First Lesson of Love, A Bookish Romance or Something More?

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What is the first lesson of love? From where is it acquired and how do mainstream media and romantic novels unconsciously develop a problematic conception of the same. Love and relationship become ground of exploitation and perpetuates misogyny and sexism as the commercialisation surpasses the propagation of the healthy idea of love.

Eyes glued to semi-yellow pages, mind wandering into some alternate universe dancing with the Times New Roman font, my teenage self finding solace within the fabricated narratives of love, as I leaf through the pages the romanticised idea of love fiddled with my mind. Exposure to romantic novels was my path to form a conception around love which in the present day seems quite problematic.

My first lesson of love was through mainstream media and novels which I didn’t follow ardently or held a sense of fascination for the same but it somehow provided a sense of fulfilment to my budding self. It unconsciously developed a particular sense of expression of love, of giving love and receiving love.

When we are growing the whole idea seems extremely fancy and somehow necessary, because when I think of love it takes me back to being a teenager, maybe because love is something young and raw or maybe because I start developing a sense of it during that time. We often get warning and signs from our parents because it is the ‘sweet sixteen’ which makes the initial perspective of love be something secretive and forbidden this, in turn, makes it more desirable and thrilling.

Atta Galatta Longlist, first lesson of love

What my students taught me about reading

 Romantic Books v/s Personal

I would say my first relationship in school was the part of the lesson I learnt regarding love and relationships. The notions that I held in my was wanting my relationship to be ‘perfect’ almost like a movie script dotted with ‘cute moments’ and ‘selfless commitment’ which I later realised was an extremely surface-level conception of love that I had formed. I can say, instead of testing the waters, I dived deep into it, putting in all my efforts, emotions and time. I made myself very vulnerable and open to getting hurt as I invested myself completely into it.

When I thought I have worked enough to make it last, to something which is ‘meant to be’, my partner broke the seven-year-long relationship like a brittle piece of glass, that’s when I learnt my actual first lesson, that a prolonged relationship doesn’t account for it lasting or trust, I also learnt not to lose myself into something so much, when I can spot the red flags I should do something about it rather than giving my partner the benefit of doubt.

Bookish Idea of Love and Media

I feel our exposure to mainstream media and the petty conception of love in shows targeted for teenagers or the ‘youth’ doesn’t leave room for forming a holistic and healthy idea of love and relationship. I feel love is the most used and exploited idea in the Indian industry and turns almost commercial in nature rendering toxicity as something normalised.

Love is not something to be exploited, we as an audience and recipients of this notion dissipate and dismiss the layers, love isn’t just binary concepts with two sides but rather a bowl full of possibilities, the idea of privacy and space is very crucial to any relationship, it shouldn’t be something that is supposed to be upheld but a whip of fresh air and support.

Things we often miss out on are, love isn’t duty but something to be felt, a relationship isn’t a transaction of giving and taking but something to be shared, love doesn’t need to with one person it can be polyamorous, a relationship can be open or casual and it doesn’t make you disloyal or a slut, someone else’s relationship is not our concern to be gossiped about, people face rough patches and lastly love isn’t gendered but a rainbow.

Views expressed are author’s own

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First Lesson of Love, A Bookish Romance or Something More?
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