God, gimme a break!

On the Valentine’s Day week, this column, which has a keen sense of occasion, will take up the topic that may be close to the hearts of many youngsters in romance: What is the best way to break up from a love affair?

No, don’t get us wrong. As a matter of fact, we want your love relationship to blossom, unless otherwise you happen to be R K Pachauri. But you shouldn’t be stuck in a relationship just because you are unable to articulate the feeling that you don’t feel involved or invested in it anymore. I know of a senior in college who never summoned the courage to tell his girl friend that he wanted to call it quits from the relationship –- some kind of an Idhayam Murali inverse –- that he eventually ended up marrying her, raised a family, had kids, who are now settled in US, while he and his wife opted for early VRS and are now spending most of their time travelling to pilgrim places. Surely such early-retirement scenario is not what a sociable, fun-loving person like you is looking for.

One of the ways to get out of a love relationship is what Kamal Haasan pulled off in the film Vaazhve Maayam, which is to develop a debilitating disease. But it is also quite possible that Sri Devi, who played Kamal’s lover in the film, may also have been suffering from an equally acute affliction, most probably early onset of Alzheimer’s because she goes on to choose Pratap Pothan (In the film, Kamal does what most guys do when they are just out of a relationship: Go on a drinking binge and spend time with a call girl. On the looks of it, if cancer had not got him, cirrhosis of liver would surely have taken his life. But before he dies that call girl, who has a heart of gold, wants him to tie the knot with her. Because it would allow her to be his wife for at least a day? No, we suspect, it would make her the legal heir to all his riches for the rest of her life).

Another popular method among guys when they are on the verge of a split is to not attend phone calls from their lovers or avoid going out with them. This is deemed to implicitly convey the message of the breakup. The problem with this strategy is that many guys out there behave exactly the same way, especially on days of important sports events, even when they are still very much in a relationship. So if her lover doesn’t pick her calls or backs out of a dinner date, a girl is more likely to suspect, say, Man U than the man.

It may be also tempting for guys to announce their breakup via an emotionally flowery message on their phones because, on the face of it, it looks honest and hassle-free. This, then again, is a wrong approach 1. A phone message has the potential to become an evidence in a court of law if in future things get messy 2. Worse, it has also the potential to become viral as a motivational message.

Because these days, on the WhatsApp circuit, the rule is: ‘if it isn’t an emoji, then it has to be a motivational message.’

‘Good morning. Actually, goodbye. Parting, they say, is a sweet sorrow. Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Today, I close the door to my past…Open the door to the future, take a deep breath and step on through to start the next chapter in my life.’

It’s cringe-worthy cheesy. Exactly the kind that would do well on the WhatsApp circuit. So much so, someone drowsily reading this is more likely to share it every group that she is part of, and before long a person’s straight-from-the-heart words could be exchanged across continents and become –– why not? –– main news of the day, as WhatsApp messages are one of the main sources of information to internet media outlets these days.

In the event, the only possibly reliable option to announce the breakup is at a one-on-one meeting. The trick is to take your lover to a quiet coffee shop or to be safe, any non-fork/knife setting, and, looking directly into her eyes, slowly but sensitively open the subject by announcing that ‘we will go Dutch on the bill today’. Wait for the reaction. If it is one of happiness, it means that she is the one who has been paying the bill all along and today she is actually relieved that you have volunteered to at least share. On the contrary, if she gets your real message, her reaction will be…

Ha, Ha. Ha. If we had the ability to gauge a woman’s reaction with certainty, we would not be labouring with a humour column instead would have packaged the skill and sold it as, ahem, Valentine’s Gift.