Love and hate are indeed impossible to disentangle. Milan Kundera said, “It takes so little, so infinitely little, for a person to cross the border beyond which everything loses meaning: love, convictions, faith, history. Human life — and therein lies its secret — takes place in the immediate proximity of that border, even in direct contact with it; it is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch.”
Do you remember the time you thought everything was perfect in your life? The person you woke up next to, the morning sun from the balcony, the pancakes that you made to see the smile on your child’s face, the assignment that you cracked in record time leading to the much-coveted ‘well done’ from your boss, even the chatty session with the domestic help as you offered her some leftover tea from your pan or that soft glow on your face after the new homemade scrub or the dress that looked a little more flattering because it was one of those lean tummy days? You were proud of the little and big things that you have been a part of and helped be, home, spouse, children, work and you had wished for life to go on this way forever.
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An hour passes, the spouse wrinkles his nose over something seemingly trivial, kids decide they want to give the pancake a pass (since it is fattening), the blaring sound of the neighbour’s gruh pravesh makes it impossible to enjoy the quiet winter sun and the phone beeps with the boss bringing to your attention an important point you had missed. Just then the fermented idlis of your breakfast decide to expand inside and the help receives an emergency call, leaves for the village with the dishes undone.
Not all of these need to happen at once, or one after the other. Even a few of these in intervals can make us feel lost, faithless and a failure.
Everything that seemed perfect does not seem good enough anymore, you question your ability and even if you think you are doing your best, you despair in its (in)efficacy. You not only question your happiness, you wonder if you were truly happy just an hour ago!
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And in nothing is this polarity more pronounced and magnified as it is in our deep and closest relationships. We swing from loving them with all our heart, for the meaning and purpose they bring to our lives, to hating them for the misery they cause us by exploiting that very love; we thank them one moment for accepting the weak and the worst in us, in the next we detest them for hurting us where they know we are most vulnerable. We feel one in the security they provide, bask in its certainty and we sometimes wish that we were not chained as one because it inhibits our growth and freedom as it will inevitably do (at times). We share with them our deepest likes and dislikes and we cannot forgive them for the transgressions or indifference on those very likes and dislikes – even if it is as trivial as not buying a nose strip to manage their snoring, for there is never anything small enough to annoy or take offence at.
Very much like Kundera said, what separates us from loving or hating our closest ones (over years) is not miles but inches! And if we are like the most of us, we actually live on that edge, rather on this or that zone. Very much like our partner’s do vis-a-vis us!
As Molly Peacock said, ‘There must be room for hate in love’…