Love is like that

Love has no definable attributes. It cannot be bought with money or clinched at gunpoint. Love is like revelation; it only happens


Suresh Pattali

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Published: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 5:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 5:39 PM

“You are what you write. You keep bleeding love.” The girl who edited my last column on love had the gall to walk into my room and announce the diagnosis — and prognosis.

“I guess you are a flirt.” The Gen Z-er, who has been taking care of my written works for a long while, placed the biopsy report on my table. “It’s malignant. You’re chronically sick, Mr Suresh. Your words delineate you.”

I had met several such quacks in my life. My son and his med school friend once upon a time called me Love Guru for all the things I thought and wrote up. But the fact is I’m a relative dilettante on the topic. I’m a pilgrim — eternally baffled by the mille-feuille emotion called love — walking into his sunset still seeking the truth.

And this is supposed to be my swansong on the enigma called love, encouraged my late-night wonderwall who messaged: “You shouldn’t apologise for what you feel.”

A few questions that have baffled me unapologetically are: Is marriage the end of the road for love? Does the pathway terminate at an abandoned quay with no late-night ferry to take you across the swollen river? Is marriage the zenith of romance?

I had tossed these questions to my friends, none of who dared to rip apart the veil of rectitude. With due respect to all those out there behind the wailing wall of societal obeisance, I would say I’m confused. Love and life seem to be two strangers sitting precariously on the opposite ends of a seesaw resting on the pivot of marriage, never hoping to be on par. We spend our days waiting for the equinox to happen to us, turning life and romance into an eternal waiting game that no one would survive to win. We endure every winter waiting for the spring to spring, summer to summer and fall to fall. Love then becomes just a chore, a cyclical exercise, to keep the institution of marriage alive.

It’s a thought too profound to write off as the midlife crisis of a male. It’s the real story of homo sapiens. It’s a thought that would remind us every human heart is like the resplendent Moon with a near side and a far side. The bright near side is what the universe gets to see. The obscure far side, or dark side, is a mass grave of memories, dreams, and romances. We exhibit with much fanfare a lone Taj Mahal in the courtyard, hiding many a skeleton beneath the edifice because we are accountable to society. Because we’ve rule books to follow. Because we’ve vows to honour: Till death do us part.

Hold your fire, don’t shoot. I am not a promoter of polygamy but would love to debate if love is constant. Love has no definable attributes. It cannot be bought with money or clinched at gunpoint. Love is like revelation; it only happens. It’s a heavenly phenomenon that can occur to anyone, any time. Young or old; married or unmarried.

“Every being — even the most devoted of partners — possibly has a secret love, an unflinching flame warming the quietest corners of the subconscious from turning cold. That surreptitious feeling is tucked away under myriad memories, like a forgotten novel. One takes recourse to it on a silent evening or a snowy night. It is not infidelity or disloyalty to close your eyes and catch a glimpse of that fleeting picture, that smile, or recall that voice. Or imagine what would have been. Those ‘what if’ moments, that the heart indulges in, but the mind denies.”

I have no words beyond this gem dug out by my wonderwall from her old scratch book.

I am not begging anyone’s pardon.

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