Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Irrelevance of Reciprocity

RESTAURANT: Bombay Talkie, New York City
ON THE MENU AS: Unrequited Love
PREPARATION: 2½ ounces of gin, a half-ounce of sugar syrup infused overnight with saffron, and 1½ ounces of sweet lime juice; shaken with ice.
PRICE: $10

Often in life we are told stories of unrequited love. Everyone has heard them, in lore, or real life. Most have probably experienced it as well. Today, I wonder how important reciprocity is really.

Sometimes I have felt affection towards people, and understandably only on a few occasions it has been reciprocated. I think back, and I realize that they didn’t feel the same, can in no manner take away from what I felt for them. Conversely, when reciprocated, I didn’t feel a stronger affection, just because I was loved back. At best reciprocity adds longevity to relationships. At worst, it just creates expectations.

The reasons why I am thinking of this is because lately a friend of mine, has been going on and on about how he is growing old, and no one loves him. It is becoming too much, and of late I have only a few drinking buddies left. Though I wear this absolutely stoic expression during the discussions, I realize that he is indeed serious. But presenting my views to him is unlikely to be of any consequence.

Now I have a very strong sense of ego, which does blur the objective train of thought that I am now trying to pursue. And I realize the agony over unrequited love, is nothing but an outcome of ego. It is a manifestation of an exaggeration of the self, which finds it difficult to deal with rejection. But truly, honestly, reciprocation does nothing.

Once you have a thing going, and by a thing I mean an essentially exclusive relationship, it leads to a whole host of experiences, which is difficult to go through by yourself. I guess it is a desire to have those experiences that make it so important for us to have a closure in our affections.

But unfortunately, in life there are, as Arundhati Roy so aptly put, Laws of Love. Which lay down who is to be loved by whom, and how much. Actually, it isn’t a law, a theorem, because those have some basis. It is an axiom. No reason, no argument, just that it is.

Which is when people bemoan their unrequited love, it is so boring, because as an outsider, you know that while one person is in love, the other is merely thinking, should I get into this, what is there in it for me, or worse, is there going to be a better deal soon? Its not nice, but it is true.

Of course, there might exist cosmic moments when both parties are equally in love (if it is possible), and then they go into the sunset holding hands. But most of the time, it is just two people having a very good time in each others company, and calling it love.

And think it is unreal.
And hence I think reciprocity is the most exaggerated concept of our lives.

And I think I am not making any sense in this post.

"In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make."
The Beatles


Anonymous said...

very incisive perspectives

shikha said...

you sometimes do make lot of sense...
and i dont know,if people really tell you...but many many like what you write:)....