Sunday, November 27, 2016

Taking that NEXT Plunge!

           Taking that NEXT Plunge!
I still remember the red sharpener my Mom got me when I entered my first school. I never shared it with anyone, lest they might lose it. I have still held on to the only winking doll my Dad got me when I was 6. It was easy to hold on to them. So easy to keep them. I have always been a person very cautious of not losing my belongings. Always checking on them. And then I grew up. The list of things that could be held on to kept growing smaller. As we start preferring people over things, we start preferring loving over holding on, belonging over possessing, trying over fear of failure and sadly sometimes even getting hurt over never having someone by our side. It’s a miscalculated gamble, for each one of us. Over years, the choice between letting someone into our lives and being by ourselves, between taking those independent solo trips versus couple resorts, between the bike rallies and long drives, between the books and someone to read beside becomes a decision, a rather difficult one. More so because people are so different from things.

The extreme static nature of things is what we start with, all of us. There is a strange comfort about things that don’t change. The attic at my grandma’s place hasn’t changed since I was born. These are things which are taken for granted, as if they will stay, if not forever, for our lifetime. Human nature loves ‘granted’ things. My coffee mug has stayed the same since I got out of home. Coffee certainly does taste better in it.

People on the other hand, fall on the other extremity. They change. Always. The dynamism is what pulls us towards each other. But it’s the same dynamism that leaves us scared too.

When a child moves away from his/her toys, is loved by all relatives, exchanging laps, being loved and caressed. And then there is that one relative who molests him/her. Life changes that moment for the child and forever. It takes decades before they can classify a touch in the casual or romantic category.
When the teenage girl believes in the star-struck love story and finds her new found first boyfriend making her just into an alternative, her concept of platonic relationships sure gets distorted
When the guy waits for the girl since childhood and despite all promises, she marries another one for the annual CTC (!), his heart rejects the notion of love he knew since years
When the student who gathered only friends during school suddenly find himself in the middle of the dirty politics at the workplace, his mistrust on people grows. He starts questioning his judgement and others’ existence
When the young couple commits suicide over their love marriage not accepted due to caste differences, the society readjusts its balance towards negativity
When every relationship feels like it’s the one in the beginning and ends up nowhere close to the finishing line one imagines of, hearts get broken

Experiences with people turn people into cold, insecure and even numb beings. Not at all undermining the great experiences that make us into who we are, the ones that really make us are the ones that break us (The Zeigarnik Effect sure does exist!). The insecurity of passing on the power of controlling our happiness sure is scary. It only gets scarier over the years. It’s easy to get over the first partner who knew practically nothing about you, but how about the nth one you have shared your fears with, the one who knows your mood from the way you nudge your head, the one who can forecast your actions? Rather difficult. Opening up to someone is letting someone into your little secrets you have never shared with anyone. It takes courage, a lot of it. Faith takes time to grow and no time to subside into trenches deeper than the ones known to mankind.

Ever next relationship’s impact is inversely proportional to the number and intensity of such experiences. When the ‘love of one’s life’ couldn’t keep up the trust we put in them or couldn’t stand by us, every other partner we ever have in life, pays for them. When the so called friend betrays, every next friend puts in that much extra effort to enter our circle. And then there comes a time when we lose it, we lose the human touch we were born with. The cold numb creature that stares from the mirror doesn’t even seem familiar. Our new partners crying doesn’t matter in the least because the previous ones kept crying while they were cheating on us. Our workplace doesn’t give us any friends because we stop trusting genuine smiles. Our lives no longer lets people in. Unfortunately, it happens once to almost all of us by the time we hit youth.

Learning from experiences is perhaps not the best thing engrained in the human mind. If only we could start afresh with every new person in life, if only we could drop the baggage with the relationships, if only we could choose the last relationships first, if only we could be enchanted with every new thing the world showed us with shiny eyes and open hearts, if only unlearning our heads was as easy as learning.

Difficult certainly, but perhaps not undoable. The easier thing to do is not trust anyone and not get hurt, but the bigger thing to do is being able to take and give another chance, and yet another and yet another! That doesn’t mean staying foolish and ignoring lessons from the past. Cautious might be fine, shy never. Being able to see different people differently must be the key, being able to not compare people like things, being able to say “He/She might really be different, being able to look at the risk-return frontier and say “I am not afraid of the risk of getting hurt at the chance of being loved, being able to say, “He/She might actually be the one”, being able to know that knowing reasons is not necessary, just knowing that things happened for a reason can be enough. This might look like over-romanticizing the real world as it is. But to be honest do we have an option? Can we forever not trust any other person because we were muddled with once? For that matter, can we forever stop tasting any new food because one particular sushi tasted pathetic? Can we stop accessorizing our homes just because we can be burgled? Can we stop loving because we can get hurt?

No one knows for sure. It mostly is a matter of time. Few experiences take a lifetime, few a second after you decide to let them go, few stay on, cling on. The only thing to remember is testing new waters with baggage will only drown us. Floating happens only when you let the flow through you, when you let the instability stabilize you, when you let the hurt heal you, make you stronger, not numb, when you let your heart do what it was designed to do, when you let someone complete the painting someone else deserted, when you take the plunge – without the baggage. Go back to the child in you who looked for good experience in everything new. Go take that chance….let the rains drench you to the soul and let no one stop you, specially, yourself! Who knows the change you chose to not take might be your only chance? Strangely, it gets simpler as it gets complex!!

“Life is made up of a collection of moments that are not ours to keep. The pain we encounter throughout our days spent on this earth comes from the illusion that some moments can be held onto. Clinging to people and experiences that were never ours in the first place is what causes us to miss out on the beauty of the miracle that is the now. All of this is yours, yet none of it is. How could it be? Look around you. Everything is fleeting. To love and let go, love and let go, love and let's the single most important thing we can learn in this lifetime.”
― Rachel Brathen

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Tantalizing ‘Temporaries’

The Tantalizing ‘Temporaries’!
“Forever” and “Happily Ever After” are the way we have always seen a perfect life as. I feel it has got nothing and everything to do with those diabetically sweet fairy tales from childhood. The prince and the princess who spent a lifetime together, the couple that got married, the true-love kiss that brought the princess to life, the grandparents who grew old together, the brothers who got lost and met again to spend an eternity happily, this is all that we heard and read about.

What about the ones who didn’t? What about few people who just crossed your way? What about the lovers who couldn’t make it? What about them who assumed that all love went down the drain because it couldn’t end in a marriage? What about the relationships that ended in misunderstandings and what about those that never took off due to society? What about those who had too much love but a matching ego? What about awesome friendships that got lost in distance? What about people who could never forgive a loved one? What about a little love that remained for the ex-es even after marrying someone else? What about brothers who fought over property when they grew older but somewhere the childhood love kept haunting them? How about those who couldn't have their ‘forevers’?

My father often quotes his favorite poet, an age old one, where he talks about life being like a water bubble, life itself being the most temporary dimension and then we talk about ‘forevers’ and ‘eternities’. Although I myself am a believer of a few constants, a few things one’s life revolves around, but are they the only things in life? May be the centre remains the same all through, but what about the varying orbits? What about the distance we cover during a lifetime while the centres stay in their place, always there for you?

Perhaps the ‘temporaries’ do claim a space in our heads and heart, but how often do we mouth them? How often do we gather courage to tell our spouses that we still remember our first love? How often do we have the courage to look at our own journals from a decade back? How many of us can bring ourselves to listen to the music that we once loved and then hated for such a long time? How often does the silence not deafen us with sounds from the past? How many of us can think of our past without flinching? How many times have we avoided memories, good and bad alike? Good because they are not there any more and bad because we don’t want to revisit times when we fooled ourselves. How many of us will walk past the memory lane and accept the physical and mental scars, acknowledge their presence and then return to our forevers (which sadly again are temporaries)?

Do we really ever forget the butterflies in stomach when our first crush looked back at us? When our best friend (among the tens of ‘besties’ we had every year!) held our hands while we were literally thrown out of the classroom? When the first date (and nothing else) happened!!? When although someone might have broken our hearts, they were the ones who made it pump in the first place? How many of us can acknowledge that there were people, who came into our lives for a really short while, but changed it forever? That we are who we are, because they existed?

Life does come a full circle.

At times, people forget their anniversary, take each other for granted and hurt each other beyond measure while the relationship is going. They then forgive each other on an ‘anniversary’ , years later, after there technically cannot be an anniversary!

People promise an engagement and then move away the same year. They bump into the same person with their ‘another’ love of lifetime and look into each other’s’ eyes and know that they have been forgiven.

Couples cheat on each other, cry, fight and separate. Then one day, one of them becomes a parent with someone completely different. And yet that day, they look their kid and can’t think of christening them by any name other than what they decided in their very first relationship!

One day a mother who can’t explain her son’s explicit love for all the things she used to hate in her first boyfriend, calls him to say, “Now I understand you. Thank you and sorry”

One day a widower calls his girlfriend from college. When she picks up, he only says “Sorry…wrong number”. She forgives him for not being brave enough to marry her, but dies in peace of knowing that he wanted it as much as her.

Friends fighting over each other’s time get together after a decade and it doesn’t even take a moment to realize nothing ever changed. They just had to look for a little longer.

Brothers fight a lifetime for a property that doesn’t even matter and then beg for forgiveness from each other. A pat from the elder soothes the younger, just like old times in the playground.

Temporaries never really leave our side. We carry their burdens our whole life. Sometimes without realizing, sometimes in full consciousness. Time undoubtedly is lost in between all the commotion, but when we see back, perhaps all will be worth it. Because the first girlfriend/boyfriend cheated, you chose the next one more carefully. Because the first relation couldn’t work, you put more into the next one. Because the first ever relationship you thought will last a lifetime, the third one actually did! Because it couldn’t work with the wrong person, you found the right one. Perhaps there was nothing wrong ever with the ‘firsts’ and yet they didn’t work, you stopped dreaming and then you actually found your ‘Neverland’. Because you kept fighting for something worthless, you came across something that made you worthwhile! The challenge only is to accept the existence of temporaries and give ourselves time to absorb its importance.

One day we would realize that destinations are truly overrated. It’s the journey that matters. All the hands that we held in the process matter. All the smiles that we gathered, matters. All the moments that we thought were permanent and which then became temporary matter.  Scars that make us more beautiful and memories that make us stronger matter.

You value it because they don’t exist any more. If there was no end to life, no uncertainty around every day, would Gods still be jealous of the human life form? Would we really rate permanents over temporaries? It’s commas vs full stops and when you realize every full stop is just a comma, extended a little longer. After all, our day is a mayfly’s ‘forever’!

We are a little of every hand that ever caressed our head, a little of every voice that soothed our loneliness, a little of every smile that adorned our day, a little of every hand that reached out for us in melancholy, a little of every moment that made our lives worth living, a little of every person who touched our hearts.....They say, nothing is permanent, and yet "forever" is what we want, "permanent" is what we find enriching....Not at all challenging the importance of things that we hold constant since whenever we have them, but in the ever changing world, should we sometimes reflect on the temporary and embrace them with all the love they deserve? Perhaps it's time......

The best part is, like the constants in your life, once you had a temporary, no one can take it back from you. Temporaries also stay with you, FOREVER! J