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This article is third in my Kamasutra series of exploring human sexuality. This article and the next will try to find out how we can find out our true love or whether there is something called a true love exists in the world.
In recent times, growing divorce rates in the world make everyone wonder about the real issues in finding our life partners. Being associated with men’s groups and having spoken with men who suffered relationship jitters in their lives, so far I had failed to get to any conclusion to get a right life partner from a man’s perspective. However, my recent reading of “A Passionate Gospel of True Love” by author Poonam Uppal helped me get the other side of the picture from a feminine perspective and to get to an answer to this issue of getting a partner for life.
Apart from being a review of the book, this article and the next in this series will consider the feminine perspective of the definition of true love from this book.
I have always wondered what makes us choose a life partner. With more marriages falling apart, the question arises whether we are finding the right life partner at all.
I have seen both loves and arranged marriages breaking apart within a few years of marriage. I have also seen that cruelty experienced by men in some love marriages is more compared to that experienced by men in their arranged marriages. I felt that the love marriages were breaking more compared to arranged marriages but that feeling was never backed by any statistics. Mostly, I found men being clueless about their relationship issues and hence I could not get any definite solution to the issue. One reason I felt was men not being responsive to the subtle cues they receive from their partners. This is because women have the tendency of giving subtle and indirect cues, and men being straightforward in their nature ignoring all of them. This book gave me the feminine perspective of relationship issues that could help men understand the cues they get from their life partners.
Before I delve into the issue of finding true love it is important that we understand that there exist three different types of men and women in terms of their sexual drive. Vatsayana had shown us the classification in his work Kamasutra.
Based, on dimension, force or desire of passion and time of passion, Vatsayana had classified men and women. According to this, there are three classes of women namely – female deer, a mare, and a female elephant. Men are classified as the hare man, the bull man, and the horseman. Basically what Vatsayana meant by this classification was that sexual drive of different individuals is different and hence the union of different types of individuals will lead to different results.
If we look into our personal relations today, we will find that most of the marriages have the problem of sexual incompatibility as the partners are not chosen based on these sexual drives. So it is natural that most of the relations undergo such problems even without the partners realizing the real issues or discussing them. Even though Vatsayana had defined ways to satisfy the partner in a sexual incompatibility situation but most of the people getting into relationships are not aware of them. The result, most marriages bleed internally until that fall apart in a bitter way.
In all divorce situations, a man suffers most atrocities. When a man’s sexual drive is more compared to that of the woman, he is termed as the rapist and is liable to be punished under marital rape and domestic violence; whereas when his desire is less compared to that of his partner, he is considered to be impotent. In both cases, the man is held responsible for the sexual incompatibility and the woman is compensated. Many of our marriages survive sexual incompatibility because the man continues to play the provider and protector role and women stay happy with property, kids, and jewelry.
In this book, Poonam Uppal (Moh) brings about the need of finding one’s true love. Even though she did not talk about sexual incompatibility of the couples, I found it of paramount importance and thus brought it to focus.
There are different factors that a man and a woman look for while selecting a life partner. This video by the researchers of Discovery TV shows us what women find attractive in men –
It is surprising but true that sexual attractiveness of men comes from his ability to be a provider and protector for his family. This is the ancient nature of men that had created a patriarchal system and made men the provider and protector. This experiment showed that no matter how modern a woman becomes, she still wants her man to own up all responsibilities in the family and act as the provider and protector. The example of a car showing the personality of the man who owns the same and thus attracting women is nothing but showing his capability of protecting her in real life.
The imaginary hike in man’s salary increasing his sexual attractiveness and perceived sexual compatibility also shows us that women want their life partners to be providers for them. It does not matter how empowered and independent she is. This characteristic desired by women in their life partners makes gender equality a myth because women in a true sense do not want equality. They want their partners to own them up completely while giving them space for their freedom.
A problem is a man owning a woman and a man giving her personal space can’t go hand in hand and conflicts are bound to happen. A man who owns up his life partner is expected to set her boundaries, be jealous when she openly goes out with other men or be angry over her freely mingling with other unwanted men who may be his competitors. It thus leaves a huge grey area for the men trying to follow this, making him either a lenient idiot or a stubborn chauvinist. Both kinds of men are put off as life partners for women. It thus completely depends on the woman to decide on a relationship and they become solely responsible for breaking all relationships.
Coming to the discussion about this book, the author tried to search for her true love, we do find this inconsistency in her behaviour as a lover as well. Initially, she got attracted to a successful, NRI doctor cum entrepreneur Soorya and got married to him. But after a few years of her marital life, she understood that he was not her true love and drifted away from the relationship. She projected Soorya as a bad lover in-spite of being a good provider and protector. The more he tried to play the role of being a provider and a protector; more he failed. The author here complained of less or no physical or mental intimacy between them. Her husband is always too busy in his work to provide them better amenities failed miserably as a lover.
We see when a suave and sophisticated Soorya could not hold his charm to his life partner for long, a less sophisticated and less cultured Gaur could win her heart. Soorya was chivalrous but Gaur was not. Soorya never failed to open the door for his woman and Gaur didn’t care about such niceties, in social status and thus in terms of his protector and provider quotient Soorya was much ahead than Gaur, and moreover, Soorya was married to Moh (the author) and Gaur was married to someone else. Still, we find it was Gaur for whom Moh fell in love with.
The story unveils through different acts and daily routines how Gaur reacted and didn’t care much about niceties but simply became authoritarian in their relation. The way Gaur’s character was illustrated by the author one would feel how could be one so persistent in a relation. Some might feel that it was an extramarital relation for both and probably that was the reason both were charmed by each other. But, here we find that even Gaur didn’t care about sex in their first few meetings, rather it was Moh who wanted sex badly to consummate their relation and Gaur rejected. His philosophical answer that he wanted Moh as his life partner and hence did not care about sex hurt Moh and had taken her further from the relation.
But while a platonic relation built up between Moh and Gaur, both of them went further from their own families they didn’t think of uniting together. Moh could not divorce her husband who was a nice provider and protector for her and her daughter Hreem. On the other hand, Soorya could not divorce his wife as he was scared of social backlash but they went on loving each other. In the meantime, Soorya had become more possessive about Moh. So much possessive that he started questioning her sleeping with Soorya in the same room and we get surprised to see Moh giving an explanation to him that Soorya did not touch her.
Soorya who was going all out to support an empowered wife who he thought as his life partner, Moh who was a fashion designer by her credit and who belonged to a good family and could easily provide for herself went on cheating on him without his fault. The moment someone’s wife gives such explanations to men outside their marriage, that moment the marriage should be considered as null and void. Poor Soorya did not get a hint of this as he had given all freedom to his wife.
This is where I started hating Moh for ruining the life of a nice gentleman. If she really didn’t love Soorya, she should have had gone out of the marriage instantly. She was concerned about Hreem and her inability to provide for her the way Soorya was doing. But when she as a mother was not ready to give birth to Hreem as she didn’t want to have a child with Soorya, then why she didn’t leave both of them when she didn’t feel the warmth in a relationship. This in a way confirmed my belief that no matter how much-empowered women are, they still love free lunch at the expense of men. We need to remember that Moh was not typical average Indian woman who would cling to a relationship simply because she is getting everything provided for her. She needed love and admired physical bonding more than expensive gifts as per her own confession.
We also get surprised that an empowered woman like Moh liked high possessiveness of a comparatively unsophisticated person like Gaur. Gaur started dictating terms for her in terms of people she should talk to or mingle with. Gaur’s calling him as Jaan (Hindi for life) from a very early stage in their relation surprises us as they met in a relation of a vendor/client and not even as friends. Also on many occasions, Gaur had shown his weak nature of following his parents and family members’ dictates and showing that he was a weak and submissive person to his family.
In the meantime, Moh meets another super-handsome influential businessman Ayush Kapoor and we find Moh considering him as life partner instantly. When she fell for Ayush she had all negative thoughts about Gaur with him she was having a fling. Immediately she started thinking of how Gaur never highly tipped waiters in big hotels, how he had always ordered typical Punjabi dishes in Chinese restaurants, how he had never shown good dressing sense, how he was concerned about soaring prices and small wastages in life, how he could never innovate in terms of wooing his woman and telling different things than just I Love You, how he never bothered about her feelings for him. Here we find the complexities of relationship dynamics in a woman. Her perceived life partner can be a piece of shit in one instant the moment she meets another more influential or suave man, and if this is the generic nature of women then I am not surprised why men think of women as opportunists. She even confessed in her book of being attracted to Sid (Gaur’s dictator brother) once.
As a reader, I was confused as to what she really wanted in her life partner. I felt she herself did not know what she was looking for and that happens when a woman is highly pampered from childhood. This happens when she gets everything from her childhood and eventually becomes a highly confused individual.
The author describes true love as finding out our other half in this world, as she says every individual is half complete and his / her other half is somewhere else. They needed to find the other half they belong to and that person is their true love. She explained this with the concept of Ardhanarishwar from our Puran.
In describing sexual act and taking help of Upanishad the author reiterated the description of sex as the most sacred act and must come after the stage of love has been crossed. Sex becomes the most sacred act when two true lovers are involved. It brings liberation for both the man and the woman into each other. Taking cues from Brihadaranakya Upanishad she wrote –
The woman is the fire
Her womb the fuel
The invitation to man the smoke
The door is the flame.
Entering the embrace
Pleasure the spark
In this fire, the gods form offering
From the offering, spring forth the child.
She had explained sex as an offering by the male worshipper to his deity, his partner and Lingam being the offering. Every passionate whisper murmured when the lingam enters the cave or yoni becomes a prayer and offering to the deity.
Well, I could not verify this from Upanishad but Kamasutra did explain sex as the holiest act. But the above definition of sex made me wonder, if sex is the offering by a man to a woman then why rape a crime for men, at all. Simply because the offering is unwanted how could it be considered a crime? Then how do we know that all our offerings to different gods are welcome to them and unless a god asks us for any offering we should not offer anything to them.
While I welcome answers from all of you regarding the question of rape being a crime, this series will continue as I continue to review the book and try to explore human sexuality.
Also give us your opinion, if you think you have found your true love yet