The Everlasting Beauty of a Brief Romance

Love and Sex

The Everlasting Beauty of a Brief Romance

Illustration: Akshita Monga


op culture has many of us believe in the dreamlike design of an accidental meet. The template is like a linear equation with two variables: Stranger-meets-stranger + Stranger-likes-stranger = Strangers-live-happily-ever-after. Poetically speaking, the dreamlike design takes shape when two strangers meet in some faraway, breathtaking cultural landscape through some dazzling stroke of luck. There is schmoozing and gambolling in a bar over cheap alcohol, and some highly revelatory talks that expand to a magical soul-baring of the individuals. There are sly smiles, minor flirtations, conversational oddities that melt into a collective sense of camaraderie, a strong mutual attraction which hurtles from the whimsical to solemn.

It helps if the strangers are hot and attractive, but mostly, if they have words – just words at their disposal to seduce each other – what follows next is a car crash of romantic delusions about the freshly formed relationship. And with it, the moral dilemma of commitment. Can you forge a new relationship when you are already in one? Can a new love be presented before you that is greater than the one you have? Can the strangers give each other, and in the process, themselves, a new beginning?