Hunger

That’s the name of the book I’m trying to read. Hunger. Or at least, it’s the name of the book that is on my mind most of the time these days, although I’m really reading another book which is a pretty decent one. It’s on the top of my mind especially when I’m hungrily shopping for more books even before I’m done with the pretty decent one and a pile of others fighting to be read next.

That’s the name of the predominant sensation I experience every day, may be because I eat very little – may be not more than a little bite a day when I’m in the mood – and that may be because I can barely sense the taste of food when in public spaces – like a restaurant, a mess, a family dinner, a lunch break at office and that sort of a thing.

That’s the name of love that is not reciprocated at all, or worse  yet: that which is returned in meager doses. It is also another name for lust. Love. Lust. Hunger. What sin, what pain, what pleasure.

That’s the name of everything that drives every man to do what he does. That’s the inner voice, the spirit, the sinner and the saint, the will and the winter within.

That’s the name of self-penance, the pleasure of punishing the self. Being the master and the slave. Being the torture and the victim.  The offence and the defense. The test and the outcome. The victory and the failure. The victory is to survive hunger that long and the failure is to not survive it for much longer. Hunger prevails over hunger.

Hunger is what I’d like to call you, my love, if not for your beautiful name, because I want you so bad all the time but I know I’d die if I have you for any longer than this. You are good for my soul in little doses. I think I can kill you any day with just one good meal but you aren’t really dead, are you? You are just temporarily buried under all the barbecue chicken and mushroom sauce and chocolate mousse; you come back to me the next day or the day after, and I receive you with open arms just the same and lie down over there with you, under the sheets, curled up and delirious, happy and hoping to die of you some day, some distant day when I’m happier than ever.

Oh Hunger, I love you.

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“Love is not love…which alters when it alteration finds”

If I were one of those, whose view of the present generation intelligentsia (like those young students at MIT,  IITs et cetera) was prejudiced against them, more in keeping with the universal belief that geeks intellectualized emotions, then I certainly would’ve believed that “various states of undress” was just another one of those “super-intelligent” statements made by someone who belongs to that “too intelligent to love” league. In that case, I wouldn’t have been perturbed when I read what  Ms. M. from MIT wrote about ‘long-distance lovers’.
The problem with Ms. M. is that she hasn’t the slightest clue that she is mistaking some emotion (that she has had for her boyfriends/girlfriends and is expecting to have for her future boyfriends/girlfriends) for love, or rather, she is calling it love. And, I don’t think that anybody can be too intelligent to love. Of course, love can be explained away in a couple of biology101 lectures on neurotransmitters and hormones. But after all, like Hemingway said, “we are trapped biologically”. If we are naturally functioning, normal human beings, then irrespective of whether we are sitting in Massachussets’ Institute of Technology or Mayawati’s Institute of Technology,  we live by way of this biology and there is no way to escape it. We all need toilets. We all need food. We all need love.
Now, those who haven’t realized true love (what Ms. M. calls fantasy) for their romantic partners ever, tend to call (like Ms. M.) whatever affection they have experienced so far for their romantic partners, love. Once that whatever-affection-they-call-love-for-the-sake-of-convenience is exhausted, because of geographical distance (let’s say), then they think that they’ve become demystified and disillusioned about the whole concept of LOVE. Maybe it is okay to call these transient affections, love, but it is not okay to think that there is not also that love which is not a fantasy, which is inexhaustible, which is as much real as the exhaustible affections that people so conveniently call love.
Love is illimitable. Sometimes, it can be so powerful as to make yourself indifferentiable from your romantic partner, psychologically and spiritually. Those human emotions like joy, sorrow, melancholy, pride – they are in moderate versions of what we feel for ourselves when we feel the same for others. It wouldn’t hurt you as much when you cheat on your partner, as when your partner cheats on you. If you are not attached to your partner by true love then yeah, you cannot keep it in your pants if you go without sex for long. But when you are bound to another human being with the force of  love, there is no moderation of emotions. You feel those feelings of  joy, sorrow, pain  in the same exalted degrees for the other as you feel for yourself. That is why I would not do anything that I think would hurt my lover in any way. I don’t feel the urge to take it out of my pants and cut it off and feed it to the dogs whenever I see some hot female hitting on me, because such a thing never naturally occurs to my mind even when I’m drunk, as it is absurd, it is not logical, it is unnecessary, it hurts like hell. For the same reasons I don’t slip up even if I don’t go without sex for months, or years. Love is not limited by physicalities like distance and sex. That is why it doesn’t depend on how far your lover is from you. Where there is love, there is trust. I trust myself as much as I trust my lover. Sex is not an involuntary bodily function. So, if not having sex is more painful for you than hurting your partner’s feelings, then you cannot trust yourself to not give in to temptations like sex.
Human beings are mobile creatures. We move from place to place in search of livelihood. It is almost inevitable to stay in geographical proximity to one’s lover all the time. “Long-distance relationships are emotionally founded on longing”, says Ms. M. And, one is of course stuck in a time limbo if the basis of that relationship is just ‘dividing your time between fantasizing the next time you see each other, and replaying in your mind the last time you were together’. This logic is clearly flawed. Where is LOVE? What I’m trying to say is, long-distance relationships do invoke the feelings of longing in partners but that is not the foundation if there is that element of LOVE in it. You are in a relationship despite the distance because you are in LOVE. I mean, what is the point in expecting to be emotionally connected to each other when you already know that you are still together only because there is a feeling of longing (probably ensuing only from physical attraction which is likely to obviously wane away when one finds good-looking substitutes in geographical proximity) and nothing else. Such longing doesn’t last when one finds substitutes with whom he/she can wake up next to, regularly. Long-distance relationships do not work when there is no love.
When there is love, there is no obsession with the thoughts about the past and future with your lover. You’re happy for each other’s presence in your lives. Just like we’re all happy that we have parents, not necessarily living with us all the time, but they are there somewhere in the world. We fondly remember the past memories and look forward to the future reunion with our lovers. We’re not obsessed with the past memories or the future fantasies about going back home to see our parents, are we? I know that my parents will be there for me when I need them. I know that my lover will be there for me when I need him/her. I’m sure of their love for me, and they’re sure of mine too. Even if I live hundreds of miles away from my parents for months together, I’m sure that they won’t adopt new children and disown me.
Yeah, we all miss our parents and loved ones when we are away from them, but not obsessively, because we are unified in healthy relationships based on love and trust.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, said Shakespeare about lovers and not about partners in long-distance relationships which are “emotionally founded on longing”! If such longing is the only basis, then physical distance should be expected to translate into emotional distance… because there would be no motivation to spend time or money in phone conversations, or to travel long distances to meet occasionally. In that case, statements like this- “Can the power of love overcome geography? No.” – make no sense because here the word  ‘love’ is being unreasonably substituted for ‘sex-craving’ and ‘lust’.  If sex is central to one’s idea of a relationship and not love, then it can be had (without any qualms, without any emotional investment) from any attractive, approving substitute in the vicinity. But love has no substitutes.