Friday, November 17, 2017

My Gift

I hear you!

When are you really happy?? Like realllllllly happy? I mean it? Ask yourself, immensely happy. Ok most will go there, you know where, but thats not what i am talking about. Which brings me to the question, what is happiness? For different people it is different things at different times. Sometimes its a new job, sometimes its a new spouse, a partner, a pet, a new business venture. But again, my question is something deeper, what is that which never changes within you?

Your state of mind? the way you feel?

The way you feel! I am most happy the time when I feel heard. I think listening is the greatest gift one can give another person; that persons nod when you talk; his/her agreement at what you said; or disagreement sometimes, (Shows that they are really listening, btw) the eyes which say, i am here, with you, all this and much more comes through when someone is truly listening. A feeling of satisfaction envelops you when someone is truly listening and paying attention. That is the feeling i am talking about. This feeling of satisfaction can come through any source, any action, through anybody. Sometimes an unknown person whom you met for a second on the metro can make you feel happy, and why? because they heard you.

How can you receive more of this gift of listening? By giving this gift to others first.

  1. Truly listen: When you give someone your ear, you develop a lot of senses within yourself, for a moment that person opens up a whole new world for you. You no more are the centre of the universe. You start thinking of ways to help him/her. You develop empathy. You train your mind to 'shut up'. You did someone a good deed, it will ultimately make you happier. Isn't that what we are all looking for. 
  2.  Give an earful, receive a heartful: Really listen to every word of what a person just said, how many times has it happened, that you drifted away during a conversation? Always, right? Yes, always, for most of us. If we could see that the people we like the most are those that really give us their ear, how about giving that back to the world? Or that person who hears you the most, today, go and hear him out. Happiness - Guaranteed!
  3. It is ok, let nothing shock you: Don't shy away from intimate conversations. If someone is opening up to us, what do we usually do, we shy away. "omg, what is she sharing, i did not want to hear that", is mostly our heads response. Big deal! You are no more six, nothing should shock you. Just listen, without any bias. What is the big deal? Just listen like you were a peice of wood, you just had to listen. A table has to hear us cry, no options. Similarly, become wood, listen and I swear, you will come out enriched and satisfied that someone opened up to you and you could lend a shoulder.
  4. Do not judge: Now that you know a little, will you judge the person you are hearing? Mostly yes, But that's the thing, do not judge. There is nothing more hurting than, me talking to someone and finding out that the person has changed her behaviour towards me the next day. Clearly she has judged me. So, thats something you do not need to do. You clear your dirty mind first. 
Lastly by listening you are doing no body a big favor. Infact, they are doing you a favor, by opening up their mind and heart for that moment. So don't act like a star. You just know another story, acknowledge, hold their hand and move on. Somebody enriched you with their experiences. You are not the bigger person here, its the person's faith in humanity, that they shared so openly with you. So relax. Just be happy.

You share, you feel light and loved. You hear someone out, you feel elated and a teeny weeny bit bigger, grow your heart. Be the bigger person, give your ear to someone. Hear people out, if you want to be happy.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Meyerowitz Stories

A moving tale of a family. Like every family and its dysfunctionality, Meyerowitz is a little high on the dysfunction. With children, and step children and self obsessed parents, the movie reflects a lot of peoples homes. 

Its funny but not funny at all. The movie is extremely real and touches so many chords of so many of us, leading our lives. I saw it on Netflix and totally loved the movie. 

While Danny, Mathew and Jean are the three siblings from different mothers but same father. They are shown bonding really well, especially when senior Meyerowitz, the eccentric self obsessed father played by Dustin Hoffman, falls terribly ill. A tale of aging parents and settled but unsettled children. Its a tale of love and no love, its also a tale of trying to be loved but finding people too caught up in their own lives. 
I for one, loved Danny, Adam Sandlers character, who is a failed musician trying to get the attention he never got from his father in this old age. On the other hand Mathew his successful
son, who runs a financial services firm, resents his father for giving him too much attention and actually not loving him for who he was, but who he thought he should be. Jean on the other hand their plain jane sister, played beautifully, by Elizabeth Marvel, tries to balance out things in her own way. She is quite 'Ok' with anything and everything, and has a quiet disposition which comes across as cool.

Why am i giving such a boring synopsis of the movie. Its a beautiful story of a broken family and an overbearing father, a sculptor who has passed his prime and who has little or no interest in people around him. 

One of the most funniest and interesting scenes in the movie is for me, the scene where, the brothers get to know of an old family friend who abuses their sister Jean and in their own way get back at him. Only thing is the man is 90 years old and has lost most of his memory and needs help to move around. They damage his car and its cute the way they want to avenge what he did to their sister decades ago. Jean on the other hand comes and tells them that this is stupid and that what are they doing, the man has lost his senses and that it wasn't exactly abuse. But Danny says, that she was masturbated on when she was so young by a grown up man, this incident must have traumatized her for life. Its very cute what they do for their sister. 

In reality, what happens when a girl reveals something like this after ages, that "Look, your nephew 'X' did this to me, one day in the balcony on the swing." What do they do, when you tell them, "Look, "Y" did this to me on the pretext of teaching me a two wheeler." What do they do, when you tell them, "Look, 'z', spoke dirty to me and it was verbal abuse. What do your folks do. In my experience and in various homes of friends, i have spoken to - Take a deep sigh, look perplexed, shocked, ashamed, angry and then blurt out - "why didn't you tell us at that time?" err, because i was 8, 10 and then 13. And I didn't know how to tell you guys. Now you know, punch him, slap him, do something. But, responses like - "Hmmmm".. or "Shocked face".. or.. "Long silence" but no action. 

And later, maybe really later, you realize, you don't expect any action, because you want no drama. 
Because, you are done with family drama. And digging up will be no less than any family drama. 

The Meyerowitz are every family in the world, a little functional and a lot dysfuntional or vice versa. No family has it all in place, infact none of us have it all figured out. But should abuse among us be ignored? Today's atmosphere is speaking a lot about abuse within the family. But should it also be blown up and talked about years later in some family function and create discord. Its all so confusing. Like many hindi movies like, 'Highway', 'Monsoon Wedding', spoke about childhood abuse, and then went ahead and showed how the perpetrator was made to be accountable in front of the whole family. There was a whole lot of drama there when the girl in question shouts and laments about her abuser and how he did not stop even though she pleaded that, she was a little child. 

It brings back lot of memories to each woman and these scenes make us think, why were we quiet, what can be done now. I have also gone to the extent of making peace with those incidents and being courteous to the people who did this. Was i naive? Do they deserve my forgiveness, are they even aware of what they did? I am sure in some corner of their conscience they know they did this to me. But I really do not wish to rake it up any longer. I do not wish to avenge anything. Maybe in a way Jean is every girl, every girl is Jean. Jean sees the man who masturbated at her, as an old man who has lost it. Who is no more capable of defending himself. In the same way many of us no more want to fight our perpetrators anymore. There is a Jean in every girl. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Everything I do!

This cartoon appeared in the New York Times today. 

I found this at such an appropriate time. I was in the midst of thinking about every action i take. It could be the smallest action and I would be sitting on the bed or on my sofa or standing and thinking, 'Why am I doing this.' It could be something as simple as going for a run or a walk, and after all the hours put in suddenly one day, i start asking myself, 'Should I run today or do yoga, or should i sit and sing, should I write, or should I cook something.' With all these options creating a kind of anxiety in me, I would just start browsing my phone, for hours. It was much better than deciding about a life crisis, 'What should I do'. It was much better than that. 

Mindless browsing provided an instant gratification and a much needed distraction from an important question. So, did I go for the run? No, I didn't. Did I sit down to practice music, no I didn't. But I did what millions are doing everywhere in the world. Looking at other people, through something called the social lens. Today people could spend hours just looking at a news feed which gives you all kinds of information, or they could be reading what others are doing and where they are going or planning to go, or whom they are seeing, or pictures of their perfect life. 

Everything I do, I do it for Fb... or Twitter, or Instagram.. As the NewYork Times cartoon so rightly questions, our urge to share and document everything on social media. If I do not document it, did I really do it!

I was wondering about a time when there was literally nothing. Why go very far away, we grew up without social media. Werent we happy. We climbed more trees than todays generation. Wait wait, before I go off into a generation philosophical dialouge, which is certainly not why I am writing this. 

The real question is, are we asking ourselves before doing something, before accepting another invite, before posting another activity of mine of FB, "why am I doing this". Yes i look great sitting on stage, having fun at a party, lighting lamps, climbing a mountain, no denying. But did I want to do all those things at all?!? 
So next time, I am definitely using a trick to decide what i want to do. 

The trick: (Only if you want to wake up!) 

A) Whenever I am in a dilemma about what next, i am going to ask, is this for myself, or is it for a photo op? 

b) My heart knows the answer, if it shouts, photo op, photo op, I drop the plan, and dig deep into what i really want to do. 

c) I actually do what I really want to do, even if it sitting at home and doing nothing, than go somewhere only for a photo op! 

d) Does this make me sound depressed? Who cares! I think I am waking up, and I want others also to wake up and thus i am sharing this as an insight inspired by a cartoon in NEWYORK TIMES. 

Bliss - Music i go to these days