My readers will recollect my post of December 4, 2008 on an article by Jerry Davich called the Ground Zero Mentality. In that post I had talked about the book that Jerry and his cousin Dennis Berlien had written called ‘Connections – Everyone Happens For A Reason.’

I have now had the privilege of reading the book. It is a small book by the standard of current surfeit of self help books, only 170 pages long. What it packs however, is a total knock out punch. Once I started reading it, I just could not put it down.

The book essentially talks about reaching out to others and what can happen when one does. It takes us into the lives of some remarkable people and their stories.

Since by nature and inclination, I am a compulsive ‘reacher outer’, a trait that I believe I inherited from both my parents, I could identify with and relate to many of the experiences written about in the book. I have always wondered why most others cannot be like that, and this book comes along at a time when I think is most appropriate.

I strongly recommend this book to my readers. You can get more details about the book, its authors etc, in its website.

Relationships -Schopenhauer’s Porcupines. have sent me this extract which makes for some very interesting reading.

Psychotherapist Deborah Luepnitz introduces her book by recounting and amplifying on Schopenhauer’s famous fable (and metaphor) of the porcupines:

“I (mention) Arthur Schopenhauer’s well known fable, a story Freud liked enough to cite in his book on group psychology (and) I paraphrase the fable as follows:

” ‘A troop of porcupines is milling about on a cold winter’s day. In order to keep from freezing, the
animals move closer together. Just as they are close enough to huddle, however, they start to poke each other with their quills. In order to stop the pain, they spread out, lose the advantage of commingling, and begin to shiver. This sends them back in search of each other, and the cycle repeats as they struggle to find a comfortable distance between entanglement and freezing.’

The story spoke to Freud as a lesson about boundaries. (“No one can tolerate a too intimate
approach to his neighbor.”) It also spoke to his belief that love is everywhere a thorny affair. Freud
wrote: ‘The evidence … shows that almost every intimate emotional relation between two people which lasts for some time–marriage, friendship, the relations between parents and children–contains a sediment of feelings of aversion and hostility, which only escapes perception as a result of repression’…

“All relationships … require us to contain contradictory feelings for the same person. As the poet Molly Peacock observed: “There must be room in love for hate.”

Deborah Anna Luepnitz, Schopenhauer’s
Porcupines, Basic Books, 2002, pp. 2-3.

I hope that two of my blogger friends Conrad and Ellen are reading this and look forward to their comments as I do from Jean who usually comes up with some unusual insights.

Precision in Relationships.

Have had an eventful week-end and beginning for the week. I had a friend of fifty years come over from the USA to stay with us for a few days. He is planning on returning to India to retire here and is on an exploratory visit. He left for Hyderabad earlier this afternoon.

Both of us were struggling salesmen when we met at an Irani tea shop in Hyderabad. This was a popular meeting place for many salesmen and other regulars. We became good friends and eventually became relatives as well. We married cousins and so became brothers in law.

That is what set me off writing this post. In English, it is simple. We are brothers in law. In the Indian system, it is more precise. In Tamil we are shattagars and in Hindustani, Sadubhais. The Indian, with his particular obsession about relationships, calls this relationship, ‘Co-brothers’, when he is speaking English.

I have always wondered why we Indians are so particular about our relationships. Why can’t we simply use a word like uncle, or aunt or nephew or niece? In India, we have Chacha, Kaka, Mama, Chachi, Kaki, Mami, Bhanja, Bhathija etc.

Just some random musings on our peculiarities. What do you think? Should we follow the English system and simplify?

The Internet,Senior Citizens and Relationships.

On the 24th inst. I had posted that I intend sharing three stories with my readers about Senior Citizens. As chance would have it, I have had to post two posts on the same story about SCB and Anand, and the way events are unfolding, it is likely that I may have to post more.

The third story that I had to share was this. I belong to a yahoo group consisting of ex employees of one of my employers. Most members in the group are retired from the same company and some like me left prior to retirement but, we were all known to each other for many years and enjoyed our being colleagues during the time of our employment with the company. A few such persons now residing in Bangalore decided to arrange a get together of as many ex employees as possible and thanks to the Internet, the number of persons thus located and contacted became quite large. The first meeting took place last year and the second one is to take place by the end of September.

Since the list of members has been compiled by the moderator quite exhaustively, our email addresses telephone numbers etc have all become available to all of us. On my responding to one mail from the moderator, two old colleagues who I had lost touch with since twenty odd years ago, sent me emails wanting to reestablish contact. One of them also is the younger brother of a classmate close friend of mine, with who too, I had lost touch for over forty years.

Thanks to the Internet and the initiative taken by some well meaning ex colleagues, I have been able now to reestablish contact with three persons and I am extremely happy to have been able to do so, as the three others are too.

The point of this post is to emphasize, that the Internet when properly put to use is capable of bringing people together like this. In these days of isolation and alienation, such relationships are priceless and I wish to express my gratitude to technology that makes this possible.

What about you? Have such things happened to you too?