When did you last hear the old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt”?

Well, I just used it in my reply to Yojana in her FB message box.

When I was just a young-and-raw teacher and had joined a Junior college to teach, I was very self-conscious. No doubt, the young teachers get a massive fanfare… but, in my case, it would make me very scared. Oh that shyness cocoon! I haven’t still come out of it! You know, though we love the kick of limelight and adoration of our fans, at the end of the day, it is only the closeness with our own hearts… yes, that alone we all, seriously, take to bed! 

I am very happy to have found, in my early days of teaching, such fabulous colleagues and students. The warmth, support and guidance which I received in those days – my struggling days – were very, very important… I still cherish those memories in my heart… I shall, always, look back on this, with a deep sense of gratitude. 

Yojana was a twelfth-standard Science student. A bubbly, never-say-bored young girl. Though I was a Commerce teacher, I always had this big gang of Science students endlessly making a huge buzz around me. Yojana was one of them.

I taught in this College just for a year or so, where I had joined as an ‘ad-hoc’ teacher. When my term got over, I quietly made my exit. 

That was some thirty-two/thirty-three years ago!

What this Commerce teacher did after that… and, what this Science student did after that… well, neither of the two knew. 

Now, after all these years, (I was just some twenty-something when I joined that college) FB has brought us together. Many of those wonderful students have become my FB friends, once again… and, yes, it is a real ‘boon’ for a person like me, who yearns so passionately, every day, to say what his heart wants to say…

How else could I have ever reached out to these amazing old-students of mine, my classmates, my relatives back home, all my near and dear ones who live thousands of miles afar, all over the world? It is just mind-blowing. Only that eccentric-genius (sorry sir!) kid, Mark Zuckerber, alone could solve - and can explain - this mystery!

Well, let me go back to the subject of this Post:

“Does familiarity still breed contempt?”

With all due respect and love to all my dear and near ones – my students, teachers, friends, relatives, well-wishers and yes, even my sweet-and-bitter enemies – I want to tell this, today:

“Let’s not connect too much, talk too much, share too much, ask too much, inform too much, poke too much, comment too much…. Preach and teach too much… write too much… Yes, all in the name of ‘being connected’… all in the name of having a few thousand friends…. just to experience that strange ‘kick’ called ‘Likes’!…

By now, some of you must have already become either tired, or fed-up… or sick of it!

Have I said too much?

Hope, not.

Yojana had asked me in her message to me, this morning, if I was in touch with a particular teacher, who was my colleague in those days. I quickly replied:

“No Yojana... sad to say I am not in touch with any teacher. Now, thanks to FB, we, at least, are connected…I will get in touch with them, slowly and steadily...”

Then, something prompted me to add this:

“You know, sometimes, too much of closeness also robs the magic and mystery of 'longing'. You know, Yojana, what I want to say: ‘Familiarity does breed contempt', even now! I just got a spark, as I say this to you, to write on this subject, today. Please read it by late afternoon. This Post is for u, dear. Love.”

This is late afternoon now. I have almost finished telling what I wanted to tell. 

I love all my students, teachers, friends, relatives, friends and well-wishers… I really do. It feels really great when I hear about them after many, many years through this magnificent medium called Facebook. But, I do not think that it has made me a better friend, a better well-wisher, a better relative, a better student or teacher – just because I keep saying “I like… I like… I like” all twenty-four- by-seven-by-fifty-two-by-my-life!

We need to jealously guard that precious ingredient of human relationship: the magic and mystery of distance in closeness… Yes, yes I hear you saying – ‘Space’! We need that distance to appreciate, respect and long for each other more… we need that silence, we need that awe, the wonder… that elusive something. Believe me, we need it. Else, take it from me, we will only end up ruining our innocent friendship.

“Even the pillars of a temple stand apart…” 

Kahlil Gibran had said so beautifully 

in his book - ‘The Prophet’…

Yes, Yojana, I have kept my word. The Post is done… You are Dr. Yojana, now… a scientist. You love to do research… Here is a humble request from this simple soul: Please do some research – and on a war-footing – to find whether too much of ‘liking’ on FB has actually distanced us or not…

And, yes, this Post is for you.


Pics.: Raj Dhage Wai


hitesh rajani said…
very apt for the times. hitesh
Karan Mehra said…
Sir, it is tough to accept what you try to convey; may be I am too addicted to listen to the message. powerful, direct. keep witting!
- Karan
Anonymous said…
No argument Gerry on this. Keep waking us up! Sandra
Haresh Punjabi said…
I am too deep into FB, and yes, sometimes experience what you have described. Thanks. Haresh
Yash Pujari said…
A wake-up call in deed! Yash
Vishal Nagpal said…
So touching..So true! Vishal

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