How the Heart Yearns!

For things that are beyond our reach.

The notions that the elders never preach.

For love, friendship and relations that instigate,

our very souls, against what the world propagates.

For chances & opportunities that are on the take

but for the leashes, we could make.

We do what is expected of us,

for family- society, the whole corpus.

We yen, we ache, we pine, we languish.

And our hearts yearn for something to accomplish,

something to Cherish!!

Ah, What Anguish!!!

✨Memory✨

Posted: July 31, 2017 in Life as I see it...
Tags: ,

It is in the Music that lies forgotten in my soul,

It erupts in the Moody rhythm of my dejected heart,

It lies in the Musings of my Muddled Mind,

It reverberates in the empty Minutes of the hours we talked for,

It finds voice in my Melancholic words,

It echoes in the word ‘Maa’ you so lovingly called me.

Alas, with you gone, your Memory is everywhere!

I didn’t realize what I was missing till you came along.. Now that you are gone, the vacuum is intimidating, the silence deafening.. I miss you.

I don’t exactly remember the day I first met you. I have a vague recollection that I saw you first in Hostel 2s3 where you and your friends were working on a chart of toppers in the warden’s room and I, a new appointee, was asked to oversee the task. I didn’t do much of overseeing, just looked over the language and observed the ‘rowdiest group on the campus’ work with a nonchalance which I was far from feeling. It was in my second year as a teacher there, that I was asked to take your class. All sorts of horror stories were attached with Class X- A. I was told that I would be booed out of the class if I am lucky, if not, I could face cat calls, indiscriminate hooting or even a chalk missile from even the most innocent looking girl, while I was writing on the blackboard.

Mercifully, none of that happened. What transpired was an instant connection with the entire class. Contrary to popular belief, I had never come across a group of girls so eager to learn. It was the quietest, most disciplined class ever. I remember, vividly, the Sunday extra classes too which you all attended with such gusto. Teaching history has never been more fun than with my Class X-A. I remember pretty much everyone from that room but the ones who have stayed beyond that classroom, beyond school, are few. You and Chhavi, the dearest among them.

When I look back, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, we started talking but somehow, by God’s grace, I found your little group full of potential, only the veneer of mischief and recklessness needed to be peeled off.

I am sure you remember the unfortunate incident that happened when you were in Hostel 3s2 and I was off for an exam. Once that happened, I wanted to see you win at all costs. By winning I don’t mean the argument or the strife, I mean to make it big in life. I dreamt that you all, closest to my heart, would take a turn for the better, write a new page and be exemplary scholars and achievers.

Neha, you have made all of us very proud by adding feather after feather in your beautifully adorned cap. The best thing about you is that success sits so lightly on your shoulders. You have managed to stay humble and grounded even after the accolades that have come your way.

For me, you are already a 🌟 that brightens my horizon. I recall your lament when you could not make it to the roll of honors but surely you too must realise now that, it was just a minor set back in the bigger scheme that God had for you.

Being meritorious all your life, you further proved your worth by coming out, unscathed if a little scratched, of the many tight corners that life has thrown your way. You made loss your strength and fulfilled the dream of your father, against all odds.

Today, I am proud not just because your perseverance has paid off and you have accomplished the goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant, I am proud of the person you have become. I am amazed by the sheer strength of your will, your humility and the grace that you have acquired along the way.

Do you know what your name means? It means love, friendship, one who is adored, the eyes that see, the innocent dew that laces the surface at dawn. You are amongst the rare few who personify the very traits of their name.

I am out of words for the emotions that are running pell-mell in my mind. I just want to Congratulate you on your achievement and for bringing so much happiness to all those who love you.

Stay humble. Stay the same. Keep Smiling. Keep Succeeding.

Love Always,
Lubhita

It was my first job, teaching at my mother’s school. There was a cultural function just round the corner and while making a model for the exhibition or a prop for the stage, I don’t remember which, I had fallen short of adhesive and a colleague of mine had offered me some araldite, which they were using for some woodwork. He had playfully mimed its advertisement, Aralditesticks everything except broken hearts. Since then, I always think of this punch line and the product when I find things broken. 

Time has flown by since those green years. A late bloomer, I, had no use of advise on broken hearts till quite late in my life. By then I had developed my own coping mechanism. I had found solace in the written word. I found peace, quiet and a deep sense of calm in music. A book could cure me of anything that ailed me. So could music. 

When things got a bit more messy, I discovered F. R. I. E. N. D. S, the TV show. No matter what I was feeling, however low, anxious or broken, I could watch it and relieve my inner turbulence. 

I have grown since then too. I have realised that escapism of this kind, distractions of these sort have a limited shelf life. It’s not until we face our demons, look them in the eye, think, analyse, accept and come to conclusions, that we find peace within. No person, worth his or her salt, who has ever lived, can escape the challenges that life poses and we grow only when we take them on fearlessly, with an open mind and heart. 

I have recently discovered an ultimate Recipe for Respite – Cooking. It’s something that has kept women going, for ages. It’s what has kept them together. I am thirty seven, and for the first three decades of my life I had no or minimum concern with household chores, no cooking, no cleaning, no house keeping for me. I would instead read. That is the luxury of an extremely efficient elder sister and a doting younger one. Between them, they had the kitchen and household covered. 

I never thought I would ever say that, much less write about it but the kitchen has now become my sanctuary. Whatever my mood, it can be lifted just by being there on my own for an hour or two. In a household full of people and voices, it sometimes become difficult to hear you own self. Cooking gives me that, much needed, opportunity to shut out all other voices and just have a conversation with myself. It’s the most precious ME time I get. Many of my blogs have been thought and conceptualised while Chopping, Grating, Kneading or Peeling. 

Even if I do no thinking while cooking a dish, I end up feeling cleansed, serene and calm once I am through. It gives me immense satisfaction to think up new ways of making the same old veggies. It invigorates my mind, body and soul. I have experienced that cooking not only rejuvenates my mind, detoxing me of stress and anxiety but also relieves me of aches and physical discomfort. The sheer pleasure of making something while I can think and analyse ‘N’ number of topics, is refreshing and comforting.

It’s the place where I, Saute my Stress, Chop at Concerns, Grate Grief, Knead away Knots, Fry the Fears, Boil Boredom, Grill Grudges, Peel Pressures, Wash away Worries, Trundle Trepeditions, Cube the Qualms, Marinate Malice and Malevolence, Bake Benevolence, Chill Certainty, Ladle my mind into a Lull and finally Dish out Determination. 

And the best part is, I try not to avoid my apprehensions, instead I confront them, deal with them as best as I can, accept and move on

I am suddenly out of words so I am gonna give it a rest, until next time. 

As far as household chores are concerned, I particularly pride myself in the kneading of the dough. That was the first thing I learnt and mastered in the kitchen, even before I tried my hand at boiling tea leaves. The process of turning powdery, lacklustre flour into consistent, supple dough, gets me every single time. I am not going to bore you with my culinary expertise 😅 or interests further,  instead would get to the point in a jiffy. I am very obsessive about not leaving any trace of flour sticking to the sides of the trough after I am done kneading. I knead and knead and knead till the trough is sparkling clean. 

As it always happens when I am a little anxious, my thoughts flow in a rhythm of their own. Things as mundane and unremarkable as kneading dough may also trigger a profound chain of thoughts and emotions. That coupled with anything equally regular may result in a blog like this. 

 

How many people might an average person know at any given point of time? And I am not talking of the thousands that we seem to have on social network accounts. I am talking of people who we meet physically on a daily, fortnightly or monthly basis. Some of whom may be a significant part of our day, others still, also as important and relevant even if we don’t see them daily. I have some friends who respond to my good morning messages daily. We may be apart geographically but in that particular instant we are thinking of each other. So, may be a hundred or so people who we are in constant touch with.

Now try and remember how many of them were there when we were growing up or when we were at school or college. The number will dwindle. Rare and special are the people who have the same set of friends and acquaintances in all phases of their lives. As it happens, we fade out of some people’s lives and some people fade out of ours. It’s a completely natural process. Some go away rather quickly others gradually. The ones that just move along as our lives take us places, are the ones that don’t hurt. We treasure the memories they left us with, without even realising that they are hidden someplace inside the maze, our minds are. Someday we come across an old letter or photograph of them or we reconnect via Facebook and voila, the slideshow of memories begin! 

This happened with me today. I reconnected with an elder didi of mine who also happened to have taught me once, long back, and I couldn’t hold back memories. She was the first person I had heard speaking, effortlessly, in English. She had a beautiful handwriting.  Some phrases that I picked up while she taught us English and History, have remained with me ever since. I realised that everytime I have ever used those phrases, I have fondly remembered her. It had become so much a habit with me that my mind could never erase the mental picture of her I carried. Her face had not faded away like it happens with people who drift apart. I perused her profile and found that after so many years she still looks the same – well turned out, smiling, wise eyes, an air of intellect surrounding her that is not limited by the fact that I just saw a picture of her. Though short in stature, her personality looms large for me. I cherish what she gave me as a child. I was at an impressionable age and I am glad that I got to learn from her. I hold dear, her contribution in shaping me, however little it may seem. It is immensely significant for me. Indelible!! It’s true, we never realise how much space we take up in other people’s lives and minds. 

At times I am a little anxious of talking to people from my own past because try as they might people do change and I am afraid that the mental image I carry inside may not match with the stark reality of what time and space have turned them into. Nevertheless, it is still mighty fabulous to be able to recall so much of our past and people’s role in it, frame by frame. It’s a heady feeling to agnise that just like footprints on the moon, certain marks always remain, clear and incorruptible. 

It is a whole other story with the people we have to leave after a falling out of ways. They are the ones who stay the longest in our minds and hearts. Always at the forefront! They are like the hint of flour left on the sides and base of the trough after the kneading is done. We so want them to be a part of our dough, our life but as it happens with dough, so it is in life. We cannot accomplish the desired inclusion without tempering with the consistency of either. I hate leaving people behind, I would rather disrupt the harmony or regularity of my life than to let go of people that, once, enriched it. But all of us have to take tough decisions at times and that is where the anxiety creeps in. Anyone who leaves, takes a part of us with them. True, we adapt,  but we are never the same again. 

How I wish that keeping people close were a skill to be mastered, like kneading! I could have learnt that and would have never left anyone behind. EVER

I saw an animated episode of the famous Motu Patlu today. These characters were quite famous when we were kids and there was a series of comics of the same name. I remember reading them all. This particular episode I saw, had Motu trying to outrun a pouring cloud. He tried everything in the book and yet couldn’t get rid of the cloud. He tried paddling away on a bicycle and the cloud went with him, he disguised himself as a woman to deceive this cloud, that somehow had taken a liking to him, but to no avail. His friend offered him a vaccum cleaner to suck up the cloud, and yet there it was all the more angry and bent on following him. There was no escaping it. It was an animation and hence had to tickle our funny bones. It all actually turned out to be a dream, just the result of his over fertile imagination. 

But there are certain things in life that just can’t be escaped. Try as we might, we cannot outrun or outsmart them. They are what we call divine providence. Things we have to live with, no matter how. 

The circumstances of one’s birth is one of those things. We cannot choose who we are born to or who we come out as. Our genders, our race, our family, our position with respect to our siblings, are all things that are beyond our control. Some of these things may turn out to be challenging for us all our adult lives. It wasn’t long back that being a woman in India was cause for concern. Women were denied equal rights of life and education. There has been a monumental change in that scenario yet small town India is still not ready to give women their due. It is still an uphill task being a woman here. Even in educated, so called liberal families, the position of the male child is still preferential. The over protective nature of the Indian male, puts an invisible leash on the women of the household. Educated girls are also not supposed to enjoy the same privileges as their brothers. It’s debatable, as always has been, that all such steps are necessary for the protection of our women folk, the fairer, weaker sex. 

What I can’t wrap my head around is the belief that because women marry and leave their parents’ home for their marital household, they have no role at all in carrying forward the name of the parents. Even progressive men feel that they should have a male child to further the clan’s name and ensure longetivity. Where I come from, all virtues of a woman are secondary just because she is a female and all vices of a son are tolerated because he is the one who carries the name of the father. It is hurtful to face this day in and day out. Despite doing everything right, one is still a secondary member of the family. The conservative mindset attached with this social evil is still thriving in our society. 

I may be more attuned to the needs and moods of my parents, I may have a better understanding of things around me, a better disposition, a better social circle, a better way of expression, better reasoning and logic, more adaptability, more tolerance, more moral and psychological strength but I am still not good enough. I am not the son. There are things that a daughter is just not capable of. And that makes all the difference. 

How I wish, it was a dream, I could evade by waking up just like Motu escaped his dark, angry, pouring cloud! 

Today, I just happened to pick a book at random for some quick reading. And what a book it turned out to be!! Every single word, a gem. So, here I am sharing some pearls of wisdom by Kahlil Gibran that he propounds in The Prophet.. The fundamentals never change, do they? They ring as relevant and authentic today, as the day they were written.

 

 

✨​On Love✨

 

When love beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

 

 

 

✨On Marriage✨

 

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

 

 

 

✨On Children✨

 

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

 

 

✨On Joy and Sorrow✨

 

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

 

 

 

✨On Reason and Passion✨

 

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows – then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”

And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, – then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”

And since you are a breath In God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.


 

 

 

✨On Pain✨

 

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

From times immemorial, we have heard this and most of us believe that – “Actions speak louder than words.” May be they do but being a logophile myself, I feel words are way important. There is something about words, both written and verbal, that tugs at my heart. They don’t have to be heavy and impressive all the time. Even the most mundane, regular, unremarkable, simple words, used effectively, do the trick. There is a rhythm to well-strung sentences and phrases. I believe in the beauty of words weaving their magic, their Mystic aura

Even if I don’t talk about the technicality of a well- written piece or a well- expressed speech, I love the way words help us communicate. They bridge the gap better than any other form of communication. I grew up learning that “Speech is Silver while Silence is Golden.” As I gained some experience in life, I felt, one needs to speak up, verbalize one’s thoughts as much as one can. It clears up the air. It prevents us from ASSUMING the possibilities and makes life a lot easier. 

I was going through a Quora thread yesterday and there was a question – Which one line has influenced/ had an impact on you? A very popular Quoran brought up this line that had me thinking. It is so elementary yet honest. The line was- How would you know unless I tell you? 

No one can tap into our imagination. Our minds are complex and multi-dimensional. We may be thinking of any particular issue from our point of view, effectively disregarding the view of others. We may believe that we are right and as it, generally, happens in such scenarios,  we make up our minds that people around us will react in a certain manner to that particular stimulant. But we will never know, for sure, unless we speak up and share our musings. Things might actually turn out quite the opposite from expectations. 

I am not a life guru, far from that actually, I appreciate all the help I can get in leading my life. But there are certain things that I have learnt from experiences. Relationships, for instance, be it with parents, siblings, friends, significant others or people in general. I make it a point to say out loud what I feel for the people in my life. I say – I love you- a lot. EVEN IF IT IS OBVIOUS. Infact, more so when it is obvious. My parents know that I love them, so do my siblings and friends yet I vocalize my emotions, again and again. Some people find it weird. I think it is important. They know what their status in our lives is yet being acknowledged and openly appreciated for always being there, gives them the energy to face their own battles or demons. Who doesn’t want to have people looking out for them? I, for one, am extremely grateful and happy when I realise that somebody has my back. So, speaking up, vocalizing, gives further impetus to the one listening. Life remains the same, there is just an added spring in the step when people know that they are adored and valued. A kind word here, a hug there, is all it takes. 

How many of us keep it to ourselves when we are upset or disappointed in the people around us? We either yell out our frustration or avoid being in direct line of contact with such people. Meaning, we either vocalize our dissent or make it plain through our actions that we are distressed. We make our feelings known and what a relief it is to have that negativity off our chests!! Why can’t we do the same with positive, life- affirming emotions? Won’t that spread a whole lot more joy, happiness, love and understanding in our lives? 

I have a motherly figure in my life. I call her Maa. She exemplifies vocalization of the obvious. She is such a charming, generous person. One cannot be anything but full of affection and tenderness around her. I know she loves me and vice versa but she never misses a chance to say so and sometimes that makes all the difference to my dreary day. The good thing is that she balances her words and actions in such a way that whichever philosophy we follow – action or words- we know we are held dear. 

Say it if you feel it. Even if it is a tough call, don’t worry how people will take it. Being human, each one of us is bestowed with intelligence and emotional quotient to listen, analyse, accept and understand another’s point of view. We, eventually, learn to deal with onerous, awkward and irksome matters too.  Never hesitate if it is Love you are vocalizing. 

Life is short. Don’t leave things unsaid. 

How would people know unless you tell them? 

Think about it. 

 

​💫 Our fingerprints do not fade away from the lives we have touched.💫

Wasn’t it J. K. Rowling who made the word ALWAYS mean much more than the Queen’s language could ever convey? 

This simple word containing two miniscule syllables came to denote a plethora of emotions. It became a symbol of undying love. It became synonymous with unconditional, unwavering, belief and trust in someone who wasn’t even there for you. It escalated the character of Snape from a regular love- jilted villain to a man who didn’t want anything in return, a man whose love was never reciprocated, a man who was devoted nevertheless, a man who never gave up, a man who never backtracked on his commitment, whatever the price.

It takes a lot of strength to be that person. It takes a lot of goodness to be able to give out that much love, affection and tenderness. I thought such characters existed only in books. Not getting what one vies for and still making something of one’s life, enriching others and still managing to keep that flame burning is Quixotic, it is unreal. 

I know a person who has given up everything for the love of his life. His devotion is legendary. His level of commitment, idealistic. He just doesn’t know how to give up on her. My piece today salutes him and his spirit. I want to tell him that – it’s when you are completely down and out that you get the motivation to rise up again and work for your life. Staying strong and making something of yourself when odds are stacked up against you, proves the mettle of a man. 

For me you are the Sun that shines, no matter what. May you get all the happiness in life that you so truly deserve. You embody the word Love. Just direct some of it towards yourself now. I must have done something really good or virtuous to have gotten to know you so closely. Your goodness rubs off on other people. I have been fortunate. 

Stay Calm. Stay Strong. Stay the Same. Flourish. 

Always. 

I never thought I would be choosing this title for my blog, EVER because I have always maintained that regrets are such a waste of time and precious energy. In any normal life, people do things which may either work for them or not. But regretting the ones that did not work out has never been my way. 
I have always owned my mistakes, learnt from them and moved on. Sometimes, my closed ones would agree that, I have been fool  enough to repeat some of those mistakes too. But isn’t that what life is all about? In my humble opinion, life is a blind deck of experiences. We never know what card will turn up next. We just do the best we can. Sometimes our best sees us through while at other times, we learn. 

I recently lost my uncle to brain haemorrhage. He was too young to have left us. As the Hindu tradition goes, we were there,  paying our tributes and condolences, giving support and strength to the family for twelve solemn days. Even in the midst of all that religious and social bustle, I had a feeling that the real test of strength and perseverance,  for the immediate family will begin after the customary rituals got over. After all, they would have to face empty rooms, an empty chair at dinner, the disposing of clothing and other day to day stuff, the inevitable pictures and memories that lie strewn about in any household, even the food would remind them of what he liked best or how much he enjoyed his little indulgences. 

Days have passed and today, as the societal norms dictate, we went to see them all again. To let them know that we are there for them in their hour of need. I learnt a valuable lesson from my grieving aunt because, make no mistake, her grief has just begun. She has a life time of solitude ahead. While recounting some of his last days, my aunt couldn’t control her tears and word after word of regret, of unfulfilled dreams, of a life lived in a way that left so much incomplete, so much to want for, poured out of her

She spelled out the toll that a public life takes on a family. She told us how he was always there for people who approached him for help, how he would ignore his health, his meals, his family for public recognition and to make a name for himself and leave a legacy behind. How he wanted to leave behind his humble beginnings and strained against things that kept him tied down. She told us how that made him irritable and ignited a latent anger in him. 

As I sat there listening to her say that “he kept running all his life, we kept fighting- I, to keep him healthy and he to challenge life and destiny despite his health,”  I couldn’t help draw similarities with my own father. He also keeps so much to himself. 

I realised what a waste of life and opportunity we all make if we fail to acknowledge and appreciate the people who have always been there for us. In our bid to outdo ourselves, we tend to ignore our closest confidantes, the very people whose unwavering support has been with us throughout our journey. They have stood by us, albeit quietly and may be not in any extraordinary way. They have just been there, believing in us, depending upon us, feeding us when we are hungry, soothing us when we are in a turmoil, laughing with us when we can find no humour in life, sometimes laughing at us when we started to take ourselves too seriously, the ones who kept us grounded. We take them for granted. 

If this is not a cause for regret then nothing is. We don’t know what tomorrow might bring. We cannot change what happened yesterday but we have complete control on what is happening now. We need to get our priorities right. We need to pay attention. Instead of hurting the people closest to us by our blatant neglect, we should take sometime to recognise their efforts in our life, to be grateful for their presence. Most of all, we should communicate. Yes, speaking up is important. We have to put it all into words, sometimes. We cannot leave things UNSAID, not with people who are so close. True, we understand each other when we are this close, we can interpret each others’ silences but it doesn’t hurt to say it once in a while. 

If we are hurt we should let them know, we should share with them our disappointments- in them, in ourselves or in life, in general. We should let them know if and when we are happy, what act of theirs made us so. Our anger, resentment, grief, pain, should be passed on to them as much as our moments of glory, success, joy & contentment. Sharing a life doesn’t just mean living in the same house, providing for each other in the physical or monetary sense alone. It’s being there for each other emotionally, that is more important. 

Our family, friends, our inner coterie deserve the best part of us. The part which is unspoiled by worldly considerations, the part that is pure and brutally honest. None of us is going to make it out of this life alive. So, let’s just make sure that we don’t leave any regrets behind. Finding people who genuinely care about and love us, is rare. Let’s make it our life’s motto to cherish them above all and make our time on this Earth,  worthwhile because the day we kick the bucket, it’s these people in whose hearts we will live forever. Let’s give them reasons to love us beyond life & death itself.