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Back to Warning Bells - The Emotional Unaffordability Of Our Gifts!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Vidya, That's a Beautiful Simile

    Dear Vidya,
    The teacher is a wise woman and she has used the right simile. You might be knowing that Thiruvalluvar first used that simile.

    அகலாது அணூகாது தீக்காய்வார் போல்க
    இகல் வேந்தர்ச் சேர்ந்தொழுகுவார்.
    (thirukkural 691)

    When you move with a king,
    Stay neither too far, nor too close
    As if you stand near a fire
    To keep you warm

    Thanks for sharing that, Vidya.
    regards
    varalotti
     
  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Same Stand For You Also!

    Dear Sriranjani,
    Please read my reply to Manjula above. I repeat the same to you.
    Thanks for your support.
    varalotti
     
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Bhugan!

    Dear Bhugan,

    The term is new but the feelings are pretty old. We have been having a distinct feeling of discomfort all along, and we would like to know the name and the cause. That is the first step for cure.

    It is like this Bhugan. Suppose a person has acute stomach pain. The pain is so severe that she feels that she is going to die. The doctor rushes to the scene, makes an examination, orders a battery of tests and investigations. Then gives one word, "Appendicitis". Now the patient heaves a sigh of relief. Now she knows that there is a set path for recovery through surgery. (Manjula, this to some extent answers your question in the second round of posts, but I will give something more specific, when I reply)

    My advice is not to stop giving. I only say when you give, give with all your mind body and soul. And our upanishad declares, sriya deyam, hriya deyam, bhiya deyam. Give in abundance, give with love, give with knowledge and intelligence.

    I am very grateful for your kind words on my articles. I am happy that some of the words I have written are of help to you.
    Thanks, Bhugan.
    varalotti
     
  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    A Practical Advice, VS!

    Dear VS,

    What you said about married women is painfully true. Many a time a married woman does not even have the luxury of checking the emotional affordability of her gifts. I have seen in many cases a woman consenting to a marriage itself is an emotionally unaffordable gift. I know a lady who was asked to marry a man some 40 years her senior simply because of her family's financial problems. She had to and I am sure she had no way of checking the emotional affordability of her decision.

    The fact that she was kind to her parents and younger sisters, for whom she made that sacrifice, shows her maturity. Or as you said, she might have decided, "If you gotta go, you gotta go".

    But there are some women who rebel against making this emotionally unaffordable gifts. They also suffer for no fault of them. They are branded as rebels and are banished to life-long loneliness by this society. Many unsung hero(ines) are there.

    I loved your following words:

    "We can either train ourselves to make un-emotional, detached decisions. Or to never indulge in post-mortem analyses. Both are equally bitter soups , but as with "Karela', repeated usage can help in acquiring the taste for either one ."

    You write very well, VS. Hope you continue to write even now. If you had written any books, please let me know.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    No you have not bored us, Kripa

    Dear Kripa,

    Radha's story is a matter for detailed discussion. Well, I wont say Radha made an emotionally unaffordable gift. I would only say that she made a major decision without enough information.

    Kripa, please do not think I am finding fault with your friend. These days many people drink. And many drink at home. Though I have been a teetotaller all my life, I have some very good friends who drink regularly.

    Drinking is not bad per se. But if it is taken as an escape route to life's problems, or if it is taken too much in excess then it is a problem.

    Now coming to Radha, if she is so averse to drinking she should have discussed it specifically with her husband before deciding to marry him.

    But one thing, Kripa. Given the present day conditions it is very difficult to find a perfect partner even if you have a perfect jadakam. Marriage, like any other decision, is a trade-off.
    If our women had waited for Rajakumarans, they would not have married at all. They are forced to choose from among the available choices.
    If Radha's husband does not abuse her after drinking, if he does not drink before his child, and if he is a good provider, and if he does not drink daily or in excess, then Radha has to simply grin and bear.
    Her resistance and cribbing will only serve to aggravate the problem.
    I am not giving a judgment against Radha. I am just helping her to see things as she should.
    Thanks Kripa.
    varalotti
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the poetic post,Seena!

    Dear Seena,

    It was quite interesting to read your poetic response to the post.

    Since I am not good at writing poetry, my reply is in prose and hence prosaic.
    Thanks, Seena.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    All of us have been in such situations, Jothi!

    Dear Jothi,

    Each one of us have had the experience of giving unaffordable gifts and then regretting it for a long time. That is bad for us and equally bad for the donees. Invariably our relationship with such donees get strained.

    The word "gift" in this context refers to any concession made by us. Need not be a tangible gift. For instance if a daughter-in-law is patiently suffering her mil's abuse, without complaining about it to her husband, she is making a huge gift, which many times she cant afford. This will come out when the husband and wife fight with each other.

    About the stuffed rabit, your feeling of wanting to have the gift back is quite natural. But having such feelings is bad to our health. So the best alternative is to get another stuffed rabit, preferably bigger and better, take it over to the girl telling her, "Sorry, dear I gifted a used doll to you. Now I will give this new doll and let me take the old one back."

    The girl will be happy and so will you.

    As some people think I am not arguing against gifts. I am only suggesting to make our gifts complete. When we go to a hotel we see the menu card and assess our financial affordability before placing an order. Lets carry that exercise to all our gifts. 'Gifting in haste and repenting in leisure' should not be our motto.

    Thanks Jothi for your enthusiastic participation.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, Meenakshi Madam!

    Dear Meenakshi Madam,

    Thanks for the words of praise. The suggestion is not to maintain correct distance. The suggestion is that every intimacy has its price. And to check whether we can really afford it.

    As you rightly pointed out, many decisions have to be made in the blink of an eye. We cannot open a spreadsheet in our laptop to mathematically assess our emotional affordabilty every time a gift is sought from us. At the same time, once this concept is entrenched in our mind, once we know that there is another dimension to gifts, our decisions would improve in quality.

    At least like VS said, we would realise that we have made a mistake and can deliberately decide not to mull over spilt milk.

    regards,
    sridhar
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    I am relieved, Kamla!

    Dear Kamla,

    For a while I thought that I was introducing one more dimension to the already complex human relationship problem. But reading your post I am sure that I have just recognised a dimension to relationship which has been bothering us for a long time.

    Actually checking our affordability levels and saying a clear no, would in the long run improve our relationship and more than that, would make us peaceful.

    I know some of my friends and relatives who reside in places like Ooty, Yercaud or other hill stations or resorts. Come vacation season, many of their relatives/friends would flock to their house making their life miserable for a while. The hosts though they could not emotionally afford a lorry-load of relatives staying in their small house (many times they cannot afford that financially also) would welcome them with a plastic smile. This happens to Indians staying abroad. Their distant cousins would come to stay as their house guests. At times the pitiable host would have to seek a job for them as well.

    In such cases the hosts would do better to say a clear no in sweet words than suffer silently.

    But many times it is difficult to check our affordability. I have been practising some ground rules. If I know I cannot afford, I say a clear no. If I can, I go ahead and make the gift. But if I am not sure, then I would rather prefer to err on the safe side, by making the gift. Of course when the decision turns out to be wrong, you will regret it. But that regret is preferable to the nagging guilt feeling that you should have made the gift.

    "Do keep coming with these write ups because most of us tend to forget or neglect them, even though we are well aware of all the consequences. We need these Warning Bells."

    These words rejuvenated me. For some time I thought whether I was getting preachy or just doling out known truths to all. Naming the warning bell and thinking about the problem, actually fine-tunes our skills to assess our emotional affordability.

    The best reward a writer can hope for from his readers is reassurance. I have been getting it from you, from the very beginning. Thanks, Kamla.
    L,
    sridhar
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh, Manjula!

    Dear Manjula,

    I have always known the tremendous value of packaging ever since my Marketing Professor taught it some 3 decades ago.

    But I never thought that packaging would go to the extent of even influencing the value of the contents, till I read your beautiful post.

    And your "for whom the bell tolls" expression has won accolades from the great Kamla herself. Congratulations.

    Before replying to your post I had to mentally re-write the post in some simple language which ordinary mortals like me can understand, and relate to.

    Probably put off by the politicking ghostwriters of Bush-land, you have condemned the naming process altogether, thus throwing the proverbial baby along with the equally proverbial bathwater.

    All developments made by man, be it in medicine, technology or psychology start with what is known as the "naming process." Good computer programmers adhere to what is known as "naming convention" to churn out powerful codes. A rose might smell as sweet by any other name, but a computer variable will not work with a different name. Nor can the world of medicine exist without names.

    Hollywood actor Rock Hudson died in 1985 due to mysterious reasons. At a relatively young age, he died of a relatively curable disease like pneumonia. It was a puzzle. Scientists started working on it. The first step in the right direction was assigning a name to the group of symptoms that preceded the actors death. The word AIDS was coined. Then research went on to identify the virus HIV and development of affordable tests (My god, affordability again) for identifying the disease.

    Women in their forties, when their oestrogen level drops started to become depressive and irritable. They could not pin-point their problems to any specific cause. Invariably everybody suffered. Research stepped in and first coined the name Menopause.
    The naming, of course, did not solve the problem. But it gave a convenient, powerful handle to the problem, and with that further research could come out with some workable solutions.
    Now a 40 plus woman experiencing those symptoms, tells herself, could be PMS and goes to her doctor.
    And soon came the male menopause.

    I do appreciate and to some extent share your allergy for jargons. But we should not let it block our vision. When first introduced everything is a jargon. Soon the term gets acceptance and becomes part of our vocabulary.

    Towards the end of 19th century, healthy people started dying all of a sudden. The symptom was an acute stomach pain preceding death. It was only after a scientist researched on the body of an unfortunate victim was appedicitits discovered.

    Appendicitis was a fanciful jargon, sure. But then it paved the way for research into Appendectomy, the removal of appendix and avoiding needless deaths. Thus a killer-disease got transformed into a minor surgical procedure.

    I am sure that somebody living in the beginning of 20th century would have called Appedicitis a jargon. Now it is part of our vocabulary.

    The naming itself is not a solution but it is the first step in the process. Let's say a woman is suffering from such an acute stomach pain that she feels that her end is near. The doctor examining her says, "Appendicitis". Though the name has not reduced her pain by a wee-bit, she is now relieved. It is a curable disease involving a laproscopic procedure.


    When men from South India went to Gulf for greener pastures leaving their wives behind, the latter started to develop a host of symptoms like manic depression, irritability, anxiety attacks, panic etc The doctors did not know what to do with the disease. Sedatives and anti-depressants did not work.

    Then a psychiatrist studied the case histories of a hundred women affected by this illness. In all the cases the husbands were away from them for extended periods of time. The ladies missed them badly.

    The resultant stress got manifested as psychosomatic symptoms. He coined the name Dubai Syndrome.

    And the consensus of the Doctors was that Dubai Syndrome cannot be cured by just prozacs or valiums; husbands returning to their homes or the wives joining their husbands there at Dubai was the suggested solution.

    Dubai Syndrome is a fanciful jargon, no doubt. But it made us understand the real problem and has saved many marriages.

    And so are terms like Post-war Malaise, compulsive obsessive neurosis, anorexia nervosa and bulimia. All fanciful terms at first glance. But represent man's depth of understanding when we have the time patience and the need to look deeper.

    And so, the Great Writer Madam, emotional affordability is not to confuse you or confound you; is not to add another complex dimension to human relationships, but make you recognise and have better control over a dimension which had been there for long, unattended to.

    When we have the luxury of a choice, it is better we have a look at our emotional affordability as well. But where we are forced to act without choosing, then as VS said, better be done with that and forget it.

    Your fan,
    varalotti
     

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