She had a long memory, especially for old grievances and inconsequential things. There was nothing she liked more than to pull these from the deep recesses of her memory and examine them at length–pick, prod, lift the edges, flick off a bit here and a bit there, as if they were scabs.

Her favourites were, of course, the slights. She remembered every slight, real and imagined. Family gatherings and parties were particularly torturous. Behind superficial smiles, pretentious air kisses, half-hearted hugs, limp handshakes and awkward small talk hid an earlier affront she remembered in excruciating detail. She could tell you which uncle had said what to her on her seventeenth birthday, which aunt had snubbed her at the housewarming ceremony, which cousin had tittered behind her back (which she happened to overhear), which colleague had tried to upstage her at the client presentation. And Facebook? Don’t even get her started on that. Her litany of woes was a timeline long.

*

Teesta sighed. Her shoulders felt numb. She had been hunched too long over her laptop. Coding was hard work. But it’s what she loved most. As far back as she could remember she had always wanted to be a programmer. Python, Perl, Ruby…. It had all sounded so exotic to her. Every line of script was poetry to her, every piece of code, magical.

“Could you be any more predictable?” Mrinalni had mocked when Teesta had first told her she wanted to be a software programmer. “Every Mala, Harini and Sheila works in the IT industry in Bengaluru yaar. Boring! Don’t you want to be different?”

“But every piece of code is different Mrinu. Don’t you get it? You write a piece of code, and it can do whatever you want it to do. Don’t you see the sheer magic of it all?” But Mrinalni never understood Teesta’s fascination or career choices.

Teesta cranked her head this way and that, and as she rolled her shoulders, she heard her joints crack. Mrinalni would’ve crunched up her pert, little nose and yelled “gross”. Teesta almost smiled.

Mrinalni. Her best friend. Once best friend. How close they had been.

Mrinalni had moved to Bengaluru when she was thirteen. Middle school, middle of the school year, cliques already in place. It tested her, to say the least. She hid in the library, preferring to stay lost in a tattered copy of Harry Potter than face the muggle world. Which is how Teesta had found her. They had bonded over books and boybands. For thirteen years, they had been best friends. Only, now she wasn’t too sure. Friends didn’t ignore you on Facebook, did they?

She wasn’t sure what had gone wrong. It had started innocuously enough. Teesta had shared a funny cat video. Mrinalni had reacted with a “Really, babes?” Ok, it had been a silly video. But still.

And then she had shared that “We are South of India” video. You know the one in the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Considering they were both from the south, she thought she’d get it. But all she got was a “Meh!”

Then there was that one on “25 awesome places to visit on a shoestring budget”. No reply. The JK Rowling quote. The “Humans of New York” post. Not a peep. That Subramaniam Swamy mashup. Come on, that was funny. But there was nothing.

And then there was her picture. She’d taken a selfie against the beautiful Tabebuias in Cubbon Park. She could’ve forgiven Mrinalni all the earlier snubs. But this was unforgivable.  She had broken the unwritten rule in every true friendship – you had to like your friend’s photos, no matter how bad. And this was not bad at all. In, fact, she looked good, really good. For once she hadn’t been squinting and her smile lit up her face. It was bloody awesome, that’s what it was. And Mrinalni knew how much she loved Tabebuias. Her best time of the year was December when they bloomed. She loved driving down the tree-lined roads of Bengaluru to see them laden with the lush pink flowers. This was unforgivable. She had gone and ignored her one too many times. How long had she been ignoring her? 2 weeks? 4 weeks?

Teesta logged in and checked her recent posts. Zilch. Nada. Mrinalni had maintained FB silence for over 6 weeks now. She went even further back, looked at all her old posts, dug into them one by one. Seeing who had liked, who had commented, she kept track on a worksheet she’d created. Surely there must be an easier way. Hmmm…What if she wrote a simple code? She just needed the API to pull in the data. Then she could work her magic. Get the script to decode the data, analyse the posts and the activity for friends who were not being friendly. She could even set up an algorithm to score each friend on how unfriendly they were. Points would add up for repeat defaulters. Yes, it could work. And she would add an “Unfriend” button next to every defaulter’s name, so you could unfriend them. Publicly. “‘Dump’ would probably be a better word on the button,” she muttered to herself, but she didn’t think that would go down too well.

Once the idea took hold, she couldn’t let go. There was an almost manic frenzy to her working. She wrote the code in barely a week. After that she tested and QA’d it, before submitting it for review. Waiting for the app to be approved was the worst. Would everything go as planned?

She checked her account.

“Your app has been submitted and is pending review.”

13 days. 13 restless days she waited for the department to review the app. But approve it they did. Her app was live.

Now she would show them all. Every bloody one of them who had ignored her. Let the world know what she had created. Today her app would throw up its list of repeat defaulters. And Mrinalni? She would be right there, on top of the list. Finally, publicly she could unfriend her.

She quickly typed her status update:

“Excited! My app got approved on Facebook. Yay! Show me some love peeps. Download the app and spread the word around.  —  feeling awesome”

January 29 at 7:41pm

She took a deep breath. And let it out. She clicked enter.

Her notifications lit up.

* Mrinalni likes your post.

* Mrinalni commented on your post.

“Brilliant idea, babes. This is so you!

Love it!  <3 <3 <3

Sharing it J J

Treat’s on you.

Muaah !!!”

January 29 at 7:44pm

 

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Sathya Ramaganapathy likes to believe that she is a humorist. Armed with two kids, the ulnar nerve and a long memory, especially for inconsequential things and old grievances, she conjures up what she believes are brilliantly funny and incisive pieces on parenting, kids and life in general. She has very few friends and family left. She has written three children’s books, published by Maya Organic, a Bengaluru based NGO. She blogs at www.thingsmykidssay.in

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