God spoke to me today..

And said, “Shine on, You are the light”💖🌞☀️

When the lights go out

I woke up to the sounds of birds chirping. I thought to myself, what time is it? Is it morning already, time to wake up? The chirping seemed closer now, and I was sitting on my bed looking for where it came from.

From a little hole on the wall, came a flock birds rushing and flying around me in circles. Down they came still in flight but closer to me, some flying near my hands. Suddenly, one of it caught my hand and stayed there for a while. I moved my hands closer to take a look cause it was still so dark. A tiny little bird, looked somewhat like the jungle babbler. Reminded me of my home where we were always surrounded by them.

Before I could make myself sure, off it went alongwith the rest. Flying off! Outside the window, stood a bigger version of the bird. All I could see was it’s head and a clear blue sky in the backdrop.

What was happening, I thought again and looked on the bed to find myself in deep sleep.

Take a little time for yourself

I strongly believe, that if there is anyone who can make you happy, then it has to be yourself. No money or person can bring you the happiness which you would get by investing in yourself. I never let go of any opportunity that would allow me to explore the unknown outside of my routine.

Attending a workshop on “Urdu Calligraphy” was an experience of a lifetime in recent times.  Persian, Arabic, and Urdu are few of the many languages that I have always been in awe of. The carvings and writings in Urdu or Arabic found in historical Mughal monuments have had amazing stories to say. Often wanting to decode the beautiful and artistic writings, experiencing the writing myself through the calligraphy helped me connect more deeply to this art.

As I held the pen and started to try my hands on a new form of writing – I was feeling so content with the work I was doing. There was no pressure to be perfect or to be better than someone else. As we were experimenting in our groups, there was only smiles, laughter and learnings we had to exchange with each other.

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Credit goes to Project Kitabat and Hobbmob for organizing this memorable event.  Follow their page for the next event in your city.

Begin..

This one came up in my Facebook memory. I had shared a post by someone. Thought it’s a good way to begin our day. 🙂 🌸

Some pictures

From my visit to the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara last month.

The Home within a Home

This was probably taken a couple of years ago. I usually leave one of the windows in my room open for fresh air. Once when I came back from work, I found two little birds hiding in the corner of the window. Getting a little closer, I was able to make out that they were building themselves a home.

Since I also wanted something to engage myself with, I let them stay there and left the windows open everyday so that they can complete their task for which they were so actively in the process of building that little nest.

I used to check their progress. There were three eggs already in the nest hatching. Days passed by. I started seeing a change in the activities of the parents. They were now coming with food for their little ones. I climbed on my bed to get a close-up view to find three cute babies with an open mouth asking for food 🙂

This was indeed enough for me to feel good about my decision to let them stay. Building a home within a home!

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The White Mosque

While rushing to get captured with one of this background view, I fell down accidentally and sprained my ankle. And the pain spoilt the rest of my day, as I was not able to walk properly. Nevertheless, the feeling that I experienced at this place was worth the pain. And few of these captures will always remind me of my pain yet bring a smile on my face.

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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 could 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.

I write.. 

Now that I have started writing, I still can’t believe in those two words “I write”. A year back, it never seeped into my mind to start writing. And now, with every new post of my mine I can see myself improving gradually. I’m not competing with the world. I’m competing with myself.

There is that version of me who can be a good story-teller, share and express own experiences. And I’m in search of that.

In this journey, I’m not alone. I have my fellow – bloggers who do not fail to impress me with their creative writing.

I write! Writing has changed the way I read. The earlier me wanted to just read the books. Now, I want to completly immerse myself into the author’s journey. I look for minute details of expression and emotions gone into it.

Writing is in the process of bringing out the best in me.

Wise words

In those moments, when everything seems to have come to a pause, out of nowhere we find these words passed on to us, by our loved ones and our well-wishers. These are the words of hope which for many of us also changes our outlook towards life.

From my last post, I invited my fellow-bloggers to share an advice that’s close to their heart. Thanks to everyone who took time to comment and share their experiences. And also to everyone who appreciated the content with their likes 🙂

I am sharing the individual content here for all my readers. Do check out their blogs too, if not already. There are some excellent pages out there which you wouldn’t want to miss.

ApprendiZ

“What doesn’t kills you only makes you stronger…..
It’s life and surely there’ll be adversities, but life won’t be thrilling enough without these….so feel blessed to have everything and never quit because only the fittest would thrive and survive and progress….”

Sifar

“Out of a lifetime of personal and professional advice, one that helped me most came from a dear friend that if you really want something give it your all. Don’t give yourself excuses because the wins and losses are only yours.”

Barkaat Fatima

“‘Regret hurts more than failures so stopping thinking about people and give your best for you should be able to face yourself at the day without any guilt.” This one advice made me strong enough to take decisions in life.

Nathi: A Wayward Scribbles

“The best advice I received was to expand my horizon, to let people in and that there are people out there who truly love you. Besides, during a depressing period of my life, a friend of mine assured me, “Help is available, buddy. You just need to ask for it.” These were the words that kept me going and help me see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Thank you for reading and do share your experience in the comments section below.

The boy who never grew up

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

via The boy who never grew up!

For you a thousand times over! 

Often we end up into situations where we don’t feel confident in our own potential. But there is a voice that keeps reminding us of our worth and don’t fail to encourage no matter what.  That voice is not our heart or our soul, it’s that friend who is with us through our thick and thin.

Hassan the quiet and the most important character from “The Kite Runner” is a reminder of that friend who genuinely mean when they say or feel – “For you a thousand times over”.

The last leaf

A short story by O’Henry. This was also a part of our English curriculum. My memories as a student have always been vague as I was never interested in studies. Surprisingly, there are a couple of stories from the English textbooks that I can recall. I would rather say, I don’t just recall but also think it still drives my approach toward different circumstances.

The Last Leaf is one of those. It is a story about a young girl Johnsy, who is struck with illness and is not able to recover due to her lack of willingness. The falling leaves of an ivy wine tree near her window in the hospital turned out to be her reason. Day by day she counts the number of leaves left and is confident that with the last leaf falling she also has to die. Her mother Sue worried about her condition reaches out to old Behrman. Behrman – a failed artist. Despite his 40 years in the field, he was still not able to create that masterpiece which he always wanted to.

Hearing Johnsy’s imaginations and Sue’s worries he gets ready to help her. While Johnsy is asleep, Behrman goes to the other side of the window and takes his position.  A cold rain was falling with some snow.

The next morning, Johnsy insists her mother open the window shade. Sue obeys. To Johnsy’s surprise there stood one ivy leaf without being affected by the rain and snow. Later that day, the doctor says he is positive now of Johnsy’s recovery since she was responding well. He leaves the room referring to another patient that he had to attend. It was Behrman struck by Pneumonia too. His chances of living narrow.

That afternoon, Sue came to Johnsy’s bedroom and said –

“I have something to tell you, white mouse. Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in the hospital. He was ill only two days. The janitor found him the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn’t imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and – look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn’t you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece – he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.”

Such a touching story! Behrman’s masterpiece didn’t lead him to gain wealth or fame but saved the life of a little girl. Gave her the hope to live and in the process lost his own life. In our own lives, we are tangled in the web created by ourselves and make them our yardsticks to measure our success. Success is not about our capability to fulfill our materialistic wishlist. If today, we are able to give a ray of hope to someone, that comes back to us in the form of self-contentment and gratefulness.

Let there be a little bit of Behrman in each one of us!

Here is a picture from my own garden of the Arabian Jasmine. Every time it blooms – it gives me happiness. And the bud? It symbolizes hope, isn’t it?

An Instrument of Peace

At 8.00 a.m. in the morning, we had to be ready for the assembly that started with prayers followed by announcements, news and prayer requests. I remember being dropped by our school bus half an hour early to the school time that allowed us to take copies from our friends to finish our homework before the school day started. There was always a sense of urgency to finish them on time as we never wanted to get those red remarks in the school diary. 

At 8.00 a.m. in the morning, the entire school stood still because it was time for prayers. From a very young age, I was always attracted to a conversation with the Invisible, but standing alongside 60+ students with joined hands never gave me that feeling of being prayerful. 

“Make me an instrument of your peace”, used to be a frequent song played during the prayer time. I loved this song, I still love this song – but probably I never understood the deeper meaning of it until later when I heard it on YouTube recently. It took me back to the memories of my school. Looking at where the world is heading into – constant chaos, hatred, destruction, and distrust – each of the word adds so much meaning. If there would have been something called a “World Anthem”, I would have proposed this song for the same.

You are lucky for me

“Hey, listen” came a voice from the front as I was walking towards my office. I looked up and found a woman in her middle age carrying a basket full of fruits. Assuming she was calling someone walking behind me, I ignored the call and moved forward. 

“Hey, listen – I am talking to you.” This one came directly for me. I stopped and asked, “Are you talking to me?” “Yes, I am, I’ve been calling you since I know you are lucky for me” – said the woman. 

“Lucky? How can I be lucky for you?” “Because, today is New Year and I am looking for someone who can help me start my business well and I think you can be lucky for me. All you have to do is to wish me New Year open heartedly, take some fruits from me and give me whatever you deem fit for the same”

“But.. but I don’t need any fruits right now.”, said I. “That is fine, you can give it to someone else but take these fruits from me” came the response. 

Nonplussed, I said – “Okay, give me some grapes and pomegranate, how much does this cost”?

“Well, you can give me Rs.200 for one box. That’s what they charge in shops”. She took out two boxes of grapes and handed over to me. “I just need one box, please”, I clarified to her. 

“I told you, you are lucky for me. So please take these two boxes, I’ll also give you few pomegranates free of charge” – said the woman. 

Even before I could say anything, I was standing with two boxes and some pomegranates in my hand because I knew there was no escape. I handed over Rs.400 and continued to my destination. 

All the time on my way back, I kept thinking – maybe she was just applying a marketing strategy or maybe she was genuinely looking for someone to start her year well with some good business. Nevertheless, the cost occurred was worth it, since what I got from her was healthier than what I would have spent in a restaurant for a burger or a pizza. 

And above everything else, I was satisfied thinking about the woman and the stories she will get to narrate at home.

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

The Active Award

I am back after a short break and I was pleasantly surprised to be nominated by my fellow blogger, Bhavana. I have come across many blog posts where people get nominated for awards but never did I think of myself getting nominated for one. I am really grateful to Bhavana for this nomination and encouragement.

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Rules for this award:

  1. Post it on your blog.
  2. Thank and link the one who nominated you.
  3. Nominate other bloggers.

Nominees :

I nominate these fellow bloggers for The Active Award

  1. Prajakta
  2. Anju
  3. Zinni
  4. Myweekinbooks
  5. Jen’sJewishJourney

Thank you for reading and all the encouragement. Wishing you all a great day!

Cheers!

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!

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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Her first travel encounter

Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your carry-on luggage underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin. Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt. And also make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position.

If you are seated next to an emergency exit, please read carefully the special instructions card located by your seat. If you do not wish to perform the functions described in the event of an emergency, please ask a flight attendant to reseat you.

 We remind you that this is a non-smoking flight. Smoking is prohibited on the entire aircraft, including the lavatories. Tampering with, disabling or destroying the lavatory smoke detectors is prohibited by law.

If you have any questions about our flight today, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our flight attendants. Thank you.”

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Sounds familiar, right? But for Ayesha, this was going to be her first time in a flight and that too for an International trip. As advised by her well-wishers, she ensured to secure herself a window seat, so that she can enjoy the aerial view.

She was welcomed by the flight attendants. As soon as she entered to look for her seat, she was surprised to see the crowd of Gujarati families all over and took a moment to digest that she had boarded the correct flight. Since it was the month of April, there was a huge crowd of people going on vacations to Bangkok.

She started looking for her seat, but was taken aback to see it already occupied by an old man. Perplexed, she verified if this was the correct seat but couldn’t understand why it was taken by someone else.

She stopped one of the flight attendant and asked,”Hey, can you check what’s wrong with the seat numbers? I have this seat allotted to me, but this is already occupied”. The flight attendant viewed the ticket and exchanged some talks with the old man and his family. Then she came back to Ayesha and said,” “Ma’am, would you mind if we arrange another seat for you? This family wants to sit together and  unfortunately their seats are scattered. We would appreciate if you could accommodate this request”.

How could Ayesha have denied this request? She didn’t know if arguing over this would have been a great idea and she silently accepted the request. She was taken to another seat next to two young guys. She took her seat but for some reason started feeling uncomfortable in the presence of two strangers. On the other hand, she was also blaming the attendants for depriving her of the window seat.

She started trying to fasten her seat-belt. All of a sudden, she observed a silence in the flight and an announcement began on the safety instructions. However, by the time she looked above she missed the important part, how to fasten the seat-belt. And probably asking someone was also not a good idea for that would be an embarrassing situation.   After all the struggle, she gave a helpless look to the guy sitting next to her who was already observing her attempts.

“I am sorry, this is the first time I am travelling”, said Ayesha. “No problem”, said the young guy smiling. He quickly gave her a demo. “That was so easy” – she thought to herself. Ayesha couldn’t have been more grateful for this help. She inquired to him,”What’s your destination?”. “We are going to Bangkok for a week long vacation. And you?” – came the response. “I am travelling to Manila, Philippines for work.”, said Ayesha. “That’s nice”, said the guy. After the take-off, she had her dinner and was all ready to rest.

She closed her eyes with content and got into a sound sleep.