CONNECTIONS

I cannot describe the feeling, when I come across a person who can just “airlift” me to a whole different level, just by their sheer presence or a simple candid conversation over a phone line.

Some of us call it having a deep conversation, I like to call them ‘intellectually stimulating conversations’ because not only are we just brushing the surface, which generally happens at the beginning of any conversation, it is when we find the #MeToo’s, is when a person realizes…hold on, there’s more to US here….and the more we talk, the more we get to know small facts about the other person – and

right there – you feel closest to that other person. I know it coz I’ve felt it.

Have you ever felt at that very moment, that you wish you could pull that person out of a screen or your phone and give that person a ‘big hug’? ..and though I’ve never actually said it in actual words, Yes, I’ve fallen in Love – with ‘you’there’s LOVE right there…that moment, that person, the exchange…. and the best part: it just happens, all we can do is enjoy the feeling.

…and probably this is why it is always said “A Boy and a Girl can never be ‘just’ friends” – I’m still trying to wrap myself around that statement, on the one hand, I want to believe that sentence makes total sense, however on the other side, it sounds wrong on so many levels. I guess that’s also how the term ‘Unrequited Love’ was originated.

I’ve read somewhere on the internet, that when two people kiss or indulge in the physical act of love, is when people exchange energies with each other, what about when people talk then? A whole lot of exchange is done here too….and at much higher speed and bandwidth, It is one heart directly connecting with another how does one explain a smile appearing on the face of another simply by a sentence spoken/typed? No face-to-face interaction and yet a simple compliment can bring joy to another person sitting miles away from you. That’s the power of WORDS, mixed with a generous dollop of kindness and a whole heap full of Love.

Buses, trains, stations, and airports… some of the more common places to meet people and forge friendships, Yes. But that’s not me – I wouldn’t do that… at least not make the first move. That said, in India, one cannot afford to be silent or not engage in some kind of conversation – that is almost a given.

I may be sitting in my living room, in my flat, in the smallest state of Goa, in a country far far away from you, and yet I could be saying the words you might exactly want to hear… we may be perfect strangers, and yet we’ve connected in a way that no one can understand.


I am a language Trainer having knowledge about a few languages spoken widely across countries and continents, but when it comes to the Language of the Heart; most times than not – I prefer being a student because, in an ever-evolving world, the language might remain the same, but the ways to show it..certainly change!

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.

GROWING UP… DAUGHTER-MOTHER DIARIES

“Mom I have a doubt,” said my 6 years old daughter. “What’s it dear?” I asked, to be only left stumped by her question. “Why papa loves you when your face is full of spots?”. I am not even exaggerating, those were really her words. And I don’t blame her for she is growing up with fairy tales where the princess is all fair and flawless. I can understand with the kind of exposure kids of this generation have the kind of questions they might ask seem to be too soon, too early, and to be honest too much too. I wanted to give her a reason, perhaps a lecture on what true love (ironically beyond the gamut of reasoning) means but considering her age my explanation would be “Too much” for her to comprehend.

I simply asked, “Don’t you love me with all these blemishes on my face?”. And she didn’t budge as she said “I love you, Mama, you are the best” and she gave me a kiss as she hurried to get into the school before the final bell rang. Perhaps one day I will be able to provide a better explanation to satiate her query.

Raising kids (generation alpha) as my dear friend @sizzlybizzly (Rajnandini) has explained in her article OF SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, could really be a tight rope walk. Explaining them to react and behave differently in apparently similar-looking situations is quite a task. For instance, as a family with a reasonably comfortable life, I encourage my daughter to help the poor and needy and that seems to be well embedded in her thoughts. But on the other hand, I also warn her against falling for tricks of people who pretend to be needy to avoid sweating it out. And reasoning (explaining how to and why to differentiate) such situations in my personal capacity prove to be difficult ones given the fact that my daughter is a bit impatient. The moment I start dissecting the matter for clarity she says “I don’t understand what are you saying” or worse “enough Mama, not now, just play with me”.

As a parent, I want to clarify every doubt that dwells in my child’s brain. Sometimes I have substantial corroboration to my answers that I can give her instantly, for example why plucking fruit from the tree isn’t the same thing as butchering a goat, when both are done to serve the same purpose – to fill up a hungry stomach. Sometimes I am at a loss of my reasoning abilities altogether. Like why the letter U hasn’t been pronounced the same way in “Put”, and “But” because I never questioned it (maybe my friend @theextraaaamile, Savio has an answer to this 😃). And then there are moments I have reasons to support my reaction/responses but as I mentioned earlier they could be too complicated for a child to comprehend. For example, when I tell my daughter to be social & adjustable to and under different circumstances, and be independent (not seeking validation from others) at the same time. That’s a tough call as I have to hand out her reasons sans ambiguity of any sort.

All said and done I have realized that in the process of parenting I am growing up too. My role as a parent is a reason enough to be a better version of myself every day. With so many sources of information and influence around, kids surely need a security filter, a cushion to rely on. And that’s where the power of reasoning comes in handy. Valid the reasons are, better the chances of nurturing mature minds. It’s really important that doubts of any nature shouldn’t be squashed away under the pretext of “nothing concerning you”, especially when we impart the knowledge of DOs and DON’Ts to shape their personalities and ideologies.

My journey with the extra “administrative” responsibility of Reasoning has just begun as my daughter has just started questioning. I should be better prepared for the bazooka of questions blazing at me, she hasn’t even scratched the surface yet and there’s an ocean to dive in.

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.

THREE SISTERS LED THE WAY

It’s a story of the reunion of a man with his daughters. A man had three daughters from whom he got separated. He was leading a miserable life, until one day when the three girls reached his house and asked for shelter, as they were tired of playing. As it was dark outside the man decided to let the three little girls halt in his house.

The darkness was so terrible and threatening. The darkness was an invitation for the robbers to intrude into the boundaries of the house. They slowly started digging the foundation of the house. Their purpose was to crash the house and loot. As the walls trembled in that dark night, so was the man. This is not new to him. All his life he was under constant attack of burglars in the veil of night. He lurked in the darkest corner of the house to save himself. The three sisters were sleeping in the corner where he hid. He tucked himself into a shell, hoping that the violent blows to his house and self recede somehow.

As the man was consumed by his struggle, one of the three sisters woke up due to the commotion inside and out of the house. She saw the man struggling, she rose to help him. She peeped from the window, she could see some light in the distance. Also, she saw how exercise to weaken the security that man had was being carried out. She had a plan in her mind “If I could take this man to that point I will be able to save him”. She tried to pick him up, but the weight of the man was crushing her. She gave a call to her elder sister and immediately she grabbed the other hand of the man. He slowly picked himself up with the help of the sisters and made an advancement towards the door to get out of the darkness surrounding him.

But the saga of fear was still not over for the man. His feet were stumbling over the hurdles placed across his path in a bid to stop him from reaching the light. As the sisters held the man and they were occupied, they called their eldest and strongest sister. She came, fought, and conquered the plunderers, paving a way for the man to make a safe exit from the darkness. The fight wasn’t easy. The attackers kept coming back to attack the man from different sides, the other sisters were slowly crumbling under the fatigue of carrying the man. But the one who was fighting was nowhere close to extinguishing or exiting. She was gaining impetus as she was blowing away her counterparts and a part of her energy she was transmitting to her sisters too. It was a long night before they finally made it.

With the help of the three sisters, that man reached his destination. When he reached the enlightened spot he recognized his estranged daughters and embraced them. He vowed to never ever part from them as they released him from the haunted place he was dwelling in. And they happily lived ever after in the land where the sun never sets in.

End Credits (cast of the story):

Sisters: Youngest Sister – Will; Second Sister – Action; Eldest (strongest) Sister – Knowledge

Man: The Human Soul

Weight: Self-doubt

Thieves: Vices like greed, lust, anger, hate, etc.

Hurdles: negativity and pessimism in the form of harsh comments, blame game.

Light/ Enlightened spot: The happy space where the mind is in total control of its actions and not affected by the actions of the villains surrounding.

Moral of the story: It takes the three sisters of Will, Action, and Knowledge to accompany a man (figuratively) to cross the hurdles of vicious backlashes and the fear of failure.

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

The more I interact with people, the more I am surprised… for the games that people play, every night and every day; never meaning what they say, and never saying what they mean

In ever-changing surroundings and the constant evolution of humankind – being normal, understood, and figuring out another human being- falls under one of the more challenging tasks, we as the people of today, have on our hands.

And while we skirt around the challenge of being ourselves or trying to maintain our own identities across sections of society, it shouldn’t be forgotten – we also “may” have to make small adjustments in order to “keep pace” with what the world requires us to be. What a bummer! I know right! Like we know a thing or two about balance! ..it is hard enough balancing two people on a 2 wheeler nowadays, or even the idea of two simultaneous blossoming relationships, let alone finding the right balance of what’s good or not good for us – a question that comes to haunt us every 5 years when it is time to cast our precious vote for the “right” candidate.

Choices, Decisions, and eventually actions that carve the way forward – are what’s expected of each of us, and yet, as under/over prepared we might be to face life head-on, it is where the actual dance takes place.

I would call myself a people’s person not too long ago, but you see…that’s the funny thing about the English Language, we can throw around a cool sounding word/phrase or sentence and if we find that it fits us well, we stick to it without actually knowing what it actually means. It took me an ongoing pandemic to know that..well, it was high time I stop referring to myself like that.

Being someone who enjoys traveling, I get a chance to meet different kinds of people and have always been a keen observer of how people operate in natural surroundings, I do find it fascinating how so diverse, 2 individuals can be from each other, and that sometimes is ONLY the beginning.
When I was asked to write on; How it is to deal with different kinds of people, I had a straightforward answer ready as always, but then it does not have to be the same yardstick applied to everyone, hence I had to think again.

What happens when those different people end up being difficult people? A diplomatic answer would be; firstly, we don’t deal with people, we try and understand them. Easier said than done – trust me it isn’t easy, I’ve tried it out myself, and boy! have I failed miserably at that.

When interacting with someone, it would be imperative to keep in mind that, we are interacting with a creature of emotion and not one of logic – there’s bound to be friction, whether it chooses to surface or not is a different matter. Putting your heart in vibration mode and your mind in silent mode is an option I use a lot in times like that.

If there’s one thing life’s taught me over the years is that; you don’t need friends. Okay, DO NOT take that literally, the point I am trying to make here is – most people aren’t really our friends, rather, they are more like acquaintances, and when you take the emotional content out of a relationship, communication gets so much easier and situations are more comfortable. There is nothing wrong with having a select core group of very close intimate friendships, but outside of that circle it is ‘everyone else’. No one’s perfect of course, and that is a good thought before interacting with others around us.

Everyone has had a different background, story, life victories, and failures. This gives them a different lens of viewing each situation.

Are you still waiting for my answer? Okay, so here goes: The best way to deal with people like this is ‘Smile‘ & ‘Agree‘, coz when we smile and agree with them, it takes all the wind out of any potential argument or insult they may have had, it is in a matter-of-fact tone, that you’ve chosen to already take the far higher road.

Lastly, dealing with people is also an ART, that comes with practice and experience. The more you try, the more you get better at it, and if it is all about the games that you like playing with others, we all know, games are only enjoyed upto a certain point – it starts turning bad after a few bad moves. I’m going to leave it to you to interpret that last sentence according to your best understanding.

A NEWLYWED BRIDE IS ALL SET TO MEET HER GROOM

“We will meet again at our new abode, soon we shall begin our new journey together,” the newlywed groom said smilingly as he lovingly looked at his teary-eyed bride and departed to resume his job.

In her longing to see her husband, dreaming to commence the new phase of her life, her eyes and fingers paced up and down the inbox of her email searching for every notification and replying to emails concerning her visa process. It went for about one month and finally her passport was stamped with Schenegan’s visa and within a few hours of stamping, she got her tickets booked. Though excited the very idea of taking her first flight, that too to a foreign land and all alone definitely set butterflies free in her stomach. The moment she left her family members right at the entrance of the international airport and set her feet inside the airport, she could feel the cold sweat drenching her palms.

The big display boards with counter numbers for the respective destination flights, the bustling rush, slippery floors – these are the first few things that welcomed her. She sighed and kept on praying to God that nothing untowardly shall happen. She found the exact counter she must line up at with her luggage and ticket. And she saw the first travel demon lurking around her. One certain passenger had to put off a considerable chunk of their luggage aside as the scales weren’t ready to embrace the same. And the bride here was all tensed as she wasn’t going for a holiday trip but to begin her life afresh and that accounts for loads of shopping tapped in her suitcase. It was her turn, she handed over her ticket and passport to the lady at the counter and placed the luggage on the conveyer belt. Mission passed to her greater relief and she was handed over the gate number along with the boarding pass.

Now it was time for an immigration check. This phase of her maiden journey ended in a lighter mode. The officer at the desk looked into her documents and asked details in a casual tone like where she was headed to, what was the purpose, and so on. When she mentioned her marriage and husband, the officer cracked a joke to lighten up things for the bride “Saiyan Pardes Chale Gaye aapko chodkar yahan” (your beloved went abroad leaving you here) as he stamped the passport. To this, the girl smiled and nodded in denial and moved on from there. Stage two crossed.

By this she was thirsty. She went to one of the stores, just to make a frightening discovery – airports are the leaders when it comes to pricing the products whom the multiplexes ardently follow. She purchased a tiny bottle of water and made an exit and waited for her turn to board the flight at the gate. It was night, around 2PM, as she waited anxiously; a woman arrived and asked if she could keep a watch on her bag for a moment while she goes to the washroom. This question set alarm bells ringing in the bride’s head. Out of many directives given to her by her husband, one was not to accept any request to look after the baggage from any stranger. It simply meant it’s ok not to trust anyone in the wake of ugly things that could happen in such a landscape. The bride felt tongue-tied yet nodded in affirmation. As she saw the women leave her seat, she seated herself a bit far from the bag, in a manner where she could keep an eye yet not so close to the baggage itself. Her chants were on the re-run again. She was relieved once the woman came back.

Around 2:45 or 3AM an announcement was made and the boarding commenced. The bride and the other passengers were welcomed with a wide grin pasted on their faces from the Jet Airways Staff (yes Jet airways were fully operational then before being cash strapped and leaving thousands jobless and in misery). Now the bride was seated, safety instructions were given and the flight took off. In her maiden flight to the offshores, the girl was overtly conscious, about how to ask help from the attendants, how to plug in and play the entertainment system on-board, how to eat without being or feeling awkward, how to get off her place without her co-passenger feeling being disturbed and how to caress her painful legs in such a little space. Somehow things she passed off eight and half hours before the flight touched the ground. Her maiden flight has come to a halt (not the journey yet) and the experience was memorable though nothing remarkable happened.

She had to yet reach her destination (her groom), crossing all the routine hurdles. The foreign faces and language made her nervous but her first-hand experience of boarding the flight spoke to her – follow your signs carefully and you are home. So she did so and was soon greeted by her groom at the exit gate waving at her, ready to take her luggage as well as her responsibility. “You look beautiful,” he said to her as he embraced her tightly (though the girl didn’t feel the same about herself after such a long journey) and made her blush.

After 12 years of that first flight, that bride is a mother to two beautiful kids, leading a happy life, jumped up in glee as the Candles proposed this week’s topic – Frist Travel Alone Experience. Every “first time” has its charm and relevance. No matter what kind of experience we gain – beautiful or woeful, doing things for the first time always impart important lessons for a lifetime. What this journey could have taught that bride – Unless you move out of your comfort zones and face things unless you talk about the issues at hand (she did ask her co-passenger about how to plug in the entertainment system on board), there’s no learning or growing up. And there are many instances and occasions in life where we have to take the charge all alone.

That bride was me then 😉