“It obviously comes with its struggles… but there’s something very beautiful about it.”
What is love?
There’s love between your mother and yourself, there’s love between your siblings, your parents and beautiful friendships – forged by a deeper connection – regardless of how little or long we’ve known each other. Then you have, especially in the community I grew up in, there’s this extended love with my uncles, my aunts, and especially with my cousins, where we grew up more like siblings than distant family members.
There are all these various shapes and forms of love that exist.
For me, my newest experience has been my niece, and it’s this love that didn’t exist and now exists and I’m able to channel it and express myself and she’s able to express that to me.
Then obviously there’s this idea that we as society as a whole has fixated on this type of love that we get from social media, from media, movies, books, entertainment… from things that go back to a certain time, where monogamy is the ultimate goal that a lot of people want to achieve.
And I think my generation grew up on this idea of the white picket fence, or the Western dream of living abroad, enjoying your life, and living this luxurious life which involved maybe a partner who’s usually in a heterosexual relationship.
What influenced your view of love growing up?
For me there was a point in my life watching these movies, Western or Indian or Asian movies, everyone had a skewed version of love. Hollywood has a very rom-com-esque feel.
The movies that I watched still had an influence. Most of those movies involved shitty ways of finding love… but they normalize it because that’s how these grand love stories were portrayed.
Naturally, because of this, the first thing people hear when they hear “love” is this rom-com/romanticized idea of finding your partner. Which is unfortunate because there are types of love that are much more intricate that you can’t explain.
For example, there’s love that I have with men who are comfortable with sharing their feelings, with talking about taboo topics that men don’t talk about. It’s comforting knowing there’s other men that I can have conversations like this with.
What is one moment you’ve felt love, either given or received?
I would say my parents. I think it’s a very deep bond that I am not able to comprehend. It obviously comes with its struggles, complications, misunderstandings, and miscommunication, but there’s something very beautiful about it.
I’ve been fortunate to have parents who took care of us and did what they had to do, it was a very common immigrant story that you hear.
I’m not capable of expressing [my gratitude and love] to them. They’re not proficient in English, and I do speak Tamil, but I am not proficient enough to convey and express what I’m expressing [to you], to them. That’s the most unfortunate part, because I would love to have these types of discussions with them.
You’ve been raised in an immigrant family. How often did they tell you they love you?
To this day, it’s not a word they would use. They wouldn’t say “I love you.” There’s no equivalent in Tamil that they would express for their older, adult offspring. When you’re young they would say things, but as you mature it’s almost like those words are, they’re out of bounds now.
Love is…? Fill in the blank with one word or two.
Love is all in the fleeting moments, where you appreciate the beauty in others, the world, the universe… and in you.
What do you mean?
Love is everywhere. There’s love between every single human I’ve been in contact with on this planet and I’ve been able to share my journey with them and they’ve reciprocated. It doesn’t stop there. I’m not a big fan of pets, but I am able to appreciate their existence and how we could share each other’s company along the way is also a form of love. Love is unlimited. It’s infinite. And I think we’re all interconnected in some shape or form. It’s something we can’t comprehend, but can comprehend—it’s weird, but it’s beautiful.