REEVALUATING WHILE LOCKED-DOWN

I have heard from my elders how they went into a situation like this, ‘Lockdown’ during the war against Pakistan and during the World Wars. But this time, it’s bit different. We don’t have to switch off the lights, stay hiding inside our rooms, stop looking outside popping our heads out through the window, wonder if the bombs fall on us and so on… But sometimes, we so underestimate the gravity and severity of a situation that we behave so funny and childish. When deaths are constantly rising every moment and  there are 100% chances of financial crash-down worldwide we are worrying about just a lockdown

It was so funny to see how people so quickly reacted when the announcement was made by our PM about a complete lockdown situation:

  • “How boring it will be staying at home for so long?”
  • “We can’t go out to meet our friends…”
  • “We have to do all the household works as maids won’t be available…”
  • “How will we spend our times all day?”
  • “I have planned to watch Netflix all day long…”
  • “It’s nothing more than imprisonment…”
  • “What will we eat? Same food again and again?”

All these we could update on our Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram statuses, expressing our irritation and worries because we are still not hit by Covid19 directly. We are still on listening and reading the news mode. God forbid, once one of our family members gets infected, we will surely forget how to express or react. 

Am I out of these lot? No way… I am part of the same crowd who tends to get bored and irritated. Although my answer was different when someone asked me seeing me loitering outside my room, “Bored???”

I shook my head and said, “NO!! I am quite habituated with this lockdown situation from the very beginning of life.”

The person who asked me, understood what I meant and walked away acknowledging my response.

YET!!!

I was wondering – ‘What lockdown means to me?’

1. Retrieving what I have lost: Suddenly when I have a lot of time at my disposal, I was happily scrolling away the pages of Pinterest on my phone and I came across an image of a beautiful paper-art. I felt an urge rekindled to let my fingers create something similar to what I saw. I cursed myself for not foreseeing this situation and buy colours, brushes and marble papers for paper-arts and paintings. I remember, how much I used to paint and draw pictures when I was a student. I had lost everything with an excuse of being busy in life.

I have made up my mind, that I am going to retrieve everything that I have lost and this lockdown will help me to give a kick start till I live on this earth.

2. Recreating what I have left unfinished and undone: I am known as a motivator and a person who initiates. But sadly, I want to confess that I am not good at continuing things or finishing it. I started to write a book, I started to plan for studying a Biblical Counseling Course, paid for it as well… I started to plan for a music album… Urgh! I have kept everything pending, unfinished and undone.

I just pray, “God, give me that enthusiasm to recreate all that I have left unfinished and undone utilizing these period of lockdown”.

3. Reinstating what I have kept detached: Yesterday, my cousin sister requested me to give her time so that she can connect with four of our families to see, talk and pray with each other considering the situation we have been facing now. The time was fixed and we had little problem with network but finally we could gather to have a video chat with each other, laugh, smile and ultimately pray for all the people suffering around the globe. And in the night while on my bed, resting my head on the pillow I was thinking, “Why I am so detached with all? I am not a person like this… why I stay away from people for a year or so?”

Everyone knows how I build relationships. And that’s what I love to do – investing my time in people’s life. Even I was feeling so uncomfortable when I was passive about this favourite thing that I love to do… But I did start connecting with people again, building new relationships and restoring the older ones during this lockdown period.

Trust me, I am going to reinstate every friendship, relationship that I have kept myself detached from.

4. Rearranging what I have left messy: Indiscipline, distractions and waywardness bring down someone into utter chaos and mess. I allowed it somehow to be in a mess for last two or three years.

Reasons? I can’t explain.

I might justify my life being not as bad as others, not as much in the mess as others but my heart knows it should not be like this anyway.

Okay! So, I have a lot of time to repair, rearrange, reorganize my mess and bring it back on the track by re-surrendering myself in His divine care. Surrendering life to God doesn’t mean resting peacefully…but to rework all the more and strive for making my mess, mesmerizing.

5. Reprioritizing what I have ignored: God and the purpose He has in and through my life is my priority. I confess, I have kind of ignored it for last couple of years. I don’t want to give excuses by blaming my illness or life situations. I understand, I might be faltering yet God does and will pull me back every time I go astray but I am desperately seeking His strength to help me reprioritize and stay focus on Him and the purpose that He has for me while I am alive in this world.

This lockdown gives me enough time to pray and gain strength from Him to see the people and their needs through His eyes, His perspective. My heart moves with compassion when I look at those people suffering and dying without fulfilling life’s eternal purpose. My heart cries. This lockdown made me kneel down on my knees and pray for them and feel for them which I could not have done it if I would have been in a Covid19-less normal situation.    

Lockdown means, a lot of time for me to work on all the above 5 RE’s along with whatever emergency work that I could do from home or by going to the office as I live in the same campus where my office is located. You might think these points are not relatable to you, especially the last RE, but I know they are. You never know, how devastating the post Covid19 period will be than the present state of affairs due to Corona-virus.

So, let this Lockdown Period’ be the most important period of your life apart from all the enjoyment and entertainment that you have planned, assuming you and I would survive and beat Covid19… Uhhmmm 😛  

Stay at home and keep pondering on 5 RE’s

Stay Blessed!

BE TRUTHFUL WHEN YOU CLICK

ARE YOU A TARGET OF GOSSIP AND RUMOUR?

The synonyms of the word ‘Rumour’ are comment, news, fabrication, report, falsehood, scandal, gossip, story, hearsay, suggestion, hoax, tale, whisper, word, lie, innuendo.

There were 16 such words above that were quite relevant to the word ‘Rumour’, but out of those 16 words, 10 are extremely negative. All the previously published articles have explained about this topic in detail. But we all agree that rumour never does any good to the gossip mongers or the victim of the same.

I was wondering about the person who becomes the topic of discussion among many, about whom the rumour is being spread, who is blamed and accused indirectly instead of being talked or addressed in person or face to face. Just imagine how hurtful it is to be the topic of discussion for no reason. Just imagine how the person must be leading his or her life when he or she knows that there’re people talking behind him or her falsely.

A rumour about someone who is innocent can cause majorly four damages to that person:

  1. It destroys his/her REPUTATION
  2. It pushes him/her into NEEDLESS MENTAL STRESS
  3. It makes him/her to SELF-ALIENATE from own people even
  4. It stops his/her PROGRESS for SOMETIME or for LIFETIME

But I want to focus on the part where we can get out of this phase of being the target of rumours and gossips and live out our life as we, our family and our God intended for us.

I am very much aware of the rumours and gossips that have been spreading around in our community concerning my inability, my sickness and the assumptions they cook out of them.

Am I affected by it?

Yes, of course! I feel my reputation is spoiled, I avoid to face certain people in my life, even I avoid to talk to people over the phone, I suffer from regrets and mental stress… BUT I never allowed them to stop me going ahead…

Why and How?

‘How to handle rumours when we are the target?’ – I have FIVE solid steps that I follow and can help all of us dealing with rumours and gossips when we are the victims of it.

  1. Step back: Stepping back from the situation and the negative emotions surrounding us, temporarily help us big time. When the fire flares in front of us, we step back reflexively before we plan to control it. It is the same way that we need to follow when we face the flares of rumours and gossips trying to burn our reputation. Acting on our negative emotions like revenge and anger can cause more problems to us, so it is wise for us to step back for some time, till our negative emotions towards the person or the whole situation dies down.

This stepping back has always helped me to reorganize my emotions and reacting impulsively has always put me into shame and disgust. Take my words… I have gone through it.

2. Forgive and forget: When we step back, we plan to deal with the situation. We struggle to be at peace at the memory, the hurts haunt us. We might feel that avenging the person who wronged us or seeing them punished would give us peace of mind. But that’s not the truth. A negative feeling won’t be eradicated with another negative act. Only forgiving and forgetting the person who had done wrong to us with the help from above divinely can actually calms our hearts and minds down.

Today, I was talking to someone who wants to see her perpetrators to be punished in front of her eyes so that she can have peace. But I lovingly made her understand that’s not how someone can attain peace. It is only forgiving the person who wronged us, can allow God to work within us and we can have peace that is beyond human understanding.

3. De-identifying from the situation: We have a habit of identifying ourselves or relate to the situation very quickly or quite impulsively. That pulls us behind always. A rumour is an act of a person who is flawed. Though we are not perfect, yet we need to remember that someone else’s remark or the remarks of people don’t certify our characters. So why to identify or recognize the situation as a reflection of us or our characters? De-identifying from the situation is absolutely fantastic to deal well with the rumours and gossips against us.

4. Refocus and Look at the bigger picture: I always try to apply this step in my life. My future doesn’t depend on what people think or say of me. I am solely responsible for my life, no one else. It is only God who can make me or break me. I know this truth yet at times I struggle because of what people talk behind me, close ones spread rumours about me. I falter yet, try to shift my focus ahead instead of looking here and there.

Looking at the bigger picture of our life is important instead of dwelling in the mess created by some gossip and rumour mongers.

5. Respond to the person who wronged us: This step is optional. This step can be taken when we have come out of the mess completely and have built ourselves to help others going through such difficulties. We can go up to the person who wronged us or spread rumours about us and explain how hurtful what he or she did to us. It is always good to let the person know how it feels. But this step can be avoided if we are not confident enough to face the man or woman caused us so much pain.

Are you a target of gossip and rumour, today? I want to encourage all of you to follow the above mentioned steps and what Rajnandini suggested in her article on this topic – “I would urge you to take your hurts and scars to God who would heal you and fill your heart with His peace.”

While closing this article, I want to address to the people who knowingly or unknowingly become the medium of a rumour or lie about someone who is innocent. I will just quote a verse from the Bible for them where it instructs to think and understand about a few attributes that are very essential for our as well as the welfare of others… And in that list ‘following what is true’ is mentioned first.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Friends! Let’s choose TRUTH over LIES. Let’s turn away our ears from rumours and strive to search and research the Truth about everything and everyone. Let’s not heed a rumour and participate in a gossip journey which can be hurtful to someone who’s innocent.

Stay watchful and careful of rumour and gossips…

Stay Blessed!

AM I HEALING OR KILLING?

Advice!

I actually hold the phone hanging in my hands instead of pressing it against my ears when someone starts giving it for a long time. 😛

But advice with understanding and with much care always gets instilled in the hearts of people. That’s how one particular advice got implanted in my heart in such a manner that I have never forgotten it in my life though I confess that, I have failed to obey it all the time.

I have written articles, telling about this specific advice many times, I have given the same advice to many of those who seek counsel from me, and I have used it as an illustration while giving sermons in the church.

Why I am telling all these? Yeah, I just wanted to prove that this is the advice that has stuck with me for a long time and will remain with me till my death.

Now without any delay, let’s talk about the advice I am so serious about…

I know it very well that when I speak rashly, it feels exactly like the piercing of a sword, but when I use my tongue wisely, I bring healing to the hearts of the people listening to me  -yet, I am very rash with my words.  I am very good at juggling with them – yet, I know it can be used either ways. I can comfort a hurting soul with my words; I can motivate and inspire others with my words… And at the same time, I can scold, hurt and kill someone using the same tongue of mine.

My former boss had observed this character of mine so well that before he left our organization, he made me sit with him and spoke gently with this piece of advice – “Chiradeep, always think ten times before you utter any words, because once the words are out, you can’t take them back.

It is imprinted within my heart. These words always ring in my ears and keep reminding me whenever I fail to oblige to these precious words of him.

In conclusion, I want to quote one Bible verse that always encourages and strengthens me to hold onto the advice of my former boss and that verse is –

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Friends! Do we keep this in mind, whether our words are healing or killing someone’s spirit?

Keep reading as you ponder upon this small thought…

Stay Blessed!

GET READY FOR THE NEXT EXAMINATION, ONCE YOU ARE DONE WITH ONE

I started to feel sick from the very first day of February this year. I felt, because I have accumulated a lot of hair on my head, I am feeling sick. So, on 2nd of February I went for a haircut. To save all my warm clothes from sick, wasted hair I went out with just a shirt. The climate was pretty weird during that time. I had a good haircut and I came back feeling lighter. I took a bath and had my lunch. In the evening, I started to cough. I had a paracetamol after I called my both doc brothers. I kept delaying for next two weeks, suffering with relentless coughing and fever. When it is out of my hands, (which was never in my hand from the beginning though) I went to the OPD, to see an able doctor. She asked me to get a chest X-Ray done. I followed her instruction. And after she saw the X-Ray, she asked me to get admitted right away. We were not ready and this admission was quite unexpected.

Life, is a word which is very vast in itself. The moment this life instills in a baby, it faces many challenges around it. And its struggles start from the day one though the degree of challenges increase gradually according to the growth of the baby.

When God created everything and given us life, He allowed us a freewill. And that freewill became the greatest challenge of all time for each and every human living on this earth.

How? Let me explain…

  • When something is served in front of us to eat, we ask ourselves, “Is it good for the health?
  • When someone asks us to do a certain task, we ask, “Is it right to help that certain person?” Or “Is the help someone asked lawful?
  • When we are on the verge of deciding on our career choice, we ask, “Is the career I choose morally alright?” Or “Will this career take me in the right direction?
  • When we are about to choose a life partner, we ask ourselves, “Will this girl be alright for me?” Or “Is she be compatible to me?” Or “Does this boy accept me as I am?” Or “Is the boy a drunkard or will he be faithful?
  • When there’s something that we are addicted to, we ask, “How long should I be struggling?” Or “Should I be leaving it for good or keep it moderately without affecting anything around me?
  • When we sit in front of the TV, we asked, “Is it okay to watch this movie?

The list of such instances can go on and on…

The recent experience that I went through which I described above, in the beginning of this article clearly talks about how I let my freewill be at its will and I suffered until I allow someone else to decide on my behalf to deal with my sick body.

At every step of our life, we had things to decide. And these decision-making questions that we ask at every step of our life are unending. Our freewill is challenged and put to test every now and then. Trust me, it is a struggle, because sometimes I wonder how it would be when I would be allowed to do whatever I just feel like instead of considering what is right and what is wrong. That was my sinful human tendency that is crying out to break free or freak out.

Life is indeed an examination. We literally, appear for exams once we are done with one.

Be ready to counter the challenges our freewill face, all the time.

Stay Blessed!

GO GUILT-FREE

Have you ever seen a child or a person stammering when he or she lied or done something wrong? When they walk, they look here and there… They speak with their eyes looking at the ground… They avoid other’s questions or interrogation…

It is our conscience that makes us feel like that. Our conscience is the only thing that speaks to us when we are all alone. It is a gift from God. A clear CONSCIENCE is a true friend which always speaks the truth and shows the things that are good and bad. When we are at fault, our guilt conscience makes us struggle to face people. As our guilt consciousness creates a barrier between us with the people around us. Guilt doesn’t allow us to live or walk or speak freely or at liberty. It binds us with a guilty feeling. It takes away our independence. It captivates our mind and soul.

But it is important for all of us to understand our guilt, because it can build us as well as can ruin us completely.

True guilt always leads us to true repentance. True repentance leads us to confessing of our misdeeds or sin and which ultimately leads to forgiveness and restoration… Restoration from being guilty, from a strained relationship and restored to have a clean conscience.

But there is something called false guilt according to June Hunt, one of my favourite personalities among all, who is an author, counsellor and the founder of ‘Hope for the Heart’ organisation that has been helping numerous people in desperation.

She warns about a few false guilt feelings which should not be within our hearts troubling us till the end…

She warns –

  • False Guilt is based on self-condemning feelings that you have not lived up to your own expectations or those of someone else.
  • False Guilt arises when you blame yourself, even though you’ve committed no wrong, or even though you’ve confessed and turned from your sin.
  • False Guilt keeps you in bondage to three destructive weapons – shame, fear, and anger.
  • False Guilt, ironically, is not resolved by confession. (The past keeps coming up again and again) 

False guilt can lead a person to depression and spiritual paralysis. False guilt tends to be very “me-centered,” rather than God-centered. And it makes the person feel that God has left him or her.

Now, this is alarming and false guilt consciousness can be fatal. But in my opinion whether is true or false guilt it should be dealt carefully and needed to be given up at once or else it will literally torment the person day and night and ruin his or her life.

It is not very easy to get rid of guilts. It stays like, forever…

Usually, when I struggle with guilt, a true guilt and I have the realisation that I have wronged a person, I search for opportunity to ask forgiveness from him and restore my relationship with him or her and go guilt free. Trust me, you need guts to ask forgiveness. It is good that we have plenty of options to say sorry these days. Previously, we had only two options – face the person or write a note. But these days, we have Whatsapp, email, messenger and many more options to ask forgiveness genuinely. But nothing can replace the joy of restoration when we are in persons.

Many a times, I have struggled with false guilt, feeling responsible of something which was not in my control. There was a sister like friend who committed suicide and I felt guilty of not paying attention to her when she wanted to share her heart. For quite a long time, I was troubled but later I shifted that guilt into a responsibility or task in hand to train myself well to be sensitive to the needs of people. And I succeeded in my endeavour by God’s grace.

You heard it right, God’s grace is the best cure to our guilt. Once our vertical relationship is smooth and free flowing, our horizontal relationships become alright automatically.

Lastly, if we really want to go guilt-free or lead a guilt free life then we should follow the instruction given as under:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things; center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart.”

Let’s take responsibility of living with a renewed mind and conscience by focussing on things of higher values, following which are good and live a transformed and guilt-free life.

Stay Blessed!

THE MASTER CHEF

As soon as we started writing on this topic I fell sick. I mean, I am not saying I got sick because of the topic but the day when I got sick. Yeah! Last Sunday,  I fell ill. And while resting the whole week at home, I finished previous 18 episodes of Masterchef 6 India challenges and today I finished today’s episode which the 20th one.

Food of different kind and colour brightens my eyes and my tongue loves to taste everything on this earth apart from half cooked cuisines. Boiled foods are my favourites but half cooked, a big NO from me. I consider myself to be a big foodie and I don’t see what is served but whether it is tasty or not. 🙂

From childhood, I had keen interest in food and how it is prepared, like Siddharth, Kalpana’s son. His mom was generous to allow him but it wasn’t so with my mom. So, I discovered my skills only when started working here in Kolkata. And I am going to explain one such dish, which I consider it to be tasty, looked good and the idea behind it was good (Swad, Surat and Soch) 😉 …

One Saturday afternoon, I checked what’s there for the lunch and I found what… Potato chutney, daal and rice. It is not that I don’t like it, I love it but I was not in a mood to have the same, that particular day. So, I searched the shelf for something that can spice up the lunch. And I found what! A box full of Khai or Khoi. In English it is called fried paddy or puffed rice. This ingredient is a bland absolutely opposite to what I was looking for – chatpata – spicy.

I thought for a moment and put three handful of Khoi in a bowl of water to soak it. Then I drained the water and added a little salt. I roasted a pinch of cumin seeds and make a powder out of it. I added the same to my soaked Khoi. I am not a fan of chillies so I didn’t use them. You can use any spices in it as you wish.

To get a good hold, I added a little bit of bread crumbs in it and stir it. I mashed it well and made small round balls shaped out of the batter using my fingers and palm.

I heated the oil in a pan and fried these small ball shaped cuties. After a minute when they were fried well and were golden brown in colour, I took them out. I kept them on a paper to let the oil get soaked from those fried Khoi balls.

I chopped one big onion and fried it with Soya Sauce. Then I put that fried onion with soya sauce over all those fried stuffs that I had kept on the paper. To add to the beauty or garnishing, I kept two beautiful green coriander leaves on them.

Trust me! It tasted so well! My family loved it!

Sometimes, our life is bland and tasteless like those white fried paddies or Khoi. But when we surrender ourselves in the hands of The Masterchef, God… then He can create beauty out of us.

Stay Blessed!