There is a saying that “you shouldn’t look for milk in a hardware store”.  This was one harsh lesson my son learnt during the first few weeks of the lockdown.

His room mate who was with him for the entire duration of his medical studies and took his help every step of the way abandoned him when he needed support the most.  He took away all the essentials, utensils, bedding et al and vacated to reach the safety of his home with the help of his dad who is a very senior official in the government.  The fact that he was secretive about this move and took my son by surprise hurt him more.  He was left wondering as to how a person could behave this way during this difficult period of lock-down.  He felt used.  His repeated pleas that he could shift essentials post the lock down seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.  The worst was that he also took away all the protective masks which they had in their house. The fact that all this happened in my son’s absence as he was working his night shifts in the hospital made the feeling worse for him.


I could sense the feeling of hurt in his voice when he called me and narrated the whole incident.  “I trusted him and thought that he is not like others who I have seen – transactional!” he exclaimed.  The problem was compounded with the fact that there was no way he could now get some of the essentials during the lockdown period.  It was stressful for us as parents as well.  As if my son’s posting in the hospital during the pandemic was not stressful enough.

I reminded my son about the times he mentioned this highly business like behavior of his friend and his family.  They apparently were people who always looked at relationships in terms of cost-benefit.  He made the mistake of thinking that he could change this attitude in his friend as he had helped him in other aspects of getting through the tough medical course.  He was sadly mistaken.

Lesson: We stay in relationships that’ don’t work for two reasons.  First, because we hope that they will change , and second we were taught that every relationship should work out.  How many times have you known or heard about people going back to old relationships that didn’t work?  How many times have you heard about a woman going back to a man who has told her that he won’t make a commitment?  If you are looking for a commitment, why go back to the person with a commitment problem?  Why go back to a dry well?

When people are frustrated in a repeat relationships, it’s as if they are looking for milk in a hardware store.  No matter how many times they go up and down the same aisles, they are not going to find any milk.  If you want love, compassion and affection in you relationships, but you have chosen a person who clearly can’t give it to you, it’s time to choose someone else.

“Don’t allow people to be reckless with your love, your heart and your tenderness”  I told my son.  And don’t allow old definitions to dictate your present life.  You can rewrite the rule book by learning to honor yourself and others, by ‘recording’ over old tapes.  You can find  a new definition of love for yourself, one that truly means treating the other person as valuable, as worthy of great love and care.  And you can expect the same treatment for yourself.  Whatever it is, it is yours to define for yourself this lifetime.

Let them be who they are.  If they leave, it might be because they were supposed to go.

“Instead of holding on to these unpleasant feelings, we must learn to say “ouch” when we are hurt, and to the person who hurt us.  Then we can move on”

This lockdown is also making people experience the cliché’ “A friend in need is a friend indeed”



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