January 11, 2011

Everybody wants you to fall in love.

Fritz Gonsalves

The most used, abused, quoted, misquoted and twisted four-letter word in the history of four letter words. The only other four-letter word that’s less ambiguous, yet equally interesting, is Fuck.

Love is ambidextrous. It can work as a suffix and a prefix. You can add love to hate and vice-versa and it will work fine.

Love to my understanding is an all-weather, all-terrain bike.

Everybody loves love. A friend of mine had an interesting point. She said, “I love the idea of falling in love.” Also very insightful – the stuff people believe in to make sense of their usually mundane life.

But enough of my technical mumbo jumbo; let’s get to the bottom of this four-letter word. Let’s figure out why Bryan Adams still sells, how Karan Johar made money and why Ghalib still, and will always, make sense.

Everyone wants you to fall in love: your friends, their friends, colleagues, boss, insurance agents, journalists, Shiv Sena, Eric Segal, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, late MJ, etc. There is no escaping their cajoling.

The reason is simple: Love is good for the economy.

Money, greed, ambition, takeovers, mergers, Gordon Gekho, jargon-stuffed MBAs, Discount Coupons, Buy One Take The Whole Freakin’ Shop Free offers don’t really push GDP chart northwards – it is love. Love is the mojo that keeps the capitalist engine humping.

It’s simple. A guy in love is more likely to marry, settle down and have kids. Which means that he is more likely to buy a diamond ring, swipe his credit card for over-priced, yet tasteless, buffets, fly to Dubai for shopping, book a house, buy a flat screen TV, opt for front loading washing machine, have a club membership, sedan, hatchback, insurance policies, pay EMIs.

Love is the bait marketers use to swell their market share. Deodorant, burgers and fairness cream makers, they all want you to fall in love.

Usually love, from being just another four-letter word to a stomach-ache-inducing malaise, happens in middle or late school. Or first year in college for sure. I mean, if you don’t fall in love by college you need therapy.

Let’s start with the illusion of first love - Copyright of Eric Segal & Company. It’s awfully simple - boy meets girl, girl meets boy and they fall in love. Boy starts bunking classes. Girl starts collecting valentine day cards. Boy starts guitar lessons. Girl by-hearts Glenn Medeiros only-claim-to-fame song. In three months they realize they are meant to be. After six months they are sure that they will get married no matter what. By the end of first year courtship they are caught holding hands inside a movie hall (More often than not this accidental spy will either be the girl’s elder brother or father. In India it’s compulsory to have a bad temper if you have a daughter or a younger sister).

Moving on, probably one of them might try suicide by drinking phenyl, and survive, while the other will feel bad that he/she didn’t try the suicide first. They will live in agony for six months, then get bored, watch the next Karan Johar movie and move on.

College romances somehow fizzle out by the time you submit your final year papers on “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, which happens if you opt for Organizational Behavior as your main subject.

Moving on, after college the love bug stops at corporate crossroads. Office premises are a massive pool of would-be lovers. You might not find Obama in the white house for a second term, but you will find love sitting crossed-legged right next to your cubicle. It’s a guarantee. All it takes to fall in love with an office colleague is an existing boring boyfriend or a colleague whose is worth staring at waist upwards.

Love is the new corporate focus. Though wasteful in the short-term, in the long-term scheme of things it keeps the balance sheet healthy. Married or individuals in a relationship are less likely to switch jobs, which keeps the cost of hiring low; they work extra hard so that their children can go to expensive boarding schools and are more likely to swallow shit in case they have a boss who likes to scratch his balls every time anyone gives him a worthy suggestion.

Even religion thrives on love, especially if s/he is a Roman Catholic, goes to church every Sunday, belongs to the same parish, sings Christmas Carols, goes for Confession, Novenas on Thursdays and has a cross tattoo on the thumb.

Summing up, love is tough. It makes you go mad. It makes you press the rewind button so many times, the damn finger starts complaining. It makes Boyzone, Backstreet and Westlife sound so cool.

It makes philosophers out of bankers. It’s worth swiping your credit card. It’s scary. It’s the highest degree of freedom. But it’s worse than bonded labour and I read somewhere, “If you are vulnerable, you’ll fall in love”.

I will just add: If you are vulnerable, you’ll either fall in love or end up a Jihaadi.

Choose wisely.
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