Even though these characters live with hope, warmth, and generosity, the gendered bodies still go through humiliation, loneliness, and emptiness while encountering, losing, and finding modern love.
Recently I stumbled upon the trailer of Modern Love, Mumbai chapter, and not to my surprise; I was hooked. Whether it was the familiarity with Mumbai as a living character in the show or the complexities of living the life of urban life adults, it made me re-think what Modern Love is. A part of me thinks that only those who brew it like a coffee survives rest dissipates in the air. Even though dissipation holds meaning, it happens in stages.
One can perceive these stages in Lalzari’s story (played by Fatima Sana Sheikh). The truth wasn’t accepted from the beginning; the separation wasn’t accepted easily. One can witness a journey of her character as if the director made us hold her hands and walk with her in Mumbai. She made us re-live her struggles, desires, fantasies, and fear. The stage in her love is more interesting than the destination of the journey. Whether it was denial, relentless efforts, submission, and finally, acceptance, all made us come closer to her.
While watching the Amazon series, Modern love, Mumbai Chapter, I was intrigued by how beautifully non- biological bonds were explored in this show. Even though these characters live with hope, warmth, and generosity, the gendered bodies still go through humiliation, loneliness, and emptiness while encountering, losing, and finding modern love.
This acceptance comes at a cost, cost in terms of our choices. The choice to let the other person go, the choice to love ourselves first, the choice of being vulnerable and yet existing. Her character could have chosen to be sad and timid her entire life; she could have repented to her choice of choosing that man and be bitter towards him. Instead, like an old letter, she kept him alive in her imagination, mundane activities, and happiness. Modern love becomes that breeze that you experience while sitting near the seashore. It touches you, but how you would like to experience it solely depends on you.
Sometimes it is like a long call-in metro or the local train, sometimes like a long platonic discussion in a café, at times also in the form of painful, lonely, and sleepless nights which we experience alone, at times it’s also the less baked trust between individuals. Modern love encompasses all of us. It’s not about the binary. It’s about everything which cannot be captured in it. But we, as humans, are able to create life, love, and laughter on these as well.
I couldn’t fathom the courage of individuals living in metropolitan cities who choose to wear their hearts on their sleeves, only with the pretext that they would gain emotional intimacy and belongingness’ with someone in that unpredictable cosmopolitan city. It made me revisit what Simone de Beauvoir said, that the only way to love anyone is to make yourself vulnerable.
Modern love, for a few, is finding a balance between feudalism and ultra-modernity. It’s about not burning the bridges. Please think of this analogy: sometimes, when we use an ink pen or fountain pen, and leave it without putting on a cap. Next time when we use it, the ink might not flow naturally, even though it persists. This is how modern love is. In the post-truth era, modern love is the newfound freedom. It’s a newfound joy, a giggle after a stress buster day.