Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why Me?

I have often felt that the way God is managing this world is very inefficient, I mean look around, you will find wicked (as per our definition) prospering and righteous (as per our standards) suffering. Even if we were not looking at wickedness or righteousness, what is unfair is all the things that the innocent children go through...am sure that at that age, wickedness and righteousness is neither defined nor understood.

So, I decided to just sit back and think how would I run this world, since God is not doing it well, so I might as well share my ideas with Him. So here I go (Well, He already knows my thoughts, but writing helps me know what I am thinking) -

1. I will make sure that nobody dies young, even if they do, I will make sure that they do not leave small children or old parents alone (So, would I rather have a family die than just one person?)

2. I will speak in clear voice to people about their purpose in life, I mean look at all the confused youth, if they knew what they should do, they will not waste any time running in different directions and will have focus in their life (hmmm....will this take away their potential of decision making?

3. I will make sure no one feels extreme grief, I'll give them instant comfort, whether they like it or not (Would they still value the peace and happiness?)

4. I will not allow anyone to fall sick irrespective of what they eat, drink or how they live (hmmm...interesting, especially the food part :D)

5. I will make sure that anyone (above 18) trying to do evil will be killed that moment (With that rule, I would have died at the age of 18years 5 seconds....No forgiveness!!!)

There have been only one time in my life when I asked God "Why Me?" It was when the doctor told me that I have Bi Polar Disorder and it is genetic and I would require lifetime medication. I actually reacted as if I was terminally ill. I hate being dependent on any external factor, including human beings and considering the fact that I would need to live on medication for all my life was just NOT RIGHT!!! Then after 3 hours when my friend asked me, when am I planning to finish this art movie (crying, asking why me, how will I live etc.) I came back to my senses...I laugh at it now.

When my sister died (well, that's the worst situation I have ever gone through personally in my life...I have felt very sad in cases where children died due to earthquake or extreme violence, or when my friends lost a loved one...but this was personal) I did not ask why me, why her or why anybody...the only thought that occurred to me was, "How do we manage this situation?" "What do we do to make sure that the impact of this tragedy is minimized?" Yes, after a month, after coming back from Jaipur, I cried my heart out, but I did not ask "Why?" I asked, "Pinky, where have you gone leaving me like this? How will your children manage without you?" etc. etc.

Today, while walking back home, it just occurred to me, what would be the feelings of the family and relatives of MH 370? I feel that it is easier to manage life or death, what is worse is uncertainty and then I was wondering, "Why should anyone go through the pain these families are going through?"

And I asked God, "God, why do you run the world this way? Why so much of pain? Why anyone? Why all of us? Why human race? Why this planet?" And God said, "Why me?" "If, for every day of fasting, every day of life, every death, Jesus was to ask Why me? What would your answer be? For every thrashing, for every step with the cross so heavy, for every grief, if Jesus was to ask - God, why have you fosaken me, God why me, why not them who did it? What have I done to deserve this?" "What would you say?"

Think of a situation where a parent who has given everything to their children and for every fall, child asks, "why did you give me that cycle?" for every broken pencil, he asks "Why did you not sharpen it well?"  for every deception, the child questions them, "Why? Why me? Why did you allow this? Why did you never teach me to cope?" Can you imagine the pain of the parent?

Sometimes I wonder, what if God was to ask me, "Why did you do this? You knew this was wrong. You had enough knowledge to make a right decision."

The only answer I will have is, "God, please forgive me, help me to receive the peace I used to hold earlier. Please take away this guilt that kills me and makes me forget that even before I committed this sin, you had pardoned it. Help me forget what I did."

I remember that it took me some time to come out of a lot of negative that went around me, but am happy that through God, through the wonderful human beings that He has surrounded me with, and through the attitude He has given me, I could do that! When I look at the positive in this world, I stand in awe, no movement, just stillness, no thoughts, just being...

And then I got my answer!

It is not the answers to "Why me?s" that help but the answers to "How do I?s"!

With all this and much more, I guess it's better that I trust in the way God is running the world, if I were to do it, not even a second will go perfect!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections!!

Waking up in the morning with chills, not wanting to come out of the blanket and wishing that someone else did everything for you is what December brings...well that's just the morning! Afternoon, you wish your office was in open space so you could soak up some sun and evening you wish that the tea will be ready for you!

But there is more to December than these. It brings memories of the past year and plans for the next year. Like http://jamesclear.com/goals-systems mentions 

"When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time."

So I decided not to have any resolutions this year. 

Though I feel that the year 2013 was not so good a year, I still would look at the mountains (Highs), valleys (Lows) and the road I have traveled.

I had spent my New Year's eve at Mile III Church in Nigeria with my church family there. Things weren't going as good as expected at work in Nigeria but against all odds I could thank God for all that he had done in my life. After conducting a strike against the employer, bringing out their corruption and braiding my hair, I finally reached home on 21st January 2013.

I'll start with the top 10 mountains:

1. I came back home safely 
2. Anil was healed after the accident
3. We completed 7 years of happy married life
4. I could conduct remedial classes that made children love math who otherwise hated it
5. I got my dream job that I had planned for 2018
6. I got to travel new places in India
7. I could go sight seeing in Jaipur with my father-in-law
8. I went trekking after almost two years and I did well :)
9. I was blessed with the joy of having many single friends and cousins getting married and married ones bringing babies to the world
10. I have become much stronger and much more dependent on God

Hmmm...now the difficult part of valleys 

1. Experienced grief of such higher degree for the first time, and it did not stop with one, there were many deaths this year
2. Got back on medicines for the chemical imbalance :D
3. One of my favorite friends is not feeling too well

That's it...wow!

The road traveled

1. Took charge of situations that I had encountered for the first time...and as per other's feedback, I did well
2. Finally got into a routine of walking in the evening
3. Started my course on counselling
4. Learnt new recipes
5. Learnt new processes and rules 

okay...am out of ideas now so I'll get back and update.

It's the New Year and I couldn't add more so just decided to post it!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Recalling the past - December 2010

What has Christianity done for me!

December 21, 2010 at 3:49pm
Last night while I was thinking about my testimony for this year's thanks giving service, I realised that in next three days I'll be completing 5 years of my baptism...and then this thought occured...I wanted to meditate and recollect what has this conversion done to me! FIVE years is a long time...from the time of birth, a child moves from lying down to turn to crawl to walk to talk to read...and so on...all in five years! I too have moved from just lying down and crying to walk and talk with God! Have learnt to read and understand.

Before I begin my list, I want to thank God for blessing my life with each one of you. All of you, on my friend's list and not on my friend's list, have made a difference in my life. Each one of you have taught me something, something important and that is you dont need a reason to love...Many of you dont know me, and still love me, some of you dont know me and that's why you love me...and most of you know me and still love me :D

Well...here are a few things that I could think that Christianity has done to me in last five years:

(Not a complete list...will keep adding on :))

  1. Most of all, it has taught me that I'm precious to God, I'm His favorite, His special child!
  2. Made me thankful
  3. Made me realise how small "I AM" in comparison to what "I CAN BE"
  4. Has given me a community beyond pre-defined social relationships
  5. Has revealed to me why I can love everyone...well...coz am equally bad :)
  6. It helped me believe something that I could never even imagine - that God can even think of coming down to this earth get treated so badly and die the worst death for me just coz am not able to understand him and that he actually did it
  7. It helped me learn so much about God, myself, world and so many things through each sabbath, prayer meetings, revival meetings, camps etc etc
  8. It has taught me to depend on god through prayers
  9. It has reduced my selfishness

And when I was listing these, I just thought of mentioning what I wud've missed if I was not an Adventist:

1. Specific appointment with God! Oh yes...it's the best...like I always say, God made sabbath for me, coz he knew I loved working to death :D
2. Prayers...something that I never believed in! Then I asked God to tell me if it's really sensible to pray...He said yes...
3. Learning about the last days condition of the world

Like I said, I'll keep adding on more... Your inputs are also welcome...something that you have observed has changed in me over last five years (for better or for worse)...please feel free to mention!
Thank you god for leading me so beautifully!
Thank you god for leading me so beautifully!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Four Funerals and a Wedding

10th May 2013

Had not planned to write this one…Five months and four deaths were too much to carry for someone who has never (read ‘had never’) lost anyone close and felt grief of the degree that I have felt now. Sometimes I wonder if I really know what grief is, but one thing is certain that two situations that I don’t know how to react are extreme joy and extreme pain. Losing my sister was so shocking that for 2 months I kept asking myself “Why am I crying?” I have so many philosophies that say that death is inevitable, death is nothing but a temporary phase (sleep) and the one who dies is actually getting out from the suffering of this world. So even though I kept thanking God for so many blessings, I would still cry for my sister…somethings that I thought were:
  1. My children will never get to know her
  2. We have always been four of us
  3. Oh! Now I have only one sister
  4. Nobody will call and fight with me for not going to Jaipur often or forgetting  b’days and anniversaries

Etc. etc. But there was a longer list that I thanked God for:
  1. She didn’t suffer. She died peacefully.
  2. She lived in a joint family, so her children, though will miss her, will not miss mother’s care.
  3. She loved people genuinely and that she had lived a good life.
  4. I was glad that I was in India so I could immediately go to Jaipur.
  5. I reached after funeral so I wont remember her as a dead body but someone who is walking, talking and laughing around all the time.

And many more that I am not able to remember now…

I was just coming to terms with that and I hear about one of my close cousins being terminally ill. Against all odd, I prayed for his healing (usually I pray for strength). On 16th April, he passed away. I didn’t know how to react, so I just cried. He had been a great support, and guide during our childhood. There was a lot of encouragement from him. On 4th May another cousin of mine passed away without any notice, she had rheumatic arthritis but she wasn’t badly ill, but God’s grace that she died in her sleep. She too was an important person in our years of growing up. Then, on 5th of May, my ex-boss passed away! I really dint know what to do. I just gasped and said, "One more?" He was a great mentor, I had learnt a lot from him, and his kid is too young to lose a parent, but then, death is inevitable, it is nothing but sleep and the one who dies is actually getting out from the suffering of this world.

I had to let all of this pass through me but any phone call scares me, I pray, God, let this not be a bad news. I take one day at a time and the day I don’t get any bad news, I thank God and go to sleep.
Sleep…well, that’s a luxury for me these days, in the night when I keep my head on the pillow, a stream of thoughts rush into my mind and I pray, “God, strengthen me, give me peace, help me sleep” I don’t know when I fall asleep but I know I don’t want to get up from that sleep.

Am just watching as things happen around. I don’t let myself get attached to events and so with my best friend’s wedding. I’m happy that he is finally settling but don’t know how to react to the fact that he won’t be staying around anymore. As we plan to drive down to Kerala, I pray that we’ll go safe and come back safe.

13th May 2013

We are back safe and sound from the wedding. It was a good trip. It helped me feel so relaxed and nice. I had thought of my sister (somehow I get to see someone resembling here everywhere) but it dint make me sad. I got to spend good time teasing the new groom, enjoying the good meal and then drive and drift at the drive-in beach in Cannanore. Good music and a gooder drive :D My husband is the best and safest driver in the whole world.

I felt so light and relieved, I felt free and I felt nice. Am glad that I was not that angry, irritated, snappy and crying Vandy that I have been in last few months. I was not super happy but I was happy. I was really glad that my friend is finally settled and his search for a life partner has finally come to an end. I was happy that we could be a part of this celebration.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nigeria and Me - Part 2 (Job with Educomp in Nigeria)


Though I had decided not to put anything negative in my blogs, but this is in public interest :D

Well, many of you have understood that I had a great experience in Nigeria. But that is as far as my personal experience is concerned. Professionally, the company that had employed us as teachers gave us very hard time. It is Educomp Solutions that claims to be India’s first Educational Technology Company that had started its operations in Nigeria. It is run and managed by Indians.

What surprised me there though was the attitude some of the Indians have about themselves!

Have we really gone down so much that money takes preference over our honesty, integrity, values and peace of mind. I had to lose my job because I could not compromise. 

I remember the discussion I had with my peers when we were deciding who is ready to go and who is not, my answer was simple, "I do not fit in this society where people are exploited and are expected not to say anything just because they have been paid." And I remember what some of my colleagues said, "We are here for money and why should we worry about who is exploited as long as we are not." Thanks teacher!

So I had tough time with Indians from Educomp Solutions in Nigeria. To begin with, we were often told that Indians leave there country for greed…well, they were the examples. One of them was in Nigeria for last 14 years while his family stayed in India. And this gentleman boasted very well about his many wives across Nigeria.

So when I was asked to manipulate the marks of the students, which I refused to do, the conversation with the CEO of Educomp Solutions, Nigeria went somewhat like this,
CEO: You need to do this.
Me: I am sorry sir, I will not.
C: Why are you making it a moral issue?
Me: Because it is.
C: You think I do not have moral values?
Me: No Sir, all I’m saying is your moral values are different from mine.
C: See, even I don’t like to do this, but if I don’t I would face commercial losses by losing further deals.
Me: I have nothing to lose if I don’t do this.
C: Are you sure?
Me: Yes Sir.
Matter closed.

Director, however, told me that if I kept that attitude, I will not survive anywhere.

Well, am not here to survive, am here to live! :D

First time when we went to the school building, we were told that it is in good condition. On reaching there in the evening we discover that there is no water, rooms were filled with dust and we had no bed sheets or blankets. That’s not the issue, because we can expect such things in Nigeria, but what surprised me was the attitude of the management, who were Indians. According to them, they were not responsible if anything happened to us. So I called up the CEO, who was conveniently and co-incidentally was in India with his family while we were left to the mercy of a very abusive Vice-President and a Narcissist Director of Education. After talking to the CEO, I had decided to call my church pastor to help us get out of the place but then we got a call saying that we will be moving back to the hotel.

So we go back to another hotel. Let me not get into that detail. Then one by one our facilities were removed and after going to the school second time, we received a shock in form of a mandate that said there wont be any drinking water supplied to us, we need to drink tap water that is certified potable. Well, I know it happens in India, so I was not surprised if dirty water gets potability certificate.

There were many more issues that were happening, like:
  • Teacher's didn't receive their salaries on time (by God's grace I did) and when they complained, they were blamed for company's incompetencies and guess what, the bank account that they had.
  • Vice President and Director were hurling insults at us, trying to manipulate us and making racial remarks towards Nigerians. 
  • Often food shortage that will be blamed on our eating capacity :D (Yes, it’s true.) 
  • The company CEO called my husband and threatened him about my life!

This was not Nigerian or British exploiting Indians but Indians exploiting Indians. So am happy that I came back but what I feel a little sad about is that even though I have proof against all this, I cannot do anything to the company because of their political connections, but then God says,’ Vengeance is His’ and this world in not my home so doesn’t matter what happens to them.

While being in those situations, I kept remembering my father’s words that he used to often tell us when we were in college, “There is no reason for you to compromise your values, God has given you capabilities and He’ll take care of you. Anyone can take the material wealth from you but no one can take away your knowledge and your values.”

I told my principal, that "I have decided to go, so don't make it difficult, let me go peacefully." 

So with every breath of mine, I thank God for blessing me abundantly always!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My first Hindi movie in theater in Nigeria - Jab Tak Hai Jaan


Two things I was trying hard to avoid in last few days of this year but ended up doing both...first one, expressing my views on any controversial issue and second one is watching YR and Sharukh movie - Jab Tak Hai Jaan...

Since I have already wasted 3 precious hours of my time, thought of at least using it to write my views about the movie...

Only good thing in the movie is Lyrics...

Typical YR film, Sharukh is "The Man Who Can Not Die", so he'll be introduced as an army officer who doesnt wear a bulletproof jacket when he goes to diffuse a bomb, the new heroine (younger one) would be introduced in bikini, there will be a music on which the lead heroine will show her dance steps, whether or not relevant...and then definitely a scene + dialogue from Sharukh that will make the young guys and girls rebel and have that kiss against all rules, values, principles and traditions!

Then there is Katrina Kaif, who has deals with God and obviously, because of that Sharukh Khan has a fight with God, only difference is the Amitabh scenes of 70s & 80s in the temple with bells ringing now happen at the church with candles burning...be it Mujhse Dosti Karoge, I forget the name of the other one and now JTHJ

After they have finished worshipping Sharukh then there will be noodles in the movie (including losing memory, love triangle and a friend who is so grateful) that get sorted out only in the last 15 mins....YR films have always directly or subliminally glorified infidelity and here too they did that saying "Beta, I could not fight with myself anymore"!

So over all, I can say that Shahrukh Khan is world famous even in Nigeria :D I have spent NGN 1,500 to watch a movie and Potatoes and Sardars will be available everywhere in the world...and that what I plan to do I do not and what I plan not to do I end up doing...Therefore, no plans for the New Year - 2013

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nigeria and me

Today (16th Novemeber 2012),  I complete exactly one month in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. I will be arrogant if I said that I know how Nigeria is, coz, no, I dont. I might comment on Port Harcourt and that is what I would limit it to. But before that, I would like to tell you something, I love....I love people, I love places, I love change, I love surprises, I love smelling, I love experimenting and I love food. Sometimes, once in a while, I wish I was able to eat non-vegetarian food, it would have given me more opportunities to experiment wider variety of food. Also, I wish, more often, that I had a better ability (read interest) in learning languages. Anyways, to make up for all this, I have my laughter and ability to experiment without making faces :).

One month back on 16th October 2012, I landed at Port Harcourt airport. The moment I kept my foot on this ground and looked up in the sky, I felt welcomed, I liked the smell of the air, the shapes of the clouds, the feel of the ground, the view of the sky and the sound of the breeze...my colleagues were surprised when I said I love the feel of this place. Please note: I did not feel this way at Lagos airport but I felt it in Port Harcourt.

Very first day at work, few faces looked familiar, may be coz am used to African friends at church, everyone greeted us with warmth and made us feel welcomed. I was still in an awe, coz I did not do much research before leaving India, for a simple reason that expectations ruin the excitement. It took me 1 month to even think what I want to write as I have been absorbing so much that I could not think out loud. 

Almost two years back, while travelling from Cunoor camp, I had a talk with one of our friends, and I said that I can see that God is preparing me for something and leading me somewhere but I donno when and where and for what, so whatever am getting to do, am making sure, I prayerfully seek what God wants from me and even today, I have no clue what is the final purpose of all this but it's good fun to see God's handiwork everyday and every moment of our lives.

I have no doubt that it's God who brought me here and gave me courage and strength to be able to come here and only He made it possible for everything to fall in place including my husband to not only agree but encourage and support me into this. It is my belief that God is helping me realise so much more that it is a bit difficult to put in words and human language.

Things that absolutely blew me off about Port Harcourt:
  1. I declare it as one of the safest place for women! - Will give more details in a separate blog :)
  2. Everyone smiles at everyone :), people dont look frustrated and tensed or stressed out here. Even with all the chaos or misgovernance, people are happy, coz they r close to God. Oh yes, spiritual life is the first priority here.
  3. Nutritious food

 
To be continued...

19th November
 
I thought I'll be able to finish this blog, but in last two days, I have not been able to write properly, so thought I'll publish this one and continue more in the next one...