Life Is Beautiful When You’re Romantic.
In the first week of the lockdown period, I received a call from a college mate. He said he has got my number from a friend.
He said: “Ah, I am Ashok (not the real name), I was your super senior at college…”
I don’t clearly remember him. But as a courtesy I said: “Hi, Ashok, how are you doing?”
“I am getting divorced!”
“What? At this age?” I was shocked. That’s not normal with the generation I am in. “Oh, I am sorry to hear that,” I added.
“We lost our love…”
“What? How come? How can real love be ever lost? It is not a material thing to get lost. It should always be with you if you ever had it…”
“Uday, you have been a romantic thinker and writer during college days, so it is very easy to say superficial things like that…You gave a piece of advice then, even without asking. I guess you were right….”
“I am really sorry Ashok, but I have a poor memory. I don’t remember a thing. Can you refresh my memory…”
“I had a love affair. We were from different castes – she was Syrian Catholic and I was Latin. But we dared to challenge our families and get married…That was the most courageous thing then. But you said it was not courage…”
“Did I say that? What was the context?”
“You said, as per Indian culture, marriage is a family and community event. We needed blessings from parents, seniors, and elders in the family. Any hurt doesn’t sync well with love. How can you live a happy when your kith and kin become sad, you asked.”
“Yes. I might have said that..”
“You asked me then, should you be selfish about yourself? If you are alone, you can. But when you have sisters, brothers, parents who are all conditioned by the prevailing social norms (whether it is right or wrong is a different question), they would find it difficult to get good alliances from a reputed family. Love is an unselfish act of dharma, you said. It needs a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes we may have to let go of the dearest thing in life for the sake of family and society, that’s dharmic. According to you, being dharmic was courageous, but I called you a coward then” he said.
“I still believe that real love should not and won’t hurt anyone. But what happened to your so-called love then?”
“After college, I got a government job, thanks to the reservation/quota system. Immediately, we got married without the consent from her family. Her father had a nasty shock, got heart-attack, and died. Her only sister didn’t get a good alliance from reputed families and eventually committed suicide for some reason. Her mother became sick and bedridden. We had many tragedies in our life. “
“Our miseries increased day by day. Our first child, a girl, had down syndrome. We lost her at the age of eight, falling in a swimming pool. The second boy was good, but he went to JNU, turned to be a drunkard, drug addict, and ended up in some mental issues. We don’t know where he is now. The third one is in jail now, I can’t explain the reasons to you…”
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that…”
“I was thinking about college days. I remembered you. You said, mine was just an affair and not love. Any such pleasure-seeking affairs will always end up in tragedy. Real love won’t. Now I know the meaning of it…”
“I still say the same. People don’t understand the difference between an affair and a love. A temporary gush of hormone is just an affair. True lovers won’t be blind. They will make an informed decision. A real lover will think of past, present, and future – because he/she cares. Real love doesn’t hurt any. Hurt and love are the opposite. If you hurt someone, it will come back to you.”
“My wife said all miseries happen due to the curse from the family. Then the blame game started. We fight even on trivial things. She said I have an inferiority complex as I was from a lower caste. The fight goes on to demeaning each’s families, the community even Gods. So I decided to divorce her… We are getting a divorce”
“Aha, if you wanted the divorce, why did you ever marry her?. You took a wrong decision and got married. Now again, you are doing an adharmic thing…Ashok, we take a vow/pledge in front of the fire (agni sakshi) that you will live together…”
“Oh, that is just your Brahminical superstition. We don’t believe in such nonsense scrap,” he said.
“You know her for the last 40 years and now getting divorced for no reason!”
“I loved her then – she was beautiful and flexible. Now she became petty old, fat, and stubborn. You know, my wife is totally useless now. I don’t love her anymore. So I am leaving her…”
“Those are natural things to happen. You’ll get wrinkles when you become old.”
“She is not reciprocating my actions. She is behaving like an old icy crap, you know what…” he said.
“You have mixed up three different things – love, sex, and marriage. As rarest of rare cases, all three come together. In practical life, for many, they won’t stay together. So, when you marry and live with a person, you may have to accommodate…”
“Man, I have some physical needs too… She is just a moron and wood log now. She looks like a saggy old woman. She is also sick and smelly.”
“Please don’t use such words about your wife. In your teens, you have chased her just to make her look at you. Is life just about having physical pleasures? If you had an accident and paralyzed, what she would have done? It is totally adharma if you leave your wife just because she is sick and old. “
“Hmm…If I had paralyzed, she might run away with someone. She was capable to ditch even her parents and family. So it is easy for her.”
“At this age? I don’t think so. She came with you because she blindly believed you then. And both of you mistakenly thought that hormone gush was love…That was mistake number one. Now you are divorcing her when she is old and weak. You are again making a big mistake. And it is adharma too…”
“But I don’t love her now. I hate her…”
“You are being selfish and thinking only about you. You revolve around ‘I, Me and Mine’. When you ‘feel’ love you get married, when you ‘feel’ hate, you get a divorce. What kind of life is it? Ashok, you and your wife might need counseling. How many more years you will live in Ashok? Do you have time for divorce and other agonies? Live happily for the remaining time. I suggest you give both of your life a chance again…”
“How is it possible?”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you really wish for, you can still see the beauty in her. Consider her as a garden of beautiful flowers. Love that. Everyone in this world is uniquely perfect. She should be perfect with all her imperfections…Bring back the romance in your life…”
“How is it possible at this age? We were your seniors and much older than you…”
“There is no age restriction, legally and otherwise, to be romantic. You don’t have to pay tax for being romantic. Only a romantic person can see the charm in life. Just look at her eyes for some time. It will be still the same that you saw 40 years ago! “
“But she is not liking me now…”
“Ha. When you started loving her, she was not at all reciprocating. She didn’t like you then, right? But you were consistent and enthusiastic in pursuing her, right? Similarly, you must fall in love with her every second, then life will be beautiful…Take her to the same college ground someday after the lockdown period. Take her to places you went during the initial days of marriage…Listen to the melodies once you both liked them. Watch the movies you liked. You can bring love into your life…Be romantic…”
“Really? Being romantic change our attitude?”
“Ashok, life will become extremely beautiful and happy if you are romantic. When you are romantic, you will develop the capacity to love all. You can’t hate anyone – be it spouse, kids, parents, siblings…You will see the charm in everything…”
” Uday, do you feel romantic even now. Or is it superficial advice?”
“I will be romantic as long as my brain works. Being romantic helps me smile with love at all my miseries, setbacks, hardships, pain, and agonies I face! I am madly in love with life. Life is divine. So life is happy and beautiful for me.”
Yesterday he called – things are slowly changing and they both are in talking terms now! That was a piece of happy news for me.!
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