The Good Morning Message

THE GOOD MORNING MESSAGE

“OUR HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON OURSELVES”….Good Morning…Have a good day.

A message flashed on my mobile phone. Just a routine good morning message on a group. I scrolled to other messages mechanically and got busy with my routine. During the day, out of the blue this message stood out in my head and I recalled a story which I had heard it in my childhood. A series of thoughts triggered and I was revising a lot of lessons which I had learnt from these stories.

Once a story narrated by Grandma. Here it goes…. There was a king who had built a huge palace for himself. He had made a portion for public viewing. The walls of that portion  were adorned with glass like no one had seen before – clear and spotless.

One day a Man who was very angry and upset went to see the palace and the moment he stepped inside he could see hundreds of other angry men staring back at him. All of them were in a foul mood, irritated and sad. Seeing the expressions on their faces this man became upset and agitated. He started shouting and abusing at them. In return he received same repercussion, the same angry looks and the angry words. This made him more indignant. Seeing so many angry faces he was terrified and came out of the palace. On his way back he started feeling that there cannot be a worse place than this palace. The king is a nut that he has created such a place. In disgust he started walking away and vowing that he will never return to this silly place.

A few days later a group of tourists came to that town. A man from that group decided to go and see that palace. He was very happy and contented. His face glowing and sporting a smile. The moment he entered the palace the whole atmosphere was charged up with positivity and hundreds of bright faces welcomed him. This made him more happy and the grin on his face widened, the others too responded to him in the same manner. Seeing this he was overjoyed and felt more happy and contended.
He left the palace with so much energy and praising the king that he had created such an awesome wonder and repeatedly thanked him for such an experience.

We all hold such a glass palace inside us which reflects our thoughts and actions and we get what we manifest. We and only we are responsible for our Happiness and Sadness.

The Forgotten Wallet

The Forgotten Wallet

I am a confused man…an odd one out sometimes…Forgetful, messy at times. Almost every other day while going to office I forget something or the else….No comments.

Just like any other day preparing to go to the office…keys, hanky, laptop, tiffin, papers…..subconsciously ticking the check boxes in my mind.

Leaving the house a flying kiss to my wife without forgetting was on the topmost of my checklist. A super beginning to the day.

Tried to kick my bike to life, bhuk bhuk it coughed like an old man. Wondering what was wrong my eyes glanced to the instrument panel. The Indicator just showed my bike needs some saline. Oh I had forgotten to refuel my plane yesterday. The petrol station was quiet near to my house I started dragging it. I never knew a five minute drag would be like a trek onto a hill. Phew I had finally made it to the pit stop.

“Fill it up with 300 Rs…..” I told the attendant.

The petrol station attendant plucked the pipe from the stand, like a trained sniper aimed it in the tank, the golden fluid started dropping into the empty tank and making a noise just like a tummy makes when it is hungry. It felt as if I have had a glass of water on a hot sunny day. “Here’s your bill Sir”. Reaching out to my pocket…oops “Where’s the wallet?” Oh shit I had forgotten my wallet. Startled I reached my shirt pocket in hope…it was empty too. Another bombshell I had forgotten my phone too. My face turned pale in embarrassment.

I started looking here and there. Could not locate anyone whom I knew. At times Bombay makes you feel so alone in crisis. Everybody is around you, yet you are so deserted. I was in such a shame.

The petrol station was known to me, hardly some distance from my home. It had been always quenching the thirst of my vehicles here since many years. Maybe 15 – 17 years it was more like a one sided love, I loved it but will it love me back?

Straightened up myself and decided that I will park my bike here and give the keys to that gun toting soldier and race back home and get the money.
I decided to walk it up to my home. The situation seemed to be under control.
But there was one problem, in 30 minutes I was expecting a client in my office. If I did not make it in time then my boss would put me on fire and that too without petrol. The tension was visible on my face.

The petrol station attendant grinned widely at me. “It happens Sir, sometimes it does. Give me the money tomorrow. I see you regularly here. Don’t worry just relax”. It just felt as if someone had poured water over a raging fire and definitely it was not a one sided love, Bombay loved me back. I breathed a sigh of relief. Saying thank you I started from there like a race driver. I had conquered the whole world.

The king’s buggy had reached the office compound. Racing towards my floor I entered my office and got into the routine. In a while I was sitting with my client engrossed in the figures and fighting for business. One and a half hours just flew by. Happy was I when I exited the conference room the deal was cracked and secured in Company’s pocket. My boss was grinning just like Mona Lisa. Serious yet happy. This deal had come at a time when my appraisal was due. I felt like a high jumper in the Olympics. Had shattered my record.

“Chalo chai ho jaaye (let’s have some tea)”, I said to myself patting on my back in my thoughts. Alighting the steps of my office and bang at the chaiwala’s tapri (tea owner’s kiosk). The aroma of freshly brewed tea was like the naughty smile of a seductive woman – Intoxicating an inviting. Whenever something nice happens I have tea here.

“Boss ek adrakwali dena (give me one ginger tea)”. Sip by sip the cup was over. “Oh ghosh”, I exclaimed touching the pockets of my trouser. I remembered the forgotten wallet. The call of the tea was so intense I had completely forgotten that I had no money. Again I had forgotten. What a clumsy man I am.

Raju had read my expressions. Feeling embarrassed as to what should I tell him. At that very instant he took out a few notes of 100 Rupees from his drawer and shoved them into my pocket. “Sir please don’t say anything. It happens in this crazy life. If you need more please don’t hesitate.  Sir please go to your office, your work is calling you and please do not feel bad. You can return the money to me whenever you are ok”. I was spell bound. Not even the best face reader could have read my expressions better. Bombay had once again loved me back.

As if back from a first date I walked towards my office. The lottery of those  notes delighted me and made me feel richer than Ambani (India’s multi billionare). It was almost 1.30 pm and time for the yummy lunch. As soon as I reached for my lunch box the air was filled with a familiar voice, “You are so careless, it’s me who has to be so vigilant about you, your wallet, keys, handkerchief. Sir is their anything else you need?”. I lifted my eyes like a criminal in a court and looked up through the corner of my eyes. Hey it was her, my beautiful wife was standing in front of me with an expression of anger, pity and love all at the same time. I would spend my entire wealth on this expression. “Thanks dear”, I held her hand lovingly.

With a smile to die for she handed me my treasures. “Take this Avinash – there were so many calls on your phone, I just could not help but come and hand it over to you. Just for your information there were multiple calls from your sweetheart that mischievous Shlok, a couple of them from your bank and your head office. Bye for now”. Faster than P. T . Usha she sprinted out of the office. I stuffed the wallet into my pocket, and was really rich now.

As soon as the lunch was over I went over to my boss’s cabin to hand him some papers. I was near the door of the cabin his words hit my ears, “Dear trust me I would have definitely got you that dress today only if I had not forgotten my wallet. You very well know that I have forgotten it. It’s lying on the side table Isn’t it? Tomorrow for sure will get it for you. Please don’t get upset”. These words were actually music to my ears, reassuring that it’s not only me who forgets the wallet. Feeling elated I knocked at the door and entered. Reaching out for my wallet I took out the notes and handed them over to the him. “Sir please don’t say anything it happens in this crazy life”. Raju’s words sprang out from my mouth. I turned back to leave and the expression on the boss’s face was priceless. I could sense the satisfaction of his in the air. Only if I had eyes behind my head I could have seen that look.

My wallet was empty, but I was the richest person in the world at that time.

To a Father from a Father – Happy Father’s Day

To a Father from a Father – Happy Father’s Day

Strong shoulders carried me to see the zoo, gentle yet firm hand lock did not allow me to wander, the firm grip on my cycle seat did not allow me to fall, his presence is all prevailing and reassuring. My childhood memories of my super hero are vivid and so very clear that I can still touch them. The initial years of my life was a guided tour, teenage was a rebellious phase and it was only me who was right all the time. But growing up, I thought I needed more from him – more hugs, more tenderness, more lets-sit-down-and-talk-about-our-feelings. I was angry, compared him to others, blamed some of my life choices on my perception that he wasn’t “there” enough. The life after that was on my own terms, in my 30s was when I really learnt to love my dad for who he is; not for who I thought he should be. That was the time when fatherhood came to me and my myopic vision was corrected with the spectacles of realization. He has always been a good man – a hard worker, volunteer, encourager and the family’s pillar.

Actually God knew long before we showed up on this earth that we would be a family. He knew that my dad’s strengths and struggles would come together with my own to create a relationship, and it would be a journey, and if we allowed it – fortunately which we have. He would use those things to grow us more and more into the people He created us to be.

Through the years, I have come to realize that my Dad did the best he could with what he had at the time as a father. I discovered how deeply he cares for me even if he shows it in different ways than I do. In fact, today I can truly say that he is one of my very best friends.

There are all kinds of fathers, but I am sure there is one thing they all share: No matter what their personalities, attributes, struggles, circumstances… every one of them is called to live God’s way. And when they do, their families are blessed and a ripple effect of goodness happens in our world.

The actions of a father speak volumes to his children. Even if they can’t decipher them when they are young, they are definitely watching and learning. And even if they won’t admit it when they are older, there is a strong pull to follow in his footsteps.

The father’s display of compassion gives us a glimpse into the heart of God. Strong — yet tender, deeply understanding, fiercely loyal, and always ready to help us through the toughest of times.

Bringing up a child with healthy boundaries and godly discipline is no easy task. But even in the most frustrating moments, a loving father is GOD – standing firm in the truth, yet grace-filled; never critical and demanding.

A father’s deep affection offers a sense of security and assurance that nothing else can give. The heart of a child is beautifully designed to respond to that love; it’s a connection strong enough to last a lifetime.

The man in our lives needs to be lifted up, to be reminded that we are strengthened by his presence, that we see the love of our Almighty reflected in him and that we honour who he is.

A Happy Father’s Day from A Father………….

LIFE – The infinite canvas

We leave parts of ourselves in places we have been to, hearts, rooms or bus seats, just about anywhere where we have been. People find them later in themselves. This is life. Losing and finding. Again and again. Making this strange massive vastness of the world, our home. Making it familiar. We make it through to wherever we need to, intact, evolved but just with a few soft unseen bits missing.Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. The hardest battle you are ever going to fight is the battle to be just you.
The only good luck great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck. Never be uncaring, but don’t allow anyone to project their bad feelings onto you either. Just giving people who are having a bad time some space of their own may be exactly what they need. The sad part is that they do not know when to give that much needed space.As is the unwritten rule – Everything comes in life at its own time and it is always the right time. It is only we who do not recognize it as the right time.

SACHET

SACHET

I was walking down the aisle of the supermarket with a list of things to buy. These were not mere items, they were the desires of the members of the family. The kids wanted their brand of ketchup, pastas, spreads. The wife wanted her brand of shampoo, some soaps and a few more things. The parents had their specific brands.
Belonging to the middle class and the old school of thoughts I stared at the prices of the products and wondered about my budget. The war of Desires vs Budget was tough.
Suddenly the cute looking sachets caught my attention. They seemed so affordable when I started comparing the prices of the sachets vs the big packs. “Sir why don’t you try the sachets of different brands first and then decide. You need not buy the big pack first”. The floor assistant said. Spending 5-10 rupees on the “Sachet” did not seem a tall order. I picked up the sachets of different brands and products and started my march further as a king who had just won a war.

“Sachet” I think is the biggest innovation by the companies. You need not buy the big packs for the products you want. It seems a win win situation for both – the Customer as well as the Company. The end result you don’t spend a fortune to savour the product.

But the wise “Sachet” theory of the companies and the intelligence – Do we ever implement in our lives?

We often tend to run after Big packs of happiness – A big house, A big car, A big bank balance, A big name for ourselves and everything else has to be big too. In the pursuit of big packets we burn the candle at both ends and sometimes run beyond our capacity. If we are rewarded with a big packet we tend to be happy else regrets become our companion.

But honestly happiness doesn’t only come in big packets, it comes in small “Sachets” too. Sadly we do not pay enough attention to them.

Meaning,
A big house whenever it happens will happen, but imagine being contended and peacefully sleeping in the present “Sachet” house….

A big car whenever it comes will come, but imagine riding in the “Sachet” car now and feeling the wind in your hair and going to places which you ever want to visit.

The fame, the name and everything else they have big packets, but they come in “Sachets” too. If we recognize this and experience them we get the same happiness. The happiness experienced for your selfless act for someone who cannot repay you is bigger than you being elected as a chairperson of your organization.

Sitting and spending time with your children, a long drive with your loved one, an evening with your parents or a dinner with your friends. These “Sachets” are priceless.

When you connect the dots between all these little joys, life seems fuller and more satisfying…

Enjoy the little “Sachets”, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big packets.

CHHOTU

Chhotu……

Chhotu a 9 year old boy lives in Vijay nagar slums. His clothes are dirty; pockets are torn & full of dust. Inspite of his condition he has an ever smiling face like the moon shining out of the clouds. Curly hair and and sparkle in his eyes are his trademark.

Chhotu is happily prancing on the streets, suddenly he stops in his tracks. The smell of food titillates his nostrils, he sees the fat shopkeeper frying some tasty fritters. He has not eaten a morsel since last evening.
His stomach starts making noises and gates of the dam opens right in his mouth. He can hardly resist the sight and smell of the fresh food in front of him.

“Uncle” Chhotu calls the shop keeper in his innocent tone.
“What is it?” the fat man asks in a rough tone.
“I want to eat some fritters, but I don’t have any money”, he shows his helplessness.
“Go away you brute”, says the fat man without any mercy.
“Uncle I am very hungry, have not eaten anything since yesterday. Touch my tummy, it’s growling” Chhotu’s dry lips try to re-convince the man.

“Go away you scoundrel else I will break your bones. Bloody beggar”.
Chhotu gets scared and takes 2 steps back. The shop keeper gets busy with his work.

In the fight between hunger and helplessness, hunger takes over and he fearlessly lunges forward. Chhotu’s small feet now move further and he quietly picks up a few fritters from the large plate.

“You thief, how dare you?”, the man shouts and grabs Chhotu’s arm. The man starts twisting his delicate arm as if a cane crushing machine is working on the cane.

“Uncle, please leave my hand, spare me. I was just touching those fritters.” Chhotu tries to justify his act. “Ohh Mom…. My hand”, the little boy cries in pain.

But the fat man does not listen and violently strikes on Chhotu’s back with his elbow twice. This almost kills the little boy.

Chhotu sits right there, covers his head with his little soft hands as if saying beat me but please don’t hit on my head.
He is now finding it difficult to breath and everything looks darker to him for a few moments.

A shot of pain pierces Chhotu’s arm and blood oozes out of his nostril as he falls down on the stony street due to the surgical strikes on his back. Perhaps his arm has also been dislodged.

Crying in pain Chhotu starts running towards where he lives in the slums. The place is dark, stinky and dusty. Running through the narrow streets, Chhotu enters a ramshackle dwelling, which he calls it his home. He pulls out an old bed sheet and spreads himself on it. He rests his head on a brick which is his pillow. On the wall right across him is a picture of a woman smiling out of an old worn out frame. Yes she is his mother.

“Momma…” tears rolling out of his innocent eyes “Where are you? Do you even know how hungry I am?”
“That bulldozer has beaten me so hard, he even abused me. Twisted my arm and see my nose is bleeding too”. Chhotu complains to her.

“It’s hurting me so much. My breathe was just stuck in my throat…do you know? You always used to say you shall leave me if I don’t eat my food. Mom please come back I promise I will ever obey you… Please please please”. Tears start rolling from those innocent eyes. But she keeps smiling from the wooden frame.

“Son please call your Dad and Mom, I need to talk with them.” Suddenly a woman’s soft voice interrupts his dialogue with his mother. Startled he looks at the door. It’s Mrs. D’souza a social worker of that area. A fair skinned Mrs. D’souza has been working in that area and Chhotu has seen her many a times helping people. Adorned in a light blue saree she appears like an angel and her glow has brightened up the dimly lit house.

He says nothing and keeps crying looking at his arm. “What happened to your arm son?” He says nothing and keeps weeping. Like a doting mother she cajoles him and takes him to the doctor. A plaster cast is wrapped to support his arm.

Mrs. D’souza gets to know more about Chhotu’s life and her motherly instinct arises. She questions, “Son would you want to study?”

He nods his head with a yes, but pauses and asks, “And will I get food?” He asks in a worried tone. Mrs. D’souza is further touched by his innocent question.

“You no longer have to worry about the food. Just study well.”
“And son please call me Mom”. Mrs. D’souza smiles & places her palm on his head.

“Ok Mom”, Chhotu sports a wide grin and thinking to himself that his daily struggles will now end. He is no longer a slum boy. A convent school and higher education from London, Chhotu’s life takes a 360 degree turn. With his education Chhotu has now graduated to Bhaskar.

Now a well educated man back from London and the founder of an eye wear brand Zebrina, his new mother’s name whom he worships as God.

Bhaskar sitting on a high back chair in his glass cabin and looking at her mother’s picture and breaks out in tears. He picks up the phone and asks, “Julie are the Food containers ready?”.

“Almost ready, Sir. Just the last 4 are to be packed” the assistant tells him.
“Alright”, says Bhaskar.

The food containers neatly arranged in a carton and placed in his car Bhaskar is going towards Vijay nagar – his roots. The food is meant for the poor children. Lost in thoughts he is already in the narrow lanes and finds himself in front of an old tin shed. He enters inside. The atmosphere hasn’t changed a bit the sunlight still sneaks in through the holes in the roof and the wind lets itself in through the broken windows. The only upgrade in all these years are the rats which are parading in the room. On seeing the suited gentleman they too vanish.

In the corner lies the old bedsheet and the brick. Bhaskar or should I say Chhotu spreads himself out on the bedsheet and rests his head on the brick staring at the wall where his smiling mother used to be. He closes his eyes and dozes off.

Back at the office the next day he continues to check the annual revenues of his company Zebrina. The photographs of his mothers placed on the wall just behind his chair. Their smiles say that their pride is immeasurable.

Perhaps he will always be a little Chhotu for them. Always.

LIFE IS FULL OF CONTRASTS and continues to Amaze us…..Isn’t it?

SOMETIMES…….

SOMETIMES….

Sometimes I want to write what my heart desires but the thoughts just seem to vanish and I get lost in the oblivion.
Sometimes I get so tense, I just fight with my pen and go to sleep.
Sometimes I wonder where I am, and then, sometimes I am not even sure I am here!
Sometimes I like dreams that are distant, then I feel they are useless.
Sometimes even the flowers don’t please me and life becomes obscure.
Sometimes smiling becomes a task but even the tears don’t drop.
Sometimes I feel angry about my existence and I tell everyone to leave me as I am.
Sometimes life walks to me, but it feels like a slap on my cheeks.
Sometimes my condition is so complicated, in the fire of responsibilities my desires burn.
Sometimes I distance myself from myself to such an extent that the paper and pen yearns to meet me.
Sometimes I feel that I cannot do anything and it seems I cannot even breathe on my own!
Sometimes I start calling my end, but even if it is standing in front of me, I cannot die.
Sometimes desires seem to be a weight on my shoulders- as if it’s hoisting itself on a dead body.
Sometimes even my own laughter seems to be like salt on my wounds. My eyes can’t see anything but only my destruction that appears lovely!
Sometimes I am in a never-ending fight with this world and just sometimes, defeated so much, I surrender.

Sometimes………

CAN WE BE A SUNFLOWER?

CAN WE BE A SUNFLOWER?

I was scrolling through some articles on the internet and stumbled upon a scientific article about SUNFLOWERS. It intrigued me and I was forced to draw some parallels:

The Sunflowers  turn according to the position of the sun. In other words, they “chase the light.” We already know this, but there is another fact that many of us probably do not know!

Have you ever wondered what happens on a cloudy or rainy days when the sun is completely covered by clouds? Interesting question. Isn’t it?

Perhaps you think the sunflower withers or turns its head towards the ground. Is this what crossed your mind? Well, that’s incorrect!

This is what happens? They turn towards each other to share their energy.🌻✨🌻
Nature’s perfection is amazing.

Now let’s apply this reflection to our lives.

Wish everyone of us develops and propogates a “Sun flower”🌻 trait of turning towards each other on their cloudy and gloomy days.

Spread goodness…it will come back to you.

WE ARE ALL SOULS

WE ARE ALL SOULS

I have heard and read this statement many a times, “We are mere travellers on the face of this earth”. Makes me wonder and forces me to ponder about my journey. I started to read articles and referred some books too. Although still have many a doubts and queries. Jotted a few of my observations.

We have travelled through many lifetimes and lived with many different souls amidst family, friends or those who don’t really get along with us. During this process we share many relationships with each other – Father-mother, Husband-wife, Brother-sister, Friends, Neighbours, Servants, Drivers and even enemies. Some may have even tried to harm us emotionally, physically or spiritually.

But in the end, we all are the same and belong to only one group that is SOULS.

Each person is a soul that tries to help the other move forward spiritually and reduce the karmic luggage. Probably it is the Divine plan according to which each of us is playing our role.

Sometimes the soul that loves us the most, might take birth as our enemy or a tormentor in a lifetime, just to help us work out our karma. Thus, a person who we think hates us and we in return hate, might be our greatest well-wisher spiritually. Now I somewhat understand that when we were in school or college we would be upset and angry on our teachers, but it is because of their strict behaviour we have become what we are now. This could be nature’s way of exposing us to the various flavours of life. Seems one lifetime is not enough to savour all the flavours.

He or she may be responsible for our becoming spiritual or compassionate.
That very person who is creating hell in our lives may bring us closer to spirituality. In the present lifetime, he/she may be doing so because that could be the only way to teach us a lesson. Sometimes due to the actions of people associated with us we land up into situations which bring us closer to the Supreme power and reinforce our belief in that power. Similarly, a soul is reborn just to comfort us and be there in times of need. This is what we mean Karmic connections.

What I understand they all are part of the soul family that wants to help us and wants help in return. Who knows we may be harming the soul who loves us the most spiritually but we are not able to recognize it as the soul is wearing a different body in this particular lifetime.

This brings forth a question – Who is our friend and Who is our enemy?

That is when life seems strange and confusing. My journey to seek the answers continues and would love to have your views and guidance on it….

YOU ARE ART

YOU ARE ART……

Life ain’t easy or is it? Sometimes Yes and sometimes No. In between the struggles of growing up, learning, trying to be successful it is a curious mix of sugar and spice.

Sometimes of not being satisfied, of finding the right things in life, of not being sure, or of telling the wrongs from the rights from the greys, we are often hit by this feeling of insignificance that makes us question life, its possibilities and its meaning.

Some questions arise regularly in my mind:

* Does my existence have a reason? 
* Does my life have a purpose behind it? 
* Does my life have a defined destination? 
* What part am I playing in this world? 
* Am I special- more special than the others? Or am I just like everybody else? 
* Is it okay to be ordinary? 

And the list is endless……..As long as we continue to question all that is kept a secret. And just like everyone else, I too have questioned time and again: Do I matter? Is it important to matter? More often than sometimes, I tend to conclude that life is an entirely pointless affair of birth, struggle and death. We are broken bits of stars that stumbled upon the earth and formed bodies for aimless souls. Even science tells us that we are made up of emptiness (+) which is why perhaps we try so hard to attach some meaning to our existence and connect it to the rest of the universe- we are empty inside. Purposeless and insignificant. What a depressing and humbling thought that is. But then again, purposelessness does not deprive an object of its beauty, does it?

Like stories. We are writers. We come into this world to live a life and leave behind a story, not for the sake of the future generations but for the sake of the story in itself. And even though our biographies may never be written down into the pages of a book, they will exist because we have lived them. They will breathe. We are stories. We are pieces of art coming together to create one beautiful masterpiece that we have named ‘UNIVERSE.’

We are the art and the artist too. And art does not need a reason to be. It does not have a purpose. Art just is. You are art. Be.

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