Sunday, December 20, 2015

Loneliness (Blog marathon post 6)





A movie I watched last night left me strangely disconcerted and made me think about the relationships we form in these technology-saturated times. The movie Mili directed by Rajesh Pillai was about a teenage girl who grows up with feelings of rejection. Nothing she does is good enough and she keeps getting into trouble at school for being ‘weird’ and ‘different’, unable to complete simple academic tasks, always being lost in a dream-world. She is sensitive and kind but painfully shy.  She stalks her crush on Facebook but is too shy to talk to him in person. She spies on her room-mates who have boy-friends and she makes their lives difficult by hogging the bathroom when they need it, overhears their private conversation that they have with their boy-friends, reads  the messages on their phone, her irrational behaviour stemming from jealousy and a feeling of neglect. She has no friends, nobody to talk to and as the days pass, she cocoons herself in a web of loneliness. She becomes more and more depressed and finally cuts herself on her wrist in order to cope with the pain of alienation, withdrawing deeply from the world. A young man who is a motivational trainer enters her life and he understands what she is going through. He points out that what she is most afraid of is to get out of her comfort zone. He spends an evening talking to her, and his words have some impact on her. She finally ‘makes friends’ with a jolly-bear waste bin! She forms an attachment to it, carries it around everywhere and talks to the bin too. She slowly starts taking steps to change her life, and in the final frames manages to turn her life around, after shedding her indecisiveness, fear and uncertainly. She finally manages to escape the clutches of loneliness. There is no romantic involvement with anyone here, and yet she manages to combat loneliness.


Most people when asked why they want to get married, or why they want to be in a relationship, say that the idea of being ‘everything for someone’ appeals to them immensely. They like going from a ‘me’ to ‘we’. They enjoy coming home to somebody, sharing a home with someone, raising a family together and many other such things which only a marriage or a committed relationship can provide.
Research tells us that loneliness , even though isn’t a condition that requires urgent intervention, can have disastrous effects on mental and physical health, affecting our immune systems, increasing inflammatory responses and putting us at a greater risk for cardio vascular diseases and depression.
But is marriage or a long-term committed relationship an antidote to loneliness? I don’t think so. For, it is not just those who are single who can be lonely. Loneliness can creep up in marriages too. Over the years, the partners may not feel connected to each other even though they are living under the same roof. Their conversations become purely functional and practical, like asking each other if the telephone or electricity bill has been paid or whether the grocery shopping was done. The partners may no longer do things together, being immersed in their own routines—like one partner going to bed at 10.00 pm for an early start for an exercise class the next day, while the other staying up late watching TV or surfing the net. Affection and caring for each other might very much be there in the marriage—and yet the partners might be lonely as they are emotionally isolated.

Loneliness is measured by the subjective quality of our relationships not the objective ones. To combat it, what needs to be done is a conscious effort to communicate. To be genuinely interested in others---what they love, hate and what makes them tick. You have to take the initiative, create meaningful exchanges and do things together. In short, you have to fall in love again—and discover the other as well as yourself in the process.
The magic mantra to combat loneliness is connection and a lot of effort.

This piece first appeared in  The Financial Chronicle, in my column Sex and the City.
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17 comments:

  1. So true, and can happen in any girls life !!
    Marriage and relationship is not taking us away from loneliness in turn a person can become more loner after getting into it.
    Loneliness can make a person do which she/he wouldn't think to do otherwise.

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  3. movies name please!

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  4. It's so true that marriage is not the solution to avoid loneliness or marriage takes care of not being alone.Well said!!

    I am so looking forward to blog marathon as I am sure I will always find interesting read.All the best!Keep writing!!

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  5. Preeti,

    This is to say MANY MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY. MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH WHATEVER YOU WISH. Wish I could send an e-card but do not have your e-mail id! If you feel comfortable, you may write to me at niceguy251@gmail.com.

    I will come back to read your posts.

    Take care

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  6. definitely!! one have to fall in love over again to make life worth living.nothing else can erase the black clouds of loneliness.

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  7. Absolutely true and I have personally experienced it. Noone needs to be in marriage or in a relationship to not feel lonely!! Being there for your ownself can also help you combat loneliness!!

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  8. I agree with you. Marriage or long relationship is not the ultimate solution for loneliness. Until and unless you will not share your thought with someone. He/she may be your family member, your friend or unknown people.

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  9. I have seen this movie. Amala would have portrayed the character very well. 'Alone' and 'loneliness' are two different things. The greatness of humanity is to empathise. Please do appreciate fellow human beings and life becomes so blissful.

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  10. I could very well relate to the topic though am single and nearing 30!Marriage can never be the get-away kinda thing to do away with loneliness(I live alone).There has to be a sync between the couple which makes it more interesting rather than getting into it just for the sake of being married!!Kudos Preeti as usual a nice & soulful piece of writing!

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  11. Great n Impressive Lines..
    I Loved It.
    Thanks Preeti..

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  12. 'The magic mantra to combat loneliness is connection and a lot of effort.'... How true.
    A nice post.

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  13. Yeh dil mangee mire Preeti!!!!

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    1. I meant more....i get superexcited while leaving comments...

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  14. Preeti, I really like your books and a big fan of yours also. But why always a girl suffer in the story or most of the time. Guys do have heart, they do suffer and sometimes a lot.

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  15. I completely agree with you Mam. It happens in almost all marraiges

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