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An unavoidable phone call

How often does it happen while you are travelling using a public transport that you are compelled to over-hear a conversation not because you want to but you have to because of loud fellow-passengers. In one of my commute days, I happened to overhear a phone conversation between a Mom (my fellow passenger) and her son (which I guessed from her talks). This is how it goes. This might probably remind one of your conversations with your parents 🙂

Mom: Hello!

Son: Hello Mom, how are you?

Mom: Forget about that, first tell me why didn’t you pick up dad’s call in the morning.

Son: Aahh.. hmm..

Mom: He has been trying to reach you from last few days. Why don’t you respond?

Son: Mom, I’m so so sorry. I.. I was was just having a severe headache.  So I was taking rest.

Mom: Severe headache? Do you have a migraine or what? You should have picked up his call. He does night shift and keeps himself available before 6.30 a.m. so that he can talk to you before you leave for college. And you.. you don’t even bother to respond neither on phone calls nor his Whatsapp chats.

Son: Mom…. I… didn’t I tell you last time my net isn’t working.

Mom: Net isn’t working? Whom do you think you are trying to fool. I can see you post daily on Facebook.. Commenting on the pages of political parties.. But, why are you following these pages.. Why don’t you keep yourself away from all this? I want you to focus on your studies.

Son: Silence…

Mom: Ok, so how’s everything else? What time is your college? Are you allowed to take mobile phones? Ok then take care son. Will call you in the evening.

PC : Google

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Listen only mode

When we think about effective communication, the first thing that comes to our mind is active listening. It’s only when we are attentive to what other person says, we can respond back accordingly. This probably holds true for personal and professional life.

In our relationships though, active listening can never happen literally. Which means, if you are waiting for your loved one to express or say what they feel for you that can not happen always. There are times when we want to express and then there are times when we just express our love through our actions and deeds more than talking.

Thus, it’s important that we keep ourselves in the “listen only mode” in order to observe the beauty of people who are a part of our lives and not overlook any cues that are unintentionally given to us expressing their love and care.

Image credits: From Google.

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It’s a small world

“What can I give?”. I had finished reading this book somewhere in later part of year 2016. This book was published by Srijan Pal Singh in the memory of his most loved teacher and India’s most loved personality, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. When Dr. Kalam left us in July 2015, I really felt sad for not having got the opportunity to meet him at least once in my life because I knew he was one of his kind, a scientist, a successful former President of India, a teacher, a writer and above all a great human being.

Thus, when I heard first about this book, without wasting much of time I ordered myself a copy. Probably within a day or two of the receipt of the book, I had finished reading because it was so captivating and so much about a common man and his teaching for the people like us. Inspired by Srijan’s mention of the Kalam Library Project in the book, I was all energized to do something and be a part of this overall project and make a difference for the under-privileged kids. I had already started following Srijan’s page on Facebook so I could stay updated on the recent projects of the Kalam Center.

Once I sent him an email inquiring about how I can contribute to their mission. He was kind enough to respond to me and provide me further contacts to get additional information. For some or the other schedules I didn’t get a chance to reach out to these individuals.

In one of the following weeks, I went to a cafe to have my breakfast after my French classes. As I was looking for a table, an individual who was seated at the corner table caught my attention. I stopped and thought, “Isn’t this Srijan Pal Singh?” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was still confused and wondered,”What would he be doing in such a small cafe like this?” But I was confident that it had to be him. Since he was talking to an elderly lady who was sitting along with him, I thought I should just take my seat and order my food. Also, I thought I wouldn’t be a great idea going and talking to him.

But once again, I thought – this was a lifetime opportunity to meet the writer himself and who knows if I ever got this chance again. So I decided to talk to him and introduce myself. As he was leaving, I reached out to him and confirmed if he was the person I thought. He smiled and said yes. I introduced myself and asked how he was here. He said this had been the place where he used to hangout the most as he completed his studies at IIM- A. I told him how much I liked his new book to which he requested if I could write a review of the book as well so he can share with people. We exchanged few words and he left.

For me this was an experience of a lifetime. Out of nowhere there was this person whom I was recently talking to,  in front of me.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you can get your copy here.

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Here is where it all started

In one of my French classes, our professor gave us homework to write a paragraph describing an event from our childhood. The condition was to use as much past tense as possible so that we can practice what we learnt in the class and ask questions for clarity the next day.

I was already pushing myself by joining the French class alongwith managing my office as well, so a homework always came as a task. Despite of that, I always tried attempting the homework because I knew that only the practice could help me learn at a faster pace.

I sat down with my journal and started writing about a funny event from my past. Even though this was a language I was still trying to learn, I realized how much fun it was to recall an event from the past and describe it for someone else to read. And and, that’s where my love for writing started. I had created a WordPress account years ago but probably it was just lately that I started picking up by writing a bit and publishing it for a larger audience. Honestly, I am loving this and I love to be here.

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I can confidently say that probably, this is the only place I found in recent times where people are so encouraging and motivating. Everyone are so kind enough to take time to read and provide feedback on what they love to read. There is so much of experiences to share or learn from everyone without the need of showing off (#trending on Facebook or Twitter) 🙂

I am glad I finally made it here and I am looking forward to knowing you all more through my reading experience.

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The boy who never grew up!

After a long and tiring day,  I decided to stop by a coffee shop to recharge my energy. Even though I have tried out most of the cafes near my place,  this was my first visit here. As I opened the door, I was pleased to see the decor, there were some pretty and fun stuff hanging on the walls from decorated coffee mugs to funny quotes on why chocolate is irresistible.

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I took a corner seat and on the wall near me had this cute images of the comic characters from our childhood days.

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Snoopy dog, Garfield and Archies, – they reminded me of my friend who could talk endlessly about his crazy love for his favorite comic characters. Talking about them gave him immense happiness and he would laugh like a kid. During one of our conversations, I asked him, “What was the origin of your crush, I barely remember seeing these images in the newspapers but I don’t think I ever read any of their stories”

He narrated, “As a kid, I used to go to my cousin’s place to play. During one of our group play, I felt I was being neglected by them and no one were interested to play with me, so I stopped going there. I used to stay at home, sit and relax on my couch doing nothing. My parents started getting worried since I was not engaged in any activities.

Once my dad bought me a comic book. I immediately started reading; found it interesting and fun. There was a puzzle on the back of the book. Within a day I had finished both reading the book and also solving the puzzle. “That was so fast” – said my dad. My routine was back to normal. Since it was summer vacation, I absolutely didn’t had anything to do.

To my surprise, the same week – my dad came back home with a heap of books. He bought them from an old book store so that I will have enough to do during my vacation. I read everyday and started falling in love with these characters – not just because they were cute but also because I could relate with them even though they were fictional characters.

And out of all, Garfield remains forever close to my heart because he is a foodie, lazy, hates the world unbiasedly and doesn’t care what people think of him. He likes lasagne and hates getting older. In fact, he is my alter ego, my other self.

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And one thing I can say for sure is over these years no one has ever been able to replace the charm and innocence these characters bring to us. Kids love them, I still love them. And I have stored all the books so that one day my kids can have an access to these too.”

A rose from her is always special

I still remember that day. Everyone were happy at home. And what was the occasion? My family had just finalized that they had found the groom for me after our meeting with the guy at our place. After all this was the day they had been eagerly waiting for. I observed all one by one, there were only smiles but I knew deep in my heart that I wasn’t happy with this. In fact, I didn’t like the proposal. But since I didn’t wanted to hurt my parents, I stood there silently as if everything was okay.

Things seemed to move faster than I expected. My father booked tickets to meet the family to take the proposal further and also start with my wedding preparations. I started getting worried, wondering how can I say no to this proposal without hurting their feelings.

Later that week, on my way back home – I was seated near the window. Whenever I feel helpless I look above and seek an answer – staring at the stars and wishing for a miracle. These are the moments when I call out for help to angels and saints and every pure soul who I think are closer to God.

That day, out of the blue I thought of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I recalled about a belief that people say for St. Thérèse, when you intercede to God through St. Thérèse , she sends roses to us as a sign of miracle to let us know that our prayers are being answered.

I looked above and then closed my eyes and said,”My dear St. Thérèse, if this is true – I request you for a miracle in my life and give me a sign that my prayer will be answered”

The following day, I started at 9.00 a.m. since I had to do some shopping before I left for office. At 10.00 a.m., when I reached the outlet – the security guard opened the door for me and handed over a rose to me and said,” Ma’am, you are our first customer for today. Have a nice day”.

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I recalled my last day’s prayer. That gave me goosebumps. I said to myself, “Oh my God, this is true. I have got a rose, Does that mean my prayer has been answered?” Even though I didn’t had any idea what was going to happen – I was hopeful that things will be alright.

Some days passed by, in the interim, my father also visited the guy’s home and fixed the tentative dates for the wedding. I was still waiting and hoping for a miracle.

One fine morning, my father called me and said, “That proposal has been dropped off”. Suppressing my sign of relief I asked, “Why, what happened all of a sudden”?. “The guy isn’t confident about taking this forward” – came the response.

I entered my room and thanked God. I got the miracle that I was looking for. This was probably the sweetest experience that I had in my life, experiencing the true presence of “The One” and his ambassadors in our life. We just have to move forward with faith and courage no matter what the situation is. They are watching over us and will not let us fall down.

Travel encounter continues

She entered the classy room of the Hotel which was her home for the next three weeks. She studied every corner of it to check out the things that were available. As usual, there was a TV, a coffee maker, an office space and hold on what was that? Something new caught her eye, a mini-bar! She opened it – two boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, lots of nutrition bars, water bottles and a section full of beverages from Jack Daniels to Vodka of all sizes. But the latter part of it didn’t interest her since she never consumed alcohol.

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She took one of the Ferrero Rocher chocolate boxes and within a while she had finished it up. She didn’t find the need to go for lunch. The next day, she went to work. Being the first day of her business trip at the office, it was a long and tiring day. She reached back to her room by 11.00 p.m. and opened her mini-bar to get something to eat. And guess what, there was another Ferrero Rocher chocolates box! This was like magic. You take one and the next day it will be filled with the same contents.

Every time she opened the mini-bar, she used to get curious to know how the beverages looked like or smelled like. But this curiosity didn’t compel her to taste it, until one day the same week, she finally decided to open one of the bottles and see. She opened a bottle of the Vodka and smelled it. Oh no, that was a bad idea she thought and packed it back to the same place.

Later, in the week – she went to the reception to check out her total billing so far so that she could have a rough estimate on the expense she have to manage for the rest of her trip. The receptionist gave her the bill and Ayesha studied the bill, “Oh my God, this bill says I consumed a Vodka worth 1200 pesos? But I didn’t consume it. And the Ferrero Chocolates, those have been charged as well. Wasn’t that free?”

Her thoughts continued,”What will happen when I submit this bill to the Finance department for the reimbursement. There is going to be hell lot of questions, – Why did you consume so expensive beverage at the hotel? Did you take it alone? What was the need? bla, bla,bla. I really need to get myself out of this mess.

Without wasting more time she reached out to the receptionist, “Excuse me ma’am, your manager had informed me that the chocolates are complementary, why has this been charged then?.” The receptionist responded, “Ma’am, only the first piece that you consume is a complementary, rest are chargeable”. Ayesha thought. “Ok – so all this while I have been wrongly assuming the people’s been so nice to me. Distributing everything free.”- She thought to herself.

“Then what about this Vodka? I did not consume it, why has this been charged”. “Ma’am, if the piece is opened we consider that as consumed”. Ayesha couldn’t control her emotions, “If the content hasn’t been used, how can you consider that as consumed? I would appreciate if you could please remove this from my bill”

The receptionist called one of her colleagues. They exchanged few words and then came back to Ayesha, “Sorry for the inconvenience, Ma’am. If you haven’t consumed it, we’ll just remove it from the bill. We will give you an updated version by tomorrow morning”

What a relief it was to hear that.

She went to a grocery shop and bought lots of fruits and packed food for the next few weeks, as a replacement for her Ferrero chocolates!