As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.
I love that quote from The Fault in our Stars because there is a lyricism in the words that captures the poignancy of falling in love so beautifully. This year, people have fallen headlong, sideways and feet-first into a void that no one really knows the depth of. But some intrepid ones have attempted to define its dimensions and it has resulted in some great movies, songs and books.
Someone once listened to an aspiring singer and said these words: “She’s good. But she’ll be great after she knows what love is and has her heart broken once.” If you’ve ever come out of the void empty and scarred, then you know what heartbreak is. I’ve always felt that your biggest gain is after you get over your most painful loss. Heartbreaks make you a fuller person. You might have gambled with the currency of love and lost, but you’ve learned one more rule of the game. That’s why one of my favourite songs of this year is One Direction’s The Story of my Life. It’s about heartbreak. And feeling heavy with the weight of untold stories.
Written in these walls are the stories I can’t explain, the song goes. I leave my heart open but it stays right here empty for days. She told me in the morning she don’t feel the same about us in her bones… I take her home, I drive all night to keep her warm and time… is frozen… I give her hope. I spend her love until she’s broke inside. It is an intriguing thought; that love is a finite resource which can be drained, until you’re left broken inside.
2015 has also been the year of grand, opulent love, the kind that explodes somewhere near your tummy and shifts the axis of your world. Is it a myth that only exists in rollicking romances like Bajirao Mastani and Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela? I don’t know but when you watch these films, all that matters are the moist looks of longing, the spontaneous breaking into song and dance, the vivid shades of lust between two beautiful people. There is time enough later to awake to the reality of a husband waiting for you back at home who’s probably right then littering your couch with peanut shells.
The rich can love the poor, the high-caste boy can love the low-caste girl, the Hindu man can love the Muslim woman. But can someone really love a crotchety old man who keeps complaining of constipation? I must commend Shoojit Sircar for bombarding us with the colour and consistency of a man’s poop in the wonderfully-made film Piku, and still making his daughter’s love for him a credible theme. I think the greatness of the story lies in the fact that never once does she express that love but it is implicit in every arching look and every chiding remark.
But my favourite love story this year is not a work of imagination. It is that of my roommate who, in college, met a boy and spent the night talking to him. (They swear they didn’t do anything more). But circumstances—some might say life—separated them and, many years later, they met at a movie theatre by chance. They fell in love and, on their engagement, he showed her a message that he had sent his mother many years ago. Specifically, the night they bared their souls to each other, drunk on Old Monk, the view from the balcony and youth. “Today, I met the girl I’m going to marry,” the message read.
It makes you believe in that shady thing called destiny. It makes you believe that some idiot somewhere can dirty your couch with peanut shells and still be able to shift the axis of your world.