Love Today

I say it unashamedly - I'm a romance junkie! I crave it like a fix, whenever, wherever, how-ever. Books, writing, movies, real life - you name it. But what is romance all about today? What is it we call Love?
I came to ask myself this question over the past few weeks. Movies, books, writing, memories, stories - all of these have bombarded my existence lately and left me in a maelstrom of confusion almost. What is Love all about today?

It all started with the Indian movie Love Aaj Kal. What does this translate to? Hmm, literally, Love Today and Yesterday. Didn't make much sense to me, even when I saw the trailer. Heard the trailer actually, from the kitchen - the unmistakable voice of Bollywood cutey Saif Ali Khan. The words, in Hindi, spelt something like, Romeo and Juliet, Heer Rhanja (mythical Indian love couple), all those coupled-for-seven-lives thing (the Indian belief of reincarnation over seven lifetimes) - all these are not for us, modern people. All this just doesn't exist in real life.

Now this got me intrigued. It sounded romance and love story right up! I come over to the living room to catch this trailer, and I just knew, even if the scenes didn't make much sense (Saif is modern and trendy in one shot and bearded with a turban in the next, in what looks to be post-Independence India) that I wanted to see it. I was like, interesting. Is it a story of reincarnation? The beautiful, colourful and vivid images caught me though, and was like, gotta get this on DVD.

Sat down to watch said movie when kiddo is asleep and hubby is busy elsewhere (I don't wanna be disturbed, yup yup!), and would you believe it - two hours fly by without me noticing! The movie is gripping, as only a real contemporary, larger-than-life romance can captivate you! So what's the story basically? Jai (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera (Deepika Padukone) are a modern couple in London. The opening credits shows their relationship happening over three years, and how it gets terribly humdrum and boring. Then Meera gets an offer to go work in India, on art conservation projects. They decide to break up, rationally (and that's where there's the line of coupled-for-seven-lives doesn't exist except in stories yada yada).
Left alone in London, Jai misses Meera, and he meets Veer Singh, an old Indian fellow who owns the cafe that was Jai and Meera's favourite meeting spot. An odd friendship kindles between the two, on the backdrop of a generational clash about what love means. Veer then tells his own story, how he first saw Harleen and fell in love with her without a word uttered, and how he vowed she'd be his other half for today and all of their seven lives. At which Jai laughs - that's ridiculous, he says. How can one know it's love when you haven't even spoken to the person? The story then goes to show glimpses of Jai and Meera's lives in different countries, and the common thread runs through with Veer telling his own love story with Harleen. And at one point, it turns out, love ain't so different today than it was yesterday...
I loved this fact - that what may look modern and all may in fact be ruled and driven by the same things that ruled in the past, in simpler times, as Veer Singh puts it. The story is definitely modern, and there is the whole live-together-before-marriage issue that was unheard of in the past. At one point, Veer says to Jai that he loved Harleen with all he had and knew he wanted to marry her, and Jai goes, what happened between you?
Veer: Love.
Jai: And?
Veer: And what?
Jai: And... nothing else? Nothing...?
Veer: This nothing you talk about happened after marriage, son. Now you kids are all about the nothing and forget what really matters.
Jai: What?
Veer: Love.

As a modern Indian-origin person, I so understood what that was about! This is the world my parents grew up in, where nothing happened before marriage. In their days, your spouse was selected by the family, and the lucky ones had this opportunity - take a look (mind you, no word exchanged!!) at the selected groom/bride across the girl's family's living room, and state less than 24 hours later whether you agree to the match or not! Yes, you'd be lucky to be able to place in your 'choice', if it can be called that! One of my aunts was determined to reject every suitor as she was a die-hard feminist, and there's the family story of how she found something wrong about every guy brought before her. The weirdest rejection? One of the guys had worn mismatched socks! My own mother had the 'chance' to glimpse her intended before he set foot into the family living room. One day she had accompanied my grandfather to the hospital to see a sick relative, and as they were turning the car around to enter the yard (big deal to have a car back then, circa 1960, which was, bear in mind, still British colonial Mauritius!), and there he was, a dashing young man in his white coat sneaking out between shifts to go catch a bite to eat from the fried food vendor across the lot. That's when my grandfather, who had a soft spot for my mom as she was his youngest daughter, told her that this was the young man who would be coming to propose for her the coming weekend! And lol, my father had only seen my mother's picture, didn't know her or hadn't seen her in the flesh yet! The match was arranged between my grandfather and my dad's eldest brother who was the patriarch of the family.

So, that's the Indian outlook on love and marriage, but what about the modern world we are all so proud of belonging in? The one where 'antiquated morals and stifling customs and conventions' - in the words of Diya Hemant, the heroine of my novel Light My World - don't exist or are brushed off? Is it still 'a truth universally acknowledged that any woman over the age of 18 must be in need of a husband' (Gayatri Hemant, mother to Diya)? Where is Prince Charming or Princess Charming for the young folks? How does he/she come into your existence?

I'm tempted to cite the movie Love Actually here, because it's a fitting portrayal of what it's like to find love today, and also how unexpected and unsettling a process it can be. Love, whatever the description you personally give to it, happens when you least expect it, and often in the manner you least thought it'd happen. And often too, love happens when you have sworn off it. I met my husband in one such time. I was sick of men and was wailing over why it wasn't the middle ages and then I'd be able to go closet myself off in a convent! Hubby too was going through a monastery-sounds-like-heaven phase. One look at him across the dinner table though (we were 'set up' at a family dinner by my cousin who was also his sister-in-law back then) and all notions of convents were forgotten. It was like, if this man's free I'm bagging him! He however, didn't let go of the monastery ideal so easily. His take was, she's a cute imp. Cute, but an imp nevertheless, so that means trouble with a big T! He didn't know how right he was - I've been making his life hell-on-earth for the past 8 years, but hey, he complains only once a day now, so who'll bother, eh?

Love comes when you least expect it, and it makes No Reservations! I watched that one too recently, and just fell in love with the character played by Aaron Eckhart. His name is Nicholas Palmer, and he is every woman's idea of the ideal man! He's exuberant, lives life to the fullest, is a great cook, is wonderful with kids, and he makes breakfast! I'd recommend that one just because of this character, a wonderful hero the likes only romance can bring into the world. And also too, because yes, love makes no reservations, as the heroine Kate, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, finds out with ensuing chaos in her ordered-like-clockwork life.

So tell me, what's love to you today? I'd love to hear your take!
Movie posters courtesy of
Love Aaj Kal wallpapers and photos courtesy

Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural Romantic Fiction, With a Twist
Available Now!! - Light My World - Eirelander Publishing
Nolwynn Ardennes - The Promise of Fulfilment
Coming out January 8, 2010 - Storms in a Shot Glass - Eirelander Publishing
Coming out July 2, 2010 - Walking on the Edge - Eirelander Publishing

Aasiyah Qamar/Nolwynn Ardennes - Romance the world over


  1. I'm gonna get sappy but love is finding the one person in your life who accepts you for all your faults and good points. Takes your good days with the bad and still sparks a fire in you.

    Interesting and informative post, Z.


  2. 'All notions of convents were forgotten. It was like, if this man's free I'm bagging him!'

    LOL, Z! My husband and I were in the same boat. Neither of us were interested in a relationship - we were just friends for 2 years before things got steamy. If you're not looking for love, it finds you.

  3. I ain't looking, it BETTER not find me, I'll bag it and throw it in the river down the road - LOL (but really not.) But No Reservations was a good movie!

    Great post, Z.

  4. Z - I love your aunt who was determined to reject every suitor - even one who was wearing mis-matched socks! Sounds like a great character for a book or movie LOL. The movie you mentioned sounds lovely! I hope it's available on this side of the pond ;D You know in many ways I think all the hard work that family elders put into making matches might have been better than all the hard work we have to do trying to meet someone in a sea of strangers. To be honest I think there are far more great women in the world than great men - at least - great straight men - so lesbians have more to choose from at the end of the day than straight women. Am I being cynical? Perhaps. But very few of my close female friends are partnered up with good men. A lot have been in terrible relationships or gotten divorced or are still single (myself included). Although in my case - I kind of want it that way - for now anyway. Thanks for this thought provoking piece ;D

  5. I would KILL to be a lesbian. They have great lives! :-D Meanwhile, I'm afraid my truest view of love is encapsulated by a film like _Brief Encounter_. Beautiful, heartbreaking--about things best left untouched.

  6. LOL Z, I was thirty-three when I got married. I was happy being single, but my man chased me for eight months and put me on the spot when he knew I was going to start back to school.

    He said, I wouldn't have time for him unless we married when I went back to school. He was a pushy kind of guy and focused on making me see the light that we belonged together. lol

    We all know His Ronness gets his way. However, I'm no slouch in that department either. lol

  7. Beautiful post, Zaynah. And if your other movie references are in anyway like Love Aaj Kal, then it's a winner.

    It's really tough to find 'the one'. I think Liena summed it up quite beautifully.

    Jo and Kel, you crack me up!! (though I'm not disagreeing. :-P)

    I was lucky to meet my own hubby thirteen years ago. Though when I think of the reincarnational possibilities, it brings up the often overlooked point--just how 'evolved' were we in a previous life? If a true bond exists, it would be there for more than romance, eh? It would be almost a commitment to stand by the other no matter what the struggle and aid in your loved one's growth.

    Hubby and I clashed wills and butted heads for the first couple of years, yet felt such an overwhelming commitment (we'd joke that it was an arranged match by our souls) that we stuck it out. Each year grew more harmonious and it wasn't until the third year that the honeymoon started. *grin*

    Great and thought-provoking piece, Zaynah!


  8. I actually met my hubby of 9 years after breaking things off with a boyfriend who was all wrong for me. My sister dragged me out of the house to go dancing, promised to stick by my side and ditched me during the first Brian Adams song.

    I was pissed and thought "what the h!@* I'm tired of waiting for the guy to ask me" and asked the first guy I saw to dance. I wanted to take charge and be more in control of my life. This was a big step for a 21 year old.

    He said yes and we spent most of the night dancing and talking. We've been together every since.

  9. Hey ladies

    Thought-provoking responses from all of you! I got a few laughs too, and truly, what's life without laughter? Or love, eh?

    Liena - you summed it up nicely. I always say, the man sees you in the morning when you've just woken up, still groggy, with your hair probably looking like a bird's nest and without a scrap of makeup on, yet he cuddles up to you and whispers that he loves you. YOU!! Lol, that's love!

    Julia - yup yup, love finds you when and how you least expect it, especially when you're not looking! I just saw The Proposal, and that movie had me crying so much it was sweet, amidst all the funny scenes! I mean, Ryan Reynolds calls Sandra Bullock Satan's Mistress when the movie starts, yet these two will end up falling in love in the most beautiful way! A real good one!

    J - lol, you crack me up, girl! Don't throw it away, just cage it during the day and let it out in the evenings and at night! Hmm, now that ain't a bad idea, you know...

    Joanna - Yup, my aunt would make a great character! She did end up marrying though, even if she did so when practically an old bag, at, gasp, 23! She said there was no way she'd escape it, even after all the men she rejected, so when one really handsome fellow came, she was like, better settle for the one that's easy on the eyes if I got to settle at all! They've been married for over 40 years now, lol, and she still bites his head off every single day. My poor uncle!
    I know just what you mean about the few good men. I consider myself lucky to have found one (though there are days when he ain't a gem at all, with that Alpha caveman temper!), but still, could be lots lots worse. Like my ex-husbnad, for instance! Most of my friends are still single or looking for Mr. Right, with not much hope of finding him.
    In the olden days, matches were made for better or worse - you stuck with it. My mom always said that my grandfather used to tell the girls in the family, just before they went out to get married, that the only way to leave a husband's house was in a coffin, so they had to roll with it come hell or high water! Pretty inconceivable today, but then too, it was different times. And yes, lesbians have lots and lots more choice, because the women are great while the men, sigh.
    The movie should be out in DVD in the US/Canada too. Gotta ask Nina about it, I'm sure she'll know.

    Kel - I haven't seen that movie. Now you're making me eager to watch it just to see what your view of love is all about! And yes too, if only we had as much choice as lesbians... Good men is a dying breed on the verge of extinction.

    Sandy - lol, darling. You met with an Alpha through and through! But sometimes it takes a strong spirit to steer us on the path of love, and only the really determined and headstrong and stubborn can achieve that! And WTG on being no slouch too! Give him a run for his money!

    Chiron - I loved your response! Yup, Love Aaj Kal is a winner in my book, a movie I'd recommend over and over again. For a commercial movie, I think it hit some strong notes too, the kind only a good, strong story can.
    Very true that when destiny pitches you with someone, the years forward only get better instead of humdrum. The commitment you mention in the reincarnation bond strikes a chord with me, as in, this is what an enduring relationship should be about, what love should build up to. But that could just be me, maybe I'm idealistic or perfectionist, but I don't think love just ends in itself, there's always a goal beyond it, as in fulfilment and self-actualisation.

    sgentili - yours sounds like a romance from books and movies! Yup, sometimes, a girl's gotta take charge. It can never hurt really!

    Thanks all for your lovely comments and responses! I loved seeing what you think about the topic I chose!



  10. Love found me at a young age. I was 14, married at 17 (and no, it was not a shot gun wedding) and I've been married almost 17 years.
    I saw my husband with another girl, they were talking and I knew from just his profile that he was "mine." I found out his name, but I did not chase him, I let him come to me. We were introduced about 6 days later without me trying to meet him. I told my mother that night that I had met the boy I would marry. She of course told me i was silly, but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. Some things are just meant to be. However, you can't make someone love you. The other person has to have the same desire and pull to you as you to them.

  11. Wow, Stacy, that's an amazing story! Congrats on landing that man, seems like your heart won all the way!

    Yup, the heart wants what the heart wants, and it beats faster and with more life when that other heart wants yours too! Definitely cannot make someone love you, to sound cliche, it really has to come from the heart! Lol

    Thanks for dropping by and sharing that lovely story with us! Keep on rocking in that love of yours!



  12. LOVED 'Love Aaj Kal' almost as much as 'Jab We Met' which is to me the ultimate romantic movie!

    And if you enjoyed 'No Reservations' watch the original it was based on 'Mostly Martha'. Truly divine, you'll understand why.

    Thanks for this lovely post on romanticism. This Softy loved it!


Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts