Oct 20, 2015

Lifeblog: On Smiles and Distance (Bangalore, October 2015)

Hello Readers!

Hope you guys are doing good. To begin this post on a "happy note", I just realized a while ago that I recently completed 5 months here in Bengaluru! As you may have realized through my last Lifeblog posts, the last few months have been nothing less than dramatic, crazy, or eventful. But then again, call me old-fashioned, but I still look at the many positives which came out of them, despite the "negatives" having outnumbered the "positives".

But my life goal of "sustaining Happiness" (which happens to be the meaning of my name, something I keep obsessing in almost every blog post these days) is something that keeps me motivated, and I will obviously hope to have a happier set of "Bangalore Days" in the coming months! This blog post will be divided in 3 parts: Smiles, Distance, and key Takeaways from the previous two parts.

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Smiles


To begin this part, here's a recent Bollywood song from the soundtrack of Hamari Adhuri Kahani (which happens to be my most favorite album of the year), called "Hasi". It's about how a smile of a woman changed the life of a man. Check it out:



One of the things that is keeping me here in Bengaluru, and not making me run back to Geneva (despite the crazy struggles I went through initially), is the sheer joy I get in seeing the smiles around me! Even though I have made some very close friends here, almost all my outings here have been by myself. I had never enjoyed solitude so much in my life! Even Robin Sharma (one of the best motivational speakers, and one of my idols) advises people to make good use of solitude.

The only difference being, in Geneva, the solitude was mainly a "loneliness" I was "forced to embrace", because I could not relate to anyone around me. I just never felt happy with the people I interacted with there. I have very few "best friends" from there, but on the whole, I used to be happy in my "own little bubble". The solitude obviously contributed a lot in the development of my character.



But here in Bangalore the solitude feels like a "happy loneliness", as weird as it may sound. Just getting out of the house, for instance seeing the underprivileged kids in the neighborhood playing happily, or going for those mall outings where I get to see all sorts of people being happy. It's the kind of "Happiness" that fuels my own. And all the smiles... just seeing people similar to me (I identify myself as a 51% Indian and a 49% Swiss), I still feel alienated but in a more "normal way" - as strange as that may sound (again).

And in my immediate circles - people I interact with on a more regular basis - there too, the conversations seem more open and "normal", than the more formal ones I used to have back home. More than that, it just feels good to share smiles with people around me.

Just like the song above is a romantic track where a man sings about how a "woman's smile" changed his life, I would say ALL the smiles I came across here in Bangalore changed my life. And it just feels good to see SO many different kind of smiles here, from poor children, to better-off families in cinema halls, to groups of young friends in malls, to a small child smiling at me from the arms of her mother.

Even the people who "were friends" and who "played with my feelings", I still like to remember them for their "smiles" which were genuine at first. I recently penned this thought in my notes app: "Hold on to the good memories, and use the bads ones as lessons."

And noticing these smiles makes me a happier person, and they allow me to smile in an easier way! Seeing good in others may seem like a weakness, being "forgiving and kind" to people who try to harm you may seem "foolish", but it helps us to have a "lighter heart" in the long run.

Distance



The first part was the slightly "happier part" of this post, so here are my thoughts on Distance, to put a bit of "harsh reality" in it. Even though my 5 months here in Bangalore changed my life in ways I could have never imagined, I must admit the obvious struggles are much harder to cope with, than I would have imagined.

Being SO far away from my family in Geneva, is indeed a void that is beyond words. But then again, that saying "Distance makes the heart grow fonder" is something that has a totally new meaning in my life currently. You value the "Presence" of certain people, only when they are "Absent" from your life. It's one of those ironies that is an explanation to itself.

But then again, like we see it in most movies these days, it is often said that parents should "let go of their children" at some point in life. It was something I wanted since a few years, but circumstances were such that I stayed in Geneva for the 24 years of my existence. When the opportunity to come to Bangalore came up, I just couldn't say "no" to it.

I obviously knew that this distance would be a struggle for me, but I also knew that the "solitude" and "independence" would shape me up. The scary bit is, when I faced those dramatic issues in the first months, I was forced to deal with a lot of it by MYSELF. I did get a lot of support from close people here, but I was still really far away from my loved ones in Geneva. Thus, the main "battle" was fought by myself, which is something I could say with a bit of pride. I am usually a super humble person, but there are a few things I take pride in, and this may just be one of them.

But obviously, despite being so far away from the family, I do know that I have their support and blessings at all times. Even though, there were times where the loneliness was frustrating, just the thought of having that "invisible support", was something that reassured me. Faith also helps - praying was something I never did back in Geneva, but prayers can heal... and a lot of my prayers were answered in recent times!

Key Takeaways and Final Words



If the Smiles are keeping me here, and if the Distance is something that helped me become a "somewhat stronger" person, then I guess I would love to progress even more as a person here onwards. We never what's in store for us, but all I can hope for, is that my coming weeks here in Bangalore will keep teaching me lessons... lessons that may seem like "daily happenings" at first, but later on give us thoughts like "Wow! I actually went through all of THAT, and I came out of it as a different person!"

Also: I realize I have been posting too many "Lifeblog posts" here on my blog... so will definitely try and base my next two posts on Bollywood and Cricket, respectively. The Cricket post will mostly be after the India vs South Africa ODI series, reflecting on how the matches turned out for India.

Till then, here's wishing you all Happy Weeks ahead of yourselves...

Keep smiling, and value the distances you have to keep (since they teach you to value presence all the more),

Santhosh

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