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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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A conversation

Me: In my dreams these days, I’ve been seeing celebrities whom I admire. What does that mean?

Friend: Maybe, there are bigger things waiting for you.

Me: Really? You think so?

Friend: Yes, but don’t make this a yardstick for your success.

Me: What do you mean by yardstick for success?

Friend: I mean, don’t think if you cannot meet these celebrities, your life isn’t successful. Success is when people who care for you and whom you care for, are multiplying, or with those that are existing the bond deepens.

You do acts of kindness and are blessed by people even if you don’t know. That’s success. People whom you meet on your path are your celebs and for those you bring hope, you are a celeb to them.

Me: Wow, I never thought that way. You are an excellent dream interpreter.

Friend: No, I am a story-teller 🙂

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!

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Face of God

Grandmas' stories

A woman of substance, a face as bright as the sun and love as the flow of the water – that’s my grandma.

She left us to the heavenly abode three years back but she still lives in our hearts even closer than during her earthly life.

Through the Grandma’s stories I wish to bring her to the world. I want them to know what it means to consume oneself for the love of humanity.

I pray to God that He may give me the wisdom and the strength to portray her life exactly as it was.

More to come soon!

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Heaven on earth

If someone were to ask who accompanies during my daily commute to work, the answer will be books, music and occasionally movies. Thanks to unlimited data availability, my new music player is now YouTube with an endless list of songs, movies and interesting videos. Despite of this huge collection, my search usually ends at “Ustad Hotel” for scenes, songs and background scores.

For those who have not seen this movie, the story is about a young man Faizy aspiring to become a well-known chef. After finishing his course in Hotel Management, his father wants him to join his business, however Faizy is hell-bent to go abroad to pursue his dreams. This results into a dispute because of which Faizy’s father forcibly takes his passport so that he cannot travel.

Faizy unable to handle this, leaves for his grandfather’s place who runs a hotel on a small-scale and takes up work there. It’s here that Faizy is introduced to the beautiful concepts of life by his grandfather who is a man of principles and known for his care for the poor. Though his grandfather is tough on him at work, they share a special bonding with each other.

When everything seemed perfect, Faizy gets an offer to join as an Executive chef abroad. During his conversation with his grandpa, he expresses how much this offer meant to him. Maybe this was all he was waiting for and he wanted to be successful in life. His grandfather is caught up with a cardiac attack, unable the bear the thought of losing his grandson. Though he is out of danger, he sends Faizy with a letter to his friend, Narayanan Krishnan in Madurai, Chennai.

Faizy follows as requested and goes to Chennai. He hands over the letter to Narayanan. Narayanan reads the letter, the content of which mentioned said that grandpa wanted Narayanan to be an eye-opener for Faizy. During his stay, he sees the unsung hero, Narayanan, who left his 5-star hotel job to serve the poor and needy after witnessing an old man eating his own waste because of hunger. He changed the purpose of his life to satisfy the needs of these people who were unwanted and give them love and affection.

Before leaving Madurai, Faizy is requested to make a special Biriyani for the mentally disabled kids at an orphanage. While accepting the request, Faizy never realized this was going to be his life changing moment.

He makes the best Biriyani he would have made so far and serves to the kids. The sight at the place moves him completely, seeing the challenges of the innocent kids. After the event, he sits there with tears and a heavy heart when all of a sudden the kids starts flowing in and writes something on his hands. He could not understand what it meant. One of the teacher tells him that they are saying “Thank You” in a code language.

He goes back to his Grandfather’s place with a new purpose . However, by the time he reaches his Grandfather goes for a pilgrimage leaving everything behind.

What I have tried to describe will not be enough to capture the soul of this movie. The conversations between the grandfather-grandson duo has now become an integral part of my life inspiring me to look at each day as a blessing and an opportunity to make a difference. I may probably not be able to take a big step like Faizy or Narayana, but I still have my family, friends, colleagues and a big community of needy people; whom we meet in our journey called “Life” and I’ll forever be on the lookout for such opportunities.

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