CAUGHT IN A GHOST CASTLE

Based on a true story:

A group of 8 young explorers, me among them, entered a house that was surrounded by not only darkness but rumors of being haunted. The air was eerie and the silence so thick that even a pin drop could set hearts race. I got a chance to enter with seven others, I was excited to prove. It was my chance to prove a few nay-sayers that I am not boring and when I mean adventure it isn’t about millennial pranks. I meant serious business and what can be a better option to set the adrenaline rush going than a haunted house. I would be dishonest if I say fear wasn’t on my side along with the seven others.

We together stepped inside the house that smelt pungent and we thought “let the helper at our house take off for a while and our houses won’t be different” and had a hearty laugh. Slowly we marched – sometimes 4 steps at a time and sometimes just 1- don’t ask if it’s prudence or fear that was spiraling down our spines like sweat. We weren’t together but scattered all around. Someone at the loosely hanging railing at the first floor, someone at the corner by the picture of handsome looking tyrant that once lived there, a few near the bookshelf, and a few on the staircase following trails. The house that once might have had people as inhabitants in it, now hosted bats, mice, and a negative aura in abundance. As I slowly marched ahead, I heard a loud shriek. I rushed in the direction of the sound and I was horrified to see one of my accomplices lying in a pool of blood. She was caught unaware by an axe dangling overhead. I nearly fainted but had to carry on the mission for it was about leaving that house alive and proving a point. I moved in a different direction, suddenly something came flying to hit me or it was just my illusion. Whatever it was I ducked and saved myself. Another friend fell from the railing and broke his back badly. He did mention it felt as if someone pushed him. We together had to survive that night amidst everything which was not normal. We didn’t want to speak our minds aloud but now it was certain that this house is haunted. Throughout the night, to and fro the dangers, we somehow survived somehow and stepped out of that wicked nest of mortar and wood. I was the first one to do so.

And I was the winner. What? It is still based on a true story, I did play this board game “Ghost Castle”, was indeed caught and it took a long time to reach to the finish line i.e out of the house/castle. That’s how I spent the first day of the new calendar year. Ludo and monopoly is a thing of the past now, try this one, preferably in a slightly dark place for the spooky ghost not only scares but illuminates too😂.

Try it with your family, fun guaranteed!!

STEPPING INTO THE NEW YEAR TOGETHER

“We heal, not in isolation, but in togetherness”

This quote is so true, especially in the current times, when going out still contains a little risk. We managed for 2 years, sitting inside our homes and managing to stay together virtually. We all hope and pray that the new year marks the end of the scary coronavirus and the world is freed from the COVID pandemic.

We planned a get-together on the very first day of the new year. I met my sister Prabhjot after 2 years, though didn’t feel like meeting her after ages, as we are in constant touch with each other through WhatsApp. However, it was different for our kids, who rarely video call each other. My elder son doesn’t like to talk to his friends virtually. He says that he misses them and wants to meet them, physically, face to face. The kids have really suffered a lot during this pandemic. It feels bad that they missed out a lot due to isolation. 

Yesterday, our sons were super excited since morning and were so happy to meet each other after a long gap. They played, laughed out loudly, danced, and had fun together. Now, they are looking forward to more such frequent get-togethers, and so are we.

Spending time together with family & friends, sharing joy & happiness, having endless talks, and eating delicacies are indeed delightful. With a beautiful start to this new year, I wish the rest of the days are well spent, for everyone. I pray that we get to meet our loved ones often and share the good times, for togetherness is a wonderful place to be in.

Stay happy! Stay together!

SHAVING OFF MY DARK-UGLY-LOOKING HAIR

All that I have done in my life were mostly need-based rather than for fun and pleasure. And on the 29th of the last month, I sat down to trim my hair and I went on to shave them till I was almost bald. As I looked at my dark and ugly-looking hair falling on the newspaper, a thought came to my mind. 

How often do we tend to tread the path of sickness, suffering, and sinfulness in a particular time period of our life? The preconceived, the preoccupied, the presumed thoughts, ideas, and prejudices we tend to gather as we walk. These thoughts or ideas either turn us into persons having a closed mindset or judgmental. Neither it helps us on a personal note nor solves the purpose of our creation, that is being an instrument for God towards the fellow human.

So what should we do? How should we help ourselves to be more useful for the sole purpose of our creation? My answer to this question is – GO THROUGH A PROCESS OF UNLEARNING.

Unlearning every thought that tells me I am better than others, unlearning the prejudice I have that people should revolve around me, unlearning the very idea of I should stay self-sufficient without bothering about what is happening in my neighborhood. The days have changed after the onset of the Pandemic. And it is high time that we get rid of this mindset of revolving around our own set rules for life.

When I look at my completely shaven head today, I see a blank slate of my life and feel happy that I am ready to learn afresh without having any preoccupied ideas or prejudices about people and their life. As new hair starts growing on my head, I will learn things that are new and something very different than what I have never experienced before in life. And I know, I need to unlearn from all that I have previously before being active on what I want to do afresh this year onward.

How about you? Are you ready to shave off and unlearn along with me? Then don’t have second thoughts to it, just do it.

Stay Blessed!!!

IN SEARCH OF MYSELF

On the 365th day of the year looking back I wonder what major achievement did I have this year.. can’t think of anything spectacular…  I survived that’s my achievement. I could manage to somehow stumble through this maze of the physical, mental,  financial, emotional onslaught of Covid.

But looking back I noticed one thing. I have somehow lost my essence in this whole struggle. It is as if I have put myself on hold somewhere, in the wait for things to normalize once again.

I have come to realize this is not how it works. We can’t stop living our life fully in wait for circumstances to improve. Things have changed and will keep changing. Times will be good and bad. But we need to keep on living not just surviving.  Keep on making memories. This time once gone is not going to come back ..

In 2022 I hope to find myself again. I need to drop this cloak of being a ‘bechari‘ (poor me) a victim of circumstances. I am going to find myself again. Take me out of this endless round of chores at home and work and gain some new experiences.

I am leaving behind the feeling of helplessness and melancholy in 2021. Looking forward to writing more, learning new skills, experiencing life more not just in front of the screen.

I know it’s too ambitious but kuch to ho hi jayega (Something should happen). At least the intentions are there, the search begins.

A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER

At this time of life,

Are you who you wanted to be, as a person?

Have you acheived what you wanted to? (To a good extent at least?)

Doing what you always wanted to do?

My answers are – definitely not. Before the pandemic hit, I would have given a different answer. The pandemic really changed my course of life in ways I could never imagine. It has shown me the lows of relationships  and how people are. It has destroyed my travel plans. On the positive note, I have spent lot of time with my family, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.

As we were entering 2020, I had big plans for that year. The sounding of that year itself is so perfect. I had plans to go on more than couple of international trips. Take sabbatical towards the end and persue my passion to uncover the creative side of me. By the mid of 2021, I can restart my job and fall back into the groove of life. Two years just passed by, and I did none of these.

The work from home situation has actually made professional setup worse. I literally realised how difficult it is to convey things without actually talking and seeing each other’s expressions. I am sure, many would agree. This discomfort has increased our work timings. It takes lot more time to move from a dialogue phase to decision phase virtually. The fun is also lower. The sense of connection is low as well. Never ever, have I thought I would be pissed off with my current job and that happened. Not because I don’t love what I do, but, I just don’t want to do it all my day from morning till night.. Wow, that’s a lot of time to commit and on top of it, it took away my “me” time. Lost loved ones to the pandemic, added pain and suffering.

Many of us went through similar suffering. Our lives have changed, challenges we face have changed and the outlook we had of life changed. We have the right to be mad at the pandemic. No matter how many curve balls life threw at us, we tried to play them hoping for the best. We were out of control with everything, including our health and life insurances. We were forced to live with the least and we did.

I don’t know about you, but, my take on living life has changed because of the pandemic. From a casual, I have atleast 30 more years to live, I started accepting, not a single day is mine anymore. I have learnt how important it is to have nominees for every single penny of mine. How important it is to have a heartful conversation when we have the oppurtunity. How important it is to do the several “crazy things” when I can.

The very thing I have put an end to is, thinking there is some other time.  There is no such time. Now, it is. As the world is reopening, with precautions I want to restart things I have put a pause on. We should, we all should.

“A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don’t know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth reading.”  Yevgeny Zamyatin

I WISH…

Rocking her baby, bogged down by the opinion of nay-sayers around and about her, her gaze traversed the window. She saw another woman donning the hat of an “equal breadwinner” for her family and making her stride into the world. She thought “I wish I was in her shoes” 

Marching ahead towards her awaiting deadlines and agendas as her heart was crushing hard under the gloom she was carrying. “Not a mother yet” pricked through her heart. She rolled down the windowpane as she saw a kid jumping in muddy puddles with glee as the mother looked on with joy. She thought “I wish I was in her shoes”.

The happiness of the kid was short-lived as his father reprimanded him for being a mess. As the kid was being dictated by commandments of DOs & DON’Ts that sad face rolled to the other side and saw a rich man surrounded by a brigade of servants and only his say mattered. The kid thought “I wish I was in his shoes”.

The rich man as he awaited for his vehicle to arrive saw a young man riding a bike with his guitar hung across his back. It reminded him of his lost love in the depths of oblivion while he chased new heights tirelessly. The rich man thought “I wish I was in his shoes”.

The young man whose struggles have just begun in the pursuit of his passion pondering over his future probabilities and possibilities felt the heat of venturing out in the tricky, tough and often merciless stage called the world. He stopped by a house to ask for a glass of water. A lady came out with her baby in her arms and it reminded the young man of what a safe haven home is. Looking at the baby, the young man thought “I wish I was in his shoes”.

And the baby in the arms of the mother who was sleeping blissfully smiled in his sleep…

This is a simplistic view of how we perceive and look at the world. Deep down in our hearts, we are convinced that others are happier than us. Our eyes are open to looking at the merrier view and our shallow wisdom restricts our capability to even conceive the thought that every story has a different background and narration. It is like a beautiful cover page of a magazine that attracts our attention, mesmerized by the gloss and the colour we instantly forget that it’s a collaborative effort of many technicians and technicalities. About the physical, emotional, mental stress people might undergo in the process is not even a distant thought in our thoughts, for we are takers of only happy faces. And not to mention that our obsession with those pretty faces is so much that we start to loathe our reality – a harbinger for unhappiness, think about it.

A PIGEON’S MISCARRIAGE

On opening the door to my residential quarters after a month long absence, I was greeted with a bearably faint musty odour, a thin film of dust on all surfaces, a few cobwebs here and there – signs of briefly uninhabited premises! As I flung open the connecting doors and windows to let the chilly winter breeze do a few oscillations and ventilate the house, I was glad that there wasn’t really much cleaning up to do after all. This relief was about to last for just a few seconds!

No sooner had I opened the door to my bathroom, that I took a step back at what I saw. A pigeon’s nest had fallen from an open vent above right on the toilet seat!!

Well, there was work after all!

As I picked up the twigs, small branches and dried leaves, I looked up sensing a brief movement. Lo and behold! Mama pigeon was cozily sitting on her eggs, having built a brand new nest.

It took some time for me to clean up the mess during which the nesting perseverance of the pigeons was something I pondered upon.

As I resumed official work the next day to be greeted with heaps of pending files, Mama pigeon and the nest was the last thing on my mind!

It wasn’t meant to be that way for long, though.

I returned home after the day’s work only to find the new nest broken (and yes, fallen on the toilet seat, to my great displeasure). Having no other way out, as I started clearing up the clutter, I found a broken egg amidst the dried leaves and twigs.

Who knows what instincts would have crisscrossed Mama pigeon’s mind, having had two broken nests and one broken egg. Will she build her nest again? Will she give up? Will she be able to have any squabs this season? Ah well! That’s the pigeon’s life!

This drove me to think about the countless women worldwide who miscarry their unborns. For every baby that is born there are many fetuses that get miscarried and many still-borns who remain as bars on the tally charts leaving many women to gulp their crucibles of sorrow silently. How many of them get cared for by their partners, family and friends before they heal up – physically and emotionally?

The Mama pigeon’s miscarriage might have stirred up her instincts with probably none of her kiln having an inkling to it. We humans can surely do much better!