ADVICE THAT I RETAIN – NOT EGO, BUT PATIENCE AND LOVE

Proud millennials that we are, we have witnessed many changes in life. We have seen the world change – things going from bad to worse. We have seen the changing meaning of life and the relationships that come along with it – the way individual family life has become. When we compare our childhood to that of our children, we see a striking change which feels dark. During our childhood, we shared beautiful meaningful relationships with our grandparents and relatives. Children today, hardly get to see their grandparents. Relatives aren’t even in their range of social togetherness.
With slow, frequent and ultimate changes in one’s relationship, we have become more adaptive, strong and emotionless. In all these processes our brain has lost its efficiency as well. It doesn’t think about others and loses synapses when others talk either making us irritated or very less responsive or totally blank. By losing our control over our senses, one most obvious things comes into play. That is our ego!
Almost all the time we use our ego to save us from unpleasant situations and discussions. It makes us look cool, that is what we think. Our pride feeds on our ego. It gives us a sense of satisfaction when we win the argument. When we win a losing situation by putting our ego in effect, we lose the person whom we are fighting with. My parents once advised me saying, “Never bring your ego to any relationship you build, because in the game of ego, the winner is always the loser.”
Our ego kills the love of our loved ones. It breaks bonds, relations and even families. It’s definitely takes more than a person to build a family but it takes only a person’s ego to break that family. My parents also said, “never lose patience and be more adaptive to any changes that happen to you and your surrounding because good things take time.”
I have made use of both pieces of advice every now and then and have experienced a lot of things which has in turn, made me a more responsible, strong and patient woman of family. It helps me get adapted to the changes, makes me more patient towards different situations and helps me see through different perspectives of life.

HOW DO YOU KILL?

Delhi, my dear Delhi
Why did you stoop so low?
How do you kill your fellow Indians?
Where do you get this extreme hatred from?
Do you not think what will happen when that bullet you just triggered hits somebody on the chest?
Does it not even strike you even once that you are destroying a whole family?
How does your religion and belief become bigger than life?
How do you think you get the right to end a life?
Why does your hatred become bigger than your sanity?
Do you have no fear of God and no love for humanity?
Is your religion and politics above life and death?
It makes my heart weep that you could stoop so low!

 

ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM “I AM SORRY” SYNDROME?

I invited a family to dinner at our place. The lady of the family brought home made cake for dessert.  But I forgot to serve the same and ended up serving a readymade sweet. And when they left I realised (actually was made to realise 😁) what a blunder I had committed. I should have served the cake too, its courtesy and etiquette. And then I was on my guilt trip. I texted her to seek forgiveness. Though she said she didn’t mind it at all, asked me to relax and chill, it’s been a long time now since we spoke to each other 😁 (she is busy with her examinations). What I did at the dinner was completely unintentional; being forgetful was my weakness rather than my mistake. But I pleaded.

And this isn’t the first time when I said ‘Sorry’ for something so trivial. I talk to my friends, relatives and out of no where after I finish my conversations I have a demon visiting me “Guilt” that makes me think, rethink – “did I utter something wrong to offend the person?”, “let’s say sorry before it’s too late” and I don’t relent from saying sorry. In fact I say ‘Sorry’ way too much.  I fear grudges and misunderstandings, hence I say sorry. So much so that I could possibly paint myself as nervous, weak or simply stupid.  If you have to choose a nickname for me “The Sorry Girl” would do just fine🤣🤣.

Too much of guilt or say “false” guilt for every non existing/ illogical/ trivial issue could be as dangerous as self medicating after surfing on Google for few apparent symptoms and assuming that you are suffering from a dreadful illness. Doctors are there for a reason, right? Don’t assume, for it could lead to side effects more effectively than yielding positive results. “Feeling Sorry” syndrome as I call it is something same as self medicating.  When you assume things and go on a guilt trip more often than not, you self deplete yourself. Extreme self consciousness so as to not to hurt anyone makes you go into a shell which equals to lower self esteem and confidence.  I have myself experienced the dilemma very often “shall I ask? Shall I say? Shall I tell?”.  Because I don’t want anyone to feel bad and me either as a consequence to my actions and words.  And this is where I hesitate to say NO (my false guilt of hurting someone being my constant companion).  But now I am slowly realising it isn’t worth it, at least not every situation requires irrelevant deep introspection that shows me as a insensitive human, oblivious to others feelings.

I am not against minding words and actions in advance for it reflects an educated mind. And to be conscious about how others may feel reflects your sensible side. But the question is how much is enough and what is unwanted.  Feelings like Regret, Guilt are as precious as Love and Care to be squandered away on unimportant things.  For instance: You got stuck in traffic irrespective of starting really early so you say sorry and move on. This is how it should be. But if you start analysing what the other person might think of you, how much business loss he might have incurred just because of your delay and start off meekly to please unnecessarily, this is something awkward and uncalled for. This hampers your personality, your image. And this is called false guilt. Your false guilt will let others take advantage of you, period.

Talk and move on! You feel you have done something wrong, talk about it to the concerned person, settle the matter there. Don’t let it linger on your mind for long. If the other person understands your explanation no worries. But if the other person is indifferent, it isn’t your fault, mind you. Remember you can’t please everyone. Then why burden your heart with “I don’t deserve them” tag. Why can’t it be the other way round?

Always remember:

  • Be cordial but not overtly submissive. There’s a huge difference.
  • Don’t nurse ego
  • Don’t be shy to say sorry when you feel you need to, you want to
  • Relationships are important but if you can’t value yourself relationships can’t be sane and equal.
  • Watch out words and actions before they are beyond your control.

COOKING IS MY LEGACY

I was always a foodie, even now and will be forever.

So food was not something I stayed away from. I loved being in the kitchen, be it for cooking or for eating. I always enjoyed making things, even if it might not be perfect. I enjoyed watching my mom cook. My love for cooking comes from the way my mom cooked and served everyone, I believe.  I have always seen her making everything we all loved eating and even if she never gets a bite to eat, she served everyone, enough to fill their tummies and even their heart.

The ease with which she met our demands, was tremendous, in spite of being a working mom. Even when I was mocked for being fat, my mom was never reluctant to cook and make me eat. Every time any guest came to our house, our dining table was filled with dishes. She was never tired of trying new styles, which is why I and my brother were extreme foodies.

When I was a kid, I used to dream about food always. One of the ads which were my favorite was one of those oil advertisements.

Being foodies is not a crime. 😛

I would say, that was the only reason, I never enjoyed my hostel food as such.

In the first half of my life, I would say I spent eating rather than cooking. The rest a few years went into helping my mom and even making dosa for my brother, who was too small to cook. I remember even making, sandwiches, sausages, etc. for everyone when I was in my 6th or 7nth standard. Whenever my mom was unwell, I tried my best to cook. I always felt it was magical to make all those continuous circles on dosa, making it look so adorable.

Image result for making dosa

The early morning black tea was something, I enjoyed making. The wonderful aroma of it, kick starts my day.

Ever since I got married (when I was 20+), I began all my experiments with cooking. With multiple failures, I enjoyed cooking on my own, serving my guests, my colleagues and even my family who comes to visit us. Their encouraging words were boosting my skills too.

My greatest critic is my husband though. He ensured I was informed well, that I cooked disastrous and when nice, he kept silent, but I could observe it from the way he had food.

Again being mom, changes all your tastes, rather than eating, you prefer feeding everyone. Many even thought that me being a foodie, would never share anything from my plate but little did they realize that now after being mom, I have changed.

I would try cooking, baking, grilling and much more just for my kids. As a mom, I would want to feed them the very healthy food. So I included all kinds of foods on my daily menu. Cutlets, soups, noodles, all kinds of parathas, paneer (being my daughter’s favorite) and much more.

Cooking is much more fun when you just don’t all the ingredients but a pinch of love to it. And I realized you need not be a good cook always, but someone who loves to share a piece of what they have always. The added flavor of my cooking -is love, which made everyone happy and filled.

And I still continue my legacy, that I  carry from my mom. And she is still my mentor who is teaching me much more.

The joy of cooking comes from the joy expressed while serving it with the one who is in need of food. — SoulRecitals

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHONA

Parul was trapped in a vicious circle of life – meeting expectations and fulfilling demands. Life was totally mundane and there was nothing that interested her. She often thought about wanting a better life but would reason to herself thinking she has everything to make life beautiful – husband, kids, own house, well paying job – what else can she ask for! Even then, life was utterly boring, monotonous and to some extent burdensome because of increasing responsibilities of growing up kids and dynamics of relationships.

Parul was married to Palash and they made a great couple then, but not any more! Palash who was in his early forties preferred long hours at office more than spending time at home. The once romantic young boy had now turned in to a workaholic treading the path of success ferociously. Parul who was in her late thirties had almost forgotten what romance is, firstly because she got very less time to spend with her husband because of his business tours and busy work schedules and secondly because, she had forgotten that she is a wife too while trying to be the best mom to their kids who were older than toddlers but younger than teens. In short, in 11 years of marriage, Parul and Palash had grown distant considerably.

Not that they had fights or arguments, but their life was not the same as it used to be in the early years of marriage. Both of them could feel the missing factor but never complained because they thought they had more important things to focus on – work for Palash and kids for Parul. Both had adapted themselves to a life minus romance, excitement and surprises. But slowly, Parul had started craving for the company of her husband. Each time she saw any of her friend going out with her husband, she would feel a little jealous. She never spoke with Palash about what she felt because she was burdened with the guilt of giving more importance to kids all these years and ignoring her husband to a very large extent, but secretly she longed to be with her husband, physically and emotionally. She would hope that Palash would understand her needs but unfortunately it did not seem like he even noticed any of them. It wasn’t like Palash was not looking after her or their kids. He was a good father. He did manage to spend a little time with kids every weekend. But for Parul, Palash’s behavior wasn’t very pleasant. She craved for his attention and company. But the irony is she had started noticing the difference only after their kids had grown up a bit. Perhaps, that was the time when Parul got a moment to look at her life with a fresh pairs of eyes. For her it was like Palash was there but he was not there! With each passing day Parul had started getting frustrated. She was being grind in ignorance and neglect.

These things started impacting Parul in a negative way. Mood swings, anger, and small arguments started stepping in. While Palash seemed to handle it well, Parul was not able to manage herself. All that she needed was her husband and his attention but she was not getting it. Things worsened between them when Palash announced that he will need to fly to London for work for two weeks. Parul was very hurt and annoyed that he didn’t seem to remember her birthday. As per schedule, Palash was to return home on the day after Parul’s birthday. Parul tried asking Palash if could return a day earlier hoping that he gets a hint about her birthday but all in vain!

Parul felt miserable after Palash left for London and nothing on this earth could lift her mood. She would go to office with a sour mood and return home with a bitter mood. This had became a new routine and on one such day when Parul reached office with a grimace, she was amazed to find a small box placed on her desk. It was neatly wrapped with a pink (her favorite color) gift paper and the sender had only mentioned “From your secret admirer”. She observed the gift for some time searching for the clue about who could have sent it but there was none! Lot of questions ran through her mind, like “Who must have sent this? Is it for me? If yes, why is not addressed to me? Is someone playing a prank? Now who is this secret admirer, does anyone even notice me?” She checked with her colleagues to know if they had seen anyone placing this gift at her desk but nobody seemed to know. At last, she just put it in her drawer and got to work. By the end of the day, she had totally forgotten about that gift.

Next day:

When Parul reached office, she saw another gift box, a little bigger than the first one. Again, the box said nothing apart from a short message which was typed on a paper and stuck to the box. It said “Please do not forget me” Parul looked around and blushed a little when she noticed all colleagues were looking at her with curious faces, all that she could manage to say was”I…. I don’t know who sent this. Its really wei… weird”

“A birthday gift?” asked one of the colleagues cheekily. “No, still a couple of days for my birthday!” exclaimed Parul. She was sort of embarrassed by all the attention that her gifts were drawing. She quickly dropped this gift in her drawer and started to work. But the curiosity stayed on her mind.

Day3:

There was yet another gift waiting for Parul. It read “Tomorrow is a very special day. Please meet me.” This time the note was handwritten. Parul was a little disheartened to see that the handwriting didn’t look like Palash’s. She had began to think that Palash was sending these gifts but now it was clear that it wasn’t him. And anyway, it was too much to expect that from Palash, more so because of the way he had transformed over the years. But Parul was sure about one thing, whoever that secret admirer was – he was somewhere around. He knew her and he was watching her. By now most of the office knew that Parul was getting a gift every day and most of them envied her for having so much love and excitement in life. Casual teasing and leg pulling by colleagues brightened Parul’s day. She realized that she was smiling after a really long time. She was happy but curious. She was liking the feeling of being pampered but she was also worried about who this secret admirer is. What is he up to? Will he create any problem in her married life? She considered sharing this with Palash but changed her mind instantly thinking that he may misunderstand.

Later in the lunch time, she opened all the boxes. The first one had an anklet – the same one she had been eyeing for a long time. She was so happy! She was amazed about the choice if the secret admirer and was curious to know how did he know that she had wanted that anklet since a long time. She thought hard to remember if she had mentioned about it to any one in the office, may be she did to some of her girl friends but why will she mention it to her males friends? And obviously, the secret admirer couldn’t be a girl – or that’s what Parul thought. Parul was full of mixed emotions – happiness, flattering, excitement, anxiety – all at the same time.

Her excitement reached a new level when she opened the second gift. It was a beautiful writing pad and a Mont Blanc pen – both her favorites. There was something scribbled on the writing pad – it said, “please do not stop writing beautiful poems that you always wrote when you were in college” Oh my, was this some old flame from college? Who was he? And how did he remember about her poems when she herself had long forgotten about her passion?

It was getting very difficult for Parul to contain all the excitement. She was thinking very hard about who could be this secret admirer. Her heart was pounding hard when she was about to open the third gift. The message on the gift box had created more suspense. “Tomorrow is a very special day. Please meet me.” The secret admirer wanted to meet her on her birthday! She quickly opened the box and was surprised to see two tickets to the premier show of the movie of her favorite star! What?? She was going to get to meet her favorite superstar on her birthday??!!! Parul was on cloud nine! How did the secret admirer know about her craze for that superstar and how did he manage to book the ticket for the premier show?

By now, Parul’s face was glowing with excitement and happiness. But she wasn’t sure if she should go and meet the secret admirer. That day when she returned home her mood was nice after a long time. Kids were happy to see that their mom is no more cranky and irate. When nothing on earth could help to set Parul’s mood right, these small gifts went a long way. This secret admirer had easily done something which Palash could never do in 11 years. Parul couldn’t sleep that night thinking about meeting the superstar and the secret admirer the next day. It was going to be an eventful birthday this year!

The D-day!

Parul couldn’t wait to reach office to find the last gift. Today, the gift sticker only said “Happy birthday Shona!” She quickly opened the box and couldn’t believe her eyes! There was a diamond necklace – the same she had been wishing for since years but hesitating to ask for it from Palash. There was also a small note saying “Please pick me up at the airport at 3 pm today. Can’t wait to see you on your birthday” A smile broke on Parul’s lips and tears rolled down her cheeks.

The cat was out of the bag. The secret admirer was none other than Palash himself. Parul was moved to see his efforts to make her happy and she wondered how did he plan this execution so well. She was touched to realize that, all this while when she felt Palash was ignoring her to the core, Palash was actually noting her every wish, every desire and he even remembered her long lost passion of writing poems. While she thought that love and romance was fading away from their life, Palash had brought it back with a bang. While she was mad at Palash two weeks ago for not noticing her attempt of reminding her birthday, there he was deeply engrossed in planning all the execution. Parul knew how hectic his business tours are and she felt so special that he made arrangements to return on her birthday! She felt guilty for blaming her loving husband of ignorance and neglect. While she was immersed in her happiness and guilt, she was greeted mischievously by Tara, a colleague – “Happy Birthday Parul. So, how were the surprises since last 4 days?” Parul stared at her wondering how did she know about all this when she sat on another floor altogether and Parul had never mentioned about anything to her.

Slowly, all the pieces of the puzzle had fitted together. Palash had cleverly planned this with the help of Tara. Tara and Palash were batch-mates from MBA and they had re-connected at the annual party of Payal’s office last year.

Parul had fallen in love with Palash all over again. It was indeed her best birthday. They started a new life together from that day. Love, pampering and romance had found a new meaning.

We all hit a phase in our marriage when it gets extremely boring. That is the time when we feel like giving up but actually that is the time when we should hang on the most. We take our partner for granted and over the period of time we stop doing those small things which make them happy. While we assume increasing responsibilities in life and excel in them, we fail to do justice to that special relationship with our partner unknowingly. It’s not that we don’t love our partner any more but we fail to understand how important it is to express our love. Expression of love strengthens a relationship.

I think all of us should make sure to sprinkle some love and top up the relationship with surprises and pampering, irrespective of the age!

Wishing you all a wonderful relationship filled with love! Cheers.

GROWTH OF THE BONDING

During Christmas, a survey was conducted with a few teenage kids. They were asked, “What would you hope to get this Christmas? They asked for a Computer – A giant Barbie house – A Trophy Case – A Xbox 360 – A Minecraft legos”. Then they were asked, “What would your Mom or Dad hope to get this Christmas?” They replied, “My mom would love to have a Gold Ring since she never really had a ring” – “She loves Necklace” – “They would be happy to get a new TV” – “He wants a night watches” –  “Dad needs a motorbike”.

To their surprise, the kids got all they desired both for them and for their family but there was an “either-or” catch. They had to choose between the two alternative gifts. Though it’s was quite troublesome for them but their choice turned-out a great blessing. Each of the kids decided to give up their gifts and took the gifts for their parents. They reasoned, “Barbie house & Legos don’t matter, FAMILY MATTERS! It is the only time I can gift something to my family. My relationship with my family is more important than the gifts I want”.

Bible says, ”Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God”. And the expression of love is only found in “Sacrifice”. The biggest example of “the expression of love in sacrifice” seen in human history is the purpose of the Christmas story. God loves us so much that, He took birth in a human flesh named ‘Jesus’ and lived with us to die and pay the wages of our sins that we had and we will commit ever.

It would be profound to say, “Sacrifice nurtures relationship”. But in this blissful nurturing the clock also strikes through some gloomy phase. Sketching the picture further I would say, in the full-moon evenings of our relationship there also dawns a moonless evening – dark, worrisome and weak.

After each of our seminars and events, I and one of my brother prefer to meet for a personal time of analysis. Like that after one of our events, I went to meet my brother. While on the way I was thinking since I had hosted the event effectively, there is nothing more to discuss about the event just we will discuss the follow-up plans. But as we start our discussion, his opening line was, “Avinash, I am not at all happy the way you hosted the event yesterday.” Making the long story short, he scolded me like an elder brother and showed all my faults from tip to toe. As a matter of fact, he also scold me for the way I stood and walked while taking the sessions. I left his house with a heavy and discouraged heart and almost for a couple of days the only question that was bothering me was – “Am I so hopeless and so uncultured? How can he talk like this? Am I a big failure – a big zero?” After some time one more question came to my mind which answered all my questions and pushed me to mature thinking – “WHY DID HE NOTICE ME SO KEENLY ALL THE TIME?”

Those who loves us deeply, they always judges us quickly. A good soul shows us the mirror, not to humiliate us for our mistakes but to humble us and exalt us to a glorious standard without flaterring us.

An English proverb says, “Intent is prior to Content”. Taking one of the inside looks of the breaking of relationships can be ‘immature thinking’. In a relationship when our beloved one shows us our shortcomings, we immediately bracket them as the fault-finder of our life. We start looking at them through the eyes of an enemy. Whereas the reality of the story is too sacred. A person with good intent will always be the one who keeps a close eye on us so that he can show us our shortcomings and help us grow to the glorious standards of life. Joining for the round of applause is always easy and a public expression whereas often time the intent of the praiser is evil.

Relationship is always PROTO to an individual’s existence. Following the PROTOness of relationship comes the importance of loving and sacrificing for one another that grooms the relationship. As LOVE – SACRIFICE & GOOD UNDERSTANDING (MATURE THINKING) coalesce the bonding in the relationship grows from strength to strength and the beauty becomes exemplary.

The Bible says,

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,

just as you are doing.

ARE YOU A GOOD NEIGHBOUR?

When we talk about the delicate issue of RELATIONSHIPS our discussions hover around bonds between spouses, friends, lovers, parents, in-laws too. But the most immediate relationship is often given a miss or rarely finds a mention in that list – Neighbours.

I think I don’t have to reiterate the importance of neighbours when there’s a commandment  in the Bible itself- Love Thy Neighbour!

Who are Neighbours? Rather who are good neighbours? Or what are default neighbour settings? Door bell rings, ding dong- “Hello can I borrow one cup of sugar? Do you have a glass of milk? We have guests at our home can we send them over? What is your son doing? When is your daughter getting married? Hope we haven’t disturbed you. Hope you were not busy.  How dare you let the speck of dust from your home flew to our gate?”  Yeah this is how a standard neighbour behaves 😁. Yeah I grew up among such amazing neighbourhood where people’s interest always lied in other’s business. In fact during my 10 years stay in Belgium I missed such intervening neighbours (😉 pun intended). And whenever I visit my brother in India the same void is fulfilled by his neighbours who always make sure that they never miss an update from what is happening within the four walls of his home 😁. I love that, I enjoy that.

Well, this was a dose of humour. But relationship with neighbours has a serious tone to it.  My father used to say “Neighbours are very important in our lives. Our friends, our relatives all stay away from us. It takes time for any information  to reach them and eventually for them to reach us. When problems, traumas, disasters strike us it’s our neighbour that attends us first”. This made a mark on my mind permanently. We often talk about Society but that’s our neighbhours and a cluster of neighbourhoods that comprise  our society, isn’t it? So cordial relationships are so important for a robust society.

On innumerable occasions I have seen my father reaching out to help neighbours without holding grudges (also fortunate enough to have had neighbours who stood by us in our thick and thins). Having seen him take a stand for others I understood that relationship between neighbours is as delicate as any other relationship that we cherish and vouch for.

How to be a good neighbour?

  • Don’t try to peep in their lives through the creeks in the walls: We all have encountered such neighbours I am sure.  But too much intervention in personal spaces serves only irritation and agitation. We live in times where people need space from parents and spouses then neighbours should behave accordingly 😁. Please don’t worry too much about the gold your neighbour buys or their kids’ education or marriage. They can take care of that.
  • Don’t hold grudges: Ususally people hold grudges for trivial issues like ” they didn’t invite us to their son’s first birthday party, we were not informed about the promotion Mr.XYZ got” and this comic list goes on.  This is human nature. But you will be called human only when you act human. When something goes wrong with your neighbour, when the need for help arises in your proximity you should act instead of taunting.  You might not be able to offer financial assistance often but then your presence also counts amidst the crises situation.  Think about it!
  • Use your tongue wisely:  Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can heal, it can hurt. We all know how and what I mean so won’t go into an explanation mode. Spreading rumours, gossiping, using foul language, talking nonsense and inflicting pain and fear are signs of the rotten mentality. Stay clear of this in both directions – neither be a spectator/ recipient nor a participant.  Use your words to soothe a person’s grief, to boost confidence, to support.  Be a good person, period! And remember Karma always catches up.

A warm greeting, a gentle smile, a sound advice (only when asked 😁), a steady hand stretched out to help – And here you are  –  A good neighbour.  Be it, Be the change you want to see and people will not only love you but might possibly follow your footsteps.

And not to miss cordial relationships with neighbours is important at all levels be it buildings or countries – just saying 😁😉.