A GRATEFUL HEART SOWS SEED OF JOY

It was in 1996-97, a group of kids in the age group of 10-12 years were having fun at the marriage banquet hall. It was all colorful and merry. And the food stalls, the important attraction of every marriage other than the groom and bride were just set up.

Hot piping coffee, tangy street food, scrumptious Indian desserts, colourful indo-chinese noodles, Indian cuisine ranging from north to south, enticing ice cream and everything that spells “delicious” was being served.

Kids rushed to the food counters to make the most of it (what else marriages could have meant to kids in that age and that period of time). As they were filling their tiny tummies with one delicacy the other one was winking at them as if saying “mind space in your stomach, won’t you try me“. Amidst all the fun and frolic they saw two pairs of eyes watching them in utter silence standing at the front of the gate outside the marriage venue. Faces worn out, clothes torn out, eyes filled with hunger coming directly from the burgling stomachs. Their faces moved these kids standing on the other side of the fence. They huddled together, had a brief chatting and soon were hopping from counter to counter to fill their plates. Anyone who had a look at their plates could tell something was wrong, the proportions on plate were nowhere proportional to their appetite.

With four overflowing plates they made a move towards their counterparts and slightly gestured to come and have food. But to their surprise those kids ran to their parents who were sitting on the pavement there. It was a reflection of values despite their economic status. Values aren’t reserved parking areas, affluent involved in scams and poor people returning bags full of money proves it. These kids followed them with food. They offered the food to their parents, at first instance they also refused “free food” (unlike people fighting for free food and abusing delivery men 😜). But the group of kids insisted them on accepting food as it was clear that they were hungry for days now. At the end parents gave in for they can’t see their kids go hungry for one more day. This group made turns to the venue to get more food till all of them were full. They blessed these kids with folded hands.

That was enough for the kids to come back with hearts filled with joy. Joy of being blessed, joy of satiating hunger, joy of giving when you clearly have more than enough. I am fortunate enough to be in that gang of carefree kids. We at that time may have acted out of impulse but thinking about that incident over a period of time have shaped two of my principles in life – Respect Hunger and Be grateful. I have already spoken about my viewpoint about hunger in one my article on the same platform:

Coming back to the second one – being grateful, I strongly believe that unless a heart is filled with gratitude it is devoid of LOVE. It is incapable of giving back, hence it is incapable of maintaining an equilibrium in the society. Just like other values and hunger, gratitude ain’t a prerogative of a specific class or section of society. I know people from both ends of the spectrum. There are people who despite of accumulated riches always have a frown on their face. Whenever asked how they are doing, their standard reply “don’t ask, what an hard time we are having, just surviving”. They are in one tone frame of mind that the world around them, from their house maid to the prime minister of the country is conspiring to rob them. They really find it difficult to part away with things.

Well, let’s make a 180° turn as the ungrateful souls are not our point of focus as of now. Our inspiration should come from the likes of Shri Ratan Tata, Shri Narayanan Krishnan, Shri Sundarlal Bahuguna etc and many unsung heroes from our own families and surroundings. Gratefulness must not be only restricted to having the purchasing power (read economically sound). If you are capable of bridging the gap between the mouth and hands, be grateful. If you are healthy, be grateful. If you have a square meal, a roof and clothes to keep you safe be grateful for there are wars being waged for the same.

While this all sounds preachy that too at a higher octane the simplest way to say “Thank you” to the almighty is “give what you can”. If you are rich and powerful create avenues for many to earn their livelihood. If you are moderately well off then make charity a part of your budget, no one needs to know it. We have national and international organizations like UNICIEF, WHO, RED CROSS SOCIETY working towards a better tomorrow, be a part of it (this is my personal practice, you can choose what suits you). The best thing about such association is that you will never get to know whom you are aiding, secrecy is joyful too. Involve your kids in such noble activities (read @preetacreations article, she has done a wonderful job). If budget system doesn’t suit you, give away whenever you can – be it food, educating the underprivileged, even a glass of water matters. If materialistic things are something that you yourself are struggling to attain then the least is a kind words of encouragement, a simple prayer that everyone should be happy and peaceful or just a smile ( @Chiradeep a man of great qualities, a lot to learn from him, go check his article), there’s simply no dearth of ways to show our gratitude.

Next time when you sulk about not having the latest version of I-Phone remember there’s someone who needs aid to convey his or her emotions as they are devoid of voice!!!! And yes if having something makes you fortunate then being able to give away makes you fortunate and joyous too – double bonanza, isn’t it?

IT COMMENCED WITH A COMMENT

https://world4womencom.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/should-learn-to-say-no/?preview=true

Above mentioned is a link to my first ever blog on WordPress platform dated 15th April 2016 “Should Learn To Say No“. My post followed many congratulatory comments on Facebook page and other social media which I am part of. But one comment that not only caught my attention but handed over me delight and made me ponder over the thought “how different you can think yet stay effectively relatable with masses”. Giving you all a glimpse of the comment that earmarked my journey on board with Candles Online.

The man you see there is the reason why I am writing this 😁, Mr.Chiradeep Patra, founder of Candles Online with a motive of igniting thoughtfulness thereby warding off the darkness of ignorance.

15 years and counting, a beautiful family virtually and emotionally connected and innumerable posts on various issues concerning the human psyche, behaviour, relationships, tendencies, their societal effects, social issues on micro and macro levels, questions hovering in our minds pertaining to the purpose of our existence, identity and how the almighty chose to answer them….. basically everything under the sun that matters A LOT. Apart from the serious issues it highlights there’s a fun facet too – humourous articles mostly real life experiences of the writers, short story challenges (shortest being 7 lines story), poetry weeks, story relays (don’t miss out on them), caption challenges, personal interviews and a lot more – just as a whip of fresh air when things are embroiling all around us with seriousness, negativity and gloom. Whatever the tone of the writer is or issue being spoken about is here at Candles one thing that is never taken for granted. It’s the “underlining message” that is being conveyed. Our writing should drive home a point, set the thinking wheels of the minds of the readers churning, communicate effectively.

So coming back to my journey with Candles family – it’s been fantastic to say the least. I remember my first post on Candles Online was “Reinventing – makeover of inner self” (link mentioned below). And it started with a bang!!! No it wasn’t that great but I made a goof up. Here in Candles we have a set time of publishing articles and they get published only after the administrator reads them, gives a nod to go ahead. In fact its him/her only who pushes the “publish” button if every criteria is met – language, tone, message. And novelty in writing is always welcomed. And I surpassed every such regulation by self publishing it. I still remember the fiasco it caused, how it was retrieved to be re-published. Then my co-writer , Aastha explained how it works on Candles. I must say – lesson learnt😁.

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/reinventing-makeover-of-inner-self/?preview=true

What I have learnt? Or let’s put it this way – What Candles taught me. Makes more sense, I guess. Since June 2016 I have been regularly (almost) writing for Candles. To be Frank with you all, I am procrastinator of highest order. That’s the reason after a good start on my personal blog I slowed down miserably. But my commitment to write once a week to Candles kept the writer in me alive. It not only furnished me with topics to ponder over and write about but pushed my thinking abilities, to present in a different manner about the things everyone already knew. “Thinking out of the box” I would say is Candles gift to me. At least I tried to think, and trials do succeed at some point of time, what say? Deadlines kept me on my toes which I would say is a good contribution to my life.

What excited me? We, the writers on Candles online have a WhatsApp group with the same name. Apart from the commotion of topic discussions we used to have poll results for “Best Article Of The Week” adjudged by the number of views and other criterion. That was really exciting for me. This in fact gave me the impetus to write better (excuse me for this little unapologetic competitive streak in me🙈😁).

Best Article So Far (going purely by views) : I am not sure how good it is but even after a couple of years this article has been posted I still see views coming everyday leaving me to chuckle and astonished at the same time – don’t know how 🤷‍♀️. Link mentioned below:

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/marriage-for-you-a-bond-or-bondage/?preview=true

About the Candles Family: Can you ever judge your family? I guess no, but I don’t have to. Co-writers by status, sweethearts by nature, family by bond – do I need to say more. @chiradeepnf @aastharao @aditirranade @avinashdas @kuljeetsaini @prabhjotvarsha @praditachandola @preetacreations @sakhibansal @sizzlybizzly @sonyr1 @sreepriyamenon – few names to mention that cheered me up, motivated me, been together in thicks and thins, making my journey with Candles a memorable one, one that I yearn for, one that I would continue in future too.

Last thing to say before I sign off: Thank you is a small word for what you have done for me Candles : made me realise “I am never Nothing”. I thank that moment when I accepted your proposal to join Candles Online @chiradeepnf. Hope this union nurtures further strong in future.

Stay blessed.