The Relationship Saga

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-:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Be social. Get out at least once a week with one set of your CFs so you can do a face to face reconnect.
  4. 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.
  5. Put a schedule together which forces you to challenge yourself to connect. Make it a routine, till it becomes a habit.
  6. 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.
  7. Be present. Your CFs have something major happening in their life/ they aren’t well- check up, be present- care.
  8. Don’t look at your phone during dinners/ events. Respect the person/people you are with.
  9. 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.

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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.

#MoreThanALabel

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!

 

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Instagram your life TODAY! (MY NEW TIMES OF INDIA CELEBRITY BLOG POST!)

I now write a weekly blog for the Times of India – Divya Palat’s Blog! So do check it out!

 

 

This week’s big news was that Facebook was acquiring the young, fun Free photo sharing application- Instagram for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!

The young co-founders are both Ex- Stanford Students- Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and this being my alma mater I naturally took a very eager interest in the sale and all the reports about it!

What is Instagram? It, very simply is a photo sharing application that adds fun, fabulous, digital filters to your photographs making them absolutely wonderful and makes you proud of sharing the most beautiful of sunsets and even the messiest of garbage cans! Instagram can make everything look cool!

And why should one billion be such a shock to writers or analysts across the world?! Today is the day of the 140 characters or less status updates where we update our Facebook status almost before we wake up every morning! It is a world where you are judged not by the actual friends you have but by the virtual followers that you possess, where a status update is more true to readers than ever actually seeing you, talking to you or even meeting you! And if status and image is so important-what’s a billion dollars  for an app that can make even a dirty toilet look great?!


Today you are judged by the photos you post, by the updates you make , by the Linked In contacts you have and it’s social networking suicide to not have friend’s ‘Like’ your posts! It is a world where reality has never been less real and unfortunately despite the fact that we can connect with people we lost touch with several years ago; we are often more disconnected than we ever have been!

Phone conversations have been replaced by tweets. But there’s often a lot more going on in a person’s life which can’t be fit into a line or less but guess what if you have more to say…well often there’s nobody to hear it or read it!
Be everything you want to be except yourself….that is often the mantra of Social Networking. How else can you justify bloggers and tweeters behind pseudonyms who have hundreds of thousands of followers? Today we hide behind a mask because often we fear that our most honest thought, our most basic of feelings might be considered too simplistic, too plain or just too boring,a word that our generation fears more than life itself!

So we jazz up our thoughts, we mask our feelings and we hide our flaws behind fancy sayings and proverbs because our virtual friends must assume our virtual reality is our reality. They would most definitely leave us if they knew that our virtual reality was just virtual and nowhere close to our reality. And so the charade continues!

And so but naturally when there is an app which can make decent photographs look great, we all jumped on the band wagon! You couldn’t just mail photographs or print them – it had to be Instagramed! They made our normal reality and our actual photographs look so much cooler and so it worked! Wish there was an app that made our normal day and simple thought seem cooler. Wish there was an app to add a new colour to your black and white day…. well give it time. I’m sure there are already plans afoot to Instagram your ‘normal’ life! Kevin, Mike…thoughts?

P.s (Palat says) The week is already overwhelming me but my status update says ‘Excited! Fab, fun week ahead! Yay life!’

But on a much happier, more positive note- This week was my Malayalee New Year. So… to brighter dawns and to more fruitful tomorrows- Happy Vishu all!