Love in the time of cell phones

Avantika Debnath is disillusioned with love, lovers and all things love-related

Avantika Debnath | Posted on 15 May 2016
Is This Love? Then I Think I'll Pass | Bonobology

I no longer want to fall in love. In fact, lovey-dovey couples make me laugh. They seem to exist in a make-believe world, fully aware of its futility. Why, I wonder. Is this love? I don’t think so. These lovers wear many masks. Especially, far from their beloved’s loving gaze, captured and much-flaunted in many a picture on their Facebook pages.

When Mehek and Saugat got married after 15 years of courtship, we were all thrilled. After years of battling the caste barrier, the couple had finally united. But then I bumped into Saugat at a restaurant recently. I was with a couple of friends. He was with a friend, maybe a colleague. Who cares? One can have friends outside of marriage. I didn’t see anything wrong with him having dinner with a woman other than his wife. I was pleased to see him. He didn’t seem all that pleased. He flinched at my hearty greeting. Then he reached for his handkerchief to wipe the tiny beads of sweat on his forehead; it was winter and we were in an AC restaurant. After a short exchange of pleasantries, we settled at our respective tables.

Cell phones are a sinful addiction of this generation – if only I’d been addicted to cigarettes instead. As we waited for our orders, I pulled out my phone to scan my Facebook page…I was greeted by pictures of newborns, selfies with besties, quotes from a book read long ago. And then I came upon a post by Mahek… “Hubby darling is off on a business trip…one night passed somehow without you, four more to kill…come back soon…miss you so much my love…Hope Mumbai’s treating you well…"

But here I was – in Bangalore, sitting a few tables across from her husband, who in turn was with an unknown woman…stealthily stealing glances at me, his handkerchief soaking with guilty perspiration. Finally he worked up the nerve to walk up to me. Unable to look me in the eye, he seemed to be debating his choice of words.

“It’s okay, Saugat,” I said. “I have known you guys since primary school. Have seen your love blossom, your struggle, your marriage, and now I am seeing you here. But for this one time, I will un-see you from my memory. This meeting never happened.” I put him at ease.

What goes on behind closed doors, stays behind closed doors. I have no idea whose fault it is. I don’t want to know who ignited the fire and who is fanning it. I don’t want to judge. Maybe Mahek hasn’t been compassionate enough. Or perhaps Saugat is shamelessly cheating on her. In either case, the real loser here is Love. The love I have been laughing at. Today, I will laugh at it just a little bit louder. Not that I never believed in it. But the kind of love I believed in is lost on today’s rushed times. This twisted representation of love is something I can live without. If this is all I get in the name of love, I think I will pass.  



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