By Hardik Rajgor Aug. 30, 2017
Keyboard Samaritans are a breed of people who find their mojo on the day of a tragedy. As Cyclone Ockhi approaches Maharashtra, it’s time for them to come out of the closet.
There is no problem in the world that you can’t solve if you put your mind to it. Or alternatively, your fingers to it. Right from the days of “1 Like = 1 Prayer” our keyboards have been finding a solution to cancer and creating memes to rid Africa of poverty. Any day now, I am expecting to hear that the Indo-China dispute has been resolved by means of passive-aggressive tweets flying between the people of the two nations.
Welcome to the world of the Keyboard Samaritan.
Keyboard Samaritans are a breed of people who find their peak mojo on the day of a tragedy, like the time rains terrorised Mumbai. For them, it was a wet dream, quite literally, and they rose to the occasion by reading three articles, two listicles, and following a chat on m-Indicator, a train timetable app. This extensive research is all they need to start passing on unverified information.
The Keyboard Samaritan got to work in the early hours of the day by flooding every Whatsapp group possible with weather forecast for the next 72 hours. And every Samaritan made a different prediction. Facts don’t matter. In the world of Samaritans, the effort is all that counts.
A typical Samaritan must have been half-asleep with curtains covering his window, when rains started lashing the city. He had no idea about what was unfolding in the street below, but that did not stop him from making predictions about Hurricane Harvey that has hit Texas. Some of his messages presented such a confident conclusion on the weather patterns in Mumbai and Texas that they made even the Indian meteorological department wonder, “Holy shit, when did this happen?”
The weather updates were then followed by traffic suggestions – which road to take, which railway lines to avoid, which buses were playing. By now, Mr Warrior had travelled all the way from his bedroom to the toilet and was unleashing the power of Google Maps from the toilet seat. While Google Maps might be reliable on an average day, it’s as pointless on a rainy day as pineapples on a pizza. Sure, the authorities are constantly sharing relevant information in a timely manner, but why should anyone let that get in the way of enthusiasm?
With the confidence of a garlic-breathed uncle at the family function who advises you on the stock market, came phenomenal expertise on crisis management from someone who on most days can’t find his socks if his mom isn’t home.
As the day progressed and the rain intensified, it was time to bring out the big guns. Share pictures and videos of the mayhem on Mumbai’s roads, and spread panic to the best of his ability. Sometimes, the forwards could even be from an incident that took place a decade ago. (Did I mention earlier fact-checking is overrated?) To keep it light, the Samaritan even threw in an odd joke about how Ola and Uber had started boat services in the city.
While Good Samaritans were out on the streets preparing for a long night, the Keyboard Samaritan could not join them unfortunately, busy as he was hurling BCs and MCs at the BMC on its Facebook page. Tragedies are great times for likes and retweets on social media and one must never let that chance go.
By the time, the evening rolled in and Mumbaikars began to seriously panic about getting back home without public transport services, the Keyboard Samaritan swooped in. With the confidence of a garlic-breathed uncle at the family function who advises you on the stock market, came phenomenal expertise on crisis management from someone who on most days can’t find his socks if his mom isn’t home. The police, medical staff, transport authorities, and everyone with access to on-ground information on the situation were probably thinking, “Sab isi ko pata hai. Hum to saare chutiye baithe hain yahan.”
While Good Samaritans were handing out biscuits, bananas, and water bottles to those stranded, the Keyboard Samaritan rolled up his sleeves too. It was time to relentlessly tweet about the “spirit of Mumbai”. Mr Samaritan could have been on the street to boost this spirit, but then who would tweet about the “spirit of Mumbai”? It is after all the golden rule of the internet that regardless of the situation and its consequences, the “spirit of Mumbai” must always be defended. Mumbaikars defend this spirit, the same way the Shiv Sena defends a poorly repaired pothole.
The unfortunate day drew to an end, but chaos ensued. The Keyboard Samaritan had one last job to do before calling it a day. #Rainhost was a popular trend on social media and it was time to share his address and phone number with the world with an online post, not once but twice. The second time around, he also threw in a free, hot coffee. Even though nobody responded to his post, it didn’t matter. Free coffee on Facebook is how he would be known for his generosity in the years to come. Sure he had stolen his neighbour’s Wi-Fi, hated on people using Sarahah but that is inconsequential. Mr Keyboard Samaritan was determined to find you and make sure you found refuge in his house even if you didn’t want to.
Calling an end to this rough day, he got into bed, and then jumped up in shock. He hadn’t “marked himself safe” on Facebook. All his friends and fans from around the world would be worried sick. Of course, he had posted three status updates, eight rants, and at least 12 different flood photos from different angles taken from his precious balcony, but he hadn’t marked himself safe! That anxiety had to be put to rest. So he completed that mammoth task and finally breathed a sigh of relief after congratulating himself at a job well done. His overworked muscles relaxed and off he went to sleep. Tomorrow would be another day, a new tragedy would unfold. If not around home, then in Houston. But a tragedy nonetheless.
Like a great man once said, “It is not the depths of your character that matter, but the number of your followers.”