Saturday, September 6, 2008

Love's Blood

Heaven on Earth was one of the three Canadian movies that premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The movie is by Deepa Mehta of the Water fame. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I watched the trailer on YouTube, and it moved me to tears. I do not usually cry, but when it comes to woman abuse I find it very hard to control my emotions.

From the trailer it seems, the movie is about this Indian girl (Preity Zinta) who comes to Toronto to be with her husband and his family, who she has never met before. In the trailer, there is an airport arrival scene, where the husband seems smitten by his new bride's beauty. Then you see the two on their honeymoon, at least that's what it seemed like, but they are interrupted by the guy's mom. His mom is crying and saying how she could not stand to be away from her son, so she just had to see her precious son's face. Zinta's character suggests, they should get another room for the mother, and the guy smacks Zinta really hard in the face. I guess, he was offended by her suggestion, probably took it as a sign of her trying to separate him, from his parents who brought him to this world. Then, you see the guy telling his parents that just because he is married does not mean his love for them has decreased, he reassures them that they are still his top priority. Then we are shown, the guy consoling Zinta, and sympathizing with her, acknowledging how hard it must be for her to leave all of her family behind, and be all alone in Toronto. Then we see the guy hitting her so hard that she falls on the floor. Then we are shown bruises on her face, a busted lip. Then we are shown, the guy being nice to Zinta saying that he doesn't want to harm her, he looks forward to coming home to her, after a long day's work, to talk to her, and to spend time with her.

The other day my friend and I were talking about 'first love', pondering over the age-old question, 'do you ever forget your first love'. My stance was that it would be really unfair to the next person if someone is still thinking about their ex. I mean, I get it, with your first love you are more free, you are more naïve, since everything is very new, there is more excitement. Whereas, with the subsequent partners, you become more guarded. You have more inhibitions. You are more concerned about the outcome. I think age also has a lot to do with these inhibitions. As we get older, we become more wary of our feelings. We protect our heart, and realize that we do not have much time to fool around. We lose the carelessness that is the charm of young or first love.

So what if someone's first love turns out to be an abusive partner? In psychology, I have learned that in an abusive relationship you have both the happy fairytale type moments, and the violent spouts. The crazy barbaric abuser is not always throwing one blow after another. It would be a lot easier for the victim, if he was. If he was unstable 24/7, it would be easier for the victim to leave him. But, as shown by this movie's trailer, and several other examples, even an abusive relationship has 'happy moments'. It is these 'blissful moments' that act like an anchor, and stop the victim from leaving.

Going back to the question of first/young love. Once the victim does leave the abusive partner, is it okay for her to reminisce about the 'good times' the two shared? Or do these 'good times' become too tainted? Would she be scorned, if she was found mourning the loss of the partner who at times cared for her?

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
- William Congreve (The Mourning Bride).