ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO USE SMARTPHONES?

What a wonderful week we had at Candles, didn’t we? And why not! After all, the topic for the week was Smartphones – close to each and everyone’s heart! Mostly everyone described how important smartphones are, right from waking you up in the morning till finding you a way if you are lost, shopping, staying in touch with friends and relatives, tips for cooking and parenting smartphones do just everything for you. On the other hand we did have Chiradeep and Sanskruti talk about how the smartphones have impacted them negatively.

Like every coin has two sides smartphones also come with advantages and disadvantages. Smartphones have certainly made life more convenient and easy and most of us cannot stop praising its worth. Having said that, it pops a question on my mind whether we are really smart enough to use smartphones?

I think no, we aren’t because we are getting addicted to it. We are over utilising smart phones. We are crossing the line of moderate usage of this gadget. Now it is a common scenario to spot people posing for selfies and chatting on phone even when they are with a group of friends or family. We are stepping into isolation because of smartphones.

Smartphones have replaced telephones, calculators, alarm clocks, recipe books, physical maps, cameras, audio and video players but smartphones can never replace human touch and emotions. A smartphone will not smile at you. A smartphone will never hug you. A smartphone will never hear your pain and a smartphone will never wipe your tears.

I am sharing a link to the video that moved me. Do watch it.

Let’s pledge to be smart enough to (understand when to stop to) use smartphone.

PRISONER OF MY SMARTPHONE

Although smartphones have contributed a lot to our lives but I think they affe our quality of life.

A few months back, I visited my cousin’s house and met his two year old daughter for the first time. Just like any other kid, she is a very sweet girl but one thing kept bugging me- her constant usage of her mother’s phone. The minute the phone is taken away from her, she starts crying. The building in which they reside has a lot of kids of her age and she is even friends with them but doesn’t really enjoy their company as much as she enjoys smartphones. When my cousin was back from office, she kept aside the phone and ran straight to her father; sadly not to greet him, but to reach for his phone. I vaguely remember, I had left my phone in the other room and I was catching up with my cousin, when she crawled into my lap and searched for my phone. As her search went in vain, she jumped out of my lap with a sigh.

Not only the above incident but I have also noticed how much I have changed with this little box. My parents gave me a phone after my 10th grade. Now when I look back, I would say I was better without one. I love writing stories, reading novels and going out for bicycle rides. I used to do them very often but after getting my phone, the frequency has been constantly decreasing. I write stories once a month that too I have to push myself for it. I have almost stopped reading novels and going out for bicycle rides. I waste my whole day watching pointless videos or scrolling through social media.

I am not that crazy about selfies and photography as compared to most of the people I am surrounded with. Last year, my school had taken us on a trip to an amusement park. My classmates were more interested in showing their online friends as to how much fun they were having on the rides whereas in reality, they were more concerned about the number of photographs they had posted.

I think it won’t be wrong to say that we are prisoners of our own smartphones. One doesn’t have to share every moment with hundreds of people because it’s more important to cherish the moment with the ones who are actually with us.

It’s time we put down our phones and make the most of our days.

“Disconnecting helps you connect and create more.” – Ann Makosinski
She said this in one of her talks as to why she doesn’t use a smartphone.

WHEN IS ANGER “A SIN”?

Hello Everyone,

Anger – an emotion, expressing disagreement exceeding the level of upset, exhibiting disgust to be precise.  This expression could be coupled with raised decibel, raised hand and even worse.

Now the question is can such an emotion be counted as Sin or can it possibly lead someone to commit sin?Well, the answer is it depends.

When Anger Is Righteous:  Everyone would agree with the fact that anger should be controlled.  But there are instances in our life where not getting angry is just unjust.  When we see weak and vulnerable getting hassled and our blood doesn’t get boiled there is a serious problem in us as a human.  When injustice is having its way we must speak against it doesn’t matter if it is our anger, because it is righteous.

Anger and Us:  When we are angry what we do?  Let me tell you my example or experience:

  • It is commonly said where there is love, anger and fights breed naturally, it’s just a part and parcel of relationships.  And I think its true because I fought and fought badly with my mother, father, brother, they are the people who are close to my heart than rest of the world which is obvious.  When my patience gave in I spewed venom in the fit of rage with the intention of putting my point across and being heard.  In the due course of such arguments I ended up saying many things that I feel guilty of later, even today.

We all have such experiences in life where we have used words without understanding their impact.  At the end we all have reconciled because of a bond called love but a sin is committed by our tongues because words once said cannot be taken back just as the arrows released from a bow.

Angry Society We Have Become:  When a society is full of people having less to no control on their respective tempers we have an intolerant society.  The minute but best example is what we see in road rage cases in Delhi.  People don’t even hesitate to kill a person only because they are infuriated by a dent on their vehicle.  Logically that dent can be repaired but a life gone cannot be brought back.   But when anger dominates thinking, logic RIP.  Mob lynchings, road rage killings, vandalism are anger driven sins where logical thinking and moralities are put on the back burner or even flushed down the drain.  On contrary supported by ego, envy, greed.

When the motive inspiring our anger is self-centered – to hurt someone physically or emotionally just because of lack of agreement, we are guilty of committing a sin though we may say whatever we did was unintentional  and in a fit of rage.

There’s one saying in Telugu:

” Tana kopam tanaki shatruvu,

Tana shaantame tanaki raksha”

Which means One’s anger is their own enemy and one’s calmness (as in state of mind) is their protection.

That’s so valid because actions taken with restless and agitated mind may lead one to commit sin/ crime (sin punishable by court of law) and the guilt never leaves heart (of the person is humane enough).  Trying to keep calm in the moment of heat can avert many mishaps.

I shall start managing my anger, how about you?

MARRIAGE FOR YOU – A BOND OR BONDAGE?

Hello Everyone,

One of my friend recently sent me a message on WhatsApp defining “Oxymoron” which means a phrase where words of completely opposite meaning are brought together.  Example : Open Secret ( both the words are opposites), still used together.

One more example which made me laugh only to think later was “Happily Married” 😉.  Well they simply don’t go together or at least this is how many stand up comedians think so ( marriage is most commonly touched upon topic by almost every stand up comedian whom I watched so far).  And I would like to talk about it today.

My question to all of you, married or otherwise:  Is marriage a Bond or a Bondage to you?  I hope there is no need to explain the difference.

My understanding :  Since every relationship demands compromises and sacrifices marriage isn’t different.  Marriage is a bond when compromises are made for happiness – of individual and eventually it becomes mutual.  It becomes a bondage when compromises are made with the sole purpose of avoiding the arguments.  It goes like “I give up now, do whatever you want to do, I don’t really care”.  The first case is underlined by emotions of love and respect and the second case is marred by the feeling of bearing the person and the relationship.

Well it’s a very complex subject in itself that we might probably need a round table conference to discuss layer by layer 😁.

Marriage – Independence – Society -Individuals:  In India the institution of marriage holds a place of utmost importance.  It’s not just a definition of relationship between a man and a woman. It decides the fate of not just two individuals tying up the knot but the families involved.  It’s the society that frames the guidelines at first place about how a marriage should be, how the individuals are supposed to conduct themselves before and after marriage (predominantly for women). In short it’s the neighbors who are more curious and worried about your marriage than yourself because they are the society.

If you’re a girl:  In a country like India marriage starts doing rounds in parents mind the moment a girl hits puberty (true for majority).  Since then innumerable restrictions start making their place felt in a girl’s life.  For instance: Must learn how to cook; shouldn’t be headstrong; must learn to adjust (must be her second nature) in every situation; rebellious nature a big “NO” (in short no partying, no tattoos – for many they are symbolic to rebellious attitude).  I can go on and on, literally.  From what to wear to whom to talk and how to,  constant efforts are made to cage the free spirit of a girl.  Reason: If you don’t comply to set standards you won’t get married – it’s this simple and hell will break loose if you die single.

If you are a boy: Well I don’t want to be branded as a feminist by not discussing about how marriage  effect a boy’s life.  They do stand a fair chance of being discussed, isn’t it?  When a boy announces “Maa meri naukri lag gayi” (Mother I got job) the next big agenda on family’s bucket list is “Get him married”.   Even if he is insisting that he is not ready for a commitment,  reaction of parents be like “marry once you will be responsibly committed automatically”. And just the way marriage impose restrictions on a girl, it definitely impede independence of a man (I can see those chuckles from married men😉). The biggest threat that I have seen around is to the independence of choosing a career.  You simply can’t follow your passion  and learn the tricks of bartending, DJ-ying or be a writer.  Because they are not seen as viable career options yielding a regular/ sizeable income (read salary) which is very important to take care of a family that soon follows marriage.  An age-old notion that a man is the bread earner of the family is the root cause.

What’s really saddening?  When decision to stay together in a marriage is influenced by this question “what would everyone say” one should catch the hint “it’s not worth continuing”.  Sadly people are turning a blind eye towards it.  We are in a deplorable situation where crime in a marriage is acceptable than parting away and leading independent lives just because society is watching you and partly because a huge amount was spent on marriage ceremony (it’s sadly true).

For a marriage to be a bond it should be a decision of two individuals in love and mutual respect.  Anything other than that is a “Bondage“.

You can always beg to differ, waiting for your views.

CANON OF TRUE FREEDOM

We are almost on the brink of celebrating the 71st Independence Day in India. We have progressed in many different areas whether its science, education, technology, agriculture and arms and ammunitions, after we got independence from the British rule. But when we sit down alone at times, do we have that sense of true freedom within us? Or do we have a sense of slavery to something that has been ruling us and ruining us?

The physical freedom is something very different and simple. But when we consider freedom in regards to our heart and mind then it makes the subject matter bit complicated. Before we see what freedom is, let’s see the opposite of it – ‘Bondage’.

Bondage is a state where a human loses the right to think and decide on his/her own. And when we realise that the things what we want to do we are not doing. but what we don’t want to do we end up doing, then we are under the slavery of some master that is controlling us for sure.

Ponder about it carefully.

I want to present THREE  views of (True) Freedom for you to understand and experience in life.

First View –

I stumbled up this quote by Karl Rahner that really stirred me:

“How often I have found that we grow to maturity not by doing what we like, but by doing what we should. How true it is that not every ‘should’ is a compulsion, and not every ‘like’ is a high morality and true freedom.”

What a quote it is! Doing good actually has no rules against it but doing wrong things have. True Freedom starts by doing the things what we ‘should’ be doing because not every ‘like’ is a high morality and true freedom.

That is why the Bible instructs and encourages us:

“Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right.”

Because the time we become slack or weary doing what is right we tend to get into some kind of bondage.

Let me illustrate it for clear understanding:

A person likes to sleep till 10 o’clock but gets up at 7 o’clock because he needs to go to office. Here, he did what he ‘should’, not what he ‘liked’. The author says that by doing such things which we may not like, but should do… we grow. And if we do the opposite we get into a habit of laziness and after sometime we become a slave of  those habits. We lose our freedom in truest sense.

Second View –

It is said, “Education enlightens us”. And when we are enlightened we get out of the darkness of ignorance and superstition. Because of education we come to know and understand the truth around us… We get to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, what is truth and what is a lie. The same way when we educate ourselves about God and His characters we get to know the truth and right which ultimately gives us freedom. That is why the Bible says it right:

“Know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Let me give another example to validate the above quote…

When children lie to their parents, they feel guilty and keep telling lies to cover each of their previous lies. They feel culpable, they feel like in bondage till they get rid of that period or shackles soon… But when they understand the love of their parents and understand that their anger or correction are good for them (which is the truth) then they try to do the right thing from the beginning or tell the truth if they do something wrong and feel a sense of freedom.

Third View –

“In reality, if we are willing to consider it, we can distinguish between what it means for us to be free from something and to be free to do or be something. Freedom from and freedom to are two sides of the freedom coin.”

Absolutely! If we need to experience true freedom then it is important for us to know from what we need freedom and for what we need that freedom. When the children want freedom from parents and their disciplines they want that freedom for themselves to enjoy something which might not be correct for them at that stage. But instead of craving for a false freedom if they understand what the reason behind that discipline is then it will be easier for them to follow it and they enjoy obeying their parents in a sense of true freedom.

To conclude this article keeping three of my above views in mind I would like to say that, we experience true freedom when we have a change of heart knowing and understanding what is truth and right with a clear idea of the two sides of the freedom coin.

Stay Blessed!

THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

Today we are celebrating the 69th Independence Day of India. But the entire week, we talked only about bondage and very little about freedom. And rightly so, because I don’t find anything pertaining to freedom in my country these days.

Yesterday, I found a tweet of actor Rishi Kapoor on the Raadhe Ma incident. I took a screenshot of that:

Slide1

There are number of people following all these false things today. Rishi Kapoor was right when he urged, Sochna! That’s what we lack these days, ‘THINKING’. We don’t think anymore as we are so busy in earning a livelihood and self benefitting.

We discussed various possible bondages but the one thing that binds them together is the one master which has enslaved all of us today, and that is SIN. We are under the bondage of ‘SIN’, whether we agree or not, whether we like it or not.

A pious king once said, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” He spoke about the sinful nature of every human being. We all know how quickly we tend to the negative. I remember in our college literature book, someone like Mahatma Gandhi confesses of committing sins. Then who are we?

Let’s talk about this deadly master called SIN for a bit.

SIN has three entry points, which I am going to elaborate briefly:

  1. Good (suitable, pleasant) for food or bodily feelings – the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification]

We humans have a physical body and we all crave to satisfy its need day after day. Remember, this is not wrong, but do we realise the extent we go to, to gratify our physical lusts?

Let me give some practical examples. We all need food to live. But there are people who live for food. ‘Gluttony’ is the word for them. Did we know that is a sin? And a glutton is a slave of the sin. We can’t say, “It’s his matter why should we interfere?” Can we say that when our own parents or children are gluttons? Aren’t we going to try to save them from becoming obese and dying early.

Second, any relationship of individuals outside a marriage is adultery. This can be physical or online. Sometimes we omit online relationships from the list of adultery but it’s the same. Fornication is another sexual sin where an unmarried is involved. In both the cases, the adverse effects are terrible. Unfortunately, the slave to this sin does not understand it.

  1. Delightful to look at – the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind]

Khristina, the other day commented under my article, “No one is truly free today! Most people don’t realise how they are under the bondage of materialism (need for better house, better fridge, better car, better tv, better AC).”

The longing and greed is unending. I fall in this category too. I am a gadget freak. I love smartphones, and even though I cannot afford them, I still long for and wish I could have the latest new phone in the market.

Greed, selfishness, trying to accumulate, big bank balance… never ending desires. We live with more than what we need in this world today. And yet, we long for more.

Trust me, the longing for more is a sin, especially when we ignore our fellow citizens on the road who have nothing.

  1. Desire to be wise – the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]

This is the entry point of sin where we take pride of our status, how much knowledge we have acquired, how brilliant we are. We look down at others, become judgmental, disrespect other’s opinion. It is also thinking ‘I am something’ which we are not.

There’s another connotation to it. We also think “my status, fame, power and money can save me from any danger.” That self-assurance is very dangerous because our life can come to an end in a moment like a bubble.

Today, we are under serious bondage. How can we be freed from the bondage then?

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

‘Truth!’ ‘What is truth?’

We all know education enlightens. It helps us to be freed from the bondages of superstition and false notions. That’s the power of education which is based on true values.

God is the absolute truth. Only fools can deny it.

Just imagine when we start educating ourselves about God, the true God will then enlighten, and the freedom will be abounding. We will be released from every other impossible bondage.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

When we get the revelation of the self-existent God, we get freedom at once from everything that binds us. That’s very obvious, isn’t it?

When we search for true God with all our heart we will find Him for sure.

Remember, God is above all the religions, all cultures, all castes, creeds and races.

Religion is wrong number, GOD is the only right number. Dial Him to get FREEDOM…

Stay Blessed!

Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor. 

ATTEMPTING THE IMPOSSIBLE

“Don’t let the bonds of fear and doubt keep you from attempting the impossible. Each attempt will loosen the chains and you’ll eventually break free, thus finding the ‘impossible’ was actually possible all along.”
― J.E.B. Spredemann

Wow! The best line for me is: “Each attempt will loosen the chains…” Fantastic, isn’t it? So many times we are so reluctant, lethargic and scared to attempt things that look difficult and impossible. But keeping God in mind we should jump in...

Stay Blessed!