I know what love is and how it feels. But being in love is an entirely foreign concept. I can’t imagine spending my life with only one person and never doubting that commitment.

Usually kids hear of this love through the stories about their siblings and their boyfriends and girlfriends. Or they see it everyday through the kisses shared by their parents. In the 16 years I have lived, I have never once seen my parents kiss. The internationally recognized symbol of the unification of a couple was something my mum and dad had never shown.

I see them embrace one another after a long day at work and sit closely on the couch as they watch T.V. with small, secret smiles -how do I know these actions are driven by love? I, too, have hugged someone so tight I could feel their heart beat and sat, smiling, next to someone on a worn out couch but these moments weren’t driven by intense emotions.

I question why these polite acts of like are the only passionate acts of love my parents display.

I’ve come to one conclusion: they aren’t.

I know my dad loves my mum because of the way he holds her shoulder on long car rides. I know my mum loves my dad because of how she throws her head back, consumed with laughter, after hearing one of his terrible jokes.

I see her unwavering love when she checks to see if he wants her to wait to have dinner, so they can sit down and have it together. I see his complete devotion when he begrudgingly insists on her eating, just so she is not left hungry in wake of his absence.

Two people have never looked at one another the way they stare.

I hope that, one day, I too will refuse to commit the one obvious act of lust and, in turn, create a hundred subtle acts of love.


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8 thoughts on “Jaan

  1. Dear Harmehar-

    I just needed to tell you how beautiful this piece is. This resonated with me because I have come to realize that the most meaningful, intimate moments you can have with the people you love may be the most subtle and the most ordinary. But this does nothing to lessen their significance. I think that you captured that meaning in an incredible way.
    My favorite thing about this piece was that you wove little moments of brilliance throughout- lines like “I’ve come to one conclusion: they aren’t,” and “I hope that, one day, I too will refuse to commit the one obvious act of lust and, in turn, create a hundred subtle acts of love,” are breathtaking in their simple radiance. They convey a depth beyond the written words, and they really moved me.
    I also appreciated that you kept your paragraphs short and sweet. Long-winded paragraphs can be written beautifully, but they are hard to hold attention with. Your paragraphs were long enough to engage me but short enough that I felt like I was getting breaths of fresh air throughout your piece rather than having to hold my breath.
    Just as one element of improvement for you, I think that you could have elevated this piece by paying closer attention to your syntax and diction; you used fairly simple sentences throughout, and your vocabulary came across as being somewhat basic. It’s not a big deal, but it is something that will ice the cake. Adding a variety of sentence structures and lengths as well as more diversity in word choice will add more colour to the composition of your story and your voice in writing.
    Thanks again for a wonderful piece- I will definitely be looking out for your blog writing as it comes!


    1. Dear Ziyana-

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my piece! I am so glad you were able to relate to it and, hearing about your belief in the subtly of love only makes me stand stronger in my convictions. I love the intimacy that two people can hold – creating their own world, their own secrets, and their own love story.
      I very much appreciate that a beautifully spoken writer like yourself was able to find beauty in the simplicity of my piece. But, I must agree with you that it needs some improving. Thank you for the feedback and helping improve my writing!


  2. Harmehar:

    The concept of love has long been one that people have struggled to understand, and I really appreciate your insight on it. Love is something not measured by the hands we hold, the embraces we enjoy, or the kisses we share. It is the simple act of total and unconditional support of one another; only reinforced by the hand holding, hugs and kisses.

    And I agree with you. There is a huge difference between love and being in love. The latter being one I have not experienced myself either.

    There’s an even bigger difference between love and romance. I think being truly in love comes with stages. Starting with attraction – quite shallow and based on nothing but physique. Then comes liking, when you realize that this person is one that you want to get to know better. This escalates into a stronger feeling of liking, and somewhere along that line falls romance. When two people have accepted their feelings for each other.

    Love – True love – is a far distant point from the rest of the spectrum. To reach a point in which you would follow that person to the ends of the earth, support them though anything, and trust them with no exception. Reaching this level is something that precious few have managed to achieve. This is why I admire your post. Your parents are people who have reached the level of love. People that support each other, love each other without feeling a need to show it physically. It’s just amazing.

    Moving on, I really enjoy how you’ve written this, a very simple yet eloquently written piece. The last line was a strong hitter, left me with a much better picture of who you are as a person. Really, the only thing I have to suggest to improve your writing is the very same thing Ziyana had said – Varying your sentence type and structure to keep your work fresh and even more interesting to read. Other than that, I loved this piece and can’t wait for your next one!

    Much respect,

    1. Dear Areeb-

      Thank you so much for this insight into your thoughts on love. It has given me the opportunity to witness a different side of you. I enjoy the spectrum on which you place love- in all of its forms; the superficial and the genuine. I, too believe that the superficial, surface attraction must occur in order for any progression to follow. There must be a physical attraction that initially draws the couple in and I see no problems with that. It is when a deeper connection cannot be formed where we see individuals attempting to thrive off a solely physical relationship, inevitably failing.
      Thank you for reading my piece and offering such amazing feedback! I will take into account yours and Ziyana’s advice and work on my keeping my sentence structure and vocabulary interesting for the readers.

      Thank You,

  3. Dear Harmehar,

    I know that we don’t personally know each other yet, but I loved your blog too much to not comment. This piece was incredible and beautiful. Until I had read “Jaan”, I had not given much thought to being in love and love itself. I now realize the difference between expressing your love and simply being in love. Initially, I assumed that if you were in love, there were specific actions, such as the ones you mentioned in your second paragraph , that had to be made in order to, essentially, prove your love for another individual. Those actions, kissing, hugging and more, to me signified love, you could not be in love without showing those acts of love. It was through reading your piece that I am now able to understand how wrong I was.

    The “subtle acts of love,” as you ingeniously phrased it, are what I now realize truly embody the idea of being in love. It is not the extravagance of the actions that matters, it is the intention, such as how your father ” begrudgingly insists on” your mother “eating, just so she is not left hungry in wake of his absence.” True love is exemplified in the small, seemingly meaningless things. It is woven throughout every action, every word that an individual says or does for their loved one. Hugging and kissing can, in some relationships, be superficial, it is in these “subtle acts of love” that pure love is shown. Reading your piece has changed my perspective on love and the different aspects of being in love.

    I found your writing’s simplicity and the way that you phrased your words to be comforting and breathtaking. My favourite part was the last line, its truth and sweetness were the perfect way to sum up your blog. I hope to read more of your blogs in the future.



    1. Dear Shyla,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, despite us not knowing one another very well! The thoughts you expressed about love mirror mine; I am very happy we share the same mindset.
      I look forward to working with you more this semester!
      With Love,

  4. Dear Harmehar,

    I’d like to start off with telling you how beautiful this piece is. This is the first time I’ve ever had the pleasure of actually reading your writing, and I was very impressed but not at all surprised, because the themes embedded in your work are shown in your character.

    The title itself drew me in, because I knew what the word jaan meant and its significance, to me at least. I had always thought that calling another person jaan or saying meri jaan was elevated from just a physical relationship labelled as love, it’s more pure and from the heart. This was so relevant in your piece and I loved your insight into how superficial “love” can really be.

    It makes me think of a quote I once read that talks about how to truly be in love is rather indescribable. Vocabulary isn’t enough to capture these emotions, and instead, we can see glimpses of love stories through actions. Part of me wishes you had added a couple more moments of love in this piece, just because every one you added was so simple and beautiful.

    I can’t wait to read more of your work, and I’m so excited to have a class with you this year.

    With love,

    1. Dear Alysha,
      Thank you for reading my piece and I am so glad you enjoyed it! The title holds significance for many people I know and I am elated that you were able to find significance behind it too! Thank you for your feedback and I look forward to us being able to share more work with one another.

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