I have grown up as the kind of girl who swore by the blue-eyed winks of SRK in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I skipped a heartbeat at the mushy romance of the nineties on-screen romance movies. And I always have been the kind of girl who believed in “love”.
But, guys, what is love?
A few years back, I would have told you that love was all about having extreme feelings for another human being and having the right understanding and trust with the person. A few years back, love was all about Valentine’s Day celebrations, going out on dates, bunking classes and going for movies, chatting over the phone for over hours at night, texting back and forth and lying to yourselves that this was how it would be forever.
I too believed in love at first sight, if that ever existed, but then as the years rattled past me with break-neck speed, I came to realize that love was far more than the love we all knew. Now, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a cynic and I do believe that you can fall in love with someone on your very first meeting – Maybe you do feel a karmic connection or that inexplicable destiny-driven syndrome that has been called “Love at First Sight” by the writers.
But, as a girl brought up in this background, I had the shocker of my life, when love didn’t turn out at all as they showed on the screen. There was no Harvey Specter-like alpha male who would fix everything that went wrong and still look “mouth-watering” hot all the time. And there definitely were times when romance went off the rocker as quickly as the blow of the wind on a stormy night.
As a girl who has been in a single most important relationship for almost ten years, I can honestly say that love is not what we all think love to be. It is not idyllic. It is not surreal. It is not karmic always. And it is really tough.
But, love is beautiful. It is one of the most rewarding things life has to offer.
I have been “dating” someone since high school. Now, you know as they say, high school sweethearts – By the time you get married, the freshness, the romance and the love is all gone. People scared me off that your “love at first sight” was not forever. And people gave me a lot of free advice on the go.
“Enjoy your years – You can have fun with a lot of people – You can meet new people.”
“By being with a single guy, you’re limiting your options.” – It was as if there were options galore, and I was just letting these options pass by, by shutting the door of my heart since the age of sixteen.
But, as I began loving and growing in love, I realized something really important – It’s not love at first sight or the karmic connection.
It was the love of my life.
And, boy, I did love.
I loved him with all my soul and we became soulmates.
We became inseparable, untouchable, strong and a force to reckon with.
And then life happened.
We studied together and struggled together. Unlike most of our peers, things were not served to us on a silver platter. We fought with each other and fought hard to survive.
We began hankering after our careers after graduation. Again, people and circumstances tried to separate us.
But, didn’t I tell you?
We were already in love and nothing could break us.
We started our jobs and started doing well. People began noticing our work and we built several great mentor-like connections at our respective work-places. And then, we started our own business.
Good Lord, there was struggle at every instance. I went back several years and began thinking, is this love?
Did I make a mistake by attaching myself to someone when I was so young? Wouldn’t it have been better to fall in love with someone and get married when I was older? The guy would be settled and I wouldn’t have to be a part of his struggle.
But then, I realized, that, this struggle was our love. This life was our love.
I see a lot of people lecturing me about love and relationships and things that are totally frivolous in comparison to what I have been through.
Love is not just karmic. Love is a lot more.
Love is sticking together when families disagree. Love is sticking together when there is no money and you have to choose between feeding yourselves in the mornings and saving up for the nights. Love is seeing each other’s demons and accepting the same as a part of the deal. Love is committing to mend every time it breaks, and to never, ever give up.
Love is not all about birthdays and anniversaries and fancy dinners.
When you know and love someone so closely that you can see all of their imperfections, is when you realize that these imperfections, the shades of grey, are what you need to tolerate, and appreciate. Building your life together from scratch is really tough. Taking another human being’s responsibility additionally is even tougher.
And that’s why, I say, love is a lot of hard work.
And, if I could do over the last ten years all over again, I would do exactly the same.
I would want to be a part of the butterflies, the dates, the realization that life is not perfect, the struggles, the buckets of tears (shed usually by me) and his life.
Because, it doesn’t matter if it was love at first sight, it only matters if it can last forever.