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Feelings

by Anura Kenkre
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Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.

Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

‘Feelings’ are a strange term to describe. By the dictionary definition, it means the emotions experienced by a person. But these feelings vary from person to person, hence are a very tough thought to interpret. Some people are even able to fake these. Now-a-days some people may not have emotions. I mean this very seriously as I have managed to observe at least one case of each ‘type’. Just yesterday a friend of mine was telling me about her father and the current situation in her house. Her father easily listens to the opinions of the people around him (family excluded), these people include colleagues and friends and falls prey to whatever they say. His thoughts control his body so much so that he even falls sick after listening to people around him. For example, one of his friends told him, that since he feels tired while walking and was having pain in his left hand, he has a heart disease. He took this thought so seriously that he would continuously experience pain in the left hand exactly as his friend had mentioned. Their family kept reasoning with him that he had picked up lot of luggage with that arm the previous day and had also over-exercised and hence this was an after effect. However, he would not listen to the advice of his family. They had to take him to the doctor, get a stress test done and an ECG had to be done in order to prove to him that he was perfectly fine! The physician taking his stress test even told him that he has the heart of a 40 year old even though he has crossed 60! The doctor added that these are just games that his mind is playing with him. After hearing from the doctor, the family was able to calm him down.

I felt sorry for her but tried my level best to console. We are all PhD students and she is a M.Tech. student, so she had to miss all her lectures and practical’s for four  days until this scene ended. What people do not realize is that their actions have effect on other people’s lives as well. We must never take people, especially our family and friends and their emotions towards us for granted! I simply told her to tell her dad the following: We were told this story when we were very small. There is a famous legend about people of a village who tethered their herd and then went to sleep at the end of a day. They kept a boy to guard the herd while they were away. The boy would get bored guarding the herd and thought of playing a prank. He yelled, “Fox has come, fox has come. ”The entire village came running to stop the fox from attacking the herd. The boy had an amazing time laughing at the villagers. He managed to repeat this 2-3 more times and had some fun at the expense of the village folk. Then one fine day, a fox actually came and started attacking the herd. The boy yelled with all his might but this time no villager came to his help.  The entire herd was eaten up by the fox and the villagers as well as the boy were left with nothing.

I quoted this story to my friend whose father was suffering from the panic attack. I told her, if he keeps repeating this behaviour then one day when he actually needs help no one will even listen to him.

“What people do not realize is that their actions have effect on other people’s lives as well. We must never take people, especially our family and friends and their emotions towards us for granted!”.

This incident apart, another friend narrated her story to me. She said that her parents are looking for prospective grooms for her. But there is a generation gap between her and her parents. Hence they look for grooms in accordance with what they have in mind and keep her preferences aside. There are continuous tussle at home due to this gap in expectations. She would say with tears earlier that she fears what the future holds for her.. Many more such stories. But I have noticed that very few of these stories have happy endings, reason being that people  are falling short of “Feelings”. They are concerned only for themselves and so long as they are happy who cares what the other is going through. Many of my friends continuously complain about their bosses, colleagues who backbite, and the increasing competition in their workplaces. On account of all this the levels of frustrations are on the rise. In order to get good jobs, we leave our homes and get ‘settled’ in other cities which offer the ‘best packages’ in the market and then get married to the ‘ most suitable groom/bride’. However, the truth is that there is nothing like being settled these days. Earlier being settled meant getting a job, starting a family, but these days it does not mean that any more. Simply getting a job is not enough; you need to have a good salary with your own house and many such things. Best packages do not have a meaning because they keep varying. The want for money never diminishes and is only on the rise with each promotion. And the last about a ‘most suitablebride and grooms’ the lesser said the better! No one seems to be happy with whatever they are doing. the Many young people are  depressed, and annoyed.. Their stress levels are at an all time high, patience at an all time low! Sigh!. The sentiments; they are restricted to TV serials and if anyone tried to bring them in real life then the reaction which you have to face is, “Bore maat maar yar! Pakau!”

However, the truth of life lies hidden in this famous quote by Helen Keller:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”.

1 comment

mayura May 19, 2015 - 10:40 am

Beautiful! You are truly a gifted writer! Proud of u!

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