September 24, 2014

Don't come to my funeral

We all have friends ... childhood friends, school and college mates, neighbors, ex-colleagues, business associates and those friends of friends ... we can have plenty of friends but how many are really a friend? You certainly can’t say that all the social media friends are your friend right? You get what I mean?

So, my question is ... how can you say who is really a friend? At the very least, what does it takes to be a friend? To many, the question is very subjective and there isn’t any good and straight answer.

Let me tell you why do I want to ask this?

I went to a funeral recently ... I met the deceased many years ago, we had some business dealings when I was in the auto industry and we stayed in touch since then. He called me once in a while, had a few drinks ... I visited him for lunches when I was near his office and vice versa. When I heard that he was ill I called a few times to wish him well, we spoke briefly but later he was avoiding contact when his condition turned worse. I was not his best friend, not his good friend or his close friend. I can only say I was just a friend ... a friend who meets and calls him occasionally and write him a few words every now and then.

Now here is the gist of my story ... at the funeral, I was sitting with a few people who were talking about the deceased. A man who was doing most of the talking said he was a good friend (let me repeat ... a GOOD FRIEND) of the deceased and known each other for 30 years ... same school, same village and the likes ... seems like common talking points in such occasion. But then he said something that got me scratching my head ... he said he has not seen or talked to the deceased for the almost 7 years and heard about the passing just the night before the funeral. From what I gathered further, this man also did not know that the deceased got married, the deceased was ill for the almost 2 years and was even surprised to find out that the deceased lived just a few kilometers away from his house. Didn’t he just say that he is a good friend? Hmmmm ... does it make any sense?

I don’t know this man ... my opinion is, I don’t think he can say that he is a good friend of the deceased and I will take the context of what he said to illustrate a point.

My point is ... the man displayed no attention to the deceased for years ... he showed no clue and has no idea of the well-being of the deceased for the almost 7 years. Where is the simple empathy of being a friend and where is the notion of a friendship? I don’t think that is how a friend should be, let alone a good friend or a close friend. Really, I wonder why he even bothered coming to the funeral.

Let’s go back to my question earlier ... how can you say who is really a friend?

First, let me put it simply ...  as friends, let’s make an effort to meet, otherwise try to call each other every now and then ... or at the very least, write a few words in anticipation of a reciprocal effort from each other ... that is what friends should do. Not someone you don’t see or talk to for years, who suddenly decides to show up at your funeral.

And now let me put this bluntly ... in my case, if someone thinks that I am not worthy of at least few words from them while I am alive then there is no need for him or her to come see me when I am dead ... so, don’t come to my funeral. 

September 02, 2014

Do you look at things differently?

Many people want to live their lives differently but to live life differently, one must be able to look at things differently.

Photo downloaded from Internet
If you have watched Dead Poet’s Society ... the movie in which Robin Williams (one of my favorites comedians who passed away recently) starred in ... I am sure you will remember a scene where Robin Williams stood on a desk and said ... “Why do I stand up here? Anybody? I stand upon my desk to remind me that we must constantly look at things in a different way”.

I shared the same point when I wrote ... “The first rule...” in which I talked about the first rule of photography, which is ... “never shoot a photo at eye level” ... always look at things from a different level, at a different way with a different perspective ... then you will be able to live life differently.

The question is  ... “how many really look at things differently?”

Sadly, not a lot ... but too many think that their lives is different, special and maybe exceptional ... they doesn’t realize that the only thing that makes them different are the different masks they put on every day when they go out competing in the rat race to attain recognition by doing what the world tells them to do. They keep doing it for too long until they unknowingly turned cold and calculative ... so much so that they begin to love things rather than using them ... some worse, they use people rather than loving them.

So, what is looking at things differently?

I would like to put it this way ... do what is important rather then what is urgent. You see, people are always in a rush trying to stay on the top ... doing things for the whole world to see. The norm is ... urgency always has priority over importance. So, maybe you want to break away from the norm ... do it differently. Go, make an unscheduled surprise trip to pick up your kids after school for a burger at the local drive-in ... well, the world may not know about this ... but you know (how important it is) and so do the kids.

If you worry that you may not have enough, let me tell you there are many out there who are contented with half of what you have.  Hey, look at this differently ... how much you have is not measured by how many things money can buy ... how much a person really has, is measured by the things he (or she) has that MONEY CANNOT BUY!

There is a simple way to live life differently ... you don’t have to be elaborate or do great things for the world to see or show the abundance in your lifestyle ... just step away and take a back seat. From there you can definitely see and do things differently ... then you will be able to live life in a different way. It is OK if the world doesn’t know about it but you do ... so will those who are doing it together with you.