KIDS WILL BE KIDS

Kids will be kids
In their thoughts, words and deeds

Hearts of purity and sincerity
With no traces of depravity

Life for them is all fun and play
Whether with people or toys or with sand and clay

Quick in imitation
They observe every move and action

Some are compliant and obedient
They will never give you scope for complaint

A ‘do it’ will be done
And a ‘don’t do it’ will be left undone

Some others throw tantrums
Till you agree to dance to the beats of their drums

Tell them a ‘No’
They process it as ‘Why not?’

A few kids give real headaches
You lose it till you give ‘em some spanks and shakes

And then their wailing
Brings neighbours to your window railing

Kids will be kids
Shower them with love and treats

Hopping jumping and playing
It is the phase when things are easy-going

A game of peek-a-boo
Makes them even to hide in a loo

Their squeals of laughter
Make adults forget all tiff and slander

To expect kids to behave like grown-ups
Is treachery – it sucks!

For every adult has this secret wish
To return to the golden days of carefree bliss

DEEP WITHIN – XII

Punit!! What are you doing here? You should be home by this time,” said Coach Sharma surprised.

Just came here for some clear thinking . . . didn’t expect to find you still here. But when I saw you, just thought to get some things straight,” said Punit.

What things?,” said Mr. Sharma with a low tone of suspicion.

Punit started with a lower that usual voice, “It was my father, right, who influenced the Board in my favour when you had already made up your mind about making Aman the captain?”

Look, let matters of the Boardroom remain within the walls of the Boardroom. I choose not to discuss anything regarding it with you. But son look, you are in the blooming youth of your life. The way you look at things now, the way you behave now will continue to impact your future. If you will have cemented good relationships now, they’ll always stand by you. However, if you continue to nurture your arrogance you will find yourself all alone one day,” said the coach wrapping his arm around Punit.

Tears streamed down Punit’s cheeks. He stared blankly at the ground with not a word.

Then suddenly, he got up to leave.

Punit . . . listen . . . Punit,” ran the coach behind him. But, Punit jogged himself quickly out of the arena.

He was unusually calm in the car as the driver drove him home.

For a change, his parents were at home that evening as he reached home. As the maid opened the door, he handed her the cricket kit and quietly went up the stairs. The driver and the maid exchanged quiet questioning looks.

Punit bolted the door to his room and flopped himself on the bed and wept inconsolably. The happy scenes from Aman’s house flashed before his eyes. The singing and merriment – it was such a different picture than what he had thought.

How wrong I was! I always thought that money gives happiness because you have all that you want. I thought that poor people are unhappy and miserable creatures. But, here, my family has everything – yet there is no peace, no joy, no love, no understanding, no one has much time for each other. And, Aman’s family literally has nothing compared to what I have. Yet, the peace I felt as I stepped into their house is unexplainable. Why is that missing in my house? I have hardened behind these hard polished walls. Punit went on tugging his pillow as thoughts flooded his mind.

Just then, there was a knock at the door. Punit continued to lie on the bed, ignoring the knock. The knocking grew persistent and louder. He got up from his bed and went to the washroom. He saw his teary face in the mirror and could not believe that it was Punit Shah – the one who boasted with his collar up day in and day out. What had become of him today? Why was he crying after all!

The knocking turned into banging. He quickly washed his face and rushed to open the door with a wet face.

What happened Punit? Its not that you slept off . . . you came in just now. What took you so long to open the door,” demanded his angry father.

Er . . . I was in the washroom,” mumbled Punit. It was unusual for his father to come up to his room and knock the door.

Mr. Vikram Shah observed Punit’s swollen eyes and understood that he had been crying for some reason. However, he chose not to raise it up and just turned and descended the stairs.

Punit left the door open and strolled back into his room.

The maid walked in with a tray of snacks and steaming hot coffee. The mixed aroma of deep fried vadas (Indian snack) and the coffee filled the room. As he walked upto the tea table in his room, the image of the hot samosas and merriment in Aman’s house danced before his eyes. Tears started welling up once again.

Hey, hero what’s up?” It was his sister who had entered the room.

Punit could not control himself any longer. With the half-bitten vada still in his mouth, he held on to Trisha and started weeping.

Trisha was taken aback. “Hey, what happened? Come on tell me, did someone tell you something.”

Trisha did not know how to react. She had never seen Punit this way – at least not since his childhood days.

Why can’t our family be happy? Why can’t we all be together?” muttered Punit tightening his arm around Trisha amidst sobs.

DEEP WITHIN – II

Punit turned back to face none other than Aman. Wearing his serene smile as always, Aman said, “Punit, please don’t feel bad about Coach’s decision. Cricket is a team game, after all. Let’s join hands to ensure that our team wins this time. Its not about ‘you’ or ‘me’; its about ‘us’.”

Punit shoved off Aman’s hand with a jerk and stomped away fuming. He was determined to get the Coach to reverse his decision. No way was he going to play under somebody else!

He got into the car and banged the door shut behind him. The driver understood that Punit was in one of his fierce tempers and so silently drove him homewards.

As usual, Punit did not find his parents at home on reaching. The housemaid opened the door and took the cricket kit from his hand. Punit flung the kit towards her and tromped up the stairs to his room.

“Leave him alone. Another of his mad days . . . wooofff . . .”, whispered the driver to the maid shaking his head.

Vikram Shah, the perfectionist business tycoon had worked hard to set up his business empire in the position that it was. A workaholic, he seldom had time for his family. Though his business was in expert hands, his dreams of spreading the business to other countries and experimenting with new ventures kept him away from home on most days. He had married Shobhna, his college sweetheart when they were twenty three. The initial years were those of financial struggles, but their love for each other kept them well-bonded.

As the business flourished, there was no dearth of luxury at home. However, there were frequent squabbles often turning into bitter exchange of words between the couple.

“When do you have time for me and the children these days?”, Shobhna had screamed just a few days before.

“Quit your job and stay at home. You will get to spend time with the children. Let a man do a man’s job. Your earnings are peanuts compared to what flows in from the business. Who needs that money anyway”, retorted Vikram as he walked away leaving Shobhna in tears.

Shobhna sat on their circular bed, tears streaming down her cheeks as she recalled a conversation of twenty five years before.

Vikram: “We need a lot of capital, darling. Where will I get that much money from? Who will trust me to loan the money? I’m a new entrant into the world of business with absolutely no experience. I don’t know what to do. I work hard, but without capital investment there is no way I can succeed”, Vikram had told her one evening dejectedly.

Shobhna: “Don’t worry. I’ll take up a job and be a security for the loan you take.”

Vikram: “Are you sure? I had made so many promises to you. I don’t know whether I will ever be able to keep them.”

Shobhna: “Don’t think too much. Two is strength. I am with you.”

And so, Shobhna started writing a few exams and was selected for a banking job which made it even easier for Vikram to get a loan for his business.

As Vikram’s business prospered, Shobhna’s career graph progressed too. She was the General Manager of the bank now, where she had joined as a Probationary Officer one day. She loved her job and had never thought to quit when Vikram’s business started flourishing. It gave her an exclusive identity and earned her respect.

Today, Vikram seemed to have forgotten everything. Yes, he was a man of principles – but his principles applied more to his work than his personal life.

Shobhna had begun to feel lonely most of the time. Trisha, their 22-year old daughter and 17-year old Punit were witnesses to the frequent arguments at home that only worsened over the years. It was impacting them. Even the driver, watchman and housemaids were aware of the constant conflicts between the couple.

SOLITUDE OF THE HEART

The heart alone knows its aching cry,
The cry of despair,
The cry that no one else hears,
Not even the one whose arm pulls you near.

When the world seems on its own way,
And storms rage at life’s bay,
You seem to be in dismay,
And do not know what to do or say.

The fierce tempests seem not to cease,
Putting you so ill at ease,
Yet you’ve got to smile,
And continue to walk the busy miles.

You look for comforters all around,
But all seem to push you aground,
The one you trust is so near yet so far away,
Ignorant to your heart’s aching cry.

The wiles of life appear difficult to bear,
As if your life is going to rip and tear,
And, you look around –
Alas! There is no one to hear.

Withdrawn into a shell,
You wish for all to be well,
As you marvel how alone the heart can be,
When all around so many you can see.

TREASURED

Anita sat in her balcony sipping a steaming cup of coffee from her bone china cup and watching wisps of dense grey clouds floating across the sky, carrying away with them any possibility of bursting forth on the parched land below.

It seemed as if the passing clouds reflected her life – all blessings floating past her but failing to shower on her. A failed marriage, no children, deteriorating health conditions, hostile job environment, depleting finances and depression creeping in slowly and stealthily – wasn’t her life dried up and cracked open like a drought-stricken land?

As Anita sat reminiscing the bygone years of her life, anger, bitterness and self-pity crept into her. She closed her eyes and leaned her head on the bright red and green floral-printed pillar.

Cast your burdens on me, for I care for you….I will change your sorrow into joy” – sounded a deep voice, as if someone had spoken into her ears loud and clear.

She opened her eyes with a startle only to feel a strong assurance deep down her heart that she was not alone and abandoned; she was loved and treasured by God who is sovereign in all circumstances.

NO INSECURITY WHEN GOD IS YOUR SECURITY

I had this pretty friend in college, whose boyfriend forbade her to dress well. He didn’t want her to appear beautiful to the eyes of others. During college functions where we were supposed to be draped in sarees, he put a check on her. As a result, she skipped college functions. How could she be present without adhering to the prescribed dress code for the day? Shades and sun glasses were objected to, because they would draw the attention of other guys towards her. Too suffocating a relationship to be called ‘love’!! Eventually, they broke up when some sense dawned on her and she got fed up with his over-possessiveness.

This guy was ‘insecure’. And that led him to be over-possessive for the girl he claimed to ‘love’.

One thing we need to be clear is about the distinction between ‘inferiority complex’ and ‘insecurity’. Both are different, though there are certain overlapping consequences and that makes them seem similar.

Insecurity arises from a fear of losing things or people.

What gives rise to insecurity?
1. Early life events – A young girl who has seen her father desert her mother, will be likely to be insecure in her love/married relationship.
2. Past experiences of losing – A person who has failed in many job interviews, will feel unsure of retaining the one he gets through to
3. Pressure to prove oneself – When there is a pressure to prove oneself, be it at work or in relationships, one tries his/her best to stop all doorways that might be barriers in the way.
4. Difficulty in accepting ‘no’ – An inability to accept ‘no’ for an answer, causes people to develop an inner feeling of insecurity.
5. Social Media – Too many stories doing the rounds in social media also create the fear of losing. 

Manifestations of insecurity

For the insecure person:
1. Fear
2. Anxiety
3. Stress
4. Anger
5. Occasional insomnia
6. Extreme steps like plotting to harm people who make them insecure
7. Phone tapping
8. Deploying private detectives

Dealing with insecurity

  1. Remember that there is a Chief Architect behind all that happens. So, do not fear losing.
  2. Receive the gifts in your life with gratitude – be it people or jobs or material possessions. This will lead you to value them today without being apprehensive of losing them tomorrow.
  3. Put your past experiences in the hands of God. He’ll shape up your future. Don’t you worry.
  4. Be yourself. Do not give in to pressure to prove yourself. You are a unique creation of God blessed with strengths that you can flaunt and weaknesses that He can convert into strengths.
  5. Never forget that all things and people on earth are transitory. You can never hold on to all things or people that you lay your hands on. So then, why grip them tighter only to stifle yourself and ruin your blessings!

Each of us is safe in the hands of God. When this is learnt, there would be no space for insecurity.

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – IX

And it appeared on the screen!

Pragya was right. happygolucky had written beyond ‘Why not’. May be the Mumbai rains had slowed down the internet signal strength at her end for which the full message hadn’t appeared the other day.

“Why not, if you feel you’ve found the right one this time! Only one life on earth. Live it without regrets.”

This was the complete reply.

Ah! So, here it was! The most awaited reply. There was another reply from happygolucky as well – a recent one, the ping of which had reminded Radha of her last blog. Radha scrolled further down. Just one word –

“Convinced?”

Pragya flopped onto the bed just then and gave a teasing nudge on seeing that she had her blog page open.

Prags, why is this person so interested to know if I am convinced by the reply?“, Radha asked raising her brow thoughtfully.

Oh . . . hello . . . look who is asking . . . as if you never wanted this happygolucky to reply . . . huhh!!”, replied Pragya turning away from the screen. “But wait, don’t read too much meaning into the replies. Let the virtual world remain virtual. Be the practical person that you always have been. You may consider the reply of your readers, more specifically of this particular blogger. But, then that should be all to it. Don’t get into foolish fantasies“, said Pragya curtly.

Just then the door bell rang.

It’s the old man“, said both simultaneously each looking at the other with the “you go and open the door, please” look on their faces. Finally, Radha got up and went to open the door.

Meanwhile, Pragya remembered the card that Akash had left behind that morning. She picked it from the shelf and typed his details in the browser after minimizing Radha’s blog page. As details poured in, she went on reading them one by one. Indeed, he was a successful orthopedic in New Jersey. There were several open Facebook links of pictures of him with his wife and three children in happy times.

Radha came back just in time to see the pictures on the screen. She recognized Akash from the meeting earlier in the day and then realized that the others must be his family.

How did you manage to get into Akash’s account and why? There was no need. This is spying. You shouldn’t have . . .“, started Radha with her chiding.

Stop it, Rads! No one is spying, here“, said Pragya pointing to Akash’s visiting card. “He had left it on our table this morning. You left for office hurriedly and I had picked it up. Just occurred to me on hearing the old man at the door to check on Akash“, said Pragya.

Ok . . . ok . . . I take my words back. I’m too drowsy. You continue. I’ll go off to sleep“, said Radha arranging her pillow.

The shrill alarm woke her up the next morning. She carried on with her routine household chores shouting a wake up call to Pragya every five minutes with no result. Finally, she sprinkled iced water on Pragya and scooted off for the door as Pragya woke up with a jolt and a scream.

Radha reached office on time. 

She opened the door to Vansh’s cabin to pick up some files and was surprised to see him present that early. Vansh was on the phone. “I can’t ask her. How do I know if she isn’t committed to someone? No . . . don’t compel me”.

Radha’s eyes widened as she overheard Vansh.