Celebrate LOVE – Everyday

Picture1Often, we are so shy or scared to let our feelings out that we miss the chance of experiencing true love. There is a heart-wrenching story of a young girl called Tanu. Tanu was a school going kid when she felt a little something for the boy called Prem from her school. She thought of it as a crush and ignored her feelings. But as years went by, her feelings for Prem got stronger. Even a little glimpse of him would make her day and if some day he was absent from school, she would terribly miss him. She could not define what she was going through, but whatever it was, she was happy with her little secret. Many a times she had thought of confessing her feelings to him but she let fear take over her and never did so. She was always shy and quiet around Prem and never spoke to him even if she desired.

Slowly years passed by and the farewell day arrived. Tanu had made up her mind to confess her love to him that day. Her heart broke when she got to know that he wouldn’t attend the farewell as he suddenly fell ill. She took that as a sign of destiny, and thought that she should forget him. Tanu gave her exams and passed out with flying colors. She joined Medicine and got selected as an intern in one of the reputed hospital.

It was a hot summer day in March, when she learned that a new young patient was admitted in her hospital. When she went to check, she got the shock of her life. It was Prem, her never-confessed, true love. Even after all those years she still couldn’t forget him. She couldn’t believe if all that was happening was real. He no longer looked like the handsome, popular boy that every girl swooned over in school. He had lost weight and his ePicture6yes radiated sadness, but what remained from those days was his mischievous smile. When she learnt that he was in the last stage of Colon cancer and had just few more weeks to live, she was shattered. She thought she had moved on but seeing him again, intensified her feelings for him.

Tanu knew that she couldn’t do much as a Doctor, so she decided to spend as much time with him as possible. She was tempted to reveal her side of the story to him but something always stopped her. She would hold his hand and he would sleep peacefully. He found comfort in her and told her how he always felt he was unlovable. “I really like spending time with you” he said one day as he slowly closed his eyes, holding her hand and with that same old smile on his face he passed away peacefully.

Picture3Till today, Tanu has one regret that she never told him about her real feelings.

Sometimes we just need to take that risk and let out our feelings as unsaid love is much more painful than unrequited love!

What is love?

Love is one of the most intense emotions each one of us experiences. It could be between two lovers, parents and children, siblings, friends, between a girl and a boy, husband and wife or love could be towards animals or it could be towards self.

Well, the beauty of Love is that it does not change with the context. Love is the Picture5purest form of emotion; it is all encompassing, present everywhere. However, the perception of love changes from person to person and with time. I did a small survey to know what ‘love’ means to people from various age groups. The results were quite interesting.

Kids and Toddlers –. When asked, “What love means to them?” their answers were very innocent and precious. Little Nancy says, “Love is when mom lets me watch my favorite cartoon. I love chocolates and playing with my toys. I love games period too.” Vaishnavi interrupts and says, “I love my mummy daddy and my little brother.” When probed the shy one out of the lot, Aasmi with an innocent toothy grin reveals that her love is Maggi noodles. Their real and genuine answers were far too precious to not smile.

Teens/Young adults – Few of them were going through break-ups so for them it was the end of the world. For them love didn’t exist anPicture7ymore. When talking to these teens and young adults what struck me the most is that their relationship with their friends mattered the most. That is the phase where one is figuring out about their lives and themselves. Love in their minds is what they read in books and watch in movies.

Adults – It was a different experience when I spoke to talk to the adults. Their first preference and priority were their children and their kid’s happiness. Kids were their number one priority, and sacrificing for their benefit is what love meant to them.

Old People – Talking to older people about love transfers you to a world which does not Picture4seem real any more. Majority of them equate love with sacrifice, commitment and trust.

I often dismiss the thought that the current generation is unsure when it comes to love, because the times have changed. Now we have options in everything, people are disposable, and real feelings are lost—or so we like to believe. I wonder how the older generation made it look so easy, and how most of their relationships lasted, and are still going strong, while the younger generation can’t even get through the first few stages of dating someone without a whirlwind of questions, confusion, doubt, and mixed signals. It’s becoming exhausting to find someone, and even more exhausting to love them. What was so different back then? Where did we go wrong? How did we lose the essence of love and romance along the way?

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There is this one picture I came across where it beautifully gave away what love truly is. ‘There was this old-aged married couple sitting next to each other on a park bench turning their face away from each other. It was raining heavily and the old man was holding an umbrella but what I found astonishing was instead of covering himself with the umbrella he instead was holding it above the old woman’s head.’ This is what true love is and the difference in love between today’s and the old generation… No matter what age or what situation, no matter how many fights and quarrel, the promise to protect each other through thick and thin is what love is. Love is a combination of trust, commitment, being there for each other, easily forgiving each other and so on. The purest form of love doesn’t come with a tag of “T & C apply”. It is unconditional. It is eternal. It is the basic emotion with which we relate to other living beings. The world and everything around us is built on love and in today’s time there is nothing more impactful than spreading love. If you have the ability to make someone happy, do it. Reach out and help others. Heal one another with love. The world needs more of that.  Love is here to stay…

 

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How to handle Exam Stress..?

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Exam time! Last minute studies, preparations, anxiety, overwhelm – all of these culminating into STRESS.… is that what you are going through right now? Stress about “Will I remember everything that I have studied? Will I score good marks? Will I get admission in the college I desire?” All these questions drive you crazy, don’t they?

Stress has become such a common word in our vocabulary. But what is this stress exactly?

Stress is nothing but a reaction to a situation that we create in our mind. If you observe carefully most of these situations are born out of assumptions and expectations. They are imaginary. These events have not occurred in reality. But the end result of these fictional situations is fear. Fear of forgetting what you have studied or fear of not scoring well and so on. And it is this fear that gives rise to stress.

So, the best way to deal with stress is to deal with the root cause. Here are some of the tips.

  1. Relax your Mind:

Our mind is like a monkey. It will keep on jumping from one thought to another. It creates a mountain out of a molehill. You feed it with one negative thought and in a while you will find yourself gripped with fear, agitated and anxious. It is therefore very important to calm your mind.

You can do it by following 3 simple steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Find a quiet place and sit in a relaxed position or lie down. The idea is you should be completely relaxed physically.

Step 2: Observe your thoughts. You will find numerous thoughts passing through your mind. Don’t stop them. Just observe them come and go. Slowly you will find that the thoughts reduce in numbers.

Step 3: Now observe your breath. Observe the cool air passing through your nostrils up to your lungs and the warm air coming out of your lungs through your nostrils. Do this process for at least 21 breaths or until you feel there are hardly any thoughts left in your mind. Remember your mind can do only one thing at a time – it can either observe your thoughts or observe your breath.

Once the mind is calm you can focus on your studies better.

You can also checkout my YouTube video of a shorter version of SKY technique that I have developed and is very effective in dealing with stress. It just takes two minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFH3KP9i0Tw&t=28s

  1. Feed your Mind with Only Positive Thoughts:

Our mind is like a very fertile soil. Whatever you sow, will grow. Make sure you feed your mind only with positive thoughts. If any time you get fear based thoughts, shrug them off and remember and super-impose them with some positive incidents from your life. The time when your teacher appreciated you or when your parents were proud of you or when you felt happy about yourselves.

  1. Believe in Yourselves:

You must have heard this many times, ‘You are what you believe’. It is absolutely true. If you believe that you will fail, you will and if you believe that you will win, you certainly will. The choice lies with you. We are humans and it is natural to get negative thoughts. At such times use this affirmation, “I am the best”, or “I am successful in whatever I do”. So friends, shape up your reality by believing in yourselves.

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  1. Never Ever Compare:

Remember, you are unique and there is no second person as exceptional as you are on this planet. Comparison only induces stress. So don’t compare with anybody. Do your best and leave the rest.

  1. Do what You Love:

Doing what you love acts as an instant form of relaxation. If you love music or drawing or dance, practice that for a few minutes every day, without getting carried away by it. Any form of art relaxes your mind and leaves it in a more receptive state.

  1. Physical Activity is a Must:

Continuously sitting at one place and studying for a long period of time makes you dull and lethargic. It has the same effect on your mind as well. A quick run, or a few stretches or even shaking your body to the tune of music will have a magical effect. 

  1. Avoid Junk Food:

Here’s the catch. When you are stressed you are more likely to eat junk food. During your exams eat only healthy and preferably home cooked food. It gives the required nourishment to your body and handles stress in a better way.

Friends, remember, it is only an exam – a small part of your entire life. The result of the exams cannot decide your capability, your intelligence or who you are. You are the BEST! Have faith in the universe, believe in yourself, just chill and you are sure to rock!

Signing off with lots of love and good luck…!

SUICIDE SCARES

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A few weeks back there was yet another disturbing news of a student committing suicide in Kota. Such news have a frequent appearance now-a-days. We read the news, feel bad about it and with time it fades away from our memory only to be refreshed with another such incident. IIT Aspirant From Uttar Pradesh Commits Suicide In Kota

However, such incidents do jolt us from within, they give rise to a lot of questions such as why does this happen? When is this going to stop? How many more lives until we get a stop to this? Most importantly, why is it so easy for a person to think that taking one’s own life is the ultimate end to all the problems? Undoubtedly, there has to be a serious reason for it.

Though the suicides in Kota keep making headlines in the media, the overall rate of students committing suicides has increased radically through all these years. It is time we reflect upon the above questions and address the issue. The suicide is only an upshot of some major mayhem in our lives.

Some of the underlying causes could be –
Nature of Education: Our education has become more marks and result oriented than before. I remember when I was a student, our focus was more on understanding the subject than scoring marks. Today, the students have to bone up on as every single mark is a decision-maker of their future.

Peer Pressure: There is tremendous pressure on the children from their parents and time-481447_960_720society. “Look at your brother. He is a topper in the class and you barely pass.” Or “My child scored 90% what about your daughter?” A child may excel in arts but is forced to study engineering because his brother or the neighbour’s son chose to do so.

Parent’s Dream Imposed on Children: Once a father came to me with his son to me for counselling, who was undergoing treatment for depression. He had forced his son to join the Kota classes and enter IIT as it was his unfulfilled dream. Unfortunately, the son could not take the pressure and after spending a year in Kota, came back home, deep into depression. The gruelling sessions there had taken such a toll on the son that he became a rebel and refused to do anything. He just ate and slept throughout day and night and lost the hope to live. When I was counselling him, he told me that he wanted to become an artist and was forced into IIT coaching classes by his dad. This is a sad fact that many times we wish our children to fulfil our dreams not realising the cost it entails.

 Inability to Handle Stress:   We live in a world which demands productivity and stress-853644_960_720.jpgefficiency. Tough competition in every sphere of life is a breeding ground for stress. Students particularly go through exam, career, relationship stress and so on. Most of the times, the stress goes unaddressed and goes to work inside, leading to a havoc and such dire consequences.

 Inability to Handle Emotions:  We are all emotional beings. In schools and colleges we learn math, science, history, geography but no one teaches us how to deal with our emotions. We don’t know what to do when we are angry, we don’t know what to do when we feel sad, we don’t know how to handle anxiety. Not knowing how to handle emotions leaves us in a state of disorder. The easiest option to get out of the mess one thinks, is suicide.

All of these are the few of the many reasons why Kota in particular has seen so many suicides. It has become a place haunted by hope, despair, and isolation and in the end going nowhere.

As a parent and a teacher it is in our hands how we treat these young minds. We need to deal with them with care.

Here are few solutions to the problem I can offer –
Know your Child:  As parents or teachers the well-being of the child should be given top-most priority. We need to see where the child’s interest lies and we should support them to go in that direction. Children should be constantly made aware that their opinion matters and that they are respected and they are supported for all their decisions. This helps them to build confidence and they feel secure. That way the children will be at ease and can perform to their highest potential. This will also prevent them from taking any drastic steps. The life of your child is more precious than anything in this world.  

Never Ever Compare: Comparison is the worst thing that you could do to your child. It badly affects the self-esteem of the child and makes him/her believe that he/she is not capable of achieving anything. We need to remember that every person is a unique creation of God with distinctive qualities. No two human beings are similar. This fact itself dissolves any ground for comparison.

Be a Friend to Your Child: The best relationship you can develop with your child is that of friendship. In my practice as a Life Coach I have seen children resorting to drugs and alcohol, falling into wrong company and doing wrong things that the parents are not even aware of. And by the time the parents realise, it is already too late. What children need is unconditional acceptance and love. They need to communicate with someone who can understand them. If the parents are able perform this role of a friend, it can avoid a lot of untoward incidences.

Work on Making the Child Mentally Tough:  Constant Communication between the child and the parent and the assurance that the child will be loved and accepted under any situation makes the child mentally tough. The child should be taught that failure is a part of success rather than condemning the child for it.

Most of the times the children take such a drastic step like suicide is when they are unable to handle the pressure or fear of failure and the fear of rejection by family and society post that. If the child is welcomed with open arms even after failure, he/she will never take such an extreme step such as suicide.

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Teach Your children to Handle Stress: Many of us believe that meditation or spirituality is a practice for old age. Often misunderstood, these are nothing but a way of life irrespective of the age. If you are able to inculcate this or any mind-calming practices in children since a very young age, the children will be trained to handle stresses in life in a positive way rather than resorting to suicides.

Children are our future and it is each one of our responsibility to make our future bright. So let us be a beacon of hope and inspiration for them. Let us be mindful so that we can prevent such ghastly acts. Every single step that we take is going contribute in shaping up the destiny of the generations to come. Let us commit towards making this world a happy place to live in.

Does Stardom Come At A Price..?

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Who wouldn’t love being recognised in public, showered with adoration and love wherever one goes? Isn’t it exciting just to think about revelling in the special attention a famous person receives: Being asked for selfies and groupies by fans? But if you ask the stars, you will know fame is not all about glitter and glam. Have you pondered about the pain that comes with it and how stars tackle the same?

You gain some, you lose some

While there is a plethora of perks that comes with being famous, hidden dark sides of it are aplenty. Rest assure, it is not cakewalk to reach ultimate success. Moreover, the stress of maintaining that success comes soon after tasting it. The incessant pressure to look good, give the best performances, use the right words and evade controversies has left the best of the bests with sleepless nights. Normalcy in a celeb’s life is often zilch. Even small pleasures of their lives become a well-planned event. Say, a walk to the neighbourhood grocery store or some time with family becomes difficult as per their convenience. All the special attention one received and loved initially loses its glaze soon and become monotonous.

Real relationships vs. acquaintances

An entourage, fans, and friends from the industry always surround a celeb, yet they feel alone. When it comes to having a real conversation or relationship, the closest a star has is his or her makeup and hair person, manager or the therapist. Imagine a life without the care and protection of your loved ones. And don’t forget the rumour mills that sometimes affect them as well as their family. Often a celeb has to become detached from the world or be thick-skinned. Having friends and family around is the best way to enjoy their job. After all, being famous is just a job and a hardworking person needs mandatory vacations and regular “me” times.

Goals and games galore

Fame, out of all the things is uncertain in life. Today one might be “in” and tomorrow, it may be another, younger and promising star. Competition is never-ending in any industry, especially entertainment and sports. When you achieve your goals, you set for more and more. And it is not always a fair game. Anticipate the worst, and one will be fine! One needs to enjoy the perks of being famous such as enough financial security to buy or do anything, and access to the best of things. However, everything may seem overwhelming, leaving the stars feeling depressed and suicidal. Many have been victims to it and substance abuse becomes their thing. Late Princess Diana was bulimic, dealing with depression and was suicidal. Actor-comedian Robin Williams was fighting depression and killed himself. Deepika Padukone confessed to being depressed, so did Kapil Sharma.

It’s never too late

As long as the star knows s/he is in trouble and needs help, it will be fine. Meditation, Yoga, SKY healing, and positive thinking and having well-wishers around are some ways to keep the mind calm. You will love fame and will hate it, but it is not everything. Many have lost their sanity and lives to it. One starts wondering how can it happen when fame brings everything one needs, right? Well, Jim Carrey has said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything that they ever dreamed of, so that they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Moving from Ignorance to Wisdom

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • You have to take a difficult decision. You are unsure, and suddenly a voice speaks from within and you get your answer.
  • You found yourself saying, “My gut feeling is that I should go for this opportunity.”
  • You feel the presence of some divine energy guiding and protecting you through some of the most challenging and difficult situations.

If you are reading this blog, the chances are that you did experience at least one of the above. It is commonly said that ‘we are not human beings having spiritual experience, but we are spiritual having human experience.’

We come on this earth as a part of the super divine source to gain human experience; with the ultimate aim of evolving and going back to that source. While in human life we are faced with challenges that provide lessons for our growth and develop ourselves spiritually.

However, after we are born, we get so caught up with what the world offers us, that we start identifying with our human-ness more than our spiritual-ness (which is our true nature). Thus we get drifted from our real path and grope in the darkness. At such times we need to be reminded about our true purpose, we need to be shown light in order to get back on our path. This job can be done either internally or externally. Our internal being, our higher-self guides us through the internal voices or the gut feeling, or the awareness of the presence of an energy. Whereas externally, we are guided by the things and people around us. In a nutshell, whoever dispels this darkness and ignorance in us is called our Guru.

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There is a wonderful story of Lord Dattatreya and his twenty-four Gurus that is narrated by Lord Krishna in Srimad Bhagavatam., in His final teaching to his dear friend Uddhava.

Once King Yadu saw Lord Dattatreya happily wandering in a forest. The king was surprised and asked the sage with humbleness, about the secret of his happiness and the name of his Guru, “You look capable and wise, why do you live in the forest. Even though you have no family, nor any loved one, how could you be so blissful and self-contented?”

To this, the Lord Dattatreya replied, “My bliss and contentment are the fruits of self-realization. Soul alone is my Guru, yet I have gained the necessary wisdom from the whole creation, via twenty-four individuals who were therefore my Gurus. I have taken shelter of twenty-four Gurus, who are, the earth, air, sky, water, fire, moon, sun, pigeon and python; the sea, moth, honeybee, elephant and honey thief; the deer, the fish, the dancing girl Pingala, the kurari bird and the child; the young girl, arrow maker, serpent, spider and wasp…”.

How beautifully Lord Dattatreya has defined a Guru. By this definition, each and every person, animal, or thing that we encounter becomes our Guru – anything that takes us from darkness to light and from ignorance to wisdom.

After we are born, our mother teaches us everything necessary for our survival and growth, our teacher imparts us knowledge, every person who comes in our life and teaches us something. We also learn a lot of things from the nature around us – the trees, animals, earth, water sky – each one of them is our Guru. Since our very purpose of this life evolution, there is everything and everyone around us offering us lessons that we need to recognize. Above all we have a Guru residing within us – our soul – our higher self who is always guiding us. I call this as our Inner Guru. The inner voice that we hear, the feeling that there is somebody always guiding and protecting us is none other than our Inner Guru who can manifest in various forms externally.

There is a famous story in Mahabharata of Eklayva who aspired to learn archery. He went to Dronacharya who was the Guru of Kauravas and Pandavas, but was refused to be accepted as his student. Though he was deeply hurt by the rejection, Eklavya didn’t give up on his resolute will to master archery. He collected the mud where Dronacharya walked, as a symbolic gesture, and made a statue of him. By invoking the Guru within and in front of a mud statue of his Guru, he began to learn archery and mastered the skill after many years of practice.

Eventually, Eklavya gained mastery at archery and became greater than Dronacharya’s best student, Arjuna, simply by accepting the statue as his Guru and practicing in front of it every single day.

On the auspicious occasion of Guru Poornima, let us bow down to this divine energy within us and in others. This will be the true respect to the Guru within.

Some Super-heroes don’t have capes… they are called Dad

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It was an early morning of 24th of May 2017. I was frantically woken up by the attendant who was looking after my dad. I rushed to his room. We checked his BP, pulse, oxygen saturation, etc. The BP machine constantly showed an error, and pulse and the Oxygen was descending rapidly. The situation was alarming. CPR was given, ambulance was called for, he was rushed to the hospital, admitted in ICU, put on ventilator….all in a matter of half an hour….but all was in vain. His spirit had freed itself from the physical bondage. What remained lying still on the hospital bed was ‘the body’….. My dad had left for his forward journey leaving all of us behind.

20170618_111920-2Though we were engulfed with immeasurable grief, I decided to bid him adieu the way he lived life – no tears, no gloom but with love and in style. He was 90 year old, but was always elegantly dressed irrespective of whether he was in the house or stepped out. He loved to wear different outfits and carried them equally well. Whether it was a Hawaiian shirt I got him from Indonesia or the traditional Nepali dress from Kathmandu, he loved wearing new clothes and often showed them off. If someone asked him, “How old are you?”, he would ask them, “What do you think?” and when people said, he looked like he was in his seventies, his day was made. He took great pride in the fact he looked much younger than his age. His enthusiasm for life was contagious. He would do everything ceremoniously.

How can a person, always full of life, die? He never dies,…he always remains alive in all our hearts.

My dad loved to meet new people and visit new places. I was surprised at the number of people who came to pay their last tributes. I had quite underestimated his popularity in our neighbourhood.

I have learnt and imbibed a lot of things from my dad. In fact the foundation for what I do today was set by my father almost 40 years back. I remember when I was eight-year-old, I was a hyperactive child, and unable to focus on my studies. In spite of being a bright student I failed to score good grades. My teachers often complained to my parents about the mischiefs I did in school. But my dad never reprimanded me on this. Instead he made me sit one day and said, “Do you want to score well in your exams? I will show you a trick.” He said, “Close your eyes and focus at the centre of your brows for five minutes. It will help you concentrate on what you do and remember what you study”. With full trust on him, I started practicing it…and my results improved significantly. I started scoring good marks and was always amongst the top five in my class.  Focusing between the brows and experiencing the calm thereafter became an integral part of my routine. This practice sowed a seed for meditation in me. It brought a remarkable change and helped me develop a greater understanding of life.

My father was an avid reader and always dreamt of having a big library at home where he could spend most of his retired life; and I am happy, I could fulfil his dream. He  was the one who put me into the habit of reading. We had a collection of some really good books on literature, classics, philosophy, economics, history and so on. Some of his favourites were Shakespeare and Swami Vivekananda, which eventually became my favourite too. He made me memorise Mark Antony’s speech from the play Julius Caesar, “Friends, Romans, countrymen…”

He had a supremely creative side to him. He was a connoisseur of art and music, and a gifted painter. He would often be moving around, humming old Marathi and Hindi songs in the house. I have picked up this trait from him.

As a kid, I looked forward to every night, when he would cuddle me close and tell me stories from Phantom to mythology to Laurel and Hardy, gently patting me to sleep.

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He used to say, “When a son starts fitting into his father’s shoes, he no longer remains a son, he becomes a friend.” I still remember, when I was fifteen, one evening after I came back home from my classes, he said, “Let’s have a beer together”. In the setting of 1980s, hailing from a middle class Brahmin family, even uttering the word ‘alcohol’ in front of your parents was considered to be a complete disrespect to them. And there was my dad who wanted to have a glass of beer with me. I can never forget that day in my life. That particular incident dropped all the inhibitions between us and took our relationship to a new level… we became friends. After that there was nothing I needed to hide from him.

The biggest virtue I learnt from him was patience and a caring attitude. He was a 20150317_123234-1people’s person who always valued people and relationships. Once he was posted in a small town Ambikapur on a government deputation. Due to his nature, he became instantly popular amongst the people there. One day some children were playing near a well and a ten year old girl accidently fell in to the well. Everyone gathered there creating a big hue and cry. My dad’s office was close by. When he learnt about this, he ran and jumped in the well and saved the drowning girl. Such was my father. He risked his life without a second thought, to save the little girl. He was felicitated by the then collector of the town for this bravery.

My dad was a family person and bonded all of us together with love. Even after I grew up, he would make it a point to call me several times during the day. Our conversations would be like, “Did you have lunch beta (child)?”, “what time are you leaving from office?”, “where are you beta? Drive safe.” And so on. At times I would get slightly irritated and tell him, “Dad, I am grown up now. You don’t have to worry so much about me.” And his standard reply would be, “You can understand the concerns of a father only when you become one.”

Its an irony that now I am missing the same things I would get irritated upon. Dad, who will now call me and check on me, ‘Where are you beta…?’, and who will shower me with the unconditional love and who will worry about whether I had lunch, or slept well or if I am okay? Its truly said, “When your parent dies, you cease to be a child.”

If ever anything went wrong he would say, “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.” Those words were so comforting. They gave me renewed strength to handle the challenges. But now I am really going to miss all of those.

Love you dad and will miss you forever.

One of his favourite songs ”Aayega aane wala” from movie Mahal

5 Life Lessons Straight From ICCU

 

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Recently I spent nearly twenty days in the ICCU, when my father was hospitalized. It had become a regular routine for me, to go to the hospital every morning and come back in the night. I spent most of my time there during these days. The ICCU was always bustling with activities, with critical patients being brought in all the time. Being an intensive cardiac care unit, there was always an emergency, 24/7. Though my dad was quite stable, overall it was quite a mind-numbing experience. I used to stand alongside my dad’s bed most of the time and witness all the action happening in ICCU, merely as a spectator. But I believe that every incident, person and situation brings in valuable life lessons for us to grow and evolve spiritually. My experiences there have certainly made me more humble and grateful than before.

On the very next bed to my dad’s, there was a 13-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with a hole in his heart. The family was poor and did not have enough finances for the surgery. They waited for two long months, before they were ready for it. The little boy was admitted and the surgery was scheduled for the next day. The boy seemed to be quite unaware of his situation and the happenings around. He had a very cute and innocent smile on his face. He was busy playing mobile games, while his mother kept asking him to sleep and take some rest. She was continuously stroking his head with lot of love and concern.

When I came back the next morning, the bed was empty. “Has the boy gone for the surgery?” I asked the nurse. “No sir, he passed away in the morning!” She said with a sad face. “What..???” I just could not believe what I heard. I could feel my heart shatter into thousand pieces. The least I could do was to sit there silently and pray for his soul.

There was another couple who had come from a village in Punjab. The wife was to undergo an open heart surgery. The man had sold all their property so that his wife could get the new lease of life. It is really sad that medical facilities are so expensive and unaffordable to the economically weaker section of the society. She underwent the surgery but developed complications thereafter. Her husband was very nervous and requested us to pray for his wife. In the hospitals, generally, the patient’s relatives develop an instant bond with each other, as they are going through common issues. By evening there was an emergency with the lady; while the doctors were trying to resuscitate her, relatives of all patients were asked to wait outside. About an hour later, the doctors announced that the lady was no more. Her husband was inconsolable.

During my visits to the hospital in those twenty days, I came across a lot of shaking, heart-rending, and overwhelming stories. There were a few intermittent emotional moments, when I saw rakshabandhan being celebrated in ICCU. One sister tied rakhi to her brother who was in a critical condition. She tried hard to hide her tears, wore a forced smile on her face trying to hide the feeling of uncertainty that this could even be their last rakshabandhan together.

While I saw quite a few deaths happening there, there were patients who bounced back to health and left for their homes with their loved ones. Overall it was an indelible experience.

This time spent in ICCU reiterated some of the life’s important lessons to me:

Lesson # 1 :  Live every moment fully

All that we have is the present moment. Most often we forget this and spend all the time worrying and fretting about things that may or may not happen and loose the precious moments that life offers us. Life is only happening NOW. Live it fully.

Lesson # 2 : Be grateful for the smallest things in life

Consider yourselves blessed that you are still breathing and alive. We often forget all the blessings bestowed upon us by life and only focus on the lack. But such incidents like the ones mentioned above, help us realize that just being alive and healthy itself is a huge blessing and a big enough reason to be grateful for.

Lesson # 3 : Find your purpose and follow it

If you are still breathing and alive, means you still have a purpose to be fulfilled on this planet. We all have a purpose in this lifetime. However it is important to discover that and work towards it.

Lesson # 4 : Life is transient. Be humble

Death is inevitable; irrespective of your position and socio-economic status. So always be humble, as you cannot fight this mighty force. Being humble keeps you grounded and keeps your ego at bay. You realize that you are not the doer. It is the universe that is working through you and you are just a medium for the larger plan of the universe to be fulfilled.

Lesson # 5 : You don’t carry anything to the grave, except your deeds

Be kind and good to all. Don’t be judgemental. Respect and love others unconditionally. Don’t do anything that will make you regret and feel guilty later. Your deeds, are the only things that you are going to carry to your grave.

Life is your best teacher. It will always bring you challenging situations with a hidden and priceless lessons. Be conscious and open to learning those and you will never look at life with the same eyes again.

So, here’s me signing off, wishing you a healthy happy and a regret-free life.