This letter is not written by me. My daughter Anusha wrote this during the early part of 2012, just after she had resigned her job with Times of India and was on the verge of proceeding to Bangalore. Perhaps she got fed up waiting for a letter like this from her father, or she just wanted me to know what type of daughter she is and would remain. I wish I were able to write something so profound and so sweet.
I would like to believe that like the lovely, flowing, starkly different notes gushing forth from an antique piano, love too, is not bound by uniformity, despite stemming from one beating muscular source- a tangible-yet-intangible source. And yet, no one object is more bound by clichés than is the object of love. Vision tinted by the calming essence of rosewater, autumnal leaves singing orange melodies, hearts pounding unto arrhythmia, vows of the hallowed ‘forever’, holding hands… is it possible that clichés are the undoing of your generation, a young generation, seeking true love?
One day, and maybe that day has come already, you will decide to set out on that lifelong quest to ‘be in love’. But I advise you to stop wanting to be in love. Instead, set your mind on understanding love, discovering it. There will be questions galore. How do you recognize love? How do you know you’re in love? How much is too much? When such dilemmas are faced, I recommend you resist the temptation of turning to one of those numerous badly-informed rulebooks which liken love to flushed cheeks and a wildly beating heart- if such is the feeling you require, a bout of high fever is what you need. These rules have been written by generations of semantically-blessed, lovelorn fools. And they are lapped up millions of lazy love-seekers who’re too lazy to discover the feeling for themselves. You must dare to be different. Learn your own lessons. Remember, there are no rules in love. If at all you need a rulebook, pen it down yourself, guided by your own experience. And if you feel your rules are nonsensical, tear them up, and carry on with your journey anyway.
You might beg to differ, because at your age you are no doubt highly idealistic, but there might be no such person as ‘the one’. Love is not about you or another person as individuals. It is about your dynamic as a couple, as a working unit. Yes, ‘the spark’ does exist, and you can find it with several people. But after a certain point, it boils down to how much effort you put in. Strive to better yourself as a person. Respect yourself and your partner. Sacrifice might be involved. Fight fiercely but sort things out with just as much passion. Compromise is inevitable, so be open to it. But if your happiness is being compromised too much, have the gumption to get out of the relationship. You will be doing everyone a favour. Be a rebel. Be a little selfish. Be a little selfless. Be practical. Be impractical. Keep with the times. Go retro. Move forward. Take a step back. Be philosophical. Keep it real. Trust implicitly. Be wary.
As is the unfortunate case with your entire generation, you too are matured beyond your age. So, I don’t need to stress on the need to be careful. Experiment all you want, if you must, without compromising on your ingrained morals, because that will kill your spirit one little grain at a time. You were brought up on the basic principle of ‘live and let live’. Never, and I mean never, attempt to destroy another for your needs. Never, ever cheat. Don’t go down the path of debauchery, because that is meant for the crude and sickly. Learn to care, truly care. Make your partner the most important person in your life, but don’t build an altar for him in the centre of your universe. Don’t make him your world, your everything. Have your own life. Don’t ignore your friends; they’re the ones who have your back all the way. Let your family have a say too, but no, theirs need not be the final word.
Love is not without heartbreak. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re human and you’ll get over it soon enough. Yes, people have killed themselves over heartbreak, but they were weak and lived for love. You mustn’t live for love. You must love to live, that’s more important. You were created so you could contribute some measure of beauty to the world, and you must do your bit even if it only requires you to be yourself. Have fun with life, with love. Keep smiling, stay in touch with your inner music and poetry cultivate the habit of laughing heartily. Chocolate helps too.
I can’t put an age to when one must fall in love. It comes down to maturity. I naturally still see you as a baby, and will worry myself sick and nag you till you tire of me. But, when you do find love, the kind of love that you believe is real, cherish it, nurture it, nourish it and most importantly bask in it, until you’ve tanned a content shade of scarlet.