May 14, 2005

The Unattainability factor.

Several bits and pieces of conversations and scenes have contributed to the generalization that I am about to make now.

I don't remember the season, but here is a monologue from Friends that adds more credibility to what I have to say. Phoebe's Russian Scientist-guy, David says, "You know, when you don't see someone for a long time, a-a-and you kind of build them up in your head and you start thinking about: Come on, don't be crazy. Nobody is that beautiful, but... well, you are."

What I am attempting to touch upon here is that there is a certain charm to being unattainable, something that makes us want, even yearn for the very thing that we know we cannot attain (mostly pertaining to relationships but the generalization permits itself to be extrapolated to other things as well).

I mean, consider the number of instances where a girl has acquiesced to a guy's proposal after he has moved out of the town, state, country or her life! She might have noticed several attractive qualities in him but just not sufficient for her to take the leap and say yes; keep him away from her and the leap is taken. This happens so often (or so I hear) that I wonder if the seemingly out-of-sight factor is just (mis)used as a ruse to get her to say yes :)

Anyway, yet another strange characteristic of love itself that begs to be highlighted now is the sheer power of emotions drawn out of us as a result of love or the very lack of it. Love is a strong emotion, noble and powerful, inexplicable and painfully strong. I am tempted to say it is an all-encompassing emotion to be exceeded in intensity by a few emotions only, but, consider the lonely soul yearning for love rather than being in love; consider the suffering lover who has had the bad fortune of being classified as an example in people's conversations - tch, the poor guy - for unrequited love. Think of his plight. Does he not feel something much more powerful, much more painful, much more consuming than love itself?

Let's assume, lady luck decided to grace the very same person with a smile and he is now blissfully in love with his lady love, who is also very much in love with him. Now, I am willing to bet a small portion of my fortune to claim that what he feels is a fraction of what he had felt earlier.

Much as I try to explain this incongruity, I cannot, except by concluding that there is a magic in absence, a touch of mystery and charm that our imagination adds to the person whom we cannot see in front of our eyes, that makes him seem that much more precious, that much more perfect in our mind's eye. It's almost like we create an effective haze in front of our eyes and we can only see that person through the haze and the more we squint to see him clearly, the more endearing qualities we associate with him unconsciously and the higher the pedestal he sits on rises...

Well, what can I say? Blame it all on the unattainability factor!


Zeppelin said...


well, it seems to me now, that I have told u all there is to say... :)

good one, yet again... !


subramoni said...


Nice one. I agree that the unattainability factor plays an important factor, sometimes, in realizing someone's qualities(love) that you might never realize when he/she is around.

dinesh said...

Beautiful and True ! Beautiful because it's true ! :)

I can't help but wonder... What does it take to sort out some emotions and be able to make the distinction between emotions that are due to the unattainability factor and those emotions that are due to charm and likeability ! Prior experience ? Or would I be spoiling the fun (pain ? ) by attempting to sort these emotions ?

"This happens so often (or so I hear) that I wonder if the seemingly out-of-sight factor is just (mis)used as a ruse to get her to say yes"

Honestly, I haven't seen many people use this strategy although if used well, can serve as a terrific one. It involves playing a lot of cards right and other factors like timing and people involved. It's like playing "all in". If you lose, you lose em all ! It's a high price to pay.

Nice blog Ramya !

Subha said...

I've refrained from writing/commenting about love thus far because I think it is far too complicated to be put in words and I haven't quite comprehended it fully. But what you've written is so true! One always wants the unattainable, the unknown..Nice post, RS...:)

Vasu Venkat.K said...

Hi R.S,
I came here through one my friend's friend's blog link.
U have said that this post is an attempt to generalize ur concept. I must say u have handeled with so efficiently so that I couldnt do better than agree with what u r saying.
Wishing you all the very best.

Prabhu said...

"Keep him away from her and the leap is taken."
-- Its very true and its true the other way as well.

Anonymous said...

Very nice one, Ramya...I agree with u that 'pure' love is a very strong and noble emotion that can never be properly explained...

And regarding the unattainability factor, I must add that some people (dare say, gals!) play this 'unattainable' card just to know how much their loved ones actually miss/love them which at times may backfire. Missed chances are sometimes lost for ever.


a no nymous said...

"Now, I am willing to bet a small portion of my fortune to claim that what he feels is a fraction of what he had felt earlier."

मेरी ढलती यादों मे, मेरी हथेली पर
ढूंढे टोडी का धुन तुम्हारी अंगुलियां
और इस नीरस संध्या के मध्य,
मै सोचूं क्या होता ज्यादा मीठा,
तुम्हारे अंगुलियों का क्षणिक स्पर्श
या निष्ठुर प्रेम का यह आलिंगन

Ghosts of your fingers search,
For lonely tunes on my upturned palm,
And I wonder, amidst this sordid dusk,
What would have been sweeter?
The fleeting touch of your fingertips,
Or this embrace of ruthless love?

Fraction, maybe, but definitely on the other side of the number line...

Christopher said...

So you write so well. I certainly enjoyed reading your insights and ideas on love, or perhaps the unrequited type. I can relate so much to all that is similar to your blog. I would like to talk to you, perhaps through msn or something? You can see who i am on my blog,
Please post upon mine. You seem very insightful.

Later Tater

RTD2 said...

"Now, I am willing to bet a small portion of my fortune to claim that what he feels is a fraction of what he had felt earlier" I was intrigued by this as well, like A no nymous above (btw, who's the poet?). I think it's the old forbidden fruit syndrome, also called grass-is-greener-on-other-side effect. Realistically, I think absence makes the heart grow fonder because it allows the mind to fill in gaps in memory/experience with conveniently pleasant things. Am I making any sense at all? I always feel unrequited love makes for much better romance than fulfilled I a sadist?

RS said...

To phil - you got me thinking about this post :) Thanks.

To Subramoni, Subha, KP, Vasu, Christpher - Thanks!

To Dinesh - Questions to which I have no answer...I doubt I can dispassionately sort out my emotions as arising from absence or something more. I have learnt to live with it, hoping it won't sway my decisions too much...and Thanks :)

To a no nymous:
The fleeting touch of your fingertips,
Or this embrace of ruthless love?

...trying to figure out what these two lines mean...the fleeting touch is desirable in its own way but so is this ruthless love from a different person?

To rtd2 - "Now, I am willing to bet a small portion of my fortune to claim that what he feels is a fraction of what he had felt earlier" = I always feel unrequited love makes for much better romance than fulfilled love.

Sadist? I would think not :) The nature of the emotions (yearning for love and love itself) is such that one always outweighs the other...perhaps.

a no nymous said...

"...trying to figure out what these two lines mean..."
There's this friend of mine that says that peotry means what the reader wants it to mean. :)

Here's what it means to me:
I am asking a question which (I think) has a self-evident answer.
I'm asking if the momentary touch of the very tips of the fingers of a lover is sweeter than a life spent in the thores of unreciprocated love. 'Ruthless love' was meant to paint a picture of the unrelenting hold that unreturned love can sometimes leave on one's heart. You seemed to suggest that, in some manner, a person who doesn't have love feels something much deeper and richer than someone that has it. And I wanted to say that eventhough it may be deeper, it is still extremely undesirable. I remember this painting I saw in an art museum as a kid. It was of these group of people in black carrying a white (possibly dead) body in a wheel barrow. There was a certain beauty to it, but the emotion it evoked was of stark despair. I'd have taken a colorful crayon-doodle of a five year old over than painting any day. Like I said in the last line of my post, eventhough the pain you talk about is richer, it is still not the same thing as one moment of complete, utter total contentment.


Ms. RTD2,
If you're asking me who wrote that - I did.
If you're asking me who I am - what's in a name?
And... sadist? Depends on who you're wishing it upon. :)
Then again, if you were talking about yourself, would you consciously choose the "richness" of hopelessness over simple contentment?

dinesh said...

I have to agree with RT and RS. There's something about the incompletion, that makes the emotion stronger. In a sense, a story ending in separation, feels more complete than the "happily ever after" ones. A no ny, unfortunately, the complex souls that we are, the simple contentment that you talk about hardly remains simple. I'd still pick the happier ending for myself (Like I have a say :) ), but with the knowledge that the momentary bliss will be followed by far less dramatic happenings !

Prabu Karthik said...

On Discovering the Meaning of Life

"The meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but rather detected."

"What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment."

We can discover the meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a value; and (3) by suffering
--Viktor E. Frankl

i think you are talking about the suffering of unrequited love and emotions.
been there. experienced that.
What else can i say?

RS said...

To a no nymous: The reader understands better now, thanks.

To Prabu Karthik: Insightful...thankfully, I have not experienced anything of this sort and don't wish to, but couldn't resist writing about it.

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