There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who say ‘I love you’ to the people they love…and those who show their love by the things they do for their loved ones without actually saying it in so many words. The trouble begins when two people fall in love and have different ways of showing their affection for each other….a topic I have explored in my novel ‘Unravelling Anjali: Diary of an Immigrant Bride’.
I’ve heard people complain by saying ‘He/she never tells me he/she loves me’ or things like ‘If he cared, he would say so’ or ‘If she had any feelings for me, she would put it into words’. But hold that thought! Is saying ‘I love you’ the only way of showing one cares? Surely there are other signs of affection.
The central character in my book, Anjali, is in love with the idea of being in love. She wants to be cherished and craves quality time with her husband. What’s so wrong in that, you wonder? Nothing really. You are young only once, after all. And youth is a time for dreams..for aspirations…But what if her husband, Ravi, has a different definition of love. What if he doesn’t believe in giving red roses or saying ‘I love you’ or reciting poetry or telling her she is the best thing that has ever happened to him? Does that automatically mean he loves her less than she loves him? To give Ravi his due, he believed he was working round the clock to provide a secure future for his family…which, in its own convoluted way, was his way of showing he cared. It was unfortunate that his way of looking at love clashed vehemently with Anjali’s way of looking at it.
While writing this book, I made one fundamental discovery which proved vital in how I ultimately handled the different characters. People demonstrate and perceive love in the strangest of ways. I met a woman once who told me that whenever she accidentally hurt herself eg grazed her finger when chopping vegetables, or sprained her ankle when she tripped and fell, her husband would scream and yell in anger, calling her clumsy and careless. She would yell back just as loudly, saying he couldn’t possibly care about her since he was screaming when she was so obviously in pain. It took her thirty years of togetherness with her husband before she realised that he screamed when she was in pain because he cared deeply about her and couldn’t bear to see her suffer.
And that is exactly where the pathos lies in Anjali and Ravi’s rather fragile relationship. They were looking at love from different ends of the same telescope.
Love is a complex phenomenon…one that has no easy definition. It cannot be described adequately by words…and certainly cannot be measured.
It reminds me of a beautiful quote by Lao Tzu: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”