LOVE MARRIAGE

Another word for life is “relationships”. Come to think of it, our life is full of relationships. Some are important and some not so much. As time passes, we develop a core group, which invariably consists of the most important relationships of our lives. 

Imagine a huge circle. This circle is filled with lots of small circles. This huge circle is your life with you in the middle. The smaller circles represent the relationships in your life. Any and every person that exists in your life becomes a circle, for example your father, your mother, your spouse, your child, your friend, your boss, your enemy, your neighbour and so on. The circles that are important are closer to the centre, with the inconsequential ones towards the periphery. 

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Characteristically, a circle is a closed figure complete within itself. That’s how we picture the relationships in our lives: Clear, complete and coherent. That’s seldom the case though! A relationship between two individuals is always tricky. The reason being, there are two minds involved. No two people are alike.

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They have their own attitudes, perceptions and belief systems. They are bound to develop a difference of opinion over time leading to conflicts. I call them “disconnects”. For whatever reasons, “disconnects” are a part of every relationship. 

So, whenever there is a disconnect between you and someone, your relationship circle vis a vis that person breaks open. This causes discomfort and a deep sense of discontent. The intensity of this vexation depends upon how important that particular relationship is for you. Along the same lines, greater the number of incomplete circles in our lives, higher are the chances on a half-done life.

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I met a lady in one of my workshops. Let’s call her “ANGEL”. She was one of the sweetest person I have met so far. Loving caring and always there for others. I saw her going out of her way to please everyone. It seemed to be working for her! People adored her. I observed her deeply and found something very interesting about her.

I realised that going out of her way for people was “her” need and she did that even when people didn’t need her to do so.It was her need to feel wanted that prompted this behaviour and there were moments when she was taken for granted.

Now Angel was a pretty face and sharp features. She was the classic case of the chubby “best-friend”. Guys never gaped at her. She was not a threat or an object of envious notice. Boys didn’t fancy her as a girlfriend and falling in love was not even an option. She had accepted her fate and saw an “arranged marriage” as her best bet to find a partner/love.

During the course of my workshop, I expressed my observation about the girl and got into a broad discussion with her. After the initial discomfort, she opened up and acknowledged my observation. She said that deep inside, she felt unwanted. Her heart ached for love and acceptance. We discussed her issue deeply and slowly I started peeling back layer after layer of her personality to spot the source of this feeling.

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The deliberation traced back to when she was a small kid around 8-10 years of age. At that tender age she idolized her father, he was her hero. One day, she decided to surprise him with a painting and spent the whole day making one. When her father got back from work, she bolted towards him while still gripping the painting. The little eager girl jumped all over him, trying to show him the painting. But the exhausted father got annoyed and gave the painting a fleeting glance before he put it aside. She was heartbroken. That was the first time she felt unwanted by someone she loved the most. Somehow, this incident instilled in her mind that her father didn’t like her. Poor kid’s circle with her father opened up and she didn’t know what to do about it. Thereon many such small incidences followed, that reinforced her belief. She started doing more and bending over backwards to feel wanted and this behaviour reflected upon other relationships in her life as well. It became her personality. Not that she turned out to be an unhappy person but she was definitely not what she wanted to be. 

That one incident was what she could remember clearly. She finally realised that she had an open circle with her father. She knew that he really loves her, but expressing feelings was not his playground and whatever had happened was unintentional. She felt better.

On this note all her colleagues started hugging her and congratulating her for exhibiting courage to discuss something so personal. She felt her circle with her father was closed and she said she felt complete. To this I said “Bullshit, your circle is not complete. You have only realised that it’s open and with whom. Closing it is the latter part of the movie and is usually the tough part”. 

Many of us know which circle is open in our lives. It’s usually the second part where we screw up. The big question is How do we close it? The answer is simple by following the three steps 

Be direct 

Be honest 

Be open 

First and foremost, DIRECTLY go and talk to the person with whom your circle is open. We humans have a tendency to discuss our problem with everyone except the person causing the problem. It Doesn’t help! Only builds pseudo relationships. 

Be HONEST about your feelings. Tell the person what you honestly feel due to the disconnect. Words like sorry, helpless, sad, disappointed, empty are of great help.

Please note that the focus is on what “you” feel and not on what that person has done.

Don’t make it a platform for giving feedback on someone else’s behaviour and start blaming him/her for having hurt you, troubled you or left you. We humans have a tendency to blame others for everything that has happened to us. We must believe that everything in our relationships happens because of us. Only on this premise, one can close his/her circles. So be honest and talk about your feelings and not the other persons actions and intentions. Please note that it’s your circle that is open and that need not be the case with the other party. 

Finally, be OPEN When you share your feelings/perspectives with someone, be open enough to hear their side of the story. This openness will surprise you. 

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Three simple steps and all your circles will be closed. I said simple steps, didn’t say it’s easy. They are anything but easy. There is a reason why people around us are moving with open circles and are unhappy. People find it easier to live an incomplete life, rather than taking a shot at closing the circles. At the same time, there are people who take the other path and live liberated. They believe that in every relationship there will be disconnects, but they waste no time in resolving them. They keep their circles closed. When you are in the company of such individuals, you experience the difference yourself. You start to believe in life. 

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WHATEVER HAPPENED WITH ANGEL!!! I WONDER……

Coming back to angel’s story. I told her that her circle is not closed and it was time for action. While the workshop was still on, I asked her to call to her father and tell him everything that she told me. I asked her to focus only on her feelings and not her father’s actions. She was a little hesitant, but agreed to make the call and said that she will be right back. She came back, but after 2 hours! I saw her walking towards me. Eyes bright and a smile that stretched from ear to ear. To me she already looked slimmer. She looked beautiful. Upon asking, she said that her father cried for two hours. He apologised for unintentionally hurting her and said that he really loved her. There now! Her circle was complete and she was happy.

Two years down the line I got a message from her. She said she was getting married to a great guy. 

It was a LOVE MARRIAGE!

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

I first saw her at dance class. A tall, beautiful and magnetic woman with an extremely warm and positive vibe. Yet the way she held her ground would make any man think twice before approaching her. I squelched my instant desire to talk to her. Being the tallest in the class, we were paired together. True to my presumption, she was a fantastic dancer!

After class, I saw her drive away in a Toyota Qualis, a mammoth car to drive! at least that’s what I thought, until she altered my perception. The first and probably the last girl I saw driving a Qualis, I was super impressed. Soon we started talking and got along like a house on fire. It was a heart breaker to know that she was eight years younger than me. Anything apart from friendship was ruled out immediately. But that didn’t dampen my spirit to pursue her. We were dance partners, then we became work partners, we played tennis together. I knew where this was going and it was exactly where I wanted it to head. My mom and dad are 9 years apart and if they got married, I could too! I knew it was possible. She had no idea about the covert operation I was planning to implement. And a few years down the line, we got married!

Not much changed after that, we spoke a lot, we travelled far and wide in life and also on the globe. Life has always been fun with her. Traveling with her has been the best experience of my life! I have a “travel buddy” for life. She’s the darling of my big fat Punjabi family, she loves them and they love her right back.

You know Seema can operate at extreme high energy levels for hours non-stop. She is the only person I know who goes ballistic and fights with me. No one else I know gets angry with me. All said and done, she has been my lifeline.

In 2014, my daughter Savannah was born. She came, she saw and she conquered and how! Everything started revolving around her. My conversations with Seema changed, now all we spoke about was our baby. We spent a lot more time together, but not a minute to ourselves. Savannah kept us on our toes. She was center of our circle and we loved every moment with her. We were happier and life got better with the new kid on the block, quite literally!

I was happy that Savannah looked more like me. It’s a great feeling, trust me, you are always one up with your wife, like forever! That pissed her off a bit I know, but she’d never admit it.

Jokes apart, what I have witnessed in last few years is divine. I have witnessed the birth of a mother. Picture this, she was my dance partner, my friend, my wife, my travel buddy and then she just morphed into a MOM! Happily reforming herself and cleaning up her act. She loved greasy desi Chinese and she gave it all up. Suddenly she was on a diet that included vegetable juice, salads and fruits every day. She didn’t pop a pill during the complete pregnancy. Zero medication. It was difficult, I could see that, but she did it with an angelic smile. It was her initiative, her determination and her belief to raise a healthy child and she has done it like a boss! She is the super eminent care taker for Savannah and I am the primary provider to this family. I am the breadwinner while she focuses on the family, at least for five years is what we have decided. I will always be grateful to my wife for this.

She’s known as Savannah’s mom these days. I am so proud of the way she is raising Savannah and it’s so much fun to watch them together. She has calmed down as a person, it’s almost like she is in zen mode now. More composed yet more fun. I don’t know how she does it! She is a friend to Savannah and how beautifully Savannah responds. Right from the midnight craft sessions, to swimming class, musical bonding class, midnight drives (with me of course), taking her to every possible place where she can be close to nature. Together they have embarked on a beautiful new journey! They are big huggers and love to dance together. At times, they get into long conversations with each other which is surprising yet beautiful. I look at them and smile!

Savannah is 32 months old and she has already been to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Orissa, Kanha, Pench, Kerala, Lonavala (30 times), Nashik, Pune (10 times), Alibaug, Matheran, Andaman, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Hyderabad and so many other places I don’t even remember. Couldn’t have even thought about this if it wasn’t for Seema. I am just their happy driver.

Seema has transmuted from a temperamental, high-energy young woman to a matured, calm yet dynamic mother. She is more centered and balanced than ever. She knows how much to stretch Savannah and when to stop so that every moment of Savannah’s life is joyous. When I look at her I feel that she was meant to be a mother. That’s her calling. I have never seen her happier. She loves Savannah and Savannah loves her. I love them both. That’s my love story.

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I guess now I know how nature works. Motherhood is the privilege given to women. We men have the privilege of giving our women the right environment to live and enjoy their motherhood to the fullest so that children get a wonderful upbringing.

So, to the mother of my baby, I wish you HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

THE HAPPIEST MAN I KNOW

My Dad! my very first hero. One look at the man and you would know he is extremely strong. Even at 74, his biceps are bigger than mine. He loves to swim and hits the gym every morning. He also has a home gym, for the days he can’t make it to the gym, of course that day is yet to come! I envy his energy levels. It surprising how he has managed to keep his weight the same for ages! Given the fact that his diet is complete with sinful indulgences like pani puri, chole pattice, dal pakwaan , samosas, usual pav! The list is endless!

He has an amazing sense of humor and he manages to find a common funny bone to give everyone a chuckle. He can find humor in any situation and he lives by the mantra ‘Why so serious?’

A man who has no secrets and keeps none. He doesn’t believe in double-dealing, he either likes you or he doesn’t. He is simple, direct and in your face. There are days when he might come down hard on people, but the very next day, he forgets all about it! He has no time to hold on to grudges. Too much baggage!

He has this super colossal ability to “let go” and it’s not because he is 74 years old. He’s been this way all his life. A man who loves everyone, but is attached to no one! My mom being an exception, as no one understands his food requirement better than her.

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He was always the wind beneath our (my sister and me) wings. There was not a thing that my dad didn’t provide! We had the best of toys, sports gears and games. He took us to fancy restaurants, picnics and movies. This made us believe that we had everything we needed and wanted. I guess I finally know what his plan was. He wanted us to gain exposure of everything our life had to offer. There was never a dearth of experiences or possessions and not that dad was a big shot. This quality has remained with us till date and we have grown up believing that everything is achievable and nothing is a big deal.

All my friends love my big man! Most of them who visit my place end up spending more time chatting with him. He’s fun to have around and leaves a trail of hee-haw everywhere he goes.

Dad loves watching movies, and he has a peculiar style of watching them. He goes the multiplex on a weekday, when the halls are practically empty. He starts by watching one movie and if he doesn’t like it ,then he just struts into the next hall to watch another movie. In this fashion, he watches 2-3 movies simultaneously. The interesting part is his ability to convince the theater staff to allow him to do such things. This gives him a rush!

I have never seen him dawdling around and killing time. He is always on the move and always game for outdoor plans. For years, I have seen him riding his scooter with my kid cousins, neighbourhood kids, my nieces and now my daughter. This is happening for years and I am sure it will continue to happen for years to come. Nothing has changed over so many years except for his Bajaj Chetak that has been replaced by Honda Activa. The pillion rider changes every five years but the rider is the same.

He cares of everyone within his circle. Almost always, the first guy to be present on any important day and always the first one to extend a helping hand wherever needed.

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He loves to dress smartly, and given his physique, almost everything looks good on him. But the best thing he wears is his smile! The other day he was telling me that he would like to develop 6 pack abs! Sometimes I wonder if he’s really 74 years old. Where does he get this energy from?

I guess his ability to

  • keep himself fit
  • live a disciplined life (5 am to 9.30 pm)
  • take responsibility of self and others
  • live unattached without expecting much from others
  • ability to ‘let go’
  • sense of humour
  • sense of adventure
  • confidence

makes him: The happiest I Know. 

WHAT’S YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE?

We humans embody unique characteristics which shape our personality. Anybody with a moderately keen power of observation will agree that there are different types of personalities that people exhibit in a run-of-the-mill everyday setup. Let me give you an insight on these peculiar temperaments and how to handle them.

A school of thought says that human personality can be divided into six different types. Each type has its unique characteristics and each type has a preferred communication style. If we are able to identify the type it becomes easier for us to connect with them.

I got introduced to this brilliant concept around 14 years back during a training program .I don’t quiet remember the source of this concept, but thereon I have spared no opportunity to implement it. Here’s the dope

VALUATOR
This category subsumes people who are usually at senior positions or people who have achieved success early in their lives. On the basis of their age or rank they trot out certain basic tendencies which are listed below.
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How to connect?

Please comprehend that in order to connect with them we need to speak in their preferred style of communication. We must never, I repeat NEVER try to match their style.

  • Seek their opinions.
  • Don’t give them ideas; instead take their feedback on your ideas.
  • Do not emulate their sitting posture.
  • Show eagerness and zeal.
  • Engage them in wordplay by asking questions.

“You never know the might give you some genuine pearls of wisdom”

Note:

Valuators are people who are super achievers in the past and for varied reasons have either hit the brakes or let down flaps. Many bosses, fathers, young achievers and retired individuals fall in this category. And they are not easy to deal with!

RELATOR

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How to connect?

  • Be nice to them.
  • They appreciate a candid attitude about your expectations from them.
  • Help them to say “no” if you feel that they cannot aid your efforts.
  • Match their style and spirit.

Note:
Relators are nice people and go out-of-the-way to do things for others. They avoid confrontations and try to secure a win-win position all the times. Every so often, they find the world ungrateful.

SYSTEMIZERS

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How to connect?

  • Be to the point and detailed with your deliberation.
  • Makes sure that you cover all bases and are well prepped.
  • Be on top of your subject matter.
  • Be very honest about the knowledge you bring to the table. Do not try to bluff.

Note:

Systemizers may have all the earmarks of a shrewd and insensitive person, but they could be the easiest people to deal with. They call a spade a spade and should you try to take them for granted, they have the capability of becoming your worst nightmare!

STIMULATOR

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How to connect?

  • Match their energies and style
  • Don’t be too serious with them
  • Engage and show participative interest in their activities.
  • Help them focus by bringing them on track from time to time without being too pushy.

Note:
Working with a stimulator is like making a child do homework or eat food. You have to cook up stories, participate and still ensure that the homework is completed and food is eaten.

VISUALIZER

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How to connect?

  • Match their style and body language
  • Speak softly and keep your conversation limited.
  • Encourage a conversation by asking questions that they would be happy to answer, for example questions related to their work.
  • Give them their space.

Note:
We all go into a visualizer mode from time to time. Times when we have just dropped our child to a boarding school or visiting someone in a hospital etc.

ACTIVATOR

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How to connect?

  • Match their vibe
  • Talk to them about ideas. Avoid being grouchy.
  • Stay in touch constantly or you will lose them. For them out of sight is out of mind.

Note:
Activators make things happen. Once an activator ceases to act or think in their peculiar fashion, they gradually start morphing into valuators.

Conclusion:

Six governing personalities dwell within us. However we exhibit only one or two of these traits at any given time or place. This explains why we get along well with some people as compared to the rest. For instance valuators are self-willed and hence two people with a valuator personality just can’t get along. When married to an obstinate valuator wife, the husband needs to gets into the visualizer mode or becomes a relator to make the marriage last. A bad fight between two people could be a result of their personalities operating on the valuator mode. Every activator (the big picture guy) needs a systemizer as his execution arm to materialize his ideas. We subconsciously unfold different personalities based on the situations we are in at our workplace, with our friends or family .One needs to figure out where he/she enjoys the most. At Work, with family or friends? This could be a good indicator of your natural personality type.

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GOODNIGHT

It was midnight. My laptop was shut. I was about to put it in my bag when suddenly I saw the screen coming to life,emitting a beam of red light. I was startled but my curiosity made me open it. You would never believe what I saw! It was Santa Claus, Continue reading