​HELD IN MEMORIES

Whenever I see a graveyard or visit one it fills me with melancholy, certain sadness, a feeling of desolation. Although, I have happily eaten stolen litchees in a graveyard under a moonlit sky, the graveyard always reminds me of the ultimate truth of life, death.  We all will die one day and no matter how rich or famous we become, how many medals we win, how well or bad we act, we end up as dust.

All that remains are memories, may be few lines on an epitaph, or if we are lucky enough, our being gets etched in the hearts of the people we have been able to impact in a special way. When I reach my end in this beautiful world I would like to be remembered in a certain way even though saying this is futile since as people, we tend to forget with time.

I want to be remembered as a good son. I don’t know how much of it I have been able to achieve it yet. I know my mom thinks I’m not so bad but my father is a little hard to please. We have come a long way but even then he always gives me a feeling I have lots to do before I impress him. I sincerely wish that they see me as a loving son, a son who had his faults, but had his heart at the right place.

I want to be remembered as an amicable friend; a friend who was always ready to have a deep conversation over a cup of tea, or join for an aimless walk towards nowhere;  a friend who was never too tired for a game of football and was always willing to join for a game; a friend who forgave and forgot instead of hanging on to petty differences; a friend who tried his best to accept the other as he or she is; a friend who always lent an ear and tried not to judge.

The above is how I want to be remembered as a son and a friend. As a person I want to be remembered as someone who loved the natural surroundings more than man-made wonders, as someone who enjoyed the simple joys of life and had a carefree soul, as someone who believed that people can still be good in this unforgiving world, as someone who held on to hope even in despair and darkness, as someone who tried to fulfill his dreams without being inconsiderate. And when I become a teacher, I wish that my students would remember me as their mentor and guide, as someone who understood them.

I don’t know if I will become all that I want to be remembered as.  My flaws would be enough for some. We can’t please everyone. I have a long way to go to be deserving of the legacy I have painted for myself. I know I will always try.

LET’S KEEP IT SIMPLE

Me: Mom why are you upset?

Mom: They didn’t invite me for their son’s wedding .

Me: Who? Whose son’s wedding?

Mom: My aunt’s third cousin who is herself second cousin to my mother.  They didn’t invite me ☹.

Me:  Mom when was the last time you met them or called them?

A silence ensues ….

Me: Ages right? Then how does it matter mom?

But frown continues till it acquires the shape of grudge which finally creates a unsaillable rift between relations and people.

Well this was an imaginary example on my part but one cannot rule out the presence of such instances in our lives – in our families and around us.  We often see people complaining about such trivial issues like they didn’t call me, they didn’t invite me, they didn’t greet me….. it continues. We tag so much of importance to “ME “. We seek validation for ourselves from others .  If they don’t pay attention to us our Ego gets hurt. In simple words we complicate, rather enjoy complicating things.

I have been in that spot quite a few times.  I remember me asking my father why we should invite those people to my marriage who never cared to enquire about us in our hardships.  To this he said ” that was their call but we can share our happiness, it would only multiply.  And moreover why give a chance to someone to pinpoint at us ” though I was not fully convinced at that time but was  amused how he simplified things without holding any grudge and perhaps that was the reason for his peaceful demeanour.  I never saw him murmuring with agony or gossiping with jealousy or heard a bitter word against anyone.  What I always saw was a never-fading smile.

And that’s what I learnt from him : let’s keep things simple. You yourself are nothing in this vast cosmos then what is this pride and ego about?  Never let your actions be reaction to others’ actions.  Just keep doing what is right.

And I firmly believe this is his legacy to us – me and my brother. And this is what I want to extend to my kids. I do falter many a times but it simply means that I am trying, right?

You know one of the best compliments that I got from someone really close after a series of misunderstandings “I know that you will be the last person  on earth to hold a grudge against anyone” .  That really inspired me to trend that path relentlessly.

Last word: As it is there are  so many complications we are living in, be it the dreadful climate changes or serious economic issues  or horrendous policies of Donald Trump, can’t we keep our thoughts straight and simple? Remember our self-esteem and respect is not bound to few courtesy calls of namesake.  Do give umpteen number of chances before you call it quits but never ever let your peace of mind go for a toss.  That’s Essential.

MY LEGACY – MY GLORY!

I come to the world with empty hands,

I will leave this world with those same empty hands.

In the course of my life I earned many accolades,

But I’m sure my death will make them void.

If this is the truth and this is the song,

What should be worthwhile to earn?

Whether it is Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Alexander the Great or Dhirubhai Ambani, the Absolute truth for every human being is “Physical Death” and at that finishing line each of us have to leave our hard earned accolades and affluences. This absolute truth squares us with one question – “What is that on earth which will stay with my name even after my death?”

One of my faculties in a leadership seminar told me – “Avinash, whatever you do whether you are aware or not, someone on earth is following your legacy!”

That’s true! Each of our life reflects a paradox nature; some people appreciate the way we live our life and at the same time some people hate the way we live our life. There are both fans and haters of Genghis Khan, Mussolini and Hitler. But the biggest question for all of us is – What fascinates people to follow our Legacy?

Undoubtedly, it is the GLORY that resides in us. God being our Creator and Sustainer has bestowed each of us with His heavenly glory which we call blessings! Though there are several thousands and millions of people yet I am what I am, there is no copyright version of mine!

So, the word “LEGACY” has always been the motivational factor for my work but alongside the motivation I find the post of Dos’ & Don’ts’. This means to maintain my legacy I am not allowed to do anything and everything that comes on my way.

Bible says,

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is beneficial.

Everything is not good and beneficial because every time the glory in our legacy is surrounded by temptations to defile it. We need to draw the line of resistance to hold on our glory and as we draw that line of resistance, it requires many sacrifices on our way.

OUR LEGACY IS OUR GLORY!

Let us not defile it by for the sake of mere transitory pleasures of life…

​MY ENTRY TO ETERNITY

The moment I stepped out of my home without being assured of what’s awaiting me on the other side is the moment I realized my transition from life to death – my entry to eternity.

No matter what course our life takes, the grave is the common destiny of all mankind on earth. But in this truth the remarkable factors for us, is God being our creator has numbered our days and has endowed each of us with some special talents, skills and abilities. But why? Why has he created us and has gifted us with some special gifts and talents which has always been the benchmark of our identity?

Our gift to our beloved always carries a purpose whether it is fulfilling his needs or wants or painting his picture or writing few words as the reflection of the love in a relationship.

Being just a mere finite mortal human, being our material gifts to our beloved always carries a purpose… then why not God who is the epitome of love for each human won’t be gifting us with many gifts and talents with a purpose!

It is that purpose which helps us to have a personal relationship with God and helps us to leave a legacy behind us after our death (the way you or me want to be remembered with). So young or old, rich or poor it’s important to think of our legacy at each stage and at each position of our life.

So here coming back to me and my life I think if I can leave the legacy of love and passion for the world to remember me because it will be worthy enough to touch the hearts of many. And needless to say in future I, as an aspiring doctor I would love to serve the people with utmost care and passion with a sense of responsibility, devotion, consideration and a lot more!

Honestly, when I look ahead to accomplish living a life in view of leaving a legacy it all looks very beautiful and encouraging but the biggest challenge that every time stands as obstacle in front of me is –
HOW CAN I LIVE A LIFE KEEPING THE END IN MIND WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH EVIL AND ALLUREMENTS ALL AROUND ME?
Being human, I must confess I cannot do it with my own strength or with the strength of another human being! When it’s not possible at the human level then the only source greater than human strength is GOD!
Undoubtedly, I believe that the God, the One, Who brought my life from darkness to light will surely help me in this struggle of living life in such a way so that I can leave a legacy worthy enough for the world. As I put this much of trust in Him, the Almighty, He always promises me – “Vipra, I AM with you!”
Let’s start living the life asking for God’s strength daily!

Well, this is something that I am continuously working on thinking about my legacy that I want to leave behind.

MY IMPRINT ON HEARTS

Legacy is our mark on this Earth after we are gone. It outlives us, but it’s not immortal because legacy too has a shelf life. Just like sowing a seed which eventually blossoms into a tree laden with fruits and flowers for the reaping of generations to come when we cease to exist, and while they are enjoying its sweet nectar or ambrosial scent they might tell each other “hey, you know, this tree was planted by So & So”.

Do pardon me but I have a small anecdote I must share with you. I love the movie Troy, and at almost the beginning there is a curious dialogue between Thetis, the mother and Achilles, the son.

“If you stay in Larissa, you will find peace. You will find a wonderful woman, and you will have sons and daughters, who will have children. And they’ll all love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten… If you go to Troy, glory will be yours. They will write stories about your victories in thousands of years! And the world will remember your name. But if you go to Troy, you will never come back… for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And I shall never see you again.”

And Achilles chose to be remembered. We all want to be remembered, mostly for the good things we did, anyway it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead. But when I think about me, I don’t think I will be all praises posthumously. So there is a constant conflict between what I want to leave as my legacy and what I would actually be leaving. I pity the person writing me a Eulogy or Elegy, for he wouldn’t know if to praise me or to voice all his stifled vexation for me outrightly.

I want to leave a lot of books as my legacy. Books that will inspire, motivate, uplift and entertain generations to come. I know it’s a very tangible thing to leave behind, but I want a motley group of eccentric readers who are strongly opinionated and have the guts to say that my book was boring or exhilarating or a page turner or just passable. I want them to discuss me, I want few of them to hate me and few of them to love me and have a heated debate over my writing style. I want to be compared with great writers of my era, and I want my book on people’s shelves.

The other thing I would love leaving behind as my legacy in all modesty and without sounding sanctimonious is a home. A home for the orphaned children, for the abandoned parents, for the ones without gifts of sight, sound or speech and for the invalids of the society which will not let them feel that they away from their families as they would become a family to each other. I hope that one day I earn enough to realise this dream of mine and make a trust to fund that Home.

I know I will be called a Zealot, a Hermit and a Radical by many. Many would address my depression and my anxiety; many would even pity me for my mood swings and ambiguity. I will be cherished for being an excellent hostess and a spendthrift. I would be abhorred for cutting out a few people out of my life and erecting enough walls around me.

I only want to leave this world a li’l better than what it was in my life. I want to make a change in people’s thought process about forgiveness, about being judgemental, about giving hope.

Many times I have been told that I forgive too quickly, and it’s being seen as my flaw, but I believe it’s my power. Forgiveness is a capacity that costs nothing but is coveted by the most wretched of the society. I can stay vindictive and ruthless too, but I would lose a bond, a friend, a relationship while forgiving lifts a weight off my chest also. People like to talk to me, confide in me, share things they would never tell anyone else and while doing so, they let me become an integral part of their life and become a vital part of mine. I get this privilege because I try not to be judgemental. I have seen people colour each other black or white over small things. Who am I to judge and pass a verdict on them, who gave me that authority when I am made up of a lifetime of mistakes and wrongdoings. To err is human, then why we deride people on their errors. I hope people will take this inspiration from me and give each other a clean chit. A clean slate to start over as they overlook transgressions assessed on supposition. As for hope, I know how important hope is to live. We can go on without food and water, but we can not go on without hope because then we lose our dreams and the desire to go on. That’s why when I come across anyone in need of some hope, I try to instil optimism and confidence in them with all my might, letting them know that this too shall pass and they will rise if they had taken a fall.

It doesn’t matter what and how you do, so long as you adapt something from the way it was before your personal touch and essence into something that has a semblance to your character you after you take your hands away

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder

 

TO BE REMEMBERED OR NOT TO BE

There are approximately 360,000 babies born per day and 15,000 births per hour worldwide. That is more than twice the number of people who die each day – meaning 180,000 people die each day, approximately. That’s statistics!

But to each family, a birth or a death is an event to remember. And when the one who is born accomplishes some remarkable feat, the world remembers him/her for years together.

History engraves the likes of Einstein, Edison, Newton, Marx, Graham Bell, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther, Maradona, Pele in its glorious pages. We also have the likes of Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro, Hitler, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and such others enshrined in the annals of history.

Think of the doorkeeper at your office – would you remember him several years after you quit your job? Umm . . . may be or may be not . . . not unless there is something significant about him or you’ve had some interesting conversation or a really nasty altercation with him! Isn’t it?

To etch ourselves in the memories of others, we need to be significant or do something of significance. Or at least, that’s how the common perception goes.

As I fast forward a few years of my life and then look backwards, to observe whether or not the footprints that I have made along the shores of my earthly life have withstood the tests of time, what do I see?

A portion of the Bible comes to my mind, which deals with this very issue. It is an allegory of a building that has been built on a strong foundation.To paraphrase it in my words –

Each one should build with care. If anyone builds on the foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is. Fire tests the quality of each person’s work. After the work goes through fire if what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss . . . but may himself survive the flames.

Do I want my works to be razed to the ground and relegate into oblivion? Or do I want my works to withstand the tempests of time and gaze loftily heavenwards?

What do I want to leave behind?

This life of mine has been soaked by the immense love of my Saviour, to whom I owe my every breath. His grace abounds in my life. Having no goodness in me whatsoever, I bask in His love and grace each day each moment.

In this life, I attempt to showcase this love and grace towards my fellowmen to the little extent doable by me. In a world largely bereft of love, I strive to awaken the love chords in human hearts. In times of vastly degrading values, I seek to make each precious one aware of the rich values that they are endowed with. Where each one competes to win the race shoving the others aside, I attempt to pick the fallen ones up and enthuse into them the zest to rise up and run again. To put my arm around those who long for an embrace and to give a reason to smile to those whose faces are streaked with dried tears – that is what I strive to do each passing day.

These are easier said that done. At times, I think to myself – why do people have difficulty in understanding love? Why do people have difficulty in accepting grace? These virtues of love and grace don’t cost anything in tangible terms . . . in fact, the world is hungry for love. Somehow, there is an unseen barrier that prevents people from exhibiting these qualities of the head and heart and also from responding to them.  

Whether or not I am remembered for these, I may not be there to see. How far I can do justice to these deeds of mine, I do not know. I may not reach the heights of the great ‘who’s whos’ of the world and get my name etched in golden letters or be eligible for a wax statue at Madame Tussauds. But, the impact it would cast on a few precious lives will far outweigh the remembrances and accolades.

William Wordsworth pens his famous lines in the poem ‘Lines written a Few miles above Tintern Abbey’ –                                                 

His little, nameless, unremembered acts 

Of kindness and of love. 


Such little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love are what I would strive to cast on the sands of time in the course of journey along life’s shores.
 

 

 

FADING GLOSS OF LOSS

The articles of this week made me very thoughtful as I kept reading your hearts and minds each day. And each of you gave me a thought and taught me something or other through your articles and experiences.

Aditi made me understand that sometimes we have to put our losses back to comfort someone else whose loss is graver than ours.  And that will actually helps us to recover from our own loss.

Prabhjot assured that suffering and losses are obvious and expected.

Sreepriya made me realise that there are certain losses which are better to go through to safe guard your life, your family and your own self as well.

Rajnandini reassured that in every loss and pains that I go through our God is in absolute control.

Avinash’s article let me understand that God has a purpose behind every loss that I go through in my life.

But after reading Smruti’s article I became very thoughtful. One statement really struck me so hard that I still can’t forget it. It took me literally into a trance. “The raw experience of being in the moment with a deep sense of connection with people and things you love can be both exhilarating as well as putting you at risk for a deeply painful loss.” I reacted immediately saying that how I get attached to many people and put me into higher risk of an impending loss. Human attachments are like that when both are not on a common ground or pretending for sometime or not honest with what they really feel about each other or can’t tolerate the reality.

Now, it looks like I am pushed forward to the podium to give my share of Gyaan (Wisdom or Thoughts) about the word LOSS and how I manage it.

Just imagine when I came to this earth I came with a loss right from the word go. I had the feeling of loss at every stage of my life. We were not financially quite well to do that I would have got everything to compensate my losses. And my health issue pulled me back at every stage of life and made me feel worthless for not achieving things. I never could play though I had so much interest in different sports… I suffered the loss of a playful childhood. I never could go after a career despite of doing well in studies… I suffered the loss of a good career. I never could go for a good job even I wanted it… I had to suffer the loss in that regards as well. I could have earned well yet I had to suffer the loss of finance at my disposal. And guess what… I have the same feeling right now as well… I had all losses after losses all around me…

Don’t think that I am grumbling about life… Not at all… I used to do that every now and then but today, I don’t… But I do have that feeling of loss every time which I encounter every moment of my life and then, go through a process of dumping my losses.

How do I do that?

  1. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. I have always seen my life that I get peace when I listen to the problems of others instead of dwelling in self pity. The satisfaction that I receive listening to the pains of others compensates all my losses.
  1. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials. For we know that suffering help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our hope. I always tell everyone that I hate to stay sad and grumpy. And I feel extremely uncomfortable to stay gloomy. I make fun of myself and my condition and try to live above all the negativities and endure my problems with patience.
  1. Let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests. And all of you must have known how much I do that… I always tell my chat buddies – let me pray as I write and you pray as you read. It is not that God won’t help if we don’t pray to Him but it is because He loves it when we depend and rely on Him completely instead of relying on things that really can’t help only as a Jugaad (arrangements) or on a temporary basis.

Remember, I am not faking it. I am talking all these from my own life experiences. I let the gloss of loss in my life fade away every now and then with the strength of my Saviour. You can ask – why I am not completely recovering it…? Because as long as I am in this mortal body I will have the troubles but I know He has overcome the world.

To conclude I would like to share this verse which has always assured me and I am sure this might comfort you too –

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.