It’s a day after Valentines and one can still feel the lingering presence of love in the air. Love, which in our daily lives we ignore for want of time but feel the overwhelming need to express in the most clichéd style on this one day. Love, which is thought to be the most pure and selfless form of human expression, is quantified and measured with the worthless baubles and gifts one receives. Love is no longer personal but has to be a public display with lots of pictures on the various social media handles. Is this love? I don’t know.
In one of the dailies yesterday, there was an article about an elderly couple who have been together for nearly 50 years. Unimaginable in the present situation, right? Well that’s how it was all these years for the earlier generations. It was all about getting along and making the necessary adjustments. Imagine our young couples doing that? Totally not happening!
For me the most romantic couple would be my maternal grandparents, my nana-nani. It will be difficult for me to be impartial because I simply adore them but believe me, it is not undeserved. A quintessential English “bhadralok” brought up during the British raj in an affluent family, he had the luxury of going abroad for his studies and then landing a good job once back. His only requirement for his marriage was that his future wife be English literate. So, steps in my grandmother. Her 4 feet some inches diminutive figure took up the challenge and wrote a letter to my grandfather in English, after months of struggling with the language. They would have completed 70 glorious years next year had he not passed away last month, leaving my grandmother heartbroken.
Their romance is legendary in the family. He indulged her in every way he could – shopping, movies, jewelry, etc. etc. but he also pushed her to get out of her comfort zone. She could discuss anything, from politics to movies to books, because he insisted she know about the world; and she reciprocated by becoming a keen learner. She didn’t have to. Ladies in those times were restricted to managing the household and children. But she did. Even till recently they would sit outside in the verandah, reading newspapers together and discussing the current affairs. She, in turn, made him more “desi”, that’s what he used to say! At the dining table, it was customary for them to share the last chapatti and jam, a dessert. Can it get any sweeter? It’s always been like this for as long as my memories go. But it had been like this even before me, I’m told.
Cut to the present day. A dear friend proposed marriage to my niece and she, after giving it some thought, turned it down. Reason – it was not working out!?! It’s marriage one is talking about, not some business contract. They had many reasons for not going ahead, starting from financial arrangements to location to individual careers and many more. What happened to a “lifetime together” and “making it work”? Well this is how it is, love for the millennials. They don’t have time or patience to understanding the basic need to adjust, accommodate or compromise to make any relationship work. I don’t think I ever can understand this whole thing.
So, what about love and romance? I am still old school and totally believe in it, minus the chocolates and roses of course. It still exists but out there, it’s a sad state of affairs, no pun intended!