Thursday, March 26, 2015

Its okay if you Walk Into But know Just when to Walk Away

i lost the message which came to me one day...rather i remember having deliberately deleted it after the words were all absorbed in. The phone becoming crowded with pics and messages and sadly some great messages have to go making space for new. But i remember the words. " Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value but because we finally realize our own. "
Life is a journey and this journey is filled with people and thus experiences relating to all. Each a lesson to be learnt. Everyone and each one is there for a purpose and having met and known so many we come to realize that the journey feels more enjoyable if we learn to travel light. The sooner it is done the more happy this wonderful journey feels.

True it is that the journey is more enjoyable if you hear a friend's footsteps beside you but then not all you meet in your life are really your friends. Especially those who just use you as a resource and then never turn to think about you. These special category of friends set rules that suit their convenience, are not only pretentious, bragging about their initiatives, endeavors and socializing but also have a chameleon like character. Donning appearances that hoodwink people into thinking about them as being helpful when they are not because inside they might be nurturing some hidden agenda. Some motive. And for me i have been rather unfortunate because i can't seem to think of any ' Friend' who has helped me. But i am blessed that the Divine gave me enough to help all that i met in my journey. Friend, acquaintances, strangers even and i hope no amount of what anyone does to me will take that away from me. i was manufactured that way. Nothing of my own here. i am what i am because that was how i was born.

So then if life is a journey and if by chance you get to meet some and get tricked into believing that this special category is your friend then no need to be baffled later when you learn during this journey that you have been conned all along. There you were in your naivety thinking of someone to be a philosopher's stone which turns anything that it touches into gold and while you traveled you were enlightened with the truth that there is no such thing as philosopher's stone. It was just a silly conjured up notion of your own childish heart which perhaps wanted to know one.
Philosopher's stone the legendary lapis philosophorum capable of turning base metals like lead into gold. Paras Pathhar that's what we call this legendary stone in Hindi.
There is a beautiful Kabir doha about this legendary stone too and i got reminded of it.
Meaning: Just as any tree that grows near Sandal, acquires the same fragrance; just as a dirty rivulet takes refuge in the Ganges and acquires its vast form, just as copper becomes gold by coming in contact with the touch-stone(Paras), Kabir jee says that he (man) becomes merged with God by coming in contact with the saints.

The milestone approaches and you rest for a while and think about that word you coined. For her the one you considered a friend... 'Paras' Hindi for Philosopher's Stone. You laugh out loud at you own silly nomenclature and question why !?
What did she do...what did she touch...what did she turn to gold ?
Can anything which originally was gold be turned to gold again...and you laugh out loud.

Yeah. Life is a journey and not all you walk with are meant to stay. The journey is happier and full of smiles if one learns to travel light. And sometimes you have to take that walk. The ' Walk Away' one if you have to make your baggage lighter.

Now this came to me just two days back and i thought about posting my blog today.

Such is life. We are so biased in our way of thinking. Whosoever hangs out with us for whatever reason we call them friends. This woman i called ' Paras' in college hung out with me simply because she needed not me but my vehicle. Every single day i would go out of my way to drop her home which was quite far away into the other part of the expanding town. No one in class knew much about her because she was from out of town. Was in the same college and same class to do her graduation in the same subject. She then did not know many of us who had done schooling together and belonged to the same home turf. i was definitely more popular than her for not only as the 'apt conversationalist' which the school magazine once described me but more so for being the class joker too which most of my friends considered me to be. i did not deliberately put up an act but my honesty and forthrightness made me one such. And then there was this an additional plus point in that so far as academics was concerned i was fairly among the top three and quite a regular with all my class notes which i had no qualms about sharing with one and all. Graduation over we both got married and went our ways. Me loving and believing that she was a friend who is gone far away. But there was no reason to be be badly missing her because i was riding my own romantic wave of a new happily married life. Was knee deep in love with my own six foot IITian. There was absolutely no reason to miss a friend who did not do much but just hung around perhaps providing me companionship at times but not contributing much. Besides there were many other lovely and warm friends to keep me satisfied, happy and busy.

i was the first one to establish contact through STD phone when i was in Chennai when i learnt that she along with her family has shifted to Delhi from US. (San Francisco was where she had gone with her hubby after she got married). Had received the number of her land line through email.

Even after having experiences that were not so forthcoming so far as long lost friends were concerned i never once thought that this time too i shall be left in the lurch. After my phone call there was not much reciprocity barring some bare minimal mails now and then .
Then major news of her came to me in a mail from her which i received when i was in Chennai. ' Breast Cancer' she wrote, and my heart went out for this ' Paras' of mine. i rushed from Chennai. Lodged at Ginger Hotels Delhi Railway Station just to have a look at her. Saw her all dolled up to meet me in a pretty white blouse, bandana and a skirt and felt good to see her thus compared to a shriveled image i had conjured of her sick with all that  chemo and radio therapy self.
During the same time certain aspects were revealed which i found strikingly odd but i let it pass and continued in my friendly fervor.

After that onward it is a sad pathetic story of my journey. i am not ashamed because while i was busy making mistakes mistakes were making me. Journey's are supposed to do that.

My husband got a promotion, i shifted to Delhi and thus began my real learning of facts. She started her reign over me. Setting rules. Ordering this commanding me not to do that. Yeah rules and so many boundaries. It hit me then but then i just brushed it aside thinking about her illness. But there was more and slowly i started feeling unhappy just at the mere thought of her.
Illness she got out of but then she was not the same or rather my journey was showing me her true colors only now.
Never willing to be a friend, rather always using me as a resource. For her outings, her social obligations. All as per her convenience. Bragging about her endeavors, she never ever invited me home. But whenever she would meet me of course by self inviting herself into my home at any time that would suit her she would talk about the lunches or dinners she threw for some friends of hers. i started getting suspicious at first and was provoked to form my own logical conclusions. Maybe through her bragging she was covering up for some complex she was suffering with. But then i tried to forgive and forget and took my first step. Ignore and just let things be.
i started avoiding and not thinking about her and got busy managing my own affairs. Took to my hobbies and not really bothering about her companionship which i would've desired had i not discovered her new complex weird side but then she would not let me be.
As is typical of an ailment that relapses she would hibernate for days and reappear suddenly. She would be around the corner while i would be maybe washing clothes or attending to some chores barely giving me any time to even have a proper wash and call. Then reappear at my door in say anywhere between less than a 10-15 mts sharp. Or else would call me and command me to be ready in 20 minutes sharp like Hitler would be commanding his army to be ready. As i narrate i am seething more with anger at myself than having any sourness for her. Why in Heaven's name was i succumbing to all that?
Why was i hell bent on pleasing a self centered, rude personality who was having no respect for me?
Pressure was building up at her coming and going and yet thinking something is better than nothing i continued to tag along hoping she would show me places of interest. Which she actually did on one rare occasion when she took me to Khan Market the first time and i am grateful for that. But then it could have felt nicer and warmer if it was done in a normal mutually friendly manner. Not like a Hitler commanding and a soldier following. i wish it was a bit mutual and more easy going.
i remember trying to be overtly nice. Hugging her when saying goodbyes hoping she would feel what i am trying to give her, convey to her and come around but...
In order to make her realize that in everybody's life there are major upheavals i have shared my sad/ tragic moments with her and have kept nothing hidden from her.
And yet time and again she has insulted my friendship by saying it rudely to me, " Some of my problems are very personal Shivani, i can't share with you. I have someone i can share with but i don't want to with you."
i often wonder then why did she seek me out then in the first place. First when she had that Cancer...then while tending to her, her mother passed away. Then again she texted me. Why did she in heaven's name seek me out then.
But she instead used my own moments, my tragic stories to insult me later.

Slowly and steadily i started seeing the more ugly side of hers. She was game for all fun which were free but at other's cost. But strangely that free at other's cost fun too again at MADAM'S convenience.
About her cancer well i sure am happy she came out of it but what kind of a person uses an illness as an excuse to do what she kept doing. Sitting in my living room just to talk her stuff rather brag about herself barely having time to listen to me. Then eat, drink and leave.
There was so much i wanted to know...share...
If by chance i would talk about the book i was reading, or something i was into she would want to hang up or else make a statement which would sound not only rude but like she is trying to cut me off.

Often she would entice me with an eat out option which experience taught me to stay away from. Initially i was game but as truth started to unfold i thought it better to avoid because of the following reasons.
a) Acting like she is no less than Ms Nigella herself she would dominate that part too.                           Giving instructions to the waiter about the dish questioning the procedure. Ordering an expensive expensive wine to go along with it which eventually i learnt through experience that i will land up paying for.
 b) She would never ever be willing to pay and rarely went dutch.
c) Most of the places that she would like to take me to would be expensive joints...where
 i would offer to pay just to feel falsely good about myself and she would happily agree.
How utterly foolish i was being then.               

But when she wanted to get regular and make it a once a month affair i had my alert guard on of the mental crisis that loomed ahead and declined such outings by making excuses. Not that i did not want to go and eat out with a friend. It was unnerving to feel foolish and regret later just for some momentary vague sense of false pride. Paying for someone who neither loved or respected your time nor companionship what to talk of the value of each penny being spent from your own pocket.

There has to be other dignified ways of having fun than just by using foolish friends. Especially by using those who in time learn of the unclean intentions and still are being nice to you. One cannot be so insensitive not to understand why some nice people are still pretending to be foolish and hanging on to game you continue to play.

She did not help me one bit after i shifted to Delhi...not even something as simple as sharing the address of a tailor or even a recipe that she kept bragging she made it.
Sometimes i even doubt if she really cooked or just got stuff from somewhere. Because i have no problems ranting off in a jiffy if anyone asks me how i cooked what i just served.

Aren't friends supposed to do a lot more. Okay that she was sick is understood but when she could gallivant the entire city eating at all the expensive joints how difficult would it be to give the address of a tailor if one can't find time to introduce a newly- shifted- to-city friend to one. Or even share a recipe?  How difficult is that?
Rather sharing gives the ultimate joy.
And that's what friends are actually supposed to do.
Not what which she enjoyed doing with me.
What she was doing i consider it to be evil.

Just the other day i had gone to Dilli Haat and i saw her with someone. She seemed to be roaming around fine but whenever she has to speak to me or i have something to ask her always some lame excuse...or else clamping of rules. Some examples given below.
This time i rest.
i am conducting this workshop/ that class...
Tomorrow i have a lunch get-together...
Yesterday i had a bad headache...
Last week i had therapy...
i was a little low in my spirits...
My Sister in law is ill...i am cooking food to take to hospital
i have relatives at home...
You name it excuses come raining a plenty and now knowing her seriously i think while talking to me she was making it all up.
Because when she has to come she would not ask me anything but just call me and say in her typical condescending tone, " Wednesday suits me i shall be at Khan Market by 11.30..."
i am more angry at myself for yessing to her and going to Khan Market. Hell i could have always said , Sure go ahead but sorry i am not that much in a mood. God alone knows why i didn't.

i can't call her when i want to. i can't send her sms's because she does not like forwarded stuff. She likes original stuff but will never read my blogs. She wants to eat at expensive joints but will refrain from footing the bill. Because according to her if the other party is happy paying the bill she is quite comfortable with that.
In her own language, sniggering like she is mocking all fools including me who had paid for her she had said '' If people have lots of money and they are willing to pay for me i have absolutely no hang ups about that. " 
That was the day i had decided it was time to take leave.
This was the worst shock i had received. i can still picture her saying this...reclining on my bed where i lay recuperating from a knee surgery.

i watched her at a friends reunion once which she had arranged at the posh DLF Emporio. She seemed to be fine then. Pitching in her share smiling well without sermonizing anyone about anything. She kept smiling charmingly and at one point even lied within her teeth and i was like what's that!!
And at the reunion it was not about her definitely. Yeah strangely she never talked about herself. Around me it is as if she is Ms Me Me Me.
i like to take my food this way...
i love to have wine...
i don't watch tv it gives me headaches...
i am on to a project....

And as if her domineering ways are not enough the worst part is how she flutters her eye lids like she is closing her eyes for deep meditation and is in a perpetual sermonizing mode. For anything that i say or utter.
It's like sau sau chuhay khaa key billi haz ko chali. ( Meaning pretending to be innocent after committing so many sins.)
i thought i have only helped her...all this while. What possibly could i have done. Why is she nurturing complexes?  Why now?
Her cancer or whatever problems she is facing is not my doing. She is out of cancer and things seem to be working fine now for her.
She knows my life ain't a bed of roses either. i had traumatic experiences too. i had terrible tragedies/irreparable losses too.
She knows all of it then why?

i was so excited when i shifted to Delhi. Hoping i could go to Heritage walks with plays with her...catch all the Oscar movies with her in the best PVR at Gurgaon but...

i tried talking it out to her...told her that. Also expressed my need for companionship to her. Once over the phone i told her about her coming, talking and going, leaving me in the lurch. That once in a while she can plan and together we can do stuff. She obliged but i had to make arrangements for picking her up and we went to Surajkund Crafts Fair. As usual she made that too her own ball game...did her buying of Bhagalpuri silk stuff, ate what she wanted to making her illness an excuse and wanted to leave. i would've loved to sit for a while and watch the folk artists perform. Had taken my camera along to click a few pics but in retrospect i regret asking...rather begging the companionship for one such outing, it certainly would've worked out better alone but more than that i am angry at myself for towing in to all her whims and fancies.
i am angry with myself for even asking her of all the people in the first place. Wasn't her actions screaming for me to stop right there and then.

She continued her style. Hibernating-reappearing at my door even when i am out of station- disturbing my next door neighbor- then my son who was studying boxing him with questions. And my son had last seen her years ago when he was barely a toddler. Did not even know her name. He actually did not know what to do but to offer her a glass of water and probably some fruit juice. And while he goes about it calls me, '' Ma Guess who is here.... "
Sonna is smart for he did not want this 'Aunty' to feel bad that he did not know her name so he played it rather extra cool and very smart.

Although i had no intentions of getting in touch with her yet i had to text her to thank her when i returned to base. Because in order to appear seemingly good the other day she took my son and treated him in a nearby cafe. Which was really not required. She put the most awkward question to my son, her style you see and i don't blame him, i had not told him anything about her. " Surely you don't study all day, so maybe we can go to Khan Market and grab some bite..."
My son could not refuse because he was in the loo and was already feeling embarrassed to keep her waiting as she had pressed the bell. That the neighbor was roped in was a double whammy so he suggested a nearby cafe close to home.
Later we were all having a good laugh that this time she eventually did land up paying but all for a business card she had come to distribute. Perhaps she wanted to spread the news in my colony of her newly started business.
When i asked her if i could talk to her in ease and maybe together we could go visiting an Aunty who is battling uterine cancer, pat came the excuse once again after some pretentious statements and i must not miss out to mention that
 " ....long phone conversations are not good for me you see..."
But she did not miss out to preach me do's and don'ts about visiting cancer patients and also that she has visited Aunty quite often and that she takes her own cooked stuff for Aunty. Something that is very appropriate for her as a terminally ill cancer patient.

Long conversations on #$% !!!

What kind of a friend uses sickness or personal problems to behave in a manner which is not only rude, self centered. lacking in courteousness but highly insensitive too ?
i guess it's the kind one needs to walk away from. Maybe they never were friends in the first place.
The journey maybe will be full of smiles if one is able to walk away from such.

The Sunday Times Of India had a very wonderful article. And i think it answered many of the questions that were pricking me. Would like to quote some lines from ' Are Nice People Losers' by Vinita Dawra Nangia.

Who says to be good is to be a victim or a pushover? Today goodness is adaptive, neither absolute, nor inflexible. Dharma as a concept has evolved over thousands of years through adaptation and being contested at various levels. As Gurcharan Das says while quoting the philosopher S. Radhakrishnan in his book, ‘The Difficulty of Being Good,’ “A person who follows dharma realizes the ideal of his own character and manifests the eternal lawfulness unto himself.”
And truly the good and bad all live within us…our free choice determines the direction we wish to sway towards. The difference is that along with goodness, comes a responsibility for the evil too. You may be the epitome of goodness, but you still have to take responsibility for the bad around you. Either do something to change it, or ensure you are equipped to fight it. Closing your eyes to evil is as good as accepting that it has a right to exist!
Blaming others for what befalls you — and in some cases the bad that hits you repeatedly– is not an option. It just perpetuates the problem. Losers never own up; winners take responsibility not just for what happens to them, but also for what happens in the world around! These are the ones who then have the gumption and the awareness to change the world! ''
For the entire article please click the link

My story is neither a crib story nor a sob story because i am still happy i took this journey. i wonder how many of us are out there hanging on to relationships that has no meaning. i wonder how many have finally managed to do what i did. i am glad and thank the Almighty for giving me the opportunity to recognize the real paras and providing me with answers that irked me and disturbed my mental peace creating upheavals that affected all. My family members and in that including my 300 and more babies on the terrace.
How else would i know what light travelling really means and how marvelous feeling free really feels.
Let there be light and hope all get light...

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