TOGETHERNESS IN PANDEMIC

It was a 45th marriage anniversary celebration this June in 2020 for my parents as well as for my paternal uncle and aunt, both the couple married just 4 days apart. We had planned a get together last year only and were so looking forward to our gathering until this COVID pandemic ruined our plans.

We wanted to get rid of the growing negativity and monotony, so we sisters, Kuljeet, Prabhjot and I, decided to make a family video to celebrate our love and togetherness. We have a WhatsApp group by the name of ‘Pyara Tabbar’, which means loving family and is quite an active group. So, almost 40 members of our family danced and the final compilation was simply prodigious. Our efforts were highly appreciated and all the members confessed that it was so much fun and they wanted to have a similar kind of celebration frequently. We didn’t let the pandemic and lockdown dampen our spirits.

Whenever we feel low, we make a group video call, sometimes only our generation and sometimes with the elders. Our elders get cheered up just by seeing us all together on one screen. When we cousins make a video call, it’s more of pulling each other’s legs- making fun of someone eating during a call (Prabhjot, I didn’t mention your name), laughing on our pity state of too much work and chores, proudly telling about the new dishes that we tried, etc. One day, my brother, who’s currently in Bangladesh, staying alone, showed us his house, his in-house gym, and his lockdown hobby- painting. Till now he had made more than 10 paintings and has reduced 12 kgs by running on his treadmill every day. Altogether, it’s a wonderful feeling to share our feelings and inspirations. These kinds of video calls happen across the time zones too. last week to celebrate my uncle’s birthday we had a group video call. His son stays in the US and because of the opposite time zones he was half asleep. Poor thing he couldn’t keep his eyes open but we kept teasing him and pulling his leg throughout. Didn’t let him fall asleep 😉

In my friend circle, I have a group of friends who regularly get together to play Ludo online. I never thought playing ludo would be so much fun all over again. It’s like going back to our childhood. Adults fighting like kids in the game. People are also playing Dumb Charades, Antakshri, Lotto online with their extended families and friends. It’s a great way to reach out and come together.

My co-sister joined meditation classes with her sister. Sister stays in New Delhi my co-sister stays in Mumbai and the classes are conducted by a person who stays in another corner of New Delhi. Unheard of around 6 months back. But it works! And gives the sisters a shared experience too.

What if we are all locked up inside our houses. We can still get together and have fun. Connect with your loved ones. Just seeing each other’s faces gives the feeling that we are close by. Like my uncle in Canada said that next time you all join the video chat ensure that your children are also with you. We want to see how big they have grown. Such calls make great memories and give a feeling of being close.

So go ahead and make a dance video with your cousins, or join Zumba with a friend online.. Challenge someone to a cult fitness workout… Or join a prayer meeting with your grandma. All from the confines and safety of your home but together.

COLLABORATIVELY WRITTEN BY KULJEET SAINI AND PREETA BHATNAGAR

WOULD YOU OPT FOR PRINCIPLES OR RELATIONSHIPS?

What do you think – ‘are relationships made to upkeep principles’ or ‘are principles made to keep relationships in place’? Let me make it a bit easier – ‘Does the sun rise so that we can call it daytime’ or ‘we call it daytime because the sun rises’? Well, it’s both, actually! We cannot exactly get into a cause-effect relationship in such things because they are interdependent on each other. One cannot thrive without the other.

Relationships are bound by principles and flourish if the principles are adhered to.

Think of a newly married couple all set to start their journey together. For the couple to enjoy their marriage and live together in nuptial bliss they need to adhere to certain principles like – fixing the timing to come and go out for work, the time they need to spend with each other, they social circles they would maintain and those they would have to let go, the habits they would want to inculcate and the habits they would want their partner to live with, finances, leisure-time habits, ethics, and endless goes the list. Of course, these need not be water-tight do-or-die rules! Nevertheless, the sanctity of adhering to these principles would lead to the couple to enjoy their marital life.

So far so good.

Think with me…

A situation arises in which the man has to choose between abiding by the principles which would cause him to put the relationship (here, his marriage) at jeopardy, and forgoing his principles to save his relationship. What would be the ideal thing to do?

Tough situation, right?

What would he gain to be called an ideal man, but have lost his marriage/family? His marriage/family intact, would he survive the guilt and consequences of compromising his principles, if he chooses to hold on to them?

Choosing between ‘relationships’ and ‘principles’ has always been difficult. But, before we choose to stand by our principles, we need to be sure if our principles themselves are true (and not faulty). Rules vary from place to place. Norms vary from culture to culture. And that makes things tricky.

But, let me tell you one thing – just as we all agree without bating an eye that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west – similarly, the standards set by the Creator for His creation are universal. Adhering to such absolutist standards helps keep relationships intact while keeping principles in place.

Of course, in extreme cases one has to have a tough pick. To give instances, an Army General whose child has been kidnapped by extremists can hope to see his child alive only if he takes sides with the extremists. Relationship (parental love) or principle (loyalty to the job)? Taking bribe would fund the surgery of an ailing spouse. Relationship (love for spouse) or principle (faithful to the job)?

Next time when in doubt how to balance relationships and principles or which to choose over the other, ponder for a minute as to what God would want you do. Therein lies the key to the balance.

Adhering to principles often cost relationships, but are eventually rewarding. Wise discernment is a must!

A CALL TO THROW, RESHAPE & DECORATE

Relationship is so very important today. Whether it’s a family relationship or marriage relationship or brother & sister relationship or parents & children relationship or relationships between colleagues, all are very important and needs perfect attention and care of the individuals involved.

Today, with the advancement of technology and human civilization, the tolerance level of individuals are going down and down. That’s why we find more divorce cases, separation from parents, brothers and sisters are not in talking terms, jealousy among the colleagues and so on.

I have always tried to help people to build and maintain new or existing relationships. I never say, that’s it even in my own relationship with others. I keep pushing my brothers, sisters, relatives, friends to reconcile, to mend a strained relationship. It doesn’t mean that I don’t face problems in my own relationship but after the strained phase I tried to find out where I made a mistake which troubled me. I may thing why in the first place I am in the relationship but when I cool down I think how to solve it and rearrange it.

As we are approaching Valentines day, a reason to mend and manage our friendships, relationships I have few steps to rearrange a strained or disarranged relationship as follows:

  1. Search for waste materials & THROW them: When we rearrange our homes, we first try to search for the wastes which are occupying unnecessary space in the home.  Then we simply discard them or throw them out forever. Once we do this the home looks cleaner. In the same way we have to do in our disarranged relationships. Jealousy, ego, hatred, lies, pride, prejudices, selfishness etc. are wastes in all relationships. We need to Google search all of them and then press the delete button once for all. Once we do this the relationship looks clean and easier to breath in and out.   
  2. RESHAPE the existing qualities & bring newness in them: Then the next step would be appreciating and reshaping of each others as well as our own good qualities. This is a very crucial moment. Sometimes what happens is, when we try to reshape ourselves but don’t get to see the other party in the same action then we again start bringing our old nature in. we get angry and ask ‘why are you not reshaping yourself’, then again the relationship takes a step back. So we need to take real care at this phase and give each other ample time to reshape and readjust to bring newness to their persona.
  3. DECORATE with new characters and habits: Finally, after rearrangement of our house we think of buying some new decoration items like, paintings etc. to decorate our reorganized house.We have to decorate our freshly arranged relationship in the same manner. We need to adopt and learn more good qualities or habits or behaviors that keep others happy and in peace. For learning new traits in relationship we need to give time to each other instead of our own work. We need to join relationship training programmes, take examples of others who are good at it. This is how we can decorate our relationship once again new, beautiful and attractive.

Do we have a disarranged relationship? Let’s rearrange it with TRD (Throw, Reshape & Decorate) while celebrating Valentines day this year.

Get to ready to respond to the TRD call.

Stay Blessed!!!

7 FACTORS TO RECONCILE WITH YOUR LOVED ONES & RESTORE A BROKEN RELATIONSHIP

‘Re’ is a very interesting prefix and has been used to explain something good. For example, ‘Re-union,’ ‘Re-store,’ ‘Re-conciliation,’ ‘Re-build’ and so on. But the actions involved in all these words are not easy or very difficult. I mean to say, reunion of old friends and family members is a difficult task to undertake and doesn’t happen often but it is something which is really good & is a beautiful thing to happen for everybody involved in it. Rebuilding an old house is an amazing experience though very difficult. Similarly, Reconciliation and Restoration of broken relationships are utterly difficult.

One of my younger cousins has named me as ‘Glue Man,’ because I love & try to keep my cousins together despite of regional & other differences in us. I literally hate dissension and strain in any relationship. I do not like to stay away or stop talking or communicating for long after a fight or difference of opinions. I love to keep the relationship on and on in every situation.

Because, I believe a relationship is that what gives us the strength and reason to live and survive. A relationship is the only potion that prevents and cures loneliness, depression, distress and sadness. A relationship is the only mean and measure that helps us to find a way. A relationship gives us authority on each other’s lives. A relationship is the radar or rudder of our life boat. When a relationship is broken we find ourselves in the middle of the sea, sinking down in the water inch by inch.

I feel burdened when I look around and find many broken relationships in the world today. My heart aches when I see a home torn wide apart and shattered. I feel so sad to see a child getting parted and divided physically, mentally & spiritually between two separated or divorced parents. I feel sorry for the parents who are being driven out of their homes by the children. I feel bad when the brothers fight for a piece of land and cut off their relationships with each other forever.

I know there are many among us who are broken yet want to be united back again with their loved ones. I know there are many husbands who want their wives to come back to their arms. I feel the need of many wives who are desperate to reconcile with their husbands. And I also know that it’s never too late to mend a broken relationship. It’s never impossible to get back, reconcile and restore the strained relationship. It’s never shameful to get back to your loved ones.

But the biggest difficulty that stands as mountain before us is – HOW TO RECONCILE? HOW TO REBUILD? HOW TO RESTORE? HOW TO START?

I have 7 very simple yet important factors that will help us to reconcile & rebuild a broken relationship which are mentioned as under:

  1. Feeling the Need:
    A relationship can be restored only when we have the desire to reconcile and rebuild. Unless we have a longing to come together or unite together we can’t imagine of rebuilding. For example if I think “She doesn’t show any interest to reconcile” then I would be sure that I am not ready to reconcile. When we feel the relationship with our loved ones needs to be restored because of our own need then we know that we are ready to take a step forward towards restoration.
  2. Taking the first step:
    I have seen that in life, we always tend to expect the first initiation from the opposite party. I have also had the experience in my own life that if I want to reconcile then I have to take the first step. I can’t expect that somebody will come and give me a glass of water when I feel thirsty. I need to express my feelings or ask for a glass of water or get it myself. The process of reconciliation and rebuilding starts when we take the first initiation in response to our own need.
  3. Expecting Denial:
    When we are on the verge of rebuilding & restoring we should always be ready for denial to our attempts. The other person may not want to rebuild or reconcile initially. So we should not be disappointed with her/his denial, we should be ready to face that and accept it in a very positive way.
  4. Patience is the Key:
    We should never lose our patience. We always need to remember that “breaking is much easier than rebuilding.” We need patience. We need perseverance. We have to keep coming again and again to reconcile. And one day when we succeed we have to start rebuilding slowly.
  5. A Humbling experience:
    It is really not at all easy to come again and again expecting a response to our invitation to reconcile and restore a strained relationship. It is a humbling experience. We need humility along with patience to break the wall between us and our loved ones. When we face denial our ego may challenge us to take a step back and stop thinking of bending down again. We might have patience to come again but we might not stay calm when we hear absurd & hurting words from the other side. We need to remind ourselves that rebuilding was our need and we have to bend down again and again to reconcile, to recreate and to rebuild.
  6. Asking Forgiveness:
    We may say, ‘I was not wrong’ when we are allowed to come close to the person with whom we want to restore our relationship. But we should remember that we were also part of that act of breaking our relationship. So we need to ask forgiveness from our partner, from our children, from our parents or whoever it may be.
  7. Having Faith in Our Love:
    The Bible says ‘love never fails.’ It is true. When we have true love springing up from our heart nothing can stop us. Love really never fails. So we need to have faith in our love for our beloved. That will win the battle for us.

I have never mentioned that these are the 7 steps to reconcile & rebuild, rather I said that these are the 7 important factors involved in the process of reconciling and rebuilding. All these factors have to work together. It’s not that we should finish the first step and then try out the second one. All these have to work together and then only we can expect a rebuilt relationship.

Friends! Let’s start our reconciling & rebuilding process with a word of prayer. May God bless us to cherish a reconciled and rebuilt relationship.

Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor.