20 Relationship Facts from My Life

It takes a long time to make sense of relationships. Sometimes I feel that it is well nigh impossible to make sense at all. I list some of the greatest mysteries that exist between human relationships:

  1. It is difficult to read other people’s minds.
  2. It is difficult to comprehend me as other people see me.
  3. What I think I know of others is an older version; the file keeps getting updated quite frequently.
  4. Most assumptions that I make in relationships are conditional. Sometimes I believe that I am important in the other person’s life, most times, I believe that I am not.
  5. Either of the beliefs does not really matter, since I know neither for sure.
  6. My assumptions are based on my life’s transactions with the other person. The higher the sharing of thoughts, laughter and worries, the closer I believe I am to the other.
  7. The absence of affection, care, and physical touch makes me believe that I am not important. I need to be touched to believe.
  8. I conveniently interpret silences in relationships as key indicators to absence of love.
  9. I have been often been wrong in my interpretations.
  10. Love is rarely reciprocated. Most times, we end up loving people who would not love us in return.
  11. Sometimes, the people we love them have their own love un-returned.
  12. Once I grew up, I rarely made a friend.
  13. You never know who will attract you and for how long. Sometime, some attractions last a month, but the longings linger on a life time.
  14. Sometimes, some relationships last a life time, but there is no real attraction, just adjustments.
  15. Happiness is not a normal state of being. Thoughts of happiness are.
  16. Sadness is not a normal state of being, loneliness is.
  17. Laughter is more alluring than tears. Years later, when everything else is forgotten, laughter remains etched in our memories.
  18. Tears of those you love hurt you just as much.
  19. The need for personal space is inversely proportionate to the need to be together. The more you feel like being together, the less space you require for yourself.
  20. It is impossible to reciprocate each person’s feeling in a similar manner.

When Crackers Light The Night Sky

I saw crackers burst over the night sky a short while ago. The little mount church nearby is celebrating some festival.

There was another night sometime ago; a night steeped in folk songs, crackers and loads of laughter. When the last embers of each cracker burns out, and the night sky awaits another burst, there is a short period of silence between showers of lights. Thoughts of you fill these silences.



You ignite my memories with each burst of crackers. I see your eyes catch the gleam of sparkles, I hear your laughter in the cheering crowds. Today, as always, you are with me in all my celebrations, and the silences that follow.

The Songs of Autumn

I hate to travel by road. It has something to do with my absolute dread of accidents. But then, 12 hours and 750 kilometers later, I reached Chennai safely on my basanti (Sam calls my car Basanti).

In the past two months the word Autumn has crept into my lines more frequently than ever before. It pops up in my poems, in my blogs and in my every day conversations. Traveling through the ghat roads, autumn followed me all the way to Chennai. There were some trees, especially the neem trees that had finally decided to grow some leaves and blushed green all over the roadsides, but the others, they were still in mourning. I now begin to realize the connection between human emotions and nature. Even as I felt the need to shed some leaves and leave them behind, I could see the trees doing the same.

Someday soon, when the longing for what was is no longer as strong as it is today, like the neem trees, I will grow green leaves and bloom again. Until then, let the songs of Autumn play on.

My boss was kind enough to lend me his driver; hence I was spared the nightmare of driving.

Some pics from the journey.

Rajesh

Time To Change

A colleague of mine told me today that she noticed perceptible changes in me since Feb'2010, and that the same  opinion is shared by a few others too. The most noticeable changes being:
  • I am not as frequently loud as I was before.
  • A semblance of an emotional being is now visible
  • I seem now to feel need for people to be around me (sociability)
    I said yes to all the three and thanked her. If these are the first few steps, there are miles to go until I am perceived like any other normal human being. I am on the way. 

    When asked on the reason for change, I shared something very simple. I told her that I somehow started believing that its ok to share what I feel and let some of the normal emotions become visible to others. I have always been interested in people around me, especially colleagues who work with me, its just that I did not want them to know. Now I feel it is ok to let them know.

    I am not very sure whether this is going to be easy. There is less to lose and much to gain. Happy change days ahead.

    The Option to Fast Forward

    I have been increasingly thinking wishfully about this remote control. A remote control that would allow me to fast forward my life to two or maybe three months ahead of today. I am still in love with my life, I want to live it until the last day, however, there is something about this season in my life which wants me to earnestly “not live in these times.” Thinking aloud about this, I asked my cubicle colleague, Sharon, what option she would choose if I were to give her one such remote; a remote that had stop, pause, forward and play on options. Surprisingly, she opted for the fast forward option too.

    I wish this could happen.

    But then something happened today that made me feel very good about living this day. Today was Priyanka’s birthday. Priyanka works with me and I consider her as a friend, not sure whether it is the same the other way round :)

    So we had two sessions of cake cuttings, lunch at the pizza hut and the complimentary song from those lovely folks who make the Pizza Hut experience unique. I guess Priyanka did feel special, and that was what made today a “non fast forward day.”

    For tomorrow and the days to come, I would love to have someone send me that remote.

    Making Amends (With A Cadbury's Bournville)

    I put the first step forward to make amends today. I had muddled up my relationship with a very precious friend of mine. Silences followed silences and they stretched many a miles into my life. It started filling my idle thoughts; it started popping up when my mind was otherwise filled with noises. I knew I had to make amends where there was still time.

    I did just that.

    I am not very sure if all is well now, some stitches, hurriedly sown together, stands out longer than others. I cannot vouch her forgiveness, all I can say is I did what I thought I must do. Looking back at the reasons why I took the initiative, I realized the following:

    1.     I started it. I had to end it.
    2.     I am leaving for another town for a long period. I wanted the last thoughts I leave behind to bring a smile, not a frown.
    3.     She is very important. I would not like it to end this way.
    4.     Two months is a long time, lots of things change overnight. I would not like to wait for a tomorrow I do not know to make amends for things I did yesterday.

    I feel neither happy nor sad today. Making unilateral amends may not bring me happiness, but it sure brings me a better perspective on myself. I plan to do it more often in the future.

    When People Come Together

    It is amazing what people can do when they come together. I am in Belgaum for the last four days managing some recruiting related activities on behalf of one of our clients. Shivanand is our local employee based out of Belgaum and his presence in Belgaum was probably the only reason why I took up this assignment with confidence.

    We had four high energy students from local management campuses who acted as full time volunteers, two senior faculty with industry experience in the interview panel, a very co-operative campus that lent us space and office staff for infra management, the district administration who readily provided us with police personnel and the district employment office who had helped us with press releases and space during the initial selection related processes. The interviews went off seamlessly and ended peacefully an hour ago.

    Do so many varied entities come together and work together perfectly all the time… I guess no. They came together because of three reasons. First being Shivanand himself. Shiva is a highly networked youngster with a very charming temperament. People like to do things for him. Second being the brand image of our client (which is one of the largest corporate houses in the country) and finally, my firms brand image. Most people who know my firm is aware of its commitment towards the young Indians. Those who came together also wanted to be a part of this mission in their own little ways. Needless to say, for such exercises to pass peacefully, HIS grace is also very important.

    Safe to say, it all went off peacefully and hopefully, we will have opportunities to work closely with all these wonderful people over the years to come.

    Why Autumn?

    Imagine a world in which nothing grows, nothing changes, nothing goes. Such a continuum is impossible to imagine. What comes…goes, what IS will one day become what WAS. Nature has its own way of making space. The leaves grow old, fall off, clear way from young branches and new shoots to grow. Some grow on to mature; some fall of way too early. The cycle of death and rebirth continues endlessly.


    Autumn is the season of longings. When what was is no more with us and what will be is unknown, it is the autumn in our lives. It sets the tone for hope, it makes us believe that tomorrow will be better than our yesterdays; it makes us dream of springtime again. Autumn is the lottery ticket, spring time its prize. I cannot wish you eternal spring, but I can wish for your wishes from autumn to come true.


    God Bless. 

    The Season Of Changes

    A friend of mine is moving to Pune. The decision to move was taken, finalized and effected in 20 minutes flat. She leaves this Sunday. Yesterday, over the phone, she made a remark that just does not go away from my mind. She said..."Before you could leave me... I am leaving you." Something in this remark set me thinking of the how my insensitive and thoughtless comments might have hurt her. I am sure that this might have been one of the reasons why she took up that assignment in Pune. Well, I am not sure, but there does exist a probability.

    I myself am shifting to Chennai for a couple of months. I do not believe in coincidences, rather, I strongly believe in design. It was only a week ago that I shared with a friend of mine how much I wished to stay away from Hyderabad for a while. The last four months have been taxing, mostly because increasingly I was becoming aware of the silences in my personal life. Somehow I felt that if I move to Chennai or Bangalore (Sis and Brother live in these places) I would gain some composure and stop that humming in my brain. And then a new project happened. I jumped at the opportunity and am ready to pack and go... at least for a couple of months.

    My impending re-location and the sudden changes that this has brought about in my existing relationships is disturbing. Whether this is good or bad is something which cannot be deduced in foresight. Maybe a year later, when new faces populate my life and I fight new battles, I will look back and write on the cascading affect of my decision.

    I look forward to this change, I am also a very uneasy. The thought that I will no longer be able to glance across and see faces I have grown to love is not easy.

    The times, they are a changing, the winds of change fills my sails. What tide awaits in high seas, you know not nor I.

    The Poor Will Remain Unemployed... Poor

    I sat the whole day in interviews today. I guess I met some 65 people today, most of them from extremely poor families. Today was the first time in my last 20 years that I came across qualified ITI certificate holders (most of them having over 75% scores) who continue to work as farmers and coolies (load bearers). If I spend too much time thinking about them, I will probably get into depression. 


    But there is hope. That entire hope rests on one man’s determination to change the way we Indian’s get educated. I have great belief in Kapil Sibal. I am not sure whether ten years down the line the results of planned changes will change the life of the poor who are the outcastes in this country with limited access to the entire support systems of food, education and healthcare. Whatever be the future, it cannot be worse than the present.


    Honorable Sir, the hopes and wishes of a million Indians ride on you. You have the power to affect our future. We are with you. 


    I also thank God for helping me by giving me birth in a family who could afford three times food and upper middle class education to their children. I wish I could help the poor someway.


    Thank you God and God Bless you Mr.Minister.

    On Kailash Kher and Love Songs

    When Kailash Kher sings, I listen, and when he sings “Mil ke bhi, hum na mile, thum se na jane kyon….” My mind whips up a whirlpool. It reminds me of four of Shelley’s perhaps most famous lines,

    “Our sincerest laughter
    With some pain is fraught
    Our sweetest songs
    Are those that tell of saddest thoughts.”

    When I look around, it seems that most people have stopped falling in love. Or maybe they have stopped realizing what love is all about, or even forgot all about it. Thankfully, I remain Fairy Godmother’s favorite child in this area. I fall in love at least once in a couple of years.  In fact, my otherwise ordinary life is punctuated with the memories of wonderful women I fell in love with. Women who were always amazing human beings and quite passionate about their being women. Some loved me in return for short moments in time, some forever and some others never knew of my love for them, or maybe knew, and hence ran away from me :)

    The good thing about falling in love is that it helps you feel human and fallible again, it’s a welcome break from the robotic dreariness of my professional life. It also helps the ink flow from a pen otherwise prone to rust. All my lines ever written are reflections of someone I knew sometime in my life. But the part I like best about love is its ability to elevate another human being into the centre of your universe! When you love someone, your life hovers around hers like a compass. It does not matter how big the distances between the two are, you still find yourself swinging around the same radius, dancing in a circle!

    Some of my closest friends are those whom I managed to retain long since the initial wave of love subsided. I hate people going out of my life. Because, when they do, they walk away with too much of me. I hate to live with the fact that there might be several loose pieces of me walking around this earth. Thankfully, as of today, there are only two, and I am sure that they will be back in my life, as friends, sometime during this lifetime again. They are not gone; they are out on a long walk. I await their return.

    When the sounds of the evening subsides
    And I am one with my solitude,
    I first hear it as a distant drum
    Until it comes home and annihilates
    Every thought that was ever mine.
    Every night I go to sleep with you in my mind.


    Enough on love for the day. Good day.

    The Need for Purpose In Life

    Should there be a purpose to life? Should we all spend time thinking about that special reason why we are here?


    I enjoy my life as it unrolls each day. Each day brings in carried forward bucket of joys and sorrows from my yesteryears. I also keep doing enough things right or wrong to add to this bucket. All said and done, I guess I live a full life every day. I believe that at some levels my life reflects lives of this multitude I share space with.


    When I look into the lives of my parent or their parent I am inclined to believe that their lives never had any special, out of the world purpose ( the kind which will find mention in history books). But then I look at my sister whom I love so much, I look at myself and then I look at my Grandma and then I look no further. Most relatives who knew my grandfather fondly looks at me and sees him in me. My favorite pastime of chewing country paan with betel leaves and areca nut coming from our own courtyard, my passion to farming and planting, and my love for the routine are all traits that missed a generation, my dad’s generation. So when my grandma looks at me, I am sure she sees a little bit of Grandpa in me. Should I seek a greater purpose in her life than the fact that I owe my life to her and all those unsung generations who went by?


    Not all of us will end up being a Ratan Tata (my all time hit idol) or an Abdul Kalaam, or even, a Bajpai, some of us will remain Rajesh Kumar and Rajeshwari Kumari’s of this world. We too will fill space; we too will do our bit. I now believe that we are all born with special little purposes in life, the greatest of all being to propagate life itself.


    This does not mean that I do not have aspirations; this does not mean that I don’t want to leave behind a legacy which will be fondly remembered. For some time I have been thinking of either starting a Laundromat service of a Constituency Services firm, someday I might do that too. But these are my aspirations; they are not the special purposes in my life.


    So I guess I have figured out that the special purposes of our lives are best understood in hindsight and never in foresight. Life indeed is a Johnny Walker advertisement, LIFE IS LIVED FORWARD BUT UNDERSTOOD BACKWARD…KEEP WALKING.

    The Best Things In Life Are Free (What Bullshit !)

    Rhetorically speaking, the best things are free. The more I think about it, the more I believe that this is so untrue. The best things list for me will probably be:

    1. 15 days of paid holiday
    2. Phone call from a friend who won’t call.
    3. Spending time with my Grandma (she is treading the last mile)

    For me the list is not long, but the three items that are there mean much to me. Now if you look at it closely, none of them can come for free. I have been working for 12 years now, I do not remember the last time I had a 15 day leave.


    No force in this world, but time can make my friend call me. I have often wondered at how someday, after years of sticking on to a stupid decision, we wake up to find that the decision is no longer as important as it seemed once. 


    And then the third wish, the wish to be with my Grandma. She raised me up in my early years, and I have remained the centre of her universe till this moment. I feel saddened at the way things are. At 87, when she would like to spend her last couple of months with me at her side, I am 500 miles away toiling away to keep pace with my mortgages. It is in times like these that I rethink about the so called upper middleclass life that I live. Of what consequence is a lifestyle if it does not allow you to be near the one you want to be with? The answers to such questions are always going to be complicated, however, if time and boss permits, I will definitely keep visiting her.


    None of the best things in life is free. If someone tries to serve you with this bullshit, ask him or her to list out their list of best things in life. 


    God Bless.

    The Fear Of Being Judged

    I do not remember the last time I did something with crazy abandon. Maybe as I grew older, I lost out on the fun of being a child. For a child, life is an aggregation of moments, they live fully each moment. I see them cry, holler, laugh, shout, fight and sulk as if there is no tomorrow.

    As a grown up, I guess I am supposed to maintain continuity in my emotions. I am not supposed to run up to someone beautiful and say that she is the most beautiful woman in the world, I am supposed to have the same countenance that I had yesterday. I am not supposed to be intense in any of my emotions. I should neither love nor hate passionately.

    Maybe these thoughts are exclusive to being me. Maybe you would not agree with me. But I am yet to figure out why I need to conform to an idea of me rather than just be what I want to be all the time?

    Since the real life throws up so many constraints, I guess I end up living multiple lives. One is the visible life, the life where I am office at the same time, back home almost at the same time, talk the same set of words, hear to the same set of words, share the world with almost always the same set of people. Then there is another life, the aspirational life. The life where I love to see the Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate ad where the girls breaks into a dance in a stadium, or hear to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan singing “Sab Rishte Nate Hanske thod doon, bas thumse dilka rishta jod doon” an entire weekend and still not have enough of the song.

    When I see someone living this aspirational life of mine in real life, I find myself tremendously attracted to such people. People, who laugh a full laughter, people who make faces, frown, fight and sulk. People who retain the child in them with crazy abandon.

    The more I think about this, the more I believe that we should have a special day each week or month or year in our lives, a day when we can go ahead and do a Munna Bhai, or just do or say things we always wanted to do or say and on such a day, whatever we do should not be held against us :)

    If I were to have such a day, I might run up to my dad and hug him for being such a great dad, tell my cousin that he is probably the closes I will have to an elder brother, and also, apologize to this beautiful friend of mine for having shared things with her that I should otherwise have kept with myself.

    For now, I will just forward this link :)

    Nicotine

    I can snuff you out Like a cigarette butt But the smoke that gets into my eyes And the nicotine that stains my heart Will eventuall...