Sarahah, the anonymous message exchanging app, has taken the social media world by storm off late. Designed with an intention to help one in discovering his/her strengths and areas of improvement by receiving honest feedback from friends and co-workers, the app has taken altogether different meaning in India.
Although Sarahah, which in Hindi translates to appreciation/praise, the Indians are using the app for exactly the opposite purpose. Numerous users have been reported to have received hate messages on the platform. Apparently, the reason for this behaviour has been linked to the affinity of Indians to do exactly the opposite of what is instructed or implied.
Remember those billboards saying, “Please do not litter here”? One would find most of the garbage around such displays. Or the walls which say, “It is not permitted to pee here”? One would find people peeing exactly on that piece of text on the wall. Where “Do not spit here” is modified to “spit here” as the people garnish it with their tobacco stains. Well, with such a rich history and culture, when they say Sarahah (Appreciate), we should stay true to ourselves and do Aalochana (criticize).
Like any other social media platform, it is the women who initially started receiving a lot of attention here. Countless messages of people praising their beauty with compliments, guys expressing their unrequited love. But it was short lived. Soon their egos were about to be deflated after they were called fake, dumb, jealous, fat, etc by their own best friends. Lots of their exes emotions have landed in their accounts and now they are finding it difficult to guess whether it was the right decision to breakup with them at the first place. A girl from South Mumbai received a message that someone has a deep crush on her for 5 years and challenged her to post it if she wanted to know his identity. She shared the image on her social media account; turned out that the guy was the same one she had rejected years ago in college and now she rejected him again. Thanks to Sarahah, the episode got a recap of sorts, like a black and white movie remade in colour again; the story would obviously be the same.
After receiving messages on the app, users have been posting their screenshots on Facebook and Instagram to share the same with a wider audience. Tonnes of single Indian men have been joining the platform with the hope to find if someone has a hidden crush on them but their hopes were crushed when all they received were messages ridiculing them for their looks and personality. Such was the effect on their self esteems that they started to post good things to their own profiles to create a sense of wantedness.
The statistics received from the Sarahah servers reveal that the user handle with the most number of hate messages reported is by the name of Dhinchak Pooja followed by Rahul Gandhi. At a close third was Ravindra Jadeja who initially had a lot of hate messages but later it drastically reduced after he smartly changed his profile picture to a selfie with the God of cricket.
Apparently the Indian Medical Association has revealed that there has been a huge rise in the number of patients with mental disorders caused by the distress after reading the anonymous messages. What initially started as curiosity has now made people paranoid. So much so that the next big search buzz on google has been “Sarahah reveal names hack”. Even Netflix confirmed that there is a sudden increase in the number of people watching Sherlock Holmes series.
So much drama around this new app in such a short time. We’ll have to wait and see now whether the app decides to let go of it anonymous feature and start revealing names. That would surely bring the house down. Until then, one can enjoy the hoopla around this sensationalizing app. ‘Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face’. Well, Oscal Wilde wrote the script years ago; and Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq has now developed the screenplay.