They were a young couple – well, it didn’t seem they were married, but very much a couple. Dressed like a bunch of college kids – the guy wearing a full-sleeved jersey and stone-washed jeans while the girl wore a half-sleeved t-shirt and a pair of crumpled jeans. Sitting in the first class compartment of the local suburban train, they were talking among themselves. Gradually, the conversation dimmed out and 40-winks took over, as both heads nodded off, nearly simultaneously.
It was just a little gesture, but it made a definitive statement about their relationship. The girl’s head rested in the niche between the boy’s neck and shoulder and every time the train lurched forward, her head slid off the shoulder, only to be caught from the chin by the boy’s hand and restored to its original resting place. There was something about this subconscious act of his that seemed utterly fascinating. Not two youngsters on a passion-drive, but just a deep-seated understanding and trust that each is there for the other.
Another day, another train journey. Most likely a septuagenarian Parsi couple, as they slowly got up from their seat and made their way to the compartment door, preparing to alight at the approaching station. The elderly gentleman held on to his wife’s hand, holding her steady while taking support of the train’s handle-bar. As the train rolled and slowed down to a halt, he got down, never letting go of his wife’s hand and then gently helped her alight, with his other hand clasping her elbow. Nothing grand about the gestures, but it just showed that not for a moment was he prepared to leave her alone in their twilight years.
Most of us are given to grand gestures and grand words – I-love-you being the most commonly used refrain. Flowers and grand gifts proclaim one’s romantic love for another, but is love just limited to these grand gestures and words, or is it about showing you care through your actions? It is when you subconsciously reach out to care for another’s well-being and comfort, that is when you are in love. Not out of some sense of duty – it’s as natural as caring for yourself, or maybe, to exaggerate a bit, as natural as breathing.
More often than not, we start liking someone, come to the conclusion it’s love (maybe it is in some cases), wax eloquent about the person’s qualities and even idiosyncracies and then when the relationship is cemented, either formally or informally, set about changing that person to match our own perception and requirement. To term that stupidity would be an understatement.
Those two couples, separated by not just one but probably two generations, showed so subtly and so eloquently, that you don’t need to shout yourself hoarse proclaiming your love for each other. You don’t need an Archies card, a cinema ticket or a candle-light dinner. All that is required are actions – they do indeed have a higher decibel level than words.