A bud blossomed in the spring. Fresh breeze caressed it softly and each stroke flourished it naturally. It was tender and pure just like a youth who feels love for the first time and takes every praising eye and flattering remark as a gesture of affection. This feeling never lasts for long and a gust of circumstances withers away childhood dreams roughly. Time passes by but leaves its marks behind and a teenager turns into a promising youth who wants to adore and be adored relentlessly. Now dawns the reality. The ideal of an unconditional love is knocked out by the worldly considerations and social constraints. Looks, money, status, and background suddenly become more important and lover is chosen like a car or an outfit that must suit and reflect your class. By the time a youngster reaches the age of marriage, he/she is expected to forget all the past `mistakes’ and fall in love with his/her soul mate. While men in the east often feel free talking about their previous love cum hunts with pride, women are likely to bury it deep inside as it’s considered a stigma for them. In marital life too, responsibilities soon replace love. It seems that throughout our lives, we desperately seek for the true love and develop many relations; material, human and spiritual to satisfy the urge. But very few of us ever get the true love. It happens at least once in everyone’s life. You meet someone somewhere who causes your heart miss a beat and makes the person more important than rest of the universe. People call it LOVE. Psychologists explain it as a strong feeling of caring about someone that gives you an immense pleasure. Cynics identify it as a folly of mind while for lovers it is the power that makes the world move, not round, but upside down. The conviction that we are loved is perhaps the supreme happiness in life, which often turns into a tragedy later. “But do we experience this feeling only once in lifetime?” Is it true that we fall in love only once; rest is just our deliberate attempts to forget the first love? Or, on the contrary, cupid can cast its spell over an individual more than once. If it is not the case, how anarkali’s deewana sheikhu could replace the memories of his beloved courtesan with the company of petite Noorjehan.How around 95% could happily tie a knot, after being knocked out in romantic quest. And how so many heartbroken youngsters find an excuse to celebrate the Valentine’s Day with a fresh zeal every year. First love, no doubt, is the most beautiful experience that happens to anyone. Just recall your first adoration, you might not recall anything but pure madness. Purity and mystification are the real charm of the first affair. An aficionado might create hundreds of excuses for having a glimpse of the sweetheart, then get completely dumb, or in some cases, turns into a chatterbox in presence of the beloved. Whether it’s a first sight love or a fore sight incidence, it arises such tender sentiments that transform an ordinary person into a poet, writer, singer and an artist at some point of life. However, first love is often destined to die before it flourishes and leaves its sufferers in the world of despair and gloom where they shed tears on sad songs while saving its bitter sweet memories in diaries with faded flowers. But it doesn’t take them long (in most cases if not all) to come out of this trauma and move ahead. So life goes on like this. If first love is irreplaceable, second is almost a reflex action — a desperate attempt to fill the gap created by the first one. Dejected souls badly need a companion to share their feelings and raise their shattered self-esteem with someone’s support. So in matters of heart, once beaten often becomes twice bold. In the modern age of romance, no one is amateur enough to kick away its fortune just for three hollow words. Nowadays even to qualify the first round of love; girls have to meet the standards of bold and beautiful while boys need to join a gym to appear tall, dark and handsome. Even if they don’t have killer looks, they can apply their credit cards, cars and contacts to cost the hearts that are no more priceless. The contemporary generation has seen and heard so much rubbish about media generated romance that its thoughts are fully contaminated by larger than life images. They are unable to differentiate between lust and love. Those who can afford, change their beloved with fashion, mood and season. They idealize their favourite movie and sport stars and imitate filmy style in their love lives. Most of them truly reflect the saying: ‘tu nahi aur sahi, aur nahi aur sahi’ (if not thou, someone else, if not him/her, anyone else) In their desperation, they frequently have crushes, flings, infatuations and romances. Sometimes deliberately confuse them in hunt of the right person. These pastimes continue until they tie a nuptial knot and some of them like to pursue the practice even after that. Saima is a career girl in her late twenties. She had several crashes in her teens. She says “I remember only a few in which I was a bit serious. But I realized the actual difference between infatuation and true love the day I met my soul mate. It is total submission to someone you love unconditionally and wants to spend your entire life with.” Anees, a computer engineer, had a bitter experience in the matters of heart. Two girls came in his life and both deserted him subsequently. One for a green card cousin, and another for the sake of her family pride. He believes that there is no regard for love in this materialistic age. Most youngsters take it as a pastime. They flirt around pretty faces, rich and handsome guys just for fun and walk out when they get bored. However, it doesn’t mean that true love has completely vanished from the earth. Even today, Majnoos are mad after their Lailas, Farhads dig around to provide comforts of life for their Shireens. Emperors leave thrones and dejected souls embrace death for eternal union. However, no one can exactly define true love, as every individual perceives it through one’s own spectacles of experience. But one thing is for sure; one can understand love only by loving. Whether you call it a hearty matter or a brainy affair, it can touch anyone anytime in life, not necessarily once. There might be several pictures in the heart gallery of a person, some clear, some vague, some sweet, and some bitter but each leaves its impression on us and that is the beauty of love.