A powerful Valedictory Address on decolonizing ourselves.
From “Pyaar Hona” (falling in love) to “Pyaar Nibhana” (honouring love)
Bollywood loves that particular phase when a man and a woman are falling in love. Over 80% of our film music can be mapped to this ‘pink phase’ (including at least one of your favourite numbers)
And that may be because WE love the pink phase. The phase that starts from the ‘eros’ — the first impulse of attraction, moves onto flaming desire, the courtship and the early days of discovering each other.
This is the phase that I call the ‘pink phase’ or the pyaar hona phase.
More than seven years ago, Suruchi walked out straight from my affirmation journals — so much that I had wished for in this one person right down to her curly hair. Ananya, our daughter, is 10 now and we have chosen to be a live-in relationship (for reasons that I shall save for another day).
The pink phase for us began at the theatre workshop where I first met Sur.
Being utterly romantic at heart, Suruchi and I love this phase. We went head over heels! We are sure you do too. We love the cuddling and the touching and the looks and the lines. We love the constant wooing and the freshness, the thrill and aliveness that this brings to our lives.1 2
The pink phase is the ‘falling in love’ phase, I thought. I believed that what happens then is the real deal — it is where love is established, commitments are made and you feel the connect.
I was wrong.
Because, pyaar hona i.e. the pink phase is the easiest phase of love. It is a shade of love that flows beautifully and smoothly. It has popular support — being celebrated all the time.
It is the part that we love to have — the cream on the cake, the carrot. It is a part that makes us believe that THIS is what love really is.
But there is a much deeper part of love — which I call ‘pyaar nibhana’.
Imagine a time when this same person you professed life long love for becomes your most hated person. You want to kill this person because you cannot stand the irritation. You feel deep violence and anger towards him or her — because they just won’t fall in line or not do what you’d like them to do.
Imagine deep repulsion. Imagine the complete opposite of the ‘pink phase’ — a time when you perhaps feel so wounded or wronged that you want to have nothing to do with this person.
Walking deeply in any relationship brings up shadows and baggage — two people becoming more and more intimate eventually hit the boundaries of the human race when it comes to relating. And when that boundary is touched, it throws up all that is our collective baggage.
Suddenly the same relationship that seemed flowering hits rock bottom.
You are ready to walk out and away.
At this point comes the question — would you walk on?
Not walk on as a passive acceptance but walk on with the resolve to work it through3. Walk on because you know that every relationship will have fights — but THIS is the person you want to fight with.
To me, these are the moments where you really know whether there is love or not. Whether you see yourself in the other and the other in you.
I mentally even name our fights ….the Battle of the Last Straw, the Battle of Alt Winmark, etc. In a strange way they help me keep things in perspective!
These have gone as bad as fights would between any two long term couples — fireworks and silences included. And the practice has still been to stay on….to let things cool and then to work it through, speak about it as lovingly as possible.
I have found that there are several good tools around to support this — from Non Violent Communication to checklists, assessments and values exercises. One particularly set of valuable exercises I found were those that compare each others mental ‘maps’. For example, once we took this list of NVC needs and picked up our top needs as well was what we thought were our partner’s. Comparing the results was a pleasant surprise with some insights and ideas. The best for us, however, has just been constant chatting, quizzing each other and long coffee dates.
Ananya, our ever perceptive member manages to catch even the slightest disturbances — and we have made it a culture to have at least some of our disagreements in front of her, working it out, inviting her to stay on in spite of her discomfort. If there is one thing we’d like her to see, it is two adults working through their differences like adults.
And between periods of peace, when least expected, are these eventful fights.
Each such event brings its own scars. The relationship develops wrinkles and folds. It starts ageing. It starts developing callouses and loses a little bit of its tenderness.
But on the other side of working through this endless conflict is the promised land.
That promised land of love is perhaps what we are really celebrating — the land where there is deep intimacy and togetherness, the warm fuzzy blanket that each of our hearts long for.
You may say you ‘love’ so and so — but that is just the trailer. And it is a misleading trailer.
The real film is a 4 hour drama with a tragic ending. Will you still have the patience to watch the sequel?
Then, you can “Kaho na Pyaar Hai!”
Exploring love and relationships is one of my favourite topics and I invite folks to share your family experiences with us.
1(Personally the way I am able to do it is to treat each day as our first day AND our last day ever — but that for another time)
2 (Additionally, another way of experiencing the ‘spark’ is when someone new comes into the relationship — a fresh person brings in their dose of temporary freshness. This could be a new common friend, a crush or sometimes even an ex!)
3 (this is a very important distinction — more on this in another article but essentially, there is a huge difference between silently suffering a conflict, never bringing it up, etc. vs thrashing it out and getting complete with it. That latter variety of ‘walking on’ is what we’re speaking about here)