A prayer

Friday, January 15, 2010 |

Dilawar Singh aka Philip, as we friends call him is now in the hospital recovering from his third surgery...

A month ago Philip, Jaya and myself had met up in town for a pre christmas get together…We had reasons to look forward to in the coming month…I was going home on a vacation after a year...Jaya was getting married soon…and Philip was visiting India to start life afresh…Three of us wished each other good luck and parted ways that night…

My vacation was going as per plan…Surprising dad with a car on his birthday…throwing a party on his retirement…meeting friends and relatives…traveling around…the typical happy vacation for a once in a year visitor!! .A few thousand kilometers away Philip had come down to start life afresh…Going through a painful divorce he was under lot of emotional stress…Harassed by a dominating wife and in -laws he had taken enough of it….And he had decided to turn a fresh leaf and start life all over again, quit his well paid job abroad to find a new one in India and start everything on a clean slate…While Jaya and myself bid Philip good bye during the get together, I was not sure that I would be meeting him any time soon…coz he would never come back from India if everything went as per plan…I was both happy and sad at the same time…Happy that he was positive after going through the emotional atychaar on his personal front and sad that I would be missing a good friend back here…

Two weeks later I get a mail from Jaya…Her mail read…

“Hey...sorry to disturb your vacation…but I had to tell you this!…Philip met with an accident in India…He was driving in his new car with his mom in Delhi…His mom passed away on the spot…Philip is in serious condition…His number is xxxxxxxxx…take care...Jaya “

There are times in your life when you start questioning...”Why it happens to me!!” …But that day I was asking...”Why it happened to him!!”… To someone who had left the country where he was working for 10 years hoping to get over with trauma of parting with his wife and kid…how bad could it get!! I could manage only bits and pieces of information from his Punjabi dad…Two weeks later I got a call from Philip himself...

I am normally not short of words…But when I have to talk to someone who has just gone through a huge loss like this…or someone suffering from painful physical / emotional injury….I am at loss for words…But when he called up that day, the first thing he said…

“Hey dude…why don’t you come down to the hospital …there are so many beautiful mallu nurses here…!!”

I smiled at his sense of humor…his ability to joke and make me laugh inspite of what he was going through…Philip had multiple fractures on his hands…His facial bones were crushed…and a good deal of skin on his face lost….One of his eyes is probably damaged…A team of 8 doctors had performed surgery on him for 11 hours just after the accident…His face had to be simply held up by a assembly of metal rods and plates!!!.They were amazed how he was after all alive!!! But then he is a proud sardar who wouldn’t give up without a fight!! His jaw bones were broken and he could hardly speak…And yet he was checking out about my vacation…or whether I have gone bride hunting…and whether I was having a gala time with friends…He wished me a merry christmas….And when he ended the call he just said ‘take care’ as always..!!! Me?

I talked to him a couple of times later….Meanwhile I was back after my vacation and getting used to my routine life….A call few days ago, Philip told me that he was coming back to continue rest of his treatment abroad…Apparently it had already cost him 10 lakh rupees in a span of 2 weeks and unfortunately his foreign insurance wouldn’t cover it…He flew back alone from Delhi….a excruciating 14 hrs flight spending a night in between at an airport inside of being in a hospital bed… He wouldn’t even tell us when he would reach the city since he wouldn’t want anyone of us to bothered to pick him up at the airport…On the same day he got himself admitted to a hospital here…

Few days ago….Myself and Jaya went to the hospital to meet him for the first time since the accident…It was almost a month ago when we had met up last…We were chilling over some wine at one of the christmas markets back then ..All three of us had something to look forward that day…my vacation, Philip’s plan to start afresh and Jaya’s wedding… So we were obviously quite happy that day…But for my flight next day afternoon, I think we would have just stayed back fooling around… But that day when I met him in the hospital…I was shocked!! I was shocked that I almost cried!! Seeing him in the shape he was in, it was hard for us to just act normal…I tired my best to put a regular look and did not want Philip to know that how dismayed I was….But then we were not good actors!!

It happens that when you see someone change so much in a span of a month, you forget how to react for a moment…We talked for a few hours in the hospital with Philip…A month on liquid food, the sturdy sardar had become a frame of bones….His face disfigured and swelling all over…plastic surgery done with skin grafted from his legs….This was not the Philip I could imagine…Philip was tired…and in pain…but he was putting a brave face…A lesser mortal would have succumbed long ago!! On the way out from hospital, I did not know what to talk with Jaya...and I could see that she did not know either…

There are moments in our life when it suddenly strikes how helpless we could be…how fragile our life is….how much human relations matter…how important it is to love others...and to be loved…how desperate you would want god to hear you…..all these thoughts just came flashing by!! Some times when I have those one to one silent conversations with god I complain about trivial things which I thought were big in my perspective…we crib about people not reciprocating camaraderie, love…we crib about work…we crib about lack of respect from others….but then….when I saw real pain…i couldn’t help but think how na├»ve I was….I realized when I saw him the importance of having good friendships..(Not the hi...wassup...take care…thing)..i mean real ones…how important it is to take care of people around you…how important a hug can be…I also realized how powerless as humans we are…

Dear lord, I know I have bored you several times with my little requests and its probably a overflowing mail box…but this time I really wish you would help Philip recover fast…Its hard for me as a fellow human being and a friend to see him and feel all helpless.. A little prayer for Philip to reduce his pain…to make his life worthwhile again!! Please give him the strength to fight and recover his confidence…to fight the adversities!! Over the past one week when I visit him I attempt to make him laugh with my silly jokes and though I manage to make him once in a while I realize deep down he is missing the love of a family…Its hard being in pain…but its harder not to have a family around…I wish to anyone who reads this…Love your family, your friends without any strings attached…Love them without expecting anything in return…these are little things which often we realize when it is too late….I wish Philip recovers soon and gets to start life afresh….as he had wished!!

To the Mother...

Friday, September 4, 2009 |

I heard about you as the “Saint of the Gutters”…
I saw photos of you holding sick people…
I listened to people who tried to blame you as a mere attention seeker..
I watched inspiring videos of work you did…
I found in you as a kid someone who was truly saintly….
I found in you as a teenager someone I aspired to be and yet not have the guts…
I found in you as a youth someone whose foot solider I wanted to be…

Today…11 years since you left…you still continue to inspire people….you still bring happiness to many poor and sick people….

Thanks for bringing light to the world when there is darkness all around…

meeting people

Sunday, August 23, 2009 |

Occasionally out here I attend a prayer cum dinner get together…Well not the typical prayer meetings as done in India…Here its conducted by 10-11 Malayalee families themselves, independent of the church scheme of things….The prayer sessions are lively with songs…interlaced with short prayers…and some lively debates or rather discussions interpreting the Bible and deliberating how we can improve our lives in a realistic way…not deep logic or mumbo-jumbo but talking from the heart…

I have been attending it over the past two years albeit occasionally….But the Malayalee families out here have been doing it for the past 33 years every single month…Its usually conducted at someone’s home which they voluntarily decide…The attendees cook something at their individual homes and all share it at the host place…often it’s a grand feast with everyone bringing something or the other…we even had uniappam yesterday! :-) ….

But well the point I want to make …I found the whole scheme a very healthy self-improvement session…It was a chance for me to hear from older people about their lives…about difficulties they face…their concerns…their interpretations…the happy news in their families…I feel so happy that I was taken in their fold and treated like one of em even though I was outsider considering rest of the group knew each other for 33 years…We sometimes read a Bible passage and try to interpret the good ideals and discuss how we can imbibe them into our daily lives…The way the male point of view differs from the female point of view and finally how they agree to a point is equally interesting…

I can see genuine fellowship among the families the way they talk and discuss…the men and the woman….Unlike in India the men do as much cooking as the woman…the woman do have the beer in our company…everything feels so equal unlike the prejudiced settings back home… When I talk to them I can feel the discontent they have for how the church works back home where everything has turned into money minting machines….There is a little fund collection during the prayer which is used to support really needful back in Kerala…and again this is done independent of the church…. Sometimes we do have an occasional priest from kerala attending the gathering…and often he concedes to us in private that the politics within the religious establishment has degraded the whole essence of what Jesus stood for…

There is one aunt called Leelamma aunty who apparently has difficulty in walking...I was told by others that this aunty was a beautiful tall athletic lady 3 decades ago…She used to be the liveliest outdoor person ..the kind of person whom you identify as a bubbly girl…the Malayalee girl who was the most popular…Several years ago, she suffered some kind of food poisoning which left her paralyzed…Doctors said she wouldn’t survives since the poisoning had affected her nervous system…But she lived…but as a completely different person…the once athletic person became so frail and her hand so thin…she couldn’t walk without someone holding her…

I have read inspiring stories about how a husband takes care of her wife or vice versa…but this was something I was seeing in real…The uncle apparently was taking care of her for past 33 years…managing the house…cooking food…taking care of her…infact she couldn’t even take a bath herself!!!…Kariachen uncle as we call him is one of the most jovial men I have ever met…Its hard to believe that he is someone whose life was way different from us…Well I don’t think he was actually sad how his life turned out to be...infact he gladly accepted and I can see he is still in love with Leelamma aunty…and mutually…the way they fight together….Thinking about it, uncle could have left Leelamma aunty at the state-run Medicare centers or migrated to kerala and settle there where Leelamma aunty could be take care by relatives or nurses….But he never did that!!!

At least in this blog I want to say…”Uncle and Aunty…you are one of the most beautiful pair I have ever seen…!” Today I attended the get together after a long time…Great sensible and mature talks…lot of jokes from uncles and aunties…little funny criticisms of each other...great beer….lip smacking food…

I rarely enjoy spending time with people of older generation back in India…But here I was relishing it…I was feeling like being part of a family…When I shook the frail hands of Leelamma aunty while bidding good bye…and I look her eyes...I don’t see a tinge of sadness…her palms had a warmth which sort of spread to me…I am truly humbled meeting such people….amongst fake…revengeful…self-important…arrogant people whom you meet across in your life!!! There are indeed nice people in the world…believe me and that’s a heartening feeling!!

Rock of Hope!

Friday, July 17, 2009 |

Yesterday at the coffee shop
My Lord, I did eavesdrop!!
Some call you the final hope,
Others call you the mortals dope.

I wonder sometimes, how do you cope?
Listening to people who crib non-stop
Singing songs on why their life is a flop
Coz I might have just told, would you please stop!!

Stopped at your place when I did choke
And I was just another sinful bloke
Lord, blessed am I to be part of your flock
Taking care of me when I was really broke!!

Well people do sometimes mock
And think it is another silly joke
But I know very well, you really do rock...
Giving me life before I went in smoke!!

Adios :-( .......Welcome :-)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 |

Sometimes there are those days when you feel happy for no reason….and there are those days when you feel sad for no reason….sadness is a feeling which everyone of us go through some point in our lives…You could be sad coz you lost a loved one…you could be sad coz you are sick…you could be sad coz someone got angry at you...you could be sad coz someone doesn’t reciprocate your feelings….you could be sad coz you are guilty of doing something which went against your conscience…or simply you could be sad just coz the weather was dull….Its amazing how easy it is to be sad…I have felt sad due to these reasons at several instances in my life….But how do we fight it…?

Sometimes the therapy to fight sadness is to accept the facts and cry out….sometimes it is better to forget the reason why ….sometimes it requires to forgive the person and move on….sometimes it is better to reflect on your actions and change….the cardinal rule is not to succumb in self-pity…I see many people who do it….There is nothing wrong in being sad coz that is another human emotion like happiness or anger or love….The bottom line is to accept it and move on….

Each one of us have our individual tailor made way to fight sadness…some don’t share it and cry alone in the bathroom while running the shower so that no one hears it…some need a shoulder to cry on…some just hold it for years and become happily numb….It depends on your personality how to deal with it…But for most of us the reason for sadness is something which we keep deep within ourselves…maybe I am generalizing but probably am espousing it based on personal experience…But each experience has taught me new lessons on how to fight it…

First you have accept that you are not the only person in the world who is sad and there are probably millions of other people who are sad due to more profound reasons….Secondly end of the day you have to move on…

Probably the most common reason for people to be sad is lost love…people tend to carry the baggage of hurt feelings for a long long time….and almost to the level that people actually are feeling comfortable sulking in that past…Believe me when I say falling in love again is possible…maybe you may not feel the immediate magical rush of feelings where everything around you was mere static objects while you strongly felt connected with the person…but it will be a slow pleasant ride of a new beginning where you would recreate the strange human emotion called love with the new person on a much stronger level and on a more mature level….There are enough people in the world around you who want to be loved!!

Sometimes the reason for sadness can be merely lost platonic love..between friends…A friend whom you might have considered dearly may not exactly have the same feelings for you…If you feel the feelings are not mutual don’t hate the person….Simply accept the fact that you cannot force any person to like you which would in turn become artificial…Do you want that? .There might be reasons for other person as well which explains any cold shoulder….respect it and move on and find new friends….Friendship is mutual and just like love, it ignites like a spark based on synergy….Stop cribbing “I don’t have any friends” coz there are plenty out there who need a friend as well….

I used to be very bad at fighting sadness….and I realised not to fight it and rather accept it…Treat sadness like a tooth ache….Don’t just take a aspirin and make yourself numb and rather do the root canal…Sadness can be fixed with happiness…Search for ways that can make you happy…Don’t put yourself into believing “He/she was the only person whom I thought………” or “I must be cursed and that’s why…..”..They are mere psychological games which our minds play…And as someone once said life is too short to fret over little sorrows….Breath again and start afresh...

Two weeks ago…I was sad for a wholly different reason...not coz I was hurt or sick…
A favourite nun whom I admire a lot was leaving the city forever….Her smile would bring happiness to every person at MoC during the regular Sunday meals…I was sad that I ll miss it from the next week….The kind of person whose sheer presence exuded joy! And when she told all of us that she was leaving for Rome , I could see the faces around me suddenly become glum ...the supposedly drunk, harsh and cold noisy street people who come there for the meal turned quiet…the kind of people whom we normally generalise to care about nothing....suddenly they seemed to have developed a lump in their throat…so was I when I saw it…Sister Vimala saw that her leaving the place was indeed a reason for all of us to be sad( although it just meant she was going to serve somewhere else)…But all of us were so used to seeing her….Sensing it, breaking the usual routine she lifted all our spirits into a much happier mood by breaking into a song…the way only she knows...


video

Sister Vimala is dimunitive sister coming last in the slide..She is Polish....Though the song maynot sound like professional..it was sung impromptu by the sister and the poor people who had come there for the free meal...recorded it on my mobile..and I must say it was amazing how the mood just changed after the song!!

Happy Easter....

Thursday, April 9, 2009 |

May this season of remembrance help us come closer to the lord..I remember the easter of 2007 ...the day I felt so happy just being able to share the joy with many people...now when I feel sad I remember that day when I feel there are still people who can make you smile...


Pray for her to spread happiness in the world...

Sunday, March 29, 2009 |