Love - Do we choose it or is it the other way round?

Love - what comes in your mind when you read this word? I remember when I was a kid, I could associate "Love" with my parents and my sister. I never believed in love stories and our Bollywood movies made everything look even more unrealistic for me to believe in them. Till my teenage years, I used to think that love stories were a part of novels, stories and movies only. They could never take place in real life, and I was the last person ever to fall in love with anyone on a "romantic" level.

Then came to my life a poem written by Kahlil Gibran on Love which I am listing below:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Though the words were too deep for my understanding, I somehow felt quite attached to them. I'd read the poem daily, for some unknown reason. The words that hit me the most at that time were the following:

When you love,  you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather,
"I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.

I always used to wonder about these words - Does Love really choose you? And for the first time in my life I prayed - "Let love choose me". It was a very weird situation for me when I first did the prayer. Let me take you through the phases of life “Love” chose for me when I asked for it, and I am so glad today that it chose me.
Life is nothing without Love, and if you are the chosen one – consider yourself Blessed!

It was year 2009. I'd come back from New York, back to home after spending a long and tiring journey of hectic work, studies and loneliness. I'd resigned from my job for no particular reason and came back home. My parents had been hunting for a groom for me in succession of 3 years now, without any success. I remember seeing a thick bundle of profile printouts my dad had kept on the table to shortlist the candidates. My being "Manglik" was a big concern for them and it was too "high and complicated" according to some pandits. I had to be married to a guy who was "manglik" only and my "Kundli" had to match his "Kundli" too. Somehow, both of these factors, my educational qualification and "most eligible bachelors being already committed" fact, made it almost next to impossible to get a decent groom for me. After 3 years of continuous search, my parents gave up on the "Manglik" factor and fixed my marriage with a guy whose "Kundali" matched mine, but he wasn't manglik. I'd not met the guy. Our parents had also never met each other and our marriage date was fixed. There was no time for engagement and it was like entering a dark tunnel without having a torch in your hand.

I was clueless of anything and I desperately wanted mom and dad to stop worrying and get done with all this, so that they could heave a sigh of relief. But, deep down I was scared! Though I agreed for marriage keeping my eyes closed, I could see my fear coming up in nightmares where I would see myself running in dark tunnels, searching for a way out and I could feel the tunnel crunching in itself, suffocating me. It was like getting inside a black hole; no matter how much I tried to come out of it, it pulled me in. I could see a faint light, but couldn't locate its source and then I'd wake up with a start. It was that time when I came across the Gibran's poem on love and I read it daily as if it was some sort of prayer. I prayed that let me be the Love's "Chosen one" and let me get rid of all these nasty feelings and nightmares.
Little did I know that Love would not only choose me, but change the entire path of my life upside down! As is rightly said, you should always be careful about what you ask for, coz you never know when is it going to be manifested into your life, and the ways in which it comes, might shock you beyond your beliefs!

Just 2 months before my wedding date, I was as usual seeing my nightmares getting weirder and darker, and one day I woke up screaming loudly that I didn’t  want to get married and some other stuffs which I don’t remember now. To my disbelief, my dad was there in my room for some unknown reason and he heard me screaming and crying badly. He was shocked and angry at me. He scolded me fiercely because he was thinking that I was willing to be married. I said sorry to him and asked him to forget what I said in sleep. He didn't listen to me and called the would-be groom's dad to call off the wedding. There was a big tension in the house and no one talked to me whole day. I didn't eat anything and remained seated in my room having no thoughts in my mind. I had began to wonder, what was all this about? Did I pray for this? I remember it was 25th April, 2009.

My next few days were passed in mindless wanderings in the woods while I'd listen to some usual songs. I used to meditate a lot as that way I would remain aloof of the current problems. People around my parents had begun to scare my mom dad about problems that they might face by delaying my wedding. My dad had resumed his search for a groom for me. I had no interest left in anyone or anything now. All I wanted was to sleep and listen to music.

It was on May 1st, 2009, when I received a message on orkut from some guy whose name I'd never heard before. I read the message and came to know that it was from a guy I'd known from childhood but only through his nickname. Strangely we'd never met ever in our lives before. We just knew each other by names. He had come home for his summer internship a month back, the same time when I came home. His mom told him about me and that I play good piano and sing songs. He being a great music lover invited me to the club for a jamming session the next day at 4 PM, through his message. At first, I was about to deny but my mom insisted me to go so that I can have a change of mood (I might be looking too dreadful!).
Next day, I forgot all about the meeting, took an afternoon nap and got up at 4:15 PM. I was quite sleepy and groggy and didn't want to go for the meeting. My mom insisted again to go, and when I denied she asked me to at least call the guy and apologize for my absence. I called his home and his mom picked up the phone. She told me that he had already left for the club an hour back and might be waiting for me.

I had no other choice left but to get ready and go to club. I wore the most boring outfit I had, washed my face, combed my hair and left for the club. I had nothing in my mind when I reached there. He was sitting there watching me reach club through the glass windows of the magazine room. Seeing me he went inside the music room and asked the club boy to take out the keyboards. The moment I entered the music room, I was astounded by the sudden rush of so many emotions. I tell you; such incidences can literally knock you off when you've spent a long long time sitting without any feelings, thoughts and emotions.

The first emotion was of panic - I'd never played piano in front of any audience till date. I didn't want him to make fun of me. The second emotion was of fear, because the club's keyboard was a lot different from my keyboard. I didn't know the controls and I was scared that I was gonna make a complete fool of myself. Third emotion was of consciousness - I was suddenly too conscious about my appearance and that I was meeting a complete stranger for the first time, didn't know what impact I'd make. The fourth emotion was of nostalgia and apprehension. I remember he was a spoilt brat and used to fight with everyone as a kid. I was always scared of him and never bothered to talk to him. I remember I used to run away seeing him anywhere around me, just coz I didn't want to be hurt by some ill mannered, bad mouthed kid.  I was wondering if he was the same now, and would insult me anytime. I looked up at him and saw him smiling at me that looked pretty harmless but I still had doubts while I stepped forward.
And the fifth and most dominating emotion was of Awe. I was surprised when I saw him as he didn't look anywhere near to what he used to look like in childhood. I could only see his green eyes resembling to that of the kid I'd seen in my childhood - rest everything was changed. He looked more like one of the models from the Airbrushed magazines. He was wearing a black Adidas T-shirt and rugged blue jeans while holding his black guitar, looking at me, smiling and inviting me to sit.

I remember I'd begun to hyperventilate. I was literally sweating of fear, cold, consciousness and all other emotions that attacked me there. I couldn't speak and only passed a weak smile when he began chitchatting with me merrily. It was safe to simply listen to him and smile.
As you might have guessed, I couldn't play anything on keyboard and just kept seated there like a fool. He didn't force me much, but kept playing his guitar and singing songs, while talking to me in between, telling me incidents about his life, college and friends. I had been waiting for him to insult me coz of my failure in doing anything worthwhile, but he was completely cool all the time.
After 2 hours of sitting there, I had began to feel comfortable and started talking normally with him, without being intimidated for once. I'd really had a great time after so long that it looked like a dream to me. I was really happy for that day, thanked to God for it and came back home. He was supposed to leave for Shimla the next day and I wished him good luck for that. He in turn wished me good luck for my groom searching possibility and coming marriage. We had no plans to meet each other and nothing in our minds. 

For next 2 days I was in a good mood. I did all household chores and wasn’t that grumpy. My parents also seemed to have come out of the anger they had for me coz of my marriage breaking act. Everything was going fine and cool, when I got another message from him thanking me for the good time we had. I thanked him back and asked about his Shimla’s stay etc. etc. To my surprise he told that his trip had been postponed and if I was interested we can meet again for jamming. I could sense something different this time, but that time I thought may be my mind was playing tricks. We met again and then kept meeting. I had all the hints that could make any “foolish girl” too realize that the guy is in love with you, yet I kept on discarding them. It was next to impossible that a person like him could fall in love with a girl like me. We were completely different in all the matters one can think of. As my mom has been saying all the time – “There was no match”.

I was this “behnji” types fatso, short and silent girl. He was proper Punjabi jatt – extremely fair, green eyes, huge muscles, unbelievable strength in arms, charming with Greek God Looks, outgoing and crazily attractive. There was really no match. I could not even think of anything. I admired him for his decency, his amazing sense of humor, good looks (of course) and most importantly for his devotion to music and the way he’d play his guitar. I still don’t know what he admires me for, except me being bubbly and chubby and somewhat intelligent and someone who knows to do a lot of things with her free time.
I could listen to him forever, and every girl he’d met had told him the same, so I didn’t bother to waste my words. But still, I could never think of any relationship, not even in my wildest dreams. However, as is said – No one can beat the destiny, and there we were – totally unmatchable people falling for each other for reasons unknown to anyone. Love had chosen us, and I feel that the plan was right from the beginning – the reason why we never met each other till then, despite knowing each other since childhood, living in same place and studying in same school. We’d have never fallen in love, had we met before. Somehow, such incidents make me believe that nothing is coincidence and everything that happens in this world and in our lives is pre-planned.

It was a surprise and shock for me when he confessed his feelings for me. I didn’t know if I had any feelings, but he somehow made me dig within my heart and let it out. It was just 10 days since we met, and we were more than committed to each other. Despite all the impossibilities that we had ahead of us, not even once it came in my mind or his that we’d like to retreat back and “think over” it again. There was no choice as we were not given any. Love had chosen us and it had to sustain us, and it did!

The next two years were the most painful and toughest years of our lives. We had problems being poured on us from everywhere – from our families, to career, to mutual misunderstandings, insecurities and what not. One thing that kept us fighting for each other and move together was love, and the second thing was utter faith. Life slapped its toughest challenges on our faces and we had to endure them. We continued to endure them, while keeping the faith. –
“Love had chosen us, love will keep us together”.  – These were the only words that’d come to my mind whenever we were faced with problems. We fought, we fell, we got up, we walked and today we are together chosen by love… sustained by it and growing by it. My prayers still remain the same, and would continue that way in all the years to come.

Love always finds its course either here or in the other world. If you are the “chosen one” in this world itself, consider yourself to be lucky to be blessed enough and remember:

“When you love, you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. “

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