Death and Faith

It has been a while since I have thought about this topic. For some reason that I am not aware of, I have been hesitant to write about this or discuss this with anyone else. I vaguely brought this up with Preeti early 2011 when I was about to travel to USA in March. However, I did discuss this with Samita Thakur on length. I just was unable to discuss this with Preeti because I knew she would be completely psyched about it and just didn’t want her to get upset.

For a decade (2000-2010) I have maintained the place that “I am not afraid of death”. I believed that everyone has to die one day and once I die it is over for me. Death will not affect me because I am gone. I have always wanted a swift death; didn’t want to suffer. I don’t know when, but my thinking changed and I realized it when I started to travel so often to Hyderabad for office assignments. This was in the year 2010 itself (January to March). And, then later that year I had to travel to USA for office work. I had 2 trips planned in that duration and flying just made me so stressed out. I was paranoid about flying and the second time (March 2011), I was just over the top. It was so much so that my blood pressure was up to 130/100. It was that time when I discussed it with Preeti and Samita.

Of course, they both did mention the same thing that I had believed for almost a decade – why do you care? you can’t control it; if it happens it happens. If something bad has to happen it can happen anytime anywhere. I knew all that, yet air-travel has just been so stressful. Around time of travel, I would find reason in everything about why it happened this time and why not last time. A few examples:

  • Aparna’s mother-in-law asked to come to meet me especially in March just before travel and I was thinking – “why now? why not last time?”. Preeti told me she wanted to last time too and I was relieved;
  • I didn’t want to pick up a flight and just wanted to be assigned a flight to travel.

And there were more. It was a huge thing – I was challenging every event in March just before travel. Yet, I did travel and did arrive in Plymouth safely and now I am sitting today writing this on the eve of my travel. This time the travel plans have changed unplanned and once more I am asking myself the same question.

However, some part of me has always asked me this question – “Why would God bother to kill me in such an unusual way?” I don’t travel much, so why make all this trip on work assignment just to kill me in an air accident or put me through a misery. He can do this when, where and how He wishes it. I can’t explain myself why would he do this now; I have a daughter to take care of, a wife who thinks of me as her life and two parents who would be devastated if anything would happen to me (I just can’t imagine what would happen to them).

To top it all, I feel so sad just thinking about this. As I write this post, I am trembling from inside and I have a feeling that I have never had before – I can’t describe it. The saddest part is my realization that I am not trusting God and His decisions. Where I have faith in Him, I still think about this and in a way challenge His actions. He has done so many good things for me, and if He has decided to do this to me then who am I to question His deeds. I never questioned when good things happened; why about this. This is something out of my control and if it has to happen it will happen. I just can’t do anything about it.

I just need to find peace around this topic – if I continue to think about this that I am letting go of my Faith in Him; my faith in Him that he will take care of me; my Faith in Him to take care of my family. For a very long time, when I pray, I asked for one thing and one thing only – “Please do what is best for me”. When I start to think of all this, I let go of my faith in Him and his decisions around me.

<side-thought>Next few lines should help me understand and put this topic to rest for ever</side-thought>.

I have started to believe in Karma more strongly in recent times and believe that what we get is a result of our actions. I believe that God keeps a score for us – good deeds give us points and bad deeds take away points. What happens with us is a result of what our score is. I believe that Death comes when we have fulfilled our purpose in this life. I don’t know the purpose of my life, but whatever I do is in that direction – I just don’t know it. I don’t want to digress from topic, so I am going to end it by accepting my Faith over my fear.

I want to carry on with my life believing that God is going keep a watch over me as He has done in the past and He is going to do the same for my family too. I will just go about doing my stuff and try to do the right thing. I will try to choose my purpose and make people around me happy. Rest I will leave to God. He has brought us to existence and He will do what is best for us. Death is just another way of tempting me to let go of my Faith, but I will not. I will not stop doing what I am should do (Karma), and I will do it using my best judgement. God will judge me for my actions.

I have had doubts if this I should share this thought and what is the right way to share these thoughts with my parents, siblings, wife and children. So, after thinking for a long time, I am going to publish this post, because this is the easiest way for them to know what I believe in and what I have gone through for last 2 years. This is the best way for me to pass on my Faith to them especially in times when God is testing us. I just want everyone to know that I don’t think of death all the time, and I want to be around to fulfill my purpose of a son, a brother, a husband and a father. But, based upon my actions God will decide when I have served my purpose. And to let you know, as I end this post, I feel much lighter that I was a while ago. I know now, that I need to fix a few things in my life and do it while I have the time.

Friendship

Friends
Image by matley0 via Flickr

How we feel is something that we cant control – or at least not at the very beginning. We may be able to over a period of time to control our emotions, but when something happens at that point how you feel tells you who you are what the other person means to you. Friendship is one such thing.

Over my life I have heard many people say “she is my best friend” or “he is my bestest friend” or “we have been good friends for an entire lifetime”. I have always just said “he/she is my friend”, i was never able to categorize. For me either you are a friend or a classmate/colleague.

Wikipedia defines Friendship with the characteristics like wanting the best for the other, sympathy and empathy, honesty, mutual understanding, trust and positive reciprocity.

I have known many people especially through school, college and various jobs but only a few people outside of my family who have moved into the second decade – Rajat, Shallja, Deepika, Samita, Pankaj and Prashanth. None of them are from my school or college. Couple of them are from NIIT and rest from my first jobs. And, then there are a few other who have come close to either getting moved over or are still in the first decade but are in the zone – Naina, Sitija, Anubhav, Babul, Bhawana, Raminder, Praveen, Nikhil, and Sachin.

Over a period of time, we have all moved on with our life and we have got busy and have spoken less over the time. However, even now when I see their name on the screen of phone I feel delighted, and I look forward to speaking to and call them when I can.

Sorry guys for the context, and no matter how much this seems irrelevant, it is important for me to get to my primary thoughts.

The friends who have moved to the 2nd decade are the ones, for who I feel happy or sad based on what I hear. I no longer expect them to call me as the first person when something big happens in their life. I am happy that they remember me and in no particular order. I believe that if they have been unable to tell me about something, they had a reason, and when we meet I just congratulate them or share my sympathies and not worry about why was I not told about it. I just do not worry about where I am in their priorities, because I know I am a part of their life and when if I am not needed today it is because my friend is struggling with a part of life where they need me to around for them to reach out. I no longer offer my support, I just offer my companionship.

 

We weren’t friends overnight, but it took time; it was built. It took commitment to make it work. The journey to this stage of our Friendship is what held the ingredients for a successful friendship. It started off with a mutual association and a mutual liking for each other’s company. It built on top of trust and honesty in all our dealings especially when at work. We made sure that we were fair to each other and kept our personal lives independent of the professional ones. It was built on understanding, that we were a part of their lives but ones priorities are always changing. It was built on faith that when we need them they will be around and if they can not be, they will tell us why.

 

So, now when I hear about a “friend”, and my first emotion is not to be happy for them, I know it is not friendship. I just know – I don’t understand why I was not remembered; how come I am not remembered every time. I know it is time to let go. I know we are not friends any more, we are just “ex-colleagues”.

 

A new end, a new beginning

I could have never guessed that I would be up at 5.30am on the New Year day; but then I could have never guessed that I would be living in Minnesota for 5 months. Last year has been an year or many things that I never thought could happen to me. But, when I start thinking about the last 10 years of my life, I feel so glad that there are things in there that I had thought of – a good job, loving wife and an adorable daughter are the three things that top my list.

But, last decade was about learning and growth. I moved from early 20s to 30s and it changed my life in many ways. Last few years, I saw myself leaning towards Spirituality and in many ways moving towards to the betterment of my life and my family.

I started the decade hungry of success, and I am starting a new decade still hungry, but of a different kind of success. For starters, I want to follow one of my so many passions that I picked up in years and let them die. I have not decided which one, but it feels like photography is going to be it. So, you can be rest assured that you are going to see quite a few clicks from me in times to come. A lot of those are going to be of my daughter and I try to spend as much time as I possibly can with her.

Living outside of India and my home has never been a thought but it happened in the very end, and I may have to do so again in the beginning too, but something I am not looking forward too very much. However, this decade the goals achieving some higher things in life. Professionally, I consider myself blessed in this last decade. I started off in the year of the dot.com burst, however still I am holding a senior position with a big organization and I think I have earned respect amongst many of my colleagues (if not all). In this new beginning I would like to achieve some more.

Personally, last decade saw me at crossroads many times. Not many would know that, but I went from someone who cant shut up to someone, who does not speaks. I am still uncertain as to if this is for good or not, but introspection tells me something needs a change here – as my mother tells me so affectionately – “you should be more social”. I know she is right but then I am me. I am a different person when I am around my daughter or my friends and I like that person. Maybe, they are not judging me all the time and if they are sometimes I do not care because it is so much fun that way. I believe that for me to be that person all around, I have to do some talking. Something I have done successfully in my professional like in the last decade, and I think I need to so likewise here too.

Friends – wow!! A whole new meaning for me in this decade. Because, in the last decade, I completed a decade long of friendship with a few of my friends and made some new ones. My friends from 90s taught me what friendship really means – it is not about talking a lot, but talking when it makes sense. It is not about having to talk to someone all the time to be friends, but still to be friends when you find it most difficult to be. And, some new ones – when I never thought I would be able to make some new friends in such a hectic life, I actually did. I somehow have started to believe that the word “Best Friends” does not exist. Either we do have friends or we dont. I do not like to name people, but I would do so this time around – Rajat, Deepika, Shallja, Samita, Pankaj sir, Sitija, Babul. And yeah Anurag (even though he is my brother in law) I find myself at ease around him just like I do with friends. When my mother-in-law tells me that she was so afraid given both our nature, we would even tag along, it is surprising that we do go along very well. There are of course some differences and I am the “Jijaji” :), I find myself being very comfortable around him.

Family – I left this one for the last, because this one is never going to end. I started a new decade with just my side of the family and mid-way, I was blessed to have Preeti’s side of the family too. And, it has been wonderful along the way. Preeti herself has been in all ways the “better half” and complimented me in many ways. And when she presented me with Aabhya she just gave me the world. I can not thank her enough for all she has done. Mom and Dad – they have been ever so patient with me all along. They saw me sunk with dot.com, they saw me grow in Sapient and UHG and they saw me change over time and move away from their child to be a father of their grand-daughter and yet they were so patient with me and my attitude (I wish I never had that). Only if I would be half as patient as they have been, I would be a different person. Thank you mom and dad. Aparna – my baby sister and I still call her that even though she is now married and is practicing her medicine in a big hospital. She has been like a daughter to me, but somehow I dont think I ever said those words to her. I think she knows :). Our fights turned out to be some deep talks over the years and then to a silence of respect and love of each other. I cant thank her enough for being their for me and listening however little I talked about. This chapter can go long if I start writing about everyone, so I am going to take a rain-check for now and come back later.

Thank you God, for being there for me all the time and guiding me for the very best. I could not have done any of this without You.