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I’m thankful that this year has been going well for me, and I’m glad my family is healthy and happy. I’m glad my grandparents did not go anywhere near Colaba/Nariman Point today or yesterday, and that all my relatives in Mumbai are safe.
This Thanksgiving, give thanks for what you have, but pray for those who have lost, and those whose future is still uncertain. Pray that they may have a reason to give thanks soon.
Here is where I make my shameless plug for my brother’s blog, but he has a great post on the subject:
So why am I of all people posting about this? Little old me, from a conservative Indian background with little to no real experience. What could I possibly know about the subject?
I really don’t know much of anything, even now. What I know, if anything at all, is based on a shred of experience and years of observation. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt.
Scientists have started to study love, or rather bonding, seeing it as an important driving force for the development of human social ties. I myself took a class in college on the subject, and found it very interesting…needless to say, I could have done better in the class though so it speaks volumes of my intuitive understanding of the subject. Here’s what I took away from the class:
1. Infatuation is very easy to identify if you know the signs (sometimes it takes another person to see the signs in you, since you may be too busy being infatuated).
2. People are attracted to people who look most similar to themselves.
3. It’s about having some common ground, biologically and otherwise.
4. Sex is a powerful bonding agent.
Not really a whole lot about love though…so what is love?
Love can be the best or the worst four-letter word in the English language (granted I’m taking love in the romantic sense of the word). It has changed some lives and fractured others. Love is a sneaky person, sometimes people think he’s there, when really it’s infatuation or lust, closely-related (and sometimes devious) cousins. Yet when you find love, the feeling has been compared to ecstasy (the state of mind, not the psychotropic drug…though who knows). Love can sometimes be as elusive as, say, the lottery…but does it really have to be?
Hinduism deals with love mostly in the spiritual sense, and any other kind of love is seen as a derivative of the ultimate divine love: the love for God. They may go a little far when they deem all other love as a perversion of divine love, but that’s their take on it. Ultimately, though, love is supposed to be a pure, emotional state of mind. Love does not equate with lust, but more often than not, the two are inseparable with lust often leading to love.
Does love really exist anymore? Given the divorce rates that I’ve seen in recent years (something like 50%), it’s easy to question whether love and commitment has all but disappeared. People seem to be rushing headlong into relationships that are either not stable or not viable, because they’re mistaking a bond based more on lust and infatuation as love, more often than not. More people “hook up” than date, but what’s dating even defined as anymore? Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m still a sucker for just good old-fashioned romance. Nonetheless, times have changed, jobs have changed, and people just don’t seem to have time to budget out for a “date.” Granted, I’m basing this on what I’ve seen in college, and to a degree in grad school, but I think it’s fair to say that at the very least, people just don’t have time…period. Does that affect the quality of a relationship? I don’t know…maybe other people have better insight on this than I do.
Are we just too cynical to love, nowadays? Or conversely, are we not guarded enough? Where does that all arise? Maybe part of it is the mainstream media, with its portrayals of love always working out in the end. On the other hand, when love does not work out, it is always a sordid and sad affair. It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten how to love and our structuring our own understanding based on the scripted relationships in our favorite movies and shows. I myself can’t disentangle my own understanding of love without, somewhere, citing “Friends,” or, “Never Been Kissed,” or anything similar. Maybe it’s just me?
I’ve been raised to go the arranged marriage route, where you don’t marry the one with whom you fall in love with, but grow to love the one you marry (to paraphrase a line from “Born Confused”). I’m trying to stick with that, but I get the feeling that while I’ll end up marrying someone my parents are happy with, I’ll have already fallen in love with that person well before the wedding. But if I’m asked to define love in my own words, here’s what I’d say. Love is that which everyone aspires to, but few get to taste in all its sweet glory. Love is a pair of arms wrapped firmly around you, holding you close, not willing to let go. It’s the bliss of being unaware of anything else except for that one person. Love is comfort. Love is disregard for the petty details, the little quirks, which ultimately get consumed and loved as well. At the end of the day, love is a connection of two souls, less of two bodies.
I’ll end this one with two quotes about love that I absolutely love myself:
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” –Mother Teresa
“When you are in Love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.” –Dr. Seuss