Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gestures...

“A smile, consideration, kind words, a glance, a touch –

What magic by them is wrought.”

                                                                               -anonymous

 

Most of the times, it is not about commitment. It is just about a gesture which says you care. A gesture that would make a person feel wanted, remembered, understood, loved, cared for, important.

And this stands true for almost every relationship… husband-wife, brother-sister, parent- child, friends, grandparents-grandchildren, employer-employee, etc.

This simple statement with an even simpler philosophy is actually very complicated. And ‘understanding’, which varies from person to person, plays the most pivotal role in complicating it. For some, my saying that it is the little gestures shown in the day to day life which would make your loved one feel cared for and important; might sound like crap. Some might get aggressive and angry thinking it to be a challenge to their love and commitment. For them lack of consideration and the willingness to make that extra effort for the other person is not lack of love. Even for me, it is not. But the biggest problem is that they also think, if they love a person to the utmost, nothing can increase or decrease or change the equation of their love, their relationship. Such people tend to take their love and relationship for granted. There are also some who realize the importance of these little gestures of reminder and consolidation, but they keep them limited to special occasions or special gifts.

What people do not realize is the importance, gestures shown in everyday life-in little things or decisions or habits, hold in our relationships.

A mother always, right from the moment her child is conceived, is willing to take care of her/his each and every need. When the child is small, she feeds her, bathes her and entertains her, manages her clothes and her toys. When the child is growing, she cooks for her, helps her take her first step to school, get ready, do homework, make friends and develop hobbies. On the threshold of adolescence, she guides her child and helps her/him familiarize this world. A father always takes every responsibility he has to for his child. He never shrugs off his child thinking her/him to be a burden for who he has to earn. Right from your first cry to the last tears you shed on their death bed- your education, games, hobbies, career, relationships, marriage, spouse and children- your parents are always there. A child can manage a lot of the things mentioned above on her/his own. But parents prefer to do all themselves so that they sprinkle our entire life with so many gestures on an everyday basis that it keeps the relationship warm and alive. And this is the reason why a child’s relationship with her/his parents, never changes.

All of us love our parents. But what is it that we do to make them feel special? Many a times we would just shrug off even the little errands they want us to do. Having dinner with the boss might feel important while eating with our parents might feel cumbersome. When told this, most of us would say something like “Oh, are daily routines just don’t match”. An adult can take her/his own decisions on every matter, big or small. But why parents can’t be told and consulted about it, before taking it. Not doing it will not make them feel as if you don’t love them. But yeah, doing it will certainly make them feel and realize, the importance they hold in your life.

There are two children Aaina and Aanch. Both the girls belong to families where all the housework is managed by servants. Every morning, Aaina’s governess wakes her up and helps her get ready for school, while the servants get her breakfast prepared and lunch packed. Aaina’s mother, having assured that her child has all the facilities she needs, sleeps peacefully. After getting ready Aaina eats her breakfast, with the governess standing beside her and leaves for school. At the house of Aanch, her mother wakes her up every morning and leaves her with the governess to get ready. Meanwhile she goes to the kitchen and supervises the servants preparing food for her daughter. After getting ready, Aanch always finds her mother waiting for her at the table where she eats her breakfast and leaves for school. Both children get the same facilities but there is a difference in their relationship with their mother. While the former share a relationship of convenience, the latter share a relationship sprinkled with a little gesture which speaks volumes to the child. It makes the child immensely happy and secure that her mother never forgets to remember her, to take care of her little needs. Even though Aanch’s mother also, personally does not do anything, the little effort she makes, imbibes in her child, a feeling of being wanted, cared for…

I actually remember a girl from my school days whose brilliance dimmed, because after 16 years of her life she realized that she missed the warmth of gestures in the relationship she shared with her mother. Her parents- both working- provided her with all the facilities a child generally needs and in return she satiated them by doing brilliantly well in school- excellent academically, good in extra-curricular activities(oration, singing, dancing), smart, confident, vibrant. In short, an ideal daughter. When we were in our 11th grade, we noticed an aura of sadness around her. She appeared cheerless, stopped eating her lunch and started looking bleak. After a few days, we came to know of the reason behind her somberness.

It is a general habit among students to sit with their friends during recess and enjoy their own and each other’s lunch. Amongst the varied topics of discussion, very often the culinary skills of each other’s mothers are being discussed. “My mom makes such yummy noodles! They are my favourite. And she has packed noodles for my lunch today”. “You have brought paranthas today! Great! Aunty makes them so delicious”. “The way your mom prepares paneer ki subzi renders it very tasty. Please request her to pack some for lunch next time”. This girl had always, since her childhood, eaten food cooked by the servants and since the time she had been a child, all around her, such discussions had taken place. Even she participated in them. She had never bothered about servants cooking her food because she had been brought up with the notion that her mother had other work to do and did not have the time to indulge in cooking. They had been sharing a relationship of convenience.

One day, after all those years, she realized she wanted to enjoy food cooked by her mother and so she went and had the following conversation with her mother.

“Mother, I know you are busy and have a lot of work to do. You do your best possible to manage your work, this house and our family. And you do it all very well. But I was just wondering if you could, just once in a week prepare lunch for me. I really relish the food you cook and also want my friends to enjoy it.”

“What has happened to my darling daughter? What useless things have gone into your mind? You know it is not possible with so much work. And why this silly request now? After so many years? Does the servant not do his work efficiently?”

“Oh! He does it. And prepares whatever I want to eat. But that is not the issue. I just wanted to have food cooked by you for my lunch, any one day in a week.”

“If you get your favourite to eat, I do not see why you should be having a problem. I think some friend of yours has filled your mind with crap. Take it out of your mind and go. You don’t want to cause inconvenience to me, right? Goodnight.”

After this conversation, every day during recess she would throw all her lunch and remain hungry. When we got to know about it we said if she did not want to eat what her servant cooked, we would share it and in return we would get lunch for her. So, all her friends got their mothers to pack something extra for her every day. And in a few days she felt cheerful again; from the little gesture she had loaned from the mothers of her friends.

See! The kind of magic a loaned gesture can create. Think of the magic a genuine gesture would create!

The relationship a husband and wife or for that matter any other couple in love; not married or living-in or engaged, etc. share, changes and matures over time. Comfort level and understanding increases. But with the increase in maturity and comfort level, the special element decreases. Because then, many other things kick in. ‘taking the other for granted’, ‘I will not be dictated by my husband. I have my own individuality’ or ‘I can’t dance to the tune of my wife. What will my friends think? I need my space’. When I talk about ‘special element’ I mean that factor which is there in the relationship of a new couple. Making allowance for certain traits of the other and making adjustments regarding certain habits of your own. Doing or not doing something- not because your partner wants it but because YOU feel that if your partner has strong feelings attached to the particular thing you don’t mind doing or not doing it(as the case maybe). You just want to make your partner happy and not hurt her/him. Both partners are more than willing to bend and adjust so that their flow unites and they can flow together. AND THIS IS MATURITY.

But after sometime any one partner or both begin to think that, now, since they are flowing together in one direction, no matter what, they will continue to flow together till they reach the sea. And then one day suddenly, without consulting the other, one partner decides to change her/his directions a little. She/he takes it for granted that since they are flowing together, the other partner will also change directions with her/him. And if the other partner does not and the first one is adamant, soon the river (in some cases without even realizing) dissects again into 2 streams, both flowing in different directions. Is this not distorting the perfect harmony both created themselves? Is this not the lack of a little gesture of caring- which would have made a person think about her/his partner or maybe consult the other regarding any changes; keeping in mind that she/he is not flowing alone but together with her/his partner towards the sea?

Listening to the suggestions and requests of your loved ones and complying with them makes you no slave or puppet. Taking care of their needs and making allowance for their freaks would not subjugate you. Instead it would make your partner feel important in your life. Your partner would feel her/his need in your life. It should be in the mind of a partner, while doing anything or taking just any decision, big or small, that your partner respects you and nothing which decreases that respect or shakes the faith, should be done. Take care that you are meant to flow together in the perfect harmony you created yourself; everyday. And this gesture will keep the magic alive for years.

And before I forget to mention, there are also some people who have woven their lives and relationships into a cozy web built with the silken threads of little gestures which keep the bond strong and let love and care flowing from the centre reach out to all corners of their relationship. I congratulate them on their sensibilities and deep rooted maturity.

Lack of these gestures is not the lack of commitment, or even love. It is just taking the vibrancy out of your relationship. For people who might be finding my words superfluous, I can assert it again.

Lack of consideration and the willingness to make that extra effort for the other person is not lack of love. But yeah… it definitely is the lack of that special element which creates magic in relationships.

The sun is there in the sky. Everyone knows. But if it stops radiating the warmth and sunshine, people wouldn’t be bothered if it is there or not. Ache special effects ke bina picture hit nahi hoti mamu!

2 comments:

raj said...

hehe..great understanding of relationship.....
thats why i tend to put on special effects...in my words...hehe

manchali said...

i must say you are such a miser...
u could have done better with your comments