25 August, 2009
Is 'I love you' really a milestone still?
I hate the line “In our times, it used to be different” regardless of the fact that it is being mouthed by me or not. Being uttered by someone else implies you have to sit through a narration that borders to cribbing and oozes with disappointments with the current scenario. When tumbling from my own beautiful mouth piece, it hints conspicuously that I have aged and “my times” were so bloody long ago, that now the predicament seems different!
Yet, however, kintu, parantu, nevertheless...
I would use this line here yet again because I want to analyse and reinstate the worth of those three words that used to make or break someone’s life in ‘our times’- the days of my tender teens and smouldering-just-arrived youth, settling down with its roots within, not packing its bags to leave.
I remember how in school time, this must have been when I was in 9th standard, when a friend of mine, who secretly pined for a handsome, cool 9th grader of another school, got bitten by the ‘I love you’ bug, after it was so confessed. Her outings with us trickled down, her interest in everything else waned and we all resigned not without the jealous banter, to the background, as for years after that she just remained a hopeless case in our group and less of our ‘friend’. The sin of being indifferent in friendship due to the inclination of love...was considered as a sacred one and easily forgiven.
Then another one bit the dust when we were the threshold of class 12th. Suddenly one morning, she came rushing to us in school, her face deathly white in pallor as though she had seen a ghost. Her speech became a nervous twitter, her hands trembled and her lips twitched. But when the catastrophic tragedy was revealed to us, we laughed our guts out at the irony of it all. She had said “I love you” to a boy she had been communicating with since a short while and now this meant that things would never be the same again. She was officially out and off from the “available” market and into a “serious” relation not a fling. Her ‘status’ had changed overnight. She blabbered breathlessly, “Oh, this means I am committed. This means I have to say this phrase again n again every day. This means I have told him that my body, mind and soul belong to him. This means....” And all this while we were swooning with “awww...’s” and droopy dreamy eyes. I am still not sure if ‘this means’ that she didn’t love him yet to be able to accept the proportion of what had been said or boggled by the what-comes-after!
Such was the seriousness of the phrase in our times. A verbal commitment that was as full and final as doomsday and as though you have mentally taken the proverbial ‘saat pheras’ of connubial bliss! You dare not falter or deviate. You dare not assume that your world revolves around anything else. “I love you” was a milestone appearing at the fork of life. Once crossed, you take up like a pre-destined path and you never return to that point of choice again. It’s like packed, sealed, delivered now yours!
In the current times the world has become our oyster and love comes cheap. It is exchanged several times like the ten rupee note casually whisked from one hand, handled roughly and kept momentarily as loose change, before being lavished on someone else. Everyone’s always needy and greedy! It is amazing that one ten rupee note is used by the owner to create a make belief situation for five others, who feel they possess it solely with them, when actually all their pockets are wanting.
What romanticism was intertwined in that phrase, a liberating ease that came to the heart, spoken only when the ebbing lava of emotions would threaten explosion! And once flowing out would render a soothing calm to the surface that burnt erstwhile. It was almost a ‘phew!’ that came out naturally, for all that was guarded and locked somewhere deep, was finally shared.
In today’s pragmatic ways of life, it’s spoken by the fifth day of association, repeated to someone else by the fifteenth day and forgotten to be repeated to the former by the twenty-fifth day. It is now guided more by passion and less by emotion. At this rate it would soon replace the commonplace phrases like ‘Hello! How are you?’
No longer is “I love you” the flowery wreath that gently binds...it is now the gruesome chain that handcuffs. So often it is used in a mock-casual way that my heart yearns to think...falling in love happens every other day, caught like the flu and lost like the common cold.
Well, when we introspect in our lives and the world and the things found, lost or forgotten...may we lament the fact of how offhandedly we are using Cupid’s arrows in our stupid games!