HEART LANGUAGE OR THE LANGUAGE OF THE TONGUE?

“How are your eyes, Amma?”, I asked over the phone.

“No Amma, we are not eating much rice these days. We have limited our diet due to health issues”, replied my mother-in-law.

It wasn’t that she had not understood my question. I realised that she had merely misheard my question. I repeated the query, this time with child-like clarity to which she replied appropriately and we continued the rest of our conversation heartily.

Its a joy to converse with my parents-in-law everyday though miles separate us and our respective mother tongues seem to pose barriers. But, we do not allow linguistic barriers to obstruct the unalloyed outflow of love that emanates from the deep recesses of our hearts.

On one of my visits, my mother-in-law and I got into packing goodies for relatives. At a particular point, forgetting that I am still an infant in Telugu, she gave me a series of instructions in Telugu. I kept staring at her, unable to decipher a word and then went on to do the things exactly the way I had been doing before. She stopped me unapprovingly and said, “Oho…no, not like that.” I looked at her blankly and then we both burst out into peals of laughter.

No doubt common spoken language helps articulate the message of the mind, but understanding the human heart resonates beyond the horizons of spoken and written language.

I enjoy my father-in-law’s hearty laughter each time I ask him, “How are you, Daddy?” The other day, I asked as usual. He replied in his usual style, “We are well, Amma. God has given us enough strength to go about our daily activities. That is enough for us.” “No, Daddy you are not well. What happened?”, I asked with concern. He seemed very surprised and asked, “How did you know?”, as he went on to admit that he was indeed unwell, having been out the whole day in the scorching summer sun the previous day.

The linguistic diversity across the length and breadth of India is one of its unexplainable precious assets that binds hearts and encapsulates the mind. Having had the exposure to people of many Indian languages, I didn’t think interacting with my South Indian in-laws would pose a problem for the East Indian me. We enjoy a bond of love that expands way beyond our linguistic limitations.

On one occasion, my mother-in-law said, “Please learn Telugu. I want to talk a lot with you.” “You can talk Amma, I can understand koncham koncham (little little),” I replied. She laughed and shared a similar experience from her job days when a team of Hindi-speaking North Indian supervisors had visited her workplace and started conversing in Hindi and she had replied in English, “I know Hindi thoda thoda (little little).”

I can go on sharing several such anecdotes as a testament of our bond of love, but I would limit myself to just these for now as I attest the fact that the language of the heart is nothing but the language of love, which when built upon creates unshakeable towers of relationships, but, which when nibbled at, gradually causes relationships to dissipate into thin air.

POWER OF REASONING SHOULD BE SECONDARY

We are all taught from our childhood to think logically. We have the IQ that is measured on basis of our logical reasoning ability. Logic is needed to win the arguments; reasoning is needed to justify our logic. Kids who are good with logic and reasoning often get into the best schools and eventually earn the best salary. Lawyers who can twist the logic cleverly and reason out of every situation are often the most successful ones.

So, logic and reasoning are important for good survival on this planet. Without such ability, a person would really struggle. Just look at how autistic kids struggle in the real world because their ability to reason is really low. Even though they are so full of love and dedication for everything around them, they aren’t enough for the world.

Our education system from ages has given too much importance to logic and reasoning just because we have always focused on earning more money, getting more knowledge, have the best IQ. Our ability to reason is our intelligence. And this intelligence many times becomes our own enemy.

How does that happen?

Have you ever gone through anxiety, depression, guilt, and anger? Well, I am sure all of us have. What triggered that state of mind? Mostly, it is due to something that didn’t happen the way you wanted it to happen. Either it was your own behavior that did not match your expectation or somebody else’s close to you. Or it could also be something happening in the world that is not happening the way you want it to. Your plans, your logic, and your reasons became so important that you forgot that this world is not supposed to work as per your wishes and you suffered terribly because your own intelligence turned against you.

The various civil wars, communal riots, world wars have happened because a few people in the world couldn’t control their anger and wanted this world to behave exactly the way they wanted. Why? Because for them their reason and logic were above all. Just look at the current Ukraine war, it wrenches my heart to see how people are dying and losing their homes but some powerful people in the world have put their reason so high that basic empathy cannot touch their hearts anymore.

A few months back, I did something similar. One fine day, I realized that nothing in my life is going as per my plans and wishes. In my head, the reason behind the havoc in my life was my husband. This reason and my anger became so strong that I started to have anxiety attacks and even worse I started dumping my anxiety on my husband. Every single day was a struggle because we would never stop fighting. I went into a deep depression and came out realizing that my logic and reasoning for blaming him was so very flawed. The same reasoning had blinded me in so many ways.

Logic and reasoning are important to earn money, respect, and have a decent life on this planet. But reasoning should never over-power our ability to empathize and love each other. Logic and reasoning should always be secondary, what should rule the world is empathy and love. If the world starts transforming in this direction, we would have no wars and conflicts in the world.

It baffles me how our logic can be so flawed and how our reason can overpower to support that logic to an extent that we can think of killing people based on community, caste, religion, or gender. This is what some powerful leaders of the world are doing now, they have flawed logic but such a powerful reason to support that logic. And they are backed by military power and millions of dollars.

I wish to transform the world in a way that new leaders lead by the power of love and empathy instead of the power of logic and reason. But alas, that’s just my wish, not something that will ever materialize.

BROKEN BUT BEAUTIFUL

I was hurt, as he turned out to be a flirt,
I was in pain, as his behaviour was insane.
All my requests and petitions to him
Were nothing but all in vain.

I was in utter loneliness,
But he didn’t care to see my brokenness.
I was crying, but no-one heard me
Or could understand my the sign.
I was dumped, but he never cared,
I touched the rock bottom, the seabed.

I decided to finish my life,
To break free from all my strife.
Why to live when there’s nothing left?’
I thought as I planned my own fate.

But then, my inner human arose
From the depth of my soul,
It showed me the beauty of a Diamond
That lays deep down in the ugly mines of coal.

The blessings of that very moment,
Always stood firm beside me till my present.
After the passing of a devasting storm,
I, the sapling survived and life took a new turn.

BEYOND THE DEFENSE AND BLAME GAME

I am quite afraid of the “we need to talk” kind of situations in my personal life and at work, I am worried to see a meeting invite from the manager with just the subject mentioned as “Connect” and no agenda mentioned. Both represent not-so-happy communication, rather, it’s self-explanatory that it’s gonna be a difficult conversation. As one grows, one witnesses such conversations and there is no escape route.

Listening to negative things about yourself is not easy. Let me put it in better words. Listening to the areas of improvement in your work or behaviour is not easy and the first reaction is the defense. Most of us try to defend ourselves even before truly evaluating what we did. This does no good and then makes the conversation even more complicated. Next comes the blame game. It’s kind of easy to push the blame. Isn’t it? But does that make you clean? Think about it.

Over the years, I have been in such situations many times, and the journey from being a naive individual or professional to a mature and experienced one has given me a lot of learnings. And now, I have learned to look beyond the defense and the blame game. What do I exactly do?

While discussing the negative feedback the first and foremost thing that I do is accept the mistake. It’s hard but it’s the best to do! Then I talk about why it happened and what can I do to improve it. Trust me, this makes the conversation easier and short. Post this discussion, I reflect upon myself and disintegrate the feedback. I pick up what is useful and let go of what is not. Remember that not ALL that you get to hear is right or useful. Make your choice. Negative feedback or areas of improvement are not always a bad discussion if you learn to decide which part to keep and which part to let go of. Thus, you can actually turn these difficult conversations into something good.

But what if there is no mistake done by you and yet you get a mouthful from your boss, spouse, or parents? It happens, right? And what’s the immediate reaction of most of us? Yell back? Or revert in an aggressive way? Does it help? Definitely not! What do I do then?

Again, this didn’t come to me naturally but I have learnt it on my way to growing up! I stay calm! Sometimes so calm that it calms down the other person. We all know that one word leads to another and in no time an argument can flare-up. So, staying calm really works in these situations. The next thing that I do is the person what makes him believe that needless to say, in a very controlled tone. Once you know the source, it’s easy to clear the air. In most such situations, the misunderstanding is cleared but not all situations and people are the same. So, after considerable effort, if I feel that the other person DOESN’T want to understand, I end the discussion by saying “LET’S AGREE TO DISAGREE”.

Now, what I do after that is even more important. I shed off all the inhibitions about how good or bad I am in the eyes of that person. Again, this didn’t come naturally to me but I have learned this over the years. Someone has truly said that don’t let the negative feedback DEFINE YOU. You are much more!

So, take it with a pinch of salt and move ahead. Negative feedback can actually help you only if you learn how to deal with it. How do you cope with negative feedback and difficult conversations? Do you reflect upon them? Does it drive you to do better or do you break down? Do share your experience and tips and tricks!

HOW TO MOVE AHEAD WHEN THERE’RE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ALL AROUND?

People, mostly those who are associated with us in some way or the other pull us down in our life. A random stranger will never do that to us without having a valid reason and when someone we know does that, feels all the more pathetic.

There are three major ways how they treat us to pull us down or be an obstacle on our way to proceed ahead. I call them The ‘S’ Treatments.

Silence: Have you ever gone to your boss and asked him something that you have planned and waited for his response for hours? Later you are made to understand that you have been turned down by him. He used Silent Treatment on you to display his disapproval of your proposal. I don’t know these behaviors of the bosses are prevalent in the corporate sector or not but in small organizations, it is very common. I have gone through it a number of times when I was working.

Even I have this experience at my own home. My elders simply avoid or change the topic or stay silent till I lose my patience of waiting for a YES or NO. It literally kills your spirit.

Sarcasm: Comments or remarks like: “Oh, she will definitely top the class this year” for a girl who is an average student; “He earns so much that we need not work anymore” for a man who’s still searching for a job are called sarcastic comments or sarcasm. Sarcasm has never helped or built anyone. It has only hurt, degraded, and made people angry. And mostly our own family members, our friends, and colleagues use sarcasm to pull us down.

I always share this incident of my life with all. My Nanaji (Maternal grandfather) reacted when I wanted to buy a guitar and learn when I was a kid. He said, “Will you be a bandwala?” And today I can compose songs but I don’t know how to play a single musical instrument. He succeeded to stop me that day and I failed to move ahead. He was a very loving grandfather, he just had this prejudice about musicians.

Sentimental: This is the more dreaded weapon our elders use against us, to stop us. “If you step out from this house, you will never see my face again.” Have you ever heard such emotional or sentimental statements made by your parents? Maybe the above statement was too filmy but there are many such examples that we know that stop us from moving ahead or doing things our way.

At times, we face all three treatments applied against us at different points of time. People try their best to be a hindrance.

In my life, in certain instances, I have let them succeed in their mission of stopping me from doing something that I had ever wanted. But in other cases, I just did what I had to do and felt like doing. If I introspect and retrospect all those instances together, I regret thinking “Why did I let them stop me?” Definitely, we can’t predict our life but when we wanted to do something good in life, we should not be suppressed by these ‘S’ treatments.

Remember, we can defuse the effects of this Three ‘S’ Treatment with another ‘S’ Treatment from our side. And that’s called, “STANDING FIRM“. Standing Firm on our decision doesn’t mean that we will have to be rude, rebellious, and arrogant. We can stand firm humbly as well. Our this attitude will definitely let a person speak out if he is silent, stop him to be sarcastic for long and soften his heart to accept our decision at the end.

KEEP WALKING…

There are basically two types of people in this world – those who listen and pay attention and others who hear sounds and choose to ignore. If you know me well enough, you probably would know which side I’m tilting more towards…

If there is one thing that humankind is blessed with, it is the ability to use the words, include them in sentences and be vocal about our feelings – but how sad is it when all that some people end up doing is bring another down by their harsh words and negativity?

I’m no saint, when it comes to using such words – we have all said it, meant it, or even wished it in our minds. I guess it all boils down to what we all have within us, which is called crab mentality.

Crab mentality involves pulling down anyone who achieves or is about to achieve success greater than yours – and how more vocally can one get, by muttering words that would not only destroy one’s morale but also mess with one’s thoughts? – Think about that.

We aren’t bad people, yet somehow we as a race, seem to disappoint on so many levels, that it makes us think, do we deserve what we eventually get in life, in terms of support from friends, family, and well-wishers? Let us look at this picture a little closer, and notice the smaller things-shall we?

There is a man, who as he goes through life, is told that he is useless, an idiot, and even that he is worthless, where-in he finds himself broken at different phases in his life, but what we may not notice is; that he gets up every time and keeps walking at a brisk pace towards his eventual goal to achieve success.

What we can learn from the above picture is; The road in life is never easy, and the more people see you as a threat to them, the more likely you are to be targeted. However, keep going – for tough situations never last, tough people do.

You might have all heard about the half-full glass story, and how that being an optimist, helps look at the world in a better light. I will go ahead and say, being an optimist will get you as far as where your mind can take you, but being a realist is a far better option at least that way, one is aware of their surroundings and act according to prevailing situations.

We live in a country <India> where emotions run high at the slightest poke, and controlling that, is probably the biggest task, we as Indians can work on.


Learn to ignore the small things, only then, when you learn to do that, will the bigger things not affect you as much.

FEBRUARY LOVE

January’s passed by… and like many say; it is the trial month for the year ahead. It does take some people a whole month to get going for the year – understandable I guess.

Now February is now upon us, already 7 days into February and I can already feel… wait! No…not this year – the spark is missing, the love seems amiss and definitely the shops haven’t quite got into the whole Love Grooooove: I’m still waiting for the valentine’s discounts, some shops are sure to come out with some discount or the other. An Indian’s second most loved word; after FREE of course

The ‘Love’  month is here. There’s something about this month, that you will find people smiling that extraaaa bit, there’s just that extraaaa effort put in to make your partner feel special,  people are coochie cooing with more intensity. Being single and looking at all this around me, makes me smile…at least there’s no pressure on me to deliver.

Guess the presence of ‘red’ everywhere does ignite the passion within the hearts of lovers all around… and then Valentine’s Day  is around the corner of-course. I can’t say much about Card galleries (for I hardly see them around anymore) but then the odd shop if looked at carefully, has made sure to put up a heart here and there and the odd decoration – which of course is nice to see for a change.

I wish chocolates got a little in-expensive this time around, I would surely treat myself to a whole box of Ferrero Rocher.

Sweet February is here 🙂

What are your elaborate plans for the month of February?

In my state, Goa..it goes to the polls, and that too – ON VALENTINES DAY! What is with Goa and February? This happened in the year 2017 too, but then it wasn’t on V-Day back then.

C’mon! I’ve heard love for family, friends, and loved ones, but this is pushing it a bit too far – Love for politicians and the state?

I know what my contribution to the month of February will be..to cast my wise vote for a party that I feel will do good things in my state. I am after all an aam aadmi (common man) and what does an aam aadmi ask and want – ONLY good governance. Let us hope, many more people think the same and do the right thing. Shhhh…I’m not telling which party I am voting for. Time to sweep away corruption and start afresh, well the hope is there, only left to put it into action if the right party is elected.  

I could do with more reading romantic books, blog posts, and articles, watching romance-filled movies, hearing those lovely ballads all month, and of course the PDA’s (public displays of affection) on beaches, parks, or places I would not dare mention here. For love can be found in any nook and corner in the month of February, which does not mean couples should slack off for the other 11 months.