The minutes you spend.
Looking at her clothes. How the neckline of her blouse is just shallow enough to give away her delicate collar bones. You spend a minute too long on this, in fact. And sigh.
Onto the next. Your fourth grade crush has bought his own BMW. Ah but, you think to yourself, it’s commonplace in the states.
Onto the next. Your ex boyfriend’s ex girlfriend. You make a mental note to unfollow her. Another time. Right now she’s got a cute puppy and you’ve forgotten you hated her.
You scroll down. It’s your mum’s cool friend, showing way too much cleavage.
Further down, your own ex. A post about his football non profit. Unfollow.
Next, your other ex. Married now, posting a picture of his brand new six pack abs. You smirk and don’t unfollow him, because it mildly amuses you to see his scantily clad calls for attention, the same reason you’re still following the girl from high school you never spoke to, who makes an appearance in the next picture.
You continue scrolling, fast now because the promise of entertainment from this app is slowly waning and making you restless.
And then you stop.
Scroll up just a bit.
Right in front of you.
The tiny thumbnail picture of the man you have a crush on.
It’s funny, you never thought you’d say man and crush in the same sentence. He’s posted something after two months. Not his face, not the weather, not some wannabe poignant picture of a derelict alleyway with a cheap filter and a borrowed caption. It’s a post of his latest animation, that he probably coded lying down casually in bed on a Sunday between his morning dose of Economic Times and his afternoon reading sesh (you think he likes reading Manto but you’re not sure it’s his Sunday vibe, so you don’t feature that into your imagination).
And then you scroll further. Slow now. Not really taking in anything. Memes. Selfies.
Comic strips come and go. By the time you’re back to the present, you’re already looking at pictures posted last night. With a pang of guilt you continue.
A quote with a bright background. A close friend’s terrible attempt at sketching. A stranger you follow in her latest gym attire (holy shit she got so fit so fast!). Because you like to know what exactly is up in their lives, three celebrities one after the other.
Your ex best friend with her new best friend. Your token cool colleague. And (just before it’s time to get off the cab) the guy who took his life last night.
Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics.
You are all stardust.
– Lawrence Krauss, American theoretical physicist and cosmologist
As a kid I was told that when people die, they become stars. I had my own theories derived from this, of course, for the imagination of a child is infinite. I thought the brighter stars were the dead celebrities. The dimmer ones were common people. And the ones we couldn’t see were the bad people. People who had wronged society in one way or another and perished, never to shine again. (Of course at that age you think common folk, celebrities and bad people are three mutually exclusive sets.) It all made perfect sense. Every near death experience was described as seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the star that the soul turns into.
I lay sprawled over my terrace floor gazing into darkness full of nothing and yet inconspicuously everything. The sky was so tragically beautiful that night; a graveyard of stars, illuminated by a reluctant half moon. Dead in our memory not because they aimed too high and they missed, but because they aimed too low and they reached.
I wondered what type of star I’d be once I died. I wanted to be a small star. Not dim, just small. I didn’t want to be too noticeable, but when noticed, I wanted to be able to entrance the onlooker. Like a small celebrity star, with its own loyal group of fans. It’s funny how once we start to think about death the problems of the world all begin to seem rather miniscule. Relationships and materialistic worries, how much we weigh and how much we earn. I think of what would make me want to end everything and then I realize life is so much bigger than that. It’s bigger than the last thing you think about when you sleep at night and the first thing you think about when you wake up. It’s bigger than a cheating boyfriend and a shoddy bank balance. It’s bigger than failed exams and missed opportunities. Don’t let your soul be defined by its shell, for a star will twinkle in ways the sun couldn’t begin to imagine.
Be picky with who you invest your time in. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are just either charming or tedious. There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story, though, so give everyone a chance. Eat what’s good for your soul and not your body. Read books with stories and not formulae. Fall in love with moments and not people. Be someone’s shot of tequila and not everyone’s cup of tea. Feed your soul so it shines the brightest in the night sky.
After all, we’re all stardust.