THE PRESENT OF PRESENCE

Click . . . click click . . .
Click . . . click click . . .
Went my fingers on the mouse,
As I browsed to select the perfect bunch of roses for my aunt’s house.

A call in the morning to wish her a happy wedding anniversary,
And a bouquet of lovely flowers in the evening to end the day’s story,
Seemed the perfect greeting on my inventory,
In place of climbing up the stairs to their house on the third-storey.

All done, I was waiting for the thank-you call,
And praises for my thoughtfulness from one and all,
The happiness caused by a gesture small,
Would surely me a great deal enthrall!

‘Hello’ . . . said I at the very first ring,
Hoping that my aunt would in joy, dance and sing,
Expressing the pleasure that the flowers did bring,
Striking afresh love’s new melodious string.

Truly joyful were the couple with the bouquet in their hands,
As they resolved to forever with each other stand,
No matter if the days ahead were stormy or bland,
They would rejoice and make their lives a warm love land.

As happy as I was to hear the tinkle in their voices,
I remembered over the years their smart intelligent choices,
And lo came my aunt’s sweet enchanting voice,
‘Your selection was a good choice!

Thrilled we’d have been to see you at our door,
With those lovely flowers in your hand and nothing more,
To see you would have been a loving gesture of care,
That’s all we need in this old age nightmare!’

Stunned was I at the humble revelation,
Crashed down from heights of glory to the rock foundation,
Indeed the warm touch of a human hand,
Means so much more than gifts so grand!

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EXPLORE IT, POLISH IT & USE IT

“An ore is a type of rock that contains sufficient minerals with important elements including metals that can be economically extracted from the rock. The ores are extracted from the earth through mining; they are then refined to extract the valuable elements.”

Oops! Why am I talking about Ore suddenly in a week when we are discussing about Talents?

No! I didn’t make a mistake. Talents are like ores. They are hidden within us as the ores are within earth. When we discover our talents at some point of our life we find them in a very crude form. And when we keep refining it we as well as others find it to be very valuable and useful.

I remember I was such a timid boy considering my heath conditions. As I was studying in an Oriya medium school my English was not great. When I was in college I found it very difficult to say a sentence in English. So many times I was embarrassed in the midst of many. And I remember I dared to write a letter in English to my best friend Binod when he was in a different town. And you won’t believe the joy I had that day. But I had never ever imagined that I could speak in English and write articles. When I joined my present organisation I started speaking in English with one of my colleagues almost regularly. She used to help me and correct me every time.

But I would thank my cousin Khristina who really helped me to be confident in speaking English. She only taught me how to chat in yahoo messenger which immensely helped my vocabulary. And I wrote my first article in English for a webzine called Polvero.com which doesn’t exist now. A profile of my own on the web encouraged me a lot to write more. I read, wrote and read more, wrote more articles… The refining process went on… The ore that I discovered had come out as a valuable talent for me to realise it and use it for others. And while doing so I conceived and gave birth to Candles Online.

The talent which was hidden finally came to limelight. Apart from writing I also discovered I can compose music which was explored after my wife came into my life. I also explored that I have a gift of comforting, encouraging and counselling a broken hearted or a person in need of warmth. And the best part is I never keep them idle or unused. I always use them in my life because I believe God gave me that talent for a purpose and if I am not using it then it will be rusted and the purpose of my life on this earth won’t be fulfilled.

Let me tell you a story which is written in the Bible:

A man going on a trip, called his servants and turned his money over to them.  To one man he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, based on their ability. Then he went on his trip. The one who received five talents went out at once and invested them and earned five more. In the same way, the one who had two talents earned two more. But the one who received one talent[d]went off, dug a hole in the ground, and buried his master’s money. After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came up and brought five more talents. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ His master told him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you’ve been trustworthy with a small amount, I’ll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!’ The one with two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents. His master told him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you’ve been trustworthy with a small amount, I’ll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!’ Then the one who had received one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you haven’t planted and gathering where you haven’t scattered any seed. Since I was afraid, I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here, take what’s yours!’ His master answered him, ‘You evil and lazy servant! So you knew that I harvested where I haven’t planted and gathered where I haven’t scattered any seed? Then you should’ve invested my money with the bankers. When I returned, I would’ve received my money back with interest.’  Then the master said, ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the ten talents.

My wife sings well and can really touch hearts with her voice. But she is very hesitant to sing as and when asked or required. I always remind her the above story saying, “If you don’t use your talent which God has given you to touch people then one day it will be rusted and will be taken away from you.”

Friends! Look deep within yourself. Explore the crude ore hidden inside you, polish it, refine it and use it for the best possible cause shown to you.

Stay Blessed!

FOODICTED

Out of all the pleasures in the universe, there is a pleasure that stirs up my senses, refreshes my insides and satiates the hunger bubbling in me literally. The pleasure that is derived from the joy of cooking and primarily the love for food found its way into my heart a very long time ago when I was just stepping into the shoes of my teenage self. That I was a big-time foodie was known to me much longer than ever but I became a food addict when I discovered that the path to food heaven lay in learning the tricks of the trade of cooking. Initially I was of this thought that I would cook only to fill my belly but gradually I just couldn’t figure how this guilty pleasure became a passion. I would call this definitely a hidden talent as not many people are aware of it except a few of those who have got a taste of my handiwork.

Years ago my first cooking stint began in my kitchen where I was preparing for my final Home Science practical examinations, the final accomplishment of which I am still proud of. I passed with flying colours and praises alike thus giving me a boost to explore the possibilities in the world of food if at least at home. I started with collecting recipes for all kinds of cuisines and dishes and there were times when my dear mother brought out my talent in front of people visiting our house by entrusting me with responsibility of the kitchen along with my sister. There were innumerable things that I didn’t know about and which were impossible to learn just by looking up recipes. I learnt a great deal from my sister including the cooking time, standing time, and which ingredient goes with what, and the art of making the perfect round chapatis and a lot more. The basic knowledge is always an igniting factor which stays inherent even if you experiment with your cooking.

The art of cooking is not easy to master. One needs to be aware of the texture, the palate and the technique of cooking to be a forerunner. Lately I have shifted my focus towards baking which is again a higher form of art. I feel mesmerized by the smell of baked goods and therefore the venturing into this field. Again it involves science, perfect measurement of ingredients and time. Well, there can never be a perfect baking or cooking if there is no love involved. To me, cooking is an expression of love. The cook brings soul to the recipe and that is how it transforms into a piece of art. Learning about different styles of cooking, different cuisines and ingredients has really helped to create praiseworthy dishes. I get high just by seeing the food in my pan change its colour and exhibiting the fascinating aroma. The joy that I see in people when they bite into the dish that has been made gives me a delight that has no bounds.

However I have not been able to channelize my energy in this direction because of professional pursuits and there is a dire urge in me to go forward with what I love more than what is ideal. I nourish this dream to serve happiness, love and peace in bowls and platters but I still need to prepare and learn a lot to make that happen.

I believe in this statement that no one is born a great cook but is made by doing. You may burn yourself, cut yourself … yes that has happened to me several times but it is by failing miserably that you learn to rise up. Cooking to me is more than ingredients, recipes and cooking it is more about harnessing imagination, empowerment and above all creativity. Well I would like to thank my forefathers for discovering fire which is indeed one of the best things ever discovered. It has made my life worth enjoying! But besides playing with fire I am learning the freezing technique as well. A time arrives when all you want to do is what you are mostly interested in. Finding out what you are passionate about and tremendously staying interested in it is what makes you a go-getter. You truly need some TLC for yourself if you need to contribute the same amount to the masses. Let not your talents stay put in your closets and as far as budding chefs and cooks like me are concerned I would leave you with this dialogue from the movie RATATOUILLE, “Anybody can cook, but only the fearless can be great”. Bring it on!

EXPLORE YOUR HIDDEN TALENT – YOUR PASSION

Hidden Talents….

The toughest part to excavate through your soul and find out who you really are or want to be. Talents are buried under the depth of your heart and it takes the time to be up and flying.  Talent is the natural attribute that we are born with. At times we just know we are on it, and at times with lots of ups and downs before we make it happen.Some times it happens that we knew it all the time, yet never thought or even opted it be a talent in us. A talent can be anything and everything that lets you be what you ever wanted.  

A possible way to tell you or discover your inner most talent is to find out what gives you the joy or the feeling of being yourself. I had come a long way exploring what actually takes my interests on a toss. I was someone who was completely lost in everything. At a very young age, I thought I wanted to be a dancer or a singer. Dance is a part of me which I believe in performing when my heart is at the best. Since I was an out of shape person, the confidence in me was bashed all the time. Yet thanks to my friends who thought I could perform gracefully. In a group, I adorned the talent I always loved. But with age, I had to dig a hole and immerse it into the deep dungeons of my heart, where I stored what I always loved. Even though it keeps peeping out at times to remind me that I can do it. Whenever music is on, my feet are always in a tapping spree, that invokes the real me. Like a butterfly out of the cocoon, I dance my way though.

Like other girls, I was never great at embroidery, stitching, painting, or something that really put the girlish side of me bright and notable. I wanted to be more like a tomboy. I thought manliness was something I could escape into to let myself stop thinking of my talents.

Later the urge to be an explorer struck my mind which led me to be a software professional.  To my surprise, the job never gave me anything other than losing all my confidence. Hence I discovered being a software engineer was never my talent. I could be average, but being average is not being talented or to be something we enjoy the most. 

Motherhood brought me into something I enjoyed in the course of time – That was Cooking. I loved the way the mustard spluttered as I put them in the oil. The fragrance of curry leaves, the smell of tea leaves, the baking aroma of the cakes and much more. I felt the joy of presenting my dish to my loved ones and seeing them cherish the taste of it. Cooking brought me into another world of joy, which I still pursue. 

Later with my boredom creeping into my mind taking away all the joy, I discovered that I could blog. Even though my language was not that great, I blogged. I posted articles which were just my rambling thoughts. Earlier my thoughts were the ones which I kept communicating to my heart, later I penned it down. It was a new revelation to my own self. I was admired and appreciated, which very well boosted my confidence. Slowly as I moved on, the writing became a source of income to me. Becoming a freelance writer, I explored that my imagination was far beyond what I thought it was. 

From nowhere to something was a great change. The joy was profound and I was enjoying every bit of wilderness I could write down. Gradually my writings turned into poetry, which was indeed a new beginning for me. Writing lets me be more passionate towards my life letting me explore more about expressing and even improvising my language. 

Finally, I felt all the talks I used to do with my heart all the time, became the source of projecting the new me to the world. At last finding out the true me became a source of my confidence. I reached the point in my life where my passion meets my job. Truly I adore being a writer. Exploring my hidden talent was close to impossible if I had no one to share my love and interests. Many factors became the reasons for my discovery. 

Alas !!  I am a happy writer. 

DON’T HIDE THEM!

Something which is hidden ought to be discovered and put to some use, because you never know the hidden jewel might be the brightest of all!

We all have talents inside us and some of us have a package of talents in them. Discovering them and putting them into some good use is the ultimate goal.

When I was about 11 or 12, i.e. during my ‘tween’ years I started watching people closely just as all other kids do during this age. My closed circle included only my family because my friends shared the same position. So I used to watch my family members closely. My older brother was at his teens and he already had developed his interests on various things. Singing was one of them. He would play loud music and sing along and he would write down the lyrics. He was pretty good at that. Watching him do this I started singing too and within no time I fell in love with music. I would listen to the beats and try to sing along and wished that my voice would someday be like one of those singers whom I used to listen. The passion developed and with time I started singing at the church on Sundays. Later when I went to college, I joined the college choir and had one of the most amazing experiences visiting other colleges and churches and singing in front of them. I count those moments very precious in life.

But the sailing was not always smooth. There were times I did not justify songs (as I am not a trained singer)and was depreciated. I felt I am not a professional and I should quit singing in front of the crowd but some things give us so much  pleasure that quitting  them makes our lives void. So no matter how bad a singer I am or how good I am I choose to follow it and I still sing at the church and am appreciated by my family and friends. Over the years I have learnt more about music and singing and I thank God I didn’t give up just because at times I sounded off beat.

So here’s the message for you guys out there, “You might be good at something but you might not be sure about it. Don’t hide it! Let go and see where it takes you. Of course the initial stages where your talent is just developing, it will be difficult but with time it will all fit in and not just fit in, but bloom if you give it a chance. May it be cooking, sewing, singing, dancing, writing or anything else, don’t hide them within you!”

“Your talent is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God.”

HUNT THAT TALENT MINE

Yes, every person has a hidden talent. Hidden talent does not necessarily mean an ability or natural instincts to be the best in the world. Hidden talents could be like: a natural ability to sing melodiously, dance happily or read voraciously. Everyone has some or the other thing that they can cultivate (work on) to develop their quality of life. Yes. Theoretically speaking, humans are a complex species with a storehouse of talents. The skills of a person are shown only on exposure to favourable situations. So, since not everyone gets favourable circumstances to express their talent, there are some abilities that remain “Hidden”. This is true practically too. We have seen reticent people perform well in front of an audience etc.

To make it easier for your talent to find you, you must try doing things that fascinate you. Do those things more often. If you realise that you can do a particular thing effortlessly and efficiently, understand that your talent has found you! If you enjoy doing a particular thing and people around you like you doing it too, you have figured out your talent! If you get into a state of creative flow when you do something, and you start getting public references (appreciation and praise) about you doing it, realise that you have found out your Hidden Talent!

Your hidden talents can surface at any time. All you need to do it catch it at the right place, at the right time or you will live to regret it. Try different things that interest you. Maybe you will be drawn to something that you will know is your true calling. Real life example is yours truly, I initially as a kid loved to draw and do craft work and as per me, I created some masterpieces back then and hung them on my bedroom walls with pride. Would you believe that I know learned embroidery and knitting at that small an age of 9-10? Yes, I did, I made my mother a set of handkerchiefs that were embroidered by me, I made a set of dining table placemats in Shadow work, I knitted a small Baba Suit (a woollen lower, pullover and jacket) for a new born cousin and a Muffler for my father. Then I tried to be the Mozart of my time and tried my luck at Piano, don’t ask me how the poor Piano cried after three classes and I took pity on it by the fourth class and let it go free. It ran away, screaming. Then one bright morning, during Art classes, my then school teacher told me “You have a great voice, you can be a classical singer”, and his comment made me resilient that I would be the Lata Mangeshkar one day until Bronchitis claimed me and I lost that lyrical, melodious voice. But I didn’t give up, I tried my hand at Drama, learning the Nav Ras, performed at few school plays and stage performances. I was booed and told that I sucked at it.

As a teenager, I developed a love for poetry, though however amateur and juvenile they might have been, I was proud of myself, I felt I am Rabindranath Tagore of my very own genre. Years rolled on, and my love for dance bloomed into a passion that made me wanna be the best dancer in India, time for me to be Michael Jackson. Few more yrs passed and I was the Pablo Picasso and Monet of my time as I developed a love for paintings, and trust me, I left no stone unturned. From Glass Paintings to Tanjore’s, from Marble Paintings to Relief’s and from Oil on Canvas to Embossed, I learned and mastered them all. They adorn the walls of my house even today. My mother shows them to every new visitor with pride in her eyes.

Then came the era of the love for flowers, I learned to make flowers from Origami to Quilling and from Stocking to Bread Dough, each one was close to my heart. Today, I do all my fancy packing myself, and decorate everything with my handmade flowers, not just that, my brother got married, and I did the quilling flower work decoration on each invitation card. Would you believe that I learned to Quilling, Packing and Rangoli from YouTube !!! Yes, and this I am telling you because I want you all to know that if we want to learn something, money and resources are no hindrances. Then came book reading, OMG !!! I became such a bookworm, an avid reader who could finish volumes in a couple of days. I realised books are truly a man’s best friend. Portals to another world, another time, another life. 

Next in the line came Blogging and Poetry. Yes, I see what you are thinking, I came a full circle to where I started from. But that is life; it comes a full circle. And while I am all modest about my hidden talents, let me take the privilege to buy you into a secret, not all hidden talents ate useful and noble. Some of them are notorious. Like I developed one for gaming, and Oh Boy! What gaming it was, I smashed all the scoreboards and was on top of each one, from Simulation games to RPG and from Tycoon games to Civilisation, I rocked them all. I had EA and Steam begging me to let go them. My only flaw is, Once I master a game or a talent, I start to lose interest in it. I have sacrificed many passions to my mood swings, but as I told, it wins some lose some. Today I am trying to be a writer, Yes, that is my new found passion or my Hidden Talent you can call it. And I hope that it will turn to something solid, and someday I would see my book sitting on your bookshelves. 

That is one regret I don’t have, that I never tried something that appealed to me. My next target is cooking, I know I suck at it, like big time, but I hope I will be able to manage a day’s meals on my own if I have to. As I said, try different things, and if Plan A doesn’t work you have 25 alphabets left, and if that still doesn’t work use number (in short, stay active), you will find something that triggers your hidden talent. I would be surprised if you are aware of your hidden talent, most people are not even aware whether they have one, much less as to what it is.

I believe most of us have a lot more potential within us than we ever dream we do. The more we play, experiment, and allow our curiosity and playfulness sweep us off our feet often – the more we will reveal to ourselves about our abilities.

How do we know if we don’t apply ourselves? Even if all that happens is you have a perfect time, it is time well spent – you will be releasing all kinds of useful chemicals just from enjoying yourself. You will not know unless you give it a fair shot. I would suggest taking baby steps – wade in a bit at a time and allow yourself to get comfortable there before trying a bigger challenge. If you felt energised and pulled forward, you have likely hit upon a natural ability. If you have to push yourself, stop and play in another way – that instrument, that style, that group might not be the best fit, but another one could be.

If we assume, we can develop the skills to support anything we love to do; we give ourselves permission to try.

“You are unique. You have different talents and abilities. You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others. And most important, you should always remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing and have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.” 
― Roy. T. Bennette, The light in the Heart

Stay Driven !!!

LOVE’S TRUE GIFT

love-cubes

A spring of water in a sun-scorched land,

A pinch of salt in a dish that tastes bland,

A luminous ray in a grimy dungeon,

Thus is tender love for hearts in blanched convention.

A precious hour, a sweet smile and a kind word of understanding,

A gentle touch, a warm hug and a shoulder for all teary unburdening,

Shower heaps of invaluable valuables,

For weary dreary tempestuous fallibles.

The tangible gifts of love speak of feelings intangible –

Sapphires, rubies, emeralds or solitaires,

Castles of gold or villas manifold,

Reveal the bubbling of emotions told or untold.

But alas! Giftings such are sure superfluous,

If the heart underneath calculating and contemptuous,

With arguments contentious and words pretentious,

Serving deceit on platters for many so ingenuous.

Many a passionate kiss showing dreams of heavenly bliss,

And cozy cuddles building secure havens bereft of struggles,

Promises more than four – of a world of happiness galore,

Plummet to the ground thus unveiling the sly masquerade that was till then crowned.

Mere lovey-dovey words and philanthropic records,

Knowledgeable expeditions and ambitious renditions,

Spell emptiness in a world screaming with strife and stress

Should we still plan to simply impress?

Patient trust with doubts never unjustly thrust,

Perseverant hope lifting others from slippery slope,

Honor over dishonor and never a raging demeanor,

Unflinching faith and undying love are never empty charmers.

Brothers, sisters, friends and thinkers –

Love wholly, love truly,

Love with kindness and passionate persistence,

Love without recording each others’ raves and rants.

Love with your mind, heart and soul,

If need be, lay down your life in love and your all,

This is the truest gift that love can grant,

In your hearts this do firmly implant.

❤  ❤  ❤