Archive for April 2012

Today’s love and…vo Kitaabo Vaala Pyaar?

Author : admin

Love, like life, is so insecure. It moves in our lives and occupies its sweet space in our hearts so easily. But it never guarantees that it will stay there forever. Probably that’s why it is so precious.
…from the novel ‘Can Love Happen Twice?’

Love is an ageless emotion. It existed in the past, exists in the present and because the future is so unpredictable, let me say, I HOPE it will be alive in the future as well. Of all the human emotions love has been the most fascinating. It is no wonder then that we have numerous books and uncountable movies based on this subject every year!

But as I try to observe this so called eternal emotion under the lens of time, I discover that just like everything else, love has also undergone changes over time. ‘Love at first sight’ has changed to become ‘Love at Facebook’.

I can’t comment on what love is going to be in the future, but at my best I can compare the present love with that of the past era. The one that continues to prevail in books; and for that matter I love to call it kitaabon vaala pyaar.

While I was growing up, I heard those immortal stories of those mortal lovers: Romeo Juliet, Heer Raanjha, Laila Majnu, Mirja Sahiba and Shiri Farhaad. These couples, whose love stories have survived centuries, have left a legacy of love behind that continues to fascinate us. Interestingly, whenever we are supposed to exemplify this ageless emotion of love and quote any undying love story, we always go back to this age to do so. And I wonder why do we have to go back in time? Why don’t we have couples from today’s time in this list of legendry lovers? Why don’t we have such immortal love stories from our own time? What is so special about the love of that age and what’s missing in present day love?

As I go ahead to find answers to my own questions, I realize that today’s romance isn’t that straight and simple as it used to be once upon a time. Why would otherwise world’s largest social networking platform ‘Facebook’ come up with this interesting relationship status, ‘I am in a relationship and it’s complicated’. And if I talk about the range of complexities, it in itself is quite diverse. No kidding! but for someone a minute issue of her boyfriend not talking to her over phone at least five times a day, gives birth to this complexity while for someone else complexity can be as big as not accepting other’s religious customs after marriage. We discuss, we debate and we fight over plenty of such big and small complexities. I am sure that almost all of us who had been in relationship or continue to do so would have undergone such phases. And in case you say you haven’t, I would say, ‘Lucky You!’

The average age of lovers has drastically reduced. All across the world children are attaining adulthood earlier than before. Experiences which were once a taboo for sixteen year old boys and girls are now the new adventures of their lives. There is far greater exposure to media and happenings around the world. No wonder then that among everything else, the experience of falling in love has also started taking birth in schools instead of colleges as was the case once. As seen in most of the cases if not all, these relationships lack fundamental wisdom and in the long run turn fragile.

Even in the case of the so called mature relationships, problems creep in when individuals put themselves ahead of their relationship; When words such as ‘us’ is taken over by ‘I’ and ‘our’ by ‘my’. Every day we come across plenty of such examples, ‘But what about MY career?’; ‘But I don’t want to live with your mother’. It is not so strange then that breakups and divorces these days are the highest ever.

Setting undue expectations and not being open to each other in the initial days of attraction are yet other causes that lead to these unfortunate ends. Consequently, there are quite a few surprises that are bound to pop up later.

When we commit to someone, we say, ‘love is blind’. And if the latter is really true then I suggest, keep your eyes closed and enjoy the blind ride of love for the real problems will creep in later when you try to open your eyes. And the moment one does that, chances are high that one finds that something which has been missing so far in the relationship. I guess the best bet would be to keep your eyes opened before you commit; to not make commitments that are difficult to follow.

Relationships these days are short lived. Terms like ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend are so much an accepted norm of our society. I don’t think they existed in the past so much. When one committed to a loved one, it was done for life, ‘Until death do us part’. I sometimes wonder how it would feel to read if Laila had an ex-boyfriend or Majnu an ex-girlfriend!

Love and romance in the present times has often been observed to lack that strong and pious bonding. Couples are together just because it is ‘cool’ to be physically together. The emotional connect is intermittent and fluctuating and this is the real problem. Half the time we believe we love the other person, the rest half of the time we are skeptical about what we believed in the first place. In the end, if they are still together it is more of a mutual agreement and quite ironically love doesn’t figure as part of this agreement more often than not. Love for me is a matter of heart’s choice and not an outcome of mind’s decision.

In one of my courses at ISB, I learnt this interesting lesson, ‘We like others who are like us or who like us.’ In my view this fact gets verified in the long run of a relationship. In the initial few days we may fool ourselves in to believing that we love somebody when we are just attracted to their looks, status, extrovert nature and various other attributes, but in the long run our inherent human tendency makes us focus at what exactly we need and not on what other person has to offer us. Therefore, everything appears nice in the short term but any longer, and our loses of unfulfilled expectations loom far longer, more than the profits of initial experiences. This is when we tend to reject people who are not like us or who don’t like us.

If there is one thing which I believe is the most important ingredient of love that has been missing in present times, it is the ability to sacrifice. Till the time we can’t change our individualistic and self-centered expectations and be wise enough to accept and to let go of few things for the sake of love, we won’t be able to harvest love in its best possible way. Those love stories from the past world are eternal because of the sacrifices made by their heroes and heroines. We need to draw a line somewhere between our needs and our wants and if needed then let go the wants part of it for the sake of each other. For instance the NEED to live together after marriage is superior to the WANT of living in a particular metro. If you are really in love you are wise enough to know what to let go and what to retain.

And on that very subject of sacrifice, I recall the lyrics of one of the songs by my favorite Punjabi sufi singer Satinder Sartaj, who very nicely describes the contrast of modern love against that of the past.

Hun ni karda koi ishqe lai kurbaaniya
pehla vafadaar si aj de aashiq sayaane
baarah saal charaaiya majhiya raanjhe chaak ne
aj kal raanjhe ban gaye ais umar de niyaane

(Today no one makes sacrifices for the sake of love Then lovers used to be honest, the ones from our times are clever Twelve years of grazing buffaloes was the sacrifice Ranjhaa made and became a legendry lover Today, forget sacrifices, even a school going kid identifies himself as Raanjhaa)

For love to survive and flourish, there needs to be maturity and sacrifice in a relationship, otherwise there is always the danger of ‘complicated status’ that threatens the very essence of the beautiful emotion of love.