What is a Relationship? The answer can very well be quizzical \u2013 \u2018if you don\u2019t ask me I know, if you ask me I do not\u2019. Here I wish to share a short poem I had written a few years back. It reads like this:\r\n\u201cI spent hours with her\r\nIn a crowd\r\nShe was not there.\r\nThen\r\nShe stole a glance and threw a smile\r\nThe crowd vanished\r\nShe only was there.\u201d\r\nIt is interesting. The poet and the girl spent hours together in a crowd. The crowd is a group of stand-alone people. Hence practically for the poet, the girl was non existent. The moment she stole a glance and threw a smile, as far as the poet is concerned, she only existed there, none else. This explains what a relationship is. It is the \u2018connect\u2019 between two entities without which each is a stand-alone, non-existent entity for the other.\r\n\r\nThe colour and strength of relationship: Thus any \u2018connect\u2019 is a relationship. Like a vector in physics it has a magnitude and a direction. In other words, it has intensity and a valence (positive or negative). Let us discuss the valence first. Like love, hatred is also a relationship if that is what connects two individuals.\u00a0 Even if someone chooses to ignore the other person it speaks of a relationship because he is doing something to the other. So any \u2018connect\u2019 love or hatred, concern or jealousy, praise or condemnation speaks of a relationship. Then comes the intensity. One loves another but how much; one hates another but how strongly. The intensity of a relationship determines the behaviour. Intensity, in itself, is determined by two things- one, the personality of the person as to how strongly he feels about whatever he feels ; two, his experience with the other person with whom he strikes his relationship. It is the intensity of love that drove Heer-Ranjha, Romeo-Juliet or Laila-Majnu to die. People love, fail and learn to live with it. But the above characters chose otherwise. The intensity of relationship drives intense responses both constructive and destructive.\r\n\r\nRelationship and expectation: These are closely intertwined. In fact each influences the other. One\u2019s behaviour is perceived in the background of expectation the other has from him. How is this expectation formed? It is formed on the basis of one\u2019s past experience and his perceived definition of the relationship. Often an apparently good behaviour is not good enough when much more is expected and similarly a bad behaviour is not bad enough if a far worse one was apprehended. It may therefore be interesting to note that some Management teachers include Customer Expectation Management to be a part of their strategy for Customer satisfaction.\r\n\r\nRelationship and Communication: Communication is an important tool for shaping relationship. Again a few lines of a poem written by me.\r\n\u201cIn the beginning\r\nThe words you speak\r\nShape your relationship.\r\n\r\nAfterwards\r\nThe relationship you have built\r\nPuts words into your mouth.\u201d\r\nIt is communication which fosters a relationship, shapes a relationship, keeps a relationship alive by clearing blockades when they arise; it is again miscommunication which breaks relationship. Often it is the lack of communication which lets the relationship wither away. Relationship may sometimes suffer inadequate communication, faulty communication, and strangely sometimes, from excessive communication. \u00a0It is pertinent to quote Chanakya\u2019s famous lines in sanskrit;\r\nLakshmi basati jihwagre\r\nJihwagre mitra bandhavah\r\nJihwagre bandhanam praptam\r\nJihwagre maranam dhrubam.\r\n(Your speech- communication earns you wealth, earns you friendship, your speech can put you behind bars, it can also bring you sure death.)\r\n\r\nRelationship and attachment: Is attachment a relationship? Attachment develops with animate or inanimate objects when they are together with us for a period of time. It is \u2018used to being together\u2019. It thins down when the person or the thing is taken away physically. One feels uneasy temporarily as he was used to it but the bonding at emotional level is not strong enough to continue the feeling of loss over a period of time.\r\n\r\nRelationship and exclusivity: A young boy approached a girl in his class and asked her, \u201cDo you love me?\u201d The girl answered, \u201cYes, sure, I love all my classmates\u201d. Does the boy feel satisfied? The girl, in this case, is not expressing her love for the boy (although he is a classmate and comes in the purview of her love); rather she is making a personality statement \u2013\u2018 I am a loving person\u2019. A relationship is often enriched only when bestowed with some exclusivity. Every relationship is unique and the concerned persons must feel it as such. What the English poet GM Hopkins calls \u2018thisness\u2019 is applicable here too. Every relationship has a \u2018thisness\u2019 to it.\r\n\r\nRelationship in a time horizon: It is said that relationship grows with the passage of time. True. But in which direction? Relationship is like a young plant which needs to be regularly watered to grow and shine. It has risk of losing the spark and withering away unless it is regularly fed and taken care of consciously. Please mark the following lines where the poet describes a man-woman relationship on which time has taken a toll.\r\n\u201cNow when we are tired of togetherness\r\nShe for me\r\nIs an unflowing pond\r\nAnd me for her\r\nA grounded ship\r\nIndifferent to the tidal waves of the same waters\u201d\r\n- Raju Samal ( Lost fragrance of love- Ripples in the Void pp-39)\r\nThe greatest threat to a relationship is \u2018being taken for granted\u2019. Relationship grows depending on how well you feed it and at what frequency.\r\n\r\nAs the relationship grows strong, it can withstand the minor onslaughts on its journey. It is rightly said that the strength of a friendship is determined by its ability to absorb the unfriendly behaviour.\r\n\r\nIt is good to start a relationship but it is great to make it stay long and strong.