I Have Heard Many Times that Life Is a Teacher but Never Took It Seriously by Neena Thakur

Neena Thakur, learning a life lesson.

Neena Thakur, learning a life lesson.

            While growing up, my parents got separated and I had this faith that one day things would change. I prayed I would not be the child of a broken family, but years passed and nothing happened, so I accepted my fate. My father was having health issues and I was worried, “How will I manage to care for him all by myself?” 

            But I believed God knows exactly what we need and at what time. My father’s health condition brought my parents back together. My mother forgot all their fights and her care and concern overcame their differences.

            Years later, while I was going through a tough phase—a  heartbreak and job loss—I was extremely sceptical and hopeless. I’d lost faith. Every little thing annoyed me. Even the care and love from my parents wasn’t a relief.

            I started neglecting my friends and I stopped going out.

            One friend sent me a morning text every day and I never replied. For months he never missed texting me. Then, he called me and I didn’t answer. He kept calling me for three days.

Finally annoyed like anything, I just texted him. I will not use the abusive words I texted him but I still feel ashamed what words I used. He didn’t reply a single text on that entire day. I felt like the winner. Yes, I am the super hero for my depression and I won’t let anyone interrupt my gloomy hopeless depressed retreat.

            Next morning, I heard a vibrating beep and saw his message. I felt a bit relieved as deep down I was feeling guilty. But my ego wouldn’t let me break down its heroic image easily. So I texted him, “OMG you are impossible.”

            I received a smiley and it annoyed me even more.

            By evening, my mood calmed a little and I text him, “I am sorry for my behaviour, but would you please leave me alone. I don’t want to talk to anyone. You have no idea what is happening in my life.”

            His reply came. “My dear, you don’t know what is going on in my life.” 

            He said his brother had a severe accident one month ago. He was in coma, and for the past month he was working extra hours to help his mom and dad to bear his brother’s monthly expenses.

            He had a breakup two months ago that was hard too, “But who has time to worry about that right now. My brother, whom I love dearly, is in ICU.” 

            I was stunned to hear this as he seemed happy, always posting positive thoughts and music videos on social media. 

            He texted, “My dear, your fears and worries never make anything better. I am doing my best for my family and I still believe that only good things happen with good people. I know my brother will get better and I don’t think otherwise.”

            For a moment I thought he was lying to me. It sounded like a film character. Smile always, laugh always seemed artificial to me. But he sent me pictures of his brother. 

 

            Next week, I visited his family and I was shaken by his courage and positive attitude. He loved his life so much. 

            “Life.” I realised I heard this word for the first time.

I was crying over a guy who left me, but I was alive. My body and mind were working well. I had a family; I had friends. All these things I was neglecting just for one person who left me.

            Next morning I sent him a morning greeting and he replied, “You know you have so much love inside you. Keep some for yourself and people like us too. Don’t just throw it all on one single person.”

            More than his words his character influenced me. I wasn’t jumping with joy, nor was it that film scene where the hero finds her clarity finally. But it was a lesson; a reminder that life itself is a gift.

Neena Thakur is a listener from India. She is a kindergarten teacher. She loves dance and spiritual books. She believes she’ll see God in herself and everyone some day, until then, she’s trying to learn what life can teach her. For more, you can find her on FaceBook.

Prompt, Response, and Comments

Student Maxine Poupko at work on a story.

Student Maxine Poupko at work on a story.

Popular

By Maxine Poupko

Oprah is popular, but sometimes she bugs the shit out of me. 

I succeeded for a few weeks in not watching TV first thing in the morning. But I caved last Sunday. Well, it’s Sunday and I’m going to make an exception on weekends.

Then I changed my rule again. I decided that first thing in the morning I would only let myself watch movies that had a good Jungian based message, something that had redeeming value, instead of Say Yes to the Dressor 90 Day Fiancé

So, Sunday I watched Chocolat. I loved it. Great message. Everything changes—life, death, rebirth. Shit happens, but hang in there long enough, and transformation occurs. I searched the Internet for more Jungian based themes.

This morning, I was too cranky to start a movie. So, I altered my plan and let myself watch a few minutes of that annoying Super Soul Sunday, because Edith Eva Eger, a 91-year-old holocaust survivor, was being interviewed. She just published a book about how we all have choices in our lives, no matter what has happened to us. The theme was educational enough for altering my rules.

I liked her. But Oprah was getting on my nerves, and for the first time in my life, I heard myself yelling at my TV.

“Can you shut the fuck up, Oprah?!!”

I’ve seen the popular Ms. O do this countless times in her interviews. She is so focused on what’s in her own mind to say during the interview, that she cuts off her guest. Or the guest will say something so deep and meaningful, and my mind wants to catch it, but Oprah immediately changes the subject to meet her agenda and what’s in her own mind.

I’m not interested in Oprah’s aha moment. I’m interested in mine. 

And please, don’t fucking call everyone who watches a SuperSouler. I am not a SuperSouler!

Since I never yelled at the TV before today, I began to think, OMG! I’m becoming my father.He used to yell like a mad man in front of the TV, when he watched football or tennis matches. It scared the shit out of me when he did it.

Everything was calm and suddenly I’d hear him yell, “You idiot! The ball was out!”

 

Edith Eva Eger was so full of one-liners filled with wisdom that I had to keep rewinding to hear her words. I wanted take a moment to focus on what this astounding holocaust survivor, who has become a world renown psychologist was saying, but Oprah kept rudely interrupting her. 

She was talking about waiting in a line in Auschwitz, with her mother in the middle and she and her sister on either side of her. Dr. Mengele, known as the angel of death, asked her if the woman next to her was her mother or her sister.   

Eger said, “It’s my mother.”

Even at 91, she told Oprah that to this day, she hasn’t forgiven herself. 

Those words caused him to send her mother to one side, and she and her sister to the other side.

He told her, “Your mother is just going to take a shower, and then she will be back.”

Her mother said to her before she walked away, “We don’t know where we’re going, but just remember: No one can take away from you what you put here in your own mind,” as she pointed to her head.

And in the next split second, the very popular Oprah changed the subject.


Our classmates are then asked, “What drew you in and what do you want to know more about. Here are the comments:

Jimmy: What’s Super Soul Sunday?

Nickell: I was drawn to the intimacy. The writer brought me into her world with a great level of detail. So rich and human.

Susan: This narrator is funny. I want to hear more about her father.

Jill: I love how the writer gave a smackdown to someone popular and she used humor to tell the story.

Andrea: I was so drawn in by the specificity of the narrator’s habits and rules and then how she cheats. I’m so in. The line, “I’m not interested in Oprah’s aha moments. I’m interested in mine.” Love it! And the interview. I feel like I am experiencing the interview the way the narrator did.

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Hi Writing Class Radio,

Andrea here. I’m so far behind with all the other stuff that goes into making this podcast, that I thought I’d stop and make things worse by complaining about it. Today I set out to send an email blast to our subscribers and listeners and holy shit, I promised I wouldn’t overwhelm you if you joined the list, but now I’ve totally underwhelmed. It’s been more than 8 weeks and episodes are flying out bi-weekly, which means the newsletter is looooong. And it means, you might have some binge listening to do. Also, we announced a Spring SALE for April on our 3-part video series, which gives you all the tips we love—how to start, finish, and everything in between—for just $40. The sale ends soon, so jump on it here. And then I noticed that our blog was 11 weeks behind. If you didn’t know, I’ve been writing a #weeklyessay, so I had to throw up some of those, which you can read HERE. And then Allison said the email looks 80s, which was not a compliment, so I’m trying to flatten its hair and take out its shoulder pads.

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