LOVE – One Word, Many Meanings

This week’s “Friend’s Corner” is really more of a “Man’s Opinion”, combined with a dash of an entry from “The List”, as well as a large dose of my own thoughts. I have been thinking lately of LOVE, both the word itself and the feeling. I had a few pangs of what I can only describe as romance emptiness, about a week ago, remembering the man I once loved and who inspired me to write my book, which in turn has inspired this blog. I realized that I will never love that way again, and to the collective gasp of my friends, probably never intend to do so. What I mean is that what I felt for him was a kind of love that sucked the energy out of my soul, confused and distracted me constantly and – four years after our breakup – still haunts me, yet fills my heart with yearning at times. Whoever said that getting over someone should only take a few months, never allowed for those bad days when the memories of that person feel like the last drops of love on earth. The spell of my melancholic and probably overly dramatic mood was broken by Master Paulo Coelho’s biweekly newsletter, which landed in my inbox exactly the day after my mini meltdown. It reminded me that in his infinite wisdom, Mr. Coelho refers to three types of love, in his book “The Pilgrimage” – Eros, Philos and Agape. All three words are Greek, but each mean a different side of love. Eros is the feeling of love that exists between two people who are lovers, while Philos is love in the form of friendship. The last, Agape, is the “love that consumes”. It is what great religious men have been sacrificed trying to prove. It’s the kind of love that one can never forget or recreate. It is a love that almost cannot be explained. You can imagine the letdown when I realized that in English, we have just one word to describe feelings of passion and admiration for another human being, as well as our personal likes and favorite things. We can love our parents, love our clothes, love our life and love our boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife. It is all quite simply, “love”. In Italian, a “romance language”, we also have one word for love: Amore. It seems like way too much meaning for one little word to carry. I mean, I LOVE my expensive Manolo Blahnik shoes which I got for a fragment of their original cost at Neiman’s. I LOVE chocolate and anything and everything that involves cocoa. I LOVE India, Bollywood, Indian food, Delhi fashions and the people. I LOVE my mom. I LOVE my BFF and I even love NYC. But I LOVE all in such differing degrees, one word simply comes up short for me. Then I remembered that in Hindi there are at least four different words that translate into LOVE. They carry different degrees of the emotion, one more passionate, another more delicate, one neverending, while yet another innocent and pure. Amazing that I still can’t differentiate between the words for “give” and “take” after one and a half years of Hindi classes, but totally came away with the four different words for love! Of course, one can only learn what one is interested in learning… The four words are: “Pyar”, “Mohabbat”, “Prem” and “Ishq”. The following passage has been provided by my friend Rajiv-Ji, who, in the process, has shared a great resource for finding the meaning of any Hindi word.

“Here are some dictionary meanings as given on The good thing about this site is that you can type the Hindi word in phonetics and it gives you the translations in English.

Mohabbat – Meaning: 1. love 2. affection 3. friendship 4. fondness

Prem – Meaning: 1. love 2. affection 3. kindness 4. tender regard

Ishq – Meaning: 1. love 2. passion

Pyar – Meaning: 1. fondness 2. affection 3. love 4. attachment”

Thank you, Rajiv-Ji! So, in closing, I wish to share with you the email newsletter that landed in my mailbox at the exact moment it was needed. I always knew that Paulo Coelho was a magus, but never realized how personal his magical help would get. I apologize to Master Coelho for reprinting it here, but urge everyone who reads it to pass it on, and subscribe to his biweekly gems by going to, finding the English page and clicking on the “Warrior of the Light” link.

Convention of those wounded in love

General provisions:
A – Whereas the saying “all is fair in love and war” is absolutely correct;
B – Whereas for war we have the Geneva Convention, approved on 22 August 1864, which provides for those wounded in the battle field, but until now no convention has been signed concerning those wounded in love, who are far greater in number;
It is hereby decreed that:
Article 1 – All lovers, of any sex, are alerted that love, besides being a blessing, is also something extremely dangerous, unpredictable and capable of causing serious damage. Consequently, anyone planning to love should be aware that they are exposing their body and soul to various types of wounds, and that they shall not be able to blame their partner at any moment, since the risk is the same for both.
Article 2 – Once struck by a stray arrow fired from Cupid’s bow, they should immediately ask the archer to shoot the same arrow in the opposite direction, so as not to be afflicted by the wound known as “unrequited love”. Should Cupid refuse to perform such a gesture, the Convention now being promulgated demands that the wounded partner remove the arrow from his/her heart and throw it in the garbage. In order to guarantee this, those concerned should avoid telephone calls, messages over the Internet, sending flowers that are always returned, or each and every means of seduction, since these may yield results in the short run but always end up wrong after a while. The Convention decrees that the wounded person should immediately seek the company of other people and try to control the obsessive thought: “this person is worth fighting for”.
Article 3 – If the wound is caused by third parties, in other words if the loved one has become interested in someone not in the script previously drafted, vengeance is expressly forbidden. In this case, it is allowed to use tears until the eyes dry up, to punch walls or pillows, to insult the ex-partner in conversations with friends, to allege his/her complete lack of taste, but without offending their honor. The Convention determines that the rule contained in Article 2 be applied: seek the company of other persons, preferably in places different from those frequented by the other party.
Article 4 – In the case of light wounds, herein classified as small treacheries, fulminating passions that are short-lived, passing sexual disinterest, the medicine called Pardon should be applied generously and quickly. Once this medicine has been applied, one should never reconsider one’s decision, not even once, and the theme must be completely forgotten and never used as an argument in a fight or in a moment of hatred.
Article 5 – In all definitive wounds, also known as “breaking up”, the only medicine capable of having an effect is called Time. It is no use seeking consolation from fortune-tellers (who always say that the lost lover will return), romantic books (which always have a happy ending), soap-operas on the television or other such things. One should suffer intensely, completely avoiding drugs, tranquilizers and praying to saints. Alcohol is only tolerated if kept to a maximum of two glasses of wine a day.
Final determination: Those wounded in love, unlike those wounded in armed conflict, are neither victims nor torturers. They chose something that is part of life, and so they have to accept both the agony and the ecstasy of their choice.
And those who have never been wounded in love will never be able to say: “I have lived”. Because they haven’t.”

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