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Braveheart

The Beatles sang,

“All you need is love”

and they may well have been right.

In our increasingly urban world of nuclear families and zero work-life balance, the emotional support system of a loving, caring partner becomes even more important. Ironically, it seems like the demand for such a person is going up just as the supply is diminishing. It’s not that our capacity for love and caring has diminished.

But it seems like trust is so much harder in our times. Break-ups and emotional upheavals are as commonplace as economic fluctuations. Leading a person on with no regard for commitment, is a socially approved activity with the disclaimer of ‘String along or be strung along’. An abusive or cheating partner is entirely your problem. While the world clicks its collective tongue at such occurrences, that’s about as much sympathy as you’ll get, and even then, grudgingly.

And after you weather the misadventures of these cruel times, what’s left of your heart to share with another person? Multiply that by two and it makes the fate of love seem very dark, indeed. Love maybe a universal need but relationships are certainly not for the faint of heart.

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A version of this appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Crush

My 14-year old cousin thinks the Indian Idol, Abhijeet Sawant ‘has nice eyes’. She has his album carefully tucked away between her best clothes. And she thinks the contestants of Fame Gurukul are soooo lucky because one of them got to sing a duet with him.

Ah….it is beginning! My kid sister is having her very first crush. She asks me “What’s that?” and sets me off on a trail of memories.

I don’t even remember my first crush. It was that long ago (and that many ago!) Was it that young executive on my dad’s team who pulled me onto the dance floor during the office party? Or was it the prankster of the gang, two classes ahead of me? Maybe it was that cute, new instructor who taught us about computers in school. Or perhaps it was one of the class studs, who threw a vague grin in my general direction once in a way.

It is an odd experience to meet someone you’ve had a crush on, some years later. Especially those hormone-laden, angsty, “Oh my god, he’s looking at me, I could die” ones. I met one of the aforementioned men at a wedding and he’s turned out pretty distinguished and intellectual….one of the few crushes I’m not mortified to admit to! On the other hand, there’s the fat, balding ‘looks like a soon-to-be-grandpa’ who is what remains after an over-indulged adolescence in booze and partying. And there was the guy who gaped and said, “Don’t we know each other? You were so-and-so’s friend, aren’t you?”….No, buster, I was the one who was too tomboyish for you to spare a glance…hehe, revenge is sweet.

When my vanity comes to the surface is when I whole-heartedly enjoy being a woman. When a guy who wouldn’t have given me a single look (let alone a second one), in my younger days, stops dead in his tracks and gapes….I know there is divine justice.

But I digress….that is the here and today. I wonder how anyone could think that ‘Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play’. Au contraire, today it seems like a simplistic pastime…yesterday was where the agony, the dreams, the hoping and yearning and fantasy lived.

Maybe because I was such a bookworm as a kid, several of my crushes were fictitious. Somehow I don’t find that funny at all. I spent so much time among my books, they seemed much more real and tangible than the world around me. One of my favorite male characters was Jupiter Jones, the leader of The Three Investigators series. To date, I think that idea colours my preferences….so many of the men I’ve been drawn to have been stocky, intelligent, logical and obsessed with being taken seriously (which is an apt description of JJ).

Of course there have been all those numerous film stars, music icons, models…..I’m rather pained when I watch their interviews and see the big gap that lies between a pretty face and an intelligent mind. My first reaction is “What was I thinking?” But well…I just wasn’t thinking, was I? A crush is meant to be enjoyed, not taken seriously.

Keep it simple and keep him at a distance and don’t give yourself time to discover that he’s just another idiot of a man. Love may be a four-letter word for me but I think I’ll have crushes for the rest of my life.

* A version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

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