What Is Your Struggle?


Originally Posted On Candles Online

“Life is a book – read it!

Life is a journey – go through it!

Life is a feeling – experience it!

Life is a theory – prove it!

Life is an examination – pass it!”

This is the crap I used to write / practice in the initial days of learning Ms Word of Ms Office package (basic computer knowledge for everyone 😁) and used to feel so great about myself 🤣🤣. And seriously show it to the trainer in the disguise of getting my learnings checked – Look at the hidden writer in me, how philosophical I am (now I am realizing what a fool I was🤣). Well that was back in 2004-05, I was just 19 then. Now you know my age 😉. Old enough to understand what life is about? May be 😊.

It is a struggle for sure that is designed to check your temperament. The magnitude of struggle differ from person to person; situation to situation; day to day.

Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy – macro struggles (countries / economies are in constant face offs with these issues).

Anger, greed, lust, materialistic attachments – struggles of every soul.

But I am not educated enough to discuss anything so deep, serious and profound. So why not open up about our struggles that are no less serious than these 😁.

My biggest struggles: I am sure the list might seem and sound funny but definitely not easy to fight and even sure that all of us without any exception have such interesting struggles:

  • I struggle to keep my eyes wide open from the moment I enter any vehicle be it car, auto rickshaw, train, bus – just name it. This is the reason I refrain from sitting next to my husband in our car because as they say if you sleep sitting next to the driver you will surely rub off your yawning spirit on to him and driving needs utmost concentration.
  • I struggle to keep my diet on track. My taste buds accustomed to Dilli style spicy food (for Delhites its never Delhi but Dilli) salads and health drinks are too bland and boring. And sweet tooth is only aggravating my fight to keep a check on calories intake. But the only solace in this battle is that I am not alone 😉. There’s an entire army of food lovers who are finding it difficult to switch to alternative choices 😁.
  • I struggle to strictly stick to the list of “To Do Things” in a day. Yes, you call it Procrastination and I chose to term it laziness. Being blunt might give enough impetus to fight it😁.
  • I struggle to call a spade A Spade and that got me into soup lot many times.
  • Keeping things and forgetting them and worrying about the things ensuing.

That was just a glimpse into my mundane yet not trivial struggles. We all have such struggles that are laughed off, ridiculed but they have their own place in making our lives interesting, give us few memories. Won’t you agree? If yes open up about your “Struggles”.

Don’t We Deserve Good Leaders?


Originally Posted On Candles Online

In 2015, I came across a very stupid statement by a person from political fraternity.  He said, “Chinese food, jeans and mobile phones are the reasons behind increasing sexual violence/ rapes in India“. That had me in splits 🤣. On another occasion a head of regional political party said “boys will be boys“, following the increasing rate of sexual crimes. That was cringeworthy and repulsive but not “just it”.  Unfortunately a never ending string of such hateful, controversial, insensitive and senseless comments blaming the victims rather than the culprits are a part and parcel of the politician resumes in India. And our politicians make good comedians too 😁. Let me quote few more politicians (funny statements) before I put across my agenda to pen this article:

“Rings could be banned as if it goes missing, it might cause unnecessary problems. Flowers, I am sure, would not be banned. Anklets should be banned, they can affect boys’ studies and concentration, the clinking sound of anklets distracts boys.” “Civil and not mechanical engineers should apply for civil services.” 

“Darwin’s theory of evolution is scientifically wrong… nobody including our ancestors have said in written or oral that they saw an ape turning into a man.”

“You will get jaundice if you attend rallies of other parties.” 

(Source: different news papers)

They are just very few drops from the murky waters (better read gutters as in that of drainage systems) of ignorance and stupidity our politicians are diving and swimming in.  From outraging the modesty of a woman with their below the belt comments to making a complete fool of themselves with their idiotic statements our politicians have done everything.

So coming to my purpose of writing this article – vent out my frustration, can’t state out more elaborately than this. We are a country of population of over 130 billion who believe in the constitution of our country that confers it the power of democracy.  It awarded us the right to choose among the candidates to be our representatives on national and international podiums and these are the people we chose?

It would be very interesting to know that in India if you are planning to apply for the least possible office job in any government department the candidate must have minimum set of educational qualifications, aptitude, age bar is set after which you are not eligible to apply and a plethora of different examinations to filter the right person for the right job. It’s for the  entry level I am talking about. I myself have given examinations (that I flunked to say the least 🤣). But the handful people we chose to be our leaders – have we ever checked their credentials to be in that position we put them in?

Comically, ironically and sadly for a person to be a politician in India there are no set of qualifications that they must possess.  We have school dropouts as our leaders, the list is so long that I am unable to mention it in this small article 😛 . Few of them never even went to school to begin with. What a shame! On contrary the ability to mobilise the mob mentality, criminal background, nepotism, talking big (only talking mind you 😁), pulling wool out of innocent voters in the name of decade(s) old issues of poverty & unemployment – these are the qualifications that makes out a great recipe for a great politician in India. Livid ? But that’s the truth.

Over 70 years many regulations imposed and passed as laws but one law (or set of laws) that I would recommend or say love to see being reinforced : Transparency as to what is your qualification to lead us:

  • Graduation should be the minimum educational requirement for anyone willing to contest elections
  • Minimum age bar be 25 and retirement at the age of 65. We need young blood and ideas to come in and contribute. Interesting fact: Finland has the youngest prime minister –  Sanna Marin, 34 years old where as…. just fill in the blanks 😁
  • No criminal record. No person holding even single criminal case against him/ her should be allowed to enter the assembly. They should have the same parameters of judging just as any other person vying for a government job is judged upon.
  • VIP culture should be done away with – I know I am wishing too much 😁.
  • Surnames shouldn’t be the passport for wishful portfolios without any proven track record of work. Kingdoms and dynasties are gone but trails are still lingering on. Political clout is just another business for decades now. Proven track record of work at grass root levels should be made mandatory.  It would only infuse confidence of people  about their leadership and future.
  • Do away with undue subsidies and freebies. Every hike in salary politicians demand for they should be made accountable for it’s out of the taxes we pay they are getting paid.

Though these points seem superficial for a country like India but completely need of the hour. Our politicians (majority) are smart (read scrupulous) enough to divide us and make us concentrate on issues other than development or even instigate hate.  And in this process they are steering clear of any accountability.  And when questioned they either play blame game or have another controversy ready to heat up the TRP markets.  Also given that India is being looked upon by the world don’t we deserve good leaders who work with clear conscience and talk some sense. What say?

Are You Suffeirng From “I am Sorry” Syndrome?


Originally posted on Candles online

I invited a family to dinner at our place. The lady of the family brought home made cake for dessert.  But I forgot to serve the same and ended up serving a readymade sweet. And when they left I realised (actually was made to realise 😁) what a blunder I had committed. I should have served the cake too, its courtesy and etiquette. And then I was on my guilt trip. I texted her to seek forgiveness. Though she said she didn’t mind it at all, asked me to relax and chill, it’s been a long time now since we spoke to each other 😁 (she is busy with her examinations). What I did at the dinner was completely unintentional; being forgetful was my weakness rather than my mistake. But I pleaded.

And this isn’t the first time when I said ‘Sorry’ for something so trivial. I talk to my friends, relatives and out of no where after I finish my conversations I have a demon visiting me “Guilt” that makes me think, rethink – “did I utter something wrong to offend the person?”, “let’s say sorry before it’s too late” and I don’t relent from saying sorry. In fact I say ‘Sorry’ way too much.  I fear grudges and misunderstandings, hence I say sorry. So much so that I could possibly paint myself as nervous, weak or simply stupid.  If you have to choose a nickname for me “The Sorry Girl” would do just fine🤣🤣.

Too much of guilt or say “false” guilt for every non existing/ illogical/ trivial issue could be as dangerous as self medicating after surfing on Google for few apparent symptoms and assuming that you are suffering from a dreadful illness. Doctors are there for a reason, right? Don’t assume, for it could lead to side effects more effectively than yielding positive results. “Feeling Sorry” syndrome as I call it is something same as self medicating.  When you assume things and go on a guilt trip more often than not, you self deplete yourself. Extreme self consciousness so as to not to hurt anyone makes you go into a shell which equals to lower self esteem and confidence.  I have myself experienced the dilemma very often “shall I ask? Shall I say? Shall I tell?”.  Because I don’t want anyone to feel bad and me either as a consequence to my actions and words.  And this is where I hesitate to say NO (my false guilt of hurting someone being my constant companion).  But now I am slowly realising it isn’t worth it, at least not every situation requires irrelevant deep introspection that shows me as a insensitive human, oblivious to others feelings.

I am not against minding words and actions in advance for it reflects an educated mind. And to be conscious about how others may feel reflects your sensible side. But the question is how much is enough and what is unwanted.  Feelings like Regret, Guilt are as precious as Love and Care to be squandered away on unimportant things.  For instance: You got stuck in traffic irrespective of starting really early so you say sorry and move on. This is how it should be. But if you start analysing what the other person might think of you, how much business loss he might have incurred just because of your delay and start off meekly to please unnecessarily, this is something awkward and uncalled for. This hampers your personality, your image. And this is called false guilt. Your false guilt will let others take advantage of you, period.

Talk and move on! You feel you have done something wrong, talk about it to the concerned person, settle the matter there. Don’t let it linger on your mind for long. If the other person understands your explanation no worries. But if the other person is indifferent, it isn’t your fault, mind you. Remember you can’t please everyone. Then why burden your heart with “I don’t deserve them” tag. Why can’t it be the other way round?

Always remember:

  • Be cordial but not overtly submissive, there’s a huge difference.
  • Don’t nurse ego
  • Don’t be shy to say sorry when you feel you need to, you want to
  • Relationships are important but if you can’t value yourself relationships can’t be sane and equal.
  • Watch out words and actions before they are beyond your control.

Life, experience, wisdom – A sure shot medication for your Sorry Syndrome. What say?

Looking Back With A Content Heart


woman doing hand heart sign
Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com
  • Did I manage to check every item on my bucket list in the current year ? NO.
  • Will I able to do it in the coming days before I bid adieu to this year? No

Then what is the content about? I am alive and kicking, isn’t it something to be happy about? I am healthy and managed to survive this year without any major health issues, isn’t this something to be happy about in the times where every puff of air we breathe is capable of putting us in direct line of fire of dreadful diseases? My family, my near and dear ones are with me when relationships are volatile and vulnerable, isn’t this something I should be happy about? I have a roof over my head and heart free of fear, is there any happiness greater than this?

No, this is no spiritual discourse but the hard truth of life that I am trying to absorb as much as I can.

Coming to what I have done and what I got in 2019, few are tangible successes whereas few others are intangible emotions. How about a sneak peek, come with me 😊:

  • Beginning was superb: January 2019 gave me the requisite impetus to march towards my long pending goal of learning how to drive. I cleared my driving theory test (on second attempt though 🙈).  That really charged me well to take on the next challenge of setting my hands on the steering for the first time in 34 years of my life. That was something!!! (Now I am eligible for provisional driving licence, a step closer to claim my independence 😁).
  • Many first times: I mentioned it many times in my articles that my son is a non verbal autistic child. Every word he says is an ecstasy for us for obvious reasons. Every addition in his vocabulary is a mirror to his development and evolution. And when he said “Amma” (mother), “Nanna” (father) for the first time in eight years of his birth it was an altogether a different whirlpool of emotions for me. For any child Ma, Pa are the first words/ sounds but my ears yearned all these years for that call.  It’s not that those words give approval to the bond we share with our son but definitely they satisfy our  senses. It was during our flight to India. He was seated with his father separately. He was really worried as to where his mother and sister has gone and was constantly nagging the crew asking about me by only mentioning  “Amma, Amma”.  When the crew asked me I was clueless if it’s my son or not.  And when my doubts dispelled I was happy beyond my words could express.  Tears that I hid from co passengers can only explain which  I fail to do it here.
  • Amazing surprise: When our stay in India was drawing to a close I got a sweet surprise.  My brother in law broke the news that they will be soon our neighbours (Brussels and Amsterdam  are just 2 and half hours away) as they used to be four years back.  That’s pure happiness.  Nothing beats the fun and happiness of having family around especially when you are in far away lands.  They have been with us in our thick and thins and my co-sister is an amazing fun loving person to be around.  Looking forward for 2020 winter shopping gal! (She would know if she is reading this 😁)
  • Very important lesson learnt: Throughout my life I heard people saying “Karma catch you sooner or later” (can’t use the phrase millennials use 😁) but this year gave me first hand experience of that. In my growing up years I was upset (an understatement) with my father that he signed up as a guarantor for someone and we faced extreme crunch situations at home because of his action.  My reaction for that particular act of him was very sour.   I  always cautioned my brother, my husband, my close ones against being a guarantor to anyone.  I maintained “if you can help do it but don’t pledge it with a signature”. But karma caught me as I signed a subscription contract of telecom services of another brand other than what we are using now unmindfully (for the first and last time) only to realise few days later that my previous service provider severed my connection and I am left with no contact number. This is after I called the correspondent the next day and declined the offer. But who cares when the signature is there 😔. I got the taste of my own medicine. That reminded me of my folly then. I was harsh instead of understanding his position. Few moments are beyond your intelligence, pragmatism, logic and reasoning, simple. Perhaps I learnt two lessons: what goes around comes back and your signature might not be an autograph but definitely can buy you dire consequences if used without giving a thought. Fortunately no serious damage done this time.
  • I grew: Understanding people, keeping few close ones, confiding heart to them, drawing inspirations from every possible person, accepting mistakes, making new ones and learning from them, able to motivate myself, picking up from shattered pieces and commencing a new stride again and most importantly being happy – this is what I learnt during this year. And my journey is still on for the next year too. Schedule for the journey will be released next year 😁😉.

To be honest I don’t have much to write about but I started believing that life is better lived every moment than to strive hard to create moments. And I lived 2019 with content for I have life and I am growing up every moment.

I am Bound Till….


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I am bound till the time I test the strength of last strand of bond between us. When it gives away I am free.

I am bound till the time my fingers are engulfed by even a single bleak ray of hope. When it is shut down I am free.

I am bound till the time I garner strength to carry on in this lone battle every time I falter. When weakness embraces me I am free.

I am bound till the time I care to repair and iron out the creases from our worn out relationship. When indifference sets in I am free.

I am bound till the time I choose to suffer to make you win in front of the world. When I chose to make my own victory stride I am free.

I am bound till the time I decide……

***This is applicable to everyone who is making silent contributions in their lives yet never credited sans any gender bias ****

Recipe For Being A Good Neighbour


 

smiling man and woman sitting beside door
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Originally posted on Candles Online

When we talk about the delicate issue of RELATIONSHIPS our discussions hover around bonds between spouses, friends, lovers, parents, in-laws too. But the most immediate relationship is often given a miss or rarely finds a mention in that list – Neighbours.

I think I don’t have to reiterate the importance of neighbours when there’s a commandment  in the Bible itself- Love Thy Neighbour!

Who are Neighbours? Rather who are good neighbours? Or what are default neighbour settings? Door bell rings, ding dong- “Hello can I borrow one cup of sugar? Do you have a glass of milk? We have guests at our home can we send them over? What is your son doing? When is your daughter getting married? Hope we haven’t disturbed you. Hope you were not busy.  How dare you let the speck of dust from your home flew to our gate?”  Yeah this is how a standard neighbour behaves 😁. Yeah I grew up among such amazing neighbourhood where people’s interest always lied in other’s business. In fact during my 10 years stay in Belgium I missed such intervening neighbours (😉 pun intended). And whenever I visit my brother in India the same void is fulfilled by his neighbours who always make sure that they never miss an update from what is happening within the four walls of his home 😁. I love that, I enjoy that.

Well, this was a dose of humour. But relationship with neighbours has a serious tone to it.  My father used to say “Neighbours are very important in our lives. Our friends, our relatives all stay away from us. It takes time for any information  to reach them and eventually for them to reach us. When problems, traumas, disasters strike us it’s our neighbour that attends us first”. This made a mark on my mind permanently. We often talk about Society but that’s our neighbhours and a cluster of neighbourhoods that comprise  our society, isn’t it? So cordial relationships are so important for a robust society.

On innumerable occasions I have seen my father reaching out to help neighbours without holding grudges (also fortunate enough to have had neighbours who stood by us in our thick and thins). Having seen him take a stand for others I understood that relationship between neighbours is as delicate as any other relationship that we cherish and vouch for.

How to be a good neighbour?

  • Don’t try to peep in their lives through the creeks in the walls: We all have encountered such neighbours I am sure.  But too much intervention in personal spaces serves only irritation and agitation. We live in times where people need space from parents and spouses then neighbours should behave accordingly 😁. Please don’t worry too much about the gold your neighbour buys or their kids’ education or marriage. They can take care of that.
  • Don’t hold grudges: Ususally people hold grudges for trivial issues like ” they didn’t invite us to their son’s first birthday party, we were not informed about the promotion Mr.XYZ got” and this comic list goes on.  This is human nature. But you will be called human only when you act human. When something goes wrong with your neighbour, when the need for help arises in your proximity you should act instead of taunting.  You might not be able to offer financial assistance often but then your presence also counts amidst the crises situation.  Think about it!
  • Use your tongue wisely:  Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can heal, it can hurt. We all know how and what I mean so won’t go into an explanation mode. Spreading rumours, gossiping, using foul language, talking nonsense and inflicting pain and fear are signs of the rotten mentality. Stay clear of this in both directions – neither be a spectator/ recipient nor a participant.  Use your words to soothe a person’s grief, to boost confidence, to support.  Be a good person, period! And remember Karma always catches up.

A warm greeting, a gentle smile, a sound advice (only when asked 😁), a steady hand stretched out to help – And here you are  –  A good neighbour.  Be it, Be the change you want to see and people will not only love you but might possibly follow your footsteps.

And not to miss cordial relationships with neighbours is important at all levels be it buildings or countries – just saying 😁😉.

MEN ARE HUMANS TOO


Candles Online

A day such as International Men’s Day makes us stop on our steps and give a deep thought to men. Women do need that extra bit of attention because all the world over, be it in developed or developing nations, they are the oppressed lot – in different but many ways. However, men are calling out too – their voices being doused by the stereotypes and mutilated by the rigid societal frameworks that have defined gender roles.

The theme for International Men’s Day 2019 – ‘Making a difference for men and boys’ made me think whether any difference is needed for men and boys, and if so how can we (men and women) contribute towards it. Some stereotypes definitely need to be revisited to be modified.

#Men are supposed to be strong

What does ‘strong’ mean exactly? Well, in the context of men, ‘strong’ means physically, emotionally, financially and socially…

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