This I Believe

Radhika - San Diego, California
Entered on May 24, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love

Words of affection…

I grew up in a crowded city streaming with people, hardly any space to walk from one street to another; a city, continents and cultures away from where I live today. A city whose culture does not let people openly express their love. As a child I have never been told that I was loved nor have I said it myself. Now, don’t get me wrong. My parents loved me deeply and lived their lives for their children. But it was believed shallow and even obscene to say the words of love or show any public display of affection in our culture. One has to be subtle or it was considered Impudent.

I was 21 when I first came to this country. Naturally, one of the first things I noticed was people expressing their love constantly, verbally and physically. And yes, ingrained in my culture for 21 years I too believed that it was shallow and obscene to say something that you feel so deeply in your heart. More importantly how can simple words express your innermost feelings of love? And even if it does how can you flaunt your love before others?

I am 31 today. Three years ago on my dad passed away in a sudden accident. I took the next flight to my home town and it took me three days to get there. I had last seen him 2 years ago when I went for my brother’s wedding. I used to phone my parents every week until then. But on that day and up to this day I could not remember my last words to him. Was it words of anger? apathy? something mundane? Did he know that he was always on my thoughts though we were oceans apart? Can I go back in time and tell him that I have always loved him and admired him just once? Or did he know like I always assumed? Well, I would never know.

I believe that when we cannot change things that can never be changed we change ourselves. I started believing in the power of words. Words of affection. Today it comes naturally to me. I say it to my husband everyday before I leave home. I call my mom and let her know I am there for her in plain simple words. I agree that there are a million ways to show our affection but I also believe in plain simple words; The words to express our affection to the people dearest to our heart before it is too late.