Taxonomy of Love

What is love? A working definition could be love is something more than attachment. If you don’t like my definition, you would at least agree with mathematician G.H Hardy who said that “we may not know quite what we mean by a beautiful poem [love], but that does not prevent us from recognizing one when we read [see] it”. Once preliminaries are out of our way, I would list down my classification of various types of love seen around us -

  • Casual Love: It can be in the form of what people say to be infatuation/crush/puppy love. Or it can be a one-night stand. You get as easily infected as you get over it. Despite its short shell life, it can sometimes start with a thunderbolt and leave a lasting trace.
  • Domestic Love: Love that you take for granted. This guaranteed stability is its cause for salvation as well as its downfall. You would go all around the world looking for love ignoring it completely. But each time you return disappointed, domestic love would be always there waiting for you with its open arms, just like home. This is the most undervalued, underrated love.
  • Solitary Love: Love that is best enjoyed without nobody’s company, all alone in the seclusion. Of course, narcissism is included in this category but I am sure you are not thinking about it. It is popularly believed that males are the sole practitioner of this ignominious love. But there are beauties who have discovered it for their private pleasure. Once you taste the fruits of the labor, it is difficult to let go off it even for married ones. It is a great stress-reliever and you can have whenever you feel like, subject to only time and space constraint. For novices, it provides first opportunity to explore themselves.
  • Bedroom Love: Many would vehemently keep enough distance between the words love and sex. There is not any if we we are talking about bedroom love. Now again many of us would say what one does which involves above the waist is spiritual love and the one which involves below the waist is physical love. Why there is so much reluctance to accept the divinity and purity of the orgasmic pleasure one gets during copulation? Accept it and enjoy it without any guilt! It is not for nothing that Pagans believed that it is a means of enlightenment.
    Okay, I think a clarification is in order. The whole one-night stand affair is casual love but what you do during the night is bedroom love.
  • Unrequited Love: Love that is tragic and comic at the same time. You would be pledging your love to be pure (read not associated with sexual desire) in front of their photographs and dreaming to make them your life partner, but the other doesn’t even get to know that you exist. Or worse, they know everything about your love, but they don’t care about it or they pretend so. If you are wasting your time playing the waiting game, it means you believe it is the latter. Don’t do that. Instead follow tenth commandment of Osho: do not search; that which is, is; stop and see. This is the most despicable love. Avoid it at all costs and move on to a different love as soon as possible.
  • Perfect Love: Love that is told to be eternal, absolute and unconditional. Almost always it is supposed to be love-at-first-sight with a zing factor. In other words, once you see it, you can never miss it. It is often believed that it is spontaneous; you don’t need to put any effort as it will come looking for you on its own. Sadly you rarely experience it and if you do, it doesn’t last for more than a few moments. Every relationship has those perfect moments of triumph over banality. And nostalgia makes you feel you only had such moments in your past. If you are wise enough to resist nostalgia, then you would find yourself lured by the red roses and chocolates, walk during rains or full-moon nights, a world painted by the romantic songs, movies and novels. All of them are bent on making you believe the magic is for real. At the end of the day, they are a substitute for reality which help you to indulge in what is called vicarious love.
  • Vicarious Love: Love that is derived, the love you experience second-hand either in romantic novels or movies. You can’t brush aside its seriousness just because it’s imaginary.

(Acknowledgement: Inspiration goes to Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the time of cholera, and all of my past and present loved ones)

Just one step at a time

It was thrown into water
but there was no splash.
It shattered into pieces
but there was no sound.

I expected a cry or a sob.
But no, there was just
silence that wanted to
embrace with its cold arms.

You are supposed to dream,
that’s what they said.
And do dream big,
that’s what they told.

But what to do when
stars sink to bottom?
When they are in free
fall without an end?

No, you don’t have the
heart to ask the mortals,
with corroded innocence,
to build castles again.

Why don’t we leave
the romanticism for
only the naive who are
on the door-sill?

Just look neither too far
ahead into rosy future
nor too behind into
your nostalgic past.

Mortals ought not to
etch long straight lines on
the incomprehensible,
divine canvas.

A recipe to deal with trauma

Don’t spit it out!
As they often say
Don’t spoil the vacuum!
As they always do.

In a tiny corner
of your heart,
put it there,
precise and cold.

Store this also away
from world’s gaze,
from their want
of entertainment.

Bear it alone,
not because it’s
a secret to be
shared with none.

Observe in dark,
not because it’s
your moment which
tingles you there.

No, not at all.
Because otherwise
you will go through
it more than once.

Each time more
vivid than before.
Each time more
distant than before.

So, leave it there
to be beaten hard,
wait for it to get
dried under the sun.

Then just snap
it into two.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 850 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Singapore: A walk down memory lane

As I stretched myself or rather parts of me out of the window to get a better view of the surrounding outside, I ended up with my body hanging oddly on either sides of the window and my abdomen on the window-sill. While I was staring right downwards towards the ground, the rain suddenly started. It caught me unawared, unprepared.

I have been a mover throughout my life. The list of cities of which I have been an inhabitant is pretty long–Bhuj, Chandigarh, Tezpur, Gwalior, Bokaro Steel City, Mohanpur/Kolkata, Ghaziabad/Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and now Singapore. (Yes, I know Singapore is not a city, it’s a nation. But it doesn’t feel like one.) These places offered distinct aroma as I passed by them at different points in my life, and they influenced me variedly. Each one of them had its own unique character. But somehow they all seem to unite when it rains. As if the rain washes down all the peripherals–location, language, buildings, trees and birds around. And each one of them, I have found, stands naked.

During my stay in Singapore, countless times I was asked, “How is Singapore? Do you like it?” In response, I usually just mumbled some words.

The very first glimpse of Singapore I got was when I peered through the airplane window. It must be three in the morning according to local time. As the captain maneuvered the flight to get it in the right position for landing, I saw the peninsula’s extended arms and legs fighting with the extent of the nightly water. Just one mistake from the captain, and the sea waited for us. Amid the dark, ghostly sea, the living city held the beacon of assurance. The civilization dazzled with bright lights of varied hues. I have not witnessed a better testimony of mankind’s skills and abilities. Stargazers complain cities produce light pollution. Allow me to tell you otherwise. They stare into the wrong direction. They should look for stars on the earth, not above.

Changi airport didn’t attract me much. No, don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t fail to rise to the expectation of an airport belonging to a developed country. However, Delhi T-3 airport is also fantastic. So, Changi had its own glamour but I was more curious to see outside, lest it was just an illusion like the one at T-3. As soon as one leaves T-3, one finds the Bharat waiting for you. The first feeling that hit me as I came out of it at dawn was of amazement. Tip-top roads with ultra-sensual and courteous cars (They wait patiently for the pedestrian to cross the road first. On many a occasion, I felt not much comfortable in making luxurious cars wait for me and I waved my hand asking them to pass by. But they insisted on me crossing the road first.) zooming past. Skyscrapers which gives you neck-ache if you try to see its highest level. All structures oozed out efficiency and decorum. I found Singapore exactly as foreign countries are shown in the Bollywood.

Singapore is a place where you can get anything  you want. They don’t produce much but they have the money to import anything you wish. (I bought imported Indian red onions there. ) Not only goods, it looks like they imported even the famous tourist spots of the world. There you can emulate the experience of visiting places all over the world. You just name any place, and they would definitely have a place that looks like that. If you want to just sit around and chat in the European eateries which have their tables placed outside on the cobble-street, go to Holland Village (The streets are not cobbled, but you won’t miss it much.). If you want to dine in the restaurants facing sea, just like Venice, then Riverside and Boat Quay would cater to your needs. If you want to enjoy American amusement parks, go to any of the numerous parks of Sentosa Island. If you want to soak in the ambiance of the Hawaiian beach, go to the beaches of Sentosa Island. If you want to experience what it feels like to be in the corporate area of the Wall Street, Raffles is the place for you. Since, Singapore has a sizable Chinese population, you can’t miss China Town, which attracts souvenir-hunters looking for not-so-costly gifts for their distant relatives. And if you start feeling nostalgic amidst all these explorations, go to Little India and have some Indian food. You would find flowers being sold outside temple (yes, there is one) with Tamil devotional songs playing in the background. That was the only place there where I found scant regards was being given to hygiene. It did look like Bharat-effect.

The downside is I didn’t find many things which were uniquely Singaporean; unless you say that trait is Singaporean.

So, how do you define the identity of a Singaporean citizen? For me, Singaporean culture is defined as something that evolves in a place where you put together Tamil, Malay and Chinese. (The official languages are Tamil, Mandarin, Malay and English).  This does give a cosmopolitan face to it. I think the unique feature is perhaps it is the only English-speaking Asian developed country. (Yes, they don’t need to give TOEFL exam).  Moreover, you would find them to be friendly if they are not busy with their smart phones, which is rare. (Okay, now there was this man who appeared too-friendly. His sole occupation seems to chat with Indian students at the Indian eatery whoever came within his range. He seemed quite good at befriending them and making them comfortable in a short span of time. I heard many a students pouring out their life’s goal and ambition while they chatted with him.)

The downpour had stopped by the time, I came out of the stupor. I didn’t realise I had got myself completely drenched by then. That was my last day in Singapore. And I had a lot of packing to be done. I hurried through my to-do list and I went for the lunch.

By evening, more or less I was done with most of my things. But there was a growing sense of dread within me. Wasn’t I suppose to feel elated at the prospect of going back to home? I double checked my to-do list. I didn’t find anything I was missing. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling quite uneasy.  This increased  to its peak with the jolt I received at the moment when my flight’s wheels left the Singapore ground. Then I understood. More than forgetting my stuff, I was afraid that I might have missed out some place there. Or I might have missed exploring some facet of Singapore. Idiot me! Of course, no matter what I would miss the whole place.

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