A FLASHBACK

When Charlie sent this picture to me, I remembered my childhood days. I mean, what a coincidence! The picture depicts my childhood. 

It has two kids and a real cycle down there. I and my cousin would ride a bicycle with the same expression. It was my childhood dream to own a bicycle. I never had one and this always made me feel inferior. I used to see my friends and cousins riding their new and colorful bicycle. It is not that my parents couldn’t afford one but they had priorities. They thought to pay my school fees and buying me a new school uniform was way too important than buying a bicycle. 

Whenever I sat on the back of my uncle’s bicycle, I felt as if I am on the top of the world. I used to sing whole way and never wished the ride to end. Some days, I used to throw tantrums for not eating food and weeping until my uncle would promise me for a bicycle ride. Such a drama queen I was!

Anyways, I used to ride my cousin’s bicycle. He was around 4 years old and I was around 9. He knew I don’t have one and how fond I am of a bicycle, so he asked me to ride his bicycle. But I didn’t know how to ride. I fell down every time. I would come home with skinned elbows and knees. My aunt would scold me for this. 

(Image Credit: Pixabay.com)

Then one day my cousin told, “Di today I will help you in riding the bicycle. Come sit and I will give you the support.” That evening, my Grandpa came out of the house and saw me trying my best to not to fall from the bicycle. He said, “Sit, I will hold the bicycle from behind and you have to put one foot on the paddle and then after paddling put the second.” I followed his instruction and to my utter surprise, this time I didn’t fall. I rode the bicycle for a complete 2 minutes and this was my biggest achievement till that day. I saw my cousin jumping happily. After that day, both of us would ride together. He used to hold me tightly while sitting behind me on the bicycle.

There were five bicycles in our street. Those who had would come along with their bicycles and then we would ride each of them turn by turn. Life was so easier then and we were so happier those days. I remember we used to celebrate birthdays by giving permission to ride the bicycle for a complete 3 minutes and that person could take the bicycle down the street to the old lamp post. Sunday mornings were dedicated for cleaning the bicycle. We used to participate equally and with full enthusiasm for the cleaning program.

Presently, I still don’t have a bicycle. But now I don’t feel pity or inferior. Because I have those memories where we used to share our belongings with each other.

These days, we are not willing to spare some time for people, forget about the belongings. If anyone parks his/her vehicle under our house, in no time we yell at them. In fact, if somebody asks for a lift or a ride, our calm expression turns into a frowning one. Even when someone asks for our help or assistance to do work, we pay no heed. We feel blaming others for our failure is easier. 

But we must keep in our mind once we welcome people with an open heart all the bitterness that we hold in our heart will vanish like a vapor. 

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LET THEM GET DIRTY, LET THEM EXPLORE

Those tiny little feet are a bundle of joy. We do our best to take care of the little baby in the house, from massaging to cleaning, from caring and pampering to child-proofing the house. But, as the little baby grows up old enough, we forget that the tiny baby isn’t tiny anymore. Instead of making her/him independent, we go overboard in making the child dependant on us for every little thing. Why?  Simply because we fear that they might not be able to do themselves or think that doing things for them is easier than making them learn themselves. And as our little children grow up into adults, we expect them to take their own responsibility themselves and make decisions themselves.

(Image Credit – Pixabay.com)

Look into the picture, the soft pink feet of the baby are covered in sand. As the child learns to walk, those always so clean feet and legs are bound to get dirty. As the infant becomes a toddler and starts tottering, she/he is likely to get some bruises. So, should we stop putting the baby on the ground or the floor?

The answer is simply no. We can’t lock their exploring bodies and creative minds for the sake of safety. Children can’t learn unless they have hands-on experience.

It’s better to let them fall so that they learn how to succeed from their failures.  Instead of giving into their wants, make them learn how to wait and let them learn how to deal with NOs in their lives.

HE MAKES, BREAKS AND SHAPES US

In the church, we usually share our praise points and prayer points so that we can praise God for all the good things He had done in our lives and pray for all our needs along with the whole congregation. Last week, I stood up to share my heart, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I said, “I am thinking why I am living on this earth if I am causing so much pain to others.”

It was my hurt and my anger made me pour my heart like that in front of all but I kept on speaking quoting one verse from the Bible which reads, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” This verse let me understand that God owns everything and if He can establish the whole creation on the seas and on the waters then He can surely establish me on any difficult path. Remember, the very nature of water lets everything to drown in it yet, it was God who established His handy work on it. I was comforted soon afterward though my heart still hurts. 

(Picture Credit: Pixabay.com)

But when I saw this image God spoke in my heart again and I chose it for myself to reflect on it.

A potter takes the clay which is so easily moldable. He puts it on the wheel and spins it. The clay may be modeled by hand or fingers while the potter’s wheel spins. The raw moldable clay soon molded into different forms as directed or designed by the potter. After a pot is designed or given a form the potter dries it with fire to make it strong and usable.

What a beautiful picture it is…! It is like God shaping us as He wishes and defines our purposes on this earth.

I used to always grumble with God for creating me with such an ailment for which I had to suffer a lot and was held responsible for so many things which were not even in my hand. I used to question God when I was young. But later, He made me so strong that nothing had really shaken or discouraged me until the last few months. My present hurts and agony reminded me of my brokenness and how weak I am.

Yet… Yeah, Yet, I don’t lose hope on Him who says, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” And lo and behold, today when I visited the potter’s house through this picture and saw how he was making something on the wheel. When the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. 

Whoa!

We all are in The Potter’s hands. And we are all safe in His hands. He will make us, He will break us, He will shape us into beautiful pots to be used beautifully in this earth and the life to come for eternity.

Stay Blessed!

HAVE A MUNDANE IDENTITY

My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius. Choose to measure yourself not as some horrible victim or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.”
Mark Manson

This is one of the stories I read in the book named – “The subtle art of not giving a *#@&”. Don’t go by the language of this book because when I started reading it, it totally changed my perspective in so many different ways. It helped me look at things really objectively, outside of the view of my value system.

So, here goes the story (of course in my words and with my take on it)

In 1983, there was a metal rock band group which was gaining a lot of popularity. They got their first debut to be recorded in New York. The lead guitarist of the group was also one of the founders of heavy metal, but the rest of the band was fed up with his drinking and drugs problem. Although he was highly talented, they decided to fire him.

It was in April’1983 that Dave was woken up by rest of the band members. He was in an ugly hangover. He was told directly that he was now out of the band. It came without any warning. They had already hired a new lead guitarist. When he was asked for his flight tickets, he was told that they would drop him New York Port Authority Bus Terminal and he is taking a 4 hour bus to California.

It was still one hour to go before his bus would depart. He had total of 5 hours to reflect on what had happened. He was definitely furious. He was fired from a band that he had co-founded. The rest of band was moving on to recording their first album for which he had written majority of lyrics. He felt cheated, betrayed and fumed. However, in those 5 hours – he got over his self-pity and decided that he would take on his ex-bandmates with a revenge and make them regret this decision.

By the time he reached California, he had decided to find his own band and also wrote the lyrics which later on became one of his famous songs. In the coming few years he worked like crazy, he hired new musicians and created his new band. This new band named Megadeth turned out to be a huge hit. It sold over 38 million records worldwide and earned platinum certification in US for five of its fifteen studio albums. It also received 12 Grammy nominations.

However Dave wasn’t satisfied. Never felt successful. Because the band that fired him was Metallica. And it was indeed way ahead of Megadeth. Metallica had sold 125 million records, won 9 Grammy awards, nominated for 23.

Dave is a strong man because he could turn around a negative experience into a productive one in just 5 hours. He put his entire heart and soul to what he wanted to do. He has money, fame, power. He is ranked as one of the best heavy metal guitarist in the world. Yet he fails to feel success inside him. Because for him, he always wanted to beat Metallica which he could never do.

Two decades earlier in 1962, one more similar incident happened. A guy named Pete Best was fired from his band. He had performed for 2 years with them and the band was at the brink of stardom.

The manager of the group called Pete in his office just before their first recording, and asked him to leave because other bandmates did not want him. He was heartbroken, he never met any of his bandmates again. He quietly left for home. In the coming years, he joined multiple bands and but it was no success. He struggled with depression while his bandmates were selling millions of copies worldwide. They came to be one of the most successful bands of the time – The Beatles.

In 1965, Pete attempted suicide from which he was saved by his mother and brother. His mother’s words put in the sense in him. “They want you to die. Think about your wife and your daughter. What would they be without you” she said. He then realized that suicide was a mistake and promised that he will never ever do that again. He took up a job as a civil servant and just worked 9 to 5 job. His main focus now was to be a civil servant, a good husband and a father. In late 1980’s, he picked up music again. He founded his very own The Pete Best Band.

Pete is a happy person because he found solace in being mundane. He found success in serving people and just being a father and a husband. He did not expect more from life and even though depression hit him hard but he could get over it.

He had met his wife when he was still “The Beatles”, however she did not leave him when he was kicked out. They got married and Pete found solace in being with her – knowing that one of his fans is his wife and even though he isn’t popular any more, she still chooses to be with him.

On the other hand, Dave Mustaine made it a mission of his life to beat Metallica. And even though he attained a huge success as a celebrated artist – he is far from feeling content.

The reason this story hit me hard is that even though you might have great ambitions to be famous and successful – your identity should not be that ambition. There is much more happiness in these mundane titles like a good mother, a good daughter, a good father, a good friend, a good public servant can give a lot more success than being a great businessman, a sportsperson, or a rich man.

I do not intend to say that being ambitious is not right. But making that ambition the whole reason of your existence is wrong. Your existence is worth much more than a few billion dollars that you might make in your lifetime. The real value of your existence is known only to your near and dear ones and not to the millions of fans that follow your work.

Follow your passion, earn lots of money and fame but do not let it become your value system. You and I might be laughing at Dave Mustaine because in spite of earning millions of dollars and fans, he still considers himself a failure. This is because you and I have a very different value system than that of Dave.

Look inside your value system. What are you really running behind? Is it really worth it?

The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible. This often means giving up some grandiose ideas about yourself: that you’re uniquely intelligent, or spectacularly talented, or intimidatingly attractive, or especially victimized in ways other people could never imagine. This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you’re somehow owed something by this world.
Mark Manson

DON’T LET YOUR PROBLEMS PUSH YOU

Inspiration – a word that awakens a person’s soul and motivates to find a way from apathy to probability. It helps us to transcend our ability and find new possibilities. Ability and effort may lead you to success but without inspiration, we can’t think out of the box. If you look into the life of successful people you will find, they were just ordinary humans before they found inspiration. They struggled and faced so many problems but never gave up. Not only successful people but ordinary people too, go through the same. And so did Deepa.

I was in school when I first met this beautiful and an extraordinary girl, Deepika. She was a class junior to me. We fondly called her Deepa. She is a girl of tremendous courage and will-power. Her dusky skin tone, playful smile, and captivating eyes make her look like an angel. When I first met Deepa, we were going to a youth festival. I didn’t know who she was. Just before reaching the venue, I came to know Deepa had lost her right hand in an accident years ago. The accident took away her hand but never broke her spirit. It was late at night when we reached the venue. I saw she was carrying her bag all by herself.

The next day, I saw her rehearsing for her dance. The way she danced, had so much elegance and beauty in it. She danced her heart out and smiled with every twirl. Her feet never missed a beat. I admired her dance and expressions. While getting ready for her performance, she did her make-up so well. However, Deepa never needed any make-up. Her face always beamed with self-confidence and enthusiasm. While she danced, the whole audience applauded for her splendid performance.

While we were sitting together, I asked her how does she manage everything. She replied, “just like you do.” I was so impressed by her.

It was a three-days event and we stayed together. I witnessed how she managed everything gracefully. Deepa never seemed weak and never expected any sympathy or pity.

The next time when I saw her, it was the annual day function. She looked no less than an epitome of beauty. She hugged me as soon as she spotted me. I asked her whereabouts and asked her if she is performing or not. She said, “I am the lead dancer.”

She never fails to motivate and inspire me.

Today, I see her pictures on Facebook. She looks so gorgeous and full of life. If you look at her, you will surely fall in love with the spirit of this girl. We are not in touch and I don’t know if you are reading this Deepika but yes, you must know one thing, you made me realize it’s our willpower and determination that makes us beautiful. I learned, one should never give up. As long as, I stayed with you at the youth festival, I never saw a lack of energy in you. In fact, you were the most active person.

God bless you, dearie. I don’t know what are your dreams but I do know, you are a true example of women empowerment and will reach untold heights. I wish you all the best.

We, humans, tend to lose hope so easily. We cry over the spilled milk. Why can’t we focus on negating our problems and working on our gray areas? Unless we don’t accept our flaws and embrace our problems, life is never going to be beautiful. One should always look forth with confidence and determination. People who can look ahead will always find a ray of hope even in the darkest of time. One should never get pushed by problems, instead, be led by your dreams.

ROPE OF HOPE – UNTOLD SAGA

Born in a cradle,

she had to handle

the burdens of the world

known as well as hidden to her;

all she craved was freedom from the burdens;

unable to endure the pain of the obligations,

she went down to complications ;

worsened with time and tide, as it never waited for none;

she turned numb, with every sensation;

until when she realised it was not a chance to win;

and then came a day ;

where she decided to dwell in her dreams ;

like she weaved her screams to be the rope of hope

finally, as she burned her burdens;

untangled herself from the chain of expectations;

she liberated herself from the dungeons of obligations,

no more becoming the caged scholar,

to the bird with the wings of imaginations…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • An untold Saga of a woman.

 

 

LIFE ISN’T BUSINESS TO RISK IT

Apart from Good morning messages with very inspirational quotes, WhatsApp groups serve a lot of purpose than what meets eye.  In one such conversation with my childhood friends on WhatsApp, a friend shared this picture (actually this marked the beginning of our conversation, an important one)

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This conversation followed a fire incident that broke in a coaching center in Surat (Gujarat, India) claiming the lives of 21 students.  Many students died while jumping from a two storey building to escape the fire.  That was heartbreaking.  It was the scare of fire that killed more than the fire itself.  Lack of basic conformities and awareness as to how one should act in such tragic situations caused more damage. And that’s when I have decided that this is something which needs my, in fact, everyone’s attention as to Why, Who is responsible and How to do our bit to avoid or at least minimize the losses incurred.

Here’s a list of recent fatal fire accidents claiming lives of many and leaving charred memories for many more (all accidents happened in 2017):

  • Kamala Mills – Mumbai – 14 lives claimed
  • Plastic Factory – Ludhiana – 13 people (including 3 firemen) killed
  • Snack Shop in Saki Naka – Mumbai – 21 lives crammed and charred together
  • Rohini hospital – Telangana – 2 lives claimed 
  • Scrap market – Kota – 2 killed and 15 severely injured 
  • Cracker Shop – Rourkela – 1 killed and three injured
  • Illegal cracker unit – Jharkhand – 6 killed and 11 injured 

Special mention:

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Source: Google 

And then there are incidents exclusively where the property loss is humungous.  This is a pity picture which requires a lot of introspection – Who is responsible for this after all?

Electricity short circuit is the most prominent reason behind the majority of fire accidents. Cylinders or explosives going off comes next in line followed by other miscellaneous reasons that normally don’t find any mention in the list of reasons.  But does it absolve the “human hand” completely of its responsibility? The reason that was mentioned above are the ones that are apparent but the responsibility completely rests with people.

Non-compliance with the fire security rules, illegal constructions – squeezing and cramming of buildings in small spaces, No up-gradation / maintenance of fire fighting systems with time to keep them in working condition, No proper fire drills to the staff in offices.  Basically many “NO“s.

And the reason behind every “NO” that I have mentioned above is Greed and carelessness. People want to save every possible penny they could even if it means putting their and others’ lives at risk.  Complying to rules, training, purchase of requisite material everything involves cost and it’s something that’s loathed.  The greed to make quick and more money is the mother of illegal constructions, skyrocketing matchboxes (read apartments) where safety measures barely or rarely exist. And the basic attitude of “Jab hoga toh dekh lenge” (we will see when it happens) is something that must be done away with. “If caught for non-compliance we will pay something and buy our freedom” something that lingers on the mind (read habit) but not for once people plan future (in reference to fire accidents) with an apprehensive approach that we need to be careful and prepared for the worse.  And this approach is not just of the people coming from lower strata of the society with no awareness. But people with many sources of awareness at their disposal wait for the worse to happen before they realise and awaken.

Even with all the possible measures are taken unimaginable can happen, no denying to that.  But we lack the basic awareness to plan an escape in such situations (the first photo proves the same).  Probably because of not much attention given to this subject.  Parents and schools are constantly busy in ensuring that their children score highest possible grades and they don’t miss extracurricular activities too but subjects concerning their safety and security, be it self defense or otherwise  (escape plans in case of accidents like that of fire) are of trivial to no importance for them.  Hence no place in the curriculum, not even a chapter, workshops are a distant dream.  Companies/ industries are busy improving their profit margin every quarter whereas both employee appraisals (😁) and safety are not in compliance to their policies.  Can you tell me when was the last time you had a fire drill in your office?

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A photo doing rounds on Facebook. This is what I was talking about – carelessness and a bid to save a few bucks people are risking their lives.

These things seem inconsequential or immaterial but should definitely be a part of learning at different stages. If we are paying for fire insurance for our properties then some heed must be paid towards the safety of our lives too, isn’t it?  Talk about the safety measures to near and dear ones including children, use the social platform to spread a word, check if builders are completely complying to fire security regulations before moving in, yourself adhere strictly to all the regulations for safety,  electricity conformity is a must for every housing unit.  These are a few things in a bird’s eye view.

Remember: Your Life Isn’t A Business To Risk It.  Read, Talk and Spread the word for Awareness is the only key.