MANTRA FOR JOYFUL LIFE

Mast Raho”, used to be my brother’s favorite dialogue. Whenever I would approach him during a problematic solution, he would calmly access and solve it, saying, “Mast Raho”, which means be carefree. Years down the line, he still solves all the problems easily. Easily, not because the problems aren’t grave, but because he looks for solutions, instead of worrying.

I was quite opposite and used to take tension the moment a problem would pop up in front of me. And I took a lot of time to shun the practice of worrying about all the big and small things in life.

There used to be a poster in my room, during my late teens:

Why Do You Worry?

You are either going to live or die.

If you live, there’s nothing to worry.

If you die, you are either going to heaven or hell.

If you go to heaven, there’s nothing to worry.

If you go to hell, you will be so busy shaking hands with your friends,

 that you won’t have any time to worry!

So, basically, the crux of the message was that there’s no point in worrying.

As we grow older, we get into the nitty gritty of the life complexities and so getting tensed or worrying is quite natural and unavoidable too. However, I have actually experimented this that when you pray to God, with all your faith, He listens. So, now instead of worrying, I have started praying.

So, ‘don’t worry, just pray’ has become my mantra.

Another thing that I have started following is- ‘don’t try to change others’ and simultaneously have accepted the fact- ‘to each his own.’ We all are born different and so have different interests and likings. So, if a person does what you don’t like, just ignore and accept that choices might differ! Yeah, that sounds difficult and even I am gradually trying to get this into my system! 

LITTLE STEPS CAN DO WONDERS

Gratitude is riches’, ‘be grateful with what you have ‘, is what I keep telling my children. We often fulfil our kids’ demands and they don’t realize the importance of resources. So, a couple of years back, I took my elder son along to one of the schools in my hometown, where one of the teachers, Ms. Gayatri, had started a social cause of teaching the underprivileged. 

We both used to teach in a private school, nevertheless, she was my senior and a very humble human being. Years later, she joined a government primary school, where she persuaded the children from poor families to join the school and study instead of begging and rag picking. It wasn’t an easy job to convince the parents, who thought their earning hands would be a loss for the families of those kids who went to school. Yet, she overcame the challenge. Apart from these children, there were also a lot who didn’t have any valid document to prove that they were living below the poverty line. So, she started teaching them too at her own expense. Not only academics, but she also takes care of their creative and physical development too. I was so impressed by her initiative that I donated a few storybooks for her library. I was touched by the love and respect that I got in her school by the little curious minds. I showed my son that even with little resources they were so happy and full of enthusiasm to learn. 

This year too, more than a week back, I was in my hometown and it was our younger son’s 5th birthday. To mark the occasion, we decided to gift some stationery to those children. Since the schools have been closed due to the pandemic, Gayatri Ma’am goes to their colony to teach them, using makeshift classrooms. Gathering all the stationery stuff in bags, I handed them to ma’am, who thanked me immensely. I told her that instead of thanking me, I should thank her for all her efforts and good deeds. 

One night, a couple of days back, I picked up my phone to check the sudden message beeps one after the other. It was Gayatri Ma’am.  As I opened my WhatsApp, I was overwhelmed to see the pictures and videos of the children with the stationary items I had given.  And that was not all. The children had sung birthday songs for my son and even made beautiful birthday cards. Ma’am told me that the kids were too happy with the stuff they got and it was visible in the photographs. Seeing their ear-to-ear smiles and eyes gleaming with joy, my eyes were moist. I couldn’t believe myself that with just a handful of stuff the children got, could make them so happy.

It was indeed an emotional moment for me and it also made me realize that our little steps can truly do wonders for someone. This was a moment and a small step that truly filled my heart with so much joy. Let’s explore and express as we began this new week writing on those small little things that fill our hearts with joy.

DEATH – THE HARSH REALITY OF LIFE

We all are very well aware of the fact that whosoever comes onto the earth has to leave also. Yet, we mourn and cry over the loss of our loved ones, the loss that is irreparable. It’s a strange process that God has made. Soon after the birth, a person makes so many connections, develops love and affection and when the time comes, the invisible cord is just snapped, leaving behind only memories.

A few years back I lost my cousin brother. His death was a shock for all of us. But, for me, it was an eyeopener, as if trying to reiterate the fact that death can arrive at any time. I was there for the funeral with my cousin Prabhjot and we felt sorry for our older generation who watched the dead body on a pyre, crying helplessly. It was the first time in my life that I witnessed all the last rituals being performed, right in front of me. I stood there, remembering my cousin brother’s laughter, the way he used to tease me, helping me out of the way and all the good and bad times we shared as a family. The next day, as a ritual, we had to go to the funeral site again for phool chugna, i.e., collecting the last remains of the body- bones and teeth. Since there was no one else to accompany our fathers, Prabhjot and I went with them. I couldn’t stop my tears from falling down as I searched the ‘phool’ from the ashes. The bone in my hand could have been his finger that held me when I was little. The tooth that I found reminded me of his smile. The huge body who once guarded me was down there, turned into ashes. For a weak-hearted girl like me, that moment was overwhelming, but it suddenly filled me with strength, making me realize that my cousin was near me and he would feel bad to see us all cry. So, now, whenever I miss him, I talk to him in my heart.

As they say-

Those we love don’t go away

they walk beside us every day,

unseen, unheard,

but always near,

still loved, still missed,

and very dear”

SHUN THE BARRIER

Love is a beautiful feeling, an integral emotion and a wonderful experience altogether. Yet, love isn’t everything. And people come at the crossroads where they realize that love isn’t working anymore. Disagreement, turmoil, shortcomings and other disturbances ruin love, the basis of every relation.

Ujjwala, found her love during her yoga classes. A man used to learn yoga along with her. It was love at first sight. Both got attracted to each other and became close friends. Though she was madly in love, she refused to settle down with him because his nationality was different and there were many religious and social constraints too. Consequently, they went their separate ways.

Many relations succumb to the pressure from the couples and end their relationships. But, some people also stand up against such barriers, not caring about how they will be judged and treated. However, when the people in relationships become the barrier, the relation is bound to break.

Another friend of mine was highly disturbed lately because money was being a problem in his relationship. It was getting difficult for him to live on a foreign land and maintaining an expensive lifestyle. Though his wife was earning equally good amount, she wasn’t contributing in household expenses and refused to do so. As a result, my friend has got an aversion for his wife now!

Emotional barriers also make the relationships vulnerable. Fear of rejection, lack of faith, past experiences, etc., can impact the current relation and resist the people in developing a deeper connection. 

Love is a vital energy, yet the feeling of being loved can be often taken for granted. Love knows no boundaries, yet the boundaries get created sometimes in a relation, knowingly or unknowingly.

Be understanding, forgiving and appreciating to remove the barriers to love.

“OUR Love must be TRUE and WE SHOULD shun all the barriers AND WHAT IS EVIL IN RELATIONSHIPS.”

STORGE – THE UNADULTERATED LOVE

As a child, you must have always seen your parents as the ones who are there only to point out your mistakes and to deter you from doing things that you like. Indeed, most of us feel that way, until we become parents.

As soon as we become parents, we get natural or instinctual affection for our children and we just want them to be perfect in everything they do. Even the children feel safe and secure with their parents, for they never leave them alone till they are grown-ups, ready to take charge of their own lives. Yet, irrespective of the age, a child always remains a child. 

Children always believe that their parents are the strongest and so can’t imagine them to be weaker. So, when our parents grow old in front of us, it gets difficult for us to digest this fact. My father, who is going to turn 75 soon, walks much slower now. He has accepted his old age, but I want all his tests to be done again. I want him to be energetic like he used to be. My mom, my first teacher, often calls me up when she’s stuck in an online task. I get overwhelmed when I help her out. 

Parental love is truly divine, selfless, unadulterated, and truly eternal. We, as parents of young children, are busy disciplining them. We sometimes (mostly for me) yell at them and chide them, but our hearts melt to them in pain. I often scold and sometimes even hit my sons. I feel bad also, but then a slap works when nothing else does! And whenever they cry, they come to me to seek my comfort. It’s strange when a mom slaps and the child comes into her arms to cry. 

Teaching new things to children every day, celebrating their little milestones and laughing over their silly mischiefs brings sheer joys in life. I remember when I used to come back from work, all weary and tired, my little one would jump into my arms and all my stress would vanish.

Each day we make memories with our children and when they grow up, we laugh together recalling those precious moments. My children often cling to me and I fear once they grow up, they will stop doing that. Perhaps I am wrong, for their love is unadulterated, just like mine.

EQUALITY IN LOVE

What is better than expensive gifts and dream holidays in love? An equal relationship of course!

Love and equality go hand in hand. If all the relationships shed the desire of power, I guess there won’t be bitter relations at all. Balance and equality are needed whether it’s in terms of respect, support or responsibility. Problem occurs when either of the partners is dominating.

Setting up boundaries, expecting too much, dictating what to do and how things have to be done, not consulting each other in important decisions, etc., all result in unhealthy relationships. If one is continuously being held back, the love will only get weaker. When you are in a committed relationship, you need to accept the person as is without changing him/her.

Reena and Jay were madly in love with each other, but their relationship went sour as Jay was too authoritative and dictating. Statements like “You can’t talk to that person” or “You can’t wear that skirt”, chagrinned Reena. Moreover, during any disagreement, it was only Reena who used to apologize. As a result, gradually they broke up.

Accepting one’s mistakes, giving priority to ‘our needs’ rather than focusing on ‘mine’, ensuring that being in love is not a bonded relationship is vital. Hence, there must be equality of couple who are in love.

Perfect Love Cannot Be Without Equality
-Scottish Proverb

GRATITUDE IS RICHES

I am not your driver,” Gaurav slammed back to his wife Reena as she coaxed him to drop her and their daughter Palak to a friend’s party. His frustration was genuine as he had just reached from office after spending more than one hour in heavy traffic. Driving through the snail pace traffic was indeed tiring, physically and mentally as well.

Reena was flabbergasted by Gaurav’s reaction and wished she could drive. It’s not that she never tried driving, it was only the fear of driving alone on the busy roads. She instantly picked up her cell phone, booked a cab and went with her daughter to chill with her friends. Throughout the party, one thought kept haunting Reena that Gaurav wasn’t her driver. She HAD to learn to drive at any cost. 

The next day, Reena enrolled herself in one of the driving schools where the instructor was impressed by her previous learning and was very sure that she would be a perfect driver within two weeks as she only lacked confidence. 

The next month Gaurav had to go abroad for a business meeting. Reena had started driving already and used to make trips to the nearby grocery store. 

One fine evening, Reena was busy preparing dinner when the doorbell started ringing continuously. “Palak, stop doing that,” Reena shouted, thinking that must be her only. 

It was Palak’s neighbourhood friend Ashi. Before Reena could say anything, Ashi was panting “Aunty, aunty…Palak…”.

Ashi, what happened?” Reena asked in surprise.

Aunty, Palak fell down from her bicycle”, Ashi said, grasping her breath.

Reena turned off the gas stove and rushed downstairs. Palak was already surrounded by her friends and was crying loudly.

Reena could make out that her daughter was in deep pain. She mustered the courage to see her. Thankfully, there was no blood, but she was holding her elbow. The skin around had turned darker. “I am getting the car keys, just look after her,” Reena instructed the kids.

She picked up Palak and drove to the nearest hospital. The x-ray was done and it turned out to be a hairline fracture. They returned home after getting the temporary plaster.

Thank you Gaurav,” Reena said in her mind as she felt that it was only because of him that she could become a good driver. The sense of gratitude filled her with joy.