Pep talk

The ocean waves touched his feet and it felt nice. Raghav liked to walk on the sand to lift his spirits and calm his mind. Every time he came here, the waves seemed to tell him to erase his worries and start writing on a clean slate again. Raghav was a Marketing Manager at a reputed firm and wanted to climb the ladder desperately. He had been brought up in a low income household and had seen not so good days. That day when he was back home late night, his mother was still awake and looked worried.

“What happened, beta? Why are you not picking up your phone? Anyway the dinner is on the table. Take care.” She knew that he would not share his worries with her, never did, and so didn’t want to probe him any further. But she did show her concern. His parents were humble people who wanted to spend the rest of their life by modest means. Though Raghav thought that by bringing home new gadgets he is making their life easier, they were okay as it is but made it a point to appreciate the new stuff. All they wanted now was a daughter-in-law who could take care of their son so that they can visit the holy places as they had planned earlier. But Raghav was not ready, as yet. Being the only child, he wanted to earn plenty to support the parents and the wife but it was still not enough.

Another issue was his discomfort in front of girls. In office, he would become nervous if a girl started up a chat with him. He knew he had to overcome this otherwise it would be difficult to climb ahead. Communication is the key to success and he was uncomfortable with almost 50% of the population. His latest worry was that his current boss was shifting to another department and his new boss is going to be a lady! He was pretty friendly with his current boss and used to chat with him informally too. But how will he deal with a lady; this was troubling him to no end.

Finally, the day arrived when the new boss, Trisha came to the office. Trisha was not very beautiful but had a charm around her. She seemed to spin tales at the drop of the hat and made the atmosphere light in a moment’s time. In a group especially, she lead by example. She was in a habit of making people comfortable by listening to them. Her only drawback was that she was a bit short tempered. When Trisha met Raghav, he was in one of those moods not open to communication. But she wanted to ask something and he had to respond. Over a period of time, Trisha started listening to his concerns and they grew comfortable with each other. Now, Raghav could gather courage to engage in an informal chat with his colleagues, which slowly restored his sanity.

Back home, one day he called his mom and told her to look for suitable matches. His parents had assumed that he wouldn’t marry and were elated with this change in stance. Soon enough, they found a pretty girl for their eligible bachelor and they were married with pomp and show. When he got promoted soon after, they said that the girl is very lucky for Raghav, which he too acknowledged. But deep down he understood that it was the magic of perfect communication that has seen him through. He went to the ocean and sands once again not alone but with his wife and they witnessed a beautiful sunset together.

A fine adjustment

Gita and Nakul had a love marriage and had known each other since their college days. Nakul used to follow Gita in the college compound and wasn’t perturbed by her cold shoulder. Then when one day, Gita agreed to talk to him, both understood that this would go a long way. They started by talking about anything and everything under the sun and later would share their notes as well. They got married soon after.

But now after five years, things had changed drastically. Nakul was in a high profile job while Gita engaged herself with a few NGOs and used to work from home. They could hardly find time for each other. They had a son, Pramit whom they loved to the moon and back. Everything was going well till one day when Nakul’s father suffered a heart attack and passed away and it was decided that Nakul’s mother would come to stay with them. Gita was a bit sceptical about this but didn’t raise her voice as they were under mourning.

Soon enough, mother-in-law arrived with all her belongings and settled in the house. After the initial mourning and low mood, she reverted to her own self and started giving orders around the house, as usual. Gita was aware of the advice and orders but couldn’t do much about it, result being that she started getting grumpy at the drop of the hat. Sometimes she did try to make her mother-in-law understand that this was her house and she rules the roost but she couldn’t.

One day when her mother-in-law scolded the house help badly for not doing a task properly, then Gita raised the issue with Nakul that his mom is interfering a bit too much. Nakul understood and told his mom to take a backseat now as Gita was capable of handling things on her own. As a result of this, she did sit back for a couple of days but soon was back to her old ways. Gita couldn’t handle it anymore and made a plan to visit her own mom for a few days. Nakul took a promise from her that she will be back within a week’s time as they needed her.

That day when Nakul and her mom were alone, they started chatting and Nakul had to mention that she needed to stay within her self-defined boundaries and needed to gel well with Gita. She was oblivious of the fact that Gita had to take a break because of her. So now when Gita was not around she understood her importance in the house. On the other hand, Gita’s mom told her that there needs to be a fine adjustment in her relationship with her mother-in-law and her because after all she was her hubby’s mom. In this case, if Gita needed to take a step back, it is fine. That day Gita slept nicely because she understood that her own mom was mature enough to understand the issue and then give advice rather than provoke her. A fine adjustment is what she was looking forward to now once she was back home!

Adorable one

This is a story about a little girl, Aanya, who was the only child of her parents and longed for a company. She used to see other children playing with their pets and wished she had a pet too. Her parents also understood that she wanted a pet badly and so on her eighth birthday, they gifted her a lab puppy all wrapped up in red ribbon. Aanya was on top of the world that day when she saw the puppy. She instantly named him Cuddles as he was very cuddly and cute.

Aanya was making plans now that she would introduce Cuddles to her friends. As her parents had told her that Cuddles is also her responsibility not only someone to play with. So Aanya would take Cuddles out for a walk daily in her society compound. Slowly Cuddles started growing up and in a few months he looked like a grown up dog. The bond between Aanya and Cuddles increased manifold as she used to take care of his needs and in return Cuddles gave her unconditional love.

Aanya used to take the lift everyday as they were on seventh floor. One day, when Aanya was holding Cuddles’ leash she went inside the lift with the leash while Cuddles was left outside and the door of the lift closed. Aanya could hear a whimpering sound and was scared that Cuddles would not survive though she had left the leash. However, when she reached the seventh floor, she saw Cuddles standing outside with a broken leash. She heaved a sigh of relief and hugged him tightly with tears in her eyes. Quickly, she went home to inform her mom about what had happened. Mom told her to be more vigilant and careful in future. Aanya decided that she would use the stairs now as it would be a good exercise for both her and Cuddles.

Compassionate living

Compassion is a necessary ingredient of healthy living and if you lack it, it is difficult to live a happy life. In these days of rapid urbanization, being compassionate is the last thing on people’s mind. Everything is measured in terms of money. The more money you have the more you can harp on how bad India is in terms of infrastructure, food, and other resources. Such people have lost their sensitivity that they too are living in India only and they should speak well of it. The bottom line is that one should be compassionate about people as well as animals too no matter where you are residing.

Arti was one such lady who had stayed a couple of years in the US with her family but now was back in India as her husband’s job demanded it. The problem was that all her interactions with her friends and neighbours were based on the comparisons between India and the U.S. This resulted in a lot of negativity and slowly and steadily people started avoiding her. Her friends used to point it out to her that she needed to be more compassionate towards India in general but she could not understand. All she wanted to do was to give advice on how things can be improved in India in spite of the fact that there is so much pollution and population.

One fine day, Arti’s world came crumbling down when she came to know that she was suffering from an autoimmune disease which would require bone marrow transplant. When friends and family came to know, one of her sisters agreed to give the bone marrow so that Arti could recover. Over a period of time Arti realized that the culture in India is much better than that in the west and she should stop demeaning India just to highlight the materialistic aspects of the west. Even the friends and extended family understood that Arti has learnt her lesson the hard way and is now on the right track. All’s well that ends well.

Eternal bliss

Neeta Sharma was just another 65 year old home maker who was trying her best to live her life fully. She had three children and all of them were married and settled. She had many friends and well-wishers whom she used to meet off and on to keep herself in cheerful spirits. One day she asked her husband, who was employed in a multi-national company, if she could visit the hills for some time and get a breath of fresh air. Anyways Delhi NCR had a very poor Air quality index and this would help ease her asthma symptoms too. Mr. Sharma suggested that it would be better if she went with a few friends as then they will be able to handle situations better.

Neeta enthusiastically searched for a quiet ashram on the banks of river Ganga and decided that she would detoxify herself there. Two of her friends Nalini and Malini were also going with her and they made their plans accordingly. On reaching their destination, they found that the place was no short of a paradise. The weather was a bit cold and there was greenery and freshness all around. When they landed in the ashram, they were told that they can freshen up and rest today and the Guruji will meet them next morning. All three friends settled in their rooms and had a light dinner and went to sleep. Next morning, they were called in to meet Guruji. He was a saintly man and asked them the purpose of their visit. Neeta told them that they were out to find nirvana in the hills. Guruji smiled and said that these days every other person is out to find nirvana. Even the foreigners come here to search for eternal bliss but they don’t know that it will evade them till there is a substantial change in their habits. So, eat, pray, and love in moderation. Do not hurt others knowingly and do what you are good at with a pure heart and full dedication. Let karma do the rest. Neeta understood that nirvana is not found in a place but is a way of life.

A chance encounter

It was just another day for Shivam as he got on to the Mumbai local from Andheri to travel to his office at Nariman Point. It was a long drab journey and today he was hoping that he would get a place to sit in the crowded local. After a couple of stations went by, he saw a familiar face staring at him. He tried hard to place the person but couldn’t. Then he saw him coming closer to him and he asked Shivam, “Have you studied at Sacred Hearts Convent?” Shivam was a bit taken aback but answered in affirmative. Then it dawned on him that the person in question was his long lost friend Amit. They quickly hugged each other and exchanged pleasantries. They were now flooded with all the childhood memories. They had the reputation of being the most mischievous of kids in the class. They were given various punishments by the teachers but there was absolutely no change in their behaviour. When Amit’s father was transferred to a different city and they have to shift there, then they lost touch of each other. But now both of them exchanged numbers and promised to be in touch more frequently. Shivam’s drab journey had become fruitful today. Not only he chanced upon his friend but he also got a companion with whom he can travel in the local.

Life, Plus Size

Saachi was never conscious of her weight or body image. She used to eat to her heart’s content without a tinge of guilt. And why not? She was just 16. Though students in her class used to call her fatso but she couldn’t care less. But off late, she noticed that wherever she went there was a pressure of being slim and in shape. Even social media wasn’t devoid of that. There were videos of people who were more than 100 kilos and have successfully reduced themselves to 50 kilos. Saachi thought those were no less than horror stories and she was not up to it as she couldn’t even dream of letting of her sumptuous food and tasty desserts. Exercise was last on her list. The situation at home was amicable but her mom used to remark once in a while that she should keep a check on her weight as she has to be married off in few years. But Saachi believed in living life fully. Her father had given her a beautiful watch on her birthday but she could no longer wear it as it did not fit on her wrist. One after the other such incidents brought her morale down but she liked to maintain the status quo. She was happy at the launch of plus size clothing at the nearby Pantaloons which she would go and check out whenever she got the opportunity to do so. Even the retailers were realizing that such needs have to be catered to. Saachi had come to the conclusion that being a little overweight is not the end of the world and she can enjoy life as it is. After all, we should live life “kingsize”!

Am I adopted?

Janaki was a smart and chirpy 10 year old girl. She had everything in life and wonderful friends and family. There was nothing to be bothered about. Janaki loved schedules as they helped her complete her homework on time and there was lot of free time to spare which she could utilize for play. One day, when she was about to enter her parent’s bedroom, she overheard something and her world came crashing down. Her mother had mentioned that she was adopted. Immediately she thought that she resembled neither her father nor her mother, but was fair like her mother. But she had never given much thought to such things. Over the next few days the chirp in her voice died down and she became much quieter. She thought about all the undue demands that she used to make to her parents who fulfilled them whichever way they could. She decided that she would not ask for things from now on. Her mother noticed the change in the behaviour and realized that something was wrong. That day when she came back from school, she embraced her and planted a kiss on her forehead and asked what is troubling her. At first she was hesitant but then she gathered all her courage and asked her mom if she was adopted. Her mom understood the problem immediately and asked her to sit down so that she can explain. “Yes you are adopted dear, but you are the most wonderful thing that has happened to us and are the apple of our eyes. Don’t think even for a moment that you are any less than our real child. We are blessed to have you with us.” With these words, Janaki’s apprehensions were put to rest and she got back to normal life. She also understood that the bonding between her and her parents was far stronger than that of a real child!

Marriage vows

They had recently got married with much fanfare. The house was overflowing with relatives and gifts. Everyone supposedly had some useful advice for Sana which she absorbed without much complaints and arguments. Vikram was noticing everything from the corner of his eye and now was eagerly looking forward to spend some quality time with Sana but it was far from possible as the guests were around. He was looking forward to the honeymoon in Bali which he had booked long back and they were flying in a couple of days when the hullabaloo of marriage settled down. But unfortunately at the nth hour, Vikram’s mother who had diabetes fell ill. When Vikram asked if Sana was ready for the honeymoon, she politely told him that she wanted to be with her mother-in-law and the honeymoon could take a backseat for a while. Vikram finally realized that after all he had chosen a perfect life partner for himself, who knows the value of relationships and would take care of his home and hearth. They do say marriages are made in heaven…