How many times have you asked me- ‘Almost there’, where!!
How many times have you read my ink with this rhetorical question in your tone!!
How many times have you implied that I deserve better… Better than you… What you don’t understand is that I don’t need Perfect. I need you.
With all your flaws, with all the shortcomings, With all the travesties of fate, All I really want is You. I want us to make a life together.
There are so many things that I have adapted to, ‘effortlessly’, Just so that I might share a part of you. Your music, your indulgences, your language, your taste.
How I wish things were a little different, a little in my favor! There are so many questions I push back because I don’t want to disturb the balance. The balance that we have forged to move ahead with our ‘situation’. Love at one end, habit on the other.
We walk a fine line between love and friendship. ‘Let’s call it affection‘, you said Well, some say – ‘that’ lasts more than love. So let’s try that. I would agree to anything if it means being with you.
There are times when I ‘Almost’ let you go, But then you do and say things that warm the cockles of my heart.
There are instances when you ‘Almost’ lose me to your indifference. But then, you are my home. I can’t go far.
And I am ‘almost always’ back where I started, with you as my axis.
But now I am just a little tired of the ‘Almosts’ I wish I had a life where you loved me ‘Almost’ as much as I do.
When does the debt end? At what age or point in life or after earning how much money does the debt of a parent end?
What I am about to write may not resonate with many but it will echo with the core Indian values we have all been brought up with.
A news in today’s newspaper gave me a jolt and I just couldn’t understand why it had to happen this way. It was regarding the death of an octogenarian who lived with his seventy five year old paralytic wife. The husband fell down and passed away at night probably due to a stroke or heart failure, the invalid wife dragged herself till the dead body and unable to shout out or seek any help, she kept sitting with the body all night. When the domestic help came in the morning and found the door locked, she sought the neighbour’s help and thus found these two in this state- the man dead and his wife unconscious, dehydrated and too weak to even cry. Apparently, these two have two highly successful sons one of whom lives abroad and the other in a metro. The neighbours maintained that they hardly ever had visitors and even the sons visited rarely.
I don’t know the circumstances of their lives nor do I have the right to judge what people do in their lives or how they deal with things that life throws at them, but I found this disturbing. Anything could have happened to two old, invalid people living all alone without a twenty – four hour help or vigilance and IT DID. Isn’t it the worst way to go? What would have been going through the mind of the survivor who spent the night looking at the lifeless body of her spouse?
In the same vein, I am sometimes irked by the undeserved praise that is heaped on me for looking after the health and needs of my father who is on dialysis. I call it ‘undeserved‘ because according to me it is just my duty towards him that I am fulfilling. It doesn’t warranty praise. It is something that we do. We just do it. There is no way around it. There is no one else who would shoulder this responsibility and there is no actual need for anyone else. Our parents raise us to be the people we become. It is their effort and energy that they put into my life that I have an identity. My education, my upbringing and even my initial thought process, everything has come from them. They are the ones who sacrificed their happiness and comfort so that I could get something inconsequential but was important to me at that time. They scraped and saved so that I could have a cushion to fall back on in my hard days. There are people who would come up to me and tell me that I am performing a stellar job managing his health the way I am and that who would miss a son if a daughter can care in such a way (the most insulting thing to say to someone like me).
All children have this ‘debt‘. Our parents don’t seek repayment, they don’t expect ‘quid proquo‘, but it is on our conscience. I am not saying that one should not have a life of one’s own. God knows, I do. Even we, as children, have a right to go out, make friends, love, marry, have a family, bag a job, work, earn money- respect-a name of our own in the society, live life the way we deem fit, but our parents- the ones who gave us this life- shaped us- had our backs, should be inclusive in this life, not forgotten or treated like a burden. True, when we live together we have differences of opinion, we have generation gap, we do not agree on everything that our parents hold dear but that’s not a reason that love, respect and duty should wane. If we are compromising on our way of life, they are adjusting too- to a new world where they do not control everything as they did in their active lives, to the opinions and lifestyles of their kids who they want to understand but sometimes fail to, to an ever changing belief system, all of which is not easy for them too.
It is a debate that is as old as society itself. I just wrote what I believe in..
May God be kind to all the people who have lived their lives caring after their progeny. May God bestow every child with the sensibility of love, compassion, tolerance & kindness towards their aging parents.
In a quest to get to the bottom of the indifference I, so frequently, see in people these days, I went back some years on the Facebook timelines of some of my more perplexing friends. I was so heartened to find normal college lives, camaraderie with friends, venting of emotions without hesitation, in some cases, even with great aplomb in English that is broken at best, confessions of first loves & first heartbreaks. The honesty of such posts made me smile.
And then, I compared them to the same people I know now. Words fail me– there is a veneer so thick, a mask so snug that they themselves don’t realise that they have changed beyond recognition. They are no longer the carefree people they once were.
What makes good people change into such versions of themselves where their inherent honesty is buried so deep within that most people they interact with don’t even take the trouble of venturing in? And those who do, almost always, are hurt by their indifference and ‘it doesn’t matter to me either way whether you stay or leave’ attitude or ‘what is to like in a job as long as it pays the bills’ syndrome. This ‘made up shell’ might be their defence mechanism against the scourge of life but, in my opinion, it keeps them away from more meaningful relationships both personally and professionally. They have made walls that keep people out. These barriers might save them from some hurt along the way but are extremely limiting in the long run.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against change. Infact, I know, no person stays the same over the years. We change with our experiences. We grow. Sometimes we wallow too. This is LIFE. It breaks & remoulds the best of us. There is no human alive who hasn’t had his or her fair share of trials, turbulences, grief, heartbreaks & losses but we have also had love, friendships, family, triumphs, happiness and moments to cherish. It is upto us what we act on and become.
Whatever the world might say for them, I prefer people who wear their hearts on the sleeve. They may be considered naive, emotional fools who are susceptible to being hurt but they are honest and they don’t have a mask on. All the grief, heartbreak, failure and disappointment haven’t made them lose faith in the good things that life has to offer. They haven’t become sceptics. They may be annoying or clingy but they are themselves. They don’t have to deal with two sides of their own pschye- one who they actually are and the second what they let the world see.
In my experience, people who are indifferent to love or human proximity are the ones who need it the most. They just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge it when they have it or admit, even to themselves, the fact that they do need it. They are prepared to lose & suffer rather than accept that they crave love too. They stay in denial. Outward appearances belie the truths inside. They may be the coolest people in a crowd but hollow inside. They may be magnets for people to rally around, eat, drink, socialise and make merry but their connections are mostly always superficial & banal. When they can’t accept love, they can’t give it away either. After all, we cannot pour from an empty cup, can we? At the end of the day, one has to face oneself. We might not realise our loneliness unless & until we are fair and truthful to ourselves. The most important conversation would be how we answer our own questions when we look ourselves in the mirror. How happy we are, if at all, is how happy we let ourselves be..
Is it, then, justified to keep ourselves aloof for fear of getting hurt? Is it worth all the trouble to be recognised as cool and detached, when in the end, it might leave us with nothing concrete? Is being emotional so wrong? Can we not still have hope and faith in love and goodness of people despite our bad experiences?
In the end, it is all a CHOICE. Shutting our eyes to dangers doesn’t make them go away. It is what pigeons do. They close their eyes and hope that the cat won’t see them. It doesn’t happen that way in life. It is just that we don’t see it coming and when it hits us, it knocks the wind out of us and we get to blame fate, once again. Is it not more prudent, then, to keep one’s eyes open and let everything that life has in store for us, in- without fear of repercussions and anticipation of the hurt?
The most content people I have come across are those who accept everything with an open mind and heart, those who have seen and experienced both sides of life without changing the core of their being. They are the influencers not the impressionables. It is all right if we love or hate something with a passion, be it on work or personal front but we should try and make an effort not to be indifferent. It won’t be fair to us. We have one life. It isn’t proper for us to sit on the fence and let that pass us by, having not lived it one way or the other.
If it doesn’t matter, leave it. Move on. Don’t stick to it and hurt others too. Be it a job or a relationship. Be there. Either all in or all out. CHOOSE. Don’t do things half way.
This morning I was listening to an audio book ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama.
Not only is the book absorbing, but her narration is spell- binding too.
In one of her anecdotal episodes, she recounts how she learnt to play the piano from her Aunt. She tells us a little something about pianos. On her very first day, her no- nonsense aunt asked her to put her thumb on Middle C. Now, she was just about six years old then and had no idea what a Middle C was. The piano for her was a wide array of black and white keys which her six year old hands could not reach.
But eventually she found out that Middle C is the anchoring point. It is the point where treble and bass stand divided. She says that if one could manage to put her thumb firmly on the Middle C then everything else falls automatically in place. The right hand knows which keys to press and so does the left.
This got me thinking..As in music, so it is in life. We just have to find our Middle C for things to fall into place. She had an advantage at her aunt’s place. The Middle C key on her aunt’s piano was disfigured hence it was easy to place. She practiced and learnt how to play beautifully.
On her first ever recital for the public she came on the stage to find a flawless piano and was in a turmoil because she wasn’t used to ‘flawless’ Her aunt understood her quandary and pointed out the Middle C, after which she played without a hitch.
It so often happens with us too. We do have elders and more experienced people around us to constantly point out the Middle C in our lives- the point which separates right from wrong, moral from immoral & virtue from vice. But unlike a piano, where the key we are talking about is constant, life does not roll like that.
What may be right for one, might be all wrong for someone else. The morality and virtue we talk about is subjective. What works for one may not work for the other. It isn’t fair or even realistic to make rules & societal norms, and expect everyone to adhere to them whether or not they feel okay with them.
Our society has a yardstick to measure or judge people. And it is unfortunate that anyone venturing out of those boundaries is considered wayward or obstinate or even a rebel. Be it love, human relationships, work, ambitions, lifestyle – everything has to be within those standards to be accepted by the society.
God hadn’t made us like that. We made society to keep us company not to keep us aloof. I feel, every thinking – person, who has some kind of experience in life or even if they don’t, has the right to choose the way they live and love.
All we have to do is find our own Middle C’s and carry on with the symphony that this life should be. We should be able to follow our own tunes if they make sense to us. Even if the notes are discordant at first they would fall into harmony, which suits us, soon enough or they would give us an experience that would be hard to forget.
We learn from nearly everyone and everything around us.
We are not the same person as we were yesterday.
We won’t be the same as we are today.
Life has a sharp learning curve. It is not always kind.
Nothing ever goes away without teaching us what it was created to & met us for.
We are beat into shape by whatever we go through, just as the huge sharp rocks are rounded by the constantly flowing water.
When does it hurt the most?
I recently read somewhere that when you are sad and hurt, take a breath, sit and ponder what has made you sad. You will find that the thing that brings you immense joy alone has the power to make you sad.
Similarly, when we are happy we should remember that the reason for our happiness might and will bring us grief someday. It is inevitable like day and night.
They never remain the same… Love, Life, Chance or Game You win some, you lose some They bring sorrow, at other times fame Sometimes they wax, soon after, wane. Let the joy wash over you and accept the pain There is always a reason it happened as it did, We are merely pawns and this is HIS grand ballgame. All we can learn is to treat both up and down just the same.
An unmarried friend of mine used to extol the virtues of spinsterhood all the time, saying that she would never miss something she hadn’t experienced when told that she would miss the company of a partner in her old age. I agreed with her wholeheartedly. I remember telling my father about yet another unmarried friend and her frustration with life saying that, she is frustrated because she wants to get married and hasn’t been able to. It is not the same situation as mine.
I was happily single even when there was this guy who loved me with all his heart. I could never feel the passion within. For three long years, we tried to come to even ground. May Lord bless him, he never gave up. But I was done living a lie. There was a time when I had made up my mind to stop looking for what I desired and make do with what I was given. But the only sensible thing I did was not to deceive myself and him. I know, I broke his heart terribly but it would be better for him in the long run.
I believe that.
Soon after, I met someone I had been looking for all my life. For me, it was as if lightning struck right from the first moment I laid eyes on him. Why God decided to give me my heart’s desire at 39 in a very complicated package? I don’t know.
I sit and think sometimes what is it that makes me forgive everything he does, or condone even those of his actions that hurt me. I have always been a thinking individual who has had this quality of self – love deeply ingrained in her, then why this sudden shift where I think of someone else before me? What makes me do that, which is new to my basic nature and tendencies? It isn’t as if this is permanent, infact the premise of our relationship is its temporary nature and yet this need in me to make life easy for him, to be a woman in the relationship.
I came across a line in a movie recently (the movie was poorly made and leaves no other imprint on the watcher). It said, “We like people because and love them despite”
Meaning (as I understood it) – We like people because of their qualities, because of the care they give us, the things they do for us, because we think alike, because we have been thrown together by fate or because we have the same concerns and circumstances in life.
But we love people despite their shortcomings, despite the fact that we are so unlike each other, despite our different upbringing & backgrounds, despite our separate outlooks on life, irrespective of our language, culture and the choices in people and things, sometimes even despite the fact that we have to tread separate paths in life and that we cannot be together per se. We love them for who they are and for what they bring to our life.
No human being should look for fulfillment in another. I believe if one is not complete on his or her own, they cannot give anything to any kind of relationship. Hence, we have our passions, our hobbies, our friends, our work and our ‘me time’. All these things make us happy and content which makes us radiant. And a radiant person attracts others. A person who is, thus self – sufficient, is not clingy because they don’t look for completion in any one relationship or job. They are who they are because of the life they have lived or the experiences they have had.
But human relationships do bring an iota of happiness, solace & contentment for us. We feel calmer in the presence of certain people, with some we feel confident, there are a few who provide us with a sense of safety, there are one or two who bring out the real us, we can be our weird selves around some, yet others can make us explore the sides of us which we never knew existed withinus.
What if, we find all of this or most of it in one person?
That, sure, screws us up because that’s exactly what everyone is looking for in the world. The ultimate human quest. It is not money or the name we make or our social standing, it is the meaningful relationships that keep us going.
Now, the tragedy of someone like me, who has a wide perspective on life and a hugely open mind, is that we don’t want such relationships labelled by the conventional standards of our society. I am not saying that acceptability by the society is too cliché. I am not a rebel for rebels sake. In fact, I have been a dutiful daughter all my life, someone who has put my own happiness at bay just to keep my family name up, to live up to the recognition my father has in the society. It took an immense amount of courage for me to write about it all but it has been eating me up inside, for days. I am not someone who would go against the norms just to prove that I am different or I am above it all.
Obviously, it would be a pleasure, surpassing everything, to be accepted for whoever I am or whoever I love. But my point is, labelling a near perfect thing like the one described above, specially in complicated situations, puts unnecessary pressure on the individuals and all the magic is lost.
So, the answer to my own question, as to why God deemed it fit to introduce me to a person of that kind so late in my life, is that he wanted me to experience the life he had given me to the fullest. He wanted me to absorb this hugely giving feeling of love and compassion. He wanted life to come full circle for me before it all ended. He did not want to leave me and my soul in a dismal state before we met HIM finally.
I put my atheism in a sack, tie huge boulders to it and throw it away in the deepest of oceans finally and bow down to his presence and might.
This quarantine has made me realise the important things in life and the importance of accepting the significant parts of life. I might miss his constant presence when our time together is up. I might also miss his physical attributes – his smile, laughter, anger, irritation on my constant repetitions, his smell, touch and the like. I may be desolate and lonely at times too. I am just a human. But, even so, I would be content for having lived this limited time with him. I would want for nothing else.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an atheist. I have no particular grouse with God. Life has been largely good and comfortable for me. It is just that the whole concept of religion as propounded by man confounds me. Not one to argue, I chose to just not believe in HIM yet steering clear of the confrontation. That makes me more of an agnostic I guess.
I have encountered people with unwavering faith in God, people who would continue to believe even when odds are stacked against them, people who would smile through the pain and say if it is God’s will there must be something good in it. I have marvelled at such people and the resilience of their characters.
Like the young Buddha when he was still Siddharth, I was cocooned by my parents too and thus didn’t know much about suffering. My compassion for others was acquired through a lot of reading and was basic, to say the least. There comes a time in every human’s life when life starts throwing curve balls and we have to use all the skills at our disposal to deal with them. Siddhartha understood hunger, old age, misery and death when he saw them first hand but then he was an enlightened and evolved soul, so was quicker to realisation than me.
I prided myself in staying strong and dry- eyed even in the face of death. I have seen a lot of people go and have maintained a resolute stance through it all. It did move me but not to the core. Cold- hearted was an adjective that my family and friends gave me.
But lately, I have developed a deeper sensitivity of suffering, pain and disease when I encountered them close at home. Watching my father battle through different stages of the chronic kidney disease has given me a new perspective on life. I have come to appreciate the little things, the brief respites, the genuine smiles, the idea of letting go, forgiveness and most of all LOVE,COMPASSION,KINDNESS and CARE– in essence God.
A few days back I came across a picture on one of the social media sites that asked a pertinent question as to what the purpose of one’s life was and that most people took living to be just breathing, eating, earning and spending until they die. To that I say, each day life and the people around us teach us something new. Our lives are God’s way to evolve our souls by grinding into them the virtues of love, tenderness, compassion, patience and stoicism.
These days, more often than not, I find myself tearing up at the suffering that other patients go through on our visits to the dialysis centre. I am filled with gratitude towards God that we have had a whole and healthy life and that dad has taken ill only at this age in his life. I see children of 6,7,10,18 years of age going through dialysis with nothing but a bleak future ahead. Organ transplant isn’t an option for them with the high costs involved.
I have learnt everyday from the smiling health care professionals who are there to see us through any complication or phase that raises its ugly head. I have seen them bear the brunt of anger, frustration and helplessness of their patients and still go about their work with nary a crease on the brow. There have been times when I have broken down under stress, uncertainty and the burden of decision- making and yet one word or conversation with the dialysis staff has been enough to calm my mind and allay my fears. I bow down to their spirit and the hope that they represent.
I still don’t go to a temple but nowadays, I pray. And I thank HIM everyday for the blessings that I have been taking for granted all my life. I thank HIM for the people he has sent to enrich my life and to help me get through it. I don’t ask for anything, not out of pride, just because I don’t see HIM as the fulfiller of wishes but as a wise guide who is teaching me every step of the way. If I walk the path laid down for me to the best of my abilities, may be, there would be contentment at the end.
When I was a kid I used to find it funny when, at family gatherings to celebrate the birth of a child, all adults would gush to the beaming parents that the child takes after one or both of them. ‘He has the exact same nose’, ‘she smiles just like you’, ‘look at the forehead, she takes after her grandpa’, on and on the comparisons went and it was funny to me because a new born looked more like a Primate than a person to me.
As I grew up a little, I realised that babies and puppies are mostly always cute, no offence. Now, where, I could pick up and cuddle a puppy, I couldn’t do the same with babies. So, ofcourse, I loved puppies more it seemed.
My younger sister is about five years my junior and it would have been quite logical to develop those feelings of affinity and love when she was born but I was a jealous little prick back then and the only thing that her birth could mean to me was that my father’s attention would be shared now.
So my maternal instincts did not come to the fore until my most loved nephew was born in 2001. By then, I had been in the teaching line for a couple of years and, even then, I wasn’t comfortable surrounded by the kindergarten lot. I just couldn’t handle the tiny humans. I could relate to kids only after a certain age when they could hold their own in a conversation and understand the flow of words.
With age, I have learnt to portray an acceptable level of tolerance for the kids in the family but I still can connect with just three of them- my nephews and an extremely bright niece, who is just seven but seems to be 17 when she argues. These three, too, are more my friends than kids. They call me by my name as I have taught them to and interact with me as if I am a year or two younger than them.
Some would say that this, lack of motherly traits, is what has kept me away from ‘holy matrimony’ and the kids that follow but I just don’t care what people say and how they react to this. Having said that, the truth is that I did not get married and I don’t have kids of my own.
I wish I could say that it has been a loss, only if to appease the majority. But I don’t see it that way. I don’t feel a void in this case because of these three and an extremely important connection with someone who calls me Maa. The four of them have tethered my heart to their own and are my anchors, my reasons to live and carry on despite the struggles. They represent Hope to me. If there is genuine happiness in the world, I get it from this foursome and if there is a selfless bone in my body, I have it for these four children.
A friend of mine keeps quoting a punjabi saying “Apne hi baal te apniyaan hi maawaan” which, loosely translated, means that only the kids, you have given birth to, are your own and that one can neither become a mother to someone who isn’t her flesh and blood, nor can a child be as attached to someone who isn’t his or her biological mother.
I have always differed to agree on this. I don’t know what the future has in store for me. Sayings become popular for a reason. It is possible that at some point in their lives these four precious parts of my heart would choose something or someone I would not be susceptible or predisposed to. But I am prepared for that. After all, it is their life and after a certain point they are entitled to take decisions for their own good. These choices may or may not be acceptable to all the people in their lives. That in no way means that they would love me less. It would only mean that, with me, they would have the liberty to choose what their hearts really want.
I have no idea what good parenting is. I used to feel that having a kid means to have a person who is completely yours for life, someone who is one hundred percent yours and yours alone because you have given life to that being. But it doesn’t happen that way with your biological progeny too. What I have learnt is to control myself from holding them back. My heart bleeds when I see my children going down a path that would bring them grief but I have learned from my own life that no amount of convincing and cajoling would deter them from a chosen path just because a parent’s wisdom says so. Hence, it is judicious to let them make their own mistakes and learn from them. Lessons thus learnt would stay with them longer.
And years later, may be or may be not, some casual observer would say, look at them, they take after you in all but looks. Wouldn’t that be the happiest day of my life?
Human relationships are so weird. Rarely, are people satisfied with their lot in life. We have a mental checklist of what would appeal to us and what will fulfill us. More often than not, we don’t actually find what we are looking for, in a friend or a partner. And sometimes, just sometimes, it all falls into our lap even when we are not actively looking for it.
As a free-thinking and independent woman, what I want in a relationship are deep set values, compatibility, my kind of humour, resourcefulness and a charm that would bind me, would make me feel ‘that special flutter’ within. Good looks are objective.
I have often come across the question of love at first sight and I have constantly believed that it doesn’t happen. You cannot love a person just because he or she is easy on your eyes. Love might not happen that way but connections do happen.
Sometimes there is a certain energy between two people that binds them even at first sight. Try as we might, we cannot stay away from such cosmic energy. There is a reason why people come into our lives. They might not tick all our boxes but with such people we need no further reason to stay. We don’t even have to try very hard. It just falls into place. Effortlessly. That’s how great Friendships are forged. There is no rationality to it. Rationality in the eyes of the society, I mean. People ask questions that go from ‘how can you trust someone in such short a period?’ to ‘will it not create an imbalance in your already existing relationships?’ Some even feel that just because one has been friends with someone for a longer period of time, one has to prioritize them. But human relationships do not grow like that. Certain things are just unexplained.
I have a couple of unexplained relationships in my life. Whatever these two people might do, I can’t stay upset with them for long. I love them both, deeply, in their own unique ways. One is like a progeny to me another a very good friend and interestingly both these connections happened at our very first meetings. There were no denials or dilly-dallying about the nature of our relationship. What these two give me is a feeling of contentment without any hassles. There are no major differences of opinions. Both these men listen to what I have to say and reserve their judgements. They give me space to think, act and have my own opinion on things. Interestingly, both have a very wide world view. They never categorise life and its decisions into just right or wrong. What may be wrong for you, might make all the sense to someone else, is their mantra. I have seen them apply it in their lives and stay happy with the decisions and choices they make. This ability inspires me. It is rare to find even one such connection in life and I have been blessed with two.
May they always stay the same, wherever they go. May they always keep touching lives like they have touched mine. Exceptional people that they are, may they continue to find peace and contentment in the years to come.
I know neither of them would read it, nonetheless, this piece. They already know how I feel about them and they won’t need words to validate it.
I went to watch Kabir Singh a couple of days back and since then I have been itching to write this but have been apprehensive. I am a non-confrontational person and I know, I would have to answer my fair share of questions after I put my thoughts in writing. What gave me courage to finally sit down and write are the makers and actors of this movie. Surely, they would have been aware of the backlash they might have to endure when the film, they had so painstakingly made, hit the theatres.
After all, Indians, in general, are a sensitive audience specially when it comes to moral issues.
Thankfully, there wasn’t a politicised scene about or reaction as to the impact of a movie like this but the reviews said it all. There were people who said that the moral compass of the makers face duly south to have come up with and endorsed such an idea, some praised the performances and yet disliked the message, the constant refrain is – ‘what is the world coming to?’ or the young would emulate the character..
It is a classic case of the chick and the egg. What came first? Cinema shows what is happening in the society, it is a mirror of what we see around or is it cinema that gives birth to unconventional ideas and air them for innocent, unknowing people to emulate? We can’t blame the makers for making something that is already rampant in the society. It is our denial mindset which fails to acknowledge that this, in fact, is the reality in modern day India.
And come to think of it, what part of the movie do we not see around? If it is a negative, toxic relationship we have aversion to then it isn’t all that rare. In fact, it is more common than the common cold. Always has been. There have been other films too that have portrayed this toxicity and let’s face it, we do see it in everyday life too. The boy obsessing over the girl and the girl eventually giving in to the care and attention, overlooking the toxic behaviour, is an everyday phenomena. Most couples realise it later when the initial flush of love and sex wanes. I was amazed at the female character, though. Where do we find such demure girls nowadays? And that too someone hailing from a metro city.
There are instances of alcohol and drug abuse (I am calling it abuse because the boy nearly kills himself with an overdose) in the movie along with excessive smoking. Now, all these have long been considered evils in the society and also a threat to one’s health. But has that stopped anyone from using them? They are openly available in the market. They are addictions and thus the manufacturers and governments know that people will buy them, come what may. I should be candid in saying that they are in fact a major source of income to the government, through the taxes. It is not that the young would start smoking, drinking or resorting to drugs if they fail in love. The modern day Devdas is a myth. People drink and smoke because they want to. It has always had this added image quotient of ‘looking cool with it‘, attached to it.
Anger issues and a devil may care attitude which the male lead portrays is not to give a certain edge to the character, it is in fact a flaw that many of us are dealing with. As a teacher, I have seen it a lot in the students of a certain age. Some mellow down, others don’t. The language used also has become an everyday part of our lives. The abuses that are hurled around, the gaalis are something that the young don’t even notice because they have been using them for years now. Some of them have actually become terms and phrases of endearment among friends.
If it is the operating or performing surgery under influence or ethics of a doctor that worry an audience, then it has been dealt with convincingly in the film. The character, himself, takes the moral high ground by accepting that he is an alcoholic and that although he hasn’t brought any harm to any of his patients till date yet he would take the punishment or penalty of putting them into danger by merely handling them in such a state.
The content of the movie was a surprise to me, because rarely have Hindi movies been so explicit in dialogue, language, wit, state of undress and mannerism. There is no inhibition in asking for sex or ‘physical help’, as the actor puts it or counting the number of times that a couple has been intimate with each other or, for that matter, the hero explaining to his dad the meaning of ‘personal space’ reminding him that he, the father, had got married at the age of 23 and he, his son is still unmarried at 28. So, he should actually understand what personal space between a girl and a boy would mean. Some might find it bold but the boy also confronts the girl’s father when he catches them kissing on the terrace saying that had they been married and he been his son-in-law, the father would have walked off giving them that space. For the first time, I saw an acceptance of the physical part of any romantic relationship, not only in the characters of the movie but also in the raucous crowd of spectators gathered there.
I was surrounded by a youthful crowd during the movie and they bawled and hooted as much on the intimate scenes as they did on the sudden appearance of a bearded and cool- looking hero or his motorbike, for crying out loud. I did not hear any gasps of surprise or scandalous hawws from the audience on such scenes. The idea wasn’t alien to them, atleast not to most of them. I found myself laughing with them. I am middle-aged, to say the least, but I could appreciate the wit embedded in the dialogues too.
All because it is a Hindi movie, the makers had to give it a happy ending and that was my only disappointment. It was unconventional and yet so refreshing when the hero doesn’t even blink an eyelid when he sees the pregnant heroine and it comes naturally to him. It is not even a question in his mind. He has already accepted the child as it is her flesh and blood, not bothering about where the sperm came from! But then to appease the moral sensibilities of the audience, who cannot be kept out even with an ‘A’ certification, the makers twisted the story and Indianised it. It was, infact, their love child she was carrying and she had been living on her own all these months.
Barring this minor hiccup, I had fun watching the movie and I loved the performance of Shahid Kapoor and am totally taken in with the music of the film.
May more such movies be made without the fear of them corrupting the society. If we believe that such movies corrupt the society and if the impact of a movie can be so obvious then why don’t we improve as a society when we see virtues there? Why don’t we emulate the good? A movie is a movie. The purpose of its creation is telling a tale, entertaining people, and ofcourse raking in the moolah, for it is business too. Let’s not place the responsibility of making or breaking a generation squarely on its shoulders. The decadence of a society isn’t solely due to its art, but its art does reflect what is seen in the society.
We have already stepped into the 21st century and made our individual decisions as to how we want to lead our lives. What a person does in his or her personal life shouldn’t be a cause for moral policing, judgement or interference by anyone.
There is a dialogue in the movie that ‘one should not be so free-willed in a democracy’. I think it is time to challenge that!
True, there are ups and downs in any life. One may be the tiniest of insects and face challenges or the king of the jungle and yet life may not be smooth. We, as humans, have more faculty to deal with problems that come our way because God has bestowed upon us the power to think, analyse and then act accordingly. So, all in all, when I look at my life objectively, I don’t find things to complain about, not even the ones that bother me because in the larger picture, the blessings far outnumber the trials.
I have made it a habit to be grateful for whatever I have, small or big. That has given me contentment. The fact that regrets are out, makes me see people and events as experiences. Some might be good, others bad. Who cares! As long as we learn from them.
Out of the many things that I feel grateful for, the most important it seems, is the chance to feel and witness the extraordinary things that ordinary people might do. I have been fortunate to have worked in an atmosphere where rarely did I see people shirking their duties. Everyone was dedicated to the institute and the work culture was relaxed yet disciplined. Nobody needed to be told twice. A task once entrusted was sure to be completed without a hitch, and if there was one, it was solved by putting our heads and energies together. No wonder I remember and miss that place even seven years after leaving it. The people I met there have become mine for life.
Such is the charisma of great team work when everything moves like a well-oiled machine. I thought that is a rare phenomenon. We couldn’t expect the same ambience everywhere we go but I was pleasantly surprised to come across nearly the same energy in the most unexpected of places.
My father was recently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and after months of battling it with drugs, he is now on dialysis. We live in a small town but we have a state- run dialysis centre in the government hospital here. We were told it was good and moreover it would be convenient for us because we had to go there twice a week. I had seen how state- run things were managed in other sectors and hence was apprehensive. After all it wasn’t a one time thing we were getting into.
What I hadn’t expected to find, was a team that any organisation could be proud of. Led by a young yet exceptional doctor, these people make things look so easy. Their camaraderie is reassuring. They are polite, humble and hard working. I sit there for four hours, twice a week and observe them deal with panic situations with a calm that belies some of their ages too. There is nothing more magical than watching ordinary humans turn into paragons of virtue & goodness by dint of their knowledge and confidence in their training.True, they must be working there for years now but that hasn’t made them complacent. In fact, I had not seen a more patient, meticulous bunch of healthcare workers, until I met them. Each one is so adept at his or her work. They seem to have each other’s back as they carry out the same tedious and monotonous tasks day in and day out. And they do it with a smile on their faces and a spring in their steps.
I see them transforming into heroes everyday. Their countenance changes, it becomes shiny and sparkly. There is a confidence in their gait that allays the fears of their patients and a light in their eyes that says- We are here. I cannot help but smile with them. Their energy is contagious. All they want to do is help people. They do everything possible to minimise the suffering of their charges and what is most commendable is that their trainings have made them humble. The impact that their empathy and compassion have on a patient is enormous. An easy smile does it for us.
Something that could have been a harrowing experience, if the health care providers couldn’t care less, has turned out to be pleasant. I won’t say that we look forward to these two days of the week but these people and their mastery over their skills have definitely made it worthwhile.
They won’t read it, I know. But I am grateful to them for being themselves. For them, it is all in a day’s work, for us it is a debt that cannot be repaid. May God bless them with good health always.
My mother always says that the character of an individual can be gauged only when you live with them as truly as purity of gold can be measured only on testing it..
“सोने के kasne से और इंसान के basne से पता चलता है…”
True, may be!
But energies don’t work that way. There is some kind of hidden attraction that makes us want to talk to someone or know them better. In my 39 years, I have known many people and have friends from different walks of life.
No two people are alike, no one is the same person they were when I first met them. I, myself, have grown into the person I am, due, mainly, to my acquired opinions and experiences. I am sure people who knew me 20 years back would be surprised, if they meet me today.
GROWTH is inevitable. Life puts us through the paces and we learn. If we don’t, we stagnate and that is not good for us and for the people around us.
In a mood for self-reflection, I was pleased to realise that among many flaws, that humans inevitably possess and pile up over time, I have developed two of the greatest virtues – First, I don’t judge people by their appearances neither do I make my opinions based on first encounters, good or bad. Second, I try not to meddle in the affairs of other people, however close. Infact this, being close and thus a well-wisher, argument doesn’t go down well with me at all. I consider these two my paramount achievements in the quest for being a better person.
Having said that, my energies attract a certain kind of clientèle, if you may call them that. Long before Tyrion Lannister made it popular, I have been gravitating towards the troublesome trio of Rebels, Misfits & Shattered Souls. He had a tender spot for cripples, bastards & broken things. I, too, like the ones who are crippled by the choices they made or the ones made for them, bastardized by circumstances and broken beyond repair.
I particularly love the ones who hide their vulnerability behind masks of confidence and straightforwardness. Some might think them to be rude, impolite & uncultured. I find them fascinating. People are not born that way. I, invariably, have this exacting need to find out what made them, the person they are! It gives me immense satisfaction to peel back the layers and uncover the core they are made of.
People haven’t disappointed me, so far!
I may have had some lessons along the way but none that I regret. I have had the good fortune of getting to know some exceptional souls hidden behind the veneer of Rebels and Misfits.
They do not conform to the norms. They dress a certain way, speak a certain lingo, act as if they don’t give a damn and are willing to, in fact, find pleasure in not being understood by the people around them. They are easy to shun, actually. It is simpler to label them as rebels or misfits and then ignore them.
But what I have found underneath are myriad variety of gems. Some insecure in their abilities, others in their looks and appearances, still others in the circumstances of their lives- social or financial. Some hide their grief beneath all the verve, others are lonely and misunderstood behind the joie de vivre. It is all a facade. And I count myself lucky to be able to bring down the walls, they have erected, brick by brick and know these people as no one around them does.
I pride myself on being the unmistakable confidante of many such golden souls and I like to believe that there is always a reason why we meet the people we do. It is as much their healing as mine, and it is all planned by a power that we can’t fathom.
We hear the word and a visual, a mental image comes up! Something that is helter-skelter, without a set pattern, disorganised, broken, shattered, full of din, mayhem.. Almost violent!
That has been my state of mind, more or less, since I last took to writing. So many things have happened. I have tried escaping it all by every mean possible for me- leaving the place, shunning people, postponing discussions, avoiding confrontations. Gradually I realised, escape doesn’t do it. It has to be faced headlong.
Life has taken to dull monotony after the initial shock of things. I would say, the chaos has settled down a little. I have tried making peace with certain aspects, some are still a thorn in the side, but that’s life. That’s what was written. That’s, may be, what I chose, voluntarily or by accident.
I have read a lot in this writing-less span. Not many things have stayed with me, though. It is natural not to retain much when things don’t know where to find a home in one’s brain. But something that I keep coming back to, is a small piece by a fellow blogger where he speaks about time stamps. It is a beautiful write up and something that I wish I had written. I specifically liked it when he wrote that “Happiness is like a glass of wine, it doesn’t last until you have a big bottle of it hidden somewhere.”
How true! Sometimes even in the most loving relationships, happiness runs out despite that huge bottle. We forget to refill it. We neglect to stock it. We prefer to ignore it. We take it for granted until, ofcourse, it disappears. And then we run after it, we want it back as it was, we try looking for shared memories but alas, once lost the same isn’t available! It is not a consumer good offered at attractive schemes in the market.
There are variants ofcourse. But that’s just plain ‘settling for less’. I’d rather look for something completely different instead of making do with the chaotic pieces that threaten to loosen up anytime life jolts them again.
Poets have written reams about the beauty of nature after the storm. The green looks all the more greener, the landscape purged of its grime, the debris all settled into new forms, the sun shines brighter on the newly formed tableaux. The character of the land changes, so does its shape and look.
Same goes for the humans who have had to deal with something life- altering like that. The vista is all new for the one’s who kept their own through it all.
I have changed. Unapologetically so! Looking forward to the rest of my life. Bring it on! After all, don’t the most beautiful rainbows appear after the storms?
I have waited for a week or so, since this realisation hit, to write it all down. I am not an expert on this branch of thinking, I just write what I experience so my account may not be statistically correct. It is at best a point of view,not a point of reference. Having given the disclaimer, I now feel free to share what has been brewing in my mind.
In my humble opinion, people, places, events, plans everything has energy. That energy might be good or bad, positive or negative, dynamic or stagnant, but it does have an impact. We tend to rejuvenate after a vacation or a change of scenery. We can radically change our mood in the company of people- friends or strangers. We alter our perspectives and opinions when we come across fresh persuasive take on things. We react when we are challenged by a new work atmosphere or work profile. That reaction might either be growth or our lack of adaptation. The result doesn’t really matter here. All I am trying to say is that energy of a place, people or an event has the potential to change us as human beings–for better or for worse, that depends on myriad factors.
I have known families who have packed up and moved out to new cities because they were not doing as well in their home towns. People change houses all the time and all of us, whether with a conventional outlook or not, believe that the energy of the house would have repercussions on the quality of life of a family. If we move to a new place and fall ill, most people would say that the new house or city didn’t suit us. Some might also recommend elaborate religious rites to purify and make the place more conducive to living.
It doesn’t take super human powers to get a grip on how these energies work. We, humans, have been endowed with intelligence and logical thinking. More often than not, we realise in the initial stages whether a relationship, a job, a move to a new place, an arrangement, a marriage, a treatment is working or not. But as humans we have also been given an element of hope ( the biggest evil to come out of Pandora’s box) and a belief in perseverance. We don’t leave things or give up on them if they don’t work out initially. We just keep at it, hoping it would change.
This is the approach I have an issue with. In my experience, anything that we have misgivings about even before starting out or in the initial stages, doesn’t really improve with time and effort. We may feel that it has started working if we see a relative difference in the state of things. It may be due to one of two reasons- the realisation may be due to our own efforts and would cease to exist once we stop putting that input, or the change may well be in the way we look at things, that again would be our own adaptability or acceptance of things as they are.
I know there may be varied views on this. As I said, we are taught to be adaptable. We are told that things would not always be according to our comfort or wishes but we trudge along. That’s the way the world has always moved. Nothing wrong with that opinion. To each his own. But for the few who live by the maxim of YOLO, or who feel personal happiness and contentment is important to keep others around us happy, adaptability, as in compromise, is not acceptable.
No one is infallible and if we fall into this trap of disregarding the energies that surround us, we are not naive. We are just what our decent upbringing has made us but expecting happiness in such a scenario would be a little too much to ask. Speaking from experience, I would reiterate that when it comes to people in our lives– whether they are parents, siblings, friends, better halves or romantic interests– we ignore the energies and go about the old fashioned way. We persevere. We hope. We put in an effort. We come to terms with how things will be. That, in most cases, robs us of our peace of mind, our carefree attitude. We refuse to acknowledge ‘the energy’ of our relationship. We turn a blind eye because what else can we do?
This may not apply to many but holds true for me- When I go to consult a doctor, no matter how accomplished he/she might be or however highly recommended, I cannot put my trust in them if I don’t get a positive vibe. I rely on energies. I can’t remember the number of opportunities I have had to let go because I cannot work for someone whose aura doesn’t draw me in. Miraculously, I don’t regret any of those decisions. I am confident that I wouldn’t have been content had I compromised.
I have also observed a shift in the energy with the giving up of certain habits, routines, places and people. It is rare that if one huge part of our lives is in turmoil, due to our insistence on holding on to something or someone, another part would flourish. No, it won’t. The negative impact of such a vibe would block all the good that other aspects of our life could have. And if at all there is an ouster of this negative energy, everything else also starts falling into place. The moment we decide that we have to get out of a situation that is holding us back, we start to grow and recover. We don’t have to go down guilt trip just because we ended something to improve our own lot. We don’t have to explain or justify our actions to people who would criticise us any which way. We are here to lead our lives to the best of our abilities. We are not here to please others. Keeping our own selves happy isn’t being selfish.
Lighten up. Trust the Energies. Make your own path. It isn’t necessary that the well- trodden one is the right way to go. Infact there isn’t any right or wrong here, just choices. As Robert Frost rightly said –
I have taken a sage friend’s advice and decided to write about boundaries today. The topic itself is limitless but as I write just about human behaviour and quirks, I might as well deal with it, my way.
Boundary as defined by the dictionary is the greatest possible degree of something or the line or plane indicating the limit or extent of something.
I want to speak about the ambit of human giving, be it emotionally, physically, economically or spiritually.
We are all aware of Daanveer Karna from the epic Mahabharat. No one, as giving as him, has ever walked the face of Earth, it is believed. He never thought what it would cost him to give up what a seeker sought. His ability, of selflessly pleasing every demand made of him, is legendary. Those were simpler times, moreover such men exist in mythology. Drawing a parallel are the Indian women of years gone by. Steeped in customs and bound by social norms, they never thought of their own needs and being. Their lives revolved around the men in their families – fathers, brothers, husbands & sons.
It is not the same nowadays. Thankfully, it is not the same. God has created human beings to be equal and hence our emotional and psychological requirements remain the same no matter what gender we are born with. Today, more than any other time, we need to set our boundaries.
Anyone who has been in love knows that boundaries don’t generally apply to certain relationships. Won’t we do anything for our parents? If we are closely knit with our siblings, there is nothing we won’t do to take them out of a tight corner. Our lives are so entwined with those of our friends that we recognise it as our responsibility to give them anything in our power to make them feel better. Our partners, better halves & romantic interests get the best part of us. Anything that’s ours is theirs for the taking.
I feel committing wholeheartedly to any relationship is a very special thing and mostly we have our Rubicons or points of no return. We cannot go back to being what and how we were with somebody, once we cross that line. Once we reach that plane, our happiness and sorrow, our mood swings all depend on the person we are in love with. They basically have the remote control of our lives with them. If they are happy, we are elated. If they are down in the dumps, we keen over too or sometimes we try and pull them out of the pit they find themselves in. All in all, they become the centre of our very being. This situation isn’t fair to either party. There might be a thousand different things happening to us, requiring our attention but we always prioritise them over everything else. Everything takes a backseat when the axis of our lives is in doldrums.
We consider all this normal. That’s how families have always been. That’s how romantic relationships have fared through time. That’s how human beings show that they care. I am no different. This happens with each one of us.
Having agreed to all the above, I would reiterate the wisdom of many these days, that self-love is important too. The longest relationship we have had or are going to have is with our own selves. No one, absolutely no one can be with us from the start to the finish. All that stays with us is our own body, heart and soul. The least we can do for ourselves, then, is to pay attention. We cannot keep ignoring what pleases us, just in order to keep others happy, however close they might be. I know once we reach the point of no return, it is difficult to think of ourselves first, to peel our attentions from nurturing, caring and tending to others and look after ourselves. It may sound downright selfish too but we cannot pour from an empty cup.
Self care is important. Healing is important. To put ourself first, is important. It’s only when we are strong, decisive and whole that we can care for others. So boundaries are important. Setting boundaries don’t make us less compassionate. Infact if you feel miserable, depleted and used then that compassion is killing you. We can have compassion for others without actually losing ourselves in the process. Saying no, when you really want to say it, is all right. Saying ‘it is fine’ when it isn’t is not okay.
One has to draw a line, erect a wall, not to keep people out but to protect oneself from the blows. Blows that inevitably come when we love or interact with someone. Setbacks, quarrels, disagreements, different opinions, misunderstandings are all a part of this life. They may test one’s reserve, they may try one’s commitment but they rarely end a true relationship. These are just hiccups. But even while going through them one has to care for oneself. If there is less happiness and more compromise at the end of this trial phase then it is preferable to make your distance, lick your wounds and move on. We don’t have to tell the people we love that we care. We won’t have to try and make them believe that we do. They would know it and they would acknowledge it and reciprocate and that’s when we know that compromises are okay too if at the end we feel loved and recognised.