DEEP WITHIN – XIV

All seem to be falling in place for everyone connected to RPCA and the on going tournament. Having Aman back in the team and Punit showing the right attitude of the game, the morale of the team was boosted high and they literally conquered every match they played. The opponents fell apart in front of their team spirit and skills. Sooner the tournament ended with the team lined up by RPCA lifting the winning cup.

There was joy and celebrations everywhere but there’re two persons who were still struggling with mixed emotions deep within their hearts. They wear plastic smiles while celebrating the team’s victory amidst the whole bunch of youngsters yet they didn’t have peace of mind. One was struggling with a guilt conscious of giving family ahead of ethics and another one was dealing with his decisions being thwarted again and again. 

The night of the victory ended with lots of merry making but a few of the very chosen people received one SMS from Mr. Vikram Shah, inviting all of them to his house for an urgent meeting the very next day around 6 PM in the evening. 

The time finally came, when all the invitees arrived with many questions in their heart for such urgent call by the most respected man of RPCA. They all were welcomed by Trisha, Punit and Shobhna as courtesy without being aware of the reason themselves. When they were inquired by the invitees, they had nothing to say except to express their ignorance about the invitation.  

When everyone gathered and took their seats, Mr. Vikram stood up as all others remained quiet. 

You all must be surprised of this sudden invitation from me. That was obvious. The tournament was won despite of all the turmoils in the beginning of it but there were few things that we kept undone and had poked me all these time… I want to make everything straight and clear before all of you, those who were very part of the trains of events that we all went through.” Mr. Vikram was looking very grave and serious making everyone’s heartbeats skip. 

They all waited desperately for him to continue further so that they can understand what actually he means. Among the invitees there were Manan, Aman, Sanjay, Mudit, Mr. Sharma, the coach and two of the most respected and trusted board members of RPCA. Even Mrs. Shah, Trisha and Punit were expectantly waiting for Mr. Shah to proceed.

My son, Punit is very dear to me, but I could not spend much time with him thinking her mother will be looking after everything. That was a mistake on my part to take things for granted. My absence in my son’s matter didn’t help him with his mannerism though he learnt it in a harder way. I apologise to her and to two of my adorable children for all these.” Mr. Vikram lowered his head as Trisha walked up to him and hugged him tight saying, “Oh Papa… you are the best. Don’t apologise to us in front of so many.” He hugged her back and replied, “A crowd to witness what we promise and confess always stay in our minds engraved, my baby.” 

Shobhna was sitting quietly with her son alongside her. They both exchanged looks with each other, feeling sad about their most loved one, yet felt very proud of his presence in their lives. 

Mr. Shah asked Trisha to sit down as he intended to speak more. He turned to two of the board members and said, “You both were my closest and most trusted friends, why did you then just nodded in agreement with whatever I said or decided? I am annoyed with you both…”  

Both of them were surprised and looked at each other without even uttering a single word. 

Don’t look so surprised; you know I was not right for selecting Punit, my son, over Aman, the more deserving, yet you allowed it, just because I said it so… But I apologise to you both for making such a bad decision and apologise to Aman for doing something which went against him though he showed immense character to subdue the negative feeling and played spirited Cricket to his full capacity. But his pretending of a fractured leg did disappoint me.” He added…

Aman could not say anything as well and was feeling embarrassed to hear such a respected man apologizing to him. “I am so sorry, uncle… I mean Sirr…” He could just say that and lowered his head.

“Mr. Sharma, I disappointed you the most.” Mr. Shah looked at the coach who was already expecting him to address. 

No… Sirr… You didn’t… If you would not had taken that decision then we would not have got Punit back on track.” Mr. Sharma responded quickly as he was the most straight forward man as Mr. Shah was in that room. 

You are right, Mr. Sharma. But still my decision was wrong and I didn’t even look at the dossier prepared by you. So I apologize to you as well.” Mr. Vikram said with a gentle smile on his face. 

Mr. Sharma stood in respect and folded his hand and acknowledge it giving Mr. Shah full respect. 

We all had thoughts, emotions and grievances deep within our hearts, yet those who are bold enough, spill it out in the right manner. I thought of doing so as I was troubled deep within my heart for going against my ethics, my morale.” He added with command, as he felt relieved sharing his heart. 

Aman will be the future captain for next tournaments, hope he won’t be sitting with a fractured leg…” Mr. Vikram said, as all laughed finally after such a long serious pause.  “And I know my son will have no problem with my this decision…” He added looking at Punit who smiled knowing his father’s heart.  

They all joined at the dinning table to savour the delicacies prepared specially by Shobhna, the woman of the house. The joys of victory was more evident today than yesterday as all of them present in that house felt it deep within their hearts before retreating.

THE BEGINNING

DEEP WITHIN – XIII

It was the reunion of the Shah family that brought the winds of change in their household. They made the rule to have breakfasts and dinners together so that they all could stay connected, and there was no communication gap between them. It brought Vikram back to Shobana, made him realise that she can’t do it all alone, she needs him, his support. The frequent fights, the arguments, the rows of heated exchanges died down, and a healthy, happy atmosphere emerged in place of it. And the most significant change was in Punit, who had learned to be kind, yielding, humble. No more tantrums with the maid, no more lashing out at the driver.

He daily went to school and then to the academy for practice. His team was no more doubtful about his position as the captain; they all could see this new person emerging out of Punit who was full of team spirit and dexterity and leadership quality. No one was happier than Mr Sharma; he could see his team winning the cup this year only if Aman was not sitting on the sides and watching the practice instead of being out there on the field. Punit often went to Aman to seek his opinion; his counsel and Aman gave it to him without any regrets. He could see Sanjay and Punit working together well.

It was a week before the tournament; it was Punit’s’ birthday. And unlike every year, where his father threw him a massive party at some exotic destination and invited the rich and the famous of the society, this year Punit wanted a simple get together with his family and friends at his home.

He invited his friends, his cricket team, his coach to his home for the modest party. He even told Aman to bring Manan and Mudit along. By evening Aman was ready, wearing his best shirt and his brother Manan offered him his watch and perfume. Aman didn’t know what could one gift someone who had everything, but he couldn’t go empty-handed and bought a vintage pen from his savings as a gift. He reached Punit’s house and suddenly felt very uncomfortable upon seeing the sprawling mansion. He mustered courage and went inside; people were already gathered inside, and Punit welcomed Aman in with a hug when he saw him limping inside with his foot still in a cast.

“Happy Birthday!”, said Aman and presented his wrapped gift to Punit with a shy look.

Punit took it with a polite, “Thank You!” and unwrapped it then and there. Punits’ eyes went wide with happiness, “Whoaa! A vintage pen, I never had one, always used those with refills. How thoughtful Aman” said Punit and gave Aman a small hug. Aman felt relieved and felt at ease as he sat with all others, chatting away and laughing.

Punit got his wish on his birthday; he wanted his house to be filled with laughter and friends and love. A few minutes later, Punit’s’ mother laid the table along with the maid with trays of snacks and sweets and glasses of juices along with bowls of soups. The aroma was mouth-watering; everyone was drawn to the table at once when Mr Vikram Shah very proudly declared, “kids, all the delicacies today are made by my lovely wife who once again proved that women could manage work and home with perfection at the same time. Now! Dig In!” He said with a smile and everyone filled their plates with Cheese Cutlets and Potato Jackets and Sesame Fingers. Punit helped himself, but he didn’t miss the smile his mother gave his father.

Punit introduced Aman to Trisha and Aman couldn’t help but feel awed by her. She was just the opposite of what Punit was; she was minimalist, down to earth and soft-spoken. Her beauty was very different from what he thought about rich girls. She wore absolutely no makeup, and her dress was a conservative one. Trish herself was filling everyone’s plate over and over with food, and she made it a point that Aman didn’t have to get up from his seat, bringing him everything right there.

Time flew by, and it was the time to cut the cake. Trisha had made it herself as she was into baking and was carrying it down the stairs. Everyone was huddled around the photo booth where Punit was clicking pictures, and no one noticed when Trisha twisted her ankle. The cake fell from her hands, she was about to fall the flight of stairs and hit her her head on the wall when Aman instinctively leapt from his chair and climbed the steps in a flash and caught her mid-fall.

Trisha’s cry for help caught everyone’s attention, and they ran to help her, but there she was, sitting on the plastered foot of a very guilty looking Aman who wouldn’t dare look up. Trisha’s father held her hand, and she awkwardly climbed down the stairs, feeling sorry for her cake but thanking Aman over and over again.

“It’s….it’s nothing, please.” He said feeling a little heroic

“Sorry, Bhai, I ruined your cake.”, she told Punit.

He hugged her, “Come on, Trish, I am happy that you are okay.”

Mr Sharma had a patronising look on his face as he asked Aman, “Would you climb down yourself or do you still need help?”, his tone was bordering on a tease.

Aman got up, and everyone clapped for him. They were all happy that he was not hurt after all, and that meant he would be playing in coming games. Punit was laughing along with Sanjay, and all the other team members were whistling and catcalling. It was an embarrassing moment for Aman, but he was happy nonetheless. His whole drama was for a purpose, and the purpose was solved. Mission Accomplished!

It was the first match, RLCA vs PCCI. They were in the dressing room. Mr Sharma was boosting everyone up one last time before the game.

“Punit, you are the Captain, I think you have made a great team and well-structured batting order. I am positive your fielding strategy and balling tactics would go a long way this time. But remember, the rules still apply, so no messing.” He said sternly, and Punit nodded without any rebellion in him.

“Sanjay you are the vice-captain. Remember if Punit is not there for any reason, you will lead your team. This is your chance Sanjay, show them what you have got and project your teamwork.” He told thumping Sanjay’s back, and he nodded with a smile and his hands in his pockets.

“Aman, you are our opening batsman, our star batsman. We are all counting on you. I know you will do your best and help us attain a score PCCI can’t chase. And yes, don’t get distracted by your fans in the stands.” He said with a smile, knowing full well Trisha would be there. Aman blushed and shook hands with Mr Sharma.

They all fell in line and rolled out on the field.

DEEP WITHIN – XII

Punit!! What are you doing here? You should be home by this time,” said Coach Sharma surprised.

Just came here for some clear thinking . . . didn’t expect to find you still here. But when I saw you, just thought to get some things straight,” said Punit.

What things?,” said Mr. Sharma with a low tone of suspicion.

Punit started with a lower that usual voice, “It was my father, right, who influenced the Board in my favour when you had already made up your mind about making Aman the captain?”

Look, let matters of the Boardroom remain within the walls of the Boardroom. I choose not to discuss anything regarding it with you. But son look, you are in the blooming youth of your life. The way you look at things now, the way you behave now will continue to impact your future. If you will have cemented good relationships now, they’ll always stand by you. However, if you continue to nurture your arrogance you will find yourself all alone one day,” said the coach wrapping his arm around Punit.

Tears streamed down Punit’s cheeks. He stared blankly at the ground with not a word.

Then suddenly, he got up to leave.

Punit . . . listen . . . Punit,” ran the coach behind him. But, Punit jogged himself quickly out of the arena.

He was unusually calm in the car as the driver drove him home.

For a change, his parents were at home that evening as he reached home. As the maid opened the door, he handed her the cricket kit and quietly went up the stairs. The driver and the maid exchanged quiet questioning looks.

Punit bolted the door to his room and flopped himself on the bed and wept inconsolably. The happy scenes from Aman’s house flashed before his eyes. The singing and merriment – it was such a different picture than what he had thought.

How wrong I was! I always thought that money gives happiness because you have all that you want. I thought that poor people are unhappy and miserable creatures. But, here, my family has everything – yet there is no peace, no joy, no love, no understanding, no one has much time for each other. And, Aman’s family literally has nothing compared to what I have. Yet, the peace I felt as I stepped into their house is unexplainable. Why is that missing in my house? I have hardened behind these hard polished walls. Punit went on tugging his pillow as thoughts flooded his mind.

Just then, there was a knock at the door. Punit continued to lie on the bed, ignoring the knock. The knocking grew persistent and louder. He got up from his bed and went to the washroom. He saw his teary face in the mirror and could not believe that it was Punit Shah – the one who boasted with his collar up day in and day out. What had become of him today? Why was he crying after all!

The knocking turned into banging. He quickly washed his face and rushed to open the door with a wet face.

What happened Punit? Its not that you slept off . . . you came in just now. What took you so long to open the door,” demanded his angry father.

Er . . . I was in the washroom,” mumbled Punit. It was unusual for his father to come up to his room and knock the door.

Mr. Vikram Shah observed Punit’s swollen eyes and understood that he had been crying for some reason. However, he chose not to raise it up and just turned and descended the stairs.

Punit left the door open and strolled back into his room.

The maid walked in with a tray of snacks and steaming hot coffee. The mixed aroma of deep fried vadas (Indian snack) and the coffee filled the room. As he walked upto the tea table in his room, the image of the hot samosas and merriment in Aman’s house danced before his eyes. Tears started welling up once again.

Hey, hero what’s up?” It was his sister who had entered the room.

Punit could not control himself any longer. With the half-bitten vada still in his mouth, he held on to Trisha and started weeping.

Trisha was taken aback. “Hey, what happened? Come on tell me, did someone tell you something.”

Trisha did not know how to react. She had never seen Punit this way – at least not since his childhood days.

Why can’t our family be happy? Why can’t we all be together?” muttered Punit tightening his arm around Trisha amidst sobs.

BLEND IN IS WHAT THEY SAY …

I cannot stand snakes. I hate them so much that even a picture of them makes me sick in the stomach. Lizards are very close in resemblance to snakes, but I somehow developed an interest in them. I might have been very young when I started reading articles and watching national geography documentaries. They can stick to any surface and crawl. Lizards are very interesting to me 🙂 

Lizards are the most common species on earth, found at every possible place including our houses. Antartica is an exception. They live in rain-forests, deserts, ponds, rivers, and even on trees and shrubs. There are more than 6000 varieties of lizards. Of all these, I am very fascinated by Chameleons. Chameleons are the variety that changes color in a jiffy. pink, red, orange, green, blue, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple. If you won’t get scared of watching lizards, then please watch this.  

There are certain interesting facts about lizards. Broadly, lizards are characterized into three color groups. I believe they are yellow, blue and brown/black. Each of these colors means compassionate, playboy, loyal. Interestingly the females mate with the species that are low in number in their vegetation to prevent extinction. By doing this, they preserved all three species successfully for the last 200 years. 

Lizard is the species which has the highest tensile muscle among all living species. It’s their tongue. Like snakes, lizards also smell with their tongue and do not have ears. To catch the prey, lizard lets out a small portion of its tongue to smell the surroundings. Once it finds the prey, it releases its tongue at a speed of 225mph. I would recommend watching that in slow motion 🙂 Lizards come in various sizes. The ones that are larger in size are the ones considered to be harmful to humans otherwise lizards are harmless. 

I can go on and on writing about them, but, let me tell you a funny encounter with lizards. I am not sure if it’s funny because it is going to have a sad ending. End of last year I went on a holiday for two weeks. By the time I returned home, there were not one, not two but three lizards in my kitchen. I was not scared when I saw them, somehow it felt very weird to be cooking in the kitchen where lizards are moving freely. How many days can I go without cooking? I had to find a way to get rid of them. I have no idea how to get rid of them. What’s the one thing that usually saves us? Google. Yes, I started googling to find out how to get rid of lizards. There were several remedies like peacock feathers, camphor etc. After failed trials for two weeks, I had no option but the forcefully send them out. I cleaned up the entire kitchen counter, placed back all jars into the cabinets. I tried using the broomstick and duster, but it was another failure.. 

Unable to find out any remedy, I contemplated if I should kill them. This fight went on for two days. I had no clue how to kill them either. Trust me, I tried various cleaning solutions, sprays possible. At last, what worked was cockroach spray. It worked but I had to see the lizard suffer. The tail portion of the lizard separated from its body and just like octopus tentacles it was moving even after it was separated for more than a minute. Trust me, it wasn’t easy killing those. I couldn’t sleep for a few days but I had no other option. 

If any of you are petting a lizard, please excuse me for killing them. I feel sorry for them as well. As much as possible I am not going to do this again. From next time I would be careful to not let lizards than having to get rid of them later. Any ideas for this would be appreciated. I like lizards but I don’t think I would ever pet one. Though what I could learn from them is to adapt to situations around. It makes a lot of sense considering how bad the world around is now-a-days . Either we should stand out or blend in. By this, I do not mean that we have to do bad things to fit in. Lizards only do that to not get noticed and become prey to their predators. 

“The trick to not being discovered until it is too late is to become part of the expected surroundings. Stealth is more the art of blending in with the background than sneaking through dark shadows.” 
― Raymond E. Feist

WISER, GREENER AND PEACEFUL CREATURE – FROGS

From my childhood whenever I think of the biology class, I remember the time I learned about the Amphibians. Interesting it was to learn about the famous amphibians -Frog. Little did I know then, that one day I would end up writing about them as a life lesson giver.

Yes !! You read it right, – they are indeed one of these creatures, who will overwhelm us, with their incredible teachings through their simple lifestyle.

Every night during the monsoon. in my native, I was kind of accustomed with the lullabies of these frogs all nights while I was put to sleep. Then as a child, I used to wonder, what exactly they might be saying or discussing. It was indeed a soothing way to sleep then, better than the honking sounds of the cars.

Often now, I do think the same- as I have never learnt their language…  It just goes Ribbit …Ribbit…Ribbit…Ribbit…

It seems that those little creatures have a lot to tell us. Let me put a quite few of them here:

Adaptable 

Being called amphibians, born in the water, swimming across in the water like tadpoles and then becoming a toad and leaping onto the land and living without any hesitation. Don’t’ you think they are brilliantly adaptable. Put them in the water they swim, put them on land, they just hop on. Being Adaptable to any situation whatever it might be the situation, is something one needs to learn from these slimy green toads.

Patience 

Frogs – Whenever we think of it, the first picture that comes to our mind is a hopping one. But to catch a prey, it just stays still for while access the surrounding and then waits for the right moment to catch it. It is not easy. Trust me, winning over with patience is the hardest thing one can ever do. And here also frogs excel us.

Enjoying serene space

Most of the time they just wait and be calm. It looks like as if they are relishing the serene beauty of the surrounding- like the mirror-like still pond.  We as humans prefer all the hustles and bustles of the city and we forget to appreciate the beauty of stillness. The frogs, step on to the lotus leaves and watch the beckoning stillness of nature.

Cherishing the simple joys

Gone are the days, we see kids playing in the rain and enjoying it. Look at the frogs, when it rains, it just doesn’t stand in the shade, but take a leap into the pouring rain. Relishing the simplest moments in life is something we need to do, and it stays forever.

Observant

Frogs stay still for a longer time and then observe the surroundings quite well. One can see, with the slightest movement, frogs tend to jump away from the leaf into the waters. Their observation power is far more efficient than the radar system I believe.

Even though they seem smaller just fitting into our palm, they teach us lessons worth a lifetime.  If you bound to explore the hidden nature, then you get to learn many obvious things to learn from it. Spending some time with nature itself makes life worth living.

Walk away into the luscious greenery and be bound to the fullness of being one among them. Let the creepers recite you the tales of their bonding with the trees they are creeping on to. Let the birds teach you the virtue of flying and let the ants teach you the efficiency of teamwork.

Keep your eyes and ears open, let nature communicate with you. 

KEEP LEARNING

Another year coming to an end. 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes or 31536000 seconds coming to an end. I am not the kind of person who will look back and try to introspect on the year gone by. I usually look ahead with excitement towards the coming year.

But this year has been different. There has been a lot which was different this year and it has taught me a lot of things. So today I feel qualified to write this article. There are two major lessons I learnt this year. Actually, it’s not some new age gyan I stumbled upon. We all know these things, we just tend to conveniently neglect it or forget it.  

Be Grateful: One lesson I learnt in the year gone by is not to take things for granted. Be happy and thankful for what you have. However boring or straightforward your life may seem, there are many blessings in your life. Value them and be grateful for them. You never know when they will go away and then we will realise their importance in our life.

Be ready to Evolve: Or in other words don’t be complacent. I made that mistake. After marriage, kids and family life happened I got myself so involved in these things that I didn’t work on myself.  Keep evolving. Keep learning. Try to improve your qualifications or maybe just learn a new skill or hone an old hobby. Basically, keep adding to your personality. You never know when these skills come in handy.

Life will always throw a googly at you at the most unexpected time it helps to be grateful for what you have and be prepared for what is going to come.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

2018 is about to finish and now when I look back, I feel nostalgic. If anyone asks me how was 2018 to you, I would say, “It was the best in my life”. Reading this line, many of you might think, I just have got good marks or might have topped university exams or have got a good job with handsome salary. Trust me there’s no such thing. 2018 was best because of many other reasons. All the reasons when combined together, have given me so much. When 2018 started I was having a lot of stress. The reason for stress was some family issues. Though 2018 was not a fairy tale year but it made my year.

I graduated in this year and this really makes me happy. While I was leaving my college, I came to know what I earned so far. I earned love and affection from my teachers, classmates and also from my juniors. While returning back to home I had lots of memories which are going to stay in my heart forever. 2018 taught me the true essence of love. True love motivates us to look forward and work hard for our dreams. It is kind and never brags.

Every day brought some lessons for me. The best lesson that I learnt was “not everyone we meet or have in our lives are intended to stay forever”. The only thing that will stay forever is bittersweet memories. The year is ending day by day and so it is taking away toxic people from my life; for which I am very thankful. The last six month of 2018 proved to be of great teachings. I learnt so much. I saw myself as a grown up, matured enough to make life decisions. I found when we are determined; no one can change our decisions. Once we are determined, we get the courage to walk alone in the city full of crowd. Even though we are alone, we are always surrounded by our determination and willpower.

I hope 2019 will also bring so many lessons for me. It will be a year that will witness my growth as a matured and persevere human. I wish 2019 to award me with success and good health of my near and dear ones.  In 2019, I won’t waste my time in anger, grudges and being disappointed. I would rather invest it in being a happy and cheerful soul. After all, life is all about finding happiness despite the odds. Therefore, welcome your new year with open arms and hopes.