“Aww Come on! Please do it for me. I know we have skype but we both understand how difficult it is going to have those calls. You will be busy in your classes and I will be running behind the work targets.”
This is what a plea from a loving girlfriend sounds like after you decide to give long distance a shot. Well, long distance relations rarely work, don’t they?
I had taken up an admission to a decent college in Singapore to pursue my master’s degree. She was to remain in Germany. A little background - We were interning at one of the best hotels in the country, ‘Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin’. Even though we were part of the same pod (team), we never spoke for ‘god knows whatever’ reason. Being in the hospitality & management services, it was part of the job to maintain an official Instagram account on behalf of the hotel.
Instagram. I got my one of the many ‘this dude lives under a rock’ stares when they saw me creating an Instagram account on the spot. I don’t need these social media apps to socialise, so what? Well, I had to create it and this is where we had a decent conversation. Not on Tinder, not on Facebook, not on Twitter, but on Instagram.
I guess the saying - “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true for every reason. In the first week, we had an assignment which involved interaction with some high profiled guests who were spending the weekend in our hotel. As part of the activity for the IG profile, few photos were to be posted. These photos captured the essence of the natural sceneries which complemented the serene and luxurious experience that the guests could enjoy every time they stayed there. In one such snapshot, we were to pose with these high profilers. Imagine a group of overjoyed guests mesmerised by the beauty and impressed by our friendly yet, professional demeanour. Everyone was trying to portray their best angles to have those excellent candid shots. After like 10 snaps, it was time to upload them. That evening, the comments on the pics were nowhere relatable to that describing the sceneries, the guests or the glamorous surroundings. I had become the topic of the midnight internship parties. ‘Why’ you ask?
Out of these 10 snaps, 8 had captured, me, looking soulfully at her. Yes, me, the guy who never went on to say even a ‘Hi’ is seen staring at this beautiful girl, crushing secretly (well not anymore now, is it?). To make matters more (interesting?), one of the hashtags said ‘secretlove’ and one of the comments said ‘Not so secret anymore’. She sent the first message with the pic and a smiley. And thus, began our 3-month love stint there.
I could see why she loved the job so much. Clicking selfies at work were considered ‘Safe for Work’ and they encouraged to click snaps showing the essence of the hotel that complemented the country’s beauty. One of the factors that measured competition among the hoteliers was - whose Instagram profile was more aesthetic. In fact, the rival hotels in Berlin didn’t care if the occupancy rate was diminishing. The aesthetic image of the hotel’s IG profile and the number of followers on its page was a strong indicator of the number of visitors in that season.
Our virtual interactions comprised of those long meme battles. They were fun not only because they were hilarious, but also because they were used to prove a point like why playing dead is the safest defence mechanism in animals and how it can be applied when the manager catches us slacking off.
Our long-distance interactions were ‘instant’. Instant good-morning texts, instant apologies after an argument, instant expression of love. Our relationship was nurtured by exchange of silly snaps and videos. Following the exotic food, dreamy vacation spots and the backpacker’s page were the sources of the next meeting plans. In case I failed to respond to a post in which she found extremely funny or romantic, I would receive the stare pic reminding me that it was I who fell for her first! That snap went to the archives later.
If nothing, Instagram brought out the creativity in her. What’s better than earning a considerable sum by posting selfies and endorsing the products & services of various multinational firms. 2 months of full-time dedication into it and the next thing on our beloved Instagram was the announcement of how she was offered a position at their Singapore offices. The long-distance relationship was getting transformed to have the ‘long-distance’ removed out of it.
I was about to leave to pick her up at the airport. I was waiting for her call after her flight landed. Instead, I got a ping and saw her first ever post on IG on Singapore land. A snap showing the ‘Arrivals’ section of the airport.
She wasn’t mad even though I couldn’t make it on time to receive her. She was ready with the ‘Live feed’ on Instagram to capture the essence of two souls meeting after a long time. She said that the "Live-Feed" got thousands of likes filled with ‘Awwww’ and ‘so beautiful’ exclamations, while, I could feel thousands of emotions emerging in my heart, for I had missed her, among all those instant texts and pics and in the pursuit of instant happiness in our busy schedules.
My first ever post on IG soon followed, with us in the frame and the caption read “No more long-distance crap”. Felt like I truly created a profile to post this!
P.S. It’s the ‘World Social Media Day’ on June 30, 2018. You can tell by now that which is going to be my, or rather Our, favourite social media brand.