Sunday, December 24, 2017

What is Christmas

I saw a YouTube video a few days ago, where this YouTuber said Christmas is all about giving, so he was buying a 55 inch TV for his girlfriend’s father’s new flat. Another YouTuber said this is the busiest time of year because of all the shopping and visiting. Some advertisement emphasise this season as the holiday season.  There’s traffic all over UK because people are travelling to go and meet their families for Christmas dinners.

Since when did Christmas become all of the above? As far as I remember, Christmas is Jesus Christ’s birthday. He wasn’t really born on the 25th of December, it’s just a date to celebrate His birth and the reason for His birth.

Instead of celebrating the reason for the season, Christmas has become so commercial and it is celebrated for reasons that are not relevant at all. It’s all about presents, Christmas trees, lights, decorations and holidays. What baffle me the most are family dinners. People talk about having meals with family over Christmas as if they never meet their families for dinner any other time in the whole year. There are those who live far apart and are busy with their own agendas, but why would you only want to make time during Christmas to see family. What about the rest of 364 days in the year? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint. I’ve been waiting to shop since forever, and I got everyone’s Christmas presents ready a month before Christmas. When my mum arrived yesterday, I was watching her unpack and separate Christmas presents. And I was quick to make sure she got me more presents than she did for Laxman. My fridge is over flowing with food, and yet we keep buying more food everyday. Guilty as charged.

I mean, it’s really special that Christmas is the only occasion that the whole world celebrates. If it were to be your birthday, wouldn’t you want it to be about you and only you? Would you be happy if you friends and family were more interested in decorations and shopping rather than spending time with you?

Without being preachy, I might be bold enough to say no to presents and decorations next year, and focus more on the reason for the season. It’s really something to think about, if the whole world celebrates someone’s birthday, He’s definitely worth the time and effort.

That’s what Christmas is all about. It’s CHRISTmas. Happy birthday Jesus.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2nd Wedding Anniversary

As I type this, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Dubai, breathing through my mouth like a goldfish, because my nose is blocked and am probably overdosed with paracetamols and ibuprofens to fight my terrible headache/fever/cold, instead of exploring Dubai, but I cannot feel anymore blessed than I already feel.

We’ve been married for 2 years now.  I would like to say it feels like it was just yesterday that I got married, but it doesn’t. As much as it doesn’t feel like yesterday, but it sure was quick. Facebook has very readily reminded me of all the good times we’ve had together on our own holidays, with our families, all the well wishes and how thin I was on our wedding day.  What Facebook hasn’t shown me was all the fights we’ve had, all the struggles and the amount of takes we had to do to get that proper picture that made it to Facebook and Instagram wall.

I’m never been the kind of person who’s always wanted her birthdays/anniversaries, Valentine’s day and any other special occasion to be treated as a once in a lifetime thing that it needs to be celebrated from dawn till night, or wanting it to be all about me. Come to think of it. I’ve never really asked for anything to be all about me at any point of time in my life. But it’s nice to spend some quality time together on special occasions such as this.

For our first anniversary, Laxman decided that it was going to be all about me, so he wanted to get me an expensive watch for daily use and let me loose to shop till I dropped, while I insisted that we did something else together, like a helicopter ride for both of us.  It took us 2 whole weeks to decide on what we were going to do and he won. (I tried to get him flying lessons for his birthday last year, but it didn’t work either. I’m concluding that he’s probably afraid of heights) So we eventually went out shopping and dinner the weekend ahead of our anniversary. But on the day of our first anniversary, we spontaneously took half a day off from work so that we can do something nice together. We reached home and ended up fighting for something really petty, (I say really petty because I don’t even remember what it was for) because we disagreed about something. I think we ordered chinese take away and ate dinner in silence cos we hadn’t settled our argument yet.

During our second anniversary dinner last night, Laxman was stuck to his phone and being silent because he was hungry/tired after work, and I was glued to my camera trying to take pictures to remember the night and that I was actually in Dubai. The picture that Laxman uploaded on Facebook last night wasn’t the first shot that we took. I kept forcing him to take the pic, he said no. I was going to ask someone, he said no. Then I resorted to setting it up with a timer, and Laxman refused every single suggestion I had! It took 15 minutes of convincing, sulking and silent treatment from my end before he agreed.

We’ve had tonnes of ups and downs in our lives together as married couples in the last 2 years, which no one knows of or has heard of, not even our closest of friends and family. The one thing that Laxman always lives by is what Ephesians 4:26 says - And "don't sin by letting anger control you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry. So he always manages to cool down the situation within a day, sometimes it drags till the next morning if I fall asleep early that night.

We have plenty of differences, we don’t agree on the same things all the time, and we are not perfect human beings, but we are perfect for each other. As the days pass, I’m reminded even more that God Himself has divinely arranged this marriage. Regardless of any misunderstandings we have, there is no space for “I hate you” or “I don’t want this life” when God is in the center of the marriage.

Life is a bed of roses, don’t forget the one important thing that makes a rose stand out; it has thorns. Thorns prick, cause you to bleed, hurts you and takes time to heal while the flower itself looks gorgeously naive and smells nice. You have to accept both; the good and the bad. You can’t have the rose without the thorns and you can’t have the thorns without the roses.

In order to make me feel as if problems in married life is normal, my aunt once told me many years ago, that every household has its own share of problems. The younger me who never wanted to get married easily retorted to her and said “I don’t even want that household so I wont have the problems, problem solved”.

Many years down the line, here I am to say that problems in married life is normal. Fighting is normal, it’s definitely not encouraged, but it is normal. Ups and downs are normal. Behind every smile in my pictures, there would have been hundreds of frowns. Behind every selfies that Laxman and I take, there has been plenty of convincing and arguments that we don’t take pics together often enough. Behind every holiday we go on, there has been a lot of budgeting and planning that went into it. Just for the record, 3/4th of my trips this year so far has been Laxman’s work trip, I just tagged along. This Dubai trip is no exception. We didn’t book a holiday in Dubai to spend a romantic 2 weeks for our 2nd anniversary. Laxman’s working while I’m savoring the times of not having to do any cooking/housecleaning/work, and nursing myself back to normal health. That’s good enough of a wedding anniversary gift for me.

But despite all of this, I feel blessed to be married to you Laxman Sivanathan. Happy 2 years wedding anniversary.

PS: Never in a millions years have I ever thought I would think this way about marriage.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Just because you didn’t hear it, doesn’t mean your Father didn’t say it.

A few months ago, I was at a friendly football match between a mixed group of men; teenagers, kids, adults. I’ve got neither appreciation nor understanding about this game where a bunch of men run behind a Dalmatian-like ball. So the only reason that got me there was for my husband’s sake, and I was lured by the ambition to improve my skills in sport photography.  By the end of the 3-hour match, improving my skills remained unachieved, because I was too busy hiding behind 6-foot-tall men to save myself and my camera from the flying football that was completely out of control. But one thing stuck with me, even after 3 months, and will continue to stay with me for many days to come.

When it was another team’s turn to match, a 12-year boy was in the game, while his father was catching his breath after his own game. I strategically chose to stand between this 6-foot tall man and my husband. Just in case a stray football comes my way, I’ve got myself covered you see. Throughout the match, everyone was cheering and supporting literally everyone in the game. Halfway during the match, this 12-year old boy made many attempts at scored a goal, and eventually succeeded. His father, who was standing next to me, cheered the son each time, clapped his hands and said, “Well done son, I’m proud of you”.

The boy was half way across the indoor football stadium; there were about 18 people in the match, one referee with an annoying whistle, and probably about 40 other people all around yelling, cheering, screaming, and talking. My point is, there is absolutely no chance this boy heard what his father said. I swiftly turned to look at the father; he was beaming with so much pride. But as for the son, he just carried on with the game. He was oblivious to what how his father was reacting.

But just because the kid didn’t see it or hear it, doesn’t mean the father didn’t say it or feel it. The father was proud of his son, and he expressed it, but he didn’t need his son to know that at that point.

That resonated with me. Isn’t it the same with God? As our Heavenly Father, He is proud of our achievements or attempts, regardless of whether successful or not. He is standing by the side, telling us, “I’m proud you my boy!” or “Well done my girl!” but most of the time we don’t hear or see it because of all the distractions all around us.

Just because you didn’t hear it, doesn’t mean your Father didn’t say it. He is proud of you. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year resolutions

“New Year resolutions are things that people list out for the entire year, but it only last the first month of the new year, and then it goes down the drain”, says she who had an entirely bad planning/idea about managing her new year resolutions and gave up 2 years ago. Or rather, thought it wasn’t worth it. How stupid of me. Yes me, who else would think such idiocracy is normal.

For some reason, I've always associated new year resolutions as checklists that you make at the beginning of the year, and come back to it at the end of the year and select which out of the 4 grades you would tick off; excellent, satisfactory, bad, fail (A,B, C, D). This is what traditional education does to you, everything in life is about making the excellent mark. If you don’t excel, you and your attempts are not worth it. There was an on-going joke about my High School motto. Accomplish or do not begin. The boys wouldn’t do their assignments and when questioned by the teachers, they would blame it on the school motto, saying they knew they wouldn’t be able to finish it, so didn’t bother starting it! That’s exactly what I made out of my failed attempts at new year resolutions.

So I never bothered with new year resolutions for the last few years. But reading someone else’s blog about their resolution made me realize I’ve had it wired all wrong all this while. It has finally sunk in that making new year resolutions doesn’t mean you need to do a bunch of things and proof that you are good at it. You don’t have to be good at it, you just need to try.  If you did things you already knew, what’s the fun in attempting it, there wouldn’t be anything challenging, and you are never going to do anything new. Worse still, you would have had an entire boring year. Even if you sucked, you’ll know it isn’t your cup of tea, and you would have plenty to talk about to someone else over a cup of tea. I love my teatime.

Anyways, the whole point of new year resolutions is to do something new, something that you’ve not done before but is beneficial for you, and something that is practical at the same time. There’s no point in making resolutions that you know won’t even pass the first week of the year. And the keys to keeping up with new year resolutions are listing things that are practical, reminding yourself about it regularly (weekly may seem a bit too annoying, monthly is a good time), and remembering why you have those resolutions in the first place.

You make resolutions to hopefully bring out the best in you at the end of 12 months. If it is fitness, it could probably be purely for aesthetic purposes like fitting into size 8 clothes, looking good in pictures, or to be healthier generally. If it is about education, you might want to be an academic or get a good job that pays well. If it is about praying and reading bible everyday, you perhaps want to learn more and grow spiritually.

Whatever your resolutions may be, it is so that you see a better you the same time next year, to turn back and see that you have achieved something and be proud about it. The resolutions are ultimately to do something you haven’t done before. If you have achieved size 8 last year, you wouldn’t want to do the same thing again this year would you?

Having said this, it is high time I listed out my resolutions for 2017. Better late than never they say, although 4 days isn’t too late at all. Technically the first week of January is still within grace period.  Since I’m still very paranoid about jinxing my own ideas, I’m not going to publically list out my resolutions for 2017. This time next year, I’m going to come back with my monthly achievements. Now, I need to go and find myself a diary that is practical enough first. And infuse some almost-non-existent discipline into myself.

I just hope I don’t end up like the guy who wrote a book about his Groupon adventures and advertised himself on Groupon for a date! Remember, new year resolutions are for yourself, for a better you, and it is something that you need to plan practically, and remind yourself about it on a regular basis in order to make it work for you.  It is NOT about excelling, it is about attempting and having fun while at it.