The month of love, February, is here and all that we see around us are beautiful red hearts, big teddies, and huge discount banners outside romantic eating places. Unstoppable winds of Valentine’s Day are already heralding its arrival. To make your mind a bit more clear regarding love, actor-turned-author, Twinkle Khanna, has solved a mystery for you in her recent blog entry ‘Luv, Shuv And Bheja Fry’.
If you think that love has everything to do with your heart, then you really need to read these words of wisdom by Mrs. Funnybones. Does love really have anything to do with the heart or is it all just a chemical compulsion driven by the brain? Twinkle Khanna has brilliantly answered this intelligent question in her hilarious write-up. Read her Valentine’s day blog entry here:
In the next two days, timelines on Facebook and the rocks on Bandstand will be packed with mushy lovers. The effects of demonetisation will vanish temporarily, as money will flow towards weary-looking red roses and wads of chewing gum that may not quite mask the smell of methi theplas or onion uttapams that passionate lovers have consumed for lunch.
The tidal wave called Valentine’s Day is already heralding its arrival in a flurry of red hearts but does love really have anything to do with the heart or is it all just a chemical compulsion driven by the brain?
Well, Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, believes love has three chemically driven stages — lust, attraction and attachment which I will attempt to break down with the help of my two slightly stereotypical protagonists — the girl next door and the lungi dancer who will soon fall for each other, hook, line and sinker.
1. Hook a Fish: First, let’s wave out to testosterone and estrogen. These two hormones are like your interfering buas who just want to make sure you reproduce and carry on the family line. Research states that it does not take more than 4 minutes to decide if you fancy each other. It has only 7% to do with what you say and 55% with body language.
Which is why Romeo didn’t really need to talk to Juliet, before he began spouting, ‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!’
Or when at her cousin Monty’s sangeet, our girl next door spots a gentleman doing the lungi dance and yelps, ‘He doth look like a yummy block of Chocolate Cornetto!’ And begins walking toward him. According to scientists at Trinity College, this is not the heart talking but the paracingulate cortex that has quickly assessed the gentleman’s worthiness as a mate.
2. Snort a Line: The lungi dancer and the girl next door soon land smack in the middle of evolution’s great plan, the survival of the species. Surges of adrenaline have made their hearts race. An MRI would reveal that their brain areas associated with the production of dopamine are in overdrive.
Considering dopamine is also what the brain releases when you take a hit of cocaine, our lovers are now literally getting addicted to each other. Love also makes serotonin in the brain dip to levels close to those found in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders, which is probably why the lungi dancer calls the girl next door a hundred times a day while she keeps doodling his initials all over her spreadsheets. The passionate lovers have fervent conversations, like on the sole occasion that our protagonist — who may have forgotten to eat intermittently but has always remembered to match her lingerie — finds she has made a blasphemous error and says, ‘Err…Baby not today, my legs are not shaved.’ The lungi dancer growls, ‘You are worried about hair? Right now I don’t care if you had cactus sprouting on your thighs and Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding my gateway to heaven.’
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She sighs, ‘You are such a poet but I think Cerberus guards the door to hell.’
He replies, ‘If that is hell my darling, then like Prince Charles who famously said to Camilla that he wished to be reborn as a tampon, add me to that list so that I can also stay in hell forever!’
But even with a semi-functioning brain, she realises that it doesn’t sound very hygienic so she says, ‘Tampons have to be changed frequently otherwise the bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, gets into your bloodstream and…”
He interrupts, ‘I can’t understand anything you are saying but it sounds hot, come here!’
Now imagine two flowers frantically shaking in the wind like in our good old Hindi movies and you may get a clearer picture.
3. Happily tied to the Sinker: If human beings were left in the throes of dopamine thrall then they would be incapable of focusing on anything else. So Mother Nature, who also wants parents to stick together and raise children, ensures that after 18 months to three years, all this hormonal upheaval stabilises and bonding chemicals come into play. Released during hugging as well as sex, oxytocin deepens feelings of attachment and security while vasopressin, also released during sex, is linked to behaviour that produces long-term, monogamous relationships.
At this point, the girl next door, dressed in striped pajamas and flannel socks, is cribbing as she climbs into bed, ‘Jeez! The baby’s projectile vomiting even beats that possessed girl in Exorcist. Once I used to smell of eau de toilette and now I guess I have to settle for eau de puke!’The lungi dance champ, with a little more fat and a lot less hair, engrossed in his iPad murmurs, ‘Hmm.. very good.’
The lungi dance champ, with a little more fat and a lot less hair, engrossed in his iPad murmurs, ‘Hmm.. very good.’
She snaps, ‘You are not listening to me, your iPad is more important than me right?’
He says ‘Come on, don’t be like that,’ as she continues to moan about how different it all was in the beginning.
The lungi dancer attempts to lighten her mood, ‘You know how much I love you baby? More than I love cockroaches, telemarketers and mummy’s butter chicken!’ and adds, ‘So are you up for it?’ She giggles and five minutes later they are lying down together, doing what they both enjoy tremendously, watching the new season of Sherlock on Netflix.
The cuddling helps their brains release a little oxytocin and who knows, after their upcoming Valentine’s dinner they just might add some vasopressin to their piggy bank as well.
So now that we have figured out where love stems from, this Valentine’s Day instead of sending mundane heart-shaped candy boxes emblazoned with ‘I love you’, how about celebrating love in its truest sense by presenting your beloved with some bheja fry from Mohammed Ali Road with a note that says, ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, this is the state of my brain because I am chemically addicted to you.’