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      Volume 10 |Issue 46 | December 09, 2011 |


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The Perfect Place for Love

Aasha Mehreen Amin

Reading and watching films are probably the highest on the list of my favourite things. While many of my contemporaries look for traces of post colonial existentialism or the crisis of the globalisation era, I look for a little bit of romance in these wonderful reels and pages of escapism.


Yes it's a bit silly at my age to be in love with the idea of being in love and all that happily ever after kind of thing. I know it is highly unlikely that a rich, snotty, business tycoon will fall for and marry a naive, albeit gorgeous, sex worker - but there's no harm in a bit of fantasy to chase away the bitter taste of everyday disappointments. Admittedly, however, after each rendezvous with romance in film or novel, one cannot help but feel a little sceptical: Is this kind of love real?

If you're watching the Discovery channel lately, you will be enriched with a whole series on why people fall in love, what body types are the most attractive and why couples, even after years and years of being together, still claim to be in love.

Scientists try to say that love is just the human's animal instinct to choose the right mate to ensure robust, nice-looking children and promiscuity is the indecisiveness that sometimes creeps into the process unexpectedly.

But can science really explain this inexplicable emotional bomb called love that often defies logic and the basic instinct of self-preservation?

No, we humans have definitely complicated the simple, primal ritual of choosing a mate with absurd social add-ons to sabotage the possibility of at least a temporary stage of bliss. (Like all irrationally euphoria-inducing things, love too comes with contraindications).

Two people are deeply attracted to each other. They are young, single or simply, available, and are delusional enough to believe the other is 'the one'. The relationship could even have long-term potential. But here comes the kill joys of love - Culture and Tradition hand in hand, to always find a way to mess up even the most sickly sweet of romances. The Terrible Twins make sure that passion and adulation are maimed if not slaughtered, with a barrage of questions: Is he ready to get married? Does he have the necessary bank balance, to support a zamindari lifestyle? Is she fair, tall and comes from 'an aristocratic family'? Are they religious enough? Too religious? Wrong religion?...

The road to matrimony is not allowed to take its natural course but forced down the hapless couple's throats or in the worst circumstances, removed altogether like infected tonsils.

If all extraneous factors like family, friends and busybodies in general, approve of the match, the fellow is unnecessarily pressured into agreeing to a life decision he would have wanted to have taken on his own. The young woman feels a little less the object of desire knowing she has been part of this pressure game. Is she not good enough, she begins to wonder, for him to be dying to marry her? The seeds of disillusionment have already been planted.

For couples in this complicated game of love, the expectations of society seem to take away much of the thrill and leave behind a lot of doubt and confusion. The man may feel stifled and tells himself he still needs a few more years of singledom before entering the deep throes of the marriage dungeon. The truth, dudes, is that once you're in love, you have already unwittingly stepped into prison, your mind, body and soul has been completely invaded by the other. The object of your affection may turn out to be a raving lunatic who will cut to pieces your favourite outfits in a fit of rage because you forgot to put the cap on the toothpaste tube. But right now this is what gives you the butterflies in your stomach and turns you into an obsessive, irrational freak of a human. True, you may be totally off the mark in choosing the ideal mate biologically or socially, but that feeling of utter powerlessness when in the presence of this haloed creature is a high no hallucinogen can give.

And if you haven't had the luck to experience this excruciating, exquisite headiness – yet (there is always hope) once in your life, just go back to those yellowed pages of romantic novels and rose-tinted reels of film where love always triumphs in the end and men cry tears of joy when they get their woman.

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