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TO BE REMEMBERED OR NOT TO BE

There are approximately 360,000 babies born per day and 15,000 births per hour worldwide. That is more than twice the number of people who die each day – meaning 180,000 people die each day, approximately. That’s statistics!

But to each family, a birth or a death is an event to remember. And when the one who is born accomplishes some remarkable feat, the world remembers him/her for years together.

History engraves the likes of Einstein, Edison, Newton, Marx, Graham Bell, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther, Maradona, Pele in its glorious pages. We also have the likes of Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro, Hitler, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and such others enshrined in the annals of history.

Think of the doorkeeper at your office – would you remember him several years after you quit your job? Umm . . . may be or may be not . . . not unless there is something significant about him or you’ve had some interesting conversation or a really nasty altercation with him! Isn’t it?

To etch ourselves in the memories of others, we need to be significant or do something of significance. Or at least, that’s how the common perception goes.

As I fast forward a few years of my life and then look backwards, to observe whether or not the footprints that I have made along the shores of my earthly life have withstood the tests of time, what do I see?

A portion of the Bible comes to my mind, which deals with this very issue. It is an allegory of a building that has been built on a strong foundation.To paraphrase it in my words –

Each one should build with care. If anyone builds on the foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is. Fire tests the quality of each person’s work. After the work goes through fire if what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss . . . but may himself survive the flames.

Do I want my works to be razed to the ground and relegate into oblivion? Or do I want my works to withstand the tempests of time and gaze loftily heavenwards?

What do I want to leave behind?

This life of mine has been soaked by the immense love of my Saviour, to whom I owe my every breath. His grace abounds in my life. Having no goodness in me whatsoever, I bask in His love and grace each day each moment.

In this life, I attempt to showcase this love and grace towards my fellowmen to the little extent doable by me. In a world largely bereft of love, I strive to awaken the love chords in human hearts. In times of vastly degrading values, I seek to make each precious one aware of the rich values that they are endowed with. Where each one competes to win the race shoving the others aside, I attempt to pick the fallen ones up and enthuse into them the zest to rise up and run again. To put my arm around those who long for an embrace and to give a reason to smile to those whose faces are streaked with dried tears – that is what I strive to do each passing day.

These are easier said that done. At times, I think to myself – why do people have difficulty in understanding love? Why do people have difficulty in accepting grace? These virtues of love and grace don’t cost anything in tangible terms . . . in fact, the world is hungry for love. Somehow, there is an unseen barrier that prevents people from exhibiting these qualities of the head and heart and also from responding to them.  

Whether or not I am remembered for these, I may not be there to see. How far I can do justice to these deeds of mine, I do not know. I may not reach the heights of the great ‘who’s whos’ of the world and get my name etched in golden letters or be eligible for a wax statue at Madame Tussauds. But, the impact it would cast on a few precious lives will far outweigh the remembrances and accolades.

William Wordsworth pens his famous lines in the poem ‘Lines written a Few miles above Tintern Abbey’ –                                                 

His little, nameless, unremembered acts 

Of kindness and of love. 


Such little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love are what I would strive to cast on the sands of time in the course of journey along life’s shores.
 

 

 

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A WARM HEART THAT I WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND

Last year when I turned forty I thought and felt old and wise. But then life took such a huge turn in the last one year. Now that I am nearing my forty first birthday I have come to realize that there is a lot that the universe still has to teach me. So then what is the legacy I want to leave behind? I am still learning. I don’t think I have  reached a point where I would be able to inspire others. 

At times I am so unsure about myself. I don’t know what I am doing is right or not. I am not sure whether I have been able to identify the true purpose of my life or not. So again back to the question what will be my legacy. Am I equipped to answer this question?😯

But on second thoughts I realized that the stage will never come when I will feel that now I have accomplished everything in my life and I have a solid legacy to leave behind…. I am sure many successful people will agree with me.

Life they say is unpredictable. Death is never going to give us enough time to prepare a legacy. So our everyday work should be inspiring enough for people to remember us after we are gone.

I would like to think that I would be remembered for being a friend in need. I have strived to help whenever someone has approached me for help. Even If at times it has meant going out of my way. I have been admonished by my close ones many a times because of this habit of mine. They say why do you have to take so much trouble for others especially when a lot of backbiting happens after the help. But this is my nature.  If someone asks I will try to help…

Second thing I think I would want my legacy to be is that I have been a good listener. Many a friends have have shared their problems with me.  Many people have told me that it is easy to share their secrets or stories or issues with me. I guess I inspire some kind of confidence in them that they can share their deep dark secrets with me. And be rest assured they remain only with me.

I think our words, our relationships, memories of the time spent with our family, friends and others, these are what we leave behind us when we die for other to cherish.And I hope, I would be remembered as a shoulder to lean on during times of trouble and a patient listener.

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​WHAT IS POSSIBLE?

Long time back (9 years to be precise) while being in the course called “Landmark Education”, I declared myself a possibility of love, commitment and inspiration. And when I made that declaration on stage in a room full of people, I remember I was in tears because the moment was so very overwhelming for me. When I was asked to write on this topic 2 days back – the first thought that came to my mind was about the possibility that I declared myself to be. Am I still living it? I don’t know.

Well, what was running in my mind when I made the declaration? At that moment I think I was the best version of me. I have never been more energetic, positive and motivated than I was at that moment. I want to be known for the energy I have to keep my commitments; I want to be known for the work I do because that would be truly inspirational; I want to be known to unconditionally love my loved ones. Quite ambitious for a 24 year old that I was at that time!!

How far am I from the vision that I had for myself? I think only people in my life can be the right judge but if I have to look at myself – I don’t think I am at all closer to my vision. I have all the reasons in the world for not being my possibility but at the end of the day, it doesn’t change the reality. If I were to die today (God forbid), I don’t think I would be satisfied at all. There is a lot to be done and a lot to achieve. And everybody wants to be kissed by the darkness of death only when they are satisfied that they have lived their lives fully – with failures, happiness, regrets, achievements etc.

Why am I not an ounce closer to be my possibilities? Maybe because I am too busy with nitty-gritties of life. I miss the bigger picture. I miss to see that life has to offer much beyond regular work, hard deadlines, occasional parties, bringing up a good kid in the world and keeping your family together. There are bigger problems waiting in the wide world and somebody needs to take ownership of those. Somebody needs to pick up the problems of the world and not just their own families.

I asked myself a simple question – while browsing Facebook if I see a friend’s pictures at Maldives at the perfect location with a perfect partner, would I feel inspired or jealous? While browsing more through the news feed, what would I feel when I see a person’s article on his successful attempt at rescuing small children from human trafficking? Would I feel inspired or jealous? Answer is clear for me. Pictures of my friend probably would make me envious (if not jealous) and that of the social worker would make me feel really inspired. What are my Facebook posts all about? Do I post something that inspires people and they say – “Wow, this girl is up to change the world for good?” or do they think, “Yet another person busy taking international vacation. I wish I could go there.”

All of us must have a vision for ourselves and create a plan to make that vision a reality. Facebook posts is one such example of doing a reality check – there could be many more. Each one of us wants to leave something behind. With the digital world it is even easier – your Facebook/Instagram posts would always be there stored safely in some server in some corner of the world (hopefully). Your children, grand-children and great-grand-children could also access it someday and say something great or trivial about you. The choice is yours to make the right choice today.

In the last 9 years of my life (since the time I made that declaration), I have done little in my life to move steadily towards being that possibility. I am glad that I get a chance to write for Candles through which I recreate my vision for myself while re-declaring the same.

So here it goes – “Who am I is the possibility of Love, Commitment and Inspiration. So, today again I give up all the dialogues in my head to be this possibility”.

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YEAH, THIS IS THE LEGACY WHAT I WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND

Legacy is such a word that many are afraid of facing it. But it is always my desire to leave something behind me. It is such a word that I am not worthy of it because the legacy left by the greats like Mahatma Gandhi, Raj Ram Mohan Rai, William Carrey etc., are unthinkable for me yet I think about it many times. I have a desire to leave something behind me for the world to follow it. I want to leave something like a baton so that the race will continue even when I am out of the race. 😛

During many memorial services I have witnessed, friends and relatives talk about the deceased person in whose name the memorial service is conducted. They remember the good qualities of that person and how he or she has been such a help to the society or family. Even I have shared about one or two people in their memory.

Now when I keep myself in one of those beds, lying unmoved with all my friends and relatives all around me crying while remembering me, telling and discussing about me what would be the conversation or the topic or the subject!!!

Will they be talking about how I used to stay jovial and smiling at all times or how I used to make people comfortable, talking with them?

Will they be talking about how I make fun of others at times or how I make fun of myself at difficult times?

Will they be talking about how I have struggled in life or how much pain that I went through?

Will they be talking about my failures because of my weaknesses or the frustrations that I had to go through?

They have the liberty to think whatever they can and I really won’t be having any control over it or neither I would be present to motivate them to talk this way or that way. But actually I can control their thoughts partially when I am alive. When I am alive I definitely can work on my attributes so that when I die people remember them and inspire each other to follow them.

But what am I going to leave behind for the people?

If I do a stock taking of my own strengths and qualities then I would pick “Owning a Relationship” to be the number one though sometimes I have failed in some of the crucial relationships in my life. And my failures make me to stay down, low, humbled, away from self praising and give all glory to God, the creator who has given me that quality for a purpose, for His purposes, to be carried out in His ways.

My failures also give teach me how to sharpen my quality more in His strength… How to strive for more… How to own relationships better and effectively…

I have always longed for people… longed for being with them… longed to understand them and own them as mine. I don’t know how it was developed within me but it just did and I praise God for that. I know how comforting it is to be accepted and understood. I have seen the joy in those faces of people when I accept them wholeheartedly without even judging what they have done or what state they are in. In my case as well I feel great when someone own me by accepting me wholeheartedly. Initially God did it when I came to Him with my iniquities and later I felt whole, comforted.

My desire is to leave behind this legacy for the people of this world around me.

The Bible says,

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”

I just want to follow it by striving for it till I die so that I can inherit the quality that I have to the next generation.

Stay Blessed!

I GOT THE POWER TO CONTROL THE WORLD AROUND ME

Here I am to contradict myself.

Yesterday, I cursed my second wife and today I am gonna say sorry to her and praise her. 😛

The first phone that I got was a blessing for me… Why? Because I could talk to my then would be wife. But that phone didn’t give me everything which my wife… I mean my second wife gave at a later part of my life. 😉

I was fascinated and exhilarated with the fact that I can do almost everything by just pressing few buttons. Being a sickly person I always find it difficult to call a taxi walking down a bit, go to a restaurant or shopping spending so much on taxis, stand in the queue for money, requesting someone to carry the money to my parents and so on. But my smart phone made everything possible. I can just sit on my bed and book a cab right from there, I can order food of my choice just sitting at my house, without spending a penny on travel, buy stuffs for myself and my wife or family right from my mobile. I can transfer money at ease to my parents. The funniest part is when I need some cash and I don’t have avenues to go to the bank except walking down, I transfer money someone else’s account and ask him to withdraw and give it to me. 😉

Wow! I am in control!

My smart phone gave me an opportunity to run a community called ‘Candles Online‘. That is the biggest thing that happened in my life. I remember, once I forgot to schedule an article and it was already time for publication. I called Aastha and Rajnandini and both were busy and were helpless. But that didn’t bother me even I was in a birthday party. Why? Because I had my second smart wife who easily helped me to do my work.

My smart phone helped me to carry my Bible everywhere. This is a Huge benefit. I always longed for buying different versions of Bibles for better study but always had felt sad thinking about the cost of them. Now, I can have them all free of cost at one spot called, “Smart Phone”.

My smart phone always comes to my help when I am extremely tired and don’t feel like using my laptop. It is handy and helps me to do some urgent work with ease on my phone.

Yesterday, my Nani wanted to see us and I told my aunt we can video chat and she can see us. I video called my aunt and my Nani can easily saw us and spoke to us.

I have been talking to many, from around the world. Actually, my smart phone gave me a platform where I can stand and address people those who are in need. It literally gave me the power to control the world around me. It is like, these smart phones are invented mainly for the people like me who makes the best use of it and keeps the world under my feet.

But!!!

Using my smart phone as my servant will be safer for me. The moment I give too much attention to it, it starts dancing on my head and occupies most of my times and the consequence is a scenario about which I described yesterday. You can find it HERE.

I can conclude my article with the question which Aastha asked me after reading my yesterday’s article: “Dada, don’t you think the reason behind the chaos is not your phone but YOU?”

Stay Blessed!

I FOUND A CHAOTIC ME THROUGH MY SMART PHONE

I used to call my  mobile and laptop as my second and third wives jokingly and now I feel the tragic of having them as my wives.

When I had my first mobile in 2004 I was feeling so proud and jubilant about it. And once as I was having my dinner sitting beside my uncle my phone rang and I picked up the phone. It was a call from my then would be wife. I asked her I will call back in sometime and finished my food quickly. But my uncle reprimanded me saying, “Never allow a phone call to disturb during your meal”. I was irritated at that time but now when I see how we live and how disturbed we are every time we have our meals or do any personal work.

Recently, we just finished our annual meeting and something irked me very much which I want to share. One of our very senior member started talking over the phone in the middle of the discussion and all had to wait till he finished talking over the phone. A week ago I was talking to my wife, discussing and planning when her phone rang and she started talking to the person who had called breaking the flow of our discussion.

Few days ago, I went on a whatsapp strike and called up Rajnandini to manage the group in my absence. I was so irritated that I wanted to stay away from my phone. It was a sign of typical mood swing as someone told me. I agree to her but I really very unhappy now with the way I have managed my life alongside this stupid idiot box.

One day I was talking to Avinash and I said if one day we wake up and see all our smart phones have become tiny bar phones we will wail and cry for few days missing our social networks, instant notifications, whatsapp and may be after two three years we will settle down with the bar phone feeling happy with lessened disturbances in life. There will be quite an upheaval for some time and then everything will be managed without a smart phone. I know nothing like that can ever happen but that’s just a wish I wished few days ago.

You must be thinking, why I am cribbing against my own wife? Second wife, I mean. 😛

It is because I am bit upset with her for last few days…

It has made me lazy, extremely. There are things which I used to do by walking out of my house, now I do the same thing sitting on my bed. The little bit of exercise that I used to do has stopped now.

It has made me kind of unsocial as I don’t like anyone to invade my virtual life. I love it when I am with my Facebook and Whatsapp friends. They are known to me, I agree… In that way I am very social but I somehow don’t like the face to face conversation much.

Recently, someone wanted to talk to me and get little advise from me. I asked him to ping me on Whatsapp and I rarely chat with him on there as well.

It has also made me lose my communication skills with my wife, with my relatives and friends. I get irritated easily as I don’t want to look at them or be engaged with them for a long time as I am busy on my phone.

Once my brother came to my house and after sometime he said, “I am going now, you are busy and bhabi is not there…so“. Then I realised why he said that and I kept my laptop and phone at once and started talking to him.

I know my smart phone has benefited me in many ways but it has turned me into someone which I can’t recognise myself.

Aastha says, “My phone takes care of almost everything for me.”

Preeta says, “At least for me, my smart phone has really been my knight in shining armour.”

And today I confess that, “I found a chaotic me through my smart phone“.

MY IRIS OPENS YOU, YOU OPEN THE WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES TO ME …

An year ago around same time, I was at my hometown. There was a TV commercial which made my dad’s head turn, he looked at us (me and my sister were lazing on the sofa), and asked “What is that ?”. My sister was the first to react, she started in an exclaiming voice and said, “That’s iris scanner papa. To unlock the phone you just have to see into the scanner and boom it unlocks the phone in a ziffy !!”.

I jokingly told my dad to buy the phone to which he wittily replied saying I should be the one buying such phones. It was the Samsung S8+.

Oh!! In olden days … (as per my father) 

There were books, journals, magazines, weekly and monthly issues. While embarked on a train or bus journey we used to take some books or buy news paper on the railway platform. For the latest happenings in the country or even our county we have to wait for a day for the information to be presented to us in the form of  newspaper

There were landline phones, though the name sounds funny, they are fixed devices. To be able to make a call, we either have to be at home or find an STD booth. While walking along the streets we used to remember where the STD booth’s on the way were so that we can contact our family in emergency. When we shift homes changing the connection means raising a support request, wait for at least 2-3 days until the connection is moved to new place. If there were rains or huge winds, the lines used to go bad making the phone dead.

To apply for jobs we have to wait for the circular to be published in the newspaper, or there were special job vacancy catalogs which we could buy in book stores. 

Fashion magazines were the only go-to for latest fashion trends. Word of mouth was a great advertisement tool back then.

To listen to our favorite songs, we have to wait for a week so that the music show/dial-in program will be aired. Even the radio had programs solely based on latest songs. Entire family gathers near the radio for the program eagerly waiting for it to start and sing together, it was such a fun waiting for those songs.

To pay the electricity bill, we have to collect our bill, take proper change (as in dime/paise), stand in the queue to pay the bill. If there is any discrepancy or mistake it takes days together to get it corrected. It is similar case for bus or train reservations. All of this has changed due to technology… 

He took a pause and said, “Life is so convenient now, we don’t have to invest so much of time on all these important things. Auto-register for payment of the bills and we are done”

Really, life is very convenient now. Let me give you my own example.

(Contd.,) Few months later, I was looking for a phone with a good camera. Due to my health condition I was no longer able to carry any weight on treks, carrying my body from one place to another was very tough. So, I decided to replace my DSLR with a phone camera. I wanted good quality pictures that look good even on a 32 inch screen. After several options I resorted to buying the S8+.

Before buying the phone there were several thoughts. Mobile phone is for the purpose of communication and staying connected. There is only my family and couple of other people whom I constantly keep in touch with. Do I need to spend a hefty amount of money for this ? The phone cost was 1000 US dollars and it sounded like a waste of money. May be I could put the same money to better use ? After a lot of debate, finally I placed an order, the phone arrived after 3 days.

Right from the day I unpacked the gorgeous box it came in, I fell in love with the phone.  If I keep the camera aside, my phone keeps me engaged all day long. Though my sole purpose of changing the phone was for camera, the Quad HD screen makes reading enjoyable. Now all my educational apps are on my phone, so is my kindle. Some book I start reading on kindle follows me on the phone app, I can read it anywhere.

Since the amount of calls/messages I get is very less, one fine day I decided to mute all the notifications from social apps. Twitter, whatsapp, Linked-in – name any network, it would be on mute for notifications. I thought I might feel lonely but strangely I did not. Instead the notifications from other educational apps keep reminding me of the projects I need to complete, lessons that are still pending, approaching target date for exams – wow, I am enjoying all these completely. Somewhere inside me I felt these apps are better than me in making a schedule, they make a schedule and I have to stick to it, simple..  

My phone takes care of almost everything for me, starting from water intake reminders, step counter, bank transfers, bills, weight management, sleep measurement. With secure payment I don’t even have to carry my credit card, I can tap my phone (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and be done with the payment, this is more secure than swiping a physical card.. All the documents I may ever need are securely stored and are always with me. This saves a lot of time that I can invest on doing productive work that can make a difference some day.

All the tasks that used to consume so much of time and travelling to many places now happen in the vicinity of home, right in the palm. The device that is so sleek is very powerful, we have to use it the right way !!! 

“Mobile phones are misnamed. They should be called gateways to human knowledge.” – Ray Kurzweil