TAKE IT WITH A PINCH OF SALT

Advice is very common and most of the time free too, right? We have no shortage of advice regarding anything under the sun. Every second person is ready with a set of advice for you! I am the 7th (6 Candelians have already given you advice this week 🙂 )

Don’t worry, I am not going to bug you too much but yes, I would like to share some virtues (I choose it to call it virtues and not advice) which I find very useful and I try to practice it.
1. Cry if need be:
Yes, it is alright to cry! Irrespective of the gender one must cry once in a while because it releases all the pent up emotions which slowly poison the state of mind. All that matters is that after you are done crying, wipe off the tears, gather yourself and take on the big bad world.
2. Laugh till your stomach aches:
When was the last time you laughed till your stomach ached? Ever seen a child laugh? How pure and innocent laughter is? As we grow up, we somehow tend to forget this kind of laughter. We are often done just by smiling and many times we don’t even do that. I know, life can be hard but don’t let it take a toll on you. Find a way to laugh the real laughter, you like rolling on the floor types.
3. Express Gratitude:
Most of us lack at expressing gratitude, don’t we? I consciously practice this virtue and I see it’s a ripple effect. I thank the auto driver every day, I thank the shopkeeper each time he drops the groceries home, I thank the postman when he delivers my mails, I thank the delivery guys from shopping portals each time they deliver my order. Thank your colleagues, thank your team at every available opportunity and you would be amazed to see the difference what a small thank you can make.
4. Appreciate:
It is very easy to blame others but very difficult to appreciate. You never know what effect one compliment may have on someone! Make an effort to appreciate others, talk about their good things. Appreciation is a great motivator
5. Accept the Failure:
Failure is a part of life. And it is absolutely okay to fail. It is okay to fail at something others are able to do very easily. It is okay to never be able to do something. It is okay to scoreless in an exam and it is okay if you do not have a high paying job. None of these things define you in entirety. It is just a part of you. No failure is worth enough to give up life for. No failure is big enough to slip into depression. No failure is big enough to break relationships, provided, you are able to accept it with grace.
Taking your leave with a very motivating quote from Harper Lee (Author of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’)
“Many receive advice but only wise profit from it”

Attention, affection and gratitude
are the three fuels that energise positive human behaviour.

THAT OLD LADY WITH THE HUNCHBACK

We come across many helpless people in our lives. We see them, feel pity and move on, not because we are not sensitive, but because we don’t know them. We look at their sorry state, think about them, feel bad and angry simultaneously simply because we are unable to help them. We even thank God for being generous on us and not putting us in that situation.

There is one incident which I still remember and perhaps that was the first time when I felt sorry for someone. I must be in my early twenties. I was in a photo framing shop and was paying for my stuff when I noticed an old fragile woman with a hunchback, walking slowly into that shop. She waited for her turn as the shopkeeper was handling 2-3 customers at the same time. She asked for her photo lamination which she had ordered. He said, “That is not yet done.”

I covered a lot of distance to walk till here and you haven’t done the work”. The old woman said.

I will complete it today and you can come tomorrow to take it, I assure you.” The shopkeeper said.

The old woman sat there for a while as she must have been too tired to walk back. Meanwhile, I took the balance amount from the shopkeeper and returned home.

Throughout my way, I kept on thinking about her and questioning:

Why was she alone?

Why did no one from her family accompany her?

How could her family members send her alone?

Why did that stupid shopkeeper didn’t keep her order ready? My order could have waited, her order should have been priority. How could he didn’t sense this little thing?

I was full of anger, yet I couldn’t do anything. I felt so sorry for that old lady with the hunchback. Her family members didn’t have any empathy for her condition. I don’t know the reason behind her coming alone, but whatsoever may be the situation, I felt her children ought to have taken care of her and somebody should have accompanied her.

I feel sorry for those parents who nurtured their children with love and care, but as they grew old, they left them to be on their own. More than that, I feel sorry for those children.

I feel sorry for those who lose their loved ones. I feel sorry when I read news of the newborn girl child being killed by her cruel family members. I feel sorry for those who don’t realise the importance of love. I feel sorry for those who don’t love their country. I feel sorry for those who are too self-obsessed to cherish their relationships. Above all, I feel sorry for myself because I am not able to help them out!

WRONG DECISIONS OR WRONG PERCEPTION?

Today, I am going to share a story with all of you. It is story of one of my friend. I have known her from our Pre-University days. We stayed in a hostel to pursue our pre-university course. It was an all girls college, so we were at our luxury to do whatever we want but not breaking the rules of the college. Though most of us missed home, as days passed by we realised our parents are not going to succumb to our demands to move out of hostel. We enjoyed our two years of stay there and the bond we have made is as strong as the one’s we have with our own family.

Let’s call my friend Nidhi. Nidhi is very very pretty and a soft spoken girl. She has light brown colored eyes, almost of honey shade which added to her beautiful smile made her look gorgeous. There was a tinge of childishness in her. Her overall personality made us wonder how she would survive in this world. She graduated, got a job right after leaving college and was happy in her own world. Her parents arranged her marriage with a boy who is from their circle of friends. Her marriage invitation was not the only one that was grand, her wedding was a grandeur too. She looked very happy during the marriage. 

Marriages do not change friendship but they surely change the way we interact. Hour long calls prior to marriage become few minutes of interactions. The distance may not increase but there is some gap in communication with friends. Two years after her marriage, I accidentally met her on my commute one day. She looked pale with scars over her face. On asking, she said she met with a small accident a month ago. Casually I mentioned this conversation with another of my friend, who shared the truth with me. Seems Nidhi’s husband has been torturing her physically for sometime and also was the cause of her scars. Nidhi was admitted to hospital after surviving head injury from a bike accident. It was a deliberate act of her husband to hurt her. I wonder if he wanted to kill her.

I phoned her on an office working day so that I can talk to her. Her long list of problems in her marriage were way too much for one person to handle. Her husband used to beat her, also burn her on the skin using cigarette butts. Apart from the physical abuse, he also was insecure that she was having an affair. I did not even know how to react to her, but I encouraged her to file a compliant against him and that would be the first step to making her life better. She separated from her husband and is now fighting a case in the Honorable court of Law. 

So, what’s so bad about separating from her husband knowing he isn’t worth giving a chance? If you ask me, then my answer would be, no problem at all. But society does not see it in this way. In typical Indian households, woman who leave their husbands are considered bad women and have low tolerance levels. Many fellow women often say, “Every house hold has this problem. My husband isn’t a loving man either, did I not live with him? “. I fail to understand why they compare. Every one’s life is unique and so are their problems. If this is what society was discriminating her against, her parents felt they should be in sync with the society. 

Nidhi’s parents expressed their disinterest to support her in her marital matters. They were more worried about the repercussions of Nidhi’s seperation on Nidhi’s brother who is all set for marriage.  Her brother went to an extent to throw Nidhi out of the house declining her shelter. She moved to a paying guest accommodation and had to fight her depression all alone. Her parents stopped talking with her. What kind of a family does that? Many of her friends bothered the least to be with her. Some even said Nidhi made wrong decisions and is now suffering because of them. I wish I was in the same city as her which would have made it easier for me to support her. If parents, siblings, friends, relatives and society – everyone turn their backs, how is a person supposed to survive alone? Why is it so difficult for us to understand? Why don’t we let others live their lives? Poking our nose into other’s lives is a biggest problem in places where society domination is high.  Wrong decisions? How do we know if her decision was right or wrong? Ok, even if the decision was wrong, does that give us power to leave her to her fate? Why cannot we extend our gratitude? 

Nidhi is not alone. There are several groups for single women, single mothers, separated women, divorcees etc. Many of those women didn’t find support in their own families. I feel sorry for Nidhi and many others girls and women like her. Without an iota of doubt I am very well aware I cannot help everyone of them, though I wish I could. It saddens me when I talk with her. 

So, what’s going on with Nidhi now? Nidhi’s parents met with an accident, her mom passed away, her father is left bed ridden with spine injury. Nidhi is taking care of her father now as her brother has settled abroad. Some people are just too good at heart and unfortunately those people suffer the most. May be that’s just because they do not know how to deal with others they same way they dealt with them.

This week we are writing about feeling sorry for those who we cannot help. Do you have anyone in your life who you want to desperately help but cannot? Do you feel sorry for them?

THERE’S A RICH BLUE CEILING FOR ALL

People are more likely to tell you that blue is their favorite color than any other shade. That makes it a safe choice. Seeing blue also brings thoughts of trustworthiness to mind; always a good thing.Psychology Today

Blue is the most stable color. Women love seeing stable men. It is also calming and can help relax both you and your date’s nerves.Science of People

Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently it is serene and mentally calming. It is the colour of clear communication. Blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones. Time and again in research, blue is the world’s favourite colour. – Colour Affects

One of the world’s favourite colours, blue is called the colour of the mind and is described as soothing, tranquil, serene and orderly. Blue is said to boost productivity and is therefore often used to paint office walls. To project an image of security, advertisement companies often use blue while marketing their products.The Daily Star

I did a research on the effects of colour BLUE in the human psyche. And I was right about it. That is why whenever I look at the blue ceiling up there over my head, I feel a soothing sense of composure transcending into me and calming down the storms raised in my heart slowly. Its encompassing nature creates a sense of security in my heart and mind. Its unending horizon gives a sense of freedom and privilege. Its soft blue colour has such serenity that fills my heart and mind with peacefulness.

I have a fascination for the Blue Wide SkyAnd whenever I get an opportunity I capture the beautiful sky as soon as possible without thinking twice. People around me usually make fun of me saying, “what you are capturing… you will get many more opportunities like this“. But they don’t understand that the beauty of sky for that particular moment is unique and might not be available for me later. 

Whenever I feel alone I look at the sky and instantly I get connected with it. The sky reminds me of God’s unlimited promises, His amazing compassion and His unfailing love. It fills my heart in gratitude and praises for Him who has been always faithful to me despite of my iniquities and follies. The sky also reminds me of His forgiveness as the serenity and width of it explains as such. The sky also reminds me of Him and His personality – He is so big, almighty, powerful and so amazingly beautiful. Only a beautiful God can create such beautiful and humongous sky.

I have few photographs that I had captured long back. You can enjoy the slideshow those as under:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To conclude I would like to quote few scripture portions about the sky: 

God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening,
and there was morning—the second day.

He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Stay Blessed!

LOOKS PINK! GOD’S GRACE!

A highly extrovert and expressive person like me will always have many people to thank to, many people to learn from, and many events to describe, unlike others who might feel shy and have very specific and little to say about their lives.

When I came to Kolkata in 2001, I learned to say ‘Thank You’. Before it was never a habit to say ‘Thank You’. In India, people have a mindset that close relatives and friends should not say ‘Thank You’ or ‘Sorry’ for small things. I don’t understand the funda behind it. Sometimes even I feel weird when somebody shows their gratitude towards me so much for what little I did for him or her.

Oh! Probably that was my utter humility… 😉

Khristina, Anupam, Rajnandini, Sulagna and Prabhjot have been with me for a long time since I gave birth to my baby ‘Candles’. Yes, their names were mentioned sequence wise. But Rajnandini and Prabhjot were more regular and committed.

I love both of them deeply for their hearts and minds and involvements in whatever I thought, whatever I planned and whatever I wanted to deliver through Candles. Trust me, without these two I would not have proceeded this far. They became my two wings to fly high to burn the Candles as much as possible.

I thank them for their commitment and involvement with me in Candles.

If I look back to my childhood, I find few people, ‘Special People…’ who are so worthy to be applauded and thanked.

When I got sick terribly in 1983, my Nanaji (Maternal Grand Dad) brought me to his house in Cuttack. Since then I stayed away from my parents as my maternal grandparents took care of me. I was only 7 years old that time. Nana Ji and Nani’s contributions in my life was huge… They became my parents since then till I was graduated. They literally took care of my physical growth. I am so thankful to them for what they did for me.

Next was my eldest aunt (my Mom’s elder sis) who is single till now and stays with my Nani (her Mum) as Nana Ji is no more now. Now this aunt of mine became my teacher, my guide and my mentor. She was a teacher in a school and when Nana Ji was hesitant to allow me to study because of my health conditions she was the one who took responsibility for my education. I was admitted to the school directly in 4th grade… that’s a world record. 😉

I used to go to school with her and come back with her. My entire schooling was done under her super supervision. She later had borne all my expenses relieving Nanaji. I was graduated from college and went to Bhubaneswar for my post graduation, and all these could happen because of my aunt. I am really grateful for her and her life. Everybody says, ‘God kept her single to mother Chiradeep.’ Probably that’s absolutely right.

In Bhubaneswar, my Badabapa & Badamaa (Dad’s elder brother and his wife) took care of me from 1997-1999 during my post graduation.  I am really thankful to them as well though my beloved Badamaa is no more amidst us. She was such an amicable and soft hearted lady. I miss her softness so much.

During my college days, my friend Binod Sharma was there to pick up from my home to college and drop me back at home. He used to stand in the line for me on the counter. He was an angel for me during my most difficult times. I had already written about this in one of my article published previously HERE on this site.

When I came to Kolkata one of my Mama (Mom’s cousin brother) became my local guardian who’s still live in the same complex/campus. I am thankful to him as well for what he has been doing for me till now.

I am also grateful to my doctor brother who is always beside me since 2003, and all know how easy it becomes when a doctor in a hospital is your relative.

I remember something which I want to mention here as well…

My first surgery was done in 1978 in by Dr Stanley John and my second surgery was done in 2001 by Dr Colin John.

Do you know both are brothers? Dr Stanley John was elder among them. I was too small to remember anything during my first surgery, but during my second surgery, Dr. Colin John remarked that my condition was very critical and you all pray as I operate. After operating me, he told my uncle who was the contact person for me in the hospital that, “I thanked God when I tore open his chest… it was in a fantastic shape… his lungs were functioning well, and we did the surgery successfully.” After 5 years of surgery when I met him again, he smiled and said from far as he was walking down towards me, “What Mr Patra you are looking absolutely fine…” And in his report, he wrote: “Pantop BD Glenn – Looks Pink! God’s Grace!” (BD Glenn is the surgery done on me). I have attached my scanned report as under:

new-doc-13_1

I thank those two brothers who did these two heart surgeries, and I am living…

Why I am telling all these? Why I am making a fuss about all these life stories and people in my life?

Because I want to thank HIM who kept all these angels on this earth at the right time and tight places of my life ready to be with me, pamper me, take care of me, do the surgeries, being with me in my hard times, taking care of my body, my mind, and my spiritual growth… Finally, HE brought the best angel in my life in the form of my wife about whom I had already spoken a couple of days ago… You can find that HERE.

It is HE who comforted me when I was shooting questions at HIM, “Why did you create me like this?” “What have I done to suffer all my life?” It was He who kept consoling me when I was depressed and sad. It was HE who kept on cleansing me from all my iniquities which I committed in the name of my loneliness, sickness and vulnerability.

I am always asked ‘how could you show care and love to so many people…’, “how do you manage all this…’ Again I would thank my Jesus who showed me how to love people. He soaked me so much with His love, and it is overflowing from my heart which I love to give away to others unconditionally. It was Jesus who loved me when I was an enemy to Him before I accepted Him in my heart. That transformed my mind, my heart and my life. It was easy for me to give love. I am really grateful to Him for loving me…

It is He who is worthy of all my heartfelt gratitude.

Friends! Never take your loved ones for granted… Never take God for granted… Don’t forget to thank them and Him ever…

Stay Blessed!!!

 

 

MY  HEARTFELT PAEAN

I returned to my room,

One hot summer afternoon,

Which had cast a spell of scorching gloom,

And after a day so tiring I hoped my lunch box would be a sure boon!

 

As I opened the box with great expectation,

I simply stopped short of outward expression,

Knowing not how to show my dissatisfaction.

Seeing the rice and bitter gourd fry,

I really thought I would cry.

But so amazed to myself was I when with a smile I whispered –

‘Thank you Lord!’

 

I thank you Lord for giving me life,

For helping me tide across all storms and strife.

I thank you Lord for pardoning my sin,

And opening for me the gates of Heaven pristine.

Thank you Lord for my parents and friends,

In whose presence time never ever ends.

Thank you for teachers so affectionate and inspiring,

Who equipped me in much knowledge acquiring.

 

Thanks Dad and Mom,

For showering your love so warm.

Your tears for mine,

Your fears for mine.

Your numerous sacrifices untold,

Led my way blessings manifold.

I can never repay the debts of your love,

But humble gratitude this heart fondly behoves.

 

O my sister so lovely and sweet,

How can I not thank you for every witty feat!

With fervor and zest, you give me your best,

And light up our cosy little nest.

You are such a precious gift in my life,

Not thanking you would sure cause a big strife!

Dear Grandpa and Grandma,

Your values, discipline and tender care,

Have enabled me stand firm in a world so unfair.

How fond are the memories of running to your embrace,

To escape from Mom’s anger and distress!

‘Thank you’ is a phrase so small,

But I still use it to tell my heart’s all.

 

Thanks my dear friends,

Our companionship sure never ends.

The fun times and the tough times,

I recall sometimes.

Miles apart though we may be,

Your loving presence reassures,

That somebody out there loves me.

 

To thank the people in my life,

Is a pleasant delight.

Words don’t suffice,

And thoughts won’t cease.

My heartfelt gratitude to one and all,

Who have held me in their hands,

And have never let me fall.

thank-you-for-your-kindness-tnku01172