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Foolish heart

Monali Sharma, Nov 22, 2012 : 23:01 IST

Some of us must go through the trauma of having our hearts broken.

While tuning into a radio station late one evening, I stumbled upon the eternally romantic Casablanca. Before I knew it, I was whisked off to a long forgotten spring, watching the starfish wash up on the beach as I etched names with an old beloved on the wet sand.

What is it about an old love story that always comes back to paint the walls an electric red? Is it just the heart and its emotions, or is there perhaps, a subtle cognitive trigger as well? To go with the latter would be to explore an interesting connection (and will even take some blame off the poor heart.)

The most genius cognitive form, in which any love chapter will endure lifelong, is by morphing into an indelible yardstick against which all of your subsequent forays in love will be mercilessly judged. While some of us get lucky with an imperfect deal early in love, smiling at the better things that come along later, others might have to bear with a fairy tale romance and a lifetime of misplaced upward comparisons (if the fairy tale doesn’t last.)

Another trick through which love reminiscences fool you is by pretending to temporarily cure you of your mundane life with all its cacophonous complexities. A whiff of some youthful memories amidst the stress of rolls of unpaid bills, boardroom meetings and a grumpy spouse, and you are reinvigorated.

This one is the most interesting. Perhaps carrying the memory of a bygone love even has some survival value that guaranteed it an evolutionary embedding. The reasoning is as complex as love.

Most of us aren’t blessed with a successful first love. Some of us must go through the trauma of having our hearts broken for the first time. We must crush a million tissue papers while sobbing on the couch, listen to songs especially engineered for heartaches, and basically, just float aimlessly like a bunch of unthreaded kites.

But then soon, something else begins to happen. We gather our pieces, stand up wobbly, take a step, and walk again. This recovery is a perpetual reminder of the fact that we survived this tribulation when it was the hardest. And we remember this whenever we are pained in love again. We know all we have to do is to hold on; we will be sutured in time again.

And finally, there may be some social conditioning at work. One look at the most darling theme of the silver screen, romantic novels, pizza table conversations, and my reasoning is testified beyond doubt.

So, the next time I listen to Casablanca remind me of some saccharine spring, I have decided not to ease the blame on a bunch of silly emotions. There may be much more to it than what meets the foolish heart.

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