Reflections|Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

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I am no film critic. After viewing this ‘hugely anticipated’, ‘riddled with controversy’ Karan Johar release, I’ve been compelled to reach for the pen (I mean Keyboard!). Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of KJOs lavish, larger than life movies, but this particular one left me confused with a strong tinge of disappointment. Seriously, he could’ve tried to make this movie more realistic & relatable? No? I have a few fundamental issues with this movie:

Issue #1 – Ranbir Kapoor, British born and raised Indian (he flashed his passport shamelessly), had all but a British accent. Seriously KJO? You need to invest in accent coaches – I understand this is a Bollywood flick, but you have big pockets and the world is changing – the viewers demand realistic accents!

Issue #2 – Ranbir is rich. Like really rich. Like private jet kinda rich. But he has no suave or mannerism of a rich guy. He gives off the perception of an International student rather than a son of a filthy rich, jet owning tycoon. Throughout the movie he conveniently moved into apartments of his love interests, he didn’t seem to own a single piece of material possession apart from his backpack. Really?

Issue #3 – Ranbir’s gold digging British Indian Girlfriend, Lisa was the exception when it came to accents. I’ll give you that. But why did she have an American accent? You need to look into that KJO. Some serious mis-communication going on there!

Issue #4 Ranbir & Anushka were giving off the brother & sister vibes. There was no chemistry. Zilch. Zero.

Issue #5 – So – Fawad Khan, a tattooed, chain smoking, infidel DJ? What a pointless, non compelling, unnecessary role. You really didn’t need to cast an actor from the neighboring country for this one. For a role that involved 2 dialogues and 1 song, a plea to the public not to boycott your movie was not required. But I can understand, that you would like to salvage any number of movie goers – please know that if your movie flops (highly likely), its not because public boycotted it due to a Pakistani actor – it would be because the movie itself is not worth watching the 2nd time.

Issue #6 – Aishwariya Rai firstly needs to fire her stylist. Secondly, she plays a British Indian poet (aka divorced cougar & cradle snatcher), living in Vienna, really? The intimate scenes between Ranbir and Aishwariya were torturous. They were giving off mother and son vibes. Enough said.

Issue #7- Special Appearance of Alia Bhatt as a (underage) DJ – Futile attempt and totally unnecessary.

Issue #8 – When will you stop taking favors from Shahrukh Khan? Please cut the umbilical cord. Its time.

Issue #9 – Anushka has cancer and a shaved head. Once you see that, you cant un-see it.

Issue #10 – Ranbir decides to shave his head in support and they both dance together with their bald heads locked forehead to forehead. It was like watching a scene from Coneheads.

There were two good points in the movie, 1) Anushka Sharma’s styling was near perfect (pre baldness), loved her outfits (thanks to Manish Malhotra) and 2) the soundtrack is pretty good.

That’s it. Better luck next time KJO.

[The views expressed are personal]

© as|fa 2016
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Flame|Fragrance

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Last few months have been super intense. I had to draw upon all sorts of coping mechanisms to manage stress levels. For some reason beyond my understanding, the stress that I managed to keep locked behind doors, seeped through the cracks & crevices, until I realised that it needed to be embraced. So I’ve started to embrace it and not let it phase me. Haven’t mastered the technique as yet. The mental training is still very much work in progress, but I’m getting there…slowly.

One of the surprising calm-me-the-hell-down techniques that worked for me was burning candles every evening. You can say its a ritual in my house now. It started with tea light candles and then to aromatherapy ones. I have always been a candle lover, more for the aesthetic prominence rather than therapeutic benefits. Lighting an aromatherapy candle daily, I realised that its not just the mesmerising flame that relaxes the senses, its also the subtle fragrance that soothes the environment and relaxes mood.

So guess who is candle obsessed these days. Yup. That’s right. Moi.

My main Pitt stop to replenish candle cravings has been at Dusk – 100% Australian company with a focus on provenance, purity and passion for candle creation.

The stable Dusk fragrances burning in my house mostly all evenings are usually one of these:

  • Dusk Signature Range – CalmPerfectly balanced infusion of Lavender and Rose.
  • Dusk Signature Range – Spirituality – Opulence of flourishing Rose Geranium and musky Sandalwood .
  • Dusk Signature Range – Harmony – Beautiful combination of soft Lavender and Geranium.

If you are ever up at Blue Mountains, I would recommend to stop over at Leura for a sensory delight at Moontree – 100% Australian made & owned candles. My personal zesty favourite here is:

  • Moontree Fragrant Candle Range  – Lemongrass – Enduring scent of fresh cut Lemongrass is uplifting and cleansing.

Stumbled across Circa Home soy candles recently and decided to test it out. I purchased a small jar of ‘Jasmine & Magnolia’ for some night time burning. What a delight to the senses, crisp & sweet scent that totally relaxed my mind just before bedtime.Not only are these candles amazingly fragrant, they are great for the environment (non toxic) and burn longer!

My personal weakness:

  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Jasmine & Magnolia – Tender balance of Jasmine and Magnolia brushed by hints of Frangipani and Ylang Ylang.

On my get-it-soon list:

  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Mango & Papaya – Cocktail of Mango, Orange and Passionfruit laced with Jasmine and a touch of Vanilla.
  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Cotton Flower & Freesia – Fresh blend of Freesia, White Rose, Cucumber and Musk.
  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Pear & Lime – Invigorating blend of zesty Mexican Lime, Anjou Pear, warm Vanilla and Sandalwood.

Happy Fragrance Flaming Folks 🙂

© as|fa 2016

Resounding|Doubts

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Chapter 2:

They married a day after Valentines Day, 1977.

It was a small wedding, not more than 50 people, hurriedly organised by a handful of family and friends. She was 18 at the time. A delicate and somewhat naive soul, oblivious that on this day of 15th February, her future timeline was being defined, the pages of her destiny were being written. She did not fathom, in her uncomplicated innocent mind, that once the covenant of love was sealed, the pages in her book of destiny could never be unwritten. But a new bride-to-be seldom thinks about such deep philosophies. She was entangled in the bitter sweet ceremonious arrangements.

Jolly was brimming with multitude of emotions – of excitement and nervousness, swimming deep in loves pond, thrilled that her family had accepted him, albeit reluctantly at first. Still, regardless of her family’s assent, there was a dull nervous ache at the pit of her stomach, she couldn’t place a finger on the root of this nervousness and simply disregarded it.

There was also a sliver of guilt gnawing at her heart, for she was defying cultural traditions and getting married ahead of turn, before her elder sister. That guilt was soon dessicated by her sisters blessing and excitement towards the wedding. Perhaps it was the blatant awareness that their time together would be temporary – he had to depart Dhaka in a few short weeks as per visa requirements, but the bigger worry was his impending departure to America for further studies, his MBA. It was an important step towards their collective future, she knew that, but the resounding doubts kept knocking. She kept ignoring. Her priority was him, she wished to devote every single passing second in is strong arms, like any newly-wed bride.

Those few short weeks of glorious bliss came to an abrupt end sooner than she anticipated. During that time, her family had showered them with unending love & blessings, put him on a high pedestal, he was treated like royalty, but it was now time for him to leave and both of them had to deal with reality. They had to discuss and develop their future plans. The sharp stab of reality was beyond her pain threshold – they would have to separate until such times he organised her to join him. Jolly must wait. But waiting for him was the least of her worries.

Their first challenge as a married couple was the customary meeting with his family in Lahore, Pakistan. Little did she know that his family was oblivious of their first-born son’s recent union with the Bengali beauty – they were too busy with ‘Ahmad’s’  upcoming wedding preparations.

Their eldest son was betrothed to their closest friend’s daughter, a blue-eyed beautiful girl called ‘Farheen’.

© as|fa 2016

Melbourne|Destroyed

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The concierge advised us not to come back until we had completely destroyed Melbourne. I was amused at his interesting choice of words. We destroyed Melbourne nonetheless – with our infectious laughter. You can imagine the kind of fun instigated when 8 good friends gather together for a weekend of contagious fun & frolic…

Of course the chit chats started as soon as we all boarded the plane. So any passengers that planned on a peaceful 1 hour and 15 minute flight to Melbourne were greatly disappointed. We all copped looks of amusement from the fellow passengers. They didn’t really have any choice – we weren’t in the mood to zip it and no one was going to stop us from talking nonsense..

Coordinating these series of rendezvous was a pretty challenging endeavour. Free guesses to the lucky lady who landed the coordinator job. Yes, yours truly. Though I think I may have self appointment myself due to my OCD planning (slightly controlling, only slightly though) issues.

We literally had to create a project plan, develop a schedule, highlight and socialise the plan with stakeholders, identify dependencies, assign resources, determine financials and plan for risk mitigation. This coordination exercise had uncanny similarities to my day job – which to me was not amusing at all. But the power of divide and conquer worked wonders. We all contributed to turning this trip into reality – it helped when we had a few key skill sets within our collective repertoire – a Mathematician, the Analytical Thinker, a Project Manager, a Social Event Coordinator, a Life Style Expert, the Sarcasm Subject Matter Expert and the Doc. We all took a sigh of relief once all the planning was done & dusted. We were eagerly anticipating the trip..

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Once we reached our destination, it was just 3 days of guilt free fun, fabulous shopping plus sight seeing and culinary (over) indulgence. Its amazing how just a weekend trip away with the girls can make you forget the daily grind – it was like we were on another planet. Totally therapeutic.

I loved the colonial rustic architecture meshed with the modern artsy cultured feel of Melbourne. The streets of Melbourne were an absolute delight, from the cute tucked away cafés in little alley ways to the vividly Gothic art adorning the streets – it was such a different feel to Sydney.

 

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Within the tightly planned schedule, I managed to sneak in an early morning walk along the Yarra with my walking buddy – I’m glad we planned that walk in and packed appropriate shoes – the Yarra is beautiful in the morning – the sleeping city looked exceptionally glorious at sun rise.

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Lucky we were up early enough. The intent was to walk to the infamous beyond belief cafe, The Hardware Societie @ Hardware Lane, so we could beat the crowd and have a piece of that scrumptious brekkie everyone raves about. We must’ve got there around 8.15 am (after almost waking the entire city with our loaded chit chats and giggles) and the place was already packed !! A colourfully quirky staff member, with painted nails and a big flower brooch attached to his shirt (who by the way could smell Versace on a customer from a mile away) was taking down names for table allocation.  I cant recall how long we waited. It helped when our mathematician friend was glued to the colourfully quirky staff member, making sure he allocated us the next table. The breakfast was just mouthwateringly sensational and the coffee was straight from heaven. Totally worth the wait. Added to the must visit again list.

 

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We visited plenty of places and they all deserve a mention, like the impromptu visit to a rooftop cigar bar, St Kilda markets, a quick shopping pit stop at Melbourne DFO,  a horse ride across the city,  or the jazz inspired, quirky Thai restaurant and of course, Crown casino (which we all unanimously concluded wasn’t for us). This blog would be pretty damn long if I penned down all the experiences that we packed into those 3 days.

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One deserving highlight is of ‘our last supper’ at 400 Gradi, Brunswick. The winner of the World Pizza Championships. Although we had reservations, the wait was extra long, or maybe it seemed like eternity as we were famished! The staff were conversing in fluent Italian, and their behaviour was wickedly Italian too – so it was not surprising when our table was getting extra attention. We soaked it all in, who would say no to free entrées and of course the pizzas did not disappoint. Yumm…

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It was definitely a memorable trip – one that all 8 of us will reminisce often. All of us have our own favourite moments & highlights, the best thing is that every single one of us was going with the flow, relaxed, chilled and just plainly interested in having a good time. No doubt that we destroyed Melbourne – it was such good therapy. Locked in our memory bank. Forever.

© as|fa 2016

East|Love|West

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Chapter 1:

It’s 1976. A handsome Pakistani Punjabi gentleman falls in love with a most stunningly beautiful Bengali girl. So deep is the pull of love that he, endangering his life, relentlessly pursues against all odds, breaking all norms, the heart’s desire of a union, all the way to Bangladesh. All eyes are fixated on him; he is considered an infidel, the son of tormentors. The blood gushing through his veins are West Pakistan, his loyal grass roots, the nation of the ‘Butcher of Bengal’. He cannot be trusted. The Bangladeshi intelligence monitors his every move, but remarkably allows him to set foot on their soil in pursuit of love.

In Dhaka, the flesh wounds from the 1971 Pakistan-Bangladesh liberation war are still raw. Families are still grieving from the death, destruction and carnage caused by West Pakistan army. The youths of East Pakistan were mercilessly executed, the women were brutally raped, and the men were sentenced to tortuously indescribable deaths. Recovery from remnants of any war is soul shattering, but recovery from a war waged by your very own people is shockingly beyond belief. The sentiments towards Pakistan are remarkably ambivalent, happy to be separated, but also a dull ache of sadness in severing the blood vessels, somewhat like the aftermath of separating conjoined twins.

Within this icy cold environment, the Pakistani gentleman unnervingly handles fluctuating emotions, navigates through the endless questions, and constantly proves his enduring love, his rock solid commitment to the family of his beloved. How can they trust this man, the son of a Punjabi soldier? Their memories remain vivid, of Punjabi soldiers tearing through their front door, searching for their daughters to use as subjects of carnal terrorism. God saved them that day. Their daughters were hiding in a neighbour’s house which escaped the carnal rampage. That day sealed the fate of this Pakistani gentleman, who walked through the very same door 6 years later, not with the intention of terrorising, but requesting permission to marry their beloved, most precious, youngest daughter.

The pot-pourri of emotions burning through this family was nerve wrecking – this Punjabi man was standing between their patriotism and the endless love for their precious daughter. These violent fluctuating emotions caused havoc for days to come within the family; they lay divided on their stance. How can they betray their nation by allowing a Pakistani, that too a Punjabi man to integrate into their family, their bloodlines forever intertwined for generations, on the other hand, could they destruct the life of their precious daughter by leaving her love unrequited? Could they accept this man, love him, respect him, look beyond his roots, not penalise his heart for the actions of his nation..

They eventually resigned to the love story, succumbing to their daughters destiny. They accepted him. They found it in their hearts to bury the resentment, bring to surface that dull sad ache of separation and transform it into acceptance. They showered him with love, respect and attention. They gave him her hand with an open heart.  All for the happiness of their beloved daughter. A Bengali beauty, she unknowingly weaved together the bloodlines of Pakistan and Bangladesh…

© as|fa 2016

Happy|New|Year

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I had imagined I would start a New Year Blog reflecting on the predecessor year and anticipating the outlook for the year upon us, but clearly it didn’t go according to plan for 2016! Even though I’m almost two months late, I figured that since I like going back and reading through my notes, it’s better to pen the Blog than not!

From a year in review perspective, 2015 challenged me (and I mean this in a positive way) post to pillar from a career front.  My plans literally fell on my lap. Actually, it seems like an easy journey, but trust me, at the time, my levels of anxiousness were uncomfortable. If I had to derive learning from it, I would say that when embarking on a challenging journey it always seems overwhelming and somewhat unachievable, but that feeling is only momentary, because once you jump in, you must swim. And we all swim. We have to. Quitting is not an option, especially for me as I like to follow my commitments through to the very end.

2015 was interesting year at the home front. Sporting commitments took over most of our weekends, ranging from Tennis, Soccer, Cricket, Basketball, Netball, Swimming and Futsal and additional physical activities for hubby and I. Sports seems to form a big part of our lives, which I really appreciate. I find it’s beneficial for the kids to play a variety of sports, it good for their physical & mental well-being as well as giving them energetic choices of social activity for the rest of their lives..

Apart from sports enthusiasm, we hosted plenty of get-together at home for family & friends. I’ve lost count! Hubby’s cooking never fails to draw a crowd. He has creatively cooked up some exceptional delicacies. To say that I’m lucky is probably an understatement. Feel free to be envious 😉

Having a good circle of friends with whom you deeply connect is important, not only for the adults, the kids too. 2015 has reaffirmed that time is of the essence; to spend it on superficial friendships is neither meaningful nor logical. Connect with the friends that share your values, have similar interests and future outlook as your family.

The reason I say this is that our kids are watching our every move, our every social interaction; they are observing our behaviours towards others and our reactions over incidents and circumstances. As we are raising the next generation of humankind, it is our social and moral obligation to inspire these inquisitive little sponges in absorbing good ethical values. So the learning here folks is – choose your friends wisely 😉

On a side note, Netflix came into our lives in 2015 and since then, numerous TV Shows have been devoured, which conveniently will be discussed in a future Blog!

There are no specific plans for 2016, but I am anticipating more reading, and significantly more writing, the definitely aiming for weekend walking to continue as its progressed exceptionally well. There are a couple of big family milestone dates this year and it would be wonderful to plan a family getaway before the end of 2016 to celebrate.

So here we are, waved goodbye to 2015, year of the Sheep and hello 2016, year of the Monkey.

Wishing you all, pleasant reflective thoughts for the year passed.

All the best for 2016. Don’t let any mischievous Monkeys waver your plans!

© as|fa 2016

F|Word

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Happy 2016!

Yes I have been gone for a while. Life (and Netflix) has kept me pre-occupied until now, that I am compelled to voice my opinion – though most would argue that I don’t need much compelling as my personality is opinionated. But what the Fudge, there is nothing wrong with being opinionated.

This issue has been nagging at me for over a week. It’s not just a personal issue; it’s a major societal issue, a burning organisational issue, a man issue, a woman issue, a human kind issue -which needs urgent attention.

It’s a male dominated industry I’ve been working in ever since the start of my career – Technology. The gender balance is skewed heavily in favour of men.  At face value there seems to be no issue, men & women collaborate towards organisations strategic targets, achieve success in their collective projects, all as one big happy team, but under the surface there is an infestation of subtle discrimination, gender biases, and sexual innuendos.

The biggest concern for me is not that these issues exist, but, the fact that women brush it under the carpet and laugh it off. Why? I can’t comprehend the reasons. Women should not be impressed at being showered with compliments from male colleagues – would those male colleagues compliment another bloke on their outfit, colour of lipstick or hair. No. Then why treat women different? We are hired for our capabilities and skills and that is how we should be perceived. I find it offensive when my male colleagues go out of their way to remind me of my femininity, regardless of good intentions. I am not at work as a feminine; I am at work as a capable and skilful professional. Treat me as such. With Respect.

The workplace needs to be gender neutral, de-sexualised. How will women be taken seriously for senior leadership positions when they are considered as sexual objects?

There is a threat to achieving the gender equity commitment that most organisations have embarked upon (50% gender equity ratio in leadership positions), if men continue to harbour unconscious biases. On the surface they may be OK to see women being promoted all around them to achieve gender equity objective, but are they really OK? What is being done to help males understand the rationale & science behind why gender equity is important? They need to be taken on the journey, or else there is a risk this becomes a statistical exercise causing resentment which inadvertently snowballs out of control.

This mindset, possibly unconscious bias, needs to change in men and organisations have an obligation to effectively implement this change. Men and Women need to take equal responsibility to neutralise these biases and appreciate our contributions & determination in the workplace – minus the biases, once and for all.

© as|fa 2016

The dignity of a refugee

Take a moment to be thankful for our lives, our privileged lifestyles and our beautiful innocent children – we are lucky to be born in a privileged society – the refugees in crisis have not a shred to call their own. Their homes, their families, every ounce of security and comfort they had built over the years has been brutally ripped from them – and yet their optimism remains strong, it is not shattered. They are refugees, not beggars, not criminals – these people have been displaced from their homes, they had dreams and plans for their future that will not materialize if the current situation persists. These people are seeking refuge – open your eyes & heart to help them – if you can’t help them then say a prayer – but please don’t thrash them by questioning their motives or validity – it is demeaning – we must promote compassion.
Sharing a BLOG recently published by my most dearest friend Saneeya – struck a few chords..

Saneeya Qureshi

I must preface this blog entry with a caveat: I am neither an activist nor a political person by any measure. The text contained within this post is meant solely to capture the multitude of emotions that I have experienced in a short span of time. It is not meant in any way as a comment or interpretation of the politics or policies of any nation.

I am fortunate to work in a job which I not only love, but also one for which I travel around the world. I am currently in Budapest, Hungary. Although the past week has been spent attending various sessions and meetings for work, this weekendI have had the privilege of being able to volunteer for a whileat the Keleti train station before catching my flight back home.

Having grown up in countries that are oft touched by violence and bloodshed, although upset by the…

View original post 639 more words

Progressive|Strengths

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Last week I got an opportunity for a deep dive to identify my top 5 strengths (Gallup’s Strength Finder Survey). I was a bit sceptical at first of allocating 3 hours for a workshop whilst already being over committed to meetings. There just isn’t enough hours in the day, my work day regularly extends beyond the 8.30am to 5pm commitment. I chose to participate, because it is important to take time out and invoke food for thought, there is always something to learn, which then creates a reason to write 🙂

The workshop was about leading with your strengths. By leading, it not does necessary mean leading professionally, use that as a universal application into our lives, not limited to our careers.

I wasn’t really surprised to discover my top 5 strengths. What can I say, I’m a pretty in tune with myself and have utilised my strengths several times over the course of my life. In saying that, a refresher is always a good idea as we tend to compartmentalise and archive things at the back of our minds. This was a good time as any for me to retrieve that archived box, review my strengths, especially as I’ve just stepped into a new role.

The workshop instructor advised that we should create ourselves two virtual buckets, one called ‘Strengths’ and the other called ‘Weakness’. We should then proceed to place the Weakness bucket in a locker and lose the key! Because all we really need to succeed is an element of fear plus the themes comprised within the ‘Strengths’ bucket. Why fear, you ask? Well, because fear, my friends, is a great motivator for success, let it not paralyse you.

So what are my strengths and what makes them stand out? Here they are:

Achiever – People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

No joke – I’m definitely the accomplishing type, be it a certification, degree or any locked in commitment. I have this strong desire to achieve visible progress by ensuring I’m in the driver seat of my own destiny. Cruising along life is certainly not for me (yet)..

Discipline – People who are especially talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.

Not a fan of chaos & clutter. I need a place for everything and everything in its place, although I have relaxed my OCD behaviour somewhat after having kids. Those who know me understand that incessant need for organisation & order.

Harmony – People who are especially talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas agreement.

Yup, I don’t beat around the bush, my words come straight out of my brain and through the mouth, there is no filter, my friends will vouch for that. Do not yammer on with me, get straight to the point. Not a fan of conflict, but that does not mean I’m incapable of it, the Scorpio in me sorts that out..

Input – People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

I love books. Need I say more?

Focus – People who are talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritise, then act.

You can’t argue on this point – someone who can organise 8 mummies on a 3 day girls trip to Melbourne definitely requires focus, direction and follow through! Being in the project management profession helped a little too 😉

There you have it – my strengths. Can you identify yours?

I recommend that you acknowledge your strengths and make concious effort to use them appropriately as situations call for it. Sometimes you may have to underplay a certain strength and overplay the other, choose wisely. Take personal responsibility for your own strengths, own it, enhance it, control it.

© as|fa 2015

Milestone|Ivory

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We celebrated 14 years of marriage this month. In the scheme of things it may not seem like an awfully long time, but for a couple that met and married within 3 months, that too, in their early 20’s – is nothing short of a miracle. The 14 year journey has been incredible, and we attempt each year to take stock of it all. It is therapeutic to reflect back in time, reviewing our timeline, accomplishments, our kids and mostly our evolution as an individual. We are certainly not the same person we were 14 years ago.

So the anniversary got me thinking about relationships and marriages, which led to discussions with friends/colleagues on the very same subject – leaving me no choice but to Blog 😉

Relationships at the core are all similar, everyone encounters the same types of problems – finances, career satisfaction, raising kids, sharing household chores, misunderstandings, jealously, intimacy, over protectiveness, snoring… (The list is endless, need I add more? I’m sure you got the picture.

There are always going to be differences, because the reality is that we never get attracted to our mirror image – that would be so ridiculously boring. What makes relationships unique is how each couple address the issues encountered along the way.

I think all this discussion must’ve really stirred up some currents in my brain because for some bizarre reason I started analysing marriage/relationships against a team development sequence model created by psychologist Bruce Tuckman back in 1965, which I learned during my MBA. The model identifies stages of development for a team leading it to achieving unified goals through high performance.

Now if you stop for a moment and think about marriage – it boils down to team work, common objectives and performance, doesn’t it? Teamwork is at the centre of a relationship, because there is no such thing as a fairytale, consistently agreeable, always loving, relationship. Wake up folks – that fairytale love story with Princess and Prince Charming does not exist! Successful marriages requires continuous work.

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So, coming back to my interesting model, the famous stages documented by Bruce Tuckman was “Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing”. And here is my crazy attempt to align it with marriage:

Stage 1 – Forming: I’m calling this the Lovey-Dovey phase where couples are excited about the life ahead, extra polite and caring towards each other. Learning something new about their better half, enjoying each others company. It is the stage where couples are open to entertaining possibilities of the words ‘compromise’ and ‘accommodate’.

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Stage 2 – Storming: The honeymoon, Lovey-Dovey phase ends. Now this is there stage where the storms, hurricanes and tornadoes cause havoc. Couples are pushing against the boundaries, resulting in conflicts due to their differing personalities, styles and approach. Storms are inevitable, its how you manoeuvre through them that matters. This is the stage where most relationships either make it or break it! It may seem easy to walk out of a relationship at this point, but remember, that you will eventually have to follow the same pattern all over again with another person – so if it didn’t work out the first time, then what makes you think it will be different with someone else?

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Stage 3 – Norming: This is the stage where couples get to know each other from the core, start to understand and successfully resolve their differences, appreciate each others strengths by developing mutual respect. This leads to them defining their objectives and commitment to a unified goal. This is an interesting phase, while couples achieve normalisation, there is a risk of regressing back to storming phase if new variables are introduced in the marriage, for examples, a baby, or mid life crisis or menopause! So what I am trying to articulate, perhaps not so elegantly, is that there needs to be commitment to fix issues, to take your marriage from a storm towards normalisation and subsequently to performing – as a team.

Stage 4 – Performing: The ideal stage which I like to call “auto-drive”. This is the stage where couples are so in tune that you finish each others sentences, pre-empt each others needs, collaborate to achieving your family goals. This stage is comfortable, but don’t think its permanent, because remember the fact that fairytale marriages don’t exist? Yep. So while you may be performing at times, this model is circular and will keep taking you back in motion to the previous phases, depending on the challenges that come your way and the circumstances you are in.

Couples should understand that it is arduous teamwork and commitment that develops successful relationships.

As long as you are married to a good human being with a strong moral compass – make every effort to keep the love & respect growing.

Who said commitment was easy? 😉

© as|fa 2015