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


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


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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Abusive Woman Battered Man

My friend Sanjay is miserable. I try to analyse why a man who has it all- cars, homes, friends who love him, looks, education just about everything I can think of is so downcast? 

It’s my wife, she’s always ‘offhand’ and nasty, nagging and ticking me off, sometimes publically to my acute embarrassment. Over the years I find it getting worse. The problem is I love her and I’ve been married to her for so long I don’t want to end the relationship.” 

You thought only women had the raw end of the stick in relationships? The emotionally ravaged and dependent underdogs are not always women, as feminists would have us believe. I have been observing the tables slowly turning, with women becoming independent, assertive and nearly like new converts with a growing aggression flaunting their ‘rights’. But rights come with a responsibility- that of responsibility and composure.

Did you know that domestic violence against men is not recognized by the law? There is little or no sympathy toward harassed or abused men who sometimes have to kowtow to blackmail by women who use the law and section 498A - dowry harassment- to threaten men and take advantage of a law that is more or less one sided. It is more fashionable to be a 'feminist' and hardly ever show sympathy toward a battered man

'According to the recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, the number of married men committing suicide is actually higher than that of married women. While, women ending their lives due to marital harassment, is well played out in the media, and by several NGO voices, the marginally higher number of married men who have taken their lives is seldom heard. The NCRB report has it that 70.8% of the suicide victims are married males while 66.6% are married females.'

 Sanjay is just one such man who is a victim of the new age woman, women doing lunches, who have flung away the demure avatar for the more sexy frock! The woman who generally throws her weight around in ‘society’. Often in a case like this, she feels her husband is priority ‘z’. The husband is unable to handle the combination of aggression and independence the new woman displays in an equation of love and togetherness of what they had perceived as ‘happily ever after’.

There are two noticeable drifts observant to me in our urban societies where there is an influx of materialism and the desire to be upwardly mobile. One is the quintessential Indian man who is used to being the cynosure of his woman’s world as his father was to his mother is no  longer his wife’s priority.  I see the dynamics changing very fast, with a woman becoming acutely aware of her ‘rights’ as a wife or a lover. The second development I’m noticing is that the once meek, submissive woman go the other extreme today- ‘feeling her oats’ with the whole equality of women refrain that saw a beginning since females demanded the vote. I came back to India in the mid-nineties, when most women wore the sari or shalwar kurta. The more ‘forward’ women wore pants, but frocks and dresses were a very rare occurrence especially with non- Anglo Indian women. Things have changed drastically, and with discarding the traditional attire they donned the frock and shorts and also in many cases discarded the traditional values of respect and care necessary for a marriage to work. Urban women began to call the shots. Now while I would not get into the feminist angle of equality here, I would like to go back to Sanjay and many of his kin who now bear the brunt of an off-hand, brusque woman who stands to lose the romance and love of the relationship that brought them together in the first place. And in this one case Sanjay is still trying desperately to hold on indulgently to the vestiges of the love they had shared.

What is the course Sanjay should take?

I'd say the first course of action would be to communicate his concerns.
It's smarter to dig deeper into ones wife's problems and hold one’s own while coming up with a solution. If it’s the growing malaise I’ve been noticing in those marriages that have hit a roadblock- where women have found home, hearth and husband second fiddle to popularity, glamor and lunches-I’d say it is advisable for the man to communicate his sense of neglect to his partner. He should not sound like he’s complaining but more as if he is sharing and so giving her a wake up call. Have you noticed how we sometimes don’t even realize that we are unable see ourselves objectively and being shown a mirror to ourselves is helpful?

All relationships are a work in progress. I recommend that Sanjay write an email to his wife about all the issues he sees in their marriage without making it sound like one long dirge. Many a time we don't even realize that we might have got carried away with life and the ‘trappings’ until we are shown a mirror so that we may introspect. If Sanjay would write a letter it would be a reality check to his wife Ravina on whose current priority list are lunches, long phone-calls with girlfriends discussing diamonds, clothes and parties or then handbags. It is always more effective when a spouse or partner articulates their thoughts. It is a good way to be prepared and ready to combat any negativity with equanimity and composure than to fly off the handle. 

When communicating ones grievances one has to be careful about giving respect to receive it in return. The moment one feels that sense of entitlement you have lost your audience to treacherous feelings of resentment and anger.

I've noticed that in a relationship whether it is a marriage or a live in relationship,  whenever one hits a roadblock one thinks of walking out as a way out. Remember that it's always smarter to find solutions and work things out before that final step. However here's the punchline- if it's a no win situation to stay caged in a bad situation thinking life is over is also a no win situation too. Should there be no recourse I'd Sanjay should find himself a lawyer and find his way out.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Suicide, Councelling & All About SURVIVAL & CELEBRATING LIFE

A student of NIFT recently (allegedly) committed suicide. 
Jiah Khan committed suicide some years ago. 
I clearly remember the day attractive model and my good friend Viveka Bhabajee had planned meeting me on Tuesday for a swim. Fun, smiling always, slim attractive Viveka.  I never saw any expression of sadness or pain in her, even though we spoke often and were fond of each other. She did confide her break-up with me, but never did she sound defeated, Infact she started her own event company and decided to work alone. The day of the appointed swim she didn’t show up and just a few days later I was horrified to learn that she’d hung herself to death. 

Before that fellow compeer Nafisa Joseph- self-assured and composed, we compeered many corporate evenings, before which I would be backstage looking at my cue cards.  Nafisa was happy to chatter ‘happily’ on the phone. Not long after one such event, I heard of the eerie incident of her hanging herself.

Not taking away from the anguish of their tragic end, one has to say there is an unfortunate element of self-absorption here, where  the person is so enveloped in his own woes that  all else is another universe.  What of the parents (for instance) who nurtured you and spent three fourths of their life caring and sharing and lauding your little or big achievements, and having heartaches over your trifling woes. A thought spared for them would've have been the red signal that  should've braked the devastation express! I have this pet peeve that education systems need to change their fundas. As Calvin grouses to Hobbes, "For some reason they'd rather teach us stuff that any fool can look up!" Yo Calvin!  We need lessons on 'Living Life’ EQ, communication, a ‘real world' perspective that would slash the narcissism quotient out significantly.

Not to mention it would instil values such as caring and empathy for those around. Apart from which they might also learn to reach out when and also reaching out when tormented and clinically depressed and unable to cope with the pressures of education, urban competitiveness, social pressures and especially those one is barraged with in the glamour world. Counselling is mandatory in many schools in America, and if one seeks guidance and help and is not ashamed to reach out, ones troubles shrink. (The bonus here being that there would be less rape and murder too). 

Jiah Khan had tried to kill herself some years ago by slitting her wrists. Should not her mother and peers have enforced counselling and intervened at that time? Perhaps we don’t take depression and being suicidal as a malaise in our country. It is those closest to us that miss the signals sadly.

I just feel that while the world feels it was a soured romance, it is a deep seated loneliness, an inability to cope with the social pressures of fame and wanting more fame and recognition, the feeling of fear of performance in the world of a glaring public and media and one’s own fears of failure that push a person already suffering depression to take such drastic step.

My mind goes back to Alexander McQueen. What made McQueen, the acclaimed creative genius said to be worth twenty million pounds, commit suicide at 45 at his stunning two million pound flat in Mayfair, central London? He was doing work he liked, achieved recognition, success, money, fame, adulation and was one of the greatest creative geniuses of our times. Not enough reason to endure living? Are there further barriers to the elusive state called happiness? Did he see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, on the other side from life? Perhaps!

The ostensible reason was that the fashion designer – high on cocaine- slashed his wrists with a ceremonial dagger on the eve of mum Joyce's funeral was the grief of her parting. But we loose people through life. Life is a series of loss, from the day we are born. So then what is the way out to grapple with pain, loss and suffering? I’d say the only way out is within. What comes to mind is a famous quote about happiness –‘chasing happiness is like chasing a butterfly in a garden. Try to capture it and it evades you. Sit on a bench and close your eyes - it will come and rest on your shoulder’.

McQueens psychiatrist shared with the inquest that he felt constantly let down by people. By friends whom he had felt exploited him that they had taken advantage of his fame and he had felt "let down" by some long-term relationships. And this only highlights the same point that could have been made to Jiah Khan and even Viveka and Nafisa Joseph before her, that the very elusive happiness does not come from relationships. Nor even from material triumphs. The bottom line is you cannot force love and longing. It has to emanate from within and when it didn’t materialise for these lovely girls, they ended their own lives. Sadly. Because the men have moved on, one of the men got married just this month. But the families of these lovely women suffer a wound that may never heal.

One cannot be obsessive about money, house, friends and faithfulness from those friends, because these wants and expectations prevent peace. Friendship, companionship and bonding like the forest, animals and trees are fast getting denuded in our fast age, relatives and brothers and sisters are materialistically dismantling each other. 

Relationships and friendships like greenery and wildlife is another causality to man’s material and technical evolution. One can only do what comes one's way and try to be serenely absorbed in that. Remember Fountainhead’s Howard Roark? His greatest joy was the journey, his creation, his obsession with his perfection. Sorrow comes from resisting reality and from discontent.  One has to flow with life and accept the let downs as teachers- to grow with the good and not so good. That is the only way to equanimity. Sorrow is what we allow ourselves to reach in and wallow. Please let’s live life one day at a time. I’d have said that Jiah, Viveka, Nafisa and Mc Queen. Let Go. Because you can’t change people and boyfriends, you cannot cling and you cannot change the past. People are what they are.

So then what is the route to happiness? I believe that there is no such thing as permanence in any state, not even happiness. But one can snatch happy times, learn to savour the moments and like Wordsworth so aptly put it, stand and stare. Do we really ever stop to enjoy nature (whatever little of it we have left)? Greenery is a great healer, and walking barefoot in the grass is therapeutic as is hearing music one enjoys. The good life is not a place you arrive at, it is a lens you bring to the place you are at right now! So snatch happiness and enjoy the journey. Because there is no destination at all but happy moments create a bank balance of fortitude and delight that you delve into when the going gets touch. 

It makes you into a survivor than a quitter!

Nisha JamVwal 

& Tweet her on @nishjamvwal

Nisha JamVwal Roller Coaster Called Life