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Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote Oh! What are these days I have found myself in! The bagpacks I carry n...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Utopian Love

Published in Fried Eye - the magazine on 15 September 2013
Click here

“Utopian dreams” they call it when a young girl or boy, mostly in their teens, dream of having that perfect life of “one true love” hyped by almost all the movies in the world. Let it be a movie on patriotism or a superhero movie, there always is an element of love present that gives the audience a good feeling about it. Yes, indeed love is important and I believe it is essential too. Because without love how can a mother give birth to her child or how can a father gift his child with everything the little one asks for. Without love there would have been no friendships and no protective siblings too. But when people do not put conditions on their relationships with friends, cousins or parents, why is it that one expects and demands so much from one’s spouse? Why are there the insecurities and jealousies that help the once-good relationship to fail so miserably? And then one is left to cry alone, feeling cheated and vulnerable claiming never to fall in love again.

Love can be in any form – from a parent, a friend, a pet or even a stranger. Yet we deny that special bonding and crave for that one special person who would come into our lives and complete us. It is probably human nature to ask for what one does not have.

 And if/when someone comes into our lives, we judge them, we ask from them what they cannot give in these days of busy lives– their time and attention. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to text your mother all day long or calling your father every half an hour to know where they are. But no, we do not do that to people who genuinely love us. Nor do we ever doubt their love or complain that they do not care. We do that only to people who come to our lives all of a sudden claiming of love and we, ungratified, ask for more.
We grow up with our parents, siblings and cousins and we all have made a number of friends in our lives; and although each of them is unique and different we love them unconditionally. But when it comes to choosing a life partner, we have a checklist (or a wishlist to be precise as no one would ever be that person with all the qualities we ask for). And then there will be peer pressure when someone finally finds someone who would meet most (if not, all) of the qualities on our checklist. Either your friends will express their approval for the other person and tell you to hook up with him/her, even if you do not want to, or they will disapprove of the person and tell you to stay away from him/her no matter if you like it or not.

“Follow your heart”, people say. But do we, really?

Often my friends come to me to seek some counseling on their relationship that’s falling apart or a budding friendship that might head somewhere else. And even if they like it or not, after an hour or two of discussion and “preaching”, I always say one thing – “Just live and love,” and I end the conversation with “You are allowed to expect all the good things in life, but they will come when you stop demanding for them or whining about them.” Many a times, I have been given a note of heartfelt thanks. Even strangers (mostly girls) have sent me mails, after reading my story “Happily Ever After” from an anthology, saying that they learnt a thing or two about how to be happy with oneself after reading it.

But many times my advice have been ignored too; but I would stick to what I say because that is something I personally believe in. They say, preach what you practice; then why should I act differently just because someone wants to hear a different story, a different truth?

Love, even when it is unrequited, because loving is divine and so is caring for someone knowing very well that there is nothing to gain in return. And if/when you find yourself in a relationship, respect the other one as much as you respect yourself and love yourself as much as you love the other one. There won’t be any place for tears when you count your moments of joy. Give them their space and take your own space too. And instead of making them the centre of your world why don’t you yourself remain in the centre with all your loved ones comprising your world- from family to friends to that special someone?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thick Skin or a Filter?

You know what people can do to you? They can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. And then they can gently give a push so that you tumble down and hurt yourself. They can love you and then they can ruin you. They can make you feel that you’re the best and then they will begin to find the flaws on you. They can show you what’s wrong with you and they can make you feel miserable. They can let you know that you’re beautiful inside and everyone should be like you. And then they can tell you what and how you should be like.


But can they? Really?

I believe they can’t. Well, unless, of course if you let them.

Thick skin, some people call it. But what I believe is that rather than having a thick skin that is immune to all the criticism of the world, one can just learn to be happy while having a thin and all-absorbing skin too.

If you’re peaceful inside and content, not complacent, with yourself how can anyone’s opinion bother you?
How can a break-up shatter you? Or, how can a person make you the happiest in the world?
How can a story make you feel miserable? Or, how can another make you feel good about yourself?

Absorb what is necessary. Reject what is untrue, even only in your opinion. Be a filter rather than a thick skin.

But then, do not listen to me too. Be what you are. Be what you want to be. But don’t always be as you are. Improve. There’s always room for improvement. But improve with each passing experience, each passing day. Advisors will be many (like me :-P), but you’ll be the only one who will know which one is the best for you.

And above all, be happy with yourself. In this way, no one can come into your life to double your happiness or to ruin it. The control is always in your heart, if not hands. You’re the master of your moods and feelings. 
Know it.

If you’re happy because of someone, it is only because you’ve made yourself feel so. And when that someone becomes hurtful, don’t let yourself feel so. Simple, isn’t it?

I read it somewhere – Life is indeed simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Smile; you’re blessed and so is everyone else.