February 16, 2011

Few good men

It’s been said that behind every great man there’s a great woman and it’s probably true. I don’t know if this has ever been said but I was thinking that behind every happy woman I’ve ever met, is a good man. The other thing that came to mind was that while there are many great men in the world, not all of them are good and then I thought, good men are a rarity to our world aren’t they? So are good women, so perhaps just good people are a rarity, which is why it hurts to see one leave us. 
I’m writing today to mourn one such person, who though I did not spend a massive amount of time with, I know to be a good man. I know this because the first time I met him, I lied to him. I told him I’d bring his daughter back by  midnight, I remember clearly how I shook in my boots when we returned the next morning. He opened the front door for us but didn’t hold it against me and at that time I saw, that unlike a lot of people who forget, he knew that children have growing up to do and left room for it.
There were other things about him as well. He never matched his turban with his tie, he always had a smile on his face, he enjoyed reading Chuck Palahnuik and he enforced his house rules firmly but not cruelly. There’s a fine line between fascism and good parenting and from what I saw, he toed it well. 
Another way to tell if a man truly has a good heart is to look at his family. A broken man will have a fractured home, a coward will raise fearful children, selfish men have hollow kin but whatever else they are, a good man’s children are always at peace with themselves. This innate confidence comes from growing up in an environment that expects from you what you can give it and no more, it comes from having always received unconditional love and respect. 
I’ve known his children for a while now, so I’ve seen their struggles with themselves and because I’ve seen others struggle in the same way but without any help, I know that they were never wanting for support and hence are now able to reciprocate the same faith for others. It’s an important lesson that any father must teach their young but very few have learnt themselves. 
There are innumerable lessons that he passed on to me and from what I saw, many others, but mostly I’m grateful that he taught his daughter to love as well as he did, because someday I’ll need a real friend and I know she knows how to be one. That is another rarity in today’s world. 
Goodbye uncle.... the world would’ve done well to have you with them longer but I’m sure you’re making wherever it is that you are, a better place.

February 07, 2011

Do unto others

A professor walks into a room and asks three questions. 
“How many people in this room have ever played games with a member of the fairer sex that you were attracted to?”
Every hand in the room goes up, albeit tentatively. 
Then he asks, “How many people in this room have ever been played by a member of the fairer sex that you were attracted to?”
The same hands remain suspended in the air. 
Having set everyone up, the professor asks his final question, “How many of you enjoyed the games played with you?” 
Everyone puts their hands down.
You’d think, being creatures of logic, we would be able to see the contradiction in that but lets be honest, we don’t. Even as some of you read this, you’re thinking ‘well, i like playing the game,’ or that ‘games are a part of courtship’ and my personal favourite, "the game is fun!" and you know what, perhaps you’re right. 
Perhaps we are so obsessed with the idea of competition, participation, showing the other person up, that we’ve turned life, into the greatest game of them all. The only question that remains- whose winning? 
I’m not going to give you the answer to that, because I’m not here to provide answers and more honestly, I don’t know. I’ll say this much though, if you’re winning, why do you feel like shit all the time? There’s a few of you out there who are thinking - ‘Well maybe you’re not playing the game as well as you think,’ and again, perhaps you’re right. 
Perhaps a few people out there, like me, are too stupid, too slow and downright retarded and so refuse to play the game because we don’t know how. Conversely could there be another lot out there, smarter than I, better than I, more agile than I, who can play the game, who would win if they played, and perhaps they don’t enter the field because they know - in love and in life, number one is the loneliest number to be. 
Now the something that interests me and I think everyone should think about, something the professor demonstrated quite well - everyone plays the game, which means everyone knows the rules, which in turn means, you know when those rules or the game is used on you and when you become the played and not the player, the same tricks you utilize are being turned against you.
So if everyone knows the rules of the game, why do we allow ourselves to fall prey to them? 
Again, I’m not here to give answers but I can offer some explanations, being able to see as all of us are really, the game from both ends of the spectrum. I’ve played and been played, more than I care to admit. 
Here’s something I’ve concluded, ‘been played’ isn’t the right terminology. No one can make you lose at a game that you’re not participating in, everyone knows this. So what is really going on in those times when you allow the other person to play games with you? and why, if you all know this, do you indulge it? 
Here’s what I came up with? The game doesn’t work on someone who doesn’t care about you - and similarly you do not play along with someone else’s game unless you care about them. This means, you can play games with a person who wants to be played but not with someone who doesn’t want to play. 
In the back of our minds, all of us know this but don’t admit it. I think this is because its a terrifying concept for most of us. The idea that we don’t have as much control as we think we do. The idea that we’re not being as cunning or as smart as we thought we were. The idea that it’s not the player whose in control, but the played. And really, that is how it is.
I’m not here however to tell you to take control of your lives, or get over the idiot whose making a fool of you. I’m not even here to tell you how you can turn it around in your favour. I’m here to say - there is no favour, there is no win, love and life aren’t about games, so stop playing them.
If everyone can further admit, despite what our egocentric minds lead us to believe, that we are not the centre of the universe, we are not the smartest people on earth, we are not the most desirable, not the kindest or the best or the brightest, you may learn to appreciate the ones who (and god knows why) do see the best, the brightest, the kindest sides of you. 
That’s what a played person is, someone who sees the good in you and therefore is willing to indulge the stupid, in order to get to it. To this person, you’re the ultimate prize to be had  in life’s giant Kinder Creme Egg, and you, with your games, your need to win the unwinnable, are simply disrespecting the one person (or maybe two, three if you’re lucky) who sees something good in you. 
This post isn’t gender specific, I think we’re too far evolved for that, or at least I hope so.  Neither does this post refer only to love between two consenting adults. It can’t possibly, because people play games in all walks of life. Be it with your lover, your friend, your parents, your siblings. The ones who enjoy the game do not discriminate between relationships or lives. 
However, if you’re a guy, the reference of Scarlett O’Hara might not resound in you as it will in most of the girls. If you’ve not read the book, you’ve watched the movie. At the very least, the image of a vivacious but vain green eyed schemer should flash in your mind. 
It’s a tragic tale about a self involved sweetheart whose games finally drove away the one man who loved her for everything she was (good and bad). A few of you may have read or watched it and tutted at the protagonist, ‘silly girl, played too many games with too little planning’ 
But read the novel again, watch a re-run on TNT, Rhett Butler’s parting words, later owned by Clark Gable hold the key to the entire (entirely too dramatic, drawn out to draw tears) novel - “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” 
It was not that he tired of her games, but that after a while, he stopped caring enough to play along and when that happens, when you use up all your nine lives with the ones who cared and they leave, do they ever come back? 
Another funny story about this book- Gone with the Wind. After its huge success, the author was asked to write a sequel, reuniting Scarlett with her lover, set things right (because didn’t all of us want him to stay and give a damn!). Here’s what she said while refusing the offer - “What’ll I call it? Back with the Breeze?”
So be gentle with those people who have been brave enough to give you their hearts and accept the darkness in yours. Be nice to those people who care about you enough to indulge in your silly game playing. Be kind to those who think you’re good enough to fall in love with. 
Because once they stop, and they leave, you may find out, albeit too late, that you miss them.