Few Things I Will Teach My Son about Life

” The sweetness of a life well lived can only be savoured when our life has a great purpose. That purpose, that goal, is our own. There is no need to compare ourselves to others. We should choose our own goal and move forward toward achieving it in our own distinct way. Take heart, and do not let disappointment or shame stop you from moving forward. The true outcome of life is only apparent at the very end. ” ~ Daisaku Ikeda, SGI President

Life is not short as they say. It is really long! And in this long journey, we are bound to encounter numerous challenges. The interesting fact is that, these challenges look daunting when we collide head-on with them in life. But, months and years later, you look back and tell yourself with pride – “I did it! I moved on to achieve bigger things in life.”

How amazing it is!

There are some life lessons that children should be taught early on so that they do not encounter challenges that look insurmountable. I have decided to do the same. Here are a few things I will teach my son.

  1. Life is not rosy: When we, as parents, tell our kids that life is too perfect like a picture, we are creating an illusion for them that will fizzle out one day. That day will be painful. To avoid that, why not give them the real picture? Life is beautiful, but harsh at times. You need to accept life with all it’s imperfections. It is ‘OKAY’ to face hardships – they are part of life, just as those blessings that already exist or may come to our life.
  2.  You cannot win ‘all the time’: Yes, it is the fact of life. In the various games and tests of life, we cannot win all the time. Losing and winning are parts of life. Striving to win is most important. The outcome isn’t. Why? Because the passion to strive and attempt to do better each time is more important. If you strive, you may win. And if you don’t strive, you cannot. Learning from victory and defeats is an equally important thing. When you win, that doesn’t guarantee recurrent victories. Losing at the same time, doesn’t warrant repeated failures! After every win, instead of feeling overconfident, it is important to revisit your strategy and assess ‘what could have been done better?’ Similarly, after every defeat or failure, it is mandatory to scrutinize yourself. None can be a better judge to your performance than yourself. Condition is: Be honest!
  3. Be an avid learner: There should be no shame in saying: I don’t know this. But, I am eager to learn.’ Someone might laugh at you that moment and make you look like a fool. But,  imagine! You will be able to learn something new for life! Anne M. Mulcahy, Former Chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corp. rightly puts it:

    “I learned how to be a learner. When you get in a job, the tendency is to say, ‘I’ve got to know it. I’ve got to give direction to others. I’m in this job because I’m better and smarter.’ I always took a different view, that the key was to identify the people who really knew and learn from them. “

  4. Compete with yourself: Each one of us is unique, with unique qualities, and hence, have unique goals in life – personal and professional. There is no question of comparison. Yes, you may aspire to be “like” someone, but certainly not him/her! Each one of us come from different family backgrounds, upbringing, needs and dreams. Then why compare yourself with someone? What gives me the deepest satisfaction is my own learning curve; my own growth curve. When I look back on my professional and personal journey, I feel totally victorious. I have earned so much for myself. Whenever you feel deadlocked in this competitive rat marathon, ask yourself how well you have fared in the past months or years? Have you overcome at least one of your weaknesses? If the answer is a power ‘yes’, bring a broad smile onto your face, get a cup of nice coffee, and just feel accomplished. Competing with others is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Reason? You can’t measure how much you have grown as an individual by comparing yourself with others.
  5. Never give up: Life hurls unexpected challenges and hurdles on our way. There is none on this planet earth who lives a life free of challenges. Encountering hardships and challenges is THAT common. The biggest defeat is not a failure, but the tendency to give up mid-way because someone thinks you are not able to make it. In any battle of life, the course of events can never define your victory or defeat. What matters is how hard, strategically and courageously you fought! A courageous battle may or may not bring a victory, but it will surely make you a more experienced and a stronger individual. What is bigger and more definitive than this?

“There are times when a victory or success can actually become the cause for future defeat or failure. Likewise, defeat can become the cause for victory in the future.” ~ Daisaku Ikeda, SGI President

Invincible Me

Struck by lightning; bitten by snow,

She fell on the ground to walk again.

Left alone by her soul

 

She wiped off her tears to race again.

 

As the North wind hit her hard,

She kissed it back with a promise to win.

She spoke her pains with the passing breeze,

And vented her fears to the tall trees.

All alone, yet not

She took the rough journey

And alone she fought.

She is no super-being

She has no magic wing

She is a woman

She is that “invincible me”

 

The Power in the Words: You CAN’T do it!

Have you ever been told by someone that you can’t do it? If you have, I am sure you will connect with what you are going to read in the next few minutes.

Year 2007: My professional life saw a huge transition; I moved from teaching to journalism, with no understanding of how media industry works. I felt like a tiny fish in an ocean. Even personally, it was a huge change because I had, for the first time, stepped out of my comfort zone (my home town, my home). I met new people in a new city.

I missed my home so badly. I missed the classroom where I taught young students. In this new organization, I was the student, attending trainings on digital editing, camera, newsroom computer system etc. Though not required for my role, I was advised that I should sit in.

In one such sessions, the trainer (someone who had spent more than 15 years in TV industry), asked each one in the class: Where have you come from?

He meant, which news channel or media house have you come from.

As each one in the room, called out BIG names, I will be honest, I felt embarrassed to say: I was a teacher. 

Finally, when I said this, the trainer asked to reassure: Pardon me? Repeat yourself?

I repeated myself: I was a teacher.

He looked at me with disgust, with his brows wrinkled. He said: What are you doing here? Who hired you? You can’t survive HERE. You will have to go back from where you came. YOU CAN’T DO IT.

There was death silence in the room. My colleagues sat with their eyes looking at each other. Some had their eyes gazing the floor. Clearly, they didn’t anticipate such harsh discouraging words from someone senior.

What about me?

I sat there, pulling a smile onto my face with huge difficulty, while my heart wept. I had never learnt to reply back my seniors.

Then, he moved to the person sitting next to me. Soon the training started, and soon it ended and the class dispersed.

I rushed to the restroom. Cried my heart out. Cried because I felt I lost the battle even before it started. I felt like a loser. After 15 minutes, I stepped out of the restroom and went to my work station. There, my Manager was waiting to speak with me on some matter. He realized I was sad. He asked me to pull a chair, sit, and relax. Then, very patiently, heard the whole story. I can’t forget his words and his smiling face. What he said, changed my life FOREVER.

He said: Monika, this is a big city, and bigger is the competition in this industry. You will find many, many more people like ‘him’ who will talk without thinking. In the same industry, you will ‘also’ find people like your team mates, your peers and seniors. They are there to help you scale up your skills and teach you new ones. They are your real mentors, and your workstation is your classroom. Treat this opportunity as one in a million and make the best out of it. Learn ‘on the job’ with enthusiasm. Do not let these words bog you down. Rather, treat them as ‘power words’ that propel the best out of you. Wipe your tears, and get to work with a renewed vigour. 

Those words filled my heart with hope, and my mind with a determination to prove myself a great fit for the role.

My team mates will vouch for this. I learned each day from them, and gave my best shot at work. Within a year, I was writing features for the website, interviewing celebrities, diplomats and the like. I was efficiently monitoring news, coordinating with journalists, and updating the website. I was also blogging at the same time.  I continued polishing my skills and working hard on my development areas. I received appreciation from my Manager, team mates and seniors. They were so happy to see me grow.

I thank my stars for finding such great people at work. People who said, you CAN’T do it, and people who confidently said: You CAN!

Making Roads Safe ~ Lacking Emergency Response Mechanism in India

I was looking at the Facebook page of a friend who lost her child in a car accident recently. The child, who  had not yet seen the fifth seasons of her life, looked so ‘live’ in those pictures of her albums. She smiled, giggled, clinging to her mother’s chest, with that little toy she carried everywhere. It seemed as if she will spring out of that photo any moment.

My heart, a mother’s heart, ripped apart, the moment I realized that she is no more. She is not alive. I can’t imagine what her mother goes through each day, each moment, each second, with each breath.

For a mother, her baby is the biggest reason to live. How is she living? How would be the burden to wake up without her child’s fragrance in the bed, without ‘her’ by her side? I shudder to think. Tears well up in my eyes; there is a lump in my throat. I try to clear it, but it comes back. Honestly, that feeling of helplessness engulfs my mind and my broken heart.

That little angel lost her life because of:

  1. Careless driving from the other end
  2. Lack of 911-like emergency rescue at hand

I can’t quote figures and statistics, but I know for sure, in India, road accidents are on rise. Drunken driving, careless driving, carefree driving is growing. Lately, we have read many such news in the media. Should I name them here? No use. As helpless or hopeless I may sound, I fear this shall go on.

Reasons are not unknown to you. Call it the need to strengthen the laws, or whatever.

What can be done at lease is to make the roads safer! HOW?

If the ruling central government, in collaboration with the state governments, and the BIG NAMES in medical industry, like MAX, APOLLO, FORTIS, and the like, or even CORPORATES come together with a master plan, we can have emergency response mechanism in place. One accident, one call by any passer-by (witness), and these emergency service points, set up on the highways, come to rescue. This way, unfortunate ones who face accidents on highways, can get quick relief. 

As an ‘ordinary citizen’, I don’t know what goes into making this mechanism robust and useful. I can ONLY suggest because I feel this could happen to anyone – a common man or a law maker! Rajesh Pilot is an example, who despite being a senior politician, had to lose his life in a tragic road accident. The recent road accident where a little girl died when Hema Malini’s car hit the car the victim was travelling in.

Besides promoting safe driving, we MUST also propose safer roads with great emergency response mechanisms in place.

As I write this, I hope my readers, will come up with their thoughts on this – any feedback, suggestion, ‘just thoughts’, anything! I hope, you will share it far and wide.

A BIG thank you from a mother, for feeling the pain of those who lost their loved ones in road accidents.

When No One Believes in You…

There are times in life, when people stop believing in what you say. That is mainly because you may have demonstrated lack of conviction or confidence. It is heartbreaking. But, at the same time, it gives you a ‘push’.

THAT is the moment when your heart and mind tells you: Show them you can! 

“I will talk to you on December 27, 2015. The countdown to  VICTORY begins.”

I can

My Love for Drizzling Nights

Barsaat ki saundhi aawaaz mey gumm
Ek saans main uss khidki mey bhool aayi…

Breathtaking silence of darkness…broken by the growling sky…with sprinkles of desire in drops of rain…and ounces of love in my eyes.

P.S: Watching rains from the windows of my home. Bliss! 🙂