A: I found it Mummy. I did it. Thank you so much. Me: Amjad! I didn’t find it, why are you thanking me? A: I am thanking myself, I found it myself.
That was for me the light bulb moment of the day.
When did we unlearn to thank ourselves?
To give you the background of what happened. Amjad was trying to find the specific fire truck toy and he couldn’t. He came to me for help while I was cooking, and we searched it together for a full 5 minutes.
We found everything else behind the sofas, under the carpet, tables and every other piece of furniture. We found some broken leaves, some dried food not eaten and hidden behind the sofa, lots of other toys, we also found some dead spiders and some alive screaming and running away in horror at our sudden uninvited arrival or rather raiding at their homes, basically everything else except that fire truck.
‘What shall we do now, oh no my fire truck, its lost! Come on Mummy let’s search more. ‘ ‘Amjad, I have to go now and cook our lunch, you can continue searching.’ I replied and came back to my mid-day work break and continued my survival chore of cooking to eat.
While I focused on mashing potatoes and keeping an eye on him from the kitchen door towards our living room, I saw him coming with a beaming smile and the specific fire truck in his hand.
‘I found it Mommy. I did it. Thank you so much’, he said while looking at his toy. It was then he explained to me that he was thanking himself for doing it all by himself. My instant and reflex thought was ‘oh you don’t say thanks to yourself.’
While the words sit restlessly in my mouth, my brain asked me Really? Since when … I have no idea since when, I decided to eat my words and share his joy: clapped and congratulated him.
Deep down I knew others won’t, he will eventually unlearn to thank himself and wait for others to thank him when he did something good, wait and wish for credit to be given where it’s due, to be appreciated, to be acknowledged just like we all do.
Another thought brewed up then: Our resentments or disappointments in others are because they haven’t appreciated us or acknowledged our efforts or given credit to us Or Are they because we have forgotten how to thank our self, acknowledge or appreciate our own efforts at this experience of lifeing and by that I mean not the boastful egoistic acknowledgment and gratification of ego with an ‘I, me and I’ but a humble, honest, genuine thank you, I see you, I appreciate you, I know its hard , you haven’t done it before.
Let me know in the comments, as you read this , What brewed up for you ?
Yesterday was my first day of going back to office after many months, the idea of going back to old life/work setting was making me uncomfortable, I have settled into homeworking mode where I enjoy the calmness of morning, without rush , hustle and bustle of stations, catching or missing a train, without stress of being late or missing a meeting. There is also an absence of preparations for food and clothes a night before going to work, saves so much time and energy, I realized when I had to do it all over again yesterday. In the morning my husband enquired what time would I be leaving home, to which I replied casually : Will get ready first and then check which train I can catch!
He shook his head in disbelief, He said normal people check the train first and get ready accordingly, Yes ‘normal people’ do, If I check the train first, my notion of time isn’t timed with the TIME, it has its own clock that means when I box it and try to match , my anxiety kicks in so I get ready first and then check which train I can get, works for me….”I said in my very ‘sana’ style of shrugged shoulders and raised eyebrows. He decided to drop me to station, wasn’t very sure if I will go to work or drop the idea in between or was in still in shock of MY TIME theory response 😃. I found a window spot on the double decker IC train, and as I was enjoying the spring view outside I had this deja vu feeling of life going on as usual in some other verse as if I had been taking this train everyday, there wasn’t any feeling of missing out or a new home working routine, a space of my mind preoccupied with an old process ,a phenomenon. The Deja vu was broken when I tasted the office coffee, in the past I thought it wasn’t good, yesterday I affirmed it was quite BAD. Compared to what you will ask? My home coffee, the coffee of my local cafes which now my coffee buds are accustomed to.
Eid for me always bring the Nostalgia of childhood Eids celebrated among the shade of my loved ones whose towering sheltering presences kept us off the life’s heat.
Ab bas Eidey aati hai jaati hai lekin wo bachpan wali Eid nahi aati.
( Eid now comes and goes but the Eid of childhood never comes)
I remember the night before Eid was a long one, I could hardly go to sleep in excitement. Arranging my dress, shoes, bangles putting up Henna on my palms at night before Eid and trying to sleep with hands up in the air. Once I woke up with Henna design tattooed on my face along with my hand because I accidently put my hennaed hand on my face while sleeping, Talk about embarrassment and an Eid Nightmare as teenager, full Eid day was spent in hiding my tattooed face with my hair flicks and watching it over. I have some Eid Dress disaster stories too at hands of the most sought after people around Eid Mr.Darzi or Darzan ( Tailors) sometimes my Eid dress arrived squished and wrapped up in a small cheap shopper delivered just before we were leaving for Moradabad to see my grandparents at mercy and kindness of our thoughtful Darzi or Darzan nevertheless made my day.
We have always travelled on Eid to visit my grandparents, both of my grandparents maternal and paternal lived in the same city and we were lucky to celebrate with both of them. We had lunch with my father’s family and dinner at our Nana’s house and in between the two, Eid memories etching in my mind forever.
My dadi ( paternal grandmother) had her signature style chole ( chickpeas) and Qiwami sewiyan( sweet vermicelli) served with Imli Khajoor ki chutney( Tamarind and Date chutney) and Dahi Phulki ( Fried Dumpling in a yogurt sauce) , the standard offering for anyone visiting her to say Eid Mubarak. We ( kids) always stuffed ourselves with it and not waiting for the elaborate lunch of Biryani, Kebabs and Qorma. Her Qiwami Sewiyan were the sweetest thing I ate in the world, it could be renamed as Death by sugar until I tasted the Arabic sweets dipped in honey and crying Calories. I could never finish my bowl and she didn’t like it, everyone else loved it and waited for Eid when she sets her foot in Kitchen to cook them. When my husband visited her first time, She was delighted to cook her signature dessert for him which he devoured and asked for more.
My Nani was a great cook and loved feeding people, anything she cooked even if it was not good for her own liking, it was still great for others. I can still remember the taste of her Kebabs which she served with Imli and Pudina Chutney ( Tamarind and Mint Chutney), you can’t keep a count of how many you can eat once she start serving you from pan to plate.
Nanihaal or maternal grandparents’ home or the time spent there have a special comfort and place in one’s heart and mind, so does to mine and I often wondered why? Are you more loved here or is it because your mother is more loved here, may be because nobody judges her in her own home where she grew up, you love the importance thrown at her and how everyone kept asking her what she wants to eat or bring the things that she likes? You love the carefree laughing person she becomes once she is with her parents and siblings within the love fences, she left to create new ones for you as a child.
So that was from my Eid Pandora Box, What memories did you have from your Childhood Eid ?
When you are sitting in the nature observe it too ! How everyone is just busy and happy doing their things. Bees buzzing around, birds flying and chirping, wind blowing , some flowers opening at sunlight and then closing again at sunset. The climbers and vines finding their way through the walls and support using their sensory receptors , their natural springs coiling around the wires sometimes multiple times as per the support needed by their delicate stems until they are stronger and ready to move to next wall. And here I am untrusting my natural inner sensors who are constantly telling me who I am, That I am strong, I am worthy and I can do it, that there is Allah’s support available, just close your eyes, see through the inner eye and coil around your rock and support system that trusts you, supports you and nurtures you!
I was looking outside and getting lost while all I have to do is adjust my compass and look inside , because that’s what I always do ! I always look inside for my way though, that’s where I find my answers and support.
Dont change your course because it works for others, what works for them might not work for you. You know what is best for you and how you do things. Trust your sensors , do it your way.
Let it rain inside of you! The water of life Gushing through The dried veins, Rushing to an awaiting heart. To quench Its thirst, wash away Its dust , so your soul shines through Like a succulent’s Shiny leaves . And then bloom Your inner lilies and lavender that heals.
These Rangoon Creepers or Madhu Malti flowers are deeply ingrained in my childhood memories of my grandfather’s house! Playing with these flowers, making necklaces,earrings, bracelets ! Sometimes even sucking out their nectars excitedly before we made our master art pieces and flaunted around, in the house all day along in summer holidays of May and June when rest of the cousins also gathered and we all made a cock a hoop about it. The creeper was planted by my father, I think I inherited my love for greenery from him.It grew over the years from staircases up until the Edges of verandah of the first floor kept as residence and the ground floor was for vocation. As children we hopped, jumped , skipped the stairs sometimes one, sometimes two of the poor old stairway whose cement was chipping away with our incessant nonchalant self invented games. We almost slept on these stairs making it difficult for family members to pass by. I have clear memories of my father working in the workshop always shouting at Pappu and Afzal to move their hands faster, the two apprentices who never graduated and remained apprentices for life. My grandfather calm as usual , sitting in his office which constituted of a takht( long broad bench like a single bed) set with an office table with his essentials and writing something in his notebook, he always used fountain pens and I always awed at his handwriting. The weekend was much awaited to have a leisurely breakfast of Hot melting in Mouth Jalebis from Babu Ram Halwai whose shop was at a stone’s throw and the famous Daal served in pattal (disposable plates made of dried leaves). It is still a great breakfast combination in Moradabad. The weekend also meant blaring doorbell ringing at ground floor and someone from first floor needs to go and open the doors. It was usually the kids who were sent for the job. We couldn’t have minded had it been once or twice a day but it was once or twice every hour and each time someone leaves, the doors needs to be closed as well. It was two sets of wooden doors that needed to be opened and closed by vertical kundi(latch) on first one and a horizontal kundi(latch) on second door. The Rusty smell of those latches, old door knobs, the scent of flower’s, the sweltering heat, the boiling water from tanks, the long days, watering the plants, the cooling of floor by sprinkling water, the cool touch of moon on the chandnis(white bedsheets) spread out on the beds in open, still beckon me and how I would go back in time just to open those doors as many times without complaining to see my childhood summer and my grandfather Writing in his notebook one more time.
Working on your self is a never ending process, There is never a moment when you can say hey that’s enough and I no longer need to work on myself any further, even maintaining a status quo needs work otherwise all that hard work will be gone. Accepting your self with all your realities is hardest thing. I am saying here Realities because the faults or error that you see on your physical self are so relative to your perception, your thoughts at that moment , experiences in life. But once you have passed that self acceptance test, comes another test. When you are in self care mode, happy in being yourself, sitting relaxed with your guards down , someone might just say you something that you feel those shards of words digging deep into the skin..hurting so bad. All that self work feels lost, gone in those moments, doubts creeping in from the wounds. I kept reflecting for long what happens in those moments and this is what I came up with as an answer.
What happened in those moments is we were not ready to see us / ourselves from their eyes. The way they saw us , their reactions, how they spoke of us was not what we have prepared ourselves for , all this while. We were preparing only to face our own critical eye.
So how do we prepare ourselves for these situations.
Preserving the hard work on Self.
When the weather inside us is cool , calm and we are at peace within our selves. Suddenly a remark, an unpleasant reaction from someone who caught us offguard jolts us completely ! All the self acceptance work done so far seems gone down the drain in that moment. So when are your guards down, When are you most vulnerable? You are most vulnerable and with your guards down among the people you trust and love, in familial and friendly settings. Anything which comes from these people affect us directly, One of my friend commented : We cant control everything and we cant prepare for everything. She is 💯 percent right , we can’t control everything but what we can control and definitely prepare , is our reaction to it when it happens again, we can choose to not get affected. We can choose to understand what someone is saying and is hurtful to us, might be the projection of their fears, their insecurities,their realities and experiences. We have made peace with ourselves and we will not let it affect us. But if it’s repeatedly done , a boundary needs to be setup and it needs to be respected. Nobody should be allowed to transgress it. We need to inform the repeated defaulters that this topic shouldn’t be further brought up again or we will not like to discuss it period.
The price of wisdom often comes at loss of our naivety ,our innocence, the trust in life and people. I do miss my old self sometimes, but I am more happier and at peace with my current self. I was so upset at myself for long, for being so naive , so innocent that I actually called myself stupid when I took people at their face value : the face , the emotions , and the concerns they showed me and not the ones they really had. I still do it though and I must admit I am still learning to cope up with the hurt I do get time to time, but that’s the part of me , of who I am, I trust people easily. Some of them put their trust back , others didn’t, some even use it. I have learnt that what others do is definitely not my problem , I am only responsible to manage myself to safeguard my heart ,to preserve my sanity. I have stopped reading between the lines. I have stopped analyzing what others actually meant when they threw a taunt, a frown at me or purposefully ignore me to make me feel unimportant. All this affected me in past, gave me anxiety and nervousness but not anymore. I still trust people, I still go out of my way to help people, I still am genuinely happy for others, I will forever keep motivating people in spite of any of their behavior that affected me in past or present. I have entrusted all my actions to Almighty that whatever good I do is for his sake only and not for any human being. I still get hurt but intensity is much less now. How do you deal with it , would love to know your coping mechanism ?
How many of us are practicing digital kindness? When most of us are online so many hours per day, scrolling through posts of people we know or donot know in our real world. We are so hesitant to complement people and so very generous in criticizing, disagreeing, trivializing somebody’s concerns , low feelings or issues ! It becomes so easy to be rude, impolite to the stranger when you dont see real faces behind, trailing emotions behind . Sometimes what we write is also not translating to what we are thinking and doesn’t get perceived in right light by the one who is reading ! I have seen people being so kind and generous in real life but not online, Why is it so? Dont we deserve kindness in these digital spaces we all are occupying? Is it true that this virtual world is making us less tolerant of each other, we tend to mute the posts or account we dont like where else in real world we have to adjust and listen to people we dont like or want to hear. Are we growing more impatient ? Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter to few microseconds until the next post and next scroll. What are you doing to practice more digital kindness , to be more tolerant and to keep up your attention span in real world?