A long time ago, of score and some years ago, that accountant who cashed my travel vouchers said, “you are not in love with a person, you are in love with love.”
I hastily disregarded her as I accepted the hard cash, which, at that time was more important than her philosophical encashment; paid no more attention to it, or her, ever.
And then, today.
I was accused of being a romantic. That lady who had cashed my travel vouchers came to mind. To be accused of being a romantic is a serious as well as an interesting accusation. I asked my accuser, pray, what do you mean by that?
You are in love, he said, with your life and all that is around you, he said. What’s wrong with that, I asked. Nothing, he said, except that you are, by default, blinded by love. There’s romance and love that runs a single track. I imagined myself in love – with the one person I can imagine it with. NOT TRUE. I started to defend and confirm my normalcy of what love is about, but for that moment, I held my tongue.
Did that accountant lady who was neither too old nor too young know this, before I was accused? Did she know more about me before I knew a bit of myself? Love has unlimited definitions, and being romantic, while being clichéd, is still a personal prerogative. No red roses or pink thingies. I have never subscribed to commercial romance (or is it love?). So, if I accept the accusation, I am romantic, but then who is to decide. Someone else? Who sees me as a romantic or me? Who imagines to be a romantic? Perhaps my accuser? But, then, “my” romanticism would be limited to “his” definition of my behaviour, rather than the validation by the folks who have experienced romance with me.
But it is quite romantic to be in love with the idea of love. That way you have no one to ask for anything, no one to answer to, and importantly nothing to seek. As my accuser mentioned, I move from one love to another. I have been in love many a time, and I have not regretted a single instance. Love has nothing to do with reciprocation, as most believe; love is about love. The accuser was quick to mention this. He attempted to make the distinction between love and romanticism.
Coming back to the accusation, I have not been accused of being perennially in love; I have been accused of being a romantic. And that accusation is not of an instance, it is of an attitude. The Romantic insists on seeing beauty ( and everything else that comprises Romanticism), but can you accuse that Romantic of being in love? For that matter, can you accuse a lover of being a romantic?
Different beasts, these romantics and lovers. East and west, they are. One searches for love, the other searches for romance.
And in that ruckus, they mistake one for another; and get nowhere.