To me, in any relationship, there are two kinds of people. The Emotional Fools and The Practical Cynics.

The Emotional Fools believe that they were made for- ek- duje- ke- liye. Compromise is mandatory and of course, love conquers all.

Case in point: My school chum Aarti. I have known Aarti for 18 years, but when she met Rohit, it was as if she was born again. Nothing was too good for him- she once made us scour the whole city for one Nike black T- shirt he had seen online, which finally had to be sourced from Mexico. No sacrifice was too small-she gave up a flourishing air-stewardess career to get married and have kids. And on paper, they could not have been more different: Rohit was 7 years older than her, from a different community and had serious family issues. But in their case, love did conquer all. Despite some initial problems, they have been together for eight years and have two beautiful kids.

They are my poster children ’emotional fools’: those who have truly experienced love and survived to tell the tale. The DDLJ couple.

And then there’s Manasi Iyer. After her cousin arranged a surprisingly good match, (ref: she had been on quite a few cricket dates with Srikanth and was now clearly treading serious ground. ‘Of course given the way we met, we cant even mention the word ‘serious’, or our folks will promptly bring out the sindhoor and yellow gold!’ Manu confided.

‘And so he says,’ Shwets remarked. Manu ignored her.

Anyway they were clearly in the first flush of love. Ah! Those heady days! The expensive air tickets across the country just to see her on her birthday. The entire month’s salary blown on his deodorant. The staying up to talk all night, never mind the expensive STD meter(yes, it was a long time back).

Errr… they dont make them like that in 2011.

Manasi and Sri were two very busy professionals with little time. So they hadn’t met in nearly two weeks despite being in the same city. ‘But you’re watching a movie with us today,’ Aarti pointed out when we got together for 7 Khoon Maaf in Cinemax. ‘Arre, today’s Sunday. And he lives in Chembur. Who’s going to trek to Chembur on a holiday?’ Manasi rolled her eyes.

By the time the movie was over, we had made Manu feel guilty enough to go shopping for Sri’s birthday.

‘5000 bucks for cuff-links!’ That’s ridiculous!’, she admonished the sales clerk. ‘I’m just going to take this practical yellow tie.’

This from a girl who had just recently blew a cool 15,000 bucks on sliver-toned, 6 inch pumps that we both knew she would never wear. I tried not to raise my eyebrows as she got  the (not Salvatore Ferragamo) tie gift-wrapped.  

Yes, Manu and Sri are practical cynics all right- they believe that love should fit into their overall plan of life or its out. No or next-to-no compromise.

‘So what’s wrong with that? We aren’t 18 anymore. Love is just a chemical reaction!’ Manu was defiant at the cafe after our shopping.

‘Chemical reaction? What about the hurt? The pain? The craziness? Since when has it become smart to be so ‘practical’ ?What happened?’

‘Raj and Simran got married and had three kids!’ Shwets quipped with a grin.

Ignoring her, I prodded my poster child Aarti,’What do you have to say to this?’

‘Well , actually I agree. It’s far better to be practical and mature rather than completely emotional in a relationship.’

That shut me up. Aarti was saying this?

Aarti was unfazed. ‘ You know what I was like. And you know what? I was young and stupid and so so wrong! I mean I love Rohit. If I had to do it again, I would still not change him but I would change the way I behaved in the begining.  I was crazy, I lost control, I lost my respect, I compromised too much. Yes things are better now because we’re more mature and practical.’

A silence followed this. Then Manu confessed, ‘I had been in a relationship like that when I was in college. He used to travel all the way from Daryaganj to Preet Vihar just to say good night to me. Every night. I loved him so much that I gave up IIM Bangalore seat for FMS to be in Delhi. And what happened? We fought, we hurt each other again and again until we broke up. I think we gave up so much for our relationship that we started resenting it!’

Manu took a deep breath, ‘This time, I’m going to have my head firmly on my shoulders.’

Well there was little one could say to that. For the next few days we watched Manasi as she went around with renewed confidence, in control, no jitters of a new love. I must say I admired her.


Shwets, Manu  and I were in the office TV room watching the nth rerun of Friends. (yes, it was after office hours. No, I dont want to talk about it) We knew the episodes by heart of course, but we couldn’t control our addiction.

Ross and Rachel were having their first meaningful conversation when Manu’s cell rang. She took one irritated look at it and cut the call. ‘Just Sri,’ she muttered, turning the volume up.

Just when Ross was about to kiss Rachel for the first time, Manu suddenly switched the TV off.

Ignoring our indignant protests, she cried, ‘I cut his call! ‘I cut my boyfriend’s call to watch a TV serial! And one that I know by-heart. Do I even love him?’

‘And now all conquers love!’ Shwets muttered as I started counselling Manu.