Monday, March 19, 2018

My Sunflower

Long ago, while travelling through the interiors of Tamil Nadu, I came across the sunflower fields. That was one of the most magnificent sights I ever saw. Acres and acres of sunflower field spread before the eyes - until it reached the horizon, it seemed. As we passed through one field after another, I felt I should take a piece of this beauty with me. I wanted a sunflower plant for myself.

Ignoring the advice to pluck a flower from one of the fields (it was so vast, no one would notice or mind if someone plucked a flower or two), I waited impatiently. When it was clear that no one would be seen in the field during that hot and sultry noontime, I reluctantly accepted the fact I won't be getting any sunflower for myself.

As I sat dejected, my eyes fell on two figures far ahead amongst the sunflowers. I urged the vehicle to be stopped and got down from the jeep as soon as the driver hit the brakes. My sister and I ran into the fields. Seeing this unusual sight, the figures in the field got alarmed, and they started running too. I began shouting 'stop' in my broken Tamil and running even faster. They couldn't hear what I was shouting, and they assumed the worse and started running with urgency. Still shouting at the top of my voice and leaving a panting sister behind, I ran with all my might.

Soon, I closed the gap between those ladies and then seeing I was nothing but a harmless child, they finally stopped. I tried to communicate my need to them in broken Tamil and half Malayalam and with lots of gestures. Thankfully they understood all I wanted was some flowers and/or seeds to take home with me. That realisation brought a huge, innocent smile on their faces and they handed over a bunch of flowers to me.

I accepted them with the feel of someone winning an award and turned back to see that my sister finally caught up with me and was trying hard not to laugh at my pathetic communication skills. Finally glad that the drama is over, both of us walked back to the jeep and got it. All around me, the sunflowers turned golden yellow and the leaves, Emerald Green. I had to endure a fair share of leg pulling ever since for my invention of new words in Tamil... But, I didn't care! I felt on top of the world when I got those flowers.

Back home, I planted those seeds and soon, a plant and eventually a flower came out of it. As those flowers stood smiling at both sides of the gate and near the courtyard, I was overcome with a sense of pride and happiness. Every time I saw those flowers, my mind travelled to that vast sunflower fields, and I remembered how kind and helpful those ladies had been on that day. I had asked for a flower and they gifted me an entire spring!!!

Now as I pen these lines while battling with a rather long, cold and depressing winter, the Sun made its appearance in the sky. As I was doing the finishing touches to my picture of the sunflower, I was once again transported back in time to that beautiful field of yellow and green. Suddenly, the sun seemed lovelier than ever. I felt it came just to see my Sunflower.... and to fill my heart with the warmth of spring! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Living life - learning all the way...

Once, during my early years in the corporate world, I sent a mail to the HR department asking for clarifications regarding some issues it had raised. I neither remember the issue nor if it was solved. Yet, that mail was a learning experience for me.

As far as I can remember, my concerns were genuine and I expected a reply, which would clarify my doubts. Instead, what I received was a rebuke. Apparently, the mail I sent was received by a very senior person in the HR department. That person was offended because an employee of my stature wasn't supposed to speak in that tone with a senior official of the company.

I was a bit shocked to receive the mail rebuking me for my insensitivity and lack of judgment. After receiving that mail, I was pretty sure my mail was the perfect example of how not to write to a senior/HQ. Anyway, I took no offense and sent my sincere apologies for the mail, along with my assurance such things will never happen again in future.

That incident remained with me for two reasons - first, one has to be careful and mindful regarding the recipient of letters, especially while dealing with official correspondence. The hierarchy of power has to be respected and nothing else matters at times. I felt worthless and small, even though the feeling was momentary. A lesson learned the hard way.

But, the second lesson was even more profound. It taught me that no matter how high a position you hold, you should not let go of humility. It is possible that the other person is just seeking information. Give him the benefit of the doubt - at least for the first time. He/she wouldn't have thought of questioning you or offending you even in his/her wildest dreams. If he/she is indeed wrong, you can point it out gently and not as if he has committed the greatest offense in the world.

The greater the power, the greater should be the responsibility. Our big fat egos could take pride in having admonished a hapless junior. However, we fail to realize that we have fallen in their eyes - forever. Even today, I don't hold any grudge towards that senior officer, but I sure don't have much respect either. Respect once lost is hard to regain.

Fast forward to present. Again, maybe out of sheer impulse or even stupidity, I reached out to a very accomplished artist. To my surprise, I got a warm response from her. That simple act from her made my day and I am sure I will cherish that moment until my last breath. I felt so special and motivated that I took up my brushes, palette and colours to actually paint a picture after a long time.

I don't claim to be someone without flaws. On the contrary, I have made numerous slips and have fallen many times. But, I try to learn my lesson from them. When I look back at incidents where I feel I have fallen short, I try to learn the lesson and move on. Of course, being human means you are prone to committing mistakes. However, if you repeatedly make the same mistake, it means there is something you're missing. You haven't really learned your lesson.

Things get complicated when other people imply things. Sometimes the words you say or write would be misinterpreted and people could take offense. In all fairness, you might not have even thought of things that way. But, if someone feels offended, the next step is to have an open communication and try to sort it out. In most cases, a heart to heart talk could put an end to misunderstandings. And if you are wrong, there is no shame in accepting it and apologizing.

And despite all your efforts if someone still holds a grudge, it's his problem. You simply have to move on. For, it is easy to feel dejected and depressed. On the other hand, to be positive even when things don't seem to work well requires a lot of self-belief and courage. No matter what you do, some people are bound to disagree with you. With time, we can train ourselves to take those rejections as a part of our journey and move ahead.

No matter what, there is something good in all of us. Just because we haven't discovered it yet doesn't mean it is not there. Don't let others fool you and make you believe you are less worthy. Believe me, none of us are... Let's believe in ourselves and let's try to help others believe in themselves too. The world needs some kindness and understanding for sure.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

प्यार के नगमे

हाथ थाम के तुम जो चले साथ में
लगे सारी दुनिया है मेरे क़दमों में
गर तुम कभी साथ न होते मेरे
फिर यह दुनिया किस काम के||

चलना हैं कदम से कदम मिलाके
दुनिया से हर हसीन पल चुराके
यह सफर सुहानी खतम न होते
तुम्हारे बिना जीवन प्यारा न होते||

जी चाहूँ खो जाऊँ तेरी आँखों से
झलकती हुई प्यार के सागर में
पनाह लू तेरे पलकों के आँचल में
बसने दे मुझे वहाँ जीवन भर केलिए ||

कोमल कली सा ये तेरा चेहरा
मेरे दिल को है ख़ुशी से भरा
तेरी आखों में मैंरे दुनिया बसी
तेरे आँचल में मेरी खुशियाँ हसी||

तेरे आँसू मेरे आंखों से बहने लगी
मेरी हसी तेरे होटों पे खिलने लगी
तन्हाई में याद सिर्फ तुम आयी
मेरे दिल को छूकर गुज़र गयी ||