I Clicked on a Random Instagram Profile and Got Lost in It

On the Instagram app, I clicked on a random profile, fortunately a public one, and got lost in it.

The profile was of a guy. I looked at the description. He was from Spain — the flag of Spain stuck below his name in profile. He was also a Juventus fan, which he highlighted in the description very prominently by mentioning the url of the Juventus site. Well, yes. A Spanish guy a Juventus fan! Peering through his profile picture, he seemed about the age of 16–20. He had a lean boyish figure, an undercut hairstyle and sport-ish, high-school-flirt eyes.

I then swiped down the mobile screen to see his pictures.

In the very first picture he was with a girl. Going by the quirky smile on their faces and the way they held each other, she felt like his girlfriend. Sunglasses on, colorful bracelets on, shorts on, sneakers on. They looked happy. A Spanish Sun glowing over them, brightening their already bright faces.

I moved on to the next picture, or — as it turned out — a video. I saw a well-maintained football field. A match going on between red vests and blue vests. On second viewing I got to know the video was actually a compilation of two shots of the same scene. The scene was of penalty. One of the shot was taken from beside the goal past. It let me know about the pace of the kick. The other shot was taken from the sidelines. It let me know in which part of the goal post the ball went in: the surreal top-right corner. I applauded the shot from behind the mobile screen.

Then there were three set of pictures. He was on a beach. Then he was in the sea. Then he was on a boat. I looked for caption to know which part of the Spain he was in. But there caption with only icons of smiling suns, sea-waves, beach-umbrellas and anchors.

Then there were four set of pictures. This time he wasn’t alone in the pictures. There were two more guys with beer bottles clasped in their hands. They posed with stoic tilted faces: no smile, no laughter. In the last of the four picture-set, I found they were on a beach in Malta. They were wearing denim shorts, bright sleeveless t-shirts, and had their sneakers wore in their hands.

Then I reached to a set of ten pictures. It started with a group picture of a football team (blue vests), then it meandered through pictures of football field and football match and football emotions, and ended up with the Spanish guy in a night club kissing gold medal that hang on his neck.

I swiped down the screen until I found something other than football. Before long, I stopped at a picture. He with her. It was her birthday. The guy took care to take selfies with her (she with pout, he with the stoic expression)and gift her a party at a club by the unnamed beach. I checked the difference between the date of the first picture and this. 8 months. They looked as beautiful together eight months back as they did now. The caption, full of red hearts and kisses, was enough to conclude they were lovers, not friends.

More football fields and beaches followed. More beers, more stoic faces. In between there were churches and naked trees. Their were locker-room scenes and family scenes. The world of his was full of sunshine and air of beach-salt. He looked happy with his football, his few good friends, his girl, and his trophies and gold medals.

I lived a life, distant and alien to me, through his pictures. The chill of January night warmed, for a while, by his Spanish noon. I saw love and I also saw happiness. I understood what being a footballer is like. I understood what a life by the beach looked like.

The random click on a random profile could have been meaningless and an act of procrastination. But as I went through the pictures, one by one, absorbing them slowly, it opened up a world to me, built of new light and meaning.