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Transcending the physical with Julia and Julia.

September 14, 2008

I hardly knew either of them while at university. There wasn’t ever much more exchanged between us than the occasional hello, and that too if we happened to bump into one another somewhere. What was palpable though was the genuine warmth that they would always exude. Incidentally both were named Julia, with the difference that one of the names was pronounced with a silent J.

My course got over before I could savour everything that was on offer at university, and I was back at home. I tried to keep in touch with the friends and colleagues from my time there, even though I knew it was unlikely that we would meet again. They were now scattered all over the world and were busy with their lives, which of course was to be expected.

Gradually I lost touch with many people who I had known quite well there. Some of them I had spent a considerable amount of time with.

We meet many people during our lifetimes and a great number of relationships are formed. Most of these relationships however, for one reason or another will not transcend the physical.

I also once sent short messages via the internet to these two girls, the ones I hardly knew. It was something that I had felt like doing. I had thought that it would be nice to be in touch, and I am glad I ended up doing so.

There’s this thing about communication via the internet: it can be quite magical at times. The internet can  act like a veil for onself–an elaborate one, but a veil nonetheless. A veil under which one can free oneself from some of the impeding forces that physicality brings with it. Under which one can disseminate one’s mind and explore another’s, in a pure, elemental way. A relatively safe prospect of uninhibited communication–free from the impediments such as protocol, convention and propriety. The internet–a veil that unmasks.

The initial stages of many relationships see these impediments; sometimes they always remain between two people. With these two, though, honesty and willingness freely permeated, through the veil. With Julia (non-silent J), it started on a cautious note, but after a short while turned out to be among the most substantive and meaningful correspondences that I have had thus far in my life. Infrequent but always long emails, discussing issues that went beyond the superficial. We talked pretty much about anything that was happening in our lives. In Julia I always found a caring and compassionate person, and a rational mind that chose words carefully and correctly. All these traits made communication with her a wholesome and  satisfying experience.

With the other Julia it was somewhat different, but equally special. I searched for her online one day, found her and sent her a message. I cannot remember if it was the first or second time that we chatted, but I do remember that it lasted three to four hours non-stop. That day we talked about everything; some of it was intensely personal. Strange, given that this was almost our first interaction. It was as if someone had opened the floodgates between two beings; the interet undoubtedly acted as a catalyst. Julia was ebullient and uncannily forthright. She was intelligent, emotional and affectionate; it was but natural for us to get along. Since then, we have frequently chatted online. Julia is an icon on my computer screen–an icon that is also my window into a mind.

I have a good feeling that I will be in touch with both Julia and Julia for a long time to come. Fortuitousness is a one word that comes to my mind. Serendipity is another.

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