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The Complicated Matter Of A Simple Question

So I did the predictable thing. Waited till he got to visit the men’s room, switched on my phone and tweeted about it. Then, I spotted him returning so I switched off my phone.

Then, this morning, I updated my Facebook status.

Ideasmith is engaged.

Did you know, that comments on Facebook relationship statuses show up in two different lots? The same update of ‘X is with Y’ shows up on X’s friends timeline and on Y’s friends timeline. Facebook sees them as two different things so the comments & likes on each are displayed seperately. Of course, what’s really funny is that both X and Y are tagged in the relationship update and so each of them gets two sets of notifications. Like seperate congratulatory messages from X’s friends and Y’s friends. Bizarre feeling.

I’m blabbering. There’s little else I’ve been able to do since he popped the question. Oh, yes, did I mention that? There was candlelight, under the stars, facing the sea. There were flowers, roses & lilies, plenty of them. There was champagne. There was chocolate. There was sushi. There was a ring and the question.

My reaction?

“I can’t breathe. I..err…I need to eat something.”

Frantic gulp of the champagne. Vague thought that the knees must hurt in that position. Shiver because of the sea breeze. Wondering if my carefully applied make-up was running, then remembering it was smudge-proof. Then, belatedly realizing he was still on bended knee. And saying..

“Err, am I supposed to stand up? Oh, uh, yes, of course.”

like I was answering, “Will you have a starter too?”. To his utter credit, he didn’t miss a beat or even waver in that admittedly uncomfortable position.

This morning, he said, “You’re my fancy…” I waited, thinking he’d end it with “…girl”. Then, I realized he meant, “You’re my fiance!”.

That’s probably what they mean when they say ‘made for each other’. And before you roll your eyes, he says and I agree that – it’s only corny when it’s happening to someone else. 😉

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

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When An Ex- Gets Married

Ever had this pop up on your screen?

Stop.
Scroll back to check.
Look at how many people ‘liked’.
Hover uncertainly over ‘View Comments’, then decide not to.
Visit profile page to see when this happened & what happened after.
Hover over ‘Like’ and decide against because it’ll mean notifications for the next 2 weeks. Not sure if this needs to be shoved into the face every day.

You may have broken up ages ago. You may have had closure & moved on to things that are themselves ancient history now.

You may not be in love anymore. You may never have been in love, even back then.

You may be in a relationship yourself. Or single and thankful for it.

It doesn’t matter. This will make you stop dead in your tracks and cause the breath to catch in your  throat even if it is for the teensiest fraction of a second. No one saw the expression on your face. Not even a telltale blush or flush or gasp. But a tiny plop sounded inside you and you heard it. I know you did.

Every relationship, no matter how brief, how shallow, however fleeting is an opportunity, a little dirt track that could lead somewhere. It could take you to great sex, a wonderful friendship, that much-needed ego massage, fun for a weekend or a vacation or happily ever after (whatever that means to you). It’s a path that you considered once, when it opened up before you. Maybe you even took a few steps down that road. Even if you walked back or away, the road was there at some point of time for you. The message you just saw above, which made you stop in your tracks signifies that road has shut down permanently. Houseful, we have no more room, we don’t want any more, thank you very much. You may have a thousand other options but losing even one, especially one that you did consider once upon a time, will leave its mark on you.

Then there is this thing that women have about Plan B. I say women, since I’ve never really heard a man use the phrase. Perhaps men do it too, only they call it different things or (characteristic to men), they don’t think about it. But it exists. My best friend once told me,

“If you’re still looking, you’re not really committed.”

I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that. There’s no question in my mind about who the most important person in my life, right now. But that doesn’t mean other people who were once important, cease to exist altogether. Friends who’ve been married and happily, steadily, comfortably so, report the same feeling.

It’s a strange blend of nostalgia, comparisons, smugness & wistfulness, laced with just a hint of pinprick pain. There ought to be a word for it. I suppose the Portugeuse ‘Saudade‘ comes closer than any other word but it doesn’t completely describe it.

I know this and I even know the train of words that went through your head right after you saw it. Maybe you even said most of them.

Good for them.
Isn’t it kind of early?
I’m happy they found happiness with somebody.
How did they meet?
When is the wedding?

(Add sarcastic/bored/snide tone if your relationship with them was rocky)

And all of them were true. But they don’t negate that inexplicable place in your throat where you’re not able to swallow, that funny leap in your stomach that’s got nothing to do with what you ate and the words that come out of your mouth, sounding at odds with what you’re feeling inside.

I know. We all do.

Finally On Facebook

Recently, a friend updated his relationship status on Facebook to the now-familiar status of ‘X is now in a relationship’ preceded by the ubiquitous red heart. He received a barrage of comments specially alluding to the fact that he has been in said relationship for years now.

Last year I saw another funny thing on my feed. In the varied flow of interesting links, photo uploads and news of people ‘friending’ each other, two consecutive entries stood out. (As they appeared on my Wall)

(broken heart) A is no more in a relationship. one minute ago


(red heart) A is now in a relationship. three minutes ago

Another barrage of comments followed, referring to the short-lived affections of the Facebook generation and likening relationships to a certain brand of instant noodles.

What had actually happened was this: A had logged into his account from his girlfriend’s computer. He got up to visit the bathroom and she slipped in and changed his relationship status. It was something they had argued about earlier, with her campaigning for an ‘open to all’ status and him pushing for being discrete. When he returned, his sharp eyes spotted it. He threw a fit of course, but not before changing the status back to its former. It was a private conflict in the couple but it caused much mirth among their friends.

I’ve myself been in a relationship for awhile now, a fact that neither of us has tried to conceal from the people in our lives. One conversation I initiated early on, was how we both felt about being ‘open’ about our relationship, on Facebook. I thought it especially important, in the face of what happened with my friends. My significant other shrugged and told me he didn’t really care either way, he was rarely on the site anyway. I still haven’t made up my mind what I feel about this.

It’s not about whether to be open or secretive about my relationship. Everyone who matters to either of us has seen us together, knows beyond doubt that, yes, we are a couple. On the other hand, that seemingly simple act of changing the status is actually a loaded one. It puts the relationship in the spotlight, all of a sudden. Most people on his Friends list and mine will feel nearly compelled to say something in jest or at very least, a congratulatory vein.

There is a certain scary ‘officialness’ about this update. It’s almost like signing a contract together, eerily similar to a marriage agreement or prenuptial. It is not that the thought of a deeper commitment itself is scary, but a relationship has to be ready for that in its own time. And at this stage, it’s not. Funnily enough, by the time it will be ready for that ‘Finally on Facebook’ update, it will provoke even more jest and attention precisely because it comes so much later.

I wonder if the creators of this social network ever thought that their offering would someday become a key reference point in the relationships of connected people worldover. Relationships are tricky enough as they are. I’m wondering, do we really need the complication of yet another question?

“Are we ready to Facebook this?”

Note: A version is posted at Yahoo! Real Beauty

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