Lovely is a lovely word that should be used more often.
from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Last night I called on an acquaintance to whom I had last spoken to maybe an year back. I was just thinking of him earlier in the day and dropped him a message saying I would like to catch up.
He called later in the night and we were 3 minutes into our talking when he said, was there anything specific I wanted to talk about. He was teary eyed when I told him I just called to ask ‘How are you? Nothing more, nothing less.’ Not only was he touched (given the unprecedentedly tough times) but he did the same to someone else.
Just looking at his reaction (and following action), it made me ask the question we find difficult to answer. Why have we stopped doing it or why aren’t we doing it more often?
Side Note: Is it difficult to meaningfully say: I love you You are awesome Thanks for being there Call me if you need to talk You did a great job, etc.
You are now a year away from officially getting into your teens. You must be excited and I am already planning on how to celebrate this. Why don’t we do it this way? As a build up to this celebration, I have 12 wishes for you on your 12th birthday. We could work on this together for the next 12 months.
#1 Explore Hinduism as a way of life (not as a religion) – I will join you #2 Meditate and mindfulness – I will guide you #3 Discover your mother tongue – I will help you #4 Build your bookreview channel – I will co-create with you #5 Realize ‘Live and let live’ – I will let you express freely #6 Bug your lil bro – I will join you #7 Build new music notes – I will hear you #8 Throw your tantrums and mood swings at me – I will bear you #9 Bond with old and pick some new friends – I will push you forward #10 Make more mistakes and fail or fall – I will watch your back #11 Be a little more generous – I will support you #12 Lastly, whatever you do ‘Be You’ – I will be proud of you.
You were the first person who brought tears and smiles at the same time for the first time in my life. Thanks for everything.
Make no mistake for my endearment to Shashi Tharoor, as I am a big fan of him. That is probably why I felt and reacted this way. My cerebration activated with this exchange of vocable, could not but draw parallels to leadership qualities here.
“What kind of a leader are you or what kind of a leader do you look up to?“
When you reach out to your leader/mentor/coach/guide, are you looking for a solution or a direction to solving a problem or criticism of how bad the situation, that you got in to yourself, is?
I also could not stop tweeting this adage – “People don’t care how much you know unless they know that you care.”
Side Note: I do believe that Shashi Tharoor can do much more good if he stayed out of politics. I wish he gets prescient for himself.
Are you someone who laughs with the team or laughs at the team? Think about it before answering because your response defines the kind of leader you are.
It’s easy to laugh at people. Maybe because that’s how we are trained and tuned since our childhood (remember Charlie Chaplin). Try laughing with people. It might be difficult but is more enjoyable and your relation with them will have longevity.
Side Note: When people laugh at you and you join them to change it to laughing with them, it isn’t just a reflection of your sense of humor but it also says that ‘you care.’
It’s not that he’s the first guy that I read about and felt sad for taking such a decision.
It’s not that I haven’t moved on after a couple of hours of grief shared with a couple of close friends over a couple of drinks.
Sushanth’s decision to end his life moved me beyond grief and a hangover. I don’t know if it’s because I could relate to him. His being an outsider, being emotionally connected with his loved ones, being a performer par excellence without much success (as defined by society and its circles or himself) – I am not sure what drove him to his end. I guess, that’s a question that only he had an answer to. I want to believe for my own good health, that it was an unfortunate momentary moment (that a lot of us experience) where he gave in.
This time around, I am not sad or angry but in a state of pity. I pity myself more than anyone else today. It made me question my own decisions – to move up the ladder, to ring in more money, to invest in the next big startup ideas, to build my personal brand equity, to make me more desirable by everyone. None of which would miss me for more than a couple of hours if I am gone.
Grief that will pour in, tagging my social profiles, will be pointless and its because my life is pointless in their lives after a point. Yet, I continue to live for everyone except me and in the process alienating myself from people who loved me for who I am and not for what I can be.
I fear that when time comes, I will be alone with a voice unheard and craving for an audience any audience. Have I built walls so big that I have shut everyone (including myself)? What have I become that it’s no more okay to show I am vulnerable, to show who I truly am? Why is ‘being human’ nothing beyond a brand and as a value restricted to words on your office posters?
Even as I come to terms with the re-discovered reality, I still pity those thousands of Sushanths and Rahuls: “Some of whom are contemplating to leave the unhappy themselves and some of whom are living with their unhappy themselves.”
Side Note:I kept telling my kids that talking (no matter what the situation) brings you closer to the other person. Never realized the deeper impact I was creating for all of us.
I moved away from Whatsapp, reduced my time on Instagram and Facebook (my job doesn’t allow me to move away completely), and pretty much became non-existent on other social networks and groups.
Some of my friends said, I have taken social distancing to an extreme level. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I realized that being connected (or so we assume) digitally was distancing me from my loved ones. Here goes the story of social distancing. – Birthday calls (and these were so important to me), that used to last for a couple of mins of fun and chatter, suddenly turned into dropping messages on a WhatsApp group and Facebook accounts (and eventually belated birthday messages). – Random calls to check in on how my friends and family were doing turned in to random ‘Hi, how have you been?’ messages with the delusion of staying in touch and of caring for their existence. – The extreme level of social distancing was actually replying to an incoming call with a template message ‘Can’t talk right now. Can I call you later?’
No matter what situation we are in, the world doesn’t need this kind of social distancing.
I will not treat my loved ones this way (even if they have come to terms with the new norm).
Want to know the withdrawal symptoms of this behavior? – I call – I meet (not now given the situation) – Yes, I do message but not template messages – I respond not like I am obliged to, but like I care
Side Note: There’s definitely merit in all the social networks, but don’t get to a stage where you WhatsApp your loved one (in the next room) for dinner.
Your current situation is a result of the choices you made and callings you ignored. If there is anyone to be blamed, it has to be ‘YOU.’
Stop blaming others and situations that have forced you to ignore your calling. You still had a choice.
Now that you have made the choice, the best way forward for you is to come to terms with it. Why, you ask? – So you can be at peace with yourself – So your friends, family and loved ones around you don’t have to hear your rants – So you can be better at the option you selected – and more importantly, you can reflect on your choices and make better choices when you get a chance.
Side Note: Heard this quote somewhere and might be apt to quote it here – “Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.”
Covid-19 has done its bit – both good and bad. As I continue to rail through these turbulent days, I realized that it is not all that bad. There is obviously a silver lining to this pandemic and appended below are some of my observations around what Covid-19 has tried to teach us. This is not an exhaustive list and if you have your own list, please add them in the comments and I will update this post.
Some high level observations: – Minimalism is possible – Sustainable living need not be a fad anymore. It can be a reality. – Nature is a great leveler – Re-emphasized the fact that materialistic things mean nothing – If we don’t keep the planet clean, – Cleanliness as a habit can be formed no matter how old or young you are – Hinduism (not as a religion) as a way of living is our best chance of survival – Folded arms greeting is not just safe for now but is here to stay. Wherever possible (including official emails), I open my sentence with ‘Namaste.’ The only reason is to form a habit of it when you meet people in person.
These are more specific to me (so purely personal): – Whatsapp is 95% garbage (especially more during pandemic times) – WFH is more effective than stressful – Kids don’t need gadgets to stay engaged – If you thought, intoxication is the only way to having a relaxing time, try getting high on meditation. – Saying ‘Namaste’ was odd but now I take total pride in it. – Checking-in on at least one of your loved ones and providing assistance to a complete stranger is not a big ask and it is fulfilling.
Side Note: I fervently hope that tomorrow when we weather out this situation, we don’t unlearn what we learnt from these tough times.