SHUT UP PLEASE!!

I talk, quite easily, hopefully effectively too 😜 but sometimes way too much. I am an extrovert, stark different to me is my husband – introvert. I remember how he used to pull me aside (not literally but more with gestures like signaling or a hush hush warning) and say “bas bhi karo” (enough is enough) when I would go on an endless errand of talking and talking and talking and had no company but mere silent spectators / listeners. It was a gentle way of saying “Shut Up Please”. Now after 11 years of companionship I think (I can’t be my judge you see) I have well mended my ways 😁.

Talking (can’t help 😁) about my characteristic trait – a chatter box, reminds me of an embarrassing situation which was more scary in nature to be precise for a newly wedded bride at her in-laws place when mind and tongue are not in sync.

I was in India for few months right after my marriage due to Visa issues. And like any newly married girl I was getting myself acquainted with the relatives and the relations, an important exercise. And watching TV serials could be a good bonding formula with mother in law. And while exercising that ritual, I let my tongue loose just as the logic in the TV serials and called the actor “Idiot”. My word to word dialogue – “what an idiot he is”, and that was quite loud. And in a fraction of second I realised what blunder I have just committed in my wake to be honest 😁. The actor was my mother in law’s brother (yes he is quite rich to produce and act in his own series). No prizes to guess how tense the room was then. My mother in law didn’t say a word, seemed to be stunned and I could only meekly say “sorry, said out of habit”. And rushed out of the room, tried to avoid interaction at least for few hours. If that wasn’t enough idiotic I confessed to my brother in law that I am really sorry for not realising what I am saying and completely forgot that he is his maternal uncle. “What are you talking about? I haven’t heard anything” he replied and I had my tongue in cheek. Fortunately my mother in law being a gentle and sweet person, would have understood what allergy people of my generation might have watching daily soaps 😜 didn’t drag her feet on the issue and nothing dramatic or drastic happened. And on this date she trusts me and confides in me completely. A happy state to be😊.

This is not the only incident when my tongue behaved like a rogue and my face needed a hideout. From bursting out (read back bitching) about a teacher that too while in notice of his colleagues to calling classmates of a dear friend “dumb” and on confrontation telling that friend that “dumb” means “not trustworthy” (cough cough, excuse me for my excellent vocabulary as I was quite young then) and everything (lot more) in between, embarrassment has been my constant consort.

These incidents seemingly funny now on paper have been good lessons to me : It’s ok to be friendly and let your hair down but not your guard while talking, talking too much, giving away a piece of your heart and mind more than asked for or even not needed could always lead to OOPS moments and troubles too.

Guard that gold (silence) and spend the silver (speech) more wisely. Learn to Shut that chatter box😜.

AND CANDLES ONLINE HAPPENED….

When journey begins with simple conversations

Close to 7-8 years back, I was going through a period of distress in my personal life. Writing greatly heals me so I started my own blog for which I wasn’t getting any readership. I started browsing looking for platforms where I could publish my blogs. I came across an interesting article on Wrytestuff.com (another blogging website like Candlesonline). The article spoke about how connecting with God really helps. Since I was going through a hardship, I found the article really helpful. I posted a comment on the article thanking the author for bringing some inspiration in my life. Along with this, I too registered myself as an author on wrytestuff and started blogging endlessly.

For a few weeks, I did not get a reply on that comment. I was checking it quite regularly because I really wanted to connect with this author. I almost thought this guy must be some established author, maybe too arrogant to reply to a petty comment on his article. But one day he replied and to my surprise, it was a very warm and friendly reply. He mentioned that he was away and had not logged into this website for certain reasons. He too became regular with his blogging and we started following each other quite regularly. Wrytestuff had certain assignments for the writers, I remember waiting for his article so that we could talk about it. There was no whatsapp those days, so we used to chat over Facebook and gtalk.

Needless to say we had endless discussions, debates, generation of new ideas and fun together. One thing led to the other and I contributed to Candles for the first time on his request. At that time candles was a printed version. I was very surprised to see his dedication over getting Candles printed and distributed as much as he could in his personal capacity. Eventually in July 2015, candles online was born. And he catered to it like a baby. Right from designing the logo, bringing up the website, hunting for writers, keeping the writers family close and connected, basically being a great leader to Candles – he did everything. I am so glad that I am connected to him as a friend. Of course, I am talking about Chiradeep.

I wrote one of the first few articles. At that time, the Candles family was really a small one. Chiradeep used to discuss the topic for next week and we used to brainstorm together. A couple of years later, I got really busy with my work and my contribution to Candles reduced. However, by then the Candles family had grown with a lot of talent. We kept churning out articles every week and reading was such a pleasure. We did story relays, debates, picture captions. All credits to our boss – Chiradeep for coming up amazing ideas. I am so proud to be a part of this family. We have fun with each other, we tease each other, we support each other and we write together.

IN AN ENVELOPE …

To be honest with you all, I am not a materialistic person. Having said that, I have certain gifts, handwritten letters and memento’s which are dear to me. The top two things I really love out of those are: a letter written by my Mom when I was studying in a hostel, the second one is a mechanical keyboard I received. Apart from these, there is something else that is really close to me.

A few years ago, I topped the public examinations. Though I stood first in our school district, it secured me a rank in the top ten in our state. Every year my parent’s organization had sports events and during the award ceremony they also give away academic excellence awards. Our family was traveling out of town during the event, so, I could not attend the award ceremony. After we came back from our trip, my father returned from the office with an envelope.

Aastha, come here. Here is what they had to give you on the ceremony day. Take it.”. It was a white coloured envelope just like the ones we have at offices and banks. I was expecting a memento or a certificate of excellence. I eagerly opened the envelope to find a 500 Rupee note. 500 Rupee note was newly introduced then, and I was happy to have one with me. I kept the envelope in the drawer chest of my reading table. Often, I used to take out the note and keep staring at it.

It was not my first salary. It was not a gift or pocket money I received. It was a recognition of my academic knowledge and that mattered to me. A few months later, my father asked me if I would want the money to be deposited in the bank. I did not agree to that. Whenever I used to feel sad, disturbed or hurt, the only thing I do is to stare at that note. It served as an inspiration for me for many years. It was along with me when I left home for hostel, after that when I relocated to Hyderabad for my job. I was staying as a paying guest back then and usually, they aren’t secure places, so, I may lose it. I brought it back home when I came for holidays. My father noticed the note in the envelope I was holding in my hand… “You have your own salary account now, maybe it’s time to deposit it“. said he..

It was never money for me. Of course, 500 rupees for a 12-year-old matters. It can buy lot of chocolates, books, oil-painting kit, a dress or shoes of my liking. I never chose to spend that money. The respect I have for that 500 rupee note never changed even after I started earning thousands of rupees. I have seen and had many 500 rupee notes, but none gave me the same kick as that note. In the year of 2016 Indian government has banned all higher denomination notes. I have none to deposit back, but my dad being my dad had to ask me if I have notes to deposit. I replied to him that I don’t have any… He then reminded me of that 500 rupee note in the envelope. We had a good laugh. I totally forgot about that note, though several thoughts were rolling over my mind, I requested him not to deposit that note.

If I would have deposited that note, it would have had a value of 500, but I didn’t. Some times I wonder if that was turned into money, would it have helped someone. I don’t know, I don’t know for sure. I could not let go off that note. Even today, when I hold that note in my hand, the feeling is exactly same. It’s much more than nostalgia.

THE REFLECTION OF LOVE

My faded wrist watch – the letter from my friend – a particular Ten rupee note – Nokia 1200 basic phone – hand-made woolen Doll – my broken Acer laptop – a torn English Bible and my collection of books. Yes, these are some of the things on earth, I love the most and would never like to share with anyone. I would never hesitate to tag them #myproperty! Especially, the wristwatch, the letter and the ten rupee note.

It’s been 6yrs, I love to wear the same old faded watch every day, though I have two other brand – new more expensive watches. It is the first gift I received at my first workplace. At times, I won’t hesitate to take 5/- loan from someone rather than spending that particular 10/- note in my wallet because it is a gift from someone!

One of the principles I adopted in my life is – NEVER COMPROMISE WITH YOUR GIFTS. Because the gift is always the expression of our love for someone and LOVE is the greatest of all godly characters.

God loves us & has engraved His love on our hearts to reflect it through our life on earth. In one line, “WE ARE THE LOVE LETTERS OF GOD”.   

On 2nd January evening, my friend’s grandmother gifted me a small hand-made woolen doll which she made for me and said, ‘Son, I don’t know whether I will be alive to see your kids, this is a small gift for your first child. Please accept it and remember me’. The doll she gifted may not look that fancy like the toys from Hamleys store but the LOVE, the EMOTIONS and her THOUGHTS for me wrapped in the doll is heavenly. I will never forget that emotional moment, the smile of her face, the love sparkling through her eyes and her words for me, they are honest and beautiful.       

One of my secret hobbies is the collection and storing of memories. Often, when I feel lonely I browse those lifeless pieces of stuff, I see the pictures of my family and my two best friends and read our old chat histories. Lifeless things are often the reflection of love and relationship we have with someone. It not only reflects their love but also reminds us to LOVE them despite all hurts.

We express our love once but the memory reflects it eternally!

I HAVE A MINI STATIONERY STORE…

Last year in December, Saakshi asked me, “Bhaiya, what can I gift you in the New Year.” I discouraged her saying I don’t need anything but she kept on insisting me like a kid as usual. Finally, I asked her to gift me an Organizer. And now I have that new one when I still have a nice pocket size diary gifted by Rajnandini couple of years back.

Yeah, I have a weakness towards all kinds of stationeries especially diaries, notebooks, stick notes, writing pads and different types of pens. I have these things stored with me for years whether I use them or not… I keep them with me. Everytime my wife sees them and wants them to throw away, I ask her not to do anything like that. If you check my diaries there will be many pages unused yet I don’t throw them away.

I have felt, I have a keen attachment or interest in those plain sheets of papers either loose ones or in the form of a notebook and diary. I don’t like to write something in a used sheet but in a sheet which nothing has been written. Plain sheets of papers in a diary or notebook inspire me to write something new, something interesting, something very different. They motivate me to jot down a Bible Sermon preached in the church, they induce the desire to note down something that I feel important.

I keep a number of different broken and usable as well as unusable pens in a small bag. Though I am not sure whether I will find them right away if I am asked to show them. But I store, keep and preserve them. 

Apart from diaries, notebooks and pens I have bookmarks, small cards, clips, envelopes, stickers, mugs, designer candles, small plastic or tin boxes, plastic spoons, and knives etc., with me. I don’t know why stationeries allure me so much to them. I just love their shapes, sizes, and colours and thus I just store them with me. I don’t have a habit of collecting them regularly but whenever something I like I keep them for years in my mini stationery store (not so organized as shown in the featured pic – collected from Google Inc.)

There are many other things that I keep as a memory. I never give away any gifts that I receive from my loved ones. I literally treasure them even if they are broken and unusable. My this attitude reminds me one of God’s characters which is mentioned in the Bible:

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

He keeps us safe and sound and takes care of us even when we are so sinful and unusable for Him at times. He never forgets to restore us, preserve us and protect us. 

Stay Blessed!

ATTACHED TO MY MEMENTOS

Preserving souvenirs has always been my habit since teenage. I preserved every letter that I used to receive. For any chocolate that was gifted to me,  I used to preserve the wrapper. My diary notes, my to-do lists, greeting cards, newspaper articles that I liked, magazines… the list is endless. I still have the special edition of the newspaper on the Golden Jubilee of our nation’s Independence Day.  I even have the wake-up notes that I used to put up on my room’s door for my parents to wake me up as I used to study till late night. From small pebbles with a different appearance that I got from a couple of places to Deodar leaves I brought from Patnitop,  I have a lot of items in my memento folder. Years later, when I grew up, I started collecting the restaurant bills, especially when I ate with my husband before marriage. And now when I have kids, my focus has shifted to them as I have preserved their clamps from umbilical cords,  their first sippers, first birthday candles, milk teeth, scribblings, drawings, etc.

My memento folder is precious to me and yes I am attached to it,  though not too emotional about it simultaneously. I just love keeping them and feel great on having a look at those things after ages. Yes,  I was too emotional earlier for my stuff, but my thinking skewed a bit because of my husband. He says one shouldn’t be emotionally attached to non-living things as they are temporary. So,  your first bike, car, or house isn’t going to be forever with you, or you are not going to stick with those forever.

Children also get attached to their toys. There is one special toy which they will tag along wherever they go. But,  as they grow up, they develop new interests and forget about those special toys. We should also learn from kids and shouldn’t be too attached to non-living things. Because at the end people matter,  not material things.

I KEEP COUNTING

What would you call a person who gets upset at the simplest things like losing a single spoon from the cutlery set or a porcelain plate crashing to pieces? Emotional or Maniac?  I think the second one fits the bill better. And I fall into the second category 🙈.  Such trivial things could upset me, sometimes to an extent that I nag my partner to grant me the permission of shopping again😁.  Because a set shouldn’t be disturbed – as if the other spoons are going to ask me about their lost relatives 😂😂.

Over the years I have started letting down my hair and not to react so much to a lost spoon or spoiled mat, courtesy: Kids. They have taught me “Mom why to worry about a mere mat when you have spoiled mattress there” 😂😂.  I have started taking things lying down and that’s good for my blood pressure 😂).

Well, that was all in light vein. If there is someTHING(s) that really moves me emotionally, that happens to be Photographs, for there are numerous memories associated with them. And since I am from the generation of camera and a roll, my memories span about two decades 😂😂.

What Memories? How funny we used to look, how awful our fashion sense used to be, what games we used to play, our favourite hangout, our hideout, fractured bones, medals won, fights ensued, our secrets, Mom’s delicacies,  Dad’s affection, first crush, first job, marriage, kids … I can go on.

Photographs are my escape to my past, my moments – moments that I have enjoyed but can’t relive, moments that I want to treasure for life. Photographs are precious to me (especially the ones taken with a camera because once lost can’t be retrieved from the cloud 😂😂), they relax me and spread a happy curve on my face.

My habit of counting and worrying over spoons, glasses, clothes might die a silent death someday but I can’t stop counting the moments I cherished and memories I made with my family, my siblings, my friends, my kids. Photographs make it possible for me.

NOTE: Guard your photographs well. If jewellery is lost you can get the exact or even a better model but if photographs are lost you won’t get the exact moment recreated, IMPOSSIBLE!