Roses, Chocolates and Candle lit dinners - is it love? | Sunday Observer

Roses, Chocolates and Candle lit dinners - is it love?

Once again it’s February! The month of roses and chocolates, teddy bears and rings, candle lit dinners and ballroom dances. Can we truly find love in the midst of this noise? I hardly believe, yet things cannot be the same from different eyes. Thus, the question of ‘what is love’ was raised at a recent rendezvous. Amazingly, I was able to grasp many facts on love from people in all walks of life. Since, we are celebrating Valentine’s Day this week, I thought it would be interesting to share those insights with you.

‘What is love?’ I raised the question randomly from the most talkative person in the gang. “What is love?” she murmured, “oh! isn’t that difficult to answer?”. “Of course, it is. But don’t you think it is what we all seek for? I re-questioned, seeking an answer from the audience. “Certainly, it is. Rather than asking what is love, you should have asked us what is not love, dear”, the most senior responded endearingly. For a moment, the crowd went into a pin drop silence. Breaking the silence, “If so, how can we define love?” another cheerful member asked.

“A great many philosophers have defined love by bringing out its different avatars. In a book titled Colours of Love (1973), J. A. Lee defined six varieties of relation­ship that might be labelled as love. They are: Eros (romantic, passionate love), Ludus (game-playing or uncommitted love), Storge (slow developing, friendship-based love), Pragma (a pragmatic/practical, mutually beneficial relationship), Mania (an obsessive or posses­sive love, jealous and extreme), and Agape (all-giving, selfless love)”

“Although love has six different shades, it can be broadly segregated into two, unconditional (self-less) and conditional (selfish). Despite its nature of feeling (emotions) which is common to anybody, love does not change based on the role played by any party in relation to one’s life. Be it your parents, friends, partners, children or pets, love is ‘love’ and its feeling will forever be the same” the most senior geared up the conversation.

“Having said that, I cannot deny that there could be moments where self-less love could be observed even in most conditional contexts of love” she kept explaining.

“That’s the beauty of love” she emphasized with a twinkle in her eyes. “It is a process. A process of seeing the unseen, experiencing the most unexpected at random moments from the very person that you think you know best. Most importantly, it requires a greater amount of energy to practically fathom the importance of understanding it to its very core” she added.

“I second it” another raised her voice. “Indeed, love is a process that happens when you get to know a person and are trying to figure out if that person is compatible with you. People often hail ‘love at first sight.’ Honestly speaking it is something I do not agree with. It should be infatuation at first sight.

This process is called dating and the end result could be love or not (if that person is not compatible)” she vehemently shared her views.

Yet, in a country like ours, people often get confused with dating and being in a relationship and that creates unnecessary problems and ruins the essence of love. Anyway, we should be wise in choosing love and remember that love comes to different people at different times” She brought in an interesting point –’ Marriage.’

“In a country where milestones and destinations are pre-marked in the process of love, marriage gains significant attention both individually and socially. People are often forced to get into marriages where love becomes a by-product, if only it occurs. In the light of circumstances where no two individuals are the same, many youths are being forced into marriage. This pressure never ends with marriage, it cascades and demands various other societal needs. Yet, there’s nothing wrong with being alone. There’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself to work out who you are”

“Love is hope and love is patience”, a recently married friend responded. “Love is all about patiently being there for the other person, no matter how tough it gets, and hanging onto the hope or light inside you” she said.

“If I share my story, my partner and I have gone through many phases in love throughout our six-year relationship. Each phase was different and the experiences we had is nothing but hope and patience”, she added.

“Hey, look what I found just now while scrolling down on FB”, one of the members interrupted the flow. “Read it aloud please, not everybody can see it!” a few replied in unison.

Isn’t this real? She asked us. “How many times have we been cheated, betrayed and disregarded by others?” “I have only found love in hopeless places”, she added. “Do you consider all those as love?” another questioned. “No, but isn’t it common? she replied.

“There’s a difference between love and need. Indeed, love is a psychological need, it does provide a sense of belonging, a sense of self-worth and adds purpose to one’s existence. Yet, it is an emotion that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Need can be satisfied in different ways, but love cannot be purely gratified by the mere exchange of wills.

If you want sex, make it clear
If you want a relationship, make it clear
If you want someone to talk, make it clear
If you want just to time-pass, make it clear
If you want someone’s help just to move on,
make it clear
But don’t use someone, I repeat
- Unknown

“We do live in a time where we often misinterpret the concept of love. We think it is an inevitable state of mind, an emotion that cannot be helped. Yet, how many of us have truly examined the different shades of this concept in a broader manner? I sincerely think we have not. Plus, it is important to accept the unknown to be aware of ourselves and others. ”

“I think people are more in love with the concept of love than the person they are with” he made his entrance to the discussion. “Please elaborate!” the gathering requested eagerly. “Well, frankly speaking, we have romanticized the idea of romance and now it has become cancerous” he was sharply articulating his point. “We seek love in perfection. We have been conditioned to think it as a process that requires the best version of oneself. But what is the best version? Have we ever pondered, or rather have we ever been probed by existing social ideologies to rethink about it deeply?” he kept on bringing his argument. “Look, how many of us had self-doubt in the game of pursuing love?” “Hadn’t we all, at least for once?” he questioned with raised eyebrows. “If so, how had we tried to find love, from outside or inside?” he paused for a moment, seeking an answer. “Perhaps I could be wrong, yet I think the greatest love of all comes from within. Unless a person truly, fully, and honestly accepts him/her, I doubt whether he or she could ever start loving the other. Love may be a common feeling, yet it is common in unique ways”. The room filled with a warm round of applause.

My dear friends, love is a journey starting at ‘forever’ and ending at ‘never’. It is a fountain that never ceases to fade its glory. Always remember, love can only be gained by giving. As Dolly Parton once said, “obligation is not love. Letting someone be open, honest and free – that’s love. It’s got to come natural and it’s got to be real”. Having said that you must be aware, freedom is not the ability to act on any given impulse. It is the ability to choose ‘what you want to act on and why’. It is not the absence of commitment, values or discipline, it is the ability to choose them at will”

May love be your shield of honour that strengthens your efforts in combating your inner battles!

Best wishes for a thoughtfully splendid Valentine’s Day!