At last Roma was satisfied with that perfect click. She used various filters to beautify the photo and then uploaded it on her Instagram story. She was eagerly awaiting the likes and comments. She kept on checking her phone and within 10 minutes she got 50 likes and 10 comments. “Not many comments and likes”, she was disappointed. It was such a nice click, wonder why so less likes and comments.
Little Diya was getting cranky. She was all of 10 months and was wearing that beautiful frilly pink frock that her mom got from the kids apparel brand for which she was paid to write. She was her mom Roma’s favourite muse. Since the time Roma became pregnant with Diya, she started documenting each and every phase of her pregnancy on her blog and later started posting Instagram stories. Soon, she had many followers on her blog website and Instagram. What started as penning down her pregnancy journey and killing her free time, since she had left her job following a complicated pregnancy, soon made her a popular blogger and Instagram star.
Soon, she started making money as various baby brands, cereal brands, apparel brands started approaching her. Her passion had made her richer not just by followers but monetarily too.
She had become so addicted to updating her life that even five minutes prior to being wheeled to the operation theatre she was live updating every detail of her delivery!
Her bundle of joy, her daughter Diya, arrived and Roma was over the moon. She held her little princess close to her, gave her a kiss on her forehead, and called out for her husband Ravi. Ravi wanted to savour that moment with the two beautiful girls of his life, but Roma said, “Ravi please get my mobile. I just want to capture this moment and send it out to my followers. They must be impatiently waiting for my baby details.” Ravi became upset but didn’t want to show this to his wife who was so happy. Roma despite the C-section stitches and the overall weakness was excited to post the most memorable moment of her life. No sooner did she post her photo, she started getting hundreds of likes and comments. She felt like a star again.
Every top baby brand now approached her for endorsement, Insta stories, blogs. Now with her baby being her muse, Roma wanted to churn out as many stories as she could, wanted more and more brands to approach her. It was kind of becoming like an obsession for her.
Earlier that day she saw two new mom bloggers who had more likes and comments on their Instagram stories than her. Roma felt extremely upset and insecure. She was literally sulking. Ravi came home from the office and saw his wife upset. He went near her, gave her a hug, and asked, “What’s the matter darling? You look very upset.” Roma burst out into tears and said, “You know Ravi, it seems I have become very complacent after Diya’s birth. I am no more the Number 1 Mommy Blogger. I was so sure that I will win the Best Young Mommy Blogger award this year, but two new bloggers are threatening my position. I need to buck up, work harder. Diya doesn’t cooperate always for the photos. What do I do to maintain my position?”
Ravi tried to pacify her, “Look dear, there are bound to be many more mom bloggers like you who are equally talented, active, and popular. You have your own position, you are unique just like everyone else. Don’t compare or compete. Just relax and enjoy your motherhood. Diya is just a baby, don’t expect her to be cheerful and cooperative all the time!” Roma became angry and blurted out, “Ravi it seems you don’t want me to be the Number 1 blogger. You don’t love me like before.” Ravi realized that it was no of use trying to tell Roma anything now.
Roma had sleepless nights now. In the nights whenever she would be feeding her 6-month-old Diya, she would constantly think of ideas to usurp her contenders and ways to create new and better content. She decided to present Diya’s day-to-day activities in various interesting forms. It would be a sure shot hit.
Once again with all the zeal she started photographing Diya in various poses, cute dresses, carefully displaying the product she was writing about or endorsing. She would be very particular about the lighting, sometimes waking up Diya to catch the early morning light on her balcony, sometimes waiting to get that perfect shot while little Diya would get cranky because of being sleepy. Sometimes she would make Diya wear headbands, flowers, make her sit or sleep in a certain position and keep on repeating it till Diya started wailing loudly.
Ravi had many times asked Roma to slow down, to let Diya enjoy her infancy and childhood, and take pictures of her for their memories and not for Instagram stories, but Roma would simply ignore him. Roma loved the fact that now she had innumerable followers, fans. She would daily get mails and messages asking her for tips for that “perfect” way to raise a child like she did, how she managed to raise a child who never became cranky, how she managed to look so good despite being a new mom, etc., etc. More and more brands were approaching her due to her rising popularity.
One winter morning, just days before Diya’s first birthday, Roma had decided to capture Diya’s “spontaneous” candid moment in the balcony. There was a chill in the air that day. Roma started waking up Diya at around 7 am. Diya became extremely cranky and started wailing loudly. Roma tried her best to pacify her, but Diya became crankier. Roma got annoyed and yelled at Diya, “Why don’t you cooperate? Don’t you understand I have to give the baby brand this photo and writeup today? What’s wrong with you?” Soon Ravi came and held Diya in his arms and started consoling her. For the first time, Ravi lost his cool on Roma. He angrily said, “To hell with your Insta stories and your “picture-perfect” motherhood. Is your brand or your story more important than your child? Instead of comforting her you are yelling at her. She has simply become a muse for you. You have forgotten to enjoy her moments without bothering about your popularity, story, photos, awards. Its good to be popular, okay to post your stories, but for once let the child be! You have become obsessed with all this. For once just be a regular mommy and not the Instagram Mommy. Do you even remember the last time you played with Diya or had moments with Diya without bothering about your stories or photos?” Ravi stomped out of the room with Diya in his arms.
Roma sat stunned for a while. Ravi’s words echoed in her head. He was right. She didn’t remember the last time she had played with Diya, fed Diya, talked to Diya without bothering about her photos and stories. She had lost the spontaneity as a mother. She hadn’t bothered to check whether Diya was cranky, uncomfortable, hungry, sleepy and had only concentrated on taking the “perfect” pictures.
She decided to take a break from being an Instagram Mommy and concentrate more on enjoying her daughter’s childhood. Of course, she would click a lot of pictures but only for her family album. She would post pictures on social networking sites and write blogs too but only those which would be spontaneous and straight from the heart. If the followers and brands understood this approach, she was fine with it, else it didn’t matter to her anymore.
She went in the adjoining room and saw Ravi playing with Diya with Diya sitting on his chest and giggling and laughing. Roma had tears in her eyes and smile on her lips. She went and joined them. Her mobile was all alone in the other room.
Chapter 1: Another daughter is born. I was the second daughter of my parents and while my parents were happy the people around them lamented the fact that “another daughter was born.”
Chapter 2: The chubby stubborn toddler. As my mom says, I was a very chubby and a very stubborn child. I would bang my head on the wall if I didn’t like my dress!
Chapter 3: That studious girl. I was a very good student and a very sincere one too. Had dreams of becoming a doctor.
Chapter 4: Singer in the making. In my school and other singing competitions, I always used to come first in the singing competitions. I would have made a good career as a singer.
Chapter 5: Turbulent teenage years of an introvert girl. I had a very tough time during teenage thanks to body image issues and shifting to new schools and adjusting to new environment. For a introverted girl like me it was difficult.
Chapter 6: Finding independence. I bloomed once I started working and interacting with people better.
Chapter 7: Man of my dreams. Got married to a simple, awesome man in an arranged marriage setup. One of the best decisions of my life was to say YES to him. Life has been great with him.
Chapter 8: Small town girl in the City of Dreams. From a small town, I came to Mumbai as a new bride and began a new chapter of my life. This city had a huge impact in shaping me up and giving me confidence and recognition.
Chapter 9: They Young Mommy. I became a wife and a mother both at the age of 25. One of the best chapters of my life.
Chapter 10: Balancing Act. I started working from home so that I could take care of my child. Trust me, working from home is tough and that too with a baby. But somehow I sailed through.
Chapter 11: Mommyhood returns. Had my second child when my first one was almost 5. Now life revolved around these 2 little people.
Chapter 12: A writer is born. I started sharing my motherhood experiences in various mom forums and that’s where I began to write and blog seriously. I had found my true passion.
Chapter 13: Fighting another battle. At the age of 35, I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, which has no cure. Instead of crying and sulking, I decided to be positive and live with it bravely.
Chapter 14: Handling a teen and a preteen. Trust me, handling a teen and preteen is challenging yet fun! Nothing beats the feeling of looking at your children growing up to be good and confident humans.
Chapter 15: Ageing gracefully. Now I have learnt to forgive and forget better, learnt to let go, learnt to not get affected by everything, and learnt to give a damn too!
Chapter 16: Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost. Still lots to learn, lots to do, a lot on my wishlist.