(University of Delhi)
This paper explores love stories in the post digital age through a comparative study of love story of two different times, while focusing on the separation of selves. First is “Meghadutam” by Kalidasa in 375CE. Second is an episode “Striking Vipers” from dystopic TV series “Black Mirror”. While former is only a separation of space, the latter, because of digital communication, is a separation in temporality. Dystopic literature today trangresses1 the limitation of space that existed in literature earlier. Separation in love, and the desire to be with the lover are two intimate parts of a love story. Desire, while forming itself through phantasm creates its own life-world. Separation and the desire to be with the lover creates memories. In Kalidasa’s Meghdutam, space works as a boundary that defines separation. It is limit of movement and communication. Meghadutam is a love poem where Yaksha4 is on a lonely mountain peak, desperate to be with his beloved, he asks the cloud to deliver a message to her in the Himalayan city of Alaka. It describes mountains, trees, oceans, and rivers in the space between them. Only the territorial distance is significant, and not the time because Yaksha is completely absorbed in her memory. Striking Vipers is a story of two individuals who met online where they developed a virtual sexual relationship, and their virtual characters developed emotional intimacy. One of them was single while the other had a married life which started getting affected by this online relationship. Here, separation can be understood not in the terms of space but in the terms of time. The post-digital age has opened up a new dimension of existence. Where self exists at multiple levels simultaneously. This renews the question of existence. The self that exists at multiple levels is living multiple lives also.
Aditi Vashistha is an M.Phil student in Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. Her work is around the interactions of literature and Political Science. Her specialisation is in Indian regional literature.