Social media has altered a lot of things in our lives. Love, and falling in love, is one of them. Falling in love these days, and expressing it to the other person, is convenient, discreet, and 'online'. Thanks to social media like Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and a galaxy of smartphones.
If your heart skips a beat for someone, then all you have to do is find (or shall I say 'search') his or her online avatar. A click of a button and you are 'friends' with that person. A few online chats, a bunch of 'pings', a few online 'nudges' or 'pokes' and you are officially in love - or as Facebook would prefer to call it 'in a committed relationship'.
And if the 'relationship' does not work out just 'unfriend' (or 'block' for serious hurts or infidelities) and reset your social media status to "single" and you are ready to 'mingle' yet again.
Love via the social media thrives on 'pings', 'pokes', 'emoticons', 'tags', and 'hashtags'. Like everything else that has gone online, love, falling in love, and expressing love these days, must therefore seem quite effortless, risk-free, discreet, and in my perspective extremely boring.
"The moon and the stars featured a lot in love notes hidden amongst notebooks."
So youngsters, allow me to introduce you to the thrill and adventure of being in love, as it happened in my day. The 1990s. No smartphones, no social media, and no internet (for most part of that decade). Just pure good old emotions running on a healthy dose of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (akaDDLJ).
I say thrill, because in my days it used to take people a good two to three months (on an average), to get past the initial pleasantries between them, through random glances, and disguised smiles. And the venues for all this familiarisation being college corridors and canteens, adjacent terraces, and even places of worship.
The next challenge then, was to express the love in some tangible way. 'Archies' galleries came in quite handy at this juncture. Dish out a Hallmark card dripped in over the top romantic poetry and you could not have gone wrong (well, most of the times). This is the precise moment when (in the case of guys) the best friend of the ladylove came in ultra handy. Pamper her, get her on side and you had a 'mediator', for the rest of the romance.
Landline phones were the most sophisticated medium for communication, however, not the most discreet. The entire household had one phone at their disposal, which was often in the bedroom of the parents. If, by any luck there was another extension of the phone line stretched out to a relatively remote and private location within the house, you always ran the risk of someone else dropping in on your 'love talk' from the other room. (something that has been made ridiculously easy for you modern lot by 'Facetime').
" [I]n my days it used to take people a good two to three months (on an average), to get past the initial pleasantries between them, through random glances, and disguised smiles."
A lot was said with ink on paper. The moon and the stars featured a lot in love notes hidden amongst notebooks. Love and romance in my days may have been slow, tedious, and 'Bollywood-ish', but it was the way it ought to be, intense, over-powering, enduring, and at times, dramatic.
Lovebirds longed to be with each other (in person and not online with a green dot next to their names), wrote to each other, and stole secret moments out of their days to be with each other.
So my young friends, next time you are in love, do not lock yourself in a room and make it a social media experience.
Get on a rooftop and let the world know about it. Stand next to the person who makes you go weak in the knees, look into their eyes and tell them how you feel. Write a letter to them, a hand written one and not an email. Charm the girl's mother. Tell the girl "bade bade deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain, Senorita," (watch DDLJ if you do not know what I am saying). Go watch a rom-com together (Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani will do perfectly fine). Hold hands. Go for a long drive.
Take your love 'offline' for a while and leave Facebook for the oldies to hook-up with their old flames so that they get through their mid-life crises.