Over numerous cups of coffee

Well have had the following revelations about relationships over numerous cups of bad office coffee, some good barista coffee and well just coffee, because I am not the lets talk stuff over drinks person 🙂 Thought it might be interesting to share this debunking of myths with people out here 🙂 Its probably just a continuation to being in twenties post earlier but exclusively with respect to relationships.

The space myth : Oh we have all heard that we should give our partner space. Girls are told more often than boys that they should give their guys space. Yes it is necessary to give space. But what I have seen many people I know do is take getting space to mean being able to whatever they like without any consideration of what their partner wants or feels like. So if the partner says that such and such habit of theirs is not to their liking people accuse their partners of not giving them space. Space does not mean that you encroach on the self respects and rights of you partner. You do what you like within the limits of your partner’s personal space too. You give some you take some.

The commitment myth : ‘But I didn’t think of another guy/girl while I was with them, doesn’t that show I am committed?’ No it doesn’t. Did you discuss the future of your relationship with them and if yes did you ensure that you included them in your vision of your future? Are you still jittery about introducing them to all your friends or keep crying for time to introduce them to family? Does your family atleast know that such aperson exists in your life even if they think its a friend? Commitment is not just marriage or being monogamous. It means that you commit to share your lives and in that case you include your partner in all aspects of your life. You can’t say you are committed if a part of your life doesn’t even know about the existence of your partner. Then you are devaluing your partner’s importance in your life and it would also seem to them that you are not sure of the relationship and that is why you have an escape route ready by not acknowledging their existence. Don’t be surprised if they out of the blue dump you. They probably tried to talk but you might have given them the I need space and time talk everytime they asked. And one can ask only so many times. Also a person I spoke to told me that they could of course not be there for the other person always coz guys have other things too apart from their love life. So what is your love life, a time pass diversion to you? And if other things are so important why don’t you live with with just them other things? Why get into a relationship?

The relationships shouldn’t be hard work myth : Well here is the truth. Life is difficult, so nothing in it can be easy. It seems that people take it literally when they read all those relationship self help books. If you believe them nothing in life should be hard. It should all be blissful and perfect. Well kiddo doesn’t work so. You have to actively work at maintaining a relationship. If at the first conflict you abandon it saying it has to be easy then maybe you have commitment issues. Also people have the absurd expectation (probably comes from the media of which I am a guilty party) that partners have to absolutely understand them almost to the point of telepathy. And not just that partners should think exactly like them in everything. Again completely wrong. You are two different individuals and so you will think differently. You will not agree on everything, sometimes you may have to give up something, sometimes they might. Never expect the other person to do it always. Don’t give them the you should love me as I am speech. Relationships mean that there will be some changes you have to make. It should not change who you are but you can’t say that you won’t budge an inch. If you were so happy doing only what you want without considering anyone else then you better remain single.

Water thicker than blood?

Mumbai has been reeling under 15% water cuts that were imposed at the end of monsoons. For a long time residents had been complaining about how they couldnt get water at the top floors of their apartments or how the pressure was low. Its an open secret that there exists a powerful water mafia that has links to most political parties in the city. But ironically it is these same guys who come up with protests to show their ‘concern’ for the common man’s problems.

First the BMC’s ruling Shiv Sena took up the issue, trying to distance itself from the bureaucracy and claiming that they did not support the administration’s idea of increasing the water cut to 30% and the resolution was rejected. (The lake levels at the end of monsoons showed a deficiency of 25% which the administration cited as the reason for imposing further cuts). Then in classic Sena style activists went and ransacked the office of the hydraulic engineer. The BMC was renovated just a couple of years back at an enormous cost but public property is everyone’s property anyway. The Sena just fresh from an assembly defeat had to do something radical to assert their existence in their only remaining bastion in Mumbai.

But if there is a ruling party action there has to be an opposite and probably more spectacular action from the opposition. So Congress leader Nitesh Rane organised a massive protest march at the BMC under the umbrella of his NGO Swabhiman. Around 1000 people gathered outside the BMC premises carrying buckets and shouting slogans. The police had already somewhat anticipated the extent of the protest and had put up barricades near the BMC. But the unruly crowd broke through some 2-3 barricades in the city. The crowd was very agitated about the fact that while they got less water the high rises and commercial establishments got more water. There were people who told us that they received water only once in two days and that too only for half an hour. There were allegations of tampering, pilferage and unattended leakages.

While the issue was genuine, if you were at the location covering the protest, you would only see a bunch of drunk men who were shouting at the top of their voices and very few with a genuine concern for the issue. Many of us female journalists had to keep away because we were getting molested by the crowd. The crowd kept pushing against the final barricade and gave the 50-60 odd policemen standing there a hard time. After about two hours of the ruckus, the police finally resorted to lathi charge. The scene changed completely. Suddenly people were seen running for their lives.

Later we were told that one person died after the lathi charge. The minute the news spilled out, I saw many channels condemning the police action. Is there no value for a life? Demand for water gets blood and many other headlines. Yes, there is a value for every life. But what do you expect the police to do after trying to control a mad mob for around 2 hours peacefully? Had the police not lathicharged these people they would have got into the BMC office and then we would have seen the headlines crying is there no law and order in this country. While no death is justified, there is no method in a mob and sometimes striking back is the only option the police have.

And its not just protest marches, the mob mentality is visible every time there is a festival. You see the same crowd of drunk men shouting recklessly and trying to molest women be it Ganpati or Shab-e-barat. And if its a festival there is an even better justification for breaking the law – religion.

So what is an ill equipped police force supposed to do when a crowd that believes itself invincible threatens the peace of the city? Just sit and worry about political retaliation and villification by certain section of the media or protecting public property? The devil or the deep sea?