“Sex Has Got Nothing to Do with Love or Marriage”, Tamal Pal

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In Converstation with Love in India’s Featured Facebook Fan

Today I’m glad to bring you the promised feature on the 50th lucky fan of Love in India Facebook page, Tamal Pal.

A Computer Science engineer from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), and an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, Tamal works as an automotive marketing manager with one of India’s biggest manufacturing companies.

Love in India feature Tamal PalCopyright @Tamal Pal

When he’s not working, Tamal believes in enjoying life to the fullest, through engaging in (really really) varied hobbies and activities. A trained vocalist, Tamal’s eclectic tastes span everything from Stephen Hawking to SRK movies, and from Tagore’s music to fantasy cricket. In his own words, “I hate being stuck in the same thing for too long. I feel suffocated if there’s nothing new to learn, no new challenge to overcome every day. Even when it comes to career, I’ve changed my path whenever I felt like doing something different, and I’ll continue to do so in future.”

Excerpts of my chat with Tamal on love, marriage, life and his own story….

On love…

Pyaar dosti hai. Love is friendship…..

This may sound oh so stupid/corny/filmy, but after being in a string of relationships (yes, there have been quite a few) for the last 8 years, I have come to believe that friendship is the only true and sustainable basis of any relationship. Love is, at the end of the day, understanding someone, appreciating them for who they are, and craving to be with them because you just feel so comfortable in their presence.

That mad rush which you feel in your head when thinking about someone – at least for me, it’s just a sophisticated variant of physical attraction.

It’s of course natural to feel it for someone you love. In fact, I feel no romantic relationship can blossom if that madness is not there to start with. But just six months into a relationship, what remains is the understanding & the comfort that you share with your partner. If it’s worth it, you’ll stay together. If it’s not, you’ll start feeling uncomfortable subconsciously, leading to incessant silly fights, and ultimately break up wondering where it went wrong. It’s that simple, really!

On finding love…

You don’t find love, love finds you.

In today’s peer-pressure driven, competetion-obsessed society, even having a relationship has become a parameter for competition! Many “get themselves” a boyfriend/girlfriend, because they are supposed to have one, just like other essentials like a college degree, a job or a mobile phone.

I myself have got into relationships (yes, more than once) just because I was desperate not to stay alone after a breakup.

Gotta say, it doesn’t work that way. You can have an arranged marriage through a conscious decision and dedicated efforts.

Par pyaar koi karta nahi hai. Pyar bas ho jata hai. (You can’t “find” love, you fall in love.)

You’ll find it when & where you least expect it. And when it’s love, you just know…..

On essential traits of successful relationships…

There are relationships which are meant to be, and then there are the rest. If it’s not meant to be, I don’t think there’s anything in the world you can do to make it work. When it comes to spending your every waking moment with someone, it’s impossible-and more importantly a disservice to yourself-to try and be something different from what you are, naturally.

And if it’s meant to be, you just know it.

You trust them as much as yourself without even wondering if you should. When you are with them, you feel as relaxed & comfortable as you’d have been if you were alone.

You start caring for them and feel concern almost like your mother would feel for you.

Things like going out on a date, exchanging gifts, pampering each other with sweet words – yes, they make the moments special. But I would say they’re just the surface. A few moments don’t make a relationship. Your feelings and actions, day in and day out, do.

On marriage (and the love vs arranged marriage debate)…

Marriage is the decision to stay together with someone for the rest of your life. Marriage is the basic unit of society. To me, it’s a much more conscious decision than love. You have to think long & hard about who you are compatible enough to stay together with & raise a family. Quite often, it has got nothing to do with your feelings for that person. You can easily be madly in love with someone whose nature is completely incompatible with you, in which case you’ll never be happy in a marriage with them.

That brings me to the question of why so many arranged marriages work so perfectly. If your parents have put in so much efforts and thoughts into choosing someone for their child (you), they’re very likely to be from the same social background as you, with similar experiences and likes & dislikes as you. Hence although you may not know them at all, you probably don’t find it so difficult adapting to them, and end up living quite a happy life.

That said, I personally would never agree to an arranged marriage.

I don’t think anyone can do a better job of deciding who I’ll be ok staying with, than me!

It’s quite natural to be more comfortable spending your life with someone you’ve already been in a relationship with. I think getting to know someone as a person is much easier in the context of a relationship, than an always-already marriage, because the compulsion of liking each other is not there in case of the former. You can interact freely, express yourself, understand the other person closely, and then think about marriage if you feel that compatibility. Marrying someone unknown & then starting the process of knowing each other from scratch is just too painful compared to this!

On premarital sex…

To me, sex or any form of physical intimacy is completely separate from love or marriage.

Sex is just about enjoying the excitement of the moment. It has got nothing to do with love or marriage – you can very well get excited by an absolutely unknown woman.

Hence there’s no point in forming linkages between these, Yes, sex is more enjoyable with your partner, because the presence of emotions & the knowledge of their likes & dislikes makes the act much smoother. Yes, sex after marriage has got its own charms because you can express yourself much more freely with someone you’re habituated to. But using marriage as a boundary condition for having sex is just stupid, because the two have got zero correlation.

As an extension of this logic I would even go on to say that while in a marriage, you can very well enjoy yourself physically with other people while still remaining committed to your spouse. It’s not rocket science really, provided the trust between the couple remains intact. If they can remain truthful to each other while also being serious about their marriage, then why not? Swinging is not a very rare phenomenon, & many couples are happily married despite enjoying regular sex outside their marriage. After all its just sex – nothing compared to the emotional fulfilment a true relationship brings you.

Tamal’s story…

The most significant story of my life is that of my last girlfriend.

Love in India feature Tamal Pal 1Copyright @Tamal Pal

We know each other for more than three years and were in a relationship for more than two and a half years. We broke up very recently.

Let me tell you a bit about how we met.
After knowing her for 3 months, I knew I had feelings for her. But I decided not to tell her because she was in a complicated relationship with a married guy. She loved him, but he never made his stance clear. Even after filing for divorce, he finally reconciled with his wife. At this time, my ex-girlfriend was so emotionally confused that I decided not to make the situation more complicated by letting her know about my feelings. I came to know later that she’d already guessed, but at the time, she also chose to remain just my friend.

We would have remained so unless we had gone for our MBAs. I was to leave Kolkata earlier than her. Just a few days before I left, we had a fight. I was mad because I felt that the management school she had chosen to join was far below her standard, & that she was ruining her career. The next day, I expected her to be very angry, but she behaved perfectly normally with me. Then, on the day I was to leave Kolkata, she called me up & professed her love. She said that my impending departure had made her realise that she was going to lose her closest friend, the only person who would care for her so much as to rebuke her for her bad decision. Thinking about this made her realise that she had also started falling in love with me, 6 months after she had first realised that I had feelings for her.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about her now is that she loved me for who I was & had accepted all my shortcomings with endearing compassion. She was and still is one of my closest friends. None of us have ever been as open to anyone as we have been to each other.

She happened to understand me more completely than I can describe.

Our bond stemmed from the fact that we complemented each other. She was spontaneous whereas I am typically more thoughtful. We balanced each other perfectly. Even physical intimacy was easy & spontaneous with her. She has been the only woman with who I have felt so relaxed & comfortable during intimate moments….

Tamal’s bold and entirely original views make me take a step back and think, what is love? What is its place in our lives, in our marriages? How importance is intimacy, in case of relationships, or marriage?

What do you think? Let me know.

Like Tamal, do you want to feature on Love in India and share your stories and views with the community? Email me at sdasguptaaa@gmail.com.

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