The above text is translated as: "I am driving a Ricksha, not a bullet!"

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Faasla Rakhen Warna Pyar Hojaega"

Love happens many times over one's life, but never the same love twice. When these words first danced around my eyes, I read and reread them. Almost as if each reading would further stir them to dissolution in the brimming wake of my conscience, or make them sink deeper as a residue in the pits of my heart.

Humans are very adaptable, as I've heard. In not that the magnitude of our experiences is not significant and change doesn't shake our very bones. But in that no matter how we do it and how long it takes us, we finally do adapt. Maybe that means losing that essence we had grown accustomed to defining as ourselves. Or losing the ability to truly feel sad, like our very first time, when sadness could quite tangibly be discerned as a feeling, not a lack thereof. And there definitely weren't bottomless voids. As if each time the heart broke and mended itself, it somehow left a piece in the inextricable ruins. If you could find a similarly shaped piece to fit in the puzzle, good for you. Or else, you must live with the existential threat of losing your very heart, the core of your being, one by one, by bits and pieces. And if we were to name a single thing that can leave one most vulnerable to that happening, it would be love.

I don't think that as an abstract and yet extremely powerful and personal emotion, love varies across oceans. In as far as humans feel it, its the same. But like every subjective human experience, its awakening in the human conscience, its reception, acceptance and expression, couldn't be more different across time and space. And for a very simple reason too. That emotional intelligence, the ability to read and meaningfully decipher our feelings, does not come as naturally as the ability to feel them. Like so many other dictates of cultures, love, as it comes to be seen, understood and accepted, is not merely a function of how its felt but of also how its taught and learnt.

The longest and most painful gap between two people then, doesn't simply stem from the difference in their abilities to love each other. Rather, it stems from the difference in their abilities to interpret and respect that love, to strip away the multitudes of cultural conditioning that often leave the smartest amongst us questioning either the very existence of, or the power of, such a concrete yet an elusive emotion.

Hence, despite the universality that makes love so famous, it is in fact its very specificity - across continents, countries, cities and people - that truly defines it.

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