-Of Teenage Love and Valentine’s Day

Teenage Aspirations: LOVE?


“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
“Oh, Romeo, Romeo, why are you called Romeo? Renounce your father, and give up your name!”
“For an instant, I felt a thrill of genuine fear, raising the hair on my arms. The look only lasted a second, but it chilled me more than the freezing wind. It was ridiculous, and egotistical, to think that I could affect anyone that strongly. It was impossible. And yet I couldn’t stop worrying that it was true.”
“I will never let go, Jack. I will never let go.”
“When I fall in love, it will be forever.”
“You suppose she has nearly forgotten me? Oh, Nelly! you know she has not! You know as well as I do, that for every thought she spends on Linton she spends a thousand on me!”

Reading the contexts some of the above parts are taken from, a teenager finds himself/herself entangled in deep pits of confusion and thought. Teenagers confused, worried, unsure. Not knowing what this life was given to them for. The glory of being in love, being devoted to some particular person, who’d be the “meaning” of their life, becomes the focal point of their existence.
Or so it seems.
As a teen myself, I find myself surrounded by people (okay, teens, particularly) infected by what I prefer to call the “Love-phobia.” A phobia these novels, movies and magazines seem to have induced. A phobia that is catching, and quickly, too. An infectious phobia. And, heedless to pronounce, a dangerous phobia. I have known many other phobias; acknowledged them, in my own possible way, and categorized them. There is the Age-phobia, the Kitchen-phobia, the You-Have-To-Go-To-Susraal-Phobia, the Facebook-phobia, the Bachi-phobia, and on goes the endless list. But I find, and with regret I find, the “Love-phobia” to be the most dangerous of all. Because it is all based in a fantasy world. An unreal world. A fake Utopia. (Okay, I admit, Utopias aren’t real anyway!)
We have teen-girls dreaming away in their dream worlds. Dreaming of THE perfect guy. With THE perfect V-shape body, with dark, hypnotizing eyes, broad-chested, slender-legged, with THE perfect gentlemanly hairdo. . . Dreaming of their Prince Charmings, who they expect to come riding on a gallop and kiss them in the middle of their sleep or something. Who would climb, say, the Habib Bank Plaza – condition is, their hair has to be long enough. Who would build a magnificent Taj Mehal for them. Who would buy them all their desires. Who would serve them on all fours. Who would glitter in the sun-light, run with the speed of light, lift buses off one hand, read their minds. . . Who would win them the goblet of fire and get them Voldemort’s head as a trophy. Who would have a vast estate in Pemberley. Who would die for them, who would kill for them. Who, if they happen to retire, would return to this world to claim their love. . .
And the teen-guys? Okay, this might be irritating for some, but – guys are guys. Whether they’re teens or not,  it doesn’t matter much. Their school of thought is VERY different from the girls’. But with respect to imagination run wild, they almost stand equal to our girls. For instance, they dream of girls (or babes, or chicks, or bachis) with the most perfect features in this world. An hour-glass figure, with dense black hair falling down to the knees in waves and ripples, dark, dreamy eyes. Or perhaps a banana blonde (Though it sounds eerie, from a Pakistani point-of-view: blondes!) with light, playful eyes, lashes that cast shadows and athletic figures. Looking for THE perfect angelic girl. The one who would turn insomniac for them. Who would cook delicacies for them. Who would make all their friends jealous  The one who would lay down everything for them. Or perhaps, the one who would drop down to their feet, exclaiming, “Sartaaaaj!”
And so it goes on. Guys and girls dreaming day in and day out. Dreaming in the nights and day dreaming as well. They dream of petty love affairs in the time they should devote to other worthy stuff. And when finally. Finally when they find themselves addicted to or merely attracted to somebody, they begin to delude themselves futhermore. They delude themselves into the “Love at first sight” nonsense, when there was no such thing as “Love” in the first place.
The rationale behind my taking the pains to write on this particular issue was because of the fast approaching “Valentine’s Day.” And, regretfully do I say, that it is quite expected in our society. As if it’s Eid or something. It’s flabbergasting to see how soon things change in society. How very soon foreign and completely ridiculous trends make their way to us. For instance, I have, myself, witnessed guys and girls exchanging gifts and chocolates and whatevers on the much awaited day. Also, I have been keen to observe about half the population dress up in red on that day. I mean WTF guys! This is something not related to us at all! By “us” i mean the Pakistani Muslim society. The Pakistani society which has been crushed to dust due to social evils. When I was a kid, most people didn’t even seem to remember this date as something special. Only some soap on the T.V. would remind us, and then me and my parents would laugh it off, laugh at the increasing rate of this world’s stupidity, and go to bed. But today, as soon as February starts, the Pakistani electronic and social media are exuberant with red themes, love quotes, and oh, not to forget the over-the-top and EXTREMELY ridiculous+lame+worthless morning shows. What with Nadia Khan, Nida Yasir, Shaista Wahidi and now even Faysal Qureshi doing those ridiculous shows with red themes and hearts and roses and chocolates and . . Duh! Doesn’t anyone tell them how lame and unimportant they actually are? Or is it the TRPs that matter? The other irritating thing is as to why people watch such things in the first place. Don’t they have anything better to watch? I’d rather watch a Monday night RAW, or NXT, or even Vicky Gurerro’s deafening “EXCUSE MEs” than even dream of watching any of the aforementioned bullshit.
Jokes apart, what I mean to convey is that all that is happening shouldn’t be happening. Not only are we destroying and muddling our present community, but we are also digging holes for our following generations. Plus, we’ve been providing the other nations of the world to humiliate us in yet one more lame rip-off of what they do. A few years back valentine’s was something only the “burgers” would celebrate. But thanks to our media, this disease is spreading even among the slums. Decades back we had our own culture, and things like valentine’s or April’s fool were mere favorites of the West. But today, the foreign culture has penetrated its roots so deep in our minds that we seem to have forgotten our own values. We don’t even celebrate Eid the way it was celebrated years ago.
When I hear teenagers bragging about their “eternal love” and stuff like that, I feel like laughing. Seriously, how does one define love in the first place? For example, I’d call my affection, devotion, attachment and loyalty to my parents as the strongest kind of love. Or with my brothers. Or with my grand parents. Or my country, or Religion. These are things we’re attached to since our birth. From before our birth. Our love for our country, for our Religion, we receive in our heritage. We are naturally attached to our parents, to our siblings, to our grand parents. They are the people, or Religion is, or one’s country is something or someone you’d die for. So when someone totally unknown, a complete stranger, whom you’ve never had any interaction with before, enters the equation, you think you’re in love? According to my perception, it can be a petty crush, an attraction, but to rank it something as strong as “Love” is utterly ridiculous. People vowing things and promising things to each other just because they think they’re in love, is ridiculous to the utmost degree. How could you love an utter stranger the same way you love your parents, siblings, grandparents? Just because you saw her/him, thought him hot/sexy, and that was IT? That was love at first sight? Yeah, right. Isn’t there anything such as hate at first sight?
And these delusions are what drive you crazy – in the wrong sense. Teenagers spending aeons on texting, ghanta packages, dates and stuff like that: You need a brainwash. You need to un-learn and then re-learn what exists and what doesn’t. These things are pretty enough as long as they exist in black and white, or as long as they exist on the silver screens. But; and trust me on this, you just can’t have a Darcy-Elizabeth, Romeo-Juliet, Heathcliffe-Catherine, Rassyndell-Flavia, Edward-Bella or Jack-Rose relationship for real. People like them don’t even exist for real.
So it’s high time you buck up from your sound sleep, get rid of your love letters, and live in the REAL world.


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