This thing called love

Musings on everyday life


Suresh Pattali

Published: Thu 3 Nov 2022, 7:42 PM

Last updated: Fri 4 Nov 2022, 4:18 PM

"I will kill you with my love

And then I'll say, go to hell, man."

This isn't random madness of an idle mind. Such gems thrown into my inbox by a fellow writer are collectables that may be a bit recherché for some unpoetic souls. I read a Pablo Neruda in those succinct lines. I could have asked her to pen a few more lines but then decided to let it be, thinking it might be a quote from her upcoming book.

No sooner did I post it on Insta than she followed it up by a provocative query, "Ever thought what's the climax of love?" That caught the Dr Love inside me leg before wicket. I was like a university student staring at an out-of-syllabus question. I am a humble mortal already struggling with the Rubik's Cube that is life. I am also yet to come to grips with the thing called love, let alone the climax of it. Turning to a third party to clear the air on love certainly isn't a good idea for an author who writes the column, Life is Like That.

Seeking the meaning of life and love seems to be as futile as rummaging the black hole for a safety pin. You are born into a coracle boat that shoots the rapids in its treacherous journey. You are a hapless sailor who isn't sure where the bobbing boat takes you — to a stormy sea or a placid lake. Lie down with a prayer on your lips and soak in the sunshine and call it life. Now you know why I have dedicated my second book "To life, whatever it means."

Coming back to the topic 'climax of love', I am pretty sure a major chunk of the hoi polloi would surmise it as sensual pleasures. That isn't surprising given the word climax would ring an alarm, but none of my writer-friends went off on a tangent. All of them have their own philosophy about love and its climax.

What goes up must come down. It insinuates something with a meteoric rise or something that crescendos will eventually experience a fall from grace or come down to balance. Does the idiomatic expression apply to love as well? All that stands tall in the world has a peak, whether the Burj Khalifa or Mount Everest, where a climber's pain-taking preparations for years end with a five-minute stay braving the hostile and icy winds at the summit. Then the treacherous descent starts. Similarly, my swaggering celebrations recently on top of the Khardung La and Changla passes, two of the world's highest motorable roads, were so momentary that before I could throw wide open my mind and heart to the magical icescape, we went downhill.

So does love, often portrayed as a powerful force that can conquer hearts, have a climax? You fight the whole world like a gladiator to win your love and build a Taj Mahal at the zenith of your happiness and togetherness. Will you live there happily ever after with "Wow Taj" on your lips every moment? What happens when carnal pleasure plateaus or goes downhill? So, is the climax of love when you get over it?

"The climax of love is the destruction it causes through heartbreak; the climax of love is the loss of it," argues a young writer in the office. "Getting over it isn't the same as when you lose it. It isn't the same as when your heart aches for it."

It's amazing to see a flood of thoughts around us on love and its climax. "End of love is like the end of a dream. It is when the agony and ecstasy of a relationship boils down to companionship and we find ourselves living with someone not because we love them but because they have become witnesses to our lives rather than living, breathing individuals with needs of their own," argues another passionate writer.

"Love doesn't always end with heartbreak; it also ends with boredom. That stage in life when predictability takes over anticipation. Sure, you continue to make memories but somewhere stop experiencing those moments that can be etched in the mind. Realising the banality of love, some may choose to walk out. But those who stay continue to pick the pieces of a broken heart and sew them together. All day. Every day."

Well said, but can a marriage or its aftermaths destroy love? Can banalities of life or boredom of repetition weigh down such a blissful feeling? I'm not sure. No, I doubt.

A male colleague who is still in awe of his not-so-old married life says for him love climaxes in an unending loop of new discoveries. "Each discovery serves as an inspiration to know more about the person. You live in the pleasure of that climax, till you learn another, and this keeps unfolding."

But here's something from a young female editor that comes closer to my own thoughts: "I think sacrifice is the highest expression of love. Giving up something you value for the sake or benefit of someone else requires a generosity and strength for which you need to reach deep into your heart. Other forms of love can neither compete nor compare."

"To come to a conclusion on the climax of love, one needs to fully grasp the concept of what true love really is," says another young writer.

"Love is a state of being. The most authentic quality of the soul, through which we express our existence. To exist authentically is to be in love. And the climax of love is in its infinite nature, such that it is not a climax at all, but an unending force of energy. When it truly exists, it can never cease to exist."

I am no more a doctor but a toddler who feels love is constant. It neither climaxes nor plateaus if you stop loving with your body. Like author Karla McLaren says: "Real love endures all emotions — and it survives trauma, betrayal, divorce, and even death." I prefer to think love is a pilgrimage where we don't seek attainment but pause at each pitstop to trace the paths we have travelled and find them a source of amazement and delight and inspiration to travel to new milestones. It's a never-ending journey.

This time I go back to the author-friend who had posed the original question. She replies hypothetically: “Can we walk together enjoying our company, talking about our love through poetry, having deep conversations, holding hands in our imagination, watching the sunset and writing poems about it in our different ways and words, giving each other the joys of our shared sensibilities and knowing that we both see the things around in an almost similar way? Do we acknowledge such love? I do.

"Which is why Shoojit Sircar's Hindi movie October resonates with gentle hearts like us. If love is what was demonstrated in October, a throb that doesn’t leave you even when death knocks at the door, if love is having someone in your life as a sunshine even in the darkest nights, then I think that's the climax of this thing called love.”

I bow down to this pure soul.

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