“What Reading about Love Teaches Us” – (what we’ve learned from the stories you’ve submitted)

BLOG,Love and Heartbreak August 21, 2011 22:44

by PenTales Pundit Aswini Sivaraman

Have you ever done a Wiki search on “Love”? I did one a few years ago. It wasn’t a very lengthy article then. And it’s definitely not the same as it is now. I know that for a fact because apart from being bored enough (and as somebody thoughtfully pointed out, lonely enough) to actually search for it, I made a blog post out of it. And a simple comparison of the content then to what there is now told me that it has changed a lot. (Not to mention some very, ahem, interesting pictures that have been tastefully added to give you a visual idea of love, in case you missed the point.) As of writing this piece, the article had been modified by somebody a couple of hours earlier.

My point is that some definitions, for some reason, demand constant revisitations. And what the complete transformation of the article means (even if I am being poetic about it) is that we are still struggling to explain it to our satisfaction and this explanation witnesses constant change. And with the number of types of love available (as is evidenced by the sophisticated classifications in the Wikipedia entry), the process can get quite overwhelming.

Our stories on “Love and Heartbreak” this week touch upon some of these classifications. “Truth(s)” by Jeanny Gering talks of a love that is forbidden by age and by relationship. And it makes you wonder who put down rules for legitimate love anyway? Can we embrace a love that takes us by surprise? Do we have the strength to fight it or fight for it?

That said, every kind of love needs its own doctoring to stay balanced. I read Thomas Moffet’s epistolary “Thank You” as an instance of the switch in the discourse of love and gender. Here is a man whose vulnerability in love is made evident right at the start (for most love stories have the macho male admitting it only in the end). Every person needs a small push in love, a tiny reassurance, or perhaps just a shoulder or a listening ear

There’s one anomaly about love that stands out because of its constancy. And it’s that, somehow, there is only one type of love that is associated with heartbreak. The thing about our stories on “Love and Heartbreak” is that this heartbreak doesn’t take the form of the dramatic, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking outburst that we may have come across earlier. Elena’s story “I Almost Didn’t Go to the Station” perhaps illustrates best what I am trying to say. This is a simple but eloquent story on growing up and growing out of love and the heartbreak that accompanies it. Elena’s narrator starts out as a strong, resilient character. But her growing excitement at the return of an old lover she thought she had gotten over betrays her. This reunion is a bitter surprise, and her reaction to it is perhaps worse than the first heartbreak she experienced

Heartbreaks seem to have an air around them, don’t they? Of a pain that imparts maturity, as though preventing them from happening or getting over one makes you worldly-wise. A heartbreak is probably the worst thing you can get out of a relationship. As Maham sums it up in her rendition of “What it is to be Numb,” “I am just so scared of loss. There’s probably nothing I wish to gain.” Is that what we want a relationship to boil down to?

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