Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi – A Real Hero?

So I am having my morning tea with Mom and Sis and there’s this news that I have been uncomfortable about. I am more disturbed because every two days we start celebrating someone as a hero just because he does something against the ill “corruption” and I am just not in favor of it.

Yes, on Half A Cup of Tea, I seldom show very strong opinions, but today is one of those days when I do.

I look at the news once again, and decide to do the check.

Have you ever wondered why R. K Laxman and UNNY have not been jailed? It’s not like they haven’t made cartoons against corruption. Here are some examples:

R.K. Lakshman’s Work  and UNNY”s work (Respectively shown below)

And the said “hero” Aseem Trivedi was jailed.

But how many of us, have taken the trouble to see the said cartoons. And okay, you saw it but did you rationalize? Did you judge whether or not it is acceptable? Here are the images for your reference:

Cartoon 1:

What it depicts: The Indian parliament as the “National Toilet” and the constitution being urinated on.

Are we okay with the world looking at this Image of Our country? Is this how we represent ourself? Is THIS our triumph?

Cartoon 2:

What it depicts: The ashoka chakra – the dharma chakra with “Sataya Mev Jayte” inscribed is re-designed with wolves and the emblem as a skull.

When cartoons are about the “corrupt” and about the “human” corrupt – we can pass it off as opinion. [Like the ever popular cartoons about the various, specific, government officials]

But this – this is representation of the country. Someone is mocking our country and we’re supporting this representation.

Have you ever wondered that the shoulders we’re leaning on (and every 6 months we run after a new hero) and the triumphs that we are celebrating might just as well be another way to get victimized?

I don’t really see this whole attempt as a celebration. I don’t view these pictures as something called “Freedom of Expression”. I think they very well condemn our dignity.

When asked to comment he says: “When wads of currency are waved inside Parliament, scams worth crores of rupees are carried out, when parliamentarians watch blue films in the House and then you decide who is insulting the national symbols. Why are you asking me?”

And that reinstates my apprehension.

While some loot the country with the deep rooted culture of corruption, we have others who abuse our dignity in the name of “creative expression”. And sad part is, THIS abuse is so widely accepted and applauded.

As for these images – they enrage me.

Where are his cartoons taking us? – Besides the instigation

They’re right when they say the “negative” gets publicity.

I am now provoked enough to take a step. But I look around and see – THERE is no step to take. There is absolutely no direction. We’ll shout, abuse the government a little more and then carry on with our “every day” sins.

Yes – SINS that we are so used to living with that we don’t even consider them as crime enough to create a hue and cry.

Your cartoons are super effective, right Mr. Azeem Trivedi? Then why not make cartoons that make us morally better people?

For instance – the Guwahati criminals out on bail. It kills me to see that our country is okay with that.

It kills me when I read blogs where women confide to dialy molestation and people watching and laughing. It kills me to see movies that use “rape” as entertainment. What are we doing in daily life?

In daily life – we’re reading cartoons that “rape” the country in visual representation; that BRAND INDIA in the eyes of the world in such manner and we applaud it saying we’re against corruption.

And still –men will not protect the women, still the children will be forced to child labor, still the poor will be exploited, still idle will mock the country. And we will applaud. Why not make cartoons that can change the world?

 Why not use “freedom of expression” to do something productive? But no. That won’t become just as popular as this because the positive and productive will never get so much attention. The “Freedom of expression” only seems to instigate and not inspire.

It’s like teaching a child to speak but the child only keeps swearing. The child soon forgets dignity, respect, the lines that honor the freedom of expression and the child just grows up to become one – of – those – people. I fear that happening to my country.

 We just enjoy grumbling, making excuses and BLAMING someone or the other.  We just enjoy blaming and celebrate the one who is the “most creative” in playing the “blame game”.

We need to think beyond.

We need to be wary of abuse,

We need to be protected from being used,

We need to muster courage and vision

When need to think beyond,

We need to begin.

We all want to same things – peace, prosperity, honest functioning, freedom from corruption, freedom from crime, freedom of expression – but in the bid, let’s just be careful, we aren’t trading ourselves off.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I wish I could do more for you,

I wish I could do something at least;

For all the trouble I’ve given you,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all those times I have crossed you,

For all those times when I’ve been ill,

For all those times I’ve kept you awake

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all the dreams you must have seen

For all those that I did not fulfill,

For all those times that you deserved more,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all those times you’ve smiled,

For those little things that make you happy,

For the frivolous anger that so easily disappears,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all the times you’ve worked so hard,

For all the times you’ve kept yourself aside,

For all the times being unnoticed,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all those times when you’ve scolded me,

With the best interest at heart,

For all those times when you’ve tried to understand,

Keeping differences apart;

For all the freedom you’ve given me,

And the way you’ve brought me up,

For seeing me through failure time and again,

And still not giving up;

For all the times you’ve been worried

And the times with not much hope,

For all the times you’ve been a mother

And the times you’ve held us together,

For little blames you take instead

And the times you forgive and forget;

For every little extra you’ve done,

I wish I could return,

As selfish as this may sound,

On your birthday,

I wish I can bring you something more

I wish for goodness and for peace

And that Somehow, someday;

I wish I manage to do for you, something at least indeed.

So yes! It is Mom’s birthday today and I’ve left everything aside JUST to write a post dedicated to her. Somehow, it seems like the toughest thing to do. Sometime back, in a random conversation with Mom over tea, she looked into my screen and said, “Is that a book?”. I said, “It’s just ideas listed. More like an index…. Yeah, it could possibly be a book!” She said, “Nice! So, write it for my birthday”. I said, “Okay :D” That way I’ll do something productive!

But no … I didn’t write the book. – Owing to my hyper active, more social, poorly organized, totally unscheduled and highly unplanned life, and extraordinary skill to come up with excuses, I haven’t written a word past that day. So yes, the book is far from written. But in the bid of even mentally trying to write it, I realized – that’s the only thing my mom EVER asked me to do for her.

And so, when I haven’t written any book, I thought let me at least write a post. And I’ve been struggling since morning – because I have absolutely NO clue where to start!

The point is that, we really aren’t those mushy – people straight out of Bollywood or Television. We don’t worship our mothers. We don’t wake up admiring them. We don’t keep them on any pedestal.

In fact, we just accept their presence.

And the worst situation is when you think you’re better than your parents. I think most teenagers go through that phase (or I am the most hopeless child a parent could have) where you think you know better. When you want things and you THINK you can get them. When you don’t realize that some things in life aren’t in your control. It’s only when life humbles you down, that you look around and observe the lives of people around you.

Until I was 19, I thought I could do and achieve everything I wanted, without even a proper direction (yes, I can greatly blame the education system for that. In another thread may be!). I still am pretty much ambitious, but back then, I thought I could do it on my own.

It’s only when life humbles you down, that you realize that the people around you matter so much. Until 19, you haven’t’ seen life. The journey begins after that.

I aspired, I failed. I tried again, and I failed. At each point I would turn back to realize that it’s indeed my family, that’s been there. I remember this conversation with mom; I asked her, “Mom, I don’t have the vigor in me anymore. I am not that vivacious, charming, confident, strong. I think I am just failing” and Mom would say, “You still have it in you. The way you fight with me, you still are as sharp as you were at 12! So, you do have it in you still.”

I asked mom, “Does everyone have to face so many ups and downs?” and she said, “No! Some people have a smooth life and simpler problems to deal with.” And then I ask, “how come you don’t give up on me?” and she says, “I don’t know how to.”

I remember the days before entrance results, when my mom has been praying hard for me. I remember days she has fasted for our family. I remember days she’s given up things for us all. And I remember saying, “Mom don’t do that” and she shouting at me and asking me to shut up. I remember being hurt by people, and my family defending me throughout.

I think we all have this phase in life (Teenage and early twenties) when it’s all about “having your own life”. Back then came a time when I didn’t like festivities (New Years Day, Friendships Day, Christmas, Diwali) because I dint matter enough to the people who mattered to me and festivities only meant a huge confusion on WHO to hang out with. And in a bid to keep away from the crowds of changing people and friendships, I realized that it was my family that remained unchanged. I think more so, as you grow older, you get closer to your families because you realize that your equations with the world outside may keep changing, but with the people who love you by default, it should only get stronger! 

So what I am getting to is that, Mom’s birthday has just become a reason for me to thank her, my family and to realize all these things about life! 😛 Happy Birthday Mom! Your the best…. 🙂

And yes, you can accuse me of ‘thinking too much’…  😛 My Mom’s definitely going to kill me for this post 😀  But that’s okay 😉 That’s it for now. Do write in and share your thoughts! And Do like the page – Half A Cup Of Tea

And I don’t know WHY I feel like hearing this song. But somehow feels like this. So, here adding the song: 

THAT Thing about Expectations

The thing about expectations is that, people don’t like it. 

You don’t like expecting things from others and they don’t like that you expect things that they can’t fulfill. 

You don’t like them expecting things from you and you don’t like the burden of their “expectation”. 

For instance, people say “You shouldn’t keep expectations”, blaming the person who owns the expectations. But the point is that, as long as people remain humane, they’ll continue to have emotions and as long as emotions exist, there will be expectations. But, in this world that’s so virtual, understanding valid expectations is only going to become all the more complex. Of course, not all kinds of expectations are valid (take a Bollywood scene where the heroine wants the hero to jump off a cliff for her. No, we are not talking about such expectations. We are talking about little daily life expectations.)

There is no rule book that says, “This is what you HAVE to tell your friend. And this is what you must NOT”. There is no rule book about how to behave or conduct your relationships. They all rest on emotions and hence, expectations. Expectations are just as true as commitments and they happen without words. Yes, even commitment happens without words. You commit to people, you commit friendships, even before you know it consciously because the bonds that we form with each other, happen without any declarations. Think back about your best friends, did you declare ever, “From today YOU are my best friend”? Or did you just realize one day, over a cup of Tea or perhaps, over a discussion of woes, or perhaps with age, that you’ve really been there for each other and that, indeed; YOU and your best friend, are best friends. 

Relationships are things we realize. Connections happen and they happen all the time. It’s all about how we want to take it forward. We can determine the direction and that’s about all we can control. Everything else is real. Feelings, emotions, expectations and commitments – they happen and they aren’t wrong.

So, if you are one of those people who’ve felt, “Hey. She should have told me this.” And then shun it off saying, “Hmm… it’s okay… kuch commit toh nahi kiya tha” (Hmm.. we hadn’t committed anything to each other, so I better leave the thought ignored), then it’s time to realize, it is okay.

It’s okay to expect from people who are close to you.

It’s okay to demand their attention.

It’s okay to tell them about your expectation and talk about it.

It’s okay to explain to them, that some expectations happen without words, and that, they should understand what your feelings are.

However, if there is an awkward void and you don’t know how to deal with it, lie low. If you have expectations from someone, and you think it’s too insignificant to the other person, don’t drag the matter. Bring it up once, talk it out. If the “talking” doesn’t happen or doesn’t work, then let go. This is the “virtual” age. You will meet loads of people, and you will pass loads of people. With the way we all connect now a days, we are bound to find many, many real people around us; many real connections which just may become stronger. And as they get stronger, we need to flexible in two ways:

1. Understanding that expectations will happen. And if, the other person doesn’t seem to be in a position to fulfill the expectations, let go of the expectation. Keep a healthy space and a balanced relationship. 

2. Respecting the other person’s expectation. Understand, that from all the interactions that you have with people, there will be expectations. You have to weigh the expectations against the importance of the person in your life and the relevance and feasibility of the expectation; and then take your decision on fulfilling it. But in either case, respect the expectation. 

So that thing about expectations? THAT thing they say You must not keep?

Well, that’s not right. You may keep your expectations; just understand, acknowledge and respect them.

He and She – Abstract Conversations

Sometimes I just feel like thanking God for all the “Learning” that is around me. And then, sometimes, I just wonder, why so much learning? Why do I meet people who teach me so much? Why do I keep learning at every point? Why does everything in life seem so larger than life…

Simple sentences and simple thoughts move me. Simple questions ring in my mind and simple observations and philosophies rule my heart. Just putting down a few here; each hashtag has different people who have inspired the thoughts and these are near real conversations:

#1

She says, “You are honest, sincere, hard working, and “self made” …. and successful!! It’s fantastic to be in touch with such an amazing person. Thanks for being in my life. Touch wood”

He says, “Itna bada math banaoo k upar ashirwad dena wala hath hi na ho”

“Don’t raise me to such a pedestal that I might miss out on the blessing of the almighty”

#2

She says, ” And you know what! He did that on purpose to make me feel awkward. I mean, I am okay… but I saw that he was pretending to be okay.”

He says, “You noticed! I noticed too. Listen….. just forget it because he is twisted. That’s the way he is. He doesn’t know what he wants and he doesn’t want to face you. Let him be”

#3

She says, “I keep getting these mood swings. Yesterday I looked good – felt good – worked good. Today, I am a little stuck with work. The questions start to haunt, ‘am I at all doing the right thing?”

He says, “I think you specifically take out time to analyze your life! Dude relax! How can anyone make such comparisons? Move with the way things move”

#4

She says, “So, I am basically starting to work independently.”

He says, “What’s the plan?”

She says, “Social media and I want to be a writer”

He says, “People who don’t have a plan – Fail.”

She says, “My plans fail”

He says, “You need to be wiser. You can’t change how you’ve been for 25 years. However, you can be realistic.”

#5

She says, “21 to 24 determines your life! My life has been such a challenge. It’s made me who I am”

He says, “So, don’t think I am too young because for me this happened form 18 to 21.”

It’s ‘3 years’ that define us. Which 3 years is determined by life.

Image

And these are just a few of the many random interactions I come across each day.

If you have something to add or share, write to me at apsara.iyengar@gmail.com or talk to me on twitter @apsra

Satyamev Jayate – A Story Of A Patient From Baroda Hospital

I wrote this post way back in September – almost 9 months back. Never posted it because I didn’t think people would be interested to read, that it would be received properly, that it would be okay for me to speak up…… but today, SatyaMev Jayate has encouraged me to share this story.  A patient from Baroda, and an observer in me; here goes:

 18th September, 2011

 I am an optimist. I may be sad or low or I may just start crying… but I am an optimist at heart.

 When I walk into an office, my first instance is to believe that I am in a noble place. That the people there are sincere. That the work they do is honest. That they wish to do well and do just.

 But something really moved me yesterday.

 It all started last week.

 A friend sent me a text that his mother is in the government hospital, admitted to the ICU because of a high diabetic condition. I decided to pay a visit and offer to help.  I just had the regular “Hey bud! Lemme know if you need anything!” and the “Hey Mate! Don’t worry… all will be fine.” – Dialogues ready in my head.  But when I stepped in there, I just couldn’t leave.

 This was the government hospital of Baroda – the place where people from all over Gujarat come for treatment. There are patients from far of districts and even other states like Rajasthan; who come here with faith to be cured.

My first feeling was optimism.

 We take my friend’s mom to the first ward.  The doctor looks at the swollen foot and says, “Take her to the other department. This is a case of diabetes being severe. Control that first, and then come here.

We rush her to the other ward, and there the authorities tell us “the wound is severed. The swelling is critical. First aid is required. The leg has to be dealt with first, before we look begin with treatment for diabetes.

 My otherwise troublesome friend is rather quiet and I step in, “they have just sent us here. So, it would be really nice if you could confirm where we are to go”. My friend rushes to the other surgical department, to the doctor to bring him to this department so that treatment can begin soon.  The doctor comes, comments “well!! I sent her here because it was your case of diabetes … but if you are not taking her, we will start our procedures. She anyway has to be admitted.”

 

My instinct is disturbed by the lack of coordination.

 

But then I watch as the doctors sending us to the ward; the interns scolding my friend for not getting the syringe in time ( ; ) ), the doctors doing the rounds and I helping in the tests – I feel  like appreciating the work.  I feel overwhelmed thinking of how they are working in this set up; treating the underprivileged, giving their whole to so many patients.

 After spending the weekend there, I return home thinking- yes! The system may be flawed, but it still isn’t all shallow and hollow. There are people working for humanity. There are people doing their job really well. There are people who are passionate and care. I felt good about the treatment meted to my friend’s mother.

 However, my happiness was soon to be tainted.

 The following day, I was discussing the case with a colleague. I had previously done some social work in terms of copy writing, for his Grandfather’s trust. He brought to my notice that since the trust operated close to the Hospital, and since my friend’s mom was in the same hospital, I should refer the case to them at least once before the surgery that was scheduled in the afternoon.

 Well! It made sense. No harm in getting one more perspective on the case. I reached the hospital with agenda but to be greeted by my friend, in tone of happiness. “Apsara!! All is fine now! Mom is being discharged.”

 I am pleasantly surprised and credit all the ‘good news’ to the positive colors that I am wearing : )

 We walk down to pay the bills. On the way, I look at the trust office and suggest having a word them. Since everything was good now, we could just tell the people at the trust that all is fine. My colleague has after all, taken the trouble to connect us.

  However, from that point onwards, everything changed.

 The NGO people meet us with great warmth and positivity and my colleague’s grandfather volunteers with all the energy to look into the subject and to meet the doctors with us. He comes with us.

 He says, “Oh! Let’s meet the doctors if your mother is being discharged.

He walks straight in and asks about details.

 Apparently, the diabetic department that had given us “discharge on request” (despite us never making any such request) and the authority explains that they had to do this because they could not treat my friend’s mother for the ailment. It was the job of another department.

 The intern explains, “The lady was brought in a critical condition. We presumed that the swelling was because of a tissue infection. And the infection would have affected the bone. But; the swelling in the tissues occurred only in 2 – 3 days; which means that the bone could not have been infected by the tissue infection. For a bone to be infected, the condition has to be longer; for instance, in terms of months. So the fact is that the bone was initially infected and this infection spread to the tissues. Our department doesn’t deal with bone problems. The bone infection has to be cured by the orthopedic department and it must because that’s what has transferred contagion to the tissues.”

 So if there is a bone infection, why was she being discharged with a mere mention that there has to be regular dressing of the foot?

 And the answer is: THAT is not our work.

 The doctor explains, “The orthopedic department was not taking her. What can we do about it? So, our work is to deal with tissues. If they don’t admit her for a bone treatment, we have no option but to send her home and that’s what we were doing.

 My colleague’s grandfather, looks at us and says, “Don’t discharge her today. Stay a day. We’ll look into it and talk to the highest authorities.

 He takes us straight to the senior doctors and explains the case.

 Within 10 minutes, we are back in a ward and the 4 doctors are here to see her.

(The reason is the NGO. The NGO is renowned for its good work. So, when they are associated with a case, they manage to get answers.)

 The doctor inspects the foot, confirms that my friend’s mother has to be shifted to the orthopedic department and the procedures begin in few minutes.

 I just stand there spell bound.

 I help in the processes and running about. I help in the shifting.

But deep within, I am terribly disturbed.

 Today, we were on the verge of committing a big mistake. We were taking my friend’s mom home with an almost fatal infection. We were going to quietly bring her for a dressing the foot – every day for perhaps a month- so that her open wound could heal (the incision that was made to inspect and clear the region with the swelling. And for records, the swelling has only partially subsided, and the foot looks far from normal).

 We were going to go home smiling, thinking that she was being discharged because thing were fine. Not knowing, that it was because there was no one to check and sign her papers.

 

 I had wondered last week, why I was there…. At the hospital… when I should actually be studying or working or doing something of personal importance… and yesterday I realized WHY.

It was so that I could open my eyes and see the world, not through tainted glasses.

 We, the educated, were going to fall prey to negligence, then what would be the case of the under privileged? The poor? The uneducated?

 I still feel, the doctors are doing a great job out there. Working hard day in and day out. Treating patients and healing them. But what disturbs me is the thin line between “work” and responsibility.

 There were professional’s out there, who were willing to let a patient suffer because it wasn’t a matter of their department.  Knowing well, that the condition could worsen, that it could lead to a critical amputation or extreme condition of the infection spreading in the entire body…. Knowing… that….. Sending this patient home is not the right thing to do…. They knew it…. But they were still about to go through with it.

 I never really wanted to be a doctor. And now I think, with the idealist that I am, I’d have suffered more if seniors around me were dealing with patients like this.The hope, however, lies in the hands of the young minds that are sincere and the experienced professionals from the field who are role models.

 I can understand the Munna Bhai MBBS dialogue, “Ek doctor ke liye ek mariz ek bimar sharer hai. Bus.” But… at the end of the day, that ill body is a human being.

I can understand them being un-moved by illnesses, by ailments, by these critical conditions. What I cannot understand is how they can be indifferent.

 I cannot understand how we can go to bed knowing that somebody is suffering before our eyes, and that we could do what was required to treat them.  This diabetic department/ surgical department may not be responsible for the procedure of curing……. But they could bring forth the case to the ortho-department.  

 The patient’s relatives on the other hand, suffer not just trauma but also confusion. They have to file papers, transfer papers, sign documents, get medicines, shift the patient themselves form one ward to the other and above all, remaining in the dark about what exactly is happening.  

 

The first thought that came to my mind was that, I am an Indian.

I have lived in this India.

I have walked the dirty streets, I have worked in dingy buildings and I have seen the sarkari daftar (slow working offices). I am still tolerant when it comes to postal, police and railway procedures … but this is a HOSPITAL. And this is a matter of life and death.  We just cannot be tolerant here.

 If you have managed to read this article and reach till this point, then here are two things:

  1. Pray for my friend’s mom : ) She’s still needs are good wishes and still needs to be treated for the bone condition
  2. Don’t be *starry* eyed and believe everything around you. Ask questions, be alert and HELP where you can. Perhaps you could help someone in pain and in need. It needs only an educated mind.        Please share this post.

 For now, I am too un-rich to be able to help this NGO in spreading the light, but when I can, I shall.  Until then, I am going to make posts like this, volunteer with time and spread the word.

 You can do the same and perhaps help someone in need.

 I guess the positive colors did work after all 😉 we met the Hari Om Seva Trust. And God bless them for the wonderful social service they are doing.

 

As Of Today: 26th May 2012

The Trust [Link to their Facebook Pagesharing the name and link on request]still operates in Baroda helping thousands of under privileged patients with subsidized health care medications and the correct information about their ailments.They host camps, educate and do a lot of voluntary service and have been recognized internationally.

My friend’s mom – finally underwent an amputation. The amputation was needed to avoid the infection from spreading. She walks with a Jaipur/false foot now and is fine.

 As for me, I am still *starry eyed*, yet wiser; have many questions [While at it, you can Like the blog page here: Half A Cup Of Tea. Please do!] I am still moved by instances and this is but, one story. If there’s anything you need me to help with, please feel free to get in touch.

 Inspired by cause addressed by Staya Mev Jayte – even if the series is making a lot of money, targeted for TRP, it’s still getting us to talk about subjects. Their success is justified, in the same way, as I bring out this post and justify sharing something like this without facing the wrath of society and “higher authorities”.

 Satya Mev Jayate – it’s the truth after all, why fear?

 

Falling In Love More Than Once – Part 2

The other night a friend seemed pretty quiet. I was sort of making a few announcements and his lack of response made me wonder what could be more important!:P He revealed soon that the woman he had loved had talked to him that day. They had already parted ways sometime back. She was a good friend.

I sympathized and put the phone down. But there. The thought had happened. The Love angle had re-entered and my pledge to decipher facts began all over again.

They weren’t together, but she still had an effect on him.

I wondered, how can people heal in emotion? Is this the greatest pain besides the loss of loved ones to heaven?

I know how it feels to have a heavy heart. Its 12 am, but decide to make my cup of tea. There’s nothing that works better; it’s tea for me.

I log in to start writing this blog post, but peep into my twitter account and find a similar thread of conversation. The topic of love seemed to have been playing on the minds of so many people that day. (For records, the following day “Love” was trending on Twitter and so was “midnightconfessions”)

So there I was, thrown in the middle of conversation. Somehow, I couldn’t hold back. I spoke. I shared. Even part ideas from Falling In Love More than Once – Part 1. That love happens and that love passes.

We soon had 2 more people join, then 4 more and then a few more until almost 15 people were out there trying to Unravel the idea called love.

Sometimes, all the answers are just before our eyes, but they are just so hard to see.

Like my best friend said in a conversation, “Aps, how can we base our actions on feelings? Feelings can so be crushed, ignored and squashed. “ of course this statement is very open to debate; one would probably talk about the extreme feelings of sadness , anger, happiness – things that we can’t really control. But think closely and see; how do we overcome sadness? In that moment, the world seems to stand still; but then…. Things move. You take charge, may be talk to a friend (or may be discuss things in the open like on twitter!) and slowly get back on the ground.

In this case, haven’t we overcome sadness?

You are angry, you speak or you write. You mediate and then relax. haven’t you liberated yourself?

In a similar way, love can be controlled.

Yes – yet again a scandalous thought. But it really isn’t as whimsical as you think or as movies project it to be. After all, who are the people we fall in love with? The people who we meet in life! If love were to be as random, then soul mates would be across seas, never meeting? Or you might be travelling to another city, bump into someone on the street and fall in love.

No that doesn’t happen. But on the contrary, it can.

I am not trying to confuse you here 😀 what I am trying to say, is that, love is in our control to some extent. We can choose who to be in love with and then give our best.

We can choose.

I remember a conversation with a very dear friend, she said, “There really isn’t anything wrong with arranged marriages or love marriages. It’s all about meeting the right person. You can meet him or her, any way, can’t you?” which is quite relevant. Which means, from all the people we know, we chose who we like.

This is more of a subconscious decision, but it happens.

There are various factors that bring people close together: working together, facebook-twitter, school-college, common friends etc. And when tow people give each other company and communicate, they are bound to form an emotional connects. The emotional connect can go on to be a strong friendship or a romance.

The romance can be brief and only in the mind, or it can go on to be something stronger.

It’s all on how we react to our feelings, how we decide to react to our feelings and what we want form life. And when you give somebody a chance, and take things further step by step – love grows and love happens. The stronger the mind-connect happens, the stronger the bond becomes and the relationship happens.  However, there’s s twist in the story here.

Sometimes, the mind creates a stronger bond because you develop feelings for someone. You think of them and you focus your thoughts on them and before you know it – you’re in love. But somehow, the person doesn’t reciprocate. He or she isn’t on your wavelength but you continue to hold on. And that’s where the one-sided love happens.

So whose fault is it? The person falling in love? The person who isn’t in love? Well…. None.

Sometimes, things really aren’t in your hand. You might find someone very attractive (mind, soul, body), but they might not. And at times like this, you have to respect and let go.

(and right now while I talk about this, it’s romantic love – not the many types of loves that I have mentioned in previous articles)

That brings us to the next aspect – what’s attractive?

Again a mind thing and you really might not be able to monitor that. But like you overcome sadness and anger, you can also address your attraction towards someone if the need be. It’s all about what you want and what you want to pursue.

A friend once told me, many years back, “statistics show that romances happen almost all the time even with committed people. It’s because people live with each other day in and day out; it may not be physical, but the mind does play games.”

And from this point onwards, it all varies from person to person. About how you address this “crush”/love. I know a friend who doesn’t hesitate to step into relationships because she believes in her feelings and she believes in living for herself. She understands and accepts that love happens.

But by now, I must have hurt “religious sentiments”J… No, that wasn’t the intention.

I know how it feels to be in love – the stronger one and not mere attraction – because there is a difference. I also do believe that there is that one person who is meant to be with you – to the extent that it’s for each, his own. But at the same time, I call all these forces drawing people closer together as a kind of love – because it isn’t something to be disrespected. It has a part of You.

It may sound unfair to think about yourself, but that’s how we seem to be conditioned. To think of absolute. To think one person. But before anything else, think for yourself.

With each day, you are a growing person.

Don’t compromise for someone who doesn’t really love you or care for you or reciprocate your feelings – but just don’t hesitate  due to fear.

Someone on the previous blog post asked me WHY I try to decipher these paradoxes? Is it because I hurt in love?

I don’t. And I am certainly not hurting now. (This phase is so beautiful, a post shall appear soon on what the rich experiences are) It’s just that I love easily (and here I mean the universal, all kinds of love) and feel emotion for far too many people. I see people hurting for each other and I wish I could ease it. I see feelings grow for each other, and people not being together because “they can’t” – I see them hurt and I feel this urge to try my best to heal.

I want to decipher this idea so that we understand that love happens. In most cases it hurts because we don’t listen to the heart and we bind ourselves with “norms”. In some cases, it’s because the person isn’t meant to be (the wavelength philosophy).

The main core remains that we need to speak up and address things that affect us. Denial is not a solution. Addressing and respecting your feelings is. If you are a committed person, it doesn’t mean that you stray; it means that you talk to your partner and work out what is missing.

You know what it all actually is?

It’s the heart seeking love and that’s why it gives out so much.  It’s the heart seeking attention and that’s why it likes it when someone pays a compliment or says something kind or listens.

For women, then tend to be vulnerable, often picking wrong men who know this secret too well. For men, they become vulnerable when they love a woman too much, and she just doesn’t understand.

If you are committed, probably talking it out will help you revive what’s missing. If it still doesn’t work, then it doesn’t mean you cheat. And it doesn’t even mean you’ll wonder for ever…. It just means you need to take out time and find yourself.

I am still part that person who uses I love yous very easily. My team with the short film club I work for, knows me as someone who’s lavish with I love yous. But after 8 years, I am a little careful now. After hurting for friends and people I have loved, I am far more sensible now. I understand far many things. I am perhaps an adult! But I tell myself I’ll never grow close to people (the general love) and inevitably I do. However, now on this side of these many “investigations”, I know what I want from life.

I know which friendships are romances of the mind, I know which associations are mere manipulations, I know what “playing is”, I know what attraction will pass and I know which friendships will stay. I know it when people say ‘I love you’ and mean it, and I know who from them must stay in my life and who should leave.

In this bid to discover romance, love, feelings, simultaneous affections, crushes, love for friends, love for people, love for enemies, and love for strangers and virtual friendships, I have discovered who I am.

And you should do that too. In this bid to addressing your feelings, discover who you are. And don’t hesitate to love or demean a past you’ve had – because it has a part of you, and that is worth a lot.

Sharing this lovely scene and song from Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara – I love this scene in particular. She goes out and says, “Mujhe Afsos Karna Nahi Aata” – “I don’t know how live with regrets”.

Anything besides these responses, feel free to post on blog comments:). Plus, Is there anything you want me to write on? Let me know @ apsara.iyengar@gmail.com .

Unraveling The Idea Called Love

I want to embrace that feeling,

That brings me near me;

That tells me who this person is;

Or those living within me.

I fear who I may discover,

I fear being bound;

I know not where this may lead,

I stand silent without sound.

I want to go back home,

To sharing joys and sorrows;

I want to lay below the stars,

Not worrying about tomorrow.

I want to live in this moment,

Though knowing it may end;

I don’t want to travel on that road

Because it may end.

If I were another person,

I’d perhaps not move with thought,

I’d let this moment live as it is,

As with destiny it’s brought.

Those who say Love is selfless are wrong. Those who say that love is unconditional are wrong too. Those who say love is about living for someone else aren’t right either. Those who say love is life – are, perhaps right.

Love is just like all of us – it’s human. It has its ugly sides and it has its prettiness. It is just as flawed as perfect; it’s just as imperfect as it is sacred.

Case 1: Love – the other side of the person

In simple words, it’s simply our identity. The way we love defines us. That’s why people in love have different personalities. This one friend, in a relationship since years, has a partner who just wouldn’t let her be out in the “open”. He doesn’t let her create a profile on social networks, he doesn’t like it when she hangs out with girl friends, he doesn’t like her not meeting him and he doesn’t like her working. And he’s pretty candid about it saying, “That’s the way I am”. To his friends, however, he’s kind and supportive and being a renowned television artist, he certainly works with many working women. He has great respect for them all – or so he certainly shows. But back in his home, he wants a wife who doesn’t need anything else besides him.  They do love each other, and I’ll be attending a wedding soon. 

Case 2:  Love – the more than one, simultaneous

In case two, I am out for dinner with a friend. Unfortunately that evening, I don’t have company. It’s a party evening and the whole city is busy! So I ask him to join me and he comes. He says, “I haven’t told anyone I am with you. Please don’t mention it to anyone”. And I just put down my spoon. I ask him “why be clandestine?” and he says “she wouldn’t like it” and I say, “Are you seeing each other?” and he says, “No!! Of course not! We have different lives and different languages. We can’t even think about something like that. Besides, I have a long distance girl friend right; I am committed to her and she knows I am here with you”. I just keep quiet and quickly finish my dinner. Another word would hurt my respect too much. Why am I dining with someone who feels the need to keep our meeting a “secret”? I quietly finish dinner and stand up to leave. He tells me not to be upset. I say it’s fine and that I just hate it when people have dual standards. I say, “if your friend matters so much and she disapproves of u giving me company for one dinner, then why are u here?” he says, “because u are a friend. And she is someone I work with; meeting her every day. I can’t afford to hurt her, and I want to be there for u when u need help.” I say it’s fine and that I wouldn’t bother to call him in future if it’s going to bother his girlfriends.

I go back home and sleep over it. I wake up in the morning with my cup of tea in hand. Half way through, the images flash in my mind. Are there multiple relationships in this friend’s life? I was meeting him after months; years actually. I had known of his long distance girl friend of 4 years but I was unaware of this co-worker’s presence. What is this friendship about?

Case 3: Love – the mistaken belief

On another day, I am talking to stranger on social network. Our conversation drifts to how they are looking for a groom for her. I say, “I have tremendous respect for women who marry young. It’s really hard” One thing leads to another, and she makes a statement that blows me off my feet. She says, “Love is sacrifice. Which is why I can marry someone I don’t even know”

But how can something like love be sacrifice? Of course we do things for people we love and often, we give up on things for them. But calling it “sacrifice” would create a void within, wouldn’t it? I had once read in some work by Paulo Coelho – Sacrifice means you have to go without. That there isn’t enough for everyone, and hence you are giving up on something you desire. Love shouldn’t mean killing your desires. There should be room for two people.

Which is what makes me go to the first lines of the poem above – love is a more personal experience. It’s our frame of mind, it’s our experience and it takes us closer to who we are – within. And it’s often; very different from whom we are to the world. That someone we are with knows or sees a side that others do not.

Which is why love requires courage; you need to have the courage to face yourself. Go deep within and bring out a person – that other person. My sister commented, “Well, in your case then, they are bound to find many personalities” and I stop and think – that’s true. Each frame of mind, each part of life – may be the person deep down doesn’t change – but somewhere we do. We do have multiple personalities – look at yourself early in the morning, look at yourself at night, look at yourself in front of your boss, look at yourself in a temple – aren’t we different people?

It is these different people who are responsible for ripples in relationships. Our different personalities. A partner should understand who – all – you are. And that can be difficult at times – because life isn’t stagnant. We have different phases and different requirements. When I am reigning high in success, I need someone to celebrate with me as well as keep me grounded. When I am low in depression, I need someone to see me through. People have to stay through all these phases to make successful partners. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen. Sometimes pressures, turns in life, priorities, competencies don’t match what’s needed. Relationships end.

Of course, true love should see you through everything. Maybe it isn’t true love – but it still is something – because it has a part of you.

And that brings us to the next point – the misconceptions about love.

  1. Love is always happiness
  1. Love does not cause pain if it’s true
  1. Love is unconditional
  1. Love is freedom of speech and space. Love does not bind.
  1. Love is selfless; happens only once and lives forever

I started this post with the statements – love is like humans. It has its flaws. And the discussion above explains that there is and can be pain because life has its ups and downs. So an “always happiness” situation doesn’t happen. An unconditional love also doesn’t happen – because there are some amounts of expectations always. When you call, you expect and answer; when you love, you expect a response, when you speak, you expect to be heard and you expect them to share, while you listen. It’s when our basic expectations are met – whatever they are – we call it unconditional love. The fact however that is it really isn’t unconditional.

There’s one more kind of love actually. I’d perhaps call that “unconditional” because it’s the one sided love. Where you just have these strong feelings for someone. You don’t expect them to love you back but you have small expectations like “he must at least listen” or “she must at least respect” and then these expectations when not met, turn into hurt and pain and pull at the strings of your heart. I remember feeling like this for a person; when I’d simply keep hurting. For months. Everything else was perfect at that time – professional lives, opportunities, friends- everything. But somewhere, those little expectations would pull at the heart and linger like pain. I never really told him that I had feelings because he dint seem to reciprocate. And then one day, it ended. Like my heart gave up on that “unconditional” feeling. Yes, I don’t want to use the word love here, because love is a very strong word. Unconditional can’t really be that strong, can it?

Love can be unconditional in terms of adversity, yes. That no matter what you stay along. No matter what, you tolerate and you love each one of those personalities within the person you admire, despite everything. Yes, that unconditional “being there” can be there, but something where you don’t need anything in return – well, that doesn’t happen. And more so, it shouldn’t. And hence love isn’t selfless. You want your heart o have peace, you want to see their smiles, you want to embrace, you want to protect you want to share your life. That certainly can’t be selfless.

It’s almost evening. I have been silent all day. And now I have my evening cup of tea in hand. I started writing this blog in the morning and it’s evening now. There are still many thought’s that I need to carry beyond from here. Still many ideas to share.

  • Why intimacy isn’t wrong
  • Why love binds and dead-ends happen
  • The loves that don’t reach closure; barriers
  •  Guys and girls – how their worlds are different and needs and expectations are different. How guys fear to commit and how girls simply hold on to all the love they get – even from different people.
  • Selfishness happens – when you don’t love a person back and still don’t let them go either

There is much more to discuss, and I shall try my best to publish soon.

It’s now become more like a quest now – to unravel truths of life. To unravel ideas in the universe; and perhaps I could keep writing forever and still not have answers. Sometimes I think I want to drive down to some unknown place, sit down and write about all those things that I have discovered. But somehow, I know it won’t work. Because love isn’t perfection – it’s life. It’s human with imperfections, with problems, with pain, with hurt, with longing and still, with power and strength. Love is energy – there’s no need to fear it because it can take you through. Love makes the heart happy – and don’t deprive yourself of it.

YOU Are Your Own Person

YOU are your own person.

We are who we are, and always shall be.

This is something that has always been true, but somehow, we forget and keep wondering and wandering. I thought about this, this morning as I sipped my cup of tea, and observed the young kids in my garden.

My maid has two kids. The boy is 5 the girl in 2 and a half. The boy doesn’t share, throws tantrums; while the little girl is warm and affectionate (though both are adorable!). The other day, his mother had bought him a packet of wafers which he was enjoying completely, by himself. I went down to meet them and began to play with the kids. The little girl suddenly ran in, and looked at her mother and said, “Maaarruuuu?” (timidly asking, “mine?”) with the politest, sweetest, most innocent tone. Her mother replied, after a pause, “nathi. Bhai badhu khai gayo”.(“Nothing. Your brother ate it up)

She just looked down and sulked without saying anything else.

I just can’t get over that “Maaarruu” in the little child tone. I went home and got her a bowl of chips, which she gladly shared with her brother, who had already started throwing tantrums because I dint give him a bowl.

And then I wonder; who teaches these little kids what’s right and what’s not?

Who makes them who they are?

Sometimes I remember learning things like we must always speak the truth. I don’t remember whether it was only my mother who taught me that, but I do remember her telling me never to lie. I remember being hurt when my friends would borrow a pencil, and then lie that they returned it. I remember feeling hurt, not at the loss of the pencil, but the fact that people could lie. As a child, it was hard to believe that something like that can happen. Somehow, I never experienced the fast benefits of lying, and consequently, have never developed the courage to do so. But that apart, I wonder, what makes me this person?

I think sometimes, if had a daughter, would she be like me? Would she become the person of the virtues I teach? Or would she just be someone she is born as?

And then I understand that saying, “Accept people the way they are and that is what love and relationships are about.”

We are, forever, the people who we are.

We develop, we change, we grow …… all within the purview of the person that we already are. We can be trained about right and wrong… Perhaps, a character can be developed. The child can be taught to share. But his basic instinct, I guess, shall remain. The little girl on the other hand, may learn to not share with those who aren’t ready to reciprocate. But by instinct, she might remain compassionate.

And when I understand this…

I suddenly accept all the people in my life the way they are…

I suddenly realise, that I understand them far better than I did. I also realise that some of them may not like it; the feeling of being read….. sometimes when you understand people too much, it can prompt them to move away…. For their “space”. The easier thing is to understand, and accept; and not question.

Yes… I do understand YOU very well… I understand what you think and why you act in a specific manner. I understand you need to be who you are; so that you can be; so that you can find your answers yourself.

I understand who you are.

I understand what friendships are.

I understand your shortcomings.

I understand your personality.

I understand that people are –

They may grow, they may become;

I understand that I must take you as you are.

And I understand…. Because it’s a part and parcel of this hyperactive, super analytical brain 😉

Falling in love more than Once – PART I

scandalous thoughts on how love happens all the time!

I woke up in the morning and found myself thinking about this whole “process” of falling in love.

It really isn’t that difficult, I wondered (having many loves in my, very own, life).  As I sipped Tea, I realised this is a subject I needed to talk about! After all, the tea-time conversations in the past few days were leading up to this one aspect – Love.  A girl-friend talked about ‘Simultaneous’ relationships the other day at tea. She said, “When we have so many friends, so many relatives, and so many people who care and are there for us – then how can we not be in love with more than one person at the same time?

After much thought, I have a few (scandalous) points to present here:

  1. Dukh baant ne ke liye sab hai, khushi baant ne ke liye sirf kuch log
  2. Love comes and goes and happens many times

The literal translation of the first point in Hindi is: there are people to share your sadness, there are only few for happiness. This is contrary to common notion that your true friends are the ones who stand by you when you are low.

Most certainly, I know for a fact, that I would not even EXIST without my fantastic friends who have been by my side through thick-n-thin, good-bad-ugly. But I also know, that there have been times when I have won. Accomplished.  Succeeded. The times when the pain has paid off, when I have felt high and happy. There have been those special people who have celebrated with me. Celebrated my happiness. These are people who don’t just ask for a treat when you get a good exam result or a party on your birthday – these are people who will throw a party for you or treat you to a movie just to celebrate your happiness – your smile.

They are your true friends – the true people who want you to have a good life. They deserve your love.  You don’t lawyas have to express this love that you feel for these ‘special’ people. You don’t need to – they just understand. And they will be there, always.

Generally, the categories overlap. As in – the ones who are there for you when you cry are the ones who are there for you when you celebrate. But sometimes, this doesn’t happen. It is then that people in the second category emerge – The love that happens many times.

This league of friends genuinely feel happy for you and honestly wish to see u smiling. They are the people who you meet later in life. These are not necessarily the people you went to school or college with. They are the people you come across through the journey of life. (A little too philosophical ;)… well… they can be from school or college… sort of like those whom you have lost touch with or those who you connected with much later!)

So, they basically have a different life and a different “Agenda” to fulfil. Something like Kung-Fu panda (If you haven’t watched the films, you should!) – Each has a Destiny to fulfil. So, their ‘Destiny’ is different. Hence, these special people you meet and love may come and then leave; to pursue their own destinies since the purpose of their existence is not the same as yours. Along this path, where we are all set to attain a ‘fulfilment on our personal Agenda’, asking for someone to stay, forever, seems a little unlikely and unfair.

Which is why, you may stand up for them and they may hold your hand and stand by You…. But someday, somewhere, somehow the path will diverge and they shall have to move away. Perhaps with warmth, perhaps with bitterness. But the love does happen and it stays. It remains silent, it probably falls asleep forever – but it exists; it happens and it isn’t dishonest, negative or untrue.

The purists of society will then present their views about the ‘One person’, the ‘soul-mate’, the ‘Alter-ego’ who completes you. That man or woman will join you and complete your life, living with you. There is no debate on the existence of such a human being. If there is someone made for you, he/she shall walk into your life. But, will they just walk in? And everything will be set? Is life really that easy?

Besides, what about life until that person arrives?

What if I am to meet my ‘soul mate’ at 50? Should I not love the universe until then?

This is a choice that we have to make.  We can easily decide to be practical sceptics, and refrain from any emotional attachment. And I am sure, all of us will turn out just fine!

It’s just a matter of choice.

In a situation like this, I’d prefer to love the universe. To love easily. To be hurt, perhaps sometimes – and then heal gradually – because it’s only love that can happen again.

There have been times however, when I said to myself, that I don’t want to be close to anyone. I don’t want to trust – I don’t want to be light, free-spirited and myself.  I have told myself that I want to be an ‘adult’ who is not her true self before the world. But, inevitably, it only becomes harder to not be yourself than to be – it’s harder to stop yourself from being kind, warm and not-restricted. It’s easier to work when you only have your ‘work’ to worry about and not who you are trying to be or hide from the world.

This is why love can happen many times.

The kind of love that doesn’t see foe, friend or gender – I have friends of the opposite gender whom I love very much non-romantically; I have lady-friends who I call my ‘true loves’ because they can always be counted upon and then there are some who I may love and who may not love me back. This class also includes those who have hurt me at some point of time or the other.

Strange as it may sound, somehow, I even feel an attachment for those who haven’t been my strength and support. Well… maybe I shouldn’t call it attachment – but some space in my heart is occupied by those people as well, with whom things haven’t been very ‘pretty’. (This could perhaps be because after a point of time, it’s only the ‘intensity’ of emotion that remains and not really the good or bad? Hmm… too random! Just a thought ;))

So, there are these beautiful and not so beautiful people who enter your life and become a sort-of-love. (We can call them the ‘temporary-loves’ if you want to ;)).

When these relationships end, they may shake us a bit but they leave us with a lot. (again… sounds too philosophical?  But it’s not that complex 😛 ) It is these encounters that help us find ourselves – through tears or through love, thorough pain or through power – people in our lives influence who we are. What I mean here is that, they influence you in a way that you define what your choices are. Irrespective of whether they revoke a positive response or a negative response from you, it is the response that counts. It makes you define yourself.

Now what are these positive and negative responses?

What about the ‘romantic” loves?

Why do romantic loves happen many times? Or do they or do they not?

Can there be simultaneous loves?

Well, if you found this post interesting, stay tuned 🙂

We shall discuss the kinds of love-s and how they happen on another day, very very soon.

For now, I am leaving you with this song that you MUST send to those you love! Go ahead… it’s OKAY to love 🙂

Cheers,

A

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