The toughest four-letter verb

Jean-Antoine Watteau The Scale of Love

I once said to a friend: Love isn’t easy and that’s the beauty of it.

That people should let me get away with making statements like the above is testament to how important tolerance is among friends for the survival of their relationship. How else can one explain not having been blocked off from all communication after sending that message on learning of distraught state of above-mentioned friend on account of the lover having flown miles away.

That said, friends-in-love are exciting people to be around. You can rejoice at their heady happiness almost as if it were your own. You can dole out advice with such self-assured authority that it might seem you graduated with distinction in the subject. And you can almost always be excused for making statements that could well belong to some trashy soap opera that everybody loves but would rather die than admit to having seen.

Of course the all-important question (only if you’re so inclined) is: What is love?

As it turns out, the dictionary will show you that the word ‘love’ is a verb (apart from other things). They should put that on the pack like a statutory warning: NOT MEANT FOR A SLOTH. Other creatures may consume at their own risk. There are tobacco related deaths and then there are the ones caused by the deadly four-letter verb. It’s not funny at all, mind you.

Popular culture has made pot loads of money selling the idea of this ‘incomprehensible’ feeling. People continue to borrow from movies, songs, poetry, to aid in their understanding of love. They may prepare checklists just to be sure that what they’re experiencing is indeed this ‘glorious, all-encompassing’ feeling. There’s the ‘pinch-yourself’ test just to make sure you’re not dreaming. Also popular is the ‘pluck-poor-flower-petals-and-do-loves me/loves me not’ test where you inflict pain and torture on an innocent flower just because of your evolutionary advantage of an opposable thumb that allows for enhanced plucking ability.

The language of love is a separate industry in itself. Some say it with songs/poetry (that may well turn out to be their worst work to date but will sell for it is about love after all). Heck, some even build (or get built by thousands of underpaid craftsmen) monuments for their lovers.

To each his or her own. You can say it with a rose-without-an-occasion and still win the day.

What is more interesting is how a person’s love affair can affect those around them. That’s probably because most people you know are either in love, out of it, can’t wait to get hitched or have no inclination of stepping anywhere near it. So wherever you are on the love map there are always those who will bask in the spring sun of your love-affair and others who will tell you they always knew it was doomed when you’re left weathering the thunderstorms.

The best trick then might be to work the four-letter verb your way. Afterall, you’re the one getting all the lovin’, or not, as the case may be. So love on (if that’s your thing) or celebrate single-hood for all its worth.

Rest assured that either way there will be friends with award-winning statements and almost-professional advice cheering your whole lotta love or pulling you out of a whole lotta crap, depending on what it looks like to them.


Make it Wordless

The dictionary defines conversation as informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words.

And yet the best conversations often do not involve spoken words at all. Often what is left unsaid is more significant than words that find their way through the corridors of the mind. They say, “A friend is someone with whom you can sit for hours on end without saying anything, but when you get up to leave you feel you’ve had the best conversation in the world”.

A glance across a crowded room holds thoughts that can hardly be expressed just as well by words. Looking away can start and end never-begun sentences. The eyes can speak a language devoid of limits imposed by alphabets.

Imagined conversations take place in the mind that would never allow such utterances out loud. Arguments often struggle within, searching for the cruelest words to peg themselves on.

An embrace can hardly find a replacement in the dictionary. Tears can cause and alleviate pain, at once expressing and withholding thoughts. A smile can disarm many a belligerent soul.

While words may not lose favour as a means of communication, there’s a lot else to take recourse to.

So if you’re making conversation, say what you want… And sometimes, try it wordless.