|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 44, Tuesday November 13 , 2007|
About eight years ago, my family and I, had just moved from Saudi Arabia to Canada for educational purposes (if only my parents knew what their daughter would really be up to...). While we were in Riyadh, the Internet was still pretty much of a taboo there. As far as I can remember, it was still in the hush. The availability was almost close to nil. But I mean, how long could it possibly play hide and seek (after all, my life depended on it…well, to some extent at least)? So, naturally I soon discovered the magic of my precious Internet. I must confess though, that right from the initial stages, I was completely captivated by it. Now that I look back, it feels like I was in a relationship with that little black monitor. Well, to start off, I devoted at least 10 hours a day to it (excluding the amount of time I slept and spent at school). We were hooked on to each other like a pair of superglue-sticks. My mom would always have a difficult time pulling me out of the room and away from my beloved Internet to feed me. But all of this is pretty common stuff. I'm sure if this article is being read by parents they would be complaining about these exact things and saying, “my god…my kids do the same things…and it's so annoying”.
So as I sat by my computer one day, chatting away with friends on a web portal widely known as 'BDChat', I come across a certain someone who was polite enough to talk to me. We talked for a while and then I had to leave to run a few errands, but not before giving that person my email address. Usually I wouldn't give out my address to just anyone, but that's the thing, he wasn't just any other guy. At that time, I didn't know why I felt like there was something more there. But then life caught up and I got busy again with all the usual teenage stuff. After a week or so, I was going through one of those silly teenage phases when you feel like your life has ended, when all on a sudden I received the sweetest email from that certain someone. That one email with a few nice words had turned my miserably depressing day into a bright and happy one. Just a few meaningful nice words are all it takes to put a smile on a person's face. As fate would have it, we kept in touch, and eventually became the best of friends.
He was an A grade student at the prestigious Saint Louis University in the States, studying Computer Science and working towards graduation, fulfilling the dreams of his dearest father. That was one of the things that attracted me towards him, his love for his family. Over the next few months, we communicated with each other via the Internet, day and night. Even though we hadn't seen each other yet, we sort of got used to each other. We stayed up night after night making each other laugh (with the help of cute little msn emoticons). I would forget about school, stay up, and watch him type something up, delete it, then type it again and then delete it again and then finally something and click on send. It came to a point where if I hadn't talked to him for one day I would feel like the day was incomplete. As time went on, we sent each other our pictures, and finally I felt peace within myself because now I had a permanent image of him. Unlike before, when I had to make up an artificial image of him in my mind not knowing what he looked like in reality. But I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The more we chatted, the more we became fond of each other. It came to a point where we would feel and think the same way about a certain matter, and even complete each other's sentences.
In the summer of 2001, he went to Canada to spend his vacations with some cousins living in Ottawa. Fortunately and coincidentally, just about that time, I had gone to Ottawa too with cousins to visit a close family friend. Soon after we found out that we were both just miles apart from each other, we decided to finally meet up. Another amazing Bollywood-movie-like coincidence that awaited us was that our cousins were both studying at the same university (University of Ottawa), and had signed up for a university touring session at the same day. So obviously we took advantage of that and joined the two of them for the tour. And then, the most unbelievable thing happened to me. Even though I had never before believed in love at first sight, I had fallen head over heels for him. The funny thing was that we hadn't really talked much that day (in fact we hadn't spoken at all…except the 'hi' and the 'bye'). He was adoringly shy and I was red as an apple. We hadn't talked in words, but I think our contended hearts and silent secret glances at each other pretty much made up for that. Slowly and surely, we had madly fallen in love with each other. He would fly all the way to Toronto to visit me every 3 to 4 months. In 2004, I introduced him to my family and met his family too. To cut a long story short, in the blink of an eye, we were engaged.
Today after 5 years of our relationship and almost 2 years of blissful marriage, as we sit here reminiscing about our incredible journey together in life, we're both nothing less than surprised. If you think about it…he was a BD-born-STL student and I was a Riyadh-born-Torontonian…do you see any connections there? Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the internet didn't exist. Would we still have met? Maybe we would have met…but would it really be as fascinating and as exciting a story as it is now? When someone asks me about 'our story', I always love starting with “would you believe we met online?”. I have to confess, I do very much enjoy seeing that flabbergasted and dumbfounded sort of look on their faces. I don't think I would've enjoyed it as much if I had said, “our parents introduced us” (*yawns*). It just sounds a little outdated.
My friends say I'm lucky to have found my perfect other-half online, I say I'm lucky too and am thankful to the Almighty, to have found my angel online. I've heard of stories where couples met via the Internet but unfortunately, luck betrays them. I joke with my parents saying that I spared them the hectic and ever-so-frustrating responsibility of looking for the perfect match for me which almost always takes months (sometimes even years), and the overall process just sucks all the patience and gusto out of you.
Well, all I can say is that I'm more than satisfied with the amazing service that my much-loved Internet has provided me with. Maybe one day, if I ever come across a magical genie that grants me three wishes, I would wish for the perfect match for my one and only Internet.
By Shahinta Bhuiyan
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