“All we’re looking for is love, from someone else!”

Aren’t we? Love. It’s the one great force that makes us truly human; the one great quest of mankind; the central obsession of all art; Love. And I think it’s a truly human thing to look at love and not recognize it for what it is. It’s always too little, too much.

The most venerated form of love is romantic. It is the stuff dreams are made of, idealistic musings fed to us by books, poems and media. That is why we seem to no longer have an appetite for true courtship. We want instant connection and fairytale endings. Hence, we have been led to believe that relationships that end are failed love stories. This is entirely false. Do you stop loving the mountains once you come back home? Was your visit there not successful because you had to eventually return? Similarly some relationships are meant to teach us something, give us certain experiences, and make us who we are. Some even develop into friendships. Love does not cease with dissolving labels. It remains, almost ubiquitously.

In our preoccupation with romance, we become blind to all other forms of love that exist within and around us. We do not accord it equal value. Friends are such beings that are even more essential than life partners. Some friendships tend to last for a lifetime, providing a network of support and long lasting love. Such companionship truly makes us content. From helping you navigate the deep waters of dating to giving you advice when you face failure and preventing you from repeating mistakes. Our friends have our back at all times, especially the tough times. How many times have we pondered over this form of love?

And family, in this fast moving, individual centered millennium, family is the most underrated thing. It is seen as an impediment to independence, forgetting that family builds your foundation. It is necessary for emotional well-being and support. I know that some of us do not enjoy good familial relationships, but for those who do, it’s a blessing! The bonds of family are the truest. And parental love is the strongest form of love there is. No other person could love you so unconditionally and selflessly as your parents. But do we ever hear grand, romanticized poems on parental love? No. Because it doesn’t count. Everyone has it, so it is taken for granted.

Love is so much more than we see. Love is respect. Love is understanding, accepting, supporting. Love is a word but it manifests itself in so much more than a simple ‘I love you’. There are people with so much love inside them who do not know how to show it. You need to look. Your mother’s “I told you so”; your father’s secret smiles when he thinks you are not looking; your sibling allowing you access to their wardrobe; your friend’s fierce hugs; your lover tucking you in despite the fight you had; a stranger helping you get up after you fall. Love is all around you. It’s not always available in the most obvious form or with the most convenient distance or timing. Love is in the past, and it does not have to be bitter. Love is in the future, and it does not have to be a fairytale. Love is everywhere you look, if you look with the right eye.