MIDWAY : ‘Virtual’ reality

In this competitive world, everyone seems to be totally taken up by his or her work. This has resulted in a near-total breakdown in face-to-face communication. However, we seem to have found the perfect solution in the form of internet and mobile phones.

They are among human beings’ greatest inventions. But everything that might be used for a thousand good purposes might also result in disastrous consequences if we take into account their potential drawbacks.

Young people can reap a thousand benefits by bringing the technology to good use. Nonetheless, the majority of them are misusing it without really understanding how great a risk they are putting themselves under. They chat with unknown people on the internet, building up what they believe are “genuine” relationships.

What’s the future of such relationships? A handful of them might work out, but the majority of such “virtual” ties are doomed from the start. The unmistakable romance in time turns sour, the person you put so much faith in turns out to be a total fraud. The upshot? Persistent guilt and dejection.

Let me put forth an example. One of my good friends used to have a very good chat mate. He flattered her by lofty compliments and was all praise for her umpteen good qualities. Unsurprisingly, it was not long before he proposed to her. She accepted. The dream boy turned out to be nearly as old as her father. To this day my friend is struggling to let go of the guilt and humiliation.

Some people are too smart to let themselves be emotionally involved with someone they have not even met. But others are easy prey. In the case of cell phones, it starts with an innocuous missed call and ends up, invariably, nowhere. Others have experienced irreparable heartbreaks. Still young people continue to take the plunge.

An Indian boy was recently sentenced to prison for proposing to a girl through an SMS. In this case, we might keep debating for ages if the judge made the right decision. What’s undeniable though is that unless young boys and girls have a firm understanding of the potential hazards of “anonymous” relationships, they will continue to risk their integrity, career, even life. All for the sake of a bit of fun.