For years on end, one of the most exploited themes in literary and philosophical writing has been that of love. And it’s not just them; every individual grows up hoping that some day they will fall in love and that their love will be requited by someone special, at least once. With the popularity of the media, we are constantly exposed to varying notions of love and romance, so much so that it is almost mandatory that you fall in love. Of course besides the pressure from media, friends and family, there are times ranging from a lousy day at work to a chilly, winter evening or just the desire to share the overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness that one feels a need for love, a lover just to be able to share your sentiments, or at least the empty space right beside you on the couch. But in the midst of all the romanticism that goes around the idea of love or love itself, no one I know, including myself seems to know what love truly is. Perhaps everyone I know is strangely unlucky or may be unaware of the love in their life.
I suppose, love means different things at different ages. In primary school, love is about the one person who shared crayons because you forgot to bring your own. May be he/she happened to be your bench mate, and always shared their lunch with you. Or because he/she walked back with you everyday from school while you discussed the woes brought forth upon your lives by the complexity of algebraic formula. In college, love is the first ‘best friend’ of the opposite sex. Or may be the first one to notice your sense of humour or your ability to make interesting conversation that underlies the awkwardness you display because you just realized that you are not the ‘most sought after’ of the lot, be it a class of 100 or 20; and will probably never be either.
As we grow older, most of us have had our hearts broken in some way or the other. Either because your relationship(s) didn’t work out or because the one person whose attention you craved for decided to fall in ‘love’ with someone else. Perhaps you realized that relationships are more than just holding hands during class, making out in the movies or showing up at parties as a ‘couple’. Or simply that ‘love’ can happen again; that your belief in tales of waiting endlessly for love to be reciprocated was more a part of your naïveté than love itself. Cynicism is inevitable, for all. Those who thought they were in love or the ones who never had it requited, everyone starts to believe that love is nothing but a myth. That all that there is to it is an attraction driven by hormones, physical needs which must be met, irrespective of ‘love’ which you now think is meant for teenagers, not for adults like you.
I guess what none of us are willing to confess is that secretly we are all hopeful, that love might happen; that it is possible to love someone more than yourself. That is possible to find at least one person who loves you for who you are; whether you are dark or fair, fat or thin, deep or shallow. To this one person, it doesn’t matter that every time you’re dressed up, you look like you could walk the ramp or that you have a 5-figure-salary, because they find you more loveable when you have a running nose with a voice that actually resembles the croaking sounds of a frog.
In retrospect, love is not one thing or the other, there is neither better nor worse; for it was all a gamut of emotions that felt more real than reality itself. In the midst of changing definitions of what love possibly means to each of us, there is a feeling which is a constant, and that feeling is true. The feeling that their happiness means more to you than your own, the feeling that it would hurt you more to see them unhappy than yourself…the feeling that it is worth all the madness that it entails. That love is not always about togetherness, but the ability to love knowing that at the end of the day, all you might be left with is a broken heart and an empty space right beside you on the couch.