Yesterday I was sitting in front of my laptop planning and plotting a ‘relationship’. The feelings are overwhelming! How do I take it forward? Who is supposed to make the first move? What is the likely reaction? What am I expecting from this relationship? Will it work? Will it culminate in the expected destination?
Don’t get me wrong! I was referring to the ‘plot’ of my story and the relationship of my main characters. My hero and heroine have their respective testosterone and hormones to urge them forward and rest is up to me! But I wish real life were this easy, where a third person plans and plots every move in a relationship and all that the people in it have to do is follow!
The last time I wrote a novel, I plotted an idealistic relationship between the hero and heroine and took it towards its predictable end. My editor gave it back to me snorting, ‘Meera, get real! The guy and the gal are too good to be true. Plausible in a different era but not in the present. Nobody would be able to relate to that! With that my bubble burst!
The dynamics of relationships of late seems to have changed. Initially people got into relationships with the feeling, ‘What can I give this relationship?’ But now it seems to be, ‘What can I get out of this relationship?’ If you are unconditional, you are called a fool. You are considered the ‘smart one’ if you can be in a relationship and get your way! With ‘options’ opening up, people are on a spree. They realise they don’t have to be there if it means having to make all the compromises or adjustments all the time, if it means their lifestyle is getting cramped. ‘I am not happy, I want out’ is the equation. Relationships have become disposable. ‘Chuck this guy, I can get better!’ ‘We’ has made a crossover to ‘I’. In the name of ‘you-have-just-one-life-so-live-it-on-your-terms’, relationships have been sacrificed in the altar of fulfilment. Love in all this has not just taken a backseat in the bus of life but it seems to have been left behind in a stop between modernism and urbanism.
When I plan a ‘happily ever after’ I am called a ‘soppy idiot’. I wonder if we have given our relationships our ‘all’ before dismissing it off as ‘irreparable’ or ‘meaningless’.
I am not refuting the other dimensions where people continue to languish in relationships like they are in prisons, in the name of kids, financial support and societal pressures. I know many for whom it is so much more ‘convenient’ to be in a relationship than to not be in one. It affords a security, not just for the present but also for the twilight years. I also see the daily pressures, personality conflicts and anger being displaced in relationships in the form of abuse and harassment
I mulled over how to the take the relationship of my hero-heroine forward for a long time. What is required to sustain a relationship?
I am no relationship expert, but I just decided to add few realistic ingredients to my plot. I made my hero and heroine fight, but in the next chapter I made the guy realize his folly and make up for it because he is a sensible guy. The sensitive heroine never forgot this and remembered to let go and be the one to apologize in the later chapters.
I did project ego, but down the line projected that, in an argument, it’s never about who has the last say but who was large enough to let go because they valued the relationship more.
I made sure my characters struck a perfect balance of their compromises, and they did it not grudgingly but willingly. I made sure each was always aware of the adjustments the other made, was appreciative of it and grateful. And when it was the other’s turn they did it willingly.
My hero gave his heroine her space, respected her wishes and opinions, appreciated and valued her presence. He never let go of an opportunity to tell her or show her how much he loved her.
She, being a woman, never forgot how special he made her feel and ensured she reciprocated in every way. She fought for him, stood by him. She let him have his way believing he knew what was best for them. She was a source of constant support. She knew when he wanted a back rub and when he wanted to just be left alone. She understood his pressures and he, hers. He’d come to her when he was ready, she knew. Her way of showing her love was woven into her myriad gestures, and he knew that. My hero and heroine believed and trusted in their relationship. They never failed to show each other how much they influenced each other and brought out the best in each other. And they expressed this fact freely. Nothing was assumed or taken for granted. Their personalities were different, but were perfect with their imperfections. Their differences made them unique.
I also put in a lot of stolen glances, passionate kisses and warm hugs to stoke the fire of desire for each other for their lives of 200 pages. Love needs to be expressed constantly. Love thrives on that!
My editor gave me a thumbs-up for my renewed attempt.
So are we all up to it in real life?