Phariends

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My friends today are classified as below:

  • Best friends. These friends have passed the agni pariksha and are people I would happily give up my life for. There are only 3 people on this list. More importantly, these are people from whom I have lofty expectations and they have passed the agni pariksha unscathed. The bond is strong enough to survive any conflict and I can keep my ego aside for them.
  • Almost best friends. These friends have the potential to become best friends but am still doubtful about their reliability. I don’t like people flitting in and out of my life whenever they please. You are either in or you are out and hence, a whole new category for them. These are people I would be there for but only if they invest the same in the friendship.
  • Old friends. This is a whole category of people I was friends with – best friends and almost friends, but have lost touch over the years. These are people I will make time for if they call and want to meet up. Of course, meeting up leads to a lot of heartbreak but sometimes there is no way back. Both of us have moved in different directions and coming to a common point involves making a lot of efforts.
  • Social media friends. These are friends who are my support system on a day to day basis. People on twitter, instagram, facebook, WhatsApp. We connect because we have something in common. The chemistry may not translate into reality in the same way but it’s ok. All the moments when am not lonely is because of them. I wonder if it would be cheesy if I went around telling them how awesome they are. Yeah, too cheesy.
  • Old friends who aren’t friends anymore. Sometimes you have learned and shared everything that you could. The friendship has run its course and there is nothing left to exchange. These are friends whose calls I avoid and make excuses to meet up with because it is boring.
  • Fillers. Everyone else is a filler. I keep them to a minimum in my life.

What about you? Have you done a SWOT analysis of your friends?


Darkness 

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Last night I ended up meeting someone I have known since I was 17/18. We haven’t been in touch but either one can pick up the phone and talk years later without it being awkward. 

This friend, let’s call him H, has been depressed for a while. It has affected all areas of his life, except professional. We discussed quite a bit about this and for once, he was open about his feelings. 

Few weeks back everyone on Twitter was talking about depression and how we must help those who are depressed. Anyone who says that has never been around a depressed person. People don’t seek help, instead they go into a shell and break off contact. If someone does not answer your phone or messages, you won’t go to their house and break down their door. You will get annoyed and stop trying. 

Honestly, most people don’t understand what darkness feels like and explaining about it is too much effort. It is easier to stay away from such people and find peace alone instead. 

The best way to beat depression is to sleep on time. Nobody ever has happy thoughts at 2 am. 


Managing expectations

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The only time I use corporate language is when I know what it means. Yesterday was spent in conflicts resolution. The first I had been anticipating all day while the other was when I was dead tired and looking forward to a dreamless sleep. 

A large part of my job is conflicts resolution and that is so unlike me. But it is a skill I have been honing for a while now. Some days I lose my temper and it is exasperating while other days I roll up my sleeves, swallow my ego, remember the end objective and spread my legs like a whore. The biggest part of this is understanding the other person’s point of view and explaining mine. In simpler language, it is called emotional blackmail and manipulation. I don’t do it in my personal life because I don’t expect anything from anyone. If I don’t want anything, why will I manipulate or emotionally blackmail? Also, it doesn’t come naturally to me so doing it 24/7 will push me to the brink of insanity. Few hours a day is manageable though. 

Last night I realised that someone will not understand your point of view if they don’t want to. If the objective is that only I win, nobody eventually wins. 

I also like myself when am calm while dealing with conflicts. I consider it a win if I don’t lose my temper or am not thinking about it over and over all the time. That has been happening quite a lot these days. Sure, there are some situations I wish I had handled better. I am trying to stay away from the object of conflict till I have calmed down and am ready to listen to his/her point of view with an open mind.

Why this sudden change? 

Is it because am staying alone and there is nobody to calm me or not enough distractions to prevent my dwelling on conflicts? 

Is it because my job demands it? 

Is it because am older now? 

Is it because my mentor has been giving me this advice and feedback for years now? 

Is it because I attended a training on crucial conversations which has made an impact?

 Whatever it is, I have come a long way since I was 18. 


Meeting R

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Before this new found camaraderie goes the same way a lot of others have, I thought I should document my first thoughts.

This is what happens to Twitter/Instagram friendships

1) After 1-2 meetings, the conversation becomes repititive

2) Beyond the initial common things you connected online about, there is nothing else in common

3) The conversation in real life does not flow as naturally as it does online

4) The person is misogynistic or sexist or has other qualities which are non negotiable in my books

5) The chemistry you share online may not translate into real life. Connecting with someone in real life is very different from connecting with them online.

The problem with friendships today is that we meet for a specific purpose – for a meal or a movie or to do something else. We don’t spend time doing nothing or sharing silences together.

When I called R yesterday, I realised this was the first time we were talking on the phone. I was going to meet someone I hadn’t even spoken to before. He invited me home for coffee because he is a coffee consultant and why go to a cafe when he can brew the best coffee.

I was going to meet a stranger from the Internet whose hobby is nude photography at his house. I could read the next day’s headlines in the newspaper if he turned out to be a rapist. But my instincts are good when it comes to such situations and I told myself I would leave immediately if anything made me remotely uncomfortable.

So we met and spent 2 hours talking which could have gone on for an inappropriate amount of time if he didn’t have prior commitments. The conversation flowed easily, there were no awkward pauses and I had a great time. Very rarely do I talk a lot. There are few people I can banter around and talk non stop and it feels good to find someone new to be able to do that with.

I asked him about his career, his hobby, his family and friends’ opinion on his hobby and we discussed attitudes of Indians towards sex.

I know we may never meet again or we may discover things about each other we dislike or there may be a conflict am not willing to resolve or the conversation may die a natural death but it was nice meeting someone whose life is so different from your own.

I have recently added strangers to my Facebook friends list and taken them off the restricted list. All of them talk about interesting and different stuff. None of the usual baby/couple/family pics or lame forwards.

All in all, an interesting trip and I can’t wait to go back to Mumbai and hit the gym.


Bucket list – 2017

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Quickly penning down bucket list for 2017. It is a littl difficult to write this when I don’t know if I will spend the year in Mumbai or Gurgaon or somewhere else. Let me try though :

  1. Run 1000 km in 2017. I will run, not more than, 1 half marathon in a quarter. The focus will be on getting faster. Timing target for ADHM is 2 hrs 10 mins.
  2. Run in 10 different cities. I ran at Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Singapore, Bandhavgarh, Karjat and Vizag in 2016.
  3. Get another course certification. Got TRX certification in 2016.
  4. Read 45 books in 2016. I will take the same reading challenge of 100 books in 2017 as well.
  5. Write everyday. Really, really want to do this.
  6. Go for a trek. Carried forward from pending goals of 2016.
  7. Curb on shopping. To start with, I won’t be shopping in this sale.
  8. Attend MAMI
  9. Watch more movies and documentaries
  10. List out fitness goals – a separate post on this
  11. Donate regularly. Have become a permanent donor with MSF. Add one more charity in 2017.
  12. Don’t cry in Mumbai
  13. Continue to maintain a work life balance
  14. Shift with KC – whether in Mumbai or Gurgaon (preferably, the latter)
  15. Have more sex (always on the list)
  16. Don’t while away office hours on social media
  17. Meet new people
  18. Don’t give a fuck about people unless they give a fuck about you
  19. Pick your battles at work
  20. Cook more
  21. Go off sugar
  22. Take a solo trip
  23. Trips to Jodhpur, Manali and Kaziranga national park
  24. Read all the books already purchased and languishing on the bookshelf
  25. Run at Sanjay Gandhi national park
  26. Cover all running routes in Mumbai
  27. Did a duothlon in 2016. Do a triathlon
  28. Start swimming
  29. Update CV
  30. Blog

I am bugged

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You may have a point that I only come here when am bugged. You may be right. Because am busy too. I keep forgetting that HOW you fight for something is as important as WHAT you fight for.

Diverting all my energies with regards to this at work means I have less time to spare in my personal life. In a way it is good am living alone and have zero responsibilities and accountability to anybody right now.

There are two ways to stop taking shit from people:

  • Give shit back
  • Keep communication polite and at arm’s length

The first messes up your mind and the latter requires a lot of willpower. It means swallowing that retort on the tip of your tongue. It also means choosing not to resolve conflicts. I can resolve conflicts at work or with KC or with someone else. I am picking the first two right now and the last is on the back burner, even if it means friendships and relationships suffer.

You can shut shop and put up a sign that says “Stopped giving. Aage badho. Deal with your own nonsense”.


Friday blues

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This week has been especially tough. I don’t know why. I look fine on the outside. In fact, I spent 2 nights hanging out with colleagues and feeling good about it. But this week has been the longest and I can’t wait for it to end. The temptation to while away time is very strong but I can’t afford to. There is always too much to do and I need to start catching up. One more month of honeymoon period before I will be expected to be on top of things.

Maybe I need a run. A long, exhausting one.

Maybe I need a hug, no sign of that in this city.

Maybe I need human conversation, but putting on a mask for conversation is too much effort.

Maybe I need to get out of the city, but I just got back.

Maybe I just need a fuck, uncomplicated but intimate.

 

People we live with are just distractions from ourselves. The voices inside our heads are not pleasant. People help silence them.

 


Crazy is as crazy does

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I did something crazy today. You will either call me a psycho or a very evolved person. Probably the former. I know I should set a context here but I don’t want to. I don’t want to compartmentalize and find the right words to describe it.

There is closure, there are answers and there is a clear distinction between black and white. There are no more free passes for being young and stupid. Not that anyone has asked me for any free passes. Sometimes people are crap and that’s the way it is. I don’t have negative feelings left at this stage. I was just looking for answers.

I ripped off the bandage and realised the wounds healed a long, long time back. There aren’t any scars. Just another learning in the journey of life. I got out early and unscathed but it helped me figure out who am not as a person.

Let’s be fair, though. We’d do anything to protect ourselves. Anything. There are memories of good times though. So, it wasn’t all bad. Sometimes it was fun too.

Ciao. I need to curl up on the train with a book and some music.

 


Mood

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There are certain days when you are pissed off. There is no specific reason to be but you are. And you wish you could get your mind to just stop talking. You want it to just shut up. For just a minute. Why does it keep talking and analyzing so much? Why is it interested in every little thing? Why can’t the mind just switch off sometimes?

Some days I wish I could leave the body and mind behind while I wander.

Is this happening because I have been in Mumbai for more than a week? Is the city getting to me?

Or is it because am watching Black Mirror and some of it is subtly scary and stays in my head in the background? It is like that sugar candy which will make you feel sick but you still reach for the next one.

Or is it because am surprised certain connections have ended. Just like that. One fine day. And I don’t know if there is any going back.

Ciao. Let me use the mood to get some work done.


9/11

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I am tired and have nothing to write. Like KC mentioned, ranting on social media does get exhausting. But today must be documented. I need to atleast write a few lines about what happened. When a friend mentioned yesterday that Trump may win, I told her I don’t care. And I don’t. The President of USA makes no impact on my life. What I care about is what he/she represents. When I logged into twitter, I saw reports that Trump is leading. My first instinct was to laugh it off. OF COURSE, it’s not possible. Who would be dumb enough to vote for him? Wasn’t his candidature a joke all along? But as things got serious, I put on my cynicism armour because that is the only way to deal with such situations without getting hurt. I used my humour. Whatever I could have possibly felt has already been articulated by someone or the other on the internet.

Everything is so wrong with the world that everyday we can feel happiness, every moment someone is fair to us is a miracle.

Ciao. I hope I wake up on a different planet tomorrow or better still, not wake up at all.