WHAT IF…

There comes a time in your life, where you like the things the way they are ..but what if things were different? What if going back into my past, I’d change something really HUGEand that in turn makes me lose everything I have today?

What can I say – my TODAY is far from perfect! But then if I have to look at my life in the other way, I look at my life as

“What if my life turned out just the way I wanted it?” I can only begin to imagine

A frequent passing thought.. and at the end of it, I say to myself ‘Thank Goodness’. You think I’d know myself really well, and what I’d be capable of, if I had to have it my way!

A few right choices, a couple of right connections and a whole lot of the sly factor,I wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing or living in the place I’m living. I would be – well.. Unrecognizable! I wouldn’t be ME. Actually I would be Me, but a different kind of Me – not many of who would like me too much.Image result for time machine

Working in top management

..lording over hundreds of employees working under me

..changing cars with changing trends

..a house that comforts me in every way, needless to say – money would never be an issue.

..married to a woman who looks after my every need – I wouldn’t need anything else would I?

Wouldn’t that be a nice world to live in? Pretty superficial I know but still a very comfortable one, who’s complaining!? I wouldn’t, nor would you – Trust Me! 

Let’s start from where it all truly begins, no.. no.. not birth, but MONEY  The start and End to life. While its all good to have emotions like love, happiness, joy & satisfaction in life, the truth is – that’s not what is enough, we need HARD CASH! and a little extra of it never hurts. I am always on the other side of the fence when it comes to finances, that said, the limitations keep me down to earth and always in check. It helps me understand the value of holding on to something that helps me (with the right purchases) in giving myself a better quality of life.

A story dad would often tell my sister and myself when we were younger. He was Bank manager – Bank of India, Jamshedpur and in a position where he called the shots on many of the things that happened within 4 walls. Often customers would ask him “Sir, aapka ghar ready ho gaya Goa mein?” (which loosely translates as Is your house in Goa ready?) in other words if he could get the ‘papers passed’ or ‘the work done’.. faster or you know…, he would be rewarded handsomely… and that in turn would help in building the house faster. The honest man that my dad was, he never took the bait – and of course the rest is history.

He built our home on Love, Honesty and with every drop of sweat spent at the bank working his ass off (hard work) Life wasn’t as easy as some of us have it now. So while I may personally not have anything to change for myself, or for anyone else in my family, I would like to have seen, what would life have been… you know just if…

Every one of us has an ‘if’ in our life – its normal to have that thought. Some time in my life, I did too.. (not any more)

Maybe you’ve been hurt, maybe you’ve lost someone dear to you.. and we all wish that we could start over or go back and change it all

… but that’s life, we just have one shot at it! Besides, it’s all steps to growing up. We understand that everything we do has consequences.

Life isn’t FuN and games, its way harder to deal with that we can ever imagine. However, life goes on – and everyday gives us a chance to start afresh.

There’s a saying that goes “The apple does not fall far from the tree” if that was my dad many years ago and he has no regrets on how his life panned out, I am his son and while my life has not had the same straight upward curve that his has been – I’m still happy how I’ve turned out.. a little wonky, very unpredictable and pretty average. I’d still give it my best shot and hopefully – some day ‘dad would be proud of me’.

BEYOND THE DOORPOST

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Numerous times a day did I hear,
These lines from my mother dear.


Unaware what she meant exactly,
I often sulked dejectedly.

 

The house and the square courtyard,
Was all that I had to myself under everyone’s surveillant guard.

I loved my family,
So dared not march towards anomaly.


But their fears unspoken deep within,
And tears unshed bothered me day out and day in.


Courage had I none,
To venture out and have some fun.


The open skies beckoned with their serenity untold
The lush green orchards how I wished to behold!

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here.

 

Leaving behind the years of tender childhood,
As a young man I one day stood.


Shaking my fist and bellowing loud,
I threatened to go past the ominous doorpost.


Quiet silence surrounded me,
Sad lowered eyes refused to look up at me.

A sudden gust of wind,
Brought traces of noise from outside.


In no time was a flurry of stones pelted on the windows freshly painted,
Gun shots and fire – hearing which my mother fainted.


Hours went by as we stayed securely in,
Hoping it would stop and we would save our skin.

 

The night brought with it a silence so eerie,
I heard my father step into my room with eyes bleary.

The night was long with stories of attacks ghastly,
Of lives lost and families ruined.


Of women violated,
Kids killed and mutilated.


The reason for years of safeguarding,
Now clearly stood at my face staring.

 

Clutching my blanket close to myself,
I looked at my father’s retreating poor self.

Blood seemed to gush from my veins,
And the brain threatened to hold the reins.

 

Sleep eluded . . .
Thoughts crowded . . .


As the clock struck six,
I tip-toed down the staircase.

 

Looking back at my loved ones,
Would weaken my resolution.

I looked ahead and opened the latch above my head,
Taking a deep breath I slipped out . . .

 

Beyond the doorpost . . .
Into the darkness that my mother had guarded me against, the most.

There is danger out there, my love
You’re safe in here!

 

 

(P.S. Written from the viewpoint of a youngster in a violent conflict zone of war and extremism)

INTO THE LIGHT

The day I was born you called me princess,
You laughed when I cooed, you jumped to see me stand,
You held my hand when I fell and fell,
You were my first teacher and saw me through good and bad.

You saw me grew, but to you, I am always tender,
You cried for my pains and overwhelmed by my tiny success,
You drove me to school and “kiss me before bye” was your rule,
You were so thoughtful and cheerful, and to you, I am the most beautiful,

I was a naughty child and confused girl who frequently needed an aid,
And you were always there to guide your little mermaid,
Never know what’s trouble cause of your care,
And you gave me many memories to share.

When all the hope seemed to be gone,
You were my shining beacon and gave me strength to carry on,
Many times you embarked on official trips leaving me sad,
But when I am in your arms, I am always glad.

You enriched our lives with your care and love,
And for which I can never express how much I owe,
To help those in trouble, you always had a way,
And your job got a special pay.

Till that unfortunate day, everything went so well,
And I never knew even the meaning of the word HELL,
If I knew that would be the last day, I would see you walk out of the door,
I would have hugged you more and more,
Since you are gone, I tried so hard to show nothing is wrong,
But deep inside I know without you how I can never be strong.
I yearned for your hug, your words and your kisses all these days,
And I tried to speak to you one more time in a million ways,
That uneventful night I heard you cough,
But little I know that’s the end of my laugh.

I never had any bitterness for God in my heart,
But now, in my life, I still struggle for a new start,
All I wanted to see you step out of that hospital my dad,
But all those doctors failed attempts made me mad.

It was hard to accept that you will be missed,
But I felt your skin so cold as I kissed,
I heard people saying “its okay he became old’’,
But how can I ever say that I lost my “precious gold”.

Days months and years passed since you left,
But the pain in my heart never left,
Each day I kept watching the infinity,
And living each day with uncertainty.

I asked God for your love again, one last miracle,
And I kept waiting for the answer from the oracle,
There was always dawn after dusk,
And little I know, I just needed to ask.

One fine day, I felt your tender touch again,
And I know it was the flutter of an angel’s wings,
God answered my yearning prayer,
And again He made me happier.

Now I know I am being watched and not alone,
All the sadness and despair is gone,
Dad, you never failed me before,
And from now on I will never fail you for sure.

As a father, you gave me life, strength, happiness, and everything,
And I won’t let it go for anything,
One day the world will sing about my success so loud,
And I am sure that I will make you so proud.

FEAR OF BEING BLAMED

Lately life has taught me a lot in ways that I wouldn’t prefer.

It was 14th Feb, while everybody was busy wishing Valentine’s day to their loved ones – I was sitting in the hospital with my 3 year old son who had 103 degree fever. Unaware of what is causing the recurrent fever spikes, I was getting really tensed. He has had on and off cough since almost a month which I was not able to get rid of. I thought I had tried all possibilities to get rid of his cough but little did I know what lay ahead.

After 3 hours in the hospital I was in the doctor’s room. With the X-Ray report on her screen, the doctor looked at me seriously and said he has lung infection. We need to start him on antibiotics immediately. I was shocked. Lung infection? Again? Why? I had done all that the previous doctor had told me. What did I miss? He had a serious case of pneumonia when he was 1.5 years old and now again when he was 3. What did I do wrong?

Well 2 days of antibiotic did no impact on the infection. We had to admit him for 3 days. I cried to my pillow like crazy on the second night. Not just because I was worried but I felt horrible that I could not take care of him enough. It was only me and Joey on the third day in hospital because all other family members had to go attend a family wedding (which I and my son missed because of this unwelcomed infection).

When we came back from hospital, his immunity had dropped considerably. I had to leave my dog at the dog care center because animal hair would make his situation even worse. I called in Aastha to stay with me for those few days till my family would come back and she was a great help. He seemed to get better in a couple of days and I restarted his school – scared and worried.

Though things were getting back to normal, a couple of weeks later we visited a pulmonogist because it is not common for 3 year old to get pneumonia twice. I was literally hoping that he doesn’t give me any bad news regarding the anatomy of his lungs. He did not. But he said something worse – you cannot ignore even a single cough after a case of pneumonia. He needs to eat healthy, avoid dust, no pets, no junk food. Well, all this is something a mother generally knows isn’t it? Where did I miss it? Why didn’t I take him to pulmonogist when his cough wasn’t going away with cough syrups or anti-allergic? Why did I wait for the infection to reach his lungs? Am I not educated enough or do I not have common-sense?

Well, these are the thoughts that run into my mind now and they kill me every day. But initially I blamed everything apart from myself to run into this situation. I blamed my husband for staying away from us, and everybody else in my support system for not taking care of him enough, my work for keeping me extra busy, the circumstances, the doctor who told me that it is common cold and will go away with cough syrups. It took me time to see that I was standing right in middle of all this and all fingers are pointing at me. Every time I would talk to anybody about it, I would try to get defensive and say “You know that doctor doesn’t know anything” or “You know ginger honey really doesn’t work on cough” or whatever.

It took me almost a month of misery to take the responsibility of the situation. And I know that I was fearing getting blamed for all this. Well the fact is that I could have avoided him a lot of pain and whether I get blamed or not – I need to take responsibility of it. The sooner I accept the responsibility, lesser is the fear of being blamed. Blaming others is always easy but that is just one way of not accepting the responsibility.

Like they say – life sometime teaches you a hard way, especially when you resist learning something.

IT WAS DADDY! NOT ME!!

This Monday evening, my daughter decides to have pizza. She wanted to go to a “pizza house” and dine in. I would like to pen down the conversation between my daughter and her daddy.

Anaya (my 3yrs old girl): “Daddy!!! I want to have a pizza.”

Daddy (my husband): “Okay, I will tell delivery uncle to get one for you!”

Anaya: “No daddy. I WANT to go to the pizza house.”

Daddy: “Why??”

Anaya (with a fake crying face): “I want to, daddy!”

So, her daddy takes her to the ‘pizza house’. At her ‘pizza house’, she goes directly to a table and sits and says, “I want to eat here daddy.”

Daddy: “But mommy and uncle are at home. They want to eat pizza too. We have to share.”

Anaya: “No daddy! I want it here!”

Daddy (tensed and confused): “But, mommy will cry and uncle too.”

Anaya (in a low sad voice): “Oh!!! Mmmmm okay daddy.”


Finally, they reach home with her pizza and he narrates this incident to me.

He adds, “What on Earth is a pizza house??”

She stood right next to her daddy while he was narrating and was eating her pizza.

I asked her, “You wanted to eat your pizza in the ‘pizza house’??”

She just nods yes.

I add (I make a sad and almost crying face and makes sure she notices); “Without mommy?” 

She looks at me, stares at her dad. It takes her just 30 seconds to decide. She then, points her finger at her daddy and says, “Daddy said”. 

My husband and I, we looked at each other with surprise. She knows how to blame shift.

Her daddy asks her, “What?? I told you to sit and eat there?”

She looks at her pizza and says, “Yes, daddy!” 

She had the cutest of expression and even though there was a lot of innocence, it wasn’t the right thing. She wanted to be the good girl and please mommy. She knew daddy could handle mommy, and everything would be fine. Even though her expressions and the entire situation was funny but I felt the need to make her understand, that it is okay, if she said so. It’s just a wish she had. I told her the same. I explained that she shouldn’t blame others for the things she did. It is a bad thing for a good girl. I hope she understands, remembers and implements it. Well, frankly, I thought of times when I blame shifted, just be safe and loved. I was reminded how I used to fight, just to prove that I wasn’t blame shifting. Even my daughter has seen me do that. I wondered, what if she has learnt it all from me. Am I guiding her in the right path? No, was the answer. 

I have come across a lot of families and blaming others, when they are being questioned, has been a common characteristic for all the different household. Knowingly or unknowingly, it just happens. May be not as frequent, but sometimes people just play that card. In my family, I have seen my mom being blamed for each and everything that goes wrong in our family. I see my mom blaming someone for a thing she couldn’t do. . Even my mom-in-law goes through the same. Sometimes I see myself doing, exactly the same thing. If I am sick and sad, I tend to blame someone for it and bring out my frustration.

There are situations where in a relationship, this blame game comes to play. One of them blames the other for the things that went wrong in their relation. Then the other person blames the former and vice versa and it goes on and on.  These are the things, kids see and learn. When into a relation, both persons are accountable for things they do for or towards each other, good or bad.  This point fades out and situations drift out of hand. Blaming others has always been an easy option. Moreover it keeps us safe, no matter if or how it jeopardizes somebody else’s character or affairs. 

Sadly, we never think of mending this kind of situation. It is so addictive, even though compromising. We don’t put efforts to correct our kids. We don’t explain to them that whatever happens to them is an outcome of what they did, and not because of any situation, person or thing. Whatever they do and the result of it is solely their responsibility. We have only become more intelligent in our work. We as of now blame lifeless elements, where the other person has no option but to just keep mum. For example, today I was asked by one of my brothers, about a task he has given me to do. It was done but wasn’t perfect. Even though I told him the truth, still I blamed my house chores for keeping me from finishing it. Somehow, it has seeped into us and is so deeply rooted that, we just can’t avoid it. Even if we can, we don’t. 

I will not urge you to let go. I will, but try and change myself. I will refrain from giving excuses and blaming others for things I have been doing. All my success and my failures are mine. It’s my efforts that contribute into making me a success or a failure. I will try and be accountable in situations as such. I will try to use my anger, fear, guilt and shame to build me in the correct way. I will not make me, stand in my way to success. I will try and be a good example to my kid and the society. I will try.

DEAR DAD . . .

I can see the mountains in the north,
I don’t want you to be rigid like them.
I want you to be like the gentle breeze,
Which in the summer heat brings some chill.

I want you to make me feel at home,
Not imprisoned by a wall of rules.
I know you want me to be good,
But all you have to do is trust in me.

I’m your son, oh Dad,
Hey Dad, I love you,
And I’m saying all this,
Hoping you will understand me,
I’m your son, Dad 
And I will always be yours.

I know that you care for me,
And in all that you do,
You want to show it too.
But Dad you can be more than that,
You can be more than just a Dad.

I’m not just a kid any more,
I have grown up and I have my feelings too.
To be honest, you have hurt me at times,
But I’m ready to let all that go.

All that I’m asking is,
Hey Dad, can we be friends?
I need you to listen to me,
You matter a lot to me,
That’s why I’m making this effort of mine.

I am grateful for all that you have done,
But I need your friendship more than anything else.

When I was growing up,
I thought we will become friends with time,
But I guess it never worked out.
I’m giving it a second try,
Will you join me too and answer my cry?

I’m your son, oh Dad
And I love you.

GOOD PARENTS CREATE GREAT LEADERS

Every morning sitting with a cup of coffee or tea in one hand and the newspaper in the other, we come to terms with the world we live in.

What do we do?

In most cases we end up complaining and blaming our leaders for not doing their job well. We complain of our votes getting wasted and then resolve and wait to vote for the next leader who would repeat their mistakes and make new ones. We are full of suggestions and are always trying to put in our own advice during the rise of a crisis.

Well is this that we are entitled to do?

We all dream of a better society brimming with competent leaders skilled enough to handle our social, political and economic issues.

But where do we find such people?

Our education system has taken up an endeavour to create leaders for tomorrow. But the making of an excellent leader starts from home itself. A good leader has great parents. Children learn from experiences and by watching their parents. They consider their parents to be their role models. A parent who upholds the values of integrity, perseverance, justice, cleanliness would try to inculcate these in the child; rather the child would imitate the parent and strive to be like him or her. On the other hand, a child whose parent is negative, torturous and lacking in morality and hygiene would succumb to these values later on in his or her life.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “There is but one way to train up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself”. That explains the fact that a parent should be a good role model.

Every child is different and therefore to create good leaders, a parent should learn not to compare a child to its peers. This involves having good management. Parents can adapt themselves to the child’s temperament and try to understand better in case a difficulty arises. So, good management of affairs is the key to making a good leader.

A child remembers all when an adult. Hence, it is necessary for a parent to create good memories. They will help the child later in life. It’s not only a parent’s job to train up a child as some of us are competent, some are not, some are blessed and some are in the waiting.

You don’t need to have kids in order to be a parent. I am not married and don’t have kids but still I consider it to be my job to guide children in making them amongst greatest leaders of our nation. If you are like a parent to any child, grab the opportunity to inculcate good morals when required as our world is in need of a cure.