Social Media Buzz

Who is Sonam Gupta and why is social media obsessed with her?

Addressing what the nation wants to know.

Last Friday, while the country reeled from a cash crunch, a group of 60 millennials gathered at a café on Hudson Lane in North Delhi to protect the privacy of a woman. Lawyers, students, photographers, engineers – the millennials had never met the woman, yet they felt passionately about the clarion call from a Facebook page in support of Sonam Gupta.

“Of course I stand with Sonam Gupta, whoever and wherever she is,” said Aastha Kapoor, a lawyer. “I am against the victimisation of any woman.”

At the beginning of 2016, the images of a few currency notes had gone viral on social media, because of the plaintive, yet sullen words, written on the notes in blue ballpoint ink. The words, written in Devanagari, said: “Sonam Gupta bewafa hai.” Sonam Gupta is unfaithful.

In tone, the message resembled the graffiti produced by thousands of jilted lovers and trampled egos across bathroom walls, classroom tables and bus seats in the country – an attempt to make notorious the name of a female who knew what she wanted, that is, not the writer of the complaint.

The meme was forgotten – until November 8, when the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1, 000 notes brought the phrase #SonamGuptaBewafa back into circulation. A brand new Rs 2,000 note appeared online, with the same message inscribed on it – suggesting that both the wilful Sonam Gupta, and her stubborn slanderer, were still around.

On Twitter, users defended the mysterious Gupta, while on Facebook, her disloyalty was decried. A third school of thought, as with most millennial causes, wondered what the fuss was all about.

Evidently, something about the narrative touched a nerve. A media company called The Visual Radio made Snapchat videos from the point of view of Sonam Gupta’s fictional father. It also created a Facebook event to support Gupta, organising a discussion between Gupta’s fictitious father and an actor who plays the writer of the note.

“She represents the frustration of every Indian in today’s time,” said Nishant Verma, one of the actors in TVR’s viral videos. “It has become taboo to honestly talk about the things you care about, things that matter, but luckily people and topics like Sonam Gupta give us the opportunity to talk about them.”

“We just stand for every Sonam Gupta and the likes who are belittled by their rejected aashiques [lovers] who can’t take no for an answer,” said Shrey Chhabra, who essayed the role of a jilted lover at the Facebook event.


A 22-year-old resident of Bengaluru, who shares her name with the muse behind the meme, said she was hounded by friends, family and strangers who learnt her name, and wanted to know if she was the ostensible unfaithful one.

“Initially, I thought it was fun to become so popular all of a sudden, but now I am not so keen on the fame,” she said. “Will the real Sonam Gupta please stand up and take the spotlight away from me!”

Another Sonam Gupta was invited as the chief guest for the Facebook event I stand For Sonam Gupta.

“I got 500 friend requests after this trend started,” she said. “I went through the random messages and most of them were cheap and all they wanted to know was if I was bewafa (unfaithful). I don’t get it... don’t people have real things in life to worry about?”

A few e-commerce apps and cafes soon began to cash in on the social-media fixation. Raasta, a resto-bar at Hauz Khas Village in Delhi, offered 10% discount and a free dessert for all Sonam Guptas, while The Chatter House, a pub with several outlets in Delhi, offered a Rs 1,000 meal voucher as well as a #SonamGuptaCocktail.

“At a time when everybody is only talking about business losses, cash crunch and our favourite subject of the day is demonetisation, I don’t mind a few such offers coming my way,” said another Sonam Gupta, who had come to enjoy her free beer at the Beer Cafe in Connaught Place.

A Facebook event, slated for January 26, 2017, plans to “organise a million man march against Bewafa Sonam Gupta”, and asks participants to help pass an anti-bewafai (anti-unfaithfulness) bill against Gupta.

At the time of publication, 1,700 Facebook users were interested in the event, with 913 RSVPs. Will the real Sonam Gupta attend?

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Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.