Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Monday, August 09, 2010
Today, I am a student in a foreign country (US of A) who does not have a permanent income or accommodation. Being a romantic optimist I chose a university where I do not have any family relatives or friends that I knew from before. Somewhere in my heart I used to feel that life was too easy for them who had relatives that they could lean on when they needed. I would see some of my roommates who would go live with their relatives over the weekends and could count on them when they needed some help in this foreign land. When I saw the relatives help my roomies I would think , it need not just be family but anyone (who is your friend) would come to help you when you need it. Fortunately in addition to a couple of Indian friends, I also made some non Indian friends here who helped me go to a grocery store (you had to have a car to move around in the uncivilized neighborhood I lived in), drop me home from school, help me shift apartments and the likes. These experiences affirmed my beliefs that there are good people out there in the world to help you out. I felt that these people who helped me until then were my friends and I thanked the guy above for having met these people. What I am going to share further is completely a personal experience and I don’t intend to generalize it. Two months ago I fell very sick and I had to be hospitalized for a serious respiratory infection. This was sudden and I had not dreamt that I am going to need hospitalization. That day in my head when I was searching for someone to come and get me stuff I needed, I could just think of one name of the many friendships I thought I had developed here. It could be my shortcoming but some of my other experiences had made me aware of some cultural differences between Americans and Indians. A small example would be that I felt the degree of cautiousness surrounding common cold/cough and the likes among the people who were brought up here was very high compared to what I have seen back home. At time it irritated me and at times I was successful in making myself see the benefits of being so cautious. When I fell sick, my head told me that I should not try and call someone who generally is overcautious about avoiding infections. I did debate with myself saying that may be the people I was thinking about may understand the complexity of my present situation however I decided against putting anyone through such a dilemma and called on the one person I had no doubts would understand.
During my stay at the hospital, I recalled the times when one of my family members fell sick and without a second thought we would do what was required. When I was here in a foreign land without anyone whom I could assume would bring me my clothes/ food and other basic stuff I remembered how members of a family perform such duties as an ‘auto’ function. As much as I am thankful for the two friends who helped me the most during this period, I did gain a far better understanding of what it means to be a family. No matter how strained your relationship, when need arises its your family that takes over the situation and understands your needs even before you verbalize them. I have been fortunate to find such support with people who are not ‘related’ to me however there is always a limit to what friends can do. Some willingly cross that limit and go out of their way to be around you when you need it but that limit always stays. Beyond that limit is when you enter the circle of your family and close relatives. Sometimes members of extended family may do it as an obligation but I guess it still counts because at the end of the day they do help. I have not personally experienced the ‘extended family’ reaching out to help part but have seen this happen with people around me when cousins and uncles traveled distances to settle their niece/ nephew in this place they would otherwise be foreigners to. Perhaps, you can say that I have learned to appreciate some relationships when I did not have them around me.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
You must be wondering what’s with the title, guess what this title just slipped off my tongue 2 minutes ago when I was talking to my friend. Serendipity, would you call that? Well, without dragging that much let me tell you what I am referring to. I am referring to the strength of the person that we become with age, experience, insights etc etc. The word bend here is not used with a negative connotation but refers more to adjustments. Some years back when I was pursuing my MBA, I had heard the term agility which meant that you are strong but flexible to adapt to situations. I always kept that in mind as a benchmark of how I wanted to be. The professor who talked about explained the concept with a beautiful analogy of the green grass and tall trees. Tall trees are noticeable and look strong whereas the short green grass often goes unnoticeable and looks meek but when hit by a storm, tall trees fall down to the ground and the green grass survives. This questions our basic understanding of strength which often is phrased as ‘as hard as a rock’. When we consider the above example, we are forced to rethink of strength as the ability to survive which has a prelude in one’s ability to adapt. I have given the example above to contextualize the word bend in my writing ahead.
Some years back, I was going through a phase of asserting my identity to myself. I was searching for my own value system and the way I wanted to live myself which included my work, my idea of a vacation , my ideal life partner and things I would like to engage in etc. With the help of some of my mentors and great friends I became the person I wanted to be. I received positive re-inforcement for the way I was with some minor areas of improvement. It has always been tough for me to receive feedback which involves criticism but I was lucky to find people who made me understand the value of positive criticism and I paved my way through those improvements. I reached a stage where I felt that I was the best person I could be and consolidated my idea of myself through my actions. Having moved from a point where I was not sure of many things in life to a point where I was being just the way I thought was best made me confident in myself. I would easily adapt to different situations and be open to different perspectives in life. I was happy that I was the green grass and not the tall tree.
Little did I know that I was going to be presented with a relationship where I would have to reflect on my self perception of what I am. It requires discernment to be able to decide whether your assertion is proving to be stubbornness in a relationship. It is this reflection that forced me understand that when we are in a relationship, there obviously is an other( read person) whom you ( encompasses your values, habits, behaviors, beliefs etc) are trying to relate to. I was trying hard to be the green grass whereas in reality I was coming across as the tall tree in the relationship. Today while I was talking to a friend, I mentioned to him that there is reason why our parents want us to get married by the age of 23-25 or so. The reason being, at that age we are still in the process of solidifying our identity and not achieved closure on it. As we grow older, we become more of the person we are and hence not ready to modify ourselves easily if so proposed by someone else or by circumstances. This closure provides us with stability in our thoughts and does help us move in positive directions. Right at this moment, I am tempted to offer an example from partnered dances like salsa, jive etc. The feminine aspect of these dances is to be able to follow the lead offered by the masculine. The beauty of these dances is to be able to complement each other’s moves and more so for the female partner who can be the best individual dancer but has to know how to offer herself in the best with the lead. Another aspect in these dances is that, a female is more receptive and not assertive (The male and female used here are not necessarily referring to ideal man/ woman traits).
With all the description above, I am trying to say that sometimes our perception of our strengths becomes our weakness. My idea of asserting myself had reached a point where I did not feel the need to change anything in myself and was not willing to bend for anything. I found that the strength of who I am was coming in my way of nurturing my relationship. It was hard on me to realize that my individuality had become too strong to accept any changes even if they were minor in mature. I felt as if I wanted to stand at a place where I was comfortable and wanted the other person to do all the hard work and reach towards me. As I write this, I would also like to mention that I am not an advocate of sacrificing to an extent where you cease to exist and fight to search who you are all over again. Instead, I would be glad if we could find a midway of doing things which calls for a lot of discernment at our end. In some heavy words, it would be finding your path between individualism and collectivism. It would be a move from being independent to being interdependent, from saying “this is me, take it or leave it” to saying “is that how I come across?, let me think about it”.
Well, this is just the beginning of another life lesson for me and from the looks of it, it seems like a tough one indeed. There are times when I felt that I can live my life all by myself and that I don’t need to be married to someone but today I feel that having someone next you all the time, keeps you in check at different points of time and through various life transitions.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Martinez does not know whether he will ever earn her friendship again. He has been in pain and repents on the act that he committed. An act so natural and pure which is known as expressing your love for someone. Every single day he regrets that moment when he voiced his heart’s yearning to have Paula forever as his beloved. That day, he did not know that his expression would have the power to shake the foundation of an otherwise beautiful relationship they were sharing for the last six months.
A professional relationship is what brought Martinez and Paula to get to know each other. Paula was a young attractive woman in her early twenties. Most men’s eyes would meet her shoulder while talking to her and this was just one of the things that she was known for in the 500 member office. She was witty and carried humor at the back of her sleeve. Although a little too young for the responsibilities she was asked to shoulder, she had been doing good for herself. Personally, Paula was wary of men who tried getting close to her. She had been through a couple of bitter intimacies and had decided to let her parents do the match hunting for her. Martinez was a young guy too with bubbling enthusiasm and a heart to befriend even the peon in the office. Good at his work, he soon got recognition in his team. Paula’s wariness met Martinez’s infectious energy. The two became friends with humor acting as their binding agent. Even before they knew, they began sharing with one another the deepest secrets of their lives. Talking to each other for hours over the phone was akin to breathing for them. Within herself, Paula knew that something new was happening to her. She had begun getting close and opening herself up to a new person. She knew that she did not want to get too close to hurt herself later but could not help. Her defense was her belief that she was not growing dependent and that she could manage to stay unattached. Martinez like always put his soul into the small demands she made. His involvement stemmed from his need to have a person in his life whom he could consider his shadow. By the end of six months, the two knew each other like they knew themselves.
All was moving well until one day Paula realized that she could no longer use her veil of distance because there was none. In a desperate attempt to save herself, she picked up a fight and feigned indifference. She appeared frozen and his tears would not stop. A week in pain and Paula could sense the stupidity of her action. She wanted him but could not give herself. This period of pain led to some questions in Martinez’s otherwise settled life. He wanted to know why he could not stop his tears if she was just a friend. He wanted to know what made him change so much for her that she had now become a part of him. The seven day gap made him understand that she was more than a friend for him. She was the one whom he wanted for life. A sense of deep loss gave birth to a new meaning for him. Martinez recognized and accepted his emotion whereas Paula’s past made her deny her own feelings. Her need to protect herself was higher than ever but she also knew that he was a person who understood her like no one else did. The period of conflict ended with Paula’s message apologizing to Martinez for the fight. Martinez was looking for signs from her to know whether she felt like her. He was experiencing this intense need to have someone in his life for the first time ever and hence was analyzing himself too. Things did return to talking terms but the sharing from Paula’s end reduced. Martinez was ready to give himself some more time.
Couple of weeks later, Martinez was faced with an emergency to express his love for her when she declared that she was going to meet a prospective groom. Martinez offered to drop her at the venue. He gathered all the courage he had and asked Paula if she would be his life partner. Paula could not believe what she was hearing and treated the situation with a sense of disgust. She refused to talk to him ever and snatched away her precious friendship from underneath his heart. Martinez was afraid of this outcome but chose to have faith in the equation they shared. In his mind, he could never imagine that Paula could ever crucify their friendship for his benign expression. For, it all began with friendship and being aware of his maturity she would trust in him to be his confidante if not her love.
Unfortunately, Martinez could not get her friend back and now wonders whether his simple expression of love was such a big blunder to have had cost him a friend. He is waiting for her to come back not as anything else but just as his dear friend without whom he now feels incomplete. He seeks an answer to a question which says “ if two people trust each other , how can one moment be so powerful to destroy the faith they had built in each other..”
Martinez has learnt it a tough way that it takes some hardwork to see the person as himself and not just through the lens of the relationship shared with him or her. Strength in one’s own self may also be needed to value a fellow equally well.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Punch me in my face when you are angry
You live on me, you thrive on me
Dig me up when you find nowhere to go
I provide you for all that you ask
Yet you seem not to value me enough to protect me
My tears go unnoticed and my pain unfelt
Centuries have passed by and you just deteriorate me
Leaving me with nothing but shards of my innocence
I have waited enough for your senses to awaken
Now, I withdraw myself from you…bit by bit, every moment
I need to rest for a while, to rejuvenate myself
I have enjoyed and loved serving you for ages
If you loved me a bit, wouldn’t have had to shelve myself
My heart skips a beat when I word what I was made to feel
Wish I didn’t have to say this, but yes its true my child …You don’t deserve me much’
Wish I could say, “Live a good life ahead” but the Creator decided otherwise
Said to me, “O Divine Earth! Unworthy are my children of the blessings you shower on them”
No more words I intend to say…