THE PRESENT OF PRESENCE

Click . . . click click . . .
Click . . . click click . . .
Went my fingers on the mouse,
As I browsed to select the perfect bunch of roses for my aunt’s house.

A call in the morning to wish her a happy wedding anniversary,
And a bouquet of lovely flowers in the evening to end the day’s story,
Seemed the perfect greeting on my inventory,
In place of climbing up the stairs to their house on the third-storey.

All done, I was waiting for the thank-you call,
And praises for my thoughtfulness from one and all,
The happiness caused by a gesture small,
Would surely me a great deal enthrall!

‘Hello’ . . . said I at the very first ring,
Hoping that my aunt would in joy, dance and sing,
Expressing the pleasure that the flowers did bring,
Striking afresh love’s new melodious string.

Truly joyful were the couple with the bouquet in their hands,
As they resolved to forever with each other stand,
No matter if the days ahead were stormy or bland,
They would rejoice and make their lives a warm love land.

As happy as I was to hear the tinkle in their voices,
I remembered over the years their smart intelligent choices,
And lo came my aunt’s sweet enchanting voice,
‘Your selection was a good choice!

Thrilled we’d have been to see you at our door,
With those lovely flowers in your hand and nothing more,
To see you would have been a loving gesture of care,
That’s all we need in this old age nightmare!’

Stunned was I at the humble revelation,
Crashed down from heights of glory to the rock foundation,
Indeed the warm touch of a human hand,
Means so much more than gifts so grand!

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ADDING COLOUR TO LIFE IS IN OUR HANDS

Yesterday was a family day. The day when families of all our team members get together to celebrate. In my career so far, there have been quite a few family days but I never attended one.

A month ago when our Engineering Director called for a meeting, I had very little clue about what was ahead of me. People who were called for that meeting were chosen as organisers for family day. What? I cannot attend family day, let alone organising it. I stayed calm for the entire meeting and told my Director, “I am on leave for a couple of weeks, but I can help with the planning as much as possible”. A date was not finalised for when the family day is going to be and I secretly wished it falls during my vacation.

A team of 5 were to chosen to handle a massive team and extended family of 300 people. This job was not going to be easy. As much as I wanted to stay away from it, I couldn’t do so.  When it was time to finalise the date, there were two options, one during my vacation and the other one right after my vacation. I requested the organising team to not choose the date based on my vacation, but eventually, it happened so that the date was after I return from my vacation. 

Before I went on vacation, I thought of finalising most of the stuff, because when I am on vacation, I may not be able to respond to messages or take calls. As most of the things were sorted out, I went for my vacation rather relieved. By the time I was back in office, the organising team had done a wonderful job in procuring props, gifts and also the logistics. Last Wednesday, we went through the list once again, cross-checked the schedule and distributed our respective responsibilities. 

Wednesday I came home and still wondered if there was any way I could escape from attending the family day. I have a reason that I cannot disclose here, but the gist of it is that I don’t like to lie. I can give some reason to not attend family day, but being an organiser I did not want to disappoint anyone. I had a rough day on Thursday personally. I was quite disturbed and sleepless. Friday wasn’t great either. I was literally exhausted by Friday evening, almost cursing my life for the way it is in some respects. 

I had very disturbed sleep on Friday night as well and eventually, I woke up at 3.30. Today is a family day and I still not have made up my mind on attending it. Believe me, I sat on my bed wondering on the same till 7 in the morning. Various thoughts were doing rounds in my head – I have to drive for 50 km one way on a two-wheeler, I don’t know the route, haven’t had proper sleep, not in a good mood – how can I go out there and be normal ?? 

Something strange happened then at that moment, a thought that is extremely opposite to what I have been thinking. What if, just what if I set aside all these things for a few hours to entertain my extended family? Can’t I do so much? All I have to do is to switch off these thoughts for a few hours and just go out there. It is almost 7.45 am now if I quickly get ready and start, I might reach the venue by 9.45. Though I am supposed to be there by 8.30 as per schedule, I might be there by 10 am for sure. I messaged in the organising group that I would be reaching at around 10 so that they are informed. With no time to waste, I tried to stay on schedule. I reached the venue at 9.50 am, bang on!! 

My other organising counterparts were already on their jobs and they seemed relieved seeing me there.  It was 10.15 am when the families finished breakfast and gathered by the poolside venue for the fun events to start. Once I took the mike, and started off, trust me I forgot everything that was bothering me till then. The next 3 hours, I really did not think of anything else. Unfortunately, some of the props that we had ordered for some games have not arrived. Had to plan some spontaneous games but everything went well. Music, dance, games, laughter and lots of fun. 

After 3 hours, I felt dizzy and completely out of energy. I had a chocolate that was lying on the table. I looked around to notice empty space as families left to have lunch. The lonesomeness – the naked truth of my life was back with me. I had lunch alone, and took a seat under the shade wondering what would I do for the second half? The second half was time for families to enjoy the pool and resort activities. As I walked back to our venue, I noticed some kids painting and sketching. We have set up few desks for arts and crafts so that kids can unwind their creativity. I happily sat there and spent the rest of my time with kids, no,  budding artists and painters… 🙂

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

By the end of the day, it felt good when people appreciated the effort we put in. They enjoyed well and quite a few people applauded how everything was well organised. Some called me multi-faceted, some said I am a good orator and so on… It felt good. I would have really missed all this, if I would have succumbed to how sad I was or the thought that I might feel lonely when all others are enjoying with their families. If I would not have been the organiser, maybe I would not have been there and spent most of my day feeling sad. When I feel sad next time, I am just going to go out and spend some quality time somewhere instead of my home and try to forget everything else that is bothering me. A lesson learnt in practicals 🙂

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: MAKE AMENDS AND CONTINUE IN LOVE

Looking around me, all I can see brokenness everywhere. When I see my friends, my family members and how all of them are going through difficult times my heart sinks down. And in that background writing an article on reconcilliation seems very articfial. But being called to be peaceloving person and a peacemaker, I am always up for reconciliation even when I don’t see a glimpse of hope in a strained relationship.

Let’s get back to the topic.

When psychologist Ryan Howes was asked in a given situation whether a person can forgive and reconcile, his response was – “You can still forgive. Reconciliation is a separate issue“. And he was absolutely right.

He also quotes famous author Lewis Benedictus Smedes who said in his book ‘Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve’ that – “It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.”

All the last SIX factors of reconciliation that we all read till now in this current week can be carried out one sidedly by a person who feels the need of reconciling with his/her loved one but the last factor needs TWO persons to join hands and move ahead to stay reconciled. And history says at this point, many go back to ground zero losing the battle of reconciliation or restoring a broken relationship.

Let’s analyse the phrase ‘making amends‘. The synonym for making amends is Restitution. The legal meaning of restitution isan order given by a judge to a convicted criminal to make amends for the crime where the judges often order people to pay restitution for the damage they cause. But to mend a broken relationship there’s no need of judiciary system but a system of heart and of love which inspire partners, family members, friends to make amends, restitute and cling to each other thereby, reconciling.

The system of love is as the Bible defines it, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The above concept of love is completely different from what the world teaches us today. Restitution or making amends is not possible unless we have this kind of love. The new law of a reconciled relationship demands me to make amends with my loved one by being patient with him or her which I lacked a lot previously; by being compassionate to my loved one which I failed often in the past; I have to make amends by not being envious, not being boastful or proud or dishonour or be selfish. I have to make amends with my loved one by compensating something which I lacked previously.

Many couples gather strength to reconcile and complete all 6 factors but they step back when they are asked to compensate their wrong, make amends and continue in love. Many times, I myself have lost the battles of making amends with my loved ones, with my wife and continue in love further. I pretend that I am happy and in love yet, I feel empty and deceived. There are many I know that are suffering with pretension and live their lives… They somehow live together but their hearts stay far apart from each other. They try to make amends and reconcile truthfully but they fail.

Friends! Trust me, it is not at all easy. Fogiving and moving ahead seems much easier than making amends and staying in love after reconciling a broken relationship. But the source of love, the creator God always helps us to understand LOVE and its effectiveness in any of our earthly relationships.

At the end, I can just give a simple advice of making a list of the things that can help us to make amends and try one after the other daily, trusting the Almighty and prayerfully staying in love in a reconciled relationship.

Stay blessed!

WHO IS THE WISE ONE?

No soul is happy with what they
have or with what they are served,
greed and ego minaciously make this
bag of bones worthless and undeserved.

No soul is tranquil with the love they have
or with the care they spread,
lust and loathe meticulously craft their
filthy claws in their heads.

No soul is apologetic enough to
accept their faults or to show concerns,
false pride and arrogance tenaciously
covers their eyes with thick curtains.

No soul is bold enough to hold the truth
or to stand up for what they believe in,
society and culture ingloriously tie their
tongue and turn a blind eye for every sin.

What will it take to be happy, tranquil and peacefully in love?
What will it take to accept the unadulterated truth?
What will it take to be brave and not bother about the manipulative minacious lies of the society?

The answers to all these lie hidden deep within those souls,
Yet, only a man of understanding draws them out
Of the thoughts of a person’s heart
Which are like deep waters.

“The occasional mellow
calmness of the mind
amidst brilliant busy sparks,
spells Hope for the human heart.”

IF THEY CAN’T BE SMART, YOU HAVE TO BE SENSIBLE

Why are you so obsessed about photographs?” asks my irked husband whenever I ask him to click me (only on occasions called festivals).  And I am ever ready with my taunts “why not? My sister, my sister-in-law, my friends – everyone gets clicked, and not just once but hundreds of trial and error shots, I only ask you once but you have a problem with everything I request (command, let’s leave it 😁)” and it depends on mood swings of the other party whether  to continue the taunt parade or call it quits. But the fact is he and me, both of us know why I want to squeeze in the memory of phone storage, simple! only to display the best one on FB 😂😂  and to count the likes and comments ensuing.  And I admit that I am guilty of liking to be “liked“.

I mostly complimented on my smile. I am angry with Chiradeep at this point for giving me this surprise question/task 😡, just kidding.

What’s the secret? It’s just that I believe in this: A hug should be warm; A wish should be heartfelt; A smile should be infectious”.

If warmth and love are missing, then everything you do – a hug, a wish, a smile – are nothing but gestures covering your pretence.  I know for some reason that when I smile (not to the camera/mirror😁) at someone, for instance, greeting fellow parents at my daughter’s school, neighbours, for that matter a fellow passenger in bus who is a complete stranger, it’s the same positivity or happy vibe that I get reciprocated with. A simple thumb rule of life…at least what I believe and try to inculcate always – YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE.  So I have decided to “Smile” to keep the negativity at bay.

No rule is without exception: Do my Facebook page show you the “True Me”?  Do I smile 24×7 (a question is invalid, to say the least)? No! I have other faces which rarely people get to see. There are instances when my smile could be a pretence or a mere smirk because other options to speak out my heart are closed. I feel like shouting letting my disapproval known, I feel like rolling my eyes showing my disinterest in the person or conversation. But I fail to do so on numerous occasions, especially when family and relations are involved. And most importantly I find it really hard to say “NO” lest I make them unhappy, I break the harmony of the atmosphere. A recent example: Everyday when I return to home after dropping my daughter at school I have to pass a cafe. The owner of the cafe, a middle-aged man became my acquaintance after he noticed me for a few days. Things were fine till cordial exchange of pleasantries. But then he started inviting me to his cafe to have a cup of coffee. He was quite persistent in his urge. And I declined politely every day as I  always have heaps of chores to finish off at home. I was like always smiling and putting down his offer as gently as I could.  I didn’t want to hurt him or rude at him but after some time I could feel the irritation running in my veins on locating him. I even took a long route to avoid seeing him. Though nothing personal, though he meant business only in a very literal sense it irritates to me no end that people fail to decipher beyond the smile, beyond excuses that there could be a strong reason or a problem doing rounds in our lives. It’s not just him, I know people (more than acquaintances) who see the gloss but reluctant to see and accept the pain underlining other’s life. “Grass is always greener on the other side” so true.

Shall I trend a path more unlike me? My friend Chiradeep asked me “Can you ever be harsh on anyone?” Yes, I can be but only with people who see my true emotion without judging me and without holding any grudge against me. My siblings, my kids (kids pure souls and smart indeed) – perhaps the people who know me in and out. I can be me with them. And with others, I choose a more diplomatic way of dealing things – avoid conversation and if it’s not possible to avoid an argument. It’s not about safeguarding my image but I feel hurting someone in the spur of the moment is a foolishness when it doesn’t serve any good big time, period! Because to damage is easy than to build.

Bringing it to an end “I wish people are smart enough to read between the lines, if not so let me be more sensible“.

ATLAS ON MY SHOULDER

Sometimes I assume
I am carrying problems
on my shoulder
rather than the actual weight
my shoulders hunch
as nobody tells them to relax
my world is an emotional baggage
of what I don’t see
and what I see
yet I have chosen not to unload
I have become used
with this excess baggage that
it has become comfortable to carry
I have forgotten to enjoy a ride
with less baggage…

Sometimes I carry a hidden baggage
of anger, fear, and sadness
that sneaks up on me
and ambush me out of nowhere…

I want to get rid
of that old baggage
that I carry every day
on my shoulders
I wrote a list of my impacts
and tucked it into my purse
little did I realize that
the old baggage I am carrying
day in and day out
has been holding me back
from maximizing my potential…

I finally gathered the courage
to let this emotional baggage go
I tore the list into pieces
and dumped into the trash
my shoulder is
no more burdened
with the weight
my heart is light
like an infant smile
I am moving forward
less weighted down
by the past…