Music Or Chair – What’s Your Choice?

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round; The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town” and the music stops and kids fight their way to get a place on the insufficient number of chairs placed in a circular configuration.

And we call it “Musical Chairs”, a fun game we all have seen and been a part of. As the number of chairs decrease the competition gets intense. Some physical dribbles, some sulking faces, few sportive acceptances, few angry stomping – all for that coveted chair of winner 😁😁.

Well that’s all fun but have a close liaison with our life, just need a deeper look, let’s have a look then.

The fight for chairs isn’t just a game in the birthday parties but a reality of our desire driven lives. Comparison with fellow human being is constantly fueling the competitive streak (not always a good spirited one though) in us. Success, position, power – the Chairs we are fighting for and resorting to every tactic we could. These chairs are placed high and have a pyramidal structure beneath them, paving a way to reach them and have two directions for the summit – one a long one and the other obviously the antonym for the previous one.

If hard work, patience, strong will, perseverance, honesty, optimism are the stairs to climb and reach the “High Chair” then deceit & envy are the second direction we were talking about earlier that can place us in a jiffy in the place we are eyeing for (remember the dribble/push/pull in the musical chairs?).

The stairs we take to climb here are surprisingly the raw material for the “Chairs” we long for. While the previous list gives us a durable product with an added perk of Goodwill that aides reconstruction in case of an accident which is a norm of an uncertain life. Success, Position, Power – all might get wiped out but with a great character a human being is always up on his feet and starts head on.

On contrary if a person takes the other route then the termites of fear, ego, greed and arrogance enter the legs of the chair we rest on, corroding it to the core from deep within. When the chair crashes the hurt is deep and probably beyond repair.

A close encounter:  Talking about the choices we make, makes me remember a snack maker from my childhood in our neighbourhood.  When we moved to that particular neighbourhood it wasn’t a busy quarter. Provisions, services were scarcely developed there and slowly evolving. So a snack maker started a small business in that area. He used to make wonderful snacks that we loved to devour. He had a good market in the absence of a stringent competition.  He was comfortable in his “Chair”.  Since change is thy life, slowly other entrepreneurs started making their space in that area. In the wake of losing out market share to them this particular snack maker started the “business” deviating from the path he chose. His quality, quantity of food deteriorated, prices soared (which is still understandable in the wake of market changes and if had been the food was great). His greed to keep the position of a higher market share purported him to take the easy steps to attain the goal. Something close to the game of musical chairs we were discussing, isn’t it?

A recurring question: A strong belief that only losers preach or put it the other way round, preaching is only for the losers. I am no one to question or answer this – a candid confession! But the question that needs to be graced with deep introspection – Are Desires Completely Undesirable/ Unacceptable? Answer is NO. If desires of a person are acting as a fulcrum for his/her upliftment, if they pave a way for greater good and emancipation of many more then they are surely a necessary driving force. BUT ( noticed the emphasis?) if our desires are robbing us of sanity, peace of mind, values and inspire us to stoop to any level to reach the zenith (a mirage), then we better leave the game and enjoy the music instead.

There’s always another party and game to play and music is there anyways, so enjoy on a reclining chair with your hair down, what say 😁.

 

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK WITH YOUR SHOES ON?

I remember as a small boy when I hear my parents or elders announce a fun trip of my interest, I get ready within no time. And the usual comment I used to get from them was like, “Uhmm… Babu, Jota Ffotta Pindhiki ekdum ready (Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with suit and boot). But I don’t used to get the same remark when I get ready for my school or was asked to visit a place that was not of my interest. They used to literally keep pushing me to make me get ready for the same. In fact, I used to hear shouts at my back, “Did you wear the shoe as yet or not?”

We always wear a shoe at the end after we get dressed fully before we start a journey leaving our comfort zone, our home. A shoe tied well around our feet implies that we are ready or prepared to set out.

So many times, in our life we must have been challenged to do something against our will or against our mental preparedness forcibly and eventually we fail to achieve or accomplish something that we were expected of. So, preparedness matters in everything we do, both mentally as well as physically.

In army fraternity, the discipline they follow from the day one, trains each one of them to stay prepared for an emergency situation inside or outside their country. That is why, when they are asked to leave their comfort zones, they do it at once, without hesitation, without asking any questions.

The Bible so appropriately says,

No one serving in the military gets mixed up in civilian matters, for his aim is to please his commanding officer.

That is called mental preparedness, stuffed with obedience and humility.

I am always reprimanded for my laid-back attitude. Being laid-back or sloppy is just the opposite preparedness. I know, I have suffered and struggled for being sloppy in my life, I truly regret it. But I am striving to stay read or prepared wearing my shoes around my feet well before the arrival of worst days.

Keeping aside the personal level of preparedness if I want to give an example of a larger scale then I would love to mention the preparedness of Odisha Govt. during different cyclones that the state faced in the past. I can proudly say, that the state of Odisha has always been prepared for any cyclone after it suffered a lot in the past.

There were reports, that before cyclone Phailin hit the coastal regions of Odisha, there was a record-breaking evacuation took place to safeguard human lives and the state Govt was highly praised for their preparedness. Even during cyclone Fani in 2019 the report says the same thing about the promptness of Odisha govt., unlike to the loss of human lives in 1999 super-cycle because of the unpreparedness.

This is just an example of state level preparedness but coming back to the individual level if we look around, we can find ample number of such examples that make us understand how preparedness can help us at difficult times.

In closing, I wonder, if I am prepared when I am needed to stand in the gap between a father and a son and be the agent of reconciliation! I wonder, if I am prepared to stoop down to the level of a poor and deprived and lift him up from down! I wonder, if I am ready to wear the shoes of someone else and understand the pain the other person is going through!

I wonder, if someone is still saying at my back, “Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with his suit and boot”!

Stay Blessed!

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME

I heard the calm sea even before I tasted it. Yes, I relished the moist, dense, salted air with mouthfuls of breaths. And there was that smell, that raw, seaweed aroma that brought with it another kind of scent; a scent too familiar, too nostalgic—the fragrance of my fathers’ heady cologne.

I opened my eyes; a seven-year-old me was holding my father’s hand, the ankles of his trousers rolled up to his calves as he held my hand while I pulled him towards the sea. I laughed as the waves rolled under my feet, and the soft sand slipped, squishing between my toes, creating an illusion of the moving Earth.

Papa laughed along and picked me in his arms, taking me back to the resort, where the Flamingos strolled around the lagoon. I look at him and sulk, making a pout he adored.

You have been gone so long, why didn’t you call. I have been waiting.” I complained as he put me down by the lagoon, pointing to a pair of pink flamingos that made me squeal with delight.

Papa, will we come here again?” I asked him as I tried to near one of the pink, exquisite birds.

He nodded with enthusiasm and kissed me, “Every year if you like it so much here.” he said. I needed nothing more. I looked around for my mother, who was approaching me with a camera in her hand. She tried to take a few pictures with the flamingos and me in the same frame.

I clapped, and just then I slipped into the lagoon, sinking lower and lower into the depths of the water. I struggled to breathe, flapped my arms to get to the surface but was drowning fast, and when I thought this is the end, a hand grabbed my shirt and pulled me out.

I woke up from my dream struggling for breath, covered in sweat as I looked around madly for my father. He was not there; he was nowhere, but in my thoughts, in my memories and my heart.

I went to Fishermans Cove, a resort in Mahabalipuram with my parents as a kid. On the same trip, I drowned in a swimming pool, and my father pulled me out. I had seen flamingos for the first time in my life there and had believed we would visit it again and again. I know I won’t go there ever again, and flamingos will always bring back a slight smile to my face.

The days I miss my father too much, he comes to visit me in my dreams. I guess the only lesson here is that those who die never really leave us behind. A part of them lives inside us, forever.

 

A LOVE WOUNDED RIN ALONGSIDE THE LOVE COMFORTED RIN

PROMPT: Standing in front of the mirror, she didn’t like what she saw…

Standing in front of the mirror, she didn’t like what she saw, while cleaning her face Rin’s eyes caught her age-old wounds. The red cut mark on her beautiful pink lips reminded her of those 5 years of ill-advised marriage life and the pain of physical abuse. Her beautiful day started falling like a pack of cards, divorced Rin fell back on the bed with teary eyes and questioned “IS THIS MY REWARD FOR LOVING HIM?”

The outside wounds were healed yet the inner wounds were bleeding!

Meanwhile, the voice of God reminded from her morning Bible reading,

“God’s steadfast love endures forever for everyone.” 

Rin bloomed and her teary Sunday evening turned into a blissful rainy evening enjoying the pitter-patter raindrops outside, producing the petrichor. Her heart started humming the old English hymn “HE DIDN’T THROW THE CLAY AWAY” in-recognition of the Agape Love that comforted her.

 

 

 

 

THE STALKER

PROMPT: She opened the library book and found a photo in it…

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(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

She opened the library book and found a photo in it. It was her and her ex-boyfriend. Scared, she held the photo and looked around. Her ex was standing behind the iron shelf. She wanted to run out of the library. Just then, her husband came in with tiffin. They were working in the same college and recently got married. He was an English Lecturer, while she was a librarian. Her husband sensed something and saw the photo she tried to hide. “Thank God you didn’t marry this dude!” He laughed and rushed across to where her ex was standing. “Stop stalking my wife. I know everything about you two and your past. Don’t come in our way now, she’s my present and my future. Now go back to your IT lab, students are waiting.

Happily, she held her husband’s arm and said, “Come, darling, let’s have lunch.”

 

 

 

BLASTING WEDDING CELEBRATION

She looked into the mirror and didn’t like what she saw. The eyeliner wasn’t proper. It’s her wedding day and she wanted to look perfect. The groom’s party would be on the way. There’s festive atmosphere all around and she’s yet to be ready.
 
Her father was teary-eyed when he saw her coming out finally. She was looking like a beautiful princess. Everything was so perfect till her mother rushed into the room sobbing… “There’s a bomb blast on the road where the baraat had to pass. They’re uncontactable.”
 
The world around her came crashing down as she fainted and was taken to the hospital. 
 
When she woke up, she found, on the bed next to her was lying her fiance smiling at her, “I’m just little injured but still in one piece… God saves my sweetheart… And trust me, we’ll have a blasting wedding celebration.” They’d a hearty laugh.

IT SPELLED HOPE!

Prompt: He opened the library book and found a photo in it…

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(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

He opened the library book and found a photo in it. Koshi smiled with a light sigh as he realised how the photograph spoke to his present situation.

The letter that had greeted him that morning read thus –

“The management deeply regrets having to inform you that your services stand terminated with effect from the first day of the next month. You will be adequately compensated as per the conditions of service.”

It left him speechless. He felt his hands and feet go numb. As a lump formed in his throat, he mustered enough strength to walk out of the office building into the library across the road.

He didn’t intend to read anything that day. He couldn’t.

With thoughts ricocheting within his head, he grabbed a book from the topmost shelf and opened it to find a fascinating photograph of a rainbow in a cloudless sky.

It spelled HOPE!