I woke up to the thoughts “today is my birthday”…. I have been waiting for this day to celebrate my birthday for 364 days! I was eager to receive the day – my child like mind was looking forward for the wishes, the gifts and the love from scores of people. I was dreaming about the day, when a tiny bird perched on the tree next to my bedroom window, chirped – loud and intense as if to say – “see how beautiful the sky is” …. I sat up in bed, leaned forward and opened the window. I looked outside. It was still dark, and I could hardly see anything. It was just 5.00 a.m. The trees were still. The bird screeched again, now coming closer to the window….”see…see there, the moon is smiling at you”….yes, indeed the moon was smiling. Having admired the moon for a few seconds, I thought I should get down to the day’s routine. I thought I will get the little bird a few grains to feed and turned to go to the kitchen. “No …no …no” screeched the bird…I don’t want food, I know to get mine… see … cant you see that tiny star glittering …remember your nursery rhyme, ‘like a diamond in the sky’… Yes! so many diamonds , nice to admire….but I was getting restless, with the “to do list”. Mundane jobs of the day over powered my desire to admire the stars. Yet , something magnetic made me to gaze at the sky a little longer…. Ya…there I could see something bright…. was it a mobile TV tower signal …no ….it was the planet Venus, seemed to appear and disappear amidst the clouds.. so majestic…. “so full of energy rotating at dizzy speed” and then a bout of clouds seemed to cover the whole sky, and take away the feeling of beauty and joy I was experiencing. A momentary disappointment…
By then I was distracted when the mobile beeped with the wake up call…it seemed to tell me louder “get up and go, so much to do, don’t waste time, cook, exercise, be behind the maid, get ready, make calls, drive, send mails…oh god”. I attempted to get out of the room, driven by the duties of the household… but the little wonder bird, now into my room through the window, flying across the room, made a high pitched cry “Wait” !
What now ? I thought the clouds have come and covered the sky, what more ? may be he is hungry? …. As I turned to get down and offer a few grains out of great feeling of ‘giving’….. lo ! in the corner of my eye was a wonderful sight …… in the far east , an invisible artist seemed to stroke the canvas …bright orange …a beautiful ball of fire……and slowly coming up . ..frozen in its beauty, every moment was giving a feeling of expansion – a sense of inexplicable joy. Within minutes, streaks of white lines spread out from the orange ball… generously giving, life-kindling- vibrant light into the horizon and gently touching everything that came its way. The creator’s purity lit up and brightened the whole place in an instant. Yes, the tender morning rays of the rising sun engulfed one and all with warmth and care. In a moment everything seemed to come alive …… In fact, I realized Life came alive …. feelings of joy, peace, love, light – life came alive, all in a platter. In that instant I realized that the biggest gift of my life – LIFE ITSELF. While I would cherish every little gift that would come my way for the birthday, nothing would equal the gift of the daily sun rise. The daily promise of life.
Full of gratitude, I looked around for the little bird to say “thank you”. Oh! Where did it disappear….? There seemed to be no one around. Who is this little wonder who gave me such a wonderful message for my birthday ? Was it my soul mate, or my Guru or was it my inner voice ? Let us not get drowned in the routine of life’s activities. Experience the joy of every sun rise. Relish every moment of life with life…. Listen to the call of that chirping bird in you ….
This contribution is a simple but clarion call from my friend and fellow Company Secretary, V Chenthamarai from Bangalore. On the eve of Samhita turning 11, I thought what better way to celebrate the birthday than carrying a reader’s thoughts that resonate with mine. In these life-threatening pandemic times when we hear news about death of so many ordinary and extraordinary lives (as if death knows or cares about this !) day in and day out, isn’t it beautiful to just celebrate LIFE ITSELF ? On behalf of my entire team, I wish to thank all of you for patronizing Samhita since November, 2009 in different ways. We pledge to continue the journey of sharing for as many years as possible.
It is said that children learn from what we do and not what we say. Actions speak louder than words. Our actions impact the growing up years of our children. Recently I was reading what a young man had written about his dad on his 60th birthday. He described what a typical working day looked like from the eyes of a young school boy as he observed his dad start the day very early at 4 am and wind up only by 11 pm after baking, selling, working at the hotel as a patisserie chef, coming back to the family bakery to keep things ready for the next day etc. He recalled how hard his dad worked, how he cared for the family and gave them the required time on weekends. Looks an everyday thing most of us do but imagine why the young man wrote about this. He said he learnt the value systems from his dad without he ever having to preach him. I could connect with a countless such things that my mother did as an everyday chore that has left a deep imprint in my mind. Each one of you will discover yourself if you are able to connect the dots of your childhood with the key influencers.
Evaluating a podcast of a fellow Toastmaster, I heard him reminiscence his growing up years under a disciplinarian yet affectionate guardian uncle and how his emphasis on learning math or cleaning the fan blades or building an own study-table have made him a man that he is today. He said proudly that his resilience comes from his mother, a single parent who toiled the whole day to make ends meet and give him a quality life. He fondly recalled the guardian aunt who would hand out a piece of the big chocolate at the end of the day only after helping her in the kitchen, gardening and carrying the groceries. I am sure he values the single chocolate piece earned back then a lot more than the whole bar that he can afford today.
It is said children may forget what you say but they never forget how you made them feel. I recall with indignation an incident I witnessed last week during my walk in the nearby park. A group of retired oldies who are the self-appointed caretakers of the park (or so they think and you can find this breed in almost all the parks) were as usual gossiping on the bench. Suddenly one of them stopped a young, fair looking, plump boy whose face was almost covered with the mask except for his eyes that gave away that he was not a local. He brazenly asked him “Hey you, are you from China ?” The boy who had just finished his running was shaken. He replied “No uncle I am from Nepal”. The rest of the oldies laughed at him while another commented, displaying his ignorance “Look at his eyes, he may be from Nepal or from Himachal or some north-eastern state”. The original oldie probed further “Do you have a gun ?” I normally do not interfere even if there is some incident happening but I couldn’t tolerate to see the helpless boy, all alone amidst a pack of mindless, hounding elders. I questioned the oldie “Sir, why are you targeting a young boy who was not violating any rules of the park ?” Taken aback, he blabbered “Madam, asking just for fun only. He is looking like a Chinese. What if he attacks us ?” I admonished him that how can he have so-called fun at the expense of a young boy. The boy left the park immediately, confused and scared. I don’t know how long this incident will remain scarred in his young mind. I don’t know what he will make of elders, what of our city. It was body-shaming in a way, country-shaming in a way, parentage-shaming in a way – all for which he was not responsible in any way ! I am damn sure the child will never forget how he was made to feel that day.