Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Made for Each Other

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Dec 2015

One of the interesting posts I’d seen off late in Facebook was of a guy who got separated from his wife after a short stint of marriage. He was going through all the pictures he posted soon after the marriage. The intention was to find all those who have complimented them with the phrase ‘Made for Each Other’ and he plans to reach out to each one of them and properly give them back!

What would’ve gone wrong with that ‘Made for Each Other’ couple? Why have they now become ‘Not Made for Each Other’? What really makes a couple ‘Made for Each Other’?

This very meaningful tag that is given to even a newly married couple is in fact something couples need to earn. It is not a freebie that should be showered on anyone and everyone. As a couple, together you go through quite a lot of experiences that varies in its emotional, physical and psychological degrees of depths. The end result of all these should be the award given to them stating they are indeed ‘Made for Each Other’.

You start your life as a husband and wife with a clean white board in front of you. The letters and pictures that you draw on this board with each passing day shapes up your coupledom. Every other day has something or other in store for you. You learn what interests your spouse in all matters of life. You understand what makes them happy and also what irritates them. The power of this is so much so that you are blessed with the power to make them happy and also how to irritate them!

All these and more lead to one most important transformation in your life. An insignificant person till yesterday now decorates the most significant position on that whiteboard of your life. The process of learning and unlearning continues with your spouse as you never understand a person completely ever. Just like how each peel of onion opens up to reveal another gradient of color within the layers, the personality traits of your better half get revealed to you one by one. This is a journey of discovery that you will undertake till the time you are together as a couple alive or otherwise.

Six years into our marriage and recently blessed with our second child, my wife and I were planning to return to Dubai post her delivery days in India. Many of our friends and relatives were asking if we have got a maid to help us. We had thought of having a part time maid at least but still didn’t have anyone to help us after reaching back in Dubai. A few days into being the parents of two wonderful kids, we were soon in a state of affairs that we have now become ‘Maid for each other’!

The above incident was shared only to re-iterate one fact. Being ‘Made for Each Other’ means many things in life. There isn’t a specific answer to that question asked earlier; what really makes a couple ‘Made for Each Other’? How you are made for each other may not be the same for another couple. The definitions vary between couples based on their ways of understanding each other.

As you progress with your life together as a couple, the happiness and the hardships you share become more meaningful. The chapters of life when lived together with all its passion and excitement truly make you one for each other. Being able to live together as a couple is a blessing. It is an even bigger boon to live through your differences and find happiness in every other incident in your life, small or big. This is one of the mysteries of being ‘Made for Each Other’.

May you be blessed with the realization of the secret that applies in your life to make you a ‘Made for Each Other’ couple!

God bless you!  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Joy of Giving!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Nov 2015

It has been more than half a decade since I got my first opportunity to cross the Atlantic and experience the place nick named as ‘Land of Dreams’, the US. We were a team of six from my company and were to spend the next three months in Atlanta on a project for a large airline telecommunication company.

Being my first ever trip outside India I was obviously super excited! Though the excitement did last throughout the trip, after a few days I really missed being back home, especially the aroma of desi food. The American cuisine wasn’t bad, but my taste buds craved for some Indian spices. One month passed by and we did find a couple of Indian restaurants and I even remember driving down almost 40 miles, approximately 65 kilometers to have idly and vada from the closest Saravana Bhavan by paying 7 US Dollars when idly back home in India would’ve cost me not even 7 Rupees!

Things were going in this fashion and that’s when I got a call from my cousin sister in Chicago. She told me that her sweetheart is sending me a round trip plane ticket so that I can visit them over the next weekend! I was totally bowled over by such a wonderful offer from my cousin’s husband. He really had no reason to extend such an act of kindness to me, but did it with all his heart, I learned. I was overjoyed and immediately planned for the trip.

Weekend came and soon I was at my cousin’s place enjoying the warmth of their comfortable home. My happiness was doubled as I knew one of my favorite aunts was also there at her place. They all made me feel right at home and had prepared one of the most delicious meals I probably ever had in my life! The stay with them gave me so much of happiness that the feeling of joy is still so deep rooted in my mind that any given day, the mere thought of it brings back a smile on my face wiping away all the stress and strains life offers.  

I had thought about this many times later in my life. The delight that my cousin sister and family brought to my life had no parallels to compare with. I tried to visualize the other side of the fence and realized that the joy-of-getting was made possible only because there was a joy-in-giving. A fact that many of us take for granted. We all love it when people gift us with surprises and other wonderful presents. We are always eager to unpack and get drenched in the pleasure of receiving the gift. Hardly do we register the joy on the faces that gave us these gifts. That joy I must say is more valuable than the natural feeling of your happiness of receiving a gift.

Giving someone something takes a lot of courage. It is so easy to gift someone close to your heart as you find no difficulty in parting with your hard earned money and precious time to do so. But it is definitely not easy to do that for someone who could be an extended family or friend of yours. It is good to remind ourselves once a while that all the joy-of-getting you experienced was only because someone decided to experience the joy-of-giving.

I remember packing my bags after the three months of our stay in US. There was something or other for every member in my family as well as my cousins and kids. I felt so happy to see their faces when I handed over these gifts after I got back home. I shared the joy-of-giving experienced by my cousin and family. While unpacking my bags back home and telling my mom what I got for each one of them she asked me a question, “What did you get for yourself?”

I smiled at her and said, “Three bags full of happiness”!

May the good God bless you experience the ‘joy-of-giving’. May this joy bring a lot of smiles on many faces making the world a much better place to live in! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Get up buddy!

I remember attending a major event in my life when I was in class 8 a couple of decades back. There was an institute named ‘Universal’ in my small home town of Changanacherry. They were having a very unique exhibition for which my dad took me and my brother. That was the first time ever in my life I saw this magical machine called ‘computer’. They showed us a CPU, a monitor, a keyboard and even a Floppy Disk! There was a wonderful game running on the black and white monitor which was called ‘Prince of Persia’. That day, little did I realize that these machines will have a major influence in my future life!

Years went by and computers in various shapes, sizes and colors have become part of our routine. It has become so much an integral part of our lives that it is almost impossible to spend a day without interacting with these brilliant innovations in one form or other. This also means that many of us tend to spend a considerable amount of time in front of these mean machines every day at work or at home.

A good number of professions around the world demand spending a lot of time at a stretch in front of these machines. Professions such as IT, Banking & Finance, Insurance, Customer Service and many more make you glued to your chairs for most part of the day staring at the monitors where your work gets done. This has a serious impact on one vital part of your body; your spine or backbone!

The human backbone is like a multistorey building where bones are stacked on top of each other with a disc in between each one. Bones as you know are pretty strong, but be aware of the fact that the discs are made of a softer material with a tough outer portion and a jelly like inner portion. These are meant to act as shock absorbers and as ligaments that hold the spine intact.

What’s important to note is the fact that the longer you remain in a specific position the more pressure you give to these building blocks. This leads to increased pressure to the discs and over a period of time the jelly like portion won’t be able to withstand the pressure anymore and will come out by tearing the tougher outer portion. This leads to reduced shock absorbing capacity for your backbone as well as added pressure to your spinal cord. So any extra load on your spinal cord will have an immediate impact on your health!

The symptoms usually start with minor back pain which increases over a period of time. It is extremely important not to ignore these minor pains and let it worsen to reach a point of no-return. The more serious scenarios are disc herniation commonly known as slip disc or to make it worse a complete paralysis resulting from a damaged spinal cord! The age old saying perfectly fits here. Prevention is better than cure.

There are many things including regular exercise that we could do to avoid such a situation. Here is a pretty simple action that you could do to save yourself from the perils of this obvious danger. Many of us who sit in front of the computers for a long time tend to forget to get up in between. It is important to take a quick break every half an hour at least by simply standing up for a few seconds giving the much needed relaxation for your backbone.

Most of us access official mails on one of the E-mail providers such as Outlook, Lotus Notes etc. There will be a reminder functionality on these applications. Set up a reminder for every 30 minutes that will pop-up to give you a message ‘Get up buddy!’ The moment you see the message just do the simple act of getting up from your chair and look somewhere else other than your monitor. This has a double benefit of providing a relaxation for both your spine and your eyes. If possible you could move around a bit before coming back to your seat. Once back on your seat, snooze the task so that it’ll remind you again in the next 30 minutes. Follow this regularly.

This is one of the easiest activities to follow to ensure that you do not overburden your spine. This will at least help you remember to do a simple activity that has a long term benefit. Go ahead and set up the reminder. The best buddies are the ones who really care for you. May this reminder be your best buddy while working on your computers!

Tail End: Don’t think that people who do not sit and work have nothing to worry. As I mentioned earlier, the longer you remain in a specific position, bigger the impact is. Ensure that you give your spine a chance to relax at regular intervals.

Wishing you a happy & healthy life! 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Who’s in Control?

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Oct 2015

One of these days while my family was back in India for a few days, I was returning from the Church on a weekend morning. I dropped in at a restaurant on the way home to have breakfast. Soon after I placed my order and was having a chat with the bearer, two guys came in and sat at the table next to me and placed their orders.

Within a few minutes one of the guys got a call and started having a conversation while the other one was browsing on his phone. Very soon the second one also got a call and soon he was on full throttle with his conversation too. Meanwhile the breakfast was served at their table and they had the food all the while continuing on their phones. The whole of the breakfast was spent talking over the phone and while I was paying my bill at the counter, both of them were still conversing on their mobiles.

I remember a few years back when we didn’t have this thing called ‘smart phone’, a time together with family and friends at a restaurant used to be one filled with fun and laughter. We never had a moment of silence among us and we could appreciate every bit of food the way it was. These days we feel empowered with the world being at our finger tips. But many a times we forget to have a solid conversation with the people with whom we go out and even worse we rarely get to know the taste of the food we have.

Many of us have the habit of checking the latest message or posting on social media such as WhatsApp or Facebook while having our food. We fail to notice how delicious the food is and the strangest part is even the tastiest of the food may turn out to be pretty disgusting at times with the kind of messages or images we get to see on these media. The social media facilitates us to have a very tasty dosa and chutney along with a gory image of hundreds of people dead in an accident. I wonder what the state of our brain is with all this. On one hand our taste buds are trying to say, enjoy this lovely dosa with chutney whereas on the other hand the brain is fed with extremely scary pictures that instill fear and aversion to the violence displayed on a mobile screen!

These do not just stop with the food. Earlier days when we were not equipped with these smart phones, we had so much more time to do many other things of interest. We used to read more, we had more time to experiment new things in life and we spent more quality time with our family, to name a few. A lot of our time now gets consumed by these devices that we invented to make our life easier. In reality, is it actually making our lives easier or we’re becoming slaves to these gadgets? To top it all, ask yourself the question what do these ‘electronic friends’ of ours got to offer? We keep waiting for the next notification to rush and open a new message from a WhatsApp group or a new story posted on Facebook or craves for the feel good factor by seeing a ‘like or a comment’ on one of our postings.

To make the whole experience even more enigmatic, most of us do not even realize that this is in fact happening in our lives. Probably it is good to ask yourself these questions. When was the last time you did something outside the digital world that made you and your family proud? When was the last time you did something outside the addictive universe of internet that gave you a ‘feel good’ factor? People who were lucky to have had a past before the arrival of ‘smart phones’ might remember the days when you did things that made you feel good without having to rush and post it online.

If you ever get a feeling that life is slipping away under your feet to the ‘connected world’, remember that you always have an option to disable the Wi-Fi or Mobile Data on your phone. Learn again to look at your loved ones’ eyes and not just their ‘display profiles’. Remind yourself to play with your kids and not just respond to someone’s comments on their pictures in Facebook. At least when you are spending time with your family, turn off these options and connect back to real life!

Remind yourself that there is nothing more important than investing time with your family. Any given day, that will give you more happiness than the increasing numbers of ‘likes or comments’. Hold your kids’ hands and take them to a world beyond the internet. Make them experience the happiness you had before we had these gadgets. I’m sure they’ll be really thankful for you for that ‘old-world-experience’!

Remember to switch off and regain your life. Do not let others and their posts or messages control you and your life.

May the good God bless you to stay connected in a fruitful manner! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Unknown Love

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Sep 2015

After a couple of years into our marriage, my wife and I were blessed with our first child, a healthy baby boy. As young parents we had our own apprehensions on how to raise him as a responsible human being and what will take us to do that. During those days, my sweetheart made one suggestion which totally changed the way I now experience the love of our little one. The suggestion was that I need to take my son along with me each time I go out for something, even for the smallest of the tasks such as buying groceries.

Managing a two year old alone was quite a daunting task and I was not really happy to have the little fellow accompany me every time I went out. The naughtiness in him only grew with time and it became even more of a challenge to manage him. Days and months went by and it became a norm that every time I announce that I’m going out to get something, our little guy will automatically head to the wardrobe to be ready to go out with me. This became a practice so much so that, the only time he couldn’t join me was when I head to my office and when I go out to get a haircut. Given a choice he would’ve been with me at the saloon at least!

I soon had a major realization. My short trips outside our home are extremely boring without him. I now wait for him to finish whatever he does; it could be a meal or a bath, to join me before stepping out of the house. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that I could scoop out his excitement to go out along with me and the happiness only seem to multiply each time we went out.

I also figured out that this is all the more important for kids like him who grow up in a country far away from his homeland where the opportunities of mingling with your near and dear ones are relatively lesser. You miss a lot of family functions and gatherings which naturally would’ve been an opportunity for you to meet people and socialize.

There was something else that was even more important with all these experience. My son spends considerable amount of time with his mom by virtue of having her available at home. But these times when we go out together are some of the most valuable moments I get to spend with him as a dad. A child needs the attention from both the parents. What he learns from his mom makes only a part of his life as a human being complete. He also needs to learn how the male of the species thinks and acts. That’s when the learning makes a complete circle.

If you have ever observed lion cubs, you’ll see an interesting mix. Things are a bit different in the world of a lion pride. The females are the ‘bread winners’ usually. They do the hunting primarily. The male lions are entrusted with the protection of the territorial boundaries and the pride itself. Any intrusion is met with extreme aggression, safeguarding the ‘kingdom’ and the resources within it to ensure survival. The cubs learn from both and that’s how they grow up to be the kings and queens of the jungle!

At times when I look back, I really dread to think how much of a terrible mistake it would’ve been if I had not taken him out and help him know the world. Expose him to the tremendous opportunities with first-hand learning and not just by being glued to the TV or the world of internet. He needs to see the actual world and as parents we realized the responsibility to show him that.

It was a beautiful journey to say the least! When apprehension gave way to acceptance; when reluctance was pushed aside by responsibility… We now experience a very special bond of a father and a son. We together thank the lady of the house for making that decision for us.

It was an unknown love and when realized we now hold it so close to our hearts! It makes us raise a toast to life itself!

God bless you all to realize these hidden jewels of love in your lives too! 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Catalyst

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Aug 2015

Can you visualize your life as a guy or a girl from the moment you are born till the time you get married? At the risk of attempting a generalization, here is what it looked like for most of us. You spent the initial few years as a baby followed by a decade or more of schooling. You would’ve been around 18 years by the time you started with your college life which added another half a decade or slightly more in many cases.

By your mid 20’s you may have started with a career and after a few years your thoughts grew into having a family of your own. At this point, I want you to take a step back and look at your life again. If all went well, you would’ve now completed a quarter of a century. Many people would’ve been part of your life till now. But who were there as a constant presence throughout this 25 long years of your life? I’m assuming that it won’t be inappropriate if I say it was your parents, siblings and a few rare friends whom you had from your childhood.

All of these people, needless to say, are your well-wishers. They’ve seen you grow, identified your potential and many a times guided the paths you took as well. You may have followed their advice and now enjoy a comfort zone you’ve created between you and them. The picture is pretty rosy. But it comes with a price. The price of being complacent, being self-satisfied! Neither you nor they may have an insight of what more are you capable of. The comfort zone has a dubious distinction of blinding you from the obvious.

The moment you decide to step into a family life of your own, that’s when this comfort zone gets shaken up. The magnitude of this tremor is directly proportional to the speed with which you could absorb the change. If this person, whom you invite to share your life with, is relatively a new entrant, he/she has a clear advantage of not having a baggage of knowing you and thereby being ignorant of your comfort zone. You’ll be surprised to see how this helps your future together.

Your spouse could start asking a lot of questions about yourself, some of which is bound to make you uneasy. It is not their fault, neither is yours. It is because when you are in a comfort zone, anything outside is literally uncomfortable. There could be questions on your choices of work, habits, interests and many more. Be mindful that your ‘new’ loved one is only trying to find a meaning to your decisions till date. In fact they may find a lot of untapped potential in you, which neither you nor your loved ones who were with you for the last few decades could’ve ever found. It is important that you do not resist a change if you can’t justify the resistance. You are quite simply getting exposed to a catalyst. A catalyst for your own good and your loved ones too!

Who is a catalyst from a people perspective? Ignore Chemistry for now. Google says, ‘a catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates an event’. So if your loved one can be a reason to trigger changes for good in you by identifying your hidden potential, isn’t that a good thing? It is interesting to note that most successful people you see around would’ve done something drastically different to make them what they are today. They all have possibly one thing in common. It is a realization that you need to break the shell of your comfort zone, get out of your contented mode and open up yourself for more challenges.

Remember, a catalyst is a change agent and a change could bring out the hidden treasures buried deep inside you. Love your catalysts and may them help you forsake your comfort zones and bring lots of challenges and happiness to your life and everyone around you.

May the good God bless you all! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I had a dream…

Three decades back when I was a little kid, someone presented me with a tiny working model of an aircraft. Guess that sowed the seeds of this beautiful dream I’ve been carrying with me. The fascination for these flying wonders have been deeply embedded that I distinctly remember running out to my backyard every time to catch a glimpse of an aircraft that flew tens and thousands of miles above our small town.

Years went by and my career started with Mindtree as a Business Analyst with Staff Operations. The Emirates Group was a customer for Mindtree at that time. Even when I allocated people to Emirates account I’ve always wondered how interesting will it be to associate with that brand. It remained a dream.

Couple of years later I was fortunate to be part of the Travel & Transportation Industry Group in Mindtree. Airline domain became my area of interest. While I worked closely with the big names in the industry, Emirates still eluded me. Three more years later, it was time to move on from Mindtree. The big break came with Computer Sciences Corporation offering a dream job at Emirates, though as a consultant. It was half a dream come true!

With every passing day, I was inching closer to my dream or so I thought. There was tremendous learning where it was no longer a distant education; instead I was part of a larger plot that made this mammoth organization work like a-well-oiled machinery. Something was still missing. Being a consultant I felt like an adopted child even when you live in the same house. The connection was still missing though you could say a bond was getting formed.

A year went by and an opportunity presented itself to be a part of the Emirates family. Try I did, but destiny had other plans. Guess the fruit was not ripe yet to be plucked. My wait wasn’t over yet. Couple of more calendars got replaced. Renewed hopes were in the air. Another opportunity showed up, but it almost died as soon as it was born. Organizational level changes that were happening were to be blamed. My patience levels were now getting tested. Yet another possible opening came but it got shot down due to lack of budgets and hence no promises were made. I was fast losing it and almost decided to pack my bag of dreams.

That’s when it struck! Out of the blue, the long awaited invitation arrived, to be part of the family which I’ve been so longing to be with. I looked up and thanked Almighty. An Emirates flight with the UAE flag as the livery flew past reminding me that dreams do come true!

Today, the second day of August 2015, I’m officially part of The Emirates Group.

I live my dream. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Deal in Heaven

He was pleasantly surprised to see a large contingent of angels waiting to receive him at the gate. The group was led by a Seraph himself and greeted him with a very warm smile. A question came to his mind and he promptly asked the Seraph, “Is this how you normally welcome the new ones?”

The Seraph replied, “Oh not at all! You are very special to have made to the Level Five of Heaven directly and hence this remarkable welcome. Only a few I knew have achieved this before you. Congratulations!”

He felt good and asked again, “You said Level Five. How many more are there?”

“Look up yourself” was the reply from Seraph.

He looked up and saw five more levels right above, with the top most being the one where the Almighty resides. Many more questions came to his mind. But it was almost time to welcome him in and the Seraph reassured him that they’ll have a chat later the day.

After the joining formalities were completed, he was asked to take some rest. The journey from being mortal to immortal wasn’t quite easy. He had a good sleep and woke up to see the compassionate face of the Seraph who greeted him at the entrance.

“Hope you are feeling good?” Seraph enquired.

He replied in affirmative and was quite curious to see a notepad in Seraph’s hand. He enquired what it was and the Seraph replied in a hushed tone, “You are about to enter into one of the most important deals here in Heaven. You asked me earlier about the levels of Heaven and I could sense many more questions that you’ve in your mind. Are you ready for the deal?”

He felt a bit nervous; nevertheless being in high spirits he said, “Bring them on!”

The Seraph started, “This is the Book of Remembrance. As I said earlier you are one of the very few lucky ones to have directly reached Level Five of Heaven. Most of them start with Level Zero and earn their way up based on this Book. Each time someone back home remembers you in their prayers you get one point. You can accumulate these points and when a specific limit is reached you can use them to gain entry to the next level. Sounds simple, isn’t it? But of course conditions apply like what you people say back there in Earth.

Remember that just like you, there are zillions of others here in Heaven who wants to reach the next level. You need at least a million points to even qualify for the next level and with each level the required points go up making it quite a challenge! There are further criteria which I’ll explain later of what will really make you stand out among the qualified few. What’s important is that prayers from your near and dear ones need to keep flowing continuously for you to go up.

Don’t get disheartened. I’m not done yet. Each time you get a point based on a prayer, the person who prayed for you opens an account as well. Each of the points you earn will translate to half a point for them in their account. Once those points reach a limit you could redeem them to grant one of their wishes. So the deal is really between you and them! Isn’t Bartholomew a genius?! He is the one who came up with this score card system.”

He took the notepad from the Seraph. Walked to the window of his room and looked down to Earth. He could see his loved ones mourning their loss. He wanted to scream at the top of his voice, “Stop crying you morons! Start praying for me so that I can get the elevator to the next level and even grant your wishes!”

The Seraph smiled… 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

When God answers…

Raphael was seated at the chair kept for him at the dining table next to God Himself. It was breakfast time though that was not what he was there for. He had a small notepad with him in which he is expected to quickly note down what gets dictated from the Almighty.

The first set of requests taken was from Alice. God started granting one by one. In between He asked Mother Mary to pass on the bottle of jam. While applying the jam on to a slice of bread, He continued to grant a few other wishes as well for Alice. But a couple of them fell through when He was reaching out for the jam bottle. Alice had asked for these during her usual prayer time, but she took a quick break in between to check if there was enough jam left for the next day morning breakfast.

Paul's requests turned out to be next. This was a big one with requests for promotions, job change and what not. God was almost half way through His breakfast by then. He started granting Paul's wishes one after the other. It came to the promotion bit and that's when Gabriel walked in with a message that needed His attention. By the time He was done with the interrupting message, Paul's request for promotion was lost somewhere. Interestingly Paul while asking God for these had got a call in between which he answered before continuing with rest of the prayers.

Donna, Peter, Sylvia and Robert; each one of them had their own set of requests that got delivered to the Almighty. Most of them got answered. A few got misplaced in between. Those were the exact ones that were requested to God while each one of them was busy doing something else in between the prayers.

Focus, when you talk to Him. He listens, always.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Blessing of Haves

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Jul 2015

Alex had promised his wife Nisha that he'll take her to the Mall in the evening as she really didn't want to miss the annual sale at the famous European store. It was a really hectic day for him and by the time he got out of office, he was almost dead tired. All what he wanted to do was to hit the bed so that he can wake up early in the morning tomorrow to finish the pile of work at office. Nevertheless he reached home and was reminded of his promise. Though not quite happy, he took her to the Mall where she was greeted with a shopping heaven as expected. The options available were endless and the best part was the price tags! She thanked God and the person who invented the concept of 'Sale'. 

The store was well lit and the dresses on display were quite tempting. She felt like taking the entire store back home. Of course since that was not practically feasible, the next biggest challenge was to decide what to choose. Naturally it took quite a long time and Alex ran out of his patience. He made some remarks which led to a few arguments and by the time they reached home, they were not speaking to each other anymore. Alex didn't even bother to say the prayers or wish his wife a good night. Instead he went straight to the bed and soon was fast asleep. 

Next morning, he didn't tell her a bye and in the blink of an eye he was out of the house heading to office. She didn't speak a word either and just closed the door after him though she was expecting with half her heart that he'll turn back before he took the elevator down. That never happened. Both of them felt miserable, but they had their egos to be pampered and that's exactly what they did as well. 

Alex soon got busy at work and before it was mid-day he got a call on his phone. Nisha's picture showed up on his phone screen and for a moment he had a grin on his face; the grin of a winning ego. He answered the phone expecting her subdued tone with his ego reaching its pinnacle. Instead he heard a man's voice, introducing him as a police officer. The words that followed melted all the mountains of ego he had built within himself, on top of which he was sitting with his false pride. His wife met with a terrible accident on her way to work and was taken to the City Hospital!

Alex drove like a mad man and reached the hospital in no time. Two things happened in parallel. Alex stepped into the reception of the hospital and frantically checked about Nisha. It was almost the same time when a nurse was covering Nisha's face with a sheet of white linen. The heart monitor showed a flat line. Alex was taken to her by someone there at the hospital. He removed the linen and looked at her face. It was still beautiful though now marked with some cuts and bruises. Those eyes which saw lots of dreams together with him were closed forever. Time seemed to have frozen around him. No one was moving and so was his sweetheart who was now lying in front of him. 

All the scenes from the previous evening suddenlycame back to him. He remembered not giving her a goodnight kiss. He denied the usual warm bye hug in the morning too. He didn't even turn back and wave at her before taking the elevator down and letting his ego go up! All that is over now. She is no more and he didn't even tell her a proper goodbye. All of a sudden, memories with her from the past came rushing and started suffocating him. He sat down on the floor and tears that were locked deep down somewhere started flowing. That was the moment of realization. He knew the blessing of what he had which he won't have any more. 

He was soon crying uncontrollably. No one could pacify him. All of a sudden he felt someone holding him by his shoulders and shaking him quite vigorously. He opened his eyes and though the tears blurred his vision, he saw a figure that he very well knew. Nisha was standing right next to him holding a cup of water which she earlier sprinkled on his face asking him to wake up before it gets too late for office!

It took a full minute for him to realize the nightmare he had. He looked at her and rubbed his eyes once more and without giving her much of a warning he gave her the tightest ever hug in their life. He was holding her as if he didn't want anyone to take her away from him even for a fraction of a moment. She was totally confused. He was crying and with a smile of great relief, looked at her eyes and said "I love you". 

Know the blessings that you have today. Do not wait to realize till the time they are taken away from you. 

God bless you all!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Security Encounter!

A few months back I was at a shopping center with my wife and my three year old son. While she was looking around a store, my son and I went for a quick stroll. We walked through the reception area of the building where a coin-operated massage chair was placed. There was a payment kiosk for a bunch of service providers next to the massage chair. While I was getting a massage done for myself, my little one started exploring the kiosk.

After a few moments I saw the security guard at the reception walking towards my son. I was sort of 'trapped' on the massage chair and was watching the scene with caution! He came next to my boy and started looking at him with a lot of interest. I could see his gleaming eyes and a tiny smile on his face. My son, oblivious of a stranger looking at him continued to check out the various buttons on the kiosk.

After a few moments, I was released from the clutches of the massage chair and I promptly got up. The security guy looked at me and smiled. I was still not sure what his intention was and so I returned the smile though with an element of suspicion. He looked at my son again and asked me, "Sir, how old is your little one?"

I replied, "He turned three last December".

He then asked me a few more questions about my son. He wanted to know about his schooling, playtime activities and a few other things. I answered him, though was not feeling very comfortable with these questions being asked. I felt an intrusion to our privacy.

I was almost ready to take my son away from the scene since I was getting worked up with these queries. That's when the man spoke again. The next statement he said disarmed me totally.

"Sir, I'm from Pakistan and it has been two years since I went back home. I left home on my son's first birthday. When I saw your little one I was wondering how mine will be looking like now."

I was speechless and soon my eyes got welled up. I took my son out and this time it wasn't because I was uncomfortable with the security guard, but because I didn't want him to see me in tears.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Suffering in Silence!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Jun 2015
A few years back I got an opportunity to work at a mid-size IT company in Bangalore for a marketing project. I had my friend KC as well with me. One of those days we reached the office in the morning and I saw KC being a little tired. When asked he said he got up with a mild fever. He thought he could manage through the day and hence didn't take an off. The day progressed and soon we'd our regular debrief meeting with our mentor Gopal sir who was known for his military-precision planning. 

During the meeting, KC was seated next to an air-conditioner vent and was quite uncomfortable being there though he said nothing fearing a possible retort from sir. After a while KC started slightly shivering as well. Gopal sir stopped the debriefing in between, looked at KC and asked him what's wrong. KC told him that he was not feeling well from the morning and the air-conditioner was not helping either. The next statement we heard from him left a lasting impression on both of us. He said, "You should've just told me that you are not well and asked for the air-conditioner to be turned off or reduced. Always remember this: Never suffer in silence!"

Many of us would've experienced a similar kind of a situation in our lives, married or otherwise. There are quite a few who are passive about their pain or suffering and strange enough they accept it as a part of their life. The scenario gets even more complicated in a married life. People assume that there is nothing that they can do about this and instead continue to suffer in silence. If someone ever asks, they've a standard reply stating they are helpless and hence accept it as part of the life they've chosen. 

It is not meant to be like this! Marriage is not a contract you enter into, where you agree for all sufferings. It is a bridge which you need to build along with your better half across the river of challenges. If there are sufferings that come along with it, you need to face it together and not alone. You being married do not mean that you are above or below someone. It is a relationship at par. Both of you share an equal level of respect in this Holy initiative named marriage. 

It is not a matter of pride to say that you are suffering something in marriage. It could be insignificant things such as your partner's choices of clothes to food or more critical things such as your interests in planning finances or your child's education. Whatever may it be, it needs to be understood that when you can't reach a consensus, swallowing the bitter pill is not the best option. This will definitely lead to the construction of bridge left to one person and the other one really becomes less active in building the blocks of this beautiful monument called life. 

The truth is bare. Any suffering should be explicitly discussed between the couple. It is quite important to know that there is hardly anything in this world which can't be resolved beyond the four walls of your bedroom. You do not really need a third person's help to sort out an issue between the two of you. If one solution doesn't seem to be working, try ten others. For sure, you will reach a state which is happily acceptable to you both instead of one having to accept it as the way of life. 

Stop thinking of married life as a need of being part of the society! You are getting married to love and being loved. Period! Anything else is just another challenge in your bridge construction. Find the alternatives, place the bricks,build the bridge and never let the river of hurdles stop you from getting across together happily.

Remember this simple yet powerful thought: Never suffer in silence! 

God bless you.

Political Signs

The recent Assembly election in the state of Karnataka was labelled as a major political drama. When election result got announced, the pa...