Monday, December 19, 2016

Bed of Roses

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Dec 2016

There is a small flower store back in my hometown which carries the name board ‘Raja Flower Stores’. This perhaps is one of the first shops to open early in the morning in the town of Changanacherry to receive the trucks that bring fresh flowers from far away parts of the country. I’d been to this shop a few times early in the morning to get flowers for some of the events. Each time I reach there I see Raja, the owner of the shop sprinkling water on the flowers. When asked why, he said it keeps the flowers fresh and helps stimulate the fragrance!

Fast forward a few years and recently I came across one of the most clichéd statements we all must have heard in life, “Life is not a bed of roses”. This statement especially gets re-iterated all the time to youngsters who are about to get married or who recently got married. It primarily highlights the fact that life has its own hardships and difficulties and don’t have a presumption that everything will be as soft as a bed of rose petals.

Having said this, I still prefer to believe that life is indeed a bed of roses. Just that, similar to the rose flowers I saw at Raja Flower Stores, our bed of roses do have a bunch of stems as well from the rose plant. Needless to say these come with its own set of thorns. Every time we twist and turn on the bed, these thorns will promptly prick us making us experience the pain all the while being among one of the most fragrant flowers in the world.

If you have noticed, the thorns on the stem of a rose plant is quite strong and is capable of making you bleed. The challenges in our life can be equally strong and sometimes can even make us mentally bleed. The drops of blood get sprinkled on to the bed of roses just like how Raja sprinkled water on the flowers in his shop. Remember, these drops have a purpose to fulfil. They bring fresh perspectives to your life and stimulate the fragrance that lies deep down within you.

Every new challenge brings with it, a set of experience which you’ll never be able to otherwise have, unless you actually experienced it in person. Hence take up every challenge as just another stem with thorns added to your bed of roses. Let a few drops of blood be shed which will make your life fresher and helps you realize the different fragrances of life.

Never think that it’ll always be thorns when you are facing a difficult time. Keep reminding yourself that beneath the thorns lie the bed of roses and it is only a matter of time before the thorns give away to the rose petals. It is equally important to realize while you enjoy the fragrance of life, there is a possibility that one of the stem with thorns lying down there might come up and prick you again. This exactly is the cycle of life!

For every couple, it is quite important to keep up the spirit and tell each other during both good times and bad times about the other side of the fence. It is equally important to support each other during all the times rather than getting into an argument mode which is quite easy. Remind each other that you both share this bed of roses and one person alone cannot make this the best bed without the support from the other.

May you be able to create a bed of roses in your life all the while being aware of the stems with thorns lying beneath! May the good God bless you experience the happiness of being together during this Christmas season and keep the flame of love burning forever!

Wish you all a Merry Christmas in advance! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Emotional Explosion!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Nov 2016

Being part of the largest airline brand from Middle East, I often get to work out of the Head Quarters (HQ) of my company. It is a state of the art facility with lots of offices operating out of this building. The second floor of HQ is accessible to general public where there are sales offices, customer affairs office etc. There is also an open space known as Atrium and at times I sit and work at one of the many desks available there.

The other day I was at the Atrium trying to complete a work to be delivered during the second half of the day. I could hear a kid probably aged around four years crying for something he wanted badly. He was with his mom and dad who were seen arguing if the kid really needs to be given that item. The argument became so hyper at a given point, so much so that, the next thing we saw was dad shouting at mom in public and dashing with his son to a nearby mini mart to buy what the kid asked for. While dad and son headed towards the department store, we could see the mother heading to a different direction with her head down avoiding all possible eyes staring at the family.

Can you imagine the impact created by this emotional explosion? Assume what happens to that father. He lost his cool and shouted at his dearest wife right in the middle of a set of people whom they’ve probably never seen before. He even forgot for a moment that what ought to be a private moment in their life is now exposed to the general public for their judgement and scrutiny. A momentary outburst of his emotion led to a situation that completely went out of hand. I can only imagine how the evening would’ve been back at their home that day!

Now think about the state at which the mother was in. She must have tried with the best of her intentions not to give what the child had asked for. She would’ve expected her dearest husband to support her in the decision since children need to understand the synergy of parents. The moment there is a clash between the father and mother, it is a natural disaster for the children. Instead she was ridiculed by the one on which she had utmost trust. That’s quite a dangerous situation to be in and one that will possibly have lasting impressions in her mind about her husband.

One of the most critical impacts is on none other than the child himself! He had seen his dad shouting at his mom and that too in a public place. This picture gets deeply etched in his mind and he’ll grow up thinking that it is ok to shout at your spouse irrespective of where you are and what situation you are in. He is bound to share his experience with his fellow kids and they’ll in turn have this unhealthy thought growing with them. A new generation is born with a threat to the society!

There is one more category of people who got impacted with the incident; the people who witnessed the scene. Each one of them, who were out there and watched what happened, will form opinions about relationship between a husband and a wife in their own way. Some will think like that father whereas the others will be all against this outrage displayed. Either ways the action by that couple has created an influence one way or other on everyone present there.

Many a times, when in rage, couples express their emotions without even realizing the situation they are in. The consequences almost never cross their minds during such scenarios. It is important that couples need to be aware of this fact and learn to master over their emotions. This is to ensure that you don’t end up being a negative influence on people around you, known or unknown.


Here is wishing you to be blessed with the providence of being a positive inspiration wherever you are! 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Nail!

For a three year old kid, his dad’s workshop has always been a place of fantasy. His dad is well-known locally for the wooden sculptures he has created and many of them decorate the living rooms of the rich in that small town. The carpentry shop having quite a few sharp tools, his mom was always concerned about his safety. She used to keep a watch on him lest he’ll end up doing something mischievous.

That was just another day and in between the playing sessions at the workshop, the mom saw her son opening a can of long nails that was to be used for a specific wood work. She screamed at the kid not to touch those sharp nails, but by the time she reached him he already managed to get a tiny cut and a small stream of blood started flowing out!

She was all scared to see the blood oozing out and immediately tried some first aid to stop the blood flow. The next natural thing followed when she asked the kid, “Haven’t I told you son not to play with these sharp nails? See how you have hurt yourself now!”

The mom looked at him again and there it was! He had that unique look on his face which has been disturbing her for a while now. Every time he has that look it was as if he is seeing the future and she was right!

He was seeing thirty years ahead when a similar long nail will pierce through his palm and will be on a cross with his mom standing right below not able to help him in anyway! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Keep the Change!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Sep 2016

It will be quite an interesting exercise to ask a question on changes in life to a married couple, especially a few months into their marriage. I’m pretty sure many of them will have stories to share about how life has changed for them or how their partner has tried to influence to bring in a bunch of changes in their life. Never mind, this is one of the most natural things to have happened to a married couple.

Having said that, after a few years into our marriage, during one of those looking-back-to-your-past days, I had a major realization! There were a few things which both my wife and I tried to get changed in each other after we got married. Needless to say we both were ‘successful’ to a great extent. That did leave us with a handful of changes that neither of us could influence the other to change and they remained as is.

The realization I mentioned earlier came to me a few days back. To my own surprise I figured out that I now love some of those things which I wanted to be changed in my sweetheart! I was not sure if I was prepared to face such a realization. Nevertheless it indeed was a moment of truth.

Probably this isn’t true for every couple. Then again no two couples are the same. Just that it works for some and does not for others. Nevertheless the thought is worth sharing. I now wonder how many such other things I may have made her change which would’ve been worth retaining in its original form that one day in future I would’ve started loving them!  

If you are a new couple or one about to be, it could be worth a try to keep this thought in mind. Realize that it isn’t a necessity to insist your partner to change every routine of theirs if you don’t approve it. Be informed that you might as well be changing something which you would’ve liked, given some time.

Be aware that the aspect of not resorting to changes is no excuse for changing the habits that negatively influence people such as addictions, illegal activities etc. Those that need to go must go. There are no two ways about it. The reference here is about those habits or nature you see in your partner which you wish aligned to your interests and hence you insist that they change them.

Needless to say, this act of not insisting a change requires a lot of courage from both the parties involved. While one is from the perspective of resisting the change, the other more importantly is to keep an open mind and embrace the nature of their partner as-is. This isn’t a simple task so to speak, a task that can probably take ages to reach an acceptance from the more affected party.

It is a wonderful nature of the human psyche that a seemingly least interested entity, be it a person, a thing or an activity, can generate a lot of interest over a period of time. Without you knowing it, you’ll be forced to start developing a liking to the same entity you disliked in the past. This probably is one of the biggest ironies of life! Hence you may just end up putting in a lot of efforts to get a habit changed in your partner resulting in losing a wonderful experience you may have in future.

Change is a constant as all of us are aware. But ask yourself this question. Is the change that you are insisting on your better half really worth it? Is this in fact something which you may possibly love in future and see a benefit in doing that? If so there is only one thing you have got to do. Keep the need to change to yourself. Give it sometime. For all that matter, you might uncover a diamond which looks like a piece of carbon today.

May the good God help you have a vision for future and bless you with such decisions that will have life-saving moments! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Love

Life appears red
In a funnel shaped glass.
On a 40 inch screen 
Runs my favorite TV show
Memories go back
All the way 7 years
Used to sit on a couch
With a beer bottle for company
A few months later
You took the place.
It was all fizz and no barley
Take a while it did
But happy I am now
To have completely drenched in you.
The wine the beer
And an occasional tequila
They all seem to bend their knees
No better intoxication than you my love.
Want to live and not just that
If you ever decide to leave
Know that I can't be on the couch
All alone again!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Lost Love!

She stayed in the corner of that house which was dark most of the times. Though surrounded by many known faces, she lived in constant pain of loneliness. It has been months since she lost her sweetheart. One day he just vanished leaving no trace at all! They were always together and had travelled to faraway lands. He ensured that she stayed right next to him all the time during each such trip.

No one really could console her since there was no news at all about him. The modern world was mocked at, for all its advanced technology and communication. None of that could find her love and bring him back to her. She cried in silence mostly during the nights and during the day, she’ll sit idle remembering the good old days when they were together.

Here is the irony of life! Not too far from where she stays, in a completely messy house, deep down in the cellar was lying her sweetheart gasping for his breath! He got locked in this dungeon from where there seems to be no escape. He could hear the wailing from his dear one but was absolutely overpowered by the mighty forces above him.

When all hopes seem to have ended, one day he started feeling the pressure on him getting reduced. The forces that tie him down seem to be getting lighter. With each passing day the chamber where he was held a captive was getting filled with fresh air and good light. Finally a day came when he was freed up from the clutches. The first thing he did was to get a perfect hot water bath. He then got himself dried in the sun which was denied to him for all these days!

Finally, one of the grey socks lost deep down in the laundry basket was united with his love who was sitting all alone in the cupboard for the last few months.

They lived happily ever after…

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Other Side of Faith

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Aug 2016

During a recent retreat I attended, one of the brothers shared an experience. One evening his 2 year old son developed a fever. They tried to give some medicines but the fever was not subsiding. He tried to call up one of his doctor friends, usually always available on call, but that day he never answered the phone. He then tried contacting a nearby hospital and for some strange reason even after multiple attempts the hospital staff also didn’t answer.

He got really worried about the situation and that’s when he suddenly felt someone talking to him from within. He very clearly heard a question being asked to him. “You’ve tried giving medicines, called the doctor twice and called the hospital multiple times. How many times did you call Me?” That’s when the brother realized that despite being a man of faith, God became the last resort for him in the event of an emergency instead of being the first one to have called for help. He apologized and the rest is history!

How many of you could really relate to this story? It is an interesting observation that I saw him making that day about many of us. Most of us, especially facing adverse situations in life, often tend to resolve the problem ourselves initially in many ways. At last when everything else fails, we turn to our good God for help. Our faith most often becomes the last thing to be taken out and applied in our lives. Ideally it should’ve been the very first weapon we should’ve wielded to fight against the negative forces that cast its shadows in our lives.

Faith plays a crucial role in every form of life, married or otherwise. The complexities increase in your life especially when you share your life with someone and later when you are blessed with children as well. This makes it all the more important to be aware of the fact that it is not just enough to practice your faith, but to live it. Going to a church on a weekly basis or remembering God during bad times are merely practicing your faith. It isn’t that easy to bring in the concept of living the faith in our lives though that’s what we are required to attempt.

One of the easiest things to do in life is to take people or things for granted. Look around and observe how many blessings that we’ve in our lives that we never bothered to be grateful for. Right from our childhood; think about all the good things that happened in your life. Starting from loving parents and siblings; getting good education, landing up in a good job, being blessed with a wonderful partner and kids, leading a healthy life and many more positive aspects in your life. How many of them are we really thankful to God for. We take many of them for granted as if we were supposed to get it!

There are many good things that happened to you in the past and there are many happening now and many more are bound to happen in future. They are all there, not because you worked for it, but because you are blessed to receive it. This blessing requires you to be constantly thankful and the only way to do that is to live in faith. It is quite easy to be complacent and ignore the source of these blessings. It is easier to question your faith especially when you go through bad times. But that’s when you need to remind yourself about the other side of your faith. It is the side where you go across your current boundary of faith and experience the love of your Creator.

Your bad times are similar to those days when you have a fight with your partner. The day when you hug each other and look in the eyes of your sweetheart and say a sorry, you feel the rush of happiness back in your life. The feeling is similar when you get back to your Creator and try to be one with Him in your faith. You won’t even realize how quickly bad times give way for good ones!

May you be blessed to experience the other side of faith and live in the love and peace of our good God! 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Laundry Basket Theory

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Jul 2016

As is the case with most of the homes we also have a laundry basket in which all the clothes that need to be washed are stored. Every time we take a set of clothes to the washing machine we carefully separate the dark colored ones lest their colors affect the lighter ones. We also separate those clothes that cannot be machine washed and together they go back to the laundry basket.

This practice continued for a while till we reached a day when the basket got piled up with such clothes that cannot be washed in the machine. We’d a problem in hand! The basket will never get empty with this pile of clothes and we started worrying about how to resolve this since manually washing that pile of clothes in one day was an impossible task. We decided to do something smarter.

Every day we started to soak one of the clothes each from the pile which could not be washed in the machine. On a given day even when we had clothes washed in the machine it was not a burden to wash this one piece manually. As days progressed the pile of clothes that had to be hand washed became smaller and smaller and soon enough our laundry basket was totally empty! Suddenly we had nothing to worry about with respect to the laundry.

Do you see any similarity to this laundry basket to the tensions we’ve in our lives? Over a period of time we accumulate quite a lot of matters in our life about which we are constantly tensed. The thoughts about these items that create stress for you get piled up one on top of the other just like the laundry that needs to be hand washed. Nothing seems to be getting resolved and to make it worse many more get added to the list. Your frustration gets the better of you and you start to snap at every minor incident that affects you and more importantly the people around you.

We should learn to apply here the technique of washing I mentioned earlier. It’ll never help if you try to solve all your challenges together. You’ll neither be able to focus on all of them nor resolve even a single challenge. It is better to tackle them one by one if feasible. Specifically address the issues one after the other and find the resolution to remove them from the list of challenges. After a while you’ll be really happy to see the mountain of challenges getting reduced to a tiny hill or even better.

Have you ever driven or been in a car during an extremely heavy rain with the wiper of the vehicle struggling to clear the large volume of water on the windshield? You’ll experience how difficult it is to drive in such a condition since the road ahead is not clear. You may even have to stop the car for a while till the heavy rains subside. The situation is pretty much the same in our life when we’ve a heap of challenges and we find it quite a struggle to proceed any further. Instead of losing hope we should ideally try this approach of resolving the issues one by one. This is as good as taking a break from driving when you can’t move ahead due to the poor visibility of the path ahead.

Always remember that there isn’t a challenge in this world that cannot be resolved. The degree with which you’ll find a solution for your one challenge may vary from the other. Nevertheless if you approach the challenges all together it may seem to be a daunting task and you may possibly end up not solving anything at all. Hence here is my humble suggestion for you to approach your challenges one step at a time and see if you could reduce the pile of problems you are facing.

So the next time when you see your laundry basket, remind yourself that your tensions are just like that basket. Nothing will be difficult for us if we learn to change our perception about challenges and constantly remind ourselves about this laundry basket theory.


May the good God help you wash off your tensions one cloth at a time! Take care!  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Palace of Junk!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - June 2016


Alex and Nisha had invited some of their close friends for a party at home. They ensured that the house was neat and clean before the guests arrived. Every nook and corner of the house was made to look pretty for the party. Their friends arrived and the hosts were quite happy to get compliments about their beautiful house and how well maintained it is! 

In between the party one of the guests wanted some ice cubes. Being quite close to the family he went directly to the kitchen to get it from the fridge. The moment he opened the fridge he almost let out a scream. The sight that welcomed him almost made him faint. The refrigerator had food stuff that was days or even weeks old and some of them even had developed fungus around it! The smell that came out of the fridge due to this stale food was unbearable too. 

He spoke to Alex about this and they decided to clean up the fridge right away. They looked for a vessel to get the stuff out to trash it. The kitchen cupboards were opened to find a suitable vessel. That’s when the next shocker hit Alex’s friend. The cupboard was overflowing with a lot of stuff, many of them untouched for ages and had layers of dust gathered on it. There were old and useless utensils, broken house hold items and a whole lot of junk! Alex and Nisha started realizing the feeling of disgust their friends were experiencing in the otherwise ‘beautiful’ house of theirs. 

Alex was asked to get some old clothes to clear out the junk and they opened the bedroom wardrobe for that. That’s when all hell broke loose! The moment the wardrobe doors were opened there was a mad rush of over stacked clothes and other covers as they started falling out freely! The wardrobe was an ultimate disaster where clothes both new and old were all scrambled up and jam-packed. The party was soon over! While the friends were leaving they made one remark that pushed the hosts to a deep thought. They said, “You appear to live in a palace, but it is in fact a palace of junk!” 

It is worthwhile to think how many of us may have had similar experiences. How many of our homes are actually ‘palaces of junk’? It is not just enough to think about our physical houses when we talk about this. It is equally or even more important to look at our lives as well. Take a step back and look at our life. Do you see yourself carrying forward many of the stale and filthy experiences from the past? Are you still carrying a baggage of hatred or distrust about someone from your past? Do you still have that hostility in your mind about that one friend of yours who double crossed you and you’ll never be able to forgive him or her? 

All these and many more are the junk you carry in your mind and that directly impacts your life. Your physical wellbeing is largely dependent on your mental health. Carrying these grudges from the past or having a wardrobe of negative thoughts in your mind does a lot of damage to your personality. 

I really liked one of the forwards shared by a friend of mine recently. It says, “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk”. This sort of summarizes the thought. Learn to free up your mind off the junk from the past. Create palaces with radiating beauty by getting rid of the thoughts that pull you down. Make it a habit to do a regular clearance of both your home as well as your mind and that’s when you truly live in a palace! 

May you have the ability to find and clear the junk in your life so as to embrace the radiating peace of mind! 

God bless!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Decided! But…

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - May 2016

Wish I had waited for the latest model!

Oh! I should’ve got the other dress!

This pair of shoes isn’t really that good, is it?!

How often have you heard yourself or your dear ones make statements such as these after spending your hard earned money on an item? Many a times we get afterthoughts about a decision we have made. While it is quite natural to get these afterthoughts, what we should really be worried is if these afterthoughts begin to affect your happiness.

Many of us spent a considerable amount of time before deciding to invest on an item of interest. The more expensive the item is, the more time it takes to decide on the product. After all the considerations about the cost, design, usability and various other aspects of an item, we finally purchase the product and bring it home.

For a few of us, the moment we step into our home our brain starts playing weird games. It makes you think about the decision you just made. Various complex thought processes pass through your mind about the pros and cons of the decision. Many often the final outcome of all these thought processes will be similar to one of the expressions mentioned in the beginning of this article.

If you are one such human being who has experienced this behavior in your lives, here is a quick thought of how it affects your dear ones. Questioning your decision after investing a considerable time before taking the decision has a two-fold impact. First, you are showing disrespect to one of the most valuable resources in the world – Time! Second you are insulting both yourself and your companion who was with you while making the decision by not giving any value for the effort spent while you reached the decision.

There is another equally important impact of having an indecisive personality such as above. Your indecisiveness makes you forget to live and appreciate the present. You perennially live in the past and are judgmental about the decisions you made. This is an extremely dangerous condition since you’ll never be able to appreciate the beauty of a possession you have. You’ll always want to have something better than what you have currently obtained. The fall side of this is the fact that you fail to observe the beauty that surrounds you and instead you keep searching for the momentary happiness that is yet to be found.

Though what is mentioned here sounds more materialistic this is applicable for any aspect of life. It is not just about products or items, but can be applied about people as well. There are quite a few folks around us leading a very unhappy life citing the partners they’ve got or the troubles they have to face in life due to some members in their families. Such people as in constant pain and they will never be able to find any sort of happiness around them. These people will never be satisfied with whatever they possess and it is extremely difficult for them to appreciate the little joys of life.

Next time when you are unhappy about a decision you’ve made, ask yourself if it is really worth being not happy about the decision or is it the brain that is making you think this way. If so, take a break and make a conscious effort to find a tiny bit of happiness in the same decision. You’ll really be surprise to see that the first reason of happiness you find will lead to more and more of happiness about the same decision. The irony will be, after a while you’ll be ridiculing yourself for questioning the happiness of the same decision a while ago.

Our brain is as powerful as what we teach it. If you want to remain happy, teach your brain to be happy! God bless you with an abundant amount of opportunity to remain happy throughout your life! 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Family on the Rock!


Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Apr 2016

I was having a casual chat with a friend of mine a decade back while I was still a bachelor. He listened to me for a while and made quite a meaningful observation then. His statement was, “Wait till you get married, you’ll know how life will present a set of different challenges for you”. 

A couple of years later I was with my boss who recently became a dad and life came up as a topic of discussion then as well. I was at the verge of my bachelorhood and shared with him the above statement made by my friend earlier. My boss sighed and he made a very pensive statement. “Jerry, getting married is nothing! The moment you become a dad or mom; that is what I’ll call a game changer! Rest everything is pretty simple!” 

Fast forward six years and soon after I announced the arrival of our second child, promptly came a response from another friend of mine. “This will be the true test of your marriage!” And sure it was, since both my sweetheart and I felt that we’re going through a completely new set of challenge which we’d never faced before! 

Three instances, three different situations and one big lesson about life came out of them! It does not really matter what your situation really is. What matters the most is having a strong foundation built on a rock so that any number of mounting challenges can be faced together with the glue called family. This is a realization that needs to be developed during our earlier days of married life. 

For a couple, every new challenge they face in their married life is a test they undertake together. With each new challenge you face you are bound to experience tightening of a grip from an invisible hand on your life. The tighter the grip, the bigger the challenge! You won’t even realize that you’ll start feeling so uneasy for even those silly things at which you’d laughed earlier together as a loving couple. Such is the power of these unforeseen challenges! There is only one way to overcome these. Build your families on a rock, the very rock on which St Peter was given the command by God Himself to build the Church! 

Trust me; it isn’t easy to think that you’ll resolve the issues when they strike you. Many of us prepare ourselves with certain amount of financial backing to be used in the event of a monetary crisis. Very similarly we need to have an emotional backing when there are crisis times that come right out of the blue. All of a sudden you may be faced with a completely new challenge! It can be a totally new experience in your married life, something about your kids or your health or anything whatsoever. What’s important for you is to be prepared for such an eventuality if and when it decides to surprise you. 

Here is a question that you may want to ask yourself right from the time you step into the world of families and keep repeating the question once a while. Is my family built on a rock so that it can withstand even the mightiest of the tremor that it will experience in future? 

If you think your foundation is set on shaky pebbles, ensure that you and your partner accept this fact and quickly get into the action of cementing a strong foundation for your family. Among the multiple ingredients you could add to make a strong foundation, prayer stands out to be the finest of the lot. Ensure that you have a healthy mix of love and prayer to have a very strong base on which you build your relationship one day after the other. 

May the good God bless you withstand all the challenges you may face in future together as a family on the rock solid foundation you create on your love for each other and prayer, which is a communication with God Himself! 

All the best!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Artist Vs Butcher

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Mar 2016

“Happiness is not the absence of problems; it's the ability to deal with them.” This is a quote by Dr. Steve Maraboli, a life-changing speaker. I was trying to find a good quote for the topic and guess this one fits the bill perfectly.

Life presents itself with a bunch of challenges every day for each one of us, one way or other. There will be nobody alive in this world without having to deal with some or other kind of challenge on a daily basis. Like Steve says, the ability to deal with them decides how happy you are in your life. Have you ever given it a thought of how you deal with challenges in your life?

It is quite interesting to think the way we react when a new challenge is presented to us. Do you generally spend time to understand the issue and try to resolve it or are you quite reactive in solving the problem? This is what will determine if you are an artist or a butcher in your approach towards addressing the problems in life.

If you’ve ever been to a butcher in a market or a meat shop you might have seen how ruthless he is with the meat. The meat is shredded into pieces within minutes of taking the order from you. There isn’t much of a thought process that goes into the activity and within no time you’ve a solution packed in front of you. Many of us are like this butcher. When presented with a challenge we just take the ‘knife of solution’ and shred the problem right away into tiny pieces without much of an afterthought. We don’t even bother to think what could be the possible impact of such decisions. Solutions thus reached are bound to create further problems than resolving it for good.

Now, think about a painter or any other kind of an artist. The first quality you’ll notice in artistic people is ‘patience’. It is this virtue that allows them to spend enough time as required to complete a work of art. This very unique trait in artists is what differentiates an excellent art work from the rest of the art works in the world. We do see people around us who face their challenges with an artistic approach. They are the ones who will first try to think what the challenge is and what are the possible ways of finding a solution for this. They have this distinctive ability to think beyond the obvious and possibly understand the impact of their decisions. They create solutions which actually solve the problem rather than creating new ones out of the solution itself!

It is quite easy to check which category you belong to. Take a few moments and think about the last challenge you had in your life. This could be something as recent as today or yesterday when you tried to solve a problem. Ask yourself what was the approach you took? Were you an artist or a butcher? 

Most often you’ll realize that the decisions you’ve taken in the capacity of a ‘butcher’ had a short life and created new challenges for you. On the other hand the ‘artist’ in you would’ve come up with a more concrete solution for a problem resulting in nothing but happiness.

Remind yourself to be an artist especially when you are sharing your life with someone to ensure that you take decisions in your life together. Just like a sweet memory you’ve framed and hung on your wall, may the decisions you take in your life be as beautiful for you to remember with happiness. Keep away your ‘knife of solution’ and take up the paint brush instead. Try not to chop away a single problem to multiple pieces, instead make a lovely painting of solution out of the whole problem by wearing the hat of an artist.

May the good God bless you with the prowess of an artist to resolve the challenges! Life indeed is beautiful! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Angels in Disguise

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Feb 2016
Right from our childhood we’ve been hearing about different stories of angels. Among the different type of angels, ‘guardian angels’ was one of the most commonly referred kinds. The belief is that each one of us have got a unique angel assigned to us as long as we are here on Earth to protect us all the time.

Have you ever believed in angels? Have you ever experienced the care and love of your guardian angel? The fact of the matter is you’ll possibly never see an angel coming to you in a lovely wardrobe with large fluttering wings and a magic wand that can protect you from all troubles. But if you really observe you’ll still be able to experience the love and care of your guardian angel in one form or other. This is what is ingrained in the prayers after the vows in the Christian weddings which goes like, “God bless you with lot of genuine friends in your life especially during when you need them”. Here are some of the beautiful moments in my life when I experienced the love of my guardian angel.

A few years back I had my very first ever travel outside India and that too all the way to the other side of the world, Atlanta. I was feeling totally home sick and was really lost with everything around being totally new and strange. Those were the days of Orkut where I posted a picture of a nearby Pakistani restaurant named Lahore Grill. I gave a comment stating how much I missed food from home. Within a few minutes I got a reply from a school friend of mine whom I’ve not met for ages who happened to be in the same city. The next day he was at my place! For the next three months while I was there in Atlanta he made sure that I never felt home sick.
 
Some years later I got married and after a while we decided to move to Dubai. It was the first week in the new country with no one for company and a hard timeline of two weeks to find my own accommodation. I was reminded of Atlanta days with the exception of food since Dubai had more options for Indian food than maybe even what India could offer! I was running around with hardly any guidance on how to find a good accommodation. Facebook was popular by then and I posted a comment about being in Dubai. Lo and behold there comes a call from a college mate whom I’ve not been in touch since college days! He came over and from that moment I didn’t even have to worry about even the smallest of needs of settling down in Dubai.

Almost half a decade in Dubai and with two kids, life was going on pretty well with God’s grace. One fine day our elder one being four years decided to explore the sofa a little more and started jumping up and down on two big pillows kept on top. One of the jumps went wrong and he ended up hitting the hand rest of the sofa with face first. Needless to say he was bleeding profusely with a nasty cut on one of his gums. I rushed him to a hospital from where got redirected to a pediatric dentist who will do nothing less than stitching up the gums. He suggested meeting a plastic surgeon who went a step ahead and said he wanted my little one to be admitted, given anesthesia and undergo a surgery. I was sitting next to the emergency room completely feeling helpless. While my wife and I were discussing what could be the best way forward, we got reminded of a fantastic dentist back home in Kerala. A quick phone call to him and a few exchanges of pictures over WhatsApp, a simple solution was proposed by him. No stitches, anesthesia or surgery was required!

Believe or not, your guardian angel is always in the lookout for you. See for yourself the ways your angel works in your life through the people around you, some of them you may not even remotely imagine will influence your life!

May the good God help you experience the love and care of your guardian angel through such selfless people in your life and more importantly, may you be the face of guardian angels for many! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Yin & Yang

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Jan 2016
It was the last day of a weekend. My wife and I were at a shopping mall along with our two little darling angels doing some bit of shopping for winter. The mall was a bit far from our home and we had to drive for a while to reach the place. We were quite tired by the time we finished with the shopping. It was getting late and I started worrying about when we will be able to hit the bed since I had to head to office early in the morning the next day.
We somehow managed to reach home wading through the hectic return traffic of the weekend. All what I wanted to do was to get inside our home, finish the chores and catch at least a couple of hours of sleep. I started getting the bags out of the car and that’s when my wife made an announcement that was about to change our lives! She said she couldn’t find her phone!
The last thing I wanted to do at that given point of time was to search for a missing phone. Nevertheless I took out my phone and dialed her number. Fortunately it was ringing and though we listened for a ringing sound we couldn’t hear any from the car. No one answered the call too. A search for the phone in the whole car didn’t yield any result as well. I could feel my frustration building up. On one hand we had to get both the kids and ourselves to bed to catch some sleep. On the other hand there is this important gadget that is missing which contains lot of personal information that we can’t afford to lose.
I was quite angry at my wife for not even been able to keep safe a phone. Words of sarcasm started flowing out. I was really upset at how irresponsible she was. Obviously she was quite embarrassed with the incident and started getting worked up too. She had not just lost the phone, but now had to put up with me ridiculing her. Her natural defenses woke up and she started to cite all the reasons how she would’ve lost the phone. Justifications in different shapes and sizes were flowing in. The blame game just began.
It was the grand opening of a momentous fight in our life! The war of words went on for a while. We almost reached a stage where the fight with words were giving way to physical assault without even thinking that there were two pairs of little eyes watching us! We’ve seen and read many a times where such bitter fights usually end. It was not too different for us too. We reached a stage where we had to file a case citing ‘irreconcilable differences’. All because of a lost phone!
The picture I painted above was a bit of imagination. Let me now tell you what really happened. Let us go back to the point where my wife made the announcement that she couldn’t find her phone. I wondered what either of us was going to gain by raising our voices about the incident. Instead I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down. I then asked her to relax and assured her that with God’s grace we’re going to get the phone back. I then prompted her to recollect the last time when she saw the phone. Her mind, which was quite cluttered till a few moments back, started clearing up and she could trace her memory back to the point where she had held the phone last.
I suggested driving back to the mall though it was quite a task in itself. We prayed all the way back to the mall. I also held her hand and told her again that we’re going to get it. The phone was ringing all the while, but no one answered. We kept on calling hoping that someone will pick up. Finally after a while we reached the mall and just when we were stepping inside, someone answered the phone. It was the mall security who reassured that they’ve received the phone and asked up to identify ourselves and get back our lost device!
It was a huge eye-opener for both me and my sweetheart. A simple incident which would’ve ended up in a bad shape turned out to be one of the most beautiful evenings in our life. A decision not to react and panic led us to think clearly and reach a solution rather than blaming ourselves leading to even further complications in life. We now appreciate more, the power of prayer and the strength of bonding which we share.
Yin and Yang in Chinese philosophy describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world [source: Wikipedia]. This was the day when we realized how important it is to be aware of these mighty forces that exist in the world. It is even more important to realize that our mind is quite powerful than any of these forces. It is only a matter of choice which way we steer our thoughts and subsequent actions.
May you have the power to differentiate between reaction and response, the former being quite destructive and the latter very constructive!
Wish you all a very positive and happy New Year!

Multi-million lottery!

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