Love life even if you have no love life

Notes: 1. Valentine's Day and the movie DevD occasioned this post. The movie wasn't perfect, and neither is this post. But I hope you'll find both interesting.
2. Assume gender neutrality in the post. I have used only 'him' as the lover but it could very well apply to 'her' as well.

What is Love?
That perhaps is too hard to define or express. But what one can be certain about is that love is most definitely a great thing. It is necessary at some point in everyone's life. It adds a sense of meaning, of fulfillment, and of purpose, like only a few other things in life can. But is it the greatest thing? Or the only thing? This post explores these questions.

I think that most of the depictions of love in (the global) human culture, both classic and modern, are quite misplaced. The most common theme that runs through them is of the overwhelmingly obsessive variety of love. Love is deemed to be the sole reason for existence, and the object of affection is elevated to a mystically powerful embodiment of perfection. The beloved becomes the sole source of happiness, of meaning, and of self-esteem. Think of all the Romeo-Juliet type tales of yore, DevD and the like, and you get my point.

The besotted lover is celebrated because of his undying affection and willingness to make any sacrifice for the object of his affection. This state is declared to be rare, and a symbol of true love. But is this true?

I think far too many people vow undying love. But falling in love is the easy part. It is what happens after that thats the real challenge. And if its at the wrong time, for the wrong person, in the wrong situation, then you do have a problem. A point worth pondering is how one will always 'fall' in love, but never 'rise'.

Love is a feeling that overwhelms logic or reason. It is designed to do that. That is the source of its immense power over a person. And like all powerful things, if it is not managed carefully, there is a chance that it can destroy lives.

Love or Obsession?
A person who considers love and his beloved the entire point of his existence is indulging in an unhealthy obsession. Apart from putting extraordinary pressure on the 'other' and cramping their freedom, it also makes the life of the lover itself less worthwhile. This might not matter in the best of times, when obsession can pass off as intense passion, but when things get rough, as they will certainly do, it is then that this unhealthy nature of the relationship will surface. Like the wise man said, "only when the tide goes out do you find out who had been swimming naked".

A balanced life consists of intense passion for a number of interests. Your work, your hobbies, your social circle are all valuable contributors to your overall sense of well-being. You can be happy and fulfilled without love. But, the other way around, that is, love in the absence of these more stable drivers of well-being, is risky. Love, by its very nature, is risky. It can neither be controlled, nor predicted, it can only be managed. And for a healthy and fruitful love, it has to be two-sided. Which only multiplies the risk.

A person who gives all his energy to love, reduces the amount of love he has to give, in the long run. A balanced person, on the other hand, distributes his energy among numerous passions. The satisfaction and joy he derives from all these other activities increases the amount of love he has to give. So, though he might only give a fraction of his energy to love, that fraction is still greater than the whole of the obsessed lover.

Final advice:
So, if you're single, focus on yourself, your work, your passions and your friends and be happy. Keep in mind that only a happy and productive person is capable of giving love and worthy of receiving it. So, love life even if you have no love life. And when the time comes for you to decide if someone is worth giving your love to, make sure they also lead balanced and productive lives outside of their relationship with you.

If you're not single, make sure you're evenly balancing your life. It will help your love grow and make it deeper and more meaningful.


  1. Well its almost as if i wrote it :) Thats the level of agreement and resonance

  2. My gawwd!!! So analytical about love also?? That's the problem with you IITMians(note IITM is IIT+IIM and NOT IIT Madras)... cutting and di-secting and reducing everything to its bare bones around you...

    Instead, sit back, relax and let the good times roll... without your analytical mind interrupting the flow of things!!!

    PS: Because of the incendiary nature of this comment, i have chosen to be anon.

  3. I don't know what made you to write on this topic...and that too with so much analysis and reasoning..huhhhh...I got tired while reading.
    Do we need to analyse LOVE like this?
    I am sure, you will agree to my point that sometimes some things are better to be experienced without any analysis.
    anyway nice post.

  4. @eternalmonotony: yup, I can imagine..

    @Anon & Alone Dreamer:
    There should be a balance between thinking and feeling for every experience. I've just expressed my 'thinking' views on the topic. I've purposely left my 'feelings' unexpressed.

  5. I am almost obsessed with the line "A person who gives all his energy to love, reduces the amount of love he has to give, in the long run. " Almost sounds like a conservation principle.

  6. Well Arslan,thanks a lot for this post.I desperately needed something to get out of my personal life problems.See everyone of us had one or more problems bugging us all the time.But as u have mentioned if we are passionate about too many things then the suffering from one area and specially from the dearest one can be reduced to a great extent.I am able to reduce my pain and suffering to a great extent by reading this.Now i really need to make myself busy to get passionate about various interests that i have so that i can give my hundred percent in other relations.The world is full of problems.Lets spread happiness instead of sarcasm and love all around us.I am falling in love with you.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. something tells me you are single. a mature article overall.

    love may not be a sufficient condition of existence, but certainly a necessary one. as someone said - life mein sahi time pe sahi cheez kar leni chahiye. if you're deprived of love in your life, your view of love is likely to assume the fixated, fitful, obsessive version. more likely, it will also be the center of your universe, as depicted in your graphic.

    paradoxically, the best way to form an objective and healthy view of love and relationships is to be bathed in the passion of love, at some point in your life. maybe its balanced to be unbalanced at times. let the primordial part of you run unleashed, stretch itself, before you chain it back.

  9. an antithesis of your post, is the following poem i wrote.

  10. But what if you are unable to find anyone and are almost getting towards the end of the best phase of your life? I think that is the more practical question, which makes people sad, that is going through life alone. Even with the hobbies and other stuff, being alone isnt such a good thing, especially when it appears like you're the only one like that.

  11. know, I've been so busy pursuing my career (and interests), that now when the time to find someone has come, I seem not to be able to. And, now I'd rather keep myself as busy as before, because when I've nothing to do, the realization of being alone is just too hard to take. It is like a vicious circle. The point is that, there are just too many variables involved and there's no real ideal way to go about doing this.

  12. @Anon:

    Is marriage supposed to signify the end of the best phase of one's life? :P (I know you mean 'youth', but marriage, parenthood etc are even more wonderful phases, don't you think?)

    And though it might sometimes feel like it, believe me, you aren't alone.

    Actually there are two ways to go about finding a life partner; the Western and the Indian. In the western one, you follow your interests and passions, and you run into similar people and eventually find the one you've been looking for. The advantage in this is that there's no socially imposed 'time limit', as in, by what age you should be married. In the Indian system, there's a fairly rigid shelf-life of a single guy/girl. To make sure that it is adhered to, the concept of arranged marriage is followed, where there is an abrupt and concerted effort on the part of the entire extended family to find a suitable 'match' in a short time frame. This takes little account of personality (the same hobbies and interests) matching, and is instead substituted by background (family, education, caste, kundli etc) matching.

    Both the methods have a decent rate of success. I'm certain that love can be found by both ways.

    The problem occurs when you try to mix the best of both of them. The emphasis on the personality-matching of the Western method, along with the rigid 'time-limit' of the Indian method, make such a hybrid method practically difficult to execute. It may be successful for a lucky few, but for the rest it would be better to pick one method and stick to it.

  13. hey arslan really analytical I must say...a mature thought and seems to be from an experienced person. :)

  14. and regarding your last comment read and

  15. @Viral: Thanks! And I've read these posts.. But I've still got some time before I start thinking on these topics.. Thankfully! :)

  16. Wow, its like a lesson written specially to me.. Awesome thoughts and best description of love ever.. Yes, I will think about it now!


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