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Monday, November 14, 2011

“The Aircraft Theory”

“The Aircraft Theory”
Why Relationships Go Wrong

“It’s not how you fall, it’s how you land.” (La Haine)

The detritus of relationships gone wrong is everywhere. It is there in the metallic pungency of the railway platform; in the cool room-freshener laden air of your office; in the tar and plastic smell of your car; in the receiver of your phone; in the musky popcorn air of the cinema; and, in the bed sheets laced with the sweet smell of detergent.
We are forever trampling upon the debris of broken promises, dried tears, and, who knows, cold blood. Who is there to tell you that the seat you are occupying in TGIF is the venue of a crash? No one has the heart to tell you that someone sank hopelessly in seat number H13 of a certain PVR cinema right in the middle of a funny sequence in a movie? But, there you are, as if nothing ever happened. Human beings have this mistaken belief that dusting, vacuuming, air-freshening and an occasional phenyl mop clears up the side and after effects of all activities human—including relationships. This belief is beheld partly to avoid space crunch. We cannot have cemeteries for murdered emotions, can we?   

But, why are we destined to create so much misery for ourselves and others whom we love or have loved? Is it a necessity in times of short attention spans and our love for infinite variety? Why do we then prefer ten tweets of 140 characters or less each over a letter 1400 characters long? Why do we have five hundred Facebook friends but feel suicidal on Friday evenings for want of company? Is misery the new drug of the educated masses?

Fortunately, things are not really that hopeless. Most of emotional misery and destruction is avoidable if we take precautions, at the right moments in our relationships.
Human beings are like crazy magnets. We attract, get attracted, repel and get repelled. Look around and see the magnetism in action everywhere. College classrooms, canteens, railway coaches, airplane aisles, traffic lights, offices, dance clubs, marriage parties, neighbor’s balcony or roof, dreams and what have you. The “crazy” part of the human magnet is that the North Pole can suddenly become the South Pole and vice versa, and, as a result, someone whom we loved so much suddenly becomes our bête noire!

It is common knowledge that most airplane crashes occur during landing and takeoff. I have also observed myself that most road accidents in Delhi happen at the beginning and end of flyovers, and close to traffic signals. There could be two reasons for these phenomena: situational complexity and our corresponding level of alertness. An airplane perhaps employs almost all of its control gadgetry during takeoff and landing and uses less of these during the cruise. Same goes for cars. We employ brake, clutch, gear, gas pedal and steering wheel, all during “takeoff” and “landing”, but can make do with steering wheel and occasional brake during the cruise. Our speed and alertness level must match the level of situational complexity; else, crashes are waiting to happen. This is the “Aircraft Theory” of human relationships.

The crazy magnets are given to over speeding just at the wrong times in a relationship. How the hell can you bungee jump at the start of a relationship and remain safe just by shutting our eyes and howling “Looooove youuuuuu” while we fall headlong? Instead, backpack and descend into the canyon together, slowly and surely. Same caution applies when the elevation gained out of a strong relationship supplies the itch for over speeding. The “cruise mode” in your car is designed not to exceed the set upper speed limit, even while hurtling downhill with gravity assist. Humans are indeed designed to self-destruct. We tend to over speed just when our relationships are going downhill! Trust me; it is easy to detect the start of the downhill phase: it begins immediately after a crest of happiness and joy!

Finally, when we know that it is time to stop, take stock and march again, it is the “all systems go” time. Slowdown from the cruise mode and carefully come to a halt on a safe stretch, de-clutch and pull the hand brake up. Get into some serious soul searching, dust away the accumulated detritus, stretch the weary legs of your togetherness, breathe deeply and get set for rest of the journey.

Don’t be a fool and add to the detritus. People couldn’t care less. They are forever trampling upon your tears with kajal, the sticky gel of your grief and dancing to the pain beat of your leaden heart.

The only thing two miserable hearts can share is the alibi!