Monthly Archives: January 2008

>Found. And lost.

>Last week I made some unexpected discoveries about people I ‘know well’. And I’ve been feeling lost since then. Like somebody’s just mixed up all the pieces of my jigsaw puzzle and I’m supposed to make a new picture out of it now.

It’s strange how little we actually know about the people we claim to know well. But the secrets seemed to have been waiting for this time to come out of the closet, for there seemed to be no reason for those secrets to be shared now, if they hadn’t been before.

And it must be difficult to talk about a violent husband. About an unhappy home where you spend your life waiting to get out of it. About an irreversible physical condition. But they talked about it, allowing their guards down, exposing their vulnerable side, letting me in on these private aspects of their lives.

It’s easier to deal with people who seem to have no issues. But when you know the baggage that your friends are carrying, it’s not possible to look at them with out thinking of their problems. I look at their smiling faces now and think of the pain they carry with them. And think then how little I can do to take away that pain.

>Random realizations from the last week or so

>My want to be ‘me’ seems farcical when I realise how much I am like the people who surround me. What is ‘me’ but a genetic blend of parts of people who’ve influenced me, knowingly and unknowingly. I look around and see shades of me in my parents, my aunts and uncles, my siblings and wonder, what really is not me?!

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Last week was spent in a whirr of activities, none of which required me to be so involved that I’d forget everything else. But then, the Great Indian Wedding Drama is such – you can be part of the celebrations without being a part of either the bride or the groom’s life! And enjoy it thoroughly.

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Travelling alone is liberating, I flew alone for the first time and was amused at how happy I was doing it. I struck a conversation with a total stranger – probably for the first time again. He was unattractive, middle aged and we had nothing in common. And it made me feel all grown up and business-like, both of which I am technically, except in my own head.

For the first time too, I traveled light. And that too was a liberating feeling.

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I threw away a dress because it had bad memories. It was a beautiful dress and I looked lovely in it. The first time I wore it, I had a horrible end to a beautiful evening. The second time I put it on, just the memories of the first time made me feel sullen. And I hated the rest of the evening. So I just threw it away, tossed it into an unreachable part on the top of my wardrobe so I won’t be able to see it now, nor tempted to wear it anymore. But it was a beautiful dress…
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I read about the Spiaggio Rosa – a private bit of a beach in Italy reserved for women only. It makes sense because men and women essentially seem like two very different species to me now. And though I’m quite straight, I still think women are easier to live with (and not just because they know what PMS feels like), though men might seem more interesting for a while.

>Shame on me!

>

I’ve been boasting about a very successful friend who’s become so important in the world of print media that it seems unbelievable. I haven’t been in touch with this girl for quite some time now, yet I’ve been elated at her recent achievement because she seems like one of those few successful people who deserves what she’s got. So when I was overtaken by this bout of depression yesterday when I saw her pic in the mag she’s now editor of, I felt rather ashamed of myself. No, it certainly wasn’t jealousy, but more like regret – of possibilities forsaken, chances not taken. Somewhere, there was this gnawing feeling in my heart as I read through her edit piece that this could have been me had I persisted, but not anymore.

Here I was feeling all important in my world and there was this girl, who’d made it so big in the real world! I felt small and diminutive in stature and I didn’t like it. Suddenly, I felt I’d given up my place on the top, however far fetched it may seem, to settle for something that seemed important only in such a micro way. It reminded me of my unfulfilled ambitions in the times gone by and I found myself wishing that, by some stroke of luck, my life would change course, go back where my heart was.

It’s been a long time since I rued what I have given up to be where I am. And I feel ashamed that I rued my loss because I compared them to someone else’s gains.

>Deconstructing Anger

>

The first two days of the New Year have been far from what I’d want them to be. And it’s sad that something as futile as anger spoilt them. Thankfully, I’m not the guilty one!

There’s this sticker I’ve been seeing at my dry cleaner’s shop since years, and it always makes sense. It says: ‘Don’t lose your temper here, nobody wants it’. But I’ve come to realize that anger can also be of so many different kinds. Broadly speaking, however, I categorise anger as either instructive or destructive. It doesn’t help anyone to lose their cool, but anger can still serve a purpose when it helps another person realize that their deed has upset us. Like when a parent gets angry with his/her child, it’s meant to be instructive.

Obviously, the anger I’ve witnessed in the last two days does not fit into this category. Had that been the case, I’d let these days pass off as merely ‘passable’. But the furious people around me have said things that anger doesn’t justify. Despite my volatile temper that cools off as easily as it hots up, I’ve never shot my mouth off because I was overwhelmed by blinding rage. And I hate it when other people do that. It’s spoiled the first two days of this brand new year. And I hate that too.

There are certain unwritten, unsaid rules of anger that need to be followed to avoid a moment of anger to leave permanent scars on relationships. At least these are rules I think need to be followed when you lose your temper:

1. For one, you can’t say things that are not true just because you are angry.

2. You can’t indulge in character assassination; you can say mean things only if you mean them. Thinking is difficult when you’re angry, but it’s not impossible. So the ‘think-before-you-speak’ rule still applies. And that holds true specially if you’re getting angry at someone you love.

3. You can’t vent your anger on somebody in front of people who need not witness the situation. I hate it when the house help gets fodder for gossip because one person in the family yelled at another.

4. You can and must apologise after you’ve blown your top, because anger is so not the solution to a problem.

5. You can’t get angry at one person for the faults of another. They entirely fail the purpose, if ever they was any.

6. And you can’t get angry to save face when you’ve mucked up. If you’re guilty of doing something wrong, own up.

7. You cannot get angry when you’re drunk because when you’re drunk you can’t be angry at anything logical and you’ll only exacerbate the problem.

8. Throwing, breaking things – precious things – is totally off limits. If you don’t scare the other person by doing so, you surely will make him/her angry too.

9. Don’t expect people to forget what you said in rage. It doesn’t happen.

10. You can be angry without shouting. So keep the volume low.