Saturday, May 26, 2018 | ePaper

Too many symbols for too little emotion

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Seerat Sandhu :
As I pen this down, I feel like I have metamorphosed into a sermonising, condemning, cynical middle-aged woman! However, paper being my best friend, and non-sermonising one at that, will have to bear the brunt of my ranting.
Affection and warmth are precious emotions. They are felt in greater proportions when displayed earnestly. A reluctant, shy person myself, I have always admired people who do not hold back their emotions. Their ability to articulate their feelings clearly has always awed me. It is certainly a wonderful trait to possess. Being expressive helps one come across as an amiable personality. It makes one popular among friends and family both. Research has proven that expressive people are less cluttered and tend to have a positive outlook towards relationships and life.
However, I find it hard to appreciate equally, love expressed publicly on a social platform.
I have utterly failed to comprehend affection showered upon, especially family members, living in the next bedroom, or even the same one on social media platform! I am certain that they must be using the same electronic gadget to update their statuses for each other as well.
Now why would a Mrs. Bhardwaj take to writing birthday wishes to Mr. Bhardwaj on his Facebook wall, when they live under the same roof, within the same four walls? Why would Anita bid goodbye to her son on Instagram through her smartphone, instead of actually dropping him off to his college? Why does Amit put up a picture of his technologically handicapped grandmother on Snapchat with hearts strewn all over the picture, instead of calling her up and telling her he loves her?
If these are norms of the new technologically hip society, then I am admittedly quite inept at understanding and following them.
There have been times when I have felt pressured, even guilt-tripped into putting up a picture on Mothers' Day, complete with happy hearts and endearing emojis. If I refuse to give in to these damned pressures, my steely resolve breaks after looking at all the mushy posts on mothers in my newsfeed! To make matters worse, mother even texts me about feeling 'inadequate' on not being recognised for her sacrifices and love - on Facebook! A perfect quote with equal measures of sentiment and humour is searched for on Google, and mother's picture is duly copied and pasted. There! I have essayed the role of the modern, hip, responsible, loving daughter to the hilt.
Years ago, Archies Limited took the Indian market by storm with their greeting cards. Their motto was to sell cards by making their customers feel that it was the most special way of saying that one cares. Although it reeked of capitalism, but the idea of giving and receiving hand-written cards was indeed special. These greeting cards became souvenirs of relationships ripened over time. Some became reminiscent of relationships that had loved and lost. Nevertheless, those yellowing, wilted cards had a significant space - both in the almirah and in one's hearts.
Superfluity of expression, carelessly tossed all over public platforms in today's world, coerces one to think whether these socially tailored, syrupy wishes and half-hearted greetings mean anything at all.
Maybe it's time Mrs. Bhardwaj logs off facebook, demolishes the 'wall' that separates them, and makes it a truly special birthday for Mr. Bhardwaj!
-TNN

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