To Have Loved and Lost

OK guys, hopefully by now the wind of reality would have swept the pink Valentine clouds away. As much as I love the idea of having a day to celebrate love, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels it has become overrated thanks to over commercialisation and the charm that it had for us as love struck teenagers is also missing. Or is it just age that is catching up? Though to be fair to the current younger generation, they do have it tougher, having to come up with innovative (read exorbitantly expensive) ways of wooing.

Before I get carried away with my rant, let me bring your focus back with what Alfred Lord Tennyson had famously said, “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. All my life I have lived by this dictum. Love someone and even if you end up getting hurt or losing him/her, just bounce back after the mandated mourning and then indulge in the same cycle with renewed fervour. (Before eyebrows are raised and you question my character, let me add I’m not restricting myself to romantic love alone). My mother and my sister would warn me, not to get too involved for the fear of getting hurt but I would counter their ‘I-told-you-so’ with this quote.

And I do believe that every hurt, though left a scar, did influence my personality and made me wiser. I learnt not to blame myself every time it happened. For me life was simple if I expressed how I felt. But as I get older, I often pause to question my philosophy. A recent disappointment left me devastated, more than I had expected it to. And though I am not indulging in toxic self-blame but putting it on circumstances, it still hurts more. With all the experience that I can boast of, shouldn’t I have been better equipped to handle it? But no, the wound is raw and I am still smarting and no I cannot talk about it without getting teary… not yet.

I find myself more guarded as I meet new people and try to strike friendships with them. It doesn’t feel like the real me but there’s nothing I can do to make it any different. This particular friendship has exacted more than its usual pound of flesh may be because I assumed that all parties involved were mature and it was based on mutual trust and admiration. A small miscommunication was enough to bring it down, like a house of cards, that was not something I was prepared for. Nowadays more than Tennyson, it is Akhtar Shiranis’s couplet that seems to mirror the state of my mind…

kāñToñ se dil lagāo jo tā-umr saath deñ

phūloñ kā kyā jo saañs kī garmī na sah sakeñ

(Better to fall for thorns that will stick with you for life. What to say for the flowers… they wither away even by the warmth of our breath)

So, as I nurse my fresh wound and try to reconfigure myself, for now the jury is open for all… what do you prefer? To have loved and lost OR to never have loved at all?

DR SHIVANI SALIL

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