Whether it’s Salman’s Prem targeting Nisha’s bum with a marigold flower or Shahrukh’s Raj pulling out Anjali’s saree ka pallu (the end of a saree that hangs loose from the shoulder) – boys are never creepy. They are perfect.
They would make their girl laugh, motivate her to get over her insecurities and fears, would work hard and earn money for her, would shower her with romantic gestures and expensive gifts, would not only tolerate her tantrums but also fall in love with her every time she would get angry. They are better all-rounders than the latest heart-throb Shardul Thakur. At least this is what one Yash and the son of another Yash made us believe in.
And then came a particular Ali who showed us how love means picking up your broken pieces with the help of someone else; finding your lost self in someone else’s existence. And then there were some very cute stories about best friends who couldn’t realise their ishq wala love for the other until there was a third angle in the story. And that’s pretty much all the romantic movie models Bollywood has tried on us for the past several decades.
Honestly, I would be lying if I tell you that I didn’t fall for it too. Although like other girls, I didn’t develop crushes. I never asked any of my friends to pass a love letter for me. I never sneaked out of my house to meet someone special in the park. But secretly, I always believed, his entry would be like a miracle.
It would rain, birds would sing, my hair would fall on my face and time would stop. And there would be serendipity (loved that movie too)! And it happened. Like Rahul and Pooja, I could hear Ek Duje Ke Vaaste playing in the background. Like Subhanallah in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, he taught me how baseless my insecurities were. Like Tara, I felt special with my Ved. Everything seemed to have been taken from a movie script. There was only one thing missing – the reciprocation of love.
I was so busy extrapolating a few coincidences into a romantic saga of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, that I missed out on a major part. There was only me, my problems, my anxieties, my needs – that was all I could see. I realised that even though he was the centre of my existence, I wasn’t his go-to person. I was special, like a beautiful broken vase that needed his craftsmanship to be repaired, like a project!
It broke me. I lost my faith in love. It made me believe love is just a formula that movie makers apply to their films to play with people’s emotions. I was upset, I ate a lot, I developed serious lifestyle ailments like obesity and I stayed indoors, packed in a cocoon.
And then a miracle happened, in the form of the arrival of a companion – no drama, no music, no mollycoddling, no pretence, no butterflies in the stomach. He was as flawed as I was and we both needed each other desperately. We were equal. It was just as calm and serene as any other day.
It felt like home, the one I left years ago for. We never exchanged gifts, didn’t plan big days, gave each other space – very boring from the Bollywood point of view but I am glad, I was able to recognise and keep it.
And that’s how I realised what true love is – something that can never be defined by any larger than life gestures, divine intervention or serendipity. It can never fit into any definition. It’s defined by only one thing – your feelings and your acceptance of them. The rest is just a way to conform to societal norms – making a woman feel dependent on a man to know her worth, to be happy and the need for a man to be the tough one, to fight with all the hardships alone.
So, dear Simran, get on that train and jaa jee le apni zindagi (go live your life) but leave your unrealistic expectations here because zindagi (life) is not a month-long luxurious Eurorail trip but a life-long expedition. BTW, did I mention I’m a huge Bollywood fan?