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Affectionate display

By Nickunj Malik - Feb 12,2014 - Last updated at Feb 12,2014

These days it is all about how you market yourself. The world is not interested in observing you as you are, but perceives you as you want to be perceived. Everything is contrived and nothing is left to the imagination. Even emotions are manufactured and marketable.

So, if you love someone, it is not just enough to care for the person deeply but one has to visibly show it in several different ways. Like buying gifts, remembering birthdays, addressing each other in particular endearments, exchanging cards, calling up constantly, writing e-mails and SMSs and last but not the least, engaging in public displays of affection. There is an entire industry that thrives on manipulating us in this manner.

There is no such thing as privacy anymore. Private, which is loosely defined as something that is secluded from the sight, presence or intrusion of others, is an alien term. With the advent of social networking sites, one gets to know so much in detail about so many people that one is left reeling.

But it was not always like this. I remember the age of subtlety. In fact my childhood was spent during that time. Things were not perfect then. The telephones did not work mostly, the cars were not air conditioned, the roads were pot-holed and the journey of a few miles took a large part of our day. Still, there was romance everywhere.

People then had ample time, and there was a delicacy and refinement to every little thing. For instance, picnics or a trip to the movies would be organised in immense detail. From the table linen, to the crockery and cutlery, to the food menu, all of it would be meticulously planned and discussed. An entourage would be sent a day earlier to secure the picnic spot or the film tickets.

In the majority of cases a professional photographer would also be invited. Scenes of revelry would be captured in his lens and later postcards would be made out of the most spontaneously clicked picture. This would later be converted into season’s greetings cards and circulated amongst friends.

Similarly, there was a gentle nuance to romantic love also. Lovers took great pains to keep their beloved’s identity a secret and never announced their besotted state publicly. Love was something to be felt and experienced between two individuals, and not for the voyeuristic pleasure of all and sundry. My own parents, who adored one another, followed a certain formality in their conversation, and spoke to each other most respectfully.

Brought up in such a scenario, when I got married, the first thing I wanted to hide was my wedding bangles that proclaimed to the world that I was a new bride. My shyness would make me stumble over my alien legally wedded name also.

Over the years I managed to overcome quite a few of my inhibitions. But public display of affection was still unfamiliar to me.

The other day, the flight I was travelling on took a sudden plunge. In sheer nervousness I closed my eyes and clutched my husband’s hand for reassurance.

“Are you alright?” spouse inquired in an amused voice.

“Are we still alive?” I asked, without opening my eyes.

“If you keep pinching my hand like that, one of us might not be,” he laughed.

“Sorry” I said moving away immediately.

“Don’t be, there might be more turbulence, who can tell?” he grinned, grabbing my hand right back.

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