"Do you love me?" I ask. And her reply was a double-edged sword.
The question I had asked consisted of my need for her; and whether she needed me equally as well. I posed a temporary absence, at the value of her more pressing present matters, hoping for a quick rebuttal and an assurance of her need for me. Very artfully, she conveyed both yes and no.
"Do you love me?" I begged.
And in her hesitance, I found an answer. Her spry response had everything but a yes, yet she had given me a response, and that was another answer in itself. The favourable reception to my absence slapped me on the face. It was an answer, a different kind of 'yes', but a very debilitating 'no' to the crux of my query.
"If you can see a future for yourself without me and that doesn't, like, break your heart, then we're not doing what I thought we're doing here! And, you know what? Maybe we shouldn't even be together at all!" - Eric Forman, The 70s Show
It is difficult being alone in love, and it doesn't matter whether you arrived there alone or were left behind. It hurts being left behind, being the one who stays in a love others have moved on from.
"I wish you find someone who falls in love with you faster than you do," she had said. "Someone who is ahead in the cycle of love than you, who falls in love with you first and then allows you to love them back. That way, maybe, you will get the love you want." I do not know whether it was a curse or a genuinely well-intended wish. At this point, I am unaware of whether I am in search of a love I need or I deserve. And frankly, I am too deprived to know the difference.
I do not know of the stage of love I am in, I was at my destination yet I kept on walking. A thousand days past I had a world in the palm of my hand, and now I scramble around for fractions of it. It simply vanished, gone to puff, out of my reach and beyond my realm.
"Har ishq ka ek waqt hota hai. Woh humara waqt nahi tha; par iska matlab yeh nahi ki woh ishq nahi tha." - Rishi Kapoor, Jab Tak Hai Jaan TRANSLATION: Every love has its own time. That time was not ours, but that doesn’t mean it wasn't love.
I am trying to find new love in a generation divided by sub-generations. A couple of years here and there and the entire account of love changes. There is a generation a couple of years older than me and beyond that seems to be unable to latch onto an emotional lock very necessarily required. These have either settled for something lesser or haven't settled for anything, and found a crushing desolation in both. And a batch younger than me can't fathom where I come from, and how bonds are made. All they know is fictional tales, a world of fantasy that they desire from the get-go. And here I am, yo-yo-ing between the fictional world and the real world, trying to pick and choose my chalices of poison.
I seem to find that love has moved on. Not mine, not hers, but love in general. Gone are the days when I used to write letters to my beloved. Nowadays it's someone else who does the talking, and people just hope that the second-hand emotions reach their love via playlists. Probably because an entire generation has been scarred speechless in love. They were raised by parents who didn't know how to communicate their love. And they fell in love without knowing what to communicate, and hence now choke onto their feelings in their throat.
Love has moved on. It is no longer about finding someone who dances with your angels. It is about finding someone whose name drives fear into the heart of your demons. At first, people want someone to be desperately theirs until they finally understand why people only watch the moon from afar. Yet like the moon, in all its fractions and shades, one deserves to be loved. I have no idea if the moon loves man or man loves the moon, as they've only met once. Yet the moon follows man for a thousand long miles on earth and man gazes at it agonizingly, writing it poems and phrases too pretty to be true.
Maybe that is modern love. Divided by years, stretched apart by distance, unspoken of yet not unheard of. Nobody knows what it is, yet everybody knows how they want it. For all the love searched in books and music, vested within lyrics and fiction, the reality seems to be of the notion of love at sea, and its idea thinning away to nothingness like an ancient, forgotten god. For love doesn't exist in books or the skies, nor in the songs or in the eyes. Love exists in the small gaps left when reaching out, in the minute infinities within the countable. Love is nowhere and definitely needs repair.
"Wo zamana guzar gaya kab ka, tha jo diwana mar gaya kab ka, uss ka jo haal hai wahi jaane, apna to zakhm bhar gaya kab ka." - Javed Akhtar
TRANSLATION: That era has passed on since a while, The man crazy in love has passed away since a while, What may be her state, only she must know, My wounds have healed since a while.