Conversation 7 – Of Love and its Permanence.


While strolling through the gallery of Nineteenth-Century Art in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, you are likely to stumble upon the painting of Pygmalion and Galatea by the French painter, Jean-Léon Gerôme. Completed in approximately 1890, this work illustrates the charming Greek tale of Pygmalion and Galatea: the story of a lonely sculptor who falls in love with his beautiful creation, and by grant of a wish, she comes to life and returns his love.

Have you been in love before? 

Yes. I have.

What happened?

It didn’t work out. We parted ways.

But you still love her?

No. Actually I don’t. I respect her and all but no – I don’t love her anymore.

See? This is the part I don’t get. If you in fact were in love – the real McCoy – how does the relationship not working out change anything? You should still be in love irrespective of whether you are together or not.

Why? Things change. People change.

But Love? Love changes? Shouldn’t it be forever? Shouldn’t it persist in spite of everything and because of everything?

For a seemingly cynical person – oddly – you are idealistic.

For an apparently non cynical person who believes in Love – oddly – you seem too practical.

So according to you – a person SHOULD love only once in their lifetime?

No according to me – a person COULD love only once in their lifetime. It cannot be a choice. It should be a foregone conclusion. If love is that exalted emotion that you believe in – then shouldn’t it be impossible to get back what you have given away forever – your heart in this case?

It is not a physical thing you know. This giving away of your heart. It is just a concept. And nobody gives away their whole heart even if they claim to. Only a part of it.

And the rest of the heart is kept to distribute as per the need or stashed away as a little nest egg in case the first affair does not work out?

Hah…You do have a cruel way of putting things. Do you think it possible to give away your whole heart? Completely – not even reserving a tiny bit for yourself? What about the part the loves you? Even that part?

Yes. Completely. Utterly. It shouldn’t be possible to even love yourself. You shouldn’t have the power to choose whether or not to. I would imagine it would be uncontrollable.

Which means that if you were unlucky enough to fall in love with the wrong person then you are stuck with loving that person for life? No respite?

Stuck? I wouldn’t put it so mildly. You are liberated from feeling for any other or condemned to feel for only one. For life. You are in love. Having it returned in a way that you like or for that matter – returned at all – isn’t the reward or the punishment. Being in Love is.