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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Love- is that really the crime?

In a world of hate, we could do with a little bit of love…

Life has changed so very much… Where our parents got married in they’re early twenties, we choose to spend our twenties working or traveling or if we’re lucky- doing both! We spend our lives on social networking sites and learn to market ourselves like a product- coldly and calmly and avoid getting overly attached incase we have to rework brand strategy based on what our ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ feel! This being said we have a million acquaintances but very few friends; every sees the mask we hide behind and we make every effort to make that mask perfect, flawless and beautiful hiding true emotions and feelings because that can only make us look ‘ugly’ right? Being single is now not taboo…infact it’s more of the norm than ever. Who has the time for love? And in this world, how can you let your defences down and even try to love? So we remain more rigid, more cold and even more alone.

And then those that seem to fall in ‘love’ seem to fall out immediately… Divorce happens. In this fast paced world of ours we have quick weddings and even quicker divorces and this makes us question love even more.

We’re not the same world any more. We’re not as safe. Among the 4 letter words that come to mind- angry words, hateful words come first- they easily trump ‘love.’

And that’s our excuse… we don’t have time for love… We may not even believe in it.

But in a world of hate can we be so selfish and self centred to not allow love among anyone else either? When 2 people love each other can we actually punish them for it- criminalise them for it? Why? Because we don’t understand it? Because it goes against our beliefs and fundamentals? Because it’s against ‘religion?’

Every religion preaches love and in a world slowly losing its humanity and love, when 2 people love each other regardless of whether they’re man-woman, man-man or woman-woman… should be allowed to love.

In a world where rapists go free, where fraudsters make millions and stay out on bail, where terrorists are never tracked; in a world where anger, rage and hate dominate our newspapers and senses every single day- would it be so terrible  to allow two consenting adults to fall in love? Is that really a crime?

Or are we hiding behind our own masks of self- righteousness and selfishness because if we can’t find love- noone else should? Now that’s the real crime.

 

No time? Why?

‘ I have no time,’ a constant complaint from all of us.

‘I can’t believe where the day /week/ month / year went!’

It went. And you were there. But you weren’t actually present. We’re always so busy. But busy achieving what? We spend less time with family and friends. We are divided between duties at office. We don’t even focus when we’re driving…we’re too busy returning  or making calls.

With all this ‘work’ we are doing why is the only result exhaustion and unfulfillment ? Because we’re never actually concentrating on the moment….we are each too busy thinking about the moments that just passed or the moments ahead and we’re never actually focusing on the moment we’re in.

We’re all born different – to different strata, in different countries, with different economic and social backgrounds… but time is the one thing that unites us. We all get the same amount of time in a day and it’s what we do with it that can change our lives. We have the same time to work, to relax, to fall in love, to dream, to work, to live,to stress, to worry. Time is constant and time is changing and that is the one common thread that binds us all.

Instead of running to keep up with time… let’s give it a little more respect.

  1. Schedule your day. It’s not about starting at 9 am or 9:30 am… it’ about what you have to do. Prioritise. Finish. And then leave. Don’t wait incessantly to check on facebook or wait because society/boss dictates you must wait till 7/8 at work. Work should be judged by how much you do in the day not by how long you spend eating/ tweeting/faffing at your desk. If we become a more goal/result oriented work culture as opposed to a time oriented work culture- we’ll achieve more. Work till you finish….. 4 p.m. or 10 p.m. Schedule your day well and FINISH MORE.
  2. Plan your time with family. Phone’s on silent., coffee breaks, take up a sport…. time with family is precious. You will never get it back again.
  3. Take the time to relax and don’t judge yourself. If you need an hour break every day….TAKE IT! Enjoy yourself. you’ll end up charged and ready to take on the world again…else you’ll just end up burnt out.
  4. Take a few minutes every day to do nothing. In Palo Alto in the tech companies there were meditation rooms, sleep rooms and quick break rooms…sometimes you need about 5/10 minutes every 3 hours or so to do…NOTHING.
  5. When you are driving just drive. When you are watching a movie, watch it and when you are sundaying- relax. Don’t do 3 things at one time…it’s not multitasking…it’s not even single tasking…no task is completed well and nothing is achieved and you usually have to start all over again.

Make every second count. Don’t rush thru life or rush thru your day. We each have enough time… let’s just take it!

INNW

 

J. W. Marriott in Bangkok

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I travel to Bangkok a lot. From one of the dirtiest cities in the world 12-13 years ago, it’s cleaned up become fancier, more welcoming, more modern and just a wonderful shopping destination and a quick flight from Mumbai! I have therefore shifted a lot of hotels- hotels close to the malls, hotels out of the city… My new favourite however has to be the J.W. Marriott Bangkok.

Two MTR Stops away from Siam and a single stop away from central, this wonderful hotel gives me a bit of sanity from the frenetic mall culture of Bangkok! Towering gloriously above the fashionable Sukhumvit district, this hotel has a good mix of clientele ranging from long staying guests, businessmen to shopaholics like me!

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If you do want to stay at the J.W. – I suggest you stay in the Executive Level rooms. For a very small additional charge you get to use the Lounge.The Lounge in the J.W. is tastefully decorated, spacious and has an indoor and out door sitting area as well as an internet area with a Tv and couches for a more relaxed coffee/ tea. Check-in is done on the 16th floor for Executive Level guests and the check-in is quick and efficient and over a cup of coffee and something to eat.

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The Executive Level rooms are nice,though a tad small. You have free internet access everywhere in the hotel and the speeds are wonderful. For a super-connected social networking geek like me…that’s always a big plus!

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Why do I like the lounge? Well firstly it’s large and the food is amazing! Unlike usual Hotel Lounges the tapas and hot meals vary every day!You have an incredible breakfast with a live egg station, japanese counter, cereal, cheese and bread counters and of course your customary cold cuts , sausages etc. If there’s something missing and you want it- they’ll make it for you! After breakfast , in casephoto 1-1 you get hungry by about 11:30 am or so…there’s always some muffins in the oven or some sandwiches and peanuts for you to grab and go with- along with a takeaway coffee or chilled soft drink/ juice. In the evening The Lounge has an array of drinks and wines. It also has salads, hot and cold tapas and wonderful live stations where burgers are flipped, fish is seared, rolls are made and sushi is rolled. Every night is usually a different theme – so after an American burger night with fries and onion rings (from their New York Steak house downstairs), don’t be surprised to go Japanese (from Tsu the Japanese restaurant) the following evening or Italian… The food is tasty, filling and perfect and after a long day on the streets of Bangkok or in the malls- it’s wonderful to unwind over a drink and fabulous food before you let the Bangkok nightlife draw you in!

Cost-: $260 a night approximately for the Executive Level room!

Best Times To Travel-:  For me …any weekend I need to escape… but generally October to Jan are peak months with the weather being significantly cooler…else Bangkok is perfect for those like me who love the heat!

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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!