November 27, 2008
While I kept arguing, he kept listening patiently. While I spoke out my mind, not my heart, clearly to him, a tear dropped through his eyes, but yet he kept listening patiently. It was like the phone didn’t have anyone else on the other line and I was talking like a fool. But now when I think over it, assuredly I say, I have been a fool. Misunderstandings did happen, otherwise why would I scream over the phone like some animal? And while I complained that he didn’t take an effort to work over the misunderstanding, I never took an effort to understand his pain. I just couldn’t put my feet in his shoes. It seemed like unthankful ground, it seemed like indifference. But was I the indifferent?
But all that didn’t make things better. In my haste, I called him up again making things worse. “Beep…beep”…and the phone was cut. Those ‘beeps’ made my heart to beat a hundred times faster. It felt like maybe that was the last time I ever spoke to him again. The very next day, I penned down an obligatory sorry letter. But he didn’t bother to reply. Again the next day, I beautified my words and penned down another obligatory letter. But he didn’t bother to reply again. While this continued for another few days, I tried to console myself that he might be just too busy to reply.
Through all this I maintained my stand that I was right and he was wrong though the letters spoke something different. But as I relived those days again, my conscience kept pricking me that I was the one at fault. I tried to put myself into his shoes to correct myself. I did find my mistakes, but his mistakes seemed greater to me than mine. But the guilt in my conscience didn’t spare me. It kept haunting me even in my dreams.
Even after a month into the incident, things didn’t get better neither did my guilt stop haunting me. Deep inside, I longed for a restoration. I longed for forgiveness. I longed to tell him that I’m sorry. But was this longing a true one? I wondered why years of such a close relationship should break within a few seconds. I began blaming myself for the whole situation. But all this just kept adding up to my guilt. In my pain, I again wrote down a letter to him. I was really afraid to talk to him personally fearing that I would land up saying something that would break his heart again. With high hopes I wrote a letter to him from a more sincere heart. But this time, I got a reply.
But his reply wasn’t at all nice. All that I remember in his reply is “I don’t want to be friends with you again”. This really hurt me to the core. I was even ready to go to the greatest possible extent to find my lost friendship. But this statement really put me down. Guilt got over me. I really didn’t find any pleasure in life.
I prayed to God earnestly to get me out of this mess. Even in my prayers I tried to goof up the whole incident. But God really wasn’t pleased with that. I had to be open at least in the sight of God. And if I wasn’t going to do that, God clearly told me that he wasn’t going to help me out of this situation. He made things difficult for me till I ran to my knees confessing myself before him. In his mighty love and grace, he made things better and restored me back my lost friendship. It didn’t happen in a day! It took another two months for me to actually begin talking with him like before. God was working, but it was a real test to my patience. If God wouldn’t have helped me control my emotions, maybe I would’ve done something foolish in the course of time.
Through this entire incident, God broke my ego. He taught me that it doesn’t cost much to accept that you are the one at fault. He taught me how to say sorry. He taught me to put in sincere efforts to take very good care of relationships. He taught me that relationships are not made in one day, but it requires a lot of patience and hard work from you.
Now when I look back to those days, I thank God for all that has happened. Though it took more than three months for things to get better, it was a journey never to be forgotten. You may say that I overdid the whole scenario. But though it sounds a bit too much for a person to do to get himself reconciled, its true of me! Why couldn’t he be the person to get reconciled back with me? Hey, why not I? If the love of God is really there in me, I should be the one to ask for forgiveness. And now as I read 2Cor. 7:11 God reassures me that he has honored my prayers.
“For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
Is this true repentance?
November 25, 2008
When I look at my comforts, the privileges that I enjoy, wow, they are many. But it’s not the same when I look at you. Why is that so my sister, why? At times, I wonder if I am more special to my parents. Is it because I’m stronger than you, I don’t know? Is it because my masculinity is overpowering your feminism, I don’t know? Is it because, the world will accept me and not you, I don’t know? Is it because we were brought up learning that you are supposed to be confined to the four walls of the house, I don’t know? Is it because our culture taught us that your ultimate purpose was to have and nurture a family, I don’t know?
It’s recently since I started appreciating you. It’s recently since I started respecting you for what you are. I could never talk to you as freely as I’m doing to you nowadays. Maybe it’s because we understand each other better. We argue, we fight over various matters, we try landing into some conclusions, but I love it. We are yet young and the fancies of this world may soon affect us. But I will take all my care to see that you will always be precious to me. You are yet young, not in your maturity, but in your feminism, and you are exploring the world. It’s not that I’ve seen the world, but that I see it from different eyes.
My sister, don’t run behind your feminism because you will never be able to catch up with it. It’s not that being a feminist is wrong. It’s just that you’ve interpreted it wrong. The world taught you feminism is fighting for your rights. You should be treated equally, why shouldn’t you be? Why should demanding for what belongs to you, what you’ve been discriminated from, be wrong? Why should there be separate laws for males and females? I too agree with you that all these are wrong, and you should be treated equally. But as long as you run behind your feminism, the chains of masculinity will always hold you behind.
Fighting for your rights is fine and will work in a society which respects you. But in our society, though they respect you, they respect you otherwise. In our culture, you were always looked upon as someone delicate, full of grace, and a really shy person. But the sudden change in culture with the introduction of feminism turned out to be like an untimely birth of a baby. The baby grew but with deformities. And you, my sister, adopted that baby. The baby signified an alteration of the core principles of our culture. As this change was unexpected, it was rejected.
Maybe one of the best ways to come out of this wretchedness is to respect our culture. Sure, it’s not your comfort zone. But use culture as a tool to overcome male chauvinism. It would be foreign to go out of the bounds of a culture to teach people who are bound in the framework of that culture that they are wrong. But respecting the culture and being a part of it gives you opportunities to express your voice, your desires, your grief; your feminism! But this time, your feminism will mean much more to you than just fighting for your rights. You will achieve satisfaction without leaving anyone disappointed or ego broken.
When I look at you I see the beauty in God’s creation. I thank God for such a beautiful gift. I love the cakes, the ice-creams and all the special stuff that you make. And what do I do in return? Sit and watch T.V.! I love the enthusiasm with which you oft correct me when I go wrong. It does hurt my ego to receive a correction from you, but now, I take it as a challenge to believe in a change from different eyes. I thank you for those days when you stayed up awake late in the night waiting for me so that others aren’t disturbed entertaining me with canes and bitter-gourds in the night. What else…I do have a lot to say, but it’s my love for you that will say the rest. And still you are my bigger sister!
Rushing through my earthly morning rituals, I take my journey to college. As I approach the bus stop, out of the blue, a bus whizzes pass me. I run hard to catch it. But alas! The bus doesn’t halt. Disappointed, I hurl my feelings of anger at the bus conductor. “7:45 slow local to Churchgate has arrived on platform 2…“ On hearing the announcement, I run a 100 meter dash to the platform. I somehow make my way through the huddle of people and get into the train. “Who cares if they get hurt, as long as I’m safe in the train!” I struggle to breathe a sigh of relief when I hear some unmelodious instruments and people chanting “Om…Om.” To add well to my agony, a few poor kids walk up to me begging for money. In my rather suppressed fury I plead them to get lost.
En route, I pass by a temple. Looking at those people, I pity their wretchedness and console myself, “Thank God, I’m not one of them.” In spite of all the running, by the time I reach college, I’m 15 minutes late, welcoming the angry cries of my teacher. Thankfully, there are those cheery friends who without fail make up the day for me. Soon, the college gets over and I follow my routine promenade back home. On my way, I snack at the sev puri wala, quarrel with the auto rickshaw driver for the 1Re. change, bemoan the lousy cries of the beggar on the overhead bridge, and articulate my hundred complaints against the people in the bus and train.
Now at the end of the day, I still ask myself, “What does evangelism mean to me?” I never got an opportunity to witness today, my day was really bad. How can I witness in such adverse circumstances? At that moment, God in his grace answered,
“My son, it’s very nice to know that you’re actually concerned about evangelism. I do see the zeal in you to evangelize. But somehow things are just not working out for you. Unable to capitalize on opportunities, you stand puzzled on where to start and how to start. And today, well, you had the bus conductor, the beggars, some annoying people on board the train with you, and many others who somehow robbed you of those opportunities. But what if evangelism began with these people? You could have been polite with the bus conductor against whom you spoke roughly, and been gentle with the people at the station whom you pushed and hurt to get inside the train. You could have been more considerate to those orphans who begged you for some money. What if your teacher, your classmates, the rickshaw driver, the sev puri wala, the beggar, and the many people you met today, be people with whom you would one day share the gospel? If they ever are going to believe in the gospel, they got to see it in you first! Evangelism begins with a daily impersonation of the gospel of Christ. Evangelism must necessarily begin in the Jerusalem you live in. These people are a part of you furthermore they make or break your day. If you don’t care for them, what really does evangelism mean to you?”
November 08, 2008
First day at college, I make desperate attempts to keep myself updated with the new crowd. I search for new friends and in the process I find many of my old friends in the same college and we enjoy a hearty chat. Soon the bell rings and we hurry to our respective classes. The first day is really an exciting experience with everything new and many new people to meet. Within no time the first half of college gets over and we gather together for lunch at a place we secured for ourselves as our ‘adda’. As we ate our lunch, one of my friends asked me a question, “Are there any hot ones in your class?” At first, I couldn’t understand his question but then another friend slipped in a reply, “Hey, do you think he will be interested in those things? He’s not like us that he should be crazy after girls. Forget being crazy after the good ones. Am I not right?” I give a weird smile and mumbled, “Yeah, I guess…”
Look here or there, in school or college, in posters or hoardings, in television or internet, in newspapers or magazines, there is one topic that has fascinated the youth and teens – sex and love. There has developed a craze for sex and love among teens that they feel it need be an essential part of them. Sex before marriage has become so famed that the truth and sanctity of sex has been marred down the lane. While sex is an extreme, flirting, fleshly love, kissing, etc. have all become socially acceptable. There need be an essence of filth in the conversation of these people without which they feel they aren’t up to the standards of their peer group.
At the same time, to your disappointment, you are there in the midst of all this allure as a Christian, struggling with such friends. While they love to indulge in all these topics, you’re kind of confused on your stand. Though you know that all that they are talking is wrong, the talk just sticks back with you. It’s hard for you to confess that those talks would have enthralled you a little. But because you’ve to maintain a good testimony among your friends, you try hard to pay a deaf ear to their vain conversation. If they talk to you on the same, you slowly shirk away from them. But your fascination with the topic leaves behind with you a longing in your heart which you are unable to express. Aren’t you a hypocrite?
And there are times they crack jokes on sex, love, the opposite sex, etc. and laugh heartily. But you, as a Christian, cannot do so and pretend serious. You too want to laugh with them because it’s funny, but your conscience pricks you reminding you that you’re a Christian. While they laughed their hearts out and after a while forget about the joke, you find yourself still thinking about the joke and often laughing within yourself. Then there are times they see a beautiful girl pass by and comment on her and have fun on her. But you as a Christian turn away your eyes from such pleasures. You too like that beautiful girl, but you are unable to show out your pleasures. Your friends are observing your every move, and well, they count you as a good person. However, as soon as your friends leave, you wait back and take a second glance of your desire. Then there are times when you see your friends flirt around with the opposite sex. You know that flirting is wrong courtesy Bible. But you’ve never had such a privilege with the opposite sex and you long for such kind of a relation. Aren’t you a hypocrite?
You’re travelling in a bus when you see a bad hoarding pass by. You know that looking at it is wrong but since the first glance was left incomplete, the need for the second glance becomes essential. And since you are all alone, you turn behind and quickly grasp the second glance. Then there are other times when you open the newspaper to see a picture of a female dressed scantily. You then look around to see your parents nearby. You wait for them to leave and then hurriedly take a glance at the picture. Then there are times when you are at home all alone. You switch on the T.V. against the orders of your parents and watch a movie. That’s fine, till you see forbidden things and taste the forbidden fruit, desperately scrolling through channels till your desire is quenched. That’s the T.V., less talk about the internet. You know that all these things you do are wrong and displeasing in the eyes of God. But at the same time, your basic Bible knowledge saves you and you happily call back to remembrance that God forgives you ‘seventy times seven’. Now you’re a true hypocrite, aren’t you?
When you misuse God’s gift of grace, remember he’s hurt and crying. He hates hypocrites! Truly, fighting your flesh and your lust is not easy. You might be falling every 9 out of 10 times. When you do want to take a stand for God your flesh so often persuades you into doing things that displeases God. At these times you tend to resort to a mask so that the ‘true you’ will be hidden from others. Remember these struggles you face will be there with you for a long time and it’s not easy to leave behind. You need God’s grace and strength to overcome it. But running around with a mask will not lead to any solution. He doesn’t bother about your 100% attendance in church and the many number of spiritual activities you are involved in. You are just using God and his church as a stage for hypocrisy. Now that’s very hard for you to admit. Admitting it will mean you will have to make drastic changes in your life. God wants you to be open before him and before everyone. He wants you to experience his strength. The first step to making a change in your life is to accept that you are in need of a change. Take the first step and stop being a hypocrite!
GOALLLL!!!!!!.....I hear that and I go wild……wild if our team scored a goal and I go running around crazy happy else wild because I’m mad that the other team got through us. If the latter’s true….hope the goalkeeper isn’t anywhere around me else he is sure to have a bad day. Football is something that has captured the hearts of millions through ages. Die-hard fans of football travel the world round just to support their team. Wow that’s crazy football….I like it but it’s hard for me to digest. Anywz….football and me…we’ve been good friends for a long time…I’ve seen myself progress playing football…and blah blah…errr…did I say something wrong?
I categorize footballers into a couple of groups. It makes sense to call them footballers because each one of them thinks that they are the best or maybe another C.Ronaldo or Henry. Whatever, this is the best part of ‘gully’ football or ‘street’ football. Everyone believes that he’s got the best plan for the team. Going out of the conceived strategy finds nasty looks and whispers going down the field against the offender. Thus is born the groups of footballers.
Let’s talk about the group of not-so crazy enthusiasts who believe in playing football because their friends play it. These guys come down on the field just to kick the football around. It doesn’t matter to them where the ball is going to go, or into which goal he kicked it into, or if he just robbed the ball from his own player. What matters to him is that he gets to kick the ball. And if he doesn’t get the ball, he might be well satisfied with kicking someone else’s leg. And at the end of day, he will exclaim, “Wow that was a good game…wasn’t that?”
Then there are those who stand around and they just keep doing that throughout the whole match. “Can’t he pass the ball…?” he mutters to himself all the while standing away from the main game. If life will ever improve for him is when he actually get a pass and messes up the whole game. “What the hell….why did you pass the ball to me. You know that I wasn’t ready. You should have at least called out. Damn it…all because of you….” he exclaims aloud to the fellow who passed the ball to him and walks away with a big grin on his face as if he accomplished something.
Then there are those who believe in themselves much more that what they are capable of. They believe that they have a perfect plan jotted down and run ahead asking for a pass. The other team players see his confidence and readily pass the ball to him with high expectations. And poofff…he manages to kick it out or maybe just run over the ball leaving behind those high expectations. And then he will look back and scratch his head profusely and hush “that pass was a bit too fast…”
Then there are those who get fed up with the way his team is playing and when he gets the ball runs with it determined to score cutting past his own players. All that he can see is the goal and the ball under his foot. He does a trick or two along the way getting past those players who really don’t play well and in his determination continues running with the ball. Till finally when he is about to shoot, someone walks by him and slips the ball away from him. But alas!! He is too late to change plans, too late to shun away the nasty looks and too late to run away from the wild critics thrown out in the air. Frustrated he looks back and gives a sad look saying, “Come on…I thought you guys will help me…”
How can I forget those real passionate footballers? These are the guys who breathe in and out football - guys who stand out for hours trying to master the craziest football tricks. They can pull out of their sleeve some of the toughest football tricks. Well it is a treat to watch them performing these tricks, but on the field, they are no special. Where did all the tricks go?? They say, “The ball didn’t have sufficient air.”
Then there are they who oft complain that they have become old (…they are still in their early 20ies) and cannot play as well as they would actually play. They brag about their past and remember their old days when they kick the ball outside instead in the goal and say, “Oooh, how I miss those good old days…”
Then there are those who really play well. These are the players, everyone actually claim as the king of football on the field. They do perform, they do play very well and they do know how to maintain their reputation on the field. If you ever do want to spot these guys just look around for half-a-dozen players running like wild dogs behind a person trying to get the ball from him or else at least trying to trip him down.
Then there are people like me who can nicely fit into all the above categories (guess not in the last one) and still stand aloof the field and say, “Man! These guys can’t play as well as me…”
November 07, 2008
As 2008 began, the investors and traders began the year just like us with new commitments and better initiatives to boost trade and speed growth. The SENSEX began at around 10,000 and steadily progressed like as if it would conquer great heights. And soon within a couple of months it did and conquered the 20,000 mark. Then like as if the fuel got over, amidst the party and celebrations, the bull came crashing down. Investors lost millions of rupees and thousands went bankrupt. The uprising engineered the richest man in the world, but the downfall threw-out the biggest loser in the world, and yes he was once upon a time, the richest man. While the downfall wasn’t local but global, India was lucky enough not to be as badly hit as the other countries. The government rushed in to the rescue shelling in cash and bailouts, ensuring liquidity in trade (I don’t know what this means), etc. to ensure companies don’t go bankrupt and lose out in the race. While most of the money traded in the process is just mere paper and ink and not hard copies of the same, a loss or a gain is just a matter of erasing or adding a couple of zeros from your profit of 100,000. The misery of the Great Crash was the number of people who committed suicide. Young families were found dead because they went bankrupt. Even till now cases are being reported of such suicides.
The Marathi ‘manoos’
He got arrested, well to our curse and discomfort. He was put behind judicial bars, so that we could be barred in our own houses. People say he is their Savior. But I find him as a nuisance. He is Raj Thackery. Not that I support or like the Thackery family, but this guy is a real big nuisance. He would be having hundreds of people just to scratch his arms or legs when a mosquito bites him. That’s the kind of support he enjoys. Following the tradition of Shivaji Maharaj, the Thackery family are on the roads trying to ensure that every Marathi ‘manoos’ enjoys all comfort and privileges. Wow, that’s dedication and commitment to a cause! I love such commitment but I hate his attitude. I hate his methodology. I hate the echoes of his footsteps. All that he does is resort to violence and aggressive agitation so that his word is counted as law. What is better to do - see your car being smashed up or sit home and watch other cars being smashed up? Obviously the first one, unless you own a car factory. That’s what he does to ensure he is law. Yup, to ensure that he is law.
Recently he launched violent assaults on North Indians who came to the ‘city of dreams’ to see their dream unfold its wings. These poor people didn’t know that their wings would soon catch fire and disappear into pits of misery. Then he sent out inciting and provoking messages to the North Indians asking them to evacuate Mumbai. Well even the police fear this guy. Even if they try act fearless in the media, bribes would shy them down to their former state. That’s the police – a group of people struck by corruption and ignominy.
He talked in the media like a king and challenged the police to arrest him – and that’s what they did. He got arrested, his supporters ran out on the streets with stones and sticks and the city griped in a hidden fear. Most of the people were barred behind the four walls of their houses fearing the worst. I love this guy’s commitment, but I hate his approach. Why does he have to resort to violent agitation to get his cause done? Why does he have to disrupt the whole society and defame the society? What does he think of himself - someone greater than the law? Isn’t there a better way to develop a society and bring progress to your community?
He came, he saw and he conquered. He shook the world with his ideas. He won hearts of millions through his speeches. He stepped down to the level of children, the young guys and well, also stood up firm, collar to collar amongst the best in the society. When he stood to speak, the world wondered, when he spoke, the world admired, when he ceased speaking, the world applauded. They wondered because he is not their own. They admired because he spoke their hearts out. They applauded because they ‘believed in change’. “Yes! We can”, “The change has come”…he echoed down these mottos into the hearts of the people and into time and history. An Afro-American, he’s writing a new era of change in the history of America. Hail, Barack Hussain Obama – the revolutionist.
While America was cumbered under the fears of her crashing stock market & her economic woes, her miserable state in Iraq, her children crying for cheaper education, the gays and lesbians fighting for recognition, her standards going down in the world, there arose the revolutionist and addressed the nation the answers to her grief.
His first speech, “The audacity of Hope” got him a Grammy. But his victory speech, as the critics say, lacked quality. He’s just began his presidency, but how long will it survive? The world has put their trust in him. Will he uplift their hopes and deliver? Will he be able to paint his incredible speeches into works of art painted into the heart America? Will he be able to overcome his immaturity in politics and mature into a President? Will be bring in ‘the CHANGE’? Will he indeed be a revolutionist?