For every WhatsApp group in existence, there is a fringe group whose sole purpose is to make fun of the happenings in the main group. And one is never aware of the existence of these fringe groups until you are added or invited to one. WhatsApp does come in handy for people who like to talk, but not when group chat messages start clocking up to 350 to 400 messages everyday.
Now with professional groups or those which hinge on a common goal, it’s easy to quit them without any fear of inciting hard feelings. However, the family WhatsApp group is one group you can’t leave, ever.
Speaking solely on a general basis, almost everyone is part of one WhatsApp group or the other. How they get created is always the same. A group of forgotten relatives and friends decide to rekindle their relationship in the most artificial manner possible. The names probably run like this ‘Sharma family’, ‘Class of 1994’, ‘Friends Forever’, which encompasses all the extended family members whom you have never met,but exchange the obligatory ‘Good morning’ with, every single day.
It starts innocent enough, after the usual intros, hi-hellos, lost photos and exclamations over ‘sab kitne badal gaye’, the trickle of messages becomes a tidal wave which will sweep you away to a land of ‘Good morning’ messages, first birthdays, babies, gyaan messages from your taujis, suktis from the gossipy bua, until you are groaning under the onslaught of all the information.
Architecture student Ekaansh Agarwal, who himself is part of six family groups, says that he has learnt the art of selective reading. “I’m part of one family group that has 70 members which is on mute always. It got created after a lot of families met at a family function after many years, and some ‘mahan aatma’ had the idea to create the group. The stinker is I don’t know half of the people in that group, but leaving will look bad for my parents, so I’m part of it,” says Ekaansh.
Beyond the forwards, jokes, gifs that are shared everyday in these groups, one also stumbles upon hidden gems. Software professional Shravani Misra found her mother’s college pictures in one family group, when her aunt’s family decided to go on a cleaning spree of the house and found the old snapshots hidden in a box, long forgotten. “It was a picture of my mom wearing a sari in a college programme and everyone was gushing over it. You do feel a sense of belonging, but it’s virtual. At the end of the day, the maximum interaction you have is with your friends and immediate family. But, once in a while, such groups are good for a laugh,” quips Shravani.