Burden of Love
An essay based on My Grandmother’s House by Kamal Das.
Love… That unfathomable power that ever so often sweeps the world off its feet... And the people of the world find themselves absolutely thrilled to ‘fall in love’. And it doesn’t matter to anyone that you just may fall flat. After all, love is always beautiful, until someone gets hurt. And even then, the beauty of love transcends all, untarnished. And so the questions arise… Could love be a burden? -A burden with the power to torment souls relentlessly? Could it possibly be that love too is bound by the law of ‘too much of a good thing’?
Quite tragically, yes indeed, it is. Perhaps the first idea that comes to mind of love being a burden revolves around an abusive relationship. “That’s not love”, some may say. But then again, many a time, the victim is compelled to stay due to ‘love’ and feelings of concern for her abusive counterpart’s well-being. Such messed up emotions are a given in messed up relationships. But this is not the only instance. For love can be a burden to both the loved and the lover, be it unrequited love or mutual love, whether the ‘love’ is dark as an abyss or as white as snow…
Take unrequited love. What despair awaits one who awaits love from his beloved who feels no love to give this poor lover. And what guilt plagues the beloved, to be so loved by her lover when she feels no love for him to offer in return. And if a noble soul says that he is happy if his beloved is, even if it means that she is not his… how long can one live off another’s happiness? How long till this forced ‘happiness’ turns sour and bitter and eats at one’s mind?
Mutual love is no exception. Relationships invariably demand some compromise. How much is one willing to sacrifice for the sake of love? Even relationships that burn like wildfire fall apart at times, like a flame doused. And then they try to carry on, struggling to recover that love now lost, wondering why the fire just won’t start when all that remains is ash.
And then, there is the most tragic possibility of love being a burden… Loss. The loss of a love most cherished for reasons unavoidable. No matter how strong, passionate or unconditional the love in a relationship is, even if it seems that nothing could ever cease this love, there is one undeniable truth… Death is inevitable. And to lose someone dear when that person means everything to you is absolutely incapacitating. To love someone so beautifully could render one incapable of surviving without that love. One becomes spoilt by love, addicted to it… And when time and death conspire and steal the source of this love, the loved one no longer knows how to live.
There is such bitter irony in the fact that love that brings joy, can leave destruction in its wake in a heartbeat. Perhaps it is this enigma of love that adds to its allure. Love, that embodies light, is capable of ensnaring one’s world in darkness and despair even if the love itself is brighter and stronger than the sun. Love can be so terrifyingly beautiful, inexplicable, haunting, and by that very thread of thought – a burden… And oddly enough, even if we did know fully well that it would hurt, that piece of knowledge probably wouldn’t have spared us from falling prey to love’s wily charming ways.