Atulit Saxena
29 Mar 2016
 

Real Power

Before Alexander died he asked people to display his empty hands to the world in his last journey. He wished to convey that all the power he fought for is not being taken by him but is being left behind. The warrior code of power lost to the ultimate reality and powerlessness in death. In the same way,…
Atulit Saxena
28 Mar 2016
 

The last slow-motion crawl

As the monsoon starts to fade somewhere in late August, Mumbai sets aside its umbrellas and bhajia platters and gears up up for a frenetic festive season. In every corner of India there is at least one festival that the locals claim as their own, in Mumbai it’s the Ganeshotsav, a ten day long…
Anirban Mukherjee
19 Nov 2015
 

Meat bans in Mumbai: Rethinking protest

When it comes to dietary habits, one would expect the State to concern itself with matters of nutrition, adequate or otherwise, among children, women and the poor. As the first year of its being the Government of Maharashtra comes to a close, the elected representatives of the people seem to have developed…
Anirban Mukherjee
19 Nov 2015
 

A spanner in the anthem

Imagine seeing young men and women from all over the country, waking up with a look of square jawed determination on their faces as they put on their construction helmets, laboratory coats, overalls and even spectacles in the slow, deliberate manner in which soldiers supposedly wear their body armor…
Anirban Mukherjee
19 Nov 2015
 

Leaving hunger behind

The preponderance of food in today’s social media, rapidly multiplying food reality shows on television and the emergence of an entire cheer-leading squad in the form of food bloggers, reviewers and critics?—?can create a sense that we are living in some kind of a gastronomic golden age.…
Anirban Mukherjee
11 Mar 2016
 

The changing quest for music

An idle fantasy of mine is to be able to go back into one’s own past carrying some wondrous product from today’s time and to confront one’s earlier self with the miracle just to see the reaction. Perhaps nothing would cause more astonishment than a smartphone, but (for the sake of…
Santosh Desai
01 Oct 2015
 

The City as an idea

It is easy to lament about the nature of the city, particularly when in rains. The fissures in the city’s pretences begin to drip more visibly, as the city’s many vulnerabilities get cruelly exposed. The need for urban renewal has never been felt more tangibly, and while the government’s…
Santosh Desai
01 Oct 2015
 

Sholay: Revisiting an epic

Sholay was a tidal wave that engulfed us a little after it was released in 1975. Never before and never after, has a film had that kind of impact as did Sholay. Even today, forty years, after having seen the film only twice (once when it came out and then on television a few years ago), I can recall…
Santosh Desai
01 Oct 2015
 

Who runs the world? Twenty-somethings

The world is being run by twenty-somethings. Strictly speaking, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it would seem that in a few years time, it might well be true. Giant businesses are being built by people who cannot buy a beer in Delhi. A bunch of kids are dreaming up ideas, hiring people much older…
Santosh Desai
01 Oct 2015
 

The past as anchor for our present?

What role should the past play in our present? How important is it to reorient our sense of the past in order to shape a more meaningful present? One of the key projects of this regime has been to try and fashion a deeper connection with what it sees as a more ‘Indian’ version of history.…
Santosh Desai
01 Oct 2015