Monday, 25 June 2012

The Present

We all have a choice to make in life - to be happy or to be unhappy. And this is irrespective of the circumstances that we are placed in at any point of time. 

If I choose to be unhappy, I can definitely manage to complain and be discontent even in the best of circumstances. I may have a very comfortable, well paying job that I enjoy doing, but I can certainly find something to complain about - that non cooperative colleague, the lack of interesting assignments, discontent over not being recognized well enough, company policies ..
But on the other hand, I can feel blessed and happy that I have a workplace that gives me a chance to prove my potential and that income which has made me independent. And as for those small pain points, I could stop complaining and analyze it, work through/work around it, solve it or simply learn to live with it. That way I ensure peace for myself and everyone around.

I may have everything that I ever need in my life but I can still complain about that one thing that is eluding my grasp at the moment - that impending pay hike, that dream home, that T- Shirt and Jeans that fit me ‘perfectly’, that tailor who can stitch my clothes the way I imagine them to be.. It’s a long endless list and hence a moving target.
But as a simple alternative, all I need to do is to remember that there is a God above who knows the big picture. He alone can see the entire jigsaw puzzle and knows what fits where. And most importantly, the pieces are in his hands and not in mine! So there is really no point in worrying. Sounds logical eh?
When we sit down in prayer to ask him for those things that ‘ought’ to be ours, am sure he is sitting up there and laughing at our ignorance. We must be appearing very similar to that small child who wants to jump out of the running train to retrieve his toy that slipped out of the window. The innocent little one has no clue that he may probably not live to retrieve the toy. We grown up children are very much the same.

In vying for something that we do not have at the moment, we totally miss out on what we have in hand. We do not enjoy the ‘present’. Yes, pun intended. We throw away the gifts being given to us looking at that which is impending. And when the much awaited impending gift arrives, we sigh over what we threw away previously because the new gift is certainly different from the previous one and has its own challenges.
A mother waits for her toddler to grow up so that he becomes less dependent and when he actually does, it tugs her heart that he isn’t her little baby and doesn’t need her anymore for bathing, dressing and feeding.

So ultimately, we end up unhappy then, unhappy now and unhappy forever.

Instead, if we count our blessings and enjoy the present, how wonderful life would be! That way we would have enjoyed all that went by, all that we have at the moment and look forward to all that is yet to come with positivity. And also, we would be ensuring that when we do look back at all that was ours, it is with fondness and not with regret.
Enjoy those hectic days with your completely dependent toddler. And when he grows up, look back with happiness at those days and look at the present with pride as he rides his own bicycle.

Wake up each day to thank God for all that is yours. For those little irritants that always persist in life, resolve to vanquish them – either by finding a solution or by simply refusing to allow them to affect your spirits.
For what has gone by, be happy for having walked those roads and for all that it has contributed towards the person that you are today. And for all that is going to come, brace up and welcome it with open arms.

Be thankful for the past, enjoy the present and be sure that a wonderful future awaits you! 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Can you ‘help’ please?

It’s an art in itself – helping someone as well as delegating to that exact degree where what you ask for is still help with the task that you are doing and not 95% of it completed. Wondering what exactly am trying to say? Let me explain..

You sit down to cut vegetables  – just you and the bag of veggies beside you. And then call out to someone else – ‘Can you bring the cutting board and knife?’ Obliged.
Just as the other person is about to settle back with that book he/she was blissfully reading, -‘Could you wash the veggies too please?’ Obliged again, but this time with a sigh.
‘And one last favour – just get vessels of the appropriate size, one for the spinach, one for the drumstick, maybe a plate for the tomatoes and onions. And wash them all, will you? The maid doesn’t do it that well. There will be traces of soap on it.’
And once the cutting is done – ‘Please clear the peels off the floor and just give it a light mop. And place these cut veggies in the fridge’. Open the fridge and it’s full to the brim. You need to employ all the skills you ever had in space management to place the stuff in.

So who actually did work here? The one who cut the vegetables or the one who ran the errands? My point is not that no one should help out another person in doing things, be it at home or at work. But do that task completely and relieve people around you of having to do anything related to it. That’s where you add value.
If I want to give my sis a break, I should take care of my nephew completely. Give him food, entertain him and put him to sleep. All this while she reads a book, takes a nap or does something that interests her. Instead, if am going to call out every few minutes saying ‘He is not eating properly.. Can you serve some curd please .. Can you refill water .. He is throwing a tantrum .. Please come and tell him off .. ‘ , she might as well do it all herself. If I truly want to give her a break, she must forget that her little one and me are sitting in another room. She should be allowed to get engrossed by the book that she’s reading or the art work that she’s doing.

My dad is sometimes really good at this. He loves to feed people and he does it in perfect style. If he makes juice, it would reach us in our hands at the sofa where we would be sitting and blissfully vegetating. Shortly though, my mom would shriek with horror at the sight of the kitchen but that is besides the point J Cleaning the kitchen is a separate sub task isn’t it? After washing our throats down with the yummy fresh juice, one of us can do the kitchen cleaning. But while making the juice, if he had called out a dozen times for fruits, peeler, cutter, sugar, water ... We might as well go without the juice. You get the picture now?

We all do the mistake of pestering another person to ‘assist’ us while we actually ‘do’ the big job. But more often than not, the assisting part is more demanding and painful. The other kind of scenario also happens where we help for namesake and the work needs to be re-done after we leave the scene.

You must help each other, but the help that you do or ask for should be meaningful. One person is enough to make a bed. You don’t need someone to hold and spread the sheet on the other side unless you are in a tearing hurry to finish it. Let the others have their time while you finish this small odd job. One person is enough to steer a meeting at work. You don’t need to constantly chip in with your ‘inputs’ unless the person who is speaking needs help or is missing out something important. Allow that person to do the show while he/she is able to manage on their own. 

Do I have a fair point? What's your take?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Family matters .. Yes it does!

Amongst all that God has given me in life, I have always felt that my wonderful family is the highest blessing. Growing up with a bandwagon of uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents is an experience unparalleled to anything else and has gone a long way in shaping all of us young people in the family into wholesome individuals.

Almost all of us are settled in Chennai now but about 15 years back, each of my dad’s brothers were settled in different places. But still, it was always made sure that we kids spent our summer holidays together and the entire family would get together for Diwali at my eldest uncle’s place every year. Seventeen people tucked away in one house. Kids bursting crackers, mothers busy in the kitchen (shooing away some naughty ones as they tried to whisk away some eats), people all over the house – the scene would be noisy and chaotic. But what fun it was!!

Years later now, even with all of us busy pursuing our chosen professions, nothing has changed. The bond that we cousins share with each other, the interest each uncle and aunt takes in every one of our lives, the way we all get together to perform important events in the family, the yearly trips we take to pay our respects to the family deity – all this gives a feeling of such warmth and happiness and weaves a web of togetherness and security around each one of us. The wonderful people who have come in by marriage are no exceptions. They have blended so well, extended the family circle and proved to strengthen the bonds even further.

Today if each one of us are emotionally well balanced individuals who have made it to reasonable positions and situations in life, it is primarily because of this strong foundation that being a united family has built. It has taught us so much. Sharing, adjusting with each other, giving in for the sake of another person, genuinely feeling for each other’s successes and setbacks, being there to support each other during difficult times, respecting elders .. I could go on ..

Now, aren't these qualities essential for any human being to be able to live peacefully in society? How a child turns out to be is hugely dependent on the parents who bring up the child and the environment that the child grows up in. A happy and secure environment filled with warm relationships that involve sharing and coexisting will give the world a wholesome individual who can face the challenges that it inevitably poses and come out successful. As a corollary, a child brought up in a lonely environment where relatives are seen as unwanted disturbances and cousins, uncles and aunts are considered as separate entities who have to be competed with in terms of wealth, positions held etc would in all probability end up a being a self centered person with no space for anyone else in life.

But sadly, many people today have become too busy and self engrossed to pay attention to relatives or to take efforts to get together. We may be in touch with everyone through phone calls and social networking sites. But nothing in the world can compensate spending time together. The bonds formed via the internet are only virtual and as rightly put by dictionary definition, they only ‘appear’ real.
And to top it all, the media is acting irresponsible too. I was aghast seeing a commercial recently where an old man comes as a guest to a house and the mother immediately frowns with disapproval at the unexpected ‘disturbance’. The child catches the hint and the ad goes on to show how the child ‘intelligently’ drives out the ‘unwanted guest’(as the ad quotes).
What has the world come to? And where are we heading? At this rate, the world would be filled with selfish individuals who cannot even tolerate one another, leave alone contributing to each other’s life. Is that what we really want?

You can be a nuclear family, no harm. But take the effort to live as a whole with your extended family. Celebrate festivals together, perform family events like marriages, housewarming, thread ceremony together. Do not say you don’t have the time to attend a family function. You should be there in the forefront ensuring that it happens well. The joy that comes out of this would be worth all that you gave up to be a part of it. Being a united family would ensure each one of us turn out to be complete human beings and also bring up children fit to live in society. It would in fact, ensure we groom a healthy and wholesome future generation itself. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Ink on Paper - For the Love of Writing ..

Finally .. A long cherished dream has come true .. The desire to express the gazillion thoughts that whirl in my mind, the reflections within my inner self, my take on so many things that happen around me,  awe and wonder over the beauty of God's creation and most importantly, for the sheer love of writing . Having been an avid reader right from childhood, I have always loved to write as well . After ages of writing poetry and hiding them at home,I published my first article for a college journal. I then went on to write more and to my delight, each one of them got published :) 
But the story ended with college as I put writing at the backseat once into a career .Not that I did not have the time . I would in fact keep thinking about writing and publishing and talk about it like a distant dream.

Now you would wonder what on earth held me back ,what with the love for writing, a few past successes certainly enough to encourage and the freely accessible and powerful medium called the internet. Sheer Laziness, the ‘Who would read it’, ‘What if I run out of stuff to write about’ and ’What if people don’t like my writing’ fears, total lack of enthusiasm .. The list is a long one .
So what sparked me on? 
A very powerful one liner that I came across in a training program - ‘Think Big, Start Small, Start now.’
Those power packed words coupled with encouragement from one of my favorite bloggers did the magic (She told me she would love to read my blog if I had one and readily signed up as a reader when I said was thinking about it! Thanks Uma !! It’s because of you that I got over that long list of fears )
So here I am, all fired up and enthusiastic to do something I really love ..Writing :)

This blog is going to be a potpourri with no specific lines of discussion. Eye opening experiences in life, reviews on Movies, books, concerts and restaurants, philosophies that I believe/don’t believe in, travelogues, cooking experiments (My sis has promised to do some guest posts too ).. That’s all am able to think of at the moment .. Will add on as I explore and discover more about this wonderful and thrilling experience that life is. 

And as much as I love to write, I would also like to know each and every one of your views on the various ideas that I hold.So do leave a line or two telling me what you think. Your valuable comments would be a reassurance and encouragement for me to keep writing in this space. 

Lets enjoy this journey discussing ideas, views and opinions. After all sharing multiplies happiness, reduces sorrow and makes life worth living. So lets hit the floor !!!