When the love hormones struck me in the teens, I figured out my parents perhaps were the most unromantic couple in the world. They never shared endearments in public, never held hands, and seldom walked together. Yet, any day, my Maa instantly recognises Baba by his footsteps and Baba senses Maa's presence with the clink of her bangles. Maa and Baba's chemistry is nothing close to the 'love' screened in our movies or exalted in the mushy novellas. But 34 years and still counting, they are together.
My parents aren't perhaps the 'love birds' as defined in our love paeans, but yes they are, to each other, the perfect companions.
In the age of millennials as I look around, I find lovers dime a dozen; losing themselves to each other, murmuring sweet nothings and blatantly engrossed in open display of love. However very few last long.
"It didn't work out between us", "We weren't meant to be", "Distance threw us apart" With reasons flippant and profound the love birds of yesterday, part ways today, only to find themselves in the company of another beloved tomorrow.
Love is short lived, my friend; my generation tells me. We cannot always stay with those we love. And those we choose to stay with, may not be those we fell in love with. But come to think of it, what about those we found totally perfect to be with for the entire lifetime? What about them, with whom we discovered the affinity, warmth and compatibility. Sure, the fire, the untamed passion and the scorching chemistry, might be a few things missing. But we found companionship in return and is it anyway any less than the so-called eulogised emotion of 'love'?
Love versus Companionship
Love happens when the heart takes over the mind. We fall in love with the strangest of people around. We are unreasonable, we are irrational and we weave unrealistic dreams. It is when these dreams shatter, we realise the agony of jilted love.
Hurt by the unloved love we venture out to find a like-minded confidante. We are guarded, we are careful, we are cautious enough to protect our heart. And Voila! We do find the one.
But this time reason takes over the unreasonable, affection perhaps replaces the untamed passion. It is nothing close to the love we had experienced before, it is not exciting, it is not unexpected, and it is far from thrilling. But it is a balm to the ruptured soul. We have found compatibility this time and a certain comfort in similarity. We have found our companion. They might not exactly be our ideal definition of love, but yes, they are our partners for life.
Love Is Easy to discover, Companionship is hard to find
In the supersonic age, when we switch our lovers as fast as our WhatsApp status, love as we know it, isn't rare to find. But what's rare is the lastingness of that love. Who has the patience to be brave and take that plunge in the rough, uncertain sea and risk landing at something not bargained for.
No wonder we tick checkboxes before embarking on a serious relationship, as this time we know we are looking for companionship and not "the crazy stupid love"
Are the interests alike, are the communities same, are the professions compatible? We ensure endless parameters and only the candidates fulfilling the criteria seem worthy of our love. My friend, for instance, decided early on, that he would only settle down for somebody from his community. Another, post her break up, wanted to find a boyfriend only from the same profession, same financial standing and even the same city. They tell me it's nothing frivolous and serious stuff needs serious consideration. It's a solemn relationship after all. So why let hearts wander to destinations unreachable.
Maybe, they both will learn to love their companions or they would never be able to love them, may be that space in their heart will stay vacant forever. But that's all right, coz, they have found something more precious than love. It is companionship.
Is Companionship underrated?
In the age of narcissism, material desires and jet speed lifestyle, who has the time to stop by and to ask our concerns? But what if we do find someone who would not only lend us the comfort of togetherness but also hold our hands till eternity. They decide to be there throughout our thick and thin, embrace us during the tough times and celebrate our good moments. These gems are tough to find and if we are lucky to find them, aren't they worth our love for the lifetime.
We cannot always stay with those we love. But we certainly can love those we stay with. So, this Valentine's day, let's commemorate the un-valuable, sensible companionship rather than the love of the loonies.
(Kakoli Sengupta is an ex-journalist, a research scholar, and a content writer, with over 10 years of experience in the media industry.)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author.