Little Heart

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A little heart, afraid to trust

The first steps on earth…

A little fear, an unknown flutter inside

Tiny wobbly unsure of touch

Little steps, one at a time

A small smile accepting

Touch of love

Jumping, running, tossing, turning,

Playful in its merry self

Oblivious to the unknown

A step was taken –

A step too long into the darkness

But soon the light shone..

The light of everlasting happiness

In the soft arms of tender love.

The little heart now drifted

Into tiny dreams

Smiling inwardly…

Sleeping tenderly,

No fear will ever touch

The little heart that feared.

 

 

 

A Waiting

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The heart moved slow

Losing its beat,

A song of life

Accepting defeat,

The mind could not feel

The rhythm of its surroundings

Visions were blurred

But something far far away

Strained its strings…

A waiting for the last song

Touch of the known

Voice of someone close

What is it? Who was it?

The eyes could not tell

The ears never heard

A smile was not formed

By the curling of lips

Joy could not find voice

Nor was there a stir …

Only the soul felt the warmth

Of that known soul

Bound alone by the music of love,

Of faith & trust.

A little sign found its way –

An great effort was made

 To show happiness that was known

Someday, in a land too far away.

A ripple of soothing calm

Drowned all sorrows

No grief touched

Only a release from

The ties on earth;

A love was felt,

No pains remained – 

And yes, at last

A waiting will be no more…

At last amidst the heaven above

A home was found.

 

 

Wish You A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

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I was taught the Christmas carol, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’, in junior school. This time of the year – Christmas – was full of happiness and laughter. Many memories are still fresh in my mind – our annual school festival, the winter vacation that followed, visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral and the lovely aroma of freshly baked Christmas cakes everywhere, especially in New Market, the oldest market in my city, Kolkata and my dearest till date. The city used to be adorned with beautiful lights, much like in the present years, only without the extravagant pomp. Christmas trees, small or large, graced the homes of many Calcuttans. Archies and Hallmark Card Galleries flooded with people buying pretty holiday cards for teachers, friends, lovers, spouses, children and neighbors. That was a fun-filled time and I always looked forward to the warmth of Christmas.

During the years when I grew up, from a little skinny fuzzy headed kid to a fluffy, fuzzy headed adult, I gradually realized that Christmas is and never was and perhaps never will be a happy time for all, as it was for me. There are not-so-well-to-do parents who feel pressurized at the thoughts of getting gifts for their children; there are orphans who long for the company of their parents on Christmas and there are countless homeless people, lying somewhere cold and hungry and wondering where the Christmas Angel is or where their savior can be found. Though such thoughts make me sad and though most of the greeting card shops have vanished gradually over the years, Christmas for me, was and will always be joyous. Every year, I feel a tug of nostalgia at my heart – nostalgic strings tied deep into many years gone by. Christmas is a happy time for me, as it fills me with a certain childlike glee and I feel like a little kid again. I pray for all those who have not been blessed so and hope some of my happiness and the glow of candles that light up the churches will be passed on to them by the good angels of love and care.

Christmas is closely followed by New Year. Every New Year brings with it, its own share of happiness and unhappiness. For most of us, a year is anything but a completely happy one. There will always be problems with studies, jobs or relationships; some of our extremely loved ones will perhaps go away forever; there will be struggle, loneliness, illness and a lot of sadness to be dealt with. Add to all these, the natural calamities and political disturbances that are beyond our control. Yet, I do not want to lose hope. No one should lose hope as the new calendar year begins. Every religious belief and philosopher advise us to be positive and look forward, gaining strength from all the bad that has happened in life, taking one little step at a time toward the silver lining that might be seen someday. There is no harm in being positive for one day amidst all the negativities gnawing at us from all directions. So I smile today against all odds and wish everyone who is reading this and even those who are not, Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year. I hope that the year ahead will give everyone good reasons to rejoice!

 

The Art of Living through Giving

Light of faith

This is the Easter week that started on 5th April – signifying the resurrection of Christ – Christ, who took the burden of our Cross upon himself to deliver us from sins and evil. Christ preached to follow in the footsteps of love, care and sharing. He told us to give in an unselfish way. He also said that those who believed in him will live forever. I did not understand much of these before, but as time passes and I see more of life and the world, I slowly realize the deep truth in faith, love and the art of giving.

Having received education in institutions that predominantly believed in Christianity, the name of Jesus Christ got embedded somewhere inside of me. I belonged and still belong to a family that follows Hinduism. I was always confused if I should believe more in the religion that I was born into or the religion I grew up with in school and college. Now, suddenly, many things become clear. I now know that in order to believe in certain faith, I do not necessarily have to convert. I can take the good from all the religions and consciously discard what I do not approve of.

I believe in Christ when he says give unto others, share, care and walk in the path of love and have faith in Him and through Him in the Almighty. I believe in Krishna, when he says do what has been given unto you, do all work faithfully without asking or expecting anything in return. When I merge the two thoughts, what I get is – Give and love without expecting anything in return as this reinforces our faith in the Almighty. By giving in good faith, whatever little we can, we give a part of ourselves. And even when we are no more present in the world, our little good deed remains in those we gave to and we keep living forever through giving. The spirit of sharing and caring can bridge hearts filled with hatred, can bring back faith in those who no longer believed in the omnipotent power and can restore peace in the most unstable situations.

However, the art of living through giving does not come easily or without pain. We are often misunderstood, often criticized but we should never stop giving, no matter what the situation is. To love is a joyous feeling and to give with love without selfish reasons is a feeling that transcends all other emotions.

Giving

Love does’nt always need Words

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As we walk along the path of life, we come cross many definitions of the word ‘love’. The word has just four letters and yet these four letters are strong enough to keep up alive – sometimes when we are down or depressed and sometimes when we are spend time with our special someone – our parents, partners, siblings, friends or our pets. To me, love is defined by the feeling that is so strong that it overwhelms us and overcomes all other emotions. It is a feeling that makes someone neglected feels they belong somewhere. It is a feeling that touches in more than one way the lives of those who give and those who receive. A very insignificant little being made me realize that love can also evoke humility in our heart – in a strange way that defies all reasons.

Four months ago, just as winter was saying ‘Hi’ to the city of Kolkata, in an abandoned house opposite my residence, three little four-legged sisters were born to a mother who looked much undernourished. The tiny puppies ignored the fact that they did not get fed by their mother and ran around playfully, enjoying the bliss of each others’ company. We felt sorry for the state that they were in and gradually I and my family decided to give them food each day. The mother along with their babies enjoyed the warmth of the food that was offered to them on the cold days and nights. Suddenly, their happiness seemed to disappear little at a time, as one puppy came under the tyres of a car and another suddenly fell very ill and perished within a few weeks. Now, the last puppy was too lonely as she did not have anyone to play with. Her mother seemed to have been in a lot of emotional stress. She missed her lost puppies and gave up eating gradually.

I went close to her and tried to console her in whatever way possible. Slowly she began taking her food again but her health did not recover. The lack of emergency services for animals in my city only added to her woes. I could not get to anyone who could help. For days together I tried to give her little food and medicines that were known to me. One night in February 2015, after having her food, she came close to me and touched my right leg with her head and stood still that way for what seemed a very long time, although it might have been just a few minutes. I felt something being conveyed to me – her pain or loss or gratitude … what was it? I could not understand her silent whispers. All I could do was pet her on the skeletal head and talk a little. By this time, she has turned into a bag of bones and skin, with no flesh or fat. I was too helpless to do anything at all. I prayed that she be either healed or relieved from her distress. And someone up there did listen … only to the last part of my prayer

For the next three days, I did not see her anywhere. I tried to search for her in every nook and corner of the streets and lanes and houses that lined the streets. But it did not help. One day, in the morning of 27th February 2015, I saw her lying still in-front of the gate of my house. I do not know when she breathed her last. But I knew she took her last breath outside my gate. Perhaps, she knew that this was the only place that had a soul that loved her, fed her and petted her. In those moments, she did not have to tell me in words about her feelings for me, but by dragging herself to where she laid still told me in a hundred thousand silent words, that she loved me and she thanked me for all I did for her. She humbled me with this little gesture and her love is something that will remain with me for rest of my life. Since she was a stray, she had no place to go, no one to call her own. Her life was as insignificant to the world as that of a fly, but she has touched a very special place in my heart and she will remain there forever.

Goodbye: A word not just for humans

Goodbye

Goodbye (Photo credit: Lennart Tange)

 

 

In every step of our lives, we say goodbye to our friends and families at one time or another. ‘Goodbye’ is a word that inevitably follows a ‘Hi’. We say hello to so many people from the time we take our first breath and then we say goodbye to them knowingly or unknowingly as we gradually take our steps into the future. We hold human relations and the humans who are part of those relations close to our hearts. Friends, grandparents, parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and all those who cannot be categorized are always hard to say goodbye to. In the midst of all these, little do we realize that we say goodbye to many more elements that go unheard or unseen and almost always are never thanked.

The first bench in our first class, the playground of nursery school, the innocence of childhood, the stairs of high school, the dear books and clothes we part with to make space for new ones, the warm bed in our parents’ house when we leave home for the first time, the first mobile phone, the first car, a destination we return from after a long vacation, the festivities when they end, every loved moment with our first pet are just some of those elements that pass by unnoticed. When I left north India in the beginning of this year, left Gurgaon – a city I almost despised – I did not know that saying goodbye even to a place you never liked can hurt and remain somewhere deep inside. A few days back, I realized that a city is not just a place; it is all about the elements it comprises. So, in my case, it is the apartment with the large terrace, the innumerable sunsets, my voiceless friends like the pigeon and the stray dogs, the park across the street, my long reading sessions, the taste of warm food in chilly winter nights, the sound of guitar that echoed through the rooms that I miss today the most about Gurgaon. I have said goodbye to them and can never return again.

I went back a little further in time and I felt I said goodbye to so much more:  I said ‘bye’ to my favorite festival – Durga Puja, one month ago. I had to say goodbye helplessly to my kitty Sandy, when I put her in grave three years ago. I had said goodbye to my favorite Indian destination, Kerala, four years ago, after a long vacation. I had said goodbye to my first job during recession five years ago. I had said goodbye to the fields and trees and the long balcony of my college 9 years ago. I had said goodbye to my school church and the beautiful sound of its piano 12 years ago. And I have said goodbye to so many things and elements and seasons in between without saying thank you.

I realize now, that I say goodbye to every breath, every time I breathe and with it I say goodbye to a part of my life. I know now that I will not let anything that touches me, pass by, without saying thank you before saying goodbye. I believe every non-human has feelings and if it has made a difference to my life, it has helped me live through another day. A thank you or a goodbye can never be meant for humans alone. These two words are for everything that makes us what we are today – living or non-living, tangible or intangible and very thing in between, that help us live through each day and give us memories to live with, tomorrow.

A Homeless Lonely Hungry Kitty Finds Home

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On the afternoon of 21st June 2011 I was returning home from my parents’ place knowing that I will not be back for a few weeks now. The drizzle had stopped and I decided to walk home from the main road and I love this walk as this time of the day is usually very peaceful with most people preferring to stay indoors. As I turned round the corner, to my bewilderment I saw a tiny kitten, drenched and shivering and meowing in a small voice – trying frantically to get attention from passersby. But alas! no one cared. My eyes met his, and then in a split second, the poor creature was at my feet, rubbing and meowing and stretching. It was … so very lovely. His grey-black coat was wet and he was shivering from the cold. I didn’t know what to do but something from deep inside asked me to pick him up and there he was, in my arms kneading my palms, reaching for my face as if he has found a long-lost friend, as if he was waiting for me, as if he knew I would pass this way… as if we were destined to meet.

I knew I would face a tough challenge trying to convince everyone at home to keep him…I knew there would be objections but I did not think twice and holding the sweet little bundle in my arms, headed for home. I sneaked into my room, hoping my in-laws would not see the kitten. I offered him some milk. He was terribly hungry and drank most of what was offered to him.. but perhaps due to starvation and dehydration, his tummy soon started giving trouble. I had to take a decision, now that I knew the kitty was  unwell. I spoke to my in-laws but they refused to keep him as they did not want to keep another pet after the death of their beloved German Shepherd.

I could not give the kitty away or leave it on the road knowing so well that he needed me and he was only a month old perhaps and an attachment was already forming between us… I could not let him go!!!! I was in tears as a decision was needed to be made urgently and no one would help. I knew the only way to save his life was to give him to a shelter perhaps but it was already quite late in the evening and none of the shelters would answer calls. So I had to keep the kitty for a night or two until I could find a permanent shelter for him, but how could I keep him?

Making a call to my mom seemed to be the last option and I pinned all my hopes on this. My loving Sandy, my pet cat of 5 years, had passed away last December due to some unknown reason and this had left my entire family emotionally shattered. We had decided that there would be none other to replace her… there will never be any one as beautiful, as loving, as warm, as understanding as Sandy. I was worried that my mom may just say “NO” about keeping this little kitty… even for a day. But somehow, when I told her the details and explained the urgency of the situation, she agreed to keep him for two days. I was overjoyed and soon got a shoe box and after making holes in them, put the little baby inside. I went out immediately and took a cab to my parents’ place.

That entire night and the whole of the next day, the kitten didn’t sleep for a moment as he was too frightened. I sat up whole night; giving him medicines for his troubled tummy and holding him close to keep him warm. He kneaded on my skin and nibbled my ear lobes all the time … perhaps he thought I was his mother! O! How wonderful it was to hold him, to feel his warmth and to know that his shivering has stopped. He was happy to be here, to be with me and my parents.

For the next three days, I tried to contact every friend and shelter manager but luck never favored as everyone refused to take him. Looking at the situation and for the love they felt toward him, my parents eventually decided to keep him. Now, he has got a loving home and very caring parents… he loves my mom’s lap and all the food given to him… he is now a part of my family, a part of me. He enjoys each day as it comes… he is growing up to be extremely playful and affectionate!!! We have named him “REX” but “KUTTU” is what we call him at home as he is so very cute!!!

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I don’t think there is anything in the world as satisfying as giving a homeless a home, someone hungry some food and most importantly, someone unloved, the love that is craved for.

So what change have you made to the world, in your own way? Would love to hear your story.