Please Go Away So I Can Love You


The only time I have ever felt pure envy and joy at the same time was when I looked at my NRI cousin's life. He and his wife were telling me the story about how they ended up getting married. They met under an arranged date and instantly connected. Few months later, when it came to the question of whether they were ready for marriage, they decided to do an experiment. They decided to see if they could go a week without talking to each other. Both of them failed by the third day and called each other. Now, they will complete a decade of marriage this year with their second son born a fortnight ago.

It's a pretty effective test - "If I go away, will you miss me?" Since centuries, the test of absence and distance is used to find the answer to the profound question- what really matters to you?

Is it still true in 2015 though?

Let's take an example of what happens so often now- conflict. The most common way to resolve any conflict- with friends, loved ones or families is to stay away- either with a "storm out of the room" or a "let's not talk for a while". The logic is that the issues will be resolved by the distance and it even works for a while. However, does anything ever get resolved?

You want things to go back to normal because you miss the person or persons or think that the fight was "silly". If any amends are made, they are more than often based on lies with the underlying issues still playing a prominent role. The distance tells us that the relationship matters more than the trivial issue while we repress our disagreements for the bigger picture.

How about even long distance relationships? While it is a difficult situation at first, as we get accustomed to absence, maybe it is the absence we love and appreciate rather than their sudden return in our lives.

What is it about distance and absence which makes us feel better about things we didn't appreciate when they were right in front of us? People, institutes,memories, events and places are looked at more fondly once we are away from them. I for one am pretty sure that I love Mumbai- as long as I am not surrounded by her.

I am sure I haven't stated something which wasn't banal or discovered something groundbreaking. But the thing which concerns me most in my interactions with people now is that in this "Disruption Economy", where we have scores of modes to communicate but very little to actually express, the tendency to forsake and forget is multiplied. 

The clutter of the modern life has turned absence and distance into a desirable disruption. As long as the threat of losing someone or something permanently hangs over our heads, we pay attention. But once they are freely available, their importance diminishes exponentially. Doesn't happen in your life? Well, lucky you then!

"Nowadays people know the price of everything but the value of nothing."
                                                                                                                  - Oscar Wilde

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