Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spiritual Gyani

Well oiled hairs neatly combed as if every single hair has been personally attended to; a chic white shirt folded up his sleeves and black trousers covering his short and frail physical structure with a smile all over his face; that is how he will come across to you when you meet him; day after day. He is Gyani.... office boy at MPS Technologies-one of my past employers. Why am I writing about him? What has he got to do with me when I have already left MPS more than a year back?
He had caught my imagination ever since I noticed him taking special care of my needs, while I was at MPS. Just a look at Gyani’s face was enough to make him understand my requirements- tea, coffee or water.......Reason, I thought lied in my designation- Head of Accounts....
It is almost 14 months since I left MPS...... yet nothing has changed vis-a-vis Gyani...A telephone call would come to greet me on every occasion- Deepawali, New Year etc. Moment, I step into MPS office, Gyani would come from nowhere with a smile on his face and glass of water in his hands followed by a cup of tea-exactly as per my taste. Why haven’t I been sent into oblivion by Gyani? I ask this question to myself every now and then...Reason was not at all difficult to find..........
I have always respected him for what he is and not what his job was at MPS. I used to lend him my ears whenever he had something to share or complain about. Never did he ask for any special favours or help........So, was Gyani paying me back in his own way for my behaviour towards him? Perhaps he was.......but then there are so many others who never did......So, what separates Gyani from others......
And, I managed to discover the real reason during my recent visit to MPS. I noticed him wearing a badge on his shirt and made an instant enquiry. He told me- it is Lord Krishna and curiosity grew further.....and that is when I came to know about his monthly pilgrimages to Mathura- birthplace of Lord Krishna.......It occurred to me instantly- meagre earnings are not enough to stop someone from pursuing his/her spiritual interests...Gyani’s spirituality was more important to him than the money he earns.
Someone might argue that he is taking those pilgrimages to pray to God for his wishes to come true. Even if he is, then also I beg to differ from those making such arguments for one simple reason- purity of his belief.
That one discovery brought me face to face with real but invisible Gyani- a deeply spiritual person who could create connections and bonds with people just on the strength of his faith in God. His spirituality gave him access to a never ending source of love and affection from where he could draw at will...
No wonder- “Gyani” means “knowledgeable.” Despite his lack of formal education, his understanding of spirituality and its power makes him more knowledgeable than anyone claiming to be so.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sakim-Story Of Determination

He was rated highly by all his village school teachers in Saharsa district of Bihar; after all education was his best ticket to take a flight out of the hole of abject poverty, his family was into. His poor parents were doing everything they could with their meagre resources to help him attain his goal. “Resources and its paucity” was fighting a losing battle against the resolve of Sakim and his parents until it found an able ally in the village shop owner, one fateful afternoon.
Gory incidents of that day were powerful enough to crush the resolve of Sakim; who would soon found him inside a train to Delhi. A debt of Rs 200 or US $ 4 altered the course of life of an 11 year old kid forever. Fate alone knew that that village kid who used to enjoy reading his daily lessons would soon have to wash utensils in a big city restaurant to meet his ends.
His first salary was more than enough to repay that Rs 200 debt of the shop owner back home in Bihar; but it was nothing when compared with what he had lost- his childhood...For next 3 years he would break his back every day in his pursuit to fight that stigma, he was carrying since that afternoon. The money that he earned would help marry his sisters into respectable families. Whatever was left was used to construct a one room hutment for his family.
By the time he went back to his village, that kid who had left the village 3 year ago had become an adult. His erstwhile school teachers tried to persuade him to go back to his studies; but the charm and pull of big city life was too powerful. He found himself back in that train to Delhi after a gap of six months; his younger brother giving him company. This train journey was a lot different from the one he had undertaken in the past- he had new plans and a new goal- to save his brother from doing a Sakim on him.
When he had left Saharsa station, he had a role in sight for himself- that of a driver and he was relying on his fellow villager for helping him achieve that. His plan was simple- to learn driving in the night and work during the day. However, fate again had different plans in store for him.
The person who, Sakim was relying on to execute his plans chose to turn his back on him. Quoted reason- Sakim’s poverty doesn’t entitle him to sit behind the wheels. Unlike last time, Sakim would not have to fight a lonely battle. Another fellow villager who heard Sakim being ridiculed for his poverty came up to him and handed him his cab keys. He made Sakim sit on the wheels giving him driving instructions while playing the role of a perfect navigator.
That one gesture again altered the course of Sakim’s life forever. The fear of wheel was gone and in came a desire to excel in the driving arena. Now, Sakim drives a cab, stationed outside Hazrat Nizamudin (HZM) railway station and ferry visitors throughout the city. He calls the man who became his saviour that night, his “Guru”, perhaps rightly so. His younger brother is studying in a Delhi school and his parents live back home in much better condition than what they were 5 years back, all thanks to Sakim’s amazing grit and determination.
I heard Sakim’s story in his own words on the morning of 5th January 2009 after I hired his cab for Rs 400 following much persuasion and bargaining. His story really moved me and I felt ashamed of myself to bargain with him for 100 rupees- considering that it was double that amount which changed Sakim’s life forever.... with an apologetic note I handed him Rs 500 and told him to keep the balance.
We exchanged mobile numbers, he told me to save his number in my phone book and call him up for cab whenever I am at HZM railway station. Two days later, he would follow up our interaction with a phone call- something that reminded me of much talked about corporate etiquettes one is expected to follow to ensure one is registered in other’s mind....... Though Sakim never required one to do that; he is already registered in my mind.....
There is no dearth of Sakims in this country or for that matter anywhere on this earth...... but then what separates this Sakim from other Sakims is his amazing grit and determination to erase the incidents of past while taking inspiration from them and using them as a tool to rebuild his life. Sakim is successful in his own way and his success is no less than anybody else’s- he was able to win a major battle in his war against the abject poverty. However, he has a long way to go as there are many more battles left to win this war.....with his grit and determination he will come out as a true winner in this war...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Soli- A Hope In Contradiction

“Hope and despair”, “happiness and sadness”, “celebration and fight” et al are not mere words but powerful voice tools lent to human beings by the Almighty God to help them describe their emotions of that particular point in time. The contradictory nature of these voice tools is what creates the distinction in the lives of those very human beings. The list of tools is endless and so is the contradiction in the emotions that occupies, both the mind-space and the mindscape of every human being- every passing moment does nothing but only fuel those contradictions either by adding on to the list or by flipping the of life continues....

This thought occurred to me today while reading today’s post about a daughter on a blog maintained by her mother. The post was titled "Wordless Wednesday.. well almost wordless." What made mother use those words to title her post- perhaps she alone would be able to answer that......while her mind, having lost for words was busy inventing that title; a father in another part of the same world was finding it extremely difficult to drop the words that were running through his mind........Had he been given an option he would have continued writing on and on and on.....Now consider this, both were writing about their respective daughters, separated at birth by 38 days only. THIS IS LIFE. Consider again....... Here is a family that is celebrating the growth of their precious gift on a moment to moment basis and then at the same, another family at a far off place is keenly following the growth of their precious gift but for an altogether different reason.

What is heartening in this entire comparison is the mutual respect and emotions they have for each other.....mother reads and follows the progress of the other daughter; father on his part waits for mother’s posts about her daughter while keeping a close watch on the counter on her blog with prayers on his lips. But “who” are they and “why” are they doing it?

Father and daughter are no one else but Alok and Reveda, while mother is Dani, an American who gave birth to the daughter- Soli at 11:53pm on 11th Dec 08. Solange Lea aka Soli weighed a whole 1 lb and 9.3 ozs at birth and was 12.5" long; she arrived on this earth a full 101 days ahead of her expected date of delivery. She is still 59 days away from her expected day of birth and yet at the same time she is 42 days old. Last 42 days have already seen her heart going under the scissors once but her amazing fight to life is on and she is ably supported by a competent team of doctors, her brave mother and a very supportive family with prayers from every quarter. God is watching her from a distance and is taking care of her. This answers the “who” part of the question.

Now to answer the “why” part, I dare to enter inside the psyche of a parent. When inside, my encounter with the thought process of a parent puts me face to face with a keen desire on their part to be able to witness the best things of this world hug their respective kids continually; while continuously praying to God to not let the negatives even think of their kids and if they ever choose to affect their kids then to do everything possible to throw them in trash such that they never come back to haunt their kids. No parent wants to use those negative voice tools in the context of their kids. This very thought process are making Dani and Soli connect with Reveda and Alok- Dani wanting to write about Soli same way as Alok is doing while Alok praying not to ever write about Reveda as Dani has to.. This mutual connection binds them together and makes them pray for the well being of each other’s kids.

I cannot stop from wondering as to how this world would be, should everyone starts to show similar bonding and mutual respect..... if not anything but for the future of our kids... Soli had already been written about on my daughter’s blog and I have no doubts whatsoever left in my mind about her zeal to see through this test of God. Our sincere prayers are with her and family in this hour of need. This is a test of Soli’s resolve and her zeal for life and Soli will SUCCEED. She has to- for her mother, her family, her doctors, all her well-wishers and above all for HERSELF. Before I conclude, I can’t help but interpret that picture of Soli with folded hands that captured my imagination- those folded hands were communicating whatever Soli wanted to communicate- I can safely assume that Soli was praying to God in her real words -

"God please shower your praise and care on me as I want to feel my mom’s touch, my lips want to help me energise myself off my mom, I want to feel the softness of my loved ones, my eyes want to look into my mom’s eyes to tell her how much I love her and care..... I want to lead a healthy life while enjoying all the beauty it has to offer to me.... My beloved God, please be my strength as YOU are my saviour”.


No wonder Dani was found looking for words on a wordless Wednesday.....You can follow the progress of Soli on while Reveda is present on

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mukesh- Hidden Chapter In An Open Book

He was full of life with an ever flashing smile all over his face; his short stature was just a mirage when looked at in the context of his overall personality- he was much taller than what he otherwise looked. His overall demeanour was so comforting that his very presence used to make other person forget the pain he/she was under at that particular point in time.
On a personal front, he was no less than an alchemist and could do anything he wanted to be a successful person. He was just like an open book. His circle of influence included people from all walks of life – colony bullies, college leaders, contractors, football players , historysheeters but then I was lucky enough to be his closest pal along with Rakesh. More than anything, he was sort of a mentor for me- always advising me about the things I should do or not do. He stood by me whenever I needed him and would graciously lend his ears to me. He made Renu-my younger sister, his sister as well and told her to tie Rakhi on him. When visiting my house, it never bothered him if I am home or not; after all he could connect to my entire family- he was a member of our family.
It was the summers of 92 when I met him through a common acquaintance. We were freshly out of class 12 and were digging the foundation to build our respective careers. Initially, the interaction remained cold and couldn’t scale heights to excite me enough to call him my friend- so he was just an acquaintance. But then this situation was not something casted in stone & iron and soon Mukesh reached a place that only belonged to him- he became my closest friend and confidante. He used to live in my neighbourhood and that also played its own part in furthering our bond of friendship.
It was that time only, when another bond was taking its shape- my friendship with Rakesh. As the paths were common and so were our goals , we three became closest of pals. We could spend hours talking and discussing every available topic in the world of politics/sports/business etc. We were friends in the true sense- always agreeing to disagree, used to fight for our respective values and beliefs and would do everything to hold on to our positions never fighting even once- our bonding was just like earth’s crust- so many layers, so much heat, so many volcanic eruptions yet always growing in strength with every passing moment. So much so that at one point of time we were pursuing same course- Chartered Accountancy.
Rakesh realised early enough that CA is not his cup of tea and dropped off; but we both continued to pursue it. Life was going pretty cool. However, with every passing year the career building pressure began to grow bigger and bigger. A stray mistake on Rakesh’s part made him start a job and with his sheer hard work Rakesh began to climb up the ladder. I could also clear my CA Intermediate well in time but then as luck would have it, I got stuck with one group of CA Finals which I would go on to clear later. Mukesh on his part could clear one group of CA intermediate and was slowly and steadily getting edgy about not being able to clear the other group.
In the meantime, I got myself involved with a stock broking firm and Mukesh shifted into their new house, 10 kilometres away. Rakesh’s job first took him to Kanpur followed by Ludhiana. This self created turmoil in our lives didn’t affect our relationship at all but the time that we used to spend together was on the wane and the downhill journey continued until we got that shocker of a news on 11th Sep 2001 at around 7.30 pm. His brother called me up to enquire about Mukesh as he was untraceable after he left home to meet me. I told him to wait for some more time. But when he didn’t get in by 9 pm, we began to get anxious. Rakesh and I began searching for him, we went to police stations, checked with railway authorities and hospitals making enquiries to allay our worst fears.
But Mukesh remained untraceable for next 11 days until the afternoon of 22nd September when his brother called me up to give me the worst news- his decomposed body was found in sugarcane fields near a school. A steel glass and a bottle of liquid pesticide was lying near his body. Apparently that was what helped him take his own life by his own hands. His lively face was still same with just one change- it had turned black. His black Reebok shoes were on his feet and helped us lift his body.
A neatly folded piece of paper hidden in a polythene bag was found placed inside his shoes. Such was his thought process that even when he was about to take his life, his mind was aware that the message needs to get home and that is why he chose to use a polythene bag to hid his suicide note. I only wonder why his mind didn’t tell him not to take his life. Had he been alive today, life for him would have been great as he had everything in the world that helps one achieve success.
What he lacked was not the lack of conviction in his abilities but his fear of a crumbling support system. His fears, howsoever unjustified are a lesson in itself- if someone has a belief and faith in you, do whatever it takes to keep that faith alive and kicking. Societal norms of success and failure cannot change but what is capable of change is the way how we perceive them individually.
Last but not the least is a need to hear and act on those subtle hints that any person with suicidal tendencies give to his/her closed ones. Mukesh too did that but we could not hear them and paid a very heavy price for that- I and Rakesh lost our dearest friend. A mother lost her child, a father lost his hope, brothers lost their comrade in arms and a sister (Renu) lost her Mukesh bhaiya... she remembers him every year on Rakhi day as he was the only one to bring a box full of Cadbury’s chocolates.
While I am writing this at my workplace, I cannot stop my tears from flowing down and am doing my best to hide them from fellow colleagues. No matter what, tears or no tears Mukesh will never come back.....But then all we can try for is to have no more Mukeshs take their own lives. Doing that requires no extra effort- just few words of comfort and a real care can undo the damage to one’s confidence and bring back that zeal to live life.
I know Mukesh will never come back but his friendship will always stay with me. He took his life but he will never be able to take away the moments that we shared together. I will never say that Mukesh was coward as to take one’s own life is no job of a coward- you got to be too brave to do that. But had he chosen to use his bravery in the arena of life, story would been very different. One pain that I will always have in my heart is my utter failure to locate and read that hidden chapter of an open book that Mukesh was... perhaps he wrote that chapter later but then too I should have known about it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Does This Blog Captures?

Folks, every day we meet so many people and everyone has a story to share. But, not all of them share and if someone does; he/she eventually find out that their stories are lost in the commotion and din of modern day life. The ensuing new dawn never brings any change and the circle of life keep getting darker and darker. One common thread that binds all the stories is the presence of same human emotions in every story; only the character changes.
It occurred to me recently that I should start capturing whatever I can and that’s when was born this blog- This blog intends to lend a voice to the amazing but untold human stories of achievements in sufferings, joy in despair, hope in utter confusion, optimism in pessimism et al and that of underachievement as well.
My narratives will try to untangle the closely intertwined melancholies with an aim to separate the achievements, happiness, hope and joy from the ubiquitous gloom, despair, pain and sufferings in those stories. Such is the beauty of steely resolve and strength of one's individual being that collectively human race continues to thrive despite being a witness to a secular rise in the negatives.
This definitely is no mere euphemism or an effort to use the magic of words to divert from the harsh realities of life. Rather it is an effort to carefully dissect it until we find reasons for that smile on those faces despite so much of agony and pain. After all the agony and pain is ephemeral while happiness, joy and hope is longer lasting in nature- a reason enough to look into future. I do not feel schadenfreude- malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others, while trying that dissection; to feel so will be an unpardonable truculent act on my part. While I narrate those stories, I pray continuously to God that He showers His blessings on everyone.. today and every day.