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Millennium Post

Love is the prize

Love is the prize
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As I write this, Delhi is all set to elect a new government. I’ll be quite relieved, to be honest, once this is over. All the sloganeering, mud slinging, and washing of dirty linen in public has, frankly, given me a headache that even aspirin cannot cure. On the radio, in little alleyways, in newspapers, on the Internet, it’s everywhere! From being rudely woken up from a leisurely afternoon nap to helplessly watching (I mean hearing) my favourite radio station being taken over by badly composed jingles asking people to vote for a particular party – it’s like a nightmare that refuses to end! Now, writing isn’t easy.

Especially, when one is some sort of a social commentator. Thoughts have to be articulated masterfully, words have to be chosen wisely. And, needless to say, this cacophony has made it nearly impossible to hear my thoughts, let alone piece them together!

I was in a fix about what to write about this week. The Internet this week was abuzz with the All India Bakchod roast story, but it wasn’t up my alley. Primarily because, a bunch of bad jokes doesn’t deserve my attention. So what if 3 and a half Bollywood celebrities threw their heads back and laughed boisterously? Four kids indulging in bakchodi isn’t news of national importance! It cannot be.

The nation shouldn’t care to want to know! But then, we are who we are. We drink Pepsi because Shah Rukh Khan drinks it, we use Lux because a host of Bollywood beauties have bathed in it, a lot of us wear a particularly hideous bracelet because Salman Khan wears it…the list is endless. I could turn this into a rant, but I’m going to keep it for another time. Today isn’t about Bollywood. Today is about regular people, like you and me. I was staring blankly into a blank (alliteration unintended) work document when an e-mail popped up on my laptop.

It was from one my best friends- a link to a photo essay. Wanting a break from my headache and writer’s block, I clicked on the link. And, on my screen were a bunch of photographs that I kept staring at for the next hour or so. They were of people from across the world. Different people, different languages, different stories – all connected by one common emotion – love.

Love for family, love for pet, love for self, love for the world, love for life. From a middle-aged gay couple getting married to a soldier cradling his newborn for the first time, from a dog mourning his master’s death to a shriveled couple posing for their first wedding photograph, 88 years after getting married – every photograph reinforces one’s belief in love, and makes one hope. We’re living in a time of extreme cynicism and hopelessness. From an unprecedented number of marriages biting the dust to terrorists killing hundreds – small or big, these are evils that we’ve created because most of us have forgotten what it’s like to love and hope. I’m looking at those pictures as I write. And, I really can’t write much because, well, it’s difficult to see through a veil of tears. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, I’m going to stop now, and let you look at a few of those shots that I’ve shared here.

Like I said before, today is about regular people, like you and me. And, the people in the photographs. If they could do it, so can we. Embrace our flaws, conquer our fears, express our love, learn to tolerate, and overcome all odds. With a little love and some hope, this world could be a better place, no? And, for all my hatred for Bollywood, I cannot help but quote a line that Shah Rukh Khan mouths in Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)- “Haso, jiyo, muskurao. Kyapata, ka ho naa ho!” which roughly translates to “laugh, live, smile. Who knows if there will be a tomorrow”!

Oh, and by the way, boo to you, AkhilBharatiya Hindu Mahasabha! You cannot stop me from spreading the love. I’m planning to take my mother and gran out on Valentine’s Day. Do try to get all three of us married. Should be fun!

The author is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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