As far as my taste in films and books goes, I’ve always leaned towards ones that explore relationships. Even more so that ones that include the so-called unconventional ones. Which meant that Victoria & Abdul was one I’d always been wanting to watch. And I’m glad I finally did.
For those who haven’t seen it, this film charts the relationship between British monarch Queen Victoria, and her relationship with her slave turned teacher turned confidante, Abdul. One about a relationship that couldn’t exactly be boxed or confined by worldly definitions. More so because of the people involved. Or rather, the social differences in them. One powerful, yet lonely monarch, and her slave. A rather kaleidoscopic relationship that took on many forms as it progressed over time – friendship, advisor, confidante, and even a strange, platonic love. Depicted in a beautiful way through a combination of stellar acting performances, direction and cinematography.
And while I may forget the plot of the film, I know I’m not forgetting the core message. Not every relationship that blooms, thrives and grows must have a name.
From my experiences of life, I’ve learned that love, broadly speaking is of two types. There’s Type A love. Love by the book. By the rules. The one that sees its zenith in union. The one that takes you to the altar. The one that makes verbal, powerful promises, with the promise to live by them. This love is the destination, for it usually comes with a goal in mind.
And then there’s Type B. This love is anything but conventional. It cannot be boxed. Or defined. Or pigeonholed into a single relationship as proposed by society. Yet this love finds a way in. You discover it in the strangest of places, under the most unexpected of circumstances. This love does not conform to the rules of societal norms, or worldly expectations. Which is why it is commonly misunderstood. Or forcibly hidden. This love has no stage of culmination. It is the journey, one that typically has no zeitgeist. It evolves, as it grows.
Most films, art and love stories have coerced us into believing that Type A is the ‘right’ kind of love. Because only love that conforms to social expectations, can be, and can be understood, and can be honored. But that doesn’t mean that love that can’t be fit into a definition should b ignored. Or that it doesn’t deserve its due. For love, is love, is love. In my own words, Love is whenever the soul agrees to go beyond the confines of its worldly self to bring happiness to another soul, without bothering what happens to its own.
And it this world, we need both. As much we need the love that we’ve all been told to expect, even demand, we also need the love that wasn’t typically planned for, to help us grow, honor and heal – the very function of love. In this populous world, love is scarce, and hence every grain of it ought to be welcomed and relished. For every love is different. Yet in essence, they’re all the same.
And in the words of F Scott Fitzgerald himself, “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice“.