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This week: One Situation, Many Types of LoveEdited by: Thankful Sonali WDC POWER!
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My friend and I went on a day trip by train.
The return journey, and subsequent re-tellings of it to various folks, made me think of the different types of 'love' in action.
To understand what follows, you must first know the background. The background is -- my current obsession with pictorial post-marks. What's a pictorial post-mark? Well, you know when you use a stamp on a snail-mail letter, the post-office where you mail it cancels it so it can't be reused. This cancellation mark gives the name of the post office and the date.
In India, there are 205 post offices which have an additional feature to this cancellation mark. That is, a picture. The picture of a famous site in the region. So, for example, if you visit the Agra post office and ask for a pictorial cancellation, you'll get one depicting the Taj Mahal.
In my city, Bangalore, a visit to the General Post Office with a request for a special post-mark gets you this.
The cancellation mark shows Vidhana Soudha -- Parliament House, Bangalore.
The adjacent city, Mysore, has three post-offices with special post marks, and my friend and I went on a day trip by train to get these. We were successful, and then visited a friend who lives in Mysore -- where, what with one thing and another (like the temporary disappearance of a phone charger) -- we caught the return train with a minute to spare.
We didn't bother looking for our reserved compartment, we simply jumped on the train as soon as we got on the platform. Then, we had to run for it. We had to run to our reserved compartment. If we didn't get there soon enough, the ticket inspector would assume a no show and give our seats to someone on the waiting list.
So we ran. Backpacks on backs, hand-baggage in hand, we made a dash for it across the crowded train. We went in the wrong direction for a good way, misguided by a well-intentioned but ill-informed passenger, and had to turn and cover the ground we'd already run and quite a bit of the length of the train after that. The next station had arrived by the time we reached our compartment. We'd been running, on board the train, for the distance from one station to the next!
It makes a good story to tell, after it's over.
But this is a Romance / Love newsletter, and, to paraphrase Tina Turner, what's love got to do with this? Well, I was thinking about this newsletter, and this incident had taken place, and I wondered ... can I use the incident to analyse different types of love in a situation? I thought I could, so here's my attempt.
1. The love in friendship.
My friend Buvana isn't interested in post-marks. She comes on these trips with me to take care of me, because my eyesight is weak. She enjoys the trips, but her primary objective is to make sure I can achieve what I want to. This, to me, shows the deep love a friend can have for a friend. Even as we were running up, and then down that train, and arguing vehemently about whose fault what was (the mobile charger, the carelessness about time), she was minding out that I didn't trip and fall!
2. The love of a daughter.
Ha ha! Not sure if you'd call this 'love', but since I'm the daughter in question, I shall. I decided not to tell Dad anything of the misadventure until we were safely back home and he couldn't worry! Yup. I love him, and I wanted to protect him from anxiety.
This also means I need to add 'the love of a father' here, because he loves me enough to worry about me!
3. The love of spouses.
Once, on our dash back down the train, we stopped for a couple of minutes to rest. During that time, Buvana called her husband and gasped out the story to him. She needed his comfort. He freaked out! He yelled 'how did this happen?' and 'Whatever you do, don't try getting off the train and on again. Just stay ON it.' At that time, i was too tired to think much of the exchange, but now, looking back -- how much she needed him, how well he knew what she might try to do, how they were comforted just talking to each other, even if it was to scold or be scolded!
4. The love of strangers.
When we found that empty seat and I sat down for the rest, the lady next to me patted me and said, 'Ah take it easy, take it easy'. It felt good. I think, deep down, all human beings can empathize with each other, and many times, they do. This is the love that people show, simply and naturally, for someone going through difficulties -- even when the someone is a stranger.
Well, there we have it. An adventure, culminating in some love!
Hope you enjoyed the newsletter!
Thanks for listening,
PS: If you're wondering why I didn't write about 'romance' in a newsletter that's going to be current on Valentine's Day, click "Being Single on St. Valentine's Day"
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Thank you for the responses to "The Love of a Crowd"
Kalai Thanks for sharing an issue that has been persistently existing in our Indian society. When I think about the struggle I went through during the first four years of my married life, it has refined me, my thoughts and taught me to respect another human being equally. Live and let live others is what I learned.
Monty Three cases that are sad situations. My mother in law lived with me for 18 years. Her husband had died before I married her daughter. She was always a great help, so I hope some others get along with their in-laws.
Fivesixer I just finished a book of essays by Scaachi Koul, One Day We'll All Be Dead and None Of This Will Matter, which explains some of the marriage customs in India in a couple of the chapters. I learned a lot from it!
I read your article and it is simply stating what's on your mind. Liked how your writing is conversation-like. Keep writing. My best wishes to you.
As far as the subject goes, in my opinion, in India, it's never the couple alone in 'we' but two families. It's not lack of love for in-laws or their affection for their daughter-in-law that causes the friction, but lack of easy-going acceptance for people around you along with the "What will others say? This isn't how it's done in society/our family/our part of the world/our culture, etc" thought process.
Over the years, I have seen people change along these lines the moment they become in-laws; as if along with the bride and groom circumambulating the sacred fire vowing to be there for each other, the hearts of the in-laws (please read: both sets of parents) also go through the fire and mould into the kind of people society thinks they should be as in-laws. They start spouting what is acceptable and what isn't; forgetting what as young people, they dreamt of and what they wished to change in society and instead of being the change now that they can, they follow the pack. And, since acceptance is missing on all sides, there is an equal and opposite reaction leading to the friction, which is usually kept well-hidden under layers of good conscience but sometimes erupts into an ugly volcanic eruption burning all sides involved, leaving them scarred for life.
Let me know if you agree or differ.
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