The electricity winks in Kashmir are the reason why old eye winking habit of eve-teasers has faded out. They could not withstand the competition on frequency of winks with the electricity. None the less, the foot-path roamers and bike ramblers have shifted their focus on much vibrant 'heart surfing' options on the internet interface. Even the few years old handy sms service has become redundant with the new trendy applications like 'Whatsapp' and 'IMO'. Gone are the days when boys would loiter around the residency road and hang their ways along the rare grills of passenger vehicles following girls to their streets just to have the glimpse of a giggle or smile on the face of their girl. Splashing selfies, after proper sprucing with magical beauty enhancers on the screen added with google copied impressive texts, have made the transmission of brilliant proposals an easier effort. The old maxim, an excuse for the thumping hearts, 'love at first sight' is taken over by the more realistic, though short-lived phenomenon, 'love at first selfie'.
Sir John, Jani, had an awful dream about proposing a neighborhood girl. Jani, in the dream, had climbed his tin roofing at the top floor and had seated himself on the wooden plank strategically to get the proper sneak into his neighborhood so that while sitting under the kerosine lamp in the evening he narrates neighborhood gossips to his mother in order to pass the plenty of idle time left due to power curtailment schedule. While scanning the area around, his roving eyes caught a glimpse of a beautiful girl dusting outer window shelves and cleaning the window glasses of her room. Jani had a crush on this girl since long but has never been able to muster courage to relate his plight to her. Jani picked his mobile and captured her on the screen, zoomed the picture and cropped out the blurred image of the girl. Now he wanted to superimpose his own image on the picture to see how the couple looked like. Jani stretched his arm, rolled his fingers along the mobile phone to face its front camera and tried to position himself stylishly in order to click the best selfie he could. Suddenly, with a jerk, Jani lost his balance and found himself falling off the roof; hand still stretched out, distorted facial lines on the screen and the finger unable to catch the scene. With the big thud, Jani opened his eyes and saw everything shaking, his mother screaming and neighbors rushing out of their homes. It had been a terrible earthquake in the mid night, Jani had fallen off the bed and his sweat dream broken.
All the neighbors along with Jani's dream girl assembled in the nearby park. Jani, shivering with cold, sat just opposite to the girl and the game of silent exchange of stealing glances started. Jani slowly shifted, in small steps, and placed himself adjacent to the girl where they wordlessly exchanged their mobile numbers. Now Jani was the luckiest person on the earth. He had all the modern technology at his disposal to charm and allure the girl. He started with throwing emoticons and smileys over the screen. The girl too reciprocated and the exchange of emojis over the next few days extended to long written conversations, selfie exchanges and then night calling. After few days, Jani had developed black circles around his eyes, lost his appetite, lost interest in every productive thing.
Completely immersed in the thoughts of a new person in his life and fascinated with the idea of dating over the mobile phone, Jani lost track of his day to day affairs and in the evenings would sit gloomily in the corner of his room waiting for the night conversations over the mobile screen with his beloved. This cycle of hope, desperation, passion and exasperation comically ended when his door was knocked by a cop in the morning. Jani was pulled almost naked from the bed, bundled in the police van and thrown into the lockup. It had been the 'second boyfriend' of this girl who having good connections with the police had been tracking her phone. For all these days in detention, Jani had only one thing to do, taking 'Selfies' with different postures having iron bars, broken plastered walls and horribly mustached goons in the background.
(S.S Qadri is a post-graduate in Management Studies from the University of Kashmir)