Thursday, April 3, 2014

Less than three

When I first encountered “< 3” in Social media, I am afraid I thought it was some esoteric mathematical formula. The problem with having spent your collegiate years in a dull haze – alcoholic or otherwise – is that the education, that was flung at you, pops up at unexpected times, leaving you resentful about the fact that it never deigned to make its presence felt when you were sitting for exams. Much later, I was given to understand that it stood for love.

That, probably is because “< 3” looks like a heart that fell after it was broken in two, horizontally, by a brutal blow. Why love is always represented by symbols of mayhem beats me but then when has love ever been subject to reason? First, you have the heart pierced by an arrow and, now, it is the turn of the blunt instruments, with the heart broken by a club or mace. Maybe it is just a cynic’s prescience to show that heart-break is an inevitable consequence of love but let us not get into that. I intend this to be a happy post. (Let us also not get into the anatomical details of the heart and whether it can be broken. I do not want to compound the error of starting off with math by giving a guided tour of all the sciences starting with biology)

The surprising thing about “< 3” is that it is so apt for love – an accusation that cannot be levelled against most of Social media parlance. I mean “< 3” would have been read as ‘less than three’ before Social media changed its meaning AND ‘less than three’ is sort of a prerequisite for love. The saying “Two is Company; Three is a crowd” is particularly true for lovers. Ever seen a pair of mooching lovers? Unless they are so far sunk in a roseate fog that they think they are alone even when in a crowd, they prefer nobody around them because what seems like Khayyam’s poetry, when they have no audience, turns to embarrassing nonsense if there is a third party listening in. Truly, love flourishes only when there is ‘less than three’. Of course, any person in the vicinity makes rapid tracks away from the afflicted couple because so much syrupy sweetness is nauseating to anyone not afflicted by Cupid.

What about love after marriage, always assuming that love can survive that traumatic experience? With all those interested uncles and aunties questioning, “When are you going to become three from two?” it would seem that love after marriage is contingent on NOT staying ‘less than three’. Of course, they are not asking the husband when he is going to bring home a second wife – much against his fond hopes. Nor are they asking about when your in-laws are going to come over for an indefinite visit. Those are, actually, further examples why ‘less than three’ is a necessary condition for love.

So, what is that ‘becoming three’ business all about? A Baby, of course! So, is the baby an exception to the rule that ‘less than three’ is necessary for love? Not really! The coming of the baby is, in fact, the harbinger of marital discord. Where the night was spent in connubial bliss, it is now rent with discordant cries of, “Why do I always have to lose MY sleep to comfort the crying baby at 3 AM?”; “It is about time you started to change the diapers” and sundry such lovey-dovey comments. Not to mention that schooling, teenage rebellion and college fees draw the curtains on Romance and unroll the red carpet for responsibility. So, yes, ‘less than three’ is the only way love flourishes.

Am I missing something here? After all ‘1’ is also less than three and where is the room for love when you are single, you ask? Ever heard of Narcissism? That’s me! For every person, who even his mother finds difficult to love, there is always one’s own self.

46 comments:

  1. Ha Ha - At your best Suresh. I never knew about this "<3" stuff till I read this post. Seems like I am behind you in all these modern day lingo.

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    1. Haha - So, I beat you to it :) Unless I am totally misinterpreting it :)

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  2. That was funny! And very creative. Who would have thought? :D
    <3 this post.

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    1. Thanks Sakshi! At last, I draw you in :)

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    2. Ha ha! My bad, and my loss. Expect me around more now.

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  3. hahahhhah Sirjee I love the 'Less than 3' philosophy. I never ever thought of it that way! Damn awesome!

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    1. Thanks, Redhanded! So, at last a post that does not run counter to your inclinations :)

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  4. Thank you for letting me know. I always thought it was a heart symbol or a broken heart.

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  5. Trust you to come with a post on < 3! ROFL with "what seems like Khayyam’s poetry, when they have no audience, turns to embarrassing nonsense if there is a third party listening in". Khayyam's poetry, indeed! That guy must be turning in his grave!

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  6. I didn't know about <3 till i read your post.. now I will leave this page a teeny weeny bit wiser :P and thanks to you with this over the top interpretation of <3 :P How one earth did you even come up with it?

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    1. Wish I knew :) If I did, then I could come up with more such things, effortlessly :) As it is, I have to wait for lightning to strike :)

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  7. Epic punch-line :)

    After all ‘1’ is also less than three and where is the room for love when you are single, you ask? Ever heard of Narcissism? That’s me! For every person, who even his mother finds difficult to love, there is always one’s own self.

    Jiska koi nahin hota uska bhagavan hota hai - chei I sound like a thatha from a Manmohan Desai flick :)

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  8. Guru-ji, you have opened my eyes to what has been a longstanding mystery to my mind. Less than three, indeed! But always >1, it seems.

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    1. > 0, Uma :) But then there has to be someone to have THAT emotion :) So, how can it be zero or less :)

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  9. hahaha a post on < 3 haha! only you can come up with this!

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    1. Thanks Naba! That <3 intrigued me till I found what it meant :)

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  10. You know Suresh, the first time I saw the symbol, I scratched my head and thought less than 3. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and how you examined the philosophy of keeping it less than 3 for love to live long. I wish I had known this earlier. Now I have no hope with >3 at home :-D.

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  11. So wonderfully written with super analysis, Sureshji :)
    <3 - thanks to Social Media.
    But, in this e-age and media age, not to forget that 'Love ke Side Effects' & 'Shaadi ke Side Effects' are movies :)

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  12. Lovely interpretation of <3 and all the related issues that <3 and love bring along with it. At the cost of repeating earlier commenters, I also <3 this post quite a bit :)

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    1. Thanks Jairam! Needless to say, I <3 these comments :)

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  13. Frankly even I did not know this lingo Suresh ... :) your last line was super dooper ha ha

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    1. Looks like I am becoming more of a Social media expert than most :P

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  14. Hahahaha I totally heart this post, or should I say <3 this post. Very tongue in cheek humour

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  15. Oh, so complicated! I shall stick to my original perception of less than 3. To me the sign looks like a softee with two scoops of butterscotch ice-cream. And since it looks like it's just about to drop to the floor sideways, I must quickly catch it!

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  16. ROFL :D it's amazing how you find a topic in something like< 3.. Loved your post.

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    1. Thanks Rajlakshmi - Needless to say <3ed the comment :)

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  17. Entertaining (or ROFL, as the non-oldies would say!) and enlightening post!
    I'm generally ignorant about these symbols. Based on the context in which I had seen <3 used in the past, I had assumed it was meant to be an 'electronic flying kiss'!

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  18. Hah, nice one, Suresh Sir. The <3 is more like a tipped-over heart (probably aortal damage), which rights itself and blushes red, after you click enter. :)

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  19. Suresh, I learn something every day. My sister, Susan always does that symbol after her posts on Facebook. All this time I thought it represented breasts, since she has been extremely endowed. Now I find out it means Love.

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  20. LOL! I realized I am still the dinosaur and was scratching my head thinking.. whatever in the world are you going to write about 'less than three' !!

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  21. Nauseating syrupy sweetness. 'Of course, they are not asking the husband when he is going to bring home a second wife – much against his fond hopes.' And when the stork doth deliver, love crumbles... This post got better by the line and if I were a tad bit younger I would have literally been ROFL. Humor at its most readable!!

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