The timing was uncanny. The day my wife left me for the children, I got my 24 X 7 Net connection. Without realizing the impending danger, I logged on to the wilderness of the Net.
The first visible symptom of the looming calamity was insomnia.“Ting-tong”, a messenger window would pop up at devilish intervals. “Cuckoo”, an unauthorized cyber squatter would squeal, in a desperate effort to find a soul mate in the cyber space.
In no time, I found my sole mate, who checkmated me in just a few moves that even a grandmaster could not have strategised in wildest of his dreams. She masqueraded herself as a sibling but her ulterior agenda of life was to become the darling of nerds – both veterans and greenhorns.Sibling-turned-darling was her favourite screen name. She had multiple screen names to achieve multiple tasks and targets. And, her favourite hunting ground was the voice chat rooms of romantically-inclined netizens, whose cooing and crooning evoked ecstatic oomphs and aahs and an occasional vaah, vaah.
Vulnerable would be the apt description of my state of mind, when an innocuous ‘Hi’ chimed in on the messenger window one lazy Sunday morning. Someone, with filial yet fatal feeling was trying to reach out to me.
Though fed upon Jim Corbett’s jungle lore, I failed to read the message loud and clear that the call of the cat was in fact a hunter’s ruse to lure the prey and not that of a lonely tigress tempting a tiger for a date.
A click on the messenger window did me in. A pair of shimmering brown eyes shrouded behind a veil was how she appeared on the screen, enticing and intriguing. ‘If you ever come across a serpent, don’t look into the eyes, the reptile would hypnotize you,’ a wildlife enthusiast friend had advised me.
Had I heeded the advice, I could have been saved. I was fated to be doomed. There followed a cat-n-mouse game. Some pow-vow, and some ohs and ahs. “Welcome back”, would be her refrain every time I logged on to the Net. A warm welcome indeed, a courtesy my wife had long denied me.
Without realizing the fatal signs of all her gestures, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the dragnet that she had so carefully laid out for me in the wilderness called cyber space. She would entice me now and again, with her ‘available’ status on the chat window. A ‘Hi’ from me would elicit a ‘Welcome back’ reply.
Was she ‘available’ to all, did she welcome all and sundry? My pathetically weak-kneed disposition always prompted me to believe that her ‘available’ status was meant exclusively for me, just for me.
Infatuation often leads to stupor. When this happens in the surreal realm of cyber space, stupor can lead to comatose. She always kept me on my toes, by drawing me into conversation having to do with my peculiar cardiac condition, only to leave me in lurch for hours, changing her online status from ‘Available’ to ‘Be right back’.
Having spent hours gazing at the blank screen of my PC, awaiting her return, my brain too would often go blank. What makes my optimistic heart tick is the ‘Available’ status displayed on her messaging window, 24 X 7.