When I was a kid, I thought love was a bad thing. Coz love meant only one thing those days, something that happens between a boy and a girl. I mean, I didn’t know why it was a bad thing, but you know how it was portrayed. There were many things influencing that thought. First one was obviously movies, I don’t know why, but they always show lovers in a pub, always drunk and dancing like they got no care. For some reason, the protagonist or the hero as we call, always taught us, doing that was bad for society. I still don’t understand how’s it bad for the society, maybe drinking was bad for their health, but hey, he is the hero, he knows whats best for us. Then comes the social taboo. Loving someone is so wrong, its against the tradition and god will punish us for it (not to worry, in case god did forget it, we made sure to punish them ourselves). What will society say? I have no idea, coz apparently the society is our deciding authority. Then comes religion, caste, creed, status, nationality, color, gender, habits, astrology and literacy for some reason. And top of this hate chain lies The Family Name. Yes, if you love someone, even if it makes you happy, the family name will get spoilt.

Lucky for me, I started thinking on my own (a very dangerous thing to do). It took me sometime to understand love is more than, something that just happens between two people. I started to see the difference in infatuation/attraction and love. Still many don’t understand the difference between these things. Apparently, teaching us molten lava is called magma, seemed very important than teaching these differences. Love can take many forms and evolution in each person’s life. It can make us and also break us, but in all essential, that’s our driving force. I would like to share my evolution of love for few of the things.

Love For Books – Books has always been my first love. Most of the things I understand about this world and life comes from pages and pages of many books. When I hold a book in my hand, the smell of the book, the feel of the paper in my hand, always excites me. Its an experience very difficult to explain. Its like I am off to start a journey, into a new world. I could relate to each character, the things that make them happy, angry, sad, cry. For the most part of my life, books have been my constant companion. Always stirring up all the emotions inside me. Even at times, when I am not reading, I keep hoarding them up. Books have helped me, understand and accept myself.

Love For Daughter – Well, technically I don’t have a biological daughter. But I do have a daughter. It might seem confusing, let me clear it up. I met someone in the internet a few years back. We were friends in the beginning, but somehow a father-daughter bonding started forming between us. And that is how I would like to call her – my daughter. People might think this as weird creepy relationship, but I don’t care. I would always proudly say I love her. I have learnt a few things from her, now and then. She has stood up for me in ways, even I can’t stand up for myself. I might get too overwhelmed to share the bond between us. For now, all I can say is, I will always be there for her when she needs me and I love her.

Love For Friends – I am not the most perfect friend in the world. I have hurt few of them, not intentionally though. But I have always loved all of my friends from the bottom of my heart. You guys have helped me in many ways, than I could ever ask for. I might have been a little distant from all of you, some of you might not even talk back to me ever, but I want you guys to know that you have always been in my thoughts. I have this bad habit of not asking for help from anyone, perhaps I don’t know how to ask for it. But I promise you, its not my ego, it always feels awkward and uncomfortable for me to do so. I am sorry, if I have hurt any of you, I would never hurt anyone intentionally.  Its just that, lately I have been having thoughts that, I am not worthy enough to be anyone’s friend. So I kinda shut myself off from everyone. I always love all of you guys, I will always be grateful to each of you and no matter what, I will be there when any of you need me.

Love For Religion – I am an atheist. Then wondering why I have love for religion? I would recommend read the book Sapiens, to understand why religion is important for the survival of our species. Everybody thinks atheists want to prove the non-existence of god. To be honest, that’s not even in our list. We respect everyone’s right to their beliefs, but forcing us to believe in other’s beliefs and customs is where we draw the line. Religion is a very beautiful thing though. It gives so many people something to believe in, something to hold onto.

Often I am surprised to see some people’s faith and loyalty to their gods, the things they can do to prove their love for their gods. But its sad to see, taking advantage of this faith and commercializing for their own agenda. The truest faith is born out of love and not out of fear being instilled. I am sure, your gods are kind, and they only want you to be happy and not cause pain to others. Sometimes, I do some research of my own. In one such research, I was very intrigued by the concept of Dasa-Mahavidya. I am looking for resources to know the stories of each of the Mahavidya.

Love For Tradition – One of many things, that has always fascinated me is the concept of tradition. We are led to believe to protect our traditions. But tradition is something ever-changing. You cant protect everything behind it. Doing so is like holding on to something, that is not valid anymore. There is a bit of science behind few of these things, but not everything. For instance, they say don’t cut your nails after 6 in the evening. This was coz there were no lights those days, they didn’t want you to hurt yourself. Its the same reason why we were taught to light lamps in the evening. Don’t cut you hair on certain days or take a head bath only on certain days, this was actually a concept to save water, nothing more. And also on these days, the barbers would get off time. Women not being allowed in temple during their periods, is a very controversial topic. Again, there is science behind it, its not because they are impure or they are weak or they will spread something. Its a very simple concept, during menstruation, their body generates lot of heat, and the temples and idols were not strong structures. To avoid any damages to these structures and for the safety of everyone is the real reason. But still there are many things that are followed blindly. 

Tradition often comes as hindrance to progressiveness or at-least delay it. The best approach would be to take what’s suitable for that time period and push behind things that don’t make sense. There are certain things that I always don’t agree with. Why is that a woman has to take a man’s name after marriage, this practice was started to show, this woman is now this man’s property. Nobody can be anybody’s property. Why is that a woman has to go to the man’s house after marriage, why is that only she has to leave her family and friends, while men have the comfort of retaining their environment? Why should it always be house-wife, why not house-husband? There are flaws in the construct of our tradition. 

Love For Equality – We all know this a patriarchal society. There has been too much struggle to get to this point of gender neutrality. But is that enough? Definitely no. I have a problem with the word feminism. We are fighting for equal rights for women – 50-50. Tomorrow, if the ratio changes, will we start a menism movement? This has become more about which gender dominates which, the entire movement’s basis has been lost. That’s why I would prefer to use the word empowerment. Empowering, irrelevant of gender makes much more sense, at-least to me. There are communities suppressed because of their caste and whatnot, which consists of all genders, empowering them to move forward is the way to equality.

Equality is not just a fight between genders. In a true sense, nobody is equal to anyone, everyone is unique in their own way. The equality we need to fight for is to provide fair opportunities for everyone to progress further in life. To show them the way, but beyond that, it has to come down to how they take it further. Everyone is entitled to dream, and at-least try to do something about that. But we kill dreams right from the childhood, rather we cheat them of it. Let everyone dream, no matter what gender or caste or religion. I love to see people not through their religion or gender or caste or nationality, rather for who they are.

Love For Food – This a no-brainer. After all, this is one of the reason we work so hard for. I have had crazy journeys in this process of loving food. There was a time when I was in search of food on mid-night. During this search I found a small place, who serve food during nights. It was very small home, the kids were sleeping in a bed right in the front. They were kind enough to cook me some fresh food, and gave some to take with me. When eating food made with such love, it would taste divine. I am usually a lonely traveler. There were times where strangers had offered me food in their homes. But best of all. will always be getting fed by mom. She would cook hot rice and curry, she will mix it all with her own hands. Make them into perfect round balls, and when she feeds it, it would taste heavenly.

Romantic Love – When I talk about romantic love, it doesn’t only include physical intimacy. We tend to mix up romance with just physical relationship, its much more than that. I would rather look at you naked emotionally, than physically. But most of this generation finds it easy to hide behind physical intimacy than connecting emotionally. I want to know what makes you cry, what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what surprises you, what makes you angry, what do you like to eat on a rainy day, what irritates you, what embarrasses you. I want to save your embarrassing pics, not just your good ones. I want to kiss on your forehead while you are asleep. I want to hold your hands, and take a really long walk. I want to brush you hair over your ears. I want to look at the way you eyes shrink when you laugh. I want to look at you grow, emotionally and professionally. I want us to grow old together.

Love For Self – The most difficult thing you can do, is be kind to others. But even more difficult thing to do, is being kind to self. This is something I have been struggling with a lot. It very difficult to give credit to self, for even doing a small progress. There were times, I used to do a lot of experimentation to test my own limits and find myself. Trying to push myself to go beyond. Accepting me for who I am. Its as if I have lost this person somewhere. I want to be proud of myself, for still holding on. Only if it was that easy. But still with whatever strength I got, I am trying to learn to love again. Trying to learn to love myself again. To everyone going through this struggle, please don’t give up. You are not alone. You don’t have to man up, and bottle your emotions. Its ok to let them out. Its ok to be sad. Its ok to feel down. Its ok to not feel productive. Its ok to not do anything. Its ok to cry. 



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