‘How are you?!’

No matter how much you try to differentiate yourself from the rest of the world, it will remain a fact that your behavior, personality and attitude is something that will be a replica to the seventh person you meet down the street, if not second or third one. Despite of so strong similarities, our conversations with people around us stay limited to the things we like. Whenever we meet someone, we generally ask them ‘How are you?’. Now this thought is bugging my head, how much of it do we actually mean when we ask someone ‘How are you’. Are we really interested in knowing how the other person actually is. How the other person is doing? How the other person is feeling?

Let me share an incident with you. I work in a sales driven organization and there is tremendous pressure on everyone to achieve their target month-on-month basis. And if you fail to deliver even on a single month, you need to be ready to face the heat. So I had an employee who reported to me and she was a star performer. She achieved her targets regularly but then came a month when she was unable to perform. Now the top management of the company became very furious that they asked me to give a clear message to the employee that she will be kicked out if she doesn’t perform. So I called her to office and asked her, ‘Hey! What’s going on?’ She started cribbing about all the things about work, ‘Sir there are no customers in the market. Nobody is willing to buy our product, I am trying my best but I don’t know what to do.’ I said ‘Wait! I was actually asking you ‘What’s going on in your life’. And I am sure your life must be more than the job that you do. How are you?’ The moment I said this to her, tears started rolling down her cheeks and trust me, I was not surprised. Then she shared me the problems she has been facing in her family. There were financial issues and issues related to her children. I listened to all of that. And towards the end, I told her, ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be OK.’ And I ended the meeting. After a couple days, that lady returned to her star performer role. And it wasn’t that I gave her any piece of advice that helped her in finding a solution to her problems. I just asked her How is she.

We are living in an age of social media where there are smiling selfies revolving all around in status, stories & DP. But nobody knows what problems we are hiding behind those desperate smiles. There may be few who are who are coming out of a broken relationship but not clear how to move on. There may be few who might be struggling in science subject but still continue to pursue it because of parental pressure. There may be few who are continuously bearing the thrashing of their boss but cannot quit because they have a family to look after. Now you all must be wondering that these are common problems and all of us do face it across different walks of life. So what is the issue?

Let me explain this. Suppose there are around 100 people in a room. All of them in different shapes in sizes. I ask a guy whose physique is like that of a body builder another guy who is extremely thin to come forward and lift a heavy box place in the centre of the room. Body Builder can do it with bare hands but the thin guy will find it tough to lift it for obvious reasons. But nobody in the room is going to question the thin guy because we all are aware of the reason. This is where the catch lies. If we are aware that all of us possess different level of physical strength, then why do we assume that we must be possessing same level of mental strength.

Depression might not be a disease but still needs cure and it needs help. According to a research by WHO, India is the most depressed country in the world. Despite of such a huge number, depression is still considered to be a mere excuse given by individuals who might not be willing to handle problems in life. But it is much more serious than our belief. And we all can play our part in helping the world to get rid of it. You just need to say those three magical words and it’s certainly not ‘I Love you’. You need to ask ‘How are you’ and rest will follow.

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