Saturday, 12 September 2009

Relationship dynamics: Is there a 'higher' love?

What is a relationship? When is a relationship defined? Most relationships have boundaries, especially the conventional ones. But what about those which exist but which do not fall into straitjackets? Are they relationships at all? If not, then what are they? Is there a term for them?

Most relationships in the world are formal, symbiotic. You give me this and I give you that. It is a lot of sharing of material and sometimes emotional needs. But what about involuntary, mental, undefined ones? A deep connection, but no definitions or boundaries, across countries and continents? ...Too many questions....

I came across this article by Janina Gomes in the Times of India and felt that all along what I had been writing especially in my poems is captured in this article. So that makes my thoughts common, everyday human stuff, no different from the mundane. But anyway here is the article and I have highlighted parts which I have dwelt on in my previous writings. So here goes...

Relationships thrive on kindness and love

12 September 2009, 12:00am IST

Human beings are born in relationship and the lives we lead right from infancy to old age are anchored in relationships. It is in relationship that What bliss it is to love and be loved (Getty Images)

we grow and achieve adulthood and die in the final peace that comes through dying in a trusting relationship with God.

There are many views on the nature of human relationships. In practice, however, it is the day-to-day relationships that must survive the wear and tear of daily life. Sometimes we find that in order not to sour a relationship, it is better to keep a distance. At other times, a clean break becomes necessary. We need to learn to cultivate relationships in a way that there is room for love, mutual respect and space for the other to grow.

At work the equations are different. In an office or a work environment, in which hierarchy is important, relationships tend to remain at a rather superficial level. There is a certain give and take in official relationships, but they rarely survive once we are out of that particular work situation and environment.

The family, which was once the primary environment for close relationships, is no longer so for many because the sanctity of relationships is under threat. When mistrust and insecurity make demands of family life cloying, we might have to make that extra effort to strike a balance that will restore the pristine nature of the original relationship.

Relationships become our chief means of reaching God. Ritual, common prayer, worship and solidarity are all conventional ways to do this. If we wish to take the relationship still further, we might have to establish a more personal link with God. Sometimes, the give and take of ordinary relationships creates a gentle arc that connects us to the Divine.

Conversations are an important way of building up relationships. They could be silent or expressed vocally. Such relationships look beyond a given set of circumstances for a wider, deeper perspective, to understand the truth that lies beneath what is apparent on the surface.
The longer we live and the more experienced we are, our ability to discern the true nature of relationships improves. We are able to take considered decisions on whether to continue with a certain relationship or call it quits without acrimony or hatred.

When we cultivate virtues like patience, compassion, mutual respect and a loving nature, we are well on the way to touching the heart of God, whose reflection we see in other human beings. God invites us through the diversity and wealth of His Creation, to a relationship of universal love. To love His Creation is to love God.

Any relationship that is nurtured for selfish motives and which is vulnerable to feelings of jealousy, hate and suspicion cannot last for it is not founded on unselfish love. And without the ingredient of love, a relationship lacks the spark that can help take it forward towards higher dimensions.

We might remember those who built empires or created elaborate monuments for themselves in the course of remembering inconsequential details of material achievements. Immortal memories ^ in our collective consciousness ^ would however be made up of those acts of kindness and love that came unsolicited, or of those who nudged us on to the path to finding God, to share with us the divine experience of unalloyed bliss.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Looking for a problem?

Someone really special told me that I had no real problems in life and hence I was looking for one. That bewildered me for a moment, but set me thinking. Do we give importance to trivial issues a little too much? I considered myself a die-hard optimist, but sometimes I come across as a rebel without a cause. Yesterday someone mentioned this video and for millions in the world, this is an inspirational video on how to be happy. I can relate to it in a limited way because of my sister who also suffers from the same terminal illness, and I would like to wish that she recovers completely. But this video is worth a look and the end is going to bring a lump to your throat. So, are we looking for problems till we get one serious one to concentrate on?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Into the future--another world

Financial engineering, destination management, intuitive management, fashion space...what do these terms mean? Ask me, nothing!

I happened to attend a career counselling workshop at my daughter's school this afternoon and have come out with my head buzzing, not with ideas but trying to keep track of the new fangled courses and careers the lady spoke about.

Well, she waxed eloquent about how this century is going to be the Indian one and India with its young skilled talent population will get back its glory after 15 centuries after the golden age of the Gupta dynasty. Quite a pipedream, I must say.

Then she talked about the futuristic courses that are going to be popular, and when someone asked her if these courses will sustain, she did not have much of an answer.

She asked us to let our daughters follow their dreams and not burden them for careers they do not have an aptitude for or are not inclined.

Fine, but we as parents today in India are a confused generation. On one hand we want our daughters to do what their hearts tell them to and on the other, we give premium, voice our admiration for those children who are successful in entering time tested professions like doctors, engineers, bureaucrats, lawyers. So where do we take it from here? We are pulled by our own parents' conditioning over the years and we are unable to shake off the yoke and on the other we want our children to live their dreams....

All the girls were put through an aptitude test and my daughter is naturally inclined towards creative design. I had known this all along, but never paid heed to it. Her sketches, dressing up her little sister with odds and ends, styling hair, teaming up scarves and jackets creatively all to make a fashion statement... Her quick understanding of all the designer shows on television which I constantly feel are a waste of time. But now the prospect of competing and getting into Design School is looming large over her head. So, where am I?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Beautiful lives

August has been a cruel month...A month of endings of beautiful things. Nothing personal about it, but we saw the passing away of two timeless Indian beauties...Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur and Leela Naidu, a breathtakingly beautiful Indian actress of yesteryears.

Also the end of the month signified the 12th death anniversary of Princess Diana, one of my favourite women in the contemporary world. There were a spate of movies connected with her on HBO and I saw two of them....'The Queen' and 'The Murder of Princess Diana.' Both superb movies and fitting tributes to the Peoples' Princess.

Princess Diana changed the whole idea of royalty, she brought a whole new world of humaneness to the word. And she, like other ordinary women, suffered from neglect and betrayal from her husband, which made her vulnerable and she sought true love for most of her life. Sad, but cannot help thinking, if it can happen to her, it could happen to anyone.