Sunday, July 16, 2006

This thing called lurrrve

I've been thinking about love. Quite a lot. At least, for the past few weeks or so. Love has been the dominant theme of my thought-life. I won't get into the why or how or what or who, because the reasons are irrelevant and unnecessary.

The thing about love is that... there I go again, hoping to find an answer in one sentence. Explaining everything that needs to be explained and understood. That's usually the trouble when it comes to love. We think we can compress it in one sentence, one song, one poem, one book or even a film or play. Quite a feat, actually, if one considers the objective at hand and the subjects that need to be covered. I mean, just think about it. Is it possible for us to go to the very dawn of time and understand why and how the very first man's feet went wobbly when he saw the very first woman?

The trouble is, most of us focus on the wobbly bits and ignore the more substantial elements. We like the wobbly bits because they make us feel mushy all over. We like the images it produces -- the roses, the music, the kisses, the hugs, the serenading and the white horse gallopinng its way to sweep the woman off her feet. Don't get me wrong. I like these bits, too, and, infact, I enjoy them a lot. But at the end of the day, they're not everything. They are merely indicators of something deep and wonderful, and not the thing in itself.

The thing, on the other hand, is hardly the stuff that will make people go gooey and the Hollywood moneymaking machine go kaching. Love is all about cutting the cords that bind us to the way we like to live, and letting ourselves go in a complete freefall for the sake of the other person. It is all about making ourselves vulnerable. Completely. Totally. And unabashedly. In fact, it is all about making ourselves open to possibilities -- of getting hurt by indifference, of being pained by silence, of being assaulted by joy and happiness, of receiving intellectual and emotional fulfilment, of being in a constant state of delirium, of finding meaning, identity and purpose, of just being happy that there is someone out there who thinks the world of us.

Most of us make the mistake of trying to see what we can get out of a relationship but that's a dangerous place to be in. It makes us raise our expectations and enables the other person to 'fail' in our assessment. Somehow it is humanly impossible for anyone to match our expectations because our standards are, usually, based on an utilitarian criteria. We want the other
person to please us and make us happy. And if that doesn't happen, then, our entire world crashes and we end up noticing the thorns in the roses.

One should think about being a 'giver' than a receiver. Asking ourselves all the time, what can I do to make the other person happy? What measures can I adopt to show my love to her? Is it possible for me to deny myself just to give her an ounce of joy? A giving-focus reduces expectations and the hurts. But again, it is the most vulnerable kind of love because it is loaded with risks. It is never a guarantee that the other person will recognise the 'giving', perhaps, she will never reciprocate or even notice it, maybe she'll be clouded by her own hang-ups that will make it hard for her to 'see' anything. But if at all she does see it, and loves us back in the same way, then, the possibilities of an absolutely joy-filled life are endless.

Ofcourse, it all depends on the other person.

We cannot expect this to happen with just about anyone. It needs judgement. Shrewd judgement to find someone compatible enough to love in this manner. We make errors of judgement and find ourselves trying to love someone who is just not right for us. We take emotional decisions and latch on to someone for reasons that have nothing to do with compatibility. We just need someone to shatter the silence around us, and fill some physical void we experience. And at other times, we get influenced by looks, sex appeal, money, glamour, and other superficialities, and lose sight of the more substantial bits -- as always.

While shared values (religious, political, ideological, philosophical) remain an essential component in any relationship for it to really work, there is, however, besides this important point, no cut-and-dried formula for compatibility in relationships. But still, there are two indicators that might help. At least, those are the ones I believe to be the most crucial. It's important to ask: do I want to grow old with this person? And secondly, is it possible for me to have long, spontaneous and enjoyable conversations with the person? Because frankly, when we are old and grey and sitting by the fireside, it is not sex that will get the mojo working because there would hardly be any fireworks in that department, it wont be looks because those will sag and wrinkle by then, it wont be machismo because with old age we won't be able to do any of our Hulk Hogan impressions... all that will remain in our twilight years is the other person with whom we can only sit and talk, talk and just talk because that's all we'll be left with. If we are unable to hold a decent conversation or have things to talk about today while we are still young, then, when we are old we're most likely to hit an iceberg. And the heart-break will be far more devastating than the debilitating pain of old age.

Love is all about making a decision to live forever with this compatible person. It cannot be a temporary measure because it doesn't work that way. It is a forever kind of thing because it is about respecting the other person, and letting her know that you are there for the long haul. That you won't get tired of her when the storm clouds rise and things don't look pretty good.

It is about deciding to love this person as long as one has breath and the ability to construct meaningful sentences. It is all about saying that I shall, from now on, align myself to this person and seek her happiness at all costs. It is all about losing one's identity and finding it in the other person. It is about emptying ourselves and discovering a part of us in the other person. It is about making ourselves helpless and finding strength in the other person. It is about saying to the other person, you complete me.

It is all about the two becoming one flesh, united in spirit, love, mind and body.

5 comments:

Aubrey said...

Good one, Ashish!

Yes, among many things, love is a decision.......

It works best when both make the decision necessary to live together everafter....

Alankrita said...

In my current state love is "Mush ado about nothing"

Ashish Gorde said...

I agree... a joint decision is crucial or it becomes a total waste of time and energy. I should have made that point clear but I just assumed the 'joint decision' bit was understood.

Sheena said...

I just loved this one Ashish.... made me laugh.... one of your better pieces..... deep but still only scratching the surface of love and life..... now and forever... and then some...?
Sheena

gautami tripathy said...

what i feel is love sets us free...don't ask my why/how but it does...

for me love means giving..maybe i am being idealistic but...