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Redefining the meaning of Love for Youth

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This article focuses on the feeling of Love which forms an important part of the emotional side of every human being specially our youth. It is very difficult to prioritize the different forms of love on the basis of their importance, as one form may be insignificant for someone but crucial for others. Also, the value which they add to a person’s life could be entirely different. The traditional Indian society seems to have been giving prime importance to parental love since long. This form of love is considered second only to the love we shower on the Almighty God. Leaving aside the love towards living beings other than humans and also the inanimate objects, if we consider the present scenario, most of those forms amongst youth pertain to peer-to-peer love. This affection could be heterosexual or in some cases homosexual. Now that our judiciary gives us a right to express ourselves freely on the latter form, we can discuss it as well. Though in this article, I will restrict myself to heterosexual affection which is the most common amongst youth.

Right from school days teenagers find themselves getting attracted to the opposite sex in schools, neighborhood or even because of media which influences their feelings in many cases. If we consider the college life of a youth, this affection takes a more serious and mature form. I would be keener to draw your attention towards the transition of this affection to the feeling of LOVE for a teenager and for a grown up child like a college student pursuing under graduation. Teenage affection has more chances of resulting just because of infatuation. We interact with the opposite sex in our classrooms every day. It is highly probable that because of the hormonal changes in this phase of life, we are excited and keen to interact even more. Until we discover that it’s getting difficult for us to live without the company of that person, we keep on showering our affection more and more. But when we reach a stage when it becomes difficult for us to spend time without the person whom we find so affectionate, we say that we are experiencing a four letter word called LOVE. I would like to know from my reader whether this is what experiencing LOVE is about and is it all about a desire which makes us like a person like crazy? I will address this question a little later, till then it’s for you to ponder over it.

I now switch to a later part of a child’s life…the college days. We tend to be more serious and think about our career and professional life during our college life. Needless to say that we become more mature and self-dependent, as in most cases, people live away from their homes and get to experience the ups and downs that come with hostel life. It is at this point of life when we start thinking maturely and more seriously about the kind of person we would like to spend time for the rest of our lives. It’s true that we can’t think about each and every aspect of a married life until and unless we get married ourselves and then realize how important it is to select a life partner according to our wish. As compared to school days, our focus does get shifted and affected because our parents are not there to keep a check on us all the time. It is then that we think about issues like a job, supporting a family after we become self-dependent, bride, groom, marriage, future work atmosphere, preferred place of settlement, so on and so forth.

Now when we have these things in mind and along with it we find ourselves gripped because of affection showered on us by someone or we being affectionate towards someone unknowingly, it has a more mature form of affection. I say that it is matured because it is then that we realize the difficulties in continuing to stay with the person throughout our life whom we have found so affectionate. I still don’t say that it would be LOVE as there is no age to stop getting infatuated with someone. This form of affection, if assessed well, can lead us to discover whether we are in LOVE with someone. Of course, I am not saying that there is a fixed boundary for this transition depending on our age. In fact, this transition can never be very well defined. Even a school days’ friend could eventually be our life-partner because we have been in touch with him/her for long and have understood him/her well. It depends on us and our beloved’s response to convince each other for tying the knot. Also, love cannot be just looked from the point of view of getting married eventually.

I want to make an important point here regarding a certain aspect of LOVE which most often we, the youth, neglect. We tend to overlook the purest form of love which is passionless, platonic and unconditional. How often do we think on these lines when we say that we are in love with someone? I would like to tell my dear readers that these factors do guide us in finding our soul mate for spending the rest of our lives with, but there are no assurances that even if we have found such a person we will be able to successfully live with him/her as a married couple. But, we can certainly proclaim that we are experiencing LOVE. More often than not our feelings are a mere outburst of passion flaring inside us. We are driven by the circumstances to think just on the lines of outer beauty and not inner beauty of a person. Apart from the factors I have mentioned above, the purest form of love has its foundation based on immense sacrifice, care and affection.

Till date, our society has given a lot of importance to arranged marriages and do not accept intra-caste marriages without much of complaints. The reason cited by our grandparents and parents is that there is better understanding between a couple owing to the similarity in culture and traditions. Ironically these marriages result in creation of a rift between the couple because they find themselves incompatible after marriage and it’s too late by then for both of them to change their decisions. The only option left is divorce which is not easily digestible in the orthodox Indian society. On the other hand, the success rate of love marriages itself is not so great that we should promote these marriage institutions blindly.

Then where is the fault in our system?

The fault lies in our definition and perception of LOVE. Our temporary liking and attraction towards someone whom we think we are in love with makes us falsely proclaim that we are indeed in Love. It is only when we have spent considerable time with someone, known the person well, his/her behavior, character, attitude in different circumstances, we can judge a person completely and see if we are compatible with him/her.

So, does this compatibility define whether we can be in love with someone? Or does this hint towards a kind of live-in-relationship which is essentially required to increase the success rate of Love Marriages in younger generation? These are some of the questions which surface from the above arguments. I personally feel that the answer to the latter is yes. But the problems against making this kind of a relationship work in our society are many, courtesy – traditional mind sets of the society we live in.

Then what is the feasible solution for our society which can work out for two people who want to experience God’s great gift of True Love?

I have tried to bring to light some very important aspects of Love from the point of view of a young person. The questions are many but the answers are yet unsearched or unfound. Your answers, suggestions and comments are most welcome in this regard. I will keep adding as and when my perspective broadens further.

The writer is a Goa based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz, and also a student at BITS, Pilani

You must be to comment.
  1. Ankur Kumar

    comments awaited from my dear readers…please feel free to write what you think about the write-up

  2. aliya

    Hi Ankur, well, I do agree with some of the views you hold. And yes, I do think live-in relationships would solve a large part of the problem for people who claim to be ‘in love’, but then again, even try to suggest this to someone even 20 years older than you, and you’ve had it.

    I wish inter-caste marriages were as hunky-dory as Chetan Bhagat makes them out to be. But I really do feel the generations gone by did speak sense when they spoke of arranged marriages, because of similar upbringing, no matter how blah blah their theories sound now.

    Lots has been written on love and the Indian society and lots will continue to be written, but finally when one does fall in love, all the advice and other wisdom is thrown out the window.

    Ok, I better not say too much cause I’m also at a stage where this issue confuses me a lot and my opinions vary from day to day:)

    And I also feel that infatuation at this age should not be confused with love.So basically, what you’ve written makes sense. Er… hope I don’t sound too confused btw, cause I’m not ok? Really. Ok, Bye.

  3. Ankur Kumar

    Thanks Aliya for your valuable comments…
    you are the first person to comment on this article of mine
    which is very close to my heart and which I had penned down with
    lot of thinking and deliberation…thanks once again 🙂

  4. rosy

    HI ME BELIEVE IN LOVE,… BUT I USUALLY SEEN LOVE MARRIAGES ARE BROKEN… MOST SAYS THEY ARE UNSUCCESSFUL. FROM HERE THE MAIN IDEA OF UR ARTICLE STARTS, THAT IS THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO DEFINE THE MEANING OF LOVE…… UR ARTICLE HELPS THE YOUNGSTERS TO UNDERSTAND THE REAL MEANIG….. ACCEPT UR PARTNER AS HE OR SHE ALONG HIS OR HER WEAKNESSES,…. KEEP UP….

  5. Ankur Kumar

    Thanks Rosy for your appreciation 🙂

  6. Meenakshi

    firstly, i would like to thank you for providing a valuable insight on this highly ‘abused’ word ,LOVE. you have correctly identified the problem with the youth today,and that is their ‘twisted’ and ‘unrealistic’ definition of love. but somehow, i feel, the only unconditional love i’m familiar with is that of a mother, or parents in general. as far as we youngsters are concerned, we still have to go a long way in understanding the true meaning of love. Being a college student myself, and having seen the ups and downs in relationships in my friends, my personal view is that there is a high emotional immaturity among people of our kind and this is what makes them take extreme steps in undesirable circumstances.

    A week ago, a friend of mine was murdered by her boyfriend for he suspected her to be going around with someone else. Even though we were not good friends, but I do feel sorry for her and her parents. Such incidents only strenghthen my faith in the fact that we(most of us) do not know what love is all about. Its only after a break-up or when things start turning for the worse that we realise we only wasted our time..and settle for a compromise..with life..and ourselves too..

  7. Ankur Kumar

    @Meenakshi

    Thanks a lot for your wonderful comments. Sorry for the late response. The point of immaturity amongst youth with respect to the feeling of love is exactly the root cause of violence. It is important that we discuss our emotional ups and downs with our parents who in most cases will guide us and show us where exactly we are going wrong. Special counseling cells in schools/colleges and all institutions (which have counselors having expertise in tackling these issues) are also required for controlling such incidents.

  8. Bhupinder Partap

    Hi ! Ankur , first of all I thank u for taking up such an issue which is concerned with entire youth.I feel and think that infatuation or crush could be a beginning of journey towards love and as you know journey cant be completed unless we start taking up steps towards it. Secondly, I always fail to understand when people put forth their apprehensions in the disguise of logic against the success of arranged marriages.Why don’t we look towards the marriage of our parents or grandparents or any other married couple in our family which has undergone an arrange marriage.I ask “Are they not happy with each other or what difference could have been there had they had a love marriage? I strongly feel that both kind of marriages has their own charms,their own good and bad aspects but when you are young and unmarried the attraction and longing for love draws attention towards love marriage more. One of my most interesting observation is that people who don’t have the guts to go against the society or don’t have the mindset to love someone from the bottom their heart, to give selfless love ;talk more about in favor of love marriages and most of the time either they end up having an arranged marriage or unsuccessful love marriage whereas mature and sense able beings respect both the modes of marriage and talk about strong urge of togetherness,talk about mutual trust,compatibility and joy of sharing cherish able moments rather than favoring love or arranged marriage.As I was reading the comments given by other readers someone mentioned that mothers’ love is the only true love.In this regard I would like to share what I have observed – Mother sacrifices her happiness just to keep her child happy because the happiness of her child makes her happy, this is selfless love,true love.Mothers derive happiness in sacrificing their happiness, but in other relations too we expect from others to sacrifice his happiness to make us happy instead of thinking about sacrificing our happiness in order to make that person happy and when this demand could not materialize we start lamenting that person .My question is “Why don’t we think of making others happy,Why we always want someone else to make us happy ?” .The moment one starts finding his happiness in the happiness of some else that emotion,that feeling is “LOVE”. Love connotes selfishness ,finding its happiness in the happiness of his partner and when the bond between two persons reaches to this level its certain that they are in “LOVE”and after that marriage or no marriage does not change their feelings for each other because such level of understanding reaches only when you start looking beyond physical attributes ;when you start loving the inner beauty of that person.And take my words when someone starts loving you as person; your inner qualities; his feelings shall never change for you unless you change as a person.Social restrictions might control the circumstances but not the feelings…….

  9. Ankur Kumar

    Thanks a lot Bhupinder for going through this article and for giving your valuable comments….

    You are correct in your remark that “infatuation or crush could be a beginning of journey towards love” but the point which I have raised in this
    article is that many a times…people who are in relationship bcoz of infatuation say that they are experiencing love…..I totally accept your ideology regarding marriages……both arranged and love marriages can work out well….what I have pointed out is the possible flaw in circumstances which lead to love marriages…

    Your views regarding self-sacrifice for others (when you actually LOVE someone) gives a new dimension to the thinking a person should have (who wants to experience true LOVE). It is a great thought which you have shared on this platform and our youth should definitely look at Love from this angle.

    Thanks again for your comments…I would be keen to hear from others in reply to the comments you have made on this article.

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