Life beyond ‘Being Successful’…

7 Aug 2020, Alliance Air flight from Dubai to Calicut (India) overshot the runway and skidded into the depression beyond resulting in the aircraft fuselage breaking into two leaving a few passengers dead and many injured. The ill-fated aircraft would have made so  many successful flights before that, every day starting from the hangar speeding along the runway, taking off, attaining the altitude, cruising along till it reached the destination, descending and finally landing safely on the runway, refuels and takes off again if required. The distance the flight travels and the altitude it takes depends on the quality of the aircraft and the fuel it could carry. On the fateful day, with an experienced Commander in control the flight ended up in debris, that is how uncertain life is. The good serviceability of the aircraft, the technology and the experience of the pilot all combined failed in front of the weather and the situation.

COVID 19 has proven beyond doubt that no human can plan and be ready for the worst. Life of most people who were doing relatively well in jobs or businesses have been thrown out of gear. Many of those who had just taken off and whom many trusted had very strong wings and a creative mind have crash landed. No degree, no diploma or skill had prepared the human to face the sudden downswing brought about by the virus. Hope people take home the lesson, life does not remain the same always, there are ups and downs ranging from smooth and casual to sudden and deep.

While the initial training and education can help a person to take off at the desired speed but it is the ability to cruise for the desired time maintaining the desired altitude is what matters in the long run; this comes from sheer experience acquired through facing situation life throws at you. Not many have the resilience to cruise along in the face of the storms he/ she encounters and turn back or land at an alternative airstrip. Very few make the difficult decision of flying through the storm and attempt landing at the pre-decided destination and some do succeed while others skid off or miss the runway ending in a depression.

Even for those who landed safely at their desired destination and those who managed to land at other strips getting used to the life beyond the safe landing does not come easily. One got to actually prepare himself/ herself for life beyond the landing (retirement), especially those used to flying high, to them leading a plain life on the mother earth does not come easy, the mind refuses to accept that someone else  has taken over the captainship of the flight and maybe flying better than them. We humans do not accept retirement very easily, all our life we crib and cry for not getting enough time for leisure and when it is time to retire, let go of the responsibility, sit back and relax, most of us just refuse to let go. It is the law of nature, one cannot remain best forever, someone new will come and break all your records and do better. You enjoyed your success, basked in its glory till you could now let him enjoy his time. If at all you want to remain relevant in life change your gear, be the Guru, sharing your experiences for the betterment of others.

If you refuse to change your gears you will either crash into something moving ahead of you or someone will bang into you from behind. So, do what suits you and not what you used to. There is an age and time for everything. Reminded of the four stages of life, the fours Ashramas propagated by Hinduism? Bhramacharya, Grihastha, Vanprastha and the Sanyasa Ashramas? Every religion teaches about various stages of life but who wants to pay attention to religious scriptures? Hope people do so now.

Understanding Freedom….

Today India celebrates her 74th Independence Day, a freedom earned after a hard struggle of 200 years against the British crown. Every year the nation wears a festive mood on this day however this year is bound to be different with the Corona prohibiting large scale celebrations.

indepndence

The nation attained independence but did the citizen’s achieve independence in true sense especially from the old mindset, the old beliefs and traditions which are so deeply ingrained in the hearts and minds. In the present times physical occupation of the land mass is not a necessity to enslave a nation; capturing the minds, the thoughts, influencing the decision making, ruling the economy are what matter.  

As a nation we are even after 73 years of independence still obsessed with jobs abroad, still prefer fair skin to be superior to dark, still consider that proficiency in speaking/ understanding English language is a must for achieving success in any field, are struggling to contain the caste/ communal/ economic divide between the citizens, still refusing to give the youth the right to make their own decisions, blindly offer donations at temples and not bother to do anything for improvement of our educational institutions and still struggling to end the quota system. Is this what our freedom fighters laid down their lives for?

On 15 Aug 1947 we just got independence from the British, but our still struggling to free our mind from the old thoughts, it is high time we made sincere efforts to change our mindsets.

The same people, irrespective of the caste, creed or social status who are so disturbed by the necessity to wear face mask have hardly ever made efforts to remove the blinds they have been wearing since ages on their minds restricting the thought, vision and imagination. Till we change our way of thinking the national dream of ‘Aatmnirbharta’ (Self dependence) will continue to remain a dream.

I am reminded of the beautiful thoughts expressed by the great Rabindranath Tagore in his work ‘Let my Country Awake’….

“Where the mind is without fear,

And the head is held high,

Where knowledge is free,

Where the world has not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls,

Where words come out from the depth of truth,

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way,

Into the dreary sand of dead habit,

Where the mind is led forward by thee,

Into ever widening thought and action,

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

 

The missing rainbow of life….

All through the day the dark clouds covered the sky, heavy rains lashed the earth, however towards the evening just around the time I go for my daily walks the rains stopped and the sun managed to show its presence from behind the cloud cover. As I stepped out of my home a beautiful sight, something I had not seen last few months, greeted me, cool breeze, and a full rainbow in the sky; one could clearly see the seven colours. That is what life is all about, one got to step out of the safety of homes to enjoy the cool breeze and the beauty of rainbow; the closed door may not prevent the virus from entering the home but is certainly keeping the colours of life away from us.

Continue reading “The missing rainbow of life….”

Prerna…..The Inspiration…

My blog, last week, was dedicated to the parents of the children with special education needsParenting a child with special education needs..… and in this one I will be talking a bit about the children; their never say die spirit, how they inspire. I had mentioned in the last blog about my visits to various institutions catering to the needs of special children and one of them, Prerana Educational Center, a school for  children with special education needs located in the suburbs of Siliguri in the state of Bengal, India, left quite a lasting impression on me.

There are so many things about these kids which initially surprised me than became a source of inspiration. Here I was, born normal, all sensory organs in place but still finding faults in life, finding reasons to curse and cry and there were these visually impaired kids a smile always adorning their beautiful faces, always ready to help and encourage each other, totally disciplined, having an unending desire to learn. They could not see each other but could feel each other, I think that is what matters in life; the feeling for each other. Their hand was always raised to pull someone up, never to push anyone down. They could walk from room to room without banging into walls or the furniture and here most of us are lost in life with open eyes and a fully functional mind. It is so true, one does not require eyes to have a vision, it is the mind and the beautiful thoughts it generates which matter.

We went there once a month or at times once in two months but moment they heard the voice, specially of my wife, they knew who was there. It was a treat to see the joy on their face and the thrill in their voices as they greeted her and then went on to share whatever they had done since their last meeting with her, they had established a wonderful relationship without ever having seen her, a heart to heart bond. Every minute spent with them generated so much positive energy. What did we do for them? Nothing much, just went and met them occasionally; they understood it so well that the time which someone gives matters much more than any material gifts in a relationship. 

One can learn so much from these kids; the selfless love, the compassion, seeking happiness in small things, finding a way around the obstacles life presents and the art of wearing a smile to mention a few. Regular visits to the school helped clear so many cobwebs which had covered my mind for ages, helped me set a clear vision for my life.

My salutations to Mrs Rita Sengupta who has dedicated her life in the selfless service of these kids. Heartfelt appreciation to the teachers and the caretakers for their services to the kids.

Sharing with you a small video of the kids, I am sure you all will love the performance.

 

The school can be contacted on the Facebook page or here https://www.nbcd-prerana.org

 

Parenting a child with special education needs..…

Today after interacting with a group of parents of children with special needs the first thought which struck my mind was that blessed are people like me who are born normal, who are parents of normal children, who are leading a normal life.

special children

I have been a regular visitor to orphanages, old age homes and schools for children with special needs but such visits do not actually expose one to what a parent of these children may be going through every day. Being a parent carrying a life-long guilt consciousness of not being able to do the best for the child, getting physically and emotionally drained day after day, dealing with the tantrums/ fits of anger the child resorts to, giving up on social commitments as one parent/ family member is always required to be with the child, constantly plagued with the worry of future (what after us?) life is not easy and practically impossible for parents of normal children to visualise.

It is not just the child, but the parents also require constant support and education. They must be groomed to accept the truth, trained to face the challenges, to maintain the calm in the adversity. It is easy to lose temper when the child is throwing tantrums but then that is the worst response expected from the parent, it will do more harm than give any relief. Every action taken in front of the child has to be measured. The parents must undergo classes for stress management and learn best ways to teach and take care of the child. It is the combined effort of the parents, teacher and the medical practitioner which will give the best results.

COVID has added on to the problems of the parents with the children missing on the much required therapy sessions. Most of these children are maybe missing out on the only opportunity they used to get of going out of home and meeting / seeing other children when they went to school, this must be certainly making them more restless. Schools are attempting online classes, but the onus lies more on the parents to learn the right procedures and techniques to be able to help the child in practicing.

Parents must make effort to become members of various support groups especially of the parents of children with special needs on various social media platforms and share thoughts and seek support/ guidance. The main support the mother and father draw, is from each other, they should always be there for each other, when one feels low the other should lift the spirit. Lastly, the humour should not be allowed to escape from life, light moments of laughter are the best for relieving stress.

The relationship dividers….

In an earlier blog I had discussed the ways to maintain happiness in the married life, here in this blog I will be discussing the different habits/ behaviours which generally drive a wedge in a relationship. When two people are in love, they tend to overlook lot many differences which later in life may become the reason for straining or breaking a relationship. Right mix of love and friendship is the fuel which drives any relationship. Like love, no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee though options of limited warranties to repair a crack are always there. Constant efforts are required to be taken to sustain a relationship. In my view the main irritants which may finally drive love away and bring in a divide in any relationship are as given in succeeding paras.

Family

Continue reading “The relationship dividers….”

Looking beyond the looks…

Indians are a community obsessed with fairness, unfortunately not of character but of skin. The obsession has risen so much that skin cream companies have done the what was unthinkable a few years back not just produced but notched up high sales of fairness skin for men too; what a shift from ‘Tall dark and handsome’ to ‘Fair and handsome’, fair skin and a six pack ab is what attracts.

fair skin

Every marriage advertisement has the word fair prominently displayed in the first line itself, technology is (mis) used to appear fair in the pictures; Why is the dark skin so unwanted? Why do not these people understand that photo-shopping cannot hide the ‘True Colour’ of skin and especially the character.

In many areas in northern part of the country fair skin matters more than the grey matter one possesses. Opinions are formed on the looks and the style; no time is spent on understanding the brain. Maybe that is why someone preferred to call brain, the intelligence as ‘grey matter’ and not white because to look good matters more than ‘to be good’. It anyways does not matter whether brain is white, or black or grey, fair skin and a perfect figure anyways makes the mind of the onlooker go numb or makes him dumb, isn’t it?

Many of my countrymen who put their voice loudly behind the ‘Black lives matter’ protests taking place in USA have never bothered to speak against discrimination in their own streets in fact right in their own households. Why can’t we just start with a protest against all these fair and lovey creams. We are a nation where black lives in US matter but in their own life most men just want a fair bride.

The thought process of young generation is changing albeit slowly most hunks still prefer an arm candy to the bold and beautiful. Both young men and women must take on the responsibility of changing this mindset which is so highly prevalent even today specially in the rural of the country.

Corona did to an extent divert the attention from the looks to the brain; with every face covered and beauty parlours closed people found time to indulge in creative activities and making intelligent conversations with those who mattered without bothering about the look; That’s the way it has to be, people have to learn to live in their own skin and make use of the brain the way it is supposed to be; after all it is the brain and intelligence and not fair skin which is required for paying the bill, managing home or office.

Beautiful day..

It has been raining since early morning. As the downpour turned to a lovely drizzle could not resist walking into the kitchen garden.

IMG_20200726_074222The clouds… the usual sight now a days …

IMG_20200726_074706

The lady finger…Okra..my favourite….

 

 

 

 

 Taro root,  Bitter gourd, Tomatoes, Lemon grass, beans, Bottle gourd…..A healthy mix of vegetables, hopefully should last us through the pandemic…..new will be added as the season changes….that is what life is all about…….one goes another comes….

Seeking happiness…

 Happiness is what we all seek and relentlessly work for in our lives. But how many of us actually achieve it is debatable; leave alone achieving it most of us do not even have a proper definition of it, we do not know what is that we are seeking which will lead us to eternal happiness.

It is your life

Continue reading “Seeking happiness…”