Leaving behind what I could not achieve this year is easier than treading on my way to the year kept in my future. So let me start with the easiest one –
‘Letting go of my past’. – Chiradeep

 

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KEEP UP THE FAITH

It’s time to bid adieu to this year and welcome the new year.  It’s time to recollect the best times that this year gave and to dream for the next year.

For me, 2018 started with new hopes and new beginnings,  while putting an end to the sorrows and sufferings. Though there were remarkable changes that I went through- settling into a new city,  moving from a joint family to a nuclear one, my tag being changed from working mom to a homemaker,  the end result was worth it as I was reunited with my husband after one year of staying apart. The year also witnessed some lows as I lost a beloved family member. But,  at the same time,  God was kind enough to bless our family with good news too.
To accomplish great things,  
we must not only act, but also dream, 
not only plan,  but also believe. 
– Anatole France.

The year taught me to keep dreaming, without losing hope.  God tested my patience and gifted what I had asked for. The biggest learning for me was- just keep going,  just like the time!

With new dreams,  new hopes,  but my same old self,  I will step into the new year.  So, I hereby wish everyone peace and prosperity for 2019. Just keep dreaming and keep the faith in Him.

HOPE IS ALL WE CAN

Going to the bed,
With the hope of a brand new day,
Promising to start afresh,
Without knowing what the life has to say.

Building castles, booking travels,
With the hope of reaping the benefits,
With the hope of rejoicing the places,
Savouring without bothering,
A U-turn life may be offering.

Holding the egg for 9 months whole,
With the hope of getting nature’s dole,
The Baya weaves its nest,
with the hope that the wind will rest.

Life doesn’t stop,
It doesn’t stand still.
Hope anchors our souls,
It strengthens our will.

Tomorrow may bring dark,
It may bring light.
Hope for the best because,
The sun will always shine.
For the best because,
Hope is all we can.

IN THE END

When your time is near,
And your heart reflects fear,
And you’re breaking down in tears
Because you’ll lose all you hold dear;

When faith unfaithful
Turns her back,
And the vision before your blurry eyes
Turns tar black;

Remember the only thing
That will always hold true –
That even in your end
He hasn’t forsaken you.

God still loves you.

Pradita Kapahi

Quote of the day

Sometimes, it’s good to be calm and let faith lead the way.

CORRUPTIBLE POWER

We’ve all heard Lord Acton’s oft repeated quote –

‘All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely’

Power is a tricky thing. We all covet it, yet very few of us know how to wield it and not let it get to our heads. How often have you come across examples of people in positions of power abusing their offices and exerting their influence when they should not? How many times have you come across a situation when you have exerted your power over someone inferior to you in some way, because you felt you had the power so you could do it?

Power is a word that has both positive and negative connotations. When it is exerted for a larger benefit, it becomes a tool for victory, like in the case of the public exerting it’s power over a government for certain reforms. Yet when the same government exerts its power to crush and demoralize the public, it becomes a tool for oppression. It’s in such instances when exerting your power wrongly and unfairly becomes a sin.

Consider these instances from everyday lives –

  • A boss exerting his power over his employees to push them into working harder or longer.
  • A teacher punishing her students for misbehaving.
  • A parent forcing a child to do their bidding.
  • A police officer exerting his power over a prisoner.
  • The owner of a gun threatening an intruder.

Some of you may say that exertion of power in such instances is justified. Aye, it is. But there is a very thin line between justified use and power abuse. In all of the above instances, one unwarranted step could lead to abuse of power.

But I won’t just give you random examples of how exertion of power in the wrong instances is a sin, I’ll give you an example from my own life.

I must have been 11-12 when this happened. My Grandmother owned a building where she used to rent out rooms. In one such room stayed a family of two boys, and their parents. The older boy was a couple of years older than me. He was an absolute tyrant and bully. He would go around the village terrorizing children of my age, beating them up, or calling them names or using them for catapult practice. I hated him because he used to pull my hair and call me ‘Pootna‘ (a mythological demon in India).

But I hated him most because he killed a bird with his catapult just to prove to me that his aim did not suck! And the worst part of it was, I goaded him into doing that because I wanted to prove him a failure. That incident is seared in my memory. I don’t know if the boy had any guilt over the sparrow’s death, but I did, heaps of it. And possibly that was why I was horribly sick for a few days afterwards.

But no sooner had I recovered than he was at it again, calling me names, making faces at me. My guilt and the anger I had for him was mounting. My 11 year old pride was taking a beating and I did not like any of it.

So while he was playing in my grandmother’s courtyard, I let loose my Alsatian dog on him. The dog bit into his forearm and left several painful scratches. It let go only when I told the dog to stop. I still remember feeling all mighty and powerful at the time. But when his parents came to take him to the doctor, that’s when it dawned on me that I had wronged him. His parents did not say a word to me, but the look on their faces told me just how unfair I had been. They could not have said anything to me because I was a child, and also because they were tenants of my grandmother and respected her. But now I find it reprehensible that I misused this bit of knowledge and my ferocious dog, to exert my power over someone, even if he was a tyrant and a bully.

This incident taught me that I abused the power I had, whatever little I had of it. It taught me that one could go quickly from using their power for good, to using it for being a bully. And that’s when it becomes a sin.

When a person gains power over others in some way, it is obvious that the subordinates will be in a disadvantageous position. It is also obvious that with the gain of power, a moral weakness develops in the power wielder, where they tend to veer towards using their power for personal benefits or self-aggrandisement. It manifests not just in the human realm, but in the animal realm as well. Like when the leader of a pride of lions exerts his authority over the females and the cubs in the pride. But this is when a power wielder must understand that they must maintain a balance between rightful use and abuse of power. Most positions of power occur over monetary reasons or in positions of trust. An abuse of power in such situations is not just a sin, it also breaks the faith of the subordinates who look to the power wielder for support, guidance and leadership.

This is also when the subordinates must realize that they have power over a power wielder. We must always have a foolproof system of checks and balances where any abuse of power brings serious repercussions for a leader. Most authority figures tend to keep misusing their positions because there is no check on their abuse of power. This is where the power of the masses comes into the picture, and the masses should not condone an unwarranted abuse of power. At some point, the sheep must turn on the wolf masquerading as their shepherd.

We all have relationships in our lives where we may be in an authoritative position over others. A parent, a father or mother in law, an older brother or sister, a boss, an employer, a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a politician. There’s no end to such positions where one can wield power… and abuse it.

An authority figure must remember why he’s in power –

  • Because of the faith and trust reposed in him.
  • Because people look to him for leadership
  • Because he has the responsibility of protecting or providing for a group of persons

Breaking the trust of your followers and subordinates takes seconds, but good-will takes an age to earn, and regaining broken trust, takes even longer.

I think this quote from the Bible sums up what we must all remember when we exert our power, for good or bad:

1 Peter 5:2-3

“Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”

 

Pradita Kapahi, 2017

 

THE MIRACLE OF MY BIRTH

Some time back, I had watched a programme on television – a story from a book being enacted. It showed a sick man lying on a cot with the doctor examining him. The man’s little son was looking expectantly at the doctor to hear something positive. The doctor removes his stethoscope, shakes his head and says, “Only a miracle can save your father.” The little boy who had already lost his mother is determined to save his father’s life. He empties his piggy bank, counts the money, puts it all in a pouch and sets off. Thinking that MIRACLE is the name of a medicine, he goes to all the chemist stores in his village offering all his money for a bottle of MIRACLE. All the chemists shake their heads saying that they have never heard of this medicine.

With tears of hopelessness running down his cheeks as he is returning homewards, an old man sees him and enquires his plight. On hearing the boy’s sad story, the wise old man smiles and says that he knows where MIRACLE can be got from. The boy’s face lights up and he offers the pouch of money and asks the man to get it for him immediately. Refusing to take the pouch of money, the old man points upwards and says, “it is only God who is capable of DOING MIRACLES.

Any seemingly difficult/impossible thing coming to pass – we label it as a miracle. The dictionary definition of miracle reads thus, “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.” The things that we are able to do, may be with a lot of effort and help from others, are not called miracles, no matter how hard they may seem to be got done. But, those things which are out of our reach altogether and no human aid whatsoever can make it possible – when such things happen, they are miracles!

I call my birth a miracle and my parents testify it so. Expecting a baby for the first time is a novel and joyous experience for any woman. So was it for my mother. When my parents paid a visit to the gynaecologist at the end of my mother’s first trimester, they were in for a shock! The gynaecologist suggested my parents to get the pregnancy terminated as there was no growth and no shape of the foetus – just a mangled mass of flesh.

My parents were heart broken. My mother was inconsolable. As they reached home, they couldn’t gather the courage to decide to terminate the pregnancy. They just prayed that God would guide them as to what to do. Days passed by. Still they could not arrive at any decision. It was then that my father suggested that they go in for a second reference before arriving at a final decision. They went to another gynaecologist for a check-up without sharing with her the previous reports.

The fresh reports came as my parents were waiting with their hearts in their mouths. To their amazement, the gynaecologist went through the reports and said that the foetus is developing well, only that my mother was weak and needed a lot of rest! On hearing that, they shot a volley of queries to the gynaecologist and were satisfied by what she said. They would have had such a relief that evening – I cannot imagine!!

As a living evidence of that miracle, here I am – alive and penning these lines today! Had my parents decided instantly to terminate the pregnancy and had God not led them to seek a second reference, I wouldn’t have seen the light of this world. Whenever I think of this or hear my parents narrate this incident, I remember the Psalmist’s words in the Bible –

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

I wonder how intricately the Master Designer would have given form, shape and breath to that mangled lump of flesh so as to make it whole. It defies human understanding! And in case it was all about just a faulty diagnosis, how wonderfully the Divine Director stopped my parents from taking a hasty decision and in course of time, led them to a second referral. Again, it goes beyond logical comprehension!

Miracles do happen! And it is only God who can work them out – when we rely on Him. When we choose to rely on ourselves and people around, we don’t give God scope to show His magnificence. But, when we turn to God with faith for those impossibilities of our lives, He shows His divine power.

Are you among those who has never experienced a miracle in your life? It’s time you tasted it! Look around you and within you for the most impossible thing in your life. It may be some area in which you are desperate to have a breakthrough, but all doors seem to be locked. Give it into the hands of the Almighty God for whom nothing is impossible – “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” And wait with faith. Do not doubt. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Miracles cannot be bought with money or with righteous deeds. Wait on God with faith and you will see the impossibilities of your life turning into possibilities. You will see those tall mountains that cage you from all sides, crumble into heaps of dust thus making the way for beams of exhilarating light to engulf you.

Gear up for a new experience!