ISN’T THANK YOU TOO SMALL?

Thank you is a great word! Still, This word becomes too small when we try to appreciate someone for their great contribution to our lives. And this is a big problem for me as well.

“Where I AM today! What I am DOING today! The NAME I have today! The DEGREE I hold today! And The greatest of all the LIFE I have today! I have all these things today because of Someone’s love and sacrifice done for me someday in the past”. Every time I am facts with these words, they bring me down to my knees, rendering me speechless and overwhelmed with emotions, and the only one word my heart utters and my tear drops speak is– THANK YOU!”

Before we enter into the 17th year of the 21st century, I want to make a wish. I wish I could walk back to all the days of past 27yrs of my life and say “thank you” accompanied with tight hugs to the three significant people in my life. I believe I have always hurt them, given them pain brought tears to their eyes. They are the ones who sacrificed their absolute treasure to make me what I am today. Yes, they are none other than my Jesus (God), my Bapa (Father) and my Mumma (Mother).

It was the winter afternoon of 28th January 2004, Time: 12 p.m, as the recreational break(Tiffin Break), was over, I sat on the last bench before the class teacher comes in. There was no back support behind me as I was sitting on a bench, but subconsciously, I tried to rest my back and fell back. The back portion of my head was severely injured as it hit the ground on impact. Immediately blood clotted in my brain, and my brain stopped working, I went mad for nearly three hours. I was not able to recognise anyone, my parents were broken-up, medical science gave up, later on, my CT Scan report and my Neuro-specialist told my parents that, “we have three answers for your son: DEATH/COMA/MENTAL RETIREMENT but How come he is alive with sound state of mind? It is another miracle of God nothing other than that. But still, your son cannot study and cannot go out to sunlight till next 12 years, as his healing needs 12 years of time”.

I thank God who not only proved himself as Almighty but also gave me a new life to live for His glory. Now as you read my story, you can identify that I’m not mad!

While doing my degree studies, I went into the wrong relationship and messed-up my life with shame, guilt, curse and emotional brokenness. I disobeyed my parents; my lifestyle brought shame to my parents, my life and my family became the topic of neighbour’s evening gossip. Because of such disobedience, my father stopped talking to me for three and a half years. Though we were staying under one roof, travelled in one bus but still I was deprived of my father’s love. My Mumma and my siblings were always in tension due to my wrong relationship. Every evening my parents prayed for me with tears in their eyes. The same son who was expected to bring the smile on their faces brought shame and tears on their face. Though I gave so much pain to my parents but still when a dramatic change happened in my life, they accepted me with open arms and loved me in the same measure as they love my siblings.

I thank both of them (my Father and Mother) for their love, their sacrifices and bearing pain all the time to make me. Every of my effort as the payback to their love and contributions to my life is less before what they have done!

I LOVE YOU my dear GOD, BAPA and MUMMA!!!

THE BROTHER OF MY HEART

The most underrated relationship is that of siblings. We praise our friends,our parents but often forget this very important person/people in our lives. I love that I have this opportunity to thank one of the most important part of my life today: my big brother.

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Bhai & Me

Bhai, as clichéd as this sounds thank you for always being there and I am truly blessed to have you in my life. The earliest memory I have about you,  is that you were this annoying kid who used to tease me with “innovative”  names, who scolded me for following him and his friends around and also for trying to be a part of his cricket team and being really bad at it!!!

And then, you started your hostel life and we kind of drifted apart for a bit there. But then life changed when I started college, but I think it was for the better because i had you as a senior (ergo no ragging). I remember the times you saved your pocket money.. so that you could take me for out for  shopping trips. I know it’s not a big thing, a few hundreds, but it was the effort of saving even from the little that you had, just to gimme a luxury that others in the hostel did not have: freedom. Thank you Bhai, for becoming my home away from home.

And then when I graduated and moved to Bangalore you had already become the man of the house. And through the years I have seen you become so much more than a elder brother. You have become the rock of our house, the man of the house, and the solution to most of our problems. The sacrifices you have made in order for me to pursue my dreams has made me ever so grateful  to have you in my life.

You are my inspiration and my reason to go out there and do my best. Thank you Brother!! For holding me up in troubled times, for encouraging me to face my realities and to conquer my fears, and accepting and admiring me just the way I am. You truly are the wind under my wings and the brother of my heart!!!

THANK YOU TEACHER

Hello Everyone,

It’s the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom. – Michael Morpurgo

Teacher – the only person in this otherwise selfish world who is genuinely happy to see you succeed other than your parents.

Teacher – a person who could gift a person with personality by imparting knowledge above and beyond the syllabus and books.

But in the wake of commercialisation of education teaching is deemed to be a mere profession and the role of a teacher is slowly limiting itself within the boundary walls of school and contribution is assessed only numerically (read ranks).  In such a scenario can a teacher be referred as revered?

But today I am not here to get into the discussion how holistic teaching and teacher should be, what should be the professional ethics☺

I want to take this opportunity on this platform to thank my teachers.  I am very fortunate in this lifetime to have amassed love and faith of my teachers throughout.   Any examination be it academic or otherwise they taught me to face it with head high.  I am thankful to them to have made me inculcate the habit of owning up one’s mistake.

As a child I used to be an asthma patient.  Every fortnight I used to be absent from school.  But my class teacher, Mrs.Sandhya, was very compassionate, she used to arrange all the important notes for me to ensure that I don’t miss any important lesson.  Even in the class she made sure that I am comfortable when I used to return after my illness.  I could never ever be able to thank her enough for the care she took like a mother away from home.

Another person from teaching fraternity whom I want to thank for her contribution in making me what I am is Mrs. Jyoti, my English teacher in secondary school.  She is the one who taught me about leading – be it a group or own life, until charge is taken, read responsibility, it is not right to expect results.  And till date I abide by that.

In fact every teacher of mine have influenced my life and moulded my thought process in some or other way.  But today I want the world to know about this particular incident and incidentally thank my teacher.

It was in 2004, results of my graduation first year were announced.  I did well.  Very next moment I got notice that I am supposed to pay fees for next academic session within a week.  I was in a fix, not because the amount was higher (hardly few thousands, 4K to be precise) but as a family we were in serious financial crunch.  My father was in double mind whether I shall I continue my graduation in college or not, so was I.  I don’t want to blame him and I can’t, it was the need of the hour.  But somehow my professor in college Mr. E. Muralidhar Rao, got to know about my dilemma.  He called me and right away gave me the sum for college fees.  I was reluctant to accept that but he insisted and told me that ” a sincere student like you should never discontinue studies just for the lack of funds.  All your efforts and focus should be directed towards your studies”.  My eyesight blurred with tears.  How could I thank him for being so generous.  And it’s not just for the sum he arranged, I want to thank him for two valuable lessons he gave me:

  • If ever you are in a position to help someone never hesitate especially if you could help someone with their education.  Education is a tool to reduce disparities in the society.
  • Always be humble:  I have seen him like that for the learned person he was, I have never seen him raising his voice or boasting about self.

No words in any language would ever be able to explain what is your importance in my life as a human being.  I am thankful to God for gifting me this fortune of learning from revered teachers, Guru in true sense.

Thank you Teacher.

I COULD NEVER THANK HIM

“A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart”- Unknown

Blessed are those who get to live with their grandparents and I am one of them. I always cherish the magical moments I spent with my grandpa and grandma.

Babaji, as I call my Grandpa, was no doubt a great man. His thoughts and deeds were truly unmatched. Being the eldest son in the family, Babaji went through many hardships in his life. In spite of dissuasion from his parents, he managed to complete his studies and joined 19th Hyderabad Regiment, later on retired as Captain. He always had a positive attitude and was full of determination. Nothing could wobble his self-confidence and will–power, be it was losing his father at the age of 25 or having a serious injury in one eye, leaving his vision flawed.

Throughout his life, he lived for the amelioration of others. During the army days, he opened schools for the soldiers and managed to initiate saving system for them. After resigning from his service, he started a business, which became unsuccessful owing to deceitful partners. Again, without losing courage, he started working as a typist, to earn bread for his family of eight.

Being rewarded as Honorary Special Police Officer at the time of partition, he was granted village farm land, where he settled. There also, he continued doing endless work for social cause, like building schools, roads, post office, bank, transport service, helping the widows of army personnel get the pensions and a lot more. The list is endless.

Later, when we shifted to nearby town, people from the village used to come every now and then, seeking Babaji’s help. I still remember our house used to have at least one visitor every day. And, not to mention, amid all his social work, he never neglected his family. He even used to play games with us. He had an unmatched sense of humour, which created a magnetic aura around him. Like every grandparent, his pampering was endless. He secretly used to bring comics for me, without letting my mom know!

A religious person, a polyglot, avid writer, composer and an ardent reader, Babaji was simply a model for all of us.

His health gradually started deteriorating after he had first heart attack. His will power still did not budge and he had 3 subsequent heart attacks. However, he could not survive the last one. That day, I was returning happily from school, eager to show my Sanskrit test paper to him, in which I secured 19.5 marks out of 20. I opened the gate of our home and found lots of slippers lying outside. Having no clue what had happened, I stepped inside and found rugs in the rooms and people sitting over them. In one corner was my father whom I asked, “Papa, why are rugs all over here? Has Babaji organised any Path (Sikh prayer)?”

Papa replied, “Babaji gaye”. I couldn’t understand what he meant and asked, “Where?” Papa was teary-eyed and could not say anything. I went inside Babaji’s room and saw his body lying on the floor. Everyone in the room was crying. Being just in Class VI, I was too young to understand what happened, but knew for sure that something had gone terribly bad.

I could see many people, whom we didn’t even know, crying. Each of them was praising the kind old man.

Years later, when I began to learn the complexities of life, I read his autobiography, in which he had written all his life events. I could not believe that even after undergoing so many difficulties in life, he was so optimistic. I felt so terrible of myself, was full of regret that I could never thank him for what he gave to us, to others as well.

Today, I miss his physical presence, but, simultaneously, I feel that he is somewhere very near to me, always blessing me, sharing my happiness and helping me out through the tough times. Though I can never become even a per cent of what he was, his persona is always a great inspiration for me. And yes, now I thank him every day for just everything.

AN ANGEL IN DISGUISE!

When I decided to write on Gratitude, I took some good time in deciding who will be the sole beneficiary of my Thank You. Then I thought who is the one person that has been giving me all through my life without expecting a thank you; the answer was my domestic help, Narayan.

Now to capture Noorie (I gave him this name out of affection as he often complains that he became almost a women doing womanly chores for my mother and me) in words is like trying to collect all the sea water in a Coca-Cola bottle. He is a panorama of talent. Let me start from the beginning. He came to us when he was merely 10. Yes, it was child labour. He was desperate to find work and let me confess, that some 20 yrs ago people weren’t so aware of the sins of child labour. But, somehow, our association with him was never of a servant and employer. He was always like a family member. He was new in Delhi, just ten days ago he came from his poor fishing village in Bihar when we found each other.

My parents are humble people. My mother can not treat anyone less than family member when he lives with us, and my father was always magnanimous. They both welcomed him warmly. He was never aloof either; he embraced us like his very own. He was uneducated, I was a little girl who was just starting to learn things, and we made an instant connection. As soon as I would come from school, I would finish the meal and engage him in games. We played ludo, carrom, even cards I taught him. But then we all noticed something peculiar about him. He was brilliant and a very fast learner. I got someone to share things with, the missing fourth wheel to our family, I shared all my pizza’s and Lindt’s with him.

One day a person came to fix motor (to fetch water), he observed him keenly and learned his art, next were the men to service AC, he wouldn’t budge from that place and saw everything like he was at some workshop to learn it. Our house was renovated soon, and those were best times for him as he picked up every art from them, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work. And let me confess since then we have never called anyone to repair anything, he became the SRK of My Name Is Khan, “repair almost everything”.

Next was the time when my school promoted “each one teaches one” campaign and distributed school kits to us with the motto to educate any one person at least. My target was Noorie, who better? I told him no play from today it’s study time, and I religiously taught him letters, numbers, simple sentences. There too he excelled and learned pretty quick, from then he would write his letter and read them himself. My most proud moment was when he signed his name anywhere, he swelled with pride.

Then came a time when we fought a lot, I remember I have slapped him hard once as he dropped a heavy table on my leg and blood flowed out. It was a reflex action, but I still regret it. Then I got busy with my life, studies and other engagements and Noorie got more occupied with his inventions. He turned a kitchen into a small lab, asking mum money now and then to buy various tools and stuff. He had promoted himself to the inventor from the handyman and made many small but excellent inventions. The only thing in my home that was spared by him were my laptop and E-gadgets.

On festivals he gets real excited, his most favourite is putting up Diwali lights in the newest and most attractive possible ways. Mine is to tie him a Rakhi. At this point I must mention his obsession with television, he watches everything, just for his sake we got a TV in the kitchen, and you would be surprised to know he watches cartoons, cricket, news, Hindi movies, English movies, and even GOT! He is more aware of the whole demonetization fiasco than me. But wait, I haven’t yet mentioned his mastered art to you. He is a master chef. He can cook like he was working for gods till now. Any cuisine that me and my family palate, he can prepare exquisitely. From Mughlai to South Indian and from Chinese to Italian, he can cook anything. People invite themselves to my home for the sake of his food. Special demands are made for exotic dishes. My personal favourites are the chilli paneer, dal makhani and Vada he makes. He can make fantastic non-veg, but he left it after living with us as we are pure vegetarians.

Today he is married with two kids, but still, he spends ten months of a year with us, and I am grateful to him in so many ways. He has stood by my family and me like a pillar of strength in every hour of need. My father always gave him generous gifts and bonuses; my mother always told him to serve his plate himself; she never made him feel that he was not one of us. My father had himself taken him to hospitals for the three operations he had, paid his bills, went with him for his tests, got him discharged. But yet, he has done much more for us.

When my father passed, he was there more than anyone else. I have held him and cried, I have been force fed by him when I used to sit like a dead person. He has forced me to live many times; he made me see my mother, showed me her pain. He kept me sane when I was going insane. He brought me back to life when I was walking towards death. At one point I went a little mad, and when my pain would be unbearable I would laugh uncontrollably, hysterically, he had even slapped me to break my stupor. I have been pacified by him in nights as I screamed in my sleep and my mother would go to pieces. I can say that if Noorie wasn’t there, I might not have been here.

Since then he has considered himself to be the man of the house. He advises my mother. He guards her and me like a ferocious lion. He stands in front of us both like a wall to protect us. Ironically, the world can’t understand our bond. When Papa passed, my mother and I were told to be wary of him, as he can bring harm to us. I pitied them all. For they can never understand his loyalty. He saves and guards every penny he can.

Can’t thank him enough for his 20yrs of services. There are no words to say to him which will be sufficient to show how much grateful I am for him. I hope that in time to come, you will be able to get whatever it is that you want from life. He truly proved that he is the man of the house, in way more than one. I cannot imagine my life without his constant love and support.

Stay Humble!

BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE

After my children were born the circumstances were such that I chose to leave my job and devote myself full time to being a mom and home maker. It was a new experience and had its own ups and downs. I enjoyed it also but I admit there were times I would really feel that it was a totally thankless, useless and repetitive job. And then there were times when I felt that I was really making a difference in someone’s life.

So basically I was on an emotional roller coaster and did not know how to get off it.

Around that time somehow magically a few like-minded society ladies got together for a party and we bonded so well that we became a close group of friends. We called ourselves ‘The Pretty Butterflies’ and met regularly for get togethers and parties. The difference being in these parties we talked our heart out. All frustrations, tensions, pressures were poured out and solutions discussed, advises and sympathies traded. The more I opened up in these gup-shup sessions I realised that we all were sailing in the same boat and my problems were actually not so huge as I had made them out to be. Others have bigger issues facing them and in the process of trying to figure out solutions for them we end up learning a few things ourselves. Friends lift you up when you are down and also keep you grounded when you are flying high.

70630535-thankyoufriends_are_angelsHonestly after my school friends these are the only set of friends that I am so open with.

We started this around three years ago and since then a few of my butterflies have flown to different cities and even different countries. But this hasn’t made any difference in our friendship we all are in constant touch through WhatsApp and we still know that if one of us is going through a rough patch we have friends who will walk us through it.

And I am eternally grateful for this friendship.

To my friends:

The worries in my life are halved

Because I can share them with you

Happiness in my life is doubled

Because you never let me feel blue…

‘Thanks’ is a small word but carries huge weight. One of the three golden words that we keep teaching our children from childhood. ‘Don’t forget to say thank you beta.’ If you are a mother of a toddler you must have repeated this sentence multiple times in a day. We are so tuned to say it that whenever we get something a gift or even a glass of water from someone we say thank you.

But this word has a deeper meaning. How many times have we said this word with our heart filled with gratitude and really meant it?

Think… 

There are a lot of things in our lives apart from the special people and friends around us which we just take for granted. Some incidents in the last month itself reminded me of one such thing.

Last month when I was doing the customary Diwali cleaning of the house I did something wrong and had a very bad sprain in my lower back. Doctor advised me complete rest for two days and I tell you it was the worst feeling I ever had when I was actually bed ridden and had to depend on others for every small thing and even the smallest task like lying down on the bed or getting up became a huge task. I used to try to manoeuvre my body to such a position where there was least amount of pain. Not being able to move around at will gave me such a feeling of helplessness.

healthAnd today when I woke up after a hectic night of partying I realised that my sore throat had worsened to such an extent that my voice was almost gone. And whatever little I was able to speak nobody understood. My children laughingly said ‘Mumma, you sound like a ghost. Please don’t talk.’ And only when we face such limitations we realise the importance of what we have.

These episodes in my life made me realise the importance of our body and good health. These are a gift to us from God, the supreme being… I am really thankful to Him.

Health is a freedom very few realise

Until we no longer have it.

Be thankful for what you have… your body, your health, your mind and some very good souls around you called, “FRIENDS”. Be mindful about all you have, don’t abuse them, take care of them and use them all as your own. ❤

THE ONLY WAY I AM LEFT WITH TO THANK YOU…

Dear Grandpa,

This is the most difficult and painful letter I have ever written. I know, you know it too… You can see me and feel what I am going through in this very moment I am penning this letter.

You have been an inspiration and there is no second thought about that. I have learnt how to love and care for others only from you.  All the people whom you have helped missed you dearly after you left us.

You are the only person with whom I have spent most of my time in childhood with, I don’t remember spending so much of time with my parents too. You are the only one who really made an attempt to understand me, what I really like, what interests me. With a person like me, who doesn’t talk and express much, it only gets tougher, but you never gave up. Thank you for all the efforts you have put to become my best friend, a friend I always cherished to have. 

The loving way in which you caressed my hair to wake me up in the morning, wait for me to return from school to share all that has happened during the day and in return listen to my stories. I could rest my head on your shoulder and slip into a peaceful sleep. Without you, I would have never experienced how it feels to be loved unconditionally. I am afraid, I may not really thank you enough, for all those big and small moments which mattered to me at that little age.

Do you remember, I came to meet you at the hospital, I was so very happy to see you recovering after being hospitalized for more than two weeks. You took my hand into yours and expressed how much you missed home.  I wanted you back, back home, back in my life. I was not at all prepared for you to leave me alone and the news of your passing away only left me in utter shock. There was not a single drop of water that came out of my eyes during my visit to hospital or while we brought your lifeless body back. May be I was angry or in tremendous grief that I could barely even understand what was happening… May be only you and I know how much I cried in solitude. I can never forget any of that has happened, I can easily relive those moments in my imagination. That feel of holding your hand never leaves me.

Only after you passed away I realized how much your love matters to me. When I entered your study room to collect some of your articles to secure them, I found more of mine. Your diary told me what you never did. All my achievements with dates penned, related pictures, all my birthday photographs, newspaper cuttings(my name appeared a couple of times) , my first ever scribble (an art piece) :-).. I have not encountered another person who can shower so much of love on me. I miss you greatly and your spot can never be replaced by anyone. If you can, please come back to me, I need you…

Life hasn’t been easy after you. I can never say I learn’t to live without you. It was so very difficult to reconcile the fact that I want to see you again with reality that I never would be. I love you and miss you so much. I find you everywhere I go and please be with me as you have always been. Thank you very much for everything, for being a friend, guide, teacher more than everything else, my grandpa. I am very blessed to have had you as part of my life…

Lots of Love,

~Aastha.

I know this letter cannot reach my grandpa, but I wanted to share this with all of you my dear friends. I would have been very fortunate if I would have had a chance to say all this directly to him. I was really very young and didn’t have an understanding about life either. Love others unconditionally and be thankful for all the love you get back, love is the most precious gift we get, I am sure all of us agree…  I hope none of us have to end up writing such letters.

Thank people for what they do whenever you can, because they deserve it …