Sunday, April 23, 2017

An Open Secret of the Universe

In a coffee shop, I saw two beautiful young lovers stop their conversation in mid sentence and suddenly gaze in each other’s eyes. Their small talk gave way to a moment of silence. And desire punctured the conversation. And there was a moment of silence. They simply gazed for a few seconds. And then the conversation resumed. A fleeting moment of grace. Fueled by desire. 

I wondered. 

This moment they had, how many more of these will they have? how many more where this came from? Will they have another next week? A year from now? when they get married? when their first one is born? at their silver anniversary?
Will they still have it after they have explored every nook and cranny of each other?
When they have had a fight and haven’t gone to bed?
When she is hurt, sick or tired?
When he is on the road, and calls in exhausted?
Will they have it when her hair turns grey, and she gets crow’s feet?
When he goes bald and gets a belly? 

I wondered. 

I’m told that love is an evolutionary response to keep two people of opposite sex together. Bonded beyond the sex. Most people fall in love, few stay in it. Lucky are the two people who encounter it. Like the young couple in the coffee shop. At least they know what is possible - since they lived it for a moment. 

Luckier are those who nurture and fuel the flame, and can keep it ablaze over the years. This is no easy part. Like two plants taking root entwined together, climbing higher, and leaning on each other, two lovers grow and shape one another over the years. The odds are low that two people will grow together, feeding on each other’s best virtues and growing stronger because of it. Family, children and work are the three killers that will likely snuff the flame out. But this is the inner game of marriage. It’s a covenant not visible to others, except in glimpses gleaned by the few people privileged to view the slivers of the sacred bond between a couple. And even then, this glimpse is available only to those who have eyes to see it. 

Millions die without knowing such scared love exists. The lucky few who experience it, hide it in plain sight. Love's the promise of every song, birthday cake, and valentine card. It’s there for all to discover so why tout it? For if one were to tell others - no, it’s real - they would not understand. And if they were to understand, they would long for it. And would it not be cruel if they were to go to their graves with unrequited love? So, those of us who live it, keep it quiet.  

But the luckiest of us all are those who feel the heat of love for eternity. This is when we love so passionately, that we can identify with lovers of generations past - Laila and Majnu, Sassi and Punnu. And we can dream of lovers to come beyond our life time. And, we see the power of love in all others. Everyday in the coffee shop. And on the street side where children play, and in parks where elders hold hands in silence, and in chance encounters of grace among strangers in airplanes and trains. 

Love is an open secret of the universe - known to all, but lived only by a lucky few. Every time I see lovers kiss on screen or in public, my mouth gets salty with your taste. I’m lucky that way. 

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