The (Tor)mentor!

I strongly believe that…“Idealism is the first step to hypocrisy”!


A lot of people loved my last post. However, some, in spite of loving it, found it slightly less morally-correct. And one of them asked me to write something on my basic approach towards my work – which in his words is… ‘mentoring people’. So here is a piece on it…

I find most people living on ‘overdose of sentiments’. In turn, I like to call myself an existentialist. I believe in seeing things the way they are and not the way I wish them to be. And it is even more important to do so if you want to help someone change things for better; because ‘acceptance is the first step to change’.

So I don’t see people as ‘good or bad’ but as ‘good and bad’. And as far as their questions are concerned, I believe that a mentor’s job is not to answer all the questions, but to take the person to a level of understanding where some questions simply dissolve.

Well! A mentor takes your questions away, and leaves in you a ‘quest – for permanent solutions. Yes! I don’t believe in giving temporary solutions to permanent problems but to give permanent solutions to temporary problems, because when you find a temporary solution then more often than not you end up making the problem permanent.

In other words…“I don’t try to solve the problems; I try to sort the person


…And I do it not for some lofty aim to serve humanity, but to sort my own self bit by bit – possibly the most ambitious job a man can undertake. :-)

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I love you two…

“Can a person be in love with two persons without being disloyal”?


Before I answer it, let me rewind the conversation…

She said… “One of the most unsettling things in life is when…“you love someone…don’t get him…and then go on to live life with someone who loves you equally”.

I said… “I understand. Because then you are left with all the reasons to miss the first one, while the new one gives you no reasons to hate him. And there you are… stuck between your past and present… alternately living in ‘today’ and phasing out in the ‘yesterday’”.

I looked at her, and she nodded, with the relief of being understood.

She said “You know what? I feel like a cheat. Like an impostor”. “It is wrong…unethical…isn’t it?”

I said “Well! You can’t bind emotions with ethics. They have a world of their own, untouched by the notions of ‘right or wrong’. And you can’t just walk out of a relationship and walk into a new one effortlessly. Heart keeps the score”.

I could see a hint of calmness returning to her face.

Then she said “Then what’s the solution?

I said “There is no solution. Because there is no problem. It is all natural. It is all organic”. “Just stay there and allow heart to deal with ‘the change and the consequent confusion’”. “And trust it. It eventually does get into the right place”.

She said “But why can’t heart listen to the mind?”

I said “Because, to change, heart doesn’t require reasons. It requires…time


Coming back to our question… “Can one feel love for two persons equally”?

Well! Don’t mind, but it is mind’s question. And heart doesn’t deal in Q&A. If it feels something, it feels it. And it can’t stop feeling it just because you think it shouldn’t feel that way. So, let mind and heart settle this one between themselves…

And you just stand there, without taking sides. 

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Secret behind ‘Confidence’!

I have always believed that “Confidence is nothing but ‘respect earned in one’s own eyes by fulfilling promises made to oneself’


Over the years, I have seen best of the people literally wasting themselves because they were not loyal to the choices they made. And it is equally true for studies, work or relationships. Yes! It is important to ‘stay the course’ even with reluctance or disinterest.

Well! As humans, we may have ‘infinite potential’ but the problem is that we have ‘finite time’. And that makes the strongest case for ‘discipline’. And it is natural to get distracted or disillusioned, so even if you are finding it hard to ‘stay the course’, try to ‘stay around it’ or bring it to a ‘logical end’. Don’t just jump off the ship.

As I put it “Sprint… run… walk…or crawl, make sure that direction remains the same”.


Such subtle ‘messages to oneself’ create ‘personality’ inside ‘person’ …one brick at a time.

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The Pain ‘ting’!

As we sat in silence, she murmured “Why, at times, life gives so much pain…?


I have always believed that the basic purpose of pain is to ‘bring one’s attention towards what needs to be changed. Yes! It is not a punishment …it is a signal. It arises to help us find what is amiss or missing, and not to make us suffer by getting lost in it.

So the greatest disservice to it is to treat it symptomatically, without delving into it. As it is not for nothing that sometimes it is intense…sometimes persisting…sometimes recurring. It has types; and each type has its own texture that has to be understood in finer details.

From these details emerges the pain’s purpose.


Pain speaks. Listen to what it is saying and then…do something about it.

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Why people are not there when you need them the most?

She asked “Why so happens that people are not there when I need them the most?” I said…“Because that is how it is meant to be”.


While going through a difficult phase or after it, the worst thing you can do is to become cynical… to blame people for not being there… or to ‘not forgive’ them for turning their backs on you. Because by doing so, you…‘miss the whole point’.

See it this way. A phase can qualify as a ‘difficult phase’ only when you have to face it head-on, alone, and right there ‘in your face’; with no one guarding you. After all, if there would be people protecting you then how would ‘you’ feel the heat?

Alas! Most people don’t understand this. That’s why they go through such phases and yet do not derive the value which is there for the taking. And the reason is that they direct their attention more to ‘when who behaved how’ rather than on ‘why what happened’.

What a waste!


The fact is that “your destiny delivers its most important messages in your loneliness”.

Don’t shoot the messengers. Focus on the message.

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The One!

“In life, what matters the most is…to remember what matters”.      


There are people who like me. There are people who dislike me. There are people who used to like me and now tend to dislike me. There are people who used to dislike me and have begun to like me. There are people who think I am good. There are people who think I pretend to be good. There are people who are still evaluating me. There are people who don’t even find me worth the effort.

And among all these there is a person who I have spotted around me for all these years. He is always present wherever I am – in all my situations…in all my circumstances – silently observing every thought and act of mine. He doesn’t judge me. He doesn’t categorize me. He doesn’t even comment or remark. In fact, I have always got a feeling that probably he knows me beyond all the perceptions.

And, all he seems to be interested in is whether I am continuously ‘moving on’ or not…


That person is…‘me’.

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A breakup that never happened…

“Trust is a huge burden! It weighs you down even while lifting you up”.    


She was convinced that they had no future together. And her dear ones were playing the devil’s advocate rather well. Thus, by the end of the discussion, she could see that it was better to move on. After all, for how long can one chase shadows…!

So end it did. And with her better sense prevailing, she chose the safer harbors in life and is quite settled today, with all her fb photos having someone who is holding her, as well as someone she is holding.

And ‘he’ simply disappeared after that. But you know what? I still consider him ‘a winner’! And the reason lies in the content of my last conversation with her about him…

I said “I guess they all are right. You got to move on.

She said “Yes! I know. But I am simply unable to do that”.

I said “But you cannot get bound by someone like that”.

She said “You don’t get it. He has always set me free, and has never tried to bind me”.

I quizzically said… “Then…?


She bit her lip in anguish and uttered… “And that’s what binds me”.

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Frozen Waters.

What ‘brings people close’ and what ‘keeps them together’ is different.


As she sat clueless in front of me, she knew she should have paid heed to my suggestion.

Yes! Though it all looked perfect between them, the cracks were visible to me quite a long time back (after all, I boast of teaching social intelligence). And I had given her hint about it but she had brushed it aside by saying “Everything is fine”. ‘Fine…’ Well! To me, that’s a dreaded word when it comes to relationships, because it is an ‘emotionally neutral’ word.

And while an emotionally-neutral state is often desirable in a relationship to bring stability to it, yet when ‘cool’ becomes ‘cold’, it is often just tip of the iceberg. The fact is that the real problems in relationships are not when one is interested or uninterested in the partner, but when one is ‘disinterested’. Yes! ‘Indifference is the silent corroder of relationships’, and it hurts without hurting.

But where did it go wrong? Well! It was one single giant mistake on their part. They did not realize that as time passed, they were changing, and so were their expectations from each other. Yet, they had got stuck in each other’s perceptions formed during the initial stage of their relationship. And because they still cared for each other, they avoided confronting and gradually started bypassing each other in the name of ‘allowing each other space’.

And that ‘space’ did them in. It kept getting larger, and soon they were two islands separated by frozen waters in between.


In relationships, one should always remember that ‘wishing that things shouldn’t change’ doesn’t mean…‘they aren’t changing’.

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Being alone is empowering…!

“No one thinks about you as much as you think they do”.


To most of the people out there, you are at best a fleeting thought in the mind which too comes only when either something related to you is ‘trending’ in their lives, or if something related to you incidentally pops up in their attention arena.

And even those who you think are obsessed with you – any new relationship, or an old relationship with new major developments – think about you a lot at stretch, but only in patches. They also keep toggling their attention between you and other usual or pressing matters. So effectively, total span of your intrusion in their minds is also only marginal.

So, in all… Sorry dude! Irrespective of what you think of yourself, you don’t matter that much to anyone out there…

That should be disheartening…isn’t it?

Actually…‘Not quite’!

That should rather be liberating. Yes! Because if what’s above is true then that frees you of any burden to carry! It leaves you alone, even in a seemingly crowded interconnected world of yours. And because, whether for your successes or failures, your odds of getting more chunk of someone’s mind-share don’t improve significantly, thus while staying connected, you should still focus more on…‘doing your own thing’.


After all, as great poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan said…”Aloneness is empowering”!

Akelepan kaa bal pehchaan <— Click here to listen to the lines of his poem in my voice. :-)

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Coming a long way…

You can’t judge people by how far they have come…without knowing how far they have come from.


I have always found it erroneous to assess people solely by their current achievements, no matter how big or small they are. It is also important to see it in context of their background. Yes! Destinations have to be seen in reference to the journeys. Without that, it is difficult to put it all in the right perspective. And I firmly believe that a person should keep the same yardstick even while judging himself or herself.

The great composer Naushad had to struggle a lot in Bombay before he became a signature in music industry. He used to sleep on footpath opposite the Broadway cinema at Dadar. And when his legendary movie Baiju Bawra was released in 1952 at the same theater, as he crossed the road to reach the premiere, he started crying. When producer Vijay Bhatt asked the reason, he looked back at the road and said to him “You know Sir…It took me 16 years to cross this road”.


Well! When people say to you…“You have gone way ahead”. Only you know that actually… “You have come a long way!”

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