MOM – II

Sapna stood gazing at the tall building – in the seventh floor of which, was Mr. Parmar’s office – the place where her Harsh had worked for eight long years. Her head was reeling. Her eyes were going dim. She felt as if she was about to collapse.

Why is life so harsh on me?

Why can’t I have a peaceful enjoyable life, like many others? Why?

After being known as an orphan for so many years, when I finally thought that I have a family to call my own and to belong to, gradually it is falling apart. Isn’t there a God somewhere? Isn’t there justice?

Oh God, if you are there, please intervene! I have no one else to turn to, for help.

As Naina’s sweet innocent face flashed before her, it seemed as if a huge amount of energy gushed into Sapna. She no longer allowed her thoughts to deter her determination. She was determined to save Naina from the clutches of death!

Sapna walked inside, got into the lift and with trembling voice, told the lift operator – “Seventh Floor”. It seemed to take ages from the ground floor to the seventh. The twirl of thoughts within her mind were taking their toll on her. She dreaded meeting Harsh’s colleagues. What would she say, about her being there?

“I have come to see Mr. Parmar. Is he in?”, Sapna told the receptionist on reaching the seventh floor.

“May I know your identity, Ma’am”, asked the soft-spoken lady. She was not the same receptionist who was around when Sapna had come a few times some years back, to collect her husband’s dues. “Good, one person less to know”, she thought within her.

“You could tell him that an old acquaintance is here to meet him”, replied Sapna feigning a smile.

“Sure, I’ll do that. Please have a seat Ma’am. Sir is in a meeting and it may be some time before you could meet him”, said the receptionist.

“Ok”, said Sapna with a sigh and took a seat.

She was assured by the presence of the nurses around little Naina in the hospital, so that she would not be left alone and unattended. But, her condition demanded immediate medical attention. Every minute counted. Sapna felt her heart beat within the walls of her chest. The man whom she was looking up to as her saviour now, would end up being her devourer! “Oh, Harsh! Only if you were here”, she whispered without her knowledge even as a tear flowed down from her right eye.

“Umm…excuse me Ma’am, I have informed Sir that you are waiting. The meeting should be over in a couple of minutes.” That was the receptionist, cutting through Sapna’s line of thoughts.

“Hmm..alright. Thanks!”, said Sapna.

In about ten minutes, Sapna saw people coming out in groups from the Board Room and assumed that the meeting was over. She had never met her husband’s colleagues before. But many of them had come to offer their condolences to her when she had last visited the office. Some of them may recognize her now. So thinking, she thought it wise to step into the restroom for a while, till everyone passed by the reception area.

Inside the Restroom, Sapna stared at herself in the mirror. And out came a flood of tears as if they were impatiently waiting to break out. Amidst the muffled sobs, her heart was shattering into pieces within her. How she wished that she had parents to fall back on! Harsh’s family had been very clear that they had nothing to with either Sapna or Naina soon after his demise.

Once again, Sapna gathered herself and stepped out of the restroom. She was informed by the receptionist that she could go in to meet Mr. Parmar.

Sapna tapped twice before entering Mr. Parmar’s office. She stopped short to see someone else in Mr. Parmar’s seat. The man bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Parmar, but looked much younger.

“I am here to meet Mr. Parmar. Isn’t he around? I was told that he is in here”, said Sapna, her tongue drying within her mouth.

“Yes, how may I help you?”, said the man without much emotion in his voice.

“Er… I don’t know you, Sir”. Mr. Parmar knows me well”, she said with a sudden air of confidence.

“You must be talking about my father. I’m his son, Rohit Parmar. My father is into a new venture in another part of the country. And, I’m the Manager of the office here. Now, how may I help you? Please be quick because I need to rush out”, said Rohit Parmar.

Sapna felt her hopes for help crash to the ground. She couldn’t obviously tell Rohit of his father’s offer. She decided to try winning Rohit’s favour just as she had unsuccessfully tried with many others before.

“Oh! I am the widow of Mr. Harsh Gupta, who used to work here few years back. I lost my husband to an unfortunate accident. Life has been difficult, but my daughter and I have been able to manage ourselves well. At least until now. But now, I am desperately in need of help”. By now, Sapna had started weeping. “My daughter is struggling between life and death in the hospital. The doctors need a huge sum of money to be deposited before they start the treatment. I have exhausted all my savings. My friends and acquaintances are not in a position to help me.”

“Unless I deposit the money soon, I’ll lose my daughter – my life – forever. I had thought to seek help from Mr. Parmar. Now that he is not around, I don’t know what to do”.

“Will you help me, please? All I am asking for, is a loan. I have a job. And I will repay the entire amount gradually, since my salary is not that high. Please have mercy on me. Please help me,” sobbed Sapna.

Continue reading the next part: HERE

OF FEARS – RATIONAL AND IRRATIONAL

As a child, I feared darkness. If there was a sudden disruption in power supply while I was alone in a room, a spontaneous shriek was sure to escape from me. How I overcame it, is sure to add humour to your day!!

One fine evening, I told myself that – my mother doesn’t shriek in fear when she is alone in a room and the power goes off, and my father doesn’t either. Nor do my grandparents, aunts or uncles. So if I continue to be afraid of the dark, I would carry it with me to my adult years as well. And how am I going to comfort my children when they are afraid of the dark, when I am no less? As a child, my mother came to me with a lit candle when it got dark. How will I do the same if I continue to be afraid? From that day, I decided to make a conscious effort to calm myself in the event of being alone in a room when there was a sudden power cut. It worked! It wasn’t easy. Nor did the change happen overnight. But, it did happen.

Our fears can be overcome! While I say this, I also acknowledge the fact that all fears can’t be overcome. A strong determination, motivation and counselling, therapy can help overcome many of our fears. However, some fears still continue to reside comfortably within us. To give an example, I haven’t overcome my fear of caterpillars. Come rainy season, and my eyes scan all walls, doors and windows for any sign of the creepy creature. More than a fear, its just a yucky repelling feeling.

Fear is a powerful human emotion. It is a response to the perception of an imminent danger/threat. Fear may be aroused in the presence of the object of fear or in remembrance of a past episode with the object of fear or in anticipation of a future encounter with it. For instance, one may be afraid of the fierce winds, heavy rainfall and the sight of houses and trees falling down during a cyclone; or may shudder recalling a past experience of a cyclone or may simply be afraid anticipating the footfall of a cyclone some day in the unseen future.

Some fears are rational. You cannot obviously, expect to see a lion and run towards it with a welcome smile! Such fears are rational. Whereas there are some fears which are irrational. These irrational fears are termed as ‘phobias’. Phobias are not easy to do away with, and require short-term or long-term therapy in order to be overcome. Rational fears on the other hand, are comparatively easier to be dealt with.

Stage fear, fear of facing an interview panel, fear of darkness, fear of sexual intimacy after marriage, fear of conceiving a child are all rational fears under normal circumstances (unless there is some compelling aversive antecedent to it).

There is a difference between discomfort and anxiety and fear. I remember going to a metro station in New Delhi and changing my travel plans and returning, on finding it overcrowded. Seeing the crowd milling all over the platform with practically no breathing space, I didn’t even descend the stairs to the platform! Now, that has nothing to do with phobia. It is just a sense of extreme mental discomfort. On the other hand, there are people who, in such a crowded situation would have broken into a sweat with high palpitations and pulse rate. This is phobia.

The same object can induce rational fear for one and irrational fear for another. There can be no strict categories for objects of rational and irrational fears.

While fear perception is a sign of a normal human being, continuing to live with fears, is not healthy. It affects one’s functioning as an individual and one’s relationship with others and how one views the world. It is best to overcome fear or to be surrounded by people who can guard and guide in the event of occurrence of such fears.

Having said it all, I strongly believe that all fears can be overcome with strength from God. I’m not being a fanatic when I say this. But its the faith within, that if God is in control of this massive universe, He is in control of my fears and yours.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

 

WISEST OF ALL!!!

Let me tell you a story. It is about a boy called Peter, who happened to come across the wisest of all. One day, Peter thought of going down to the jungle near his village to look for berries and some wild fruits to make a pie. He told his mother that he might also spend the night there. The jungle was not inhabited by any wild animals, and so his mother allowed him to go and packed him some food and essentials for the journey. He set out for the jungle and in some hours reached a place full of berries and tasty fruit trees and bushes. He found an area suitable for camping and put his tent there. As it was getting a bit dark, he decided to pluck some berries for the dessert. Before he could start, he felt as if something was walking on him. Small, tiny and could be any harmful insects. He bent down to see. Lo and behold!! He found “ants” everywhere, struggling to climb on to him. He saw them climbing in one straight line and then dividing into more lines. Then he got rid of them all, cleaned himself and started towards the bush. In the bush, all the branches, leaves and fruits had these tiny ants on them. They were literally everywhere. They were collecting leaves and portions of berries and taking them somewhere. He then followed them. To his amusement, he found out that the ants took them inside a soil building, which was very hard to break. Through a small portion and some light he could see colonies and compartments. He was very impressed to see such amazing architecture. When he went back to his tent, he saw there were ants all over his food and bed. He had no other option than to return. And so he did! He narrated everything to his mother after reaching his place. He was so motivated by these small creatures that, he himself started keeping his room clean and organised and acted wisely then after.

This story might be a bit boring or repetitive. But the focus of it is on the wisdom of the ants. In the Bible it is written, “Go to the ants…… consider its ways and be wise.” Further on, “Four things on earth are small yet they are extremely wise: Ants are the creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.” There are a lot of important things, these small creatures teach us. Ants are the most hard working and determined class of insects. They never give up on their determination. It might be a zip-lock bag or an airtight jar, if determined they will get what they want from it. Even, we should be determined in life. Without letting go of things soon, we must always find ways to succeed.

Ants care for each other. In this time of lost humanity, when we see ants running to save their fellows when stuck with a small stick, it is quite inspiring. They are all heroic and they try to fool you, doing the “not her/him, but me” stunt and sacrificing themselves for others. They do not forget anyone and might also leave a trail mark of identification for the lost ones. They are good in investing for their future by storing food. They are good managers also as they not only arrange but also count their eggs according to their age. They are good team players, they play together and safe. They are good builders and engineers as well. When you break an ant hill, you will find cities kind of structures, with farming, storing, sleeping and every facilities. They live in unity and are very good neighbors. They also are excellent navigators, as after a day’s search for food they return to their hill in the same way, as if they had left trails. They will give their lives in order to protect their queen.

It is really amazing as how great values are installed in such humble creations. Where we tend to spray them away from our houses, they wonder about conquering the house and becoming its owner. We do overlook such qualities because there are more of visible matters available, that are big and are good at catching our attention soon. We do have a lot to learn from each and every thing in this world and if we can instill in ourselves the good values and let go of the toxic ones, we can become better humans. Maybe, at some point in life, we can all ask ourselves, “Are we as wise as the Ants?”

THE NEST

                                                   

Sipping tea in my balcony, I saw some straws,

Wondered if the wind blew too strongly and made this jigsaw…

Then I noticed the culprit who created this mess –

It was a pigeon trying to make a nest.

 

I hushed that creeper instantly,

because when it comes to cleanliness, I get too finicky.

I swept away the straws and hay,

But the pigeon just won’t agree to my dismay,

For I had to clean up the twigs everyday.

 

One, two, three and four,

Fifth day I saw much more.

The pigeon wasn’t alone,

The male one with twigs in beak has just flown,

The female stopped designing her nest,

Fearing that I would protest.

 

Touched I was to see their determination,

So assisted them to make their mansion,

With cardboard and some bricks,

Little creatures taught me the mantra in a nick-

Don’t give up and never lose hope,

Keep on trying, there’s always a scope.