Eject before it’s too late.
“Sir, do rate us on your experience today.”
11 digits ranging from 1-10 were vying for my attention at the checkout counter. But my mind was made up in a flash. I can’t let this happen to the world. I won’t let this happen to the world.
That’s the problem with watching a dystopian series like Black Mirror. The end of the sane world seems so near even with the most trivial of incidents.
The wait for the 3rd season was 16,200 hours long, and Indians are not good at waiting. Just ask any random guy waiting at any random queue and the ensuing small talk will be ear wrenching enough to question your decision of leaving earphones at home. So when Nosedive arrived after eternity, it hardly took a moment’s invitation to dive right in. And what a dive it was.
It immediately teleports you to an immediate future when every encounter, even a random brush of the shoulder with a stranger, needs to be given a rating out of 5. The ones with 4+ score get perks like lower interest rates, personalized billboards, chip packets with more chips and less packaging, etc etc. You also get to upload moments of your life like the horrible cookie you had for breakfast, the worn-out childhood toy that nobody gives a damn about in desperate attempts to up your star ratings. Lacie, the protagonist does it all, even practices her perfect geometry-defying smile for strangers, every morning in front of the mirror. So that the scales tip closer to 5 and she gets to move into a posh lifestyle complex at a lower cost.
The price she ultimately pays is a lesson to us all. We have been so aligned with the mechanisms of instant-gratification of the web that we easily mask our lies and our fears of rejection with a thin layer of forced niceties. A random RT here, a Like there, a DM, a view on Snap, a heart on Insta – are the new pat-on-shoulders everyone is so hell-bent to accrue. Our online avatars are being beefed up with strong opinions, hordes of connections, tons of information, but in reality we are just running away from the emptiness our actual life has to offer. Having meaningful conversations and building strong relations seem gigantic efforts away. The art’s faded. The lines blurred. The chirp of an electronic bird, now our only solace.
And if you still think that this is too big a leap from our current times, China is all set to roll out its own social credit system. Bazinga!
“I don’t want to.”
“You won’t be charged. Everyone does it” The man over the counter explained with a smile as he neatly folded my shirt into the carrying bag.
“2000 ka chuttha dega toh 10/10 dunga.”
And you thought the idea of REVHUMAN was fucked up.