Category Archives: Life

Full Pocket Search

The market is full of backpacks because the schools reopened in June. The rush is less this year since the classes are held online. I came across this backpack. It has a number of pockets. This reminds me of a school bag I bought when I was in sixth grade. It had seven pockets. I thought I would be able to keep my things organized in it so I requested my mother to buy it. The bag I used the previous year had less pockets. It was difficult to keep everything arranged in it.

On the first day of school, I kept the textbooks and workbooks in one of the two larger pockets and notebooks in the other. There was a separate pocket for tiffin box. I kept my handkerchief in one of the remaining small pockets. The classes began, and everyone noticed my bag. After 2 classes, I felt a loud sneeze approaching. It was one of those moments when the teacher had asked for pin drop silence in the class because one of the students was reading a lesson. I frantically started looking for the handkerchief in my bag but was unable to find it. The movement caused noise and so the teacher sternly looked at me out of thick rimmed glasses and said “Stand up! what is the need for so much unrest”. She had barely said this when I sneezed loudly. The entire class jumped on their seats. The teacher again scolded “Where is your handkerchief? You should keep it handy”. She would have continued scolding but the bell for recess or break rang. I was saved from further scolding. It seems I had forgotten the pocket in bag where I had kept the handkerchief so I had to do a full pocket search of all pockets to find it. From then onwards I tried to keep the handkerchief pinned to my uniform as that was the easiest place to find in case of emergency. Even today, I prefer a backpack with 3-4 pockets as too many pockets end up confusing me.

The Patient Teacher

There are so many things that our parents teach us by their actions. The best part of their teaching is their patience. They would correct us no matter how many times we go wrong. There is one such activity which I learnt from my father. During my school days, it was required to dress up in properly ironed uniform. Our uniform included a shirt and pleated pinafore. I started ironing my uniform when I was in fifth grade that too after observing my parents. My father was very good in ironing. He taught me how to iron the shirt. He used to iron his clothes on Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoon. I would wait with my newly washed shirts while he ironed. Once he was done, I would iron mine. If my work was not up to the mark, he would iron it again to show me how a properly ironed shirt looks. Many times I used to do a poor job and he would correct it. In the process, he would iron all my shirts. This continued till I was in 9th grade. I was so lazy that it took me years to learn ironing like him. Recently when I was ironing a shirt for office when my mother told me Baba(father) always knew that I did poor ironing in school because I was lazy. He was so patient that in spite of knowing I was lazy, he continued to teach me.

Whenever I go to a new city, the first thing I buy is an iron. The habit of ironing clothes on weekends has stuck with me even today. There are times my roommates have complemented it. The credit goes to my father. He was the epitome of patience while teaching me. Ironing the clothes on time and keeping the shoes clean and polished were habits which he kept up without failure. We learnt this just by following him. He was the Patient teacher who taught us again and again regardless of the number of mistakes we did. Today on Father’s day, let us take an opportunity to thank the most patient teacher of our lives, our father. Happy Father’s Day.

Penning on the Pen

Something came out while re-organizing the old cupboard which motivated me to pen my thoughts on the pen. It was my Grandfather’s fountain pen shown in the image above. I was in third grade, when I saw it for the first time. It was very special to my mother so one had to be really careful while holding it. I just wrote an ‘A’ with it and was simply amazed at the smoothness. From then onwards I started looking forward to writing with fountain or ink pen. Every time my mother re-organized that cupboard, I would take up the opportunity to use the pen. Most of the great litterateurs like Rabindranath Tagore, William Wordsworth, etc used to be shown with a Fountain pen. Seeing them a childhood fantasy began to take place in my mind. I started thinking, holding a pen would motivate one to write better.

We were allowed to use pens from grade 5. The results of an academic session use to come by post during summer vacation when I was in school. From the day, my Fourth grade results came, I started pestering my mother for an ink pen. The moment the ink pen came, I started studying the language textbooks and solving the assignments. Everyone was surprised since this happened 2 weeks before the school opened. They thought I was going through the change phase when mischievous kids become responsible. The reason was the fantasy. I always wanted to excel in language and have a beautiful handwriting. That is why I had took on the language textbooks. Even after the school started, I used to love doing anything which involved writing using the fountain pen. My school work was always up to date although my dress and fingers had ink stains. I realized my fantasy when I was in grade 8 and had moved to ballpoint pens. It is one’s thoughts and dedication which motivate a person but sometimes a fantasy inspires one to improve. Luckily I found a few fountain pens in an old pouch. Its so nice to look back and smile on those childhood fantasies.

A day for the Pranksters

Today is First April, which is often called the April Fools’ day. This is a day when people play simple pranks on their friends. The pranksters shout ‘APRIL FOOL’ after playing the prank. Most of us take these jokes lightly if played today.

April used to be a month of exams during my school days. So we would try to lighten the atmosphere with the excuse of April Fool’s day. One of the most memorable April Fools’ day happened within my team. One of my colleagues managed to play pranks on 6-7 people. She did it separately. On the same day, we had a team meeting. We all ended up complaining about her. I can still remember our manager’s face. He was neither able to laugh nor able to scold. Towards the end of the meeting we all were laughing. These simple events give a break from monotony. A year of social distancing and isolation has reminded us, it is so nice to meet others and have these special events. Every year I tell myself before going out, I should think before taking believing anyone but every year I get fooled. This it is different because I did not get fooled for the first time. It is because I did not go out. Let us pray that things go back to normal again and we are able to laugh together again.

Challenging the Marbles

A new children’s toy store opened near my house. I was passing by it on my way to the grocery store. My curiosity got the better of me and I ended up entering the shop. The colorful games are always a sight to behold regardless of the age. Among all the games, one game stood out. It was Brainvita and I ended up buying it. The very thought of challenging the marbles in this game fills me with energy.

This game has always been a challenge. I received the first Brainvita on my eighth birthday. Initially I used to end up with 8 or 9 marbles. I used to get bored after 1 or 2 games and give up. Most of my friends also ended up with same results. One fine day, someone asked me how intelligent I was. I did not have anything other than my scores. I asked myself, how should I confirm my intelligence. The answer was Brainvita. That day I decided to work on it. After playing for 2 hours I was able to complete a game with 3 marbles. The box said, if you end up with 3 marbles you are intelligent. I was happy and informed my mother. My mother asked if I would be able to reproduce it. That was a lesson for me, since I did not remember the steps to end up with 3 marbles. Before you claim anything, you should check all the facts. Same goes with our work, before marking anything complete, we should validate all the tasks have been done. It is most important to prove your expertise to yourself. Once you do that, you need not bother about what others think of you. I did continue my practice and eventually identified the steps to end up with 3 marbles. Sometimes I feel these solo games are a big motivation. If you want to turn your mind from negative thoughts just pick up brainvita and aim to get one marble. Soon you will be so engrossed that all the useless thoughts will be substituted by ways to find solutions. This is my way of activating my brain.

The Farsighted Shopper

The precious Calculator

Whenever we buy gifts, we always think about its use to the receiver. Have you ever thought about gifting something which may not be of much use at present but may become a necessity in future. Seems difficult but its possible. Let me share a memory. My father, who was in shipping, had to visit Singapore for work. I was in 12th grade at that time. He was very fond of buying new gadgets. When he returned there was the regular big box of gifts, chocolates, etc. He got a new scientific calculator. My mother scolded him for spending on complicated gadgets which are not needed. He didn’t say anything but kept on smiling. At that time no one needed it. So the calculator was kept in cupboard. A year later, I was in college. I still remember the first physics laboratory. The professor mentioned everyone should have a scientific calculator. That day I came home and declared Baba(Papa) is the most farsighted person I have ever met. He did not know what would be my major in college, yet he got the calculator. That was my father, he knew what we needed way before time. He was unable to predict the same for himself. I often wonder what was it that gave him this power. I still don’t know how much salt would be needed in my meal until I taste it. Maybe it was his love for us, which gave him that ability. That is the father, who thinks about our wellbeing all the time whether he is travelling, shopping or resting. He always encouraged me in everything be it work, studies, etc.

Today is Father’s day. Let us take this opportunity to wish our father. The strongest pillar of our lives, the one point 24-7 helpdesk who can solve all problems, the farsighted shopper, the role model, the best friend and biggest gift of our lives. Happy Father’s Day.

Unexpected discoveries

Just as bees are drawn towards flowers, I am drawn towards book fairs and always end up shopping. These books are scheduled to be read after the library books. A new set is issued every time a visit to library happens for book returns. The experience of browsing through shelves of hard books has its own charm. With the library being closed, I was beginning to miss this experience which made me sad. To divert my attention I began organizing my closets. To my surprise I found many books(bought from fairs) that are yet to be read. I also found a Rubik cube which I had once bought but that too got buried in the closet.

We are often so affected with one setback that we ignore everything else. If one would just divert the attention they would find many unexpected discoveries which may be wishes, unfinished goals, etc. It might seem hard particularly in the current scenario but what is life without ups, downs and challenges. While organizing any closet, the first step is to empty the contents. As soon as the contents are out, the overflowing closet suddenly appears spacious. Then we keep things based on utility. Once done, it seems so hard to believe there was no space. Needless to say, the look of an organized closet gives the same sense of achievement as completion of a long cherished goal. In the process, there are byproducts like lost articles, memories, etc. How would it be if we treat life after setbacks like an overflowing unorganized closet. We take out everything and start arranging from scratch. Don’t you think once done, we maybe close to our goals or motivated towards bigger achievements. Let us take this opportunity to re-organize our lives, we never know what unexpected discoveries we will make.

Guided by the Poet

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

7th May is Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday. He is engraved in every aspect of a Bengali’s life. He is the first Indian Nobel Laureate. His works are quoted in appreciations, motivations, lectures and scolding in our upbringing. A celebration is not complete unless his name is taken. My mother was named after one of his books and even my name is synonymous to one of his books.

Let me share one story where he guided me. When I started working, I was posted in Mumbai with a few of my friends. Initially we explored all the famous landmarks of the city in group since we all were new to the city. Then came the phase where we all started discovering our own interests, some delved into studies, some sports, some into work and so on. It was at that time, I felt there was more to Mumbai than just landmarks. My roommates often visited the famous fashion street clothes market. On one such visit, I happened to look in the opposite direction while entering the market and saw rows of book store. We decided to explore the book market and then go to Fashion street. The book market was simply amazing. There were books on every topic from classics to mysteries to self help to competitive exams. I had been meaning to read Tagore’s works particularly the novels but never found time during college. I was unable to find them in local libraries also. My eyes just fell off my head when I saw his works in one of the shops. That day I did not buy any clothes although we went to Fashion street, still my bag was the heaviest because it had books. I ended up reading all the books in one month and wanted to go to the book market again. This time no one was available to accompany me, so I went alone singing the famous song by Tagore “Jodi tor daak shune keu na aashe” (If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone). That experience gave me the motivation to explore new cities on my own. I still have some of those books at home.

My Treasured Collection

This was one way where Tagore helped me grow. As we grow, we find our interests differ from others, many of us even find it difficult to fit into a particular group. This may seem strange but remember everyone is unique. Appreciate your individuality. I take this opportunity to thank Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore for motivating us.

Growth in Isolation

Social distancing is the need of the hour. The fear of the deadly Covid-19 is everywhere. We all are aware of this pandemic. Suddenly there is a lot of free time and so everyone is confused about what to do. Be it television, radio or whatsapp its the same fear everywhere. As we isolate ourselves this fear seems to be gripping us even more. This stress needs to be reduced before it starts affecting our relations. All we can do is to keep our distances and pray that a vaccine is discovered soon. Until then we all need to find a way to use this time. This is the opportunity to look at your lives, find out those dreams and work on them. With schools and colleges closed, one needs to find ways to spend quality time with your family.

I have always wanted to read books randomly but always picked those about which I had heard. The day before the library was closed, I went there and browsed through the stack. This time it was not the bestseller list or recommendations, it was any book which intrigued me be it the title or prologue or even the book cover. Similarly there are whole lot of hobbies one can take up. It is important to do something creative with all the tension around. Go ahead, pull out the old guitar, clean it and start playing it. If possible make a video and share it on social media. Your effort will definitely inspire many. Watch a movie and put up a review or make a video of that recipe and share it, organize the closet or find an online course. If not anything start meditating but do not allow the negativity to stop you from discovering yourself. Let there be growth in isolation. As the times are getting tougher, let us pray that a vaccine is found soon.

Independence Day Celebrations

The results of the recent elections in India, show that leadership is based on hard work, effort and vision. It is not based on heredity. I have always considered it a blessing that we have a constitution, which gives us the freedom to dream and achieve. Independence day is the time to show our gratitude for this freedom. I always attend the 4th July parade in Monroeville. The participants are different institutions like the church, schools, local bands, fire brigade, etc. They throw candies and chocolates at the waving crowd. Its so nice to see families standing on both sides of the road and cheering them. The best part is the kids, who come with their bags, baskets or buckets to collect the sweets.

The parade starts at 9:00 am. People come with their folding chairs and umbrellas and sit on both sides of the road. The performances by bikers, gymnasts, dancers makes it all the more enjoyable. As the parade proceeds, it feels as if the entire city has become a family. Fireworks are organized in different parts of the city at night. Independence day is the time to show our respect for the freedom we have. Its so nice to see some families make it a tradition to attend the parade. These traditions make the children aware of the constitution and their responsibilities. I just hope these traditions are made in all families everywhere and all of us respect the freedom. Happy Independence Day.