We often see love as a grand scheme of things. Like romance. Some larger-than-life gesture. I mean gestures; one too many. After all, it can’t stop with just one, can it?
In adolescence, love is more about the feeling of high, the feeling of being loved than about love in itself. By then, our minds are ripe with thoughts fed by media about romance; about everlasting love; about childhood sweethearts, who lived to their 90s and died together; about a grand scheme in life called love. You congratulate yourself for finding ‘The One’ during your first relationship. You feel lucky, and frankly smug for becoming one of the childhood sweethearts. In your mind, you have seen the glorious end.
But you forgot the middle. And that’s where it ends.
There are many kinds of love – the irrational love, the love at first sight, the love that builds from friendship, the love that starts as a slow timbre of spark and then buds into a roaring fire. And then there’s the calculated, controlled, practical love.
I am not a believer of love at first sight. I do believe in the irrationality of the gut feeling when you meet a potential lover. And I certainly don’t believe in the concept of ‘The One’. I am practical. Love, for me, has been a decision. It has not ‘happened to me’. I have let it happen. And that’s why I know the calculated, controlled, practical love in and out. That doesn’t mean it has no inch of irrationality in its bone.
It starts as a lurch in the gut. It does, believe me. Even the most practical of us have an instinct. Most hone it to be warned about trouble. It is but natural for it to warn about love too. After all, love falls in the list of troubles too, don’t you think?
Then starts the casual research and analysis. You scout for red flags; do a mental self-high five at the matches; a mini-jig after a splendid evening; so on and so forth. And yet, for even dance jig, there’s a panic attack. Especially when you realize you almost let your guards down and started building castles in the air. You almost let yourself get carried away with the flow, when your potential target seems cool as a cucumber, unaffected and least in the know about your mind games.
In the practical, control, calculated love, companionship and camaraderie matter more. Do your likes and dislikes match? Do your opposites clash or are they manageable? Every single step is richly evaluated.
Over thinking much? And yet, that is what you do. Every little inch of space you make for the person in your life is thought about. Every now and then, you will swing from ‘Hell, yes!’ to ‘Hell, no! I was better single’. And even this swing would scare you, because it is not logical; it is not controlled, much less rational. Shouldn’t it either be a yes or a no?
Yet, time does its magic on you. In time, you allow yourself the grace of love. It can’t be termed ‘falling in love’ when it happens over months, possibly even years, can it? It would be like watching a three-hour long movie in extra-slow motion with period reverses and fast forwards; it would last months!
And during this time, your friends would give up on you. It would be beyond them. If they are good friends, they would cheer with you every time you want to rejoice, and then, nod silently when you point out your reservations. Mentally, though, they would only be heaving a huge sigh of exasperation at your turtle-like speed.
Double the processing time if you manage to find a partner like you.