Love, Life and Ever-After

I was watching a movie over the weekend — Definitely, Maybe — and this got me thinking about love, life and the ever-after. I think that movies feed us this reel about ever-lasting love, and for some reason we buy what they sell us. Each of us, at some point of time, imagine that there is that special someone out there for us who shall shelter us and protect us from the “big bad world” outside. That special someone who is “the one” destined to be with us for ever-after. It does not matter how many relationships we may have been through, or how many kids we may have had or how many bad marriages we may have suffered, in the end, if you settle down with “the one”, then you are golden. In the film referenced above, the main character bounces between three women, all of whom he has loved at some point of time, but only one of whom he “truly” loves. Finally, while narrating the love story to his daughter, he confronts his true feelings, thereby attesting to himself that he truly loved girl no. 2, and then…well…you can fill in the rest. While these movies make us feel nice and gooey inside (and believe me, this one definitely did, especially because of the cute daughter track), I am not too sure that these situations are even close to the truth. Life, I believe, is far more complicated than these stories make them out to be.

Some guy I know got married recently. This was an old-fashioned arranged marriage, and while the guy seemed to take things in his stride, I was told that before he got married he was seeing someone else, and these two did not make it for some frivolous reason. During his marriage ceremony, the guy was apparently having second thoughts and was not too sure that he is doing the right thing. The memories of his ex surfaced with previously unwitnessed vigor, reducing him to a helpless pile of blubber, who could do little but chant out the name of his ex who so tormented his soul, while completely forgetting the responsibility that he shouldered toward the girl he had accepted to marry and to his (not to mention her) family. While everything seemingly turned out fine in the end, the tale made me wonder about what this beast “love” truly is, and why is it that people turn into balls of mush when confronted with heartbreak.

Nope, I do not have an answer to that question. But what I do have an answer to is the question, what is the true hallmark of a man? Is one who sacrifices everything for true love to be regarded as the epitome of human evolution? After all, is that not what films have told us? Find the one you love, forget the world, and you shall be happy? Humbug, I tell ya. Pure humbug. All of the happiness will vanish into thin air when confronted with the world’s rigor. The tales of walking to the ends of earth to satisfy the one you love are just that — tales. Try doing it in real life and see where it takes you! I am not of the opinion that going out of your way for the one you love is foolishness. However, forgetting that you have a responsibility to more than that single person makes you less of a man. What truly makes a man, what truly defines his personality is his character. When I was young I was taught an adage, “When Wealth is lost, Nothing is lost; When Health is lost, Something is lost; But when Character is lost, Everything is lost.” While the meaning of the adage was lost in the rote memorization, its true meaning is making itself clearer to me with every passing day.

A man is defined by his character and his principles. Without these, he is nothing. If the man violates his principles in order to selfishly acquire something or someone, then in my eye he is no man at all. People who sacrifice their families for the sake of love are cowards. If one had the guts to stand by his or her decision, I am sure the support would have made its way through somehow or the other. If one leaves the family for a girl, then he is afraid of the decision that he has taken. Similarly, when one leaves the one he loves for frivolous reasons, then he is again afraid od the decision, and societies opinion of it. Conviction to stand by one’s decisions define one’s character. In the case of the example above, the guy already lost points by failing to stand by his love, and then further lost points after thinking about holding up his word to the girl he was to marry (and to her family). If one make a commitment, then one stands by it — no matter what. Distance, time, money, physical attraction and their ilk should not deter the true human.

There is this girl I know who was in a relationship for close to five years. The guy decided to go abroad for higher education, and while he was away, the chick cheated on him. Worse, she held back from him that she was cheating on him for over two months before all of it came spilling out. Now what does this say about the girl and her character? If she had truly loved the guy then would she not have conquered the attractions that are bound to manifest when one is working in close quarters with members of the opposite sex? The very fact that she was ready to cave is indicative of the lack of principles. When morals take a back seat, one loses the essence of what it truly is to be a man. Morals, ethics and characters are only tested when the going gets rough, and if one is unable to hold these up in a storm, “true” love means nothing.

On the flip side, I have this other example. This girl has been in a relationship with a guy who is not from the same caste as her for sometime now. Both of them came their separate ways to the US, and she valiantly fought for him with her parents. But here is where the story is one of true guts. In order to prove to her parents that she was sure of her decision, the guy and her did not meet; indeed, they did not even converse with each other for many years, until she finally managed to convince her parents that she had taken the right decision. This is what real steel is made of. If one has this strength of character, than immaterial of whom you are with, you are a hero to me. To all those who spend their lives looking for “the one” — try and find the one with this strength of character, and believe me, he/she will be better than “the one”. And if you have already found such a person, do not let him/her slip by your fingers — remember your character needs steeling too. These people come across only once-in-a-while. These are the “true” men — men of character, principles and substance.