Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Personal Touch

Dear M,

It is 4.30 in the morning. By now a man with clean habits should be waking up to take on the new day. But I prefer to see the new day in before going to sleep. That way, I have an upper hand. It is so much better to catch the sun in its nappies than let its rays catch you in your underwear.

By the time I finish writing to you, the sky outside my window would just be beginning to light up. I had to write to you tonight because I want to tell you a few things -- things that have been weighing heavily on my mind of late. We have been talking, off and on, almost the entire day, over phone and internet, but somehow it didn't occur to me to tell you things that I am going to say now. Right now there is calm, and I can think.

You live in Bombay, I live in Chennai. How I wish we lived in the same city, preferably in Bombay. There, we could meet every evening for an hour, just to catch up. We could sit at a spot on Marine Drive, watching the sun dip right in front of us. Or maybe some place in Bandra. Just like Amol Palekar and Tina Munim in Baaton Baaton Main. How I wish I could fly back to that era, don't you?

In that hour we spend together, we could talk; or maybe not talk but just hold hands and watch what's going around us. It is your physical presence that would matter. Being with you would be a relief, a respite, a revival. I would go back home recharged, with fresh hope -- if not anything else, the hope to see you again the next evening at the same spot.

You have no idea how much I crave for your physical presence. In the two years that I have known you, how little have we actually met and had a chat: maybe four or five times? That's about it! Yet we have a minute-by-minute account of what is going on in each other's lives because we are connected 24/7. I see you online most of the day, and you have a fair idea what my day is like. Vice-versa too. When we are not online, we are just a text message or a phone call away. In fact, we are so used to seeing each other online that the moment one of us goes offline for longer than usual, the other gets worried. Remember the other day when I called you at two in the morning, just because you had been missing all day? And how two days ago, when I was attending a friend's wedding anniversary party and the battery of my phone had died, I received a bunch of panicky messages once I got home and put the phone on charge?

That makes me wonder about our relationship: What are we? Who are we? Mere online entities, online friends, who recognise each other by Gmail IDs or the names fed into the mobile phones? Even when it comes to having sex, we get naughty on the chat window and feel gratified. What happens to the flesh? What happens to the touch? What's the point in going to the gym and looking look when the person who you desire and want to be desired by is merely an online entity?

It's not just about sex, M. When did you last catch up with a friend and had a good time? Not in a long, long time, I am sure. Same with me: I can't recall when was the last time I met up with a friend without a specific purpose. Because for non-specific purposes, you can always go online or pick up the phone. The personal touch is dead, and that's what I miss. Really, I don't want friends who have an hour-by-hour account of what my day is like. I crave for friends with who I can spend an hour with, face to face, and feel like a normal human being rather than an online entity.

To tell you the truth, M, the thought that you are available to me 24/7 is somewhat putting off. You shouldn't be so readily available, because it affects your desirability. Availability and desirability do not go hand in hand. So log off and show me your real self. Just imagine going back to the days of Baaton Baaton Main.

The biggest culprit, I tell you, is the mobile phone. It weighs only a few grams, but it makes you carry the weight of several human beings who are attached to your life. Even worse is the internet, which weighs nothing but upon which relationships weighing tons are built. But what are relationships without the personal touch?

Shall we throw our mobile phones into the sea and log out of internet? Amol Palekar and Tina Munim lived happily ever after in Baaton Baaton Main even without present-day gadgets. Maybe if they had internet connnection back then, the film would have been titled Raaton Raaton Main.

17 comments:

PAULA RAY said...

no doubt you are offline now, bg :) and i think the film would have been titled 'chat-on chat-on mein' because you chat online even during the day.... m, you need a makeover. quick!

margee said...

hey..this is so true ! may be here you speak on behalf of so many people like me who crave for physical presence of their partner,coz long distance is really not'cool' as it sounds to be....

janani sampath said...

Now, I wonder how it is to go too far from a person you crave for...And, it doesn't sound too cool to me, like Margee says.
I think, distances doesn't dilute the love for a person, but still it makes it difficult. But if a relationship is strong it will survive..

Very well written!

R! said...

This is what is called an emotional affair...something which we all go through in our life at some point or the other...married or not married...where sex is not as important as the 'personal touch'...and thats what makes it close to heart and to a life-long yearning...
Awesome post...loved reading it...
And raaton raaton mein...lol!!

Kasturi said...

wow again! Ghosh, I think no one writes a blog as realistically as you do. Keep writing!!

samforyou said...

Simply Awesome !!!!

Neha said...

So very true. Thanks to cellphones and Internet, we rarely meet people and have a real talk. It's all about calling, texting and chatting now! A friend, married in Dubai, presses the panic button if she doesn't see me online for a couple of days and instantly calls to ask. And those are the only occassions we talk, for a mere few minutes, as chatting seems enough at other times.
I, too, miss a real friend, who is with me in flesh and bone and not just as a green circle that you see on your chat window!
A very very well written post again! Get published, high time :)

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Yes, our existence has reduced to being a green dot.

Anonymous said...

Biwi maregi !!

I'm Snigdha Manchanda Binjola said...

I must confess that after a long gap I'm reading something so compelling that I couldn't stop myself from commenting. It's a simple beautiful world where your thoughts reside. Hope more people can take flight to join you there...

Deepika said...

At times, however, a personal touch can ruin even the best conceived illusion. Maybe that's why it is advised not to marry your muse, coz all muses, at the end of the day are superior beings, and anything superior is always an illusion!

Besides, there is always the risk of being 'hurt' into feeling...

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Good one, Bish. I'm sure M made a trip to Chennai for the personal touch. Maybe, she too prefers to hum 'tareef meri itni karo na...' in person, just that the distance makes it not so possible. Maybe, when she gets back, she'll not call or text so often, because there's not much to exchange at real meetings then

Anonymous said...

Good piece of fiction and may it remain that!! For peace sake..

The one hour of meeting M would turn into two hrs, then three and may turn in to days together and maybe years together too, and then the craving to meet say an A or a B or C would surface. What does one do then?? One can either be a Brook Logan, or be normal!!

Anonymous said...

BG, Tell me honestly...having read your blogs it feels like being content, satisfied with whatever you have and leading a normal life....is showcased as "abnormal"!!!

Why is it so? There are thousands of people who look for meeting new partners(name it M,R or A,B,C...), pretend to be so called companions and most of the times its driven by our desire to have physical contacts!! They forget in the process they keep ignoring their friends & spouse around them.
Do they achieve anything in long run except for frustration and heart breaks?

I think its mirage and our thirst for so called satisfaction in endless.

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Anon@12.33 PM: My post isn't about looking for new partners.

janani sampath said...

Buddy, there is nothing wrong even if it is about looking for new partners. Human beings aren't monogamous.
Anon@12:33pm must be aware of it...

Priyadarshini Venkataraman said...

There is a part of us which dont show everyone. Some feel like revealing that inner side of oneself to the online friend. Acceptance is the most wonderful gift we often find online, but not in reality.