Kuch khaas hai, hum sabhi mein…


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So, after days of no updates, here is the second update in a single day. Thank (or blame) Ganpati Bappa for that. It is the visarjan half-day (coupled with work-from-home) that helps me do this. πŸ™‚ Just like one of my earlier posts, the idea for this one too comes from Meenu.

The concept she came up with was quite simple – think of yourself as a model and decide which product/brand would you endorse and why. Now, while the concept might be simple, deciding the product/brand was not so easy, simply because I am not a brand fanatic as such. For me, the utility of any product is what matters more than the name it bears. Of course, some names are a more reliable guarantor of quality than others, but then, that’s about it. Having said that, it didn’t take me much time to arrive at what I would endorse if I had the chance to. If, like me, you have been a teenager in the 90s, you will surely have a look at the title of this post and instantly know what I am talking about. Yes, its something that we all grew up with – our beloved Cadbury. πŸ™‚

Unlike kids today who have a plethora of options when it comes to stuffing their mouths with various cocoa byproducts (we HAVE TO thank MMS and PVN Rao for opening up imports), kids (and kids at heart) in the 90s grew up on a staple diet of Cadburys. While we all had our personal favourites, I can safely bet that Eclairs, 5-Star, Dairy Milk and Gems were always around, not to forget the daily morning cup of Bournvita (yes, I drink Bournvita even today, no matter what you think of me). In their own way, I would say each of these was special to every one of us. As for me, I wasn’t too much into 5-Star or Eclairs (sticky ones are a no-no for me), but I was absolutely crazy for Gems and the Dairy Milk bars. Sweet memories of these go a long way back into time. Yes, you can call me an oldie if you want. I would be too lost in the rich, creamy taste to even notice. πŸ˜€

But then, are memories made up of only taste? Definitely not, when you have grown up with such wonderful chocolates around, factors other than taste are bound to mark their presence. The Friday evenings, when mom would get me a Dairy Milk, is something I used to look forward to as eagerly as the declaration of final exam results, which would mean a large packet full of chocolates getting delivered to yours truly. The BIG smile that would light up my ex’s face when I took a Bournville out of my bag is something to be seen to be believed. Similarly, the 100W bulb waala expression on someone’s (you know who you are :D) face when I mention “blue waali Gems” is unparalleled. This is the stuff that cherished memories are made of, and Cadbury has been a Β big part of these.

I could go on and on about the Cadbury magic, but I will have to stop it here. There is a Bournville in the fridge calling me, and I think I have definitely earned it. πŸ˜€

Abey shaadi kab kar raha hai??



Whenever someone wishes me on my birthday, the first question to pop up is “So, how old are you?”. When I answer that one, it is usually with a figure that isΒ on the (supposedly) wrong side of 30. As if on cue, what gets thrown at me next is the what is the title of this post. πŸ˜€ The verbiage may differ, but the essence remains the same.Β 

Now, there are two things fundamentally wrong with this entire situation. First being that people actually need to ask me my age, even if it is only to assure themselves that I don’t behave according to my age. Isn’t it a known fact already that my behaviour rarely matches my age? πŸ˜› Secondly, and more importantly, the automatic assumption that the date on the birth certificate should somehow put a dependency on the date on the marriage certificate is a particularly hilarious one. Yes, you read that right. It is hilarious, neither irritating nor infuriating. After years of enduring it, it comes across as plainly comic. If you think this is going to be another anti-arranged-marriage rant, let me assure you that it is not. πŸ™‚

You see, despite my unmarried status, I have nothing against the concept of marriage. What I find quizzical is the almost fanatical insistence on getting married by a certain age, and the accompanying justifications for that. These cover the entire gamut from the emotional (mummy ka kuch to khayaal karo) to the mathematical (30 ke aaspaas shaadi karega to 56-57 tak bachha kamaane lag jaayega..,phir tu aaram se retire ho sakta hai) and everything in between. While they have their share of sense, they all miss out on the most crucial aspect – marriage is not an end in itself (regardless of married people telling you “yaar, shaadi ke baad toh sab khatm!!“), it is simply a means to something more valuable, more cherished than fulfilling your “obligations”. What is that? Well, that is a subject for another post. Today, I am stuck on marriage-compulsion-bashing, so let me be. πŸ˜€

Admittedly, years of facing the same question over and over again has enabled me to freely exercise my creativity in coming up with responses. One of them is that I am pained by the uncontrolled population growth in India and am determined to not add to it. Never mind that being a serial killer is an easier way to do that. If I am feeling really honest, I can always say that not getting married is my way of ensuring that at least one woman (the one whom I would’ve got married to) ends up being happy rather than getting hitched and making sure that at least one woman (the one whom I would get married to) has to face a lifetime of headache. A lifetime of headache for her also has some implications for me, but since this post is meant for a family audience, I will skip over that part. πŸ˜› I can say one thing for sure, though. You ask me the same question 5 times in a row, I can come up with 5 different, complete explanations of why I am still ticking the “Single” box on the form after having inhabited Planet Earth for nearly 12,500 days now. Sixth time onward is when the hilarity starts. I then simply let loose my imagination. One of my uncles always asks me when I am getting married. In another 2 years, I keep telling him. One day he said to me, you have been saying the same thing to me for the past 8 years. Of course, I replied – have you ever seen a better example of a man sticking to his word? πŸ˜€

Now that still leaves us with the basic question – Sam,Β shaadi kab karega? To that, I have a very simple answer – ice cream khaani hai to bolo, icecream ki khaatir meri shaadi mat karwaao. πŸ˜€

Sa Re Ga Ma…

No, I am not going to talk about the TV show here. Neither am I going to wax eloquent about how music is food for the soul (which it indeed is) or the catch-all solution to forget all of our problems at least temporarily (which again it indeed is). Instead, I am going to talk about what I feel when I listen to music or sing a song. I am NOT going to write about what others think when they listen to me singing, because I want this blog to be as free of violent thoughts/actions as possible. πŸ˜›

Those who know me well, know that I generally tend to listen to mostly Hindi songs from 1940s to 1970s. I do get called an oldie goldie for that, but that is how it is. These are songs I grew up listening to, absorbing not just the tunes, or even the voices, but also the meaning of their words. These songs have really spoiled me, in the sense that even today when I happen to catch a song playing somewhere, the first thing that I notice are the lyrics, then the voices, and at the end, the tunes/instrumentals. Call me old-fashioned or even finicky, but that is how my mind reacts to a song. πŸ™‚

As far the lyrics go, they deserve an entire post of their own and I wouldn’t like to shoe-horn it into this one. Hence, I am going to focus more on the vocals part here. For some of us, these can be what make or break a song. However, for me, even though are very important, it is not about how good a job the singer has done. It is about how much of “soul” s/he has put into it. Recorded sound quality is something which can be drastically altered/improved these days with autotune, but the passion, the subtle nuances/feelings the singer imparts to the song can never be provided by a piece of code. Sometimes, even the most accomplished singer or someone more fluent with the language can come up with a less than exciting performance while someone with a relatively less melodious voice can come up with a 24 carat rendition of the same song. At the risk of courting a controversy, I will point you to the Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupen Hazarika versions of “Dil hoom hoom kare” from Rudaali. Again, this is strictly my personal opinion, and you need not agree.

Now that you know what I think of the vocals in a song, it shouldn’t really come to you as a surprise if I say that the emotions put in by a singer are what I like more in a song than the technical aspects of voice modulation, ability to hit the high notes etc. Of course, these are important when you are a professional singer, but if you are not, I will be perfectly happy if I can sense what goes on in your mind when I hear you sing. πŸ™‚ As an added advantage, this also liberates me from judging myself up to a certain standard when I sing a song. I know I am not a singer by any stretch of imagination, and will never be. But as long as I am singing it with all my honesty and the one for whom I am singing it appreciates the same, I will be a happy fellow.

This post has meandered quite a bit, just like my attempts at singing, and I will gladly take the blame for that. Like I have said many times before (and will probably say many more times), it is never about the melody in the song, it is always about the song behind the melody. πŸ™‚

P.S: This does mean that those unfortunate enough to be at the receiving end of my vocal acrobatics will continue to remain so. No escape for you guys!! πŸ˜€

Turning the pages


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This is the first time EVER that I am writing a post on a topic suggested by someone else. The simple reason being that I wanted to see how well I did when I water a seed that someone else planted in my mind. This idea is courtesy Meenu who asked me to write a post about the book that I have liked/loved most and I said…why not? Let us see what we can come up with. So, in a way, this post is dedicated to her.

So, which book am I going to talk about today? I will be honest – it wasn’t an easy choice at all. Though I have never claimed to be a “voracious reader” and I work in an industry where paper is treated as an untouchable commodity, I am responsible for a fair amount of trees being cut down. Out of all the books I have read so far, each one (with a few exceptions) has been an enjoyable journey. Intriguing at times, engrossing at others. So, picking out one was easier said than done. That being said, I decided to go by gut feel. I just laid back, closed my eyes, and the very first image that flashed in my mind was the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy in search of his dream.

As many of you might have guessed by now, I am talking about The Alchemist, one of Paulo Coelho’s all-time classics. I will not go into the details of the plot of the book. You can always refer to WikipediaΒ for that. Neither am I going to come up with a review of the book, as I believe that a book is something to be felt, to be experienced, and not to be evaluated or reviewed. I am simply going to tell you about the impression that this tale made on me, and how it has helped me in my life. Yes, you read that right. This is one book whose theme I have been able to apply practically in my day-to-day life. πŸ™‚

Thanks to SRK and Om Shanti Om, almost everyone is aware of the key theme of the book. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” is what the alchemist tells Santiago. To a large extent, this is something we all would like to believe in, and why not? Who wouldn’t want to desire something and have things fall in place auto-magically? Seems too good to be true, and it indeed is. This is something which I have found that many of us miss out on. In the ecstasy of imagining our dreams come true just like that, we forget about one more thing that Santiago was told. And I will admit – I didn’t catch it the first time either. It was only when I actually tried applying the principle in real life that I encountered it. Curious? Read on.

“Those who don’t understand their Personal Legends will fail to comprehend its teachings” is what the alchemist says to Santiago, adding that when we are young, we all know what our “Personal Legend” is. Admittedly, this sounds like high-brow management speak, until you realise it is nothing else but the basic purpose of your life – the role that you are supposed to play on this big stage. As I understand it, it is all about really focusing on what you want to achieve in life, what you want to be remembered as after you have made your exit, and then fearlessly working your way towards it. It is only after you have set foot on this journey that things start falling in place for you. If you expect to sit on your ass and expect things to fall on your lap, remember that even a beggar sitting outside the temple doesn’t enjoy that luxury. He has to reach out to people and tug at their heart strings to make them loosen their purse strings.

Coming back to myself, this book has always been a great source of inspiration to me. Whenever I feel down and out (yes people, I do feel like that at times) I simply pick it up, flip to a random page and start reading. Invariably, I find that calm is restored within some time. Two of the most important lessons that this book has taught me are – “follow your dreams” and “life listens to what you say/do and rewards you accordingly”. The first one is pretty obvious to understand and equally difficult to follow to the fullest. Fortunately, I have always been blessed with opportunities (and people) around me who have been supportive of my efforts to make my life the way I want it to be. Of course, there have been detractors too, a fair share of them. But for me, they have proved to be more of a motivator. If there is something I really love doing, it is having people tell me that I cannot do something and then proving them wrong. πŸ˜‰

The second one is a bit tricky. At first, I had thought that it was all about life paying you back for your good/bad deeds, or what is popularly known as karma. Then, I realised that it was not just karma, it was also about how we accept what life bestows on us. Whatever life puts in our hands, we have to accept it with equanimity. If it gives you something which makes you happy, smile, be grateful to it and thank it. If it gives you something that makes you sad, smile, say “no worries, I hope I get a better deal next time round” and move ahead towards your dream. Trust me, life WILL pay you back what it owes you. πŸ™‚ In my experience so far, I have found it to be the most balanced credit-debit sheet EVER. One thing that I have learnt (sometimes the hard way) is not to deny anything that life offers to you. If it offers you something that you feel you are not worthy of, you are WRONG. Life knows better. If you are getting something, it is because you deserve it, as simple as that. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure, cherish it. πŸ™‚

This has been a long post so far, but a very satisfying one to write. Thanks Meenu, get your brain cells buzzing – if these are the kind of ideas you are going to come up with, I need more of them. πŸ™‚

Same thing, same time…


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“Hey, I was JUST about to say that”
“Same thing at the same time…great minds think alike, at the same time, too…” πŸ˜€
“Yaar, mere munh ki baat chheen li tumne…”

If any of these sound familiar to you, you already know what I am going to talk about today. Yes, its about what is generally known as telepathy, or that awesome (or weird if you claim to possess that intangible quality called sanity) phenomenon where your mental frequency (wavelength if you choose so) matches with someone so well, that completing each others’ sentences, reading their mind, and yes, saying the same thing at the same time (even if it is not directly related to what you are discussing at that point of time) becomes an everyday affair. It happens many a times with me, not with many people though. And like most of my other posts, this too is about my own experiences, and definitely NOT about whether telepathy exists or not. If I experience it with you, it very much exists. If I don’t, it doesn’t. As simple as that. πŸ™‚

I have always believed that if you have people in your life with whom you can speak less and say more, and be assured that they will get you right, you are a very fortunate person. This person need not always be your lover/spouse or even your soulmate. Yes, one’s lover/spouse may NOT be one’s soulmate, but I digress. It can be a friend, or even someone whom you have known for a short while. What really matters is that with these people, communication is nothing short of near-magic, where you don’t speak much not because you don’t have much to speak about, but because you don’t need to. And when you speak, the understanding is so good, it almost seems too good to be true. Now, this does not mean that you agree on anything and everything, it simply means that even if you don’t agree on something, you don’t have to do much to make the other person understand it.

After reading the above paragraph, you might think that I have digressed from where I started. What does understanding each other well have to do with telepathy? Right? Well, let me ask you this – where does the damn telepathy come from? Unless you understand each other well, it is well-nigh impossible to be so much in sync that your thoughts (and words) complement each other even when they run in opposite directions. You might be a butter chicken fanatic and they may run away even at the mere glimpse of an egg, but if the very mention of “food” gets both of you saying “Chal yaar…kuch khaate hai…bhookh lagi hai”, THAT, my dear friends, is telepathy. And before you think that all I can think of is food (someone definitely considers me a “foodie”), let me tell you that I took food as an example because its the easiest to understand. πŸ˜€ I could have equally well taken up a topic like emotions or love, but then knowing me, that would have been so predictable. πŸ˜‰

Now where does this “telepathy” really stem from? I believe that we all have our own unique blend of craziness (this theory does explain my round-the-clock ability to yap quite well) and when we come across someone with a similar blend, the resulting magic is inevitable. There is really no scientific explanation for this, and I am not even seeking any. I am just happy that such a thing exists, and there are people in my life (however few) with whom I can experience it. πŸ™‚ In fact, when I come across a new person in any sphere of my life, one of the first things I look out for is the ease with which we can communicate. And if I happen to strike gold, the happiness is second to none.

Having said all that, I must say that this is not something I have experienced it with too many people in my life. In fact, I can count such people on the fingers of one hand (and I am not even Hrithik Roshan to have an extra finger). So, if I have told you that I have experienced this with you, you belong to a very select club. Thanks for matching my blend of craziness…you are awesome! πŸ™‚

The inner child, the outer adult

“You are actually a kid at heart”, said my friend to me some days back. What prompted her to say so was my penchant for going out and getting wet in the rains when it is pouring. Add to it my reluctance to use an umbrella unless I have my laptop with me, and you get a classic picture of a kid who has grown old but refuses to grow up. πŸ˜€ That remark set me thinking. I was about to write a post on it when work happened to ransack my schedule, and the post got placed on the back burner.Β Then a couple of days back, an office colleague remarked, “You always seem so calm, its almost like you are unaffected by anything around you.”. Now, these are two rather contradictory observations. After all, you expect a kid to be anything but calm. However, both are quite correct in their own right, and this is what today’s post is all about.

Firstly, I will say that it is not as much of a contradiction as it seems – to be a kid and to stay calm at the same time. I can only speak from my own experience and observation, so it is quite likely that your take on this will differ from mine. What I have seen that typically people confuse “being child-like” with “being childish”. What they don’t understand that maturity is not necessarily achieved at the cost of innocence/optimism. When it is, it amounts to cynicism, not maturity. For me, being a kid at heart is not as easy as it seems to a casual observer. It has taken (and continues to take) lots of effort to keep that kid alive and kicking. When the rains come calling, and I stretch my head/hands/legs out of the window to get wet or go jumping in the puddles (yup, I do that – now you know why I get called a kid), it is not just because I enjoy the rains, it is also because I choose to remember the happy moments and memories that the rains bring, and leave behind the not so happy ones. πŸ™‚

Being a kid is not child’s play – this is what I have always believed. It involves facing up to all that life has to offer, and yet not let that inner child lose his innocence and zest for life. This is where the outer adult comes into play (pun intended). While the inner child keeps the innocence alive, the outer adult shields him from the vagaries of day-to-day life and lets him play happily. How does he do it? Simple – by not allowing the kid to get disheartened if things don’t go his way. “Somebody was mean to you? Hey, you know what you are..right? That fellow doesn’t know you.” The kid looks up to the adult for an assurance – if things get messed up, he will still have a safe haven to go. If there are tears in his eyes, someone will be around to wipe them off and bring the smile back. If he misbehaves, he can be sure his ass will be spanked and he will be told to shut up. πŸ˜‰

So, does this mean that the adult plays the more important role of the two? NO. Where do you think this outer adult derives his strength, his “calm” from? Who do you think prevents him from being cynical when the world tries to screw him over?Yup, you got that right. Much as the child is dependent on the adult for protection, the adult owes his sanity to that little kid. For it is the kid who manages to make him smile when he is faced with disappointment. It is his optimism that cheers the adult when his shoulders sag with the world weighing on them. And it is the kiddo who tells him…”hey, you sad about something? Oh you don’t need to be…come on cheer up.” when he needs someone who will believe in him.

Rather than getting into an endless (and fruitless) analysis of who is more important, and what role should one be playing, I will keep it simple – both these guys have been vital in making me what I am, keeping me sane while not letting go of my craziness. So next time you watch me jumping into a puddle or being not bothered by what is happening around me, remember this – you are only seeing one part of me, you are yet to see the other one. πŸ™‚

Salty icecream, sweet sunshine

Walking hand-in-hand, he felt a slight tug of her hand on his. Turning back, he looked into her eyes – only to see what he had been dreading since that morning. A look of resignation, tinged with fear and laced with uncertainty. “What happened?”, he asked, not really expecting an answer. She continued to look at him, almost urging him to not say anything.

“Lets sit down here for a minute. Is that okay?”, he said – pointing to a bench nearby. “Do you really think everything is okay, Bugs?” was her hesitant reply. “I know its not, but I don’t want you to get affected by it.”. She said nothing and just sat on the bench as if someone had laden a million burdens on her shoulders. He settled down next to her and just held her hands, silently, reassuringly.

For a few minutes, the only sound one could hear was of the traffic passing them by, while both just looked at each other – speaking nothing, saying a lot. When the silence got unbearable, she blurted out – “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore!!”. The suddenness of what she said took no time to hit him, yet it was a few seconds before the impact of it truly hit him. And when it did, tears welled up in his eyes. However, this is not the time for them to show up, he thought to himself as he pushed them back with sheer effort.

“I know why you said that first sentence, but I don’t believe you when you say that second one. I know very well that you do want to do this.”

“This is what scares me really. Why do you know me so well that I can’t even bloody lie to you? At least then you would be hurt less than now

“There is nothing like more or less when it comes to pain, Bunny. And who says that you are hurting me? The situation that we are in is screwing us..fine..agreed…but we will overcome this, I am damn sure.”

“How the hell can you be so confident that it will work out? I don’t see it happening.”

“Even I don’t see it happening – we will have to make it happen. And no matter how optimistic I am, I cannot do this without you. We cannot do this without each other.”

He reached out to her and held her face in his palms, tenderly kissing her forehead. “Don’t do that. You are making it more difficult for me.”, she said.

“Really, if that is the case, why are you still holding on to my arm? Why are you not letting me go?”.

“Coz I don’t want to…I don’t want to.”

“So now you know how I am feeling…right? And you felt you could walk away just like that out of my life?”

“I was hoping I could, but I know I am wrong. I am so selfish. I can’t assure you of anything, yet I want to hold on to you.”

“You’re not selfish re…its just that life is really testing us. Do you remember about how we talked that day about having a house on the beach in our old age?”


“We may or may not end up in that house, but does that mean we don’t even try?”

“We must try re, but I am not sure whether we will succeed”

“Neither am I…but then that is the beauty of it. If we succeed, we enjoy the destination. If we don’t, we have at least enjoyed the journey.”

“How can you be so calm? I just don’t understand that.”

“Well…firstly you don’t understand many things. Secondly, who is calm? Idhar mera band baj raha hai. Baahar se nahi dikhta to kya hua?”, he said, tapping her head lightly.

As she broke into a slight smile, he pulled her cheeks and said..”Do you like salty icecream?”

“Salty icecream??? Kuchh bhi!!!”

“Haan of course!! Itna rona dhona kar diya…icecream khaaogi to wo bhi salty ho jaayegi dekhna..”

“Nahi hogi…meethi hi hogi…tum hi dekhna. Aur haan…I am gonna eat up your coffee walnut icecream too.”

“Arey then what I am supposed to do?”

“You? You are supposed to pay for the icecream, watch me while I eat it and yes, then you are supposed to drop me home. Chalo..kaam pe lago..bahut kaam hai tumhaare liye!!”

As a bright smile returned to her lips and her eyes sparkled with a new-found happiness, they walked towards the ice-cream counter. The future was still uncertain, but love had Β lived on, to witness one more day of sunshine.

Do sikke

“Here, keep this with you”, he said, handing a coin to her.
Whats that? Oh, a 10 rupee coin!! Where did you get one of those?
“Actually, I got two of those. One for you and one for me.”
I don’t think I deserve to get anything from you…not anymore!!
“Why so?”
“Just because things have not gone the way we wanted them to go, that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything for you…right?”.
……” All she could do was hold on to his arm and rest on his shoulder, like a child holding on to a parent.

His fingers intertwined with hers, partly as a matter of habit, mostly as a gesture of assurance. “You don’t have to say anything…not now, not ever.”
This isn’t fair to you…
“Sometimes life isn’t fair…not fair at all. I gotta take what comes my way.”

Clasping the coin in her palm, he faintly kissed her fingers and said “Keep this one with you…and I will keep one with me”.
Is this meant to be a forever-together promise? What happened to that ‘we will always be under the same moon’ dialogue of yours?
“That was when we believed that we would always be together. Things didn’t quite turn out that way na?”
“There will be a time when my being there, if only in your memories, will hurt you. That is something I just can’t allow to happen. If I ask you to look at the moon and remember me, the moon is never going to go away, and neither is the pain. This coin can be used and let go on its way forward.”
And what about you? Are you gonna let your coin go, too?

This was one question he had no answer to. He could only look in her eyes – speaking nothing, saying a lot. “I think I should leave now…“, said she as she held on to his fingers for one last time and stepped back.

Both the coins stayed tightly clasped in their palms, waiting to be let go on their way forward.

Meri aawaaz suno…

Like promised in a previous post about talking, here I am, back with a post on “listening”. πŸ™‚ As you might have guessed by now, this is not about “hearing”, its about “listening”. Not much of a difference, you might say. Well, read on and see for yourself.

Admittedly, I am not the first person to talk about this. There are a whole lot of Β resources out there – articles, essays, even books – on how to be a good listener. They will all tell you about how to pay attention to someone when they are talking, how to notice the non-verbal cues that they express, and tons of stuff like that. I like to keep things simple, though. While all that will indeed work for you, it is a lot of work digesting all that material and then putting it into practice. The way I handle it, it all boils down to one simple thing – “listen like you are the one talking”.

Now, this does not mean that you pitch in with your reactions/thoughts while the other person is talking. It only means that when you are listening, give the other person’s thoughts the same amount of importance that you would give to your own. We all have this innate desire to be heard and understood, and no one is an exception. When someone is talking to you, in effect, they are opening up a part of themselves to you, and thereby exposing themselves to being judged by you. No matter how serious or trivial the subject is, it does take some placing of trust in the listener to do that. So, when you listen, respect the trust that has been placed in you.Β Listening to someone is not a case study where you have to analyse a situation and pronounce a judgement. So don’t treat it like one. All the other person could want in you is someone to whom they can express their thoughts. Keep your thoughts to yourself unless asked. Basically, keep your mouth shut and mind open. πŸ™‚

One more thing that comes to mind – do not react when you are listening. Reactions/reflexes are natural to us and if the person talking is close to us, we do react, at times impulsively. What this ends up achieving is that the other person also reacts to our reactions, and any further communication thereon is guided by a cycle of reactions and counter-reactions, not by the original thought that s/he wanted to express. I believe this defeats the entire purpose of the exercise. No matter what you think about the issue, always allow the other person to finish. This can be very difficult to do, especially if their views are contrary to yours, but it is a skill worth acquiring, trust me. πŸ™‚ More importantly, this puts the other person in a more positive/relaxed frame of mind, which itself is half the job done.

If possible, look the person in the eye while they are talking. Let them feel that you are with them because you are genuinely interested in what they are saying, and not because you are supposed to show that you are listening. Of course, there are times when this does not apply. Looking straight at a person when they are confessing their guilt can scare orΒ embarrassΒ them further. Also, if they are talking about something very traumatic, they might feel as if they are being placed under a microscope. Use your best judgement and you will do fine. πŸ™‚

Though there is lots I can say about this topic, I will wrap things up here with a small but very vital point, otherwise you will cease to listen (read, actually) further. Β I believe that this world needs more of good listeners than good talkers. Anyone can talk well with some effort and dedication, but it takes lots to be someone whom people will trust to listen and not misunderstand them. Try and belong to the latter group – its a much more worthwhile place to be. πŸ™‚

The girl on the beach

Close on the heels of the earlier post, comes this one about – yes, you guessed it right – yet another dream of mine. And unlike the earlier one, which was still pretty sober, this one is something which you wouldn’t expect of me. So, here comes a disclaimer – this is my dream, not the real me. πŸ˜›

It all begins in a hut near the top of a mountain. I am sitting outside the hut getting bored and looking towards the base of the mountain. There I can see a large beach on one side and a deep valley on another. I am in two minds as to where I should be going when I happen to notice a pair of binoculars lying nearby and decide to use it. Peering through the binoculars, I see a female form on the beach and nothing significant around the valley. So I opt for the beach. When I come down to the base of the mountain I am faced with a thick forest which was not present there when I had looked from above. Nevertheless, I decide to cross it – only to find that it is full of Β trees and thorny bushes. Undeterred, I go on. The thorns tear my clothes to rags and I am profusely bleeding, but I still move on towards the beach, pulled by some unknown power.
When I cross the forest after what seems like an eternity, I reach the beach. There I don’t see any female but I do notice a rundown shack a few paces away. I enter the shack to find it very neat and clean, with stuff properly arranged. There is a bed and a small table beside it. I sit on the bed and instantly get a feeling of deja vu. Looking around, I notice that the drawer of the table is slightly ajar. I open it to find an envelope inside, containing a photo of me with a human form – the human form has been cut out of the picture. I put the photo back. When I am doing so,I notice that there is a blank photo frame lying around. I check it to find that there is actually a photo hidden inside it. It’s of a simple (but beautiful) girl whom I have never met before (in real life or in any of my dreams). I carry that photo with me and come out of the shack.
Wherever I can see, I can find only the sea. Now I am really desperate to find the girl in the photo. So I decide to walk in one direction, hoping that I would mange to find the female that I saw from the top of the mountain. After walking for quite some time, I happen to see a female walking some distance ahead of me. I run to her and holding her hand, turn her towards me. I am taken aback when I notice that she is faceless, except for her lips – no eyes, no ears, no features except lips. She smiles at me and says “you should not have come here”. I ask her who she is and what she means by that. She says nothing and just steps closer to me. As her scent hits me, I feel waves of intense craving engulf me. I pull her towards myself and kiss her hard. She has got luscious lips and I get totally carried away. I hold her body close to mine and though she does not seem to be responding, I am too carried away to notice. After a while, she starts responding and we proceed to make love for what seems like an eternity. At the end of it all, I am too exhausted but it feels absolutely heavenly. Then, as we are sitting close to each other, listening to the waves of the sea, I happen to look at her and see that she is no more a faceless entity, but has developed a face – the face of the girl in the photo. She smiles at me as I look at her and again says those very words – “you should not have come here”. I get confused and try to reason with her. Suddenly, a huge wave rises and falls on me. I nearly get carried away into the sea but manage to hold on. Strangely though, she remains unaffected by the impact of the wave. She again pleads with me to go away but I refuse to do so. After some time, a second wave hits me. This time though, I get pulled into the ocean. As I am being carried away underwater, I look at her – she is still smiling that same beatific smile when the scene darkens out, and I wake up.