Much is made of first love. And it is sweet... That awkwardness. That fear of the unknown. That discovery of togetherness. That emboldening. That gush of emotion. That yearning. That newfound bliss. That frailty. That strength. That josh… And yet, I don’t subscribe to norm. First love is overrated. Eulogised by embittered creatures trapped in loveless relationships. Or even singlehood. Seeking respite in an altered yesterday rose-hued to get past today.
Pic for representational purpose only
Undeniably first love is gratifying. Special, as is everything new and untried. However is it the epitome of loving and being loved? No… The highlight of first love is not love, but that you love for the very first time. Love late in life out-blooms puppy love. For love acquires that delightful wholesomeness, that caramelised stickiness, that robust piquancy only after a few rounds. Perhaps after a failed marriage.
Perhaps while in a failed marriage. Whenever it is that you are in touch with you.
Now, when you know what makes you tick and what makes you tick all the more. Now, when you come from self-awareness. At 17, or even 25, you’re dewy-eyed. Not about the world but you. With absolutely no sense of self you are certain you’ve gauged the other sufficiently! And that she’ll cook you scrambled eggs just as yellow and as runny as you like them. Wrong. Not because she can’t cook but because you like your eggs in a fluffy omelet. No tomatoes please. Diced ham. Peppers, some dill?
But this you know now, at 40 or later. Now, when you’ve battled long and hard. Now, when you’ve traversed a fair distance. Now, when you’ve won some, lost more and accepted much. Now, when you’ve loved and lost. Perhaps been dumped, obsessed about, two-timed? Now when you’ve ticked the boxes: home, corner cabin, dog maybe kids, hot secretary, stamped passport... Now, when you are fearless of the pain love holds in its bosom. Now, that pain has been an old friend. Now, when you seek no label, no declaration and no totems of love scrambled eggs included. Now, when you seek not to fall but to rise in love.
And yet at 25 when she couldn’t turn out the scrambled too white, too embellished (tomatoes?), too runny... tch, all wrong. You felt wronged. Of course you ate it, and “loved” it too. But if you were yet single it ended soon after, and if you were married, well, you stayed martyred, oops married. It’s just the eggs. Just the mess. Just the incompatibility... And yet you weren’t compromised for her. It was for you. You were yet to formulate you. Yet to come together. Yet to know you to love you to love another...
Today you do. You are a perfectionist. Exacting. Discerning. Details are you. Not a crease on your Dockers after an 18-hour day. Not a book in your study dog-eared. Not a piece of music in your library out of place categorised as per mood and time of day. Today you’re complete in yourself. Don’t really need anyone. Least of all love. You’ve got it all sewn up. Life, that is. And yet, if love holds you prisoner — you finally understand true freedom. And soar untamed. Buoyant. Fulfilled.
Not because love has lost its sting. No! Because you love differently. Love, today, is a need to give. To shower and bestow. To bathe the other in. And this perhaps defines mature love. This, and that you don’t seek entitlement. Your antecedents as a man have dawned on you abundantly for you not to seek reassurance in domineering your woman. You’ve had the last word, won enough battles, been hailed… and now all you seek is that love in her eyes. And then, you cherish. You cosset. You comfort. You love her as love is.
At 17 to be in love is so passé. So ordinary. So expected. So human? But for love to strike when you don’t need it. Don’t seek it. Believe you’ve done it all. Then for you to allow its sting; then for you to allow its sway; then for you to sway and see you be 17 again… is extraordinary. First love has ferocity. That willingness to kill and even die. Love; older, mature, wiser has none of that rebellion. But all the passion. And it accords you that desire to live. Not kill. Nor die. But be alive. Bloom. Thrive.
It is no ordinary love, this.
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 email@example.com. The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.