Is it possible to love without taking the risk of loving? Possible to give it all and yet hold back some. To go with the flow but never quite move out of your comfort zone? We are born risk-averse. All of us. And self-preservation is like breathing, effortless. And yet when we love — we give, we invest, we flow — we do so with an almost openhearted willingness to take a fall. But is that prudent? Shan’t one go by instinct and be cautious, put the self first, wear one’s own oxygen mask and then love. Rather than love with abandon. And be a fool in love?
Cautious love is like hot chocolate gone cold. Insipid. And yet most prescribe it and the wise practice it. For wouldn’t they rather die than lose a bit of that practiced hubris? Ha! How can the other have an ace? Aces are their prerogative. I pity those who receive the love of a man, wise. For the wise man is too prudent to love. Too pragmatic for love. He’d never risk opening his heart. And it’s not his life jacket that stands in the way. No. It’s his safety-first philosophy. Sure trap for loneliness, as much for him as for the other.
Love hurts, yes. Exudes the pleasure of today as opposed to the prudence of tomorrow. Makes you vulnerable. Requires your guard to be down. Renders you defenseless. And yet, some of us love as love is: openheartedly. Fools, who have the wisdom to know that to love is to take the risk of loving. To let go of our safety net. To accept that despite a yearning to love without having anything to lose it is our vulnerability that allows us to love. For love cannot be exchanged without a passing, albeit benevolent, acknowledgment to the probability of a fall.
It was as sultry an October day, back in 2002, as Octobers go in Bombay. But who was to care? Peter Mukerjea had bid me to come; he was to share something momentous. And it wasn’t the possible “page one” but Peter who had me buoyant. I liked Peter. He wore his designation lightly, exuded a candour that defied Corporate Inc. and had about him that unaffected self-assurance that was welcome relief in a city plagued by ‘the phonies’ if not ‘the pompous’. Peter wasn’t on the act that most of Bombay enacted — the high society pretense that was Bombay Times deep.
He was Star’s chief executive but a star he was. A Dosco who never forgot the Doon School honour. Or the Dehradun stick-jaws. Or to beam openheartedly. And now when he met me at The Oberoi — to introduce, by way of me, the country to his bride-to-be and announce his marriage to Indrani Bora — he did so with abandon. He didn’t need to tell me that he and Indrani had been living in. But he did. And no, he wasn’t creating a PR moment. He was merely being Peter. Making a pertinent point. Marriage, he said to me, ushers commitment. And turns partners into family.
Unconventional London-returned top shot holding on to a belief in marriage despite being married at 22 and divorced at 38 — the father of two boys. Now ready to concede bachelorhood and turn hands-on father in one clean swoop. Here was a man who held back nothing when in love. Clearly. And no, we aren’t friends. We never were. I have no insights on the man, the marriage or the motives. Thirteen years later with his marriage at the heart of controversy I remember, if with disenchantment, the man in love and his infectious enthusiasm at finding love second-time round.
Should one love with abandon?
Every day that headlines have screamed murder, I’ve turned inward. And the answer here lies not in anyone’s conviction or confession or even being an accomplice, or not. The protagonists are merely triggers to what one faces in the happy circumstance of being in love. To concede or deflect. To give in or hold out. To be wise or the fool?
Truth is, I have no clear answers. Only a returning thought that perhaps the answers are not ours to see. Yes, life is a sum total of our choices, and yet with all the exercised prudence one cannot enslave the future. Belief is all one has: belief in the self, belief in the other and an unshakeable belief in Him. To love then, I yet believe, is to find the fool in you and to champion the fool in the other.
Nupur Mahajan is a sum of many parts. Ideas are her business even as her creative streak sees her straddle television, advertising, publishing, radio and brands. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org