Greatest love of all

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(This appears in the Feb edition of Marie Claire)
Give yourself time to discover who you are – that is the best way to understand whom you want

Love – modern or ancient – is all about knowing what (and whom) you want. And what you’ll hopefully continue to want in the years to come. An important part of which is discovering yourself, figuring out who you really are. As more and more people figure this out, it’s natural for them to want to settle down a little later as compared to, say, their parents. It’s also a function of the changing socio-economic climate of our society.

In my opinion, this change, of which settling down / marrying later is merely a symptom, is being heralded by the new Indian woman. She wants a career; work for her is not just killing time until she gets married. This is in sharp contrast to the societal situation two decades ago. Also, many job and career opportunities have opened up for women, further giving a boost to those who strive for financial independence, and giving them the confidence to take on the world. Today’s woman is no longer at the mercy of an arranged marriage.

By the time a woman reaches her late 20s, she has been in and out of love a couple of times and is a far more discerning person. She is able to distinguish between the frivolous, the sublime, the carnal and the eternal. And she knows what she wants – socially, economically, mentally and, of course, sexually. Now what man, unless he’s an MCP, can resist that? Why would he want to settle for a wine that’s still fermenting when he can have the final product?

Today, men and women are still doing things in their 30s that they used to do in their 20s. Living it up. There’s so much to do, see and experience before one settles down to monogamy. What’s the hurry, then? Society (read: nosy aunts) is also easing up on people who take the plunge later. I know many people who have no
intention of settling down any time soon. Love today is increasingly becoming about loving and celebrating yourself.

Sex, too, is finally coming out of the closet. It’s no longer something to be spoken of in hushed
tones. And this is changing the dynamics of relationships. In our erstwhile prudish nation, many people actually got married – and some still do – for sex. Lord, what a price to pay! ‘Good girls’ would keep their boyfriends waiting. ‘Better girls’ would let their parents decide.

Letting your parents pick which man you will have sex with – I mean, marry – is quite funny when you come to think about it. But now, when you can have your cake and your pastry, too, what is the harm in doing just that?

At some point comes the rather painful realisation that love and sex may often be entirely different things. They may co-exist for a while, but setting off on a life-long journey with someone, simply because you find him hot today, is probably not the smartest thing. Slowly, the meaning and definition of love begins to change. From a feeling that gives one butterflies in the stomach, it metamorphoses in to one that craves comfort and companionship.

I’m happy to say I’ve reached that place. I know what I’m looking for… and boy, it is different from what it was when I was in my early 20s!

I don’t plan to settle for anything less than what I think I’m worth. None of us should. At any age, we all deserve the best. Of everything. Go girls!

8 Comments on “Greatest love of all”

  1. Elvira B

    Only good people deserve better, so I wish you all the best!

  2. Shilpa sree nayak

    Bravo Bravo! Nicely articulated! 30s is the new 20s and yes the dynamics have changed for good:)

  3. Vishal Patel

    Yes ma’am you and we all deserve the Best….this was inspiring…thank you

  4. Anand Menon

    Nice one and very well articulated.. though your piece is from a woman’s point of view, i find the sentiment very gender neutral, just as true for men (that is the economic independence apart) in terms of getting the their bearings and figuring themselves out and the rest of the points born from there……

  5. Vivek

    If you let go the foolish notion of “The one” then it becomes simpler.

  6. Deepshikha

    Hi Gul,

    Really adore you for the way you have led your life. Also the common thing between us is the love for bikes.
    Congrats! for our wedding. Wishing you & Rishi an eternal love & happiness.
    Keep the spirits up.

  7. MN

    ” Love today is increasingly becoming about loving and celebrating yourself.”
    If done as a means to an end, then, it could be a fruitful journey of self-discovery. I find that, in many cases in India, that this “love today” is taken to an extreme – narcissism (sp?), which is never good. Maybe because India’s young has an exploding consumer market & there is so much to consume that 1life-time is not enough??

    “But now, when you can have your cake and your pastry, too, what is the harm in doing just that?”
    Ach, I don’t know………..I never really took to this way of life. Maybe ‘cuz I’m too traditional? or, just an old fart? I think that you can have your cake & pastry without sleeping around.

    The rest of the article provides a good reason to settle down later.
    There is a cost to settling down earlier & likewise there is a cost to settling down later. Which one are you willing to pay & which one is right for you???

  8. Prerna Sharma

    Gul you made my day not day a century if i survive…ha ha i like the good-better version,
    well i went to jantar mantar and lady corruption kept aside you have an uncorrupted beauty!

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