‘You look so beautiful.’ ‘ I am soooooo busy. ‘ ‘My marriage is perfect.’ ‘Of course I eat… yes… real food silly!’ ‘ The holiday was amazing!’ ‘My kids are awesome!’ – every lie we ever tell each other now becomes firmly stuck in the forever world of the internet. With filters and instagrammable hashtags it’s like we’re all living the perfect life…except we’re not! The picture perfect fairytale that we all seem so keen to show off is often anything but…
You don’t realise this till you get off the screen and actually meet your ‘friends.’ You don’t realise they’ve been up all night not partying but because their kids are sick. You don’t realise they are having lunch with you and not doing a double date because they want to talk about their marriage. You don’t realise they don’t eat because they are being fat shamed at the gym… You don’t realise a lot of things.
And yet you stay ‘friends.’
So what I have done is started meeting people offline… meeting and connecting and realising that everything may not be perfect- not for me and not for them and that’s ok. That’s what differentiates us. We can all have photographs with the same filters but life doesn’t come with filters and every photograph may not be perfect but it’s our experience and our lives and like my grand father used to say if life doesn’t have ups and downs how would you know you’re alive…
The meetings have been amazing. They have been real. They have been flawed. They have been perfect. And I gotta say I’m hooked! I’m more social than I have been… I’m making more real friends, having better conversations, caring more and feeling more and I’m actually connecting… not the Fb connect… but actually connecting and now the photographs we have at parties and get togethers don’t need the filters – cos they have memories attached … and that’s the coolest filter of them all.
P.s.(Palat says) #FriYay #NightWithFriends #ConnectInRealLife
And in a world more connected than ever, most people find themselves more disconnected than they have ever been. We can connect on WhatsApp, Social media, the phone- all the time and yet in this fast paced world though we’re always seeming to be connected we’re often more alone than we have ever been.
This was the discussion a girl friend of mine and I had for more than a few hours this week. And it wasn’t even the first time I had heard this complaint. It was far too often, from far too many people for this to be a coincidence.
Connection requires work. Connection requires commitment and Connection requires both parties to keep at it!
And when I felt the same way a few years ago.. I set out to make a Commitment Cheat Sheet… to help me keep and nurture relationships that meant something to me…
So here’s a peak-:
- Make a list of just the closest friends (CFs) you’d like to have in you life and make sure you call or meet them once every 2 weeks at least.
- Do Date night. Even if you’ve been with your husband for tons of years…date him, reconnect. The only thing constant is change- so both of you will keep changing. Get to know the new him.
- Be social. Get out at least once a week with one set of your CFs so you can do a face to face reconnect.
- Laugh more. Play games rather than watch TV. Connect, talk and have fun with your friends. TV is a wonderful medium for stories but real stories happen only when you actually participate in them. Be a part of your own life story not a spectator.
- Put a schedule together which forces you to challenge yourself to connect. Make it a routine, till it becomes a habit.
- Find common hobbies/ activities. I hate the morning walk… or actually hate getting up at 5 am… but the plus is I get a leisurely coffee chat with the uncrabby husband (he’s a morning sparrow, I am not) and a walk where we find tons of puppies and lots to chat about.
- Be present. Your CFs have something major happening in their life/ they aren’t well- check up, be present- care.
- Don’t look at your phone during dinners/ events. Respect the person/people you are with.
- Give yourself a break. All relationships change. Some change so much they become unrecognisable. Try as hard as you can, but remember sometime you need to let go. Reward yourself when you try. Don’t berate yourself.
Relationships are hard and connections even harder. In a world of a few billion- you just need a handful of connections but even those take work. Remember, it may look easy from watching a good relationship but both people work very hard with many off days to make that work. Instagram and Facebook stories are just that- stories. They are not reality.
P.s. (Palat says)-: At the end of the day, all the fame and money make for comfortable beds and homes but homes are only homes when you can fill them with people you love.
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.
In a world that’s terrifyingly small and connected and where now gossip doesn’t need to be limited to streets or apartment buildings and where everyones business is public knowledge now…it was terrifying how disconnected one can feel despite all these seemingly meaningful connections.
It’s been a long few weeks. With ill health in the family, I did what I did best- retreated into a zone, put my head down and just did what was necessary to ensure everything was okay (as much as I could).
There was work. There were meetings. There were clients. And there was home and family and the hospital. And it was almost like these worlds were completely exclusive of each other…
And that’s when I realised the important connections and most importantly the important disconnections…
Life is not about the likes and the happy emojis or even the angry or sad emoticons… it’s about the actual connections…
If you haven’t heard from someone for a week or 2… do you pick up the phone and check on them? If you haven’t connect with a ‘friend’ how long do you wait till you call/ connect/ visit…. Or do you wait for the shallow ‘Status Updates’ or PR Related FB Posts?
How long is too long where friendships are concerned to be out of touch?
And when did Facebook replace actual face time…?
Any way on a positive note– #allswellthatendswell ! And I’m back on FB and my Blog now :)!
Since I did my first professional play at 15, I got used to (well not used to…but got a taste of) criticism and labelling… Theatre was my salvation. It allowed me the freedom to be all that I wanted to be but come Monday morning, I had to return to reality and school and the label of being a #nerd #boring #bookish (all of which were said derogatorily , which I still don’t understand) and #ugly ! But those were simpler times. In school you are often labeled or bullied and that helps create strength of character, build your confidence and give you the strength to face the world… and so I did.
Shooting a reality show recently #SketchtoStore …I found everyone dreaming of becoming a label and thats when it struck me- today is a world of labels. Most of those labels are created with silly hashtags and are tweeted, instagrammed and facebooked…. and most of them are not positive… they are downright mean! In a world of labels does being a label mean so much when we can now make any word/ set of words a label with just a simple hashtag. Also, wasn’t I lucky I grew up at a time when calling me a name, didn’t allow you to tweet it or post it on my wall.
In the public eye there is never a day where I can please everyone… I am #DragonPalat (yup this was tweeted), #fat to others #sick to some (because of the MS) a #celebrity (said in a negative way) to a third. To the trolls I answered, to the ready-to-be-converted I tried my best to convert you to be my friend… But in a world of #labels , I found my self terrified…I am unapproachable to most, terrifying to some… but to those who get to know me or just even say hello… I’m actually funny, interesting, silly, smart and fiercely loyal.
Unfortunately the polite words never make for good hashtags :)! So the next time you’d like to #label someone… meet them instead. I have found that people are so much more than their labels… and it’s always a fabulous revelation!
Today’s world is a PR world… a world built on perception and fantasy based in our own ‘virtual reality.’
Virtual reality is the new real world experience. And what you are perceived to be is what you are… Or is it?
When we tweet “Love is what I am all about…” do we forget that we’re in an extramarital relationship or that our husband doesn’t come home to us?
Why else would we post ” With Super star ________”… when we’re backstage at an event ensuring he gets water at the right temperature or a seat at the right time!
When we photograph food or alcohol on a friday night saying “Yay Friday…” are we trying to pretend that the food and alcohol will be eaten and drunk by someone other than us despite knowing this will be yet another lonely weekend?
And all this is fine… if you know the truth. My only grouse is with those whose virtual reality has so far eclipsed their actual reality that they pretend to be the holier than thou souls ; those that can do no wrong. So full of themselves, they forget that behind the cover of the web their actual being is nothing like the one that they perceive themselves to be! Their perception is their reality and that reality is skewed. When they actually meet real people , we’re in for a shock because since we don’t see them with rose-tinted glasses…they like any one of us is flawed… but maybe even slightly more damaged. How so, you ask? Well at least we know who we really are… but them behind their PR and delusional virtual reality have forgotten who they were so long ago that they don’t ever see themselves without the tinted glasses.
So even when the world’s laughing in front of them, at them… they miss out on the joke… because they’re so busy creating a new virtue reality starring themselves!
Today I take a break from the news and the politics and even the decline of the rupee to focus on something much more personal. Today I take the time to talk about relationships. Today, is a world where you have over 1000 Facebook friends and even more Twitter followers / friends. But even in a world of so many thousands of ‘friendships’ we have almost no relationships.
In a world of instant noodles and where between 2-8 milliseconds might be too long for a web page to open, we wrongly assume the same of our relationships. We assume that they are right for us instantly, that it will be wonderful and that there will be no extra work required, and if not , well what’s the problem- let’s just un-friend them, or in a marriage head for a quickie divorce? This is not true. Friendships are hard and relationships even harder. Time must be spent on making them perfect- and remember nothing is perfect. It just must be perfect for you.
And why so much talk on relationships? Well, this weekend I celebrated one of the most important people in my life- my very handsome husband Aditya. Aditya and I have been best friends for sixteen years and married for almost seven. He is my strongest supporter and my kindest critic. He is caring, loving and generous. He is the perfect foil to my outspokenness, my cynicism and my mistrust. He is not perfect. But he is perfect for me.
There are many jokes made about us both being joined at the hip and never apart from each other. But what most don’t know is that we fight, we yell, we argue- but we work! We both are completely headstrong, stubborn individuals with completely different tastes and likes and it has taken time and effort to make it seem perfect. It didn’t just start off that way. We still have yelling matches. Our first bathroom lighting fixture took us 3 months to agree on and in our home we didn’t have a dining table for a year after we moved in cause we couldn’t agree…and that’s okay. Relationships are not about being with someone who agrees with everything you say. It’s about being with someone who challenges you, who makes you think, who makes you feel alive!
So cut out the ego boost and the 1000+ friends you’ve never met and the other hundreds who don’t really care for you and reach out to someone- the one person who make every day count. That’s a great friendship and wonderful relationship and the real reason to be alive!
Happy Birthday to my reason to be alive- my amazingly talented, super handsome husband- Aditya Hitkari. You make life worth fighting for!
I love you.
P.s (Palat says)-: Good things come to those who wait and work for it. So don’t give up on your relationship just yet…sometimes a good fight just increases mutual respect. And what’s the use of a relationship without respect?