These women who claim to love, to love a lot, to love too much, to love no other, to love like no one ever loved, to live for love, to die for love—what’s the deal with them? Dropped on their heads as babies or daddy issues? Whatever the cause, this medical condition afflicts all girls some time and some girls all the time. These cerebral versions of Anastasia from Fifty Shades begging for an emotional battering in the Red Room are scattered among professors, prudes, palmists and piano players alike. There is an astronaut on the way to the moon right now crying her eyes out because he did not call.
Loving someone who will not love you back is seen as the heroic equivalent of climbing Mt Everest—you love... because he’s there. A side effect of this grand passion is that no mortal man can return it in equal measure; the woman simply out-loves any man on the planet.Why yearn to be sidelined, to be last on a man’s list? They say no, I don’t want to be the protagonist, not even the antagonist, please, please, let me be the sidekick in my own story. They will call or meet friends only to analyse and go over and over again and again on what he did not say and why—till the friends run screaming for the hills. So they end up mate-less as well as pal-less.
The sucker in the end, the one who doesn’t get to walk off into the sunset hand in hand with anyone, is the one who loves. And their hearts will go on even as the Titanic sinks, even if the man is indifferent, a womaniser, gay or abusive. This is seen as a virtue, this talent for relentless romancing in the face of ‘NO’ response. A female form of genteel stalking that’s socially accepted, deserving of a slow clap.
The usual male strategy is that of under-love to over-love in which they imagine they hold all the cards—because, hey, in the hierarchy of love superior are those who are loved more than they love. Mathematicians can be lovers but lovers as mathematicians? Such men find the perfect equation with soul mates who will love them no matter what. This leaves them free to play Cinderella. The clock strikes 12, poof, he is gone. He will bob up briefly to exchange literary banter and then it’s back to catch-me-if-you-can.
Get rid of the Mirabai inside you—not all of us can carry off an iktara—and the narrative changes. Which is not to say never fall for anyone; fall by all means, but fall for you. As Aditya Chopra almost said: Come... fall in love with yourself.To have that king-sized bed all to yourself—the dog wants to jump in, but you are, like, no way; the kids may snuggle up in the morning and you let them, because, what the hell, you made them so you have to suffer them once a while—with no one to say hey, you snore (when you didn’t because you never do)! No bliss to rival that.