The danger of the ‘One’
Have you ever met someone, looking at whom you felt that immediate jolt in the stomach that said, ‘You are the One’?
Have you looked at an old love that lasted for a few seasons and as it began to wilt, look at that person in the eyes, and feel your heart speak to your head ‘sorry, my dear, but this isn’t what I was looking for’ ?
We all look for meaningful companionships in life.
And movies, and romances and Disney has been telling us since we grew teeth, that we are meant to look for an all encompassing, unconditional love.
Ahh, it is all around. Not just movies, but in everything we are surrounded with.
People have it in their to-do-lists for 2017, for heaven’s sake, ‘Item no.2: Find the One’.
And over and over again, this hunt is written into our cells, the search carved into our brain, creating longing and loneliness that never would have been there in the first place.
The terrifying reality of the One, boulders upon itself the pressure of the being everything to you. He has to be the listener, the friend, the travel-partner, the midnight food junkie and your partner for all meaningful conversations and experiences.
He has to be a patient listener for your midnight ramblings, your complaint box about work, your cuddling partner, your own version of master chef and a zillion other things, all at the same time.
See, the impossible pressure laden on this poor young man’s/ woman’s shoulder?
Honestly, I have been looking for the One too, perhaps, since I turned 13.
To admit the embarrassing truth, until half a decade ago, I looked for the One everywhere. In poetry competitions; in painting workshops; in the last bench of my signals and systems classroom; near the window seat in a moving train; Behind the carnatic-concert stage.
After the day was over, the teens were slept away, tucked in blankets, in gleeful limerence of the imaginary ‘one’s and an invisible romance, reading Eliots and Jane Eyre that set hard and fast rules for what loves are and are not.
What I realized later on, is that this belief and expectation from ‘the One’ is taking away a zillion other meanings of all other relationships in life.
Like the friend, who is my worry-buddy for the painful period pains.
Like a travel partner, with his funny clothes and long beard, who doesn’t speak too much to steal away the epiphany of your travel.
Like faraway friends, who gifted beautiful midnight conversations.
Like the security of my apartment, who taught me old Hindi songs, who brings me medicines when none is home and I am down with a flu.
Like the colleague, who makes sure I make the best choices in difficult times, who is my sounding board at work, the constant companion for lunches and coffees and worry-breaks.
Like the older, wiser man of the neighboring apartment, who offers the tissues for every heartbreak that rattles the windowpanes.
Like the pseudo-intellectual I have the freedom to turn into, with an old friend who reads a lot.
Like the muse you run into, for a sweet embrace on a Saturday evening, who holds your hands watching the movies he hates.
Like the stranger you met in a journey, who you absolutely enjoyed savoring cuisines with, and the many beautiful conversations.
Like the mentor, who has your back and wants you to live your dream more than you do.
Like the sibling, who has seen you sob during terrible times and still think of you as the hero of her life.
Like the neighbor’s child, your own entertainment package over lazy weekends, watching you with diligent eyes as he grows up.
Point being, there are far too many precious relationships around us, that makes us who we are on the road to self discovery.
The hunt of the one takes away the meaning from all these precious relationships that makes us who we are and defines us at different points in life. Romance, is beautiful, no doubts on it.
Every such, relationship is a special love, its own kind.
While we are struggling to define love in boundaries and emotions and types as the movies dictate us to, it takes the possibility of one life lived amidst a million loves far away.
Each of them, is a kind of love, that doesn’t fall into a single definition.
Every one of them, you have given a small piece of yourself, that we never notice enough to acknowledge. And each of them have also given you a piece of themselves, a piece of their busy day, that is invaluable and irreplaceable.
These little pieces we never notice, because there is simply no fear of losing them.
We are all surrounded by love, that doesn’t let us fall apart and puts us back together when we do. A zillion kinds of love that cherishes us for who we are. A few loves among these that makes us better versions of ourselves over time.
And deep within, we are loved, in ways that we can only connect back in retrospect.
Small little pieces of time, that are immeasurable.
Sometimes, when a few of them are lost in time, we look back in sweet melancholy of nostalgia of ‘Remember? Those were times, When we used to….’.
These small little pieces together keeps us whole. All of these ever precious loves that redefines that word to beyond life-partners and co-parents and what not.
The romantic relationship is just one of them; the ‘One’, is just one of them.
They together make you belong in this world, a world so terrifying if it were not for all of them holding you safe in their hands.
It is brutal to look for one person to fill all these shoes at the same time. It is vicious to expect one relationship to do for you, what ten of them have been doing for the past decades of your life.
The danger of our millennium is, of being coerced to replacing all of them with the ‘One’. We are coerced into refusing all of the others, deeper meanings that are saved for titles and honors.
In limerence of a new found love, we assume the ‘One’ to be all encompassing, but we are only coercing ourselves to the misery rooted by impossible expectations, since we have already replaced the rest of all our loves with the ‘One’. The ‘One’ is just one kind of love.
All the pieces and kinds and textures of love. Embrace them.
Not all of them, have to marry you or have a romance with you, to have called it love. But deep inside, you know they were, all a different kind that seldom fit into what the movies have been telling you of love.
Some loves here, are perennial,
some were like seasons,
some travel and lose touch over timezones,
some get married and have kids and get busy.
Some send you a birthday wish to commemorate the childhood fights you had with her.
Some sent you their first kids toothless pictures.
Some, you meet decades later, in a crowded station, with a only few seconds to wave and smile before your train leaves.
But Love of any kind, never fails. While it was there, it made you whole.
And even on departure, they gifted you a small part of them, to keep you whole.