I don’t hate love stories. Neither am I fond of them. I just don’t understand them. Love is ‘The’ most common theme of almost all fields of art, be it the classical literature or popular latest fiction, theatre or movies, music or dance, even paintings and sculptures. I have consumed most of the above as a devoted reader or audience. As a amateur critic, with little knowledge of classic and popular works of art, little exposure to complex human relationships, no personal experience of ‘love story’ and rather small intellect, I find myself least eligible to comment or critically appraise ‘love stories’ depicted through any form of art. Therefore, to be clear, I am not writing this with the purpose of analyzing or rating various love stories. I merely write this to express my wonder at the concept of love, which is still an unsolved mystery to me.
What is ‘love’? What is ‘true love’? I do not know. But they use this term a lot and leave me with a confounded expression on my face. I never understand when someone chokes at the immortal love of Heer-Ranjha or Romio-Juliet or Laila-Majnu. I couldn’t quite comprehend why a lover lost his sanity in love of his beloved. I don’t understand the ‘Yash Chopra’ brand of romance which still gives goose bumps to many of its admirers. And I don’t understand the concept of love in latest romantic flicks that appeal tremendously to the apparently ‘cool’ young generation. I am able to comprehend neither the eternal love nor the pop culture love.
The Eternal concept…
Jack and Rose met on Titanic and within a span of three days they fell deeply in love with one another. Jack gave his life trying to save Rose. Rose remembered him and loved him every single day of her life. After her love’s demise, Rose went on to live a complete and fulfilled life with a different man. Yet she harbored the flame of her true love deep in her heart, fresh in her memories and alive in her dreams till the end of her life. She could continue to love ‘forever’ without having the one she loves. When Sid loved Tara in DCH, he was comfortably oblivious to their age difference or her alcohol addiction. He didn’t ask her as his life partner for it was unsuitable for both but he loved her dearly, ‘always’. They say, ‘Love knows no boundaries of any definitions or stereotypes created by man and society’.
I fail to understand this classical eternal concept of love. How can a person be indifferent and continue to ‘go on’ with the absence of the one s/he loves? I tremble at the very thought of pain and sorrow that will accompany a lifelong longing of the lover. At the same time, I grieve at the utter inconvenience of a Rose or a Sid to forge a new marital relationship while the heart is occupied with the eternal love for someone else. Or perhaps it’s possible for tender heart to shelter both the undying love and the devoted care for the spouse; something similar to Rakhi and Amitabh of ‘Kabhi Kabhi’.
Maybe marriage and love are two entirely different realms. For the believers of this age-old concept, love holds a more spiritual significance, away from the material and physical part of one’s existence. And therefore everything becomes fair in love with no bar on any stereotypes like religion, age, caste or creed. Marriage, however, pertains to the life shared together in this material world; two individuals coming together to support, care and comfort one another while surviving the trials and tribulations of their lives. And therefore, utmost care is taken in choosing a life partner, with a complete checklist including all physical things like looks, financial status, social status, age, height, skin colour, compatibility etc.
And what happens when the so called ‘true love’ comes after marriage, knocking at the door of a peaceful home? In ‘Bridges of Madison County’, a regular happily married housewife meets a wandering photographer and the two fell in love. The three days spent together, while the husband and children were away, were the most cherished moments of their lives. To the end of their lives, they continue to love one another with all their heart but never meet again and never touch again.
For a few fortunate ones, the twain meets, at least in movies, as in case of Raj and Simran in DDLJ. How does regular humans go through and rather cherish such emotional experiences is a mystery to me.
The pop culture love…
Harry meets Sally on different occasions spread over a period of ten years during which they flirt and love others, and ultimately fall in ‘love’. Sameer of DCH frequently falls in and out of love. The young men and women these days claim that they don’t believe in eternal love or external signs. They meet a person, date, explore one another, sometimes live together and then decide to hang on or move on.
Some ‘The cool’ and ‘The hip’ are quite blunt to claim that the looks or the style of the partner brought them into a relationship. Some other ‘The smart’ and ‘The intelligent’ claim that they don’t care for ‘frivolities’ like looks but bother about ‘compatibility’ and ‘chemistry’ and ‘wavelength match’ and some other high words. ‘The virtuous’ measure up their partners from their definition of morals and manage to decidedly not fall in love with the ones who fit their classification of ‘faulty’ like smokers and alcohol-consuming. All of these weigh a potential partner as per their own scales and definitions and make a ‘wise’ ‘decision’ to love or not to love.
I don’t understand this kind of love either. Though it sounds practical, reasonable and sensible, I am not able to comprehend how a feeling or emotion can be experienced on the basis of a ‘decision’ made after analytical and logical reasoning. To this set of lovers, our classic romantics just say, “Wait till you fall in love, for love knows no definitions or boundaries. You won’t even get time to think and analyze when your heart does fall in love and you will know it.” Perhaps checklist does become trivial when true love comes calling.
And I wonder…
I still wonder what it means by ‘true love’. How does one feel when one is in love? I feel unfortunate for never having experienced the thing they call love. And my admiration and comprehension of many a love story in books or movies gets limited by my inability to understand the enigma called love.