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No wonder

Our most natural and almost universal desire

August 19, 2002
The Iranian

Wise men say only fools rush in,
but I can't help falling in Love with you.
Shall I stay? Would it be a sin?...

And the radio went on in that cozy coffee shop, playing the UB40 remake of that Elvis classic. And so I began to think about that treacherous and mysterious feeling of love!

So many poets and writers have spent their lifetimes writing about it. So many singers have made a living singing about it. So, many smiles have been born out of it and so many more tears have been shed for it. Yet, centuries later, here we are, still the biggest mystery of our lives, the biggest unknown, the biggest risk, the biggest journey.

Indeed, if you just look at it from a superficial level, if you just look through the dull stats and numbers, it must be safer investing in the jittery stock market of 2002 at times than investing in love. It appears to be our most natural and almost universal desire, to be loved and to love.

And at every turn and corner of history, we have tried to explore various ways of dealing with it. No sooner had human civilization settled, that we came up with all the rules of engagement in various societies. No sooner had the news print came out, that we had newspaper personals.

No sooner had the internet popped out, that we had people writing books on approaching online romance. It is often a gamble that even people without a gambler's heart and mind have to make.

So many have failed and lost out in this gamble, yet so many -- almost all of us --, will give it a try, if we could. So many have been bitten by its bitter side, yet so many tend to recover from it, sometimes ever so quickly and move on and try and hope to experience its other side.

Some seem to have the heart of a lion when it gets to love, but for some, it's one love bite and an almost eternal retreat to a hiding. Some seem to be able to recover from almost anything when it comes to love. But for others, the stains and stings remain and stay on.

What I had always wondered, is how do you trust, once your heart is broken and ripped into pieces? How do you fully enjoy love when your heart is left in disarray? How do you move on and try fearlessly, when your most passionate and sacred feelings were simply stepped on and then, left for yourself to figure out?

How do you deal with that ever nagging feeling of "not again"? How do you fully dare to open your arms and heart and soul possibly for someone else to merely march on and move on? How?

I am often perplexed by this mysterious little thing we call love. Is it merely an enigma or is it there for real? Is it merely just a way to satisfy our personal and social needs or is there something called "real" love? Can the love we often seek, ever become as unconditional as a parent's love for his/her kids? Is it worth taking the risk to try again and what if this tryout also fails?

The song came to an end and another love song started. The old man sitting next to me turned around and smiled at me. "In love or out of love?", he jokingly asked. And as he got up to leave the store, he gave me a pad in the back and said, "Love is fickel. No need to wonder. Just the way it is."

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By Ali Khalili

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