“What is love?” One of the most difficult, mysterious and overwhelming questions that has intrigued many not just for years or decades, but from the time man’s existence can be traced to.
What could love possibly mean in the Paleolithic age when we were living in rock caves and discovering fire? A deal to share food and protection ? A compromise to not usurp each others’ habitation ? Or a realisation that another being of the same species is required for survival altogether and that man could not withstand this dangerous untamed world on his own? We cannot travel back in time to study the psychologies of nomadic man then, but one thing is for sure, in whatever means possible, prehistoric nomadic man had signaled love did exist very much even in such a menacing age. Take for instance, cave paintings depicting men fighting a horde of animals, to protect a weaker group which stands behind them. This itself shows the heights that man could go to, as far as sacrificing their own lives, for their loved ones. Fossils discovered have the entire body parts of many prehistoric men,even after 3000 years, which could depict the love with which they were put to their final rest when they died, with so many protective methodologies, pretty analogous to the way a mother puts her child to sleep every night, wrapping her baby up safely in a blanket.
Then when man started to civilize, and the initial bonds of family began to be realized, love implied living together in melancholy. Man realized that one had to work to earn, and the sole purpose of his earnings was to fend for his kinsfolk. A trust was to be built between two, to enable one to go out and do the physically more restraining work while the other had to stay back and keep the other yet weaker ones safe. The same trust that the one outside would return home at the end of the day and the one at home would wait for the other, later developed into marital bonds.
History has from then seen eternal love stories. The people themselves died. But the belief that one could give one’s life entirely to another was strengthened more and more by each. The world remembers them till today, even though it has taken its time to accept the entire concept of love.
Napolean, for instance, divorced his first wife early after a prolonged turbulence in their married life, but yet is said to have uttered her name as his last word. Shah Jahan was so grief stricken by the demise of his wife, that he built a reminiscent of her , so grand, that even after so many years of his death, the entire world is still reminded of her. Roman mythology says about a Pyramus and Thisbe ,inspired from whom Shakespeare is said to have written the very famous Romeo and Juliet. Greek mythology speaks of an Ortheus who was ready to go to the land of the dead and bring back his wife.
But then, the question still remains unanswered. What is love? Can love at first sight truly happen? When do you realize that you have reached that point in a relationship to tag it as love? Many scholars have written down their views in the due course of history.But yet, we remain confused.
Love is not doing somebody’s work for him. It is not gifts, or expensive rings. Love does not mean that you stop being yourself and solely follow what someone instructs you to do. Love does not guarantee no fights and misunderstandings. Love is neither pure nor impure. It cannot be restricted to dates, kismet connections or zodiac signs. If we are not sure of our fate in the next 5 minutes, how can we be so sure of loving somebody? It is very different from a crush or an addiction. Because love cannot be an obsession which lasts only for a span of time, after which you obsess about something else. It is not necessary you love a person you liked from the beginning itself. Otherwise how would the “opposites-attract” philosophy come into play considering we generally flock with those who are similar to us. Love is neither short nor long distance. It may be “unrequited”, “two-sided” or even multi-sided ,as in the case of many polygon-ish comparisons we make nowadays to relations. Love cannot be equated to lust. It is neither cheesy nor flirtatious. Love never ends.
The only thing that we know for sure about love is that it is unconditional. You cannot love somebody because of something. It is certainly stupid to ask “Why do you love me?”. Smart answers may impress you, but will not make one love you. Love is also a promise. A promise that no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you shall come back to your partner and be there for each other. Love is sacrifice-the ability to give away something that we like for the sake of another. Love is acceptance. You cannot have criteria for people to pass,and be eligible for your love. Love is to make the other person happy even when the whole world is intent on doing the opposite.
Valentine’s day every year might have induced us to say “I love you” to many, like trying to find the way through a maze to the destination where our soul-mate waits. But how many times do we actually understand this word and mean it?
“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.”
- H Jackson Brown Junior