Home & Body – Cleaner The Better

My entire childhood and teenage (till 18) was spent in a small single room with just partition walls to separate kitchen and bathroom (if presence of a gas stove and a commode makes them respectively what they are called). And the space available in the middle of the house was a convertible one. When plates were arranged it was our dining room and when mats were laid it was our bedroom. If guests arrived third chair would find it difficult to fit in forget about having a couch. And when it rained we had a personal pool right in middle of the house. With regular power cuts we spent innumerable nights under the star lit sky and water supply as good as probability of finding an oasis amidst a dessert.

Memories!!!! Those days were tough. Financial and physical hardships have toughened our mettle indeed. Our navigation through those tough waters was guided by a compass with two blades –

  • You have a roof at least over your head and a full stomach when you go to sleep.
  • Work hard for your betterment, stop complaining.

14 years later, in 2017 I moved into MY (OUR) own house. What a joy it was! The peace of having and living in an abode where you are sure no one will surprise ( read shock) you with an evacuation notice out of nowhere is surreal (conditions apply – regular EMI thy name ). Every hardship, every austerity measure in the past finally paid off.

But since we moved into an old property considering our budget constraints then our house needed lot of renovation. We recently got the heating system changed in the pursuit of having hassle free winters and also to add to the resale value of the house if at all in future we decide to do so.

Allegory came to mind: We all know what renovation means – lot of dust and dump to clean up. While I was at it, one thing stuck my mind – isn’t our body same like our home? While a structure made of bricks and mortar gives us shelter, another structure made up of flesh, bones, water and blood shelters our heart and soul. We take a lot of pain and make lot of efforts to keep our premises clean lest it won’t be presentable and hygienic too. Then why we behave negligently towards our body that is nothing less than a temple created by the greatest architect – The God.

Yes I can hear those voices “what are you talking about? We take utmost care of our hygiene and with Covid around we are not taking any chances whatsoever”. I would say ” you are doing great. But what about those who are maligning this temple with various addictions like smoking, drinking, drugs? What about those who are knowingly or unknowingly giving shelter to dacoits named ego, greed, jealously, lust, anger, pessimism in the compartment called heart that are corroding and robbing them of their sanity & peace and consequently Joy. These termites are blindfolding us and deviating from the path which everyone of us is destined to trend. The path they make us walk are ecstatic to begin with filled with fun and frolic but as the end approaches we

  • Clueless,
  • Corrupted morally and ethically,
  • Consumed by poison once we were consuming,
  • Crippled by illness, close to a painful death.

Get your Insurance done: Just like a house has insurance against any possible loss and damage due to theft, fire, water etc. Insurance for our joyful lives is HIS WORD, EMI being EP – everyday prayer. If you sign for a premium plan of “Please Enlighten Me” you shall surely be delivered from temporary hardships of falling prey to the vices and get a bonanza of eternal joy!

Points to be noted :

  • Respect your abode, be it house or body.
  • Keep them clean for health – physical, mental & spiritual.
  • Rent/EMI/Prayer – being regular is the key.

Just like a structure that we live in needs regular cleaning so does what lives in us needs a regular check.

From rented house to own- I had my fair share of experiences, hardships, memories and delightful moments. Now I have embarked on a journey to cleanse my temple – renovating my approach, dumping out the negativity. It’s hard and I am prone to falter but assurance of Joy of Enlightenment is my driving force.

More Pain, More Happiness you are Rewarded with

It is said that ” the height of emotional pain we endure, measures the amount of happiness we gain”.
What do you say?

Happiness is not just a stand-alone emotion, it is a comparative emotion.

If you notice, some people are overjoyed with even little things in life, because they have suffered the most inwardly and everything else they receive in life seems to give them the strong gush of happiness.
It is told that, if we do not experience darkness, we do not value the light we receive. It is hard to measure in terms of how much joy it gives, but if you feel your heart is uncontrollably happy and thumping, then you have the joy of your life.

Being a mother, i felt this joy, when I look into my daughter’s eyes, the immeasurable joy i find being with them, cannot be even expressed in words.
Some days, i get too tired and exhausted that i feel like the world is hanging upon me, especially when I was going through the postpartum depression state, it is hard but i guess most moms can relate to it. In such a state, the pain induced into our mind, due to insecurity, the helplessness, the chaos in life, the acceptance of becoming a mom, the madness of mad hours and much more is like a crazy drive, but again, in the end, when i hit the bed, be it like 12 in the night, or maybe like early morning 2, i just fall into the bed, and then comes, the soft little fingers looking for me, the moment it touches my skin… it is like magic.
I feel like being lighter and floating in some cloud. As if i am transported into another world and every burden seems to fly away from me. It is like a cradle holding me up in the world, protecting me from the thorns of expectations, troubles and much more. And all i need that tiny hands to hover upon me and put me to sleep.

This joy is immeasurable !!!
The joy of motherhood.
All pain disappears and all I need is my angels near me.

As i said, you cannot enjoy the joy every moment gives you, without enduring the pain.
People build walls around them to protect themselves from the emotional pain, but they forget, the higher they build the wall, the lesser happy they are gonna be. When we build walls, we disconnect from the world, which is also bound to give you happiness too.

Pain does serve several purposes in life.
It signals us to pure joy and happiness that is like a rainbow after the rain. But the more we run away from everything in life, we are gonna miss what is in store for us.
You can’t reach a destiny when all you want to do is stay indoors.

The intensity of the struggle determines the happiness you will receive.

MY SEARCH FOR A DIFFERENT SUCCESS

Few days back I was gliding through my LinkedIn page. One of my distant relative updated her status “promoted to the position of Director”. I was happy to see her succeed but in another moment started self introspection “what I am doing?” , ” Where I am standing?”, “Will I ever succeed in my life?”. Basically I was anxious about “will I ever be able to EARN?” A question that I am struggling for a longtime now.

But is it just about money? Answer is an absolute NO. It’s about my craving for Identity. My thoughts at that (on many occasions) point were convoluted. I want to earn, I want name for myself, I want financial independence. I kept applying for jobs. Many applications were rejected outright, few made for interview round but success still eluded me. It was not just the applications that were being rejected but a piece of self was slowly dying inside. One of the reasons that prompted me to start blogging was to put forth my opinions and earn (I am not ashamed of admitting that). Five years now and the kind of success I supposed it would fetch me is still a distant dream. Who and what shall be blamed? No one except me and nothing except my lack of regularity, missing niche (my work doesn’t stick to one genre).

Am I a complete failure? Last week my friend’s husband came to dinner (we are careful enough to follow the social bubble 😁). Out of nowhere he asked me “how’s your blogging going, seems you have a good fan following”. I dismissed him with a smile “No, nothing like that” . To this he told me that one of his friends sent him a link of one my blog (never before he read any of my articles) and praised it too. His friend liked the subtle manner of explanation, relatability of issues/situations mentioned. And as a matter of fact I never met or spoke to the “friend”. There was a certain sense of euphoria for me at that moment. That night I decided to once again go through the comments on my articles. That was the moment of realization for me. My success is not in the additional perks of followers, hits on site and money but how well I can connect to the people. How well I can communicate, how I can impact, how can I be a part of lives of those reading my words in some or the other way, how well I can motivate myself to reflect positivity in my work, Am I making any difference, Am I putting forth a good message relevant to people, Am I honest while voicing my opinions, Am I trending the path I talk about or refer to – My parameters of Success. Falling short of even one criteria renders me unsuccessful in my judgement! And I believe that’s the worse.

What inference my failures have given me? I was looking for “success” in the form of an offer letter, a designation and a certain amount credited every month to my bank account. What if I get them at this moment, would it put an end to my quest and thirst for “success”?. I might have been aiming for a higher pedestal everytime. Nothing wrong in that, absolutely. But what is wrong is getting bogged down if your plans and results aren’t in linear correlation. Wrong is deeming yourself to be worthless. Wrong is inability to draw inspiration from people and incidents showing us a different way and zest to live life as we are too consumed by a bubble we have created in our minds. In short wrong is inability to respect life and the designs almighty have for us ( I may be professionally unemployed because someone else might be more competent, qualified and in need – it’s that simple). And identity of a person is about the perception and ideologies one owns, can never be defined by a designation or job role. And people knowing me by my work irrespective of the level of fame (non existent 😁) I might have acquired is purely my Success!

I Have Decided My Path: I will keep writing, I have stories to tell, I have messages to deliver. In that process if I earn materialistic success I will receive that. In case not I have my own yardstick to measure success – Have I made you think? If yes I am SUCCESSFUL!!

BE DIFFERENT TO GET A UNIQUE JOY

We all are in a pressure cooker life. Hope you know what i meant.
Yes, from the time we are born, we are asked to do things, meet the expectations of others and much more. In this hurdle, we forget what we like to do exactly and what we want from life.

I remember the time when i was in my twelfth standard and my results were out, i did score good marks, but again my expectations from life were different. I didn’t want to go for a normal medical /engineering stream, I wanted to explore something different in my life. My parents like other parents did not force me to, they let me choose what I wanted to study. I didn’t want to burden them with my choices too. Hence I chose a normal degree course which did get me the best time of my life, the best job i could land in and much more.
It was indeed the best choice, that going with the current flow of engineering and medicine which almost half of my class did. Glad that I was not in the rat race.
The same thing I apply for my kids, I don’t want them in a rat race and choose what they like not what society is expecting them to do. It does bring in joy, a fullness of contentment which nothing else can give me.

You might not be in a better position, but you will be in a happy position with your choices because you chose them for your self no for anyone else.
Joy comes into our lives in different ways, one is through the choices we make. The more we stress upon unwanted things, the more we damage the joy of life.
You need not go with the crowd, just because they are doing things in the same manner, which went on for years. There is no harm in choosing something you like. All it does give you is peace and joy.

Choose yours wisely.

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY GIVES JOY OF A DIFFERENT KIND

Aquifers of joy spring from within and are manifested in many things that we do which further escalate the inner joy. Since joy is more intrinsically motivated than extrinsically, it carries with it an unalloyed innocent desire to bring joy to others around.

Being in a high ranking state government job, never was a deterrent to getting involved in family matters for my father during his career years. As his immediate family members, we have seen him as a workaholic as far as his official responsibilities were concerned. At the same time, he has been an involved family man.

On days that my mother took ill, we had my father don the apron, wield the ladle and dish out delicious food for the family. Yes, delicious! I mean it. The perfect sugar, salt and oil in whatever he decides to cook. He isn’t great at non-vegetarian preparations or desserts. But, all items of the daily cuisine have been mastered by him. In fact, there have been a few cooking tips and recipes that I have learnt from him, and not from my mother. Pickles are his forte. Coming to tea – by the fragrance I usually make out that he has made it. But, he only cooks for us – his family. It gives him immense joy. There are days in which my mother returns later than usual from work – only to find a full meal ready in the kitchen (well, this doesn’t happen always, but three out of five times for sure).

Not only cooking, he is great at cleaning too. When I was a child, I learnt many of the stain-removal hacks from him. Now we have so many stain removal chemical agents for our convenience, but I have learnt from my father which stains are removed by rubbing lime, which by petrol, which by kerosene oil, etc.

Once a neighbor uncle saw him cooking and asked him about it, assuming that perhaps my mother is an unwilling cook or a lazy bird for household chores. My father replied that he gets immense joy in doing the household chores for his family no matter how busy his official works may make him. It his family after all, and not someone else’s.

Not many men would be so involved in household chores. No matter whichever part of the world we see, household duties are considered to be a woman’s responsibility, not a man’s. It doesn’t matter how egalitarian the society is, gender role stereotypes prevail almost everywhere. And, not many want to break these stereotypes, no matter what the reason.

A part of this societal stereotyping and its aftereffects are there in my father. He doesn’t like it when we tell anyone about his expertise in handling household chores, for an apprehension of criticisms. At the same time, he joyfully continues to do all things for his family – even now in his retirement years.

I have never seen him grumble about any household chores that he does. One reason of course is because he does them out of his own free will. (And, before you think that my mother must be so blessed to have him help around, I must also mention that there are days she has had to chase him out of the kitchen or other work areas for messing with her plans and schedule or for adding on extra work for her because of his ‘help’.)

Doing things differently indeed gives immense joy!

JOY – A TREASURE WORTH ACQUIRING

Snow, rain and hail soak the ground enough to create underground water reservoirs. These underground water reservoirs take the form of natural springs and aquifers and replenish the earth while adding to the aesthetic beauty of the surroundings. Scanty rainfall reduces the groundwater level and dries up wells, springs and aquifers.

Joy is such a well spring that has its source from up above. It is a divine attribute, which unlike happiness doesn’t depend on what you and I do or don’t do. When our lives are soaked with the living waters from up above, the wellspring of joy rises from within.

If I am to give a reason for joy in my life, it is primarily because of the relationship that Jesus Christ has bestowed on me. Nothing that I do or don’t do, nothing that happens to me or doesn’t happen to me, nothing that I get or don’t get impacts that joy ever. It is different altogether.

There have been circumstances when storms have torn apart and ravaged through life, when injustice glared squarely in the face, when failures have sunk the spirit low, when weariness have pressurized the mind and suffocated thinking – all unhappy phases of life – but I have known the joy to have remained untouched. Tears have streamed down and the mind awfully rattled, but a strange joy overpowering them all has become prominent.

I have known, felt and understood that when the presence of God indwells a person, it generates joy from within. Manifestations of joy are different. It is not true that someone who can laugh heartily and make others laugh is a jolly person. Hence, external manifestations are not always good deciders of ‘joy’. A joyful person has a smiling countenance, but not all smiling people are joyful.

Is it possible to be joyful at all times? What about times of pain, sickness, bereavement, disappointments and loss? Can one be joyful during such times?

The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always”. It is a command. I used to think of the all possible permutations and combinations of life situations that are likely to rock our lives and wonder if it is indeed practically possible to be joyful in such and such situations. That is when I understood that joy isn’t of human origin after all!

It is extremely difficult, but yes, one can be joyful during such times only by allowing oneself to be soaked with the living waters. That is why, it is a rarity to find joy and to be joyful in the truest sense of the term at all times, just as it is not common to spot wells, springs and aquifers on all grounds.

However, once joy permeates lives, it cannot be robbed by anyone or anything, unless one voluntarily gives it up. Such is its powerful presence. A treasure worth acquiring!!

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!