‘Pen Pal’ was a very interesting concept during my school days as there was no internet, no mobiles etc., at that period of time. I remember the advertisements for making pen friends or pen pals used to get published in different magazines and news papers. Many times I had a desire of writing to somebody especially a girl and make friendship. But my dream never took the shape of reality.
I had published an article few months ago on my webzine Candles Online, ‘Living above negative situations,’ where I had mentioned about my childhood and teenage days. There was a loneliness living inside me during those days. There was a hollow within me. I was deprived of a friendship though I managed all those situations by God’s grace but the deprivation for a friend didn’t go at all. So what I used to do? I used to dream of a friend who should be a girl whose life should be full of sorrows which means we should be identifying with each other well. We should share all our sorrows and heartaches with each other on that life-less paper. I was dreaming how I will wait for the letter to come to my house and I will open and read desperately. But regrettably I was brought up in a very conservative family where my elders were not all open to these things. These kinds of stuff were not so cool for them at all. I had to suppress the desire of having a pen pal.
Later in the life when I started taking my own decisions I made a great pal whom I used to call ‘Sassy.’ She was from Philippines and was very beautiful. She was married, who loved her husband and son a lot. But she was sad always as her husband was jobless. I used to encourage her every time when we contact each other. She was a very nice friend of mine. Even she called me once on the phone. Remember, ISD calls were very expensive then. But she did call me. That was a great feeling. But unfortunately she was not my ‘pen pal’ but a ‘chat pal.’ So my ‘pen pal’ dream of my childhood became a reality in the form of a ‘chat pal’ when I started working and was staying alone. I had many online friends during my bachelorhood. But she was the best among all.
Life changed. I grew in life and I know, once I joined different writers community, I got pals after pals. I never got a pen pal though but had many pals online. Some were forgotten and some are very precious to my heart who are still part of my life. Some say I have inspired them and some have really inspired me a lot. Pals are pals.
Arun was thinking deeply lying on his bed after returning back from Bangalore. Finally he decided and asked permission from his director for 2 weeks of leave. He went to New Delhi and Rohan came to pick him up in the station. When he reached at Rohan’s home, to his surprise Binod and Gracy were present there too. Chaya told him that “when you called us and told us what you have decided we thought of calling all our friends. But Nita could not come today, she will arrive tomorrow morning. And we can hire a taxi and start for Dehradun in the afternoon tomorrow…ok…is it ok na …Arun..? “Okay…” said Arun slowly.
Next morning when Nita arrived, Arun hugged her and both of them started sobbing. In fact everybody wept. Rohan arranged for a car to go to Dehradun. Before reaching Dehradun they all did little survey on internet regarding few Rehabilitation centers and enquired about Reena over the phone. After searching her in two of the Rehabilitation centers they found her in the third one. The assistant took all of them to a secluded room and ask them to wait. After waiting for 10/15 minutes a pale girl appeared. She came and stood in front of them. She didn’t move an inch. Nita got up first and came close to her and smiled at her. She called her by name, “Reena…do you remember me…I am Nita…?” Nita went close and hugged her tight. After 5 minutes of silence see looked at each one of them and started sobbing like a kid. Arun was silent and was stunned to see her like that. Nita brought her near them and let her sit with her on the bench.
Everybody started talking with her, but Arun was unmoved. He was still quietly looking at her. Reena started to open up slowly and he looked around towards Arun. She opened her mouth and said softly, “hiii…Arun…How are you…?” and then Arun broke the silence and came near her, bent down on his knees. He held her feeble hands in his palms and replied, “I am fine Reena…how are you…?” Reena started sobbing again. Tears were pouring down like torrent from her eyes. She broke down and hid her face in Arun’s palms. Arun stood and held her tight in his arm and comforted her saying…., “hey Reena, why are you crying…see we all are together today…and I don’t think that we can break our ‘7 wings’ again…?” He looked at others and asked, “Isn’t it guys…?’’ and all of them nodded. Arun again said, “See all of them are so happy to see you…” They all smiled when Reena looked at them. But all of them were so amazed to see Arun and his patience. Reena looked at Arun and said weeping, “its all happened because me…I am the culprit and I have given you so much pain Arun….” She was interrupted by Arun saying, “Hey common Reena, nobody has any hold on their lives…so you don’t have anything to do with all what happened.”
That entire day they spent with Reena and they called her parents and after few formalities they released Reena and came back to the new house where her parents were staying. Reena started to recover from all her past hurts in the presence of her friends especially Arun whom she rejected before. All others went back to their work places after two days. But Arun stayed back for some more days with her in her new home in Dehradun. When the time came of Arun’s departure to Tuni, Reena asked softly with tears in her eyes, “Arun… I know I am not worthy of you…but I just want to know…do you still love me…?” This time Arun could not control himself. He started weeping. Even Reena and her parents got scared seeing her weeping like that. Reena was in an apologetic state and trying to blame herself for everything again. Arun looked at her…smiled at her…and said, “Reena these are tears of happiness not of sorrows…” “How desperately I wanted you I can’t explain.” And both of them hugged each other.
Arun left for Tuni and came back after one week with all other to celebrate his own wedding ceremony with his beloved Reena.
The Bible says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13
John and Nathan are two best friends came back from their schools to see their old teacher at his house. He had invited them to reward them with different gifts. They both were looking very happy and cheerful. They spoke well to everybody, they helped every needy on the way to their teacher’s house. The expectation of receiving gifts made them happy and joyous. Finally when they reached, their teacher asked them to sit down and wait. The teacher came with two packets and handed them their respective gifts. They expressed their gratitude and started opening their packs. John found an expensive watch inside his packet and Nathan found a canvas, and all different colours of crayons, water colours etc. Nathan was a great painter but he was unhappy and looked gloomy.
I have seen many faces changing colours from white-happiness to red-anger, yellow-panicky, and black-gloomy. I have even seen faces changing from yellow, red, and black to white. But holding a cheerful or white face is not always easy. We need practice to keep our heart happy, to make our face cheerful.
In my life I hate to stay gloomy, grumpy, angry… I have always tried to stay happy and cheerful. Only a satisfied heart or a heart of contentment can make our face cheerful/glow. When we are discontent about certain things we feel the poke/ache. Then we feel our spirit crushing with no-enthusiasm, disinterest etc.
Even if Nathan couldn’t have bought the painting materials by himself as he was not financially that well to do, but still he was sad because he was discontented about the gift he got from his teacher. His eyes were greedy for his friend’s gift – an expensive watch.
How many times we do compare our gifts, blessings with others and feel sad?
Let’s learn to stay happy and content… then only we can have a cheerful face, otherwise our discontentment/heartache will keep crushing our spirits everyday, every moment.
Arun looked at everybody’s face and laughed saying, “Hey common guys! I am done with my life story…” “Nothing much to share as I am here with you all and you know the rest of me.” Everybody was filled with emotion and amazed to hear all this, but Arun was still smiling. Today after five years of his stay in this orphanage he poured out his love story to his colleagues. He felt relieved. The very next day his director told him to go to Bangalore for a conference on ‘Community Development.’
The conference started and he was amazed to see somebody on the dais. He looked familiar to him. The announcer called out a name “Rohan Srivastava” the chief speaker of the conference on ‘Community Development.’ He was disturbed. And the eyes were met when Rohan started speaking looking at each one of the participants. During lunch time Rohan came and throw his arms around Arun. They both hugged each other and just discussed few things about themselves as there were much more to talk with Rohan. After the conference before leaving, they fixed a time in the hotel to talk to each other. Rohan scolded Arun for keeping silent for so many years.
He said everybody was hurt for Arun’s behavior. And also said sorry for what has happened to him. Arun was amazed and asked, “How do you know about this…?” He replied, “Nita shared with all of us when we could not find you anymore.” Arun asked, “Did Reena knows about it…that I had heard what she said that day…?” Rohan replied, “Yes…she felt sorry for you… but she was not in love with you at all.” “Where she is now…?” asked Arun. Rohan looked pale and tried to avoid. But Arun asked again. Rohan said, “I don’t know…where she is..?” “What do you mean you don’t know..?” Arun asked looking intensely at Rohan. “You may not tolerate Arun so just leave it…” said Rohan. Arun’s heart was pounding hard. He asked impatiently, “oh just shut up Rohan…now tell me what happened to her…?” Rohan looked down and looked up again and said, “We all departed from each other after you left. I went with Chaya to New Delhi and joined a Community Development NGO. And after two years we got married and still in New Delhi. Binod married Gracy after two months and they moved to Kolkata to work in a Call Centre job. Both are now executives and happily married. And you knew about Nita, she came back to India last year from the US and joined an MNC. She was engaged to a multi-millionaire two months back and will soon marry him. She has totally changed but still the sweetest of all as before.” “And Reena…?” Arun asked again with a sudden fear in his heart. Rohan took a deep breath and replied, “Reena…ah….”He paused again. “Reena fell in love with a rich and handsome guy, Rocky, son of an industrialist after you left. She was very happy. We all went to her engagement ceremony. We all missed you terribly and four of us were somehow blaming Reena for everything. But we were silent. She was looking stunning that day. After dinner, we said goodbye to her and came back. After two days Chaya called me and started weeping. On asking, she told me that Reena was gang raped by Rocky and his friends on the next day of their engagement. He invited her to their farm house for a candlelight dinner but he invited his friends also without her knowledge. And they raped her. I consoled Chaya and came over to her place. Later we informed Binod and Gracy about it in our old meeting place at College canteen.” Rohan paused there and looked at Arun. Arun’s eyes were moistened with tears. Rohan hugged him tightly and both of them started weeping. Arun tried to get back his composure and he looked at Rohan and asked again, “what happened next to Reena…where she is now…?” Rohan replied, “She stayed traumatized for two years and was in the hospital in shock. We went to see her many times in the hospital. She just looked at us blankly. No movements and no expression we could see on her face. Now she is in some rehabilitation center in Dehradun. I don’t think any of us know the address of that center. Her parents are there in Dehradun too. They sold everything including their house and went there. That’s all…”
Rohan looked at his watch, “it’s time boss…I need to go to the airport to catch the flight…” Arun said, “Yes… even I need to pack the things and buy few things for the children of my orphanage and catch my train at night.” They hugged each other and exchanged their addresses and cell numbers and parted.
Arun, Chaya, Nita, Binod, Reena, Gracy and Rohan. They call themselves ‘7 wings’ in the college campus. Like peas in a pod, they never separate except when they go back to their respective homes for dinner and sleep. Collectively, they were never sad, because when one of them felt sad, the others would cheer him or her up. That was the extent of their friendship.
Rohan, the darling of the group, was the cutest and most soft-spoken of them. Gracy was all-knowing and matured off the lot. Reena was the “queen”, being the most beautiful girl in the group; Binod, the shield because of his well-built body. Nita was the tomboy and next in command to Binod. Chaya was the bubble brain of the group and Arun, the most respected, the encourager, and the morale builder of the team. Being a heart patient from birth, he was a little slow yet most wise.
Binod and Gracy were seeing each other, as were Rohan and Chaya. Nita was not ready for any relationship; Arun loved Reena very much but never confessed it to her or anyone because of his own insecurities.
Today the ‘7 wings’ look sad and tense. They are sitting in the college canteen discussing a very serious matter. ‘What will we do after college?’ ‘How can we be separated from each other?’ ‘Where are we going to stay after today?’ These questions were killing their emotions as today was the farewell day of the graduating batch. The love birds were bit comforted to know that they will be at least with their lovers but other three Nita, Arun, and Reena, especially Arun who has not yet confessed his love for Reena were worried about their tomorrows.
But as usual, Arun broke the silence and cheered up all of them and said, “Guys we are definitely parting from each other; that’s life and we have to face it but why to waste the time given to us together now…” and he cracked a joke. They all smiled knowing he was right, as usual.
In the evening, the juniors gave speeches about their favorite seniors, there were gifts showered upon the seniors. The ‘7 wings’ were together, as usual, sitting together and having fun to play pranks on other batch mates. They had planned earlier that they will gift all their juniors one pen each, with ‘7 wings’ inscribed in each of those pens. Everybody was excited.
During the time, Arun went out with Nita to make an ISD call to Nita’s uncle regarding her further studies. The rest of the friends were talking with other, batchmates and juniors. Gracy, Reena, and Chaya were sitting close to each other and discussing something. Gracy asked, “Reena! We both chose our life partners already but what about you?” “You didn’t find anybody yet…?” Chaya giggled and Reena just smiled at them and said, “No…not yet…” Chaya innocently asked again, ‘Hey, what do you think about Arun, he is so good and close to you too…don’t you think about him…” and even Gracy nodded with Chaya, “yes…Arun is good…” Reena replied immediately, “hey girls…common…you’re too much…he is a heart patient…he himself is not sure of his own life…how I can dream of a life with him…!” “He can just be a sweet and adorable friend…that’s all”. And they were interrupted in the middle of this discussion by Binod and Rohan. They called them to come to the other corner of the room. They immediately got up and went towards Binod and Rohan without noticing Nita and Arun who were standing behind the pillar where the group was sitting and have listened to the conversation.
Arun went out again without giving others a hint. Nita went behind him. There were tears in his eyes. He was devastated. Nita was trying to console him but in vain. Nita was also in tears. She said in anger to tell everybody and ask Reena to ask forgiveness. But Arun caught hold of her hand and told her not to share anything about this matter to anyone ever. After regaining his inner strength he said, “Nita lets join the party…” and dragged her in side the room. Nita was just dumb founded looking at Arun’s will power and inner strength. Immediately the rest of the group members asked why both of them are looking so pale. Arun said, “it’s nothing..we are sad because Nita’s trip to the US is confirmed..” Nita just looked at Arun and amazed of his perseverance.
The party was over. Everybody went their homes. Nobody could really sleep at night because of the pain of departure. But Arun….! He had to suffer many; the pain of departure, a pain of insecurity, a pain of rejection, pain of heartbreak. He stopped calling anybody. He had so many questions in his mind for God to answer. His friends called his cell number. But it was switched off. They visited his house but he was not there. He went to his uncle’s house and told his parents not to inform anybody. The ‘7 wings’ was broken. Only Nita knew the reason but she was unable to repair the loss.
Arun spoke to Nita once before he left for Tuni, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. He changed his cell number. He joined an orphanage as an Accountant and counselor. He engaged himself with the children and work, to forget everything. But when he was alone he wept quietly. He decided in his mind that he will never ever marry. The pain and anger of rejection was heavy on his soft heart. But it never could erase his love for Reena. He was still deeply in love with his Reena. He just could not forget her. Years passed by like this.
I was reading Proverbs. A passage drew my attention. I was amazed. The initial verses of that passage say that Four things are small but extremely wise, and then in the following verses, it talks about those four small things and their behaviors which rate them as extremely wise. Let’s talk about those small things as follows:
The passage says that the ants are of little strength, but they store up food in summer. We always keep our work pending. I am not talking about official work. I am even talking about the family responsibilities & duties. That we fail to fulfill in time.
Lesson: Do we really think about our soul the way we think about our body and mind?
2. Conies or Marmots:
The marmots or Conies are of little power but they make homes in crags. They believe in strong foundations. They love to stay safe and well protected. Do we build our relationships on strong foundations? What about our relationship with our spouses? Is it rock solid?
Lesson: How good is our foundation of life?
Locusts have no king but they advance together in ranks. Wow! What discipline & unity. Do all our works properly coordinated and disciplined? Do we have unity in our family members? Do Americans have unity? Do Indians have unity?
Lesson: Do we really have unity or we fight like dogs?
4. Lizards (or spiders):
Lizards are caught by hand yet they are found in king’s palace. Whether it is lizard or spider but both are susceptible yet can be found almost everywhere on this earth. I think it talks about our presence. Two thoughts came to my mind. Firstly, do we make our presence felt? And secondly, how do we make our presence felt? Are we well-known for our tolerance or violence?
Lesson: Does our presence bring joy or trouble people?
This passage is an eye opener for me. And hopefully, it will be for you all also. We really need to learn from these four small creatures. They taught me great lessons. I hope it will help you all to learn those lessons.
was written and published by me previously HERE . ButI thought this message is very important and needs to be conveyed again and again to all of us. Thus I republished here.
There are few questions which we should always need to ask ourselves. The questions are as follows to which I have answered what I felt right… Your answer might be different. Read on…
Do people have the right to offend others?
NO, they don’t have the right to offend anybody including a child…
Should we censor people to prevent causing offense to others?
We should but we can’t do it always…
Should these “offensive” people exercise more control?
It depends on the position and power they are in. They exercise more control if they have power and position or else they keep quiet.
Does free intellectual discussion trump peoples’ sensitivity?
Yes! It does.
There are FIVE ways I feel offended. They are as follows and should be rectified or abandoned:
I feel offended when people shout in public or try to correct me in a group. Sometimes I do the same mistake by correcting people or younger ones in front of others. So we all need to learn that we need to correct a person only in private not in group.
I also feel offended when people talk high of me to others unnecessarily. Sometimes I do the same to others. Sarcasm and flattery are offending to me and to others too.
I feel offended when nobody asks me anything or I am not noticed in a group. It is really offending when we ignore people in a group.
Sometimes when my weaknesses or secrets are openly revealed I feel offended though it’s just for fun not for correction. So we need to remember we should not embarrass or make fun of people.
The last but the worst one is when I get criticized or judged unreasonably by people. Criticism and being judgmental are humiliating and should be censored. It is highly offending.
We need to learn, I need to learn how to be subtle and gentle like a dove. It is important and needed to be followed at once.