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CALLED TO BE RICH… BUT WHY?

Surprisingly the Bible calls us to be rich. But wait- what? Doesn’t the Bible say that it is harder for a wealthy man to enter the Kingdom of heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle? So why is this constant assurance and encouragement by preachers/ teachers for Christians to hope in the Lord and that He will make them rich?

It is not without context that I address this topic. I have struggled with it myself. Surprisingly even in the days of wandering, not knowing the Lord, some of the best teachers or Christian friends would give me the assurance that I am going to be ‘big’ and ‘be prosperous’. Although my eyes weren’t yet open to understand the Word of God, I still knew in my heart that there was a huge misconception around this word ‘richness’ that gets tossed up in the Christian circles. I understood that there are unmistakably many verses in the Bible that point towards prosperity and wealth. But is this wealth then that ‘God’ promises, one, that is perishable? Doesn’t Jesus tell us to work for wealth that is nonperishable?

You may have to be patient with me as I try to put in words what God has revealed to me about this word from the Bible. I do not wish to preach but I believe that the Bible encourages young searchers to not be afraid to discuss what the gospel says. Also, again coincidentally many of the same verses that people used to hand me for ‘prosperity’ came up in my personal Bible study and what I understand ‘now’ is by His providence and wisdom. Some of the common verses in the Bible that point towards God’s promise of prosperity and wealth is this:

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 10:4

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

 

Proverbs 10:22

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.”

 

Philippians 4: 13 (NIV)

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

 

So the counter argument for gaining wealth, is to address whether actually being poor in the physical world, a ‘calamity’? Does it mean that living in poverty, even though one toils hard and gained nothing, because God has not been happy with him? Would our Biblical God perish the ones who are poor and not bless them at all? Definitely not. For Jesus himself says in the famous sermon on the Mount, that :

Mathew 5:1-12, He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Surprisingly, the so-called ‘blessed’ here are the ‘poor’. But they are not the ones who are hungry and going without bread, but the ones who are seeking to have God in their lives. The hunger and thirst is for ‘righteousness.’ Those who mourn, mourn ‘in spirit’. The lacking of their hearts is not for the riches of the world, so that they ‘inherit the earth’. But they seek to be comforted by the assurance of being called God’s children. This, Jesus says is the ‘greatest blessing’. So, then the continuing teachings of the Bible about the ‘poor’ were never about the ones who had ‘lesser physical wealth’. The poor, throughout the Bible who were asked to correct their ways so that they may be ‘rich’ were always the ones who had stopped seeking God’s righteousness. They were not ‘poor’ because of lack of wealth, but were poor in every way for losing sight of God’s righteous ways. They had gone so far off from God’s righteousness that they constantly needed to be disciplined so that they may be ‘rich’ again. And all the time, God himself had to work for it, instead for them to come around on their own.

In Jeremiah 29: 11, we read that, God says –

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Further He says,

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

This was the devastating time when the Israelites were in exile in Babylon. An exile prophesized by Isaiah, the prophet, by God’s spirit, many years before. The exile was for the chosen people of God to remember their God and for the ‘remnant’ to come back to Him. The whole story was orchestrated by God himself.

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So, in short, the next time you hear this verse, dished out on prosperity, remember – that what God calls prosperity is not for you to gain wealth and honour but for you to seek His righteousness and follow His ways. This is what He has planned for you. This is, so that you will have an everlasting relationship with him even through eternity. His plans for you doesn’t end with you in this life. It carries on even after it.

Also, whenever you come across verses like

Proverbs 10: 15 – “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor”, it would be good to be insightful and keep reading and come across verses like,

Proverbs 21: 17 – “Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich. “.

The crux of the matter is this – seek to be rich, be prosperous, crave for blessings. But let not your hearts be made to misunderstand God’s word that He will prosper you with money, physical wealth and reputation. That will never satisfy you. The more you get, the more you will want. And someone who serves God,  cannot serve two masters. So examine your life. Has this life sucked out the fullness of Spirit from you? Does it feel empty even when you try to make it through the day by hard work and honesty? Does it feel God doesn’t care for you anymore? I pray that it never happens or even if it does, now, would be the good time to take up your Bible and start reading. Your Loving God is waiting for you to come to Him and speak to Him. He always seeks us, but we always seem to have plenty up our sleeves that talking to Him is the last possible thing to do.

So, I wish and pray that God prospers you. May your lives be filled with the abundance of God’s riches. May Jesus, by the Holy Spirit remind you of the ‘gift’ of righteousness to which each one of you has access to, when you believe. May God train every part of your body to be ‘slaves’ to righteousness and not the flesh. Praise the Lord, for He alone can do so even today. Amen.

 

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Spirit, Lead me where my faith is beyond borders

“You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine”..

 

You know the feeling when you have had the best biryani you probably had, you go home and now, all you want is to go back and have a bite again? I feel I have had a taste of the best food ever given to me in my whole life and all I want to do at the end of the day is to go have a bite of it. Sometimes, even in the morning and some in the afternoon too.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good..” (Psalm 34:8)

The pure mystery of it all was that I never asked for it. It was just a free gift, given to me in passing for nothing I had done. I never labored for it, I never lifted a finger to help and still it was just there, voluntarily given to me.

I guess I had heard of this ‘gift’ a lot of times, but never tried to know what it is. With my previous experiences, duly noted in this blog, you guys already know why I am talking like this. A lot of times after praying, I would say ‘May Your will be done’. They said I am praying to a ‘Living God’. Often, however, I would wonder if anyone really heard? Even then, the voice in my head would assure me that there is. Then there would come another calamity and *click*- ‘off’ goes my button of faith that would otherwise be cheerfully on. Again, the question of ‘Why me?’ would promptly be uttered and the sulking of a kid towards the father who snatched away something she thought was precious, would arise.

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…Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”…

 

I don’t really don’t know when the thirst arose. The unnecessary worries of a job, some luring relationship, friends who were falling away by the minute etc. were trying to wrestle their way into the vacuum of my heart. It was a rebellious move around September 2015 that I asked/told God that if He doesn’t really want to reveal His will for me/ things I should be doing to make Him happy, then just let me live as “I” want. Co-incidently or God- incidently (a new term I’m getting used to), there was my sister’s Bible lying on the table. Grabbing it there was another challenge thrown up – “I’m only reading it for the stories, what else can you show me through this?”  Let me give you an advice. Don’t challenge God(Jesus) unless you are willing for what comes next! Oh! How my life has changed since then! There was nothing that my Christian friends told me that had made me do it nor was it my own sister who was on fire for the Lord. It was some prayers probably that were being said for me or it was purely just HIS will for me. He poured into me ‘living waters’ and now I can’t stop drinking from it.

 

However, when you are having a ‘mountain-top’ experience like Peter had with Jesus, telling Him that you want to build a tent where you can live forever together-

“Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Mathew 17v. 4).

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….[But Jesus doesn’t let them stay on the mountaintop.  The experience ends.  Within four verses, Moses, Elijah, the bright cloud, the voice of the Father, have all faded.  Now it’s just three of them with a very ordinary looking Jesus.  The “experience” is over, now it’s time for real life.  Jesus leads them down the mountain, down into the valley.   And where does Jesus lead them?  Into a situation that can only be described as hell on earth.  In verses 14-ff, Jesus confronts a boy who’s been possessed by a demon and is under its bondage and destructive influence.  What were James, John, and Peter thinking as that scene unfolded?  They had just been to the mountaintop, and now this?  Talk about jarring!  Had they even had the time to process what had just happened to them on the mountain?

 

Why didn’t Jesus let James, John, and Peter stay on the mountaintop?  For the same reason he won’t let us stay there: he needs us to be his hands and feet in the valleys, in the streets, in the spaces that aren’t awe-inspiring and wonderful.  Jesus needs us to be living for/through him in normal, everyday life, with all of its drudgery, repetition, and yes, ugliness.  Sure, we may be given a mountaintop experience from time-to-time (a conference, a conversation, a moment in prayer, etc.), but Jesus will never let us stay in those experiences, because those experiences are a means, not an end.  They are a means through which God (re)shapes us–heart, soul, mind, and strength–so that we enter the valleys of life differently, transformed and prepared to be his hands and feet to those suffering, hurting, abandoned, forsaken, or worse, those caught in a hell on earth.] – ‘Mere Disciple’ blog, Jeff Strong

 

Now what? What do you do when you are back in the rut of – finding a job?approaching the societal marriageable age? Do you have friends to go back to?

I will tell you what changed this time. This time I really believed when I said “May Your will be done”. I did and believed He will lead me to places that probably was not meant to give me pleasure or let me climb the ladder but where His name was glorified. I also saw my decisions around most of the questions revolving around ‘ What do you want for me, Jesus?’ Isn’t it a great assurance to know that our God is here with us always? Even when I am writing this blog, I know He is guiding me. The prayers that flow, say-“ Lord, I’m your child. You give me what You want. You have control over me. So, you take the tension. It’s Your problem now, not mine.” One thing I have learnt to do, during the waiting period of my life is to Serve. I have also hard-learnt the lesson that it doesn’t work the same for everyone. Serving others should also be checked with whether you are doing it to make yourself feel better or whether the glory of it all, goes to Him, who gave you that opportunity. I have seen people just falling at the feet of Jesus , just asking Him through fasting and praying and God in His love still keeps it away so that You learn to depend on Him. It doesn’t mean you give up on it, but, come to Him with your broken heart, for ‘Blessed are the broken..’. If there is any one way route to survive the waiting period is to just have Jesus in the boat and let Him guide you through the storm. There may be several stops on the way, but at least He is there. What more can you ask for? Sometimes, you got to have faith and just walk on the waters towards Him. Surely the God who made the heavens and the seas can command them to keep you safe!

Well, at the end of my short waiting period, what happened can be summarized into –

Firstly, He gave me lots of friends!! I loooove them. Secondly, God gave me a job. He put me in a room with two atheists and an intern. The intern went back and again I was with these two atheists. Architects talk. Bengalis talk much more. Well-read people often use their human wisdom to under-rate things, their minds can’t understand. They shy away from questions. They cajole you to accept some things. Funnily, things that could tick me off were not ticking me off. Instead, I prayed and I still do. Astonishing to me was the way God showed me that He loves them. I don’t fully know but I do know that His love is for everyone. Not just who believe in Him but even for those who persecute Him. There is nothing I myself could have done for changing their hearts, or atleast the one who was persecuting Him the most. But as 1 Peter 3:15 says-

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

He did ask me about my hope. Somedays, more than once. The answers were simple. I told what Jesus did for me and is still doing. I told him that if it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t even be working here. Of course the occasional, ‘Ya right!’  smile would displace that. The Spirit nudged me to share the gospel and leave it at that. It wasn’t my job anyway, it was God’s will.

Much to my surprise after leaving that office, I asked him a few weeks later if he bothered to go through my ‘gift’ to him. I have to testify of God’s faithfulness by letting you know that he did and even confessed that he had been intrigued by Jesus since childhood and now is fascinated by Him. I praise God for that. What is impossible for man is possible for God. I hope and pray that  the journey for a true seeker ends at ‘The TRUTH’. The truth of course, much as a gift it was for me, is a gift for anyone who is really seeking.

 

I love what God has been doing in this country and is continuing to do around the world. Even through the persecutions, the fire, Christians, who love Jesus, have to give their lives for the sake of the ‘Good News’ is mind-blowing. I’m awed how, in the duration of these last 3-4 months, away in a new city, I have met so many people testifying of their new found faith in Jesus. Some saw Him in dreams, visions, supernatural activities or some just in the Bible, like me. Everyone drinking of the ‘living waters’ and boldly on fire for God’s Word, better than people who were privileged to be called sons of God by birth. I pray that we continue to walk in faith and specially pray for these people. God tells us not to take anything with us when go out in the world except for His word.

Hebrews 4:12 says ‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;..’

 

I pray that we continuously strive to seek Him and His will in us and that the seeds planted take root and strengthen us in our journey on Earth as well as for eternity.

 

“What can I do but thank you

What can I do but give

My life to you

Hallelujah, hallelujah

What can I do but praise you

Every day make everything I do

A hallelujah, a hallelujah

Hallelujah”

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5 things God taught me through cooking

  1. Patience is key

No doubt that this is what hit me hard the first time I attempted cooking and still continues to tease me. The time and amount of preparation required for even the simplest Indian dishes is unbelievable. Some things require the utmost attention and no matter how much you think you can go free-board with the recipe, the in between ‘pause and let it cook’ process can get you praying for it to cook quickly without burning. I don’t know how many times I have actually let my onions be cooked properly before I rushed to put in all the other ingredients. It was one thing that made me to ‘wait, see and watch’ how others do it before I learnt to do it properly.

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2. No need to be perfect the first time(or even second)

No matter how perfect I would hope my first attempts at the recipes would be, I’ve been most disappointed. I’m probably the messy kind but somehow my innate optimism doesn’t allow me to wallow in grief in general life situations. However, constant failures at not being able to even roll out the perfectly shaped rotis, even after so many attempts can frustrate you. However, banging your head on the wall over it again and again hurts you more. You’ve got to do it again, be content with what your efforts and hope the next time will be more successful.

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3. Sharing brings joy

Most of my fondest memories of college are, when I got invited to my Muslim friends’ home and my eyes would bulge from the amount of food on the table for just one guest. A lot of times I’ve critiqued about wasting time and effort to prepare so many things for just one person. It was incomprehensible for me ‘then’, but I believe now that there is absolutely no greater joy in sharing the gift of food with your beloved ones and more so with the lesser privileged. Maybe someday I will have the courage and my own home to open to strangers and the poor as Jesus commanded for us all to do. But till then I’m joyous in making every effort fruitful while preparing for my loved ones.

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4. Being creative and work around the issue you have

It is not everytime that you end up making the exact same thing you had started with. Sometimes you have ‘soon to decay’ fruits lying waiting to be eaten or sometimes you just want a quick fix to your hunger.  What do you do? You work around the issue at hand. Hunger drives you to rage, weakness and dismay, however if there is the will to get up and learn from your experiences, you get the strength in you to stretch your imagination to fulfill the goal. No situation has a one shot answer. Anything can be worked out. Fruits can be made into a shake, the leftover rice and sabzis can go into a khichdi and ofcourse some chaat masala (prayer) always helps.

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4. ‘SALT’ is essential for almost anything

Noone needs to be told how much salt is required in food in whatever manner of cooking. Almost anything tastes bland without a pinch of salt. However, too much salt can render the whole recipe useless. Jesus calls us to be the “Salt of the Earth”.. Even our conduct and speech is said to be ‘seasoned with salt’. What does that mean? Does it mean I have to use my tongue sharply all the time? No! Simply understood, what Jesus commands, is a life that brings flavor to others and which can unite the whole community together just as salt binds the whole dish together.

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I hope what I have learnt will help someone somehow. The struggles in life can crush us to the point that we stay in denial and allow ourselves to go numb with pain. However God says ‘His burdens are light’. There is nothing on Earth or heaven that harm any of His children and therefore each day when the sun rises in the morning and goes down in the evening, allow yourself to be believe in Love and Hope that comes from meditating on His Word. Hopefully it will reflect in your cooking. 🙂

‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything..’

– James 1 :2-4

 

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WHAT HOSTEL DOESN’T TEACH YOU & LIVING ALONE DOES.

It’s a dull day at the office, as we draw/draft our thoughts away, trying not to think of the minute we could just get up and leave for home. My own thoughts hover over the idea of having to make dinner tonight and to go grocery shopping. It’s quite interesting how God has swept me away from my family and is making me do things in order to come out of my comfort zone that I had guiltily made for myself.

Hostel was easy compared to this. Food was available three times a day. We had a regular pattern of studying, being fed, having water to bathe, had garbage/waste taken out every day. Not having to worry about pril (dishwashing liquid) running out and thereby, allowing the kaamwaali aunty, the excuse to not wash the dishes. UFF! Why should I complain, right? Isn’t it just my fault that I didn’t get the essential demanded by her to wash the dishes?! Man! This is hard.

All those talks about living in a hostel and being ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and stuff.. Who was I kiddin’? Living in a hostel doesn’t teach you anything about real life, does it? Well it does teach you some valuable things like – tolerating a good number of people and their stupidities. It does teach you that ‘community living’ is not a myth and you ‘cannot’ (mark my words) go out and buy yourself a ‘maggi’ for yourself. You buy maggi for everybody or none at all. Whatever you buy/make, it’s not just for you, it’s for everyone-no questions asked! I think if you really had to get down to list down things you do learn in a hostel, there could be few. But let’s focus on what it doesn’t teach you and why you are still clueless when you are living on your own, off your own money.

First of all, accept that you are on your own and ‘freedom’ is relative. What seems freedom to one, may not be freedom to another.

So, what are some of the things that you are unprepared for, when living on your own? Why is it so different from hostel living?

  • You are your ‘own boss’!

As much as that phrase makes you happy, ask yourself this –‘”Am I really prepared to be my own boss?”… I mean, it’s not that you can complain to your mom, about how hard it is to live alone!  Weren’t you the sole person responsible for this ‘huge’ decision of yours?

You are your own boss ,which not only implies that there is no one you need to answer to, but it also means that you are accountable on all counts for your own actions and can’t expect anyone to be at your beck and call for every small thing anymore.  E.g. Search your own apartment, pay it off with most of your own money etc.

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  •  Accounts and finance- “Arrey, paise kaha gae?”…

Remember the time when you were still living with your parents while earning or flashback to hostel when Rs. 500-2000 dresses weren’t ‘that’ expensive to buy. Well hol’ up sista! Your spending spree ‘keeda(bug) just got a loud wake up call. You find yourself checking your balance at the end of each month to check there is enough to pay this month’s rent, khaana-waana, ghar ke other bills and even after that if you think you can afford a 500rs. Ultra- awesome top, then ya, go ahead and buy it! But don’t go lisiting things down if you can’t believe that you are falling short of money even after being ‘so careful’ about it ‘this month’.

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  • Entertaining people- is it really your thing?

I would have to say that this is definitely more of an extrovert/ introvert thing and it does get difficult for a lot of people, if not been surrounded by people all the time. However, it has been an eye-opening experience for me because I never thought I would be the person, not wanting to entertain people if I have my own space. So, when one day one of my intern friends wanted to stay over, watch a movie and order a pizza, I was shocked to hear myself refusing and being blunt about not wanting to ‘hang out’ at all. If you are wondering why this change happened then it would be good to know that when you’ve come back from a hard day at work (or just doing nothing), all you are looking for is some peace and alone time. You don’t want someone else’s interests to influence you, especially under your own roof where your cozy corner is waiting for you.

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  • Uncle/ Aunty Zindabad!

Do you see yourself being extra nice to the uncle and aunties around you? Do you see that those- once-judgmental eyes, now soften when they see you? Do you feel the unexplainable security of knowing that these aunties and uncles would never (hopefully) give your landlord a bad review of the kind of people you are and whom you bring home?! Did any of the aunties just ask how you are and offered you ‘gujiya’ for Holi? Hol’ up again. You don’t want to be ‘too friendly’ but establishing a good relationship with the neighborhood uncles for their deep source of information or ‘duniyadaari’  gyaan and aunties homemade food is something that is valuable in the longer run.

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I think, now since I’m into my fourth month of struggling to settle in, these are the top four things that I can tell you, from over the top of my head. There are definitely a zillion other things you can talk about- paying electricity bills, how to make khaana? etc. But those I’m sure can be found in any ‘survival- guide- for- bachelors’ (if there is any).

Having said all that, living on your own is the best thing (cliché alert) and it is something one should definitely try once in your life. This could be in fact, something you do between college and the mind-wrecking time that your parents want to see you married. Running away is good and living on your own is awesome but NEVER through all of it compromise the values that you grew up with and enjoy your self-claimed freedom till you fall out! Cheers!

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The One where college ruined my life..

I was a 17 year old with an ego the size of a watermelon. I was at a stage in my life where I considered myself superior just for knowing ‘exactly’ what to do in life. Yes, it is an ego booster in India because you totally know what you are going to tell an aunty/ uncle about your future plans (which is apparently VERY important after 12th grade). At least, I was unlike the poor things who got swept away by the flow into doing engineering and other stuff.

I sat massaging my ego after school, totally unaware what God had in store for me. Wow, God definitely has a sense of humour.

I got shipped off to KERALA, a state that used to be at the center of my jokes, just because it wasn’t cool to be called a Mallu (then)! The week leading to joining college, I was greeted by dirty smirks and mocking voices from all around my friend circle. A girl who never associated with anything mallu was gonna join a college, far away from her city where she grew up!  If you ask me, except for the embarrassment in front of my fellow mallu-hating-club friends, I was a teeny bit happy because it would keep me away from my parents for five long years, and not to mention that I did love Kerala architecture. I mean for a Delhiite, people live in mini-mansions there! Wow!

But this is only the part in Hindi serials, where the guy meets with an accident and goes into a coma! Wait for it-! Picture abhi baaki hai…

Now let me tell you ‘about’ my college (I’ll be discreet and not mention the name) *sniggers*
a. It was a minority college for people who hardly get admissions anywhere else and already have their seats booked in 11th grade.
b. I was unaware of point a. because for me, nothing could go wrong in Kerala, like how could you be the most literate state in India and not have ‘rules’, eh?
c. I was one of the 3-4 Govt. allotted seats in a minority college which means I sat with kids who had not planned to be there for the love of joining the course, but because of the pressure to ‘just get a degree’ (because that’s important, hunh?)
Now that’s just the beginning. I soon found out that as much as the kids weren’t interested at all, the faculty could not have been more ignorant. Classes were dismissed just because of strikes or they ‘forgot’ or because they had absolutely no idea how to conduct a class. Now it may seem strange to you, but, up until that point, I never knew that a college could ‘function’ like that. Most of the professors were graduates from the college and hardly had any experience in neither the field nor in conducting classes. I could go on about what was wrong, but, I’ll just say that I had hit rock bottom. I knew that no matter how much I hated it, in order to get out of this shit hole I would require a lot of money that my parents couldn’t afford. I left everything to fate. Regardless to say, I never turned to God.
I got a lot of unprecedented attention from boys. I was a Delhiite in a minority college in Kerala. A college where no one native to the town would go to. I was seen as a symbol of a rebel- a smoker/ drinker who would’ve definitely hit a pub once or twice,huh? I mean she is from Delhi,right?! Wrong! I’ve been to a pub ONCE before joining and done nothing inappropriate for my age up until then. For someone who was not used to much attention, I basked in it. To say very little, I encouraged it. I wasn’t a ‘thoppu'(bombshell) and I didn’t see it until the third year of college when I realised that my friend circle had absolutely no common interests with me except for the fact that we were all not native to the area.
I was also going through near heartbreak for a guy who genuinely interested me. He had ditched me even as a friend to pursue a girl he had been after for a long time. I could not come in terms to the fact that someone I considered my best friend could just leave like that. I was lonely, picked upon mildly at first, and harshly later, for being of a religious background that was different from the people around me. I knew life would not be the same after third year but I was totally unprepared to face each day thereafter. Most of my 15-minute walks from the college to the hostel were alone. I thought I could phase people out of my life as I liked and still survive. I tried hard to be in control of my situation, blinding myself to the fact that there was a guy in my class who was facing the same abandonment and personal failures in his life as I was.
I still don’t know how we got talking. I mean I knew he wasn’t native to the area as well. He definitely spoke good English, but we had never really ‘met’ until then. Come to think of it, we should just have met in the first year. No, he is not my boyfriend. I friend-zoned him long ago * sniggering* (it just happened, don’t judge me).
Kevin is a really sweet guy. We got talking. It was really disturbing to know that we were both cornered for the same reasons. He had been abandoned for making his friend listen to ‘music’.  Apparently, the ‘pottan’ friend thought that his mom got ill at that time because he committed that ‘sin’. Unbelievable. We connected on many terms. We didn’t want to be alone, but neither were we ready to be going on without a plan. We talked and talked. Over a period of time we had a lot of questions, about who God really was. Kevin had almost gone down the path of atheism and even if I’ve not been verbal about it- I was not really living a life that was entirely Christian. My patience had taken a toll and it came out in fits of anger directed at many people at once. Kevin tried to be the better of us two but I’m not really sure if we handled things nicely.
Regardless to say, my architecture studies had taken a backseat. Like it didn’t even have a seat. It was in the ‘diki’ until my final year of college.
One day, Kevin told me that he had had a heart-to-heart conversation with his grandmother over God. She told him that Jesus didn’t pick a stone against the adulteress woman and how He accepted the thief on the cross. Kevin and I cannot claim in any way that we were Christians. We were born into it but never accepted its full power.
His grandmother almost took the role of our counselor. She encouraged us to live a good life no matter what our situations. Most of all, she told us to have heart and love as God would love everyone. I think that was the only advice we took on .No matter what came our way, we tried our best to work our heads into accepting differences and moving on with it. We had tried for a very long time to be ‘hot’ about the situations we were going through and only burnt ourselves out. Neither of us were equipped by the Word of God to fight anything.I  think it was the realization that God has this. He had already planned this course of life for us. He knew what we would go through. He had separated us from the rest of the people to be different for Him. We saw his promises unfold when we found ourselves to be more forgiving. It calmed our hearts , not the situations. And that’s all that mattered.I’ve  realized that this is only a journey to a bigger purpose in my life. He is preparing me for something that I cannot imagine.  Through all of it, he disciplined me, told me to give up my self-reliant attitude and to depend on His grace. Kevin and I were definitely the most blessed in those five years because He thought us worthy of His grace. Praise be to Him!
As I said,It was in my last year of college that I was truly inspired by some amazing bunch of mentors who didn’t want to impress me with a sweet smile or talk, but with gentle scolds and harsh judgements.
Reality strikes when you actually start working.  Meeting deadlines often leaves you brain-dead and you forget to replenish it with ideas and just fall into a routine. For me this is still a journey, a passion that drives me, will always drive me. But it has also made me see it as ‘profession’, rather than something that could engulf my life. To be honest, this is something I still struggle with. I love architecture but I love God more. No matter what I do today or in the future, I know He has got me! Amen!
Alright, now just wait for it, okay? This is not over yet! So impatient you guys are! 😛
shy,artist,architecture,God · Uncategorized

The One where it all began..

So it all started when I was in my eleventh grade. A shy, obedient, bespectacled student who had hardly done anything out of the ordinary. One day she chose a subject that was sought to be admonish-able by the world who had already labelled her as ‘boring’. Yes, I chose to study – Fine Arts.

It must not come as a surprise then, that I had never previously sat for a proper Arts studio except for the one in my second grade where I was taught to make a duck out of the number 2! Neither should it shock you that I was horribly bad. My first sketch could hardly be acknowledged as a mere scribbling when compared to the ‘awesome’ ones by my amazingly talented batch mates. I must’ve been stupid to stay, I thought then, but I knew it would be even more scarier to leave because nothing else excited me. I stayed long enough to understand that there is nothing like ‘perfect art’. A beautifully painted scenery could repulse a modernist who would never identify with its emotions. Art was your own outlet. It was something that was boundless, infinite and dynamic. It can free you or it can keep you captive.

I was its captive for the next year that followed. I didn’t know how it changed me,but I knew how it changed the people around me. People were nicer, even sweeter. I may not have been the best at painting a portrait but I was good at knowing what people wanted to express. I was sought to be an outlet for people to share their stories, their fears and strengths. Whoever had a story, had a listener in me. Unknowingly, I could bring onto a piece of paper- funny cartoons, dark dementors or even just a cheesy poem. It seems like an artist’s curse/ boon to be an advocate of people’s emotions that could be just on the brim to flow. And just like that, I got appointed the ‘Head of Cultural Captains’. As much as I felt proud, I need to be modest here and say that I still,to this day, don’t know why I was worthy of this honor. Even with my batch mates supporting me and loving me through it all, I can’t express how meek I feel with all those eyes upon me.

And for the first time , in my final year of school-people were seeking approval-From Me! Who would’ve thought?

I graduated, still a shy, bespectacled girl with a 98% top score tucked away to my Board credits for the only subject that mattered and would thereafter matter.

Even through all this, I was blind to God’s-soon-to be-accomplished-plan in me…