Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Of exhausting draining BAD days ...

I keep wondering .. is it a bad thing to let friends know when you've had a terrible day at work?

You know .. when someone asks you .. "how was the day", im never too sure if they're expecting an honest answer such as "my day was complete shit and left me with enough energy to do just about NOTHING when i got home" or if you're expected to answer it with the casual banter that is expected "gr8 day .. how was urs?" ..

And what about friends? The ppl we're supp to be able to tell everything? Is it ok to load them with piles of "bad day" stories if you know they have a busy enough life of their own ... i guess .. over time it is ... somehow the filtering with friends works in the strangest ways ... turns out .. those people who may or may not be around on ur most smiling days but are always there on ur bad days .. to hear you and take it all in with a smile .. are the ones who stick it in the long run :-) ... the wonderful thing i realized is .. unless they can make u feel like ur of some use in their routinely miserable lives as well, the friendship isnt quite complete! :-)

A very dear friend's been going through a rough time lately ... and he keeps apologizing about talking about it ... yeah yeah we all have troubles ..and sometimes some of us are more laden with woes than others ... so when fate has it that 2 friends go through shit all at once ... it becomes easy to go on a guilt trip and feel sorry about involving someone else in ur own troubles ... truth is (as ive told him time and again) being a part of someone else's life and problems is more fulfilling than being around every sat night to party with them .. u know what i mean? Being able to make him feel better (or a little less like shit) in his bad times is such a good way to feel useful .. its such a blessing to have people who count on you .. coz it makes you feel like a good friend ... who said being a good friend is all about being selfless :-) As Joey would say .. there are no selfless good deeds ... one might argue that its probably a very cynical way to look at relationships, but to a large extent i derive my worth and fulfillment in my best relationships when im made a part of the problem and asked to be a friend through the bad times :-) more so than the good ones ...

So to all those friends who've hear me go .. "it was a TERRIBLE day .. im exhausted .. drained and feel like killing someone"and have still smiled and said "go on .. tell me more" .. AND to all those friends who've gone .. "Life sucks .. cud it get any worse" and given me the chance to go "go on .. im listening" .. u make friendship the wonderful dependable thing that it is :-) thanks for being there!!! :D


This one's from Adrian as well. He sent it to a couple we know at work when they got married last year. So much of it is new and insightful. So much of it u already know - but see in a new light. For those people who do believe that profundity can be simple and isnt a drain on the brain - read on!!! Ill post my comments on this post tomorrow ( so much to say and so little time!!! )

Advice for the married, planning to get married, single but not available, single and available, no love life...
Eduardo Calasanz was a student at the Ateneo Manila University (NB: my university!!!), Philippines, where he had Father Ferriols as professor. Father Ferriols, at that time, was the Philosophy department head. Currently he still teaches Philosophy for graduating college students in Ateneo.
Father Ferriols has been very popular for his mind opening and enriching classes but was also notorious for the grades he gives. Still people took his classes for the learning and deep insight they take home with them every day (if only they could do something about the grades...)
Anyway, come grade giving time, (Ateneo has letter grading systems, the highest being an A, lowest at D, with F for flunk), Fr Ferriols had this long discussion with the registrar people because he wanted to give Calasanz an A+. Either that or he doesn't teach at all...Calasanz got his A+. Read the paper below to find out why.
By Eduardo Jose E. Calasanz
I have never met a man who didn't want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn't fear marriage. Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.
When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at
best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate.
And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other's presence.They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other's foibles. It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible. How, I asked myself, can they have survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the other's
habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?
The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed. It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset. Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages.
Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side.
This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.
The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other's laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality.
This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility. One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each other's company over the long term. If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new.
Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together. After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing
obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can't accept, you will inevitably come to grief. Look at the way she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you
will not respect each other.
Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and
practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance doesn't become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.
There are many other keys, but you must find them byyourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the
heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.
So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word.There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes
spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe.
Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come.
If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed. We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative
transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the
bitter marriages that I feared when I was younger.
It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when
it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter.
But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow
accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presence, two separate consciousnesses come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness, not a
closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains.
But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex.
So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation. If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of
a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom...endlessly

Comments from a very inspired me - tomorrow!! Until then have a wonderful day / evening/ night depending on where you live :-)

Monday, January 29, 2007


I dont subscribe entirely to the view of the author ... Neil Gaiman .. yet find parts of this very insightful ... esp the parts about lowering ur defenses for someone and giving them the power to hurt you .. but read on .. this is immensely enjoyable (Another one from Adrian in response to Vidya's Dorothy Parker note)
"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostage. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination.......Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love"

So whats Babel all about?

Last week was rich with movies of all sorts ..

Blood Diamond .. a poignant tale of human victory in the midst of greed fuelling the illegal diamond trade across the world .. bringing to us some amazing actors and more than anything else the stark realization that our own lives are so far moved from heartbreaking realities such as the everyday deaths of millions that are so mundane now, they almost go unnoticed.

Salaam e Ishq ... a pointless tale of human beings trying to inflict misery upon an unsuspecting audience in the name of love and entertainment ... bringing to us some otherwise amazing actors reduced to their worst and most irritating selves (Priyanka - I really loved u in Bluffmaster .. what could anyone possibly have paid you to ham the way you did?, Vidya Balan - i still think ur one of the best things to happen to Indian cinema, Salman - need i even say anything? Govinda - Im sorry i always judged u.. u almost made this movie worth watching, Unknown brit girl who plays Govindas love interest - wow!!! but why this movie???, Isha and Sohail - im sorry u were deemed unworthy of a full story track and pushed out midway thru the movie, John Abraham - yeah u still look great but how long will that suffice in the wake of mediocre acting skills? Juhi - Ur pretty but why put up with a shithead who thot of cheating on you? Anil Kapoor - which company pays you for sitting at work all day and staring at the clock? Akshaye Khanna - ick ugh yuck!! What happened to the Sid from DCH i almost fell in love with? Random girl who played his love interest - ummmm, why wud u wanna be with him at all? No man is always better than a loser like Shiven or a coward like the Canadian guy)

Sorry - had to do the monologue with the actors - venting is established as being good for the soul - anyway .. had to walk out of the movie before it ended .. after everyone made a mockery out of the sentiment that is love and carried it on for an unbearable 4.5 hours .. the parathas at the desi joint under the cinema hall did make most of it worthwhile .. but net of it - SEI sucks like few other Bollywood flicks have managed to ... DO NOT SEE IT!!!

And now coming to the one superlatively awesome movie that still keeps my faith in cinema strong :-) Babel - a 3 fiery stories running in parallel and converging in a way that only the very attuned Adrian (co cmker and good friend on Olay) could articulate beautifully and clearly ... Before that - u need to know the legend of Babel and what its all about ..

The legend of Babel cites (and forgive the shoddy rendition of the lyrical Biblical story) that mankind once decided to climb to heaven by building a tower that would bridge the chasm between the earth and the sky ... God in his magnificient kingdom thought this would completely destroy the status quo of his superiority to man and hence invented language ... every man who was building the tower was given a different one making it impossible for communication to occur between the tower builders ... since no man could understand what any other was saying .. the tower couldnt ever be finished .. and all was well in heaven :-)

Babel after a cursory viewing does have to do with language .. set in 3 different time zones of the world each 6 hours apart, it has parallel tracks running through Mexico, Morroco and Japan. Following from this are the 3 different languages prevalant in the movie - Spanish, Arabic and Japanese with smatterings of English thrown in where required.

But the true insight of the story lies a little deeper within ... Babel symbolizes and laments the breakdown of communication in its most basic form ... nothing to do with the semantics of language .. simply to do with the loss of communication .. at various levels .. a broken marriage between Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt with the inability to talk about their childs death, her wounded isolation in Tazzarine owing to a failure of 2 governments to communicate, a 14 year old deaf mute girl driven to sexually disturbing behaviour owing to her inability to communicate with the 'normal' world, the inability of a nanny to communicate with the parents of the children in her care who shes on the brink of losing...

At the risk of being a tad philosophical (yeah i dont care much for judgement anymore) may i just say that its ironic that communication - the very thing that comes most naturally to most human beings is the very thing which when it fails can cause most rifts to appear and deepen over time ... in relationships between nations, friends and lovers alike .. nothing to capture this better than a well made movie :-)

Do catch it if u havent yet .. and i reiterate .. avoid Salaam e Ishq unless someones paying you to watch it ..

And u call me cynical?

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
And I am Marie of Roumania.

- Dorothy Parker
(Thanks to the lovely Vidya Ramachandran who sametimed this to me in the afty)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Its all contextual .. or IS IT?

How important is a common context to the quality our friendships with the people around us? I ask the question as I notice how increasingly my conversations with distant friends either reach stalling halts for lack of common topics to discuss .. or turn back to the common context we once shared for saving grace. And funnily enough people I share little with in terms of POV or attitude, I have little trouble talking to for extended periods of time … simply because we have common context to fall back on. Procterites are infamous for their irritating ability to break into acronym talk when put together in a room. Is it cause the company culture binds us all together so strongly (!??!) or because all of us wonderfully creative inspired souls have little to be creative or inspired about once we step outside the walls of the P&G office? Spouses and families of procterites will tell you about instances where they almost killed the errant procterite member (or themselves) for indulging in excessive TLAism (TLA – Three Letter Acronym). There has to be a good reason this happens right? There has to be a wonderful explanation somewhere that acquits these brilliant people from the crime they’re being accused of right? And an explanation to describe what drives distant people apart for real? Is context the answer to all this?

There are the rare friends we make regardless of context of course … like when Kunal walked into my hostel room on our first Saturday in IIMB and struck up a conversation about nothing in particular … we drifted from talk of his Sudipta to my Sharmili .. my mom and his mom .. and his grand mom … about campus life and our ambitions .. about his Bombay and my Bombay (both very different Bombays mind you!) and we talked on until the first rays of the sun shone into my room and shocked us both out of our conversational inertia and we decided to call it a night!!! And became incredibly good friends thereon! No context or common past to hold us together … no common interests … just 2 people talking and listening … rare .. but possible! Similar stories do exist … Kavita (what a weird connection to have with someone I only met thrice!), Kinky (dude .. how did it start???), Sai (bless his wonderful soul for just being there) and so many more!!!

But most friends are created of context aren’t they … like Sharmili who ended up traveling with me to Borivali every evening of March 2002 because a common friend was on leave preparing for the GRE… and thus we were brought together of sheer habit … this isn’t to undermine in any way how wonderful Shamu is .. or how well she ‘gets’ people .. and a very difficult me in particular … but it was really just our circumstances and the 8.10 local that paved the way for the amazing no bounds friendship we share today … similar stories can be told of Sohit (elections at IIMB .. gah!), Nayak (moving to Singapore together), Aparna (living together) … and so many more!!!

The big ‘HOWEVER’ I’ve concluded over time (and some amazing friends) is that context only matters to how relationships start … it never bothers how they survive … all that matters is how relationships survive time and disagreements … the ones that go through more time (and expectedly more disagreements) thrive and flourish the best I guess :) Context has so little to do with the quality of any of my most cherished relationships … faith and support (yeah yeah did I really expect anything else!) respect and tolerance have a much much larger role to play … and of course that thing we choose not to not mention too often cause we’re all mature adults who abhor shmuck – LOVE!!!

Which leaves the procterites guilty as charged … but id be lying if I said I didn’t see THAT one coming!! :D

Coming up next .. useless post number 8 ... resolutions for 2007 ..