A CUT ABOVE THE REST – A NOT SO SIMPLE STORY

Have you ever seen yourself dead? …you know that very moment when your soul is slowly leaving your body.. and all that’s left on earth is well.. you, or at least the physical you – your lifeless body that people are crying over?

I did… right at the time when she said

Rest in Peace my friend… you need this”

That’s when it all came back to me. I wasn’t supposed to die, my life was snatched away from me. I didn’t deserve it, and I’m coming back to know exactly what happened.

I could be you…. you or even you crying at the corner. No one can hear me now – but all of you will, soon, very soon. Sooner than you all realize.

Back at the plush bungalow by the pristine beach, ovelooking the Butterfly Creek, stood exactly 3.5 healthy living entities – Shawn: the cook, Pascoal: the next-door-sin-affair, Aditi: the best friend and Pluto: the cute pomeranian – who probably had all the answers, only if he could talk.

The word going around was that I ended it all by myself.

Inspector Mark Gracias, the most eligible bachelor of the Goa Police Force, having surveyed the immediate surroundings, took to the nearest sofa, looked towards Shawn and asked:

“May I have a cup of tea”?

Not an ideal time to be drinking tea – I thought. But then this was Mark we’re talking about, and nobody says NO when he asks for tea. He had always said, his brain worked a little better with a hot cup of tea.

Now, how would I know something like that? Interesting that you noticed:

Incase you are confused, it is still me talking. I am talking from the beyond.

<did I hear you ask: How is that possible? Well… this is my story afterall…>

I am Stella – well, atleast I was Stella while I spent my life down on earth, NOW, I don’t quite have an identity. I am around you or might just be YOU.

The thing about situations like these are: it makes people vulnerable even when they know they aren’t responsible for what has happened. Drooping shoulders, bent heads and sombre faces are all what is seen around.

“Make that TWO”a voice spoke from the main door, bringing along with the aroma of a strong scent of perfume…

…fruity floral with notes of citrus, rounded out with jasmine, sandalwood, and vanilla”blurted out Pascoal almost immediately,

taking in the heavy scent that surrounded the woman, who had now entered the room, giving a fleeting glance on the covered-once-upon-a-time Stella (she was just a body now) making herself comfortable on the sofa.

Giving a quick scan across the room, she looked to the dashing Inspector.

Let me lay all your doubts to rest, Inspector: I know who did it” …. pointing to the covered white sheet on the floor

“…and the rest as they say, is HISTORY”, she continued

“It is interesting that you say it with so much conviction: Mrs…”

“It is Miss. Miss Surabhi”

“Ms. Surabhi, be rest assured – this isn’t an open and shut case as you make it to be. I am here and I WILL find out the TRUTH, to know exactly what happened.


The word “Rest” need not be only associated with relaxtion, slowing down or putting on pause, but it can also be used in an English phrase or an idiom. While the brain works better after giving it adequate rest, for all other other times – a cup of Tea works just as well.

While I’ve had fun brewing up a story out of nothing, trying to use a couple of idioms (of rest) along the way. It is interesting to know that – using phrases like idioms, similies or alliterations, makes the language and the speaker/writer look classy, and in the process if you can weave out a story or two around it – nothing like it.

The completion of the above story is left to the readers imagination. Or maybe simply enlargen it, if it is something you enjoy doing.

  • #Fact The Police take a good 25/30 minutes to arrive after a particular scenario arises #India
  • Women make even better detective-ghosts than they otherwise do on Earth.
  • Perfumes are vital clues in every investigation. Women always leave a trail – even after they’re dead
  • My stories should be read with a pinch of salt

SEPARATING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF

Google defines the term: to judge which people or things in a group are bad and which ones are good

What suddenly prompted me to think of this English idiom – out of the blue?

..it was when I read up on a blog post written by a fellow blogger, Aastha on the Candles Online platform, about Compartmentalization. And while both terms are different from each other, compartmentalization-meaning division of something into sections and categories and the idiom ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ which is more judging the good from the bad, to me… somewhere down the line – they both are interlinked.

I was never the kind of person who enjoyed doing that kind of thing-separating myself from certain people or things from other things.

But the thing in Life is that: it probably can be the BEST and the WORST teacher at the same time.

I’d want to nominate ‘Life’ – especially today, on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, as my most treasured teacher. The things I’ve learnt from the simple living (at times existing) on the face of this earth, is something NOT EVEN the most educated/qualified teacher would be able to do.

Life has thrown me such curve balls, had me fending for.. in different situations, that have not only helped me find ways out of those situations, but also taught me how to guage people beyond their fake exterior portrayal. That said, I will always be of the understanding that – people aren’t bad, it is the situation/other people that makes a certain person look good or bad: however the ability for a human to tune himself/herself to a particular situation is so great, that the person itself changes to alter their own personality. The superior quality that only human beings possess I suppose.

Ever witnessed/seen how couples behave after they get married?
Marriage is the situation – the couple are the people involved. AN APT EXAMPLE.

What am I getting at-you ask?

There comes a time in life where you need to separate the chaff from the grain, the good from the bad, the valuable from the inferior, the positive from the negative – most importantly PEOPLE from ANIMALS, and you’d probably know which side of the fence I am on that last one.

It has been an ongoing process that I’ve been working really hard on – you just need to PUSH some people out, they just don’t seem to get the hint. They JUST DO NOT FIT IN ANYMORE – they don’t. Some people give it fancy names like ‘Spring Cleaning’ or ‘End of the Year residue’. I do it everyday in course of habit now. If you are a part of my life, you’ll find a way to be in it – if not, well… there are always animals to befriend.

And then you have people who are like cockroaches – the least said about them the better. I detest cockroaches – PERIOD.

I do not compartmentalize, I simply separate. The good remains while the bad are out – out of sight, mind and attachment. When you’re OUT-you’re OUT for good.

TRUSTING THE SELF – PEOPLE AND THINGS

As much as we want to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt that – when we make a decision and trust ourselves to execute it, how many of us, can truly say – it has worked out?
…and yet we go about making so many decisions along our day – most of which are done at the spur of the moment, do we have the conviction to trust even the “smallest” decision made?

If trusting our decisions is the physical execution of a particular task, then self confidence is the driving force behind it.

Some of the very normal and everyday decisions we make are:

~ when do we cross the road in a country that do not possess traffic lights? #India

~ how much do we spend filling petrol in our vehicles – now that it’s touched INR 100 a litre?

~ Do we use public transport over private vehicles when it comes to safety v/s money?

~ Do we continue wearing masks & take precautions or go through life with gay abandon forcing ourselves to the “normal life” in comparison to that of the “new normal”?

These may be some of the more simple decisions in life, but that said – again, we still need to trust these decisions we make – however small or big it may be.

12 Reasons You Should Never Regret Any Decision You Ever Make

While all of us make decisions: some forcefully and some not – I personally gift myself with life altering decisions that make me put myself in situations that are new, the unknown but surely in places that I’d be better off than what the present situation finds me in.
Not even the closest member of my family would be able to decipher/understand my next move, my next decision – and ask me why? I’d have no answer, for I never thought it have ever been important enough to explain my decisions to anyone else.

I trust the decisions I make – and obviously there would be made only to help me be a better version of myself. <others may disagree but well….>

That said all my decisions haven’t always reaped benefits, BUT if there’s one thing that trusting my own decisions has done is: even if things went wrong, I am/was solely responsible for it and no one else had a hand in it. Success was ALL MINE so are/were the failures.

Listening to people have got me nowhere, other than confuse me more and to find myself back at square one.

To think of one such instance of trusting my own decision: was to decide to work out-of-state – a new place, a new line of work, strange people and a language I had no clue to speak. However, new things always excited me – and working out of state was never a new thing, many people had done it before me, so I was just one more. However, when it came to support from back home: it didn’t come in abundance besides my dad (who is always game for a new adventure – an advocate of the phrase: “you only learn when you put yourself out there“)

I got into the teaching line with little to no experience in the field initially, only for a crash course in the ‘do’s and the ‘don’t’s and a skill of the language that I possessed. I trusted my decision to go ahead not so much on the experience front, but on the skill front and of course, the fact that I knew I would do well because I backed myself with a whole lot of conviction and the trust in my abilities backed with confidence like that, its rare that things would go wrong.
The road wasn’t the smoothest but if ever I made a good decision in my life, that was surely one of them.

They’ve been other decisions too – some taken in the past, others in the ongoing present and a lot more to come in the future. My life has been a whole set of decisions that I set out to do, make, break, achieve & power ahead – I am bound to make a lot of people unhappy on the way; but then again the journey isn’t theirs, it has, is and will always be mine, if we happen to cross paths and a wonderful relationship comes out of it, be it professionally or personally (nothing like it). This has always been me – Plain, Blunt and TO THE POINT.

Making the right decision is one thing, trusting that decision and marching forward – no matter the judgements is a whole new level of awesomeness, that one needs to experience. I continue to feed myself with these experiences, maybe you could give it a try out yourself too.

I’d like to end with a piece of advice to all fellow readers:

If you think you aren’t qualified to make a good choice then you’re going to be afraid to make any choice.

May the Power be YOURS.

WHEN WORDS FLOW…

“Hi, I’m Chandler, I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable”

I could easily pass the above statement as my own… that’s probably what I’d be saying in my head, the moment someone starts pouring out their… well… life stories to me.

Like seriously – me… Why?

The thing is, for some very strange reason, people actually do think I have that ability to listen – no idea where they get that from, something they see in me or… I don’t know.

BUT-What happens when someone opens up to you and becomes vulnerable, how do you handle it?

If someone were to ask me that question right now… I’m not sure if there’s any correct way to answer that – but I’d probably sit for a while, and end up saying something really stupid in the first 10 minutes – and then BAM! its no longer a heart-to-heart, but a fun conversation, and sometimes, yes sometimes – my guess is, it works FAR BETTER than any soulful conversation/serious can ever achieve.

Could I BE any more Un-comfortable?

Let me be very frank, Vulnerability is state of mind I can never understand, and for someone who does feel vulnerable and comes up for some kind of guidance, to me personally – it has to be the toughest thing of my life. That said, of late – I try to use real-life humorous situations as a source of defense mechanism and more so a welcome distraction. I don’t do serious, RATHER I cannot.

Speech bubbles spelling out the phrase "Start the Conersation" with reference to customer conversations

However, I wasn’t as lucky to escape ‘the talkers’ – to be specific one of each sex – male and female, the best part of it was these “talks” were that it happened on journey’s, which made it so much relaxing. Nothing like have breeze blowing through the window, just incase my head overheats with excessive data.

It was only 2 days ago, I wanted to back off from my commitment to write my dedicated post on the subject-here on this platform Candles Online, thinking that I might not have anything significant to contribute – but then sometimes, all we need is a little motivation – after reading Aastha’s contribution/post yesterday, I remembered 2 very similar instances, that I was part of – voluntary or involuntary not sure.

There’s something about travelling and not having anything constructive to do, that makes people talk. I’d probably sleep (only to be kept awake by a talkative seat-partner)

It was only an hours journey from Panjim to Margao thankfully.

On 2 different instances, I had the good fortune of a feedback (which ofcourse I totally did not expect), firstly from a friend from college who carefully explained a rough situation he was going through at work, and apparently it was something that had I said that helped him overcome it. Office politics and employee-indiffernt-relationships is nothing new in the workplace, especially if you’re not one of the rub-everyone-the-nice-way kinda person

In his words:Savio, thankyou was listening to me the other day, things at work are so much better. Thank you for everything”

This message came after a couple of months via whatsapp, by that time I had even forgotten all about it. I don’t remember what I said or what happened during that journey but yes, I had helped someone who had opened up to me. Crazy! but did I just go the extraa..aaamile to help someone?

Another instance was a girl (at that time we had just gotten to know each other through a chat site I think) after a few interactions, she got more comfortable (is my guess) in my company. It was on one day, we decided to take a drive around the village side (she being from the North side of Goa and myself the South) the most natural thing to do is gloat about how beautiful the place around you is-even if it is within the same state.

But girls are clever, I tell you – she needed to talk and for me, it was a chance to take a girl for a drive (who would want to miss a chance right?) What was planned to be just a drive with a pretty girl, ended up being a conversation that I’d not expected. The drive had ended, so did the day. A few weeks passed and we connected on facebook.

A message on facebook Pvt chat read:

In her words: That drive the other day, thankyou for everything. You have no idea what you’ve done. Thankyou again.

Omg! What did I do? Okay, this was beginning to get scary, I was apparently talking to people and I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing. But she was right when she said “You have no idea what you’ve done”. I hadn’t a clue. I have always enjoyed a conversation, but the two above instances weren’t “just conversations” they were deeper and yet I came out unscathed. Phew! <yes, I’m still thinking about myself>

I personally, would never talk my blues away to anyone, I simply can’t do that-but for some, its so much easier, and for their ablity to find out that “someone” who can give them a listening ear – wow! What is that about?

Listening may be one part of it, but being there and saying the right things is another. Did I possess both of those qualities? I don’t really know, but I don’t think I would want to venture down that road.

However, one thing I’ve noticed is that, if there’s a connection, there need not be a reason, season or a fear to be there for someone else – it just happens. Connections are not formed by relationships (friendship, love etc) but an invisible chord that probably brings 2 individuals together in a particular time and place.

We may not know what people are going through, but somewhere, somehow – we end up being there for them, not as a special effort, but just being at the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME.

The keys to living a wonderful life, is BEING Ourselves, acting normal around people and going about life as if it is the last day of it – it is only then we would truly learn to appreciate every minute, every hour of everyday. Hope I do not sound too philosophical, coz that’s not what I’m going for. Remember – I am the casual one.

“Unfinished” – no more ‘just’ a word…

There’s something about the prefix ‘Un‘ when attached to a word.

It takes a simple word and reverses it – making it sound so much cooler. ‘Unfinished’ – there couldn’t have been a better word to describe her, she is indeed far from finished. She – Priyanka Chopra Jonas (as it says on the cover of the book) but to us Indians, she’ll always be PeeCee.

I cannot express how happy I was to be holding a copy of ‘Unfinished’A Memoir by Priyanka Chopra Jonas in my hands. I’ve always admired PeeCee as an Individual, as an Indian and most importantly as a role model to so many youth in our country to start with, if not people around the world too. And the best part – She’s INDIAN, she’s one of US.

"I am a product of traditional India and its ancient wisdom, and modern India and its urban bustle. My upbringing was always an amalgamation of the two Indias, and, just as much, of East and West," the 38-year-old actor said in a statement.(Amazon)
Look at her people – Look at those eyes!

I’ve always believed, when you read someone’s story, it needs to talk to you in a way, that makes you feel connected to the book, the story, and most importantly, the person BEHIND the book. This book had it all.

Priyanka prefers to call it a memoir, which is more a select few stories from her life thus far, to be fair, I wouldn’t want all the gory details – a memoir sounded just enough of information I needed to know, besides Priyanka’s journey is far from over, like I mentioned at the beginning – as the title of the book suggests – “Unfinished”

After having purchased the book, I downloaded the e-Book version – which made it feel (listening to it) as if she was reading her story out especially for me, only to have waited a few more weeks and have Oprah interview Priyanka Chopra. That was, in more ways than one – the icing with the cherry on top, if not the already plenty of interviews available online on Youtube wasn’t enough that I have watched, re-watched and shown to my students as well, have had me almost mouthing what Priyanka would say next.

Can I have enough of Priyanka? That would be a simple NO.

The grace, confidence, language and to top it all: A killer attitude – what’s to have enough of her?

If you’re wondering, why I keep typing out ‘Priyanka’ instead of her full name Priyanka Chopra Jonas? – well, we’re on First-Name-Basis. Can you imagine Priyanka calling me ‘Mr Paes’ when we meet, instead of Savio? I’ve decided we’d keep it totally casual.

If you’ve been a fan or even remotely interested in following Priyanka Chopra’s journey through life, you’d know there are plenty of lessons that you would take along the way – Plenty! I need not pen them down, it might make this post very preachy, but that said – one of the BIGGEST lessons one could take from her book, “Unfinished” – are the words of advice her dad constantly gave her, the constant support of her parents that she mentions all along her book, her admiration towards them and her full family in general, every step of the way – whether it was during her years of schooling, winning the Miss India crown or marrying the love of her life.

She always had that spark – and look where its got her.

Priyanka and Me – only 6 months and 9 days separate our date births #JustSaying. We’re the same age 🙂

I want to leave you all with profound words found in “Unfinished”

“It’s OK to pick up, walk away, leave thing unfinished, and move on to what’s next”

“We all have a different story”

“There’s only one you. Understand who you are , your uniqueness.”

and the best of all:

“I am very much #Unfinished”

something that we all need to say everyday when we wake up first thing in the morning.


THE SIMPLE ‘JOY’S OF LIFE

I need not look too far… for Joy begins from the very 4 walls of our home – my dad. There must have been a very good reason his parents chose that name for him in the first place. Many years later he chose a life partner named GLADYS (doubling the JOY with gladness) – Talk of a PLAN! …and ofcourse many many years later, I was born… you know, to balance it all out.

How then, could I let go of an opportunity to write on the one topic that is probably closest to my heart?

When it comes to me, I’ve always chosen joy over the more materialistic things like money, gifts and physical benefits. However, this topic – today, gives me the wonderful opportunity to talk about the joy of teaching (I do think training sounds fancier) As many things of my life has happened out of sheer trial and error methods – teaching did too. Yes, I call myself an ‘English Educator’ and I train students/company employees or any ethusiastic person wanting to improve their communication skills.

What started as an option, developed into a passion and now earns my daily bread. From young kids (as small as in the 3rd standard) to money-earning adults and retired men/women, I’ve had the pleasure of training them all – in what they call the Queen’s Language – English

Did I just hear Chiradeep say, “Savio, Why don’t you put a flier or two up here?

Teaching/Training has never felt like a job, its just hours well spent in a place other than home – interacting with different ages, personalities and not to mention a few characters (that for some reason are found mostly in classrooms) It gives me so much joy to impart something that I am good at, to someone who needs the skill to improve quality of life. Because my teachers always told me, if one wants to learn/improve his/her speaking ability, and if you are in a position to help them out – DO IT.

you aren’t just helping them to learn a language but also to aquire a much needed SKILL

and I’ve always been of the belief that:

when you’re good at something, you shouldn’t keep it to yourself – you need to share it with the world.

If it so happens that you make a career out of it, you’ll never have to to work a day in your life – you’ll be getting paid for something you truly love and enjoy doing. And what’s better doing something that makes you smile with minimum effort. Sounds like a great idea – doesn’t it?

Teaching does take effort, more so the preparation that goes into a lesson that needs to be taught, but when your students who equally enjoy the task of learning as much as you enjoy teaching it, come together – the joy of being in the same room is instantly doubled – and I live for those moments.

Life need not need to be complicated or strenous, if we only know how to make a moment, a situation, an event joyous – it doesn’t take much effort – a little kindness, a genuine smile with a healthy conversation and we’re good to go.

Back in the day, when I was in college – it was the much smaller joys that brought friends together – bonding over oily samosas, tying of friendship bands, sharing ice-creams,  leaving our bikes at the bus-stand  just so we could travel by the same bus to college together. How fortunate for our generation, that we got a chance to do these little things. Aren’t we like the luckiest people ever?

The generation-now/Millennials need to understand this more than ever.

Binging on Netflix and playing online games don’t come close to giving one joy that an outdoor activity could give, however small it may be. Sometimes doing the simple things, goes a long way in living a quality life.

People actually remember the smaller things and tend to forget the bigger events – or is it the other way round?

As for me, I’ll remember the food, the music and where the chairs and tables were strategically placed but the chances are very high, that I’d actually forget the married couples name (incase of a wedding reception) – but then again, that’s ME.

See, I told you – the food items are the smaller joys to an otherwise larger event called the Wedding Reception.

DEATH – A ‘STEPPINGSTONE’ TO THE BETTER?

While I’m sure everyone out here associates death with a negative emotion – because of what we’ve been told by the generations gone by and of of course seen as well – how people react to death – with tears, sadness and morose.

But what if I told you;

Death could also be – well, not a happy emotion – but a transitional phase that is necessary – simply because, along with all the sadness that death brings with it, it more importantly comes with a realization, a different kind of responsibility and a whole new window to a life above and beyond…. the concerned person (who has passed on) has now become your pillar on which you build/strengthen and base your life principles on.

Does that sound like a bad thing?

Stairway to heaven

No one can take away the associations, memories or the learnings from people who have passed on… their wisdom/knowledge will always be in-valuable – especially if they are our close family members. But when we hold on, for too long – that’s where the situation of a transition may take much longer than it should.

Have you lost someone who has been very close to you?

Many of us will have a ‘Yes’ answer to that question.

Well, I haven’t, at least not as yet: the people who are closest to me are still around, and I couldn’t be blessed more for the same. I know it will happen someday, and whether I’d be prepared for that day – is anyone’s guess.

While some of my friends mock me saying –

“you talk about death… like you know it. You don’t know it unless you go through it.”

And while I don’t mind their words, as harsh as it sounds – maybe they are right, but I do also have my own thoughts on the subject too.

Death according to me – is an eventuality, we all WILL get there eventually – so why do we give it so much importance anyways?

A lot of people have died around – neighbours, friends, acquaintances etc, but none of who I had any special relation with, so it could be that this post, may turn out just the way I’d want it to – not emotional, but a very practical take – addressing the topic at hand.

Surprisingly, I would happen to know more about death and talk about it, to otherwise in comparison to any another subject. However, my family members do not approve-more so my dad. He thinks, the mere mention of the word ‘death’ is of a person being in a negative state of mind. The old Generation, I tell you!!

It is in times like these, when the Indian head movement can actually be put to good use, not necessarily in agreement but.. you know… “go ahead, I am listening till you finish what you have to say.

Coming to the actual person who has passed on (died), we clearly do not know what lies ahead in that journey, but what we do know is – it is supposedly the better life on the other side, which strangely reminds me of a Netflix show I watched, by the name of ‘The Good Place’ – now that was one show, I could resonate with totally, not because I understood the whole dynamics of life before and after death, but just that the show spoke aloud about…. well, I’m not going to tell you the story, you will just have to go and watch it yourself. You’d surely love it – that’s a guarantee.

Living life is all about the process, and the one chance we get at living it – if we do a good enough job, the eventuality, that is Death, need not necessarily stand for sadness, it can otherwise be a Celebration a celebration of leading a fulfilled life, a life full of happiness, satisfaction and joy – and if we think deeper, isn’t that what we all strive for in our everyday life?

Death is the END, but then again the end doesn’t happen without a grand entry and the dance in-between. Do all that well and the rest will look after itself.

To Death!… and the life beyond it.