‘A love untested and unlived’, a line from the Episode 2- When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist, of the series Modern Love based on the columns of Dan Savage from the New York City, set my mind thinking! This particular episode starts with Joshua, an entrepreneur, speaking to a reporter Julie, on his dating website Fuse. During the interview, Julie asks if he had found true love since he was in the business of helping people meet their love, the sadness written all over his face had compelled her to ask this otherwise intrusive question. Joshua shares the sad tale of his lost love Emma, he had walked out on the relationship after she confessed to having had cheated on him. It had been two years to their break-up, and he had dated fun, beautiful and interesting women but ‘none of them was Emma’ he tells Julie. He had recently run into her, on the streets of New York where she was with her fiancé and they were to wed within the month.
A Love Untested And Unlived
Julie, in turn, shares her own tragic love story, which she says was ‘untested and unlived’. Julie’s love story is what my piece takes on from…
Julie and Michael meet at a bar in Paris, fall in love at first sight, and set a date to meet the following evening. The lover boy, unfortunately, loses the address, which Julie had slipped in a copy of Anna Karenina that Michael had been carrying. He doesn’t turn up for the date; she thinks she has been stood-up, this was in a time before cellphones and social media. Cut to the current time, Julie speaks of often thinking about her one-day love as she is dealing with her two kids and a failing marriage. They finally meet after seventeen years of the Paris rendezvous as Michael reads about her book release in his town and shows up for it. He has not been able to forget her either. They spend the rest of the evening together until it is time for Julie to board the morning train to New York. As they go back to their respective homes, Michael tells his wife that he wants to work on their marriage while Julie tells her husband that she wants to separate.
Julie urges Joshua to pursue Emma and see if she still cares for him, for, “not knowing will mess you up”, she says. She writes about Joshua’s love for Emma in her interview, Emma reads it; breaks up her wedding and the two lovebirds unite! But as the episode ends while we are smiling for the reunited lovers our heart goes out for the journalist’s unrequited one!
The words ‘a love untested and unlived’ flashes on the screen…
Unrequited love invokes pathos
Unrequited love invokes our pathos like none other, two people who love each other but couldn’t be together! How painfully perfect their love is in our eyes, a love we are convinced would have been the forever fairytale pretty kind! Not the compromised version of marriage that seems to be doing rounds across all social media under the guise of husband-wife jokes or infidelity stories! But here I want to talk about exactly that, a love lived and tested, the requited ones, the mundane, which follow a routine like clockwork! The ones, that weather every little, and big storm that rages when two individuals unite to make a home and a life together. The ones that have parented bright, confident and successful children, ones that have provided a secure haven to ageing seniors, ones which are ever-present with their safety nets where not just the immediate family but even extended ones crawl under, to repair and recuperate. Requited loves that have seen deaths and failures and tragedies and continued to burn the kitchen fires and sent kids to school!
Yet there are far more jokes on how bored the couples are with each other, or how resentful, or how they strike where the other hurts most. The way they take each other for granted, the way they are courteous to strangers but not to each other, or the endless power games or squabbles regarding their set of parents. And yet it is these very love which grows old together as they share each other’s reading glasses or take turns to prepare that cup of tea exactly how the other likes. Parents die, children fly the nest and these requited loves perhaps do still argue about how to spend their retirement funds but also do come to a consensus, which accommodates the interest of each, fair and square.
Expectations come from a real relationship
Yes, there are arguments because there are expectations…it comes from a real relationship!
Yes, there are lapses in the respect quotient…it willy-nilly accompanies when there is a sense of belonging.
Yes, there is boredom (the two have been there and done that thousand times over)…because a real-life of decades of togetherness is not a three-hour movie or a 12 episode fast-paced thriller!
Yes, there is a compromise; at times one carries 80% of the burden while at other times the other does… because life is never always 50-50!
Yes, the couples are as different as chalk and cheese, but because of this, the other gets to savour interests, which otherwise they would not have had!
Yes, the couples stop dressing for each other, but they can throw their un-waxed leg on them as they watch a romantic movie over Netflix at home!
A love lived and tested will have all the navrasas and the feelings and emotions that go with them from love and beauty to anger, from sorrow to laughter from disgust to Shanti… like real life does! However beautiful an unlived and untested a love may be, it is tested and lived the love of years which makes us want to open our eyes and greet the morning rays!
This article has been published in Ahmedabad Mirror.