CHEER THEM UP, BUT HOW?

Cheer them up,

But how is it possible to cheer up the family who lost their father in the COVID pandemic?

What can bring a smile to the face, who’s last flight got canceled at the last hour? He is all alone locked in a room, miles away from his family and it’s been a quarter month.

What can drain his stress after receiving a simple email saying, “our company has gone bankrupt, we cannot pay you anymore, you can leave us”?

How can you comfort her when she is abused by her society members only because she is treating COVID patients and it’s impossible for her to runaway from her commitment to being a medical doctor?

How hurting it is when the neighbors’ gossip, rumors, and snubbing behavior is enough to say, I am a risk for his family and others as well just because I was a COVID positive last week?

Is a bag of rice for a month can comfort a family when they have lost their job just because the city is under locked down and all the constructions sites are closed for an unprecedented time?

Well, these are the few people and stories I am coming across since the COVID-19 pandemic spread out. Listening to their painful stories all it seemed “CHEER UP” is a good word but failing to be relevant. I was in a situation where I can neither help my friends nor can talk to them freely. I have to guard each of the words before I speak. In the meanwhile, I got a reminder of the Bible verse,

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Wise is the one who works accordingly in the due time. It is so defining to know that each of our human situations is time-bound which of course gives us the surety that the situation will come to its end at a precedented time. Now the biggest challenge before us is how do we react at each of the times. While in pain and heart-breaking moment, there is an unquenchable emotion and heart filled with sobbing words. All that they look for is a heeding ear and an understanding heart. Probably with this expectation, every human being in his worse condition looks for his dearest friend. As the Bible says,

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

Oh, what tranquil experience it was:

As I picked his phone and heard his voice

I sob my heart out over poise  

The heeding silence of him

Quenched my words within.

After’ hours of interaction with him

My soul found a relish within.

This time he didn’t speak too much

Yet his few words of prayer, love and concern

Was evident enough to feel the retouch.

This might denote my strong personality yet, to be honest enough, “often I too experience the same”. But during that time, the biggest question obstructs the ways of my mind – Who is that strong pillar, on whom I can take rest?  

Years back, my Uncle gave me beautiful advice and I strongly follow it. Whenever I feel annoyed, hurt, angry, or stress, I feel too weak to guard my tongue. Honest enough, at times I have hurt many beloved ones. As a way-out to it, I try to remain silent and never avoid to go for a random ride. If that point, someone can scan my mind, he would surely say I am nothing other than a babbler. With locked lips and shouting mind, I just gush out whatever there in my mind calling out to God. As a matter of fact, soon I find both my mind and my stomach empty. I take some nice food and try to revamp to normalcy.

The way I cheer up others and I feel cheered up reminds me of my favorite song of the Irish poet Sir Joseph M. Scriven –

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

IT DOESN’T TAKE TOO MUCH TO CHEER UP!

Past 7 months of pandemic have been really rough for all. We have been surrounded by gloom, demise news and too much work load. How can one cheer up in such cases?


Well, I couldn’t. I thought I was braving the situation well but a point came when I realised that I am not able to handle this anymore. The monotonous routine of too much of household chores, ever piling and very demanding office work and a hyperactive toddler was all getting more and more difficult to handle with every passing day. I knew I had reached the limit when I couldn’t control my anger and tears at petty things. I was reaching the breaking point.


I knew I had to do the damage control because If I remained upset for a long time, my family was going to suffer, my child would see my wrath, my husband would not feel loved and my MIL would miss my usual chit chatting self. Yes, if you are unhappy, your ENTIRE family suffers. The food you cook doesn’t come out tasty, how much ever you dress up, you don’t feel beautiful and how much ever you sleep, you always feel tired.


So what did I do? I packed my bags and headed straight to my mom’s place. 15 days spent with my mom made a big difference. Aarnav got to meet his other set of grand parents, I got to meet my parents after a very long time! The change in air, the change in environment and the change in routine made wonders.
My mom dished out one of my favourites every single day! My dad got so many new toys for Aarnav. Late night talks with mom which we had long forgotten about ever since I got married, no household chores – I was only a helping hand to the mom. It felt nice to be able to lean on my mom for support because I was tired being a support to my family all these months. Being devoid of any responsibilities and expectations for good15 days helped me cheer up. It transformed me to a happy human being that usually I am. 


It took nothing out of the box to cheer up myself. Good company, lessened responsibilities and good food did the trick. And if you see, these three things will do the trick most of the time. 
Lot of times, we expect a lot – from others as well as from ourself! We must learn to cut the slack. Take time off. Relish good food. Binge eat sometimes. Give in to your cravings once in a while. Hug your kids tight. Cuddle them while sleeping. Steal a kiss from your spouse, watch the sunset together. Chat over a coffee. These are the most sasta and tikau (tried and tested) remedies for a cheerful mood.


I understand, it may not always be possible. We cant fit every single thing in our routine and if you make a routine out of this, it won’t be fun any more! Just know that when you want to do this, go ahead and do it.
Be happy and cheerful!

SPREAD A SMILE, IT’S WORTH IT!

“Are you ok?”

“Do you need help?”

“Shall I come over…”

All these soothing words do make a difference, especially now in this pandemic time, when all are shut in those concrete walls which they call home. Even being at home, most of the people are experiencing their wildest depressions which one cannot imagine and none to help even when they are surrounded by people they love.

The worst situation right?

Indeed it is. Past few months, I have seen the best people around me suffer due to the changes we are experiencing and I know how hard they might find to cope with the same. Couples find it hard to stay together, even when there were times in the past when they craved for time together. Kids finding it hard to stay at home, when there was a time when they just want to play all the time rather than go to school. Everyone is taking a toll over their patience.

And this was when I began to start talking to people in need. I kept my arms and ears open to listen to their problems. All they need was a listener or someone upon whom they could vent out their frustration. I could relate to the pain, be their support in whatsoever manner they needed.

Our world is short of listeners and yes now they are in great demand. I too decided to open a page in my blog to help people stay anonymous and share their problem. I always believed in ‘being there’ for others because I knew the pain of being left alone.

Finding ways to cheer ourselves up, is quite hard, but once we find the way out, we can sprint across the problems without much hassle.

It was one winter night, and as usual, I was onto my bed after all daylong hassles of household work and taking care of my kids. I was completely exhausted and tired, but then when I begin to shut my eyes, sleep became my enemy. In no way I was able to catch my sleep, it was almost half-past 12 and I knew I have just a few more hours to sleep. I tried and tried, but again other than tossing around my tired body, which was hardly listening to me I could not sleep a bit.

Wide awake I lay there when my mind was cluttered with all the negative aspects. I felt useless, began to tremble and cry as all the negative thoughts were gushing into me like a tsunami and destroying me from within. I cried, but my conscious mind “shushed me” not to awake anyone.

The sense of being useless was accompanied by many thoughts, which were storming into me and I was losing my grip. But then other my tiny lil girls, i had non beside me to tell my tale. I sat up, with lots of courage, skimmed through my phone to find some help and finally when it all got wasted, I lay down again beside my daughter.

Somehow, amidst her sleep, she just wrapped her tiny fingers upon mine and hugged me saying” I love you, mamma.”

Finally, my tears stopped, for a second, I felt like i am being pulled back. In the shadows of the night, I watched her tiny little face and saw her smiling. She was asleep, but still, she was smiling. I knew and felt how much I mean to her. She was my world and there she stood there upholding my world and balancing it with her smile.

I hugged her and kissed her so much, without waking her up and realized i was being silly to cry all along.

With her one small thought, my thinking composition changed and I began to think all the good things i could and gradually I slept off amidst all my contemplations.

But that day I realised how important is to be strong and think positive. Negative thoughts await for a turmoil and they bust in like an uninvited guest to our home and destroy our inner peace.

Spread a smile.” whenever you can knowingly or unknowingly. It does make an impact.

IF I CAN TRADE MY WORDS . . .

“If I can trade my words I would invest them in your smile”

That’s pretty much cheesy, right out of a popcorn romantic flick, isn’t it? Don’t blame me, I am currently watching way too many Disney movies – Prince, Princess, Love story, perfect fairy tales. They not only entertain me but a perfect recipe to cheer me up. Apart from that my phone’s gallery is my hideout. Binge eating, unforeseen shopping (apart from groceries 😜) are more or less commoners in the world of “let me cheer you” force.

But it is undeniable that no matter how much ammunition one has to ward off shadows of gloom, a strong shoulder to lean on and an empathetic & soothing word is still an unmatched comfort. We can falter and crumble at some point, all while throwing around a charade of being strong. We do need someone to ask and say “How are you?”, “I understand”, “I am with you”, “what can I do to cheer you up”, “you are strong”, “you deserve much more”, “relax, I am there for you”, “just chill”, ” let’s hangout, don’t bother for anything else”

Why do one need someone or something to Cheer themselves up? When one gets tired of chasing dreams, battling adversaries, struggling demons ranging from bullies to inner enemies of that of depression / anxiety, our mind send us SOS. Nursing of a dented spirit is so much needed to bring it back on its feet. All the apparent and oblivious battles deplete us of our both physical and mental strength and that’s when exactly doubts trend – Can I fight it out? Can I do this after all? Seems I am unworthy? This is proving futile, let’s quit? I have lost everything? Was it meant to be this after all? If these questions left to knock too much one’s soul they can bring sabotage the same beyond repair. That’s the very reason we are talking about this issue at the first place today. Be attentive dearies!!

Me as a person on the other side of the fense, in the capacity of a friend (universal relationship with every related person in our lives) got a weird sense of intuition (I can be boastful sometimes, kindly excuse me😂). With people whom I am in regular touch with can easily read between the lines from our seemingly “Fine” conversation. From dry OKs, lifeless HMMs, tone of “I am fine” in chats I can tell not everything is fine. May be rapport over years is the reason. Whenever I sense something off, the first thing I do is to pester them with one question “what happened”. Sometimes no matter how close you might be some investigation is imperative. *Note: an immediate call in person rather a chat always scores. Lending an inquisitive ear is very important. I believe in strongly saying this “I know it’s easy to say that I understand and be strong because I am not there in your shoes. But also I know that you have fared much better in more worse situations in life before, you will surely see the shore surely. You are loved. You matter to us, just remember this. And for anything else I am here, Talk to Me”.

A page from my therapeutic experiences (if you can call talking one): a friend of mine who now shifted to Switzerland had her share of self esteem blues (parenting can really take a toll). We used to talk a great deal. My only aim was to cheer her up invoking her love and confidence in herself. I used to say “You are doing great”. These words seem very simple but might rekindle the positivity streak within one self. Might work at least 5 out of 10 times. Even if it is 1 out of 10 it’s worth giving it a try!! And what made be happy was she used to say “talking to you brings positivity to me, I feel relaxed”. Can anything beat that?

Words can make or break so I chose the first one.

“If you are giving chocolates don’t forget to mix sweetness of words – for someone sweet like you.

If you are hanging out don’t forget to imbibe these words in the itinerary – it’s always so much fun with you.

If you are gifting diamonds to lift up the spirits don’t forget to polish them with words – for someone more precious than these.

If you can only talk then don’t forget to send your warmth via vocals – thank you for being with me, so PROUD OF YOU!!!❤❤❤”

Words make a lot of difference – period.

TELL TODAY THAT YOU LOVE THEM, BEFORE THEY ARE GONE

We were all set to celebrate the 50th marriage anniversary of my Buaji and Fufaji (paternal aunt and uncle). It was going to be a great event with most of the family members getting together for the big celebration. Dresses and gifts were decided and I was making a photo album for the “Golden Couple”. Creating a customised gift takes time and when the network or website issues come, then the effort grows manifold. It was late night when I was having trouble in putting up a picture on a page. I gave up finally and went to bed, thinking to start afresh the next day.

It was in the morning when my mom called me up. I thought the call must be regarding the golden celebrations only, because that’s what we have been doing lately, planning what to wear and what to gift. When I answered the call, my mom was freakishly crying and told me Fufaji is no more.  I couldn’t believe my ears and asked her twice. My Fufaji, who was a retired Major General passed away the night before, just around the time I was preparing the​ photo album. As everyone else, I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe that it was possible. I thought instead of making the photo album, I could have called him up a day before to tell that  he was special and I loved him. But, it was too late.

Death is the bitter truth of life. I wanted to talk to Buaji. I usually feel shy in calling up the relatives of the deceased, don’t know how to console. But I don’t know where the courage came and I called up my Buaji instantly, as I wanted to tell her that we all love her and are there with her.

We didn’t want to leave Buaji alone on the day of her 50th marriage anniversary, so it was decided that we all will get together on that day and have an evening of singing prayers, remembering the departed soul.

It was a gloomy day. We all shared our feelings and recalled our memories with Fufaji. The lady who was called for the bhajans asked us to feel the changes that are there in the house and in our lives within him. Almost everyone was shedding tears on remembering this. And we all stopped crying the moment she said this- “How will the departed soul feel if you cry for him? He is not here with us physically, but feel his presence. He wants you to stay happy.”

My grandparents passed away when I was young, not able to understand deeply the pain that comes when anyone leaves you.  

The first death that I saw was after my marriage. My husband’s Naniji (grandmother) was not keeping well and had become too fragile. We knew she would go soon, but I wasn’t prepared that she will go like this. I was sitting beside her, when all of a sudden I heard her sound that as weird. I was alone with my younger sister- in-laws at home that time.

“Naniji, are you ok?”

No answer.

“Naniji, you want water?”

No answer.

I took her head in my lap, kept rubbing her head, chest and hands.

“Naniji, say something​!” I was shouting and crying simultaneously.

I could sense something was wrong, but I didn’t want to accept that easily. I kept her head in my lap till my in-laws came and told that she has gone. I felt helpless. I only thought if I could have spent more time with her.

“Death is not the opposite of life, it is a part of it”, everyone has to face this harsh reality.

Life is short and uncertain. Don’t wait for big moments or occasions. Tell your beloved ones, your near and dear ones, that you care for them, you need them and love them.

“Cherish those in your life because you don’t know when they won’t be there anymore.”

WORDS AND SILENCE BOTH GIVE COMFORT

It’s so easy to console a toddler. My son when he was barely 2 years old. He used to come running to me with all his problems. And it was so easy to comfort and console him. A small kiss used to make the pain go away. A small promise used to make all troubles vanish. He truly believed that I had solution for all the problems in life. I wish life was that simple.

In adult life we can’t wish away setbacks and problems and losses. Sometimes the loss is so huge that it feels like life has just stopped. Business going bust or death of a loved one or heartbreak the list is endless. It  feels like the carpet has been pulled away from below your feet. And we will never find our footing again.

If a friend is going through such a situation how will you help?

First and foremost words of courage, comfort and love do help. But generally what happens is where the loss is too recent or when you are actually going through the problem these words feel superficial. But somewhere deep in the heart they do register. And give inner strength to people. I will give you an example. A friend of mine was struggling with a heartbreak. She had just found out that her spouse was cheating on her. And while speaking to her I said the usual phrases “don’t worry everything would be all right”, “whatever happens, happens for good”, “God is there” and she lashed back at me and said “you don’t even know what I am going through, my world has fallen apart, how can you be so sure that things will be ok? You don’t understand me”. At that time I had put up with her bad mood but I knew her anger was not directed at me. Her anger was because of the situation she was in and it was a kind of defense mechanism that was making her strong from inside. And months later she confessed that she was angry and hurting from inside and my words were comforting her even though she was not ready to admit it then.

This brings me to the second point. Give an opportunity to the affected person to vent out his feelings. Be there for him. Just sit and listen. Like if a friend with an active life style, is suffering from some illness and is confined to bed. He is bound to be grumpy and angry. Listen to his issues. Let him whine for sometime. A patient ear is what he wants. He already know all the logic and realities. A little pampering is what he expects. Let him play the victim card for sometime and then gently bring him back to reality.

Another way in which you can help is by giving the person time to grieve. Like if there is a death in the household. Help in the day to day chores of the house. Give the family time to grieve and compose themselves. These days the neighbors are closer than relatives. So things like providing food or offering to take care of small kids or helping out in getting the bank formalities done go a long way in helping the bereaved. And these gestures are remembered for a long time by them.

CAN WORDS SOOTHE PAIN?

Hope everyone is fine and hope it’s a beautiful day for everyone.

Just the way no life can survive without air and water, no soul is untouched by Pain. Death, heartbreak, rejection – only the situation in life changes but not the result. It’s same every time – PAIN. And I know there would be no disagreement on this statement.

And when pain is inevitable there are ways to deal with it.

So my question is “How do you deal with pain?”  Rather I would like to ask “what do you do to soothe pain of others?”  There’s a reason supporting my question – a person in pain needs a pull from an external factor in the form of friend or family.  So in that capacity of a friend or family what’s your tool to soothe pain of your loved ones?

If you ask me, it’s plainly plain Words for me, spoken with warmth.

Having said that I would like to share with you all an incident that took place more than a decade ago.

She was my friend (it’s been more than a decade  since I last spoke to her and no more in touch even on social media, tried to trace her but all futile 😔).  She used to live just opposite to our apartment in Delhi.  Her name is Hema, the only girl in the family of five –  a father, mother and two brothers.  Her mother was confined to bed for years even before I knew her.  Her day used to begin with taking care of her mother and ended up doing so apart from handling all the household chores with close to no support from her brothers while her father was busy with earning for the family.

I had an immense respect for her for the young girl she was and shouldering the responsibilities of home is something I could have never mustered courage for.  And similarly she found solace in my company.  Her mother was also fond of me as I used to spend some time with her too.

Days were passing happily and one day I heard something unusual from Hema’s place. First I thought relatives might have visited them and everyone is having a good time, sharing good laughter.  A glance and a better observation revealed that those were not gags but painful sobs.  Aunty was no more!  I was shocked as I met her after two days.

I immediately hurried up to their place.  I saw Hema there, devastated, clinging to her mother crying inconsolably.  That nearly broke my heart too to see her in such a pitiable state. But I have to console her, it’s my responsibility.

I hugged her and said “I won’t ask you to stop crying or wipe your tears for your pain is beyond imagination for me. I am not sure if I should say this or not, this is in a way a freedom to your mother; freedom from all the pain and agony she has been silently suffering for so many years. She might not have said this but she was equally worried for you as you were for her. And if you believe that your mother is with you eternally then you should show her your brave face because all her life she wanted to see you happy. Let the tears flow to ease out the burden but promise me you would live the way  your mother wanted you to because she is from somewhere watching you”

My words are no doubt clichéd but they did have an impact on her. The turbulence on her face seemed to fade out and a calmness took over. Her loss is is beyond what words can explain but this is the truth of life. And her mother did want her to be happy and her agony made her curse herself for her daughter’s plight. In a way it was a liberation to the poor soul.

I firmly believe that words have power to soothe. There are many instances and losses in life which are beyond one’s control hence any apparent help is impossible. Then how would you convey that you are with your loved one’s in their times of distress.  A warm hug, tears and your soothing words will convey your concern.