Love v.2020

The following is a generic rant on my Instagram story from July 2020. Thought of sharing this on the eve of the release of Natchathiram Nagargiradhu, a film that’s attempting to talk about love in contemporary times.

There is this notion that our generation won’t love as “purely” as the previous one did. My reaction to this has always been that of disagreement. But I asked myself if it’s just a knee-jerk reaction to my millennial ego being attacked. After a lot of internal monologuing, I have been aching to spill out a motivational rant as a rebuttal. As vague as it may sound, I want to push a case for why the idea of love is in a better place than the past. I’m 23 at the time of putting these thoughts down, and would like to acknowledge that as much as my life experience, it’s my bubble of privilege that helped me afford to spend a considerable amount of time and energy in thinking and forming opinions around this aspect of life.

The internet is replete with takes such as these — “Old-school romance is greater than…”, “We don’t love like we used to”, “We ruined love”, etc. This rhetoric of putting something down to glorify another or vice-versa, is the easiest narrative to buy into and root for on social media, across any topic of debate/discussion. I feel we need to embrace evolving ideas of love, as opposed to just reminiscing about retro love. Those fluffy, daring, forever-after ideals you are crooning over, valued the very kind of efforts that you yourself would “cancel” in today’s times by equating it with stalking or creepy persistence. All that pining for a call, you yourselves would dismiss as being cliches of a bygone era. We clearly are walking billboards of contradiction (which is also okay, I guess we’re all allowed so much cognitive dissonance). Times were much simpler, so was our idea of love, and if you’re aiming for that, cool, you deserve to be happy in whatever you consider as your safe space. But there’s a world out there trying to understand this emotion better and at a deeper level, so there’s a chance you might be missing out on the fun.

Again, all that old-school romance may have been inherently cute, heart-warming and all the shabang, but it was of its times, and we should be able to admire it while letting it remain there. Let’s work towards defining contemporary approaches to express love rather than constantly weighing ourselves against older ones. Today, we have more avenues to understand ourselves as individuals. I believe this generation has come to value matters of the mind better than the last one. It has gotten so many more tools to understand the workings of the mind and assess it from the comfort of our palms. Attachment theories, personality tests, resources of complex kinds have been dumbed-down for our accessibility. The abundance of so many tools could also spell a risk of misinterpretation and misattribution, but if used with an aptitude to learn and dig deeper, they will only add to our understanding of our mind and its biases. We are a generation that has come far enough to equate mental health with physical health. To put it in a sappy way, we are heading towards a society that respects its mind enough, enabling healthier decisions pertaining to “matters of the heart”.

Our generation is broken”. But so was the previous. (Also, which one isn’t?) It could well be argued that they didn’t have the vocabulary to articulate their cracks. Cracks as serious as consent and patriarchal norms among many others. But in today’s time, we are able to articulate the same because we’ve also widely been made aware of these cracks in the first place. Scratching further, there is science to how partners get together on an unconscious decision of physical compatibility before they consciously build a shared emotional infrastructure. But our systems of arranged marriage didn’t account for that initial stage, and we had marital unions lasting for decades, that were solid partnerships more than intimate, rational relationships. So many yesteryear couples had to go on because out wasn’t an option. Back then, relationships had this inherent have-to-make-it-work outlook as compared to today’s healthy luxury of I-choose-to-make-it-work. I’m not judging them, they’re sure to have had other reasons to not look inside, like having to build an economically stable life for a family in a developing third world country. So I’m also not saying that they were lesser in any way, I only want to suggest that since we have gotten to a point of privilege where we have identified the possibility of so-and-so cracks, it’s time to update ourselves rather than yearning to go back. Now there’s more to think about the way we love. It’s more than just companionship. With all our self-awareness and all-embracing ideals being normalised by the day, there’s nothing stopping you to love as sincerely as the previous generation and in fact, the discipline has only expanded. I can never feel like having been born in the wrong time for this context, unlike the internet. It helps in no way to think that your love would only be validated had you been born in a different time. Yes, I’m definitely talking about your Tinder bios there.

We are a generation that is learning to look inward. We may be in a transitional phase, but we are gaining the tools to know and identify ourselves better so as to not be dependent on our significant other to define our lives. To my eyes, some of the healthy relationships around me today, in my circle of connections, are healthier than the healthiest ones I’ve seen among elders from the previous generation. This is because I’m seeing them understand each other as individuals with their own arcs, alongside having the context of us. I feel this is bigger and far more accommodating. If our elders loved to the best of their capacity in their time, so can you. So will you.

Love in our times has also grown in form, with the status quo being questioned. We have begun to look at monogamy as an imposed rule rather than a moral value, we know of “soulmates” as a plural concept versus the previously glorified sole soulmate. We have even acknowledged that romantic love need not be burdened by physical validation — love has transcended gender and sexuality. Such revelations are nothing but signs of evolving as a community.

To quote The Priest from Fleabag, “Being a romantic takes a hell lot of hope”. When we find that hope, I wish we channelize it in the right direction, one that heads forward. Being a die-hard romantic does not necessarily have to mean holding onto ideals of the past. Believing in love does not mean believing in forever. Believing in love is believing in the ability to make connections, because that is all we have. Who’s to say a romantic person can’t be polyamorous? Again, let’s aspire to making it work with what’s in store rather than crying over what’s gone by.

Having said that, navigating the introduction of these new pages in the book of relationships is going to take a while. As I mentioned earlier, we are transitioning, and with the excessive freedom of choice, we are going to see a phase where standing our ground with one connection is going to feel harder than before. This means we might be seeing a drop in the attitude to repair. These could be seen as us taking a few steps back before making that jump forward. But we must speak up about these struggles in order to wade through them faster.

That takes me to a more pressing problem with our society — the majority of us don’t want to hear nuance. We want reactions, not analysis. Intellect and attempts at depth are immediately put down as overthinking. But by simplifying arguments, we might be dangerously close to oversimplifying things as well. We are satisfied with pint-sized rants about something as vast as connecting with another person. We rant to dismiss and not to question. Like a dear friend put it, we have the attention span of a goldfish, and the tolerance of a child. These are the areas we need to be working on. Rolling back to a previous update is not the solution, working on the newer build is. We have the tools. Let’s use this privilege for the better. Our conscience is evolving, so will ideas of love, and you will have greater stories of connections to tell your grandchildren(?)

Cheers to that.

Feel free to share your thoughts and rebuttals, if any, on


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