In Between the lines
So, you ask what is love?
I heard it mentioned in songs, in movies with similar themes, reading books, and in my imagination while looking at the full moon sky, yet it always left me speculating.
I often mused if there was a common definition, to simplify its general understanding, but there was none. After all, how can you recount the intangible, a feeling that is but fleeting…
And then on 11 Dec 2019, I attended my parent’s golden marriage anniversary with my siblings, extended family & friends to wish them prosperity, good health, and happiness that they truly deserved.
My mother and my father got married like the majority of the people still do, with elders officiating their holy union many moons ago. It was an arranged marriage. Not much was asked, not much told, and yet an agreement was reached for families to set the nuptial ties, to bind them as one with the seven vows of ‘in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life..’
This was sans glitter…and they became a couple and one family.
50 years back, it wasn’t the boy getting his bride, for the girl inherited a family along with her husband.
My mother took her role as she had seen women before her doing it, without much ado, with grace & hard work, filling the house with warmth and care.
It was a joint family with father’s siblings, mother, and the frequent relatives that came unannounced, took meals, showered, dressed, and left onwards their destination after a pit stop at our house which was in a close proximity to the train station.
I wonder if my mother had any option to evaluate alternatives to regulate her multiple roles, as she persevered and did each one of them along side her professional duty as a teacher in a Montessori school and as a mother of 5 kids.
With all 5 of us now married and settled in different geographies trying to figure out our own life, kids, and demands of professional work that we realise the unsaid gratitude we owe for everything parents did to fix those days happy, shaping our edges by sharing knowledge from the realm of literature, sports, music, and religion to warrant the ethics stayed untainted.
After 50 years of companionship, neither said ‘I love you’ that I ever heard, the 3 words which are the instant nirvana for the ‘much-in-love-now-and-out-of-love-now’ generation. Neither did they hold hands or indulged in private outings, and their frugal romance survived and thrived.
With the failing health of my father, my mother who too is aged has transitioned her role as his carer now. She wakes with his time table and has become his rock, helping his chores with her feeble hands that often tremble with nerve pain. And yet she smiles when asked how is her day going.
Amidst the care and pain, I see their circle of togetherness expanding wider, brighter and they even hear the unsaid, when no syllable is spoken by either.
They feel content in each other’s presence, and radiate intimacy to whoever meets them.
And if you still asking, wondering what love is, well it is what you just read and perhaps missed it in between these lines.
“I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times, in life after life, in age after age forever “
- Rabindra Nath Tagore