Millennium Post

On Choppy Waters of Digital Love

The cinemas thrive on it and the film songs inspire scenes that show heroes following peeved heroines with songs (one can now read it as a possible case of stalking and sexual harassment, courtesy the new anti-rape bill) and the Indian crowds love it. There were days when some people literally loved to croon those teasing numbers in their heart to woo or win over someone they loved or liked, but these days, caution be better observed to gauge the response of the wooed to escape being landed in judicial custody without bail. No doubt, the art of wooing, as shown in our cinemas, will suffer henceforth, and theoretically love songs should take the havoc as a result. This surely is bad news for a generation of bona fide lovelorn, already is handicapped in their knowledge and appreciation of the classic art of wooing through expressions literary, articulate and very suave.

The predicament of understanding the very many characteristics of love for the tenderfoot crowd amongst the tech-savvy generations of today—the Gen-Y type, is more when compared to ours in what was comparably the medieval times. By us I mean we the alive and kicking, the graying generation, who are precursors to the present, also growing old Generation X. Despite being born and brought up in the times when an awestruck one exhibited a giant Japanese calculator, and not a computer in college science exhibitions, we were fortunate to carry on despite the unforgiving blitz of information technology that took the society by storm a decade and half later of our passing out from the schools. Such advancement has almost done many of the oldest types in. Its popular use in the avatars such as iPads, Kindles, Social Networking, E-mail, SMS, Laptops, and other gadgets, brand even the most learned and qualified amongst us as computer illiterates and slapdash, a disqualification of sort that matters to the young in slighting those who have failed to pace with the tech-savvy them.

Even the best in the Gen-Y holds the opinion that the non-tech savvy lot, especially the conservative elders, who loathe using SMS, email, word processors and the internet will always be backward enough to understand the value and the need of celebrating Valentine’s Day by youth. The latter is more curious and eager to celebrate the day for a reason, which the other perhaps knows why. No doubt, they are absolutely right that there is nothing wrong in marking and celebrating a day for expressing love and gratitude to someone who you care for, but perhaps the puerile voyeurism and over-exhibition of love on the day by the poor imitators of the western culture, who hardly understand the significance of such genuine feelings, bring bad name to the occasion. Worse still, cheap commodification of the expressions of love followed by the expensive merchandisation of the popular gifts of love that need be exchanged between people in love, which is commercially advertised as an obligation on this day, spoil the taste in the mouth.

See the flood of commercials on television for sale of branded diamonds, which try to popularise the celebration of Valentine’s Day for obvious reasons. Don’t take the pecuniary aspects if you don’t agree, or the inferiority complex suffered by a majority of people who can hardly afford a decent gift for their loved ones even during customary Indian festivals like the Diwali, Dusshera, Eid and Xmas. Just take into account the practical and emotional aspects in the conscious motivation of the youth. Many of them would not remember the birthdays of their parents, but remember by rote memory the day on the calendar when this day falls.

People used to wait even for a casual attraction or momentary infatuation to take its own course in coming to them in our times, which could take a whole year, which meant a full three hundred sixty five days available for baited anticipation. We needed not being told or brainwashed by dubious motivators who use surrogate advertisements to define the meaning and significance of love in a thirty second ad for a pricey product. Going by the mindset of the youth and the supporting business enterprises in finding the easier, quickly comprehensible definitions of love for the sake of instant communication, one understands how truthful the words of Francois de La Rochefoucauld are about love. He says, ‘There are many people who would never have been in love if they had never heard love spoken of.’ The generation seems to have gone crazy as if there is no tomorrow.

The louder the television rants, the more vociferous and committed the youth get into looking for the ostensible and pretentious means of finding love. William Shakespeare has a practical advice for the showy, exhibitionist lovers’ brigade of all generations: ‘Speak low if you speak love.’ I don’t know the viability of the quote, since we also have Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was many generations younger to him, who emphatically declared, ‘All mankind love a lover.’ Being with Shakespeare will be safer, I would advise the bold and the uninitiated.

Coming to literary quotes on love, one feels excited to compile a handy collection of them for the tech-savvy students of love; the latter these days go for the easy and cheap SMS versions of fake
that strangely inspire and impress them. If mobile handsets had minds of their own and if they understood love, they would certainly have cried over being couriers of these madcaps, and more so in being witness to the unmanageable wireless traffic on what a vernacular newspaper in Odisha sarcastically described as ‘Love Day’. At least, one can hope that since software companies do a very interactive research, some sensible content writer may perhaps one day impress upon the engineers and programmers to bundle handsets with pre-installed template and send-ready love messages and shayari of some literary worth. English love poems and Urdu
by Faiz Ahmad Faiz and others can help the tech-savvy lovers a great deal in expressing the intensity of their love.

Some help follows from the masters who understood love better than today’s love-gurus spewing amorous wisdom on television. ‘You say to me—Wards your affection’s strong;/Pray love me little, so you love me long.(Herrick, ‘Love Me Little, Love Me Long’); ‘Doubt Thou the stars are fire/Doubt that the sun doth move/Doubt truth to be a liar/But never doubt I love’ –(Shakespeare, Hamlet). Or take the classic, ‘O, my luve is like a red, red rose/ That’s newly sprung in June/O, my luve is like the melodie/That’s sweetly play’d in tune.’ (Robert Burns, ‘A Red, Red Rose’). Robert Burns is best in the following lines in his poem, Ae Fond Kiss, “Had we never lov’d sae kindly/Had we never lov’d sae blindly/Never met, or never parted/We had ne’er been broken-hearted!. The easiest one in English for those who need a little help is this — ‘Across the gateway of my heart/I wrote no ‘Throroughfare’ / But love came laughing by, and cried/I enter everywhere’ (Herbert Shipman, ‘No Thoroughfare’).

Take this insightful Urdu couplet for help. ‘Bahut kuch tujhse badhkar mayassar tha, mayassar hai, na jaane phir kyun teri jaroorat kam nahin hoti’ (I always have access to better rewards in life, but don’t know why your need is felt all the more). Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s insight into love is the best in the world. Take this as a self-consolation should you face rejections with love, ‘Apni Nakami Ka Ik yeh bhi Sabab hai Faraz, Cheez jo mangte hain, sabse juda mangte hain’ (One of the reasons for my failure is that I always ask for the extraordinary, Faraz!). Even Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore gives wonderful insight into love that is true and pristine, ‘God kisses the finite in his love, and man the infinite.’
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