Valentine’s Day – the day of love, is around the corner. I got a whiff of it when I crossed the hard-to-miss Archies showroom, all decked up in vibrant hues of pinks and reds, while I lugged along huge packets of grocery from the nearby Big Bazaar store. Between saving the carton of eggs from getting cracked, and balancing the squeaky shopping cart, I caught a glimpse of a humongous red heart on the glass door of the shop, strewn with little notes for ‘special someone’s’ from their secret admirers. “This day is meant only for budding college romances that are yet to experience deeper, real hues of love!” says mother, while I try to suppress my smile. Although, I must admit that I wholeheartedly agree with her.
The paradigms of love change as we mature. It almost always begins as heady, passionate urges of spontaneity, and gradually evolves to a steady, comforting companionship. One begins to accept that there will be days when love will lose its shimmer, and become as dull as any household chore. In those times, love will still be very much there, however, it would require vigorous polishing and scrubbing to come to surface. Love would also require distancing, just as it will need togetherness for it to bloom.
The right kind of love will bring comfort in holding hands on certain days, and necessitate untangling as well on some days, and make it important to relish a solitary walk alone. The red in love is not only passion, but it also symbolises the redness of a bruise, which occurs on rupturing of capillaries. Ironically, the only way to heal this kind of a bruise is an extra dose of love. Love is a tumultuous journey, but what matters in the end is, finding way through the rocky road together – in the same car. It is not perfect, but it can be perfected over years of patience, understanding and care.
I see love around me. I see it in the yellowing decade-old bills addressed to my deceased grandfather, painfully saved by my dementia-ridden grandmother. I see it in the morning bedside tea my in-laws religiously share. I see it in the treasured family pictures my parents have gotten framed and displayed all over the house. I see it in my husband who makes an effort to ask me how my day went, despite having had a rough day himself. I would like to believe that this love, which slowly graduates from being a mere gift exchanging and candle light dining kind to no-frills and fancies kind, lasts much longer.
However, despite my cynicism, I have to admit that St Valentine’s Day serves purpose in reminding me of all the pure, unadulterated form of tenderness.
The heart I now know is not a humongous, perfect one; in fact it is tattered, bears stitches at certain places, chaotic; but it continues to throb with life in all its magnificence, nudging us every now and then, to remember that it is love and only love, which makes us feel alive!
(The writer is an educationist from Chandigarh)