You tell me that you wish I wrote this for you. You ask me if there is any way that you’ll be loved the way I love him. You cry to me telling yourself that that you want him more than anything else you have even when in some corner of your mind, you know he doesn’t want you. You feel that at certain times the limbo becomes so numbing, that even in a crowd full of people on a train, in a bar, amidst the road, in your office or even in the walls of your own house, you feel possessed by the longing and desire of loving someone.
I got a pair of kittens last week and everyone questioned me considering I have always been a dog person. I was amazed at my own choice. I bought them home and it felt more homely than i can remember in the longest time. Then in less than 3 days, Zelda Fitzgerald died in my arms. She was so tiny that even my fist seemed bigger. A furry, adorable 6 week old ginger kitten, whose heart stopped breathing right in front of my eyes and could not do a thing to save her. She laid there dead in my arms.
When death gripped her, she marched away with him. Death usually smells pungent. But on Zelda, it smelled like the breath of fresh air that fills your lungs when you reach Dadar Station and 6 AM and see a carnival of innocent, dewy flowers. She loved it when I touched her chin or when I gave her a nose bump. I continued doing that despite knowing that she won’t do the funny thing she always does with her eyes every time she is pet. I could feel the swell of my heartbeat on her passive body. Her paws were as cold as ice and her neck would lose its grip every time the car moved. When it was time to say goodbye, I wrapped her in my favorite sweatshirt that someone bought for me forever ago. I carried it with me across all the cities I have seen and it has comforted me even on the harsh sunny days in the Delhi summers. Even though Zelda had a warm fuzzy bed, she would find her way and curl herself into the sweatshirt. She seemed peaceful and happy and complete in the misery that we imagine death to be. She was not in pain, anymore.
When we buried her under the willow, I took back a piece of rock from her resting place. When I look at it now, I feel differently from what I knew that night when I lost her. I realized that I have all the love I need. There, I said it. I truly believe now, that I have all the love I need – from my friends, from my family, from my colleagues, from my readers, from my acquaintances to people who disapprove of me and look at me as a malleable little girl.
And I love them too, in their own ways.
I love my kittens Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, just as much I love my baby Jaan. I love my Dad just as much I love my Mom. I love my best friend, just as much I love my Boss. I love my room-mate just as much as I love the girl in my office. But I love them in ways that I know how to love. I can only express my love for them which maybe they might never be able to understand. I love them. And I know they love me even when they fail to acknowledge or admit to it. I have all the love I need.
What I don’t have is the love from the person I want. Correction. What I don’t have is the love I want.
A Buddhist concept called Ichinen Sanzen says that there are three thousand realms in a single moment of life. Can you imagine? There are 3000 possibilities in every passing split second. Everyone chooses differently, dresses differently, eats differently, walks differently, talks differently, poos differently and hence, it is only fair that we accept that every person loves differently too. While you may want a new dress to go out on a date night with him, he may just want you to stay in your PJS curled up in the bed. While you may love your video games and want her t develop the interest too, she might just want you to read the chapter from Great Gatsby that she adores. While you may want to be a more successful man to make her happy, she may want you disregarding the hunger that you have for success is more than that you ever had to have her. We want different thing things. Growing up in a close bonded family like mine, we couldn’t come up to a mutual decision on something as simple as a holiday vacation spot.
You know this story, right?
Then why do you want someone to love you the way you want them to love you? Why do you want him to take you for a movie that you know he wouldn’t want to watch? Why do you wait up for him when you know he will be late and may pass out the minute he steps foot inside the house? Why do you message her quoting the mouthful of forever’s that you once promised each other when you know that she will still be ice cold? Why do you become that engrossed in wanting them so anxiously that all your sanity turns grey?
Because loving them, is a challenge. It’s this chase. It’s this constant pricking in your heart when you think about her in every second that you breathe. It is this longing; it is this turmoil in your guts that breaks your insides. It is the feeling of being captivated, of being deluded by the joy this fantasy brings. It is because when you ache for her, only then you feel completely human. It is only then that you feel stronger. It is only then that you hope that maybe your love can change the world.
That is love. You don’t want the love from that person as much as you want to love that person. Loving her is a phantasmagoria that unleashes the human in you. That is what love does to you. It makes you hopeful. That is how you compile all the strings of love that you have ever read of, heard of or dreamed of and you channelize it towards that one single person.
Your mother, your father, your grandparents, your siblings, your cousins, your best friends, you school friends, your college friends, your neighborhood friends, your junior college friends, your hobby class’s friends, your travelling friends, your degree college friends, your hostel friends, your MBA friends, your colleagues, your Bosses, your acquaintances, your teachers. Each of these people love you in a way that you know they do. Maybe you never wanted their love, maybe they never showed it. But they do love you. You never know if God is answering someone’s prayer who is praying for you? You never know if the friend from your building still eats Milk-bikis and thinks of you. You will never know if there’s a dog you once petted while crossing the road, waiting for you to find him and cuddle him once again.
You will never have the love you want, because that is something that only you understand and know. And the ability to be able to feel that kind of love for someone that makes you feel so hopeful, is a gift you have. Cherish it. It’s not a misfortune to be able to love. It’s a pity not be able to love at all.
So remember this, always. You have all the love you need. Embrace it. Accept it. Your wanting of love from someone else, is the love you are refusing to give yourself. Go ahead, love.
You have all the love you need.
Zelda told me.