There is a show that I watch online – Uncha mazha zhoka. It is set in the 1800-1900s in Maharashtra when joint family systems were the norm. Many times entire families land up for a visit – most times a stay extending for months – without any advance warning. They are always welcome and absorbed into the daily routine of the local family. I always compare and contrast between that setting and my current one. Most of my friends are in the same boat too. We jump for joy and are thrilled at the prospect of loved ones visiting. But distant acquaintances or folks who have managed to push the wrong buttons in the past, cause instant stress and disturb the peace in the family, from the minute their travel plans are announced.
This is the age of texts and twitter, everythings faster and busier, everyones spread all over the globe, we are so busy in our routine and feel so guilty of having un productive days that we strive to fill every second of our and our family’s days with action items. Every long weekend that comes by, we try to go somewhere or make it special. Do you know of anyone who says “We do absolutely nothing on long weekends, we never take vacations or do anything fun with the kids”; I immediately judge such people in my mind... I digress…what I want to say is as families shrink and we struggle to maintain the daily balance of work, family, chores at home, time with kids without any family support in most cases (atleast here in the US), our willingness to adjust also goes down south. I will move around my entire sleep pattern for my baby in the blink of an eye but tell me to make an alternative meal for my in laws and I will lose it thinking it is so unfair and I am so tired. It’s the same for me in terms of friends – you meet someone whom you are not that crazy about, she irritates you, you don’t have to see her again. One can choose to maintain whichever size and composition of a friend circle they want and also the frequency at which they can meet. You have choices for all the people in your life, it almost seems like, at times. Except for your husband and your children, you can pretty much keep everyone else at bay (most times, most cases)..
For my personal peace of mind, I have to try to change myself. I struggle to become that person who doesn’t give a damn about every Tom, Dick and Harry she meets and the friendly warm person that I think I am, who wants to have happy people all around her. There is one girl at work. Sits in the cube next to me. She hardly talks to anyone and keeps to herself. She is a desi brought up in the US. I introduced myself to her on my first day at work and said Good Morning and Bye everyday. She would never take the initiative to talk to me but I would speak with her everyday. Off late she almost scowls when I say Hello to her. There is just the thinnest of an excuse of a smile and she mostly looks like it would be better if I stop talking to her. And today I was on the verge of asking her if I had done something to annoy her. I simply cannot understand why someone would refuse to smile and be nice to your co workers? I just cannot. Wouldn’t you like to come in to work relaxed and smiling? And I take everything personally. I think “Oh no, is it something I did?” when we have nothing in common except that we sit by each other. So it is time to let go. Every person I meet doesn’t need to be my pal. I just need to accept that and let go.
Last year I had written a few emails to my sister in law, asking her what was wrong, why didn’t she call as much, I felt like we were growing distant blah blah. There was complete silence on her end, she had ignored my emails. I had felt horrible, am I not even worth a tiny bit that you would not even bother to reply to any of my emails? I had cried, my husband and me had fought, he was like – why did you even reach out to her, there is nothing wrong and now you have created a problem for no reason, he finally called her to say why wont you write to her and then I got a short formal reply. I put myself in that position of trying to clear away misunderstandings and be closer. Maybe my intentions were perceived otherwise by her. I need to understand that everyone is different, people have different circumstances and sometimes the timing is not right too. I have given up now. I hate to give up, I had always thought that one day we would all be one big happy family. But I have stopped struggling to achieve that end vision of happiness – according to me. We talk nicely to each other, when she visits, we have fun and that should suffice for now. Maybe sometime in the future, she might think I am a good person and like me. In the meantime I need to stop pestering her and stop festering in my mind about how I can work on this relationship.
It’s the same with my Dad, my in laws, my birth mother; all the relationships which need work and where every word I say is somehow misconstrued, there is mistrust and clouded judgment, no matter how genuine the efforts are to try to get closer. I need to change myself. Let go of that ideal state in my mind, because whats ideal for me might be a pain in the butt for the other. Every person has their own views and definitions and expectations of what a close relationship entails. For some, it can mean a daily phone call and sharing of every happiness and sorrow and for others, it could mean a phone call in six months. I need to let go. So 2013 onwards is all about changing me. I will not go out of my way for people who seem to cause pain to me, who do not take the time to value me; I will not give them undue importance and allow them to control my feelings and thoughts. I will instead redirect all that energy into my current fulfilling relationships and enjoy and be at peace..