There are some blogging friendships that are struck in a jiffy. This is exactly how my friendship unfolded with Sakshi Nanda. The first time I chanced upon Sakshi’s blog, Between Write And Wrong, I was hooked. A few messages exchanged, and I felt a great rapport and ease with her. She is an excellent writer, with a Masters in English Literature and an experience with print media and in editing. Now she balances a family, works from home and blogs. She straddles many genres in her writing including parenting,  personal memoirs, social commentary, politics, delightful satire and humor to name a few. She is a prolific writer, and each post is a gem. She can handle sensitivity, humor and emotions in her writing with an innate ease. Apart from all this, she is a fabulous person, a good, conscientious human being and a lovely  friend. Her good-natured take on her son’s antics are a pleasure to read always. Her warm, sunshine presence reaches out to you through her detailed, encouraging comments as well as her warm words. Yes, she will win both your heart and mind with her craft and persona! I really look forward to meeting this bundle of energy soon in real life. So happy to have you in my space, Sakshi! Thank you so much for doing this post for me. Take it from here…

***

20130915Lamp Light18479

A handful of moments before I wrote this, I was miserable.

My husband found me biting my nails in my favourite corner of the house. He knew what was up. But he still cared to ask. And I told him what he knew already.

What do I write about next? I want every new post to be better than the previous one. It’s a lot of pressure. Every single time I am becoming my own competitor. I feel tense, and so inadequate.

And like always, he helped my speeding thought process go from fourth gear to the first, and come to a calming halt.

He told me of ACR writing time in a certain government office. Much hustle-bustle, like the day before the board results. Only, here, there was no fixed date of ‘release’. Just a feeling they could be in your hands any day. ACRs – lots of questions about efficiency and credibility, work done and delegated successfully, and remarks by many in the pyramid of hierarchy. A little handwritten booklet that mattered in its own strange ways, and did not at all in so many others.

He told me of this kind man sitting right at the centre of the governmental pyramid, writing ‘outstanding’ for each and every person whose ACR crossed his path. Very many ‘outstanding!’ When the staff heard, it was jubilant. After all, it was an outstanding lot! Perhaps, motichoor laddoos were being circulated already. Some were calling up their wives, for the result that was imminent. Signing in for an LTC too, maybe.

My husband, as usual, knit his brows in incomprehension at this blind generosity of gifting excellence. Over tea the same day, he discussed this phenomenal phenomenon with a senior, for he was fresh and still figuring out the ways around the yellow corridors.

The words of that senior bureaucrat he cared to quote to me today, as I sat thinking hard about delivering the better than the best, next, with my pen.

If everybody is outstanding, no body is.

I smiled. He smiled too. Perhaps the same smile he smiled when he heard this pearl being rolled his way, sipping chai in gold-rimmed china cups in cracked saucers but with a very wise man.

We may blame it on our zodiac or our time of birth. We may find fault in the genes or the way we are brought up. But no matter where we try to rest the gun before pulling the trigger, the truth remains – Ambition. To sweat, to slog, to soar. To do, do more, and out do – not just the neighbor but our own selves too. To be called an ‘expert’, a ‘guru’ or plain brilliant! And in the process, lose. Lose those moments of sitting idle, doing nothing. Parking the racing cars in our heads by the side of the road. Letting the engines stop. Looking around, not talking not opining. Not even listening. Just being. Free in the mind. Easy. Empty.

Like sitting inside the bus stop, waiting for the bus. In the cool shade. Rather than looking in the same direction as the crowd standing nearly in the middle of the road, sweating in the Sun. So eager to spot the bus first. Climb on to it too. After all, the bus will come, if it’s meant to.

A few minutes reclaimed for ourselves and not what we do, or stand for, or stand by.

A comma in a long winding sentence of life. Not a full-stop.

A few minutes of being mediocre. Why not!

Because, continued he – ‘Only the mediocre are at their best all the time. Mediocrity is a lovely thing, don’t misunderstand what I say. But outstanding work will be sporadic. Excellence comes sometimes. Those moments of outdoing yourself. In spurs and spurts. Moments of genius. That’s what makes them soar above all the ‘best’ that has come before.’

Like a sudden Everest among the many Kilimajaros. A hot geyser shooting up in the air, taking itself by surprise. Or maybe like the Ganges, making not a sound as it touches Rishikesh with it magnificence, but roaring with grandeur as it wakes Haridwar up.

My own streams of consciousness were making dizzying eddies in my mind a few minutes back, as I sat alone. They sat calmly now, as did I with him next to me. There was much to think about. And much to write. But first, I needed to take my watch off, drop my bag, untie the shoes, box the spectacles and sit down. Just sit down. Inside my mind.

No place like home to do that. No time like now either.

And no O’clock more opportune than this minute, to understand what my Standard 1 teacher, Mrs. Edwards, meant when she wrote in my book, 25 years back –

“Dear Sakshi,

If you cannot be a star in the sky, be a lamp in the house.”

Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

[I have left this post the way it was written at first go. I have read it multiple number of times, but changed not a thing. Edits may spoil The Comma I talk about, as I sit under a lamp in my house, and with my Lamp too. This may not be my ‘best post’, but it is the one I needed to write and wanted to share, both.]

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81 Thoughts on “The Lamp in the House!

  1. Another de-“Light”-ful post from you, Sakshi Nanda. And Rachna, beautiful addition to your gorgeous blog – true, and direct dil-se ! I don’t think I have any more words to describe this beautiful “union”. You are both an amazing inspiration for me, as a budding writer, and loved this post.
    iwrotethose recently posted…Mr Murphy’s Law & ParentingMy Profile

  2. Never mind excellence – I am quite content to be mediocre all my life with not a single shooting geyser to mar the serenity 🙂
    chsuresh63 recently posted…SuccessMy Profile

  3. I love this post, it really resonates with me. I will cherish the line your teacher wrote

  4. Rachna definitely says wise things that makes you think and act wisely.

    Beautiful Sakshi! I loved both the quotes: the outstanding one and the one that your teacher wrote. And trust me you are the Lamp in the House. Love you girl! 🙂
    Rekha recently posted…Are they responsible for our parenting needs?My Profile

  5. The words of the senior bureaucrat and your teacher are so profound!! As somebody said, if I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way. Love this lamp in the house!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Head vs HeartMy Profile

  6. Lovely! Thanks, Rachna, for sharing this perfect piece. Thanks, Sakshi, for writing it. Thanks for celebrating the completeness of incompleteness.
    Subhorup Dasgupta recently posted…Rest Not Our BusinessMy Profile

  7. Great post, thanks for posting…@rachna, @sakshi 🙂

  8. Thank you so much for your delightful post, Sakshi! Some posts touch you, some make you smile, some you can relate with and there are some that stay with you in your mind for you to go back to at a later date. This post I put in that last category. The words as they came out unedited made perfect sense to me. Indeed, caught in competition and quest for perfection, just like Arjun, all we can concentrate on is the eye of the fish. Oh how we miss the joys of small things, the details of the bigger picture! How we miss the pleasure in the journey while we obsess over the destination? How we miss the delight of writing while we compete for stats and followers? Mediocrity is beautiful. Indeed, once we acknowledge that to ourselves, the pleasures in life intensify. And the sparks of brilliance become even more delightful! This piece of yours is a spark of brilliance to be enjoyed, imbibed and referred to. I am honored that you chose to wrote it for my space. <3
    Rachna recently posted…The Lamp in the House!My Profile

    • To know you would want to go back to my post, and re-read it at a later date makes me so happy, Rachna. Your whole comment is the essence of my post, summed up so beautifully.
      If this is indeed to be “enjoyed, imbibed and referred to”, then this piece did not belong anywhere but here. 🙂
      Big thank you, for everything!
      sakshinanda recently posted…The Lamp in the HouseMy Profile

  9. Oh its a beautiful post Sakshi and to think it was unedited… all the more surreal… glad I read this post before calling it a day.. gave me a reason to hope for an even brighter tomorrow.. Thank you! 🙂
    Seeta Bodke recently posted…An Active India… A Stronger IndiaMy Profile

  10. I can say with firm belief that this is your best post. You my friend have bettered your own standards. I loved it. So heartfelt, honest and shivering with deep emotions. Every single word was like a gospel truth for me. Sakshi, this particular post is honestly something I can never forget.

    Mediocrity has never been romanticised in this way before..
    subzeroricha recently posted…On International Philosophy Day, here are some books with philosophy hidden in themMy Profile

    • ‘Shivering with deep emotions- is beautiful to read. Richa, thanks a lot. Very few in the world of blogging I call my own, and you are one of them. That is why, that this post is an unforgettable one for you, makes me very happy.
      Lots of love.
      sakshinanda recently posted…The Lamp in the HouseMy Profile

  11. This is definitely one of your best Sakshi. With no editing right from the heart, honestly and heartfelt. And loved both the quotes, something which have to be tucked in memory and to be taken now n then.
    Sheethal recently posted…A small footstepMy Profile

  12. I must admit, I had to read this post twice to fully grasp the sheer brilliance of the simple message of this piece. I think that is what I like about your writing. It appears just a bit more profound each new time one reads it.
    Excellence may reveal itself only occasionally to others, but it tends to make a habit of staying by your side virtually permanently! I’m afraid the pressure of being great is something that you will simply have to live with, no matter what your English teacher or the middling bureaucrat said!
    Thanks for a lovely piece, SN. And thank you, Rachna, for hosting her!
    Rickie recently posted…The First Diwali – The Untold Backstory Of What Transpired When Lord Rama Returned HomeMy Profile

  13. It is such a treat to read well written articles/blog posts. You certainly are not mediocre when it comes to writing.
    We can’t be perfect, but as long as we give it our best that’s all we can do – Lesson I have learnt 😀
    Bhavana Shankar Rao recently posted…Slice of lifeMy Profile

  14. Wow Sakshi,this an amazing piece.The two quotations that you have quoted are memorable. After reading this I prefer to be a mediocre, someone different from the crowd of outstanding millions. Loved reading the post,. There is a subtle comment on those who give an outstanding report. I, as a mediocre, rate this post as ‘super outstanding.’

  15. Beautiful post!
    The words of both the bureaucrat and your teacher are so very meaningful.
    The ‘sitting inside the bus stop’ example is something many people could learn from: there’s nothing achieved by being the first (or one of the first) to know!!
    Proactive Indian recently posted…No more hypocrisy!My Profile

  16. Lovely thoughts !

    I found an amazing site which has so much of wonderful insights to follow..
    read it couple of days back.. sharing it here as your post is around something similar..

    http://zenhabits.net/be-still/
    Ash recently posted…Three Rivers of TearsMy Profile

  17. The very thought of mediocrity rises when we compare ourselves with someone better. Leave the comparison and we are what we are and that is the best we can strive for! Thanks Sakshi for this beautiful thought and kudos, Rachna, for sharing your space.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  18. Beautiful post Sakshi! Those words by your teacher are words to live by! I have always lived life in the not-so-fast lane. People have exclaimed “you have so much potential, if only you were a go-getter” but it never fazed me. I am definitely the proverbial lamp in my house and I hope in many other houses whose occupants have connected with me on a soul level. My own house is lit up by many such beautiful and gracious lamps. 🙂
    Swapna recently posted…Too Many Toys By David Shannon – Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Well, if I may too chime in – you are full of potential, and this I say looking at how well you are managing so many fronts. You are doing beautiful work and I can see the light from the lamp being shed on all of us too. May all the lamps in your house be blessed. 🙂
      Thanks a lot for reading, Sapna.
      sakshinanda recently posted…The Lamp in the HouseMy Profile

  19. So simple and yet so meaningful. Much like Rachna’s blog.
    I just don’t know what to say except that it is a pleasure to read you.
    You sit pretty. In your mind. And in mine.

    • You always see in my writing, post after post, something that I myself do not. You put it on a pedestal, even as I struggle to believe that it can be there. Thank you, Alka. I look forward to your comments as an inspiration to do better. 🙂
      sakshinanda recently posted…The Lamp in the HouseMy Profile

  20. Did you teacher really write the last line or you wrote it yourself? 🙂 Anyway, loved the post. The conflict inside us to get better of ourselves is never-ending and self-drilling.
    Diwakar Narayan recently posted…My Dream Asian Destination – Kuala LumpurMy Profile

  21. The wisdom in the post is profound. But what makes it such an excellent piece is the way you have written it. Beautifully, very very beautifully. A post that will stay in my mind and will make me come back to read it again and again.

    Our best posts are the ones that come straight from our heart. Like this one !

    Thank You Rachna for hosting Sakshi and giving us an opportunity to read this !
    Ruch recently posted…A New Home for Old Friends !My Profile

  22. This is such a wonderful read! I read and re-read it again! Beautifully written. Kudos! 🙂
    http://pratidhichowdhury.blogspot.in/
    Pratidhi Chowdhury recently posted…A Healthy Nation!My Profile

  23. “If everybody is outstanding, nobody is” – WOW !! So profound !!
    jyotsnabhatia86 recently posted…THANKS : HaikuMy Profile

  24. Such a beautiful, contemplative and well written post. You were right to not change a single thing. If I were you, I wouldn’t either. And I think we lamps are underrated.
    shefalivelingkar recently posted…Top five reason why being a toddler rocksMy Profile

  25. what a wonderful post… love every bit of it .. thanks for sharing 🙂
    simple girl recently posted…If I could have anyone I choose as my ‘forever friend’/ ‘life partner’, I would choose …..My Profile

  26. Wow, that is such just a beautiful post that I am pretty much lost for words in describing what I am feeling after having read it. Wow, just wow, will suffice for now I guess 😀
    Jairam Mohan recently posted…My letter to Indian politiciansMy Profile

  27. Both of you are such beautiful bloggers … cheers to your association!!!
    kitchenmummy recently posted…My three gems, our three gemsMy Profile

  28. hi rachnaji..how r u? sorry I could not be in touch for sometime..am gearing up for am important, happy family event in feb..dear blog friends like you are always in my mind..thanks for all the encouragement:)
    r. ramesh recently posted…Dirty thoughtsMy Profile

  29. Such a beautiful post. I often joke that if all are winners who will be there ot clap then.
    But then there are moments of despondency when I lament over failures, those moments I will remember that maybe I am the lamp of the house. 🙂
    Bhagyashree recently posted…Had I looked back…..My Profile

  30. Beautifully said, Sakshi! And, that is a very wise man!
    What a beautiful message by your teacher too!
    Roshni recently posted…Our Diwali tradition continues!My Profile

  31. I am late on this one, but not never..:) Finally, I am at peace and calmed down a bit after reading this. Had been having hectically crazy days and a much needed post for me. Thank you Rachna, for having a beautiful post. And that was a big basket of praises for Sakshi. Will check her blog. 🙂
    latha recently posted…Learned to let it go…My Profile

  32. I don’t know about others but I cannot write under pressure at all. If that happens, I keep the laptop aside and indulge in other things till my mind is at peace.
    And this post actually confirmed that I am all right. 🙂 It is ok to write from your heart rather than give in to pressure.
    Amit recently posted…Boiling Water – IIIMy Profile

  33. What a beautiful and sensible post Sakshi! It made so much sense especially in this number driven world that we live in. Always having to prove to others; our self worth being reflected in their opinions about us; being measured by the number of milestones covered that we stop living and breathing.

    Thank you to Rachna for this lovely space and inspiring Sakshi for this beautiful post. 🙂

  34. I wonder as to how I missed following Sakshi’s blog.
    I will ensure I read every post in future.Its so interesting.
    B k chowla recently posted…SECULARISM???My Profile

  35. Madan Chavan on December 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm said:

    Hello,
    It was very nice to see light of lamp in a house where owner proud to be in.

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