With the Valentine’s week over, many of you would have expressed love and affection to your loved ones. Around the world, probably millions of flowers, cards and chocolates tagged with emotional sentiments and messages were exchanged. While romance briefly hung in the air during the entire weekend, it made me wonder – does true love really exist? A gift or two from my life partner would’ve certainly cheered me up too, but I am used to his nonchalant way of expression. Or perhaps a survey rightly confirms the fact that people tend to spend lesser on gifts as their relationship gets older. Also, that made me wonder do all relations believe in a give and take equation. Would I have loved my husband more if he had given me a gift? Is there is anything called unconditional love or is it a myth? Read on further before you arrive at any conclusion.
When I started writing this post, it was the Valentine’s week and then suddenly things took a turn. Between this and that, all this love and romance seemed so petty and insignificant to write about when I saw the pandemonium going on in our country – India. Sitting here in Dubai, I felt helpless on seeing the respected Maj Gen. GD Bakshi weeping over a discussion on the national flag in the very popular Newshour debate and I was ashamed and enraged at the same time over the crass attitude of our ‘own people’. Today such a day has arrived that we discuss whether our own national flag should be hoisted or not while the soldiers on the borders for years have laid their last without even thinking twice. As the respected Major rightly said that the flag is not a tattered piece of silk but a symbol of supreme sacrifice to them – the soldiers. Do we all citizens of the India have the same love for our nation? Today I doubt it. It is sad to see the state of a nation which can do wonders with good leadership and is instead torn apart by its own nationals & anti-nationals, partisans and presstitutes and more. But then it’s a waste of time writing about these partisans and the presstitutes, so let’s focus on the love that our patriots have for our nation. The willingness to sacrifice their lives, the willingness to breathe their last knowing that their life was meant to be sacrificed for the safety, welfare and honour of its nation. We, the protected ones, will truly not realise their depth of love, nor shall we ever be able to make the sacrifices or undertake the challenges they face as soldiers. The love of these soldiers for their nation is of the highest order. This is what I call unconditional love. My salute to them.
|We live by chance, we love by choice, we kill by profession – Officers Training Academy, Chennai|
I don’t need to define what unconditional love is. But even so for those of you who are ignorant or rather for the sake of clarity, the dictionary defines unconditional love as affection without any limitations or conditions.
All the religions around the world share the same belief that God’s love for his people is unconditional since God will always love us irrespective of our love for him. I can’t say the same about our love for God. We say special prayers before our exams or exam results. We pray saying that “God, give me what I want, and I shall do this in return.” When you make your prayers conditional there is no unconditional love. Keeping religion aside, let’s talk about the love that exists on this planet.
Unconditional love does exist amongst animals and its a scientifically proven fact. Have you ever wondered why the wolves look at the moon and keep howling? It’s because they miss their pack members. The elephants, who are considered to be the most emotional creatures of the animal kingdom, often die of broken hearts due to the death of their dear ones and are known to bury their loved ones under foliage. For those of you who own dogs would certainly agree that your yawn is responded by your pet dog, which indicates their bonding with you – the owner. The yawns are an indication of their adoration for their owners. These animals don’t demand anything but love from us. In fact, even after you stop caring for it, it will continue to love you. Their love is pure and unconditional.
If animals are capable of such great acts of love, why that warmth and connection goes missing amongst us – human beings. I believe it is because of human nature. We have expectations, even from our dear and near ones. We believe in reciprocity in all our relations and when we don’t get it back we are frustrated. Also, we all are under the delusion that we deserve unconditional love. But we ourselves don’t practice it. We also need to care, to give, to love selflessly. You give love, you get love. Then, in this case, love is conditional. Probably unconditional love is a myth.
Let’s talk about love and human relations.
I believe there is a ‘give and take’ equation in every other relation that exists on this earth, be it with your friends, relatives, colleagues or neighbours. As a child when I celebrated birthdays, I expected gifts from my friends and my friends expected ‘return’ gifts. In school, our class teachers expected excellent academic results from us in return for their hard work, and we, as students expected praise and encouragement from our teachers. As I grew up, I made more friends and when I helped them I was happy but I too expected favours in return and if it wasn’t returned I was unhappy. I am sure many of you must have felt it the same way. Our neighbours generously help us when we are in trouble but they too expect us to return the favour.
Marriage changes many life equations for with it comes new relations and unknown variables. As a wife, I accepted my husband’s family, friends and relatives. I didn’t marry my husband for his looks or finances or for a secured life thereafter. I married him because he is a good human being. I knew that if he is a good human being then the rest didn’t matter. But all said and done, marriage is a relation which involves give and give and give, and even after our death it will be said ‘she didn’t give enough’…that’s when I feel then when you take away ‘take’ from the equation, you tend to give more and that results in demands and you are taken for granted.
Also, it can be often daunting and taxing on your emotional well being when you have a lot of expectations in your relation. To carry on as a happy or a lovey-dovey couple is not easy. It requires a fair amount of sacrifice, understanding, trust and patience from both the sides. There have been times when we couple have had fought and yelled at each other but then we do try to talk and resolve our issues calmly too. You must have read my last post on ‘My Recipe for a Happy Marriage‘, if you haven’t then please do so before proceeding for that will surely help you understand that marriage is an equation that can be solved using the known variables such as love, understanding, kindness and so on, and that there are some unknown variables too over which you have no control but that makes the relation all the more interesting.
I don’t say then that I have mastered unconditional love for there have been times when it becomes difficult for me to forgive my husband for his deeds or criticism. However, I have realized that holding onto the grudges for a long time will only harm yourself in the long run and will ruin the relation. Situations may change, circumstances may change, but I will continue to love my husband through thick and thin, without any demands or expectations. Rightly said by Mignon Mclaughlin, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
The best part of being in love is when you become a mother. Motherhood teaches you many lessons and the best one learnt is unconditional love. It took me so many years to reach this stage of my life that made me realize what unconditional and pure love is. It is then I realized the depth of my own mother’s love. It made me realize that behind all her anger or scoldings lied an immense treasure of unconditional love that is beyond any comparison.
However, I don’t deny the fact that unconditional love may exist in other relations too. And if you experience it then you are really lucky for this very life is conditional. If you don’t eat, drink or sleep then life too will cease to exist. Hence, do acknowledge the love (conditional or unconditional) that you have received in your life and be grateful for it.
A few lines from my pondering pen:
Do you think or feel the same as I have penned down here. Do share your views.