“Nina, go and wash the rice. We will make dinner” Ammachi handed the steel bowl with rice to me. I walked towards the well and even before I reached the well I heard Ammachy screaming
“Oh my goodness, who did this?”
I turned to look. Ammachi was taking out the firewood from under the kitchen counter. I remembered the coconut half I hid beneath the firewood.
Damn it, I was planning to bury that later and I completely forgot about it.
“Nina Thomas come here right now” Ammachi yelled
I ran towards the well.
Quickly I dropped the bucket in to the well and pulled the water filled bucket up. Usually I only change the water 3 times, when I wash the rice, but today I was in a mood to wash the rice well, hoping that the delay would make Ammachi less mad!
“Nina” I could hear her shouting my name
I pretended I didn’t hear her and I started to sing at the top of my voice.
en prana nathan ennu varum
ennu theerum en vedanakal”
(When would my darling come and take away all these heartaches!)
“He is on his way! what is this Nina?” I turned to look. Ammachi was standing outside the kitchen door with the coconut in her hand.
“I think that is a coconut Ammachi? Where did you get it?” I asked as innocently as I can
“Where did I get it? You think you can fool me? How dare you try to cheat me like this?”
padachoney(dear lord)! me, a cheater? How can you call me a cheater? When did I ever cheat you?”
I took the bowl and walked towards Ammachi
“You didn’t cheat? Then what was this coconut doing under the firewood?”
“I kept it there for safe keeping!”
“Safe keeping, ninte ammente thala(your mother’s head!). Do you think money grows on tress?”
“Goodness. No, money doesn’t grow on trees, but coconut does!”
ninne njan( I will kill you)”
Oh pinney! pandan nayude pallinu shouryam pandey pole falikkunnilla!”
(the good old dog has lost all the hallmark ferociousness!)
I winked at Ammachi and quickly walked inside, half expecting her to twist my ears. She didn’t. I turned to look at her. She was standing by the door and staring at me.
“what?” I asked
“Nothing” She shook her head
“What is it Ammachi?”
“I don’t know Nina, when you sang that song, I thought about Chackochan. Remember how angry he got when he came to fight with me after I broke his bund and flooded his fields and I sang the same song for him? Do you think I hurt his feelings?”
“Hurt Chackochan’s feelings? No Ammachi, I don’t think you did that.”
“You know, He was like a brother to me. There were times, when your father and aunty was little, we didn’t have any food.”
“How is that possible Ammachi? We grew all the vegetables and rice in our land?”
“Oh Nina, if your father needs a new shirt, I need to sell what grew in the land! and sometimes the rain and the rats would destroy all the crops and I am forced to sell the products that I kept for our own consumption. Most often the next day morning there would be a yam or colocassia outside the kitchen door. He never once said, it was he who was doing it, but I knew it was his work”
“I know Nina!”
“How do you know?”
“Because one time I saw him coming to my house holding a big elephant yam in the night”
“May be he was in love with you!” I said in jest
“What is love Nina?”
Ammachi’s question was like a thunderbolt that gave me a million volt shock. Until now for me life was all about finding the right guy and falling in love. But what is love?
Dear readers what does Love mean to you?

16 thoughts on “Love!

  1. Love is complicated stuff. I minute you are in love( or so you think) and then something goes wrong, and then you think you are not in love anymore. I think love is feeling something like ‘love’ to another person, and it keeps happening again and again if not all the time. Did I confuse you more?

  2. remembered aquote that I once read somewhere…
    ‘You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.’

  3. To me
    it is a mixture of different feelings. To whom you wish happiness and you wish they are never hurt in their life, wish they be safe always – to whom you wish all these that person you love.

    Its the feeling that makes you do whatever they want how much ever you may not want to or you cannot do.

    Interesting !! Hmmmm

  4. I really dont know the meaning of love, because love is supposed to be kind,caring ,forgiving and yet the person whom you think loves you can do hurtful things and still say they love you.I think love is unconditional and there are different kinds of love.To me Love is being caring and kind.

  5. Love is a rational response to one’s virtues.One can’t love by seeing an imperfect person perfectly as the imperfections will come onto surface sooner than later.One must recognize the impossibility of perfection,though.Love is not made by forgiveness either-Forgiveness presupposes crime & there is no forgiveness for one’s vices.Love is not the tool of a neurotic unable to define whether he’s in love or not.To love,one must be able to clearly define what he wants out of it-To love a person for what he is,not what he has.Only a rational genius is capable of love.Only an intellectual is capable of love.

  6. i really felt close to your ammachi as she recounted her story to you…i had tears in my eyes as i kept reading…her life reads similar to my grand-aunt i idolise whose husband died in a year of her marriage…i remember my sis and i used to swamp my mom with questions to why noone showed interest in getting her married again since she recieved nothing from the husband’s side…we always got the stock answer…she lived for her young son.

    sarah, i don’t know what love is…i think i don’t love anybody, not even myself…i am surprised how i get irritated and guilty by the love my family showers on me…which i am just not able to reciprocate.

  7. Love is unconditional, when you accept the loved one as a totally fallible , imperfect human being. yes, sometimes you might feelmad as hell with them,and sometimes hurt but you love them all the same and when you are with them you feel at home–no pretences.

  8. ” Goodness. No, money doesn’t grow on trees, but coconut does” …rofl!!

    everytime i read about ammachi…i wish that i had that kind of relationship with atleast one person in my life…am sorry to know that I don’t have that with anyone… 🙁
    and that for you Nina Thomas, is LOVE. 🙂
    have a beautiful day

  9. Love to me is about caring unconditionally.. without expecting anything in return.
    But, that is sometimes tough. We do expect at least a little appreciation back, right 🙂

  10. To me Love is everything. To love and being loved by other is the real life. Love v=brings you the strength you are not eve naware of . it give you warmth and courage , it has such a power that i think someone tell you he/she loves you can give bring back you to life from death. life wothout love is no life at all.

  11. I do not know what love is. But I do know what love is not.

    Love is not unconditional. Every relationship that binds you with love expects something in return.

  12. Love…..
    Love is an action of caring. You can act out of love for anyone, even a stranger.
    Love isnt a feeling.
    What most people think of as love is not love at all, thats why people who claim to love u, also hurt you.
    That is simply attachment for a person OR thing which you have invested part of yourself in. Therefore you come to see it as part of yourself(thats why it hurts so much to lose). Think about it, doesnt one also “love” your pets, your fav saree, your new shoes, your garden, your gold bangle, your mom, your husband…….. and especially your kids. because your so attached to them. That is the feeling.

  13. I beleive love has different meanings at different phases of our lives. Just like you derive a different meaning to the same book you read at age 15, 25 and 30.

    right now, love for me, is the love a new mom and her baby shares. never experienced a stronger love than this.

    My 0.02 cents 🙂

  14. I’ve always heard airheads repeat ritualistically and foolishly that Love is unconditional, without giving a moments thought to what they’re trying to put across. I have no idea what they really mean or if they do mean anything.

    What should one feel towards a person he loves? One can feel any of these – 1) admiration 2) contempt 3) a mixture of admiration and contempt 4) nothing at all –‘blankness’ (like an emotional zombie) .Please get this-There is no other way one can feel. I don’t think any well meaning person would advocate contempt or even a mixture of admiration and contempt towards a person one loves. Neither morality, nor human nature supports it. So, it definitely must be a blank feeling they see as an indicator of love. What distinction does that blank feeling has from other feelings? What distinguishes that person from others? Nothing at all! Nothing at all – between the genius and fool, virtuous and evil, courageous and coward, innocent and crooked! What does that person in love feel? Nothing at all-Like a machine, like a robot, like a moron. It must be some dull feeling he can neither define, nor cure. No, it must not even be a feeling. It must be ‘blankness’-emotional and rational ‘blindness’. Unconditional love expects you to be so, accepting it as the highest of virtues.

    A brief analysis of unconditional love makes any intelligent person pick up a brick and break its advocate’s skull. If so, what makes them click and spread a delusion as wide spread as that? You’re provided with two choices-To love a person for 1) ‘What he has’ 2) ‘the fact that he is’.

    To love a person for ‘what he has’ means to love him for his material possessions irrespective of his spiritual values (Spirituality –I stress, is incompatible with religiousness).-To love a person for his fame, eluding the fact that he hasn’t done anything to deserve it; To love a person for his money, evading the fact that he has earned it by pull or fraud; To value a book or movie on the scale of awards or popularity eluding the fact that it’s of no intellectual or philosophical value; To respect a person for his position or age with no regard to his intelligence or knowledge ability; To love a person for her looks, regardless of the content of her mind. Any person who has achieved fame or fortune can see the above sort of love and the lack of it before – As in a laboratory experiment – When there is no change at all in his intelligence or values. Any person who has lost the above too is humbled when he sees love crumbling and friends disappearing-When this person undergoes no change at all in his value system.

    What does it mean to love a person for ‘the fact that he is’ means? – The fact that he is a ‘what’? He is born, a human being, a sibling, a parent, an acquaintance, a classmate. I don’t think it means anything. In most probability he is another moron, a mindless machine which passes no judgment and love in back for the fact that he too is. Men are not mindless robots. Men can’t be and shouldn’t be. Even if it were true that men are mechanical robots which don’t pass judgment and has a feeling towards others just for the fact that he is, why should we call it love? What is so sacrosanct about that? Nothing in human nature makes it possible for a person to love another by cutting off ones senses.

    When a person is provided with the above choices –To love a person for ‘what he has’ or to love a person for ‘the fact that he is’, which one should he choose? Well, he can’t choose any – Not without a feeling of guilt. The ‘pseudo idealist’ professes to love another person for ‘the fact that he is’, but deep inside he knows it isn’t the case. The ‘vulgar materialist’, in order to scoff at the pseudo idealist loves another for ‘what he has’ loudly and explicitly and realizes that all he feels is exhaustion. Beneath his pretensions, he feels inferior to the ‘pseudo idealist’. He is just screaming in cynical frustration that all love is ‘conditional’. In fact one turns into a materialist after his pretensions at ‘idealism’. ‘Vulgar materialism’, needless to say is a creation of ‘pseudo idealists’.

    When the ‘pseudo idealist’ claims love isn’t conditional and brands the love of a ‘vulgar materialist’ as not real, he is openly making a cause against himself. He presupposes the conditions as ones material possessions. His mind isn’t open to a conditionality of any other sort-Not even ones values or talents. His whole manners shout his deep down fascination for material possessions and his nature of placing it over spiritual values. He can’t even see any other conditions than the ones he denounces as evil. I had one poem to study in school, of which I don’t remember the title or content. The theme is that of a girl meeting his lover after a long time and her love remains intact though he has lost his physical appeal. When a pseudo idealist upholds this as a classic case of unconditional love, he just reveals his definition of conditions and lack of respect for spiritual values.
    This just proves both –‘pseudo idealism’ and ‘vulgar materialism’ meld.

    It’s easy to brand love for ‘what one has’ conditional and to argue the fact that it is ‘conditional’ is evil, regardless of the conditions. As if ‘conditionality’ is evil-not the ‘conditions’. Have a look at the implications of it. It regards a person who values a book of superior intellectual value equally vulgar as a person who values thrash on the basis of its popularity. The value systems of both are ‘conditional’ in their eyes-The difference is only in the nature of ‘conditions’.

    If a person loves another for his values, his love ceases when he realizes the fact that he doesn’t possess those values that he believed him to posses. If I love you for your honesty and you prove me wrong in course of time, my love ceases as it is ‘conditional’. If I had loved you for ‘what you have’ or ‘the fact that you are’, it would have remained intact as it were ‘unconditional’. The desire to possess, in such a case wins over morality. In short, to love conditionally means to love for one’s values and not for ‘what he has’ or ‘the fact that he is’.

    The most common argument against conditional love is the mother-child relationship. What is so unconditional about it? One could argue a child-a newborn one, doesn’t possess any values as such and ask whether the love a mother feels for it is conditional – If so, in what sense? It is true that the child doesn’t possess any inherent values; at least in a manner that the mother can recognize it. As far as I know, babies aren’t born automatically and the mother, at least partly has the responsibility to love, look after and educate her child. It’s what she should do in an ideal case in her own interest as she values the child born out of her effort. (A sad reality is that this often isn’t the case- No, not in the manner ought to be done.)I haven’t seen a mother traveling all over the world searching for children to look after, though have found that most of the children who die, die out of their parents mistakes and that most of the child trafficking deals are done by parents themselves. Yes-such ‘love’ is unconditional in the sense they aren’t even willing to take responsibility for their acts –An apparent lack of conditional love. Branding love of that sort as unconditional just defines the nature of it more honestly in a way most of the world can’t get it!

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