A tale of two 'break-ups'; and the life lessons we can learn from them
"Shame" read the stark slogan engraved on the wall. That was the image that Virat Kohli, India's newly-anointed Cricket God fresh from his triumphant innings against Australia in the World T20 tournament, posted on Twitter with a tweet that read: "Shame on people for trolling @AnushkaSharma non-stop. Have some compassion. She has always only given me positivity."
The same image turned up on his Instagram account with an even more searing message: "Shame on those people who have been having a go at Anushka for the longest time and connecting every negative thing to her...Shame on blaming and making fun of her when she has no control over what I do with my sport..."
Yes, I know, Virat also made it clear in this message that he didn't need respect. And that instead people should respect Anushka, and have some compassion for her. But it is hard not to respect a man who stands up so firmly and so publicly for his ex. (Well, she is his ex at the moment of this writing, but who knows what the next week may bring; there is already fevered speculation that they are 'just on a break' and may get together again. But I digress.)
There are some who would dismiss Kohli's public defence of his former girlfriend as the very least he could do ("It's just basic human decency, yaar, what's the big deal?") But to the rest of us, used as we are to the sight of messy celebrity breakups with both parties washing their dirty designer jeans in public, it was a sight for sore eyes.
Here, at last, was a man who didn't rubbish his ex the moment she was out of his life. Au contraire, he was taking on those who would rubbish her, most of whom purported to be his 'fans', and telling them where to get off.
But then, Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma never really played by the rules of celebrity relationships. They didn't give gushing interviews about how much they loved each other; but equally they did not hide the fact that they were together. They would travel on the same plane, Anushka would applaud her boyfriend enthusiastically from the stands, and he would tweet proudly about her new releases.
Together, the couple taught the prying Indian public the difference between secrecy and privacy. And they did this with grace and humour, even though it can't have been easy for either of them to deal with those carping critics who blamed Anushka's presence in his life for Virat's poor form during that period.
And when their love story ended and social media began trolling Anushka because Virat was back in good nick, it was Kohli who went batting for her with the kind of ferocity that only he is capable of (both on and off the wicket).
Strangely enough, even as Virat and Anushka were giving us tips on the art of the good break-up, there was another pair of celebrities driving home the lessons by helpfully posing as a cautionary tale.
Yes, I am talking about Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut. Now, we don't know for sure if they ever had an affair (so, please Hrithik, no legal notices for this piece) or if they were anything more than colleagues. All we know is that Kangana referred to a 'silly ex' in one of her press interactions. Hrithik reacted by tweeting that there were more chances of him having an affair with the Pope than with any of the ladies mentioned in the media.
To cut a long story short, the sorry saga culminated with both parties slapping legal suits on one another. In his legal notice, Hrithik's lawyers alleged that Kangana was delusional and suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, leading to mental health professionals raining fire on Hrithik's head. For good measure, Hrithik also got sued by a Catholic fringe group for insulting the Pope. (Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up!)
What these two parallel narratives provide for us is a ready primer for how to deal with a love or a 'professional relationship' (there, there, happy now, Hrithik?) that has run its course.
First up, don't share details of your relationship or the break-up. It is nobody's business but your own; keep it that way. As the saying goes: never complain, never explain.
Next, don't give in to the temptation to bitch about your ex. No matter how loud people may swear that theirs is a 'mutual decision' most relationships end with one person being left and the other doing the leaving. And often the desire to paint the other party as a devil is overwhelming. Well, learn to resist it. Shut up and let the moment, the week, the month, the year pass; and so will the temptation to hurt the one you once loved.
And finally, even when the love has faded never forget that this was a person that you once adored. Remember how hard you fought to protect them when you were together. Bring the same passion to defend them when you have drifted apart. That is the best way to pay tribute to the bond you once shared (and also be a decent human being).
In other words, when it comes to matters of the heart, be a Virat, not a Hrithik.