Tuesday, January 5, 2016

“I don’t want to grow up because then nobody will love me”

“I don’t want to grow up because then nobody will love me,” said the 13-year-old me while throwing tantrums about not wanting to do something. I don’t know how I came to that conclusion. I had watched enough romantic movies by then, so ideally I should have fantasized about love stories. But that never happened.

Kids are very expressive. My 4-year-old niece squeals when she sees me, gives me tight hugs and sudden kisses, throws herself in my arms and tells me about all the new things she discovers. And the ease with which she does it makes it infectious; you can’t help but feel gooey.

While I had been pampered silly while growing up, I had never seen public display of affection in adults. I have never seen my parents hold hands or say lovely things to each other. I am sure there was (is) love and understanding and trust and all those things that make a relationship strong, but never a tangible expression of that. It’s cute to see them go on phuchka dates now, and mumble ‘I love you’ on the phone, something they have picked up from us. ‘Ok, bye, take care, love you’ comes in a flow, and they don’t mind saying it to each other because it has become a habit. And habit is what defines their love for each other. There is no romance in a habit, just some comfort and security. And that is apparently enough to sustain a relationship.

A few days ago I watched a Bengali movie called Belaseshe. The literal translation of the name would be ‘At the end of the day’. It is about an elderly couple and their middle aged kids. After almost 50 years of marriage the husband wants to divorce his wife on the grounds that he has never experienced love from her. The film goes through an emotional reflection of what constitutes love and how a relationship endures the test of time. It is funny in bits and sentimental in parts.

I watched another interesting movie yesterday. The Lobster. Set in a dystopian world, it tells the story of a city where singles are given 45 days to find a romantic partner before they are turned into an animal. The movie won the Jury award in Cannes last year. It is a satire on how the society forces us to find a match. The overarching metaphor was funny. Dark humour. It says how you need to find a matching defect in each other to be able to live together for the rest of your life.

And then there are songs like ‘More than words’ and ‘Love is a verb’ that preach: It is not about the spoken but the unspoken, the actions that express love.

In one of our sessions on non-verbal communication, a teacher mentioned that there are three kinds of expression of love – spoken word, touch and acts of service. Everyone has a specific style and preference of expression. E.g. If your partner understands and seeks love through words of affirmation, no amount of holding hands will communicate your love.

What do you guys think? How do you express love? Is it really needed to profess love again and again? Or is it something to be understood?


  1. I was nodding my head all along. Even we never had public display of affection when we were kids. Not because we weren't loved, but it was more of a shy kind of, unspoken love in the family. Still is. It changed slightly after I got married, but its still not public. When noone is around, Sherlock and I don't mind showing our affection. But with even one person around us, we just clam up and become the casual friends! :D
    Which is why, I find Facebook so annoying now. I just don't understand the public display and the need to put up honeymoon pics. I guess its a completely different upbringing!

    1. Yea Facebook. I cringe when I see those pictures, and then there are those long status messages dedicated to hubby dear or wifey dear. I don't mind the display of affection but why does it need to be public? Traditionally in India we have not been quite open about showing affection, perhaps FB is paving the way for a more 'open' society like the West.

  2. I am sucker for physical expression of love and do it by hugging, kissing..
    I guess to each his own...

    1. :) I can't make my mind about the 3 expression styles. I want ALL of them. Heehee.


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