A while back a dear friend told me in context of love for dogs, “Love is a four – legged word”. I smiled at her, wondering if I will ever understand what she meant. I have always been scared of dogs, rationalizing it to anyone who was curious enough to ask – I do not know what the dogs are thinking thus being around them made me uncomfortable. Over time, I used this as an excuse to stay away from anything that did not walk steadily on two feet.
Little did I know that I would fall in love with a four legged one, who will help me understand nuances about fear and love, by demonstration. Olive, aka Oli came into our home when she was 2 months old, with us being totally unprepared to have her. But she has managed to make herself a part of our household like she’s always been here. I cannot imagine a time without her, and to think it has been just two months. With her curious eyes and extrovert nature, she has made me wonder about this rather irrational feeling of love, and that’s what this post is about. Olima and all that she taught me about love!
Love is commitment
One of the things Oli reinforced is love’s linear relationship with commitment. While falling in love is easy, staying in love is a process that requires effort, no matter which relationship. A LOT OF DULL EFFORT! From missing the post 6:30 AM sleep, to sacrificing Saturday nights, spending time playing, tending to her food needs – there is a ton of work that needs perseverance. It is time consuming, needs commitment, sacrifice and patience – like daily operations tasks. There is no romanticizing this part! It is easy? NO! *my sister is testimony to it* Worth it? On most days, yes! 🙂 To anyone who watched Karan Johar, and said pyar dosti hai, that is only for the start. For continuity, love is commitment! Rinse, Lather, Repeat!
How much love are we capable of?
When Oli came home, I was not sure if we would have enough love for her, would we/I get bored of her, will she get bored of us? I believed love to be a finite resource that needs to be distributed among various priorities. I wondered what if I de-prioritize Oli at some point?
Turns out, I was wrong in my foundation of love! Love, apparently, is pretty much an infinite resource, which like the induction motor goes on working as long as the magnet and the electric coil retain their individual property! I think once the process of giving love selflessly begins, there is little to fear about it ending or deprioritizing – or what next. I wonder if we realize how much love we actually are capable of giving and receiving, how much we hold back rationalizing it several other ways. Just if getting the induction motor started did not require so much effort!
Pyar kia toh darna kya!?
Oli makes no secret of her love. She will lick and play with her involuntary tail wag as a testament of her excitement! Such a beautiful feeling to be able to declare your love to the world, and being able to understand that there are as many kinds of love as there are people. The only reason I did not want to engage in pet conversations with dog lovers, I now realize, is because of the stories I told myself and my solid definition of love. Oli ma made me see the convoluted meaning the word ‘love’ has; and the simplification of it that I used to see; because seeing it as a whole takes time and effort to engage and understand. I was at a Pride march recently, a beautiful day with colorful people with much love and acceptance, fighting to be able to declare their love openly. And this thought kept coming back to me. How does one define love, and put it on boxes? How does one decide a certain kind of love is stronger, is more valuable, is ‘acceptable’, ‘legitimate’ or ‘natural’? How is one expression of love superior to another? How many types of love there can be and by trying to define it would we be able to do justice to all its forms?
As I watch his girl sun bath in the cold winter in the balcony, I cannot help but think about how her friends on the street – the scrawny pup who her age, possibly malnourished sunbathes on the streets, but full of the same love as her. I think of Oli’s mother, Pipa, and her story of being rescued by two wonderful people (possibly my favorite couple!) I think of how they took care of her till she delivered the little babies, how they painstakingly found loving homes for each of Oli’s 8 siblings, patiently, committing to the two months’ long interview process. How much love you are capable of! How much love are we capable of? You were right P, one of the many definitions of love is it being a 4-legged word. I wonder how many more are out there, already defined, left to be defined, experienced and discovered!