WHAT’S MY WORTH?

(Captured by Chiradeep Patra)

This picture was captured by me on 26th November 2014 at 7:44 AM in the morning. It was a beautiful winter morning and I took my Nikon camera and focussed this wrapper that was shining in the sun rays on a roof of a building adjacent to our flat.

What attracted me to capture this useless wrapper? It was the purple colour with its name ‘Cadbury – Dairy Milk’ printed on the wrapper and the golden sun rays reflected through it allured me to capture it.

As I was thinking about this image something struck me instantly. This wrapper of a very popular brand of chocolate looks so beautiful yet, as it was an empty wrapper it had no value. Probably, after capturing I never even looked back at that wrapper again. It must have blown away by the winter breeze the very next minute.

How often we find ourselves similar to that empty wrapper? Shining yet, valueless. Unless we have something to impart to others we won’t be valued. It is the combination of our willingness to learn and God’s grace makes us worthy of some value.

Keep pondering and keep reading,

Stay Blessed!

CAPTURED MEMORIES….

Today’s article is going to be my biggest article. You know why? Because it is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” 🙂 Sometimes I wonder that pictures are such magic. I mean just think about a moment in the fabric of time that happened years ago is captured on film and we can just take a look at it and relive that memory again whenever we lay our eyes on it. I can see people who have left me forever; I can see my grandfather and grandmother smiling at me. I can see a little me in my father’s lap who has left for his heavenly abode. I can see my uncle in one of them, he is so happy and full of enthusiasm, though today he is a going through unfortunate and grave circumstances. I can see my mother in one of them with such calm on her face. When the last time I saw her this peaceful? Can’t remember.

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This is a picture of my father, this is how I remember him. Sitting behind a desk full of files and paperwork. Wearing a crisp shirt in whites with a tie and glasses. Happiest when he was working. I wish to be more like him, that dedicated and that perfect. He was the perfect example of Simple Living and High Thinking. He made me realise that I am better than billions and happiness can be found when I look at people below me not above me. That my task is to help the ones who are below and lift them, never considering what I don’t have and always being grateful for what all I already have.

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This is my grandfather, he is sitting on our balcony, peeling apples. He was a man who had seen wealth beyond means. His parents had carriage in silver. But then he saw destitution as well. Such poverty that his family(my father and his brothers and mother) ate chapati with salted water. But he never gave up, he taught them how to be happy in hard times and how to be satiated in less. Even when we were well-off, he bought things only after driving a hard bargain and cooking them with utmost love and care. He taught me never to waste money and that the value of Rs 100 depends on whether you have earned it or gonna spend it.

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This is my mother. This picture was taken on a trip to Jaipur, in a hotel called Ram Bagh Palace. She used to be a tomboy before marriage. She knew how to drive and did all household work usually done by men. She is now an entirely different person. One who has the very limited stamina and gets tires easily. But she is a rock of courage. The way she handles everything after my father’s passing, I never expected it from her. She showed she was made of solid Iron heart. The way she manages the house, money, health and me is incredible. Sometimes I look into her eyes and look for that tomboyish girl, and I smile cause that gal is still somewhere in there. She is a young at heart person, and that is what kept her going through all tough times. 

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She is my Grandma. I used to call her Amma. She was a woman beyond her years. She used to read newspaper and books. She had such powerful GK that she beat us all to random trivia. And she told beautiful stories. She lost two sons within two months. One was her strength and other her weakness. Her youngest son out of the three was Autistic and used to have fits. But she never gave up on him, she fought for him until his dying day. And when he passed, she shed tears just like she did for my father. She taught me that a mother’s love is for all her children. She loves them all equally, and she is the only one to whom their worldly achievements and name are of no relevance when it comes to caring and loving. I felt her pain in my heart when I used to see her cry for my sick uncle. Her grief was one of the utterly broken and miserable. 

I was asked to write an article on pictures. All the writers have given excellent write ups. But I chose to write about my family. I hope you all understood my reasons. I wanted to convey that a person’s first school of morals and values is her/his home. I shared with you the lessons and ethics given to me by them all. Hope I was able to reach out to you all. 

Love Your Family!

FINDING A PERFECT SUNSET

It had been an uncertain time for Ryan. Life was in a state of flux. As he was in a new job, a new place, and a new set of people he was anxious. The tension of the situation got to him and he had a tiff with his dad.

He stormed out of his room and just followed the path not bothering about the directions. The sultry day had started to grow mild.  A light breeze greeted him, blowing through his unkempt hair. It was late evening and sunset approached. His thoughts kept oscillating between the past and present. May be he was over thinking, after all change was natural.

He passed by a few ducks and swans enjoying their swim in a pond as the light faded away carrying away the heat.  He saw another pond as he walked further.  His breathing grew slower and he felt calmer as he saw the reddish- orange hues of the sky. The floating leaves and the chirping birds talked to him.

Ryan was much more relaxed now and the moment he had stormed out of his room felt like a distant memory. His mind out from the worries was completely in the present now.  He saw groups of people walking south and followed them.  The mighty Brahmaputra welcomed him to a soul-uplifting sunset. The breeze felt stronger here. He stretched to see the sun as it disappeared behind the hillocks.

The frustration within him had subsided and a smile broke on his face. He sat by the river, letting the breeze soothe him, letting the scenery sink in and do its magic.  Perhaps he had found his perfect sunset. He was ready and rejuvenated to face a new day.

IN SEARCH OF TALENT

When we are in our twenties, we run after our dreams. Thirties also pass in a whirlwind of responsibilities. By the time we touch forty I guess we start to realise how fast the time is passing us by and then comes the part where we introspect and try to understand how and where our life is headed and does it need a course correction?

Well all may not agree with me but this is how I am feeling, this year in July I turn 40. A big milestone I guess. Well forty sounds very old to me but frankly I don’t feel that old.

When I look back, though I don’t know if I put my years on this earth to good use or not. My biggest achievement is raising my kiddos who have come a long way from this – 

To this…

There are so many things that I could have done differently. But I guess my life has turned out just fine. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister etc. These are the tags I carry with pride. But there is a tag in my life which always used to pinch me the tag of being a ‘housewife’ or ‘homemaker’ as it is being called now. I felt a bit less worthy than the females who go out to work.

But was I right? I guess not. Even though I still admire the ladies who go out for a full time job and manage their household also such efficiently. I don’t weigh the housewives any less. There may be various reasons we are not going out to work, but we don’t lack in talent.

I did not have to go far to corroborate my theory. I just looked around me and found so many examples for my notion.

I have a friend Nidhi. She is such an efficient home maker. Seriously every time I meet her I get a feeling that I need to take a lesson in time management from her. And she is a self-learned artist.

I just can’t help going gaga over her mesmerising paintings.

Then there is the case of Riddhi a home maker who painstakingly designed and made dresses for her daughter for a special wedding function. The love and effort that went into it was commendable. And the smile and confidence on her daughter’s face was absolutely worth it.

There is another dear friend Meeta who opted to be a homemaker so that she could spend more time with her kids during their growing up stage. She started a small business of gifting ideas. I must say I am so impressed by her cool ideas and the way they have become popular.

The list is endless. I can go on about the talented ladies I have come across. I am not showcasing my friends’ talents, only trying to put across a point that the housewife is a housewife because of her choice not because of lack of talent or will.

Cheers to all the homemakers!

A QUEEN IN THE HILLS

Last August when I visited Cherrapunji, locally know as Sohra I knew I was in for a visual treat. But what I beheld was   beyond my imagination. I simply marveled at the creation of The Creator. The “Noh-Ka-Likai” (This Khasi name translates to “The fall of Ka-Likai”) falls held me captive to its surreal beauty and the entire scenery in an around the place made me feel as I have been transported into a mystical land.

                                                                        

The waterfall, the clouds, the gentle breeze, and that vast landscape of rolling hills seemed to have an aura around them and I came up with this small poem to better express the sight I was blessed enough to experience.

Amidst the mist, under the skies,

Lays her abode in the hills so high.

When I get a glimpse through the window

Oh! I wonder, I sigh! I sigh!

 

The clouds play above her,

The trees grow around her,

Miles she must have travelled,

Pushing through   the mighty rocks,

And then comes her moment of leap.

 

She falls in joy, draped in pristine white,

With nature’s blessings she turns green,

When I look at her from the cliff

My eyes behold what a sight!

 

Her beauty so serene,

A queen! A queen!

I can keep looking at her for ever

With a beauty so great, the danger that high

I can admire her only from a distant side.

 

YOUR TIME – THE BEST GIFT TO YOUR CHILD

Hello Everyone,

This is my question to all the parents out there.  What was your gift to your kids (children or might be even adults but they remain kids to parents like forever, isn’t It?) on their last birthday?  A doll, a bicycle, a football, a book, a new dress, an I-phone and so on.  How happy they were to receive the gifts?  Can you measure the degree of their happiness or otherwise in relation to the gifts you get them every year?  How would you know if they are happy or not with their gifts at first place – smile on lips, sparkle in eyes or a tight hug?

I know it is difficult to assess than to decide and purchase the gift.  But we still do it simply because we “Love” them.  We go to the extent of depriving ourselves with our comforts – read rest and our own wishes, to get them the object of their desire.  And for how long these materialistic stuffs can give them happiness or stay useful to them?  Few days, weeks, months or few years? Don’t know, can’t say.

So what could be the most precious gift you could give them day after day that they could treasure for lifetime?  It’s Your Time.  Yes that’s not a typing error.  I mean it.  Give your time to them, play with them, talk to them and most importantly listen to them.

It seems pretty clichéd, right?  But truth nevertheless.  Let me present you a broader picture of the current scenario: there’s a race in a pretty much competitive world out there and parents are not untouched by this.  They toil hard to get everything under the sun for their kids and that too branded! That makes a whole lot of difference and a point too.  Best education, best clothes, best gadgets, best vacations and what not.  And best comes with a price.  Correction – a hefty price.  And for that price parents prefer to work tirelessly leaving their kids under nanny care coupled with companionship of tech updated gadgets.

Result:

  • They are missing out kids’ childhood.
  • Kids miss their parents and their own childhood. Maturity or better say loss of innocence is something which is strikingly evident these days.
  • Complicated relationships:  If you don’t have time to talk your concerns and listen to issues, misunderstanding is bound to crop up complicating the relationships leaving them strained.  And parenting has a lot to do with understanding and empathizing. Don’t  you agree?

Spend as much time as possible with kids.  When they are tiny tots they question a lot.  Give your time to answer their questions. I do that always as a mother. The picture I posted above is captured by one of us, either by me or my husband. And through that picture I wanted to depict that how TIME can be so important for my kids. I am very careful about how much time I give. And all these pictures always remind me that my children need my time always.

Just think about our parents when we were kids….  Most of us never had everything best we desired for but we have the best parents who gave their “Time” to us and those moments are still treasured and prized processions.  And we are happy too with absolutely no complains, isn’t it?

THEIR HAPPINESS INSPIRES ME …

Photographing kids is so much fun. One needs to have abundance of patience to be able to capture the right moments when they look so very cute. It is a challenge on it’s own. So far, I had the passion of capturing only nature and kids, but both of these are restricted. When I used to travel out of country or some scenic places, I loved capturing some of the nature’s superb creations. I feel so satisfied when I see what I captured.

When it comes to capturing pictures of kids, I had a different challenge. Whom should I photograph ? I have requested a couple of my colleagues that I would photograph their kids, but who would have time and why should they entertain my request ?

While I was stuck with these difficulties, I had an opportunity to travel to some place in Tamil Nadu along with my other friends from a travel group. One of them is Ambi, who is a passionate photographer too. Travelling with them is always fun. While we were returning back from the dam, he requested me to capture the picture of a small girl.

Because of my past experience I was very apprehensive to even ask. If my friends and colleagues cannot accept my request, why would any one else accept. I took a back step. Ambi is from Tamil Nadu and knows Tamil, so he said, “I will ask her, get your camera, let’s try. There is nothing wrong in trying.” The girl was crying so badly, I had no clue on what I should expect from the click. As we were approaching, to my surprise the girl stopped crying. She grew curious looking at the camera.

Before even Ambi asked for it, the mother of the baby was ready to pose and was so happy to be captured by the lens. I took a couple of pictures of them and we were ready to move on. She showed us the house they live in. I requested Ambi to remember the route to this house.

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We went to a shop for laminating the picture and gave it for lamination. The next day when we went to their house to give the lamination, the family was so happy to have that lamination. They had only a hut, the husband works for daily wage in a paddy field. The happiness on their faces is priceless. The satisfaction is out of this world.

All my friends or colleagues are very well equipped with multi “Mega Pixel” smart phones if not DSLRs. They can also afford to hire a photographer when in need. So, they absolutely don’t have to bank on someone like me. Thanks to Ambi and also the idea of getting the picture laminated, I found a better inspiration of why I should be capturing the innocent smiles of those kids. I continue to take similar pictures wherever people are willing to pose, not that I get every photo printed, but the happiness they get of being part of our memories itself is bliss.

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The satisfaction of seeing an entire family smiling while they pose for me is something I would be very happy about. Their innocence and friendliness makes it so comfortable to be capturing them with my camera, which I would have found with my own family or friends.

A picture can speak a thousand words; Each of these pictures is equal to thousand pictures …