"How do porcupines mate?"- very carefully. No surprise that it was the first thing I got inked.

“How do porcupines mate?”- very carefully. The first tattoo.

“Which is the best relationship you’ve had ?” asked my female friend, as we mused over Single life in Delhi with a cup of tea, on her Lajpat Nagar terrace. ”It depends on what you define as the best. If by that you mean something that was really romantic and  gave me a sense of belonging…that would be the relationship I was in, when I was twenty.” And then came the but! ”But something is to be said about time, being comfortable and not running away. So I would say, the one that lasted the longest.” It was serene, the ambience… discussing matters of the heart on a cloudy evening, a stone throw away from the place I worked at…with the boy who managed to catch me with my guard down.

A couple of weeks later, an argument ensues. ”Why are you not thinking about it?”, asks the man who waits patiently on the sideline. The standard reply, ” I’ll be ready in a few months”, has worn itself thin. After a year of saying the same thing, by now I’ve realized that this phase is going to last a while! So I blurt out, ”I don’t think I can do this, for a long time.” A part of me feels a twinge as I say this to my friend but my quills are back in place and I’ve always been a bit pokey. Though, it does make me wonder what love is and when I’ll be ready for it.


So I glance through my favourite book on the topic. The first chapter of  Rashna Imhalsy-Gandhy’s book, The Psychology of Love, is called The Perils of Falling In Love. She quotes Carl Jung,”We fall in love against our will. Our hearts suddenly go off on crazy paths of their own, leaving our cool collected minds aghast and struggling vainly to maintain order and dignity.” The book makes a very interesting read. From love to separation, from aloneness to triangular relationships, this Delhi based psychologist uses Indian mythological figures to convey her message.


 I find a beautiful quote from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin.”When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No … don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!


Ram Das in his seminar,  ‘Exploring the Heart Of Healing’ said about love, ”We go through life meeting people- and then we meet somebody, where their being and your being is such, that it is like a key that fits into a lock, and it opens. You experience the deepest part of yourself-which is a quality which you experience as love, and you say ”I am in love”.The predicament is such -what you are saying is-‘I am in love with you’.What that is, the attachment to the method that worked to allow you to open the door in yourself, where you yourself are love. But, since you have been cut off from that place for so long, and you are hungry for it, you get addicted to your connection-to the place in yourself-where you are love. You want to be in that state so much, that you say to the person: ”I want to possess you for the rest of my life.”


My spiritual friends insist my heart chakra is blocked and needs healing, that’s the reason my key is not fitting into any lock these days. My male friends insist that the last relationship was the final nail in the coffin. With a memory like mine (Can’t retain anything) and a defense mechanism so fabulous, I seriously doubt it. I don’t think that my muscular organ which pumps blood, is to be blamed here, either. I think it’s my head…it’s just the saying goes-I’ve been to the circus and seen the clown or been there, done that, sounds nicer.


The spat with my friend has really made me wonder if I’ve become ‘incapable of feeling anything’. I search the World Wide Web and find Kim Casali’s, illustrations- ‘Love is…’. Kim started the cartoon strip as notes to her husband- to- be. They were first published in 1970 and though Kim is no more, her son and artist Bill Aspery maintain a website called Today’s post says, ‘ Love is buying into a life together.’ I randomly click on a few more. The one from April ’06 says- ‘Love is…Two of a kind.’  May 07/13-‘ Love is- a shared milestone’. Jan 16/15- ‘ Love is.. the special pain of living on, alone.’ Very cute but of no use to me. So I continue meandering.


Now, I look for romantic stuff thinking it might kindle a spark. has listed ten of the most romantic movie characters of all, times. At the top of the list is Jack Dawson from the Titanic, Noah Cullins from the Notebook and of course Rick Blaine from Casablanca. Puke, puke and ok I get it. I muse over it. If I had to make a list- Thomas Crown from The Thomas Crown Affair, would top it. Yes, I know it’s not a chick flick rather a film about an art heist. But for me the most romantic scene ever is when Thomas Crown  asks Catherine (played by Rene Russo), ”It’s obvious that you like men but you never keep any of them around very long either.” She replies,”Oh, well, men make women make messy.” and then Pierce Brosnan says, ”Here’s to the fear of being trapped.”  Now that’s romantic… to be able to see a woman for the porcupine she is, love her enough to know the only way to keep her is to outsmart her.


This reminds me of a story from, Women Who Run With Wolves- The Skeleton Woman. Clarrisa Pinkola Estes retells a Native tale of a woman who is thrown down a cliff by her father and her skeleton lies at the bottom of the sea. A fisherman’s hook gets caught in her rib cage and their tangled tango begins. They try to escape, both terribly afraid of each other. Eventually, they see each other, in another light and live happily ever after. The gist of the story is really nothing like the story.  I don’t want to retell it, so read it. But I’ve come to this conclusion after this futile exercise. Each person’s notion of love is different. Simple women like simple stories whereas, tangled women like tangled stories. As long as the story is interesting and doesn’t hit the snooze button in my brain, eventually I think I’ll be willing to write a new one.

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