WHY I AM ALWAYS LOOKING AT LIFE THROUGH A WINDOW?

Home is where the heart is and everyone’s home has that special place or a corner which is very close to one’s heart.

I too have a favourite spot but it’s at my mother’s place. Yes, no place has been able to beat that spot, not even my own house. You must be wondering what is that spot is, so let me tell you more about it.

My mother stays in a very elite locality of Mumbai and most of the structures there are termed as heritage. Thus, my mom’s residence is old fashioned. High ceiling, big veranda, big rooms and big windows. Our drawing room adorns one such window and that exactly is my favourite spot.

This old fashioned window is far more comfortable and attractive than a french window. Even now when I visit mom’s place that is the place I spend time at.

It is a perfect square enclosed with iron bars and there is a slab built in this window which makes it a sofa or a chair if it is pampered with nice mattresses and cushions but it looks and is perfectly comfortable even without all these add ons. You can just plunge into this window and watch outside. It looks out to the main road which means you will always see a lot of people roaming around, many many vehicles speeding through and lots of shops. We are located on the ground level so that makes it even better to chit chat with passing by neighbours and acquaintances.

I stick to this window ever since I was a baby. My mom would plop me there put both my legs outside through the iron bars and stand behind me. That was the locking mechanism when I would not allow her to feed me properly. My dad would make me sit there and show taxis, buses and traffic lights and that was so entertaining and exciting to me as a child. It was here that I would run to when my friends used to come calling me. Those where the days when landline phones were a luxury which not many could afford. It meant that you needed to personally visit the friend even if you want to say a hi and this was exactly the place where I used to pretend to play many games like office-office, house-house, teacher-teacher etc.

I did not outgrow this window even though I was growing up. The pretend plays were now replaced by secret sharing sessions with my bestie. As we grew older further, it was this place from where we would watch out guys (bird watching). It was this place where we would easily spend an hour chitchatting unplanned, only because my friend was passing by and I spotted her exactly at that time.

A cup of ginger tea tastes even better if I am relishing it at this window. And the drizzles of first rain feel more refreshing when they barge in through this window. The windy weather in the evening and the rush of a cold wave is even stronger when we open this window. This place makes every season more beautiful and adventurous.

This window has a very special place in my heart, and why not? It is this place which has absorbed my silent tears when my heart was broken the first time, it is this place which is a witness to my lovey-dovey talks with my husband – be it on phone or in person. It is this place which reads my mind and calms me down whenever I am worried or upset. It is this place which helps me seek solitude and it is this place which soothes my soul.

In real words, I see my whole life through this window and I always will.

Even today, whenever I go to my mom’s place I jump to sit by this window.

Which is your favourite place?

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EAR EAR WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HEAR?

I am sure like me, even you are grateful that all our organs function well. Every organ has its own importance in functioning the body and today I am going to throw some light on ears.

Ears help us to hear and listen. We all know that don’t we? But do we know what is the difference between hearing and listening? Is there a difference in hearing and listening in the first place? Yes, there is. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

Hearing or listening, apart from being just a bodily function, it is also based on your psychology. A lot of times, you hear only what you want to hear really. For example, if you want to ignore a person, his words will fall on deaf ears. No matter how loud and clear the person is, you will not want to react to his saying. Of course, ears don’t do this on their own. Their partner in crime is the brain! But ears do obey the orders of the brain and turn themselves non-reactive in such circumstances.

Let’s look at a more subjective example – A feedback session. If your boss tells you about your performance, he will tell you your strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. If the rapport between your two is good, or if you make an effort to listen to his feedback carefully, you will notice the true words that he is appreciating something about you but is also showing some areas of improvement for your own good. However, if you don’t like your boss, you will hear only the negative feedback of his and whine about how difficult it is to please him or that he always wants to point out your mistakes. Your ears will hear what you really want to hear. Again, the partner in crime is the brain because the instructions to do so flow from there. Hence, you must fine-tune yourself to listen and not just hear.

How many of us listen intently? God has given us two ears and one mouth which signifies that we must listen double than we talk. A listening ear is often a saviour of a troubled relationship while a complaining mouth can spoil even a strong relationship.

Put your ears to the best use. Listen carefully. Understand others. You don’t know how to love if you don’t know how to listen. If you are a good listener your ears will never get you in trouble.

Some tips for being a good listener:

You will find plenty of material on Google, click here to see one of those articles.

I would like to reiterate that you must groom your body to hear or listen. It’s not just ears, but other organs also contribute to listening.

Hearing is listening to what is said. Listening is hearing what is not said. So ask your ears what do they want to hear!

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE – A SLOTHFUL SINNER OR A DILIGENT WINNER?

sloth

No matter how cute a Sloth may look, being one is not good. In fact, the Bible describes it as one of the deadly sins. What’s wrong in being a sloth, you may ask. To that, I will say, there is no right or wrong, just the consequences. If you choose to be a sloth, you will shape your life likewise.

Sloths are arboreal mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. They personify the laziness. Thus, a person who is lazy and reluctant to work is called as a sloth. There is an age-old idiom “As you sow, so shall you reap.” How true is that! If you act lazy, do not put in efforts, wash your hands off the responsibilities then your life is going to be dull, non-progressive and boring. Success will be miles away from you.

On the other hand, if you are diligent you can go places. Observe any successful personality. The virtue that will stand out is diligence. Again, I would like to remind you of an old age idiom “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.” The hard work and perseverance of these people are what differentiates them from sloths. Their willingness to consistently pursue the hard-work and effort is what makes them a winner.

Having said this, let’s talk about the practical aspect of practicing this. I will be lying if I say I am totally diligent. I am not! And I can guarantee that even you are not! We all tend to be sloths, don’t we? Let me share my personal experience. I am a new mother and a full time working professional. I survive on a 4 hours sleep a day through the week, I travel 40 km every day and I pour in endless enthusiasm to entertain my son after coming back from work only because I want to make up to the time lost working in the office. Apart from this, I cook, I clean, I do social gatherings. We all do that, don’t we? And you will agree that the only thing that gets us through is diligence. We are able to do it only because with do it with a lot of vigor, we put in immeasurable efforts, we pay attention to every minute detail and we have tremendous ability to adapt to the changing demands. And this pays us big time, doesn’t it? The big fat pay cheque at the end of the month, being a hero in the eyes of our children, and being a very stable and strong support to the family is what we get in return. Just imagine how life would be without these tokens of love, trust and (materialistic as well as non-materialistic). appreciation. However, in my case, all this holds true from Monday to Friday. Come Saturday, I will usually be a total Sloth. I wake up late. I some times don’t cook, I laze around the house, I procrastinate many household chores. Yes, I do that. And it is natural, isn’t it? After all, I am a human, I get tired, my body needs rest. An this will be true with more or less everyone.

So you see, the same individual is a sloth as well as diligent. The challenge is to where to draw the line. It is very easy to get used to a lazy lifestyle, but it is very challenging to step out of the comfort zone and discipline yourself. Being sloth is alright, but only to the extent of being one just to rest and rejuvenate. We all need that change, but mind you it must be a temporary change and not the lifestyle change. We must bounce back.

I echo Benjamin Franklin’s words: “Diligence overcomes difficulties, sloths make them.”

So, what do you want to be, A slothful sinner or a diligent winner? The choice is yours!

A SNOWFLAKE’S TALE – PART VIII

Meera was crying inconsolably and cursing her fate. She was thinking that she made a big mistake by leaving Sia at the orphanage. She was shocked to see the turn of things which landed her here in this isolated cold room. Yes, Meera was feeling cold because she had never experienced the luxury of AC ever in her life. Meera closed her eyes shut but that didn’t prevent the tears from rolling down her cheeks. She was repeatedly praying to God to safeguard Sia and to make her able to fight for herself in this big bad world. Meera was loosing her hope to make out alive from this trap.

A loud thud jerked Meera out of her trance and she was surprised to see a lady doctor walk in with a few sheets of papers. Meera closely observed the lady. It was the first time in so many days that she thought she had seen a good human being. Such was the aura of that doctor.

Hi Meera. I am Dr Sudha Nair” said the doctor extending her right hand out for a handshake. Meera was too baffled to understand what is happening. Meera didn’t know how react.

The doctor continued, “First of all, I want to congratulate you Meera for this brave decision of yours. I understand that you have not been given a clarity with respect to what is expected from you and that is exactly why I am here. Meera, there are countless couples in this world who crave for having their own children but for some reason they cannot. There is a couple who wants a surrogate mother and we are considering you for the same. The couple is willing to pay 15 lacs INR in return. All that you will have to do is grow their child in your womb. They will take care of you for all 9 months including your stay, food and nutrition plus health and hygiene. Give it a good thought Meera. A commitment of just 9 months will fetch you a good life and a great future. You can take a day’s time to make up your mind. I will come back tomorrow to know your decision. Take care Meera.” Having said that, Dr Sudha turned and walked out of the room swiftly closing the door behind her with a loud thud.

The room was back to what it was. Cold and isolated. Dr Sudha’s words were echoing in Meera’s years. Meera couldn’t believe her ears. 15 lacs INR?? Meera wasn’t sure if she could even count the whole amount. This amount was more than sufficient to provide good life and education to Sia.

Meera started talking to herself. “With this money I can give a good life to Sia. I will give her education and make her a doctor… Doctor like Mrs Sudha Nair. Then I will get her married to a nice man and then I can rest in peace. God… Thank you God for answering my prayers…” Meera’s happiness heaved a sigh of relief.

And then suddenly something struck her… She mumbled in fear….”How will I grow someone else’s child in my womb? Does it mean… Does it mean that I will have to sleep with a stranger??? No..no I can’t do that.. No.. never… But then how can I get Sia back? How can I give her a good life? How can I make her a doctor? And who will marry her? God… Oh God, you are testing me, aren’t you?”

Meera was feeling giddy because of whirlpool of these thoughts. Poor lady, little did she know that she will not need to do this to rent her womb.

LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

It is this time of the year when most of us wonder how quickly the year passed by. Well, this year is no exception but it has been exceptionally exceptional for us!

I cannot end this year without expressing my gratitude to Almighty for blessing us with baby Aarnav. I cannot express my joy and satisfaction for being a mother. I am immensely happy to have baby Aarnav with us against all odds. This year has been like never before because it is in this year that I have transformed into a different human being – a mother, someone who doesn’t care how she looks, someone who doesn’t rest enough in order to give more time to baby, someone who doesn’t mind waking up 10 times from the slumber just to rock and nurse the baby, someone who doesn’t mind being peed and pooped on innumerable times in a day 😊. I am happy that I am making my way to be a selfless mom! So this year has majorly been about being pregnant, delivering the baby, and enjoying every day with him, celebrating his every milestone and wondering whether there is anything better on earth than this little baby of mine.

I am looking forward to 2019 to be as fulfilling as 2018. Some key things I would like to do in 2019 are –

1. Fitness: Very important that I take my fitness seriously. I need to match the energy level of my little one plus manage a job and household

2. Being mommy: Oh yes, I am totally into motherhood. At the cost of repetition, let me tell you that I always wanted to be a mother and after a long long wait finally I am. I wouldn’t mind considering a sibling for baby Aarnav, but will have to check with my husband too 😜

3: Going back to ambitious self: Oh yes, maybe next year! At present, I am far away from professional ambitions and merrily enjoying being Mumma.

4: Work on spiritual growth.

Few learnings 2018 gave me that I would like to carry forward with me:

1. Willpower works magic

2. You get what you are destined to. No odds can stop you.

3. You can endure far more than you can imagine, so never quit.

4. Life is a lot more than career and money making.

5. While making money is important and growing professionally is as much important too, but there are little things in life that give you far more satisfaction and happiness than materialistic things. Take time to enjoy that.

WHEN I THOUGHT IT WAS THE END…

What I am going to share today was a life-changing experience for me. Those 3 months taught me the value of life, relationships and it further strengthened my trust in God.

Rewind to 2014

While the life was as normal as any other day, I noticed a pea sized lump on my neck. It was on the front side, a couple of inches above the collarbone. I was getting ready to leave for work and I was late as always. I made a mental note of checking this again in the evening and dismissed it as nothing for the time being. The rest of the day was uneventful. Next morning my fingers could feel the lump again and it got me thinking. What was it? How did it come up all of a sudden? Why wasn’t it paining? The first sprint of scare rushed in my mind but I calmed myself down and chose to believe it is not what I was thinking it is. After all, cancer doesn’t happen just like that! Or does it?

The lump refused to leave my neck and mind. I spent the next several days googling about such growth and was mentally checking the probability of malignancy. A couple of months passed away and day by day the size of the lump was increasing and so was my fear. I used to press it very hard with the hope that it will pain but it never did! Boy, was it really the big C?

Time had come to share my fear with my family and even though nobody mentioned it clearly, they feared the same big C that I was fearing.

We consulted a doctor who suspected typhoid. Apparently, this was the most common symptom of typhoid. I was relieved. Not that typhoid was good but it was far better and curable than Cancer. I was advised some blood tests and a needle test. Needle test is when they prick a needle deep inside the lump and collect the particles of growth to examine for typhoid. A few days later we got the results. “No trace of typhoid found however further examination advised to rule out malignancy”

I was shattered. My world came crashing down. Was it really Cancer after all? I was not ready for it. Next several days were spent crying and questioning whether I deserved this. No words gave me enough strength to put myself back together. Routine life continued but the sacre reflected in every action and every thought. After all, I was just 30 then. Married only for 5 years and waiting to have a baby! Was I going to die without most of my wishes unfulfilled, most of my goals unachieved and more importantly was I going to leave all my dear ones grieving after I die?

Wheels moved faster than on. The unavoidable biopsy was scheduled. All this while my relationship with God was undergoing a transformation. From blaming Him to be stone-hearted to pleading for my life, it was full of enlightenment of good and bad deeds in the past.

The day of biopsy dawned. I cannot describe the feeling I had when I was wheeled to the operation theatre. All that I wanted was if there was malignancy there then I wished that something goes wrong with the surgery and I die during the procedure. I was ok dying without notice instead of dying every single day fighting the big C. Coward I know! But I was really not prepared for it.

Biopsy went well and the sample was sent for further investigation. The report was due after a week. This was my first test. I started undergoing change. I slowly embraced acceptance. I decided to make the best use of whatever time was left. I started expressing love more to my family. I started praying harder. My prayers changed from being demanding to being humble. I thanked God for everything He has given me and I asked for the fortitude to help me get through this phase. God is kind indeed. He blessed me with tons of fortitude and I was able to resume my routine quite soon. Of course, there were breakdowns and the fear did manifest every now and then but somehow I managed to stay put. I used to tell myself every day that things are going to be fine. I was learning to focus on positivity.

The report came. “No malignancy detected. Culture recommended” Aaaah… What a relief! I felt like I had been gifted a new life. I hugged my husband and both of us cried. God is Great! It gave me a boost and more faith to take on life. A sample was further sent for culture. Culture reports come in three parts, each a month apart.

Those 3 months transformed me completely. I was more positive, enthusiastic and living every day of my life. I was more confident that probably the big C is not in the picture. I joined a new job which seemed impossible a few weeks ago. I was my normal self again sans the fear at the back of my mind. I got introduced to spirituality during this time and my relationship with God enhanced further. God has always been kind. Each time I broke down He lifted my spirit with more confidence and fortitude than before. It was impossible without Him to keep going.

All three reports came out clear. I was amazed by my tenacity and fortitude – both which were the gifts of Almighty. Some experiences are life-changing. They make us stronger and more courageous. Thank you God for being there for me ALWAYS. I truly believe that had it not been for God, malignancy was sure to be there because there was no other diagnosis to it.

Anyway, I am glad things turned out well. All is well that ends well, isn’t it? Today I am more matured in my thought process, value and emphasise my relationships more, take life easy. I have understood that life is not only about chasing dreams but living one!

SUNBEAMS AT SUNSET – VII

Raman kept tossing and turning in his bed. He had had a wonderful evening with the Lal couple but there was something that disturbed him. A lot of voices were making the loudest sound in his mind.

RAMAN, HOW IRRESPONSIBLE YOU ARE! YOU LEFT GRANNY ALONE? WHY? SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE HAD YOU NOT GONE OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HER DEATH IN A WAY RAMAN!!!!

This thought never left Raman’s mind ever since his grandmother passed away untimely. While nobody else blamed him for being irresponsible understanding the fact that he was merely a teenager and granny had not shown any signs of uneasiness when he left, Raman could never forgive himself for being a reason to his granny’s death. Ever since then he had decided that he will do his best to save an elderly person in need. There was no better way than specializing in Geriatric Care and Management. Raman had progressed to be the best Geriatric Care Manager in the country. His job involved planning and coordinating care of the elderly and others with physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long-term care needs, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible. It entails working with persons of old age and their families in managing, rendering and referring various types of health and social care services.  He had drowned himself in his studies and work so much that he didn’t realise when did he drift apart from his parents.

The last time he spoke with his parents was 5 years ago when his dad had called him home to inform that he is disowning Raman. Raman couldn’t believe what he was told and no amount of apologies and pleading changed his dad’s decision. He knew he couldn’t expect any help from his mother because she was a mere puppet of his dad’s hands.

Raman was alone ever since then. There was no one that he could call a family of his own. He had a big professional circle but he always returned to an empty home, same as he did today. He was amazed at how life takes one for a ride. Here he was missing his family, his parents and two blocks down the lane there was Lal family who was missing their children. Such a cute and happy go, lucky family! Or that is what one may opine by just looking at them. But the dinner tonight had exhibited an array of sorrows this elderly couple was fighting – Four estranged children and old man’s Alzheimer! How could life be so cruel?

The shrill ringtone of his mobile phone zapped him out of his thoughts. Raman rubbed his face with his palms and wondered who could be calling at 3 am!

Hello? Oh, sir you! At this hour? I hope everything is all right at your end. Yes, I met them today. They are safe and doing ok, don’t you worry. They just need a little care, a little love and all four children…” He couldn’t hold himself back but just uttered those words… And continued to respond before hanging up the phone… “Fine sir… I will connect with you next week… Thank you sir!