Showing posts with label Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death. Show all posts

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Through troubled times..

In the movie, Kung Fu Panda 2, after Shen's ship is destroyed, he asks Po 'How did you find peace? I took away your parents! Everything! I-- I scarred you for life!
Po: See, that's the thing, Shen... scars heal. 
SHEN: No, they don't... wounds heal!
Po: Oh yeah. What do scars do? They fade, I guess...
Shen: I don't care what scars do!

About 9 years ago, my dad lost his battle with cancer and moved on to greener pastures. 
I have been wounded many times since. 
Everything that could've gone wrong, did. Murphy's Law. 
But this also reminds me of the principle Jesus shared with His disciples when He told them, 'In this world you will have trouble' (John 16:33). So in other words, we can count on it - sooner or later we will hit troubled times. Its not the way God originally intended life to be, but when the human race first succumbed, everything on this planet fell into the grip of sin. And we have been stumbling ever since. 

Interestingly, Jesus also promised His followers to be 'of good cheer, I have overcome the world'. The fact that Jesus has and will always overcome the stain of evil proves that he understands our frailties, our wounds and our scars. 
Because not only did Jesus conquer the fallen species through His death and resurrection, the fact that your scars have healed over time, proves that He will give you the solace you need, no matter how much trouble you face. 

Whether they chose to remain in my life or not, people in my past have played a big part of who I am today. 

Po: You should, Shen. You gotta let go of that stuff from the past 'cause it just doesn't matter! The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now.

Today, if you had the chance to rewrite your past, what would you change? And why? 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baby Bad Day [103/365]

I don't know about you, but does it strike you as strange that we've had at least two infants die out of the torture met out by their 'caretakers' in a span of just 2 months?

About 30 days after Baby Falak died, we've had another three month old infant; Baby Hina suffer an inglorious and painful death. (Read the news here)
While I can understand why Indians would not want a girl child, I can't understand why our laws seem unwilling to punish individuals who exploit the system.

What are we waiting for?
How many more Falaks and Hinas should die before the judicial system wakes up?
Long ingrained notions of how expensive it is to have a girl must be broken. The most important change that must happen is in our practice of giving and accepting dowry. Of all kinds. Very few married couples I know have not exchanged dowry. While the stigma is huge, the ignominy of sending a girl without any seed money is overwhelming.
The shame, the unscrupulous questions and the dishonor that a bride will face from her husband and in-laws is something that we need to change.
It will be difficult but not impossible.
Free and quality education, free and essential healthcare, and a welfare system that will take care of parents with girl children can be a start. Many nations in the west have a better gender ratio and female literacy rate because of the emphasis that the government puts on women.

I've always believed growing up as a girl in India is perhaps the biggest achievement that a woman anywhere can claim. If she is lucky, she will get parents who won't mind having a girl child.
She'll then have to survive a childhood where the parents will sometimes have to field questions like 'Now, you need to have a boy too' is tough for the girl. She is made to feel that she has not fulfilled her parent's requirement (wish) to have a boy.
If she is lucky, she would enjoy couple of years of education. If not, she'd end up in the kitchen, farm or in other people homes.
As she approaches 22, the parents' search for a boy to offload her becomes frantic. Most girls are made to feel they are a non performing asset if they remain unmarried at 26. Frantic calculation of dowry is also made.
Upon identification of a suitable boy, money is discussed and the sale is fixed.
Marriages being the boisterous expensive affair today, conducting it is one more liability.
Offloaded, the parents can now:
a) marry their sons off in relative peace.
b) start worrying about the next daughter in line. Any immovable property will have to be sold/mortgaged.
c) retire in poverty. Peaceful at last.
A year or two later, the daughter gives birth. If girl, repeat above cycle. If boy, everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Until then, we will continue to hear stories of atrocities against defenseless infants and the girl child.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Spiritual Death [34/365]

Death is a mournful thing.
While some see it coming, others have it decided for them. But all of us will keep our date with death.

While the 'sudden and unexpected' death of someone you knew could be heartbreaking, a death in the family is something that can crumple a person, from inside and out.

But what about spiritual death?
If you know someone who is struggling with sin and temptation and refuses to reform, do you mourn for them?
In the Bible, we see Jesus raising the dead many times. The Bible does not tell us what became of the people who He raised from the dead. And personally, I don't think that would matter.

The book of Genesis tells us how He breathed into the dust and we were formed in His image. And later we read how we are destined to return to dust (Genesis 2 - 3). Somewhere down the long line of evolution, we've muddled up our purpose on earth. We glorify our bodies. In vain, we think how fat / thin we are is what matters. We chase diets and cosmetics in search of that elusive fountain of youth. We spent all our waking hours dreaming about fitness.
Instead of nurturing a healthy soul in a healthy body, we've made food our sole reason for existence.

Today's world is filled with people who'd rather have a healthy breakfast in the morning than spent five minutes in conversation with God. How much longer can we delay our need for God in our lives?

Nearly all of us hate funerals. Not our own, but of others 
My Dad never wore his black rhinestone wedding ring to a funeral because it was considered inauspicious.
I know people who go through ritual bathing after they return from a funeral service. Because they want to cleanse themselves off the karma of the dead.
Insane as that sounds, this is not going to do anything for the dying spirit that we all carry within us.

I still don't cherish the thought of the day when my Mom or a family member passing on, but the least we can do is live a life that is spiritually immortal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Locked in [16/365]

The right to live.
The right to speak your mind.
The right to express yourself freely.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, nations and their citizens have fought and defended these fundamental rights.
While many of us are fortunate to practice these rights at freewill, I read about a Briton who wants the right to die. (Read article)

Suffering from the debilitating 'Locked-in syndrome' after a paralytic stroke seven years ago, he now wants to die. (Read more about Locked-in syndrome here)
While I won't advocate euthanasia (assisted suicide) as an escape from life or illness, I can understand how an illness as debilitating as this would take a toll on both the sufferer and their care-givers.

Death is an escape. And given the times that we live in, quite a welcome break too.
But I like to think that you cannot use death as a bail out package in times of illness, state of poverty, choice of lifestyle or your actions.
When I read the article on Tony Nicklinson, while I could begin to identify how trapped he might be feeling, when he described his life as 'dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable.', I beg to differ. Hundreds of miles away in Afghanistan, Syria and closer home in India, we have millions whose life can fit into that description.
Death is not an option to them. Life is that endless toil and persecution until the 'break'.

I'm reminded of the many people around us who experiences different kinds of the 'Locked-in syndrome'.
For some of us, circumstances may have isolated us from others. Lying in a hospital bed, serving time in prison (for a just cause), or being shut in emotionally, can make us feel that we are experiencing our own 'Locked-in syndrome'. When people begin to use circumstances as a crutch, we must remember how we are the authors of our destiny.

Stephen Hawking, needs no introduction. Afflicted by Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he once famously described himself as 'lucky'. While he was just being modest, he went on to receive 15 awards across a career spanning three decades.

Besides the path-breaking discoveries in Astrophysics, I think the most important and often the most difficult decision is when a person who is down and out, decides to make the best of it. I'm reminded of how Jesus, fully God yet stuck in a man's body, struggled against the mighty Roman empire... (Read 2 Timothy 2:1-10).

When adversity has often brought out the most remarkable survivalist streaks in humans, I can't see how we should throw in the towel when we hit a minor setback.

While I stop short of making a verdict on the right to die, the right to live and the freedom to pray certainly wins.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Death - your Comfort break

With the number of high profile people who have died this year, 2011 is truly turning into a tragic year that the world history will remember forever.
While the media might be ready with their obituaries, how do relatives and loved ones of those who died cope up with the irreparable loss?
For most celebrities vying for their 15 minutes of fame, high profile deaths will be a way to rehash half chewed emotions and cheap sentiments.
Death is a scary thought. I remember how scared and upset I would get when my parents would mention their deaths.
Most kids and over-grown adults still get ruffled up and refuse to accept any talk of their loved one's death.

But is death really a bad thing?
You could be the biggest billionaire the planet has seen. Or you could be a homeless beggar living on just 32 rupees a day.
You could afford to buy a Bentley every single day and still have money to burn or you could a person who skips a second meal today so that he can eat a single meal tomorrow.
You could be on the cover of Forbes or you could be that random dirty face you pass by at traffic stop.
Death is a relief for all humans. It is that event of your life where your harshest critic and your toughest foe level up.

Death is something like where we finish our act on the main-stage and head back home.
You know that you no longer have to act or pretend. You can finally be yourself.
You don't have to worry about taxes. And if you're famous, your procession will be the last time you'll ever create a traffic jam.
But whether you are rich or poor, all you'll need is just 6 ft of earth.

When the fanfare and the tirade of obituaries die, does it really matter to the person?
Would the recipient of all that glowing eulogy raise up from the coffin and cheer?
All the flowers in the world cannot lessen the pain nor fill the vacuum that person left in the lives of his/her family.

Could we have been less critical and more appreciative of that person when he/she was alive?
Maybe, yes.

Because the world is an unforgiving place to be. 
Let the dead rest in peace, because they deserve it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

When the beauty fades ...

Love fails and beauty fades...
This touched me because many times, when couples are dating themselves they fail to see the pitfalls and red flags.
You could be in love with a person who is an absolute pole apart from what you are, but all the pheromones in the planet cannot give you a happy marriage.
But what happens when a successful long distance relationship breaks up and you are left wounded?
Ordinarily, it shouldn't be as traumatic as a relationship between 2 people who lived in close quarters.
But I know a couple who was in a long distance relationship.
There was a lot of connection, love and no end to the promises to be with each other.
But there was the slip between the cup and the lip.
Promises were made to move heaven and earth and all else in between. But when the time to act came, all were conveniently brushed under the rug of societal obligations.
I respect the girl who chose to fulfill her parents' wishes over the guy she knew only for a year. If only we had more virtuous women, could we overcome the many evils of our society today.
What started as ordinary emails being exchanged blossomed into something incredible.
What was incredible ended with a lot of trauma. Both of them suffered. All the guy did was fall in love with a girl that he had never seen, but felt a million times through the many hours of phone calls they shared. But when she broke the news, all that he did was to stay silent though within him he was shattering into a million pieces. Not once, but a million times every minute of every day.

That guy was Me.

When I heard her tell me, I hung up and cried, until the pillow was soaked.
Then turned over the pillow and cried until my eyes ached, until my voice cracked and the pillow soaked.
That's when a dear friend of mine expressed his sympathy and encouraged me to grieve. "But in 3 days, you will get up. figure out what you want to do with your life and move ahead."
At the moment, I thought he was being too optimistic. 3 days?! No way. Though it was just a year of relationship, I knew things would never be the same again.
But in 3 days, after hundreds of sessions crying and many many hours of grieving, I woke up and realized that I didn't feel quite as bad as I felt on the first day. Little by little despite the agony of being dumped for the 2nd time, my emotional and spiritual condition improved significantly. I knew that I died to my old reality and was reborn to a new Me.

I guess it has to do with the Death, Burial and Resurrection.

I recently met a friend who stuck with me, through the toughest and most excruciating part of my breakup. She didn't take the moral high horse by blaming either of us, but allowed me to retrospect and heal.
The trauma of a bitter breakup still fresh in my heart, I decided to insulate myself from plunging into a rebound relationship.

Not very long ago, I heard the story of a couple who were getting married.
Very much in love, as all couples are, the love struck pair look at each other ready to orate their well written vows to each other.
The pastor stops them. He tells them to trash the pieces of paper and to look at each others hands and tell each other how much they mean to each other from one heart to another.

This is what ails our marriages. In a society that glamorizes sex and promiscuity, we plunge into a marriage with as much frivolity as a kid in a toy store, but fail to understand that what we do with our hands is what keeps a marriage moving and no amount of physical attraction or tall promises can salvage a marriage.
No big fat weddings for me, because I would rather prefer to marry a woman, who respects herself just as much as she would respect me.
A relationship that is build on mutual trust and inherent understanding, where we don't need to talk to be heard, when a mere nod, look and a touch would do.
A bond where we are not conceited but implicit and honest.
Every man sees his second mother in his lover and every woman gets her first child in her lover
    -William Shakespeare
Having been love-deprived all my adult life, I have craved to be with a lady who would be a mother, lover, confidante, closest friend and most passionate wife. I've seen you, I've loved you.

When the party is over... the crowd moves on... when your age catches up with you... when the body gives up and mind gets rusted.
Love, Trust and Communication is all that you'll need.

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