I’m a fairy tale person. And completely swear by it. So I have always believed in God Fairies, Prince, miracles. But I have never believed in Super Heroes. When my brother and I were growing up we used to go to our neighbors’ house (Family friends) and watched cartoon films on their VCD. They had animated movies on Cinderella, Snow White, He-Man and off course Tom and Jerry. Four of us, my aunt’s 2 boys, my brother and me, we used to watch it together on Saturday and Sundays. I always insisted on watching Cinderella and the boys He-Man. Eventually we had to settle for Tom and Jerry. Time passed and we got our separate ways from the boys. But my fairy-land stayed with me. Internet took over VCRs and animation movies led to 70mm movies. Even my fairy tale characters were no more animated. None of these films made it to the multiplexes the way super hero movies did. And even if they did they were not talked about the way Hulk, Iron Man, Bat man, Superman, Spiderman (Oh God! the list goes on) were talked about. I was least interested. I only dug romantic movies like Notebook, Dirty Dancing, Nottinghill and off course DDLJ. Not only my male friends but my girlfriends too adored these super heroes. I always felt that these super heroes were all steel and no heart. They were always on a mission and gave a damn about love. Only romantic heroes made life beautiful.
“Love is my religion. I could die for it” ~ John Keats
I remained a romantic most of my life and my tonic were these romantic movies. No matter how well these super hero movies did at box office, my heart refused to budge from the Happily Ever Afters.
In my teens Shahrukh khan was my constant companion. He defined love like no one did. I watched his movies first day first show. No actor stood a chance in front of SRK. Falling in love seemed so beautiful watching him act. I believed in violins and falling leaves. Switzerland became my dream destination. My conviction for love stories grew stronger. Reel had completely influenced my real world. My perception for men also got altered. Without knowing I categorized them. Pumped up muscular guys were non romantics while the cute ones fell into the prince charming category. I fancied candle lit dinners. Rains made my heart bloom. Deep down I felt like a damsel in distress who wanted to be rescued by a stranger.
“Stay my charmer, can you leave me?
Cruel, cruel to deceive me;
Well you know how much you grieve me.” ~Robert Burns
My idyllic world was not limited to films I added fuel to my romanticism by studying literature during my college days. The world of books was even more fascinating. Each novel and poetry took me to a different world of love and romance. My heroes were Robert frost, John Keats, Emily Bronte and William Wordsworth to name a few. This utopian world just brightened up my real one. I looked for romance in everything around me. Heart broken or not, I enjoyed the feeling of being love sick. And then listening to Jagjit Singh’s Ghazals on a loop was icing on the cake. I idolized romance so much that every other emotion just took a backseat. Situations or people that didn’t fit my romantic instincts were sidelined. Despite of all the rough patches and heartbreaks I always remained hopeful of my special someone who’ll rescue me one day. Romance made me hopeless.
So not too long ago, while surfing the net I came across this romantic movie called ‘Before we go’. I loved that movie. But more importantly I fell in love with the protagonist. He was just like a dream. My brain just got stuck on him. I wanted to keep watching him. He was Chris Evans…Yeah! Captain America, the Super Hero. My mind refused to accept that a super hero can actually be super romantic. Well! It was too late. I was in Love. I watched ‘Before we go’ endless time to see if I could come up with some flaw. Nah! I only got more attracted to him. I decided to break my cage and enter the super hero world. I started with watching Captain America. And there was no looking back. I watched him fight and save the world. There were no roses, just guns. And I still enjoyed it. So what break my romantic charm?
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” ~ William Blake
I first saw Chris Evans playing a character called Nick, who played trumpet and helped a beautiful stranger in distress. All mush. Had I seen him holding his shield and protecting the world first? Things wouldn’t have been the same. My perception was changed. I thought to myself how many times romance actually let you have a relationship based on reality. You are tied down by unreal expectations when you are in Love. We want someone to sweep us off our feet and we get so carried away that we lose the ground of reality.
For me, every moment was defined by an emotion and every person had an image to carry. And all this was pre defined for me since childhood. It was like a pre-designed computer program. That’s how it worked for me. A fun guy or a guy holding roses was romantic (Even if those roses were for someone’s funeral). No nonsense and a serious chap had no heart, according to me. This is how I let myself get manipulated by the romanticism of the reel. I feel we let ourselves get painted by the colors portrayed in films and books and start believing in it. So many times beautiful moments just passed by me, while I day dreamed. We trap ourselves in our perceptions. My love can be different from the world. It took me a while to understand this. And that there is a difference between romance and love. People might not be romantic but they can still be in Love. I kept rejecting people on the bases of their outward gestures completely ignoring what good they held in their hearts. I was waiting for someone to come and save me. And all I had to do was to save myself from my own whimsical fantasies.
“The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome”. ~Derek Walcott
Sometimes we trap ourselves in one emotion. It could be hatred, jealousy, anger, adoration or a beautiful emotion like love. We get so captivated that it enslaves us. Opening myself to the world of different emotions changed a lot in me. I could embrace love like never before. Love was beyond fantasy, it was real. Now, my best dates are with my girlfriends. So are my best surprises. No one can pamper me like my family does. I love watching super hero movies as much as the romantic ones. And each time I watch a superhero on screen, I find them closer to life. They are the ones raising strong daughters, protecting their sisters. They are the doting husbands and caring sons. And all of this they do with immense love. I guess sometimes it’s easier to hold a rose than wear a cape and not get judged.
I am not defying romance or the idea of it. I am just breaking the barriers I had created against the ones who didn’t fit the part. I am as much in love as I always was. Now I just understand it better.
I am becoming my own Romantic Super Hero.