There has been a certain craze related to “confessions” lately which has spread itself  like a plague on Facebook. It started with “college confessionals” and spread to specific localities and we now even have a “Twitter Confessions“. On Facebook. There’s an inherent irony in that but my sheer disgust at this prevents me from appreciating it.

This piece was born out of that disgust for what I see as a silly craze that goes on to show just how badly Internet has made us starve for attention and validation. 

A-Dozen-Masks

The Mask

We wore our masks – the facades behind which we hid our true selves from the outside world. We never removed them in front of others. The mask was a chameleon, a shape-shifter – changing colours and forms evolving according to the will of our minds. It would enable us to shift from sympathetic friends to disdainful rivals in the space of moments. We lived in bliss with our masks on our faces, not caring what lay beneath. Why should we? What if whatever lay beneath was inferior in comparison to the masks we wore? How would we face the world then? How would we face ourselves?

Then came a time, in the midst of a flux, when one of us stumbled upon an object. This object lay in a remote corner of our virtual space. In this virtual space, the masks people wore gained strange powers. It unshackled them from responsibility curtailing their intentions behind a veil of anonymity and freed them from following typical social conventions. Everyone had flocked to this virtual space when it was first created and over a period of time it had become our second home. One where we and our masks – together in solitude communicated with millions of our kind. Personas could be created and destroyed at will when you hid beneath this virtual veil – it made us feel strangely empowering.

But this object which they found changed things. It was a mask.

Another mask.

The first ones to wear it among us claimed that the new mask gave them immense freedom under absolute anonymity – unlike anything people had ever imagined. They could reveal their inner-most thoughts about people to everybody without ever revealing their true names. Confessions was what they were calling it. The traditional act of absolving one’s guilt in front of God. But what guilt could we have when we were so lost behind our own masks?

Yet, each one of us wore that mask. Turn by turn, we confessed our inner-most thoughts, feelings from the very recesses of our decaying core and it felt great. What was better was that people talked about it. They talked about it all around – their voices whispering in the empty corridors and crowded class-rooms talked about us, about our inner-most thoughts in a tone of excitement that made us feel proud of ourselves – a little better about whoever lay beneath the two masks we wore.

Slowly a change began encompassing our daily routines. In the virtual space, in groups and in our real lives, people rarely talked about anything besides it. Laying our deepest thoughts open while we remained hidden behind our masks gleefully watching the world whisper excitedly about what we thought was turning into an image-booster. In the anonymity offered by the mask, we began feeling better about ourselves and what we felt. It attached some meaning to our feelings even if they never had any significant outcome or effect. It was turning into a borderline obsession for all. People raged and argued about inanimate things – about feelings which were left orphaned by their creators, never to be looked upon by either of them.

It wasn’t until long before some of us realized that it was the mask which was controlling us. The lure of confessing in anonymity of feelings which had little worth in real life was too great for us to overcome. We tried telling everyone about the evils of the mask before it was too late. Some realized their folly and tried removing it in vain.

They didn’t know where the mask ended and where their true selves began.

In their attempt to chase behind primal urges and shower feelings on people who didn’t know they existed, they had forgotten to understand their true selves. To find time and take a look at who was the person behind the masks. In their vain quest for a stranger’s affection, they never understood their ownselves.

One by one they began to drown in the sea of their own regret. Of aspirations and castles that never were.

Strangely, people said that when they died, the masks they wore simply fell off from their faces. Beneath the mask, they were all just faceless.

No identity.

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Coincidentally, this is also the first time I have posted a short story/fictional piece (if you can can call it that) written by me on this blog. I’ll be doing it on certain occasions in the future.

For now, it is time we must wear our masks and move on back to the real world.  Because god forbid, if anyone sees our true selves, what if they don’t like it? That is a part of us that can never be changed.

But there lies the question doesn’t it? Is there ever really a “real” you when you are never really aware of it?