Today I’ve decided to put in my two cents about Love. Please don’t get knocked off your socks! Like God, or national politics, Love is also a universal and endless topic of discussion that any citizen of a democratic country can join into. Plus I’m still reeling from the hangover of the general revelry of the all-pervasive show-your-lovin’-feelin’ day, so what can be a better time to be swept off my feet?
Talking about love, have you ever noticed that the world’s greatest love stories are always either tragic, or adulterous, or, as a double whammy, both?
Take a look at Dante’s life story. Although he had supposedly fallen in love with Beatrice when they were both kids, he got married to Gemma Donaty, and Beatrice also vowed holy matrimony to a different person. It is after Beatrice’s death, that Dante’s unrequited love resulted in creating the momentous ‘La Vita Nuova’ and later ‘Divine Comedy’ – both commemorating the memories of Beatrice into immortality.
Consider the lore of Tristan and Isolde too. Even after being passionately in love with each other, Isolde had to marry King Mark, but the lovers could never forget one another! The last name on Tristan’s lips was of that of Isolde’s when death claimed him in the form of a poisoned lance, and Isolde died of grief after hearing the news of Tristan’s death. Case in point- classic example of adulterous and tragic love.
Exactly how much catastrophic the consequences of tempestuous infidel love can be, has been made into a legend by Paris and Helen, who caused bloodshed in the magnitude of the Trojan War!
Even if one does manage to cross the hurdle of adultery; gloom and doom seem to be the necessary spice when concocting a great romance. The most popular cult example immortalised by Mr. Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet! Also, apart from this classic example, there are tons of other instances strewn throughout history and mythology.
The story of Orpheus and Unpressed has the same knotty problem of unattainable love and resultant misery! Poor Orpheus went to the extent of going all the way to the underworld to cajole Hades, the God of death, to return his beloved wife Eurydice. But probably the Fates laughed. Ignoring Hades’ warning, Orpheus could not restrain himself and turned to take a look at his beloved Eurydice before crossing the border of the underworld, and Eurydice was forever doomed to unite with her lover, having to return to the underworld for eternity.
One doesn’t even have to look that far to find such samples. Apart from our own classic tale of Radha Krishna, the tales of Laila/Majnu, Sahiba/Mirza, Salim/Anarkali…examples are dime a dozen.
But why this partiality towards unconsummated and often adulterous love? Why cannot the garden-variety romances that lead to (hopefully) ‘happily-ever-after’s attain such epic heights?
The answer probably lies in the drama that emanates from these epics. Vanilla love stories that culminate into the standard idea of fruition (a.k.a marriage) suffer from, what I call the ‘then-what?’ syndrome. Two people love each other passionately and do even conquer great obstacles to be together. Great. Then what? Can you imagine how life would have been for Radha and Krishna had they been married? Or Romeo and Juliet for that matter? How fantastic does Biryani taste if you eat it like dal/bhaat every day? Exactly.
Please understand that it is not my intent at all to propagate the awesomeness of extramarital affairs or getting each other killed for the sake of eternalising undying love! Epic romances are great when you read them in your teens or twenties, but they are not really DYI material.
Then how to keep that flame of romance burning in your heart even when your body gets old, your kids turn difficult and life, for the lack of a better term, sucks?
Be in love with Love. Because Love is that one lover that will never fail you, never cease to be romantic, never stop being there for you when you need, will always let you be just you.
Keep a special place in your heart for Love itself. Happy Valentine’s Day! Today, tomorrow, and forever.
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