I awoke this morning with a question: would my grandmother have tweeted?
She passed away before twitter was even a germinating notion and before email was as ubiquitous as it is now. The most prevalent form of social media were the conversations during which she and I would dissect plot and motive from a recent episode of “Murder She Wrote” or “Hunter.”
But she was a correspondent. True, she had a readership of just one: her younger brother who lived in India. But to him she told the news of the day, of the goings-on in her corner of the States, and general musings about her quotidian observations. She wrote in Tamil, a script I only recognized by shape but whose meaning eluded me. Sometimes my grandmother would translate what she was writing; only now does it occur to me that she could have been lying! I doubt it, but…
If she were to tweet, I bet she would have adopted a less publicly public persona. That’s not to say her tweets would be protected. But they might be somewhat disguised, and her twitter handle would likely hearken back to the days of early email usernames when people relished in concocting absurd monikers for themselves, a time when anonymity reigned supreme (rather than the branding and self-marketing that marks today’s norm).
@Kalpathi4eva (she was born in the village of Kalpathi, and so…)
@Hunterfan (self explanatory)
@Breadupma (would take too long to explain)
@Loosekanji (so would this)
As for the content, I wonder if her tweets would contain bits of song she would often invoke to underscore a point, draw out unexpected contours of experience, or simply as an excuse to break up the afternoon. Or might they be quotes from the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana, two books she read and reread incessantly? Or perhaps, if she were to continue with her flaneuse-like tendencies and resume circumambulating our childhood neighborhood as once used to do, perhaps she would recount odd bits of conversations that caught her as she passed by — below, snippets I overheard during last night’s walk:
[Young man to a young woman he was walking with]: “Do you smell that?” deep breath “I love the smell of late evening in the spring.”
[Teenage girl crossing the street with two girlfriends]: “Omigod, I am fat. No, I am. I am! I am fat.” Over her friends’ protestations: “That’s rubbish.”
[Young woman sitting next to a young man on a bench in the park]: “I’ve never had a one night stand.”
[Two men standing on the corner smoking cigarettes, the one with worried eyes did the talking]: “Have you heard anything? Has there been any communication?” The other shakes his head.
So, would grandma have been a tweeter? I can’t say for sure, but given the way the platform keeps people in the forefront of my mind’s eye, I’d like to think so.