​MY SMARTPHONE SAYS – “DON’T BLAME ME”

Will it not be an injustice to blame a mere gadget?

We, 90’s born has experiences in both post – ‘Smartphone culture’ and ‘Pre-Smartphone culture’. None of us can deny the contributions of the Smartphones in our lives. There are numerous evidences of how our Smartphones had made our works easier and effective and on-time as well.

One of the scariest nights of my life was a night in October 2015. I was on a full-week official trip to some of the remote places of Odisha and all of my assigned places and contacts were completely stranger to me. The only option for me was WhatsApp or SMS to my new contacts when I arrive. It was 2 O’ clock in the midnight I got down from the bus in the midst of a jungle. I tried to call my contact to pick me but there was no network. It was my first visit to that place and that day there was curfew because of some communal riot. Military forces were on combat operation with Naxalites. My contact had no idea about me apart from my arrival time. I was all alone in the midst of a jungle in that dark night. There was no network, no street light, no people and that to in a red-light zone. Almost after half an hour of such struggle I found my contact person searching for me on his motorbike. He just asked me – “Are you Mr. Avinash?” Before I could reply him he said, “Sir, sit as quickly as possible.” After reaching his home he broke out the good news to me. He said, “Sir, praise God I found you immediately. If I would have been little late then either you were in CRPF custody or you would have been dead at a point-blank range.

This is one of the interesting stories from my travel diary. Since 8 years, being a person always on road, I stayed away from my family and hometown. It is not at all possible for me to depend on someone to do my work. Whether it is waking up early in the morning or communicating some important message to someone, I need my Smartphone at all cost! Though I and my elder sister are always miles away from our parents, every night our Smartphone makes it easier for all of us share our emotions and thoughts and even at times taking the family decision together by video conferencing. Miles away alone whenever I miss my friend I just Google Duo video chat and see the lovely face and rejuvenate myself.

Now, do you think this mere machine is going bad?

In this world, everything comes in a mixed bag. From Man to Machine everything comes with their strengths and weaknesses. Living in this paradox culture the choice is up to us! A machine is given in our hand, not we human beings in the hands of a machine! For the right kick to our life and for the smart using of our Smartphone Bible suggests us two metaphors –

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who Lacks SELF-CONTROL.”

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what COMES OUT of a person that defiles them.”

Think to be Smarter than your Smartphone!

Avinash

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​LOSS: THE REVEALER

We dislike the word “LOSS” but without LOSS there is no meaning!

At High school, I lost my primary school friends…

At College, I lost my school friends…

At University, I lost my college friends…

At my First workplace, I lost my university friends…

At my Second workplace, I lost my first workplace friends…

When “LOSS” becomes the story of every dusk, the journey of life goes jammed. Life seems burdensome and death seems the best place to bask. 

Is this life all about How can I replace my loss? Why this is supposed to be my story? Is it my life or just a matter of game?

In my early 20s, my life was juggled with these questions. I was unable to understand the loss and anguish I was going through and it was almost impossible for me to find the right person to explain me the “WHYs’ in my life”.

One of my favorite cover page picture of a book talks about a Sculptor who finds a stone on the roadside and brings it to his workshop, cleans it and chisels it every day. Finally, the stone gets a beautiful image which entices people for big a deal.

Undoubtedly, this is the replica of the big picture of our life, where lose is the revealer.

Loss reveals the PURPOSE:

The Final place is always a mystery, a darkness and full of uncertainties and while going through that painful chiseling every day, the stone losses it’s early shape. Yet, in reality, it is only that loss that reveals the final purpose of its existence.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Loss reveals the PRESENCE of God:

After losing something that was precious for us, the unexplainable inner questions galore us. Though we can’t ask help outside of us but we really need the help outside of us and that’s the point we question “WHY GOD?” Primarily, it seems just a question but in reality, it’s our soulful prayer to God, which reveals us the Presence of God to do the work of explaining and mending. 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Loss reveals us our HOPE:

The Loss of life brings us to a new plateau with brokenness, limitations, fear and weak in every sense and thus life seems uncertainunknownunacceptableunreliable and above all uncomfortable. Whereas, in reality, the old does not exist anymore but in the new finitude there is hope as God being the sculptor of our life has started his work in us.   

This means that anyone who belongs to God has become a new person. 

The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

My story: 

I was lost in the darkness without a guiding light,

All I had seen hopelessness and my failing plight.

Yet in the midst of that darkness, there was a tender voice,

Quietly urging me, to make the right choice.

As I believed that serene voice and choose to hold His hand,

The fearsome boisterous waves of my life calmed.

Now, all that I see an unstoppable instructing voice behind,

Telling me to enjoy His navigation to my shore afar destined!

God be with you!

​VALUE OF TEAR

Oh…My beloved Tear!

You were there when I opened my eyes,

You will be there when I will close my eyes.

People came and went by,

But you my beloved always stood by.

In my utmost happiness, you were there,

When my heart ached, you were there.

Hands changed that wiped you from my face,

Yet visibly or invisibly you stayed in every phase.

No, matter what people think about me seeing you on my face,

Being my true beloved companion you have always strengthened my race.

One of the amazing things of our life is – “We learn everything that we do except shedding tears.

On my first birthday, everyone welcomed me with open arms, smiling face and joyful heart but I had no idea what was happening around me except crying, feeling the pain and communicating it through my tears! Till my 1st and 2nd birthday everything was almost in the same pace, whenever I cried everyone paid their attention, just to inquire “is everything all right with me?” and tears were almost the only way for me to communicate my pain and my emotions.

By the time I was celebrating my 10th birthday, whenever I feel down, get wounded and cried people treated me with medicines and encouraging words.  Within another 5 years, the wounds started replacing their positions from flesh to heart yet tears were there but the circle of caring people concise to family and friends. In another 3 years being a youngster, I learned to take the help of my handkerchief to hide my beloved tears and I become significant in sharing my tears with a couple of beloved friends and rarely my mom. After 22, as I become a self-dependent professional man, every time I overcome my tears in the day but in the nights my tear always overcame me.

Isn’t my story quite familiar to you?

In the midst of the fleeting of caring people and the permanence of tears, a couple of questions have always been my silent prayer.

“God, do you really care about my tear?”

“What is the value of my tear?”

God replies, (as mentioned in THE BIBLE)

“I keep track of all your sorrows.

I have collected your tears in my bottle.

I have recorded each one in my book.”

God values TEAR!

​CONNECTIVITY: BOON OR BANE?

Last year, at the funeral service of one of my uncle there was a bit familiar face among many unknown faces. After a couple of minute of struggling, I was finally able to make it, that’s one of my Facebook friends. I thought let me go and greet him but then again I thought, “Why should I go? Let him come to me!” A while later the service gets over yet I am in my world and he in his! Similarly, another day I was in a conference, and my Uncle introduced me to a man of his age. We smiled at each other, shook hands like two strangers meeting for the first time. Whereas by then we were celebrating our 3rd friendsversary on Facebook and giving regular thumbs up on our posts yet we were strangers! 

The boon of social media has bridged the gap in connectivity and spaced us to share and care our emotional, ethical and moral values. My friend Sheetal rightly says, “I love social networking because I don’t want to lose my friends. They are very precious to me!” But is it ever possible to give personal attention to 1,385 friends on Facebook alone! Obviously not! I realised how I can say she is my friend when I don’t even have the sense to care about her?  Am I mad at becoming a public figure? Am I a friend or a virtual character? 

Am I building Connectivity or displaying my territory?

While going through some emotional breakdown moments, I shared my thoughts on Facebook status. And lo and behold, the tap of thumbs ups started flowing but thanks to  the Candles Online man, my lovely elder brother CP commented “Bachha, Kuch Bol Raha hai” (the kid is saying something) and on the other side he personally asked, “What happened?

Thanks to pioneers of social media forums for giving us the space of status to share our current state of emotion but what does it mean in the busy business of I, Me and My world? How many times I have paused and asked my friend, “Is everything okay? Your status story is different, can I help you?” 

Has the bane of our hearts plunged the boon of Connectivity?     

During 2016, 2nd surgical strike one of my friends posted a picture on Facebook. That’s of a dog pissing on the national flag of Pakistan. I gently asked her to remove that post as it will affect her personal identity and our national identity on the social forum as well. She respected my advice and alongside one of her friend who is a complete stranger to me, sent me the friend request and inbox me “Brother, I don’t know you, but I really like your view. Can I be your friend?

The boon of Social media connectivity is freedom of speech and expression which has a more significant impact. Then how come my boon appears as a bane? 

Am I retracting and abusing my boon?

Connectivity is always boon, but even the slightest retraction from the purpose turns the BOON into BANE!   

Bible says, 

Today I have given you a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the decision you make. Oh, that you would choose life so that you and your descendants might live!

PARKED BY DRAINED EMOTIONS…

Have you ever felt like you are alone in the midst of a great crowd!

It seems like no one understands what’s going on inside you!

You feel broken and shattered yet unable to interpret the cries of your heart!

The irresistible pain in body and heart is getting heavier all the time!

The only question that punches you – “Why”…

That’s the picture I will draw for “being emotionally drained”.

I was doing all my works, didn’t take a day leave from office, killed headaches and weakness with balms and glucose, smiled just to hide some pain, tried to stay aloof, pretended everyone ‘I am okay’, juggled around the unanswerable “why” but How Long?

Being regularly hoarded for a month in such malady, all that I did is wound me and others as well, the passion of work was paused and creativity was lost in the dreadful shouts of drained emotion. And unknowingly I did lot of mistake.

We never like to catch hold by such woeful situation in life whereas in reality it is quite obvious in human life to be emotionally drained. Being human we are always park by emotions. Sometimes those emotions aid our life and sometimes those emotions drain our life as well. But some of the major reasons that easily drain my emotion are:

Words of People: Words are like two edged swords. A slight careless use of words can cause painful cuts on human heart and the only way to aid those cuts is the right use of words again. If your words have hurt somebody it is better to apologize immediately rather than defending yourself with all sorts of excuses.

The Bible says,

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,

so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Dealings of People: Your dealings are the content of your character. Even a child can understand who loves him and who is pretending. Often in our sagacity of hypocrisy we forget that, there is a pay-day someday!

The Bible Says,

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

Egoistic Behavior: Egoism slices your relationship every day. Every relationship has it’s intrinsic worth and reflective splendor and that beauty cannot be maintained by one person. My way or High way… is a colonial attitude which has its day to thrash down and the breakdown causes greater damage to both.

Again the Bible says,

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

If the wounds are not cleaned and treated properly at proper time, it can cause greater damage and often we find its impact on people saying, “I find rest in the hang-over of spending day on Marlboro and Heineken…

While in the Cubicle of Emotionally drained nights I just looked at God and sobbed like a baby because I know my tears have greater worth for Him and He alone can better understand my inner-pain. Human can console me with 1000 words yet can never replace the pain of my heart into a joyful day but God Can…

The Psalmist says,

God, you keep track of all my sorrows.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle.

You have recorded each one in your book.

In the world of billion people it is only your true friend, who can easily identify the pain in your tone and your story from your eyes. We all have had at least one such blessed person in our life.

Bible says,

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

Parked by drained emotions is obvious but aiding its wound within the due time brings joy and glory to our life.

God bless you!

​STOP USING FOUL WORDS – OH… IT’S TOUGH

‘Evil always comes in its best outfit!’

In grade – V, I joined a new school and being a shy introvert kid, it took me quite a month to make new friends. In that one month, I always hesitated to mingle with my classmates. During the recreation periods, I never left my schoolbag and classroom bench and every day as I enter the classroom the only thing was in my mind – “when the last bell will ring!” While struggling for my survival in the new group, I always observed one thing that, whenever there is a fight among any of my classmates. The guy who wins the fight is the one who uses some kind of sign language with some powerful words. And my innocent mind instructed, “I must learn these words for my survival in this group” and behold on the last day of school I was well known of doing the thesis in the subject – “Foul Words”.

Let me share you a story I heard in one of the lectures of Dr Ravi Zacharias:

Once the junior devil was assigned to make a good man evil but after several attempts, he reported to the senior devil ‘Sir, it’s impossible to make that person one like us’.

Senior devil: Give me his daily routine.

Junior devil: Everyday he wakes up early morning prays to God then goes for a morning walk and listen to some devotional music and then goes office, very sincerely does his works and returns at night and spent time with family.

Senior devil: Have you noticed any of his good habits?

Junior devil: Yes Sir, he loves to learn and is fond of reading.

Senior devil: Oh…my goodness, there’s you missed the opportunity! Go back and appear before him in the best outfit of learning.

Often for the sake of learning without a discerning heart, we embrace many bad things!

Though it was too difficult and had to face several failures of stop using foul words yet finally I did it.

Bible says,

‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

After two years of leaving school, my elder sister and I were in our bicycles in a busy road, suddenly I saw one of my school friends calling me in foul words and waving hands in the midst of crowd and my immediate reaction was to check where are my sister and my goodness she was little ahead. The best option for me was to sneak out from that location without responding my friend.

We cannot change our old age terrible habits until we realise that what we do is wrong and it will spoil our identity. Every action leaves its influence! The second peg of wine is offered because of the acceptance of the first peg.

One step every time helps us to reach the rooftop. When we practice it to feel sorry for uttering foul words, it helps to slice it every time from our life.

Every Saint was once a Sinner!

It’s very true to say – I tried, and I can’t make it, I failed! But it’s I who tried it’s not I who realized and seek His infinite power in my trial. When we realize our sin and draws closer to God seeking His power to help us, it is the God of His eternal, infinite power that helps us to overcome our sinful always. He does it at the exact time by reminding us our commitment of not committing the same old-age sin.

Being human we make good commitments but forget while committing sin and realize after committing sin but seeking God’s help will benefit us by reminding our commitment at our weak time and re-energises our soul to sacrifice everything that comes along the way just to stand perfect before God and human and leave a perfect influence.

God be with you!

THE COCOON OF SHIFTING BLAME

Last week one day, I took the bus for my office, plugged-in my earphone and started enjoying some of my favorite lectures on YouTube. I was so much indulged watching those talks that I forgot to get down at the connecting point to catch another bus. After 5/7 minutes as I peeped-out of the window I found myself at a different location and immediately I blamed the conductor for not telling me that the bus will not go to my destination. As soon as I got down from the bus I was struck by a question – “Is that right, what I did? If I would have paid attention I wouldn’t have to land at wrong place”.

I became a Butterfly when I got out of the Cocoon…

There are always some cocoons exist in our life and to find them out let’s flashback to the beginning of the ‘Blame Game’ in the Garden of Eden after the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit:

God asked Man: Where are you?

Man: I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.

God: Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten the forbidden fruit?

Man: The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.

God: Woman, what is this you have done?

Woman: The Serpent deceived me, and I ate.

This incident has a great analogy to our daily life. Whether it is the cat fights of children or family issues or professional issues, everywhere we are very much accustomed to shifting of blames on others. It becomes very difficult for us to leave the cocoons of self-defense and self-righteousness. Often we try to leave them but alas.

Is it ever possible to leave these cocoons? Why I can’t see the beauty in others rather than lurking at their faults?

The Bible teaches us three very logical and possible exits from these cocoons –

  • Rationalize your character before shifting the blame – Before taking any decision or making any comment, let’s pause for a flashback of the entire incident and find-out where we have gone wrong. Bible says, And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
  • Judge your heart’s desire before shifting the blame on someone else – Human heart is desperately wicked and always falls into temptation very easily. Bible says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entices us and drag us away.
  • Confess your transgression before shifting the blame – Except God there is no one “perfect” in this world and whosoever calls him perfect, he grieves God and is a liar. Falling sort in transgression is very obvious for every human being. Bible says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

Now we have the way to leave the cocoon easily!