‘What happens to unreciprocated love?’, I asked him. As he was 20 years older than me and someone I looked up to, I was expecting an honest and wise answer. He looked deep into my eyes, because it was a question out of nowhere, he was trying to gauge whether I was joking or really wanted to know. I was not joking, I really wanted to know. He looked away, took a deep breath, trying to formulate an answer, then turned and looked at me and said ‘It comes back to you in some other form’. ‘Hmmm.’ is all I said. And that was the end of that conversation.
It was a question that was bothering me and I was not getting the right answer. When we fall in love and that love doesn’t get reciprocated, what happens to that love, does it disappear into thin air, does it stay in one corner of the heart or what? And why do we fall in love when in the end it is not going to materialise in to anything. Why do we have to go through the heart wrenching pain? What does it all amount to? I am sure these and many more questions bother all of us when we experience heart ache. So, if I were to believe his answer that it might come back to me in some other form, I was sure it was not going to happen immediately, so what do I do in the meantime. Work towards putting the pieces of my broken heart together, ignore it or feel the pain and transform it into something. Well what I did was I started gardening, I started planting seeds, watering them regularly and watched the seeds sprout, watched life come into being, it made me happy at least temporarily. The joy of creating life with simple ingredients out of my kitchen brought back the childlike joy in me. It brought back childhood memories where our small garden was divided into two parts, one belonged to me and the other to my sister and we were both responsible for taking care of our side of the garden. We were very competitive about it. We would count the number of flowers on each side and compare them regularly. We would each only water our side, take care of our side and constantly engage with it. That nurturing made me happy, that taught me the tricks to take care of my plants even though the goal was to defeat my sister. Now I am not competing against anyone. I am just happy seeing my plants grow, I wake up every morning and see how they are doing. Sometimes pigeons sit on it and don’t allow it to grow, so I am constantly monitoring them. I have created a designated area with water and food for pigeons so that I can manipulate them and they don’t spoil my plants.
It has turned into a daily routine, I wake up in the morning, water my plants, talk to them, see how the morning sunlight touches them and feel happy. Occasionally, a plant I have lovingly nurtured dies, and most of the times I don’t know the reason for it, I feel sad that day. But next day I see another seed sprouting on its own and that makes me happy again. Well that’s the cycle of life, one dies and another life is created. Now I truly understand the meaning of what he meant when he said, ‘It comes back to you in some other form’.