Monthly Archives: December 2011

5 minutes to become a better spouse and parent

After slogging feverishly to impress myself and my stakeholders at work amidst juggling with social commitments and personal interests, I used to reach home totally depleted. The rest of the hours would be spent as a shadow of my own good self as I would try to get away with the barest minimum of responses to the eager advances of my wife, my ten year old son and baby girl. I who normally take great pains to make official projects and gatherings fun and warm would transform into an apathetic passerby at home, the place that actually mattered the most. My loved ones had learnt to accept my behavior by soothing their pain by repeating unconvincing excuses- “He is really tired, He is very tense today, just another bad day at the office”.

Thankfully, affairs are much better now. I owe this change to a self help article that I came across during a flight. I don’t remember the name of the author. But let me share his wisdom with you all……..

Here is how it works….

I have downloaded a few of my favorite old songs, especially the soulful nostalgia evoking ones. Once I drive back home and reach the car park, I would ease myself of the seat belt, sit back and switch the CD player on. I would close my eyes and slowly let the haunting music and delicious lyrics take me over … till “that” feeling moves out from my chest to all parts of my body. While I am in the throes of this feeling, I would imagine the situation at home and what each of my loved ones would be doing. Then I would try to creatively come up with ways to make the evening uniquely special for them.

Play cricket with Amaan for a while or cook his favorite soup with him.

Conjure up a story and sing it along the lines of Jehan’s nursery rhymes.

Spend time with my wife, updating her with all the juicy things happening in the world, or spend some time with her on her face book page, enjoying its various hues.

I try my best to make the experiences different and special each time. Once I decide on what to do, I get out of the car and enter my home, to craft a mellifluous script for the rest of the evening along with the ones who matter the most.

Takes me just some old songs and a few minutes and of course the urge to make my relationships better and exceptional.

Please try it…. And enjoy the difference that it creates in your lives

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When the Heart Talks and Listens

The other day, I uncomfortably remembered the violent argument that I had with a loved one couple of years back. We were both, heavy with the unbearable burden of unresolved tiff’s, pent up emotions and unsaid rejoinders. Add an astonished, inexperienced uncle who was called in to bring back amity into the frame and we were all set to unleash our wrath upon each other….

Lights, Camera, Action…

You said…..Because you did….I never did……You always…..^%$^%$^%$……..STOP (Uncle)…….I will never…… STOP (Uncle)…… (*^(^(&(*&(

Our neighbors had swarmed into their courtyards, watching the unfolding action drama. An eye witness later told me that even passing motorists had stopped by.

After that eventful evening, we started living as if the other didn’t exist on the face of the earth and the uncle stopped accepting such assignments.

A simple Heart talk would have made the difference that day. How I wish my uncle had read my blog before venturing out.

A heart talk is a listening and talking session facilitated to help people resolve their differences by…simply allowing each party to talk as much as they want without being interrupted. Here is how it is arranged.

The antagonists sit around a table. The facilitator holds an object, nicknamed the Heart (soft toy, car keys, flower vase, candle… anything would do) in his hands and explains the ground rules.

1) Only the person holding the Heart can talk. The others listen (only)
2) The talker must not shout
3) Listeners must not sneer or do anything with their bodies that will irritate the speaker
4) Once the talker is through, he passes the heart to the person sitting next to him
5) If the emotions boil over, the facilitator can call for a break… provided no one talks to each other during the break.
6) They go around until people have nothing to say
7) The facilitator will not try to push for a solution…he just lets people talk and talk and listen

I have used this tool many times and have succeeded in bringing warring murderous clans to amicable “then they lived happily ever after” climaxes. In almost all the cases, one would break up and cry and the sobs would infectiously catch on till the tears wash out all the resentment welled up inside.

By the way, I made up with that loved one a few months back, after a one to one heart talk and we ended up laughing at the predicament of the poor uncle on that fateful day.

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