Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Acoording to Samar!

Continuing to put up thoughts of friends and fellow Footloose No More members, here's one from Samar Khan! Another comment on relationships :)

Should anyone else out there want me to publish their thoughts, please email me.


The Business Of Love
Joey… that’s the name of the black Labrador that I brought home 7 years ago… They say dogs love their masters unconditionally… In many ways I believe that’s true. No matter how badly I behave or how bad my mood is, Joey always manages to make me feel loved. He doesn’t love me only on the good days…nor does he want anything in return for the love that he gives me. Joey knows only to give love…without conditions, censorship or limits… Every time I look at Joey, I wonder, why is it that an animal is able to preserve the essence of a beautiful emotion like love, but we humans have converted it into a business deal? Why do we treat love like barter between two individuals, in which both parties must give and receive in equal measures or else the deal falls through? Shouldn’t love be freely given, without any pre-conditions and exit clauses?
Our very first experience with love comes in the form of parents and then god. Society, our families and everything around us teaches us to love our parents and god. It is a universal truth and a norm in almost all cultures. In principle, we’re told, right from our childhood, that our parents and god love us… And they do… But is that love unconditional? And is our love for them unconditional either? 
My contention is that our love for god is based on greed and fear, two of the most negative emotions that we’re capable of. But I can’t even blame a child for viewing god through the prism of greed. Because when have we ever been taught to love god unconditionally? From the time we begin to understand things, understand right from  wrong, we’re told that only if we live life ‘a certain way’, will god love us and shower us with his blessings. We’re made to believe that unless we walk the path as prescribed by our religion and religious texts, he won’t love us and give us what we want… Who amongst us was taught to simply love god and all his creations? Who was told that god will love us back unconditionally, even if we choose to walk a path that others frown upon? That it didn’t matter whether you eat pork or drank whiskey or married outside your caste...god would still love and cherish you. Why were so many disclaimers attached to god’s love? Shouldn’t he love us unconditionally…irrespective of our mistakes or failures? Why is god’s love measured against a balance sheet…where only if my good deeds outnumbered my bad ones, would I be worthy of god’s love?
And why should my love for him be based on fear…fear of his wrath and its consequences… Shouldn’t at least the love for god be pure and honest…unaffected by what he gives us and when? It shouldn’t diminish when things don’t pan out the way we wanted them to, or overflow when we get exactly what we desired. But unfortunately, it does.
Next, our parents… It’s not a pleasant thought, but I don’t think that even a parents’ love for their children is unconditional… If it were, we wouldn’t constantly be pushed and proddedin the direction that they think is best. If we truly believed our parents loved us unconditionally, we wouldn’t always be worried about adhering to their moral code, principles and ideas. If we were secure in the knowledge of their love, we would be free to grow in like a tree…in any direction that we chose too. We wouldn’t constantly feel the need to prove ourselves worthy of their love. There would be no need to show how much we ‘loved’ them by doing things they wanted…
Most parents emotionally blackmail their kids into adopting their beliefs in the name of love. The love that they give their children while raising them is expected to show returns—with interest. Parents expect to be repaid in kind. Each sacrifice and every gesture is recorded so that they can be tallied later.
I do concede that even if we decide to chart out own paths instead of following theirs, most parents wind up accepting it, and more often than not, still love us… But somewhere deep inside, the feeling of disappointment and resentment continues to linger...and it erupts the moment we falter or fail. We’ve all felt the bitter taste of the words, ‘I told you so,’ at some point in our lives, haven’t we?
My point is, if the two most elemental loves of our lives—from the time of birth, to our growing up years and adulthood—are based on a carefully monitored balance sheet, how are we expected to love unconditionally when we grow up and have adult relationships?
Most of the relationships in our adult life are born out of our needs and not a desire to give or love without reason. We ‘love’ only those people who fulfill a certain need or requirement in our life. But that isn’t love, that’s simply a convenient and businesslike arrangement.
When was the last time we loved without wanting anything in return? It might be unrealistic and utopian, but wouldn’t we hurt less if we loved unconditionally? Because then we would demand and expect less from the people in our lives. We would give without the anticipation of returns.
Nature has a way of loving unconditionally… The sun doesn’t ask for anything in return for the sunlight that it gives… Neither does the moon for the calming serenity that its light gives us… Or even the rain for washing away negativity with each cooling drop. And I believe that god doesn’t want anything from us in exchange for his love either. So why have we turned love into a business? Why do we calculate love like we would calculate the profits and losses for our financial year? Why do we insist that people who we ‘love’ and are in relationships with, must behave in a certain way, do a certain kind of things and think in a certain way?
Some might say it is impossible and impractical. But I say, love is not meant to be practical or sensible… It is meant to transcend logic and reason…it only makes you feel… warm and fuzzy…just the way Joey makes me feel when he licks my feet even when I’m at my grouchiest worst. And even if I pull my feet away, he doesn’t sulk or withhold his love… He simply finds my feet again, like it’s the most natural thing in the world to do…and resumes licking them…without questioning my mood or wanting to change it. Joey knows how to give love and give it unconditionally… Maybe it’s time I learnt it too.


  1. There are some of us who do love without reason or want anything in exchange.I have friends who will be there even if I behave like a monster some days.I love my son the way he is, with his flaws n faults? We all need incentives n positive encouragement and that does not mean we are bribing them or rewarding them when they do something good. There are days when tempers fly and in spite of it, I hug him and tell him it is okay.I firmly believe that love is to be felt and not analyzed. You cannot measure it. There are people who give without expecting and love, to never expect. You have to love yourself to love another person.Be the person you are and let the others be themselves too. Yes I have two dogs and know how they smother me with their pure love...bliss !But then we are human...complicated and yes expecting all the time.And then they say " it's a dogs' life "

  2. Samar, you said it! Such a valid thought! If only people got it! I know how unconditionally Nike loves me. The worst phases of my life have been better survived because I had a dog that loved me, licked away my tears, sat beside me when I cried or laughed or was angry.
    Every relationship has been tainted with some form of condition.
    I know what you mean about even parental love being tainted as well...yes, all parents will outright deny that they conditionally love their children...in all honesty, they gotta think again.
    Perhaps, as human beings, it is one of the most difficult things to master - to love unconditionally. However, an attempt at loving a person unconditionally is a path in the right direction. An attempt, that comes to us as the hardest road to tread on...but it is the most beautifully amazing one.
    Cheers and kudos for sharing this post. I bet you made everyone wince!

  3. Fantastically written & spot on!