Saluting love

It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests, and is never shaken.

Florists all over the world have a field day around Valentine’s Day. Be it single roses or a bunch of exquisite ones arranged in a bouquet, they will all be sold at a premium. There would be takers no matter what the extra charge is. The old melody, “All you need is love,” will be hummed whole heartedly. On Valentine’s Day the world does swear by love and in unison salutes that human emotion at the heart of every man.

Shakespeare brought to the whole world the magic and charm that lay in romance. From then on to current times tales of chivalry, where the hero sheds his cherry-red blood, endures ruthless insults from opposing others and lives or rather dies for his true love, sell like hot cakes in theatres, cinemas and novels. Be it Jack Dawson in the movie, ‘Titanic’ sacrificing his life for Rose DeWitt Bukater or our very own hero Shah Rukh Khan singing gaily around tress and shrubs, “Tum paas aaye, yun muskuraaye…” in ‘Kuch kuch hota hai’, the wonder of romance could never fade.
Even so, Valentine’s Day becomes an occasion to reflect on the essence of love that goes beyond romance, melodrama and tunes sung around delightful parks and fascinating geographical locations. Among the inspiring accounts of the power of love I know of, the one I heard from an auto driver during a casual conversation while on a commute will ever remain close to my heart.

The driver seemed a very enthusiastic sort. His incessant chatter on the chaotic traffic, messy Bangalore roads and the unpredictable weather was quite troublesome. Yet, I felt a strange attraction towards his gabble and responded to his banter. One topic led to another, until eventually he told me his story. He was a young widower who had lost his wife to cancer, with three small boys to care for. Coming from the society that he did, there was pressure for remarriage. Believing that a second marriage will only give him a wife and not a mother for his three sons, he decided against remarriage. It was five years since his dual role as a mother and father to his sons. With teary eyes he related how fulfilled he feels at the end of the day, albeit exhausting and challenging. I reached my destination inspired by the sacrificial love of this simple young man.
The excitement of Valentine’s Day comes and goes every year, but moving love stories such as these are the real markers to true love. It is, as Shakespeare would write in his Sonnet 116, “an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests, and is never shaken!”

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