MY FROG FRIEND

All of us have that one person in our life whom we love more than a friend but less than a spouse, someone who is very dear and someone who witnesses our joys and sorrows unconditionally. I call this person as my “FROG FRIEND”.

April – June, 2007:
I was perusing my MBA-Finance and had started interning there for Canada taxation with one of the KPOs and I noticed him there. He used to sit across me but far away, in another team from IT. He was definitely not someone who would attract a second look from girls but somehow he managed to grab my attention. Girls have the innate power of understanding who is staring at them even without looking. So, this guy used to stare at me constantly but in a very natural manner which never made me uncomfortable. You all will agree that not every gaze makes you uncomfortable. Some gaze at you in a really clean way and his gaze was like that. So this “gazing” business continued for quite a few days and we progressed from a gaze to a smile. He had a very pleasing personality. We would exchange 100 smiles a day but neither of us ever felt the urge to walk up to the work desk and initiate a talk. We never even used office communicator to talk to each other. We knew nothing more about each other than the name and that too because other colleagues would often call out our names. This guy turned from a “stranger” to “someone familiar” over two months of time.

Once monthly shutout and best performer awards were being distributed. I was declared as the best performer and I was handed over a cash prize and a certificate amidst of a huge applaud from the team. My eyes were searching that “someone familiar” and there he was standing at the end half covered behind a desk clapping as loudly as he can. His face beamed with pride and I couldn’t help but smile again.


My internship was to last for 3 months and soon the time came to say a bye. It was my last day and I was bidding goodbye to all my team members. Between all the handshakes and hugs I was looking for that “someone familiar” but he was not to be seen anywhere. Not even behind any work desk far away. I lingered around with the hope that he might return from a meeting or a tea break, but no, it didn’t look like he was coming back. I had to leave. I left with a heavy heart and hundreds of questions like “Who was he?”, “Why did we never speak?”, “Why did I want to say him a good bye?”, “Why did I miss him on this last day?” I did not have an answer to any but there was this strange belongingness which refused to leave my heart. I stopped by the pantry to have a glass of water and what did I see? He was standing there with a sad face – as if he was sad that my stint at the KPO was over. Or maybe he was sad that we won’t see each other never again. I don’t know what he was thinking at that time but I was very happy to see him one last time before I left. We exchanged a smile – a last one perhaps and I left. His simplicity and his non-lustful gaze had impressed me. It wasn’t love but there was definitely something between us. Whatever it was, it had ended with the completion of my internship. Or so we thought that day.

2008, Aug:
The same KPO hired me after I completed my MBA and I was given the same team. However the team had now shifted to another building. That “someone familiar” had carved a special place in my mind and heart but it was very clear that he wasn’t going to be around when I rejoined the KPO because the IT team had not shifted to this building. And who knew whether he was still working with this KPO. After all, IT guys tend to switch companies real soon.

On one busy, while I waited for my food to arrive, I was looking around taking in the usual commotion that is there in the cafeteria during he lunch time. Suddenly my eyes stopped on that “someone familiar”. I blinked a couple of times out of surprise and a wide smile broke on my face. He reciprocated with even a wider smile. It made my day!
Later that day I received and email from him

“Hi!

Are you the same Aditi who was in the US taxation team?”

He was probably checking if he is contacting the right Aditi from corporate directory. Pat went my reply.

Hey!

Yes, I am the same Aditi. Btw – it’s Canada taxation and not US!”

This communication was an ice breaker. We would wish good morning sometime over the email of course and sometimes we would write about some achievement at work. We didn’t communicate daily and we never used the office communicator or phone for reason still unknown to us. Thus, our interactions were quite rare yet very special.

June, 2009:
That was my last email to him from office.

“Hi there!

Have to share some good news.

  • I got a new job
  • I am getting married

Next Friday is my last working day.”

I eagerly waited for his reply but he didn’t revert. Numerous thoughts crowded my mind. “Was he sad that I was going?”, “Why isn’t he happy with my progress?” blah blah blah. I waited for his reply for the whole week but he didn’t revert. On my last day, he called me on my work phone and wished me success in personal as well as professional life. I questioned him what took him so long to revert and he quickly said that he was on a “hibernation mode”. Nevertheless I was ecstatic! That was the first time we spoke.

Later, I got busy with my life but this guy was always there at the back of my mind. By then Facebook had started making its presence felt. I looked up for him on the Facebook but he wasn’t there. We had not exchanged our personal email ids. We had lost touch once again.

One day I had an urge to check on him on his corporate id. Once again I was unsure whether he still worked there or not but I took a chance. The email didn’t bounce which meant that he was still there! Happy Me ☺ I desperately waited for his reply but he didn’t revert. Days passed followed by weeks and months. By then, I had given up on him. I was sort of annoyed that he was purposely ignoring me.

One fine day I received a reply from him and I wasn’t a bit amused. I was angry and wondered what took him more than six months to revert. He was quick to send me an explanation in yet another email stating that he was on “hibernation mode”. It surprised me that he knew me so well and justified his disappearance.


After that there was no looking back. We continued to be in touch via emails. Our emails grew personal in nature. We shared about our sorrows and happiness, talked about our families. We discussed about our careers. We never felt shy of seeking advice from each other regarding anything under the sky. Of course he continued to be on “hibernation mode” at periodic intervals. I sort of accepted it because I knew that someday he will definitely revert to my email.


Time progressed and so did our relationship. Even though our interaction lessened over a period of time, our bond grew stronger. His career took him from Mumbai to Pune and from Pune to UK. Now he is settled in Canada. Emails are now replaced by WhatsApp chats but there is nothing that replaces his “hibernation mode”. Over the years I have asked him many times about why does he hibernate and he still tells me the same reason.

“Aditi, we cannot get used to each other. Our respective families should be our priority. Hibernation is important to stay focused.”

Such pious thought! He explained the most important truth in such a candid way.

At present we don’t talk much, but I know he will always be there for me. I informed him when I delivered a baby last month. He quickly replied that he was waiting to hear that. He was aware of the struggle I had gone through in last six years in order to have a baby. Likewise, he has been a witness to many of my difficult times where he played a role of advisor or someone who had shown me a mirror. He has been a great guide, friend and philosopher! Not to forget, he has been someone who has been happy with the smallest of my joy.

At times I miss him. But he is right. “Hibernation” is necessary. Due to his perpetual habit of “hibernation” I call him my “FROG FRIEND.”

Some bonds can never be described and relationships can never be named. Ours is one of them.

ENLIGHTENING STRANGERSHIP

Blogging has always been a source of joy for me. It has not only helped me in sharing my thoughts with unknown people but has also opened the folds of my brain to a new world of ideas and emotions. Through blogging, I have had a few great online acquaintances but this one deserves a special mention.

Probably, a year back when I was active on WordPress, any article of the spiritual genre always caught my attention. Also, I have had a habit of reflecting back on any piece of work that touch my heart and so there was this article from a wise Indian blogger which drew my attention. We had an argument basing on my comment under his article and this argument went on for a couple of days until I accepted his point of view. Well I need to say that I was swayed by his level of knowledge and awareness.

In no time we started exchanging mails through which I tried to seek as much knowledge from him as I could. What I really learned from him that each time I came up with a problem, he never provided me with a solution. However, he strengthened my belief in God that I was able to move ahead with a bit of clarity and faith.

After probably exchanging a century of mails, I requested his number which he resisted for a long time in sharing. But one fine day, he somehow agreed for an early morning call. I was really excited and nervous at the same time just to talk to a man whom I did not even know completely. We talked for a long time over the phone and as expected I could feel his simplicity and elevated thought process. 

As time passed, the frequency of our conversations decreased for we got busy in our own schedules but  yes we had a fair idea of where we were heading. Surprisingly, once after a long time I called him to update him of my results and before I uttered a word, I could sense discomfort in his words. He was going through a bad phase in his life. Moreover being reserved, he resisted telling me his complete state however I got it all. It was then, that my good results didn’t seem important to me and my momentary joy vanished. Somehow I could relate to his pain, his ambiguous state and his dilemma.

For a moment it seemed to me as if everything has crashed but if I showed my deep down broken emotions, then how could I give hope! Well after hearing his few more words, I decided to act strong and used the same words to console him which he often used to say to give me strength when I felt weak. Well never before have I felt so concerned for a man whom I had never even met. It was a strange kind of connection I felt maybe because I could count the number of similarities between us. Since then I made a point to connect with him daily to ensure he doesn’t sink in depression.

As he wanted to interact less at that time, so eventually we lost touch for a while but anyway I made it a point to drop a mail as frequent as possible while praying daily for his wellness. This was the kind of bond that developed invisibly unknowingly wherein I was sending peaceful vibrations to a stranger!

It took him some time to get over that negative state of mind but I am glad he made it. Today he is back in the race again striving for something good. Whenever we talk I get to learn something from him. It is because of him that I realize the importance of praying and make an effort to connect with God religiously. I explored many theological concepts after our interactions that have somewhere sown the seeds of spirituality in me. I am always amazed by his marvel character when he says he doesn’t  work to do something big but everything that is good.

As he always tag interactions between us as strangership, I often teasingly ask him with a grumpy face that don’t I hold any value in his life! To this he always replies which brings a smile on my face and that is :- “Every star has its own position in the galaxy with which it is incomplete and so do you.”

Well I need to mention that he is invincible when it comes to analyzing and exploring depths of any concept! And I feel really thankful to God for connecting me to such a rare kind of talented man. I hope the so called strangership lasts forever and one fine day I am able to meet him!

‘HAPPILY EVER AFTER’ IS POSSIBLE IF 7 MARRIAGE PRINCIPLES ARE FOLLOWED

(In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happily Ever After.”)

marriage-478318_1920

“Happily Ever After” is a myth if we married couples are not happy in our marriage relationships.

Recently, I was studying a passage from the Bible which is as under:

“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him…. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame .”  Genesis 2: 18, 20b – 25.

As I was studying the above passage I found some amazing truths in it. In the Garden of Eden I found three persons God, Adam & Eve moving around as God formed the foundation of the earth as well as the foundation of marriage. I could see ‘7 mind boggling principles of marriage’ right there formed in the beginning which we find today in self-help & marriage-help books after thousands of years of creation.

7 Valuable Marriage Principles:

1. Not good to be ALONE: When God was overseeing His whole creation He found Adam alone. He didn’t like it. Immediately He thought of creating a companion for Adam. Many years after the creation, the wise king Solomon writes in his book, Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10. God foreknew the repercussion of both ‘being lonely’ and ‘being with somebody close’in life. That is why He thought of creating a partner for Adam seeing him lonely.

So we get inside a marital bond not just for the sake of the tradition or the desire of our parents but for the need of our own being to survive and prolong in life.

2. SUITABLE Helper: When God thought of creating a partner for Adam He says, He will make a suitable helper for him. The Hebrew meaning of the word suitable are: ‘in front of,’ ‘in sight of,’ ‘opposite to.’ That means God wanted to create somebody who can really stand with Adam or match up to him. In Genesis 1: 27 it is written, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” What does it imply? Man & woman both are in the same level with same statuses. Neither of them is superior or inferior to the other. Eve was created just ‘opposite to’ Adam as his counterpart.

So we should not fight for the status in the marriage as who is above whom, ‘man’ or ‘woman.’

3. Woman made from MAN’s RIB: Finally when God created woman, He made her out of Man’s rib. That’s something amazing. It’s written, “…He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.” An amazing principle that comes out here is that the woman is part of the man’s own body. The woman was not foreign or alien but part of him, the man.

When God brings the woman to Adam, he joyfully declares that “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” Wow! What an amazing principle!

4. LEAVE his parents & UNITED to his wife: Further Adam explains that the man will leave his parents and be united to his wife. This is the most difficult chapter in many Indian families even today. It’s a truth and an amazing principle of marriage that two human being will leave their respective families and unite with each other to form a new family through a process called marriage. Beautiful! Isn’t it? It doesn’t mean that the man & woman have to leave their parents literally but they leave and form a completely separate entity altogether.

This principle needs to be carried out wisely as it is the most misunderstood and misused principle of marriage.

5. Become ONE Flesh: This principle makes the marriage relationship even stronger. The man and woman are not only part of each other but are ONE flesh. A single being. ‘One flesh’ again indicates about ‘a protective hedge or boundary’ around the man & the woman which is not tress-passable or not invade-able by anybody, not even the parents.

This is again a very difficult and sensitive principle to be worked on especially in Indian scenarios.

6. NAKED yet felt NO Shame: I pondered on these words NAKED & NO SHAME again and again before I come to a conclusion or derive a principle out of them. Naked means uncovered, exposed, not hidden and so on. That means there is nothing hidden between a husband and a wife. There is no barrier between them. Even when they commit any mistake they become responsible and feel no shame to share it with each other for correction.

Wow! I love this principle which is so rare in today’s world. The husband and wife should not feel ashamed to each other not only when they are naked before each other physically but also naked mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They understand and know each other clean and clear. They know each other in every respect of their marital life.

7. GOD is the Head & Author of the Marriage: If we see minutely every details of the creation we find a skilled hand and mind behind all these creations even the creation and formation of marriage & family. It was God who created everything beautiful and good even an institution like marriage. In this institution called marriage has three individuals in it; God, man & woman. The most beautiful part which I really like in Genesis 3:8, is when God visited the man and the woman in the cool of the day to have fellowship with them as the head of the family. Though unfortunately sin had already breached the loving and faithful relationships. That’s a different issue altogether.

So the bottom line is a marriage is complete and whole when it is a triangle with man and woman on two of the corners on the base and God in the top corner.

Many principles of marriage can be derived from the whole Bible but these 7 principles in the beginning are built on such profound truth that nobody can deny it. If the spouses or the couples about to marry could follow these principles with discipline then it would definitely bring fruit in their present or future marital life.

CONDITION OF THE FAMILY TODAY

Families are busy. As educators in the United States, we have been in heavy contact with many different families, seeing the condition through the eyes of our students. Families have many different things pulling at them, conflicting with the need to be unified and cohesive. Usually both parents have demanding jobs that require long hours and busy schedules; children have school requirements, sports activities, friends, and family demands. This creates an atmosphere of chaos.

Many families do not even take the time to eat a family meal together. Parents grab something quickly as they run out of the door, and children are asked to feed themselves. This “busy-ness” has created the “Fast Food Nation” people too busy to cook a meal at home hurriedly drive through a fast food restaurant for quick food eaten in the car while on the go. Such a situation continues the idea of chaos within the family.

With this atmosphere being the status of our families in the US, it is no wonder that families are eroding. It becomes apparent why the divorce rate is more than 50%. People simply do not have the time for others, including their spouses and their children. Children become independent in the sense that they must take care of themselves mothers are too busy to be nurturing. Students miss education opportunities because parents are too busy to be involved at school. Parents miss the development and growth of their children because they are too busy to notice that their child is quickly growing up. This is truly a disgrace to the institution of family that God has created.

We have been blessed by our time in India by many things, but one thing stands out. The pace of life is much different than the US. This is critical to maintaining a family unit. Taking time to notice things and relate to people is so valuable. It is, in fact, what the God called us to do. He commanded that we “love one another, as I have loved you.” In obedience to this command, we must take the TIME to love our family and others around us.

Raymond

THE FAMILY THAT STAYS TOGETHER

 

baby-17342_1280Family is God’s wonderful creation of a closely knitted community. The members of the family share moments of happiness and sorrow. There are also painful moments of strife and quarrel. But God’s intention of family is not to create strife or division and falling apart. A healthy nation is built upon healthy families. Let’s take a moment to check the health of our families.

  1. Do we appreciate one another?

In a healthy family, the members express a high degree of appreciation for each other. Several families even created projects around the house to stimulate praise. For example, one household of five could have creative events with funny, attractive title. Every few months, the family members could meet and each could spend one minute praising every other member of the family. There could even be a family post box placed in a central place. Each member, at their convenient time, could drop small chits of appreciation or positive quality of other members. Such creative fun events are certainly stimulating and inspirational.

2. Do we have quality time together?

The healthy and happy families spend a great deal of quality time together. They genuinely enjoy being together. They worked at doing things that involved every member of the family. It is a wonderful team where all members are self-motivated directed. They share responsibilities and create synergy.

3. Do we effectively communicate?

The successful families have good communication patterns. They spend time talking to each other. The key to effective communication in a family is that members listen and work at understanding each other.

4. Are we committed to one another?

The healthy families have a strong sense of commitment. They actively promote one another’s happiness and welfare. An example of this commitment is in how these families handle themselves when things become too hectic, causing them to spend less time together. In your home, each family member could make a list of his or her individual activities. The things he or she really doesn’t want to do or that isn’t very important are scratched to provide more time for family involvement.

5. How strong is our religious orientation?

The next common ingredient is a high degree of religious orientation. These families participate in religious activities together. They are committed to a spiritual lifestyle.

 6. How do we handle crisis situations?

The happy family has the ability to deal with crises in a positive manner. This isn’t to say that they enjoy crises, but even in the worst situation they are able to find some positive elements, no matter how tiny, and focus on that.

So make all efforts to have a healthy and happy family. Enjoy life and help built a happy nation.

Author’s Bio: Mr. Binoy Kumar Muduli was in the Banking sector for a long time. He left that and joined World Vision. Now he has his own organisation. He is a great teacher, facilitator who teaches the subjects like ‘Goal Setting,’  ‘Stewardship,’ & ‘Effective Communication.’