A person becomes reduced to an aesthetic in today’s social media age as the inverted gaze becomes a medium ripe for self-objectification

I remember the incredulity and fascination of my siblings and I as we would listen to our parents tell us this story of how their marriage was arranged and beg them to repeat it over and over.

Oh Nadiya. How we love you. I mean, like, everyone. Over 13 million people watched you win, rooted for you to win. You were invited to bake the Queen’s ninetieth birthday cake.

The ties of family relationships, origin, culture and heritage bind us into power vortexes that equally dispossess in our age of anxiety. Everything that we took for granted has been turned on its head. But how did we get to this point?

Much like Zayn Malik’s ‘shock’ departure from One Direction, one of the world’s least well-kept secrets is the unfailing power of American concerns to inform Hollywood’s film-making machine.

Recently, I came across a photo essay in The Calvert Journal. A stunning array of earthy and breath-taking images brought alive the vanishing art of tightrope-walking in the mountain villages of Dagestan.

Many years ago, I read what should have been a cheery, bite-size Q&A with the writer and academic Slavoj Zizek, on the Guardian website. Question: What makes you depressed? Answer: Seeing stupid people happy.

Come in, come in. Please, esteemed guest, kindly take off your shoes. If you wish you may recline on the charpoy. Are you comfortable? Can I bring you a glass of hot sweet chai? This heat is insufferable, no? Perhaps cool water instead? Or a hand fan? Perhaps you would like to meet the local Maulvi for some spiritual comfort? Or see a show from the village juggler?

My university days were played out pre-Facebook and therefore documented only in photographs possessed by very few and viewed only by a chosen few. Life was certainly very social but not broadcast via any form of media. I had what was once called a ‘private life’, locked away for the most part in memories and nostalgic reminiscing.

Saudi Arabia killed my father. There was no violence. No Frank Gardner-style hail of bullets. There was no sound of shrill sirens. Crowds did not gather to witness robed figures dancing in the shadows.