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“Why me? Why not?”

‘Is this seat occupied? A tall and handsome man came and asked me.

No’, I said

And he sat next to me.

 

This was a workshop on Positive thinking ‘Why me? Why Not?’

The speaker said to take every pain positively. Rather, he said, ask for pain and you will master pain.

Don’t say why only me? Instead say ‘Why not’!

 

“Why only me?” is what we ask the almighty when he puts us to sufferings and tests instead, we should openly accept the pain and boldly say “Why Not”. All went well, I enjoyed, but was left with not only double minds but multiple minds, I should say. The fact is do we all really have the courage to say “Why not” when we actually are experiencing pain and trauma. Naah! I don’t think so. None of us willingly say ‘Yes’ to our problems. We will never invite pain into our lives if given a choice. Well, I definitely would never want to experience the never-ending pain and trauma my husband and I went through earlier. I will never ask God “Why not, go ahead, keep putting me to test, I’m ready to suffer”. My will power is not that strong to accept pain and keep smiling and say “Yes, I can handle it, no problem” (even if God chooses me for test and pain again and again). On the contrary I had been pleading for an end to our pain and sufferings during those days.  I wonder if a person who has just lost one of his leg will, for the sake of Positive Thinking say “Fine, take the other leg as well, I’m OK with it”.

 

Well I remember my Amma and Dadi telling me stories of Daan Veer Karna and a Raja, I don’t recollect the name exactly who tore a piece of flesh from his thigh, to protect a pigeon’s life from an eagle. And after this pain he was still ready to offer other parts of his body. But wait a minute, wasn’t this a sacrifice rather than suffering! I’m certainly not talking about Sacrifice. Sacrifice is different from suffering in pain. Yes, Sacrifice leads to suffering but here we choose to suffer willingly for our own satisfaction, our own gratification, mental or spiritual, whatever. But we certainly are petrified when we are put to sufferings and pain.     So what about positive thinking. I’ve thought positively many a times, but somehow not been so lucky always, to experience happy endings. So is it that we should always think positive and let happen what happens. Does positive thinking really make a difference and transformation? Yes, some times.

 

Another experience, I think negative at times and it turns to be positive in the end. You know what, I have no precise answer to this Philosophy.

 

Probably, thinking style diverges from person to person. I’ve met some personages who say that the incidents in their lives happen to be just the opposite of what they think, so purposely they think negative and it turns to be happy ending. Well, surprisingly, many times I have experienced the same. But not always for sure.

 

Just this morning I read in the paper, it said “keep worrying as nothing happens of what we worry about”. I smiled and thought to myself “Well, does the ‘negative thinking fanda’ really works? And do people follow it?” May be Yes! But we are so hesitant of accepting the way we are.

 

I experienced another side of the mirror when my husband was admitted for OHS (open heart surgery). During that time I just didn’t ruminate on any good or bad! I just kept Praying and Performing! And it worked! Amazing!

 

Another strange incident gave me a thoughtful insight. It was when once when I was discussing the Funda of Positive thinking with my students, one of my students shared and said that his father says to think negative, as then we are prepared bad ending too. Another side of the mirror. Looks like this mirror of life has many sides. No one side returns the same reflection.

 

I think what was meant here was that we should keep Pros and Cons in our mind.

 

I’m a facilitator and talk about all the “GYAN” we give to the younger generation, but when I reflect, I am left with varied and strange responses supported by my own life’s experiences. I’m confused, should I trust the GYAN of Positive Thinking or trust my lives mixed experiences.

 

So I tell my student now, No Positive, no Negative, just believe and perform!

Positive thinking or Negative thinking….. It is all very discreet and very personal. We cannot come to any specific conclusion. But one thing is for sure ‘Pain can never be welcomed….’ We will continue to say ‘Why only me?’ when put to test!

Vah! Kya jori hai!

Last year I was travelling from Nizamuddin to Pune. I came across different tints of married life, and the journey left me with a spark of delight.

Love- though just a four letter word, but is so versatile, has so many different ways of expressions. It’s awesomely flavoured with a variety of spices from life. Like hot and sweet tomato sauce, sour, sweet, hot…….whatever, but quite satisfying in the end.

During this journey I discovered different equations, expressions, and meanings of love at different stages of life. Strangely, love does not mean the same for everyone.
In the train I met 3 couples, aged differently and they amused me so much by their style of expressing love that I had to pin it on paper…

I was quite upset as I had reached the station at least 2 hours before the train’s arrival. Delhi was scorching hot like a furness, and the sight of all those sweaty and tanned faces around, wasn’t pleasant and enjoyable too. Just capital city of India, didn’t mean that Delhi station will be neat and clean with proper seating arrangement and high comfort.

Anyway, I had just spoken to my husband and poor guy, became a Furness because of the heat, and my temper. I admit I was wrong and later I felt bad for shouting at him. Reason for shouting just being as simple as always…..procrastination and not guiding me properly.

Waiting 2 hours for the train wasn’t any piece of cake. A flash of happiness and relief ran over my face as I saw the train. I at once jumped into, to occupy my seat. Just as I boarded the train and settled, a couple entered in immense haste looking for their seats. The husband was a middle aged man and the wife, fair tall lady with a chubby body structure. I noticed that the husband’s behaviour towards his wife was nothing new to me. That same old story how men in India treat their wives………… When they entered the cabin the man dumped his huge n heavy behind on the berth occupying almost more than half of the berth. He simply left the bags on the floor and then very authoritatively pointed towards his wife, ordering and giving signals, showing directions where what luggage needs to be kept. Poor lady, without a single objection went ahead and started arranging the bags and suitcases over and under the birth.
“अरे! तुमको ठीक से सामन रखना भी नहीं आता है?” (Hey don’t know how to keep the luggage properly?)
He exclaimed rudely. The wife didn’t utter a word and followed what he directed.

While all this was going around I was busy drafting an image of this husband in my mind, which of course was not pleasant and impressive. Their settling went on for some time. Then the lady sat on the front birth and as passengers normally do in India, she too stretched her legs just next to me. No sooner did she stretch her legs, than her husband shouted rudely at her “आय! पग नीचे रख!”, (“Hey keep your legs down”). Embarrassed by her behaviour she at once pulled her legs back on the floor. He kept yelling and being rude to her, with almost no response from her, surprisingly. She just ignored him. Wow! What adjustments and ignorance she had.

All this left me wondering with disappointment. I felt this was quite offending and indecent behaviour towards the woman. She was so sweet, and understanding, and quiet, and without uttering a word she followed her husband’s instructions. They looked like educated couples. Where do you see such “Pativrata Wives” these days. Pativrata, in India,  means wives that are completely dedicated towards their husbands, and kind of worship their husbands.
Well, take my own example, I will never take any command from my hubby if he is rude to me. To make me follow him, he needs to be respectful and obliging. Thinking so, I switched my attention from them to the views outside.
Then after few minutes I suddenly heard a lady’s voice. I turned my face to figure out what was happening and found that the same lady was saying something to her husband. Then I heard her saying
“अब तुम अपने पैर ऊपर क्यों रक्खे हो, नीचे करो!” (“Now why have you kept your legs up, keep them down”)

“अरे, हाँ भाई हाँ, रखता हूँ, रखता हूँ (“Oh! yes dear yes, doing it doing it.”)
The husband said surrendering to his wife.
After sometime the husband asked his wife to shift the luggage from the birth to the floor and to take out some snacks. In India eating in a still or moving train, is like a tradition, like celebrating a ritual. The wife at once replied “तुम उठाओ न, मुझसे नहीं होगा. तुम करो.”  (“You pick up, I can’t, you do it”).

The self dignified wife within me was satisfied and content after seeing the wife not surrendering this time. At least she has shown some self respect and that wives are not only for giving orders and command…
The man got up and took out some snacks and then what I saw was not expected from that couple at that moment.
I saw them sharing snacks from the same plate. They hardly spoke to each other but definitely shared a very strong bond within.

This left me wondering what kind of love is this? They looked extremely boring, so unromantic, no excitement and energy seen between, still their kind of connection and compatibility left them satisfied and happy, complimenting each other. As though one became a habit, a routine, for the other. They had no ego, no self respect, no image issue within them. As though they were 2 bodies with one soul. I’ve heard, routines are boring and a relationship which becomes a routine….super duper boring…….it’s better to get rid off it. Is that really true? I kept wondering……………

Then, there were few adjustments of berths here and there and an old man requested me to move to the his birth in the other cabin as he was related to this couple and wanted to be with them during the journey. With no objection I moved to his birth in the other cabin.

No sooner than I made myself comfortable in the next cabin, than I heard someone whispering and giggling. Without wasting a moment my eyes at once glanced in that direction to notice what was going on. Before even registering the face my eyes were caught up by the amazing sight of 2 beautiful looking hands full of “Chooraaz”; Chooraaz are beautiful red bangles, some with white sparkling stones on it and they are worn by newly wed wives as an auspicious custom in Punjabi families.

“Oh!, newly wedded couple.” I thought in my mind and smiled to myself recollecting the giggle that echoed a little while ago. Admitting all this is expected from a newly wedded couple I shifted my attention towards my hand bag where I had kept my valuables and my book. As expected, the unintentional whispers and giggles went on.
The bride was a typical Punjabi girl and quite good looking. They were so much in love that they were unaware of every single body around them. Inspite of the whole empty berth, they were clinging on to each other as if the berth was over occupied. This was pretty obvious….O come on! they were just married….. I thought to myself; These are few fresh days just after marriage; immediate and highly intensive after effects of marriage, when the couple is madly in love and enjoys their partner’s company so much that they actually have no intentions to care of the world around. They are so deep in love that no one but their own partner can entertain them.
My mind couldn’t stop unleashing and unrevealing my own days of exploring and experiencing my early married life. A smile reflected on my face as I thought of my days.

This couple looked so fresh and so young, so romantic, lot of adoration and admiration……but of course! romance comes free with the marriage package (May not in some cases). They cuddled and behaved such that every one sitting in the cabin couldn’t stop smiling within- “mand-mand mauskana” is what we say in Hindi.

Sharing the same blanket, holding each other’s hands, sharing the same chocolate, brushing her husband’s head with fingers, his head on her shoulders, all symptoms that support the early state of love just after marriage. Prodrome of Love! Ya Love is a sickness of it’s own kind.

I smiled and wondered “What kind of love is this, that has no boundaries, no shame, no botheration?
I certainly was thrilled to compare the difference between the 1st and this newly wedded couple.

Understanding their need for each other’s company, I left them alone to relish their lives. To my surprise I  noticed that my entire berth was empty. Happily I stretched my legs straight and engrossed myself into my book.

After a few stations had passed, at Jhansi, I heard a lady gallantly saying
“अरे, सब सामान आजायेगा, तुम परेशान मत हो. सीट का क्या है वोह भी एडजस्ट हो जाएगी. तुम तो बैठ जाओ बस अब” (“Hey all the luggage will come, don’t you worry. Seat will also get adjusted, you just sit down now”).

I saw an old couple, the lady must be above 55 by age and the gentleman above 60. I was lying on the birth, and as the lady sat next to my feet I at once pulled my legs. I gave her some more place with a little reluctance. I was tired and all my happiness of enjoying the entire birth had been dashed. Moreover, I was worried about my legs as she wasn’t slim to be able to fit into that small space and I had no intentions to reach home with broken legs.

When the old gentle man, who was as thin as a stick, saw me getting up, he at once exclaimed “नहीं, नहीं बेटा, आप तो लेटे रहो. हम तो यहाँ बैठ जायेंगे. आप अपनी नींद खराब मत करो”. (“No child, you lie down. We’ll sit here. Don’t bother your sleep”).

I smiled at him evincing that it was ok. The old man was very subtle and polite. Both husband and wife were so talkative that they didn’t stop talking to each other even for a second. They were old couples and still they had so much to share with each other. Normally I have seen partners are often quiet towards each other at this age.

The wife was very cheerful and joyful by nature and she had full intentions to invite us into the conversation, as she, very innocently and without fail, made eye contacts with me and with the newly weds, while talking. She had what we call “a gift of Gab, a flowing tongue”. She had a very impressive way of talking. And the most amazing feature in her was her smiling laughing face. She reminded me of the happy laughing Buddha sitting with the legs stretched.
This couple had a very unique peculiarity. They were very rewarding towards each other. As if they were totally incomplete without one. They had a special understanding towards each other. They knew what the other partner needed. They made a completely satisfied couple. They were so happy with each other that they didn’t need any one else to spend time with. Throughout the journey they spent time talking about everything, from politics to celebrities. They felt so content. Aunty knew what uncle needed and surprisingly uncle knew about aunty’s needs.
At times I heard aunty being a little rude towards uncle but he completely ignored it and changed the topic to relax her. There was a special touch of love, belongingness, affection, sacrifice, fun and joy in their relationship.
When I travel I keep myself busy with work and often I try to avoid interaction with other travellers. But this old couple had such unique presence that I didn’t know when I got involved in their conversation, didn’t realize when I gave up. I couldn’t refrain myself from my father’s memory and words when uncle said
“बीटा, वाणी से सब जग जीतो जा सके है, हम तो ईश्वर के शुक्रगुजार हैं कि उसने हमें बड़ा अच्छा जीवन साथी दिया”. (“Child, everything fought be bought with an effective tone. I am thankful to God that He  gave me a very  good life partner”).

His simplicity was just like my father. I think this was the reason that made me break my own rules and  I started loving to be a part of their conversation.
I could make out from the corner of my eyes that initially the newly married couple were quite bored with the old man’s conversation, and then they took a little time to understand the values of this old man’s life experience.
The newly married couple were so cosy earlier but when this old couple boarded the train the newly wedded became conscious and started behaving normal which, could easily be noticed, was quite difficult for them.
The old couple had a very matured way of showing love for each other. Aunty used to take care of uncle very strictly. And uncle was very polite and loving towards her. The affection they shared was amazing and often not seen. The main thing that I noticed was they laughed with and at each other and succumbed each other’s comments too. Contradictions between them, if any, used to be very subtle and sweet. Very inspiring. True, god has made such wonderful ‘joris’ (pairs) very few.

What made me start writing about this journey? I know now…..it was this versatility of love in relationships.

In this journey the couples I met, were from different walk of life, different ages, varied temperament and style, but, they all displayed love for their partner in their own special way.
There was love in their rudeness, emptiness in the first couple. Though they didn’t interact much still they bonged so well that a single plate sufficed their needs and filled their hunger. There wasn’t any need to show love.

The second pair of course was a genuine example of love. Just married…..love was a display through action and emotion.

And the third couple, though so old, still had the entire world to discuss about. Here there eas a display of love but projecting it was entirely different. Their love was strange too.

Who are we to judge any one, any way. So many times we become judgemental and just by looking at someone we form an impression or an apprehension about them. When later we discover just the opposite. Silly minds sometimes think silly….. simply……….