Love is in the Prose
Ayesha Huma (CTP-14)
“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,
And therefore is the winged cupid painted blind”
For the abstract feeling, not exclusive to humans, but universal in every sense, yet special in every form, the affection and care and what can truly be regarded as the highest form of emotional spectrum, is love. This month of Valentine, let’s talk of the “romantic” kind of love. The kind which gives butterflies in stomach, as they say.
Our notions of love have truly been shaped by the most artistic thoughts penned by most experienced souls who were brave enough to confront their feelings. It actually is a loop that goes with the experiences of a writer about love being written, and those works being read by someone who imagines and forms an idea and so in that context, we have shaped love in literature and literature has in turn shaped our views and fancies about love. Most of us have experienced this feeling of being attracted to a person in a World of billions and glorified this with borrowed words of famous writers. Our definition of love, at every stage of our lives, is defined by the kind we read in poetry, prose across languages. Be it the teenage, silly one when we were thrilled while sitting next to our crush in class. Or the feeling of first serious love we experienced in college. Or the one time when we felt truly felt like committing ourselves to a person; literature has, in store, a bundle of stories, couplets and poetry to define every stage in the most mystical manner. So much so that we can’t help but wonder how a writer, alien to our feelings, has encapsulated the exact feeling we experience at the moment.
Talking about famous in this genre, the first name that comes to our minds is William Shakespeare. These lines from ‘Hamlet’ are an epitome of his genius in classical romantic writing. “Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; but never doubt that I love.” Romeo and Juliet made us fancy a passionate love, that could live and die by the name of the beloved.
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
Writers have, captured the frailty of a shy heart who tries hard to confront its feelings and confess it to the one. “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Jane Austen ‘Pride & Prejudice’).
A central theme of literature has also been the unrequited love. The feelings, which were never returned. And here Urdu language proves to be a gem. How well have the best Urdu poets and writers soothed the million broken hearts shattered in a billion broken pieces by the magical couplets? Who wouldn’t have related to the lines “Aur bh gham hai zamane m mohobbat k siwa….Rahatein aur bh hai wasl ki raahat k siwa” (Many are pains of life other than the sadness of love….. Many satisfaction exist than that of bond with the beloved) (Faiz Ahmad Faiz). And then some shaayars advised the masses to stay away from love drawn from their own experiences and we couldn’t help but agree for what they wrote was no less of a truth. “Kya kahu mai tumse ki kya hai ishq. Jaan k rog hai bala hai ishq” (What should I tell you what love is? It’s a wound of soul, it’s a calamity) (Mir Taqi Mir)
Urdu and love, it would be a sin to not mention Ghalib.
“Mohabbat mein nahi hai farq jeene aur marne ka. Usi ko dekh kr jeete hai jis kaafir pe dam nikle”
(In love, life and death are not different. I live for the one for whose sake I may die)
Love means distinctly to different people and may also differ for the same person depending upon the circumstances. Literature very well describes each and every kind of love with words that reach the depths of our hearts. Sometimes love, as the words say, is this strength of the soul which exists beyond barriers and without conditions. “You don’t love because; you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults” (William Faulkner) Other times love is a weakness of the soul and loving a person becomes more of an inner obligation despite trying best to do otherwise. The like we read in Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Love is a long, persistent wait for the beloved, as this famous poem by Mahadevi Verma goes “Jo tm aa jate ek bar, Kitni karuna kitne sandesh, path m bich jate ban paraag. Jo tm aa jate ek bar” (Once you would have arrived. How many messages, how much compassion, like pollen in the path would spread).
Some may describe love as which lasts a lifetime. “You are every reason, every hope and every dream I’ve ever had, and no matter what happens in the future, everyday we are together is the greatest day of my life” (‘The Notebook’, Nicolas Sparks) Some say love lives a worth of eternity in a moment. “You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I am grateful” (‘The Fault in Our Stars’, John Green)
Reading has a lasting impact on us. Talking about literature, just as other aspects, it has come to shape our thoughts. Sometimes, there is a stark contrast to what we read and what we experience. That’s when we believe that “love exists only in books”. Other times the pages of prose hold such meanings so akin to our own feelings that there’s an instant realization of knowing exactly what the jotted words talk about. The ecstasy or the pain, we feel it precisely, for the words resonate with our thoughts. No matter what kind we have known, the immortal works in the form of stories, anecdotes, poetry and prose aptly and perfectly describe our feelings. After all, falling in love and loving literature are both worthwhile
As A.L. Tennyson puts it, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”