What is Love?


Some years back, a few days before February fourteenth, my then ten-year-old asked me for a needle and thread. I could not locate the box where I stored all my sewing essentials, so I told him I would find it another time. The box surfaced a few days later under a pile of dirty laundry, but by then I forgot Armaan asked me for a needle and thread.

On Valentine’s Day morning, my son presented me with a beautiful napkin quilt sewn together with thread. He used rubbing alcohol and markers to write different messages/drawings on four napkins and then sewed them all together.

I gave him a tight hug and asked him who helped him sew it. He told me that he used a paper clip as a needle and some thread to stitch together the napkins. I got teary-eyed at the thought of him going to such great lengths to make the card for me. I also felt guilty I never gave him the needle, and felt proud he was creative enough to use a paper clip.

I gave him some more hugs and kisses, and thought,

“This is love; pure and unadulterated, and I will cherish this card forever.” 

This child of mine is a blessing from God. He loves me unconditionally and I do not remember a day he has criticized me.

Lately, I have been feeling a little insecure about my looks, as I have put on a lot of weight. On a recent trip to India, a relative asked my husband if I was okay as my face looked swollen. When I told Armaan about this comment, he instantly told me not to pay attention to it. He said my face is fine. He also told me about how he made a new friend at school and when the new friend was telling her mom about him, her mom said, “Oh I know Armaan from elementary school. He has a beautiful mom.” This anecdote immediately made me feel better.

Love is honest and loyal support.

When Armaan was eight years old, he wrote me this poem:

Love indeed is a special bond between two people; a heart to heart connection! Love is exuberant and effusive praise.

What about romantic love? The love between two adults?

I remember having crushes in my teen years. It would always start with a face popping in your head whether you wanted it there or not. As much as you wanted to kick that face out it would pop right back like a Jack in the box.

The good thing about crushes is they always fade away, and more often than not you end up thinking, “How could I ever like that person? What was wrong with me? How foolish was I? He seems so unworthy and undesirable right now!” 

I married young. The pinnacle of my ecstatic and euphoric experience of love was the charming and magical courtship period when my husband and I were engaged but not yet married. My heart thumped with excitement when he would call and I would run at 100 miles per hour to the phone. We would talk for endless hours multiple times a day. He sent me cards and gifts and we went on motorbike rides and dinner dates.

When he would visit, I wanted to be alone with him. I would ask my sisters to leave the room and they would get really upset because they thought I was rejecting them and was all consumed with their soon to be brother-in-law. He made me a mixed tape of my favorite Bollywood songs and when I was apart from him, I would listen to those songs, think of him and cry my heart out. I was quite dramatic. 

There is a saying that before you get married you talk and listen to each other but after you get married, husband and wife argue and the neighbors listen! Luckily, for us, our neighbors do not have much to complain about (hopefully!). But marriage does put a damper on romance because you have to think about mundane things like groceries, laundry, paying bills, driving kids here and there, doing dishes, and so on. Criticism from your partner hurts, however honest and well-intentioned it may be.

One of my single friends told me that she celebrates Valentine’s Day as Independence Day and will never get married. She said that whenever she sees couples, they are always arguing or not looking happy together.

However, love is never lost. It is hidden. We just need to take the time to uncover it, nurture it, and make it stronger. Dinner dates without kids are necessary. When my husband makes me laugh and we are having a good time, it is the best feeling in the world.

Love is when he hugs me close if I am feeling sad and crying, and he wipes away my tears. Love is when he hands me a glass of wine, and love is when he gets me an Advil and water when I am complaining about a headache.

Love is friendship, love is intimacy, love is forgiveness, love is caring and love is laughter. Love is respect. Love is unconditional.

Love is what makes the world go around.

Love is quite a phenomenon and my simple post cannot even begin to unravel or decipher its mysteries. Love is for you all to savor, to experience, to give and to receive.

Henry Miller has wisely said:

“The one thing we can never get enough of is love. The one thing we can never give enough of is love.”

What does love mean to you?

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Growing up in a small town in India, Mona Verma never dreamed that she would immigrate to America. She came to Columbia in 1996 when her husband found a job here and they were newly married. It was an arranged match but she did get to meet her future husband and give her approval and there has never been a shortage of love in their marriage. With a Masters in English and a Masters in Library and Information Science, Mona divides her time between being a part time Reference librarian and a part time writer. She is however, a full time mom to three teenagers, a girl and two boys. Volunteering, gardening, reading, binge watching her favorite TV shows and drinking wine with girlfriends spark tremendous joy in her. She is a very laid back person who likes to live and let live. Cups of hot ginger tea and hugs and cuddles from her family keep her going….


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