Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Toxic Negative Relationships- Get Out Of Them #NishaJamVwal

Breathe, Live, Laugh a Little More

In is my personal experience, to continue with a friendship or relationship with a negative person - who either blames you, is aggressive at the rise of any miscommunication, cannot control themselves when excited or agitated and is generally quick to misunderstand than make an effort to understand- is a losing proposition. Contrary to your wishful belief, time, kids, maturity does not heal or improve the manipulative aggression.

With a slew of only good friendships and equations behind me, I find it hard to cut off a friendship chord easily even when a relationship is not going positively. Part of me always works at it to salvage it, thinking it a challenge in working things and not copping out. But the smarter way to unclutter life is to weed out these ‘toxic relationships’. Just like you edit your wardrobe and storage, with every year of growing older, you need to edit life fearlessly in order to become lighter and free up time for life investing pursuits.



So what are toxic relationships and how do you identify one? You definitely don’t want to give up on a friendship which might be encountering minor hiccups in a long innings. There are bound to be some ups and hormonal downs, minor rapids are ok in long term friendships- but when but you are constantly explaining yourself, or you feel depleted every time you spend moments with your friend or partner; when you feel like you're defending yourself or justifying yourself too often; when there is that sense of losing who you are in trying to change too much for a friend or partner, then it’s time to re-look at the equation and gear to move out and away. I just did!!!

One has to realize that a friend or a lover is not an ‘asset’ but a part of life and of shared experiences which must be happy fulfilling ones, for the most part. When it is no longer about mutual caring, upping the game in terms of growth and learning with each other, or becoming better individuals then let go. Grow into a better equation in a relationship, but to fit into your friend or partners version of whom you should be is not how it should be. 

When a friend looks for reasons to catch you out or blame you, when it is no longer about finding reasons to laugh and share but about catching out each other; when you find that more often than not a friend is fussy, resentful, exacting, critical and complaining, have the courage to let go.

Letting go is not easy, especially when you're a committed friend or lover. You reproach yourself at giving up. You feel a lacuna before it’s even happened. You feel you will lose out and feel that sense of fear. I've realised over time that there is nothing wrong with admitting to yourself that that relationship is done with and you should be moving on big time.

Today I let go of a sour bitter girl whose general peevishness I’d overlooked very consciously- always making excuses for her in my mind!  – It’s PMS I would tell myself. She's dieting too hard, maybe I should have called her earlier- shes moody- and other such escapist excuses for not taking a stand and walking out. 

A few hours before penning down this article I finally took the plunge and told her where she gets off. I walked out and away at her last tantrum today, decided upon closing that door forever. As I arrived up into the locker room of the gym, a sunny warm friend walked in. The timing was prophetic- it was like the universe telling me that my decision should have been made a year ago than drag it out with vindications and the desire and hope to work it. 

Two things became clear to me at this landmark moment- firstly the well-known saying is true, that if you don't close one door anther doesn't open. 
Secondly, there are so many lovely people out there and we just have to be picky and choosy about whom we invite into our hearth and homes. It is common to err, given the plethora of choice around, but then correct your mistake before making long term investments into relationships. Because that’s what they are. Friendships and relationships involve time, effort and investment.


Don't castigate yourself if its not a first. Its okay to have break-ups and make mistakes. Its your life and life is a learning curve. Don't be apologetic and ashamed. In my opinion life is a series of learnings, like school, we grow and learn with troubles more than with celebrations isn't it? Cut yourself some slack, be kind to yourself just as you are to your family, your kids, your staff. Its time to be a little forgiving to you as well! 

 








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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Separate Bedrooms #NishaJamVwal


 It was yesterday that I stumbled onto an Instagram post by a cousin and close friend saying that separate bedrooms for a married couple or partners who choose to live together is a relationship bending route that shatters taboos and ‘works wonders for intimacy and sanity’. I am mixed in my views about this growing trend. The post speaks about how it also allows for hobbies, privacy and space. My first reaction on reading this is that the entire day most couples engage in own thing anyway and that bonding is oftentimes only at night. Intimate time together in a ‘cocoon’ like space cut off from the rest of the universe to grow your relationship is time bond in the busy schedules a couple normally keep.  So you have the entire rest of your time to pursue a hobby or a preoccupation in a den or an office in the time away from each other.

On further reflection I begin to realize that not all individuals are the same and couples can begin to get onto each other’s nerves after the initial romance. Maybe some individuals are better with each other in small doses? I have seen older married couples being rather off-hand with each other to the point of riding rough shod on each other’s opinions and conversation. Would some distance help the kind of relationship which has begun to see the ravage of long term taking for granted?

As I spoke to couples I began to see that different body thermostats also could become a serious issue in a marriage. I know of a childhood friend whose marriage fell apart because he wanted the room chilled with the air-conditioner and his wife couldn’t bear the cold, which had led to bitter battles. Differing body clocks is also a big issue with a husband wanting to see the match late into the night or the wife addicted to her sitcom.  But does all this mean that couples lose the ability to adapt and grow together into a unit that morphs and adapts ‘into one’. Is it archaic of me to expect love to conquer all and be the uniting force.

Time was that families lived together and now you hardly come across joint families. You see nuclear families and especially in the big cities an old lady stumbling along alone is a common sight. No family member to help her or be with her. An old man carrying groceries with none offering a helping hand. Will this further extend to couples fragmenting and marriage becoming an institution about two independent minded adults asserting rights and brandishing pre-nups at the drop of a pin? Changed values have diminished joint families and married couples often communicate in short notes matter-of-factly and many even place careers over having a child. Or worse singledom over marriage. Not because they wish to but because it's more 'convenient'. So how far will this convenience thing go? Will it finally arrive at separate homes? There is no end to the convenience lure.

In my book- with relationships- the best is the old fashioned way of making things work with love, meeting halfway and adjusting timings, temperatures, hobby timings and enjoying the journey savouring time together or the wedge grows bigger and wider with excuses and self-centred desires. The gap can gape bigger and wider with time until nothing is left. And yet the National Association of Homebuilders in the USA predicted that dual master bedrooms could become the new norm in custom-built homes.

Does this paint a rather pessimistic picture, reinforced by a changing psychology that's more about "me”, 'e-mail' and 'myself"? Somewhere in all this "advance" we seem to be defeating the joys of existence. Personal contact, warmth of unscheduled interactions, touch- the human feel! We don't need a psychiatrist to tell us that people, at least in cities, are often painfully lonely. They want caring, sharing people around.




It’s a paradox. I think while we want loving, caring, sharing relationships, yet maybe we are not prepared to extend these qualities ourselves in this ‘me myself and I’ trend that is taking over the world. The answer lies of course in realising that it is not only about sex and intimacy but about the warmth and caring that grows with sleeping together, hugs, caresses, adapting and sharing a space.  

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

NiceGirls Finish Last !!!












Sugar and Spice and all things Nice?

Recently I came across a case of separation for reasons that were jaw-dropping strange! As I heard out this friend the case got curiouser and curiouser!!  “Rishi, let me get this clear", I asked "You broke up because she was just too darn nice and too much a wifey little thing?" He took great verbosity and some time to get across what seemed an oxymoron when we’re speaking matrimony! "You mean you didn't want a wife who was a good wife candidate?" I asked, understandably befuddled. Between the no-no's and yes yesses and "not like that’s” what I deciphered was that a man can feel differently toward an intended wife and a steady girlfriend.


This difference is the romantically stimulating-desirable girl as opposed to the caring-too-much girl, and the latter in a suffocating kind of way of being fussed upon. I’d never have believed it, but there is a situation where being loved too much can also be a problem!? Seemingly so!
“Listen, there needs to be some fun and flair, and a little playful space. Even uncertainty that makes for pizazz. Quit the blandness lady. I think I prefer celebratory champagne over the goody-goody glass of milk.” Candid he was and it was then that a well-known saying came to my mind- “nice girls finish last’!

Accommodating and most of all that ‘too much of a "wife-thing" and a man can feel like a “dog on a leash!" Which meant -he felt the pressure of being domesticated already. It seemed to even take the edge off from flirtation - the most charming time before being tied down. The very acquiescing, accommodating and agreeing nature of the steady girlfriend even brought blandness to the relationship that made the comparison of milk to a heady whiskey seem apt!

Its quite clear to me now. Man or woman, when fussed upon too much, end up feeling hemmed in by so much over-agreement. It puts them on tenterhooks about doing, saying, suggesting anything. That they are not quite themselves and almost do not enjoy being with their loved ones on a one-to-one. My friend here even seemed to resent the copyrighted smugness that took over with this air at undue domestication. If he was in a group she took on the role of his official hostess and busied about his space.

The spice of a tiff, that thrill of making up after some playful light-heartedness, exciting "hunt", some "chase" that a partner enjoys in the challenge of getting the girl or man is missing!  Of course after marriage the mind-set is familiar and accepting of domesticity to a greater degree. Naturally all these things are individual things, and as they say "one man's food….etc." but one can perhaps understand that anything - even a good thing can be a bit much. As the French say -a bit "de trop".

It's wiser to tread a path where one is not unappreciated for good endeavours and is not taken for granted, or worse resented. Too much of a good thing can be too much. A toss of the coiffured hair and a naughty backward smile- and tell the gent where he gets off. - Way to go girl!! He may even come chasing behind!

At the end I think everyone must be their own self. After all, each relationship is an individual equation and one size certainly doesn’t fit all! If a girl likes being the "wifey" model -sure be that because there's the man out there who will love you for it but remember there are greater chances of being taken for granted if you are too giving without receiving too. The art of being a giver and a taker.

Or as his very married friend added with male sagacity, "’wife’ is the desi daal-chawal we love, but it is too homely before marriage! A flambé sizzler gets the juices flowing!"

How mamma takes to the "sizzler" bit might be another story!


(All incidents quoted are real life experiences & not fictitious.)
Nisha JamVwal
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

When Insecurity Raises Its Ugly Head!


I'm around your side, shall I drop by for a cuppa?" I telephoned my friend in the suburbs?"

Please come soon Nisha!
-I need the company, some advise and the strongly caffeinated cuppa!" She replied. I found her bleary-eyed and disheveled though it was two in the afternoon. "Got to bed at four o' clock. We argued and argued " 
She thought he'd been philandering with that b-----* at that dinner, and he'd been exasperated- placating, reasoning, and finally apologizing so they could ‘kiss and make up’.

They are a contemporary twosome in a live-in relationship. What I learnt was that this sleeping at three and four I the night was a regular feature of their time together. And arguing and fighting? It was not necessarily about perceived roving eyes alone! It could be some small thing that had not been to her expectations or something said that conveyed wrong intent or anything amiss in his demeanor that went contrary to her mood even. I gathered all this, half by her own admission and the rest by insights that didn't need an Hercule Poiret to decipher.

To me she seemed the offending party. She even half-admitted that once she got a bee in her bonnet she just had to get the issue thread-bare even if it took all night! He loved her tenacious persona!  And invariably she had regretted her uncalled for insecurities, tiresome nit-pickings and the waste of entire nights in wearing out to-and-fros of a variety of accusations, fault-findings, and- generally going on and on till he bought peace and a semblance of comforting(?) togetherness. Even if he had to apologize for wrongs not done! She too paid the price with guilt and misgivings that he'd leave her and hate her and what-not!

“But then if you know this, why do you do such self-harming things? I can't seem to understand you?" I reasoned. She wept, "I can't seem to help myself, I think I've got this obsessive compulsive disorder! It certainly seems compulsive!"

I thought she seemed so normal. Maybe she was setting herself in a vicious cycle of guilt and ensuing insecurity and more a "controlling" need than a psychiatric thing. We talked. I asked her why she felt she had to be be "boss-lady" who had to be judgmental on a well-meaning partner.  She seemed to see some point in the observation but came round the circle to "I just seem unable to help myself Nisha, I wish you could be around to tell me to quit , you know. I think if I had someone I believed in around, my sense would not go for a six! Even as I speak, I know what a good thing I've got and how tolerant and loving he is- I want him for keeps -I'm scared I'll drive him away! How long can he endure a harridan?" She hoped they were going to marry eventually.

“Listen” I said, “what's wrong in starting to make things right this minute on?  As for needing someone you believe in around to knock some sense, you know what? You do have someone!" 

"Who?" She asked

“yourself!” 

Nagging and haranguing is a negative communication pattern that actually becomes the cause of betrayal and infidelity where it does not exist. Women are more prone to it according to statistics and couples actually fall out of love only due to this one ‘pattern’ that a woman takes up mostly because she is conditioned to ‘run’ the home and feels responsible for addressing all issues concerning the partner and home.

On his part the partner can also do his bit but checking his lady, not allowing it to happen, putting his foot down, and if the request is reasonable then acquiesce before it becomes an issue. People respond better to conversation and communication than loud voices and shouting matches. An interesting trick is to write post-its and leave them at strategic places or then email.

At school they had taught us that we have a better self within who tells us ‘Don't cheat!’ When we're about to! Or when we want to go the wrong way!


“Just think what your better self would want you to do when you want to loose it or berate and lecture when you can actually be rational and communicative!-I'm certain it'll make you stop!” I said to my friend.

And indeed I do believe we have that better self than we allow ourselves to believe we do. Pinocchio had his nose to stop him lying! 

I also offered- “either talk the matter with him or get a friend to discuss with both of you if necessary. It may give you such a constructive happy togetherness, after all valuable things need to be taken great care of.

Its not just school-kids who must train to listen to their better selves. We need it too. 
In adult language it translates to our "impulse control mechanism"!




Nisha JamVwal is a Columnist, Designer, Art Curator,  & Brand Consultant.
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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Marrying Mr Moneybags

Moneybags

Was that a rock? I couldn’t get my eyes off her fifty carat diamond on her hand. She’d just stepped of her Rolls Royce to join me to a reunion lunch. It’s so delightful when you can meet a school friend and bond after ages, the connect is sans all façade and pretence. So she’d really done well for herself I happily commented. A tiny shadow crossed her face, and it wasn’t long until she confided about a life with all the trappings and an okay marriage but a marriage without much friendship, companionship and shared moments of fun, laughter, movies, foodie dates and even the sharing of some happy camaraderie.

There are stories and stories of marriages to wealthy gentlemen, snidely referred to as 'moneybags' but I have seen the veneer lose its sheen after a span of flashing the rock on the finger, the rows of Jimmy Choo’s, Prada’s et al If money is the only thing going for it. You guessed it. Life can be lonely, empty and dissatisfying when the only consideration for the marriage has been money- as you look on at a laughing young couple surrendering their monthly instalment on the 'Godrej' Sofa-cum-bed, having a bhelpuri dinner and catching a bus home, because it’s the end of the month! 

Laughter and love, and hope, as they look at all the challenges ahead, in making a life together. This scenario is delightfully encapsulated in the Aamir Khan-Aasin interludes of the movie ‘Ghajini’. Is that storybook idealism? I think not. I know that when marriage happens for the right reasons of desiring a life together, it makes life together a fun journey and not a compromise.

Sitting here with at the café with my school friend brings home some thoughtful checks and balances. Look right, look left and then cross the road if you don’t want to be hit!


Am I advocating that all wealthy couples are incompatible; and all less endowed couples are friends and companions? 

 Definitely not. What I’ve seen often is that when a marriage is made based on only material considerations or ‘convenience’ more often than not the compatibility and companionship is non-existent. So there is sometimes a harmonious compromise with comfort and routine, but the partners look for friendship and excitement elsewhere. 

Marrying Moneybags
And I’m saying that when I think marriage- I’m certain that for it to be fulfilling the reasons must be mutual respect, care, companionship, compassion, peace, company , friendship, confidences, when it comes with your partner enriches life and makes it complete. You then grow together in a fulfilling equation mindful of each other’s needs and understanding of each other’s dreams.  You are a complete unit without lacunas and angst because you are then happy in each other’s camaraderie.

Does this then mean that you don’t care if your partner has a job or ignore practical considerations like education, similar value systems and backgrounds and financial stability? Definitely not, because it is most important to be mindful of the practical aspects where you understand each other’s drivers, expectations, and grounding.

If you look at the marriage of Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan who was then Chibber, she was the more beautiful and even the wealthier of the two. Shah Rukh was neither, but has always had a brilliant sense of humour and they were a couple in love. I knew them in our growing up days in Delhi. Gauri and he had a fairy tale wedding and they came to live in Bombay where Shah Rukh struggled to make it in the television and Bollywood world without the godfathers and backing, all on his own, with Gauri creating a little haven of their home. The rest is history. What worked for them? Their trust in each other, their love, their faith and support through the struggling days. 

Love actually makes the difficult times easier because you enrich each other and are strong for each other. You marry for the right intentions and more often than not you have a relationship where you definitely have your ups and downs but you have a friendship all along and the connect and desire to stay together through the thick and thin.       

The marital vows ‘for richer, for poorer’ say exactly what they mean. It's precarious if money runs out when you’ve married only for money, because then there is nothing left- neither love nor money. It falls apart because you never loved anyway? On the other hand you marry for all the right reasons that include love, respect, companionship and you spring back from the tough times stronger and more bonded to each other.




Nisha JamVwal is a columnist, designer & brand consultant.
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Love At First Site! Does It Really Happen #NishaJamVwal

“I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.” 



The savant observer of human life and raconteur in ‘Dil Dhadkne Do’ looks on  as protagonist Ranveer Singh sets eyes on Anushka Sharma swimming across the pool. She glances back and it’s a long enduring moment as the their eyes lock in a riveting awareness of each other. His droopy eyes perk up as Pluto the raconteur takes in the palpably electric  moment as he wryly remarks ‘yeh pehli nazar mei pyar hota kya hai? Kisi ko dekha, brain mei kuch chemical changes aye, nas nas mei khoon ki rafter tez hui, sare badan mei lehare si uthne lagi. To dil ki dhadkan bhi thoda fast ho gayi! 


He explains sagely, that in the beginning there are very few words, it’s all about stolen glances and chemical reaction.

The moment extends over intense lengthy minutes. My question here is, does this beguiling instant mutual love at first sight exist? Is it practical or just transient, lusty chemistry at work without the foundations that test the trials and angst of love?

If one looks at it from each different point of view there is a veracity in all of them. I do believe, (maybe I am a romanticist at heart), that there is that powerful intense something that magically creates the magnetic connection instantly with someone you have never seen before in your life,  while another leaves you cold. You feel a beautiful palpable chemistry akin to a beautiful idyllic spark of sorts with an exceptional someone.

Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, the Italians call it
They say it’s not about a situation but about the lens you take to a situation. Recently in a book somewhere, a father tells his son, “there is no big deal when strangers get married. It is you teens who think a lot about it. A marriage is arranged- one night together- and they’re in love!!!” Recently at a dinner this man ensconced me inescapably in a corner and directed a long monologue that began with “ha!”, he didn’t understand this ‘love-shove thing’ – marriage was this cultural requirement, a functional process to bring forth offspring.

I squirmed out of this arid scenario to the bonhomie of a friend and was happy to continue the topic with quite optimistic views. He has been through the love at first sight situation to a culmination of happy and enduring matrimony. He felt that love at first sight is ‘inexplicable’ - it transforms your life in a moment into a splendored garden. Imagine, you don’t know this person, she is not film star beautiful, without extraordinary appurtenances. 

But across a crowded room, there is this magnetic connect. And it is often both sided enough to make him wonder if it is not some kind of a carryover from previous lifetimes. I myself wonder too. How else does one explain this gravitating to each other in a single momentary encounter? This compelling desire to connect. Certainly spiritual masters like the Dalai Lama speak of the interconnectedness of all human beings. And now science biologists state that one in three persons are connected. The scientific intricacies of this interconnectedness I am not sure I can comprehend. Though unexplainable, it is quite thrilling, to go through a possibility in the minds background that you may somewhere in a magical moment meet this soulmate in an intensely magical moment.

No doubt many an unmarried biddy of forty-three sitting on the shelf, is consoled with the
famous platitude, “there is someone special waiting somewhere for every someone in the world, and suddenly, magically he will enter your life and in a second you will know.” She waits on until seventy three. The wonder is -nowadays -that the biddy at seventy three is indeed having that magical momentary encounter with that special-someone finally. And there is the rainbow ending of happy matrimony. 

There is no age barrier for love at first sight, or sell by date, for love at first sight. It’s happening more and more at every stage and every age. Anytime is love at first sight time.  Vive La romance.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Secrets Unraveled! Complexites of the Mother Daughter Love-Hate Bond!!!

Mum's the Word

Through this article I'll share some tiny secrets. About what I believe complicates relationships of girls sometimes with their mum's. About what I think is ideal in a mother child relationship & about my fantasy Mum!

It is not an unknown fact that mother and daughter relationships are infused with some ups and downs and difference in opinion. But to take it to the level that Indrani Mukherjea has done, is definitely a shock to all people that knew the family, however distantly. Does that throw the relationship of a mother and child into question where one looks askance at the purest relationship that a mother has with her child? I think not. This would have to be a rare exception, with a mentally imbalanced person who could kill her daughter in cold blood. And yet the relationship of a mother and daughter is indeed layered and composite. The Indrani incident however has thrown a lot of questions up about relationships in our times. That Indrani’s husband, claimed to be one of the more intelligent people in the world of media, did not suspect anything when her ‘sister’ disappeared without a trace for three years? That a wife could lie so blatantly about her daughter being her sister, and then bump off that daughter because the daughter is an ‘inconvenience’ in her presently ‘perfect’ media baron life? That communication could be so poor between a child and a mother, or a husband and a wife that he is blissfully aware of her earlier marriage and kids, her homicidal tendencies, her cutthroat ambition, in this case literally.

Author Nancy Friday it was who had explored the relationship of a mother and daughter way before any other work looked deeply into this unique complex relationship. It was she who in candid self-revelations and numerous interviews with mothers and daughter accompanied by research delved and wrote about the conflicting love hate relationship of a mother and daughter and how there are compound layers of anger, competitiveness, desire for approval, dependency, fear of loss, blame and guilt in this relationship. I also feel that to idealise mothers as they do in our society is not correct to the degree of godhood, as they are human after all. When a child sees the mother as human her anger and inability to cope with the human aspects of her mother is monumental which also gives rise to conflict.

Another reason for tumult in this very interesting relationship could be the desire of a mother to plant her dreams and aspirations upon her daughter. In Oscar winning role for ‘Black Swan’ Natlie Portman is the daughter of a mother who is trying to live out her dreams through her child, suffocating her and pushing her beyond breaking point. I see this in parents of talented children where the child is the entire focus of the mother and the mother ‘rules’ with an iron fist creating a dysfunctional daughter.  

From personal experience I’d like to say that parents sometimes are careless about their P’s and Q’s with their children. I feel you are so polite and correct with people at work and socially, that mothers must appreciate their daughters without taking them for granted leading to self-doubt, longing for validation and resenting the dismissive behavior. The explanation for this by a mother is often ‘but you know how much I love you, all this is irrelevant.” To that I’d say, you see it isn’t irrelevant. 

It is important to not allow the feeling of rejection to creep into a relationship on either side and to say the kind loving things you feel are important especially for parents. This is especially because the child is biologically coded to need a mother’s attention, approval and proximity and a sense of rejection is painful. Give me a caring kindly momma than an ultra cool mother who thinks shes the cats whiskers! It is never easy to adjust to a mother who is casually offhand and not overtly caring. The joys of a mum who cares caringly are nurturing and make for a successful girl without inner angst.

That brings me to love and care, which is great, but to control your daughter is asking for trouble. The helicopter mother is a common enough problem, with mothers feeling they know best for their daughters and then taking it to the level where they do not allow the daughter to flower naturally and express themselves. This is a disaster waiting to happen in the relationship.

Yes these behavioral patterns of a mother challenge the conventional image painted of an idealistic mother who is painted more like a goddess, especially in India. We need to explore this relationship more realistically so as not to have the disillusioning fall, and a mother needs to introspect especially because her aggression or controlling nature can indeed give rise to a dysfunctional child who will carry her insecurities and problems into her other relationships in life unless she finds succor in a kind caring healing partner.

Both need to have more realistic expectations from each other and both need to move away and give space so that they are not prickly about each other and not the be all and end ofeach other’s existence.

More on this next time, watch this space.


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Nisha is a columnist , designer & brand consultant

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