A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

Trusting Trust February 16, 2010

Filed under: friends,life,Me — gurdas @ :

In a recent episode with a friend, the value of trust in a relationship was revealed (again). The more I forge and nurture relationships, the more I respect the value of trust. It explains actions and thoughts without need of an elaborate explanation. Many words and actions either become redundant or, even more, take on a beautiful new meaning when looked through the glass of trust. It is also the foundation for robust relationships.

But trust does not come by itself, unlike some other characteristics. Trust has to be brought into a relationship by choice. And the only way to do it is to take risks. To become vulnerable. To give the other person a certain amount of control and power over you. If they misuse this ‘power’, get out of the relationship at double speed. If they become more watchful and cautious now that they have the power to cause harm, you know you have found a trustworthy friend. Just like, to know if a person is really humble give him/her some power and observe what they do with it.

Trust extends over both emotional and material stuff. The other day I was having a conversation with an American friend about extending monetary support to dear friends. I happened to remark that I have such and such amount extended as friendly loans. The amount was not trivial and my American friend said “I believe you would have done legal paperwork” to which I said “No”. He would not believe me. I am not against legal paperwork or the concept of keeping things clear. I look at money as a practical tool and am not too emotional about it. So, when I extended these loans I was very clear about when the money has to be returned and I do not hesitate to charge my friends a nominal interest rate (and the reason is not just profit, but also to rid them of unhealthy feeling of being obliged). The loans I had extended were significant, yet not enough to dent my total wealth if for any reason I lose every penny of these loans. I trust my friends to stick to their word and not once have I been let down (though minor disappointments have occurred). That does not mean I will never be completely let down. I am sure some day I will be, but that is a small cost to pay for the tremendous benefits that accrue from taking these risks. I am investing in my relationships just like I would invest in the stock market. And in both cases, there is a risk attached to the probability of ‘profits’. Further, if I am not cheated I win by making the relationship richer and if I am cheated then I win by getting rid of a ‘bad’ friend at the cost of a known risk. A win-win situation if you look from my perspective!

One of my most cherished and tender relationships is a friend with whom trust is complete. And our relationship is unshakable because we have already made ourselves 100% vulnerable to each other. That does not mean we share anything and everything. To the contrary, and this is what makes trust magical, we do not fear to say what we want to say. So, I can ask my friend anything without worrying too much and she can freely answer or refuse without worrying too much and vice versa. Beautiful! The inexplicable either gets explained without effort or does not need an explanation.

To summarise, the more you trust, the more adventurous you become. You do not fear from experimenting inside the relationship (because there is little or no fear of losing it), and that adds a lot of spice, eventually making the relationship tender, warm and strong.

Trusting trust is a win-win argument!


On a day like today February 13, 2010

Filed under: Ethics and Values,life,love — gurdas @ :
On a day like today

On a day like today


Note: This piece was created about 10 years ago. My apologies to people who are conspicuous by absence.


Protected: on my knees February 8, 2010

Filed under: life,love,Me — gurdas @ :

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दो कदम और सही (two more steps) January 24, 2010

Filed under: life,love,Me,poetry — gurdas @ :


कुछ थका हुआ कुछ डरा हुआ
पर उमीदों और हौंसलों से भरा हुआ
एक अनजान रस्ते पे थमते और चलते हुए कदम
और कितने कदम का है ये सफ़र
बस दो कदम और सही


न अंधेरों की खबर न खाई का डर
एक अनदेखी मंजिल पे टिकी नज़र
एक निरंतर कोशिश एक अनंत संघर्ष
और कितने कदम पे है सफलता
बस दो कदम और सही


न आराम की चाह न भूक की पहचान
जैसे दाव पे लगी हुयी है जान
जैसे दरिया की दौड़ सागर तक
और कितने कदम पर होगा विलय
बस दो कदम और सही


क्या कभी वोह होंगें हमारे
कब हर सांस पे मेहेकेंगी दो सांसें
ज़िन्दगी की सबसे अनमोल खोज पे चलते हुए
मैं खुद से सिर्फ एक वादा करता गया


बस दो कदम और सही



Title is inspired by the song Do Kadam from the movie Meenaxi.

I used IIT Mumbai’s English to Hindi dictionary for some words.


Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum December 20, 2009

Filed under: Ethics and Values,Inspiration,life,philosophy,poetry — gurdas @ :

The song ‘Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum‘ from the 1957 classic Do Aankhen Barah Haath directed by V. Shantaram has a special place in my heart. For me, and for millions of other Indians, it is a prayer. The song pleads for the strength to be virtuous, embraces death as a reality, accepts human fraility, and implores God to take all our sins and weaknesses. Kudos to lyricist Bharat Vyas for penning an eternal classic.


(photo borrowed from this page, which is a good read on the movie)

Lyrics (transliteration // translation)


aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator
aysein hon hamaare karam  //  So be our deeds
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator


badaa kamzor hai aadmi  // Frail is the human being
abhi laakhon hain isme kameen  //  With a million shortcomings
par tu joh khadaa hai dayalu badaa  //  But you are forgiving
teri kirpaa se dharti thamee  //  The world exists due to your benevolence
diya toone hamein jab janam  //  Since you have given us birth
tuhee jhelega hum sab ke gum  //  You will also bear our burdens
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator


ye andhera ghanaa cha raha  //  The world is engulfed in darkness
tera insaan ghabara raha  //  Your human is fearful
ho raha bekhabar kuch na aata nazar  //  He is uninformed and blind
sukh ka sooraj chupaa ja raha  //  The light of peace and happiness is dimnishing
hai teri raushani mein joh dum  //  Such is the strength in your aura
tu amaavas ko kar de poonam  //  That even a moonless night glows bright
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator


jab zulmon ka ho saamanaa  //  When we are faced with attrocities
tab tuhee hamein thamanaa  //  O Lord, hold us firm
woh burayee karein hum bhalayee bharein  //  We reply with kindness for their evil
nahi badle ki ho kamanaa  //  May there be no desire for revenge
badh uthe pyaar ka har kadam  //  May every step ahead be for love
aur mitein baeyr ka ye bharam  //  May every thought of enemity be banished
naykee par chalein aur badhee se talein  //  May we walk the path of righteousness and refrain from evil
taaki hastein huye nikale dum  //  So that we may depart fulfilled and smiling
aye maalik tere bande hum  //  Lord, you are our creator


Yours S-S-S-t-t-utteringly December 11, 2009

Filed under: family,fiction+fact cocktail,life,love,Me — gurdas @ :
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Imagine waking up to find you have lost a limb. Or that you have lost your voice. Or that you can no longer speak a single sentence without someone laughing at you.

It is not easy. It is specially difficult if you are merely 10 years old and eager to reach out to the world around you.

Somewhere around that age I started to stutter. So, because of this stutter thing, I lived a part of my young growing years “fighting” an inconsiderate world. This fight shaped me forever. That I could not care less about societal norms, that I will always fight for what I believe in, that I will be able to forgive anyone, that I will be gifted with empathy, and that I can love unconditionally are all in part born out of and/or nutured by this fight.

You have to go through fire once to know what it means to be burnt. And once you are burnt there are only two things that can happen to you. Either you will shrivel and die or you will come out brighter and purer. For reasons I do not fully understand and surely do not take credit for, I happened to emerge talking nineteen to the dozen from my state of speechlessness. I would open my mouth and incoherence would emanate. People around me would become uncomfortable. They would get embarrased as if I have dropped my pants. Some would hide their emotion and keep a straight face. Some would step away. Some would laugh. Right there. Right in my face. It is to the latter that I partly owe my triumph.

Two incidents remain etched like yesterday in my mind. No matter they happend more than 20 years ago. I was in grade six, and stood up to answer something the teacher asked. I knew the answer. I just did not know how to get it out of my lungs. But I started anyhow. And then Sunita*, a classmate, started laughing. And then another classmate laughed. And then another. It no longer mattered if I knew the answer. It no longer mattered if I did finally get it out. For all you would have heard in that classroom was laughter.

The other memory is of playtime outside my house. Probably a summer evening. My neighbours Madhu* and Nisha* and I were enagaged in small talk. Both a few years elder to me. I had this joke to tell which I thought was very funny. So I said I have a joke to tell. Nisha started laughing and said “well, we will know the end before you have finished”. I do not remember the moment exactly after she said this, but I do remember running home, burying myself in my mother’s lap, and crying my heart out. It seemed the joke was on me. I also remember Nisha running in a few moments later, filled with remorse for her words, and crying.

So, unlike most of you, I did not get my speech without a fight. And fight I did. Tooth and nail. Sweat and blood. I just did not stop talking. My teachers had only this complaint all my school life – “he is talkative”. I was obedient, polite, clean, on time, and sharp. They just did not understand why I would want to talk and sometimes get punished for it. But someone did. This half educated, barely five feet tall, and tough as a nail woman I call mother understood exactly what it was all about. No, she had no idea what was the cause of her son’s infliction. I think she did not give two hoots for the cause. But she did know something no other person knew. She never asked me to shut up. She never laughed at me. She never got embarassed if it took me ages to tell her what I wanted to tell her. She would just wait, like an angel, for me to finish. I am sure she would have waited for an eternity if I had lost my voice completely. Mothers are made entirely of the world’s most precious element. They are made purely of love.

So, riding on her love and some perseverance, I managed to come far enough to talk fluently. I still think faster than I can talk, and I can talk faster than some people can think. But once in a while I would find the disability reappear for an odd second or two and the words would jam up. People still get embarassed when that rare slip happens. And I still get “You are talkative”. But I laugh it off. For I have earned my voice.


* names changed to protect identities.


keep walking November 25, 2009

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Relationships gain depth in leaps and bounds and rarely (if ever) is this process gradual. Yes, your effort in understanding a relationship and your investment of time and labour is everyday, but this is simply preparation for the big tests that life throws at you.

Bonding does not happen under ordinary circumstances.

A good example could be strangers thrown into a difficult situation, say a train wreck. All the years spent learning and understanding concepts of team work is simply preparation for the fight to survive this tragedy. And it is well-known that people and families who were complete strangers before a tragedy, become life long friends afterwards. So, what makes this happen?

I think tragedies and difficult times reveal our true identities and force the untainted human to step out of our everyday protective shells. We reset our priorities to the very basic needs, and since these needs are more or less similar across humans, everyone’s priorities get aligned. One can learn from this and bring the same joy of growing together in daily lives. By creating more situations where you have some if not all priorities aligned. Say going on a survival trek. Or playing a game of tennis. But these are by design. The big challenge and big rewards is learning to survive together the unplanned battles. From the ‘ordinary’, like the arguments that start from the kitchen or living room and always end up in the bed room to the ‘extraordinary’, like the loss of a child.

An amazing thing that can happen inside the conflict bubble is the act of placing the other before oneself. This is the magic moment. In a relationship between honest individuals, the act of giving up reigns supreme in creating a bond. When we give up, we expose a vulnerability even while the act itself is that of strength. I think Nature designed goodness to be recognizable. When you give up, you put your goodness on the table, where it gets identified, and that is what creates the bond. This act of extending yourself unconditionally is also known as love.

Relationships are journeys of the heart. To go far all you have to do is keep your love, and keep walking.