The Screen Which Mirrors Us - Shaza Tehseen

Anecdotal tales of bullying, narcissism and vanity

Hadi looks at the notification bell icon. There are 31 stories which he must tap through to show his friends that he has ‘seen’ them. His ‘mutuals’ don’t know the pain of his esteem which, ironically, no one can see. He is unable to share his story. His ego and his family’s last name overshadow his depression and nausea.

Does anyone sense his burnt feelings? How can he share the hidden onslaught of random text messages he receives on his messenger services? What of the sickening images he doesn't download on his What's pp from unknown contacts, whose blurry outlines make him refuse the fresh, hot, cumin-laden aroma of his mother’s ‘pakoras’? Should he block them or add them to his contact list in order to reveal their display pics? Would it benefit him to know who the perpetrators of his peace are? Would he be exorcised for posting his hurtful rage online through grammatically incorrect self-help quotes and memes? Does he want to come into the limelight after what he endured near the canteen’s back store shadows in the after-school sports club? Why would his friends (or so-called friends) watch him get humiliated with the ‘we told you so’ blank stares? He doesn't want to be on any social media radar. He wished he had the audacity to delete all his accounts, especially the ones titled as ‘priv.’ so no one can see him through this screen. He doesn't want to see his own face in the mirror which is peeking through his bathroom door. His silhouette is dreadful and in shambles as he passes by the hallway. He tries not to meet the prying eyes of his younger sister as she encounters him and gestures to let her use his phone to quickly send a streak. She had been grounded by her parents due to a deteriorating report card. He did not want her to have access to his phone in case she goes through any message due to the screen being so quick in response to any touch. Why doesn't anyone understand his silence? Quiet and polite guys are sensitive as well. It does not mean that they are less manly. They aren't less of an adolescent nearing manhood.

He did not really care anymore about himself, but he could not let his little sister bother him at this moment. He had bigger issues to deal with. He touched his screen as its blue glow mixed with the warm light of the lamps on the console. He breathed heavily as 43 unread messages popped up. He did not want to be the one who was chosen by the cool gang of boys. How could they be so brazen and ruthless? How could they make him strip and take his pictures?

Tabish Sikander. Better known as Tony Alexander. The image of Zeus on the health and nutritional supplement products famous in over 40 countries. A Herculean form, muscled with a thick-lock gelled crown and tightly pumped body with odd dimples in his smile accompanied by a thick Desi-Anglo accent learnt through countless sessions from equally terrible accented instructors. He was the icon of fitness who did not need to talk much. His smoldering eyes and the pout on his stubbled face was enough to get him more than one hundred thousand followers. ‘The young man from a remote village who fo