Christmas Gift For Kids – The Magical Guest

Under a leafless apple tree, sat a little girl named Shrivi. She wore loose, worn-out clothes and torn footwear that barely had soles on them. Her small bare hands looked frost-bitten and she tucked them often under her armpits. Her face looked red and her eyes had a vacant stare as she took in her snow-filled surrounding.

Her stomach growled and she realized she had not eaten since the past two days except a half leftover chapati. For the thousandth time, she wished her father returned from the town where he had gone to sell carpets. He had promised to return within a month with money, food, and clothes. But he didn’t, and they were starving. Her mother was sick, they had no food and perhaps, her father was in trouble.

A tear trickled down her cheek as she remembered her resolve to pick twigs and buy food early that morning. They needed food and oil in their lamp as it was frightening to stay in the dark every night. But unfortunately, it was afternoon and she hadn’t found twigs because of a sudden snowstorm. 

The world looked dark and hopeless.

A gentle tap on the shoulders aroused her from reverie. A tall middle-aged man in a flowing brown beard stood there holding the reins of a handsome brown stallion. What did he want?

“Hello,” he said gently. “Will you please help me?” he asked. Shrivi looked at him with strange eyes. How could she help someone when she herself needed help?

“My horse needs water and rest. Where is your home? Can I stay there for a while? I have a long journey to go and I will leave as soon as the biggest and brightest star in the sky will be visible,” he said politely.

Shrivi reluctantly got up and asked him to follow her. While walking, Shrivi felt bad. She didn’t want the guest to see her poverty and her poor, sick mother but it would be rude to deny help. She was also ashamed that she had no food to offer to the stranger according to the village tradition. In there village, any traveler looking for help, was welcomed as God himself.

“Tell me, little girl, what are you grateful for?” asked the stranger, all of a sudden, while walking towards her hut. 

“How can I be grateful; when I have nothing?” said the girl.

“Well, it’s a game I play with children – The Gratitude Game. Come on, make an effort, just find any reason… even a bad reason to be grateful would be wonderful,” he said.

Shrivi thought for a moment and said, “Well, I am grateful for my legs as I can walk…”

“That’s great, isn’t it?” he said.

The stranger coaxed her on and little by little, she found many other reasons to be grateful for on her way back home – her eyes, arms, her mother, the tree by her hut, her pet hare, mother Earth, the sky…

Lo and behold… she didn’t know how, but by the time she reached her hut, it felt like Summertime. Everything looked magical. The tree and the ground by her house were filled with berries while the sun shone brightly.  

Filling her mouth with berries and offering some to the stranger, she laughed and asked – “What miracle did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. You did it!” said the strange stranger.

She picked up berries for her mother too and invited the guest inside the hut. 

When they entered the dilapidated hut, Shrivi’s frail sick mother was startled. “Mother, I have brought a special guest. You know he is a miracle man. He and his horse need rest till the evening. He is on his way to meet the holy ‘King of Kings’, being led by the biggest star in the sky.”

Shrivi’s mother hid her anxious emotions and mustered energies to get up and welcome the guest. He looked so grand, dignified, and resplendent while she felt ashamed of her poverty and the humble hut. What would she offer him? She was relieved to see that Shrivi had picked up plenty of berries.

But the guest looked perfectly at home as he rested on the mat which she spread on the floor. Crushing the berries, she made juice for herself and their guest while Shrivi went outside to give water to his horse.

“Thank you for helping me out. In return for your hospitality, I would like to give you something,” said the stranger after a while.

“You are welcome, Sir. But we do not take gifts from our guests. Thank you for the offering.” the lady said politely.

“Well, it’s not riches or money. But just a lesson. Will you accept it?” The lady nodded reluctantly. 

“Well, first tell me one thing – What are you grateful for?” he asked.

“There is nothing to be grateful for,” the lady said, shocked almost angry. She felt it was impolite to ask a poor woman to be grateful when she was suffering so much.

“Believe me, any small thing to be grateful about would work to begin your lesson.” the guest insisted.

The lady thought and thought. But only her trouble, sorrow, and poverty came into her mind. What could she be grateful for when everything looked so dark. Everyone in the whole world was better off than them. What had happened to her husband? Why was God so cruel to them? And then the image of a little girl came into her mind and her perception shifted. “I am grateful for Shrivi,” she whispered.

The wise man coaxed on and the lady found several other little things to be grateful about – the hut, her neighbors, the berries… While talking about those little things, she smiled. This caused a ripple effect in the universe – her universe. She realized, she was feeling quite good and her fever was gone. She felt energetic enough to begin work on an old carpet.

“What miracle did you do?” she asked. “I didn’t do anything. You did it,” he smiled.

When the biggest star was visible in the sky that evening, the magical guest took leave to continue his journey towards the ‘holy infant’. “Thank you for helping me. I bless you both with the gift of the highest and noblest of all emotions – the feeling of gratitude. That emotion is the very fountain of fulfillment and joy,” the wise man said before leaving.

There was something about that wise man’s lesson that changed the lives of Shrivi and her mother. Every day, they began to follow that simple method of gratitude and things began to look good. Her mother found work with a decent income, and some sheep, within a few days their living conditions became better.  

And on one glorious night, when a luminous baby was born on a different side of the Earth, someone came knocking at their hut. 

At last, Shrivi’s father had returned with riches, food, and clothes. It was a joyous reunion for the family. That night, as they shared their respective experiences and adventures, one particular story stood out – Shrivi’s story of the magical guest, who was following the biggest star in the sky.

(I hope you liked this gift. If you will ask me – what makes me grateful? I will say I’m grateful to you, my reader for your presence here. Here is wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May you get many reasons to be grateful every day of 2021.)

Are you a warrior friend too?

Have you ever noticed how we all have a core group of people who stand up for us during difficult times? They might be close or far away. They may be our family, friends or just an acquaintance. They may not have made an appearance for years now. We might have had a fallout. But like a miracle, they start connecting with us the moment we are in need. These are our God appointed warriors! They will come for us, stand by us, no matter what. Such people should be valued and cherished. And God bless each one of them with joy and peace. πŸ™πŸ»

Are you fortunate enough to be a god appointed warrior too… for someone?

(Image courtesy Google)

Thank You!

Dear,

This week, my blog turned 3 and today, I received the notification of getting 1k followers on WordPress. Yes, I am celebrating today not because of the number of readers or my social media reach but the fact that you and I have stayed together. Despite everything, I didn’t stop writing and in spite of everything, you didn’t stop reading.

WordPress is so different from Twitter, Facebook or other platforms, where aggression and pretentiousness is the norm. The blog world is a courteous place where varying thoughts peacefully coexist and there is mutual cooperation. I am so glad I became a part of it.

This blog child of mine came into life, when my older one was 3.5 years old and little one was just 6 months. I was new in the US and life would often bog me down. This blog child helped me to remain positive and creative throughout (Managed to write two kids book too!). And then there were your blogs, amazing, creative, heart touching posts! Such superior intelligence and laudable artistic endeavors!

My two favorite families, dear husband, friends and ‘you’ have been my enviable support system. And then, there is the playful Krishna, who gently whispers – Charaiveti (Go on..) whenever my shoulders stoop and I intend to stop.

Thank you once again!

Love, Shivangi

The Lovely Lady on the Bench

  

I see her everyday on that bench. It is curious that I have never seen her face. Her wrinkled hand rests at the back of the bench as she sits still, statue like. I am sure she would make an excellent model for a sculpture.

She has the bearing of royalty. Her dress, although plain, looks neat and a scarf covers her head. I don’t know what thoughts run through her mind as she sits there from morning till midday and then leaves unseen. Nobody accompanies her, no one takes her hand and sits by her for a while.

Today, I wanted to have a good look at the mysterious old lady. Also, I wanted to be of some kind of help.

I went out to meet her. She was crying. But the tears were not of grief but of gratitude. She was in deep conversation with God. She was with God! She needed no one!

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. For more information, click HERE. Thank you Andy for the picture.

A note and gift for Santa Claus from a four year old

  Dear Santa, 

I have been a good boy this year. I am sending you a ring this year to say ‘thank you’.

 I wish for:

1) A spyglass

2) A dinosaur for my little brother Aviraj

Thank you,

Adiraj

  
 
(This is what my four-year-old came up with when I asked him what he wants from Santa Claus this Christmas. He thought about giving first. He said we should give star war ring to Santa Claus, make him happy and also cook food for him. He also thought of giving carrots to Santa’s reindeers on their arrival. He went on to tell me about the gifts he wanted – Spyglass like Jake the pirate. And wished for a dinosaur for his baby brother. 

So, together we put together this special note and gift for Santa Claus and have kept it at a safe place for Him. Hope we make Santa smile this magic season…Ho Ho Ho)

Thank You: A Letter to You

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Dear,

Cheers! This is to you who is reading the post. Just the fact that you are reading this, makes me feel, so immensely and profoundly grateful to you. There is a feeling of abundance in me and I am very happy for being read and appreciated. Hope you receive my feeling of gratitude in the same proportion that I experience it.

I started blogging at the end of January 2015 and the journey so far has been exhilarating, incredible and uplifting entirely because of you.

This post is to say thank you to all my readers who read me, liked me, commented on my posts, corrected me, advised me, motivated me, encouraged me and even criticised me. The immediate cause of this write up to acknowledge the awards extended to me by fellow blogger friends, who appreciated my efforts in the form of award nominations.

I am indebted to:

Vagabond Velda for Liebster Award ( https://vagabonvelda.wordpress.com)
Nimi Naren for Liebster Award (https://simplemomentsoflife.wordpress.com)
Millie Thom for Liebster Award x 2 (https://milliethom.wordpress.com)
Nimi Naren for The Premio Dardos Award ((https://simplemomentsoflife.wordpress.com)
Ritu for The Creative Blogger Award (https://butismileanyway.wordpress.com)

I am sorry, commitments at hand do not allow me to have the time require to follow the rules but coming from these avid blogger friends, the awards mean so much to me. The wonderful posts of the inimitable Vagabond Velda, the heart warming prose of Nimi Naren, the informative works of Millie Thom and the endearing blogs of Ritu are worth reading and following.

I must also take this opportunity to say a big thank you to my husband, family and friends (especially Vijay, Bhuvana and Deepak), who initiated me into the world of personal blogging. And then there are my talented blogging friends ( Barbara Beacham, Priceless Joy, Johnyeo, Olden Gray, Drailman, Yarnspinerr, Surindranath ji, Davendrak, Miniscrypt and many others) plus my social media friends, who keep me going.

Last but not the least, I am whole heartedly thankful to you – Dear reader. It is because of you that I write!

Wait a Minute, Count Your Blessings!

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I felt grateful today. And subsequently, on top of the world!

There was no particular reason to be happy actually I was quite morose. I just happened to remember the popular hymn, which we sang everyday in our school assembly...Count your blessings name them one by one.

But I did not want to count my blessings. I wanted to feel sorry for myself and indulge in self-pity. So, I started counting all the bad things that were happening to me. I wrote:
1. I don’t like the shape of my body after two pregnancies.
2. I am too busy with the household and kids to do whatever I want.
3. I want to go out but the climatic conditions are not suitable here.
4. I know people bitch about me behind my back.
5. All my dreams of making it big is shattered in this mundane existence.

There were many more bad things I wanted to write and write about. But somehow as I re-read the bad things. I thought those were just half-a-truth. There was something parallel attached to each one of it. So, I added a sentence to each:
1. I don’t like the shape of my body after two pregnancies. But I have two lovely kids who are the world to me.
2. I am too busy with the household and kids to do whatever I want. But they are the cutest responsibilities, I cannot miss on their childhood for anything.
3. I want to go out but the climatic conditions are not suitable here. That’s why we make the best of staying indoors and enjoy some cosy family time.
4. I know people bitch about me behind my back. I am happy because at least I am not forgotten.
5. All my dreams of making it big is shattered in this mundane existence. Well, at least I have dreams and it is never too late!

Now, the second five point draft was closer to the truth. I felt good. So, I actually started counting my blessings. They were endless…I could think, I could write, I could walk, I could eat, I could laugh, I had loved ones and friends, I was not poor, I could draw well, I could explore the world…the list was endless. And the biggest of all blessings was…I was alive and so were my hopes!

As I started contemplating on my blessings, I could not help praying and thanking god for all I had and even for those I did not have. Because I felt If God denied us something, it is for our own good.

All of us have big and small problems. But no problem comes without a solution, sooner or later. We need to adjust and focus on the blessings attached it. I am sure ..there is always a blessing, we just need to find it! And we need to be grateful. If we are blind, we need to be grateful that we have our two hands intact. And if we do not have limbs, we should be grateful to have a thinking mind.

I found out that gratitude is really…the magic feel good potion that nourishes us from within. So, rather than wasting time in feeling sorry for myself and cursing the world, I will count my blessings from now…

If you want to feel good, join!