Love, Relationship and Beyond

Couple_01

By Radha Kapoor:

Couple_01I was quite apprehensive in the beginning, but you were not, as all you wanted was to just awaken the love in me without any intention of loving me.

Meeting you was a beautiful experience; maybe because I was at an emotionally chaotic place when I met you first and the whole idea of you seemed overwhelmingly exciting. I have always fallen in and out of this magnificent state of stupefaction called love, but it’s never been easy for me to fall in love. But there was something magical about you that I fell head over heels in love with you, unexpectedly and unknowingly. The idea of you was fun and enormously thrilling, there was profuse passion and the connection was brilliant, because it was swift and came with an admirable ease.

Loving you occurred to me naturally and I really didn’t have to put much of an effort. I realized this after you made that terrifying confession about your past. I clearly had all my reasons to walk away from you then. In fact, after all that happened I never really wanted to meet you. But I couldn’t stand the fact that you were in pain and that is when this agonizing realization hit me that the love I have for you is genuine. I picked your pain over mine. We decided to meet casually, and I trusted our decision which I regret now.

I believe in channeling my emotions into action and I did the same with you. But you got me completely wrong. Otherwise, how could you candidly talk about this to everyone? When I said I was excited that you kissed me on my forehead, I meant that I felt extremely safe and secure with you at that moment as it was different from other kisses that are sexual in nature. I thought it implied the love and respect you have for me manifesting in this most non-threatening form of affection. It was the kiss with the intense intimation of faith, trust and love. I don’t know what you found so frivolous in that? That’s just one of the few reasons why I decided to choose you, but definitely that’s not the only reason. I thought you were sensible enough to understand that, but you proved me wrong.

You always wanted a commitment from me, but I wonder what your definition of commitment is. You said let us go with the flow and see where this leads us to, but I am sorry, I am not a dead fish to go with the flow. For me, the definition of commitment is much deeper. You were smart and devious as you never gave me the assurance of stability and you never promised a future. Probably you never wanted a future with me, but my spirit was completely crushed, and I was devastated when I realized I wanted more from this, though I know it is such a terrible spot to be in.

I tend to bring up anything I am thinking about, I say things with candour, I am an expressive person by nature. I was drunk when I first made out with you, but I was clearly aware that I was kissing you and I think at that moment both of us wanted it. After that we made out a couple of times. Each time I was getting more and more attached to you; each time I made out with you the love grew like a cancer inside me which intensified these feelings even more. It consumed every aspect of me. A part of me forced myself to believe that it was the same for you as well, but you proved me wrong yet again. You made it look like it was special for you, but I didn’t know you would discuss about these moments in a gross way and spoil my reputation. You just made it look like a drunk girl’s lust for you which shattered my feeling into millions of pieces. I don’t know what joy you gained out of it, maybe it gave you a bit of filthy notability amongst your friends, but you forgot you were doing that at the cost of my feelings. I cried as I was profoundly hurt with the excruciating injustice of love and ill-assorted emotions. I was hurt because whatever I had was real and it still flashes in my mind from time to time. I was exasperated with myself; I wanted to wake from the awful spell I had fallen under.

It felt good when you said that you loved me, but it hurts as I knew what you were seeking out of this relationship. You always wanted me to get drunk so that things would be easy for you whereas I wanted to invest my love in this relationship. I wanted to give my soul, but you did not give me a chance as you made your selfish needs evident each and every time we met. I pretended to be oblivious to this because I took pleasure in each and every little second I spent with you. So, I chose to shut my eyes to all that drama you put up.

You know what? Sometimes I feel you are too innocent, and that could be the reason why your hidden motives became so apparent in spite of all the acting you did. And that this whole idea of playing around with me and my feelings needn’t necessarily be yours, it could be something you imbibed from your friends as that’s what they do all the time, or in the worst case scenario this could be their idea.

Meeting you helped me discover a new part of me that I didn’t know existed. In spite of all that you did, I still love you. I have all the reasons to stay away from you, but it seems next to impossible to do that. Maybe our love is young and not that tranquil and honestly speaking it didn’t take much time to bloom, but it assures only a certain sense of intoxicating passion and you anyway don’t seem to deliver anything beyond it. But what do I do with these feelings I have for you? I know there is nothing I can do rather than just let go of it. It’s too painful to even think about doing that. At the same time, it’s scary to commit to you, as it would lead me back to that terrible spot, where you are unable to love me the way I want to be loved. My feelings and insecurities stems from this place since I know I deserve more. But I am inquisitive and I know I will try to explore what more is out there.

Sometimes I wish you would just set aside all your hidden motives and open your heart and see what I have for you. I wish I could keep you in my life forever. It will do no good to me and will just leave me in another mess. But I have one question for you: don’t you think it’s selfish of you to take more of my time, love or more of everything? Do you see that or are you just pretending not to see it? Is it possible for you to feel the same kind of love inside that I feel for you? What you have for me within you right now is just engulfed in flames; it’s blazing and erratic and will eventually burn down.

Note: The author’s name has been changed to protect identity. 

love marriage specialist

By Aakash Joshi:

love marriage specialist
For representation only. Image source: Google

I met Anant when I was in 6th grade. A very smart person with decent looks, Anant made for a talkative, naughty and charming classmate. He had a smile which impressed many and helped him make quite a few friends. With each passing grade, we became the best of buddies.

However, when college started, I moved to a different city and phone became the only way to stay connected with my childhood friend. During his college days, he met a girl named Tia – his good looking and charming classmate. Their relationship started with a close friendship and progressed to love. And within the second year of their course, the two of them were in a committed relationship. Whenever I visited my hometown, I would make it a point to meet the two of them. Somehow, I always felt that Anant’s smile was what kept them glued together.

Time passed, and we had reached what you could call the marriageable age. Anant and Tia now had 6 years of togetherness to fall back on. In a generation which has the power to end relations by simply sending a message; where people change with the blink of an eye, here I was witnessing two amateurs who were still dedicatedly in love. They knew each other inside out. Whether it was the happy side or the miserable one, their understanding of each other was what made their bond so extraordinary.

They spoke to their parents about getting married – argued and fought but stayed adamant in not letting go of each other. Somehow they knew that love is something which can be and should be fought for. Before I knew it, I was preparing the invitation cards for the guests. A day I wanted to witness since so long had finally arrived.

In the midst of happiness what we forget is the temporality of our emotions. Nothing lasts longer than it is destined to. We are animals of hope, and that’s what keeps us going. One and a half years after Anant and Tia’s wedding, I got a call. Waking me up from an afternoon nap, I picked up Anant’s call only to have an unknown voice speak to me – “Hi Brother. This is Raj. Our sister in law Tia is no more. Her rituals are to be performed at 11:30 today.”

The phone left me in the state of shock. I was not sure what and how to react. Sitting isolated in my dorm in a different city so far away, I felt incapable of doing anything that would make things better. I called my parents and friends and asked them to reach Anant’s place at the earliest.

And then I was crying. Only to try and hold back my tears and be strong the next moment. All those 6 years of knowing Tia were running through my mind. All the short and sweet memories I had with her and, moreover, with them will now be permanently stained with the sorrow of death.

It took me hours to realise what Anant might be going through. People asked me to talk to him, but it was just not possible for me to do so. Maybe I was scared of witnessing the pain and harsh reality in his voice. I never understood why people often try to console and stop others from crying during such situations. One must shed their share of tears before the wound heals. I didn’t call him for many days. I couldn’t.

My parents told me that Tia had been suffering from lung infection. And as fate would have it, Anant had to move to a different city for his work at around the same time. He would return to the city only on weekends to meet Tia. During the last week when things got worse and she was admitted to the hospital, he could only return by the time she had permanently made peace with his absence.

My parents said they found it overwhelmingly difficult to face Anant at his home. His eyes were swollen with the constant crying. He was not able to carry himself without the support of others. My mother also cried seeing his plight; pitying his loss at such an early age.

I was not able to imagine what Anant might have felt seeing his companion lying lifeless on the hospital bed, not opening her eyes one last time. I blamed fate, destiny and life. I never understood what mistake that 25-year-old girl could have committed?

And what about Anant? Wasn’t this when he was supposed to enjoy life with his love instead of losing everything like this? I cried for days, feeling sorry for all that had happened. I felt sorry that Anant had lost the love which had held him together in times of sorrow and pain; the love which cheered him in his success. The one who was the reason for him to grow and achieve more was now no more. These past 7 years, Anant and Tia had created memories and lived a life of dreams that suddenly all ended in ashes.

3 weeks later, I returned to the city deciding to meet Anant that very night. We sat facing each other, barely talking; not once daring to mention Tia. We exchanged an awkward smile aware more than ever of the huge void she had left behind her. A void that was now filled rather oddly by an inanimate garlanded photo frame, propped in-between our sofas. One that froze her in a single moment complete with her bridal suit and smiling face. We glanced at her photo, looked at each other and could only fall silent again.

Maybe it was still the smile playing charmingly on their faces that was keeping them together even now.

Image source: medium.com

By Makepeace Sitlhou:

I ressurrected my account to be more pointed about who should swipe me left or right. But the problem wasn’t my bio, strategy or the app.

It’s one thing to have loved and lost. It’s another thing to have gone on a spree of Tinder dates and gained nothing at all. Not even a perspective on life.

Image source: medium.com
Image source: medium.com

I had joined the app about 10 months ago and written about never even making it to a date 2 months later. I’ve had better luck (or strategy) since then, going on a bevy of dates across three seasonal changes. Now how did that happen? For one, I changed my strategy altogether. I knew I didn’t want to waste a single bit of my data plan on unmoving conversations about my day or what I ate for lunch. I saw no consequence to a conversation about my weekend plans unless that included us doing something unusual (warehouse jams, community gardening and such?) or ironic (getting zonked and going boating in Ulsoor lake. That’s still on my bucket list, by the way). Yeah, a girl can only dream.

Yashraj films to Arthouse cinema: From Tindering in Europe to India

About the strategy, it was clear. My bio itself was edited to read that I wasn’t into playing games and more into the good ol’ straightforward meet and greet. Texts, emojis or forwards don’t unravel shit about a person or even help us get a sense of their personality. I know it’s a guilty indulgence of the digivasi but s/texts couldn’t be a more perfect example of building castles in the air. More than that, I started proposing to meet up as soon as I felt that we could string together a decent conversation. Meanwhile, some of my expectations, or even priorities, changed after Tindering across Europe. Using Tinder as a tourist or someone passing by is widely different from the regular experience of going out with someone in your own town. I might still recommend it as a tourist even though it’s far from being perfect with an equal chance at a fling or a flake. Three countries. Two awesome dates. I had nothing to complain about.

Of course, it is easier to be European in Europe or for that matter, with Europeans. I won’t go into the obvious specifics that one would tend to compare but one thing remarkably stood different. The guys I met in Europe were interested in having a good time, whether that meant going for a party or meeting for drinks. More importantly, the good times were primarily or even solely aimed at the present, whether it was a conversation about the place we were at or dancing to the billboard hits at the local bar. It didn’t pave the way for any spillover expectations (of course, I wasn’t around long enough to have them) but more than that, it was pure instantaneous, en el momento fun. And that was quite enough as far as my personal expectations vs reality vis.a.vis the app goes.

On most of my Tinder dates in India, however, I felt a cultural pressure to get to know the person sitting as awkwardly across the table and figure out whether our wavelengths matched. Almost as if it was a screening test for the next round, which is God knows what. Case in point, I would always have to deal with the insatiable curiosity to establish whether I was from India or the North East. Invariably, the question would be followed by a note of apology: “I hope you don’t mind me asking”. No, I don’t mind you asking but tell me this: If you didn’t know for sure until we met, were you afraid of making a racist slur or were you just making sure you had the appropriate stereotype in mind? This one guy, whose bio said he was not looking for hook ups, insisted I share more pictures with him on Whatsapp. Asked why, he told me because he was into chinks (sic), swiftly after which he asked if it’s okay for him to say that. I texted back saying no and politely (yet curtly) asked him to fuck off. He called me every single day after that for a week along with the same message, “Wanna meet for a drink?”, which I’m sure was a saved template for chinks and non-chinks alike in his phonebook.

Tinder is the Netflix of dating

I dilly dallied on the app a lot before permanently disabling my account. That was before I got bored (and lonely, in every way) and ressurected my account to be more pointed about who should swipe me left or right. But the problem wasn’t my bio, strategy or the app. Sneha Rajaram rightly said that we are the harbingers of the dating apocalypse, as opposed to all this criticism it has come under of late. Tinder is merely our means, tools and innovation to enable this apocalypse.

Unfortunately, women in India are damned whether or not they use the app. For one, it’s not like you have a lot of choices. Yes, there are a dime a dozen apps that I could try but it’s only going to be the same people on it. Sure, dating services like FLOW seem to be booming in metro cities today. But to be only introduced to a highly filtered community of class, income level, exposure, work, education, caste and English accent feels like an oversimplification of our choices and exploration. Secondly, we’re not in an age where we want to smell roses, let alone make any time for it. Between our busy work and social lives, the time and opportunities to meet people organically is fast fading away. Not even on a vacation, especially when it is meticulously planned as per your precious days of leave. Ten months into the app, the only reason I had to stick around was due to the lack of a more convenient option, like Netflix is to going out on a weekend night.

Tinder isn’t new to Indian culture

I have never been on a date from a matrimonial site but some of the Tinder dates I went on were as close as I ever want to get to that experience. The rigmarole of talking about what you do, where you live, what kind of life you lived or what your parents do felt repetitive, sometimes even practiced. Arranged marriages in India are the pioneers of swiping photos in different bins, only with a stronger intent to settle down. Not that I’m shallow or not open to finding ‘true’ companionship but isn’t having fun in the moment the best place to start from? No one’s on the app to make friends. Even the prelude to any friendship or hook up, for that matter, still is some solid good fun.

A lot of men told me how the app has been a fail as far as even chatting with women, let alone bringing any mojo to their sex lives. Some women told me how ‘twas an exercise in vanity for them to reject men like they could never before and just to see how many matches they’d get in a day, not to mention some harmless dominatrix styled flirting. For most of us, Tinder is a filler in between our busy scheds. I had imagined this filler to be an experimental meet up or an adventure filled proposal. Not a bloody Whatsapp notification.

This post was originally published here.

tinder

By Sanjana Ahuja:

Gone are the days where suitors wooed their intended lovers with sweet smelling bouquets of flowers, serenaded them with cheesy poetry or slyly glanced at each other from across the street. The timeless dance of flirtation, accompanied by a tentative risk of rejection or acceptance, has been fodder for many love stories. However, things have changed rather considerably and a newly unemployed baby named Cupid isn’t the only one who is mourning the demise of romance.

tinder

In a world being centred around the latest apps on the market, Tinder seems to have struck gold in the arena of online dating. It doesn’t offer any fancy patented algorithms promising to help you find your soulmate. Instead, it shows you a picture of another user in the same locality and gives you two easy options – to swipe left (don’t like) or to swipe right (instant attraction!). Two users who mutually ‘like’ each other’s pictures are termed as a match. Sounds rather shallow, doesn’t it? Then why is it so popular among the millions of users around the globe?

Tinder is estimated to have 1.2 billion active profiles, while its members spend roughly 90 minutes on the app each day. This excessive use can be attributed to people’s obsessive need to find a ‘perfect match’ in the quickest way possibly.

Tinder mimics the guilty exhilaration of checking out someone from across the room, but with the bonus tactile feature of being able to swipe a ‘reject’ out of your phone screen (and hence, your life). It thus eliminates the risk of a shameful rejection, as you will only be paired up with someone who responded positively to you and be oblivious to those who ‘swiped left’.

Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, of Rutgers University, defends this controversial app by delving into the science that goes into it. Quick judgments based solely on an image — the kind that Tinder users often make — may not be as trivial or insensitive as they seem. “There’s a reason they call it ‘love at first sight,’ not love at first conversation, first smell or first joke,” says Dr. Fisher. The human brain is built to process visual information, and that information goes deeper than mere aesthetic judgments. As Molly Mulshine says in this article“Looking at someone’s face, it’s possible to glean their age, grooming habits and cultural background—even their personality. In fact, Tinder is probably more efficient than attempting to find a mate at a bar.”

Kat Ascharya writes in an article titled Tinder Has a Dirty Secret. And This Little Black Book Just Revealed It“But dating on Tinder is giving rise to complications, including what many call “dating ADD” — an inundation of choice that is often counterproductive in making solid romantic connections.” It’s making dating into a game where even people in long-term relationships are checking in to see what their ‘options’ are.

“Theoretically, Tinder could have just happened onto a recipe for techno-utopian feminism” writes Kat Stoeffel in an article in nymag. She further adds “The app had plenty of fans eager to claim that its popularity with women had proven, once and for all, that women can enter casual arrangements just like men — the egalitarian promised land! But the company itself waved away such implications. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Mateen (who was suspended yesterday) was adamant that Tinder was not a hookup app. “Fundamentally women aren’t wired that way, right?” he asked.”

Also, according to a complaint filed by Whitney Wolfe (co-founder of Tinder), Mateen urged Wolfe to avoid being publicly associated with the company as “being a female co-founder of Tinder was ‘slutty’ because it is an app people use to ‘hook up.’”

The fundamental premise of Tinder is objectification of oneself. Your success on the app depends on how well you can ‘sell’ yourself to another based on a physically attractive photo. All it takes is for your picture to hold a fellow user’s attention for a microsecond, long enough to swipe your thumb right. With the app making more than 15 million matches daily, it is greatly troubling that no one seems to bat an eye at the scale at which sexual objectification is taking place here and how problematic the situation is.

Tinder founders do not approve of the app being dubbed a ‘hook-up factory’ and instead see it is simply as a way to meet new people and make even possibly lasting relationship. However, I feel the app is just adding to our addiction of creating a carefully curated, Instagram-filtered mere photoshopped sliver of our true multifaceted, diverse and complex selves. Is it really possible to tell if you’d have a fun night out on the town with a person based on a carefully cropped mirror selfie and a Dark Knight Rises quote?

There’s nothing wrong with having a need for consensual instant gratification and for easy access to a lifestyle choice that one has made peace with, but Tinder also comes with the baggage of psychological distress and social anxiety that is caused by a no one ‘swiping right’ on you. Call me old fashioned but I’d rather bump into someone at the supermarket or a party and participate in real life interactions.

Go out, meet new people, improve your social skills and swipe Tinder out of your life.

Posted by Adya Vac in LGBT+

Picture Credits: Braden Summers

By Adya Vac:

Sex and love are two subjects that we can never seem to exhaust. But us humans, with our glib convictions and phony double standards, we laud love, the idea of it, but when it comes down to one of the deepest expressions of love, the act of making love, we condemn it; reducing it to an animal instinct of procreation. And this hypocrisy is the very reason for the phobia and disgust many of us exhibit towards love that doesn’t fit into our narrowly defined category of normal – the category of straight love.

Picture Credits: Braden Summers
Picture Credits: Braden Summers

I saw something inexplicably beautiful today but it made me sad, because it came with a question, and a painful one at that.

“Why is it that the quality of commercial imagery of the gay community less beautiful, than the fantastical illustration we see of romance for everyone else in popular culture and mass media?” – Braden Summers

When this particular loaded word is used, automatically, images, people, memories, start moving inside our heads; the emotions can be of endearment, of hatred, of loss, of despair, of longing, but the pictures are almost always of a man and woman. When we think of a kiss, sharing intimate secrets that can be understood only and only through a kiss, we imagine a man kissing a woman. When we think of a proposal, it’s a man down on his knees and a woman in tears of joy. When we talk about love that’s lasted half a century, we see an old bespectacled man and a frail woman. When we think of a baby coming into this world, we picture a man waiting by his wife’s or his girlfriend’s side, supporting her.

“Now what we do see of the LGBT community is often overtly sexualized and sometimes deviant.” – Braden Summers

And so, when we use the word love in connection with a couple who is not straight, the word is desecrated to mean nothing more than lust. And while I have no issue with the ideas of lust, to deny people this divine feeling of love, to paint them simply as hyper sexual, deviated human beings is in itself utterly heartless. We make assumptions and force them on everyone around us, assumptions that a man can never be in love with a man, that a woman can never be in love with a woman; that there can only be a perverted sexual desire of the same sex.

Braden Summers takes this conformist presumption, and turns it on it’s head, quite literally and bewitchingly. Here’s a link to his website, a short video and pictures that will, to put it in a cliched manner, take your breath away.

Nothing and no one gives us the right or the audacity to coerce someone else, physically or psychologically, to adhere to ‘our’ or ‘my’ model of happiness. Love is for you, for me, and for everyone. It’s not restricted to one particular relationship, and beyond any doubt, it can’t be chained down to our limited and controlled definitions of it.

indian couple

By Saanya Gulati:

“I think people spend too much time staring into screens and not enough time drinking wine, tongue kissing, and dancing under the moon.”

indian couple

The connection between technology and relationships is a hard one to ignore. In today’s wired world, communication is instantaneous and boundaries are porous and it reshapes the way we interact with each other.

On one hand technology strengthens relationships by giving us more interfaces to interact on. Those of us who have attempted long-distance relationships have led a life dominated by ‘Skype dates’ and ‘staring into screens.’ The prospect of staying in touch with someone a thousand miles away is naturally less daunting, with several video-calling platforms available to us.

Yet, it is one thing to have these devices at our disposal and another thing to communicate effectively. What I observe in so many relationships around me is that the one aspect of our lives that technology should make easier is in fact what is missing: communication.

Before I elaborate, let me clarify that by ‘communication’ I do not mean the mere ability to communicate. I mean engaging in open, honest and meaningful dialogue; the kind of communication that is necessary for a healthy relationship.

More often than not I see people embarking on new relationships, or those in relationships, fretting about ‘why s/he hasn’t replied.’ Given the ease of using technology, this is a reasonable concern. It takes less than a minute to reply to a text message after all. But then there are the frantic ‘s/he was last seen on Whatsapp just five minutes ago’ or ‘s/he saw my Facebook message over an hour ago,’ and still hasn’t replied. This is where we hit a low point in our self-esteem.

The conundrum of ‘whether technology complicates our lives more than it simplifies them’ is one that we constantly face. Most of us can relate to Drew Barrymore’s dialogue in the movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which hilariously captures this predicament:

‘I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, and so I called him at home, and he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.’

The multiplicity of gadgets and platforms we can use to contact another person is confusing, to say the least. But it is easier to blame technology than to answer the more difficult and underlying question: are we are losing the ability to have a meaningful dialogue?

Technology has reshaped the social contours of communication, by creating a language that demands a greater degree of dispassion and indirectness in the way that we express ourselves today. The norm is now to appear nonchalant rather than express an interest in another person, because we somehow delude ourselves into thinking that this is what leaves the other person wanting more. To put it simply, it is cool to ‘play hard to get.’

It rarely occurs to us that constantly appearing detached can and will eventually come across as being simply disinterested to the other person. How many times have we initiated a conversation with someone we are interested in that is plagued with mechanical monosyllabic pleasantries (hey, what’s up, nothing much, what else etc.) in the hope that it will eventually lead somewhere?

A video called ‘What could Have Been A Love Story,’ which recently made the rounds on social media, encapsulates this message in a nutshell.

By virtue of technology, we can communicate more often and easily. But it is we who suffocate self-expression. I have seen the letters that my mother and father exchanged while they were dating. Just a generation ago, people could fill up pages declaring how they felt about one another. The same people often lament the lost art of letter writing in today’s wired world. But the real loss our generation suffers from is the ability to freely express our emotions. We are either afraid that we may say too much, that what we say may be misconstrued to mean something else, and god forbid we come across as sounding too ‘desperate’ or ‘clingy.’

For us millennials, a relationship can mean anything from being physical to romantic, casual to exclusive, a fling to a thing. Given the grey areas that exist between ‘just friends’ and ‘being in a serious relationship,’ it sometimes seems simpler to ‘go with the flow’ than actually confront the other person. But embracing the spontaneity does not mean we should negate the need for communication. If anything, communication is even more crucial in the uncertain era of new-age relationships that we are entering.

A simple yet powerful message from the video ‘What Could Have Been A Love Story’ is this: ‘Self-expression: try it. You won’t regret it.’

Open relationships

By Sukriti Roy:

Do you admonish love because your partner cheated on you in the past? Tired of dealing with heart breaks every now and then? Irritated with the “love, please come back to me” texts every now and then which you receive from your unfaithful partner? But do you still believe in the “And we lived happily ever after” scenario?

Open relationships

Yes, you are then among the brood of people who believes that love lasts forever, probably because that is what movies have imbibed in us since childhood! However, in today’s times, not all the couples actually end up together for the rest of their lives.

And for the others, being in a relationship is about dealing with it in the present times, spending time together and having fun. Relationship status : Single, Committed or in an open relationship? Apparently, people who opt to be in an open relationship are sometimes thought to be the ones who do not want to take the high moral ground. But there isn’t any harm in being in an open relationship as long as the two are happy being together, and also being with others.

Being in an open relationship has its fair share of advantages and is a hit with today’s urban youth population. A woman opting for an open relationship shall only spring up as a surprise for the male chauvinists. After all, “Why should boys have all the fun?”. For someone who does not want to be in a serious committed relationship, being in an open relationship is probably apt. There isn’t much of the “emotional baggage” involved in such a kind of relationship. There isn’t much of monotony in life, which does provide some sort of a relief.

In today’s competitive world, a successful career is more important for people than expending all energies in trying to make a non-committal relationship survive, which wouldn’t even be all that worthwhile. There is, hence, no moral wrong doing in being in an open relationship. Both the partners are comfortable with the fact of “breaking away from monogamy once in a while”. As long as the couple is happy together, it does not matter what the moral brigade thinks about them.

Emotions might overpower one’s practical decision-making knack when it comes to matters related to the heart. However, there is no harm in being practical in life and avoiding the emotional constraints or for that matter, the monotony involved in a relationship as long as both the partners are okay with it. With just one of them practising such beliefs would definitely be counted upon as cheating.

Everybody is entitled to live their lives on their own terms. Happiness is all that matters in the end. The society has always been judgemental. And shall be so. Forever. That should not deter one from living their lives to the fullest. When in any kind of relationship, the most important thing is whether the partners want to stay together joyfully for the present, without foreseeing much of what the future holds for them.

When the time is right, the heart shall signal the mind to let go of the inhibitions and take the plunge into being in a serious committed relationship! That is when the emotional approach shall outweigh the emotional one. Until then, an open relationship shall doesn’t seem problematic.

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By Pragya Lal: 

“Why is this aunty doing Anulom vilom on our spot?” he thought to himself as he checked his watch. It was seven, she would be here soon.

She and Him had met over a week ago, in the unassuming, green confines of a Delhi Nagar Nigam Park. Under the canopy of trees that moved their boughs languidly in sync with the soft breeze that bore the distant sound of a Bhajan, they had sat on a cemented bench and shared a smoke with the ease that only strangers share.

Was it the need for a light that had led to the initiation of a conversation? They didn’t remember. Every evening they found themselves in the familiar surroundings of the park. In those twenty minutes they spent together they were just She and Him; without the weight of pretences or expectations on their shoulders. In those moments stolen from their mundane-when-not-maddening daily grind, it didn’t matter that she had attendance issues or the faintest clue about what she was going to do after she graduated, it didn’t matter that he didn’t have a job or enough money to buy himself the Sub of the day.

Their conversations were cathartic, not inquisitive, patronizing or valorising but simply cathartic. They lived in the todays and looked forward to the tomorrows, dwelling on yesterdays was not an indulgence they permitted themselves. “Sab ke sab Ch*t*ye hai, Bh*nch*d!” they would exclaim in agreement from time to time. When anger turned to amusement and when laughter filled the awkward silences was hard to tell. The intimacy they shared as strangers and comrades was paradoxical yet pleasurable.

It was 7.15, she was here. The aunty had still not budged from their spot. They found themselves another cemented bench and exchanged smiles along with classic milds, this was their moment. As several airplanes passed them by in the dimly lit sky, they sat in comfortable silence – inhaling and exhaling.

online-dating

By Arshiya Mediratta:

Online dating, especially in India, is like walking on egg shells- you can never fathom the damage it can cause. It could be a pool of blatant lies, a well-planned trap to execute some kind of personal vengeance, or in rare cases- a decent person, in an unfortunate setting. It would be hasty generalization to conclude, that every online dating ‘victim’ has suffered; I have personally read some success stories of online relationships that have resulted in marriage. My point, rather question, here is that have we, as a society, lost faith in the age old techniques of finding love? Is online dating another form of “playing-safe”? Everything looks clean through a medium, and maybe that is why many people feel so confident and secure when they decide to take a plunge into the inter-webs. Is internet the new ‘heaven’? Let’s find out.

There are always two sides to a coin, and similarly, even though by going through somebody’s profile we can get an insight to their hobbies, work experiences and passions, which would traditionally take a couple of dates to comprehend; we must not forget, that the person on the other end is a complete stranger- someone who could be playing you just for the kicks.

Online dating gives us a chance to know people from across the globe; it widens our chances to find love and is extremely beneficial for those of us who are meek and shy at blind dates. But then again, the internet can provide a veil of anonymity to anyone who may desire it, hence having blind faith in the person on the other end of the computer is never a good idea. In India, however, love is a very fluid subject, and so is marriage. Once a person reaches a ‘suitable’ age, his/her family and friends take it upon themselves to hook them up with a ‘suitable’ match. One of the many popular ways of doing it is by enrolling them in a dating/matrimonial website. These websites are a jar of hope for a majority of our population who is always complaining about the lack of availability of trustworthy partners these days. Another boon of these sites is that anybody, of any age, can become a part of these online portals and filter their preferences without being a subject of public mockery.

Due to some extreme cases of cyber crime and bullying, the quintessential essence of online dating is gravitating towards a lesser accepted way of finding and meeting people. Personally, I would like to conclude by saying that even though it’s certainly worth the benefit of the doubt, do not stretch your hand out too far.

Hindu wedding

By Smriti Mahale:

Kaadambari’s dream had finally come true. In the last seven years, there were innumerable times that this scene had been envisaged in a simple girl’s heart that was so crazily in love. She looked at him, and he at her. Glances froze, lips dwindled into broken smiles, a rush of red filled her cheeks, love was in the air.

Kaadambari was clad in the most expensive bridal attire in town, the blush of the bride complimented the extravaganza of sparkling diamonds and rubies on her sleek body. Jeevan looked like Manhmatta.

Amidst the sacredness of a ritual revered for ages, Kaadambari and Jeevan were set to take the ‘saptapadi’ or the ‘seven vows’. The seven strides were to start from the direction of ‘Dhruva’ or the pole star, indicating steadiness and stability in the new journey of life. Jeeven held her hand, to make the first three vows around the holy pyre. The flames burnt as passionately as their seven year old relationship.

“Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman”.
I will love, cherish and provide for you and our children. You will support me and offer me food.

It was a year back when Kaadambari had fallen dangerously sick. No medicines, no assurances had been able to cure her. Her parents were on a foreign tour, unaware of the situation. There were none to look after her, and she was drawing into the verge of depression and hopelessness. Jeevan made sure he was with her at every given chance. For all these years, he had seen her as an independent woman who was capable of taking care of herself irrespective of circumstances. What he saw now, was a woman who cried out for tenderness, for love, for a support. The vulnerability of a heart frail in life can be understood only by the heart that it has been given to!

He had cooked for the first time. She loved soups. Endless hours of browsing on the net for the most delicious and nutritious soups, he had managed. The vegetables were half cooked, there was excess of water, and spice was non existent. But the ingredient of love had made it up for all. She had peacefully eaten her lunch that afternoon, and had fallen into an effortless sleep in his arms as he was continuing to spoon feed her.

“Om oorje jara dastayaha”
Together we will defend our family and home.

It was two years ago, when both of them had realized that the final destination of their love would be the start of a new journey called ‘marriage’. There were hurdles. Religion was the prominent of them all. Kaadambari had vowed to learn all about Jeevan’s religion, to be accustomed to his customs, to devour her soul into the soul of his scriptures. She had resolved to marry only when she was ready, for him, for his family, for her family. She had lived up to her resolution. Two years, despite of her busy career, her compassionate hobby, she devoted time to be the perfect daughter-in-law , to carry forward the prestige and pride of Jeevan’s family legacy. When her mother-in law had seen her, questioned her, she was impressed! She knew more than any girl of their community. She had nothing to complain about.

“Om rayas Santu joradastayaha”
We will be faithful to each other and lead a spiritual life.

Jeevan had never believed in the Supreme. Whereas, Kaadambari was a staunch follower of any spiritual element that crossed her path. She meditated, she worshipped, she followed all fasts and festivities. She slowly had made him a part of her spiritual life. Jeevan had simply succumbed. He loved her pure heart, her spotless divinity, her innocent pleas before the Almighty.

“Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha”
I declare my good fortune in marrying my wife. We pray for a happy life and good children filled with all health and wealth.

Jeevan and Kaadambari were from the same academic backgrounds. Both of them were toppers from childhood and had the most intelligent of brains. From the time their corporate careers had blossomed, they swam in wealth and fortune. The way they amassed their treasures were different.

While Jeevan led a life in the international corporate circles, Kaadambari had devoted her high ranked qualifications for one of the most renowned organizations for the betterment of the society.

Both of them had won many hearts in their respective fields. Even without each other, there was a streak of enchantment in their souls.
All of their friends, well-wishers and family had gathered. All of them had their own personal moments with each of them. It was a shower of blessings from heavenly hearts!

“Om prajabhyaha Santu jaradastayaha”
We for the happiness and wellbeing of our family. May we have righteous and obedient children.

She looked unhappy that day. It was the day her dearest friend had fallen prey to a zooming truck. She had cried Every time she had tried to make her friend happy by doing something foolishly funny. This time, she was helpless. Jeevan could not bear her astral face with the gloom of the violet nights. He knew what would make her happy. They had gone to the children’s park in the neighbour hood.
She had played with the toddlers. She had held little babies in her delicate arms and had crooned to them. She had meticulously hair styled pig tails of young girls. She had laughed, a laugh that reflects the brightness of a cradle of stars. He had decided then, his progeny would be the fruits from her soulful garden.

When she had seen him helping a young lad to peddle on his new bicycle, she had blushed. Her womanhood had pierced through his soul.

“Yajne home shashthe vacho vadet”
I will always be by your side in your endeavors.

It was Kaadambari’s 25th birthday. She was a simple girl and unlike the others of her age and maturity, she did not long for candle light dinners or diamond rings. It was this simplicity of hers that had stolen Jeevan’s heart. But then, even Mata Sita desired for the Maayamruga when she was with Lord Rama in exile. It was one this fairy tale desires of Kaadambari that Jeevan wanted to fulfill.

He had taken her to the park situated in the outskirts of the city. He had dwindled his whole month’s salary to make all the arrangements. There it was. It was one of the most splendid swings ever made. It was decorated with the world’s most fragrant roses and lilies. She had squealed in delight and and run towards the swing like a four year old girl. For half the day she merrily had sat on the swing and had sung the most melodious songs. He had sat with her for sometime and had spoken about life, it was a moment they would cherish forever. She had asked him where he had got this romantic idea from. He had sheepishly said the internet held the formula for the most of the love potions. Kaadambari was so in love with his imperfections.

“Om sakhi jaradastayahga.”
With this last Phera we forever belong to each other and will remain friends forever…

A very wise person had once said friendship is the first and last step of love. What lies in between is the path of marriage. It was on the same lines that their lives were outlined. When at eighteen, they both had met in their academic pursuits; they had become fast friends in a short span of time. They had for hours talked about their future, their dreams, their aspirations. Love had somewhere blossomed unknowingly. Cupid had conspired their mutual existence. They were intelligent, independent and a delight. Together they were inseparable. In what seemed liked years of undisputable friendship and love, they had found each other. She was the story of his life, and he was the life of her story!

female-journalist

By Madhur Gupta:

Men are supposed to propose first, men are supposed to ask a girl out first and men are also supposed to pick up the tab when it comes to paying the bill in a restaurant. True, isn’t it? For some the above might be the case but for many others the concept of ‘going Dutch’ seems to be fast catching on.

More often than not, an undue pressure is put on the man while dining as a couple since the man doesn’t want to portray himself as impoverished and the woman wants to be treated like someone special. However, it is very probable for a 21st century woman to take offense when her date pays for her because she sees it as an act of suppressing the women power. Well, in such a case ‘going Dutch’ isn’t such a bad idea.

‘Paying the restaurant bill’ isn’t such an easy question to be answered in today’s dynamic world. It involves a deep study of the psychological analysis of the gender thinking. For men, paying the bill is linked with his ego, whereas for women, equality. We have seen men settling the bill, whether they want to or not, because in a culture like ours, men are supposed to play the role of a fore bearer and women are supposed to accept the role of a ‘dependent creature’.

The above mentioned concept is not new. In fact it had been prevalent from the very beginning of the world where men were supposed to be ‘providers’ and women were supposed to be ‘procreators’. If Mother Nature has decided some set roles then who are we to interfere in her laws? But Mother Nature also teaches us the equality of sexes so the question in itself again becomes extremely complicated and intricate.

So in the end, who pays the bill on a date always boils down to the couple and the situation they are in; and by situation, I mean whether it is a first date or who has asked out first or is it a new relationship or an old one, or even who earns more.

In the end I would only like to say, “Before God we all (sexes) are equally wise – and equally foolish.”

DSC_0143

By Abdul Wahid Khan:

Love is the basis of every relationship; it cannot be measured but only felt. From the very beginning, children have different relations with different people. The first relation formed when they are born is with their parents. After this, they have their second relation with their siblings. Then they grow up to meet their friends and life partner later in life. The relation between siblings is the one which they share throughout their lives; the sibling is the first friend in everyone’s lives. They share almost everything starting from toys to their room in childhood. This is the longest relationship one ever has, which lasts even after the parents are no more present.

In India, there is a special festival “Raksha Bandhan” celebrating the bond of siblings, specially brothers and sisters. Raksha Bandhan means a “bond of protection” in which the brothers promise to the sisters on the festival. It is basically a way to foster care and affection between the two.

Basically, the bonding between siblings starts because they get the chance to spend more and more time together. It is easy because they live at same home together since childhood and they may even be sharing a room. They share their problems and secrets and thus better understand each other which increases love between them. If there is a big gap between age of siblings and the elder one takes the leadership role, this can inspire the younger one, and then there is even stronger foundation because of intersection of interests of both siblings. The elder should guide younger one on how to tackle problems and solve them. This increases reliance and dependency and if the older child involves younger child in the things he does and the games he plays and not consider the younger child as out of league, then this increases feeling of equality and importance in the younger child. They actually create more and more memories to remember later in life and keeping their bond protected throughout their lives. It is like being friends but a friend who has been there since the very beginning and is quite special one.

The love shared by siblings can vary at different levels. Siblings may be of help to each other but live very differently because of different perspectives they have. Different perspectives are developed by living in different conditions and not spending time together. After certain age, they may develop different habits and start differing in the way they used to live together since childhood. Marriage is also considered to be an event in life which decreases the bonding between siblings. In a research, it was found that the frequency of contact after marriage was most between sister-sister siblings and least between a pair of brothers and a mix of both. The actual test of bonding comes when it is about caring for parents when they are old and ill. Siblings may think at such time, “Why should I take the responsibility alone?” Such feelings lead to anger and frustration between them for each other resulting in weakening of relationship. It also depends on how much dedication one has shown for the other in the past selflessly.

The concept of sibling rivalry is not new in psychological research; it starts even before the second child is born. There are various reasons for sibling rivalry, like the lack of attention to one child in comparison to other, the fight occurs out of jealousy or competition in some respect over something. It also depends on individual temperament, even parents also compare one sibling to other sometimes and this also increase anger in them for each other. Sibling rivalry much depends on the values parents instill in them. In later life, various rivalries arise due to unsatisfactory division of parents’ property and money among them after the death of their parents. Many a times, siblings fight over the right for parental properties and it is very common in India as well as all over the world.

Earlier, there was a trend of joint families. There used to be big families living together and all children sharing the same home. It used to be a great place for social development of child and also there used to be great chances of good bond between siblings. But now due to globalization, people travel out of their native place for work. Nowadays, there are nuclear families in which a few people live in small homes, they are busier with their lives and focus more on making money and work. They get little time for home and family and as a result, there are fewer chances of spending time together and sharing things. Even children in school are burdened with so much work that they are busy in tuitions most of the time and hence get less time to spend with their siblings. It leads to weak bonding between siblings. It is now only upon the parents to take great care to improve the situation at home and make this relation everlasting as it should be.

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By Shivangi Singh:

Albert Einstein once said-“I don’t know what warfare techniques would be used in the world war-3 but I know that world war -4 would be fought with sticks & stones”: True enough! After looking at the present scene of human relationships, this is what one concludes.

We live in a world full of vulnerable relationships. We find lack of trust, misunderstanding & mal-adjustment everywhere these days. Conflicts & contradictions are on a rise. Marriages have become a compromise; parents have become a liability, siblings are getting distanced & love relationships are being exceedingly unsuccessful as the partners turn fleetingly disloyal & in the rare case that a couple is truly committed, the peer group empathically asks, “Dude, still stuck with the same chick? You so need a life!” What does the poor guy say then, “No thanks; I am truly committed”? He wouldn’t like to be the butt of everyone’s jokes for sure. It seems the fragrance of dollar notes is the only religion known to man today.

Looking at the present scenario in this light is really disheartening. So is the feeling that along with the rest of the world, our own relationships are being tested at all times. None of us would be pleased to find out the fragility of our pivotal relationships; most of the time, we don’t even try because we fear the truth might be too bitter for us to digest. Television shows like Sach ka Samna & Emotional Atyachaar bring to focus the same fear; but why do we avoid confronting such questions when we know that facing them and steering a way out would actually save the relationship? Is it because of man’s greatest enemy ‘fear’? Or is it because of insecurity? Well, the answer could be any of the two, but it is shocking to know that in most of the cases the answer is neither. The only reason we tend to avoid questioning our relationships most of the time is —lack of time. 24 hours don’t seem to be enough for work, let alone relationships. No wonder then that people look at relationships as a source of entertainment, something that is meant to fulfill them, rather than taking them as bonds that needs mutual understanding, compassion and lots of love and care. The tendency is to take relationships for granted.

On pondering why this happens, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘ego’. Ego literally means, ‘self’. And ‘self’ is made up of two entities, ‘I’ & ‘Body’. Here, ‘I’ refers to the innateness of any individual and ‘body’ is the physical aspect. ‘I’ seeks happiness while ‘Body’ requires physical facilities and worldly pleasures. Ego originates from the accumulation of wealth and leads to a distorted sense of happiness which makes one feel superior to others, when actually one has been hurt and humiliated and is carrying that baggage. Hence, removing a part of it by pouring it onto others by hurting them, gives one sadistic joy. Consequently, relationships are stressed. Ego also makes one rigid hence leading to adjustment problems. The proverb that ‘First the man creates the ego, and then the ego consumes the man’ is valid in this sense.

The second reason is the feeling of insecurity in relationships. This stems from elements like dishonesty, and leads to lack of trust and misunderstanding. Lying and cheating has become a trend these days. We lie to our seniors and supervisors for petty incentives; we lie to our friends mostly by bragging; we lie to our family to make them feel we are as innocent as we claim to be but in the bargain, we end up lying to ourselves. Homer has stated in this context “Of all the creatures that creep & breathe on the earth there is none more wretched than the man”.

The third reason of breaking up of relations these days is disharmony. We stray greatly from what is naturally acceptable to all of us. For example, we all love our parents & never want to leave them but still the culture of nuclear-families is on the rise. Nobody likes to be bossed around. We let ourselves be driven by our beliefs & pre-conditionings without analyzing or evaluating them. We become so narrow-minded in the pursuit that we tend to be upset & hurt others over trivial disagreements. No wonder, Intolerance is the most dominant characteristic these days. Mahatma Gandhi was very right in saying “Wildlife is decreasing in forests but increasing in cities”.

Another great reason for relationships not working out is disrespect. “With great freedom come great responsibilities” is a true yet neglected saying. It needs to be implemented. As the liberty increases and the time at hand decreases, the tendency to express our frustration to anyone or anything susceptible increases. Not only do we disrespect other human beings, especially elders, but also mother nature. The reckless deforestation & poaching is a clear indication of the same. Also, the carelessness with which we cause pollution & spoil the aesthetic appeal of our surroundings brings to light the same phenomenon. Adlai Stevenson was right in saying, “Nature is neutral. Man has wrestled the power to make the world a desert or to make the deserts bloom. There is no evil in the atom; only in the men’s souls”. We misuse our rights & abuse our duties. Subsequently, we spoil our relationships, not only with other individuals, but also the environment & with every unit of existence at large.

Now, time for the big question- what is the way out? The ultimate solution to all problems in relationships is: Introspection. If we try to understand what is naturally acceptable to us & to everybody at large, and then act accordingly, we would never go wrong. Identifying one’s relationship with every unit of existence & fulfilling it would greatly reduce the problem. Knowing about human conduct, character & behavior would lead to harmony within us, with our parents, society & ultimately, the entire existence. Understanding the universal human values would lead to zero fallacy in relationships. We want something, think something else, and do another thing & then complaint that we aren’t happy. We do not make time to introspect. We don’t try to find out what is it that we really want, why do we want it & how to achieve it. We look for answers everywhere without realizing that it is within ourselves that we would find the solutions to all the problems.

Women in their 20s

By Makepeace Sitlhou:

You’ve barely entered your twenties. You still can’t buy a Breezer (let alone a beer!) for yourself in a bar nor have contemplated voting in the upcoming elections, but your parents befit you to start seeing good Indian IT professionals, surgeons, MBA professionals, NRI businessmen etc. But hold on, you’ve got your dreams and just because you’re born a woman in India does not mean you have to give up on them. Go pursue your dreams and keep these excuses handy whenever those family functions and parents’ anniversaries come around.

  1. You’re giving entrance exams:Be it the civil services or the CAT, our Uncles and Aunties are always approving of anything that involves mass participation and competition. Never shall you be dissuaded.
  2. You’re waiting for an older cousin to get married:There’s always an older cousin or a distant cousin in your extended family to pass the buck to. And tauba tauba should you be so disrespectful so as to upstage her chances.
  3. You have plans to study further:Ah, the great Indian respect for higher knowledge can always be relied upon. We still revere the pride of our Ph.D. titles and women with MBA degrees make great trophy wives.
  4. You can’t find a suitable boy for a match only made in heaven:But no one has responded to your specifications on Matrimonial papers or sites: Tall, dark, handsome, chikna, Gora Chitta, Brahmin but Caste no bar, Salary: 12.33 or 15.86 lacs per annum, Drinking: Breezer Socially, Smoking: Clove socially, Dietary Preference: Seasonally vegan and non-vegetarian.
  5. You want to travel:Just like Simran asked for freedom in a one month Euro trip in the 90’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, you ask for a year’s freedom to trip around Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. Tell them you’re also volunteering in village communities and NGOs as a part of your travel.
  6. You’ve signed a company contract:You are a valuable asset to your company and they cannot lose you to marriage or motherhood for the next three to five years while the profit margins are steadily increasing in the markets.
  7. You’re taking ‘skill building’ classes (like cooking, baking, stitching, knitting etc.):What’ll prospective grooms and families think when they come to your house and realize the walls are only covered with spotless glasses of framed degrees and photographs of athletic and co-curricular accomplishments and not a single hand made tatted flower pattern? All rounder like Dhoni on the field, you’ve got to be.
  8. You’re a feminist:You think marriage is the ultimate subordination to male chauvinism and the most Victorian idea of a civilized patriarchy.
  9. You ‘slut walked’ this year…In Montreal where women actually showed up in net stockings and lacy bras holding placards which read, “A Proud Slut!”
  10. You’ve taken a vow to marry only after the Lokpal is set in motion:You want to start your new life in a world that is apparently going to be more accountable, systematically functional and alcohol free. Imagine the cuts in the costs of the reception with no open bar! The wise ones will wait.

Makepeace is the Associate Editor of Halabol, and a weekly columnist at Youth Ki Awaaz.

 

Relationships

By Ashish Kumar:

The prime reason of humans evolving as masters of all life-forms has much to do with the existence of a prominent heart and its influence over superior intellect. My point is that humans have achieved mastery in the art of making love in addition to just dousing the carnal desire and reproducing in hordes. The timeline of humanity is flooded with innumerable accounts of legendary lovers who sacrificed their lives for the safety of their beloved, erected monumental edifices in memory of their lover, wrote tons of romantic literature and even waged wars and killed millions vying for their partner. India, in particular, is known for its anecdotal love-strories of Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha, Salim-Anarkali and Shahjahan-Mumtajmahal. The Indian romance has been famous for its tenderness, shyness and vocally unexpressed but expressed-through-eyes love. It used language of eyes and emotions used to transmit from heart to heart. The sacrifice and wait were the golden words. They could wait till eternity to meet in havens! What they sought was spiritual and emotional unison and not the momentary pleasure of physical touch.

Today, the love-making and dynamics of relationship between the two sexes have undergone a sea change compared to that in the past. In general, love is losing its transcendental and eternal sheen in a blow to our theory of seven-incarnation bonds and longevity of relationships is shortening. The ephemeral, promiscuous and opportunistic relationships are prevalent. The unexpressed, innocent, selfless, serene love is a blast from the past. The longevity of marriages has come down to few years, months, weeks and days. Divorces are mounting and ideas of soul-mates and seven-incarnation-bonds sound crazy. But, the situation is not that grim too. The IT revolution has made it easy for people across the globe to connect and the message-propagation has become flash-quick. The demographics of relationship are changing. We still have love-stories that match Heer-Ranjha and Laila-Majnu in stature. There are still people who make selfless love to their beloved, speak the language of the eyes, control their hormones when they see someone more attractive than their partner and sacrifice petty tantrums and even careers to be with their soul-mate. Love stories of Sachin-Anjali, Amit-Jaya, Ajay-Kajol etc. are the modern benchmarks of love for the simple fact that in all these pairs, one of them has sacrificed his/her career and helped their partner in becoming the best of their profession.

Following are some of the common trends of contemporary relationships:

Cell phones, Social networking and emergence of long-distance relationships- The social networking sites have made it possible to locate childhood-sweethearts while creating the option of finding a brand new lover, online. The online chatting, phone-calls and messages have replaced pigeons and horses who were deployed in past for delivering the maiden-love’s maiden-love-letter. Modern-day couples spend 2-3 hours talking on the phone in the comfort of bed and quilt inquiring each other about minutest details of the day- ranging from what one ate for lunch to what one wore that day. This in addition to every-hour-call and every-ten-minute-text to know the whereabouts and well-being as if nature is going to spill its fury any moment and you need to check for your partner’s well-being every ten minutes! An hour is also reserved for Skype as you can’t believe unless you see it. Does someone love you or have you been shackled in their obsession? Compare this with the yesteryears when there was no luxury of phones and video-chatting and people used to wait for years to hear the voice of and have a look at their beloved. Thanks to science, modern generation would be devoid of this sweet fruit of wait and patience. The frequent calls and resulting verbose manifests in paucity of topics to discuss and unknowingly someone transgresses into a territory which he/she doesn’t want to be inhabited. Then the yearning for space creeps in which is a pretty legitimate demand. A must for a healthy relationship. What’s the solution? Reduce the frequency of calls, let telecom companies bear some more losses (in addition to what they are making in light of Supreme Court’s verdict in 2G case) and all would be well-your partner, your relationship. Eat the sweet fruit of wait and patience!

Opportunism and profit-driven relationships- A lot of people wouldn’t agree to it being the case and others would argue nothing being wrong in it but the selection of partner today is driven by stature, money and associated benefits of the candidate. The people, creating virtual sensation of relationship to those who actually love them, exist and such people use someone’s infatuation with them to get their work done. Such opportunistic people are the reason for the evanescence of modern relationship as they trash their partner once they are done using them-sexually, financially or emotionally. Well, the history is also not less tainted in this regard. But, the conscience dictates that true-love can’t be profit-driven, it should be selfless. The relationship seeking the betterment of just one is not sustainable; both should benefit simultaneously and work for benefit of each other.

Absence of sacrifice, tolerance and shortening lifespan of relationships- In the aftermath of rampant commercialisation, every individual has started valuing the physical comfort and pleasure far ahead of divine and spiritual comfort derived from true love. Everyone wants a lover because everyone else has one. These relations thrive on profuse exchange of gifts, goodies and lavish spending rather than vows of sacrificing all the physical knots for the sake of love. People have started loving their hobbies and obsession more than their relationship and this has become major source of break-ups. Lovers of today want love at their terms and conditions but they don’t understand these are not the rules of the game. The relationship is not an individual’s copyright; it’s a Memorandum of Understanding. If you can’t start or at-least try eating Chinese because your partner relishes it, despite your taste-bud rejecting to savour a bit of it, you are not in true love. If you can’t quit smoking and drinking because your partner wants you to live a bit longer, you better come out of the illusion that you are in love. If you don’t even want to try changing your ways a tad bit to adjust with your partner’s family members or won’t consider shuffling attire or two from your wardrobe to please your partner, you be certain that the relationship is going nowhere. The sense of sacrificing doesn’t always mean giving-up or jeopardising one’s career just to be with the beloved, that takes super-human effort to do that and that is too much to ask for, but there are ample ways of making your partner feel special even if you are sitting at a distance of seven seas. Sacrificing a few habits, obsessions and tantrums would change one for better and longevity of relationship would increase. Capitulating to your beloved’s whims and fancy once in a while doesn’t amount to defeat; you eventually win.

In this button-age, when everything happens in flash of second, patience and tolerance has become rare commodity. People find it tough to let go. People can’t tolerate silly mistakes and serious yearning for space coming from their partner. How can one expect that his/her partner shouldn’t interact or have fun with peers because it infringes upon one’s possession?Everyone has a social life, for god’s sake! Your partner is not your prisoner, not your copyright. There should be time and tolerance for his/her hobbies and passion. There is no doubt it being difficult to digest the fact that your girlfriend shares laughter with another boy, but the sooner you develop tolerance for this the better. There is nothing to worry, if your love is potent enough, she will be possession of your embrace forever.

Living-in relationships and institution of marriage- In big cosmopolitan cities of India there has been a surge in living-in relationships were boy and girl live under the same roof without getting approval from society. There should be no objection because it is a consensual decision of two adults who can think for themselves. The argument of denigration of Indian society by such practices is nothing but a sham. We Indians do the dirtiest of the things behind the curtain but in front of it argue against the same. Only problem with such relationship is that they don’t sustain. In most cases, they are the result of sexual, financial and room-sharing needs. The institution of marriage imposes a societal and legal binding not to quit the relationship. And this has worked very well in our context for years. The challenge to this social contract comes from the fact that both partners work nowadays and who does the household chores is a major concern. Answer-divide equally. If you want equality to prevail, why not start from your home. Once in a while, one can take the extra responsibility and make one’s partner feel special. And what about yearning of Indian parents to be served by their daughter-in-laws? That can come, occasionally, when she wants her husband to feel special. Isn’t her earning money for the family enough?

Conclusion: The whole purpose of being in a relationship is that you derive happiness from it. For some it fetches the inspiration to do well in life. For some it is their lifeline. True love demands a lot of dedication, sacrifice, tolerance and negotiation for sustenance. But, the buoyancy, the fact that someone loves you more than everything and that someone is there for you come what may, is immense. So much so that you easily manage to hover over cloud nine. Our mythology deems it powerful enough to make a death-bed-ridden man all hunky-dory and make geniuses out of stupid. So, be in love, seek love, yearn for it but what about giving a bit back?

Valentine's day

By Arastu Zakia:

Contrary to popular understanding, many things in life cannot be described as either black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. Sometimes, it helps to just look at things from an external perspective and try and understand all aspects of it.

Not much is known about the concept of ‘Valentine’s Day’ apart from the date on which it is supposed to be celebrated and the expectations of giving gifts or proposing to the person you love. Technically, Valentine’s Day was observed to honour one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, evidences of which can be traced back to as early as 496 AD. It is only after the 15th Century that the occasion started becoming associated with love, something that did not necessarily exist in its original conception.

There is also no doubt about the fact that increasingly, an entire industry revolves around Valentine’s Day, much like an Uttarayan or Diwali. According to estimates, approximately 15 crore Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged globally each year, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. India started seeing the rise of Valentine’s Day in 1992, with special TV and radio programs, and even ‘love letter competitions’. The economic liberalization also helped the Valentine card industry. In fact, when you come to think of it, since it is not a part of our cultural or social inheritance, who would have known about the existence of this concept had the media and the shops and restaurants around us not put up boards about it! Leftists and liberal critics have also said that this celebration aids in the creation of a pseudo-westernized middle class and promotes income inequality.

There has also been a lot of opposition to the concept from the usual suspects. Stories about Hindu and Islamic fundamentalists organizing protests, sometimes violent ones, have been doing the rounds for years now. The ‘Pink Chaddi’ campaign organized in 2009 as an answer to one such protest is still fresh in our minds. The reasons claimed by these protesters range from “the concept being alien to Indian culture”, “displays of love being against conventional Indian values”, “globalization destroying Indian history” and so on.

It is safe to assume that Valentine’s Day is known and practiced mainly amongst urban privileged Youth as compared to being a luxury for their faceless, distant counterparts slogging in villages or hunting for livelihood in cities. If we look at Valentine’s Day from the practicing Youth’s perspective, there are two distinct approaches. There are the ones who exchange gifts and cards, propose to the person they love, go out on dates, write poetries and shayaris (most of which are discreetly lifted through Google), visit couples-only places, wear red, consume ‘banned’ liquor and so on. The recently heard joke about “Valentine’s Day coming exactly 9 months before Children’s Day” also hints that Valentine’s Day is perhaps not looked just as a day for love but also as a day for making love. There is no doubt that the gifts made especially for this occasion certainly seem to be sweet and the thought of girls and boys celebrating love does appeal to our Yash-Raj-fantasy-love psyches.

The other branch of thought within the Youth questions the very need of having one particular day, that too defined by the world, to celebrate or express one’s feelings. The liberated lot also question whether the need to jump at particular occasions also implies a lack of happiness and interest in everyday life. Seeing everyone around them doing so or being expected to do so, such occasions also force Youth to practice it even if they may not want to. A trend of gifting a necessarily expensive gift as symbolic of a lover’s ‘status’ or measurement of the partner’s worth is also noticed at times. There is also the increasingly discussed concept of falling in love and getting into a relationship being seen as the ultimate destination while not paying any thought or not knowing how the feeling and the relationship will be sustained after a while.

Good or bad, right or wrong, from a personal perspective, as long as one is not too obsessed with loving or hating Valentine’s Day, one can treat it as just another day that some people celebrate, some people ape, some people hate and most people are unaware of.

Public display of affection

By Nilima Chaudhary:

To kiss or not to kiss, is the eternal question! Well, at least for the ‘n’ number of love-struck souls out there. Mind you, it’s not just curious teenagers but also educated professionals, ageing uncles and aunties alike! Gone are those days, when we imagined a public park in our heads, we’d think of little children playing in the parks engrossed in their game of hide and seek. Fast forward to 2012, and the only image you can conjure up in your head is of a vast green carpet dotted with couples indulging in ‘risque behaviour’.

Whether we approve of it or not is another question, but it is one of the most commonplace sights in our life, especially in metropolitan cities. Parks are not the only haunts, others being private cabs, rickshaws and A/C buses. Although, one may criticize their gamey behavior in public but are we really qualified to judge them? And on the basis of what?

It makes me wonder at times, if love is an acceptable act then why is not it’s expression? Obviously, the term ‘expression’ is subject to interpretation but there should at least be an attempt made to define it! I think it’s safe to conclude that holding hands, hugging and even slight pecks in public are completely innocent. If these gestures make us all go mushy and ‘awww’y when we see them on the big screen, then why not in real life? Of course, there is always this question of ‘How much is too much?’ and it needs to be tackled wisely. When the situation turns from romance to carnality… err… does somebody need to get a room?

Under section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, Public Display of Affection (PDA) is a criminal offence with a punishment of imprisonment up to 3 months or a fine, or both. This law has been blatantly misused by the police and the lower courts to harass couples, apparently engaging in PDA. The problem is that the law doesn’t talk explicitly about PDA instead, in vague terms leaving behind enough scope for it to be misused. Therefore, an exhibitionist and persons hugging in public fall in the same category!

There is an urgent need to clarify and define what is obscene and what is not. India is a conservative country and anything new that creeps up is bound to startle our systems. In an age and time like today’s, where we deal with brand consciousness, latest gadgets, instant software updates, and facebook statuses and life at the speed of tweets, we still haven’t gotten over that ‘code of conduct’ between a parent and his/her child. Bringing your boyfriend or girlfriend home is a taboo for so many even if it is just hanging out! It leaves many like us with very few options and hence, we set out on an endless quest for ‘privacy’.

Times are changing and the youth definitely accepts PDA as a natural part of their life, be it with friends or a love interest. Simply put down, something as genuine as a hug or a kiss should not be source of such conflict. What do you think?

Love

Anonymous:

“So the guys are coming over for a couple of beers after the game tonight. I, um, just thought I’d let you know…”, He finished awkwardly. She gave a tired smile, invisible over the phone line. His subtly hostile behaviour on having to share his space wasn’t lost on her. “Cool. I’ll be heading over to my place for the night then. Have fun!” She hung up before either of them made the conversation any more awkward. So much for eating in, she thought, looking around at the food in the kitchen. She sighed and began to clean up.

He heard the click on the other end and felt a wave of relief sweep over him, surprising him. He hadn’t realized He was holding his breath. He couldn’t put a finger to the constant inaudible nagging in his head, but shrugged it off nonetheless and ran back to the field.

—————————-

The usual boisterousness filled his home as he entered with his teammates. Beers, whiskey and food disappeared at an alarming speed as they began their weekly ritual of revisiting bachelorhood. He thought about the awkward phone call earlier, as the cacophony around him seemed more distant by the second. Never before had He needed to inform or ask anybody to do anything in his life. He prided himself for his independence. Hence, the contentment in being just as he was. I must have sounded like I wanted to kick her out, he thought, sipping his beer and quietly cursing the drink for being the root of the whole fiasco. But She’s an intruder in my house AND on my privacy, She SHOULD feel unwelcome. Shouldn’t She? He thought back to the past week that He had been forced to live with Her. She’s never really intruded as such.., realizing She pretty much minded her own business, had one meal in the day at the same time He did, spoke little (although he was aware that she was a chatterbox; He had heard her on the phone), but most of all, tactfully used the space he had given her, never making any changes around the house. It was probably what impressed him the most. He had seen and heard of how women tended to mark their “territory” when the time to move in with a man came upon her, and he appreciated her for not feeling the need to do so. As far as he had observed, she was a confident, self sufficient and respectful woman. No pretensions, no unnecessary ego issues. Sorted. He also knew that it wasn’t like she was hiding herself from him. In an act of trust, she had taken him to her house a couple of days before. It was minimally furnished, but classy still, just like he liked it. She had payed more attention to the placement of things, rather than clutter up. He liked that. He liked her. Whoa! What? He snapped back into reality, realizing he had missed out on a perfectly enjoyable Dare round. Trying to suppress the pounding in his head, he tried to enjoy the scene around him. Men acting like buffoons. Smiling, he shut his eyes for a moment, taking it all in.

When he opened his eyes, he was a different man. No one would ever know what he saw in that moment which he would later describe as nothing short of “life altering”.

He quietly slipped out, instructed his doorman to lock up when everybody left and got in his car. He hated driving when he was more than two drinks down. He felt irresponsible and hypocritical. But, at that point of time, nothing registered. He drove through the scantily populated roads to cover the seven kilometers to her house in a record five minutes.

He stood outside her door, unsure. He knew she slept late, if at all, but… Stop it! Just Knock! Knocking softly on her door, he waited. No response. He tried again, a little louder and he heard her footsteps. The panic button hit, but his faculties were too dazed to respond, as she opened the door. You’re an angel!, he thought, as her bewildered eyes met his. Uncertain, she opened the door further, looking a little confused. He walked, more like stumbled, into her living room. She was probably reading, noticing her book, spectacles, and a glass of wine. He sat on the couch and stared into nothingness. She put away the book, poured another glass of wine for him and settled in the armchair, sipping from her own glass. She glanced at him, at her favourite painting on the wall, at her glass and around the room for a while and finally gave up. She had never really been good at such situations. She only needed a second to start day dreaming, to compensate for dreamless sleep, she mused, and dream she did.

Snapping back an odd ten minutes later, with a strange feeling of being observed, she noticed he has drained his glass but was sitting just as still as before. I’m imagining things.., looking ruefully into her almost empty glass. She refilled both the glasses. Setting his in front of him, she felt a gentle tug on her night shirt. Sensing his need for proximity, her heart fluttered as she sat on the couch, next to him. Before she had taken her second sip, he drained his glass again and pulled hers from her grip. She felt possessed and subjugated and liberated. All at once. He sipped from her glass too and looked longingly at her lips, purple from all the wine.He edged forward and hesitated, as if waiting for permission. She gave him a half smile as acquiescence. Granting just what he wanted, just to him. He felt his heart ache as he touched her wine flavoured lips. She blinked in surprise. She had always known that she would keep her eyes open for her first kiss. She wouldn’t miss the moment for anything. The world seemed to fade away as they both opened up, bringing their bodies closer. The tenderness gave way to something more personal, more passionate. She had to break away to catch her breath. She looked into those chocolate brown eyes that she loved, glazed, but fired with desire. She paused, long enough for him to know something was wrong. He held back, still holding her in the intimate embrace. Neither ready to believe what had just happened, but neither ready to accept that the moment had passed. She hastily got off of him, straightened up, and cleared up the glasses. She handed him a pillow and blanket and walked away. He’s seen the house. He can pick between the guestroom and the couch. She sat up in bed thinking, Overthinking, more like. She frowned and tried to sleep. But slumber had proved to be an elusive seductress this week. She sighed and turned over.

“Its cold”, his voice grumbled in the dark, as he climbed into her bed and lay facing the ceiling. She turned to face him. Looking at him for a moment that seemed to last an eternity, she said “You will regret it in the morning”. He turned to look into her pained eyes. “I won’t”, he said, in a tone of such finality, that her eyes welled up with tears. She wiped them before they streaked her face. She hated crying. He came closer to hug her. She lay there, in his arms. Her lips touching the nook of his neck as his breath caressed her hair, and she felt a shiver that ran all the way to her curling toes. He breathed in her soft fragrance, feeling his muscles relax and his eyelids get heavier. Their hands found each others waist, as their legs intertwined.

—————————————–

Her bedroom was bathed in sunlight. He battled with his eyelids to wake up. Blinking once, twice, he looked out. Looking beside him, he saw her still nestled in his arms. He ran his hand through her hair and across her face. He quickly pecked her and, surprisingly, felt a tug. He looked at her to see her eyes still closed and her lips curved in a beautiful smile. Opening her eyes, she said coyly “I’ve been awake a while.” He kissed her again, deeply. He felt her eagerness and climbed on her, on all fours, as her eyes betrayed her every emotion. He loved that about her, the honesty in her eyes. She couldn’t hide it even if she tried, not that she did. He looked into those eyes, looking into the depth of her very being, and saw nothing but adoration, acceptance, and unconditional love. “God”, he whispered, almost to himself.

She took advantage of the moment and slipped out of his reach. Laughing at his pouting face, she skipped to the kitchen, her joy reflected in her gait and the twinkle in her eyes. She got breakfast ready, while brushing her teeth. Smiling at her corny I’ve-brought-you-breakfast-in-bed-just-like-in-the-movies silliness, she walked into her room. Soaking in the sight of him in her bed, half covered in sheets and looking out the window, smiling to himself, she smiled herself.

She didn’t realize how long she had been standing for until he took the tray from her hands and put it on the bed. He picked her up and settled them both in the sheets, comfortably. Sensing her hesistant thoughtfulness, he gently held her chin and arched those gorgeous eyebrows, asking silently, What’s wrong? Her eyes became watery, as she choked to speak. She opened and closed her mouth several times before she heard herself say, “Is this real?” At that moment, he knew he had the power to manipulate her utter vulnerability. She was unfalteringly his and he revelled in the feeling. He looked deep into her eyes and barely whispered hoarsely, “You bet it is”, kissing her wet smile. Holding onto her, he felt his soul tear away from him a little, to settle in the love that would live beyond even his own last breath.

unloved

It does happen sometimes, that the love that is sought gets dissolved in the eddies of greed, jealousy, ego or simply inhumanity. This is for the ‘unloved’ , for the ones who deserved it all!

By Smriti Mahale:

Dear Mummy,
When I was in your womb, I knew I was safe. Though it was dark and dull inside, I knew that one day two loving arms will hold me to light. I knew that two sparkling eyes would feast on my little body. I knew the dark place I am in now would soon transform into a world of sheer beauty. I knew a family would drown me in the sea of love and I would float in heavens. I knew daddy would throw me up in the air and I would glade like a phoenix feather, I would be an angel! But, mummy I was wrong. I didn’t know your love was for your prince and not your princess. The day you discovered it, two tattered arms threw me in dust. I cried, I was unheard. I thrust for my love but all I got was poisonous glances from the world. I was left alone, in the same world that I thought was of sheer joy. I am floating towards the heaven now, UNLOVED!

—-

Dear Daddy,
I remember the day you disowned me. I was eighteen, your son, your blood. I thought it was love that made me your pride, but then, I discovered your pride was in a distinction shouting from my college degree. Dad, I tried. I worked hard. I sacrificed my little joys of life. But I could not. It was not my take. I thought I would see the same pride in your eyes when I won the under 18 World cup. You would hug me and tell the world I was your ‘son’, your blood! But you had other plans. You threw me out of our home. You hit mummy when she pleaded. You made me beg in the streets for food, sleep under shackled roofs. I wore tattered clothes for days, the under 18 World Cup Captain of the year smelt like filth. You never even tried to search for me.

Today dad, I am our country’s captain, won glories that are your and my soil’s pride, millions love me not only for what I am, but also for what I am not. I am still your son, UNLOVED!

—-

Dear Husband,
I left my home for your home to be complete. I adorned myself with a sacred bond that is supposed to make us both complete. I offered my life for your dreams, your family, your clan. For your parents, I was a daughter-in-law who bowed with respect but was made to bow like in shame. For you I was a doll of clay that you played with when you liked and threw in some corner when you had had enough. I never complained when you came home smelling like the drains, over filling yourselves with cheap bottles of beer. I sustained the smacks, the pain, the fear, the violence, the shame. I waited for the grace of love, for the blessing. None came. Today, I leave as a woman whose chaste is more dear to her than the life of a wife UNLOVED!

—-

Dear Mr. X,
I thought love happened only in fairy tales, till the day you came into my life. It was a bundle of everything I felt for you-love, care, respect, friendship and all the beautiful emotions of the world. People called me mad, ridiculed the change in me but I was the happiest. What I felt, was only what I knew. With you, my fears lost their existence, hope grew. I felt more secure, like a bird flying away from its cage into the vast skies. I opened my heart that were burdened with so many secrets. I thought you would understand. You gave no respect for my feelings, for the love I showed. I cried into the nights, my tears noticed by you. You laughed at them like you would for a clown in the circus. Maybe I was not one of those pretty girls you knew, maybe my life was cushioned with principles you did not like, or you thought I was ugly enough to stand beside you. Once, did you even peek inside my heart that was beautiful enough. For once, did you not feel that a little bit of love would heal. You mocked, you sowed the seedling of hatred in me. While I weep, the plant grows from the heart of an UNLOVED!

—-

Dear Friend,
I just told you you were treading on the wrong path of life. I warned you for the dangers that would ruin your career. You felt I was interfering. You thought I was a person who was too serious with my career and success. You left me alone in all celebrations, you used me when needed. You poisoned other’s mind that I was no fun. And when you fell in your own grave you dug for yourselves, you were too ashamed to climb up and ask for help. Your ego was too big in comparison of our months of friendship. I made mistakes too and I accepted them. But you didn’t. I am all alone today, cause you stole the rest of my friends from me. You gave me sorrow, while I still find an opportunity to make your life brighter. From a friend who has forgiven, who is still UNLOVED!

The author also blogs at kaleidoscopemirages.blogspot.com.

Pooh and piglet

By Salony Satpathy:

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh!” he whispered.

“Yes Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Piglet’s concluding statement shows us a relationship in its basic and rawest form. The whole concept behind relationships is to be received, to be nurtured, to be accepted, to be believed in. The fact remains that it is the same for all beings, be it cats, dogs, humans, tigers, dolphins… We all tend to feel secured resting in our mothers’ laps and feel the same sorrow on being away from the people we love. We may pretend to be very strong and try to prove that none of what others think matters, but the truth remains that it is impossible to lead a life where we have no one to double our happiness with or to halve our heartfelt griefs. Secretly or openly, our hearts yearn to be a part of a world that is ours, with people who matter to us, who we care about and most importantly, a world where others care for us.

Some people just get lucky to enter this world without putting in much effort, while for others it comes at a cost. Struggle is one of the major payments the latter group of people have to make. There is not a single relationship in the world that needs no adjustment. It depends a great deal on our priorities or the choices we make in life, but there is something more to it. What we have to understand is that it is never hard work or labour that can earn us a successful relationship. It requires us to simply believe in it and accept it without any skepticism. Complexities keep mushrooming throughout life’s journey, tarnishing everything on their way, but they have to be ignored. We all know by experience that the simplest of relationships are the ones that last beyond our lifetimes, even beyond eternity. A pet and its master enjoy the simplicity of their relationship, celebrating each moment based on love, care, affection, trust and mutual respect.

Many a times, we find ourselves quarreling with people, and missing them the very moment they move away from us. Days when we are near our loved ones, we tend to immerse ourselves in other work, keeping ourselves busy all the time. Then, why do we cry when the bells of parting ring again? Quarrels, grudges misunderstandings- none seem to matter when it is time to bid adieu. Each life is unique, then why does the way a life parts from its loved ones remains exactly the same? These questions are rhetoric and unanswered, but these are the questions that give our relationships the beauty of undaunting simplicity, that makes them all the more magical and enthralling.

Love box robot

By Sanchita Gupta:

I often wonder what love actually is. Is it what binds my mother and me together or is it something that keeps me awake all night waiting for someone’s text? Perception of Love is relative, with time and type of the relationship. Someone may be of utmost importance but with passage of time he may become insignificant, may what reason be. It may be his deeds, our understanding, or simply someone else replaces him. Our blood relations also do not guarantee the eternal love. Is Love what I feel when I walk alone in the rain? I don’t know what I think or feel but it makes me feel beautiful and beautifies the things around. Is love when I can smell my mom when I miss her while in the hostel?

Is love when I call some old friend just out of the blue because I felt I was needed? We meet so many people everyday but there is just one we fall in love with, the same qualities we have seen before but this time we fell for them. Suddenly our whole world revolves around that one single person, who out of nowhere becomes everything for us, to the point that we can leave the world and its bonds for them. Love is the coming together of two minds, who, fit in like a puzzle, complimenting the other side of each other. It doesn’t necessarily have to end in marriage or eternity or some other definition. It is far more superior and deep than these worldly needs.

With the bond comes the sacrifice. Sacrifice of certain expectations, sacrifice of some moments, sacrifice that go unnoticed, all in the name of love. A wife cooks, cleans, toils everyday and is only appreciated either on her birthday or the anniversary. I don’t know how to feel about it. It is happy to see that she is satisfied with her life. But it makes me sad to put myself in her shoes and let my efforts unnoticed. Maybe this is what love is, selfless and self-appreciating. We always say that love just happens, it’s not pre-decided; then, when did my grandparents, who met for the first time at their marriage venue, fell in love? Before they could know each other, they were told they were made for each other. An arranged love but still with the same intensity as those who took years of togetherness to know and decide. With each new birth comes a new definition of love. I guess, love can never be explained or maybe it doesn’t need to be. Each has his own way of exchanging love. What I may see as lonesomeness may be peace for you. What I may take as quickness maybe eternity for you.

Love you

By Rose Caroline:

A good weather, your favorite track on the radio, a text message from your best friend or a hug from the one you love are small occasions which bring immense happiness within you. And perhaps, these are the events which keep us going in life.

I met one of my very good friends after a span of 5 years and although we stayed in touch through phone, chatting for hours, we were speechless when we met face to face. All we did was just look at each other and smile. Some moments are just so special. I took him to all the places that I had promised him on the phone, making him travel in the metro for the first time.

Well, things that occur for the first time conquer a unique place in our hearts and I know most of you would add consent to this. It could be your first crush, the first time you drove, the first pay cheque or the first time you drenched yourself in the rain. Undoubtedly, every such episode gets stored in your memory making you chirpy and blissful.

Roshan and I spent a lot of time together chattering and revealing every thing we missed on. I had never been with any other guy for so long, roaming out and having fun. He was important for me in my own way and though he cracked his stupid jokes every minute, I loved them.

He loved soccer and I hated it. I loved Chinese and he hated it. We were extremes but what I knew was opposites attract and yes, I was attracted to him. I couldn’t verbalize my thoughts yet I wanted him to know everything. Every embrace of his pulled me nearer to him.

We crossed the road and headed towards my favorite restaurant. We sat opposite to each other and that was the best time in the entire day when I could gaze at him at a stretch. His smile, his pet names, his hands on my shoulders and his protective nature towards me compelled me to undergo something that was unusual.

“There’s something I want to say to you”, said my favorite guy. I responded to him in the best possible manner. “I am in love”, said he. I transformed into a body with no emotions. Nobody’s except my name was expected and I was clueless how I would respond this time. I started to chew the cold finger chip to calm myself down. Before I could even react to his statement, some unknown name hit my ears. “KRITIKA, my college friend”. My heart sank and I could no more swallow the mixture in my mouth that was a product of my nervousness. I again pondered on what he said. All it meant was that I was wrong. He held my hands and shook me but all I did was smile back at him.

It has been quite a long time since we met again and today when we talk our laughter just doesn’t seem to end. We are happy and content in our own lives. But I still remember the day as the first time I broke my heart.

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