The Different Ages of Love
by Anita Menon
Its past Valentines and I’m still not able to shake off the feeling… that mushy, tingly, happy feeling. Even after four years of my marriage and a baby, my husband still feels that he needs to surprise me on this day. He sent me a beautiful bouquet of roses and chocolates. So typical, yet so touching. Everything about this day is a cliché and love too, I feel. Yet, its such a difficult feeling to shake off, when you’re feeling it. While I was arranging those beautiful roses on my centre table, I was reminded of the rose day of my college and also the time someone gave me a rose for the very first time. All those times I felt the same tingly feeling. So is all the love same? It can’t be, can it.
Just to explore that thought, I tried to dissect the feeling in different ages, when and how I felt it. A true account of it all should be able to help me understand whether all that love at different ages was the same or not.
Love in the 10s…
I remember, I was in seventh class, a rebel and a tomboy. ( okay not exactly when I was 10 years old…) I had a group of friends who believed delivering justice on the spot. Our “targets” used to be mainly boys who misbehaved. One such boy who was in 6th class had come to annoy us a bit. He would make fun of one of our friends- a girl- in my class ( apparently, this girl used to snort whenever she laughed!! ). So once after school hours we rounded this guy up and I pulled at his collar. He just looked straight at me and I kinda felt uneasy. He then gave me a crooked smile and that made me mad and I pushed him to the floor where he skid and scraped his elbow. I turned and I left. The next week was a the sports week in our school and I used to be in the athletics group. I was practising hard and focussing on bettering my timing. Once or twice I caught this guy staring at me from his basketball practice. It felt strange to be looked at like “THAT”! It felt strange and I was angry at myself for being distracted. Our group won the athletics event and just as we were being awarded the trophies, this guy comes up to me and hands me a ROSE!! I was embarrassed, flustered, angry and PLEASED!! Why was I pleased. I hated guys.. ( not that I liked girls) and yet I kinda liked it in a weird way. I took the rose.. and rushed to collect my trophy. My friends looked at me with disgust, so just as to not annoy them, I threw the rose away in the closest bin. I looked back to see his reaction and there he was with the crooked smile on his face. After that, every time I saw him in school or the ground, I felt my heart flutter and his smile just made me all awkward and tingly. That was love..so much fun, so much curiosity, so naive, so fresh.
(He then changed schools and I never saw him again,but I still remember his crooked smile)
Love in the 20s
Background setup: A Govt. Engineering college, early morning, Mechanical engineering department, new session for the fourth year students, 150 students waiting outside to hear their names being called to get sorted according to the specialization. The peon comes with a trail of paper( 150 students.. what did you expect!!) He calls out Section A Operations X,Y,Z, . . my name’s called too and a name after that. (Now I know who’s name that was, not then). Then a tap on my shoulder, I look back, a scrawny boy , barely my height ( and I am not tall, just average), fair and inquisitive black eyes looking at me. I ask him what was the matter ( and mind you all this was a non-verbal communication). He asks me for a pen and notebook, and I hand him that( I don’t know why I had any of that spare on me..maybe it was destiny). He thanks me with a nod of his head and walks off. The next day, he comes to me after class and says he wants my notes and walks of with my book. One pencil led to another, one note led to another and we were talking, chatting and spending a lot of time together… and officially we were in love before even we knew we were in love cause the entire college had branded us being the nerd-weird couple ( nerd- me, weird- him). I remember the rose he gave me on rose day, the only one to ( nobody else would, cause I was taken) and how I preserved that rose for so many days in my books. The same tingly feeling when I waited for him to pick me up after college hours, and when we shared a vada pau together, when we selected cards for each other on Valentines, when we studied together for exams in the library. And yes, he used to sketch beautifully and he made me pose for his sketches…some breathtakingly beautiful sketches and some caricatures. I loved them all. He made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world. Sigh!! That was love, so mushy , so like in the movies, so transient, so volatile.
(But it ended in a bitter note, so bitter that at times it feels like a mistake)
Love in the 30s
My 5 month old daughter smiles her toothless smile and I forget my tiff with my husband. She resembles my husband. Her nose, her cheeks, her eyes, everything says she is her daddy’s girl. We have been fighting a lot these days which only goes to say how much we miss each other. He is out of the country for some work and am at home desperately wishing him to come back soon. We met at a party, got around talking and the first thing I notice about him is “O! God. He has such a big nose!” But the big nosed guy swept me off my feet and we got married. Everything was so fast that we didn’t even realize we were in love cause before that, we realized we were perfect for each other. Guided by our intuition that this will work,we embarked on this lovely, beautiful, tumultuous at times, fun journey together. Its been tough and at times but there were more highs than lows. Every morning when he plants a kiss on the nape of my neck while I cook in the kitchen, I realize and thank my stars for such a wonderful life. With the birth of my daughter, its picture perfect. I feel that we kept falling more for each other every single day. More on some day than others! This is love.. so stable, so lasting, so much like I want it.
( Four years and going, I wish that the stars bless us and keep the love forever)
So this has been my journey from a rose to a pose and finally ending with the nose. I always believed in love but the belief kept changing from time to time. Maybe the different people in my life made it seem different but the core, the essence remains the same. The good old LOVE.
This has been my experience with love, do let me know how your journey started and how love has evolved for you.