IF ONLY WE COULD HOLD A CONVERSATION…

Image result for shopkeeper and customer anime

How often do we actually take out time to exchange just a few words with the people who don’t hold much importance in our life? Rarely or maybe sometimes. Recalling one of such acquaintances, I cannot forget my childhood memory associated with the purchase of junkies from a nearby colony provision store. No sooner was I able to collect a few coins than I used to rush to the shop to purchase either a pack of chips or my favorite cola! However, the owner of the shop had such disposition that all my excitement always cooled down on seeing his grumpy face. Since it was the only shop in my area, it seemed more of the kind of a monopoly store. His irritation level would rise to heights if I would ask him to display his collection of candies or if even I just had to add one extra item in the billing list. A smile was the last thing one could expect from this shopkeeper. Whenever I returned home after my purchase, I always complained to my mom about the rude and ignorant behavior of this man. But then again, I had no option than to go again to this merchant for purchases as it was the only store that existed in my colony at that time. Moreover, if anything went wrong or if I ever had to return an expired item, he took it back with so much of sternness as if he was doing a favor on me. His nags and my complaints went on endlessly until a piece of shocking news broke out one day.

I had risen from my morning sleep when I saw my parents leaving home early that day. When I asked my maid about it, she told me that they were going to attend the funeral of Mr. Jaiswal. It was as if the ground below my feet had shaken for how could a man who seemed so fit could pass away. I couldn’t help remembering how often I used to engage in a fight with this man at his shop even for his fuzzy attitude. All of a sudden, I just felt as if I had so many unsettled accounts with this person, left to finish. When my mom returned, she told me that this shop owner was suffering from mouth cancer and he committed suicide.

For a moment, I couldn’t believe if it was really true and when this reality seeped in me, I could somehow relate to the reactions of this shopkeeper in the past. Mr. Jaiswal was not bad, it was his circumstances that had turned him sour and bitter. Now it clicked to me that why he didn’t respond to my anger as uttering a word from the rotten mouth was so difficult for him. Moreover, the pain of those blisters in his mouth was the reason for the constant frown on his face. I really felt sorry for a dead soul that day and more than that I was agitated by my own self that how I could hold so many grudges against a diseased person for petty issues. It really struck me that why I didn’t even try for once to gauge the depth of his situation. I really wondered if I had just even tried getting into his shoes, I would have never held any complaints against him. I cursed myself endlessly for not making any efforts to discover the reason for his sternness. Why for God’s sake, I didn’t even hold a conversation with him? Sympathy filled my heart when I came to know from the neighbours in my colony that how lonely he felt as he had no one to look after him. It was not only the disease but solitude as well that was killing him. He certainly might have felt very low which led him to commit suicide and there might be no one around to even console him. Connecting the dots seemed very easy at that moment for one could then sense that his frustration was definitely the outcome of his sufferings. I couldn’t help questioning myself that how I could frame so strong and wrong perceptions about this person just because his behaviour was bad with me.

Mother Teresa has rightly said:- “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’’ These words were somewhere resonating in my ears for I had turned so nasty in judging the shopkeeper that I had no time to empathize with his problems that were probably greatest than all of our rants. I felt very sorry for him and at the same time, I really felt that I just could not forgive myself for passing angry comments on him. I learned a lesson that day to not judge a person without knowing his struggle story. Moreover, it does not take much time to know the sorrows of a person only if we understand the real meaning of tolerance and patience. Even if it takes time, isn’t it worth it, if it can save someone’s life and make him feel worthy enough to live on this planet; making someone feel a little less lonely?

This incident really questioned my indifferent conscience that day and struck such chords in me striving me to live a life of awareness and kindness with empathy and compassion filled in the heart.

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ENLIGHTENING STRANGERSHIP

Blogging has always been a source of joy for me. It has not only helped me in sharing my thoughts with unknown people but has also opened the folds of my brain to a new world of ideas and emotions. Through blogging, I have had a few great online acquaintances but this one deserves a special mention.

Probably, a year back when I was active on WordPress, any article of the spiritual genre always caught my attention. Also, I have had a habit of reflecting back on any piece of work that touch my heart and so there was this article from a wise Indian blogger which drew my attention. We had an argument basing on my comment under his article and this argument went on for a couple of days until I accepted his point of view. Well I need to say that I was swayed by his level of knowledge and awareness.

In no time we started exchanging mails through which I tried to seek as much knowledge from him as I could. What I really learned from him that each time I came up with a problem, he never provided me with a solution. However, he strengthened my belief in God that I was able to move ahead with a bit of clarity and faith.

After probably exchanging a century of mails, I requested his number which he resisted for a long time in sharing. But one fine day, he somehow agreed for an early morning call. I was really excited and nervous at the same time just to talk to a man whom I did not even know completely. We talked for a long time over the phone and as expected I could feel his simplicity and elevated thought process. 

As time passed, the frequency of our conversations decreased for we got busy in our own schedules but  yes we had a fair idea of where we were heading. Surprisingly, once after a long time I called him to update him of my results and before I uttered a word, I could sense discomfort in his words. He was going through a bad phase in his life. Moreover being reserved, he resisted telling me his complete state however I got it all. It was then, that my good results didn’t seem important to me and my momentary joy vanished. Somehow I could relate to his pain, his ambiguous state and his dilemma.

For a moment it seemed to me as if everything has crashed but if I showed my deep down broken emotions, then how could I give hope! Well after hearing his few more words, I decided to act strong and used the same words to console him which he often used to say to give me strength when I felt weak. Well never before have I felt so concerned for a man whom I had never even met. It was a strange kind of connection I felt maybe because I could count the number of similarities between us. Since then I made a point to connect with him daily to ensure he doesn’t sink in depression.

As he wanted to interact less at that time, so eventually we lost touch for a while but anyway I made it a point to drop a mail as frequent as possible while praying daily for his wellness. This was the kind of bond that developed invisibly unknowingly wherein I was sending peaceful vibrations to a stranger!

It took him some time to get over that negative state of mind but I am glad he made it. Today he is back in the race again striving for something good. Whenever we talk I get to learn something from him. It is because of him that I realize the importance of praying and make an effort to connect with God religiously. I explored many theological concepts after our interactions that have somewhere sown the seeds of spirituality in me. I am always amazed by his marvel character when he says he doesn’t  work to do something big but everything that is good.

As he always tag interactions between us as strangership, I often teasingly ask him with a grumpy face that don’t I hold any value in his life! To this he always replies which brings a smile on my face and that is :- “Every star has its own position in the galaxy with which it is incomplete and so do you.”

Well I need to mention that he is invincible when it comes to analyzing and exploring depths of any concept! And I feel really thankful to God for connecting me to such a rare kind of talented man. I hope the so called strangership lasts forever and one fine day I am able to meet him!

“BREATHING THE AIR OF CHOICE HAS NEVER BEEN AN OPTION!” – A TEEN’S VOICE

It aptly goes well with the Indian society that as long as there are curtains over the actions, everything is acceptable. However a mammoth cloud of problems burst when the veil is lifted. While we tag Love as a ‘societal taboo’, it somehow becomes overrated! Even the natural liking for someone dies when the society’s frame of perception steps in. Very few relationships have the power to go against the prescribed will and create their own beautiful love stories. Well I really admire those!

Anyways unfortunately due to this taboo issue, once I was caught in the dilemma of expression of love. Since childhood, my mom always projected such a picture of the opposite gender that every acquaintance with a male seemed a self invited distraction to my well going nerdy lifestyle. Thus I was always very careful and conscious enough not to give wrong signals to anyone, I interacted with.

But as it is said that love sees no time or person, it just happens naturally and so I got swayed impetuously in someone’s awe just after I finished my schooling. Well I have to mention the phrase ‘after schooling’ for then there were less of restrictions and ties that give me a little freedom to indulge in an affair.

Almost a year of my great friendship with that guy had passed when I felt the need to express my feelings for him. However my inner turmoil never allowed me to do so. While being brought up according to the society’s saying that what we like might not be always what is right, I started doubting my own feelings for that guy. Moreover, also I didn’t allow him to take a step forward which made things worse and complicated in our case. Just because of the wrong fear created by the society in me that relationships at a very young age are a kind of sin and symbolic of immaturity, my behavior towards that guy became awkward leading to endless misunderstandings. Finally and sadly all of this led to an unwanted break up!

So this is what happens when society creates a hype over young relationships and looks at it with a wrong perception. The unsaid words and unexpressed feelings always remain buried deep in the heart and continue to create pain if one is not strong enough to ignore the conventional thinking of the society and break such a stereotype frame!

Thus the lesson that I realize now in my life is that love can never be a taboo! Each one of us have a right to live life and understand its ways in our own style and fashion and so therefore if in this process we end up falling on love, then what’s wrong in it?

ARE WE ACTUALLY READY?

As we all know and so it is actually true that any great accolade demands immense strenuous preparation. What is to be reflected is the fact that preparation is not just about physical toil and labor but complete whole hearted mental indulgence in the task is equally important. Hence, it is very well said that we need to commit to the battle before it begins!

Even the smallest of the task to be accomplished requires some amount of speculation. Thus we need to have the clarity of our purpose and a reason for its accomplishment otherwise all our hard efforts will be haphazardly directionless that will bear no fruits in the end.

Each one of us wants to achieve great heights and so some of the questions need to pondered and they are :-

i) Are we ready to put in the required level of hard work and give our best?

ii) Are we ready to make the needed sacrifices that includes giving up all the pleasures for a while?

iii) Do we promise ourselves to be patient in this journey that we undertake and not give up irrespective of how much time it takes ?

iv) Are we prepared to face or suffer the little step downs or failures along the journey ?
Well all the questions above are not only for any great target to be achieved but also for any little achievement , they need to be pondered. Only the level and degree of hard work and sacrifices vary according to the goals.

All great people may not reveal their success mantra but one thing is common and that is that they all have a well defined plan of action and they stick to it!

I feel physical preparation is completely dependent on our mental preparation. The mind needs to be energized and strengthened with power before commencing any physical task. For example, it can be seen that during the times, our mind is in turbulence, our efficiency also reduces and we are not able to give in the planned input. Hence all I want to emphasize is that we need to be mentally strong and determined as we undertake any Hercules task.

Building an equanimous state of working mind and focusing all our mental energies towards the goal which is unaffected by the setbacks is called mental preparation. It is not easy to do so but also not impossible. Powerful positive affirmations , daily visualization of the goal and falling in love with the journey are some of the ways to be learnt that makes mental preparation smooth! It is also true that “The possession of anything great begins in the mind.”

So I would suggest each one of us to start preparing our mind first for any upcoming war to make the struggle easy. As it is very well said  “The more we sweat in training , the less we bleed in battle.’’

TRAITS OF A RELIGIOUS FOODIE

Google defines a foodie as  “foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages.” However in my dictionary, a foodie is a person who need not have a refined taste but is madly and blindly in love with food and can be even obsessed with its thoughts such as he may not only eat but would also work, talk and sleep with food! With this thought in my mind, let me compile here a hilarious fact file of all great foodies based on my personal observations and experiences. So here it goes:-

1. Foodies are more interested in satisfying their taste buds’ desires than their stomachs’ actual need.

2. Foodies have an awesome diet plan. Respecting the word ‘healthy diet’, they will choose nutritious foods, however the additional layers and flavors added to such healthy foods will be so fatty that the whole diet becomes a mock! Some of the foodies even wake up feeling motivated about how they would get their bodies in shape by controlling their tongues but you ask them by the end of the day when they end up on their usual diet, their reply would be:- “Oh, looks really don’t matter!’’ or they would say ,“There is only one life, so we need to live extravagantly!’’Believe me there is actually no guilt..lol.

3. Foodies might indulge in prudent budgeting while buying necessities but when it comes to delicious food that seems tempting, there would be no second thought irrespective of whatever be the price!

4. For all the youngsters like me, if we are ever given the option of choosing between gorging on our favorite dish or going on a date with our crushes ; guess what will we choose!?Of course food is more important, chuck off the date!

5. Foodies  are never fussy about food. They enjoy all kinds and varieties of cuisines and dishes. Also they love experimenting new tastes when it comes to food!

6. Yummy food makes foodies more happy than expensive gifts!

7. Foodies serve their guests well. If they like some particular dish, they would desperately want all their loved ones to taste it and eventually like it too!

8. If foodies are ever asked about their favorite dishes or cuisines, they would land in deep speculation  to pick one out of the hundreds.

9. To check if one is actually a foodie or not, just let the guests be out or don’t  give them the regular glances, one would observe that foodies would be the first one to attack the food and devour them!

10. No matter how full one is, the foodie will always have an extra space in the stomach to taste the unexplored!

11. This one is a warning in disguise that is never ask a foodie to just taste a dish, he may end up licking up the whole plate!

12. This is a comical truth that some of the foodies keep aside their brains while devouring their favorite dishes. Rather they ignore their inner voice giving themselves excuses. For example , they know street food may not always be hygienic or healthy yet they love to overeat justifying themselves that it is just once in a while !

Thus now you can probably guess that the way to a foodie’s heart goes via delicious food! So now my I leave it to my dear readers to decide the extent to which they agree with my funny facts mentioned above!

I Hope you all enjoyed reading the fact file.