Friday, February 24, 2012

Friends and acquaintances

I think I don't make friends very easily. Being an introvert, I take time to let my guard down. But a couple of times in my life, a few friendships were natural and barely took any effort from my end. I remember the conversation with J never stopped flowing, after we started talking. People around us couldn't believe that we had gotten so close, in such little time. Suddenly, we both (who are otherwise not so big on talking) were constantly chattering to each other. The comfort I shared with her, I never really found elsewhere. There was indeed something so relaxing and calming about conversations with her. Even now, the relationship is just as comfortable as it was when it began. It is just as fascinating, too.
I just assumed I got lucky with her as such an easy relationship had never presented itself to me before. I always had to work hard to make it work. But recently, I encountered another wonderful woman. I would like to like her AJ, similar to MJ which she would like I am sure. My friendship with her got off to a smooth start and it is still smooth. I like her personality and love her company. Too soon to tell, many would say. But I have a good feeling about her. Just like I had a wonderful feeling about J.
This got me thinking if I indeed I had judged myself all wrong and that I could make friends easily. Then I remembered what Richard Bach says in Illusions, "Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book review: 3's a crowd.

“A secret, sexual, romantic or emotional involvement that violates the commitment to an exclusive relationship”, is the definition used to describe infidelity in the book. 3’s a crowd is self-help book on “understanding and surviving infidelity”.
The book has a casual and very conversational tone to it. I understand that perhaps a lot of the examples quoted in the book might have been from real life stories. However, I kept feeling like they were cliché or too made up.  This I felt especially in the section where the author, Vijay Nagaswami, discusses the hallmarks of having an affair.
Prior to reading the book, I had a skewed idea of what an affair meant. I am not sure the book really helped change that. I do think that the author has done a good job of maintaining throughout the book that neither the “transgressor” nor the “aggrieved” is the victim. This is probably the very essence of any relationship, surviving the blame game. But I think practising that in reality is a lot harder than Nagaswami makes it out to be.
The author also briefly addresses the difference in the way men and women react to infidelity. I would have liked if this was further dealt with.

What I liked:
  • The conversational tone of the book.
  • The multiple examples that make the book not too boring (which is what I think when I think of self-help books, sorry)
  • The positivity that infidelity can be survived. Something I feel is quite lacking.
  • The attitude that infidelity could sometimes even be a random act that doesn’t mean anything in the long run.
  • The forward thought of addressing that often infidelity is just a sexual act and perhaps means little.
  • His language is pretty straightforward and the flow is good too.

What I didn’t like:
  • The fact that he just did not address the issue that some couples do not want to look past the act of transgression. (this could be seen as a good thing, but I felt that it needed to be 
  • The many examples after a while I began to read in a funny voice because it sort of became a joke.
  • I felt the book did not help me see the side of the transgressor, which I was hoping it would. I think this is something that is lacking in the book.

I would like to quote one of the examples, incase I am just being biased:

“One day after she had a bitter quarrel with her husband, she broke down in her cabin at office, when Samarath walked in. He asked what was wrong, they began to talk and Samarath began to play the role of a counsellor which came naturally to him. However, with Rati it was different. He started developing feelings for her. And she for him, since they spent nearly twelve hours a day at work to meet punishing deadlines. One day, almost naturally, he held and kissed Rati, who reciprocated with equal spontaneity. This set off a tornado of guilty in Samarath’s mind and even though nothing more than a kiss happened, he felt he had let Asha (his wife) down inordinately.”

Rating: 2/5
Final verdict: Not my type of a book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mind space

So many people, so often quote Virginia Woolf and say that 'all a woman needs to write is some money and a room of one's own'. Now I completely agreed with that. Until, I had a house of my own (a rented one), a fixed income and I still couldn't write. I racked my brains for long hours. Stories, fiction and real life incidents, played over and over again in my head but I never had my usual uncontrollable urge to pen it all down. I would sit with a book and a pen and find myself blank. It isn't writers block, I know. But there is a block. To top it all, I feel a restlessness that is a sign of my withdrawal from writing. I tell myself, it will pass and I will be buried in my writing soon. But a month on, I haven't written a productive word.
When I sat down to write about my state of mind, it struck me. Woolf was not just talking about a room in its physical terms. She must have also meant mind space right?
It was suddenly so obvious. As much as writing is a stress buster for me, it is also an act that I can only take part in when I separate myself from the world. To be able to do that, I need to force the inconsequential, useless thoughts out of my mind, sit down and write.
Writing is now a part of me that enables me to think better, live better. But if I have to engage with writing the way I enjoy, I need silence. Not just from the world, but from the harsh voices in my head. And sometimes what I need is not a room or house of my own. But a space in my mind which is free of others opinions of me. And I need it soon.