redThe blue of my jeans and the red of my shirt do not talk to each other. Forced to temporarily inhabit the residence that is my body I see that they squirm and tease each other all the time. They lay claims to inheriting my liking of colors as I am sure they did somewhere hear me saying “I love the red of the roses and the blue of the skies”. Made to share space, I see them caught in a relationship that is characterized to say the least by rivalry, by dissent and by mutual distrust- as if siblings in a moment of feud. Only at the belt area do they meet occasionally and peripherally. Never seen them sharing a hug or a lighter moment. Whatever one says of the therapies of touch and massage, the fact remains that touching also is one of the most irritable things to do.

The black of my hair and the brown of my shoes do talk to each other. Just that one cannot hear much of the other. Placed distantly they look up to and look down on the other. The color from the hump of some camel feels proud of its origin and the one from the shackles of a long incarcerated convict’s cell reeks of pity, disgust and suffocation. The two come close when I kneel to tie the laces. It is then a stream of my locks falls to the shoe and caresses it momentarily. However romantic that moment, the fact remains that the ones residing above can hardly be in love with the ones who are dragged endlessly on dusty muddy floors.

The brown of my right hand talks to the brown of my left. They meet, shake hands and share their day-to-day happenings like good friends, like neighbors who rarely quarrel. Why and how is such a relationship possible? I think it is because of their even handedness, because they belong to the same domain of the residence. One does not have a point to prove to the other. They know what they do and where they come from. I do believe that all working relationships where partners from uneven platforms are involved seem to work only because one of them is either unusually appreciative and understanding of the esteem or of the plight of the other. It often does not make sense to see relationships as a game of give and take. At times things just are. I however do not believe that relationships aren’t possible between two unequal, or between two ‘different’ individuals. They are. But when they come into being, the compassion and the pity, the tolerance and the accommodating nature of one over the weaker, poorer other cannot be left unmentioned leave alone highlighted. C’est La Vie? What do you think about it?


30 thoughts on “Unequals”

  1. वाह! अमित भाई, पूर्वार्ध तो कवितामयी था। इस विषय में यूं दोनों बातें सत्य हैं। निर्भर इस पर करता है कि आप दर्द में दवा ढूंढते हैं या वैद्य की की पुड़िया में।

    1. धन्यवाद! दवा खोज निकालने से अधिक ये बात समझने की ज़रुरत है कि रोग बहुत जटिल है। सम्बन्ध आपस में तारतम्य रखने वालों से हों तो कोई बात नहीं, जब ऊपर नीचे दायें बाएं वाला चक्कर आता है तो सम्बन्ध के साथ साथ न जाने क्या क्या साथ में शुरू हो जाता है- मान मनुहार, समझाना समझना, हसना चिल्लाना- सब में ज़िन्दगी का वैसा ही मज़ा है शायद.

  2. Difference is the most natural grain of our world. Nature does not create anything equal.
    As a result, perhaps, the human beings have been on the quest to find and impose equality, more because that seems to bring in a sense of security in the world of uncertainty – inequalities reflect the uncertainty.
    Unequal poles only attract each other – a husband and wife would find more inequalities over a period of time.
    If the quest for equality has its own challenges, taking the inequalities into one’s stride has its own points of joy.
    Which suits you is matter of your own conditioning. And if you are so conditioned, you may continue happily in that state throughout your life – a matter of observation, no intentions attached.

    1. That makes a lot of sense to me Ashok Ji. At the level of our individual selves, I do think that ‘connecting’ with someone whom we see as an ‘unequal’ is a ‘decision’ we take. I dont think it comes naturally to us- a point that I had in mind while writing this post. Thanks a lot for sharing your valuable thoughts! Hope you are doing fine!


  3. The common ‘standard’ ‘norm’ for courteous behavior between two individuals recommends using “Thanks for your very considered response” as lubricant that keeps the ‘friction of (in)equality’ lubricated enough to subsume the ‘screeches’ in the exchanges between the individuals.

  4. A very nice and thought provoking post…. In this vast World everything cannot be equal…………. And being equal will not always serve the purpose……… It will do more bad than good…….. It is not about equality or inequality, it is the understanding and need which matters….. Thanks for the share…….

  5. Some really fancy conceits there. It intensely reminded me of the Metaphysical poets, especially John Donne. A psychologically metaphorical post with an intense focus between unequals.

  6. Great metaphors! I agree with you, that it takes enormous adjustments/ compromises between partners from unequal backgrounds. Plus the left/ right hand metaphor speaks to me of proper delegation…..there is no conflict of interest there 🙂

  7. Colours are always having a difficult relationship. And relationships in general are often tough to handle as well. Unequal relationships takes a little more effort to come on speaking terms, but is definitely possible – and often rewarding when it works.

  8. Wow Amit thanks for a thought provoking post. I’d like to add ~

    “Thich Nhat Hanh explains that his right hand has written many poems, while his left hand hasn’t written any. However, his right hand doesn’t have a superiority complex. It doesn’t turn to the left hand and say: “I write poetry and you don’t. I’m better than you are. You, left hand, are good for nothing.” At the same time, his left hand doesn’t have an inferiority complex. It doesn’t feel bad about itself because the right hand writes poetry and it does not.”


  9. There’s this thing about your writing where you connect seemingly random thoughts into a meaningful prose that I truly enjoy. Thanks once again for this wonderful read!
    As for hands they are similar and yet opposites and I guess for any meaningful relationship, the people involved too should have a basic set of values they can each confirm to while maintaining their individuality. Practically, this can manifest itself as involved parties fulfilling their different roles while understanding and respecting the others’ contributions.
    What say?

  10. How did I miss this post !
    That is definitely an interesting analogy ! One does have to make compromises to work in a relationship but there is also a question of whether it is worth it or not. Isn’t it ?

  11. Well Red & Blue happens to be on the either side of the spectrum (rainbow) they are bound to repel! 🙂
    On a serious note though,no two minds think similar, in fact even a single mind things differently at different times. They key is in the fluidity of one’s attitude & degree of willingness to blend in with other.
    As usual you never fail to come up with creative stuff

  12. Superior in what sense? I don’t think Nature’s differences are to be seen on an heirarchical scale. The spreading banyan tree does not look down on the lean palm or the slender banana tree. The bright and voluptuous dahlias and sunflowers do not condescend over the wee little blooms in the crevices of rocks. When it comes to human beings, our egos get in the way. There is a choice involved of course..to go on believing that we are better than the other or to celebrate the differences.

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