The emotional infections.

“Don’t expect life to be fair. It is not fair or unfair. It is just the way it is. And it has always been this way. Even when you were not here.”


The best description I have come across of the question ‘what is immune system?’ is that to see what immune system is, just see what happens to a dead body. Yes! Once you die, it only takes a few weeks for bacteria, microbes, parasites etc. to feast on your body until all that is left is a skeleton. And it happens because your immune system has shut down, and the door is left wide open…

Something similar happens even in life. When you are weak and fragile, you suddenly see things around you changing in unexpected ways. People around you start speaking with a different tone, pitch and volume. The whole treatment changes – you are taken advantage of, or even worse, for granted. Yes! You discover that you are lonely and have suddenly become everyone’s target.

Actually you are wrong. You have not ‘become’ a target now. You were always a target. It’s just that now you are a soft one.


And, don’t you know that…“It is easy to chew a soft thing”. 

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Curious case of a perfect gentleman!

I always tell in my workshops…“Humans are ‘social animals’…only as long as they get good reasons to remain ‘social’”.


The workshop was on ‘social intelligence’, and in the first half, we had talked about how our brain functions and shapes our behavior. In the break, as we sat for lunch, training manager said that he wanted to discuss a very peculiar behavior of one of his juniors…

This man is sincere, well-behaved, and in almost complete control of himself! Everyone likes him and people in office have hardly had any complaint with him. Naturally, the manager was interested to know more about this person, so he tried to find out more about his personal life. And what he got to know shocked him. This person, who is a perfect gentleman in the office, has many vices outside it. In fact the manager told me “He can be found at almost all such condemned addresses where he can go without getting arrested or killed”. And then he added…“A strange man! Isn’t it?”

Well! I had a good laugh and then said…

“He is not strange. He is very intelligent! Mark Twain had once said ‘Everyone of us is a moon. We all have a dark side…’, so does he. It is just that I suspect that his dark side is relatively darker than most of the people. And I guess he knows it well. Now, throughout the day, he stays the gentleman you all know, and thus that side of his remains suppressed and unacceptable.

So, during the day, a lot of suffocation builds up inside him. He risks being divided ‘into two’ inside his own self if he keeps living in denial of a part which is an integral part of his personality. Now, the only way for him to retain sanity is to be with such people in whose presence he doesn’t feel disapproval for his darker side – where he doesn’t find that part being condemned, damned, or even evaluated.

I think what you are seeing as ‘imbalance’ is a perfect strategy to balance an unbalanced human self.”


Manager nodded in appreciation, and then added…“So, we shouldn’t stop him?     

I said “No! Absolutely not! And don’t mind but actually I was hoping if…

…you could share with me those addresses.:-)

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All is fair in love…and actually in everything!

“In life, loyalties can shift so quickly that at times it is hard to believe if they were really there in the first place”…


I must have been around ten. In those days, unlike today, houses of a colony hardly had their doors closed, except when people were sleeping or weren’t at home. In such an era, we had this strange fascination of making ‘bhaiyyas’ and ‘didis’ (as if each one of us did not have enough of them). And the best part was that we would be staunchly devoted to them (even more than to our own). I had one such didi and we would meet mostly in summer vacation.

Now, this didi and one bhaiyya liked each other in a special way. And I was one of the messengers for them (I faintly recall that I had even taken an oath to swallow the chit if I would get caught). Yes! Those were innocently exciting days when love involved a lot of chemistry, introductory physics, and hardly any biology. And strangely, for me, it was a love-story that was as dear to me as it was to the protagonists.

But, one not-so-fine day, didi told me that they had broken up, and that she will have to marry someone else. For days, I remember feeling the blues… I was devastated!

However, what devastated me more was the fact that within a few weeks, I saw didi talking about this new arranged man in her life with the same (even more) attachment with which she used to talk about ‘the bhaiyya’ she had been with for years.

I was sad, I was angry, and more than that… I was ‘confused’.

Well! In years to come, I witnessed such shifting of sides in all realms – families, friends, relatives, colleagues, associates etc. And as I matured, my sadness, anger and confusion turned into curiosity. Moreover, when I chose a stream of ‘helping people develop themselves’, I started studying every such shift more minutely…

And in the pursuit, I realized that while people like to love, care, cater and benefit; more than that, they want to be loved, ‘cared for’, ‘catered to’ and ‘get benefitted’. And whenever they see a promise of a lasting and convenient supply of all this, more often than not, most of them shift their loyalties.

It is natural. It is logical. And it is…‘human’.


But you know what! Even after all the insight and maturity, I still feel sad for that bhaiyya.

However…I seem to have forgiven didi. :-)

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Serve it fresh!

Sometimes, problems don’t require the ‘best solution’. They just need a ‘new’ one!”


Recently, I asked one of my former colleagues to mentor one of my dear ones. She was surprised because she herself considers me as a mentor and thus asked why I wouldn’t mentor the boy…

I said “You must have heard the story on why, in a circus or zoo, a huge elephant is tied to a small wooden peg hammered into the ground; and still he doesn’t run away because he had tried it when he was a baby and had not succeeded”.

She said “Yes! I have heard the story. But how come that explains your point?

I said “In his case…I represent that small peg of his life”.


Yes! Sometimes, when people need to make a fresh start, they need fresh faces around. Not because the old faces are not good, but because… old faces remind them of…their own ‘old-selves’.

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Love – ‘making it’ vs. ‘being in it’!

“We think about it, joke about it, but sadly…seldom talk about it”!


As those ‘moments of passion’ passed, the shared silence following the sensual storm was suddenly broken by his chuckle…

She wondered where that came from! He looked at her and smiled. She gave her a surprised look. He imitated the look. She chuckled. He held her hand. She caressed his face. He shared what he suddenly got reminded of and made him chuckle. She listened to it intently. She also chuckled…

And in the wee hours, they simply talked – without topic…without opinions…without discussion.         

Now, before you declare me frivolous, perverted or voyeuristic, let me come to my point…

When it comes to a couple, what characterizes or strengthens their relationship is not all that they do for those ‘moments of passion’ or during them. It is about what they do after those moments have passed. Yes! What couples don’t realize is that ‘the moments that come after they are done with chasing the hormonal-high’ offer the true opportunity for real togetherness – the one beyond physicality.

And that’s what defines ‘the future’ of ‘the love’ in ‘the relationship’.


Well! You must be wondering who these ‘he’ and ‘she’ are, and how do I know them?

But you know what! It hardly matters who they are, because in any case, in those gentle moments of togetherness, they themselves lose their identities…and validate the proverbial ‘two becoming one’. :-)

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The Suffering Shouters!

“Please don’t shout!” she said while pointing her finger at him…

…and immediately I realized why he shouts so often.


Over the years, I have come across a lot of people who have been branded as ‘aggressive’. Blamed for sudden bursts of shouting and impulsive episodes of losing their cool, they are also known for blowing something out of proportions and then getting into a short ‘hysteria’ of uncontrolled barrage of words, while bringing other out-of-context points and old buried complaints out of nowhere.

However, what I have realized is that while some of these people have serious aggression issues, most of them have a different reason behind this syndrome. And it is that incidentally they have ‘got partnered’ or ‘are surrounded by’ persons who are at the other end of the spectrum.

In the name of being ‘calm and composed’, these other-end persons are actually plain cold; with their so-called normalness actually bordering on indifference. They are often unresponsive and tend to be inappropriately less-sensitive. In fact, their objectivity comes from unwillingness to take accountability or hardly any desire to look beyond themselves.

Well! Ironically, in our society, cynical indifference is more acceptable than involved anger. That’s why, when these ‘two types’ somehow land up together in a relationship or association, the second-type person mostly sets the definition of ‘normal’ behavior by his or her criteria. And from then onward, the first-type person has to live up to this lopsided definition.

And in this ‘pursuit’, which obviously and unfairly favors the second-type, the first-type keeps falling short.


Yes! What second-types don’t realize is that the first-types don’t shout to cause pain… they actually shout because of it.

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The Saint and the Sinner!

In my line of work, sometimes, if after discussing with me, someone’s ‘lowered eyes’ can ‘close’ for a while and then ‘look straight back at mine, then I know my job is done.


She is well settled; with a loving partner and a complete family. They are pious and devoted, and have been followers of this saintly religious-figure. One day, he was discussing the concept of ‘sins’ and included illegitimate intimacy as one of them.

And she told me that since that day, she has been filled with this strong recurring guilt…”

She said…“I recalled my past, and that has been corroding me from inside”.

I could see the anguish painted all over her face…

I said “I don’t endorse what you did. But only you were there. And thus only you know whether it was a sin. Only you can tell if it was merely physical…if it can be expressed in a word which has four letters or just three”.

I continued…“Don’t get me wrong. But there was no saint there…, just the two sinners! So give me their point of view…”

She paused and said “Honestly, that so-called illegitimate moment was far more pure and emotional. I had felt far more valued.

I smiled, got up, and while leaving said “Then go back lady…continue to listen to those sermons. But all the while just remember one thing…


…‘conscience can’t be outsourced”.

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Lucky ‘You’!

“Comparison is the coincidental curse of civilization”.


There are days when as you walk down the street, everyone you come across looks more happy, fit, smart or successful than you.

It is because you pretty well know your mask…and also what it is masking. Deep down inside, you are aware of all your fallings and failings. Your vulnerabilities and shortcomings are disclosed to you in their entirety. You know what weighs on your mind, what bothers you in your heart, and what makes you wake up in the middle of the night and then doesn’t let you sleep for the rest of it.

In short, you know what you don’t have, what you have, and what you show that you have but don’t have.

That’s why, in every sense of the currency, everybody on the street looks far better off than you…


…And you know what! Interestingly…most of the people you have crossed have also been thinking the same. :-)   

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The relationship over-take

All relationships are ‘two-way’ streets.


It is convenient to be in a relationship as long as you are getting something in it – attention… time… love… care. But then comes a phase when the other person is not in a position to ‘give’, and in turn requires all of that.

And that’s the ‘litmus test’ for a relationship – “Will now the getter be able to turn into a giver”?

Well! The most difficult thing in life is to bear the shift of spotlight elsewhere. Yes! ‘Importance’ has a weird way to make a person ‘hungry for more’. However, in lasting relationships, partners have to be ready to alternately hold the torch and let the other person receive the ‘shine’.

And that’s where most relationships fail – because usually, one of the two is too addicted of ‘shining’.


All healthy relationships are about ‘give and take’. The only thing is to realize…‘when to do what’.

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The Love-Chase…

“What is happening in our relationships is often a projection of what is going on inside us


I have known her for long. She is smart…independent…ambitious, and…with relationship status that consistently reads…‘it’s complicated’.

She doesn’t realize but her problem is that ‘she is forever attracted to someone who is hard to get’.

So this is how it goes: She finds that ‘someone’, obsesses, pursues, and makes a chase out of it. And finally, she wins. Congrats!!! She has achieved, conquered, clinched! But…‘now what’? Well! Now something goes missing. After all, when you start from the ‘peak’, the road ahead only goes downhill. Now, with ‘dopamine rush’ gone, things get messed up…it’s all lukewarm…and doesn’t quite feel the way it is supposed to.

And sadly, she doesn’t know that the problem is much bigger than she thinks. The problem is inside her.

The ‘achievement drive’ inside her is finding the wrong outlets. And the realm of relationships isn’t the apt one for a ‘100 meter’ race put on an infinite loop. It is supposed to be a golf game played for leisure, with many small goals, achieved one after another, on changing courses, with casual banters, unplanned laughs, pats on the back, high fives, occasional teasing and ‘never mind, there is always next time’ pronounced with a familiar accent.

Alas! I wish I could tell her…“Dear, you are all the time playing the wrong game on a right turf.


And you know what? There is another thing I feel like whispering to her. And that is: “My girl…let me also tell you a secret…‘No man is actually even half as good as he seems while you are chasing him’”. :-)

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