Artist: Sunita Khedekar

They say too much of everything is poisonous. Everything includes love. But for love, too much of it is not just poisonous. It is disastrous. It is catastrophic. It is devastating. It is all that is beyond toxic.
It is what is making people commit suicide.
It is what makes people become murderers.
It is what makes people go insane.
It is what makes people lose themselves forever.
It is what makes people never trust again…
And not just romantic love but also material love, friendship love…whatever kind it is, it is agonizing when it exceeds the normal rate especially romantic love.
But let’s first rewind to how this whole thing called love starts.

I’ve always been a dreamer myself but when it comes to love I believe in reality as the clear picture. Perhaps it is because I have a very different view of love in general. My friends have always thought I am just too much of a hater to love and that I am too naive to actually understand it all. Well in this case, naivety is honestly bliss. It is actually ironic because I am such a lover of humanity and humanity goes hand in hand with love but I guess this is where my different definition comes in. I remember an instance years back when a friend told me of her relationship and I told her my honest thoughts of it in which her boyfriend decided to declare me jealous “because I had never been loved like that before”. Lol he should come to my home and see how my mother treats me like a baby. Love is love and when it is filial it is way powerful. I won’t say love is not something beautiful. I won’t say it is all pain and anguish but I will say it is not the most fulfilling feeling in this life as some perceive it.

One of the most accurate theories of love I have ever heard is one in Arabic language which speaks of how it usually just starts with a glance then a smile then greeting then a conversation then a date then it ends up in bed. It doesn’t happen so always but most of it starts like that. I always tend to look at the larger picture. Look at what is to be anticipated in this thing called love, ten years to come. At the beginning it’s such a fairy tale, a bubble filled with tinier colourful air bubbles, a fantasy of romance and anticipation of ‘happily ever after’. It is intense passion and that phase of ‘I cant live without him/her’ but slowly with time comes the comfort phase where the fire has calmed down and it is just the caring and loving feeling that keeps you together. But even that doesn’t always last long because this is when reality strikes. The honeymoon is over and it is time to pay bills and the house is dirty, needs to be cleaned,and the food needs to be cooked and each of your claws and flaws now start appearing. It is here when looks no longer matter and character and piousness is vital. It is at this point that you both need patience and understanding to break the walls. It is here when all the roses that were on the bed before start tearing you with it’s thorns. At this stage it’s either the comfort or the falling-out-of-love stage. Because trust me what comes next is either just routine with sparks of love here and there or just a gradual downfall of your marriage or love story or whatever.

I strongly believe in the wisdom behind the disapproval of teen love. Not because it is wrong to love but because we seek it at the wrong time with the wrong people. I have seen and witnessed enough to not believe in fantasy in the name of love. For me, life is the best teacher and the best experience. I have seen love-based marriages last only a month, I have seen couples who fought for each other for so long that you knew nothing would ever separate them yet I saw them fall out of love. I have seen the glimmer of love in the eyes die. I have seen lovers who ended up living together just as a routine yet it once started as one of the greatest love stories. Perhaps I am being a pessimist here or just that I am such an observer but I have learnt that love isn’t something to depend on entirely in your life. It dies. It ends. It gets buried. If you are lucky enough you will see the remaining sparks of it as you grow old and frail. If this is what happens to married people; people who’ve known each other inside out, people who’ve worn each other’s hearts on their sleeves then what do we expect from our immature brains and unfocused goals of life? I remember another incident of a mate who once talked to me about his girlfriend and when I told him it won’t last he said, “I hope I will still be in touch with you years from now so you see me marry her” Barely one or two years later he broke up with her and when I asked what happened he said, “Just like that…” Oh yeah…must be that he fell out of love.

Perhaps this is why I am not really a fan of writing about love or even talking about it because I know what I will say is not what you want to hear. You want to hear that it is beautiful, it is amazing, it is the best feeling in the world. You want to hear more of “happily ever after” but for me I will just tell you bluntly how much you could be wasting your energy and time on a person who won’t even look at you twice few months or even years from now. I know you want to object right now. You want to tell me of the lovers you know who are now happily married with cute children like themselves. I know you want me to bet on your life as well and that you are definitely going to be with him/her for the rest of your life. It’s fine. I know how being optimistic is important for you right now…and I won’t disagree that there are several love birds who actually married and are happy as we talk but let’s count how many they are. And when I mention love birds here I don’t mean those who fell in love and sought the right way by approaching parents, I mean those who were in a relationship or serious dating. How many of such have actually succeeded after marriage.

When that routine phase finally comes, it is when things just get cold and you barely have anything left to talk about. Sometimes it is just one partner who suffers it all. Perhaps still holding onto that teen passion that has long died in the spouse. She keeps fighting to bring back things as they were yet her energy all goes to waste. A friend of mine likes using this example about such love…it is like a wall between two people; two lovers and the wall is about to fall. Both of you need to exert pressure on the wall from both ends to make the wall stand upright once again. But here is the woman…or even the man maybe, exerting all the pressure yet the partner is not doing anything. He/she keeps pushing the wall, trying to make it upright with all her/his energy until it finally falls off on the partner’s side. Yes, it is because she was doing it single-handedly. Love is a two-way thing. He pushes She pushes. You both need to work hard to actually make it work. Yet you are here struggling so hard to make someone at least notice your sacrifices but they just never see it. This is when love becomes toxic. Because it ruins, it destroys, it makes someone lose themselves as they seek someone else. If they are not your spouse then it is definitely not worth it. Prior marriage love is most of the times either just lust or a fantasy.

When you see an old couple still finding comfort and warmth from each other then do know that they have fought battles and moved mountains to get them where they are. It takes a lot of energy, honesty, humbleness, appreciation, patience, upright manners to make two people go back to passion just when they were about to go to routine phase. Perhaps this is why you should really respect the humble beginnings of your parents too if they are still together. It is not easy to over look so many flaws from a person and still love them deeply and sincerely. So yes, true love does exist. But only at the right time and of course, with the right person.

If you are in any such fantasy about love then you need to wake up. You need to understand that love is not what you imagine at 18, that life has so many surprises yet to come. You need to understand there is something called fate, that it is okay even if it is the 21st Century, to be single. And when you are principled and attached to God then things couldn’t get any better for you. You need to know that you have to really really REALLY love yourself first before anything else. And most importantly you need and must understand that love is definitely not the purpose of our lives.