Love Stories, Actually


Love Stories. And for that matter, love. Nobody has seen, touched, smelled nor tasted love. But you still cannot refute it, can you? And nowadays one does hear people talk of making love. Nonsense, if you ask me. But as I walked down the rugged old path again, I thought we have all heard our share of love stories. Right from the times of Sheherezade, they have been told. Wonderful, mystical, angelic, hypnotic, classic, modern, happy, insane, alluring, mesmerizing, enticing, captivating, seductive, fascinating, traumatic, heartbreaking, melancholous, invigorating, energizing, exhilarating, deploring, saddening, adjectives won’t do, cannot do justice to all the love stories told in the history of human kind. We have been told of epic loves that created and destroyed empires: Helen of troy. We have been told of love stories that end bad: that is love stories that end in a marriage, and we have a lot of those about. We have heard love stories that were unsung but known nonetheless: the guy down the road and the lady living upstairs. Discreet love stories but true. We have than those fleeting love stories, the love that lasts for but a glance on buses and trains. And the love stories on paper, Lord of the Rings as some or the other ass keeps saying. A thousand years of solitude. Rebecca. The Notebook. And then we have love stories on screen. It happened One Night. Chori Chori. Dil Hai ki Manta Nahi. Same story told over the ages by different people in different ways. Love stories in songs: if only somebody would say yes. We have heard them, seen them, digested them. They are all around us.

You know of man-woman love stories, man-women love stories, woman-men love stories. You know the permutations better than me. And these you have heard and seen. You know of man- nature love stories. You know of man-skies love story. You have heard of the love stories of men and the sea. Someone once told you the love story of the man and his dog. The accounts of the love of a man and stars is also known. And his love for a gibbous moon. And man’s love for stars. Of stars love for him. You know of man’s love of books. Of his love of food. Of man’s love for order. Of his love of chaos. Of man’s love for the color pink. Of his love of sad songs. Of his love for freedom. Of his love for a cage. You have dreams about his love for the humanity. (Still do, seeing things as they stand now). You have wished for the love of longing. You have longed for the love of a communion. You know of his love for making love. I know this all myself. But still for all your wisdom you cannot comprehend why I am telling you this, right?

Wind breezing through the kite as it swoops down on it’s predator is a love story. The string and the kite, joined in a holy knot- another. Rains have their own love story with the fields as the farmer and the sun that beats down on his back. And nobody loves the rains the way farmers do. Sky, inching away and away to give a bird greater span to fly is again a love story. And a sailor on the helm seeing a face on the endless sees says another. Even the earth and the sun love each other, Gibran said. Such a love makes the sky light up. Mass loves mass. Fools call it gravitation. The grandma and her cane. Love story. A writer and his words. Love story. Everything is a love story: life, universe and the number 42. So then I ask you a simple question. What love story has never been told?

Take your time. I’m in no hurry as it is.

Not even a lame one?

You know, a very wise friend told me that the question was poppycocks. There is no such thing as an untold love stories. Cause if there was one, you would not have heard it. Dog chasing around it’s tail scenario. I mean the guy who writes stories up there is not that creative, all said and done. All he does is jumble things up, takes a character, gives him a mustache and viola! we have ourselves an entirely new love story. Sometimes I pity us, humans. Characters of stories and books probably nobody is going to read. But that is beside the point. The point is there are no new love stories. None Whatsoever.

Now if there are any of those seeing this who have excused themselves to go to the library will have earned my respect. Those still here need not feel bad. You see these people could think, that if they knew all the love stories, they would have a better chance at it themselves. But you see that is the catch. I know this from experience. You may know all the characters, and all the plots, and all the ends of all the love stories, in all the worlds and all the universes. You may know them all.

But you will never know,
which one is yours.

I have taken liberties this time, and the following one is penned by me. Hope it lives up a bit to the other ones.

ये इश्क़ क्या है?

ये इश्क़ क्या है?
गर मर्ज़ है इश्क़, तो दवा क्या है?
गर दवा है इश्क़, तो मर्ज़ क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
तमन्ना, ख्वाहिश, आरज़ू, इंतज़ार-
इन हसरातों के दाग का वजूद क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
एक कमसिन ख्वाब है इश्क़, कहते है.
गर ख्वाब है इश्क़, तो सोता क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
सताईश की तमन्ना, सिले की परवाह,
इस तरह जुस्तजू-ए-सोज़ क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
उम्मीद की धूप और बिरहा की रातें,
यह सिलसिला-ए-शब-ओ-रोज़ क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
जब कही जाके आँख लग जाए,
तो रात भर ये जागता क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
हर चेहरे में वही चेहरा देखना,
ये आँखों में आईने सा क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?
और मुख्तसर इक नज़्म लिख भी दे कही,
जो गूंजते रहते है अल्फ़ाज़, क्या है?
ये इश्क़ क्या है?


What is this love?
If it is a disease, what is the cure?
If it is a cure, what is the disease?
What is this love?
Urges, craving, yearning, waiting-
What is the existence of these blemished desires?
What is this love?
It is said, love is a nubile dream,
If it is a dream, what then is sleeping?
What is this love?
This yearning to be rebuffed, and the craving for attention,
What is this desire for pain?
What is this love?
The sunshine of hope and nights of separation?
What is this routine of days and nights?
What is this love?
And when eventually eyes fall asleep,
What then keeps awake through the night?
What is this love?
To see that one face in all faces,
What is this mirror-like entity in the eyes?
What is this love?
And you end up writing a small poem somewhere,
What are the words that keep resounding after?
What is this love?

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