Keep the Fire Burning


Everyone loves receiving gifts. It is a token of appreciation, a memento of the blissful relation, the wonderful bond the recipient shares with the giver, a reminder of the wonderful times spent together. It often serves to be an object of inspiration during turbulent times, to pull you through a tough phase, to consistently be a beacon of hope that not everything is wrong with this world, and with this life; that we still have those memories, and for many, that person to fall back upon, to motivate us and make us smile (however, if the gift is from your psychotic and over-possessive ex, with whom you’ve had a brutal & bitter break-up, then it’s another matter altogether). You should have burnt them while you had the chance.

Speaking of gifts, I still possess the farewell gift given to me from my secondary school, right before the board exams. I’m sure most of the guys in my batch still do, as would most people receiving them from their respective institutions. Our first school always holds a special place in our hearts. It’s the place where you receive your most blissful memories, because they are pure, undiluted, not corrupted by the grim realities of life or grown up people. The words etched on to that gift, in the form of a memento, hold a special place in my heart. They go like this: when the going is tough, everything seems against you, and your back is against the wall, do not panic, and do not lose hope; for that is the precise time & place when the tide is going to turn. In tough times, when the life is at the crossroads, these words keep me going.

The reason I’m talking about motivation and feel-good emotions, is that these are tough times that we live in. it is not especially flowery being an Indian at present. Our ‘neighbors’ are battering our forces from across the borders, as our Government continuously tries to appease them with ‘talks’. The economy is in doldrums, the currency is receiving a walloping, Indian stocks are cheaper than onions in the market, and the employment levels are not reassuring, no matter what the official figures tell you. The cost of living is going through the roof, and the family income is sinking through the basement. Instead of rising to the occasion and serving as inspirational figures, our political leaders are bickering like grumpy housewives with one another. In personal life, we Indians have never been the vociferous and boisterous types, wearing our hearts on our sleeves; rather we seek to suppress the turbulence within, to fill up the emptiness inside with a vacuous smile and the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. We males especially feel that the ‘strong and silent’ type forever appeals to the opposite gender, and youth turns into middle age holding to that thought, before you realize that it might have been a good thing, after you had landed the girl. Sometimes I do wonder, that so many words, so much ink, so much print has been invested to prepare the guidelines on how to woo a girl, how to land the woman of your dreams; it would serve good, especially in India, that some print be wasted writing the code that cracks the mindset of a typical Indian guy. Some health magazines have been bucking the trend of late; but there’s a long way to go before the female society’s stereotype of today’s Indian Male is broken.

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