Rum and Praline
A delectable dessert teaches Megha Bajaj to accept people as they are and savour every relationship for what it is
Years ago, I was at the Willingdon Club in Mumbai, and a friend of mine introduced me to a delicacy that I can feel in my taste buds even today. Rum and Praline ice-cream. I am not much of a dessert person, but she said I must try something new and I liked the way Rum and Praline rolled off my tongue as I ordered it. Fine, let’s see what it is.
Little did I know that I was about to taste the best ice-cream I had ever had. The softest caramel and rum ice-cream with crunchy praline pecans (butter, sugar, corn syrup, pecans, and salt). It was rolling off my tongue—an explosion of sweetness, softness, crunchiness, and a sudden dash of saltiness. It was heaven. Pure heaven. I could not imagine how so many different tastes could come together to create something so breathtaking.
Recently, I was talking to a few friends about my relationship with Arun and a few other close friends, and I suddenly described it as Rum and Praline. And that’s when it struck me—there was so much to learn from this ice-cream. It was delectable for a reason. And as I have been applying these reasons to my relationships, I am enjoying them more than ever.
The first, I realised, was the mix of different tastes that made Rum and Praline so special. It was sweet and sour. Soft and crunchy. And so are relationships. And people. Trying to fit anyone (including yourself) into a box or a definition is so limiting. I used to pigeonhole people into neatly labelled boxes, and each time they did something that defied it, I didn’t know what to do. For instance, if someone I had pegged down as loving had an anger spell, my system couldn’t handle it. If someone I had pegged down as straightforward, twisted a tale, I would go for a toss. Gradually, I realised that no one is just one flavour. No one is a ‘vanilla.’ Or even a ‘chocolate.’ People are this and that. And enjoying all sides to them empowers you to grow in love and build a peaceful relationship. It also relieves the other from being anything but themself.
Rum and Praline gives you the freedom to be what you wish to be.
The second incredible thing I realised was that Rum and Praline doesn’t seem to fight each other in your mouth. The tastes complement each other. The rum is just being the rum, and the praline, praline. The pecans are what they are. So often, in the name of love, we begin to try changing people. We feel we are doing it for them, but the point is, he is here to be him and not another version of you. Just because I love coffee, I want him to as well. Why! Just because I have a love for travel, he should too. Why! The more I am learning to enjoy each person in my life for what they are and not what I want them to be, the more I’m growing in peace and acceptance; and the best part—resentment and expectations are diminishing. In fact, there is a chance for love to blossom, in all its innocence and glory. Because no one is enforcing anything on the other.
I love relationships. I love dwelling on them. Writing on them. And most of all, living them. I once asked my guru, “What is the single most cause of all miseries in the world?” I expected Him to say “Money!” But instead, He said, “Relationships!”
Such vital energy that can be used to savour relationships goes in dealing with them. Not that I have got it all right. And yet, with every passing day, I am enjoying my gang more. And I hope they can say the same for me!
Rum and Praline. Hope we live this often. More often.
Megha Bajaj is a bestselling author, film script writer and poet.
An ardent seeker at heart, she also runs her online writing and healing workshops called WoW. You can read more about her on www.MeghaBajajWoW.com.
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