Comment Society

Love, virtually

With downright intense moments and feelings, taking the Facebook route just about kills it Photo: AP

With downright intense moments and feelings, taking the Facebook route just about kills it Photo: AP  

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With Amitabh Bachchan’s letter to his granddaughters going viral, AKILA KANNADASAN writes on the many over-the-top declarations for a loved one on social media

“Happy birthday amma ! Sorry I couldn’t make it home today.”

“1,000 days with you, honey. How magical.”

“I heard a nice song today and wanted to say how each word seemed like it was written for you.”

These are status updates on my Facebook feed. The first is from a son whose mother is not even on the social networking site. The second is from a young wife who’s celebrating 1,000 days of marriage; the last one was written by a newly-married woman. My first thoughts when I saw these were: ‘So sad, his mother had to celebrate her birthday without her son’; ‘1000 days? She actually kept count? How sweet’; ‘She is so in love.’

I’m joking.

I quickly scrolled past them; bolted at the sight of the third one, especially. Updates such as these make me cringe. Because, some are so personal that they’re better off spoken holding hands at the beach or under the dull whir of the bedroom ceiling fan at night. What with Amitabh Bachchan’s letter to his granddaughters going viral (when I first heard about it, I thought ‘Oh no! A leaked personal letter. Sigh, the life of a celebrity’), I’m struck by how social networking sites have diluted the charm of a heady line meant for a special one.

I wonder if the son who posted the first status message actually told his mother how bad he felt for not meeting her on her birthday. And on the woman who wrote the last one: imagine how it would’ve been if she casually plugged earphones, when the song was playing, in her partner’s ears and said the same thing eye-to-eye. Ah, the power of good old conversation. No Facebook wall can replace it.

Honey, Wifey... why reveal how you call each other in private? It’s cute, but what makes sweetheart pet-names special is to hear just one person say it, in his/her unique way. Of course, for many people, typing something for someone special on the site can be therapeutic. They would say things they actually wouldn’t in person. Like this young man who types out long love notes for his wife on his Facebook wall — perhaps, he finds the medium easier to use. But why not, say, compose it as a lovely hand-written letter? Or say it directly to the person concerned?

Why put it out for the world to see? It’s funny to see people who live in the same house declare their feelings for each other in the virtual world. With downright intense moments and feelings, taking the Facebook route just about kills it.

I agree, all this can be seen in a lighter vein. Perhaps, I shouldn’t be too harsh on them. Let those love birds blow kisses to each other from across their Facebook walls; at least they’re expressing their feelings this way. But it’s sad to think that we’re heading towards a future in which affection is considered non-existent unless flaunted on social media.

By all means, show the world how much you’re in love, but don’t do so to sound dramatic just for the sake of the audience at the other end of the mouse pointer. Talk to each other. Write down your thoughts as a note. This is where pretentiousness ends and poetry begins.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:51:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/Love-virtually/article14630753.ece

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