As a school kid, I was delighted by the rare trip to the chemistry lab, where the teacher would demonstrate an experiment. Such experiments were thought of being too risky for us to carry out on our own. We would then get to see a powder of a certain colour come alive when mixed with a transparent liquid.
Some reactions were slow, while others were fast. Some were spontaneous. Others required catalysts. A reaction is a function of temperature, pressure and other external conditions, but most importantly, depended on which chemicals we mixed together.
Two people who may appear ordinary in several respects, can produce extraordinary results when mixed together. Like chemicals, some people mix better with others. Some form fast and quick relationships that die as soon as they form, while others form slow, long-lasting ones with half-lives longer than our life-spans.
To a certain extent, we can control chemical reactions by tweaking external factors, such as the temperature or the medium of the reaction. But past a point, certain chemicals were simply not meant to produce interesting combinations. This is similar with people. We are more unchanging than we would like ourselves to believe.
Studying chemicals – observing which chemical reacts with which other and investigating why that is so, helps us understand the world around us better. It is fascinating and insightful to learn about how all of creation, in its variegated, spectacular manifestations is comprised of merely a handful of elements.
Similarly, a handful of principal human qualities combine with each other to produce infinite patterns of friendships, mentorships, romantic associations and professional partnerships.
Understanding the chemistry behind our relationships helps us understand the elements we are made of.