Redefining the meaning of Love for Youth

Posted on January 29, 2010 in Specials

Ankur Kumar:

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