Friday, July 15, 2016

The problem with text book definitions

"He looked at me and I melted right there. There is no way this is not love. It has to be if it makes me feel that way." A typical line in a romance novel (I have been reading a few as market research recently)

Now, here is my problem with it. I am sure some people feel that way (perhaps) when they see someone but idealizing an emotion is never a good thing. You start expecting it out of your relationships and soon forget to enjoy what you actually have. 

We have been fed bs in the form of Hollywood and Bollywood movies for a really long time. I am one of those big fans of romantic movies. I prefer to watch those but here is the thing, they are my "escape" from reality. I don't expect them to come true. I mean, I would love to get flowers and chocolate (I will eat it up in seconds) but half the things that happen, screw up your head. 

You are going to lose on the little everyday things and after a point stop seeing beyond the whole, "I need another person to complete me". Listen well and good - "You need to love yourself first, know yourself first and not become a version someone wants you to be".  It is nice to have a companion with you every step of the way, but if you are not there for yourself and if you don't know yourself, what kind of a companion will you even be? Why do we not give importance to the knowing oneself part in any movie? Why are all our stories about relationships? Why aren't our stories about celebrating life and celebrating ourselves? ( I love queen for that)

In India, we seldom get a chance to truly be alone. Typically, people end up from living with our parents, to living in a hostel (if you are lucky), to living with a spouse. Some of us are now getting to live with room mates and get to know ourselves a little better before we get married. That is definitely a good thing, but there is a problem even there.

We find it easy to stick to text book definitions. I mean, live in with a guy as it is a cool thing to do and marriage is so uncool. Get married because he swept me off my feet and we are sooo compatible. Don't get married because I am an independent woman. All these are actually fun, if you do it because you want to and not because you think you ought to. 

In our constant search for happily ever afters, we miss the beautiful present. We are constantly searching for the perfection that is non existent and forgetting to fix a few tiny cracks in time, these cracks just become bigger and soon crack right under your feet pushing you down a black hole of depression. We see the world through a very skewed lens, forgetting fundamental things. This happens irrespective of whether you are single, living in, married, it doesn't matter. 

I see more and more people picking up hobbies they dont totally relate to, because that is what they ought to be doing, going by the text book definitions. I see lust playing a major role in relationships while you wait for the guy to change. (They never do, it is who they are and love cannot change personalities like the stories say. It just makes you blind to faults for a while and once your rose tinted glasses get scratched, you are left feeling cheated and it is nobody's fault but yours) We tolerate bad behavior instead of correcting it. We embrace skin deep ideals and forget to find out about things which truly matter.

I am reminded of this scene in run away bride where Julia Roberts finally learns how she likes her eggs. I actually laughed at that scene as I wondered how you will ever let someone dictate your preferences so much. But recently, I have come to observe how people become unrecognizable to fit in with someone else - can be a spouse or even a peer group. Social drinking is the best example. If you are not someone who enjoys drinking but still does it, because it will look bad if you do not drink, when everyone around you is drinking - you are changing yourself to fit in.

Are we becoming entities because we are being brainwashed to become one and forgetting how to be individuals? Why don't we look for better text book definitions? Even better, why don't we create new definitions? 

This post is about romance because I think in a lot of ways love and relationships make the world go around, but not always in a positive way. 


Raji said...

Loving in hostels? Is that intentional or a typo?

Harini Padmanabhan said...

A typo.