The four year old who ruined us

The four year old who ruined us

Over the past couple of months, through Little More Love, some of us have had the amazing opportunity to visit the kids at Kidwai Hospital. These children suffer from cancer, and through a project called Lifeline, we hope to help them and their families in the little ways that we can.

A couple of weekends back, we planned a visit to the hospital again, to organize a little coloring and sketching activity for the kids there. We were quite excited because honestly, these little ones have got so much energy and are so full of life, that they make you forget that they’re actually suffering. Every time we’ve been to the hospital, we have left carrying their energy with us. Spending time with them has been a true joy, which is why we were looking forward to meeting them; and we were prepared : –

  • Color pencils – check
  • Drawing sheets – check
  • Guitar – check
  • A good night’s sleep – check

But no amount of preparation would’ve helped us for what we were going to see that day. As we arrived at the hospital, we were asked to sing for a patient – a little boy who had been diagnosed with cancer four months back, and who, while suffering immensely, had touched the lives of many who had visited him.

We were told his parents were devastated that he was dying, and we were asked not to cry in their presence. And so we walked to his room, armed with a guitar and a few hymns and songs of encouragement.

As we entered the room, we saw the mother’s boy, carrying him out of the shower. We could only see his back, as we heard the sound of struggled breathing coming from his mouth.

And then she turned, and we saw him – four-year-old Nithilan

Nithilan had a tumor growing on his face. It had grown through his eyes and ears, blinding him, and had caused him to go deaf in one ear. The tumor had covered his nostrils, and half his mouth, making breathing nearly an impossible task. His face was completely disfigured.

We stood speechless. None of us were prepared for this. I glanced at my teammates and I could see them struggle to hold back their tears. It was horrible!

We did what we had come to do – we sang, and we smiled, or at least tried to, and we prayed over the little boy.

He responded with a little noise of acknowledgment.

We found out that since he had been disfigured, his parents’ families had also disowned them, and they were now looking for a place to stay, as the hospital, who said that nothing can be done, had also asked them to leave. The parents cried, and there was nothing we could say.

None of us walked out of that room the same.

I remember going home and just sobbing, and I’m sure that’s what my teammates did too. Throughout the week, the team members sent messages asking how he is. Finally, one of them decided that we just had to see him again.

The following week, despite being a working day, we made a plan to visit him.. But just like when we first so Nithilan, none of us were prepared…

 

Nithilan passed away that afternoon.

I’m not quite sure how it happened.  One of the team members called me to tell me, and when she couldn’t find the strength to do it on the phone, she sent a text.

We were hit bad. Some of us blamed God. Others couldn’t help but question His existence. We were all shattered.

I honestly can’t even figure out why I’m writing all this down right now. Maybe it’s a release, I don’t know.

 

All I know is that there is so much we don’t understand. There’s pain and suffering all around us, and it just seems like it’s so unfair, because it seems unexplainable.

It’s horrible when we have to see a four year old suffer – unable to see or hear or breath when he has done nothing to deserve it.

 

Why did he have to suffer? What did he do to deserve it?

It’s times like these that I wish I had some answers. I wish I had some words to give – to his family, to my team, or even to myself.

But it’s also times like these that I remember why the team exists. Why we – you, me, all of us, were called.

This world is a dark place. It’s not for us to decide where darkness strikes and why. But it is up to us to be a light in this broken world – to reach out to those who suffer, and pour out love. To encourage them with words and hugs and actions, and when we just can’t find the right words or actions to do that, to simply weep with them.

This is our calling – to step out of our diluted lives, and become salt and light.

Nithilan-blog
“Carry each others’ burdens., and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ” – Galatians 6:2

 

 

Advertisements

Asking for more presents…

Asking for more presents…

Last week, I turned 25, and I have never celebrated a birthday for this long before. A full two weeks packed with a visit to an amusement park, a ball, a surprise lunch and an amazing dinner with some incredibly special people in my life.

Oh, and did I mention the presents? (Woohoo) And I loved every one of them, which included a new phone and a badge that says “I’m a punny guy.”

Yet, here I am, asking for more…

Ever since I’ve learnt about the power of prayer, I’ve loved praying for people. There’s a special joy that comes with lifting someone up in prayer and watching God work on it. I’ve always enjoyed it when somebody’s come back to me telling me what God has done for them after praying for something.

One of the biggest prayer warriors in the Bible was the Apostle Paul. Paul prayed for his people constantly, and his heart for them can be clearly seen in his epistles.

In one of them, he writes to the church in Ephesus, telling them to put on the armor of God –

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:14-17

I’ve always thought this was awesome, and that this was enough; that if I put this armour on, I can stand strong and keep lifting people up in prayer; that this is all there is to living the way God wants us to.

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say –

 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18

And this is where I’m going, “Yeah Paul, preach it! Tell everyone to pray”

And Paul doesn’t stop there either. The Apostle Paul, who’s probably living the most righteous and God – pleasing life at this moment, who I thought had got life figured out and doesn’t need anyone’s advice or help, goes on to say this –

“Pray also for me…..” – Ephesians 6:19a

You see, for a long while now, I’ve thought that all I need to do is pray for others, especially when they’re going through difficult circumstances, but when it came to my circumstances, I believed it would be best to keep it between me and God. I thought it would be a burden on people if I asked them to pray for me, and that it might be selfish.

How wrong I was!

In a world that screams ‘be independent! Do not rely on anyone else’, I learnt that God cares deeply, not just about our vertical relationship with Him, but also our horizontal relationship with people.

We’re not meant to face our battles alone. God works through prayers, and when we don’t have the strength to pray, He lets us rely on the prayers of others.

I thought asking for prayers all the time would be selfish, but I now realize that not asking for them would be to consider myself not one of the ‘Lord’s people’ who Paul is asking his readers to pray for, which would be utterly foolish pride on my part.

Paul knew that, and that is why he wrote, in continuation to his plea for the church folk to put on the armor of God – ““pray all the time, and pray also for me”

So here I am, writing this, asking for this one thing, and promising you that I will give it back to you – your prayers.

If you’ve got prayer requests, you can let me know by clicking here (anonymously if you wish)

 

 

prayer-blog-Pervin
“Brethren, pray for us” – 1 Thessalonians 5;25

 

My last lesson before turning 25

It’s been a long day!

I woke up quite late today. I didn’t have much to do in the morning and I decided to spend my time the best way I could – by sleeping. So yes, I woke up quite late.

I had my quite time with God, got ready and headed out. There’s an Executive Programme being organized by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and I have been given the responsibility of coordinating the worship music teams that are going to lead the attendees into worship at the start of each day.

In addition to that, I had the beautiful privilege to be part of one of those teams.

Our team, Fishers of Men, got to open for the programme and it was indeed an honour. I’ve been thanking God for the undeserved opportunity for the last couple of days and when it finally happened, I thanked God some more.

I had never imagined leading worship for any event, let alone an event with one of the world’s best speakers on Christian apologetics. To me, this was quite amazing. I praised God that He would allow a nobody to be used for His glory.

Once we were done though, my day took quite a turn. It took me an hour to find a restaurant to get some lunch at, and I was already starving. I was stuck in traffic for over four hours (Bangalore traffic is the worst), and it rained heavily. To add to this, one of the front tires of my car went flat. By the time I had fixed it, it was 9 pm, and I still had to go shop for some clothes to wear the next day.

The traffic was unbearable. I sat in my car, annoyed; cursing anyone who’d try to overtake me, thinking of all the people who would declare Bangalore to be the best city in the world and how I could look at their faces right now and say “yeah right!”

And I realized – a flat tyre, a little rain and a bad traffic jam was all it took for me to forget how much I had been blessed that same day. Somehow I’d forgotten that I had had a dream come true just a couple of hours back, I’d forgotten that God had chosen a nobody to be used for His glory. I wasn’t nobody anymore! I was somebody who had come to believe that I was entitled to empty roads, extreme comfort and no troubles whatsoever.

Suddenly, I had taken my undeserved blessings for granted. All my humility of ‘thank you for using this undeserved servant’ had been replaced by this foolish pride, screaming, ‘WHY ARE ALL THESE CARS HERE? I HOPE THEY ALL BURN’

It hit me how easy it is for most of us to get to that space of pride and entitlement, even after we’ve been blessed so abundantly, undeservingly.

It’s been a crazy day, but I’m so glad that God decided to speak through the crazy, to convict my heart and remind me how easy it is to fall into pride, to remind me to rely on Him…

It’s 1 am and I just thought I’d write this, as the last lesson I learn before turning 25, fully aware that this isn’t the last time it’ll be taught to me.

blogbday

 

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,

but with humility comes wisdom”

– Proverbs 11:2

Our Lavish Cat – Love can be ridiculous

This is Ginger. Ginger is a cat – a very weird cat. When we found Ginger, she was a severely dehydrated and starving kitten on the verge of death. Today, she is a slightly overweight ball of fur that loves chasing flies around the house, even though she’s horrible at it; and who gets along with me only when she’s hungry.

But I’m not really here to talk about Ginger. I’m here to tell you about the way she’s taken care of, which I sometimes find absolutely ridiculous.

Not being cat-crazy myself, I don’t really know how people normally take care of their cats. At my house, however, Ginger is treated like she’s the breadwinner.

Everytime this creature makes the tiniest noise, my sister darts to the kitchen, asking her if she’d prefer wet food or dry food (I have no idea what these things are).

She’s not fed fish or rice or milk like the cats in the cartoons we grew up with, but instead is given some really overpriced biscuits that look like tiny little doughnuts made of gold.

Oh, and did I mention she doesn’t deign to come to the food? The food is brought to her instead. That’s right! Her majesty sits in her spot mewing till the food is brought to her. And did I mention that everytime she’s fed, her bowl is thoroughly washed, and dried perfectly? Or should I say purr-fectly?

Okay, ignore that!

If one day, Ginger decides to take a break from eating and skip a meal, my sister and mother get worked up and she’s immediately rushed to the vet, whose then has to decide whether to diagnose the cat or the family.

Ginger owns at least ten toys, including two noisy wands with bells on their ends, three scratch pads, a tunnel made of noisy paper and a stuffed rat laced with catnip.

The sofa in our house is covered with pillows. The cushions of the sofa have been kept invisible since the day it arrived– hidden from Ginger, so that she doesn’t scratch them instead of her toys. Yes, that’s specifically what the pillows were bought for.

I kid you not when I say family trips are planned only after careful consideration of Ginger’s mood.

This cat is so spoilt and pampered, it makes no sense to me at all. She’s simply a loaf of fur running around, stumbling, that doesn’t deserve the kind of attention or care she’s getting. I mean, sure, we can give her regular food, not buy her expensive toys, and reduce the amount of money spent on her.

It makes no sense at all… until I remember how much has been poured onto me by my Heavenly Father. How lavishly He has given me things I have not deserved. Surely, He didn’t have to give me in abundance. Surely, He could have given me just enough to survive and be done with it.

But He chose to give me grace upon grace, undeserved blessings over and over again.

Why?

Love!

It makes no sense to me, and maybe it doesn’t need to. As AW Tozer beautifully put it, “have you yet learned that love is not a thing of reason? Love tries to be reasonable but it seldom succeeds. There is a sweet wisdom in love that is above reason – it rises above it and goes far beyond it.”

He loves me, just as He loves you. And the way He loves is ridiculous. It makes no sense; and yet He does it, because that is who He is – that is what love is.

 

cat-blod
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…”  – Ephesians 3:17-18

Give up your crumbs

It was just another tiring Monday at work. All the emloyees at our company (that’s three people in all), were hitting roadblocks in our work and so the boss decided that we’d all go out for some samosas and chai.

One would have to be a fool to say no to that suggestion and so, off we went, heading for this little chai joint that was hardly a hundred meters away from the office.

While walking towards the place, we noticed there were three little girls in rags, huddled up in a circle.  They seemed to be hitting something that they held in their hands, tapping it constantly, seemingly trying to clean the object that they held. On closer inspection, we saw that it was a piece of a glazed doughnut that was covered with ants. The girls had found this little piece under a car and were trying to clean it up just enough so they could get a bite of this sugar coated bread-like-food.

We stared at them for a while, looking in pity; but even as we stared, we did not stop walking – we continued towards the shop – we knew there were chai and samosas waiting for us.

The boss, however, took a small detour, and as we continued to watch the girls, he walked into a doughnut store, picked up a box of sugar glazed doughnuts, and headed back outside, towards the girls.

“Stop that”, he said, looking at them sternly.

The girls turned around to see this man, almost ready to argue with him, but stopped as soon as they saw the huge box of doughnuts in his hand. They ran to him in glee, with their hands raised up –

“Brother, give us brother, please..,” they cried out.

He handed it to them, gladly, on the condition that they would give up the old doughnut – the one that was covered in ants – to which the girls happily agreed.

I mean, why wouldn’t they? Why would they not agree to give up something they found on the street, something that was a messy, icky, tiny piece of a whole, covered in dirt and ants? Why would they not want to give it up for the whole – for what they were really after?

They would’ve been fools to refuse the offer, wouldn’t they?

But I wonder – would they still have listened to him if they hadn’t seen the box of doughnuts in his hands? Would they still have given up chasing after the spoilt one? Would they still have obeyed this strange man who was asking them to let go what they were after in that moment?

Or…what if he had given them only a promise – a promise of better doughnuts on the condition that they’ll give up the old one? Would they have listened to him?

Our heart’s natural desire is towards comfort and ease and instant glorification, towards our stomach desires regardless of whether or not it’s going to make us sick- sick enough to die. It’s never been towards submission, obedience and sacrifice of the temporary.

We are not a generation who waits patiently, who realises that in the waiting and giving up of mouldy food, a feast like we can never have fathomed is being prepared for us. That we never ever have to settle for scraps. All of our soul searching and feasting is a downward spiral of fumbling across our sin and our needs, when our eyes should be higher; remembering the promises that have been made towards us, remembering the nature of God who has made these promises.

When we forget God and his promises, He still remains faithful.

I wonder what our lives would look like if if we realigned our ways to be in tune with His plan, how our lives would flourish if we said, “Yes, Lord,” instead of, “But I want all of it now”

When we step into His will and the things He’s called us to that we’d otherwise turn down, it breeds opportunities of joy, of fulfilment, of rewards far beyond our eyes and hearts can see.

Lose the messy, tiny, ant – filled doughnut.  Make room for the glorious feast.

doughnut
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Business Analytics & Big Data – The Skill Gap

Recent research shows that there is a huge gap between the demand of Business Analytics & Big Data experts and the skillset available among professionals today.

A Times of India article on May 4th 2017 highlights this fact, also mentioning that the number of candidates present for these roles is less than half the demand and that these positions are highly popular among industries. “All these jobs fetch a premium of 25 – 35% over what a regular software developer earns,” says Ronesh Puri, MD of search firm Executive Access.

Here’s the TOI article

newspaper

Considering this huge skill gap and the fact that professionals are looking for new career prospects, NITTE School of Management, Bangalore is organizing a seminar on Analytics & Big Data to discuss on the growth of this industry, the career prospects available, and what one needs to do to excel in this field.

Mr. N M Sharma, an expert in the industry with over 30 years of experience, who lead the analytics team at one of India’s largest consultancy firms, will be speaking and taking questions at the seminar.

This is a huge opportunity and a ‘must-attend’ event for all you folks out there who are looking for new opportunities, or who are simply looking to understand more about the analytics & big data industry.

You can get more details about the event here.

Did I mention you can get a discount on the registration? Because you definitely can!

AND you will be issued a certificate.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, register! Or if you’re still not sure, give us a call (9916633577)

See you at the seminar!

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”

Ephesians 5:15-16

 

The blunt knife

A hot day, a long ride in Bangalore traffic, a full stomach! All these things combined made me crave a full glass of cool lemonade today.

It’s Easter weekend – one of those days when my cleanliness obsessed mother goes on a dusting spree. Normally, she makes the best lemonade, but obviously, it wouldn’t have been fair of me to ask her to make it when she had so much to do, so I thought I’d prepare some for everyone.

“Ma, is there any lemon at home?”, I asked her.

“For what?”, came the suspicious reply. I couldn’t blame her really – I’ve caused enough accidents to get myself banned from the kitchen for life.

“For some lemonade Ma”, I said.

“Lemonade? Now? No!” she said, sternly.

“But why?”

“Because I have to clean the house and I don’t have time”

“Mother, I’ll make the lemonade”, I replied.

She was startled! I swear I could almost see a tear rolling down her cheek. It’s almost like her face was saying – “My son? Doing something good at home? I never thought I’d live to see this day.”

Ah, but she did! And so, off I went to the kitchen. I pulled out the one lemon I could find from the refrigerator. Placing three glasses on the kitchen counter, I filled them up with water and put the right amount of sugar and salt in them, following the perfect lemonade recipe.

I then proceeded to something far more dangerous – cutting the lemon. Taking the knife in one hand and the lemon in the other, I placed the yellow fruit down and brought the blade down on it to split it in two…

…but it didn’t work. Nothing happened! The lemon sat there on the kitchen counter, almost seemingly laughing at me.

So I tried again. I hit it again, but still, nothing. So I tried a different approach. I violently began to slide the blade over the thick skin of the lemon. Still, it refused to let the blade pass through it.

After over five minutes of futile struggle, I walked up to my mother in disappointment.

“Ma”, I said with my face down, “is there a sharper knife? This one is too blunt.”

She looked at me, almost feeling sorry for me. She took the knife from my hand, went up to the lemon, and in a split second, she brought the knife down, leaving the fruit in two exact equal halves.

She looked back, while I stood there with my mouth wide open. With the most disappointed face, she showed me the edge of the knife that she used – the sharp edge – the one I didn’t, and said –

“My son, the knife is not what’s blunt here.”

Lemonadeblog