ASL, PLEASE?

Her: Hi
Him: Hey There
Her: ASL, please?
Him: How are you doing?
Her: Is that your ASL?
Him: NO, but age is just a number
Her: Well, I am 27, I am from Delhi
Him: WOW, a Delhi girl, today is my lucky day
Her: You a flirt?
Him: No, just an average man, 28/US. But I was a Delhite too once
Her: Oh, were you? I am a dancer
Him: Gawd, Can this day get any better?
Her: Yes, if you are a Guitarist
Him: You never know, I could be
Her: LOL, are you? Seriously ?
Him: Nah, I can’t even hold one correctly, though I tried, sincerely
Her: You know, I know that feeling, I worked hard to learn Piano, but no luck
Him: I have a feeling we can be good friends….
Her: I have that feeling too…..’

This is how it starts every time. Two people are meeting, finding sync and becoming friends. It all seems unlikely to people who can’t relate to a relationship named or unnamed made virtually.

I was living a life of completeness darkness in January 2016. All hope and positivity had eluded me for long enough to leave me completely devoid of optimism. And on the verge of a psychotic break when I decided I need to talk and to vent. I needed to interact with people. Enough of PC games and enough of bots. And in March 2016, disgusted with life and lonelier than I have ever felt I went to the chat room.

Simply_Me was my id cause I didn’t know what will better define me at that moment. And requests started to pour in. I chatted with many Tom, Dick and Harry. But I was not able to find what I was looking for, a friend, a real friend in that virtual world. And then one day I got a message from a Peace_Lover. He was interesting. He told his name was Rahul, I told him, yeah, sure, every other boy is Raj and Rahul thanks to SRK. His name was genuinely Rahul, and he became my best friend.

He and I haven’t met till date, 31st is his birthday. But he is such a patient listener; I told him all about me, A to Z, thought the name I gave him was not my real name, reason being chat sites tell you to keep your personal details to yourself, especially if you are a girl; Later I was so afraid to lose his friendship that I never told him my real name, but now he knows. And never once he complained. He accepted me as I am. I never thought that I would find someone so special online. I don’t know if I helped him in any way or not, but he helped me loads, and I am no more lonely cause we talk daily, be it just for few minutes.

We don’t know who sits behind those screens, is he good or bad, boy or girl. But I believe that behind that screen is a heart, a mind, a human being who wants to connect. I know that virtual friends and virtual relationships are hardly a lifetime thing, or sometimes they even turn out to be a disaster, but I also know that in real too all friends are not meant to stay forever and heartbreaks and mishaps are waiting to happen between real time friends as well.

You must have heard that money and materialism spoils all things good. That is one more thing that makes virtual friends real special. I know that my virtual friend and I won’t be exchanging any gifts or letting financial status stand in between us. It brings peace to be able to chat with someone on the same lines, all that matters when you chat is the rapport you share.

Today I have numerous virtual friends, and a handful of them are real close to my heart. A couple of them have changed my life 180 degrees with timely emotional and psychological support. I think I would have made a huge mistake if I had not let them come near me owing to the prejudice that having virtual friends isn’t a healthy practice and can hamper my growth in real or bring me harm.

When I can fall in love with Ben Affleck, someone I have seen just on screen, never talked and never interacted with, when I can be awed by Khaled Hosseini, a writer I never even saw, but just admired his works, when I can have love for an RJ, just cause he makes such good pep talk in his deep voice then I think it is so much more obvious to be friends with someone online, someone I never saw or heard or met. But rather someone I felt and knew could feel me and all that is going on my mind.

Image result for virtual friendHaving virtual friends is a blessing for people like me who are introverts and find themselves looking for lonely corners at parties and feel dumbstruck when they need to strike a conversation. But while I am chatting, I feel like the most open and outspoken person, the obscurity helps me come out of my shell and spread my wings. I don’t like to call my online friends as my virtual friends, especially once I exchange numbers with them. They are as real to me as my school friend is. They are not a figment of my imagination written in binary codes of 0 and 1. They aren’t an OS, they are blood, and bones and flesh too. I am proud that I made some very true friendships in a very fake and unstable world. I love them, and they love me back.

There are many pros and cons to such bonds, one of them is the perception of time. While in real friendships grow slow and nurture slow, in virtuality time moves many times faster. If I am friends with you for the past one month, I am your good friend, if it’s been two months, we are thick as thieves, if three, we have been friends a long time, if four, we are friends since forever. Cross the six months barrier, and you are entitled to call yourself a lifetime friend. And this is the very reason that most online endeavours are short lived. One more drawback is I need to be real sensitive, I have to just close my eyes and feel your hugs, your smiles, your laughs and your tears through the emoticons you send. This at times leads to a misunderstanding as out radar can’t always catch your mood. The one that really kicks me is, you can’t send FOOD. Lol…

That green light that blinks next to my friend’s name when he is online brings an instant smile to my face, and I know that now I will be talking to him and exchanging my happy and sad moments with him and he will listen and even thought he might not be able to help me in any way, he will always tell me “I am here for you.”