I was shocked to read a news article last week mentioned that somewhere in India, an unwed daughter filed a petition seeking  Rs 25 lakh,  1/3rd of her father’s retirement bonus, as a ‘one time settlement‘ amount from him. Regardless of the state the daughter was in type of need , this is no way to put a price to the relationship and worst to that of a father and daughter.

There are many divorce discussions that get murky with the issue of ‘money‘ for the settlement. Irony it is, that the couple who considered their partner  as ‘invaluable’ and made vows to love each other to death, end up fighting about their value at the time of divorce.

In many Hindi movies in 1980s and 90s, the poor boy would fall in love with the rich girl and the girl’s father would try to ‘buy out’ the boy. He would offer a huge sum of money for the boy to leave his daughter alone. All the cases, boy would refuse the money. 

And we also know of many cases where the marriage is decided on the basis of the amount of money (cash+kind) that the girl gets in dowry, undermining skills, quality, education, etc.

Relax !! this article is NOT about marriages ! Its about the ‘value’ you ascribe to a person and/or a relationship. 

We live in a materialistic world where more often than not, a relationship is judged based on ‘what that person means to you‘ rather than ‘What he is‘. The perspective is more about  ‘how I benefit from the person ‘ than ‘ how this relationship has benefitted US’. 

A study done by Harvard of some 250 odd people (apprx no.) for a period of 75 years, on the topic of Happiness, revealed an interesting fact. The report says the the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT source of happiness, is the Strength of Our Relationships.  And the way to measure the strength is the value we ascribe to the relationship or the person.

When I asked a close friend, what if you are offered an obscene amount of money and all that you are asked is that you will never have any connection with Hetal. You will not get to hear anything about him or his articles, nothing. His answer was a rapt NO. Indicating that the relationship is ‘priceless’.

Evaluate your life at the moment and make a list of all the people you know decently well – Family, Friend, Acquaintances, Colleagues, etc. Then see how many of them are ‘priceless’ for you. Another list would be ones, who are basically great people – either they are great human beings or they are people who have attained great success in life and are influential – but you have not put enough effort (read shown enough value) for the relationship to grow. And see in this list, who all would you want to ‘scale up’ the relationship and try to take it to the level of being ‘priceless’.

Remember the hindi quote – Taali eik haath se nahin bajti. – so while you make the effort to show value, u need to also get cues from the other side. If that does not happen, then its better to not continue making the effort, lest it all go waste.

An interesting point that I have observed recently. I have some 30-40 years more to live. Out of the 40-50 odd people I consider as ‘friends’ very few are in the same city as me. Which means the chances for me to meet them is when we happen to be in the same city. And when we meet, we are together for 1-4 hours. So technically speaking, many of  my closest friends, I have just 100-150 hours more to spend. When this realisation dawns on me, I realise the ‘shortness’ of life and how any conflict of interest means nothing, all that we should do is enjoy each others company.

In summary, cherish your life, build deeper bonds with people you know really well, make an effort to know others much better – so that you can identify the reasons for a stronger bond, have no regrets, experiment as much as you can, fail as much as you have to, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara!

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Hetal Sonpal

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