Fools Seldom Differ

We’ve all probably heard ‘Like Attracts Like’ and of course the funnier- ‘Fools seldom differ!’ And I always wondered on the same. Whereas ‘Opposites Attract’ seemed a more perfect description of the husband and me with him being the strong , silent type and me the more emotional, opinionated one, over the years, I realised that he and I were more alike than we give ourselves credit for. With many of the same passions (traveling, fun comedies, theatre) and many of the same values- we have now come to the stage where more often than not we can think the same thoughts and I can complete his sentences- making him more silent than he usually is ! 🙂

At work and in friendships too I think this needs to be followed. I mean, we’ve all met that one person who’ll do anything to get ahead. We’ve met the liar, the smooth talker, the one who hogs all the credit. And I have realised that it’s lazy if we still befriend him/ her , thinking well that’s okay, it won’t happen to me. Or even the lamer excuse, ‘we’re not really that close, we’re just acquaintances.’ Remember more often than not, you are a product of the people you associate with. And unfortunately if you keep fraternising with unethical people, you will not realise when you cross the line too.

You are not placed in relationships. You choose them. Choose wisely. Or don’t be shocked when they behave badly with you. You choose the company you keep. So be vigilant of those you let in to your life. Remember it’s never about quantity- it’s always, always about quality. It takes a bit more time to reach critical mass… but once you find your people, they will be perfect for you.

P.s. (Palat says)-: This is a shoutout to the new friends especially ‘N’ that I met thanks to my old friend ‘N.’ If I love someone , then there must be something perfect about the people she’s friendly with… after all ‘fools seldom differ!’ And I’d rather be a fool with great friendships and relationships than a smart one with questionable ones!

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The Imperfect Fit

I was never part of any clique (group)- popular or unpopular – I just didn’t belong.

I’ve never been the perfect fit anywhere I think. I’ve always been the one who is a bit too loud, a bit too ambitious, a bit ott romantic. I produced theatre for 18 years but was never arty enough. I won awards globally but then I was far too artsy. I topped school but wasn’t nerdy enough. I did ads but was never a model, acted in films but was never a film actor, never a girly girl or a tomboy. I just didn’t fit in.

And on most days, I’ve been okay about standing out… even proclaimed (bravely) that I relished being a loner… but this was one of the days where I just felt like a school girl who nobody wanted to sit with. It wasn’t even a major deal but in the company of my husband – a popular kid and a former head boy and just a person who fits perfectly everywhere and my puppy- another absolutely stellar creature who makes friends in seconds and is an absolute must at any social event 🙂 I felt like the broken training wheel of a perfect bicycle.

And so sadly I went up to my (much) better half (yes, I was in one of those self sacrificing, sad moods) and asked him how we worked; he seemed bewildered by the question. In his eyes, I am the ‘don’t care a damn’ fighter chick, who’ll take on any person/challenge head on and win! I’m the person who loves with all my heart, will fight with all my soul and will never shy away from any thing or any one. In his eyes, where everyone works so hard at trying to fit in, to be loved , to be heard– he loved that I was an honest perfect fit. “With you,” he said “everyone knows who they’ve got! There’s no pretence just truth” He also , and I say this knowing he’ll read my blog and go the perfect shade of tomato; said, he wanted to be more like me sometimes!

That got me thinking, were we all worried we didn’t fit in perfectly, and was fit that important? I mean just because we didn’t fit within our own idea of what the perfect fit was… did that really make a difference? I mean in my oddball, weird way, I seem to fit perfectly with my more popular family members. In fact I was more often than not the head of this enviable clique! And wasn’t that the point of cliques anyway- to find a place for you to belong? And if I do belong with my peeps… did I really need more cliques?

Satisfied that I was indeed with the best group created ever, I looked around. We’re all trying to fit in and find place for ourselves in this crazy, mad, over filled world. But if we just stop for a moment and ensure that who we are fits perfectly with how we feel and what we believe and then find people who like us for our honest selves- then we’ve actually beat the system and we’ve actually found our perfect ‘fits.’

P.s. (Palat says)-: Look for the work or friend groups that let you be exactly who you are ;that way you’ll never be out of fit or out of style!

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I was never good at making friends. As gregarious and out going that I seem, most of it is a facade and those who know me know I am actually quite conscious of how I am viewed, worried about being judged by you and fiercely private about my thoughts and fears. Trust doesn’t come easily to me.

I started working at 16 and then became even more wary of ‘friends.’ They became transactional relationships. FRIENDS was a great concept on TV but for me that was it- fictional and a comedy- something that could not truly exist..

And then I changed.

Over the last few years I have started seeing people as different versions of me- each flawed, insecure, with their own set of fears, but just trying like I am to make the best of each day. And as I started seeing people for more than their Facebook profile/ status – I learnt that people could become more than humans who wandered in an out of your life- they could in fact become friends.

Now I’d love to give myself full credit for this realisation but in the spirit of honesty I must credit the husband , ever so little, for looking at my many flaws and loving them. When he peeled the many onion layers I had protecting me, and showed me that flaws aren’t all bad… I realised I could do the same for others.

Of course every so often you get a rotten , smelly onion- but I guess that’s the risk you take when you try to connect.

And in a world where we have more Facebook and Insta connections than real friends, I think you owe it to yourself to look for actual connections. Hate someone, love someone- but have some emotion for them!

P.s.. (Palat says)-: Connect. Offline.

I’m Not Ok. You’re Not Ok!

So the discussion veered to ‘Mental Health.’ How brave is it for someone to acknowledge that they need a mental health day, or that they are going through depression , or that they need help-I was told?

Brave as it may be, I countered, it’s often still a luxury for most families in India to be allowed a mental health day. And as much as I agree we can’t ignore depression or mental health, I wonder how many companies allow their employees this basic need.

When yesterday I received a call from an Agency at 9 p.m. while they were still at office, I wondered, how many hours people spend at their desks? In India, the time you spend at your office seems to have a direct and completely ludicrous correspondence to your work ethic…is that truly healthy? When in India, hours are spent commuting to jobs in over crowded commuter trains and buses and little to no time is spent with family- how does that help mental health? When going to a counsellor or mental health professional is associated with a person being unsound of mind and gossiped about- how is that healthy? We can ask for a sick day at work, but eyebrows raise if a mental health day was asked for- may be the pressure or stress is too much, it is assumed.

How can we claim to be sensitive to mental health- when everything we create around us, or expect from others is in direct contradiction to mental health?

It’s a luxury in India to talk about depression. It’s a luxury almost none can afford.

Till Indian companies start hiring a counsellor/ mental health professional on the payroll, like they do with HR and legal and other departments- it will always be a luxury. Till it is mandatory for every employee to get even 15 minutes where they can vent / talk to someone qualified to monitor their mental health- we cannot discuss or pretend to be evolved enough to acknowledge mental health as being important.

Till schools have counsellors and make it mandatory for children to visit and talk taking away the stigma attached to talking about mental health- we cannot assume that we are taking mental health seriously.

Till then, ‘mental health’ and our worries about them remain castles in the clouds. Unless we decide to remove the stigma and make a difference in our company lives, in our children’s lives and in our own lives- it will always remain a Celebrity first world problem and something that we will never actually even attempt to address.

P.s. -(Palat says): It’s easy talking about problems… we all have a ton of them. It’s solutions that are hard. Work out the solution rather than always looking for the problem.

Happy Hallmark Holiday

I am not the bra burning feminist type and I personally love most fake ‘holidays’ like Valentines day, Fathers Day, Mothers Day et all. But Women’s Day, especially in India, to me is a bit of a joke!

It’s Women’s Day when Women don’t need to demand equal pay- they get it.

It’s Women’s Day when it’s not lucky that you can move around Mumbai as a city at night , despite being a woman- it’s when it’s always safe for everyone- man or woman in any city on any night. Safety should be a right- not a privilege!

It’s Women’s Day when we don’t have to watch what we wear or how we wear it, because your mind doesn’t automatically assume the worst if we wear sleeveless shirts or shorts.

It’s Women’s Day when we can rise as fast in a company as men and not be told it’s because we are women but because we deserve it.

It’s Women’s Day when it is not automatically assumed that home-work is just the women’s domain and that the work space is not automatically a male domain.

It’s Women’s Day when men see us as equals, as partners and as movers and decision makers.

Till then keep the flowers, cards and sappy messages coming- I’ll collect them all but know that it’s not Women’s Day till you make a change in how you see me.

P.s. Palat Says-: Gender roles have changed so much over the years…. I am now proud to say that when we hire a person , we’ve never cared whether the person has been a man or woman- it’s just been about how good they are. We try and affect the same policy when meeting people too!

Breaking News

They converted our feelings into ‘Breaking news.’

With Wing Commander Abhinandan’s bloodied nose, blindfolded interview and subsequent calmer interview- news channels and twitter was on overdrive this last week.

And that’s the thing- it happened during 26/11 as well. News channels did whatever it took to get TRPs even if it involved giving out sensitive information.

It happened again.

And it will keep happening.

We can keep criticising. But in a world driven by ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ and ‘re-tweets’ what news channels are doing is only what each selfie obsessed individual is- trying to get the most eyeballs!

It is times like these I miss the joy of knowing a secret, of having a meal that didn’t need to be photographed , of knowing that my exact whereabouts wasn’t traceable every minute of the day!

Today nothing is a secret. Everything and every one can be found. The world is smaller but also infinitely less interesting.

I enjoy going to countries where my photograph of my new favourite place is my photograph and not one that a few thousand people have already shared with filters, stickers and the likes.

I miss the days where wars were not front page news, but creating a new record was; where suicides were not relegated to small print and back pages- these pages had columns and opinions and interesting thoughts and debate starters.

I think we need to start being more mindful of what we share that will hurt or upset or even destroy people. I am definitely not a fan of censorship of speech but I think we need to have a certain amount of self censorship and responsibility towards the larger picture. In our joy of being liked, retweeted and shared- shouldn’t we be mindful of what we represent ?Shouldn’t we also support, share and like and retweet restraint, sensibility and applaud the responsible?

Wing Commander Abhinandan must come home today. The world is waiting and watching. But I’m hoping that his family gets to feel the joy of his return before we make it national news.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Today each of us has a voice. Let’s use our voice to help create the world we want to live in.

Life’s not fair

Life’s not fair- a complaint that plagues even the most optimistic of us. And you’re right. It’s the friend who you thought would pick up the phone when you needed them or the pitch that was stolen by the lazy incompetent colleague who pretended the idea was his or just being surrounded by sloth, carelessness and general apathy when you give all that you have for a person , an idea or a moment.

I have realised that you can’t control others and their attitude. All you can control is how you choose to deal with them. I have often been heartbroken when I care about someone- (friend or colleague) deeply and they let me down by not caring the same amount or believing in us the way I do. And now over the years I slowly am getting over it.

I have always been the one giving 100% to relationships – work or personal that I care about. But that too is my choice. Much like waves, some of the water stays and some it goes back- people often come in to our life for a reason. When the reason is fulfilled , most will go away. Those that you are left with are those that have more to give you and more to learn from you and those that leave have served their purpose and you theirs.

You can’t stop caring, turning up or giving your cent percent to life because every so often you will get the opportunity you’ve been dreaming of, meet the person you were destined to meet and live the life you absolutely deserve. The bumps on the way only make you realise how good the goods are and appreciate those moments so much more.

My grandfather always said life was full of ups and downs – how boring life would be if it were one straight line. Compare that to a heart monitor and you realise that he’s right… the ups and downs make the journey. Without that, using the same example, we’re quite literally dead !

P.s. (Palat says)-: Pitching season is the longest, toughest, hardest and most exhilarating season! On one hand Mondays are the best and most exciting – on the other TGIF!