Is Abiding ‘True Love’ Essential In A Relationship? The Answer Will Surprise You

Posted: January 26, 2019

Love makes the world go around, but does romance? The author muses on this, going over recent star-crossed romances on-screen and her own life, and comes to an interesting conclusion.

Spoiler alert for Sairat and Dhadak

Jo Mere Dil ko Dil Banati hai…Tere Naam ki Koi Dhadak hai na”

Amitabh Bhattacharya’s soulful lyrics blare from the Gaana app on my phone yet again. Listening for about the fourth time on loop now, I shut my eyes, losing myself to the music that always manages to soothe me. Ironically, this was my first my husband’s newest favourite. He kept listening to it, and I kept grumbling at the repetitive melancholic tune, until one day it grew on me and hasn’t let go since.

But then, isn’t that how most couples are?

You end up embracing each other’s thoughts, habits, mannerisms until you can no longer remember whose it had been to begin with. As these reflections run through my mind, a niggling thought raises its ugly head – One that I have been pondering on since I watched Sairat a year back. “Is it even worth it – all the struggle, pain, suffering, loss – just for the sake of a love we believe to be ideal?”

If you haven’t watched Sairat or Dhadak yet, it is a tragic love story between two young adults, who go all out against their families for the sake of the hopeful, almost delusional love they share.

Is it just a fantasy world?

Now, trust me, I am not anti-love, although I definitely do sound like it right now! In fact, I have been a little too romantic all my life. But 4 years into my married life and some ‘age-based practicality that has found its way into my mind’ later, I realise I have moved from the romanticism and idealism of relationships, and settled into the cozy corners of realism. And so, where once I would have hooted at the protagonists for their bold steps and righteous moves, recently I have begun to go cluck-cluck on the wasted lives, simply because of a fantasy world they envisioned together.

What futility of it all! After all, would it have been so dreadful if they had just given up on each other and married others of their families’ choice? (I am assuming here, of course, that their families chose good partners for them). No relationship survives just because of love. Most couples realise that once the honeymoon phase dwindles and the dreary melancholy of everyday life dawns, it isn’t the exuberant romance, but the silent pillars of patience, understanding and care that carry things forward.

Even high romance changes

As I walk around the house lost in these thoughts, I happen upon a framed picture from a different time in my life – ‘The Dating Era’. A giggle escapes me as I remember how different we were then.

My fondest remembrances are of the new shayaris that awaited me each morning the minute I walked into office, often inspired by the colour of my dress. Now? I doubt we even bother with how we look each morning in the mad rush to get to work! Then there were those famous dinners, sneaking after office to try newest cuisines, the subtle touch of the fingers, the little ankhon ke ishare.

Dinners do happen even now. Only, table conversations have moved over to how our careers are going, should we invest in the property we recently saw, how are the finances! Where once hours were spent on the phone deep in loving conversations, now all the time left after office and routine house work is spent catching up with families. And if we do end up wanting to spend ‘quality’ time together, it results in a debate over which Netflix series we must watch, often ending in us indulging in our respective choices! Heck, even Madhu and Parthavi realised soon enough that companionship in life is no romantic play!

What if they had given up on each other?

So yes, would it have been such a loss if they had simply given up on each other? I admit, they would have cried for a year or two, but eventually met their respective partners, and then settled into what every relationship ultimately moves to from love – comfort! I wonder as I place the frame back – the years have changed me, matured me into a woman who has brought love down from the pedestal and placed life high up on it!

I shake my head in disbelief at the change in me. When did I step aside from being the torch bearer of all love and become the preacher of practicality?! Was I really the girl who would write love letters and poems to her boyfriend, raring to go with the love she had chosen, ready to take on the world if required to make sure she would marry him and only him?!

Back then being together was all that had mattered, as if marriage was the ultimate goal of the relationship. Little do we think in those juvenile stages on what happens after that, little do we realise that the love we give up all for and look upon as a culmination, only carries us unto another threshold, the beginning of yet another lifetime! Would it matter much then if we simply started that lifetime with a stranger and built upon it? Enough! Enough on all the love-shove, I tell myself as my stomach grumbles. Madhus and Parthavis will always exist, it’s the jawani-ka-josh we all go through, I mutter as I head to the kitchen to make the palak paneer I have been craving for a week now. I look into the fridge and emit an annoyed groan – I have forgotten to buy palak yet again!

Settling into the mundane love of married life

As I snuggle into bed and lay my head down on the already extended arm of the dear husband, I sigh. In contentment this time! He may have forgotten those ankhon ke ishare, but he does remember what his wife wants to eat. Walking in the door with a bag of palak in hand, he sure must have been taken aback by the dazzling smile he received.

Had I told you to bring palak?” I had asked, trying to remember. “No….but you had mentioned wanting to make some and I noticed there wasn’t any at home when I cooked last night”.

I smiled a little smile. Yes, the years had changed me, they had taught me to adjust my lens better, moving away from the grandiose and paying attention to the littler gestures. Delving on my thoughts from the evening, I realise, that while that initial head rush one feels in any relationship makes for fond reminiscing, I have in reality begun to cherish the ease and comfort this maturity in the relationship offers us. I look forward to having someone to discuss important decisions with. I enjoy sitting side by side in our pyjamas enjoying our respective Netflix shows, the silence never bothering us. I love that when we go to grocery stores, we just instinctively know what the other would want. Yes, we no longer have long conversations each night over the phone, but each one awaits the other to come to bed before letting sleep overtake. I love that when we step together into the kitchen, our paces match and bodies fall into alignment, as if our limbs were part of the same being.

Doesn’t this love stem from the ‘romance’ we had nurtured back then?

I realise that the pillars I had been preaching about had in fact stemmed and drawn their stability from the very love we had begun to nurture all those years back. It had only changed form and, somewhere over the years, had transgressed the need to be spoken aloud, silently flowing through the relationship, binding us in togetherness.

I realise that while probably Madhu and Parthavi could still have built their lives with other partners, the love they shared was special and worth fighting for. Not because of some jawani-ka-josh, but because they were painstakingly laying the foundation for a much more beautiful stage. And because every Madhu and Parthavi deserve a chance to watch their relationship evolve from the tumultuous waves of romance to the calm waters of comfort that can only stem from familiarity.

Hmm, looks like I still remain a romantic after all. I shut my eyes and breathe to the sound of his heartbeat under my head, gently humming to the tune of “Jo Mere Dil ko Dil Banati hai…Tere Naam ki Koi Dhadak hai na”…

A version of this was first published here.

Image source: a still from the movie Dhadak

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A Software Engineer by profession and a writer by passion, I love sharing my thoughts

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