STOP WACTHING ME NAKED!

I had a relative who met an accident and broke his knee. He went through a difficult knee surgery and was in the hospital for almost two weeks. I was shocked when he told me that he didn’t use the bedpan for 11 days. Because he was shy to pass stool in the presence of a nurse or other strangers. So he was holding onto it for such a long time. It was very difficult for an adult to show his nakedness even when he was so helpless or in an emergency case. Just imagine, he was a male adult, for a female it will be all the more difficult for sure.

Why only adults? If we observe a young boy or girl of 5, he or she will surely be ashamed of getting undressed in the presence of a stranger or outsider in the house.

So the bottom-line is whether it is an adult or child no one likes to show his/her nakedness to the other (or a stranger).

The above examples are quite small or lesser in comparison to my experience which were way more pathetic than embarrassing. I remember, in the year 2001, I was lying on a hospital bed with my hospital dresses on. A nurse, a beautiful one, came to me and announced that the barber will come and shave all your hair before the surgery. I nodded and quickly took my shirt off and lay down like a good boy, exercising my advantage of being a male. But when the barber showed up, he blew my mind.

“Sir, take off your pant too… I will shave all the hair of your body.” He said.

“What? Why?” I protested.

The nurse appeared and requested, “Sir, one hair on your body can cause infection, so he will clean shave you. And I won’t be here”. She said and pulled the curtain before leaving the room. The barber was waiting with his sharp weapons in his hand. He didn’t wait for me to push my pajama down but simply pulled it quickly and started shaving me, leaving my head only.

“Urrggghhh” Yeah, that much I could express at that moment of embarrassment. There was only one consolation for me that the barber was a ‘he‘, a male. 

When I found myself alive getting back to my senses after my heart surgery, I heard a lot of noises of children screaming at the top of their voice. I was in Paediatric ICU after the surgery because I am a congenital (from birth) heart patient. When I came back to my full consciousness I realized, I am stark naked underneath the blanket. 

A nurse appeared and smiled at me. I smiled back and asked, why there are only children I can see and hear around me. She explained the reason. I was satisfied and kept quiet. But in the name of dressing and sponge bath when she removed the blanket, I was like, “What are you doing? I want a dress.” 

She smiled and responded, “You are my 25 years old baby, and now it is not right to wear anything as there’s a pipe connected from your wounds to drain out all the waste blood out of your body.” 

I was so vulnerable, exposed, and naked, yet so helpless at that moment. I let her touch or do anything to me as she wanted. Thankfully, the nurse was in her forties and I felt okay afterward. 

The very next day, came a much younger and beautiful to follow the same duty. My whole being was screaming inside me, “Stop watching me naked”. But to my embarrassment, it continued further for the next two or three days till the pipe was taken off my body and I could stand or move around on my own feet.

Now, stop imagining me naked, you guys… 😛

I will never want to feel helpless and embarrassed like that again in my life. But as I was thinking about these events, God gave me two thoughts in my mind to share with you all as lessons from these embarrassing situations. 

Whenever we do a mistake or commit a sin, we always feel ashamed, embarrassed, or scared to face our near and dear ones. Because we fear that a loved one can easily know what we have done. I am completely naked before him or her. We definitely feel uncomfortable being so naked or exposed before our loved ones yet we get corrected. It benefits us. But the flip side of it has a terrible repercussion in our life when we hide our nakedness from our loved ones till we are caught at a moment of no return. It is the same or more dangerous when we try to cover up our nakedness from our Creator.

If the husbands are hiding something from their wives or the wives have any secrets that kill them from within, it is better to get naked in front of each other and sort it out. Yeah, I know there are exceptions but it is always good to come clean to get rid of any infectious disease called, “SIN”. 

The statement like, “… I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” is fatal. 

That is why even when I feel naked and exposed before God Almighty, I pray as king David prays which is written in the Bible: 

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

I don’t have to say, “Stop watching me naked” when I come to God, but ask Him to see my nakedness and cover it with His love and saving grace so that my life would be restored. 

Stay Blessed!

 

IT COMMENCED WITH A COMMENT

https://world4womencom.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/should-learn-to-say-no/?preview=true

Above mentioned is a link to my first ever blog on WordPress platform dated 15th April 2016 “Should Learn To Say No“. My post followed many congratulatory comments on Facebook page and other social media which I am part of. But one comment that not only caught my attention but handed over me delight and made me ponder over the thought “how different you can think yet stay effectively relatable with masses”. Giving you all a glimpse of the comment that earmarked my journey on board with Candles Online.

The man you see there is the reason why I am writing this 😁, Mr.Chiradeep Patra, founder of Candles Online with a motive of igniting thoughtfulness thereby warding off the darkness of ignorance.

15 years and counting, a beautiful family virtually and emotionally connected and innumerable posts on various issues concerning the human psyche, behaviour, relationships, tendencies, their societal effects, social issues on micro and macro levels, questions hovering in our minds pertaining to the purpose of our existence, identity and how the almighty chose to answer them….. basically everything under the sun that matters A LOT. Apart from the serious issues it highlights there’s a fun facet too – humourous articles mostly real life experiences of the writers, short story challenges (shortest being 7 lines story), poetry weeks, story relays (don’t miss out on them), caption challenges, personal interviews and a lot more – just as a whip of fresh air when things are embroiling all around us with seriousness, negativity and gloom. Whatever the tone of the writer is or issue being spoken about is here at Candles one thing that is never taken for granted. It’s the “underlining message” that is being conveyed. Our writing should drive home a point, set the thinking wheels of the minds of the readers churning, communicate effectively.

So coming back to my journey with Candles family – it’s been fantastic to say the least. I remember my first post on Candles Online was “Reinventing – makeover of inner self” (link mentioned below). And it started with a bang!!! No it wasn’t that great but I made a goof up. Here in Candles we have a set time of publishing articles and they get published only after the administrator reads them, gives a nod to go ahead. In fact its him/her only who pushes the “publish” button if every criteria is met – language, tone, message. And novelty in writing is always welcomed. And I surpassed every such regulation by self publishing it. I still remember the fiasco it caused, how it was retrieved to be re-published. Then my co-writer , Aastha explained how it works on Candles. I must say – lesson learnt😁.

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/reinventing-makeover-of-inner-self/?preview=true

What I have learnt? Or let’s put it this way – What Candles taught me. Makes more sense, I guess. Since June 2016 I have been regularly (almost) writing for Candles. To be Frank with you all, I am procrastinator of highest order. That’s the reason after a good start on my personal blog I slowed down miserably. But my commitment to write once a week to Candles kept the writer in me alive. It not only furnished me with topics to ponder over and write about but pushed my thinking abilities, to present in a different manner about the things everyone already knew. “Thinking out of the box” I would say is Candles gift to me. At least I tried to think, and trials do succeed at some point of time, what say? Deadlines kept me on my toes which I would say is a good contribution to my life.

What excited me? We, the writers on Candles online have a WhatsApp group with the same name. Apart from the commotion of topic discussions we used to have poll results for “Best Article Of The Week” adjudged by the number of views and other criterion. That was really exciting for me. This in fact gave me the impetus to write better (excuse me for this little unapologetic competitive streak in me🙈😁).

Best Article So Far (going purely by views) : I am not sure how good it is but even after a couple of years this article has been posted I still see views coming everyday leaving me to chuckle and astonished at the same time – don’t know how 🤷‍♀️. Link mentioned below:

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/marriage-for-you-a-bond-or-bondage/?preview=true

About the Candles Family: Can you ever judge your family? I guess no, but I don’t have to. Co-writers by status, sweethearts by nature, family by bond – do I need to say more. @chiradeepnf @aastharao @aditirranade @avinashdas @kuljeetsaini @prabhjotvarsha @praditachandola @preetacreations @sakhibansal @sizzlybizzly @sonyr1 @sreepriyamenon – few names to mention that cheered me up, motivated me, been together in thicks and thins, making my journey with Candles a memorable one, one that I yearn for, one that I would continue in future too.

Last thing to say before I sign off: Thank you is a small word for what you have done for me Candles : made me realise “I am never Nothing”. I thank that moment when I accepted your proposal to join Candles Online @chiradeepnf. Hope this union nurtures further strong in future.

Stay blessed.

 

AND I DID LIT THE FIRE

The very moment I opened my eyes as I took birth on this earth, I had already a purpose set before me by God, the Almighty. And the foundation of my life was laid on pain and suffering which became evident only after two years of my birth when I was taken to a doctor for some other normal check-up.

So, I had known pain and suffering very closely. I was deprived of every happiness from the very childhood because of my health conditions. It is quite obvious that my ill health affected my mental health as well making my life miserable.

There was a constant feeling of worthlessness which made me fearful, pessimistic, irritable, sad, and lonely. That again led me to get indulged in weird habits and obsessions. I developed a habit of daydreaming and fantasizing about things that could have never happened in my life.

I had shared a story about a close friend many times on this webzine and I want to mention her again today. It was because of her suicide incident, I decided instead of dying daily with self-pity I need to take care of the people all around me. And I kept searching for different ways till I came up with an idea of starting a printed booklet. named, ‘Candles’. Every woman gives birth to her child after bearing it for 9 months, but I carried my child many years within me before I delivered it.

It was through my child, ‘Candles’, I decided to reach out to many people who are suffering and in pain, in desperate needs emotionally and spiritually.   

But what is the significance of the word or the name, ‘Candles’?

Some time ago, I remember someone asked me about the significance of this name, ‘Candles’. “Does it have any religious significance?” She asked. My answer was, NO. And today, let me clarify it again, why I chose that name, ‘Candles’ for my child that I delivered in January 2006 (28th December 2005, launched 3 days later of inauguration)!!?

Have you ever watched a candle made of wax closely?

(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

Firstly, it is small and insignificant in comparison to other luminous objects like kerosene lantern, petromax and tube light, etc. Secondly, it is only one piece and never gets a refill anytime like lantern and petromax. Thirdly, it never requires external energy like fuel or electricity to emit light and heat but it burns itself to fulfill the purpose. And last, but not least, it emits light to remove the darkness in its shorter life span. It gives light throughout its lifetime.  

I quite relate myself with a piece of candle, even if I am not exactly like it but I am striving to be one. I am insignificant and weak in comparison to others; I know that very well. But I will burn throughout my life, giving light and warmth to the people those who avail me and my help. I wanted many such candles to join along with me to burn together illuminating in this darkened world.

I want to quote one Bible verse that inspires me always to use my frailty and suffering as my strength…

“…we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the His Holy Spirit…” 

And when I kept on experiencing that hope of God’s love burning in my heart through my pain and suffering every now and then in my life, I desperately wanted to spread that illuminating hope among many more as well.

And there, 15 years back, I lighted the fire to this one candle inviting many other candles to burn along with me together then, now, and till the end.   

Stay Blessed!

CROSSROADS – VII

Riddhima struggled to empty her heart out. To recall that horrendous night was like stepping on the tail of a venomous snake that can paralyze the soul.

That night:

Riddhima was very happy to have got her leave sanctioned for a week. Busy work schedules have taken a toll on her relationship with Suyash. She reached her apartment early with an intent of making that evening special. She planned surprise but was served with shock when she entered her house (she always thought it to be her home though). Suyash was in a compromising position with Riddhima’s friend Sara.

Riddhima’s entry rattled them as they were not expecting her around at that point of time. To say the least Riddhima was shell shocked and was in a complete state of disbelief and anguish. An utter silence ensued.

Sara “Riddhi give me a minute I can explain. You are getting it all wrong. This is not how you see” tried to handle the situation.

Riddhima ” You are right, I was wrong all the way. Now my stupidity needs no explanation after what I just witnessed. I have to say only one thing to you – SHUT UP AND GET OUT!”

Sara left without any counter argument. Now Riddhima turned to Suyash who stood perplexed there silently as a thief caught in the act.

As he was expecting Riddhi to blow him up, she silently walked past him to her room. She was hurriedly packing up her bags as she fought her tears back. Anger and resentment were building up in her as she was moving to and fro between her almirah and suitcases. She couldn’t believe where she landed herself, a person she was in love with was deceiving her with her own friend. Suyash made after Sara made an attempt to explain things and it was anything but remorseful.

Suyash “Look I can explain. It happened in the heat of the moment. One such incident shouldn’t effect us. Stop behaving childish. We entered into this relationship because we never wanted that typical husband-wife drama. You should move on”

At the end of his rather shameless confession Riddhima smirked and said “Hope you understand the meaning of relationship. It’s about emotions and not about lust. And for one last time I agree with you – I am moving on. So badly I want to slap you for being a jerk but since I once loved you and I am responsible for the choices I make in my life I am letting my better sense to prevail and call it quits”. And she left that apartment. Took shelter at her friend’s paying guest accomodation for few days before she moved to Kolkata as she got a new job there. The same night she spoke to Avinash as well as she could think of no one else to confide herself with.

Present:

Doctor heard patiently to Riddhima’s story. Empathy and medicines, she gave both. Doctor said “The best medicine which I can’t prescribe on a piece of paper is that you should be in the company of people who love you without any conditions applied. More you realise your worth in their lives better you will be”.

Doctor’s words sure left an impression on Riddhima’s mind. And she decided to meet Avinash – the only name that figured first in her mind as the doctor mentioned “people who love you without any conditions applied”.

Riddhima and Avinash met that weekend. Riddhi told Avi about her doctor’s visit and that she narrated what tormented her for so many days.

Avi drew himself closer to Riddhi, wrapped his arm around her shoulder and said “Riddhi, may I ask you one thing?”. When she nodded in affirmation he asked “did you ever spoke to your parents about what all transpired that made you leave the city your roots dwelled in? Remember you told me that you will speak to them when I urged let me handle it and didn’t let me speak?”

Riddhima: No, I know that they are already very upset because of me. I couldn’t muster enough courage to face them. I only informed them about the new job offer in Kolkata. I really can’t see them break because of my actions.

Avinash: what actions? Stop blaming yourself for the degraded ways of a jerk first of all. Secondly, I don’t understand the fear of opening up to one’s parents. You opened up your heart to me without doubting for a second if I could use it to leverage any advantage.

Riddhima interrupted “don’t talk nonsense Avi. You never judged me, always had my back then how can I hide anything from you. But parents!! You saw how they were against my moving in decision. And with all this fiasco how can I face them, won’t they be taunt me for my choices?”

Avinash: Now you give me break. This is the first time ever you enraged me. You are judging your parents that they would judge you! I really pity your thought process dear. They will differ in the ways they see and think, this is natural for the generation they belong to. But let’s not get into that discussion. Remember the day when I asked “from whom you are running? Whom you are trying to fool?” Let me answer this for you – you are running away from the truth that you matter to your parents no matter what. My suggestion to you – go talk to them once, and I am here anyways for every help you need”

Riddhima by this time was moved to tears, tears that she held for so long and now refusing to restrain themselves. She embraced Avinash tightly as if she found the solace and refusing to let it go. After a while she freed him from her embrace and said “promise me that you will be there for me on ever cross road of life and guide me which way to pick”

To this Avinash smiled and in his usual playful manner replied “no conditions applied but charges yes for my consultancy services Madam”. Both had a good hearty laugh.

The next day Riddhima called Avi again to inform him that she booked her ticket to Delhi, she is going to meet her parents after a long time…….

CROSSROADS – VI

Avinash sat on the sofa sipping while, an action movie on the screen. The perfect evening to wind up. But his mind was not in the movie. He was lost in the past. He remembered the small piggy tailed Riddhima. They were next-door neighbours and practically grew up together. He had a lot of friends but she was the one who used to help him out when he was in trouble. As a young boy, he had a knack of getting into trouble and then face the wrath of his strict father. Most of the time she would come to his rescue. Be it sneaking in some sweet delicacies when he was in time-out or giving him an alibi when he got into trouble. She would always say that you would do the same for me when I am in trouble. 

When they stepped into adolescence both got busy with their own sets of friends and studies. But whenever they met they brought each other up to date. She told him about her first crush on the head boy of the school. He told her about his first kiss with his girlfriend. How she teased him about it all the time. She used to call his girlfriend dumb and he used to be so angry… That’s another story that the relationship with this girlfriend didn’t last long. 

And then there were these famous arguments they had. They could argue on any topic under the sun. That was because when it came to life both had a diametrically opposite view on everything. But maybe these arguments let them stay grounded and not move too much to one end of the spectrum. 

The tables turned when she got her first job. She seemed to be getting into a lot of trouble after that. Oh want an uproar there was in her family when she moved in with Suyash. Ridhima’s mom called Avi to drill some sense into this Riddhi. But no matter what anyone said she was determined to do her own thing.

Avinash supported her through it all in fact calmed down her parents and talked them into accepting the live-in. 

But then that night almost one year into her relationship with Suyash. Avinash got a call from Ridhima. She was hysterical.. Crying shouting, completely broken. 

When the beer spilled on his lap he realized that he was so angry on the mere memory of that night that he was unknowingly crushing the beer can.

Ridhima had on the other hand plucked the courage to speak to a doctor. Or maybe was so desperate that she had to see a doctor. She walked into the doctor’s room. Dark circles under her eyes were already telling her story. “I can’t sleep. Even if I get to sleep the demons of my past and present keep haunting me. I tried having Restil too that is not helping me either.” 

I am desperate doctor.” 

My whole life has turned topsy turvy. It’s affecting my work also.”

The doctor heard her through and asked her a few questions about her age, diet, stress levels at work, and other things. Doctor asked her when did it all begin.

That fateful evening when she entered the room with her hand full of flowers and big romantic plans in her eyes. The day her life shattered into pieces, flashed in front of her eyes. Wondering how to put it all in words.

CROSSROADS – V

Riddhima didn’t want to remember any of it. Suyash’s cold behavior, his insensitive attitude and his bitterness towards her. It was over. That chapter of her life was closed and she desperately wanted to move on. But something kept holding her back. Why was she still awake at 1:15 am? 

Enough is enough. I got to get some sleep.” She thought. She drank some more water and put on her headphones that was playing some light jazz. And she desperately tried not to think of Suyash. Her mind slowly and gradually drifted to deep sleep. 

Riddhima is sitting with her colleague Mahi and having a cup of coffee at the office cafeteria. Her eyes randomly searching for somebody and she finds Suyash sitting in one corner of the cafeteria alone. He looked like he was upset or maybe he was crying. Riddhima just wanted to go and give him a nice tight hug and shower him with love right there. Suyash is mine, he is not supposed to be sad ever as long as he has me. Mahi catches her staring at Suyash. 

You really like him, don’t you?” teases Mahi

Yeah, sort of. But I don’t know if he feels the same.” Blushes Riddhima.

Go and find out for yourself. He is right there – go and buy him a coffee” says Mahi with a big smile.

Riddhima a bit unsure of herself still goes and gets another cup of coffee for him. She slowly walks towards Suyash and sits next to him. She looks at Suyash and is immediately startled. It wasn’t Suyash. It was Avi. 

Avi, you? What are you doing at my office cafeteria? I thought I saw Suyash.” Screams Riddhima. 

It doesn’t matter Riddhi. You just need somebody to be your love. How does it matter if it is me or Suyash.” Says Avinash with tears in his eyes.

Riddhima jumps out of her chair spilling coffee all over her. And when she looks down at her dress, it was covered in green algae. She looks at the spilled coffee around her and it is not coffee but it is green algae. She feels disgusted and runs to the washroom to wash herself. 

In the washroom, when she looks at herself in the mirror. She sees her mother standing behind her. She turns around. “Mom?” 

Its ok beta. It is only me. Suyash is a good boy. You must get married to him. Other girls of your age are having babies, I don’t know what is wrong with you. People have started talking about you now.” Says her mom. 

Suyash and Avinash are also standing next to her. They both say – “Yes Riddhima, you should get married. You need a man to make you feel loved. Why are you running away?” 

Riddhima runs out of the office on the road and runs as fast as she can. She realizes that there are some cars and trains chasing her. She runs even faster but looks like her home is nowhere visible. She realizes that these vehicles chasing her and finally going to hunt her down and she collapses.

Riddhima wakes up. She finds herself sweating profusely and out of breath. She jumps out of her bed and drinks some water. She feels like puking and runs to the washroom. No puke comes out but she feels sick to her gut. What a horrible nightmare! What does it mean? Mom, Suyash, Avi, Mahi, the cars, the trains – what does all this even mean?

She washes her face multiple times and looks at the clock. It was only 1:55 am. She had hardly slept for 30 mins and this horrible dream woke her up. She now knew that she has to see a doctor the next day. This insomnia and these nightmares would make her go crazy otherwise.

CROSSROADS – IV

The story in the flashback…

Just as she was thinking about her live-in relation with Suyash, the doorbell rang. Riddhima went to answer the door. It was Suyash with a pizza box in his hand.

Hi!” Suyash said.

Oh, you didn’t tell me that you are going to get pizza today,” Riddhima said, surprised, as she bolted the door.

What? Why should I ASK you? We are not married, so stop behaving like a typical wife.” Suyash retorted as he placed the pizza box on the table.

Why are you over-reacting? I just asked you a simple question. I had already made dinner for us, so that is why I was asking.” Riddhima said angrily.

Dinner!!! Oh my my! You made dinner. Hahaha! Well, now tomorrow you will say you want a baby. Cut it now, what’s going on in your mind Riddhu?” Suyash asked sarcastically.

Oh, c’mon Suyash! Please STOP over-reacting”, Riddhima pleaded. “I told you the other day my physician advised me not to have outside food frequently as it’s not gut-friendly. That’s the only bloody reason I cooked. Besides, I was going to discuss with you about hiring a cook. I have already asked our maid to send someone”.

Another intruder into our privacy! What’s there to discuss when you have already decided?  Besides, I am least interested in these maid talks. Keep this stuff to yourself only. Now, excuse me and let me have the pizza before it gets cold.” Suyash said as he sat down to have his food.

Riddhima too went into the kitchen, reheated the arhar dal and jeera aloo that she had prepared and served herself. She preferred to have her dinner in the bedroom as she was upset with the cold behaviour of Suyash.