A LITTLE EFFORT HAS A BIGGER IMPACT

For me, festivals and birthdays mean a lot of work and preparations. Still, I manage to enjoy it. Like every person, I too look forward to my birthday and I feel extremely happy when the day arrives. When I was a kid, I used to wait desperately for my birthday cake and gifts. I would choose the best dress and would live my “princess moment”. This happened every year until I celebrated it in a different way.

I was in 11th standard. I was heading back home after evening classes. The chilly winter wind was trying its best to penetrate through my jacket. The more it went windy, the faster I walk. I went to confectionery and ordered my favorite Gulab Jamun. I came out of the confectionery and found a girl staring inside the glass door. I could sense hunger and helplessness in those eyes. I asked “Bhookh lagi hai?” (Are you hungry?). She chose to remain silent. I took out a piece of sweet and gestured her to take it. She kept staring at the sweet for 2-3 minutes. And then she hesitatingly took it. I could see bliss in her eyes. I bought her few chocolates. I got immense pleasure and that was incomparable. Since then, I try my best to have a good time with poor kids.

Yesterday was my birthday. And due to some reasons, I couldn’t celebrate it. I and my cousin share the same birth-date. So yesterday he was celebrating his birthday. He bought a cake and went on the street. He called the hard-up kids for celebrating his birthday. Four kids surrounded him and were so happy. My cousin cut the cake and fed one of the kids with his hand. I am sure he must be happy. This made me so glad.

There have been numerous occasions when I have celebrated Diwali and other festivals with such people. The happiness on their face is divine. The crackers and sweets can make you happy for a moment. However, when you do such deeds, you get lifetime happiness. I know you would say one can’t bring contentment to everyone. But when we stretch helping hands to people, gloominess will turn into gladness.

I wish someday I will celebrate an occasion at an orphanage or at an old-age home. By this, I can be a reason for their happiness, at least for an instance. When you put your effort into making someone happy, then you get mental peace and you feel delighted. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount. But a little effort is appreciated all the time. Our society and many organizations are joining their hands for uplifting the underprivileged and malnutrition kids. Therefore, let us be a part of this noble deed. Being a reason for someone’s happiness is a blessing.

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CELEBRATIONS – WHAT HAS CHANGED?

In India, there was a time when almost every day of the year was a festival. Festival celebration was an aid to bring enthusiasm and happiness In the 1950s and prior to that, festivals were never restricted to family and friends, such was the importance of it. Culturally as well, if there is anything good happening in our family, like welcoming a newborn into this world, someone recovering from a serious illness, according to our beliefs we offer a prayer. There is more to prayer than visiting a temple. We celebrate the occasion by serving food to poor people, it’s called ‘anna daanam’ which literally translates to giving food to the needy. Giving what we have, what we can be considered holy.

In earlier days, there was a definitive way in which festivals were celebrated. Not just the festivals, birthdays, anniversaries were celebrated differently. To celebrate a birthday of kid, the kid was encouraged to distribute clothes to the needy. Blessings from poor people are the most important part than other things we do on that day. Sharing and caring for those who are in need were always part of our culture. Over time this has changed. The impact is that we are no more concerned about the poor. 

Take Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations as an example. We never had 70 feet idols, 100 KG laddu’s (sweet treat) to celebrate the festival. Millions of rupees are spent on setting up the idol, maintaining it for a duration of 9 – 11 days. A festival that started as a family affair now is celebrated nationwide at a scale where billions of rupees are exchanged, if I may say so, billions of rupees are wasted. 

The most recent Christmas. Earlier only Christians used to celebrate Christmas. Now almost people from all religions celebrate it, which is a good thing. Kids are all excited to decorate the Christmas tree and happily receive their gifts. I was at my friends’ place a couple of weeks before Christmas. My friend found a letter in her son’s room. “Dear Santa, you know I have been a good boy. I got good grades and haven’t bothered anyone. I would love mummy and daddy. Please give me the Nintendo switch and also new bicycle. Love you Santa”. 

My friend came out of the room with a burst of big laughter and said, “See what he is asking for.. gifts worth more than 500$. Did we ever do that? We never even used to ask if we want something. Such was the discipline we were brought up in and these kids seem to take these gifts for granted. I want to teach him the value and he should earn the gift by doing something significant”. She made him pack all the old toys he was no more using and told him that she is gonna give away the toys to some other kids. He was not ready to share them, my friend convinced him saying he should let other kids play with those toys if he needs a new one. He reluctantly agreed at the end. 

Holidays are about spreading the love. Holidays are about treating others with compassion. Nothing has changed from olden days to know about festivals or celebrations. What has changed is how we look at them. It is not buying new clothes, organizing grand parties, or party hard till late at night and wake up with a hangover. It is not buying costly gifts or toys for kids. Is there anyone who we can help? How about picking up your phone and inviting an old friend over lunch? Pay a visit to the dog shelter and give a shower to them? Buy clothes or food for someone in need. Spend some time with elders in old age home. Please don’t spend all the money and energy in gifting someone who may not be very grateful for it, instead help someone who really is in need of something. The fulfillment we get doing something to others is a greater joy than everything else.

SHARE TO CARE

Eyes protruding
like the bones in the body
perpetually dwindling vision
yet the taste buds on an urge
to taste the essence of food
that quench their hunger.

Thousands of kids are left hungry in the developed countries. Even when there is plenty of production of food happening everywhere, the needy still be the needy of the same. According to recent surveys, the study focus on wastage of food that is occurring everywhere, which is about 30 % of food produced for the consumption which again equates to 1.3 billion tonnes of food per annum. Economically this food wastage causes $940billion a year as quoted by the Foodcloud.

Even though food waste is apparently happening everywhere, the amount of food wastage in developing countries are on the high end. When one end of the city is troubling with hunger and malnutrition, the other end is celebrating the feasts and once the housed levels are filled, the rest of the food is just thrown away.

The food wastage is most commonly seen during the festive season when unusual food wastage happens at an uncontrollable rate. I personally have seen numerous instances, wherein we tend to buy food more than we ever need and it goes wasted.
Food is one thing, that is refused once you are filled, unlike money.

In recent years, overseeing the amount of food wasted in parties and get-togethers, we all family members decided to give away the food, to the needy. We ensured that we never gave away the leftovers.

Food redistribution, which is veering the surplus amount of food that we bring in during celebrations are given to charitable institutions, which is one way to ensure that no one stays hungry and the food is reached in the right stomach.

Many organizations are on the urge to bring up a food reviving system, to ensure that poverty doesn’t cause malnutrition, by sufficient supply of food.

Giving the needy is the soundest charity

India is rich in customs and traditions, we all follow a lot many traditions to upkeep our culture. Most of the occasions like poojas, most of the families, unlike a few who are still remaining orthodox, prefer to feed the needy than call up the neighbouring kids who are well off.

Now society is gearing up a little bit to eradicate malnutrition, with redistribution of food. Let us all pledge not to waste food and channelize the surplus to the needy.

To conclude :
You can only have more for yours when you ought to share a piece of it“.

Building something new is difficult.
Rebuilding something to give a fresh look is all the more difficult.
Look behind, if you have left anything broken rebuild it.
If anything is undone, do it with passion and enthusiasm.

2019 – A JOURNEY FROM UNCERTAINTY TO REALITY!

There is time for everything under the sun
And there is a season to learn many lessons…
Yes, that’s what I would say 2018 was for me!

There were some treasured moments which I’ve shared and there was also the time of despair which I’ve carried alone. At times, the beauty of my dreams amazed me and later the shattering sound of some of them startled me. I made many promises, some to God and some to people, in some I fulfilled and in some, I failed.

As I approached the New Year afternoon, some of the big questions which were confusing me, quietly –

HOW AM I GOING TO FINISH THIS NEW RACE “2019”?
CAN I GUARANTEE, 2019 WILL BE A ROSY YEAR FOR ME?
CERTAINLY, ON WHOM CAN I TRUST?

New Year is a journey which starts with many UNCERTAINTIES and ends with many REALITIES. As I started this journey from Uncertainty to Reality, three things I learnt to focus on –

Excess Baggage Is Chargeable – Yes, we all are conscious about it when we travel. Analogically, it is quite relevant in our New Year journey. Carrying The Pain of Failure, The Old Weaknesses, The Grudge of Old Fights, The Guilt of the Past Wretch can greatly charge us this year.

The Bible Says, “Forget the old stinky things that you left behind and strain toward what is ahead of you to crown you with the glory of God.

Hurly-burly is Expected – Life is not always a rosy path filled with colours, softness and scent. Time of turbulence is inevitable to teach us and mature us from imperfection to perfection.

The Bible says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Outwardly it will seem like wasting away, yet inwardly we will be renewed day by day. Let us, fix our eyes on what is unseen – the eternal glory & the future light of life”.

Trust your Travel Partner – In the journey of life, we must love people as we love ourselves but when it comes to trust them for a definite purpose we need to be mindful. It is always risky to trust a human being. He is a mere human just like me, his days on earth are like the grass that soon withers so as mine. I am finite and mortal as he is. How can he be the perfect one to trust for my future hope! BUT IF NOT HE, THEN WHO?

WHO IS MY TRAVEL PARTNER, WHOM CAN I TRUST?

The Bible says, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. He does what he speaks and He promises and fulfils them”.

Warm Greetings and Prayers for your meaningful start of 2019!

Every night dies to birth a new day
Every season ends to let the next one bloom
The dry leaves wither for new ones to sprout
So if things seem dark, and you feel it can’t get worse than this, remember something Wonderful is round the corner…

“Firmly believing in yourself and losing is better than blindly trusting others and winning because in the first case you learn a lesson which is ‘Always‘ useful later on and the later one is purely in God’s hand and life will not be the same ‘Always‘.”
– Kalpana Vogeti