Making a Marriage Work

Why should anybody partake in the institute of marriage knowing that it’s a toss up between things working out, or things ending in a mess, or simply being dragged on forever? Well, here is the thing – it is not the concept of marriage that is the problem; it is usually our own decisions or choices that are the cause of issues. Everyone needs a companion or someone to be with, to share their life, the ups and downs. It is hard to live in isolation forever. Marriage is a part of life (while not life itself) and a very important part of human existence. It adds meaning and purpose to life. It’s a dream that leads to many more dreams, and makes this journey of life worthwhile.

I have been a witness to three generations of marriages – those of my grandparents, my parents and my siblings/cousins/mine. Couples who have been together 30 years or more inevitably witness their relationship undergo changes that even the most happily wed find challenging. In the beginning of a life together, absence may make the heart grow fonder, but if a couple isn’t mindful, as time passes, familiarity can breed contempt. 

My husband and I met in June 1990. We were not a house on fire but we still liked each other. We got engaged and the wedding took place on the 14th of Feb, 1991, marking the beginning of what was to be an emotional rollercoaster. With each passing day we realized that we are poles apart. Of course, that did not stop us from working at the marriage, learning about each other and adjusting our likes and dislikes. The main factor that sustained our marriage was not forcing or trying to change each other. Together we raised a beautiful, intelligent child, survived illnesses and accidents, celebrated professional triumphs and weathered setbacks and evolved into an unexpectedly conventional, happily-married old couple.

Despite our differences and occasional snarls, we’ve found a way to co-exist under the same roof all day, every day. Yet many couples find their rhythms suddenly disrupted and the dynamics of their relationship radically altered when their children leaves the house — or one of them accepts a buyout or starts working from home. Decades of relating to each other as co-parents or working around career schedules abruptly shifts, and suddenly they fall out of step in their well-rehearsed, tuneless dance. What worked for us was probably the fact that we were always looking in the same direction.

The first rule of an association, any association for that matter, is to be patient, observant & adjustable. Patience to look from other’s perspective and not to take harsh decisions. This attitude comes when you value each other more than your egos. And sometimes if not both, then one partner should take the lead the peace-making.

Rules to Building a Life Together

1. Actively listening & responding – shows you are involved.

2. Demonstrating compassion alone and around people – shows you care.

3. Resolving conflicts amiably never involving a third person – shows respect.

4. Engendering mutual respect in every scenario

5. Giving each other enough space to bring about the freshness & rejuvenation of the relationship.

6. Traveling – it will teach you a lot about each other and about your relationship. And even if you’ve been married for many years, traveling can create new memories and strengthen your bond. Couples should not be afraid of conflict.

In our years together we’ve learned that loving each other well means tending to our relationship with thoughtfulness. Putting in a little work makes things a lot of fun, and this holds true while traveling. Occasional fighting doesn’t sap the joy out of spending a lifetime with each other, and it shouldn’t sap the joy out of a trip.

The following points are the heavy lifting of keeping a marriage strong. Before you start fantasizing about a dream partner and a marriage though, remember that it all starts with yourself :

  1. Always love yourself before loving others.
  2. Always serve yourself before serving others.
  3. Always be well groomed – you own it to you. Occasionally pamper yourself.
  4. Always keep in touch with friends & family.
  5. Always be updated and relevant.
  6. Don’t give anyone shit. Don’t take shit from anyone.

Now for the main question – who should you marry, and how do you decide.

For this I would like to share a story,

Actor Bill Murray was eating dinner at a steakhouse in South Carolina when he was approached by a bachelor party. After telling a few jokes, he closed his toast with a message to the single men in the group – If you have someone that you think is the one, don’t just think in your ordinary mind, “Okay, let’s make a date, let’s plan this and make a party and get married.” Take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world, and go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if when you land at JFK and you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.

In “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Dr. John Gottman writes that “marriage is something of a dance. There are times when you feel drawn to your loved one and times when you feel the need to pull back and replenish your sense of autonomy.” There is no reason to believe this ceases to be true just because you’re on vacation. It might actually become more salient, since you seldom spent 24 hours a day together during your normal routine. The dance between intimacy and independence will look different for each couple, but we have found that building in days or half-days where we each go explore a city on our own is a great way to recharge—and it gives us stories to share with each other at dinnertime.

The rest is up to you. It is just marriage at the end of the day, not a rocket science. You would learn in your own way, but if you manage to stick out and hang in there, you won’t regret it. You have my word.


Desolate! but so not alone!

Loneliness quotes best pics images pictures  (30)

A person can physically survive a solitary existence but that is not a happy one, being rejected is painful. We want to be liked and loved but we cannot force people to be nice to us. We ponder to the whims of others , hoping to please everyone and try to behave affably , making correct remarks and laugh at the right times.

Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences , it increases anger , anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness . It reduces  performance on difficult intellectual tasks .People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality and  their  immune system don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections. To top it all, even brief seemingly innocuous episodes of rejection can STING.


People often respond to rejection by seeking inclusion elsewhere. They pay more attention to social cues ,be more likable  yet others may become aggressive they are less likely to gain social acceptance.

However, then there are people like me, ” if one is socially isolated you are going to die”, proved this statement wrong. Though I did feel the pain , always feared losing the approval from others and craved to be accepted at some point many a times.

There was a time when I used to look for signs and reassurance wondering what people think about me .That was a dead end a pathetic feeling.

Gradually , I realized that it is not my fault, my interpretation is wrong. We humans are very bad at predicting our future misfortunes, what if I say this ,what if I dress up like that, what if I smile less or more , what if …..there was no end to my apprehensions




Instead of feeling sorry for being rejected socially I became curious about the thinking of such socialites ,What would be possible logical reason for my parents, immediate relatives  and friends for their such behavior ? Some years back this could have got me into tears but now I am rather amused and very curious about the working of human brain and the psychology behind it.

The problem lies somewhere within us, because we care too much .We care about others opinions of us because we somewhere doubt ourselves .Somewhere, I read and its really so appropriate for each one of us rejected lot ,“whether we invest energy into making others like us or not ,there will be people who won’t”. Being disliked by people is actually a sign that we are doing something worthwhile. Being disliked means that we stand for something.


For no reason all these years I have been punishing myself by pleasing those who least deserved my love and respect. Moreover ,as I judge others they too have every right to do so. The point is that we should neither criticize ourselves nor others because that’s the only way to free our minds of all the theories that are self created ,we need to be tolerant towards others and ourselves as well. live our life the way we want, remember at the end of the day it’s all going to end. Eventually we all will perish, accept good and bad both that makes life more challenging and interesting. Insults damage us when we accept our flaws perceived by others. Though sometimes we should be open to change, not for others but for our own  betterment .As  kanye west once sang “Everything I’m not made me everything I am”.

Happiness comes from within , it doesn’t matter who is accepting us and who is not but it definitely matters  whether we have accepted ourselves or not.









Holy Mother


Ma , mom, mother, mere, amma…there are many names given to this person who gives birth, and becomes a medium to nurture the seed of life. Mothers aren’t just the emotional-support but also the life-support system to their children.

Unfortunately not all are lucky enough to receive the same love and care as nature would expect them to get from their biological mothers. There are mothers who abuse, hurt and defame their children, often falling prey to favoritism (divide and rule ). Parenting is hard, but the choices some mothers make leave behind deep vacuum in the lives of some unfortunate children, and getting over that void is even harder.

At the age of 53 I am still unaware of a mother’s love and care, the feeling of a mother’s lap, the warmth of her hug, the worried yet encouraging smile. However, I won’t associate the word “bad” with “motherhood” because none of us are perfect and most of us do a pretty good job. What sets us apart is the circumstances we work with. I think it’s fair to say that each one of us enters motherhood with a set of beliefs or expectations about what it means to be a GOOD MOTHER.  We develop these beliefs from the pressure of our communities and society as a whole, the experiences with our own parents, and through the expectations of friends, family and media.  These outside influences can have so much power and influence over us that when we finally do become mothers ourselves, it is unbearably difficult to listen to our own ideas of what this “good mom” thing is all about.

A good mother, often called a Good Enough Mom, does her best to:

  1. Teach her child how to live life to the fullest
  2. Be there for her children when they need her
  3. Teach her child the importance of self-worth
  4. Provide food, shelter, and love
  5. Be a good example to her children
  6. Make time to have fun with her kids
  7. Allow room for her children to make mistakes and learn from them because even if she advices them they probably will do the things they are asked not to.
  8. Teach her children how to love unconditionally.

I myself had a most neglected childhood. In fact it wasn’t even a childhood, it was a process of learning life lessons that most of us learn much later in life. As a result I matured earlier but that child in me is still there, and it constantly reminds me of what I’ve missed out on.

Whenever I used to look at my daughter there used to be this question in my mind – have I done a good job? have I been a good parent? The answer to this was given by her one day that we are abnormal parents. That was it!

It didn’t shock me actually, because we were protective but not over-protective during her school days and it was required at that time. That is the age when children need the most guidance. But as I said a mother’s concerns may differ from the priorities of a child. Even if you try to make every possible act of yours towards the betterment of the child, the different perspective towards life is going to surface and create trouble.

Whatever the children might think, the role of the parents, and specially the mother is and will always be to JUST BE AWARE AND JUST BE THERE. Leave your big egos home and just listen and do not react. Never do that. Some children get more aggressive if you correct them or stop them. You have to find a away to convince them but in order to do that, never use the popularly phrased “emotional blackmail”. You need to step down to there level and be relatable.

My poor experience with my own parents made me a more loving mother. I gave my daughter everything in abundance, oftentimes forgetting that mothers usually don’t overdo emotions. Whatever your child may think about your behavior, I strongly believe that its better our children despise us now (for correcting them) than hate us forever, for not guiding them well.

Yes I am shrewd & I don’t have a problem with that


Shrewd, I may have used this word several times during my lifetime, but little did it occur to me that one day same little word will take me to the middle of a controversy .Family and friends for me are very important factors but unfortunately I could never succeed in keeping them together .They come and go like seasons but there happened to be this particular family I was very close with and could have never in a million years imagined that a single word would spoil it all. For me, a shrewd person is wise and insightful, can interpret nuances and inferences in both written and spoken text. A shrewd person can ‘read between the lines’ and has much world and street knowledge. Such a person makes astute decisions. Call someone wise and insightful, they are blessed with high intelligence and good character. Call someone shrewd and they are not only clever but also worldly – maybe this is good, but it can mean that they will cheat and exploit those less intelligent.

I believe that it depends on the relation, situation and of course the background of ones dealings with the person concerned whom you address as being shrewd. After a great thought I discussed this word with couple of colleagues who taught English at the school where I taught Computer Science, thinking that perhaps, my knowledge of this language was a quite short of perfect, especially when compared to the intellect  of the person who got offended by this word.

And this is the information I could gather:-

Source #1:
adj., shrewd·er, shrewd·est.

1. Characterized by keen awareness, sharp intelligence, and often a sense of the practical.
2. Disposed to artful and cunning practices; tricky.
3. Sharp; penetrating: a shrewd wind.

SYNONYMS – shrewd, sagacious, astute, perspicacious.

These adjectives mean having or showing keen awareness, sound judgment, and often resourcefulness, especially in practical matters. Shrewd suggests a sharp intelligence, hard-headedness, and often an intuitive grasp of practical considerations: “He was too shrewd to go along with them upon a road which could lead only to their overthrow” (J.A. Froude). Sagacious connotes prudence, discernment, and farsightedness: “He was observant and thoughtful, and given to asking sagacious questions” (John Galt). Astute suggests shrewdness, especially with regard to one’s own interests: An astute tenant always reads the small print in a lease. Perspicacious implies penetration and clear-sightedness: She is much too perspicacious to be taken in by such a spurious argument.

Source #2:
Definition: clever, intelligent
Antonyms: foolish, frivolous, naive, stupid, unthinking

Source #3:
marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
Synonyms: astute, sharp

used of persons
Synonyms: calculating, calculative, conniving, scheming

Source #4:
Definition: 1. marked by sound judgment and practical intelligence; 2. inclined to use cunning, underhanded practices

Synonyms: astute, sharp, keen, sagacious, clever, cunning, crafty, calculating, tricky, sly, cagey, underhanded

Antonyms: naïve, stupid, inept, foolish

Tips: Shrewd is derived from the word shrewe, which means “wicked man.” Shrewd can be used to describe people and/or business practices that are both smart and underhanded. Shrewd is similar to astute as both words are used to describe sound judgment and practical intelligence. Since shrewd has a negative connotation, it’s usually used to describe someone who is sharp and intelligent, but potentially underhanded at the same time. For example: The shrewd attorney always finds a way to win a case, while an astute investor finds a way to make money through research and intelligence.

Usage Examples:

He was a shrewd businessman who knew how to turn a profit. (crafty, sharp)
The union was known for its shrewd negotiating tactics. (calculating, underhanded)
She was a shrewd traveler who carefully researched every stop of the trip. (astute, sagacious)
His shrewd courtroom tactics made him a highly sought-after attorney. (keen, sagacious)

Source #5:
1. good at judging people or situations: showing or possessing intelligence, insight, and sound judgment, especially in business or politics
2. clever and probably accurate: based on good judgment and probably correct
a shrewd assessment of the situation
a shrewd guess
3. crafty: inclined to deal with others in a clever underhanded way
4. sharp: piercing or sharp ( archaic )
Source #6:
possessing or based on a clear understanding and good judgment of a situation, resulting in an advantage:

[+ to infinitive] He was shrewd enough not to take the job when there was the possibility of getting a better one a few months later.
She is a shrewd politician who wants to avoid offending the electorate unnecessarily.
It was a shrewd move to buy your house just before property prices started to rise.
Source #7:
showing clever resourcefulness in practical matters

2. artful, tricky or cunning
3. streetwise

Source #8:
1. astute or sharp in practical matters: a shrewd politician.
2. keen; piercing.

Therefore, Careful and calculating, someone who isn’t fooled into doing something or trapped by other people is called shrewd.

A SHREWD person is practical and clever, sound in judgment and sharp in perception, judicious and prudent, discerning and wise. He/she is neither devious nor manipulative.

“Everyone shrewd will act with knowledge,”

Yes, shrewdness, or prudence, is a desirable trait.  We display shrewdness in our day-to-day life. This quality becomes evident by the choices we make, the way we treat others, and the way we respond to various situations. Making wise choices and being successful in life certainly require the ability to distinguish what is right from what is wrong.

Anyone inexperienced puts faith in anyone’s word, but the shrewd one considers his steps. The shrewd one is not gullible. He’s better than to believe in everything he hears or letting others alter his own sense of judgment.

Take, for example, the question, “Is there a God?” The inexperienced one is inclined to go along with what is popular or with what prominent people believe. The shrewd one, on the other hand, takes time to examine the facts.

“Whatever a man is sowing, this he/she will also reap”, applies to the shrewd person as well as to the foolish one. By paying constant attention to ourselves and to our teaching, we will save both ourselves and those who listen to us. As we continue to do this, let us be alert to display shrewdness in all aspects of life.

Life after 18 years

It’s 6:45 am and I am off on the road driving fast so I can get that lovely parking spot behind the school building where I work. Listening to the old bollywood songs and looking at the service lanes, all these couples going for their morning walk, and it hits me – will I ever be like them? The longing to break the shackles of my job was so intense, especially for the last couple of years – it was on the top of my wish list.

Teaching was never my first choice as a career, or the second or the third. I always wanted to get into research. In fact I did perform a cultural study for a year on Rajatarangini – a historical chronicle of the north-western Indian subcontinent written in the 12th century. Circumstances not only forced me to change my field of study but also got me into a job that I never enjoyed.

Having completed almost two decades in the field of teaching, I bear the sad testimony that the current fashion of teaching (at least in India) has not only killed the soul of this profession but has made the students no less than mules. Teaching is a very serious and noble job, not to be taken for granted but it has been spoilt to the very core. The parents just want their kids to get 90+ percentage, while the management and teachers work out plans so that this target is fulfilled exactly the way any manufacturing site works.

Standing before thousands of students 8 hours a day for past 18 years, talking about subjects that I am good at, watching them get intrigued, question, understand and feel proud. Seeing off batches after batches of high schoolers to fend for themselves in the real world – I began to realize the problem with this job – it was stagnant. Teachers had no creative outlet due lack of resources or time. It was a 24×7 job, and I was suffocating.

I open my eyes and look at the clock – 6:45 am, I must have been dreaming about the whole drive. Still in bed, my husband wakes me up and hands over a cup of hot lemon tea with the newspaper. It feels heavenly. No rush. No guilt over leaving our beloved pet German shepherd alone by himself so many hours every day. Knowing that I’m free to better tend to my family is priceless. Giving up on that job was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Now I watch movies that I would always put aside for later, I write, I read, I do a bit of gardening, and if I am not doing anything I lie down and recollect all the memories that have brought me so far. Let’s just say things do work out for the best in the end.

Love, the mystery

Liebe,  Amour, Cinta, Amore, Pyaar, Love  are the different names given to this emotion of strong attraction and personal attachment, a feeling that doesn’t remain the same as we grow old. The way we perceive it changes. How I felt about this emotion when I was young is different from what I think of it now. Why? Why this change?

Is it logic or the increased exposure to the reality of life that change our opinions? Does it vary between individuals or is it more of a cultural effect? To some extent I do believe that one’s own experiences influence his/her opinion. But being one of the most humane and basic of all feelings, one would assume that it remains consistent in its nature and form all the way till our last breath, but as I’d heard somewhere, there are as many forms of love as there are moments in time. I have seen and experienced how it undergoes a change in different situations, a change that holds the potential to be as amazing as it can be hurtful.

Love for parents, siblings, friends, boyfriends, husband and children is the same in its absolute nature and yet it holds a different meaning for all. With time the feelings undergo a change; one feeling replaces some other feeling and so on. And then one fine day we try to figure it out – what happened? Was it the right choice to let go? We try to go over our decisions, both intentional and unconscious.

I have seen couples in love getting married for love and then getting over it in a matter of months. I have known parents abusing and using their children, forgetting the very attachment that might have made them feel on the top of the world one day. Love in today’s world has become more like an act of materialism and selfishness. People have become impatient in everything they deal with in their lives, and gone are the days where things were deliberated upon with such delicate carefulness.

If you were to ask me if there was a formula to find true, honest and pious love, I’d say the real question was if you were willing to take and act upon that advice. In your teens you’re too skeptical of the advice coming from adults. In your twenties, you’re too independent to consult anything and in your thirties you couldn’t care less anyway. Only perhaps in your forties you would say, ‘What do you know! You were right the whole time” but by then a lot of the things at stake are already lost.

For loving someone (in any relation), you need to love yourself first. Love and embrace yourself whatever way you are, whatever you have and whatever you do. To get love you need to show love and compassion to all the things that surround you, including your work.

Leo Tolstoy wrote “Only one clear quality marks an action as either good or evil. If it increases the amount of love in the world, it is good. If it separates people and creates animosity among them, it is bad.

So if we start loving our work, our life, our family, our community, our world, there’s no reason why our days won’t change for the better.


She was born, none of which was her fault of course but she grew to believe it so. A couple in their early twenties, who had their first girl child and embraced her into their lives out of love, were next longing for a son. But she was born, the unplanned, unaccepted daughter. A long wait and the couple was blessed with their heart’s desire – a baby boy. She became invisible. She didn’t exist. It was a real struggle to be noticed. She was aware of her crime of being the second girl child, realized that she had to put in a little more effort towards making her presence felt. So she became as obedient, truthful and just as she could – an ideal child most would say, but of course none of that helped. Time had plans of its own.

She had to fight not only her siblings for her rights but her parents too. She was forgotten when new clothes or gifts were bought, when a good school was being selected for the kids, when the kids would be asked about their day after they’d get back from school, nobody would ask her. Nobody cared. She had so much to share, so much to talk about. Her life became a series of attempts at winning her folks’ attention. She lost track of who she was or where she was headed. Life became tougher as she grew up, because so did the neglection. That did not deter her from sticking to the ideal child character she had trained herself to be.

A lot of times she felt lost. Her elder sister had a line of girlfriends and boyfriends who’d keep her busy. Her brother had a line of personal tutors who guide him in his school work and career. Their lives were perfect. Their needs were fulfilled. They had their parents’ love. On the other hand she had to snatch, steal or beg for what was rightfully hers – the love, the attention, the clothes, the concerns.

At school, she was an above average student. It was quite a miracle how she managed to tutor herself through all of the internal conflict. Her parents never expected her to do well in school. Well most people didn’t when it came to girls in those days. But she did good. In fact, she did a lot better than her elder sister, who flunked through most of school. She never failed in any of her academic examinations but life surely failed her when it came to relationships. It’s still a mystery to her – people.

She was a duteous daughter and sister. She was by her siblings side through all of their struggles and hardships but of course, she found herself standing all by herself through all of her own. They deserted her, humiliated her before society. She’d try to defend herself but who’d believe such a tale? Parents not loving their child? Was it even possible? It was. And it happened. There came a moment in time when she gave up. She gave up on her family. She gave up on trying to win them over. She realized she didn’t belong with them. She stopped being the ideal child they’d gotten used to, and that’s when they truly cut her off and made it clear to one and all.

It was too much of a shock to be hurtful. She was confused. She’d always heard of a mother’s love being the purest of all forms of love and yet she’d experienced a first hand example of a mother so contrary to that image.

Most people don’t discover what life is all about until they reach their final hour. They keep waiting. She kept waiting. And finally she accepted the truth. At the age of 50. She realized that instead of wasting half of her lifetime looking for parental love, she should have lived and planned her own life.

James Allen has rightly said “you who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; you who would achieve much must sacrifice much; you who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly”. And truly, in our lives we must take choices, depending upon the circumstances, but no matter what, we must decide. Nobody else will decide for us. Nobody else will die for us. And only we can realize what we really are capable of and where we stand in the present.

We always live a life of lies, never showing our true self, too afraid, too conscious. We work hard to build an image of  what the people around us would like to see. Our life becomes a strange concoction, like the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the way we look. It’s all means and ways to be accepted. We start living a life where we do not exist.

Joanna Smith Bers  said “we need to define our priorities-the values, endeavors and dreams that guide us- and build our worlds around those things .It is not enough just to get through the day. We need to make every day a platform for accomplishing what we want out of life. We must take responsibility for ourselves and the world we live in  so that we can live with ourselves and the world around us”