Don’t fall in love with a guy who kisses you on the forehead. Do not fall in love with a guy who inspires you to be more than who you are.
Who tells you on your face that you are wrong but still continues to love you. Don’t fall in love with a guy who will answer your call even at 12 in the night and make sure that you are okay.
Do not fall in love with a guy who simply accepts your life, friends and friendships and never questions you on them. Do not fall in love with a guy who can be Romeo and come down just to see you and nothing else. Do not fall in love with a guy with whom you CAN have long conversations – that are non romantic. Do not fall in love with a guy who listens and who shares his dreams with you and seeks your opinion on matters that concern him. Do not fall in love with a guy who is transparent.
Don’t even think of falling in love with a guy who lets you hold his hand and also holds yours and walks forward, as he realizes his and you realize your dreams…. because when you fall in love with a man of such character, irrespective of whether he stays in love with you or not, irrespective of whether life takes you apart or not, you will never come back and be the same. You will struggle to be completely and entirely independent because his love will have changed you. Either you keep him forever, or do not fall in love with such a man at all.
As I stepped out of office and looked at my watch, I realized it was just 6 p.m. Yes, when you run your own work space as well as struggle to keep up with stage, rehearsals and socializing, you realize that 6 p.m. is relatively early.
But as I walked down from my first floor office, I realized that the greatest problem is not that there is “no time” but that I barely – care to – take out that time that I so dearly and desperately desire.
For instance, when was the last time I blogged? I wondered as I got into my car and began to drive. For months now, it had nagged me. While I wrote for my clients, plays for my theatre group and letters to my associates, I hadn’t written a word on Half a Cup of Tea. It especially hit me when I walked out of a recent meeting where this client needed voice-overs and scripts. As I discussed various samples of my writing and walked out, I realized that I hadn’t even mentioned my blog.
I remembered a conversation with my mother as a child, when I used to write my personal Diary very regularly. She had said, “You write so much now, because you have time. As you grow up, you can’t expect to write down your entire life. You’ll lose touch with this exercise for sure.”
I don’t know in what context that came, but I remember it hit me then and I sort of made a secret resolve that no matter what di, I’ll keep in touch with you! (Di being my Diary) And fast – forward now, 15 years ahead, and my mom’s prediction was coming true.
My first resort in a situation like this, when I am almost low is to call my friends. And after a series of them not being free or answering the phone (like it always happens), I end up calling my best one again. “I am coming to pick you up”, I say. “What? But I am just getting out from office. On the way home!”
“Stay where you ARE!” I order, even as I wonder where that authority comes from.
“Alright, alright!” he says, puzzled at my urgency.
There was urgency. There are sometimes those moments of realization that are best not ignored. Sometimes your heart is trying to tell you something and the clutter of ‘everything else’ hides it away. An honest confession would be that I have been ignoring that voice for very long; seeking that inspiration that is so hard to find. In the search to be inspired ‘that much’ again, I was starting to quieten the voice inside. And hence, the lesser number of blogs, the lesser connection with self.
By the time I reached my friend, I had almost screamed at a guy driving on the wrong side while almost knocking down a woman who was trying to go straight on a U-Turn. I could hear her sreaming on the outside of the window before driving away. The signal turned green.
“What’s the matter he said”, as he got into the car, placing his luggage in the back seat. This friend carries a guitar to office, so he can strum it when he has a moment and steal a second from life.
“I haven’t written for ages,” I begin to grumble. “I am feeling sad that I haven’t spent as much time doing things I love. I mean, I love my business and I love theatre, but still. I feel like there is that extra spark I am lacking. Some vibe. Some inspiration. Something.”
“Hmm.” He said.
“And it’s making me sad. I don’t see inspiration anymore. The way I looked at the world has changed. I feel like I am living a mundane life of a non – working, married woman form the 80s, who spends all her time in family duties. The only difference is, I don’t spend all my time in family duties and I am not married either.”
“Who stops you from what you are doing?” he asks.
“My self.” I reply. “I stop myself.”
And that’s another box in my face. It is Us against Us.
Sometimes I wish I could just go back to school and re-live the youthful aspirations. Where do those aspirations disappear after a time? Or is it just me?
“Can you stop beating yourself so much?” he asked. Men, do have a very short span of attention when it comes to grumbling women after all. I check myself.
“Apsara, everyone grows up.” He says. “We have no responsibilities as children. So, we are bound to have uninhibited aspirations. But as we grow up, we’re bound to have more to do, more to work on, more responsibilities. SO, it’s just fine. Don’t stress so much!”
I am driving silently when I recollect a recent session at the TED talks, that I had had the opportunity to host. Vikram Sridhar, a professional storyteller had said, “ Once upon a time, someone told us stories they want to hear. Everything that you know today Is a story someone told you.” The story about the rabbit and the tortoise, the story of the cunning jackal, the story of the crow and the pot of water….. to story of Prince – and – princess, India and Pakistan, Diwali and Holi, Marriage and Relationships. Everything that we have been told is a story someone wanted to pass on.
And as he closed the session he said, “So please, tell the stories that the future will carry and the stories that will make the world a better place.”
We write the stories that we want to tell the future.
While there are many things that aren’t immediately in our control – like falling in love, perpetual success, immediate fortunes and untroubled relationships; there are some things that are in our control – observing beauty around us, perpetual attempts to rise, perseverance to build and sincerity towards the people in our lives. And most importantly, a little bit of self love.
May be, a little more of self love than we think is required.
And just as the thought crossed my mind, I noticed the winds blowing fast and smooth. The trees were waving and the farms were swaying. I rolled down the glasses and the wind touched us in the car. And just as I turned I noticed a tree on the right a rock – seat right below it, just as though it were out of a children’s story book.
“Sach!” I said. “Check that out! Let’s go.”
I stopped the car and both of us hopped out like little teenagers. The wind was blowing. The evening was just setting in. The air had a fragrance which you just couldn’t miss. The magnificence engulfed.
“Wait” he said, “I have something that will make this moment awesome.” He pulled out the guitar.
And there in the middle of nowhere, an aimless drive on a rare early day from work, had led us to this “Story Tree”. We rushed over to the stones under the tree to see who could get there first.
He won of course, the athlete in him.
And within seconds, he was playing music and it was like nature was singing the chorus. I can’t say definitely what song he played or what lyrics he sang. For me… The tree, the winds, the music … just became a chance romance with the universe. I walked straight past the tree, straight into the fields. The grass touched my feet. I walked bare foot. And as I turned around, I saw one of the most beautiful instances ever.
The moon was up, the sun was setting. A group of young boys were making their ‘play list’ request.
They watched in awe as my friend played the guitar. They talked cheerfully about their village, their school and the games they played.
And I told myself then, if this could not inspire me to write, what could?
As the kids carried on with their plan to go ‘cycling’, my friend put down the guitar, content that something so beautiful and meaningful had been experienced.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! For kidnapping me and bringing me here Aps.” He said. “Let me get you Tea. That’s the only thing left to make this evening perfect.” As he moved ahead to bring us the cutting – chai, I pulled out my diary and began to write. I began to write, once again.
And in the end, Amen to Us winning against Us, always.
p.s. Please go out and do something you have been longing to do for ages. I am telling you, today is the best day to do it 😉
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.
Love is always happiness
Love does not cause pain if it’s true
Love is unconditional
Love is freedom of speech and space. Love does not bind.
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.