That Intentional Act

News and social media have been inundated the last couple of weeks with news about two celebrity suicides, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Not to forget Avicii, Verne Troyer, and Robin Williams. You may have been one of the many people who might have reflected with others or yourself about these unfortunate incidents. I did too! While my reflections with others were more about why the particular celebrities might have taken that drastic final step, my own thoughts were poignantly more internal. In the deaths of all above celebrities, depression was a major cause, all having suffered from serious depression for years. What then about seemingly healthy, ordinary people who commit that one intentional act that calls curtains to life itself?

My thoughts took me back to those times when I felt so low, that the unspeakable crossed my mind. Over conversations with some of my close friends, they shared about how they also have experienced those lows when they lose hope and feel like ending it all. As you Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 5.02.50 PMread this, maybe you also in your life have those moments when you felt THAT defeated. So what kept us alive? Me to write this and you to read this?

Talking from my own experiences I would say the first and foremost factor is:
1. Family and friends: The support system you have is a huge factor that keeps hopes alive. They are the first ones to shoot you down when you do something wrong but they are also first in line to pick you up after they are done butchering you. They stand by you like guardian angels and are first to read any signs of depression.
2. A soul twin: Everyone should have that one person that you share everything with. More would be fine too! This is the person who can judge your mood by the way you say ‘hello’ and will be the quickest to ask you ‘what’s wrong?’. I am lucky to have a few of those in my life and you should get one too if you don’t have any. They can be that difference between life and death in those crucial moments. I thank them from my heart, for being with me during some rough times.
3. Purge: Yes, something as simple as that can save your life. Getting rid of unwanted stuff in the house to people in your life is very important. If your house is cluttered and unorganized, you will reflect the same. An airy, open, clean, house transmits healthy thoughts and helps in your overall mental health. Similarly, if you have people in your life that cause you constant pain, its best to keep them at a distance. These are not necessarily bad people but maybe the association is not working and it’s time to purge.
4. Hobby: Remember those silly hobbies you had as a child? I went through the stamps, coins, matchbox (this one was fun because I was actually picking trash off the roads to the shock of my poor mother!) to a more sophisticated shot glasses today. Yes, they were and still are a silly hobby but it’s these infinitesimal acts that make one happy. Keep the child in you alive and look for something extraordinary in the prosaic world around you.
5. Passion: This one is more difficult and could actually be the savior and the cause leading up to that last act. It takes years to figure out what we are passionate about and many never do. Having something to look forward to every day, can make a difference in how we look at life. Likewise, many people feel depressed with the lack of a passion and are known to be the major cause of suicides in youth. What people need to understand here is that it’s okay not to cognize what your passion is; that clarity will come when you are ready. Until then, we can always rely on our hobbies. There are still many matchboxes left to be picked off the roads!

That intentional act carries no specifications and afflicts the rich, poor, famous, infamous, intellectuals and more. It is up to you to protect yourself from feeling so hopeless that it would seem like there was only one path left to travel. Surround yourself with people you love and love you back! Never let a stumble in your life be the end of your journey. And if you ever find you reached the end of the road, call someone or call me! I may not have solutions to your problems but I will be happy to listen 🙂

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Dear Grandma

After a conversation at school, with a five-year-old yesterday, who shared with me how much he loves his grandma I ended up reminiscing about my own rich experiences with my grandmas. Both my grandmas were known to be very strong women, who endured a lot and also came out loved and respected by one and all. They seemed to have touched many lives in some way or the other and I feel lucky to have known them somewhat in my growing up years.

My paternal grandmother passed away when I was 8 years old so I don’t really remember much, except the nostalgic sense of scent that comes with that memory. I  distinctly remember how she smelled and it always brings comforting thoughts to mind. She had this little multi-colored cloth pouch with many pockets that she carried around everywhere in her waistband and I loved playing with it. The pockets hid money, betel leaves, nuts and some kind of tobacco. Those scents intrigued me and I remember asking to chew on the betel leaves and enjoying the strong flavor.  Another recollection I have is of her telling me stories as we sat basking in the sun when I was little or when I lay next to her in the night begging for one more story! I remember the stories so vividly because many of her stories involved ‘poop’ and we all know how that genre of discussions appeals to the young minds! She must’ve been a very creative person because they were all stories she made up on her own. People tell me she was very funny and quick-witted,  but she was gone too soon and I didn’t really get to know her much personally.

My maternal grandmother was the one I have an abundance of memories with. She was what one would call a typical grandma; affectionate, loving, doting, warm and huggable.  The big red bindi on her forehead, nose rings on both sides, flowers in her hair and the colorful soft saris that she always wore, is a visual and tactile memory that is etched in my mind.  We would spend most of our vacation time and many important festivals at Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 10.46.32 AMmy grandparents’ village. I have many memories of her waiting by the door, waiting to greet us with tears of happiness in her eyes, and again tears of sadness, everytime we went back to our homes. There are memories of her yelling to the helpers, to pick the best chickens to chop for lunch (Yeah! gruesome but true), go to the fields and cut some fresh chillies and vegetables, milk some fresh milk for the kids and so on. Her excitement never waned no matter how old she got or how many times we visited. We always got treated like we were special.

I always felt I was her most favorite grandchild but then she was such that probably all her grandkids felt so special. I remember her picking out the best pieces of meat from the curry and very slickly put it on my plate without the others realizing. She would also send out some guys to find some raw mangoes, tamarind, tender coconuts, raw peanuts, sugarcanes, and so on which were all my favorites (yes, I spent a lot of time eating on my vacations!). She made sure I had enough to eat and take back home at the end of the trip. I have memories of her bathing me as a child and scrubbing me with her rough hands, until my skin turned raw and red,  murmuring under her breath that we don’t take care of ourselves properly and how important it is to do that. I know I complained to my mom that she was too rough, but I miss that love with which she took care of me! I miss that special tall shiny brass glass of milk with Ovaltine that I got, topped with puffed rice, or the twenty-five-paisas that she would give me without my mom’s knowledge to go buy a candy from the village shop, or that she let me have the fluffiest pillow and bed to sleep on every night that I was with her in the village or the many times she oiled and braided my hair so tight that it didn’t need rebraiding until my vacation was over!

There were many times in the year that she would visit us and she always walked in armed with food, fruits, and vegetables that she brought for us with lots of love. She would stay with us for a few days and I would get more days of snuggle and cuddle with her. I can still picture her sitting outside in the sun, by the door, waiting for us to come back from school. I would sit with her a few minutes telling her about school before running off to play with my friends. She would often regale us with stories of her childhood, which involved a lot of her taking care of her siblings. I found it shocking that she was one of 25 siblings!

She is no more today as she passed away a few years ago when I was in the USA.  Her absence has left a gaping void that is so real whenever I visit our village on my trips back home. It is not the same anymore. There is no one waiting by the door, there is no hustle-bustle of people in the courtyard because we have arrived… it’s just eerily silent everywhere, reminding me of her absence. I am glad though that my kids got to meet her and know her for a bit. Today, I wish I had spent more time with her, I wish I had taken more pictures with her and documented all her stories. I wish I told her how much she meant to me and how I have silently watched her take care of everyone with so much love and care and absorbed it all. I wish I had listened to more stories about herself instead of just sharing mine. I wish I had listened more than talked. I wish I could just tell her that I am thinking about her and I dearly miss her!

If you are the lucky few to still have your grandparents with you, take some time to listen to them and give them the gift of your attention. Life is short, memories are lasting, so take some time to create that treasure trove of memories.

 

 

Italy – You may have the universe if I can have Italy

I had heard of the quote “Italy is a dream, that keeps returning for the rest of your life.” Only after visiting the country did I actually realize the true meaning. I know I will dream about Italy for the rest of my life because it’s so hard not to fall in love with the lifestyle and the place that makes it who it is.  Italy is all about the Italians, food, wine and history. It is the one place that will make you feel very very young, because everything else is so old in comparison. We covered Rome, Vatican, The Amalfi coast (Capri, Ravello, Positano, Serrano), Florence (Pisa), Naples (Pompeii), Tuscany, Siena, Cesenatico and Venice. Every place was as different as the other in character and spirit. Rome and Vatican was all about history, Amalfi was about the coastline and blue waters, Florence was a world of museums and art, Tuscany was the lush green valleys, Cesenatico was the most happening place and Venice screamed romance!

I will talk about each of these places in detail in my subsequent blogs but here I am just giving readers a preview of Italy in general, a birds eye-view to call it so.

The people: Whatever you have heard about italians, is true! They are very good looking, fit, hot and happy people. I don’t think I saw many obese or bald people, and if I did see, they were probably tourists! The people were also extremely friendly and helpful. They seemed very relaxed and full of life. Most Italians are very well dressed and conscious of how they look. On the flip side, if you anger an Italian; just run for the covers!

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There was this one incident that happened during our trip that gave us a brief intro to that side of an Italian. It was late at night and we were in a taxi, driving back towards our hotel with a very friendly driver, who was giving us a verbal tour of Florence as we drove past the city. Suddenly, another car just cut him off and sped ahead. We were lucky that our driver acted quickly and averted scraping the other car. Nevertheless, our driver was no longer Mr. Congeniality! For the next 5-7 minutes we became part of a high speed car chase, which included an audio litany of the choicest Italian expletives and a visual of other screeching, honking cars as he tried to catch up with the driver who cut him off. Meanwhile, the kids were having a ball watching all this unfold in front of their eyes. Finally he was able to speed up in front of him, parks the car,  engages the brakes, and flies out of the car and walks up to the other drivers’  car. He asks him to roll his window down, gives him a good screaming and bangs on the hood and walks back to our car. He then profusely apologizes to us and asks us to give him less money for the inconvenience he caused us but that no one does that to him or his car! It was the most hilarious experience we had 🙂

Food & Drink: I understood food after going to Italy. I understood freshness. I understood the debate about small portions. I understood the importance of just enjoying what you work for; a good meal! In Italy they add work and life to food and wine, not the other way around. People seem to live to eat and they eat in a very relaxed manner. Drive thru eating must be an alien concept there. Every meal in Italy is a 2 to 3 hour affair. It’s slow and relaxing. It was very hard at first getting used to the slow pace of life in Italy. We would get very impatient when our food didn’t arrive in 15 minutes, but slowly we got the hang of it. We would just sit there sipping wine, eating bread and making conversations. The meals in Italy are recommended to be divided in 4 parts, the appetizers, first course, second course and desserts. The first course is some kind of pasta or pizza and the second part is some kind of meat or seafood.  The hot delicious, freshly made food would then arrive and you savor every bit of the mouth watering dish, as you wash it down with some delicious wine. The sauces they use are freshly made and cooked to perfection; just enough that you can taste every ingredient in it. Most importantly, we learned that an Italian kitchen carries very few spices and they rely mostly on fresh herbs and vegetables to get the flavor into the food. Finally the last part of the meal is the ‘dolci’; the desserts. We ate a lot of tiramisu and gelato, and we have to say that every one of them was delicious and different.

Coming to drinks, Italy is all about wine, wine and more wine. People drink from mid day to the end of the day. Food is paired with wine and wine is paired with food. Don’t be afraid to ask your waitress to suggest a good wine to go with your food. Do ask the price too before she uncorks because a good bottle of wine could cost anywhere from 40 dollars and up. The house wines are good and cheap, so take a chance and ask for a taste.

People don’t drink water in Italy. They just drink wine. So if you want water, you have to buy and you have to specify if you want still or sparkling. Asking for tap water at a restaurant will be frowned upon.

If you are outside, make sure you carry a bottle with you as there are drinking water fountains all over and the water is clean and tastes much better than the pricey bottled water.

Some tips:

  1. Once your food arrives and you try to enhance it with added salt, spice or cheese and it was not offered to you; just know that your chef will be offended.
  2. If it’s a restaurant that makes freshly made pasta, then know that your only options are spaghetti, ravioli, pappardelle, taglierini and rigatoni. If you ask for any other kind like penne, rotini, farfalle, etc then they will either say they don’t understand what you are saying or they will tell you they don’t serve packaged pasta.
  3. Scallops and scalops do not mean the same thing!
  4. Try the mussels in every restaurant. Each has a different flavor and they are all good.
  5. If you don’t understand a dish, google it before you order, so you atleast have an idea what you will be digging into.
  6. Try the Limoncello! It’s a must. Try to get your hands on some limoncello from Capri or Sorrento as they are considered to be the best. Better still, try to get some home-made limoncello for the true, crisp taste of Italy.
  7. If you want something spicy, ask for ‘Arrabiata sauce’. It’s the closest to spice that you will get in italy.

Shopping: Italy is fashion central and we all know that. It is known for its leather goods, glass factories and intricate lace work. Don’t be afraid to bargain, start from the half-way point and work your way up until you both agree on a price. If buying clothes, try them on before you buy them. Italian sizes are much smaller than regular USA sizes, so make sure they fit you right. I loved shopping in Rome. If you walk around the streets and get yourself into those little boutique shops, you might just get lucky and get some good deals. We bought some clothes (mostly good chiffon) in Rome and some leather goods in Florence. Most stores take credit cards and all street vendors take cash, so be prepared. I found some really good clothes at great prices at Balloon (Rome) and Zara (Florence).

The only things that could have made our trip better was the weather. Unfortunately, this was Europe’s worst summer and the heat during the day was unbearable. Some places were very crowded and there are long lines to visit the attractions, so book ahead of time as it will help you skip the lines and the crowd. There are many people trying to take advantage of your tourist status, so be careful and decide where you exactly want to go. Google maps is very helpful. Download the ‘Rick Stevens Europe’ app, his tours are very helpful and easy to listen to. Download it ahead of time and listen to them as you walk around the monuments or museums, it makes it all so much more interesting when you know the story behind what you are looking at.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip and I hope to revisit a few places leisurely and redo them at a slow pace. The quote below, sums it all up!

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STRANGER IN THE MIRROR

 

We passed each other at that twilight hour,

You seemed to know me and so did I,

But I walked away with lowered eyes,

Only to turn back and catch you looking at me,

Joy and beauty in my heart is all I see,

With you I reveal setting myself free,

 

You talk like me

You feel like me

You are my soul

You make me whole

You are that stranger in my mirror

 

Connecting over words and phrases

A fire deep inside that blazes

Separated by a world in between

Yet a love so obscene

Can I not love myself thus?

Cos I am the stranger and the stranger is me

 

Dear Zindagi: It’s not so complicated

This is not another movie review from me. Let’s just call it a review of my thoughts post watching a movie! The movie in focus here is the latest offering from Gowri Shinde; Dear Zindagi. I will not go into much details about the movie but I will sum it up by just saying that it forces you take some time and look at the youth today and somewhere you might end up connecting with your own youth. There are a few moments from the movie that sparked some discussion within me and my family. One of my kids loved the movie and the other didn’t. The spouse would have much preferred a song-dance-fight routine. Nevertheless, the ride back from the movie was not silent. There were questions flying around from everyone, spouse included and any movie that can spark an animated conversation, in my eyes is worth a thousand stars!

Some salient points from the movie that we were teased into discussing were as follows:

  1. Only 2% of the world is good looking and it’s important to have a good looking face to look at when you wake up. A friend and I were discussing the movie and we were arguing if that was a shallow thought. But the truth is that’s how the world functions. Looks are important. If you have the looks, the initial path is made easy, sustainability is completely a different ball game and that is where substance matters. But if you already have the looks, your first impression is a cake walk, the red carpet has already been rolled out. All you have to do is walk without tripping!
  2. If you do not hesitate to go to a doctor for a physical ailment, why hesitate when you have a mental ailment. This is something society has still not come to terms with. How easy it is to tell someone, I am going to see the doctor for a colonoscopy or a pap-smear but how often do we hear someone say, ‘I am going to see a doctor because I have anxiety and depression or anger management’. Nil. It is still considered a taboo topic. The truth is it’s a rough complicated world out there. People live in a nuclear world. We bond with ourselves. We keep others away. We carry many burdens and we have no time to share it with others. Result: Utter chaos in the mind! It needs help and it’s important to recognise that need and handle it accordingly.
  3. The inability to express our true feelings. The lack of expression. I am going cultural here. In the south asian culture, it is not considered prudent to express your feelings. Its an unsaid, untaught rule that you should keep your feelings in. Do not show your anger, even if you are burning inside. Do not laugh loud. It should be subtle and sweet. Do not hit anyone even if they deserved it. Do not…do not…do not lose control. End result: Botoxed faces! You learn not to share your true feelings. You fail to express your love, or anger or disgust in a timely manner until it’s too late and everything explodes!
  4. Why look to one person to fulfil all your needs. Really why? Let’s take our body for example, you eat carrots so you can see better, fibre to poop easy, okra to grow some brains, onions to keep the testosterone up (breath mints a must!), Spinach to keep the blood clean…so on and so forth. So when we use so many different foods to supplement our body needs, why do we look for all qualities in one person. Why burden him or her so much? They are not made to order, they are what they are even before you met them. Don’t try to change that. One person alone cannot be handsome (remember only 2%), be humorous, be sensitive, be courageous, be an intellectual, be polished, be rich and so on. Manage your expectations. The result will be a fairly simplified life.
  5. All tough paths are not always the right paths. Somehow we are trained to think that life is supposed to be difficult. The easy paths are wrong and the difficult ones are right. Not at all. Not everyone wants to swim across the dead sea with salt stinging their bodies to make a point. Some just sit behind their laptop, write a blog (like me!) and feel satisfied they did their piece for the world. I am totally using Dr. Khan’s words here because I can’t say it any better than him. Sometimes it’s not necessary to chose the difficult path, especially when you are not ready. Why set yourself up for failure. Take the easy path, grow, learn, toughen-up and then take the tough path. You will have a better chance at success.

These are some of the churning thoughts that we were discussing. In talking with the kids, I told them an important takeaway for life. The importance of self-awareness and communication. You can easily tell when your head hurts but you need self-awareness to realize your heart hurts. The reasons can be many and not important right now but accepting and respecting those feelings is extremely important. Do not ignore it or push it away. Treat it as you would a physical pain. Once you recognize it, the most important final step is communication. Yes, talk about it! Choose your person but choose someone who will make you feel better not worse. Someone who can tell you there is an issue without judging you. And when you find that person amongst the other 98%, treasure them. They are hard to come by. In fact statistics says that, in a lifetime you will only meet one or two (if you are extremely lucky) such people. Just learn to communicate your thoughts and feelings, clearly and in a timely manner. Not just to that friend but also to the person who is the cause of those feelings. This will help mitigate any future arising issues and nip the molehill from becoming a mountain.

Yes, life is not easy. But there is no need to complicate it any more than it already is. I have a favorite quote, ‘You live life only once and if you live it right, once is more than enough’. So celebrate what you have, exhale, just smile and say hello to life itself.

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Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: A tale of unrequited love

Love. It is the most written about topic. It is what most movies are made about, especially Indian movies. A love that wins and a love that fails. Stories depict characters falling in love, going through hurdles and either surviving to tell the story or not so someone else can tell the story. But that is not the reality that most people experience. Most people fall in love, feel that tug in their heart but don’t confess to it. They love silently, from a distance. Most people hold it in their heart forever and just move on. Then there are another set of people who manage to confess their love but turns out it’s one-sided. The latter two is what really happens in the world out there.

‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ celebrates this one-sided love. The theme of the story is unrequited love and its power. Millions of common people will identify with it because that’s what love is about; broken promises, broken hearts, weaknesses, anger, madness and a lot of solitude. If you ever fell in love, even if it was brief, you are bound to identify with atleast one of the characters in the movie. The nostalgia and melancholy will set in and tug at your own heart until all those memories come flooding back.

The movie shows you the power of loving alone. Shows you that you are not alone as long as you have your love with you and not really needing the person to be with you. If you are looking for a feel good movie, this is not for you. This is a movie that shows what mature love looks like. Karan Johar has come out of his comfort zone of candy floss pink romances and embraced a more realistic greyed aspect of love. He manages not to succumb to dictated plot lines of love that wins. Instead his movie celebrates love failing again and again.

The lead pair, Anushka and Ranbir have done a fabulous job. They have truly matured in their acting. Anushka looks beautiful and Ranbir has managed to give a subdued but powerful performance without the histrionics of Ved in ‘Tamasha’. Aishwarya as usual looks artificial and lacks the depth and passion the other actors are able to portray, especially relevant because her role is all about passion and she fails to scorch the screen. Fawad has a brief role but leaves an impact.

What kills the movie is the pace. Although important, Karan takes a long time to develop the characters and you are left waiting for the story to begin until you realize there is none. You have to view it just as pages from an incomplete diary. The last fifteen minutes of the movie is also a spoiler. Karan could have done without that bit. He stepped away from realism and ended it on a melodramatic twist that was just not needed.

The music and dialogues are definitely a plus. Channa mereya is a personal favorite, along with Bulleya and the Break-up song. Being a lyricist the title song is the best with lyrics so profound that every line speaks volumes. One such being ‘Mujhe aasmati hai teri kami’.

Few other dialogues from the movie worth thinking about are:

Boyfriends na filmon ki tarah hote hai … kuch time pass toh kuch blockbusters

Rishtey ke alava aur bhi rishtey hote hai

Love teda hai … lekin us tede love mein bhi sukoon paana sirf kuch logon ko aata hai

Pyar mein junoon hai par dosti mein sukoon hai

Kisi ne kabhi aapko suddenly chaata mara hai … phaat … us chaante ko ishq kehte hai … aur woh chaanta aur zor se padta hai jab koi teesra aa jaata hai

Main kisi ki zaroorat nahi … khwaish banna chahti hoon

Aasaan hai kya aisi mohabbat karna … jiske badle mohabbat na mile

Mohabbat karna hamare bas mein nahi hai … us mohabbat se door chale jaana … woh hamare bas mein hai

Ek tarfa pyar ki taqat hi kuch aur hoti hai … auron ke rishton ki tarah yeh do logon mein nahi bat’ti … sirf mera haq hai ispe

Finally, the movie leaves you with the question, would you sacrifice the peace of friendship for the madness of love? Love can be tough. Can you handle it?

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My Journey through Life —with love {Part-5: Falling in love}

Coming to the most complex of human relationships which no human has been able to figure out is the complex relationship between a male and a female; a state of being in love.

What makes this relationship complex? Why do people crave for it yet not know how to get it?  These are few questions that come to mind when talking about it. This is one relationship, which is very very malleable, brittle and volatile and has indefinite boundaries. Earlier in previous posts, I wrote about the definition of love and the many ways it could be described. Well, this is that relationship in which you would find all those flavors and that is what makes it so complex.  Every relationship is different and it is hard to put it all in one mould.

Even though this is known to be one of the most complex of relationships, it is also the most coveted. Everyone searches for it, wants to experience it and dreams of finding  love some day. There are many terms associated with this experience, such as true love, soulmates, unconditional love, passion, commitment, and so on.,  Considering it is so difficult to find, when found, it is lost pretty easily too. If just finding a person to love is not difficult enough, staying in love is an equally daunting task. It has been rightly said that, love is not for the faint hearted. Love needs courage.

Many ‘love stories’ end even before it begins because some people lack the courage to step up and tell the other that they love them. The fear of rejection is so much more stronger than the fact that they are in love. Is acceptance so important? What happens if that love is rejected? Do they just move on to another? or do they never love again? Let me share a story about two people.

The story began while they were studying in college. The boy fell in love with the girl the moment he saw her. He stayed far and watched her everyday, fiercely protecting her without her knowledge from any trouble. She was completely oblivious to his existence, let alone his feelings. A couple of years later, some friends hinted to her about his feelings which she immediately disregarded.  Towards the end of their college career, the boy approached the girl and earnestly told her about his feelings. He expressed his wishes to meet her parents and propose in the right manner. She said she was not interested as she did not know him. She politely declined and went away. After college they went their separate ways. Many many years later, she found out that after she rejected his proposal, he went to his parents and said he can never love another again so for their sake he will marry any girl they choose. And he did. When asked about it he apparently said, “Just because she said no, I can’t stop loving her. I loved her everyday for four years. My love was not conditional to her acceptance.”

Is this true love? Or is it love only when both are completely invested in it?

Lets move on to the scenario where the boy and girl are equally interested and find in each other what they had been looking for. Once the getting to know you phase is over, they start being themselves. This is the crucial phase because now they are revealing their true personalities. The lucky few seal their love in this stage because they realize that they are definitely meant for each other. For the rest, this is the beginning of a long agonizing period of arguments, distrust, setting rules and conditions, which ultimately destroys it completely. This tornado leaves behind broken hearts, wounded egos and unforgettable experiences. They try hard to mend it and the harder they try, the deeper the cracks run. Some do manage to survive, they pick up the pieces and set it straight again. For many its a fight within themselves to accept the failure.

How does it begin to go wrong?

As one gets closer in a relationship the demands increase, they want a lot of attention, they become very possessive and they try to control what the other person does, they even go as far as telling the other person what they should like or dislike, it other words some relationships turn slowly into a low level dictatorship. All this is suffocating and they start throwing temper tantrums. This is a person who had silently tried to fight being changed and then suddenly changes so much that he/she becomes unrecognizable to his or her own self.

They revolt. Then what?

The people who swear by the word freedom, and say that they would give their partners a lot of respect and freedom are the ones who curtail and suffocate the other. They become too demanding and somewhere here they have crossed the line and have moved over from love to devotion. They start demanding devotion. Many people start confusing extreme love to possessiveness. Possessiveness is love with lots of restrictions and demands. It is the need to know every minute what that person is up to. A need to be told everything that goes on in their life; it is insecurities at its worst. It is not giving the person their freedom or respect. It is expecting the person to be at their beck and call. Possessiveness is letting the other person think for you and take that as the guidelines for you to run your life by. Giving into possessiveness is killing ones self-respect and identity. These relationships can’t last long.

Love whose foundation is based on pity, sacrifice, materialistic matters and possessiveness will crumble. At some point it breaks free from all the restraints.

Then what is love?

So long we just spoke about the darker side of love but there is the rosy side too. Love that has been made immortal in countless movies, ballads or a dashing couple from Mills & Boon. It can be rewarding and fulfilling. It can be best described as the next stage of a very good friendship. When people take a step further from being very good friends it turns into love. When there is a physical aspect involved in friendship it becomes love. When you feel happiness is in just being with the person, its love. When you feel happy just because the other is happy then that’s love. When you can feel what the other person is feeling and you can understand them completely then that is love. When in love you are able to look beyond their mistakes and give them a second chance. You are able to live in today, for today and not think of tomorrow.  Everything around you looks beautiful, and you feel an inner peace inside you that leaves you smiling even when you are alone, when you feel very confident about yourself, when that special someone adds to your aura, when that person makes you a better person and becomes an important part of your life, when you want to share every joy every sorrow, every success every failure with that person, when you want to involve that person in your future, when you feel that this is the person you want to grow old with then that is LOVE. Love is being secure in your surroundings. Love is being sure of what you are and about your partner. Love just brings out the best in you and makes you a better person.

In my first post, I shared the definition of love which said that love is ‘something that is described as a liking for pleasure without compensation, gratuitously’ which means that you just give in love  and do not expect anything in return.  Yet we say that love satisfies some need in the other person. Two conflicting statements, but what it really means is that the need that is being satisfied is a subconscious need. You don’t go around looking for someone to satisfy you, be it, intellectually, physically, mentally, emotionally, artistically…. But when that happens then you do start liking that person because that person is making you happy and when you ask yourself why that person is making you happy the answer usually lies within you. There is something that you lacked, was a priority and defines who you are. That need is being fulfilled by this love.  That is your identity. That should give you an insight as to what you are by just looking at what is important to you.

One of my first experiences I remember about the male-female relationship was when I was still in my high school. I had this neighbor who apparently liked me very much and so to prove his point he just went ahead and put down his feelings for me in blood on paper and sent it to me! I was aghast that someone would hurt themselves just to make a point. I didn’t like him because my only thinking was that how can a person be capable of respecting somebody when you can’t respect yourself. That was my first realization about how people go out of their way to make a point and what infatuation is all about.

Unfortunately incidents like these became the main reason that I was misled on the meaning of love and a good relationship with anyone. I never believed in love and didn’t trust anyone too. I figured there is nothing like love and what the other person felt was plain attraction and infatuation. Most of the cases that was true too but even if there was a chance of one developing into a true love, I never gave it a chance and never let myself be drawn into it.

I realized that for some people devotion is an extension of love and for some love is an extension of friendship. Those people who experienced love and devotion had a much more romantic and a more theatrical relationship with lots of highs and lows, thrills and extreme feelings, but for those who found love as an extension to their long friendship, it was very quiet, romantic, calm, peaceful, something which was very much present but not something you spoke about everyday but knowing that it was there and just feeling it.

If I had loved what would I look for?

If I were honest with myself, I would say that I would want someone to love me with the same intensity that I would love him. I don’t believe in the single track-martyr kind of love. I need to be repaid for giving out my love. I need to know that my love is being acknowledged and is being reciprocated. Without that I am sure I wouldn’t last long. I feel like I have so much love, which is so intense that, I worry that I could suffocate someone with my love if I let go completely. I would definitely require security, affection, friendship and some amount of devotion too from him. I wouldn’t require him to be perfect in everyway but I would respect him for knowing his shortcomings. Also, somebody who can be a constructive critic and make me a better person. He would have to be someone I could respect for the person he is. Likewise, I would want him to respect me and also the people around him. Someone who can keep me safe and someone who can bring out the best in me.

So I had to get my experiences about love from various books and the people around me who fell in love. Some succeeded, many failed. Each one though had a unique story of its own. I look back at those years when I had a chance at love and where I stand today in my present and realize I did good. I feel complete, I feel loved and I have people around me to share my completeness with.

More about it in my next post!

To sum it all up:

  1. “What’s the difference?” I asked him. “Between the love of your life, and your soulmate?” “One is a choice, and one is not.” ― Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein
  2. “There is no such thing as a soulmate…and who would want there to be? I don’t want half of a shared soul. I want my own damn soul.” Ely in Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
  3. “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” ― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
  4. “When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.” ― Jess C. Scott, The Intern
  5. “I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.” ― Shana Abe