Why Do We Use Grief And Suffering To Measure Love?

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Ready to watch Pagglait? Here’s looking at how it raises questions about our perception of love, loss, longing and suffering: Sanya Malhotra starrer Pagglait is now available on Netflix. This Umesh Bist film promises us the story of a widow who cannot grieve. Sandhya was married to Astik for five months. The initial phase of any relationship is often associated with excitement and love. So when Sandhya loses her husband so early in her marriage, why is she not in shambles? On-screen or off it, why is a public expression of grief seen as proof of love?

Were you even in love with a person, if you didn’t grieve their passing, or departure from your life? A widow who doesn’t cry after losing her husband, no one needs to be told what kind of commentary and scrutiny she invites from society. But this isn’t the only case where the romanticisation of loss robs people of their right to grieve the way they want, or not.

Whether it is over a broken friendship or one-sided love, a lot of us believe mourning and suffering to be part of the process that is moving on. We have grown up reading and watching legendary lovers suffer in the name of love, Jay and Veeru set a benchmark for all friendships with sacrifice. Whenever a couple goes through the phase of “judai” Bollywood tells us that they must cry copiously and sing songs about crushed souls, loneliness and whatnot.

But is crying and showcasing your suffering the only way to grieve? Is grief only legit when society and near ones certify our tears? Besides, should lost love only leave you feeling sad? Can it not leave you angry or as in Sandhya’s case stoic, since she seemed to be in a loveless marriage? Aren’t there incidences where love remains unfulfilled but leaves you feeling complete? Then why do we let grief define relationships to an extent?

My favourite portrayal of one-sided love is from the film Jab We Met. Towards the end of the first half, we see Geet leave Aaditya for Anshuman. Do we come back after the intermission to find Aaditya in tattered clothes, wandering through a desert, his eyes red from bawling them out? No, instead we see him still in love with Geet, making his life better and in a much happier place than he was before he met and then went separate ways from the love of his life.

Besides, not every marriage is a healthy and happy relationship. While we may not like it, there are times when separation or even death acts as a release for the partner who is left behind. Marriages can seem perfect on the surface and yet have cracks so deep that it is impossible to repair them. And yet, whoever is left behind is expected to mourn their partner’s death or separation. Do we seek actual expression of grief in such cases or just a performance to appease social norms?

We will find out about Sandhya’s story in Pagglait and finally understand why is she a widow who struggles with grief.

To grieve or not to grieve, how to grieve, how much to grieve and when? These should be open to interpretation because just as we don’t experience love and loss the same way our process to mourn cannot be identical.

Image Credit: YouTube screenshot

The views expressed are the author’s own.