S I S T E R

‘Sister’…the word echoes and evokes all that is good and beautiful.

Sister gives us love akin to parents, shares strength of a brother, and brings happiness like a friend. She is our go-to person – in joy and in sorrow. She gives us her shoulder to cry on, stretches her hand to pull us up, keeps our secrets like her own…sister is our ‘man-friday’ in woman’s clothing.

Sister is a person for all seasons. A selfless soul, she gives all of herself and more…mostly unseen,  unsaid, and unacknowledged.

Some sisters laugh and slap our backs, some hide their smiles and slap nothing; few offer ‘kadha’*, others snatch and finish off our beer in a gulp. Aren’t they amazing?

Good that we can’t choose our sisters, for we will not have any others.

Our sisters paint beauty and create joy in our lives.

(I write this on behalf of all my bros and friends, and dedicate it to all our Sisters: sisters born to our parents, and sisters who left their homes to make our homes).

* Kadha: an Indian herbal concoction

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Friends, Not Lovers !

Relatively speaking, all relationships except love and friendship are governed by legal, social, religious, economic or political sanctions.  Friendship and love have no written or unwritten contract (lawyers are too expensive). However, friendship flows naturally (despite unnatural tendencies in some), whereas love has compulsions (of unmentionable benefits). Let’s juxtapose these relationships:

In a love relationship, we love, sacrifice and give (do we have any options), but we also consciously or unconsciously presume, demand and take for granted (our birth-rights). In love, we care and cuddle (hoping quid pro quo), but at times we are mean and jealous (genetic predispositions), and subtly or not so subtly pressurise and control (natural instincts). Friends do not compare, compete or complain, nor do they expect, exasperate or exacerbate (who will let them without a contract).

A lover can leave one and take two, but you don’t discard a friend in favour of another. Either one is a friend, or one is not. In love the joining date may be blurred on the postcard from the past, but the termination letter is clearly and neatly dated. Friendship is neither by appointment nor is there any expiry printed on it. Oscar Wilde is succinct “Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer”.

I can indulge with friends five or fifty, but can’t eat, drink or dance with lovers two or twenty without having my skull split open on all sides. Can you imagine back-slapping bonhomie among your past, present and future lovers? As Nietzsche said “Love is blind. Friendship closes its eyes”. If I may philosophise further: falling in love blindly is an eye opener, and friendship is an open and shut case.

As friends we are at our unhindered best… nice, naked and naughty…perfect partners in peccadilloes. With friends we can let our hair down yet keep the chins up. Borrowing from Robert Bloch, friendship is like pee in the pants; everyone can see it, but only we can feel the warm tingling sensation inside.

Yes, friends are sometimes pain- in- the- ass, but never hemorrhoids.

I will take my lover (yours too if you like) as my friend anytime, but not vice versa.

(This is written in good humour and not to belittle any relationship)

Work Hard n Party Harder ?

We come across workaholics who sacrifice their health, mental peace, relationships and pleasures that life offers for the sake of excessive work, endless earnings, or both, even if they have gold in their teeth and diamonds in their toes.

At opposite end of the spectrum, we encounter the breed who treat work as part-time hobby at its best, and as a dirty word at its worst. Their priorities are shopping online, shopping offline, partying and more partying. They waste the best years of their lives (when the adrenaline is pumping in full force, and limbs, mind and faculties are at their prime) seeking the fake and indulging in the frivolous. They consider themselves as a gift to the mankind and take people and privileges for granted. When cautioned or counselled, their inflated ego can’t tolerate and they throw threats and tantrums. The close ones give up. The savings, largely ancestral, are blown away. The long rope of time and space thrown for bringing them to senses is used to hang themselves. Atrophy soon sets in, the rot is irreversible, the decay is complete, total and final.

And mind you, both the specimen are mindful of the consequences of what they are doing. It’s mind-boggling, flabbergasting. The fire in the belly is in the wrong belly.  

One deserves when one earns, or at least sincerely tries. Also, all work n no play makes us dull n boring.

So the Mantra ? …..Work Hard and Party Harder !

 

Live n Let Die !

We all sooner or later reach a station in life where we get bogged down with pressures of managing our past or present relationships, business/job, health, feelings of redundancy or irrelevance. I say, insert a twist in the tale…spit out the unsavoury, ignore the unwanted, begin dancing to your own tunes, wink at yourself remembering peccadilloes in Piccadilly/Pan Bazar or Police Bazar, raise a toast to yourself, and sing at the top of your voice Dr. Alban’s “It’s my life”. Let your hair down, love yourself unapologetically, and be a harmless hedonist. Cheers to the free spirit…flowing or otherwise. Live n let die*.

(*the sad feelings)

 

Right or Wrong!

The well-meaning agencies caution us against paying child-beggars, but we wish to help them out of pity or to assuage our own guilt feelings; the mind forcefully argues against riding on the dignity and drudgery of the old rickshaw puller, but his plight tugs at the heart to allow him to earn his bread….

In situations such as these, where the heart pulls in one direction and the mind pushes in the opposite, can we, as humans, ever sit in judgment over what is right and what is wrong?

Right or wrong, in the conflict between the conscious and the conscience, I am inclined towards the latter.

The Dilemma of MIL DIL Duel

{ Just For laughs:  with malice towards none; and the belief that there are exceptions to the rule, and none takes exception to exceptions, and human beings….though animals….can laugh at themselves : ) }

 The eternal MIL DIL duel is a thing of beauty and a joy forever*

 It is that unfathomable equation where perplexity is the constant and reason variable.

 As in all dimensions of human existence, here too the all-pervasive and despicable “law” is the chief culprit. And human beings (assuming MILs &  DILs too are humans despite display of feline feelings, fangs n fervor) have the genetic predisposition to break the law with primitive cries of utter glee and absolute abandon, and indulge in things illegal {not to forget inscrutable and eerie : ) }

 In these unlawful situations where sarcasm adds colourful words to native vocabulary, sulking n sobbing are de rigueur, and the expensive mascara flows smoothly down the dainty tender noses with sweat n tears (Churchill must be turning in his grave), being caught in the clash of the titans is rather unsettling for the sensitive son and the fretting FIL.

 With this rampant affectation of unbearable affection, the son beats a hasty retreat to the nearest watering hole with the farthest friend to forget his failed attempt at prudent ‘animal husbandry, and the FIL flees to his nook with a book of inspirational quotes, look of sorrow, and quivering brow. (Let’s call it his hangdog expression, and therefore, add pleasures of paanparag+, peg or prayers to his survival paraphernalia depending on his worldly or other-worldly fancies).

 Though, in the end it is much ado about nothing (khoda pahar aur chuhiya bhi nahee nikli++), time and tide do not extinguish the raging fire within.

 Age cannot wither MIL DIL duel, nor custom stale, its infinite variety** : )

The Show must go on…..lights never dim….and its never a curtain call.

But, pain will be the occasional episode in a general drama of happiness***, if ‘Love’ replaces ‘Law’ : )

 (with thanks & apology to *John Keats, **Shakespeare, and ***Thomas Hardy)

( + An Indian mouth-freshner ; ++ “Didn’t even find a small mouse after digging the whole mountain”)

 

How to destroy personal relationships and perform harakiri !

Two most obvious ways:

ONE: when relationships become transactional…a selfish calculation;

TWO: when we become so adamant, egoistic, and self centered that even the most logical and common sense suggestions and requests fall on deaf ears.

These lead to slinging matches and fights, breed intense dislike and contempt, and culminate into indifference.

Destruction is total, final and irreversible.

 

Living In Denial !

Living in Denial: Udhar Ki Zindagi !

These days we see many living in denial……. in denial of their own strengths, weaknesses, situation in life..….both in thoughts and behaviour. They deny what is factual, and flaunt a life full of fabrication, falsehood and fakery…..to deceive first themselves, then others.  It begins with the make-believe and showing off, becomes a pretentious habit, and soon acquires dimensions where it is a permanent trade-off of ‘what is’ with ‘what is not’. Seeking constant validation outside, they lose sight of the worthy and the important, and devote endless hours and energy to the frivolous activities for others to gain their appreciation. We also see this in social settings where in order to compete with the rich and famous, they boast, name- drop, and indulge in endless self- aggrandizement (paraded with put-on accent), reducing themselves to the ridiculous and pathetic. Bordering bizarre, they believe in this self-perpetuating lie….in their pseudo existence/udhar ki zindagi.

HORSE SENSE

LET’s NOT IMPOSE….NOT EVEN GOODNESS!

Subtly show the right choices to the family’s young adults, but don’t make their choices; they will make their own intelligent ones…..when they want to.

All are comfortable in status quo and instinctively resist any change, and therefore, become defensive and defying to defend the ego.

Why insist or instruct, and come across as interfering? Let them sing loud and dance electric to Dr. Alban’s “It’s my life”, and join the party. Why be a spoilsport.

Forget coaxing, cajoling, cautioning and correcting. In today’s world, we can’t even bring a horse to the water, forget making it drink. Horse Sense!

Someone’s Pain, My Pleasure ?

The dead depart and the accused are arrested, but the world around rest of the crestfallen family falls apart. We relish gossiping about and deriving voyeuristic pleasure from tragedies befalling others. Gruesome details, innards and all, are shared and forwarded endlessly and instinctively with glee and become fodder for free entertainment. It is forgotten there are none without dark hidden side.

As evolved beings, can we curb this primitive urge, and show sensitivity by shunning the senseless and being sensible? Can we search deep within and allow a semblance of dignity to those who have to suffer ignominy for no fault of theirs? Can we just let them be?

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