I AM NO WAY IN THE CENTRE STAGE!

I am born to create
Not to destroy.
I exist to mend the broken
Not to break things down.
I live to help reconcile
Not to create dissension.
I am just a mediator
Not the protagonist.
If I sing, I’ll sing to comfort
Not be a rockstar.
This is my prayer to God –
“Never to make me an obstacle,
But a bridge to crossover.”

This poem I had written when I felt that I am taking the centre stage instead of allowing God to work. Many a time we tend to forget that we are just God’s instruments who are part of His massive orchestration. He has a plan for all of us to be used in a certain divine way and we need to play the part we are destined to. The moment we try and seek attention, we lose the focus and dissimilate in the air without any further trace of existence. A train has a certain specified track on which it has to run to reach its destination. The moment it derails from its track there’s chaos and destruction that are left for us to witness.

Yet, God honours our existence on this earth. He gives us everything that we require whether we deserve it or not. One passage from the Bible which always makes me so warm of God’s greatness and His compassion on our existence. How He valued and cared for us as precious when He created us and sustains us throughout our life.

“LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Stay blessed!!!

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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!

WHEN I WAS BODY SHAMED AS A NEW MOM

It was my baby’s naming ceremony. I was all decked up in a pink zari (gold thread) sari, gold jewellery and a hairdo. The colour of the sari complemented the glow on my face. Yes, I was glowing after the delivery. Happy hormones may be! I was indeed so happy about the arrival of my bundle of joy that it showed on my face.

We had hosted the naming ceremony 2 months after the birth of my baby. So I was clearly a new mom then! I looked beautiful, I just knew that because I felt beautiful from within. When I arrived at the venue with the baby (purposely I waited at home till baby fell asleep and most of the family members including my husband had proceeded to the venue earlier in order to supervise the arrangements) my husband whispered in my ear that I was looking beautiful than ever! It made my day. It was the first time in so many months that someone said I looked good. Otherwise, all that I heard all through the pregnancy was that how I am going to become fatter or worse, have already become that!

I was greeting all the guests merrily and was answering their typical questions like whether the baby sleeps in the night, is he breastfed etc. Obviously, the men clan didn’t get into nitty grities of the baby, for most of them, it was just like exchanging pleasantries or casual greetings. However, a person (very close relative) took me by surprise when he exhibited the audacity to comment something about my body.

It so happened that my husband had lost quite some weight a little before our baby arrived and obviously my weight was increasing as the baby was growing inside me. Obviously, all the weight that I had gained through the nine months of pregnancy was not going to disappear in just 2 months. All of you would agree that the new mum certainly feels like a balloon post delivery. The bloating and at times swelling on the body is certainly visible for the first few months post delivery and my case was no different. And it didn’t matter to me really. So, this man asked me why my husband had lost weight and whether I can cook well. Obviously, he was pulling my leg. Maintaining the sense of humour, I promptly answered that it was my mother-in-law who was in charge of cooking so be assured that he was fed well. On a lighter note, I added that perhaps he lost weight because he has been staying away from me for long now (because I was at my mom’s place since the birth of our baby) and probably he is missing me too much. We shared a hearty laughter and I expected the discussion to end there. But to my utter surprise, this man had the guts to say, “Looks like he is having meals twice a day and you are having six times of day”

I was so annoyed with that comment but I kept my cool and replied firmly saying, “oh yes, I do! Sometimes I have even eight meals a day and I don’t care if I look fat or ugly because I have something more important to think about. I have to breastfeed my baby which nobody else can do” I purposely replied to him a little louder than normal because I wanted other guests to hear our conversation. The very mention of breastfeeding made this man a little embarrassed and he chose to end the discussion by just saying I was right.

I calmly moved ahead to greet other guests who silently witnessed my body shaming episode. Obviously, I didn’t expect any of them to step in for me. If there was somebody who could shut up that man, it was me and I did just that!

Yes, I looked fat that day because I WAS fat then. My breasts looked heavy. But, how a mom who has delivered a baby just a few days back supposed to look? I didn’t take his comments very seriously because I know that its only a woman who can grow a life within her, nurture it, tear herself apart to give birth yet stand on her feet within three days of delivery, carry litres of milk in her body and tirelessly feed the little one every two hours (or even sooner). No man, however, fit he may be, can do that ever. 

Most of the mums are body-shamed because of their bulging tummies or round body shape. But friends, do not let such experience boggle you. Stand up for yourself. While it is important to be physically fit, it is also important to give time for our bodies to settle down post delivery. Don’t get depressed with such comments or do not haste to get back your pre-pregnancy appearance. Understand that your body is doing a great job. Feel proud of yourself. Only then will you be able to curb the discouraging and stupid remarks society makes about your body.

Next time somebody body shames you, do not forget to give them a piece of your mind.

(Image Credit: https://deho.tv )

BODY SHAMING, OUR NEW ENTERTAINMENT!

I remember watching this famous comedy show (The Kapil Sharma Show) on television.  It was all grand and pompous with celebrities adding to the glitter.  The host had an impeccable comic timing but one thing that never got down well with me (and seriously who cares 😀).  The host of the show would continuously take a dig at the fellow artists’ appearance. Calling them names like Fatso, Buffalo, hot air balloon, chimpanzee and what not. And he successfully managed to evoke gags from everyone present in the studio and those watching the Idiot box.  How sensible was that is my reservation?  And sadly bullying in the name of comedy or entertainment isn’t reserved for one odd show.  It’s omnipresent almost everywhere.

Movies, Tele serials, advertisements, social media – whatever the form of media or stage it is, body shaming is more and more increasingly used as an entertainment and a marketing tactic.

Even we are guilty of using physical attributes as an adjective to address someone at some point of time (sometimes just to have a good laugh at one’s expense) – that girl with buck teeth, that fat boy, that short man… Whether a human tendency or not, body shaming is acquiring a monstrous form, let’s accept it.

Off late I came across many posts on Facebook wherein picture of a person who is not physically attractive is posted and people are asked to tag their friends who could be sharing their future with them.  And beneath such posts, there’s a huge number of likes and emojis depicting how funny people found it.  Then there are posts depicting people who have confidently embraced their lives but don’t fit the bill of standardised beauty norms of the society, and that made them unacceptable for the rest.  People don’t refrain from unleashing their insensitive side via their mean comments shaming the appearance, from being sarcastic to abusive, they use it all.  And ironically this isn’t inhumane but just an “Opinion”.

So what is a beauty as per our “Hypocrite” society which ironically matters to us?

  • Lean = healthy, attractive, beautiful
  • Fair = beautiful and a shortcut to success

And this very idea of “Beauty” and “Health” is relentlessly propagated by the best thinking heads whom we call creative geniuses or to simply put it – “marketing team”.  An advertisement showcases a woman in distress because her husband finds her unattractive because of her weight issues, he feels humiliated to take her out because she is not 10/10 figure.  But suddenly she comes across some magic medicine that would turn her life upside-down miraculously.  Shrinking inches would widen the smile on her face and infuse lost love in her life.  Going by this manipulated definition of both Love and Health, we find them to be very shallow aspects in our lives measured by a common denomination of few pounds or inches.

Such power is the impact of these marketing gimmicks that the number of people willingly investing both time and money in bogus and more importantly hazardous products has seen an unprecedented upward surge which is beyond imagination.  Millions taking up crash diets, gulping down protein shakes, omitting carbohydrates completely – all this in the wake of attaining that desirable svelte figure or six-pack abs.  And no heed is paid if it’s healthy or not, literally no one cares.  I remember a young neighbour of mine died of a massive heart stroke thanks to his intensive but improper workouts and an equally imbalanced# hazardous diet plan.  He was hardly 24 years of age.

Why this pain is taken after all? That’s the only way to be accepted and appreciated.  We are living in superficial times where looks score over brains and other intangible positives. Bizzare and at the same time sad, do you have a counter opinion?  Reserve it in comments.

*An important note: Here I am not supporting obesity or unhealthy lifestyle but the concern should be health rather than just weight management.  Weight could be a result of many other complications – genetic, hormonal dysfunction, stress than just binging on junk.  Correct diagnosis is very important.  But alas! ignorance rules. Anyways, this is leading towards another discussion but the underlying point is body shaming is nothing less than cruelty.  Blabbering about someone’s weight ( for that matter any other physical attribute) without having an iota of knowledge about “what’s the real issue is” is simply idiotic.

Do you know why the  “plastic” beauty industry thriving like never before off late?  It’s the pressure of looking and living the image perceived of you. Especially among women (a clear-cut case of gender inequality) are under immense pressure of not looking their age.  Society wants them to be perfect.  Wrinkles on the face, messy hair, unkempt nails – nothing is pardonable.  Why?  Even in the matrimonial columns the requirements for a future bride reads “Fair, slim, Good looking, Educated“.  Clearly, education is not the foremost quality sought after.  And God forbid if the bride doesn’t fit the bill in terms of “Beauty” she assumes the position of “Centre of Discussion” for every XYZ who claims to be the well-wisher of the family, ironical isn’t it?  A swelling business of beauty business ( working against nature) is a result of our fears of being panned for our looks.

What does Body shaming do?  It simply kills the confidence, to say the least.

What’s really worrisome? Handing over this hollow and shallow society to our future generations.  Bullying in schools and educational institutions with physical attributes as premises is a mirror to what we are training them to be.

Just think about it.

Here’s a video that I came across on Facebook which explains the times we are living in perfectly:

MULTITASKING: FEW INTERESTING CASE STUDIES

It was a winter time when my beloved cousin sister hurried to the bathroom for taking bath and poured warm water on her body before mixing cold water in it… And guess what… She burnt her skin. Her mind was elsewhere…probably on a multitasking mode. As we know that there are tasks which don’t need our sole engrossment and our concentration can be divided. My sister knew that taking bath doesn’t need her soul engrossment though she forgot that her soul concentration was much needed before pouring down warm water on herself.  She had a tough time managing her wounds though we had so much fun discussing her absentmindedness.

Guess what? I just called her up right now and we had a laugh talking about the same incident all over again.

Let’s move on to the next cases…

It was a morning time and my wife was screaming at me, asking me to store water in the buckets before the water runs out. And I was about to get inside the bathroom when my aunt called me. I received the phone and kept talking to her while filling the water in the first bucket. I was fine till the water came to the brink of the bucket. I bent down to lift the bucket keeping my phone between my left shoulder and head. The handle of that bucket was broken and I had to lift it by using both my hands. As soon as I lifted the heavy bucket full of water, my second wife, my beloved Nokia E63 slipped out of my embrace and ‘plop’ drowned in the deep sea water… Oops, I mean in the bucket full of water.

I quickly rescued her, took off her clothes, applied resuscitation but to no avail. She went into a lifetime comma. I had to divorce her and claimed an alimony of Rs.500 from the bakra (scapegoat) that I handed her to.

I had loved her so much and regretted multitasking at her cost…. 😛

Many times I have climbed to the 4th floor leaving my office flat which was on the 3rd floor while chatting on WhatsApp or talking to someone on the phone. Many times I have thrown the tablets into the dustbin instead of the torn wrappers while my mind is occupied with my work on the computer.

Found them funny? Did you have a good laugh? Good! I wanted it too… 😉

So to speak I am not at all good at multi-tasking. I usually give up on one while doing the other. And when I am asked to multitask, I shout back literally or show my displeasure. When my wife requires my attention while the TV is on, I ask her either to switch off the TV to talk or let me watch…do just one thing at a time.

Rajnandini, offered some good advice this week as she usually does every time and most importantly she talked about how multitasking adds heavy loads on our shoulders like – Reduced effectiveness, Lowered productivity and performance levels, Increased stress, Disorganised and cluttered mind, In many cases, more time spent than saved. Don’t you think we should get rid of those loads before getting into troubles, either with the funny ones or the serious ones? Keep thinking about it.

In the end, I am happy to close this week by bringing smiles to your faces.

Stay blessed!

MULTI TASKING – IT’S NOT SUPER HEROISM!

She: Hi!

He: Hello Dear! What’s up?

She: Nothing…just feeling bored and alone. What are you up to?

He: Working on my presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.

She: Oops…Sorry, I am disturbing you!

He: No…no, it’s okay! I can manage it! I’m good at Multi-tasking!

She: Thank you for giving your time… you’re a superhero!

He: Mention not! You too are important to me!

Isn’t this our everyday story? Then what’s exceptional and notable!

The daily demands of our professional and personal life are so much that hardly we have time for anyone. In school we were taught about 10 to 5 is work hours and the evening is meant for socializing…but alas today socializing only exists on social media. Whereas, in reality, the human is a social animal. Everyone needs at least a little amount of time for someone to refresh life.

The Bible says,

“Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed”.

But the big question is HOW?

Often we treat people multitasking like him (‘He’ in the above chat) as, Superhero! And there is no doubt we all have at least one such person in our life whether we have discovered it or not! But what is extraordinary in their superheroism? Are they from some other planet? Are they gifted and we aren’t? If they can do multi-tasking then why can’t we?

One of the brightest minds in human history, Sir Albert Einstein said,

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

Problems and Responsibilities in life are obvious and its journey only finishes in our grave! But that does not mean we will compass our life in I, Me & Mine. We all have problems and God often teaches and answers while we live for others. But DO WE LIVE FOR OTHERS?

The Bible says,

For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Being multi-tasking is spending time, energy, and concentration. Every second is eternal after a second comes another second but not the same one! Hence, when we share our time diverting our attention towards a person and do our work alongside, it is an Eternal Gift that we gift to someone. The biggest gift we can give to someone is time! But DO WE DO SO?

“Everything that is good demands some amount of Sacrifice”.

Undoubtedly, multi-tasking demands an awful lot of sacrifices and often we may not get rewarded with our expectations rather we get cat-calls. But do we need to compromise with our goodness just because someone goes wrong! THEN WHAT’S THE RETURN?   

The Bible says,

And do not forget to do good and to share with others,

for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

However, will we still configure “MULTI-TASKING as the Super Heroic work” and inbox the term by categorizing it to a certain amount of people? How long will we be confined to our I, Me & Mine World? A life lived with giving the value of time – love and care to others alongside accomplishing our tasks and responsibilities is a life worth living…

Keep thinking!

LIVE – MEANING OF LIFE

Albert Camus

‘You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.’

Religious texts, prophets, saints and the newest fads in wholesome living all advocate you to find the meaning of life – find out your purpose and live the way you ‘ought’ to live life.

Quite frankly and I’ll be blunt about it, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why we are so preoccupied with the true meaning of life. What I don’t understand even more is what finding out the meaning of life has to do with religion, because life, in my opinion, came before we found religion. In fact, at the cost of being branded an atheist, I’ll admit here that I feel life is far bigger and more complex a concept than religion. It may be just a four letter word, but it encompasses within itself concepts that none of us mortals will be able to figure out within one single lifetime, and that religion is only a part of life itself. Even if someone served us the meaning of life on a platter, it will take a much more evolved human brain than ours to grasp its entire meaning. For who are we, but puny human beings, living on limited air and time?

To me, the exercise of devoting one’s entire life to finding the meaning of life is a life not lived because life has so much to offer than trying to figure out what it’s about. To me, the question is rather subjective. The meaning of life could mean different things to different people. If a saint comes and tells me that the meaning of life is blah, blah, blah, I won’t nod my head in mute acquiescence. I’ll say, ‘that’s your way of thinking, not mine’.

To give you an example, a few months back India was witness to two parents abandoning their toddler to the care of her aged grandparents, in order to become Jain monks. They relinquished the world and embraced monkhood. For those of us who do not know about this, please read about it here. I don’t know about you but when I read the news I felt that they had wronged their toddler daughter by relinquishing her to care of their parents. They relinquished their duty as parents, something that should have come over and above everything else to them. But that is not what they think. To them the true meaning of life lay in religious pursuit.

My reason for giving you this example was not to tell you my opinion of whether their action was wrong or right, it was to show you that there is a difference of opinion in what matters in life most. There is thus, inherently, a difference of opinion in the assumed answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of life’.

To a pauper, the true meaning of life may be to earn enough one day to leave the footpath for good. To a rich man, it may be finding a balance between his work and home life. The purpose of a mother may be to ensure the good upbringing of her child, but the purpose of a career woman would be to be the CEO of a good company. A priest may find peace in devotion to religion, while a scientist may find it in a new invention. Who do you think is right or wrong? None of them!

So when two people, their desires, the way they think, the way they attain their goals, their very raison d’etre are different, how can they concur on what is the meaning of life?

Life is so many things to so many people, it’s meanings cannot be ascribed to a few set ways in which a few of us perceive it. To me, life is about a careful balance of pleasure and duty, ambition and sacrifice. I believe there are a set of duties that all of us mortals were born to fulfil, and some pleasures that every one of us must be entitled to enjoy. If we have ambition then we must remember to let it not trample on the lives of others. That is a kind of sacrifice and a duty. And that is not the only sacrifice that a human being must make in his life. When a person achieves a near perfect balance in these two sets of extremes, is when I believe we have found meaning in life.

My point is, and you may not agree with it, but that’s your opinion, that figuring out the meaning of life is keeping you from fulfiling your very purpose of existing on this planet – living your life – which is why you have life running in your veins. All of us have a life because we were supposed to live it. We have different ways of living it and that is fine, because there cannot be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way of living. We all live according to what our circumstances allow.

I believe that we have only one life to do and be all that we wish to do and be. I feel that if we do not forget to be ‘humane’ at all times and lead a life of peace and harmony, balancing our duties against our pleasures at all times, is when we will not need to search for the meaning of life.