Erased to ghost memory

Last night, something happened with me, which is now inexplicable. But I will try to describe the moment, hoping that you would at least give this story a try without taking political sides, or thinking, that i have written this in order to favour somebody.

If you must know, i am moderately anti-establishment which means i am moderately against the power that the State (in simplistic terms, the government) exercises on the people. I don’t favour political institutions, i am curious about them. I don’t like the notion that the government ‘rules’ us. I think it serves us.

Read on.

I follow Anand Patwardhan on Facebook. Last evening [10/11/2016], at around 8 PM, he had re-shared a post which contained a screenshot from the Facebook timeline of a person called Sandeep Baslas. The post in the screenshot that was captured began with these lines:

ये वक़्त से आगे की पोस्ट है
पर नोट कर लीजिए
ये होना है हर हाल में

This post was published by Sandeep Baslas on the 6th of this monthtwo evenings before the demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes took place, in the ‘surprising and bold move’ by Narendra Modi. The post went on like this:

तो मितरों और मितरांनियों
हमने छाप दिया है
2 हज़ार का नोट
अब इक काम करो सब
हम अगले महीने से सारे 5सौ और 1 हज़ार के नोट कर रहे हैं बंद
सब जमा करदो बैंक में
और फिर बदल कर ले लो 2 हज़ार के नोट
कम जगह् में ज्यादा रकम आएगी
...and so on.

Take note, this was on 6th November. The demonetization took place on 8th evening. The screenshot of the post shared by Patwardhan was an expose, and it talked about how the whole ‘sudden’ move was a hoax. Those who were on FB at that time may know that i shared the same screenshot with my own comments. I was naturally appalled at this expose myself, because i have to admit, initially, i too fell for the move.

Three friends, namely Aditya Khanna, Kalpak M. Bhave and one other (please feel free to untag yourselves) reacted to the post, while Kalpak and i exchanged comments as well. I also tagged three others, namely Suyash Gupta, Anudish Rajeev Koshal, Priyank Garg to inform them about this occurrence since i had previously seen them lauding the move on this social network. Naturally, I was receiving notifications for everything related to the share.

Now, i don’t know if i am making a big deal out of this and that this happens with more people. I don’t know of anyone yet personally, but a Google search shows that it has happened with others. The post had disappeared, about twenty minutes after i had shared it. No notification, nothing. It was just not there, as if it had never been shared.
The race against time, which i eventually lost, begins here.

  1. I checked Anand Patwardhan’s timeline immediately. It was gone from his wall too.
  2. Thankfully i had saved Sandeep Baslas’ post, so i checked that out. The post was edited a few minutes before with an added disclaimer that said:डिक्लेमर:-मैंकोई ज्योतिषी नहीं,कोई इनसाइड इंफॉर्मेशन रखने लायक हैसियत नहीं,बस मोदीजी का भक्त,उनके हर कदम को ध्यान से देखने परखने की आदत,पढ़ने का शौक यही इसपोस्ट का आधार है,जहाँ तक 2 हज़ार के नोट की खबर की बात है ये 26 अक्टूबरके अख़बारों में छपी हुई थी,और व्हाट्स एप्प,फेसबुक पर इनकी फोटो भी वाइरलहो रही थी,जन धन बैंक अकाउंट,काला धन डिस्क्लोजर स्कीम और बार बार मोदी जीका कहना की कड़वी दवा खानी पड़ेगी,ये इस पोस्ट का आधार बना,मुझे नहीं पता थाकि जो मैं लिख रहा हूँ वो कभी होगा भी या नहीं,या होगा तो कब होगा,बस एकआकलन था तो संयोग से सच हो गयाइस पोस्ट का स्क्रीन शॉट मैंमाननीय pm नरेंद्र मोदी जी के ट्विटर अकाउंट पर भेज चुका हूँ पहले से,येआरोप लगने पर कि कोई इनसाइड इंफॉर्मेशन होगी

    मोदी जी किसी भी कीमत पर खुद के लिए भी कोई रियायत नहीं दे सकते ये समझ लीजिए,तो हमभक्तों की तो बिसात ही क्या??

  3. Unfortunately, i hadn’t saved the screenshot image itself with me on my hard drive. But Facebook kept a log of edit history, which was helpful. Though, not for long.
  4. An hour later, I received a notification from Priyank Garg tagging me in this post. The post image is:
Plot twist – This photograph of the girl holding 2000 rupee notes is doing the rounds on various news channels, some claiming that she is a BJP minister’s daughter and others claiming that she is a Congressi.

I went home, and out of suspicion for this social network which we assume is extremely democratic, I copied the entire edit history of Sandeep Baslas’ post and kept it safely with me in a word doc. My suspicions were correct, as when i woke up this morning, the post wasn’t there anymore. It isn’t there anymore.

We have all grown up listening to horror stories, and everyone always ends up thinking that these always revolve around someone else. Around some friend, stranger or relative. It never happens with ‘me’, we think.
Frankly, i don’t care if this happened in a Modi sarkaar or a Liberal Sickular Congress government. Thankfully, Aditya had taken a screenshot of the post after i had shared it:


Any of you reading this can and some probably would point out that i am doing this to troll against our Leader, and this is forged. So for except the image above, I know that it was an expose which flashed before my eyes for a moment, and is untraceable and lost now.

Kalpak’s comment notifications are missing from my Profile, and the link of the post is missing from my Saves. My activity log has no sign of the same either. The only other thing I have is that word doc of the edit history which could’ve easily been made up again, for all anyone wants to believe.

I am not asking you to trust me either, but just to listen to this realization. At that moment when that happened, i had a moment of clarity. It felt like, i was in a wormhole where the State was touching me physically in Pune from its distant capital in Delhi. I had always read ghost stories of Snowden, Assange and so on like i read allegories, like an adventurous tale filled with glory. So i empathize with those listening. It is true that you don’t believe it until you feel it for yourself.

In those fifteen minutes, i saw political manipulation, surveillance, conflict between two political parties and how support is garnered by changing one small digital detail. I had only watched it in movies before.

This happened with me.
I guess it is now safe for me to say that the ghost stories are real.

I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public; they  forget that invisibility is a superpower – Banksy






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