Kindness – A Value Inherited


I, as an individual hold “generosity” in high regard of all values a human must possess.  Because that is what makes a human “A Human”.  If your heart is unmoved and untouched by others’ misery then you are just any other specie born on earth, scientifically called Homo sapiens, and just a link to this ecosystem.  Nothing great to brag about, right?

And my very idea of being a human was shaped by my father and in due course of my life, I have met many people (some in my contact list and some unknown) who made me hold on to this value very dearly.

Talking about my inspiration, my father I would like to quote one thing best describes his outlook

“Exhibiting a value you believe in needs no audience and no appreciation in reciprocation “

Yes, this is how he was. I would like to mention one incident from his life that would suit the quote mentioned above perfectly:

We were having dinner when there was a knock at the door.  “Who it could be” was our question and when the door was opened my father found a neighbor of one of our acquaintances in that area standing in front of him. “Yes, what happened he enquired.  They seemed to be in a hurry to finish matters “Woh jo aapki bhasha bolte hain na unki tabiyat bahut kharaab hai aur ghar pe koi nahi.  Aakar dekh lijiye” (the one who speaks the same language as you is seriously ill and no one is around, come and check upon him) and left. It would be surely a waste of space discussing such shallow minds here so I skip to the situation. When my father reached there the situation was worse than what he thought. That person was suffering all alone with dire cholera, lying in a pool of his own puke and feces. That was a gross scenario to recreate. My father took him to the hospital immediately singlehandedly. Meanwhile, he was drenched as that man puked on my father as well but that didn’t deter him from exhibiting the value he believes in. He served him wholeheartedly and took care of him in hospital for two days at the expense of his own comfort till his family was back. But in the end, that man for some reason which my father had no knowledge of wrote off everything and uttered really mean stuff against my father. But as a real gentleman he was, he didn’t hold any grudge against him. When poked at being so generous always he said “neither his misery was planned by him nor my help was sought so why to make an issue of an intentional act on my part. I was not expecting any accolades for what I did. And anyways we must not keep a count of our good deeds at least, someone else is already doing it”.

I have always seen him in this light. No complications whatsoever when reacting as a human to the other’s pain.

Coming back to the question “whether values can be passed as inheritance or not?”  Frankly, I am clueless. But surely to keep the values alive they need to be drilled in the day in and day out. Since children imitate well it’s only through the practice of values we care for, that we can pass on to them the legacy, period! Had I not seen my father as a generous soul, doing his bit relentlessly how would I believe in such values?

In The Quest Of……


Just another day, another page from mother-daughter diaries: A few days back I was having a regular “to/before bed” conversation with my daughter, who was as usual raring to go with her canon of questions. From her “Why, Who, What, When, and How” kitty she pulled out a gem that set my mind on a quest for I was unable to provide her with a convincing answer. And before I could answer her, she slept but I couldn’t stop thinking. Introspection ensued. Her question was “What is the most important thing in this world?”

The world is going in a loop – needs once fulfilled are replaced by wants, and once wants are also satiated heart wanders to new avenues to spread its wings, to know, to explore, to get, and the cycle continues. This is how we witnessed advancements in human history, be it territorial expansions of kingdoms or the technological amelioration that we are enjoying. Lives (perhaps lifestyles) have definitely been improved. Now let’s focus on an analogy: Imagine the world to be an airplane propelled by the fuel of desires, and dreams to perch higher and higher, scaling new altitudes of success with every flight. What would happen to the aircraft if the coolant is missing, if the fuel is adulterated with impurities or if it doesn’t have a ground to land on? The fire ignited to provide an elevation might devour the entire structure, isn’t it? Coolant here is satiation and content. Impurity is greed that when mixed with the fuel of dreams/desires can clog the entire machinery dooming the flight. Peace is the runway that every flight needs when it lands on its wheels of love and compassion utilizing the shock absorbers of realization, enlightenment, and wisdom. Well, that might seem to be quite a convoluted explanation. I shifted my focus to a handful of examples from human history:

  1. Before King Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire became Ashoka the great and he resorting to Buddhism, spreading the message of peace all over he was like any other tyrant king whose purpose was to conquer and amass strength. It was after the Kalinga war, the massacre rendered by his own army shook him to the core and he retracted from his old ways and accepted Buddhism to trend the path of peace.
  2. Before England was one country, there was a long trail of blood and gore where innumerable innocent lives were sacrificed to ever-rising flames of power hunger and ego. It was Alfred the Great (King of the West Saxons from 871 to c. 886 ) who had nurtured a vision of unifying the war marred land and establishing peace so that lives could thrive and prosper in every manner. Ironically blood was the price that was paid but nonetheless in the end after many decades his dream did come true (Athelstan, grandson of King Alfred was the first king of unified land called England).
  3. European Union is a great example of modern history where different countries agreed to set aside their bitter rivalries, and make amendments for the larger betterment of people suffering the aftermath of world war. The EU was originally created with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. The Schuman Declaration, which encouraged the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community, laid the foundation for the European Union as we know it today (source: Google)

These are a few examples from medieval and modern history where the world has to finally resort to peace for the longevity, and prosperity of human beings.

Is the peace absolute or just a pact? The ground of peace has been purchased at a hefty price of numerous sacrifices, amendments and clauses, and a mutual understanding/ respect of territories and boundaries. And the fear of breach begets flexing muscle power in a bid to maintain the status quo. The recent example (in my petty knowledge) of Indo-China border tension speaks volumes about the price that nations have to pay for attaining peace. In my hindsight, I believe it’s more of a pact and order that the world is following to avoid disarray and disaccord. The bliss of absolute peace is still at bay.

Fulcrums to the Peace that we need: Compassion, satiation, actions motivated and guided righteously, and enlightenment – these are the fulcrums to leverage the peace in every human being and thereon at a macro level. I understand that this statement is quite a beaten one over and over but a truth that we deliberately or otherwise ignore. A petty example: We casually body shame or mock people for their weaknesses under the pretext of lighter note fun. We have no idea and literally don’t care about the negative impact we possibly could create on the other person’s mind, what havoc such a mockery is capable of creating in the longer run, and how it messes with the sanity of one’s mind. We avoid and hate “crime” that is punishable under a law that is documented. And those that are not, we make our souls obscure to nature’s unwritten law of embracing the differences. With oppressed, raging, and conflicting souls, where is the peace?

The whole night I spent introspecting if my answer is right if peace is indeed the most important thing the world needs right now? In the morning I asked my daughter if she has an answer to her question from the last night, and she smiled as she said “Yes I know the most important thing in this world – “You & Me”. And that kept me thinking again….

BEING A FOREIGNER


Candles Online

Je parle Anglais?” which translates to “I speak English” but the question here is why there is a question mark if this is a plain statement. Well, to answer that I must take a few steps back into the past when I was a newcomer to the city of Brussels and the French language was more alien to me than my relationship with it now.

It all began in the year 2009. Thanks to the extremely busy schedules of my husband back in those days (there were times when he used to leave home at 7:45 AM and won’t see it back till 3 AM the next morning, I was left at the mercy of television and internet connection to spend my days. But for how long. Slowly I started despising my loneliness, the damp and gloomy weather of the city where the sun won’t greet…

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Investments


Goin' the extra..aaamile

There was a time I heard people saying “invest in shares”to be followed by “invest in mutual funds”and then a few years later I heard a few say,“invest in property”, and nowadays what I hear is – “invest in people & relationships”

The kind of life I lead, I would like most of all to invest in myself as much as possible. You will definitely not find me idling my time dining at a restaurant or partying with fake people and alcohol. I would rather be at home doing things that make me happy, be it watching a movie on Netflix, playing an online game, writing on my blog, or keeping myself busy with a hobby – if nothing else you’ll find me reading a book or listening to music, or if I am out of home, you will simply find me on a walk away…

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Investments


Goin' the extra..aaamile

There was a time I heard people saying “invest in shares”to be followed by “invest in mutual funds”and then a few years later I heard a few say,“invest in property”, and nowadays what I hear is – “invest in people & relationships”

The kind of life I lead, I would like most of all to invest in myself as much as possible. You will definitely not find me idling my time dining at a restaurant or partying with fake people and alcohol. I would rather be at home doing things that make me happy, be it watching a movie on Netflix, playing an online game, writing on my blog, or keeping myself busy with a hobby – if nothing else you’ll find me reading a book or listening to music, or if I am out of home, you will simply find me on a walk away…

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WHEN OUR PATHS CROSSED


Candles Online

After eight years of marriage, Saanvi visited Delhi which once was her turf. She grew up there. That city for her is a bundle of memories – good, bad, enjoyable, precious, sad, unbearable – quite a complex concoction that she treasured. After her marriage, she moved away from the city so does her family.

Now after eight years an unusual business brought her back to the city. As she landed in the city, she was caught by the whip of air of the city, “how much I missed you” she sighed and headed for the hotel. As the taxi traversed through the lanes of the city, her thoughts wandered along with the wheels. Her eyes feasted on the street food, her senses were bamboozled by the color and fervor of the city, the ears were enjoying the concert of the noise of all-around. With all the sensory overloads…

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STRENGTH CONCEALED WITHIN


vini678

It was a big day for us as a family, my daughter was getting married. She looked angelic in her bridal attire. A sight to behold and cherish. But there was something else that caught my attention beyond the veil of her beautiful face, it was a nervous girl. My princess was nervous and confused.She needed some one to confide in .And if as a mother I can’t be that shoulder to lean on then who else can?And who else will?

“Come sit here .What happened? You seem to be wary.Is there anything that is bothering you?”I tried to calm her down and when she started speaking, my doubts dispelled. She had the nervousness that every bride experiences before walking taking those sacred vows. She opened up “Mom, I don’t know what is this feeling. It feels I am going to break down. Till now everything seemed to be fine.But…

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CAUGHT IN A GHOST CASTLE


Candles Online

Based on a true story:

A group of 8 young explorers, me among them, entered a house that was surrounded by not only darkness but rumors of being haunted. The air was eerie and the silence so thick that even a pin drop could set hearts race. I got a chance to enter with seven others, I was excited to prove. It was my chance to prove a few nay-sayers that I am not boring and when I mean adventure it isn’t about millennial pranks. I meant serious business and what can be a better option to set the adrenaline rush going than a haunted house. I would be dishonest if I say fear wasn’t on my side along with the seven others.

We together stepped inside the house that smelt pungent and we thought “let the helper at our house take off for a while and our houses won’t…

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Spare Me The Drama!!!


Originally posted on Candles Online

Whenever the word Nostalgia is received by my auditory senses, my heart responds here we go again– “Humaare Zamaane Mein” (in our times). Raising my daughter in a foreign land, in an environment completely alien to me, handling her tantrums over the type of shoes, clothes, accessories, parties, and a whole range of girly, kids stuff is quite an exercise. And I have unintentionally started quoting lines like “in our childhood”, “had it been my mother”, “we never threw such tantrums”, “we never had so many choices” and my daughter be like “stop it, Mom, blah blah blah”. I believe she has heard this “in our times” rant quite more often these days. But can’t help it, falling to the human tendency of comparing what’s in hand with what has elapsed.

Stepping out of my parenting shoes, as a person I really get nostalgic about the 90s TV shows. Surfing on YouTube, coming across various roast channels roasting TV serials, including reality shows it evokes a sense of nostalgia. We witnessed epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana that used to bring households under one roof and glue to the Television screens; women-centric and progressive programs like Shanti, Aarohan; informative gems like Surabhi; half-an-hour window of movie songs featured every Wednesday & Friday; Sundays were meant to be blocked for kids to be entertained by Disney characters; meaningful cinema that included regional movies as well. In short, we were served a complete package of entertainment, information, and knowledge by the two state-owned television channels. From there we have come a long way to something gross like”Rasode mein kaun tha” (who was in the kitchen). With a plethora of channels as compared to the famous (rather favorite) 90s, quantity has overridden the quality. No matter whatever channel we choose to switch, change is limited to the titles of the soaps aired but the format of everyone scheming against everyone, excessively regressive content, one central character whose role is to endure, endure and endure even more pain and the jarring background music coupled with every reaction frame is on default mode. And the less I speak about the dump of reality shows the better off I would be. To be precise we moved ahead in our calendar but marched back in times as far as our television content is concerned.

Nostalgia really stings me even when I view news channels especially portals and mediums concerning the Indian context. DD era which I would like to refer to as the 90s was the time when news had a particular time slot and what mattered was to highlight the important issues rather than sensationalism like what we have now. Omission of facts from past, repeated recital of few selected unfortunate incidents connecting them to every incident, irrelevant illogical high pitched debates with more participants than the viewers themselves, branding of victims and culprits as per convenience or complete silence on matters that don’t fetch business is particularly what the media is into.  Here only the numbers and competition matters.  To cut it short – Media today is biased and here I refer to both the poles of polarisation. The 24×7 nature of news channels is only doing harm by prompting to generate news instead of reporting the same. The need to churn news anyhow is the reason why we see everything categorized as news – from the case of lost pet of a celebrity to how a minister prefers his/ her food, and not to forget the brigade of advertisements shouting at us – BUY, BUY, BUY. Objectivity is subjected to agendas and personal/ political objectives. Excuse me for ranting again but DD Era was the peaceful one.

What went wrong? The amount of junk we have been fed over the years has actually reversed our intellectual evolution, or say for the majority. When introduced it attracted masses that was viewed for relaxation. But just as any addiction grows on a person, time and again interface with the same content over different channels registered itself in the mind as a guilty pleasure – we watch, we bash and we watch to bash but watch it. And this has tapped the market for the makers, and when numbers pour in, it’s enough motivation for the production of more such content. And for more Nostalgia rant!!!

With the advent of OTT platforms millennials swiftly moved to that for consuming a better content but unfortunately a majority of “humaare zamaane” people (includes precedent generations) still stuck in the loop “Dhoom Tana na na Dhoom Tana na na” (dramatic music).

We started from this:

And reached this:

Virally Not Yours


Originally posted on Candles Online

Husband (looking into the mirror): Honey!!! Honey!!!

The wife comes running from the balcony with a phone in her hand. “Why are you screaming dear? You just spoiled my reel!! What on earth made you scream your lungs out? It better be something that needs my attention.”

Husband: What do you mean by “your attention”. Look what happened to my trousers (pointed towards his trouser that was unevenly ripped only on the left and interestingly it’s not even denim but a regular formal one).

Wife: Oh that thing! I did it. You know my friend made a reel with her husband in a torn shirt and got over a million views. I want to make a better reel and surpass that number, that’s why this ( and she giggles leaving her husband bemused). Honey we need to make funny videos to keep our numbers ticking. We can’t just relax and let others take a lead.

Husband: Yeah funny, hmm. Why don’t you switch on the camera and say that you are Smart!! Funny isn’t it? (Left the room with wife smirking and getting busy with her camera)

Sarcasm and agony were written all over that husband’s face which was just a reflection of the restlessness of his wife – restless to make her presence felt on the social platform, restless for churning numbers of views and likes, restless for relevance in the context of trends.

I might have given a fictional account of a couple but the scenario isn’t fictional altogether. From vacation pictures of celebrities to absurd challenges; from transformation videos to derision of people in the name of comedy; from cringe like breaking out dancing in the middle of the street to being violent to random people – all in the wake of getting “Viral” and gaining attention. What started as harmless fun has now attained the status of more or less a gluttony that has messed badly with our brains, draining off sanity and peace leaving behind a worked and worn-out mind.

Get yourself some rest: Often we hear the term detoxify and the importance of cleansing one’s body. Very much needed indeed in the wake of the content we consume (like literally what goes in -what we eat) and our relatively less physically active lifestyles. But with our exposure to social media and its content, our brain too has consumption. Wanted – unwanted; sensitive – bizarre; informative – crazy – say it, have it. It’s a buffet out there. And the brain too gets tired of consuming tirelessly a plethora of junk. And from consumption to serving dishes we have completed a full circle. And the problem arises when the circumference of that circle enlarges. When we are on the consuming side we more often than not let our thoughts processes skew and let emotions embroil accordingly. Let’s go to the other side of the fence. Once a post is made, the next desire is to see it finding the reach – having clicks, views, likes, comments, shares, subscribers, followers, going viral. It’s a pretty much numbers game!! Pretty entangled. And when those expectations are not met we feel bad and rejected. We are in a self-doubting mode – was it good enough? Worse, many also go through existential crises as for them it’s about getting those impressions. We may accept it or not, our brains too need detoxification – a digital one. Our thoughts need a break from that constant worry of being able or not to impress others. Aimless wandering aiming for a set of benchmark numbers is an ailment for sure. Evading from the social scene from time to time is the best possible cure/ detoxification method. This is not a new thing that I am phrasing out here but definitely a less-trended path.

Few exercises (questions) we constantly need to do:

  • Does our private life need an audience every time?
  • If the answer is yes to the above question then are we ready to ably handle the unwanted commentary (not supporting it by any means)?
  • Why and how do opinions of strangers in the virtual world matter?
  • Are you sure that all the happy faces on the internet are happy in reality as well?
  • What if at this very moment “I forget my password for every social account of mine and there’s no possibility to retrieve the same for a long period”, will that affect my quality of life?

These questions from time to time will give a reality check. This is not bashing social media but a small attempt to bring to notice that conscious consumption/supply is of paramount importance. That lets the brain breathe and think. Our brain too deserves rest and it doesn’t mean completely devoid and deprived of thoughts/ ideas/ opinions but it means better utilization of it and not squandering it for trivial and unimportant things.

Sharing my experience: I am a politically center to right-aligned person. I was on Twitter where I thought I could speak my mind. But soon I found myself to be really affected by what others said. I rejoiced when I found the same voices, I disliked (always in the realm of cordial disagreement) the otherwise opinion (though pondering over arguments backed with strong reasoning and logic) and really hurt over crude comments that had the sole objective of abusing the people who don’t agree with their perspective. That left me thinking over and over, worried for some unexplained reasons. I was getting anxious and that was evident on my face. My husband intervened at right time. He said,” if you can’t remain level-headed and if social media debates are leaving you hassled, if words of unknown faces ring in your head, if you can’t see it as a way to pass of your time then you should better be off the wagon”. He was in a jovial mood when he said those things to me but I took it up as a piece of trial advice. Deleted my Twitter account, reduced my Facebook and Instagram engagement immediately. And to my surprise found myself lighter by many notches. My presence on social media wasn’t for the numbers yet it affected me as I was weak and let it do so. I always maintained and practiced – acceptance is the key!!

Be a Voice not noise: The point is how we create or consume content on social media. The presence of social media in our lives is nothing less than a boon where ideas, perspectives, creativity are given a buoyant push towards the public eye. But discretion is always necessary as to how the creators and the consumers behave. What we are experiencing now is a rush to be visible and seemingly relevant than actually making sense. This extreme pressure we are exerting on ourselves is making it a noise than a voice. Users’ discretion is so important, isn’t it?

Try to take a break and make this idea viral 🙂