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)

Still !

Still I am…

And distill my stillness still,

Some substance and residue plenty to fill…

Yet, in stillness how I distill;

                    Here, there, wherever…

                    I wonder, I wander everywhere,

                    Neither satiated nor had my kill…

                    Yet I am so still;

Fleeting  memories fill times bygone…

Fluttering thoughts find future untold,

Aloft near or beyond the distant hill…

Asunder, yet so close, It’s love or fear you instill ?

                    Stoic and neurotic, heroic and meek…

                    I am resilient, I am weak,

                    What couldn’t be, was not to be…

                    In the remnant you, what do I seek ?

Still I am…

And distill my stillness still,

Some substance and residue plenty to fill…

Yet, in stillness how I distill !

The seductive art of conversation…where have we lost it ?

Where have we lost those thought provoking, soul satisfying conversations…which delight our hearts,  soar our moods and illuminate our minds…..those rewarding conversations from which we come out with a deep sense of satisfaction, feeling all is well with the world ?

Many a times, do we not indulge in the inane and the mundane, the banal and the vapid….making us literally die of ennui ? Do we not end up talking about people and issues…shallow n superficial…. leaving us with feelings of waste and emptiness ?

Why have we forgotten what a treat it is to savour the scintillating conversations laced with stimulating ideas, how captivating is brilliant repartee, how delightful is the needle sharp wit, how charming is the subtle n nuanced humour ?

The exciting give and take, the enthusiastic sharing, the amalgam and the synthesis of divergent yet non-judgmental views, the meeting of intelligent minds, leave us enriched, enlightened, enthralled….and provide fodder for thought, reflection and contemplation.

Connoisseurs will agree that a great conversation is a rare vintage wine….sparkling, heady,  intoxicating….drowning our senses in its effervescence and exuberance , enlivening us with sheer pleasure, and giving us a heavenly high.

CHEERS !!!

BOOKS WHICH SCORCH THE SOUL AND WARM THE COCKLES OF HEART!

Some books compel us to search within and look beyond….. writings which have sprung from deep, uncommon understanding of life and exceptional sensitiveness to human emotions.

These books uplift us and deepen our belief in undying human spirit and its innate goodness…books which have painted life’s unblemished glory and its ugly underbelly, leaving an indelible impact on our world-view and thoughts about humanity, life and existence.

Books which speak of relationships enduring and gone sour….love and betrayal….trust and treachery…. bonds built and friendships forgotten. Books which take us on a journey of commitment and compromise, hope and despair, and triumph and tragedy.

These are the stories of lust, loneliness and longings; of naked needs, dogged desires and primitive yearnings; of dreams shut and shattered. These are the tales of agony and ecstasy, dignity and depravity, passions, perversions and perfidy.

Books which are the poignant tales of the moment to moment uncertainty of survival and struggle to stay alive; of life wasted, lost and regained; of now or never dilemmas; of simplicity of being, complexity of relationships, and difficulty of existence.

These are writings of epic proportions describing human entrapment, its helplessness to accept life on its own terms, and hopelessness to sink its soul and sell its sovereignty.

These are the sagas of sangfroid and sagacity, of righteousness, of character and decency.

Some such books which have moved me are:

  • Roots (Alex Haley)
  • The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
  • The Good Earth (Pearl S Buck)
  • Goodbye Mr. Chips (James Hilton)
  • To Kill A Mocking Bird (Harper Lee)
  • The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
  • Educated (Tara Westover)
  • Of Mice & Men (Steinbeck)
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison)

         (not in order of preference)

There are quite a few, but these immediately spring to mind.

Such books give us a sense of the whole much more complete…which satiate yet leave us wanting ….and after reading these the heart is light and aroma of goodness lingers.

Please do share your list of such books.

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Life Abbreviated !

Brevity is the soul of wit, but reduced to abbreviations aren’t we at our wits’ end?

Bitter or sweeter….communications are shorter n smaller. As they swarm all facets of our life, abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms confuse, confound and control, but there is no escape.

As men appropriate by playing GOLF (Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden), undaunted ladies have moved from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out).

In SOML (Story Of My Life), I am never IRL (Me In Real Life). As I DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) coz am 2H2H (Too Hot To Handle), LMK (Let Me Know) DAE (Does Anyone Else?)

Today none is CBGAILY (Caught Between Goodbye And I love You), and in the nano-second relationships it takes no time to traverse from  KMYF (Kiss Me You Fool) to BFK (Big Fat Kiss) to H&K (Hugs & Kisses) to KMA (Kiss My A..).

We are pinned to PINs, swindled at ATMs, and promise of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) doesn’t give what we see. CAA, NRC and NRP: Some insist AOA (All Of Above) and some shout NOTA (None Of The Above).

I am not JK (Just Kidding) when electronic mirth flows infinitely with LOL (Laughing Out Loud) and we are ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) and I end up LMAO (Laughing My Ass Off).

Rarely F2F (Face to Face), we are at our laconic best with HMU (Hit Me Up). BTW (By The Way), TIC (Tongue in Cheek) some say ASL (Age, Sex, Location) do not matter for YOLO (You Only Live Once), and so what if you are MIA (Missing in Action).

But not so long ago, the only beauties in mass circulation (whether AM or PM) were OK (which never was), RSVP (which no one followed) and PTO (which none did)    : )

P.S. Though politically incorrect, I suffer from RSS (Reverse Snobbery Syndrome) and now I put FUTAB (Feet Up n Take A Break).

Abbreviations

Guilty are those who impose Guilt !

For hiding their own guilt or guilty-conscience, some people perpetually impose guilt on others…in ways subtle or crude. They swing like pendulum from being extremely aggressive to wearing sorrow on their sleeves. They resort to emotional blackmail, portray themselves as pathetic losers, and sport underdog’s hangdog expression. Else they shout and sulk; throw threats, taunts and tantrums; issue ultimatums, lock themselves, become incommunicado, inflict injuries and abuses on themselves, and leave home food untouched (but hog secretly).

They play victim to victimize. Those who impose guilt are the ones who are guilty. Let’s not be guilty of feeling guilty due to someone else’s guilt.

Guilty Sulking

From Attachment to Attachments To Attachment to Detachments.

My good friend n cousin Lalita often cautions me about the perils of attachment.

Confession: Narcissist to the core, I am attached to myself, my body and its appendages. Am attached to amazing tendencies and hypocrisies (I practice what I hate in others and don’t what I preach). Am attached to my achievements (read failures) and failures (showcased as achievements). Am attached to fantastic fetishes and hilariously hideous habits (e.g. acting feline or admiring that imaginary dimple on my cheek).

Am attached to creatures which include some friends, few loved ones, fewer relatives, no Exs, and all animals & enemies. Am attached to the real which is unreal, and to the fake which is surreal. Am thus attached to myriad possibilities, prejudices and pretensions….the good, the bad, the ugly, and of course the beautiful Me.

To cut the crap, I am attached to the bad in me (which others like) and to the good in others (which I dislike).

And when I tried to shake off attachments, I became attached to detachment.  Try detaching and soon the detachment attaches you to its own attachments….passions of mind or obsessions of the heart.

I now wonder: I am attached to the attachments or the attachments are attached to me ? Am perplexed: I am attachedly detached or detachedly attached ? Ohhh Niru, whither Nirvana ?

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Sophistication of intelligent minds reflects in the sensitiveness of their souls.

A TALE OF TWO….IN THE CONTEXT OF MY PARENTS

Parents are at Bangalore since mid-November 2019. I tend to their medical needs when they are here…doctors, hospitals, the regimen…and of late I have realized I often lose patience and become irritated when father reminds repeatedly about something. I might hide behind the justification that in the hurly-burly household scenario where 10 humans try their best to remain sane and humane…competing for peace, coping with the pace, jostling for space…nerves do get frayed at times. But what is a family, if not confusion and chaos?

I am ashamed of myself as I compare in my mind and recall how Antima tends to their needs- medical and more at Guwahati…without losing patience, without ever getting annoyed…replies umpteen times… calmly, affectionately…as if talking to toddlers aged two….with love and kindness and a happy smiling face…coaxing them to eat, cajoling to take medicine, persuading to venture out, encouraging to have some fun….. giving them her time, empathy and the warmth of sunshine in the winter of their lives (neither bragging nor blaming, and despite a full-time job and domestic affairs in her hair).

Sophistication of intelligent minds, such as Antima’s, reflects in the sensitiveness of their souls.

Stories such as these must be told…not to belittle contributions of anyone, but for lessons to be learnt…i am learning mine!

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