Tag Archives: prayer

Prayer at Work

Every organization that manages to survive for at least 10 years has, I think, at least one good practice that it can proudly boast of as its ‘Best Practice.’

But how do you define a best practice? I can already imagine you asking this. Well, my idea of a best practice is a positive activity that is so deeply ingrained into an organization’s culture that it seems to happen almost automatically, requiring no supervision or intervention to keep it going.

In my current place of work, for instance, we begin our day at 10 AM by standing together in a common hall for a short prayer session. Lata Mangeshkar’s song ‘E Malik Tere Bande Hum…’ is played on the music system and all we have to do is stand with folded hands and hum along. As soon as the song ends, the music system is switched off and the hall reverberates with everyone saying ‘Om’ thrice, loudly and clearly.

The lyrics of the song have universal appeal as they are devoid of any references to any religion or prophet. This is important as India is a diverse country and organisations cannot afford to indulge in activities that isolate individuals.

I look at this daily prayer session as a best practice because

1. This practice is so wonderfully simple and deceptively easy to follow that it seems to happen daily almost automatically, which is, I think, a great thing, considering the fact that every other process requires a strong driving force. Without that force, everything falls flat and things fall apart.

2. It helps employees in starting work with positive vibes towards each other.

3. It inculcates a sense of humility and unity under all circumstances as everyone, including senior management, participates in it.

My organization is, I think, the only car dealership in Delhi NCR that follows this practice.

I recently read an article in LinkedIn about an organization where people have a short dance session before hitting work. Isn’t that wonderful? A great way of staying fit too.

Do comment, dear readers, and let me know about the best practices followed in your ieganization

Remembering Mom – Part II

Beant Kaur

(18 Nov. 1939 – 16 Nov. 2017)

These 2 pics are of Mom in around 1978 in Nigeria as Lady Health Sister.

On 16 November 2018, after completion of prayers, my Dad, sister and I walked quietly out of the C-Block, Vikaspuri Gurdwara.

It was one of those solemn occasions which throws you into a peculiar mood. You are neither happy nor sad.

We couldn’t be sad because in death exactly a year ago, my Mom got a permanent relief from a worn-out, ailing body.

We couldn’t be happy either because it reminded us once again of an irreplaceable vacuum in our lives, of the loss of a brave, constantly inspiring soul.

This Gurdwara too has a special significance for us because Mom gave so much of herself to it.

Our home-warming prayer rituals after we moved from Nigeria to our own house in Vikaspuri in 1984 were performed through this Gurudwara. It was a dream come true for Mom in particular as she had struggled so much all through life, beginning from the childhood trauma of partition in 1947 and subsequent arrival in Delhi as a refugee.

Later on, after Mom quit her regular job in around 2000, she spent her last few years of active duty in this Gurdwara as their Medical Services Coordinator. She always believed that the best way to worship God is through service to humanity.

And then finally, when Mom expired, all her death rituals were completed by Bhaijis of this Gurdwara.

Here are some pics of the Gurdwara and the Medical Center.

Well, life must go on…Living must go on living and dead souls have to be at peace in their new homes.

Mom, rest in peace and continue to shower your blessings on us…

A Prayer In Vain

With a bent head,

And a humble soul,

I pray to thee,

Oh, God Almighty,

Please let me be,

If only for a little while more,

Stop me

From joining the dead leaves,

The relentless,

Merciless

Cycle of life and death…

Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee

Remembering Mom…

Sardarni Beant Kaur

18 November 1939 – 16 November 2017

This is how I would always like to remember my Mom; strong, gentle, awe-inspiring, and cheerful. This photo was clicked on 15 May 2016, Mom and Dad’s 51st anniversary.

Mom expired on 16 November 2017, just 2 days before her 78th birthday. We were all shell shocked when the doctor pronounced his verdict with the remark, “No use of taking her to hospital now.”

I was in office when I got the news. I rushed out immediately. It took me two hours to reach home from Gurgaon. Mom was on her bed, eyes shut, covered with a blanket right up to her neck. My Dad, in between fits of weeping, was trying to inform as many close relatives as he could. I tried my best to console him, but he was still very distraught.

I still could not believe that she wouldn’t open her eyes again and smile at me, like she always did. I touched her hands and feet. They felt ice cold and sent a sharp stab right through my heart…

For some strange reason, I always thought Mom was invincible. She had, after all, battled with cancer and emerged as a winner. She was always optimistic, never complaining or grieving about anything, always trying to be her best. Not once did she ever utter the word ‘death.’ Even though she was now retired from her nursing career, her professional bearing, her courage in the face of extreme pain and adversity, her neat and tidy way of doing things stayed with her right till the end.

On the morning of the day she died, she seemed to be better than ever before. With her feet firmly planted on the ground, she had moved herself closer to the pillow and said, “Thank you” after I was done with freshening her up as per my daily routine. I thought everything was becoming normal again as it was Mom’s old habit to always thank profusely for every kind gesture, no matter how small…

Since it was already quite late and my husband was in Kolkatta, Mom’s cremation was fixed for the next day. My younger sister Dimpy and my brother-in-law Lalit, with the help of our neighbors, arranged for a casket to be brought home from the Gurdwara for preservation of her body till then. I was really touched to see the way everyone came out to support in every way possible.

As the hours ticked by, Mom passed through all the different stages with a quiet rock-like endurance and resilience that is characteristic of the dead. I could not help comparing her now with what she was like when she was alive.  She had the same amazing inner strength that always inspired everyone she came into contact with.

With our family members around us, I clicked as many pics she as I could during the next few hours. It was my way of coping with the painful loss by doing something concrete and preserving something of her for forever. Some of these pics are given below.

It was for the first time that I was an active participant in Sikh rituals related to death. The prayers offered at every stage served as a soothing balm because of their constant reminder to not grieve excessively as death is inevitable. Nothing is lost and nothing is created. After death, the body returns to earth while the soul moves into another body…

Mom is now no longer with us physically, but something of her and the values she stood for continue to inspire us. Her advice to me in particular, “Remain active, never stop working” will keep me on my toes for as long as I am alive…

Wish you a great after-life, Mom!

16 November 2017

Around 3:30 PM

Around 11:30 PM

17 November 2017

Around 10 AM

Dad, grief-struck…

Ardas before cremation

Getting ready for cremation

A stark reminder: Irrespective of how much you struggle to achieve your goals in life, everything turns into ashes in the end.

20 November 2017 (Final day of Akhand Path)

End of Akhand Path…

Around 3 PM

Kirtan and final ardas in C Block Gurdwara, Vikaspuri, New Delhi…

l

Final get-together at tea and saying goodbye…

Durga Puja, Timarpur, 2017

In 2017, Dashmi, the last day of Durga Puja, was on 30 September. The mad frenzy of the festival finally ended on this day, saddling me with a bundle of mixed emotions, unlike previous years when the slow onset of sunset on the day of Dashmi seemed to be such a rude anticlimax.

I was happy and relieved because the end of puja meant freedom from the terrible stress of being ‘social.’ With so many old faces getting replaced every year with new ones, the task of befriending new people for its own sake isn’t very easy at my age. Last year, my handbag was stolen from inside the pandal. So, apart from the freedom from tight petticoats and blouses, new sarees with stiff borders biting into my neck, heavy jewellery weighing me down, it also meant freedom from the constant threat of petty thiefs trying to snatch belongings…

And here’s a little secret…On Dashmi, while we were all busy getting things ready for the final puja done by married ladies and the subsequent sindoor khela, an aquaintance said to me with an amused grin, “You have worn your blouse the other way round. Front part, pleats and all are on the back and rear part is on front.”

I blushed and immediately covered up the ready-made blouse with my pallu. But in spite of my acute embarassment, I thought that was funny indeed, as though my breasts decided to sit on the back seat of the classroom!

And I was sad because in spite of all the personal discomfort I underwent during those 5 days of the festival, it was a welcome relief from my fast-paced life. I ate properly and I got better sleep than what I get during working days.

Well, it’s all part of life, I guess. Different phases bring on different emotions…

This year, my daughter, now a 21-year-old grownup girl, managed to have her way and accompanied her Dad, my husband, to the Yamuna river to witness Durga Visarjan, the last part of the festival which many like me find too messy and painful and give a miss.

So this time, I didn’t have much luggage on me on my way home in the evening and I gave myself the luxury of a short, leisurely stroll on the tree-lined Lucknow Road in Timarpur on my way to the Metro station.

While I walked with slow, unhurried steps, my mind ambled along my long 25-year-old memory lane, to that midnight of 18 December 1992 when I had stepped into a Bengali household in Timarpur, dressed as a Punjabi bride…

Here are some photos I clicked during this walk. They are in keeping with the mood I was in at that time…nostalgic, sad, happy, and worried about the future…

Perched on the terrace gracefully like a ballerina…

Sunlight peeping through the trees…

This notice says, “Urination is prohibited here.” It’s meant for humans who behave like dogs.

And then when I reached home…

Approaching dusk…Clicked from terrace at home…in the backdrop of loud sound of crackers from the Ramlila maidan nearby, with Ravana getting burnt to ashes…

Joy Ma Durga! Jai Shri Ram!

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Broken Gods

A few days ago, I wrote about a little boy Golu, age 8 or 10, whom I came to know recently. (https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/a-tomato-god/)

During our last meeting, he seemed to be happy and cheerful in spite of the terrible odds stacked against him. But I haven’t seen him since then. I am worried about him and I wonder if he is okay.

On Friday this week, 8 July 2016, I tried to find some clue about his whereabouts from the idols he had placed so lovingly under the tree near the temple close to my house. I got a shock of my life when I reached there. The idols were in a very sorry condition . Some of them had broken feet and were lying helplessly on their backs…It was a very depressing sight, All kinds of frightful thoughts crowded around in my mind. Maybe Golu was thrashed heavily by abusive parents; maybe he was maimed and forced into begging by a gang of criminals; maybe he’s turned into a drug addict, etc, etc.

I was not in the best of moods that day and the sight of these broken Gods only intensified my feelings of helplessness. A person whose own future depends on the whims and fancies of rich and arrogant people can’t do much for another human being. This was the thought that hit my soul with a resounding slap that day.

But life has go on and you have to remain afloat…I consoled myself with the thought that beyond these man-made Gods, there is another divine power, which is supreme, omnipotent, and universal. This higher God will take care of Golu…

The photos are given below.

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