Supreeta Singh

There was a time when the word ‘romance’ evoked a sense of adventure and thrill. It felt like the slow unveiling of a fantastic treasure that only you were privy to. Love was a private affair, an emotion to be cherished, built upon and guarded with jealous pride. The journey from being strangers to lovers and finally being a married couple used to be a step-by-step discovery. It was both arduous and intoxicating. Even a few decades ago, men and women had a certain charm about them – men were expected to be chivalrous while women were painstakingly coy. Many rue that today the spirit of ‘true romance’ is fading away, only to be replaced by a relationship which is more ‘convenient’. There is nothing emotional about it. While it is true that times were different then, life was simpler… yet even now whenever there is a reference of ‘love’ it can still tug at the heartstrings. Ayan Chatterjee, CEO of Futuresoft says that it makes him sad to see how the whole dynamics of courtship, communication and commitment have changed over the years. “This is the age of flings. Men and women neither have the patience nor perseverance to search for something deeper in their relationships. Much of it is on the surface with conditions applied.” Earlier, rules were stringent and young couples were kept under the scanner of the watchful eyes of parents. The young man had to muster enough courage to approach his dream girl whose best friend became the channel for communication. Debika Mukherjee, a housewife and mother of two remembers how she had to devise elaborate plans to fix a date with her then boyfriend and now husband. “I am talking about the early 70s. My husband and his parents were our tenants. I was in college. Since I knew my parents would oppose the match, we would meet at a friend’s place. We would write each other letters and fix up a time and place. My friend would deliver the message to him. When he left the city for his job, we would write long love letters. I would look at his photograph and cry copious tears!” Today, a date begins with an SMS that says, ‘Let’s have a cup of coffee’. In an age of urbanisation and liberalisation, few men and women are willing to walk the extra mile for each other. Thanks to digital revolution that has fostered online communities like Facebook or virtual communication like Skype, the world has come closer. Issues of commitment do not bother anyone. The concept of ‘one-woman man’ or ‘one-man woman’ is also under considerable pressure. Ayan observes, “With so much sharing of personal information on public platforms, the depth has gone out of people and relationships. The wait for the perfect girl or boy is no longer that intense. If you don’t like someone, you just move on to another person. I see young girls come to nightclubs with different guys every week. These women use moneyed men as their arm-candies and the men in turn enjoy other favours.” Samadrita Bhattacharya, an IT professional believes that men and women are ready to compromise with their values and are motivated by their mind and not their heart when choosing partners. “I see a lot of women around me who are not spontaneous anymore. First they think about the man’s social standing, money and future prospects before they even begin to date. If you let your mind decide for you, then what about your emotions? Relationships are therefore more cut and dry than they used to be.” The fairy tale romance is now obsolete. Or Is it?