Source : Google photo of a friend who pulls you up when you are down
Synopsis : All relationships need maintenance meaning you have to work hard to maintain any relationship be they within the family or outside. Just like a newly planted seedling, you have to water it and care for it but human relationships are more fragile that need more care and understanding over a longer period of time. The blog looks at why some people fade away while others remain steadfast friends until the last breath.
The human brain is really a very strange organ that we still do not understand completely although some inroads have been made through the advancement in science and technology that makes us understand and unravel a part of the mystery that is called our brain.
Often it throws up an idea without warning that it thinks important enough to bring to our consciousness so we start to think about it in greater depth and come up with the idea of writing about it. What triggers such impulsive action by the brain is still unknown but it is nevertheless an Eureka moment that we experience sometime or other. Some call it motivation and others call it inspiration that may act as a trigger for the brain to bring it to the fore so we then start thinking and expanding on it.
Writers are often motivated or inspired by something or some event that makes them think which is a part of the functions of the brain that then takes its cue and puts forward an idea that we start to do something about.
Today my brain came up with just one word that made me write this blog . It is called maintenance. It may be an innocuous word in everyday parlance but let us stop to think about its significance in our lives individually or collectively so let me expand now on the significance of this simple word that we often use without really understanding its import.
When we fly , we depend on the pilot to bring us safely somewhere but we ignore or fail to see what makes a plane safe and sound because we take the safety for granted but the pilot does not think so. He depends on the lowly and poorly paid mechanics who check every part of the plane before they give the thumbs up to the pilot who then starts a long check list of his own and checks every part of the plane to see if everything is in order before he takes off. He checks the fuel gauge, checks the flaps and the lights. He checks the communication system and numerous other things before he decides to fly.
But the key people are not the pilots but the mechanics who check everything including the tire pressure and have the power to stop the pilot to fly because they may find something wrong and will not give the clearance. The planes sit in the hangars after flying a certain number of hours for a complete check up when they literally take the engines apart to see if there are no cracks in the fans or other vital parts.
This is called maintenance to keep the machines in perfect order and everybody flying in it safe but we ignore such maintenance and take it for granted that we will fly safely and reach our destination.
If you fail to notice that your tail light or brake light in your vehicle is not working then it can cause serious accident so out of prudence, you replace the busted bulbs right away or fix something that is wrong that can literally save your life but we often fail to notice something is wrong in our human relationship that needs fixing the result of which can be tragic.We maintain our car, our house, our lawn that tends to get weedy, our appliances, our computer or other such electronic gadgets and even our body but we often pay less attention to the most important part of our life that is human relationship.
So today I want to write about the real meaning of the word maintenance that we so often take for granted when it comes to machines or our house but do not pay enough attention to other things that matter like the human relationship. It too needs maintenance to keep a friendship going and a family relationship going the way it should.
There was a time I can recall when we used to write letters on nice stationary with a fountain pen and later with ball point pens to our friends and loved ones and waited for a response that often took a long time but that is how we kept in contact with each other. But today it is considered old fashioned because we now live in the age of instant messaging, e mails and Skype thanks to the technology now available but has it made us less prone to communicate ?
The human relationship whether it is between friends or relatives or spouse all depends on maintenance and can suffer if both parties do not make a conscious effort of maintenance of such relationship. It can even be between the parents and their children if they do not make this effort called maintenance the lack of which can bring up walls between them.
One way we maintain our relationship with others is to communicate with each other frequently. The technology today helps us connect with anyone anywhere anytime but do people have what it takes to maintain a relationship ? I have lost many people I knew over a long period of time who are now a part of the faded memory because we did not make the effort to keep in touch. People grow old, change jobs or move to other parts in the country or even outside. Some may have family problems that makes them less prone to keep up with the people they knew or they may be physically ill .
There may be all sorts of reasons why people stop communicating but it remains a fact that communication remains the fundamental factor in any relationship. People drift apart once the letters stop coming so it is a two way process. You can’t communicate with someone if that person does not reply to your letters or e mails.
So I start to think more about the reasons and less about the act of communication itself. Some people communicate if they want something from you like a big favor while others may write to you about what they are selling because they think of you as a potential customer. People who constantly bother others with their non stop robo calls or junk mails to sell you something are not your friends but opportunists who try to take advantage of human gullibility. That is the bread and butter of the sales and marketing people. I am not writing about them.
Others invite you to their house for dinner and ask as if by chance you have an opening in your company so that they could apply and press their resume on you but they too are not your friends so you have no reason to keep up with them. Then there are your so called childhood friends you grew up with and went to school with who have grown so apart from you that they will not give you the time of the day even if you run into them years later so you can discard them as a footnote in the history of your long life.
But some lucky people find true friends who remain true friends and keep in touch. They may even show up at your funeral if somehow the word gets to them so they come and shed tears on your grave remembering you. The rest of the humanity is not so lucky because even luck needs some maintenance to work in your favor.
I often think seriously about the human nature and how we all are prone to react to our emotions that guide us in making decisions. If someone said something bad about you to your face or even behind your back , it takes years to forget and forgive such a person even if he or she is related to you especially if related to you. You can ignore a bad person and his bad behavior if he is not your friend and move on in your life but it is difficult to do it when relatives are involved.
My Ma used to say that the relatives are or can be your worst enemies who will try to hurt you with words or deeds and take advantage of you if they can in one way or the other so keeping up with such people becomes hard in the short or long run. The brain does not forget nor forgive how they treated you in the past so a wall comes up that no one can breach. They too eventually become the footnote in you life story.
So I come back to the word maintenance. How do we maintain relationships? How do we keep in touch with people who are far apart with little chance of ever seeing them again? How do you renew a friendship that got started long ago in Saigon, Belfast or Taormina? How do we keep in touch with someone we love who does not write and give you the address? You can only wonder at the reasons but you will never know it.
We all go though such experience in our life and often ourselves ask the question- what happened and where have all the people gone whom we knew long ago? You meet a multitude of people in this long journey of life but you do not remember most of them or care to know them so they get lost because no friendship develops with such people who only show some interest in you because of their own hidden agenda. They part ways quickly when they realize that their interest will not be served by you.
In some countries people will ask you How are you ? or How are you doing? with a fake smile and insincere hand shake because it is a part of social manners and nothing else. Their fake intonation gives them away. But in other countries a poor peasant may press on your hand some oranges and olives with real gratitude in his eyes and sincere thanks for the help you gave them as an agronomist so a friendship may develop.
It all depends therefore on sincerity that forms the basis of any relationship because from it develops the basis of understanding each other that is vital in any fruitful relationship. If a woman keeps you waiting on her first date and then spends the rest of the time on her cell phone then it becomes clear that she will not be your friend. So the sincerity is very important between two people to develop a life long bond of relationship even within a family. If your brothers and sisters only use you as their errand boy then they will never be your friends because they are users of people .
But a family that invites you in seeing that you are getting wet in the hard rain and offers you hot coffee is extending its hand in friendship that you take in gratitude because they are sincere and do not want anything from you other than helping you. You want to remember such people in your life and want to keep in touch.
So sincere people make friends easily and maintain such friendship by keeping in touch. I wanted to say that maintaining any relationship depends upon sincere communication so that no misunderstanding takes place. I have found that people who do not speak English well will most likely misunderstand you in a negative way and form the basis of mistrust between you and them but this phenomenon is by no means limited to non native speakers of English.
This can happen between people who speak the same language fluently and yet do not become friends because of other reasons I mentioned above. The key to develop any relationship within or outside the family and maintain them requires sincerity that is non negotiable.
So start by paying attention to your children and all their needs be they emotional or anything else that require your attention so that they develop the degree of sincerity required to maintain the loving relationship later in life. Show your spouse that you really care for her and give her a big hug every morning and not just air kissing some people do. She must feel your sincerity when you sit by her bed whole night and fan her while she suffers high fever. You show your sincerity by giving her the best food, best clothes and a good house and attend to all her needs without the slightest hesitation.
But most importantly talk to her and share your thoughts with her , discuss everything with her and encourage her to do the same thing so that an honest relationship develops and is maintained through communication. A true friend will always stand by you in your hour of need and pull you up when you are down so do not forget to keep in touch because such friendship is worth maintaining.
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