THE BEAUTY IN BROKENNESS

Recently, while cleaning my favorite coffee mug it slipped from my hand and broke. I felt bad for a while and thought it is of no use now. But after a while, the Japanese idea of mending broken objects came to my mind. Well, I don’t have gold, so I used Feviquick Gum and fixed my coffee mug. Now I can’t use it anymore for the same purpose but that doesn’t mean it is of no use now! I promoted its place to my study table from my kitchen and of course, I will be using it for a special purpose.  

I have cracks and patches YET, I’m Alive
I have pain and problems YET, I’m Alive
I have worries and anxieties YET, I’m Alive
I am ditched and rejected YET, I’m Alive
Now I learned, “This is what is life!”

Somewhat in an emotional state during the initial years of my passion for writing, I penned these words. Every time I re-read these lines today, it seems quite apparent to me.

We all are broken from inside in different ways and at different intensities BUT you know, “it’s okay to be broken!” In fact, unless something is broken it can’t be built again. Rising up from brokenness multiplies our strengths and understanding. As a good teacher brokenness teaches us volumes and redefines the meaning of our existence.

As an immature adult, some of the wrong decisions I made had deeply hurt my parents, and my dad refrain from interacting with me. Those three and half years were too painful and burdensome. In advance, if God would have given me an option to erase something from life, I would have erased those years.

“Does that mean those were so bad days nothing beautiful that I can’t bask in?
Or, Is there nothing worth enough for me to take away?”

Obviously not! Brokenness gives us a story. But the story begins only with pain and its top checklist is, “our hope & desire to stay alive.”

God in His supremacy never intended man to become the puppets in His hand. Rather he has crowned him with knowledge, wisdom, and freedom of will so that “man can become the better version of himself”. Yet, in the supremacy of our freedom of will, we take some wrong decisions which create cracks and later part brokenness within us. Our guilt reminds us, “you are of no worth!”

But Jesus said,

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life”.

There is always beauty in brokenness. It is often way beyond our understanding but that is how God designs us. An anonymous poet has expressed it this way,

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him

To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about.

HOW WISE IS IT TO TAKE RISKS?

There is a Chinese proverb – “Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it!” This proverb talks about the necessity of taking risks in life. Whereas at the verge of taking risks, the person has to respond to an awful lot of important questions. These questions often come from within and some of those basic questions are –

How is it possible for me to do it?

Who can be the man of trust for me?

If I end up losing my life and resources?

Well, such a situation reminds my journey from Howrah to Cuttack after my interview in Kolkata. I was barely in my early twenties and it was my 1st solo-traveling experience. I went to Kolkata with a few of my former colleagues to appear for an interview. I was told that the return journey is uncertain, it may take a day or two to finish with all the rounds of interviews. So, I was unable to book my return ticket whereas all the rounds of interviews finished in a day and I was asked to return back to my hometown on the same evening. I was completely new to Kolkata city, in fact, it was my 1st journey outside my home state. I was much worried about how to execute my return journey. Alongside I didn’t have time to book my return ticket. Somehow with the guidance of my colleagues, I was able to catch the right local bus to Howrah. At Howrah station, I was all alone without my journey ticket and had no idea about the availability of trains to my hometown. Sametime, dozens of human trafficking and robbery crime stories seen in Crime Patrol were swarming in my head. After a lot of struggles, I made up my mind. I prayed to God for journey mercy and took the courage to consult someone. But “whom should I consult? If I fall prey to some mischief person?”. I thought it would always be wise to consult a policeman. I found an RPF Policeman, checked his name on his uniform. With his advice, I took a general ticket and grabbed some cookies and a water bottle. When I saw the crowd in the general compartment, I didn’t dare to get inside the bogie. I get into a reserve sleeper class compartment and approached a RAC passenger to allow me to sit and travel the whole night. After a few hours when I was in deep sleep, the ticket collector patted my shoulder for the ticket. In sleepy mode, I simply showed him my general ticket. He looked at me from head to toe and said, “you are in the wrong compartment. In the next station, get out of this compartment.” Since I had seen the crowd of the general compartment, I didn’t dare to change the compartment. Though I was sitting just a couple of seats away from the ticket collector’s seat he didn’t ask me again to get down. He was much gracious to me to remain there.

As I recapture that 7-hour long journey today, it teaches me many lessons.

Life is all about taking risks, making new decisions, and achieving our vision. But to take risks all we need in the first place is courage. Courage to die, if it is required. Those who fear death can never live because it is the fear of death that will always haunt life and will seize our present. In the same context, while summoning Joshua as his successor to lead the Israelites to Canaan, Moses encourages the Israelites “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the enemies, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you”.

Is courage sufficient enough to help us to take risks? Definitely not! Courage without wisdom is inanity. When we take risks, we are stepping into uncertainty. Our ignorance to step ahead is our call for wisdom. Where to get wisdom? Wisdom is with the wise. The Bible recommends, “If you lack wisdom, ask God for He gives generously without finding fault in you” and secondly, “In the abundance of counselors (wise-men) there is victory.”

What is wisdom and who is wise? Wisdom is doing the right thing at the right moment and wise is the one who lives accordingly. Wisdom always leads to truthfulness, honesty, and life, and the wise long for it. Because of this, “The wise inherit honor but fools get only shame”, the Bible says.

THE TRUTH OF GAINING KNOWLEDGE

Do you want to earn $200,000, just by signing a contract? All you need to do is fill in a form, share your photograph, and a 100 minutes voice recording.

YES, YOU READ IT RIGHT!

This week among so many news, one shocking news I heard that literally seized my attention – “Now Robots can also work, behave, move, talk, look, and even reproduce babies like humans”.

When the entire world was on halt, we were locked up within our four walls, some of the brightest minds of the present time have developed human robots known as XENOBOTS. They have been created from biological tissues. They are living robots that can move, heal, and reproduce on their own. They were created by assembling stem cells from embryos into synthetic life forms. With the help of supercomputers, 3D blocks and algorithms were developed and then was injected into life. The life that is taken from African clawed frogs and finally it evolves into a child Xenobot. Now, all they need is to give them as many human faces and voices through the voice modulation process. Probably, in the very near future, there will be one man enjoying the Netflix series at home and his Xenobot fighting the nuclear war somewhere 1000 miles away.

It might sound like an exaggeration or some Hollywood story but sadly, THIS IS A TRUTH. Undoubtedly, at the first watch, this news wowed me but it also triggered some basic questions in my mind –

  • WHAT IS THE INTENTION OF CREATING XENOBOTS?
  • WHO CAN GUARENTEE THAT IT WILL NOT BE USED FOR DEADLY PURPOSE?
  • WHY ON EARTH DO WE NEED SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE?

Interestingly, when the scientists were questioned about the intention of creating Xenobot their answers weren’t sufficient rather it provoked some more questions like, WHO ARE FUNDING THIS PROJECT? And for your information, one of the most elite technological military innovation agencies has partially funded this project.

Intention precedes Action. Human desires for knowledge are always intended to accumulate affluence. Because the common idea is the more powerful you are the more secure you are WHEREAS the reality contradicts entirely. Power needs more power to secure it. (Probably, that’s why the affluent ride behind bulletproof glass doors). The higher altitude of power you live, the higher risk of threat exists for you.

Human pant for affluence becomes so forceful that often man exceeds every limit. And the ground of compromising with ethical & moral principles becomes the bridge for the gap between desiring power and consuming power.

In the entire explanation, alongside the pride of affluence, fear, peace lessness, pain, insecurity, loneliness, etc are constants in the life of an affluent. Once my dear brother Chiradeep quoted me, “There’s always a sense of insecurity of losing the top spot even for affluent man on earth”.

The entire reasoning reminds me of the Bible verse written by wise King Solomon, “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

P.C: CBS NEWS

DO YOU DO, WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO DO?

Do you do, what you don’t want to do?

Yes, I DO! In this hybrid living, every morning one of the primary things I do is, cleaning the cache files of my smartphone but what about the cache files we knowingly store in our life on a daily basis by “doing, what we don’t want to do”? Like the cache files slowing our smartphones often the cache files of regrets in our life make us feel demeaned in our own eyes. And one of such regretful matters in my life is to discipline myself.

We make fantastic plans and then plans to execute them tomorrow, sometimes the tomorrows keeps rotating, and finally on the last day, we instruct our mind, “nothing to worry, chill a little more…”, you can do it at the second hour of the day. As the second hour dawns, our mind becomes confused and the clock seems running at 4x speed. Alas, at the nick of the moment, our mind ain’t work, we fail to fulfill our commitment, and of course, Mr. Guilt is ready to peep in.

Oops, I did, what I ought not to do! But whom shall I blame? Who is responsible for my failure?
The Bible responds to it this way,

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

The problem of “doing, what we don’t want to do” isn’t always the circumstantial influence, rather it is because we are enticed by our own desires. Those desires are full of filth. As we entertain those desires in our life it gives birth to sin and when the sin is full-grown it gives birth to death. This death – the death of wisdom, the death of conscience, the death of morals, and the death of fearing God which is ultimately addressed as, “the eternal death of our soul.”


Does it mean, there is no remedy to our tendency of “doing, what we don’t want to do”?

The Bible responds,

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide you a way out so that you can endure it.”

Surprisingly, we experience the same! Whenever we sense there is a knock of temptation in our hearts, immediately we hear two voices within. The voice that says, “watching porn is adultery and brings the wrath of God on us” whereas another voice says, “come on, it’s just like watching any other movie. Everyone does it, why not you!” But ALAS, as we give ear to that evil voice within us, it returns and ditches us with guilt.

I realized every time we sense the knock, let’s train our brain to listen to the first voice – “the voice of God” and keep taming our sinful mortal human flesh. Let’s not be a slave of our the sinful heart rather let’s enslave our bodies, keeping it in our control so that we will not find ourselves disqualified after preaching to others.

A LITTLE MORE…

“It may look like I’m doing nothing but, in my head, I’m quite busy” – this is almost many of our stories these days. After all, who wants to be identified as a sluggish person!

Since office and school have become virtual there is no need to rush to the bus stop by 9 am. The miles away from the office are inches away from logging in to our computers. All that we are concern about is how the upper part of our body appears on the screen, on the lower part boxer is fine. Alongside the virtual background and screen beauty mode is on duty to make us look good.

You know, I just thought to watch one more 20-minute episode but sadly that a little more took past 4 AM. My alarm rang at 8 AM, I woke up and realized I still have 1hr 30min in hand! Then why not take a little more nap!

Oops, if Mom won’t have shouted at 9:30 AM, I would definitely miss to log in at the due time.

Sailing the same boat, it would be apparent for me to say,

Being habituated of doing ‘A LITTLE MORE’ of what we ought not to have done

is powerful enough to diminish our zeal to work;

distract us from our professional goals and

as an end product, it disrupts our identity.  

This “A LITTLE MORE…” is none lesser than addiction in our life which primarily affects our brain and as we keep entertaining it, it diminishes our enthusiasm to work. The virtual meetings become boring and the professional targets seem unrealistic. It basically, distracts us from attaining our professional life goals. And its end product is well expected! One day to be known as the most passionate employee of the company is now somewhere at the first position in the below performer list over a month.

Is there no way to overcome such an addiction in our life?

Well, the Bible responds to it perfectly.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.   

Here are some primary tips as a way-out strategy that I have discovered for myself. Hope it may be helpful for you –

  • Since our spirit is willing to overcome the addiction but our flesh is weak, let us seek God’s help every time for He is the Creator of our body, mind, and soul.
  • Start practicing to say “NO” to that “A LITTLE MORE…”. Every time our addiction prompts us to sleep or watch the Web Series “A little more…”, let us train our brain saying, “No, I will not do this!”
  • There is the possibility of failure at the beginning yet let us discipline our body and bring it into subjection by waking up early for a walk or exercise.
  • Redo our daily routine. We will fail several times to follow it yet we can notice a change in us if we keep practicing that routine for another 21days (3 Weeks)
  • Dress like going office. Even before our systems let us sit as if we are sitting in our office. Let us drop off those Boxers and Bumchums and put on official trousers.
  • Leave working like sitting on the bed and keeping the laptop on laps. Use table and chair to sit and work.
  • Every night before going to sleep let us note our tasks for tomorrow morning and follow it thoroughly.
  • Avoid as much usage of cellphones and stop downloading movies and web series on computers. Let us use our laptops only for official purposes.   
  • Eat less heavy food. Let us stay hydrated by drinking enough water and avoid eating junk foods.   

A little attempt to kick out “a little more…” can make our life better. Because the Bible says,

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest —

and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST

Musafir Ali (a recognized poet) meets Aslam Baig (a recognized wrestler) on the train from Bhopal to Delhi. They were sharing the same compartment. As they see each other, immediately Musafir Ali recognizes Aslam Baig yet he behaves as if it’s their first meet. As the journey is long and somehow both of them started to swap their professional and personal life stories. Meanwhile Musafir shows the ring of famous poet Gulam Nabi Azad which he gifted Musafir after watching Musafir’s performance. In response, Aslam shares the memory of his beautiful, gold-plated, and costly alarm pocket watch “Khusbakht”. For Aslam, Khusbakht was like his wife, it brought him fortunes but unfortunately decades back in a train journey someone stole Khusbakht and as result, Aslam started losing his fortunes. After their conversation, both of them goes to sleep but throughout the night Musafir was unable to sleep properly because a couple of decades back it was Musafir (previously known as Raju Shahwani) who had stolen Khusbakht from Aslam Baig and it was that of his guilt of stealing Khusbakht which was hunting him at present. As it dawns and the train stops at the outer of Delhi station, Musafir decides to quietly put Khusbakht in Aslam’s handbag in his absence, unfortunately, Aslam catches Musafir red-handed. Confessing his sin Musfair leaves the train at Delhi station but Aslam comes running after Musfair and handovers him Khusbakht asking him to hand over Khusbakht to the storekeeper at the Rooh-Saaf store on the next day at 3 pm. Accordingly, Musfair goes to the Rooh-Saaf store the next day to handovers Khusbakht. In response, the storekeeper asks Musafir the name for the record and Musafir mentions his name but the storekeeper says, ‘no mister, I need the name of the person from whom you have stolen Khusbakht’ but being embarrassed Musafir hesitates to mention Aslam Baig’s name. Angrily, the storekeeper asks Musafir to get out of the store and leave his coat of fake honor. Yet to hide his sin Musafir questions the storekeeper, “Why did people visit his store to return the stolen things instead of selling them?” And the storekeeper responds, SELF-RESPECT! Self-respect always bites our conscience. Whatever sins a man may commit he is, after all, a child of God and unless he confesses his sin, his soul remains blemished.” Realizing his sinful state, Musafir takes courage to confess Aslam Baig’s name. Then the storekeeper shows him the beautiful ring of poet Gulam Nabi Azad which Aslam Baig handover the storekeeper the before day soon after leaving the train. The storekeeper also mentions Aslam is one of his regular customers and shows many other pieces of stuffs and wrestling awards that Aslam had stolen before. Because like Musafir, Aslam was also suffering from Kleptomania disorder. The next day, Musafir comes back to the Rooh-Saaf store with a bag full of tiny pieces of stuffs which he had stolen from different people since his childhood.

Yes, you are rightly thinking, this is a story of the legendary Scriptwriter and Filmmaker Mr. Satyajit Ray which is filmed in the recent web series “Ray”.

How analogical is the story to each of our inner states! Isn’t it?

In the Bible, it is beautifully penned, “Our human heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. No human can understand it. It is like a whitewashed tomb which looks beautiful from outside but inside it is filled with rotten stinky bones.”

My inside isn’t visible to others but I can see it. Its sinful state haunts me day and night. I blame people outside for my peace lessness whereas the reason is within me and it needs to be treated at the earliest. “If we won’t treat our sin today, our sin might become our graveyard tomorrow”. For the treatment, all we need is “A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST. Honest to drop our coat of fake honor like Musafir Ali.” “A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST. Honest to go for Rooh-Saaf, confession of sin makes us guilt-free.” A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST. Honest to self and unto others.

In my case, I remember, years back I was invited to an NPO voluntary board as an Asst. Secretary. While we were organizing an event, we had to outsource our work. As we the board members decided to outsource our work, we gave tender for music arrangements to one of our team members. But before signing the tender approval, I asked the Music Arranger to handover all the Music tracks to the Secretary soon after the event since the NPO has paid for it and the NPO is the sole owner of it. Being the youngest member of the team and as well among the Board Members, I was quite sure the Music Arranger will surely retaliate and that might also affect our personal relationship. Even to the extent, of his retaliation I must be embarrassed before the seniors but keeping eye on the mandate of being a voluntary NPO Board Member, I need to be honest in each of my decisions. As I took courage and went honest in my decision, he retaliated, and being an elder person went a little bossy on me. His response made me feel bad and embarrassed. But the end product was remarkable – “the sin got exposed & till date it was the last tender for him from that particular NPO board.”

A little courage, to be honest, keeps us guilt-free and is strong enough to expose the sin.

WHEN THE RISK TAKES THE VULNERABLE ON RIDE

Every time I think to show up my vulnerability, I get confused about finding the right person to open up to. If I am allowed to draw the picture it would be,

Walking in my dark dingy tunnel, I screamed for a help

but in the profound silence of the tunnel

all I could hear my own scream screaming me back.

In order to get rid of the pain, as I kept walking ahead

I saw a light shining at the end of the tunnel

asking me to keep walking since there is someone out there

to hold my hands and lead to my unknown.”

The honesty of vulnerability is showing interest to seek help from outside. In my vulnerability I always look up for help from 4 kind of people –

  1. A CONFIDANTE: Venting out your inner aches is always referred to as the initial pipeline for healing. Someone primarily shows up his/her vulnerability to a person with whom one shares a secret or private matter, trusting them not to repeat it to others. It helps the vulnerable to find the relaxation of his inner wounds.
  2. AN EMPATHIZER: The prime reason a victim always finds himself in loneliness is that there is none to relate to his pain. The touch of someone who can understand or be sensitive to another’s feelings or ideas makes the vulnerable feel safe and important.
  3. A PROPONENT: Vulnerable is often lonely, victimized, and morally low they open up their vulnerability so that there would be a voice among many to advocate their case. Make them guilt-free and rescue their selfhood.
  4. A PATHFINDER: The vulnerable’ whereabouts is always at stake. They are confused about where to go from there. For a person to tread to a better version of life is always necessary. Their vulnerability tells they ask the person of experiential relevance to hold their hand and lead them ahead.  

BUT ALAS…

In my search of them, a voice from my past experience had always instructed – it is wise enough to get a background check of the person to whom I will show my vulnerability. Well, if I am asked to give a reason for my behavior. Honestly, it would be “the risk factor that is involved”. The risk of

  1. Being EXPOSED: How can a man measure the intent of another man? While outsourcing our project we are always concerned about the secrecy of our project information. Often, we sarcastically quote some of our outsourcing partner office’ as “Public Square”, we share them some information and the other day it becomes the talk of the town. That’s why the Bible warns, “A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers”
  2. Being RIDICULED: It won’t be wrong to say, we live in the most technologically connected age yet we always feel disconnected. Research says, “On social media, people mostly feel more disconnected even though they have hundreds of friends and followers on their channel.” It happens because “a 6 always looks like a 9 from the opposite end and a 9 always looks like a 6 from the opposite end”. This means we often connect with the vulnerable with a personal perception in mind. To become a perfect empathizer the Bible recommends, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other. For encouraging and building each other is Godly work.”
  3. Being CRITICISED: Criticism always seems negative because of its use on the fallacy of context. Often, the talk is not WHO RAPED HER but WHY THAT PARTICULAR GIRL IS WAS RAPED, definitely, she wears shorts and has allured the man. The fear of being outcasted, criticized, and becoming a public disgrace has always squared the vulnerable exactly when he decides to open up his vulnerability to someone. Whereas the Bible teaches, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
  4. Being TAKEN FOR A RIDE: Human heart is extremely deceitful and is beyond measure. Probably, that’s why his world is framed with I, ME, & MINE. He gave him the power of attorney to lead the organization in his absence but when the owner return, he found the servant has built his own organization. The risk of being taken for a ride has always pulled me back from being vulnerable. The Bible counsels, “Take the pain to do what is right both in the eyes of the LORD and in the eyes of man.”     

Time and again when these risks involved in being vulnerable takes me on a ride, with sorrow I warn myself the quote of the Australian Singer Nicholas Edward Cave –

“If you’re gonna dine with them, cannibals,

Sooner or later, darling, you’re gonna get eaten…”