Stories Apne Apne by Raj Deepali Pandey

As I was sitting with one of my friends, swiping in his phone the photos of his latest vacation, a WhatsApp notification popped up. It was a message from his girlfriend Ria. “Hey babe, how was your day?” Smiling at this underrated but much needed gesture of today’s era, I passed his phone to him.

He read the message from the notification itself and handed me back the phone. “Did you have a tiff with her?” I questioned him, unable to fathom his behaviour. “No yar, I’ll reply in a while.” Trying to mind my own business and not to dig into their life, I resumed watching the photos. Within two minutes another “hey wassup” popped up on his phone. It was from one of his work colleagues. I again showed him his phone, knowing it was futile but since it was his property so I did it as a matter of courtesy.

To my utter surprise, he took the phone and immediately texted her back. “Are you sure you and Ria are getting along well together?” I asked again. “Yah…what makes you think otherwise?” He answered, while his eyes were glued to the phone. “You chose to ignore her message while you are chatting with another girl…so…” I stopped after making my thoughts obvious. He took a deep breath and showed me his texts with his colleague where they were having casual, harmless conversations. “I’m not that kind of man, you know that.” I smiled and said, “When did I say that you are cheating your partner and flirting with other hotties? But all I meant was, isn’t it unfair to ignore your girlfriend’s message and make it seem that you are busy and at the same time have conversations with another girl?” “I don’t think so, as long as I know my limits.” I knew he took the hint but was adamant to admit that he was wrong. Seeing my confused look he resumed, “Okay so tell me, what would happen if I would text her instantly? A string of messages would follow and then I would need to answer them all. It’s better to reply late and avoid the burden of instant answers to all the queries.” He answered, still chatting with his colleague.

“Will you like it if you ever come to know that your girl is “harmlessly” texting another guy while pretending to be busy for you?” I asked my question out of the blue, expecting a miraculous change of heart in him.

“I don’t know” was all he could say, running short of words.

      “Ever heard of the term ‘micro cheating’? Maybe that’s what you are doing every now and then.” I looked away from him, trying to make my dramatic words sound casual.

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“If ignoring your partner every now and then while texting others of opposite sex is micro cheating, then I think all the romantic relationships of this era have one micro cheater. One who always makes less efforts and yet gets more privileges. The myth of “Relationships are a 50- 50 affair” has been busted now. Its always 60- 40, 70- 30 and even 90- 10. Today she is always the one who texts me first and calls me first and replies to my texts in the shortest time possible. I get all the attention and affection I desire. If I would start paying more attention to her and give it all before her asking I’ll be putting myself in the vulnerable position of the relationship where she’ll start caring less and taking it for granted. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love her and don’t care. I have just defined the limits of expressing my love where it won’t hurt me and put me at the receiving end of the relationship. I am making less efforts yet I am receiving full attention and affection, I would be a fool to waive it off by letting my emotional side supersede me.” He completed his words, resumed texting. This time, after almost half an hour of her text, he texted her back “My day was fine, what about yours?”

The complexity of the figures of love really went beyond my head. Only if we ever realised that 50- 50 efforts is much better, simple, fruitful and satisfying, our generation won’t be so notoriously known for pretentious busy lives, heartbreaks and failing love.