I believe in true love. And to be honest, people have made fun of it for more than I can remember.
My family names love as the feeling you get when you lead a life with a person they choose for you. My friends decide that true love is what we see in Bollywood movies. My brother laughs at love because he still thinks girls have cooties. My ex, for a long time, tried to convince me that love was a lie- a mere mix of chemicals and other decidedly unromantic things. The senior I admire chose a girlfriend who was nice to him because he thought that was love.
To be honest, I’m still not quite sure myself.
A younger me penned love as everything I read about in shoujo manga. A feeling that makes the whole world appear rosy and sparkly. Your lover will be the most wonderful person, the person you trust, your soul mate. I idolized so many characters- Sakura and Syaoran, Ahiru and Fakir, Tomoya and Nagisa… I still adore them- I just know that it’s a tad unrealistic to expect so much.
Then, love was something rather frightening. Love was the word guys used on me in spite of not knowing me well. Love was the word people used to justify them moulding me according to their wishes. Love was like Cathy and Heathcliff- something dangerous, ill-fated and unhealthy. Something conjured up to hide things that were decidedly more sinister.
Love later became something unreachable. It was all around me, suffocating me with it’s sweet scent. My friends, my cousins and even my neighbours- they’d all gotten a whiff of this drug. But I was always the spectator, because I was not worthy. There was nothing about me that was special enough to be loved. I could not even imagine someone thinking of me when I was not in sight. To have someone wonder what it’d be like to be with me was a luxury I could never afford.
Then love became a kite stuck in a tree that I was climbing. There was someone who loved me, and I was ecstatic. But love began to mean change. Changing myself to suit his likes, hiding my true feelings and trying to numb myself because he hated my getting emotional. Love became a sweet but fatal torture.
Love became a bitter lie. Flung away by the person I trusted, every potential partner was regarded with suspicion. I’d decided that love didn’t exist.
Love was then experimentation. Getting to know people who confessed and not dismissing their feelings as lies. Going on dates, having fun. Sometimes even parting good friends. Love was still nowhere in my sights, but it was reachable.
Love was sharing. Watching him watch me from the corner of his eye until he came over to talk. Laughing and flirting till it was time to go home, dancing around each other and making silly faces. Talking for weeks after, only to realise later that though he was wonderful, he wasn’t for me.
Love became observation. Watching a dear friend go through the pangs of first love. Living through her words. Watching her blush, listening to her hopes and worries. Realising that I myself might have that some day- the ability to love someone so much sans reason. Becoming impatient, wondering when I would finally get that chance.
Love became uncertainty. Wondering if I do love him, wondering if it is just deep friendship. Hearing his voice and going over the moon, but having no qualms with him being around other girls. Knowing others can love him better, and choosing to stay silent because that’s what he deserves.
And now, love is hope.