Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Love In The Time Of Internet

Believe me, I can smell words. I can feel their texture. I don't see faces in them, but I can see emotions in those faceless faces. I fall easily in love with them, and if they have a distinct identity, I fall in love with the writer as well.

Time was when writers were people who wrote novels and short stories, and even if you fell in love with them, there was nothing you could do about it: they were way beyond your reach.

Things have changed. Today, if you want to savour words, you no longer have to browse at bookshops or dig into dusty libraries. Words are floating around these days, catching you attention even while you brush your teeth. And people who type them out are no longer writers in the conventional sense: they are people who blog, people who leave comments on blogs, people who IM you, people who text message you on the mobile phone, people who e-mail you.

And since these wordsmiths -- who are people like you and me -- don't live in ivory towers, you can reach out to them and tell them how much you are in love with their words, or how much you are in love with them. And if luck is with you, you will soon have love blooming.

The point I am trying to make is: thanks to internet, the scope for two people falling in love had widened dramatically. And for the better. In the traditional course, you first fell in love with someone's eyes or lips or height or hair (aankhen and zulfein have featured commonly in Hindi love songs). In short, it has been lust at first sight, which went on to assume the form of love as years rolled by. But there are times when you might fall for the hair or the eyes, but the minds simply don't match -- which you discover only when it is too late.

He likes Chinese but you love Indian. She adores Pink Floyd but you are crazy about Kishore Kumar. You love to read in bed but he wants the lights out by 11. You want to have a post-dinner smoke but she says: "If you smoke, I am not going to let you touch me." Suddenly, her hitherto-serene eyes become menacing, his height turns out to be intimadating and so on. That's what happens when lust is garbed in the clothing of love, or when lust is mistaken for love. And that's what happens with most "lovers" in India, though no one will ever admit that, because it is considered politically incorrect to say that you are overcome by lust and not love.

The internet takes care of such complications. It breeds, according to me, genuine love. And that's because the mind connects first. You might not be able to touch her cheeks with the back of your palm, but you are able to touch her mind. And vice-versa. You know each other's tastes, you are aware of each other's habits, you are familiar with each other's eccentricities. The only thing you are in the dark about is the looks. But when minds meet, do looks really matter? It's all in the mind, after all -- even sex.

They say sex is between the ears, and not between the legs; and I entirely agree. Because you might be in the middle of passionate love-making, but a mere knock on the door or just a beep on your phone can make you limp. That is because if you are a thinking person, you are bound to wonder: Who could that be at the door? Who could have SMS-ed me at this hour? Suddenly you switch off your physical senses and switch on your practical self.

So the bottomline: the mind matters. And technology today ensures that the matching of minds happens much before the matching of the kundali, or the horoscope. What more can you ask for? The looks? Well, if he or she is as good-looking as you had imagined him or her to be, you are lucky. If not, you are still not unlucky. Looks, after all, don't matter much after the first few months: you tend to get used to it. But habits do matter. If she swtiches on the bedside lamp at the same time as you do, and if she knows when to swtich that lamp off and turn her attention to you, life becomes blissful. After all, the route to sexual gratification passes though the heart, and not the genitals. Genitals are just an excuse. They are by-the-way. You can pleasure them anyway. Even without a partner. But to massage the mind you need a partner. And what better place to find such a partner than the internet, where minds meet long before the eyes do?

Before I sign off, let me share a poem that caught my attention while I was flipping through a recent issue of the Spectator magazine this evening. I wish I had written these lines, but they already belong to someone called John Mole:

The Secret Garden
Why did we go there after dark
To carve our initials in the bark,
Why was daylight not for us
But bittersweet and dangerous?

Why did the innocence of trees
Bring my conscience to its knees,
Why was a vacant starless sky
Our coverlet or canopy?

Why did we touch then stand apart
Like twin halves of a broken heart,
Why did the knife fall to the ground
So guiltily without a sound?

Why did you cry out, turn and run
As if ashamed at what we'd done,
Why was the cut we made so deep?
Why can neither of us sleep?

10 comments:

Arundhati said...

Wow! Your thoughts are so beautiful, your language so fluid.
I hope, my friend, that you get what you are looking for.

The poem is mindblowing.

Deepa said...

Amazing thoughts, I would almost totally agree. Minds meeting is definetly more important than looks. but what do you do when the person you fell in love with on the net turns out to the kind of person you would avoid? the net is wonderful but there is always the problem of assumed identity and you end up being devastated at the person's real self. that kind of betrayal is of the worse kind, if you make a person believe you are someone when you are actually not.

nevertheless, i continue to believe in what you have written. way to go!

Sp^wN_0F_S^T^N said...

Most of the time, people you meet on the internet are totally different people in real life....somebody you thought was a thoughtful, intelligent, caring person might turn out to be a shallow brainless twit.

People can also lie to their hearts content and be other people, people who they cant be in real life...due to circumstance or choice...or any other reason...

There IS another possibility: I know people who are obnoxious and infuriating to chat with online...but when you meet them in person you think you're talking to someone else.

But sometimes, it DOES happen...your expectations come true and your friend DOES turn out to be the same person offline as well as online.

visithra said...

Id have to agree ;) but it doesn't apply for love only - even friendships - sometimes you meet such an amazing person, you have so much in common but alas you are miles away but it doesn't seem so - when there are words for company ;)

Leya said...

I just emailed the poem to a dozen of my friends..it is really beautiful.

And the writeup is very good.Of course, the mind is what really matters.

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Arundhati, Deepa: Thanks. And Deepa, yes, the problem of assumed identity is very real. But at times net-turned-real meeting can be pleasantly surprising.

Satan: I totally agree with your views.

Visithra: Yes, it applies to friendships as well. But it is more fun to hunt for love because it is usually elusive :) :)

Cathy: Thanks. How I wish I had written that poem.

samforyou said...

You said it right my friend. There can be no better orgasm t han intellectualism..Awesome piece of writing.

Dr. Health said...

And if luck is with you, you will soon have love blooming.

home here... said...

tat was wow then....its wow now.... now isnt tat wats called 'timeless'...
P...

Anubhuti said...

Alas ! Love in the time of internet. If there was no internet, love would not have happened.