Real Life Heros

3 30. in the morning! Now, that’s no time to be out on the roads, unless you are flying high on a late night party or it’s the day of the Dream Runners Half Marathon and you are the volunteer-cyclist. Fired up with Adrenaline, I was there sharp on time to be the route marshal for the third woman runner. Laying for her a bridge to run on the sea of eager runners was my task. Man, did I enjoy shouting on top of my voice “Please move, winner running!!” to a sea of runners,? You bet!10505329_10202351772257879_8127607047218654178_n

The first two women runners passed me by like bolts of lightning. And then came Kavitha. Slender like a willow, dark and with not an extra ounce of fat in her body. I happily took my position a little behind her as it was a free road. And I loved seeing her while she ran. The graceful form and rhythmic movement of an elite runner was indeed a treat to the eyes. Not to mention my wistful fantasies to be able to run like her and wishing for the nth time that I had taken to running when I was younger.

The first surprise came when she called me to the front and asked me to be sure to clear a big way for her on the way back. It was still dark and I didn’t notice the details of her face. It was just surprising that she didn’t even gasp after having run a kilometer. She did not seem to be able to follow even a simple sentence in English. I don’t know if I am going deaf or if her tamil was so different from Chennai Tamil, I had to make her repeat her instructions thrice. She did without losing her breath.

All of a sudden, my eyes landed on her feet and what the heck!!!, She was running BAREFOOT!! Imagine running 21 kilometers on tar roads, with all its tiny bad spiky pebbles which are quite tricky if you just walk, how bad can they turn when you are landing on them at fifty times your body weight!? I kept waiting and waiting for her to slow down, but she didn’t. And the worst part? When I told her that I am assigned to lead the third runner, she firmly shook her head and said, “Second, I will finish second.” That was on the first kilometer. How awesome is it to have such confidence on your own abilities, when you are just in the first lap!

She only finished third though, not because she didn’t try, but because in the finishing lap, she couldn’t accelerate due to all the 10K ocean she had to merge into. I did my best to clear way for her, but still it was not enough. Anyways, as we were running, a western man of unknown nationality caught up with us and asked me, “Is she, the woman first runner?” I said, “Third!” He excitedly turned to his friend and exclaimed, “Third!” and sprinted, to be overtaken by her about a kilometer later. My heart swelled with pride as though it was I who beat him. I guess the foolish Indian sentiment! This powerfully built man, a forieghner, who from the looks had everything going for him, caught up with us again and this time elaborately asked in what I thought was a mocking tone, “So… How.. is… it…. going?” and breezed past us. And again, she beat him!! This time, my heart didn’t have place to swell any further. It did a cartwheel instead. My country woman could outbeat a western elite man runner!!

As soon as she crossed the finish line and I got down my bike, she literally fell over me shaking my hands and grabbing my shoulders and told me how helpful I was to her. And for the first time I noticed her face in close up. Her lips had blistered. There were two big wounds at either side of the mouth, the hair was dry and the dry skin was notable even amidst all the sweat. She asked to make a call from my mobile to her mom and told her in a feeble voice that she won. I asked for her number and she said she doesn’t own a phone and I was free to contact her on her mom’s phone. We got into chit chatting and I came to know that she was 20 yrs old, from Pudukkottai, Dirt poor, No proper food at home leave alone the nutrition that an elite runner should consume, cannot afford proper training, can’t even afford the shoes that a running of this kind might require. And she came third amidst 2000 odd runners! What grit? 10419589_709232345802735_946080968812218469_n

As she left me to change her clothes, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself for the fuss I make about nutrition after just about a 2k run or a 5k cycling. Though I love India, it was one of the times when shame flooded me to think of a nation which neglected sportsmen like this to waste away in poverty and hunger and denied them the grooming that they so rightly deserve.

Dealing with feeling

Why is it impossible for kids and teens to listen to their parent’s advice?

Face it! There is not an advice that the teen does not know for himself or herself. “Do not mind your friend’s taunts!” Tell me what is brilliant about that piece of advice? “physical appearances are not important!” Your child probably rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, yea!”

As a parent you are interested in getting your children to behave right. Since you love your child more than anyone else on the planet, you probably want to make her feel better instantly. And you start your advices. But it doesn’t work that way.

Negative feelings become all the more intense when that feeling is not allowed expression. When those feelings are invalidated! When you try to thrust your wisdom on your child as she feels low, it complicates the problem in two ways. First the child’s problem is no more the original problem. The problem now is you! They got to convince you that they really do have a problem. Second the focus is shifted from finding a solution to struggling to validate one’s feelings.

If you think you are one of the parents who is one of the enlightened kinds, and you do not advise your children, simply observe your conversation with your kids consciously. You will find hundreds of conversations every week where you will unconsciously tell your child that its feelings are wrong and that it should be having a better feeling.

When do people behave right? Only when they feel right! The first and foremost skill to be learnt as a parent is to listen to the child’s feelings and ACKNOWLEDGING the feeling. Once you acknowledge the feeling, you will find the child moving on to the solution.

If your child tells you, “I am stupid!” Do not try and advise the child “you are not stupid!” He will continue the complaint that he is stupid. Rather say, “Those are rough feelings to have about yourself”. You will find the child calming down. Then you can restore faith in himself by recounting all the special things he had done so far.

Listening and acknowledging is a skill that will go a long way in rearing emotionally healthy children. The blog is not the place to learn the skill or for me to explain the intricacies of the skill further, I know, but still something is better than nothing.

Why have I not got married?

Ok, I am going to answer this one last time. I am sick and tired of facing this question spoken or unspoken, thrown at me by every Tom, Dick and Harry. In future I am planning to give this link to anyone who asks me the question. funny

Why have I not got married?

The fact is I honestly don’t know. But I have some theories.

1. It might be because of the marital profile I have put up in the Bharat matrimony site. The usual profiles in Indian marriage market go on to say, “I am kind, sincere, good, decent back-ground, fun for life blah blah, which when summed up means, “I am God’s perfect gift to humanity and I want another one of his masterpieces as spouse.” Maybe my profile fizzles out instantly in comparison as it says:

“I am a good girl, Oh really I am, and I do believe in fantasy creatures like dragons, goblins and good men. 

Now for the man I want to hunt down, I mean find, you must look like Brad Pitt and earn like Bill Gates. Must be interested in mutual hate discussions and must be skilled at insulting, screaming and slamming doors in public. If you are what they say as ‘Mr Right’ then you will know instinctively that I am ‘Mrs Always Right’. My favorite hobby is designing night-wear for ghosts. It will be great if you can be supportive and give me ideas on that one. I can talk for hours without any topic. You must be willing to listen and contribute meaningful ‘Ohs’ and ‘Ahas!!’ but nothing more.If at all things don’t work out well for us, then I give you permission to unfriend me from real life but don’t ever unfriend me from Facebook.”

Well, would you believe, I usually receive responses like “In life you must be willing to compromise. there is nothing called always right! other than that I would be interested” A few of them tell me to give more importance to real life than facebook,  and some actually give me a sermon on Indian womanhood and go on to ask if I have gone out of my mind.  I don’t know where to keep my face. The few that laugh at it  and appreciate the write-up demand that I come to America with them and give up my dreams here. As though I am going to double over myself just because you are an NRI male and you can earn through your nose. So yes, that’s reason number one.

2. Men, it’s no offence to anyone in particular or if you are an exception, but in general I find that most Indian men, in a very unconscious manner spell “Woman entrepreneur” either as “Bitch” or as a “Snob” or worse still as a “domineering shrew”. If I can lead a business, then I might want to wear the pants in the house. Maybe it will take them another decade to understand the concept of ‘equality’ and ‘humanity’ in a pure and simple way instead of mixing it up with ‘male pride’, ‘tradition’ ‘husband’ ‘wife’, ‘family-safety’ or that “wretched pants” in the house. Purely my mistake that I foolishly took birth in the previous generation.

3. I have been in love once. With a jerk. No, he wasn’t your usual jerk, but a high class, pious, successful, brainy jerk who just  turns weird in personal relationships. But who or what he is doesn’t matter, I am used to doing anything with intensity and total abandon, and this relationship too was an all consuming affair for three years.  It is purely my good luck that it broke in the nth minute before it finished my individuality off completely. It was a nightmare when it happened, but now not a day goes by when I don’t thank God.   But maybe, because I have loved so completely and experienced the ups and downs of a relationship so intensely, I am not craving that much to search the ideal partner again. I find that I am not that keen on society’s approval or recognition of me as a married woman. I can afford to stand alone and laugh at your face. For all I care you can celebrate me as the purest of angels or accuse me of having slept with the entire city, I have learnt the hard way not to place much on the changing scenery of life. For such of you interested in the juicy story,  you can read it up here: http://kirtanya.com/2012/09/08/happilypainfulmemories/This is not to say I am not open for a relationship, merely that I have not gone out of my way to look for it. And Business has kept me busy, very busy!

4. I might love myself,  but just may be, it might be that  from a man’s perspective, I am not that sexy to inspire wild love.

5. I am a Maverick and looks like I am destined to be one all my life. These are a few of the reasons that I can think. But I always get more questions thrown at me.

You will feel lonely later on in life. You will need a companion. Why don’t you take steps when you can. otherwise you will become old and nobody will want you?

Give me a break! As though you are not alone after marriage! My loneliness is better than your squabbles. You need some drama to fill up your time, by all means go ahead. You need another person to validate your existence, speak for yourself. I have taught myself to be happy without melo-dramas and real-life mega-serials. I am alone and I know it. You are alone and you don’t know it. That’s the only difference between you and me. And eh, you have sex.

The pure beauty of having your own children, you will miss out. What is a life that does not listen to a baby’s babbles!?

Agreed. I am in love with children and would have loved to have some of my own. But sometimes looking at the world, I think it is better not to have children in such a world. It is too big a responsibility. And maybe God saw something that all of you missed out.  He  had the sense to understand – “This girl, she is so awesome, she does whatever she does  so very well that if she had children of her own, she would get pathetically limited to them!  She will not be available to all those children out there in the world, who need an angel of mercy, to save them from their own parents.” So yes he denied me my children. I am game! (I am always this humble. :-P)

But don’t you have lust? at all?

Dude, the last time I checked I was still human. So you work it out.

Isn’t it a struggle? How can you manage? 

Not exactly your business, is it? 560325_10151180898000299_493118330_n

And yes, some men think since I am alone, I might just be interested in having a relationship with them?

Have you seen the ancient type stone-tablets, I mean the really sacred ones which look like the ones they show God giving ten commandments inscribed in the movies? Yea, I sometimes wish I can inscribe these words in such a tablet and hang around my neck.

“Dude, you married or committed to someone? Well, steer clear of me. I won’t even touch you with a bargepole. I might like you very much, be attracted to you, be stimulated by your intellect and may wish to dally with you intellectually, or even  sometimes feel a rare lust in a very humanistic way, but a thousand elephants together will not pull me into an affair with you, even if you are God Apollo walking in flesh and blood. Even if you have zero sex life with your wife. Even if she is a devil. Even if she has no problems with you having a relationship with me. It is not my game.  And there are no exceptions. So please don’t waste your time and energy. And mine too!

Also know that I have not judged you or condemned you just because you felt desire. I understand.

Have I made up my mind that I will never marry?

As of now, No. I have made up my mind in only one thing and that is, I am going to live a full and extra-ordinary life, with or without marriage. I have a dream and I am going to make that dream true, come what may! Not only at the end of the dream am I going to be happy, but I am going to have maximum fun all through the way! I will make every kind of sacrifice to make it possible.  If you haven’t noticed yet, I am an intelligent woman(at least most of the time) and I don’t define my life only within the context of relationships. If they happen, well and good. If they don’t, well, that’s just fine! I am too busy to notice what I am lacking.

And Now why am I wasting my time reacting to all of the world’s stupid questions?

Simply. My whim and fancy! I had nothing better to do today.

nice

 

Archetypes and Kedi Billa and Killadi Ranga!

kedi-billa-killadi-ranga-stills-010Now, the archetype is a very interesting concept in psychology. Just like the body has its organs,the mind too has its organs and some    of its organs are the archetypes.  If a single thought can be equated to a single cell, then an idea can be equated to a tissue, and a personality is a collection of ideas that get glued together.

The common man’s understanding is that we all have our own individual personalities and that each of us are unique in our expressions.Some people have delightful personalities while a few others have really some screws missing in their box.  But that is only a very superficial way of understanding ourselves. Our personalities, that we so proudly proclaim as ours, are most often not really ours.

There are typical personality stereotypes in the human psyche, the human unconscious, called as the archetypes that we begin to channelise. There are no exceptions.  Each of us, however unique we might think we are, however successful or failure, each one of us have these archetypal personalities that controls the way we experience our lives.

Some archetypal models are:

  • The child

  • The lover

  • The Hero

  • The damsel in distress

  • The warrior

  • The wanderor
  • The wise old man

  • The mentor

  • The Martyr

  • The magician

  • The mother

  • The fool

And so on.

Typically, those who channelise the child archetype, will have typical  unconscious behaviors that defines them. You will find them instinctively behaving in childish ways irrespective of the situation. The martyr has to perceive every situation in typical ways and be forced to be a martyr even when the situation doesn’t demand it. There are so many comical situations you will witness all through the day if you know what to look for. So our instincts are not really instincts but pre-programmed responses of the archetypal behaviors. There is no way you can truly understand yourself if you do not explore this subject in depth.  This is a very interesting science and there is a lot more to talk about it. But for the time being let me come back to what triggered this post in the first place.

Now in the olden days the primary medium through which these archetypes got transferred into our psyche is in the form of stories and retold experiences of great and remarkable incidents. And in the modern world, guess which medium? You are right, through movies predominantly.

And now I come to the heading. Yesterday I went to the Tamil movie “Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga”. The movie definitely was an entertainer. I was laughing all through. 90% of the movie was how the heroes were thoroughly useless blokes and 5% on some painful incidents and the last 5% on how the heroes turn over into useful blokes. If you remember, “Boss engira Bhaskaran” followed literally the same model. Many movies by Dhanush follow the same plot. OKOK the same xerox. Useless, udhavakarai, heroes making it big in the final end. These are definitely better than the belly dance filled usual blood hungry, lusty movies. While I laughed hard, I cannot help but wonder at the archetypes our children are inheriting from the definition of heroism portrayed here from these movies.

A fool who becomes a hero. Nothing wrong with this concept in popular movies, except that they show the fool 90% of the times and the wise one only a meagre 5% which is not really powerful to speak to the unconscious. And so an average teenager or child when he is exposed to these movies and if he happens to pick up the archetype of a useless fellow as the hero, because it is presented in such super halos, the product you will get is exactly what you see in these movies without the “all is well” ending because well, the ‘all is well’ was only 5%. They get locked unconsciously into these personalities.

Is there any wonder that the quality of our people is on the decline if our young only get to see such portrayals of hero archetypes which talks either of these useless fellows or which talks of outwardly feats like running over trains and catching a flight?

Shuddering to think of our state in 25 years time.

The blokes living in Chennai have it better?

A sample: 

“My whole life is spoiled because I had married you. How I wish I had got married to sangeetha.” – This is the husband talking. 

“But Sangeetha is already married and with two kids. The past is past and we have to focus on us.” – The wife. 

“No, I can’t be without talking to her atleast once a day. You are of no use to me.” 

“Then why did you get married to me?” 

“What will I do if you get married to someone else.??” – The husband, in an obvious, matter of fact tone. 

The girl was inconsolable. This is a sample conversation I had with a college girl from Sivagangai. 70% of the girls from that college were married and all 70% were in a personal hell of varying degrees. Not one person who didn’t have tears in her eyes as she recounted experiences out of her marriage, mother in law, husband and parental pressure. 

It so happened that I trained in a finance minister initiative. Minister P. Chidambaram had wanted his constituency Sivagangai’s students to be trained and my company had bagged the contract. I had gone there personally to set pace and spearhead the training. And the experiences that I had were real eye-openers. 

I am not new to marital miseries. In a week I hear at least 10 stories of how the wife or the husband is abusive verbally or physically. But somehow when city folks recount their personal stories, there isn’t that sense of “All is lost” in their voices or in their demeanor. In Chennai, Marriage has somehow lost its central pedestal position and there are so many things in life which one could pursue if it has turned sour. It is easy to pull people out of their woes.  Come to think of it, When I tell the Chennaites that “I am not married,” most of them give me a wistful look that speaks volumes on “How lucky you are!” When people at Sivagangai were told the same thing, they made me feel like a Joan-of-Arc reincarnate. These innocent girls from the villages have it really tough because in their society marriage is still the defining point of success or failure in life. The husband is still the God and the in-law the scripture provider for the family. 

Married by eighteen, returned to the parent’s house by 19,  another broken girl told me, “My husband, who also happens to be my relative demanded for a car and cash a week before marriage and threatened that he will stop the marriage if we don’t pay up. My parents are poor farmers. I said “stop the marriage”  but they said, that will ruin my life forever. In villages you don’t stop marriages that easily. So they sold the only bit of land they had in giving my dowry. Now my husband keeps the car and cash and a keep who lives in the same street and says I must stay with my parents until I bring more jewels. Meanwhile my parents have no food to eat because they have sold their only land. I have joined Teacher’s training now to earn my jewels.” 

What do you say to this? When I was discussing this situation with an officer from there, he proudly announced to me that Chennai has lost its heart because “You are people with shallow relationships who have lost themselves in running behind careers and money. Whereas we in rural parts still have our values left alive. You guys don’t get to hear your women complain of their in-laws because you don’t even have a joint family. But look at us, we still are following traditions. I heard of a girl from chennai who refused to come to Madurai when her husband was transferred here. She is working there and He is working here. Now such a thing if it had happened here he would have left her forever, but that spineless fellow is tolerating all this.” Not for a moment did it strike him that he was making comments that could offend me deeply. I didn’t waste my energies debating with him. 

Keeping aside these sexualistic remarks, What do you think? Is it better to have goals in life and have marriage as the part of life? Or think marriage as the whole of life and suffer unspeakable agonies when it doesn’t work out? Which culture is better?

Encountering Stupidity – ISHA

How clouded can people get? ISHA yoga sannyasis – your standing example.  I stayed at Nalanda resort at ISHA premises this trip to kovai. And had the privilege of being served by baby enlightened ones, if we take sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the fully enlightened as the standard. She was thirty years old, with a fully shaved head, saffron clothes, dried skin, a benign smile and had joined as a monk when she was twenty six. She was apparently a project manager from UK. There were over a 100 young men and women who were as clouded as her.

When faced with extraordinary stupidity, especially from intelligent and good people, which stupidity is threatening to the very core of their life, my compassion takes on a ruthless twist. I adopt a different persona altogether. I become a relentless wall of questions. I know that these questions are better received by a sea-anemone or a stone and probably they reflect more than these pre programmed human robots. Still I cannot stop trying. Sannyas_1

Read the following questions from me and completely bewildering answers from her and see if it makes sense to you. Or is there something wrong in my reasoning?

But first, to such of you, who like me have had no idea of how much wealth and luxury ISHA and sadguru Jaggi Vasudev command, I suggest you do a background search before you proceed. And this blog though I am writing as an experience on ISHA, the content holds true for every spiritual movement which brainwashes young men and women to serve their cause.

Why have you taken this decision to renounce this world?

No I have not renounced this world. I have simply gone beyond this world. If you renounce the world you might have a desire to come into the world again when you are tempted, but if you go beyond then there is another new realm opening up to you. Beyond is different from renunciation.

And how does one go beyond? by these stupid wordplays, is it?

But why would you want to go ‘beyond’ within a cult setup, as though spirituality is not available to you within yourself?

sadhanahall4No, we are not a cult. Sadguru says clearly in many of his discourses that we are not a cult. we are simply going back to tradition. The culture of sannyasa was always there in our tradition and if you call going back to our ‘tradition’ as cult, then I don’t know what to say.

For your kind information, no spiritual guru has ever stood up and said “Here people, listen carefully, I want to tell you a secret, WHAT I RUN IS A CULT. Now that I have said it, a huge weight is off my chest!! Whew!!!”  Neither, Nithyanandha, nor Kalki Bhagawan, nor Jaggi and not even Asaram bapu ever admit to being a cult. Don’t you think you must be thinking here for your own self and not rely on insider information?

Why should I think, I am not relying on thought, Thought is limited. What I am relying on is an inner experience. It is beyond words. And I know that this is not a cult. And as far as my decision is concerned, I have really thought well and decided.

Does it ever strike you that you could have been influenced?

No!! I was not in the least influenced. Sadguru actually tells us not to come. It is we who pester him to take us. He is so magnanimous. There are no words to describe him. You know, he puts thousand confusions inside us and tells us not to come. so I will tell you 1000% that I was not in the least influenced by him or the system.

Then why the heck is he having the system in the first place, if he didn’t want you to come?

Just that he is compassionate. And again lets be very clear that what you see here is not a cult.

Deiii neenga ellaam thirunthave maatteengala?

Ok, could you please be patient and define a computer for me?(She tells me about  a monitor, CPU and a keyboard in dubious tones) Me: Yea, exactly! This is how the whole world perceives a computer. What if suddenly one fine day, a bearded man comes up, points to a computer and says, “You guys have been wrong all along, here what I show here is a mango, not a computer?” Your telling that jaggi calls your tonsured heads as tradition and not a cult is exactly the same and you are being foolish enough to buy it! I am saying this with all due respect to you and him. I am not bothered about him but I am definitely concerned about you and thats why I am being blunt.

Ah, You don’t have to be concerned about me. I am a much better internal state than you can ever imagine. I have gone beyond your concern in merging with the divine.

Exactly. I was speaking the same dialogue for a short period of time taken over by the euphoria of spirituality. And I know a friend, exactly like you, who was an ex-sannyasi here at this very same ISHA for 9 years, now out,and struggling to put back his life together.


Silence.

Anyways, How many of you here who are over sixty?

No one. And that is because we are all working for the cause of humanity. I helping him make it happen.

Hmm. What you are helping him make is a huge tourist place with some really attractive deities who seem to be expecting money for every one of their pleasures. And how come you don’t think it is important to help the cause of your parents? And don’t you ever open your eyes and see the possibility that you are an unpaid servant with no free-will, whose unlimited young energy is being made use of by this organisation very selfishly? If he is really interested in the emancipation of souls, then how come he is less considerate to older souls? He is afraid they won’t be able to work?

No. He doesn’t take older people beacuse… because, service is important.

My point! you mean servant is important.

Silence.

Do you really want to live the rest of your life with no free-will, unable to pursue any of your dreams, even if the dreams are for your own soul, bidding someone else’s will?

No, you don’t understand. I am free to do anything I want. Sadguru never prohibits us to do anything.

I see! Tell me something, your guru has purchased a helicopter last week and a seventeen lakh duggatti Bike last year, Do you think you could do the same, or at the least go for a ride in it?

You don’t get it. I am not interested in material wealth. So why would I want to do that?

I give up. All the best Maa Mathi. When you wake up to the real world, When you finally find yourself, I hope it isn’t too late.

I got up and came away with a heavy heart.

That afternoon my colleague received a call from her, demanding that I never ever speak to her.

Disclaimers.

I believe in spirituality and the point of this conversation is not that I am against pursuing meditation or yoga. My point is, if you go to a hotel, and if you liked the food, enjoy it by all means and pay for it. Don’t say, “Wow, I liked the food so much that from now I am going to stay here and wash the plates and make my life purposeful and meaningful by doing so.” By all means, follow a practice if you need it, but don’t become so possessed by the ideology and allow it to make use of your life for its survival.

Couple woes

Been counselling a lot of married couples of late. It was surprising how each one of them began their stories just a little while before marriage. Apparently they were dissatisfied with the spouse for one reason or the other. One felt the to-be-wife was fat. Another felt the husband was miserly. Yet another felt the wife was immature for her age. But each of them had hope that the spouse will change for the better after the marriage. And thus began their journey towards marital doom.

Ofcourse, none of them changed. And so began a long war to change the other, to tailor make them for the specific requirements. One marriage has broken now beyond repairs, the one with a miserly husband. The rest of the marriages I was able to successfully resolve the differences and I am very happy about it. But the point is, why say an ‘yes’ when you had the power to say a ‘no’? If you are clear that you could be very happy only with a thin woman, why spoil not only your life but another person’s as well just because you had hope?

Obviously you cannot wait until you came across the perfect lover. And that’s why you married whoever came along that best suited your needs. Then why the hell are you still trying to create the perfect lover instead of investing your time and energy in creating the perfect love? Still cannot forget the woman’s voice trembling with so much hurt and tears spilling out unrestrained as she said “He keeps saying I am fat every opportunity he gets!”

You do this too??

In a few days Ragini, the poor girl, who was gang raped will be forgotten. In a few days IPL will take over, or maybe a political stunt by Rahul or Modi or even thalaivar’s latest release. The infidelity of the public outrage will be happily explained away in a single sentence, “India cannot be changed.” And we all shall become complacent once again with our own goodness, because, come on, we are good men we are, because, well… we haven’t ‘raped’ anyone!!!

But you, the very man, who posted sympathetic and outraged comments on your wall, extending full support for Ragini, might continue to rape your wife, sister, female friend… You rape our opinions, our free-thought, our right to have a say, because, well, we are women. You can beat us in the privacy of your home when you get enraged, and the same thing your wife cannot do to you. She cannot even raise her voice against you. She, who leaves her family to come and live with you cannot have problems adjusting with the new environs. But you could forbid her to speak with her family, well, because you do not like them.

You are very clear you will be the one who wears the pants in your house. And that speaks for itself. There is a convenient word that covers all your atrocities. “TRADITION AND CULTURE.” “A family’s welfare depends on the girl in the house’… Bull crap! As though you didn’t have any part. Did you know that, traditionally in India, sages like Maitreyi and Gargi rode on the horses to the yagnasthal and performed the havan just the same as a man? Well, you woudn’t!  DSC_0985

If you really want to change the way things are in this world, If you really want to show a protest to what happened to Ragini, and if you really want to ensure that this does not happen to your daughter twenty years later, would you look at the real issue besides going to the protest? Do you have the guts to take action where it matters the most? Or are you the hippocrite who protests in public, only for gangrapes and rapes our thoughts in privacy? Would you take resolutions to change your attitude towards us both in small things and bige things?

If you are a man who is reading this, then you might want to take these resolutions,  however difficult they might be for you to digest

  • I shall not deny my wife the right to have her opinions and make her decisions without forcing my view of things on her.
  • I shall not go around feeling superior that I am a man.
  • I shall not judge women who have sex before marriage as spoiled and lacking in charecter when I think, I as a man can do the same with honour and pride.
  • I shall not judge a woman as not fit for family because she loves to have fun with her friends.
  • I shall pay equally to a woman as much as I pay a man for the same designation working under my company.
  • I shall not assist my parents in getting my sister married without her permission.
  • I shall not demand the girl’s family to spend for my marriage or be interested in her property.
  • I shall keep aside my ego and be tolerant.

If you are a woman reading this, You might want to take the following resolutions as much as you go for your protests..

  • I shall not bring my sex in and blindly refuse things on the grounds of equality, but rather will forget my sex and relate from the grounds of being human, and not as man and woman.
  • I shall reighn in my emotional nature and look at issues as issues and not as sentiments.
  • I shall not reduce my own value by clinging on to alpha males.
  • When I join a company I shall not settle for a pay that is less than my male-counterpart.
  • I shall not expect my spouse or the male in my life to be the only provider of my happiness, would rather be the creator of my emotional well-being.
  • While I definitely can strive to  look pleasent, I shall not be obsessed with my physical beauty alone.
  • I too shall not rape the opinions of the people in my life by emotionally blackmailing them and hence branding myself as a woman.

Will you do this or are you, a mere sanctimonius hippocrite? All act and no action?

How Far is Far?? – II

So this is a common snapshot of highly disturbing relationships with NPD people.  

When the relationship begins, you cannot believe your luck that you have so charming, intelligent, handsome/beautiful successful a person who treats you so special. Probably, taken in by all that love and attention and wanting to speed up the process you made the first move and spoke your feelings. Wham! The trap closes around you!! The narcissist was waiting for exactly this. This is the stage instead of responding like normal people in the negative or in the affirmative, they put conditions.

A person who has not dealt with a narcissist will ask ‘what is wrong with this? Are we not being specific about our expectations? It is a good thing to do, isn’t it?’… Yes, putting conditions are not a problem as long as the conditions are specific and each of you get a chance to do it. A condition that says, “My Mom has gone to extreme ends to bring us up and I want a wife who respects her” is perfectly fine. “I am a woman who is interested in career and I will not give that up for anything” is a valid condition.

But are the conditions ambiguous, like atmosphere? vague?? something like, “You must convince me of your love.”, “ You should respect me always”, “As a man, I will always take the lead role and you will always listen to me”, “You see, i am the only daughter and I need pampering.” These are not conditions but blanket traps to be used as blackmail stakes later.

In a country like India where there are arranged marriages, this conditioning process usually happen in the first night itself or in the subsequent honey-moon period. You might innocently reply to an sms sent by a friend or from office and there the conversation may start off like, “You have insulted me, now what will people think of me?” On and on it goes and it only ends with the narcissistic-one-sided-agreements with you.

Once you agree, and you will agree without even realizing that you have not been given the same privileges, so grateful that you have had a chance to be with the best of man/woman, You are done for! Every time you transgress, and the transgression can be anything, can be a step more than him, a smile wider than her, a word uttered in that particular tone, a call received at the wrong time, a pop-corn offered when s/he didn’t want it, a corn cob on the sofa, a sentence that you said, an innocent praising of a friend, Ah, the range and spectrum of your misdemeanors! Bang, You are in the midst of a Narcissistic rage.

Now a word about Narcissistic rage. All of us do get angry for trivial reasons. It is very human to be impulsive. And it is human to get angry for completely wrong and trivial reasons. You might have gotten angry with your mate as well, for the exact reasons mentioned above in the above stanza. Now don’t go about fantasizing that you have a personality disorder or that your partner has it. NO!!!  A narcissistic rage is irrational in a whole new way. The conversation will begin like this…

(You find your partner sulking.. and You ask, have I offended you in some way…)

He: Ofcourse, what did you expect for behavior such as yours?
She: Hey, I don’t even know what you are talking about?
He: Yea,  we can’t expect people such as you to know the behavior of decent people.
She: but please do tell me my mistake first know… (I am abridging a minimum of two hour conversation along the same veins to get to the mistake….)
He: Why the hell did you cross the road on Arjun’s side instead of walking beside me? You are my girlfriend or his?
She: Oh, seriously i had no such intentions… there was a van behind me and….
He: Oh Don’t you dare raise your voice to me..And how dare you do that I am not going to talk to a woman who dares to talk in such a manner..
She: No I am not disrespecting you in anyway.. I am just trying to exp…
He: don’t raise your hands…
She: Please give me a chance to explain
He: Now you are raising your voice again..
She:(striving to be calm and slowly….) I am not raising voice.. Please give me a chance to explain..
He: You will be given a chance to explain when you know how to behave like a decent woman.
She: (falling silent utterly helpless)
He: yea, thats how careless you are about my feelings. Go on be silent and don’t turn a hair on your head that here is a being who is so damn let down by you!
She: Come on, this is not fair!
He: You are raising your voice again, I am ending the relationship..
She: ( Desperate because she has already invested so much time and energy in the relationship) What is this man, you are talking about ending the relationship without giving me a….
He: You are arguing with me!!
She: But I only want to tell you one thing that I didn’t mean…

He: That’s it, You are insulting me, I don’t want to talk anymore!

She: I am not insulting you, just once listen to me know!

He: You raised your voice again and you again interrupted. I have had enough of your insults. Let’s not talk.
She……………………………..

Do you get the picture? The issue with which the anger begins is never the subject of argument. It soon escalates into so many tangles and twisted loops that you hardly have the guile to unwind any of them. You are exhausted by the end and willing to do anything, everything to just get the semblance of normalcy back. And when that is not possible you now have a outburst of all those barely suppressed emotions for so long in that insane conversation and maybe you vented out. And thus begins another drama and God knows when that will end. Many times these dramas might escalate into physical abuse.

And these conversations always, always conclude with a threat to leave the relationship because now you have insulted them and failed your side of the agreement. See, you are about to lose the greatest thing ever to happen to you. Finally when peace returns after endless apologies, you are given such a detailed portrait of the glorious promised land, so unbelievably beautiful, but you are told you haven’t yet earned your way to it. So yes, you have to go through these  tests. And you might be stupid enough to fall for this and grovel on your knees to please.

After about a couple of months or still later you are so confused about the whole thing. You do not know anything for sure any more. I mean, here is such a successful charismatic person speaking so emphatically that you are no more sure about what is right and what is wrong and worser still, what is ‘your’’ right. You may want to talk about it to someone. Since you obviously can’t talk with him/her you try to reach out to someone else.  All of a sudden you might find that you have no-one on your side to talk to. All your friends and family are cut-off in someway or the other. The only person you can turn to is the people who are either the best friend of the narcissist (There is usually only one or none) who hang around with you, or a family member, who like you goes through the tantrums.

Now these friends and family are usually very sweet and obliging as long as you are in the relationship, but the moment you are cut off, (narcissists inevitably cut-off relationships, its only a question of time…in a country like India, where relationship breaking is not a feather in the cap, they may pretend staying married because it is society’s recognition to them, but the marriage is so alienated physically and emotionally after a point of time) these friends/family turn stone cold. Because, like you their stakes are with the narcissist. So if you expect evidence from them for your torment or to be validated by them in anyway you will not get it. Worse still, when the narcissist comes to know of your little talk, you become the cheat now.

The irony is the narcissist is contemptuous of anyone and everyone beneath that charming self. And he has disregarded and described in vulgar terms all the friends and relatives as those ever jealous people who are just useless fellows to you. Now you sit there in a trance listening to all these fellows talking to you about the bloke in super terms. Talk about homicidal instincts!! You know them don’t you?

You must realize a bit of the dynamics that operate behind such a relationship. You do not exist for the narcissist. You are merely a tool they can use to ascend to a higher level of society, to expand themselves, to feel whole and unique and they will suck your life-force out of you in the process. By the time they are done with you, you are nothing but a empty shell with no opinion, in eternal confusion.

And inevitably these relationships end as soon as it is perceived by the narcissist that you can no more supply their dose through these irrational interactions. By definition, strangely its always the narcissist that leaves the relationship first, inspite of the fact that the victim is the one who has gone through hell in relating with him. The thought of you walking out on him/her is too unbearable for their fragile self-esteem. So it has got to be them and they do it much before the thought could arise in your head.

And once it is cut, that’s when instead of breathing a sigh of relief, you actually begin to suffer more. paradoxical isn’t it? You are like a drug junkie who cannot take on life without your fixes, insanely wanting. Please don’t confuse this feeling with love and start believing this delusion of utter no-hope. This is nothing but a variation of the famous Stockholm syndrome. You can and will get alright if you see these relationships for what they are and muster the courage to laugh at yourself in spite of your losses. Take heart and curb the urge to find validation to your sufferings by endlessly talking about it. Don’t get into hate/depression mode.

The blog has become long enough already and I don’t want to abuse your patience with going on, instead will carry over the thoughts to another blog. Leave a word for me if you identify this kind of relationship with anyone or anyone in your friend and do feel free to share your thoughts, after all it might help someone who might land up here. I have pieced together this snapshot  through personal narrations of the various participants in my workshops and been amazed at how closely it resembled the one I had with my ex-fiancee. I would be interested to know if you had any other variations to your experience as well. :)

So Long!

How Far is Far? – I

 

If you are in a relationship, then you had better read this! 

There are all kinds of people. Sometimes we fall head over heels in love with one. All well until the fall does not take its toll on us. There are many researches as to what makes us get attracted to a person and why we fall in love and what dynamics operate later. My intent for this post is not those researches. It is a plain urge to share a bit of knowledge and experience that might be life-saving to someone who might land upon on this page. Well, no drama there, when I say ‘life-saving’, I mean life-saving.

At the outset I wish to draw the difference between a personality issue and a personality disorder. Most of us have personality issues that are fine when we are alone but create problems when we get together with someone who has an incompatible personality. Say for example I am fixated on being organised and I fell in love with someone who can live comfortably in a pigsty, then we are bound to have issues sooner or later. I grow up believing that All husbands must be like my father/ all wives must be like my mother. But there is no way two human beings are ever going to be alike. There, we have a disappointment now. These are issues. And these will be there in any union. That ideal man or woman who you have sculpted in your head does not exist and it can come as a rude shock when you wake up to reality.

But believe me, these issues can be settled if you go a little easy on your ego, learn some psychology, do some negotiation, compromising mutually and by and large through working on yourself. You can live a life of love and joy inspite of the issues if you valued the relationship enough. But then there is another category of relationship issues that arise out of a personality disorder in one of the partners. This is the bermuda’s triangle of relationship, the zone of no return. These are so devastating on the partner with no disorder that you are, for all practical purposes ruined after the contact.

Now, why would I want to put a post on people who are obviously sick?  Why not focus on normal people. That precisely is the problem. These are perfectly normal people for all outward appearances. Infact most of them are super successful people who are veritable angels as long as you are in the outer circle. But once you step over into their inner circle, after the initial euphoria, begins a direct personal experience of hell. And in today’s fast paced world the occurrence of these personalities are not rare.

These are broken people, so broken, that in a way you and I will never understand the personal hell they suffer in getting to feel whole again through their partners. It is actually very sad to contemplate the inner state of these people but then before we get to that, let’s look at self-protection first.
Of all the complex personalities to deal with, one that wrecks a maximum damage is a narcissist. Now, we all have some narcissistic traits in us. Being conceited, arrogant, selfish sometimes and even controlling, especially in matters that mean a lot to us. Having these traits does not amount to a disorder. A disorder is a cognitive malfunction. A long time thinking anomaly, feeling and attitude, which in all probability, are well masked, because this fellow/woman is very, very shrewd.

So what is it and who are these people?

  • You have a feeling of walking on egg-shells all the time, because you do not know what will trigger the next episode of fights…
  • These fights can be classified as 12 hr dramas, 24 hr, 36 hr, and so on… there are no easy solutions to these problems which seem so trivial to you
  • Anything and everything you do is seen as personal insult.
  • Cannot brook criticism of any kind, even if it is only a perceived criticism
  • intent on proving that you do not deserve them but still they hang around because they are giving you a life
  • A grandiose sense of self and self entitlement: “What is mine is mine, what is yours is also mine”
  • Total and inflexible authoritarians
  • Contemptuous of everyone else, except maybe a care-giver (mom, Pa, nanny)  who was probably vicious and vulgar but who acquires a halo of nobility in their distorted world view
  • Strange work habits and strange eating habits
  • Very difficult to have simple, uncomplicated good times with them without a mood-spoiler
  • A total lack of empathy and feeling for your needs, every single time, in fact cannot comprehend you as a person at all
  • Terribly impulsive, this level of impulsiveness is actually not in sync with the over-all intelligence and rationale these people display.
  • Cruel

God help, if you have such a person as your father, mother, friend sister or worst of all as your partner in love. Maybe you have experienced their tantrums many times either as stony silences or never ending arguments. This is termed as a narcissistic rage which can be so disorienting and brutalizing  It may range from physical abuse to even worser verbal abuse making you feel so bad  and which  doesn’t seem to have an end at all.

Issues can be settled. Disorders cannot be settled without therapeutic help. unfortunately the chances are highly unlikely that a person with a disorder is ever gonna admit they have one.
And a contact with a narcissist leaves you in such total confusion, agony and a feeling that it has all been a total waste of time. And You will realise it when it was anyways useless to have realized  It is all a horrible mess and you can hardly even be coherent about it.

Life with a narcissist is like a bad dream that you can never seem to wake up from. And when you try to narrate what goes on in the private world of the narcissist you are disbelieved because, the stuff is so weird that you can hardly believe it yourself or that you withstood it for so long. In the sheer narration of the problem, in the mere naming of the problem, you become the problem, a person who gets branded as overly ‘emotional’, ‘sentimental’, ‘could have been adjusting’ and so on. To add insult to injury they call you over-reacting.

So folks, You really don’t want to get into this mess further if you are in the middle of this already or if you are on the verge of a fresh relationship. I would n’t want a life ruined because you did not know where to draw the line in a relationship and got sucked into an abyss of emotional whirlpools. I will do a series on these personality issues over the coming few days.  Please follow the sequels of this post carefully and leave a word for me if you have any thoughts on the subject. Also if you know any friend going through tough relationships ask them to have a visit here. Likely, the coming blogs will really have them feeling loads better! :)

The next one will focus on dynamics of these complexes in intimate relationships.