Monday, November 24, 2014

Keep Calm and Stay Positive- Day 6- Void, left behind

There is a sense of agony in my mind
Trying to fathom the obvious
I stumble upon memories
That are not to be remembered.

Driving me through those memories
My mind wanders into another zone
Where there is no grief, no sorrow
Where there is only joy and smiles.

I think harder, plunge deeper
Deep into the zone which is unbelievable
But in vain, as there is a void
Before the zone, which takes me in.

I had dared to overlook the void
I had tried to trespass over it
But in vain, as the void was clever
It caught me off guard without a warning.

Yet I emerge out of the void
This time stronger than it imagined
And as it tried pulling me in again
I shunned it away
Like there wouldn't come another day
Like there wouldn't come another chance.

Traversing my mind's path
I see the zone which is unbelievable
I move my hand to hold onto it
Like a thin air, it holds my hand
Takes me into the zone
where there are no sorrows, only joy.

It takes me deeper and deeper
Farther away from the void
which I left behind
Never to be seen again.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keep Calm and Stay Positive- Day 5- I am your life

I know its been long past the fifth day and I should have posted it before. But I couldn't manage earlier seriously and so I am a little later than never :)

Day 5, Poem Five:

I am your life

Life isn't about what you have
Life isn't about what you have not
Life is all about living in the moment

Life isn't about only sorrows and grief
Life isn't about only happiness and need
Life is all about coexisting

Such is your life that you seldom find time
Yet you behave like you have given all your time
Time is important, for you and for me
But don't make it look like 
yours is more important than mine.

Like you, I too am coexisting
I may not be the happiest 
I may not be the saddest 
But what I am is your companion
Longing for your belonging

I want you to hold me within
Like you hold you lover
I am your life, 
You exist because I do.

Don't chide me away
Like I am good for nothing
Keep me in your spirits 
Let yourself flow with time
I was, I am, I will be 
with you, for you
Soaking in the joys that you shall share 
In the time that you seldom find.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Rajani Aunty, With Love

There are days when you are low. There are days when you don't know how to keep up with all the good things happening with you. Then there are days when both the high and low come together and in the end, what you get is a fulfilled day. Today is one such day for me.

I had been feeling very low since morning. Then came a lady to meet me and my son. This lady is someone I met for the first time today. Until today, we had exchanged only a few or rather quite a lot chat messages/whatsapp messages and a few phone calls after I was back in Chennai. In fact, she was the first to call me after I returned.  Isn't it strange how people you hardly know, make you feel special in their own little ways? 

This lady, I call her aunty but I would prefer to address her as 'this lady' in my blogpost for now. We accidentally became friends on Facebook. She must be in her sixties but has a heart of Twenty something. She looks old but her enthusiasm, nature, always ready to help spirit doesn't even for a minute make her feel old. She has a charisma which has made me a fan of hers from the day I have known her. I am glad that I befriended her on the social network. 

This lady made it a point to visit me despite being tied with lots of responsibilities. No, she is not just another old lady sitting idle at home, doing nothing but simply whine and nag about things she doesn't like. She is an extremely active woman, who knows her priorities well. She loves music rather is extremely passionate about it. Did I tell you she is a Rafi fan too? She loves to make money, that is, she is into stock broking and stuffs. But that doesn't make her a snobbish rich lady. She is rather a person who would stand up to help the next needy person she comes across somewhere. She is looking after a boy who is now in his tenth and had been her previous cook's son. The boy lost his parents when he was too small to have known what death was. She took him in and has been funding his education till date. The list of her helping nature is way too long to accommodate in this post. Finally, she loves fish and loves to feed others who love fish too. Thus, she brought prawns cooked for me specially during a time when they are on a strict vegetarian diet as part of some ritual that they follow. 

This lady is a Malayali but speaks impeccable Tamil, Excellent English and fluent Hindi. I have been really awestruck by her. Not just because she had been a pillar of strength when I was going through a tough time locating my father while he was stuck in Kashmir floods, But also because in her I see a lot of qualities in common with my mother. In this lady, I have certainly found a mother, in a land which is still alien to me despite being a part of it for two and a half years. She has already said that she has found a third daughter in me, I feel grateful to her. However, I feel we were destined to meet. 

I have never come across such a beautiful, humble and jolly person of her age. She is an example of how elderly should lead their lives. By calling her elderly, I do not want to make her look like those old ladies, she is definitely not an elderly by her talks and her heart. I feel so happy to have met her. 

Are you wondering why did I write an entire blogpost for her? That's because I felt extremely happy when she meesaged me at night saying she was happy to meet me and also was happy to see me enjoy parenthood. She said I was not like the neo parents of today who feel that the world has ended after they had a child. THIS is what made me happy, on a day when the entire morning I had been sulking over the fact that my life is STUCK AND I want to GIVE UP. 


To Rajani Aunty, 

Thank you so much. 


From your ardent fan! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Keep Calm and Stay Positive- Day 4- Smile

I have to confess. It's a tough deal to stay positive for a day, forget an entire month. I have been thinking everyday rather putting myself in the comfort zone and trying to be as positive and as cheery as possible. However, something or the other keeps cropping up and all my penchant for staying positive goes for a toss. I fail to understand why is it so tough to be positive everyday? Why can't we keep aside the negativity and move on? Why is it that if something wrong happens with us, we keep on to it forever and ever? We simply refuse to grow up, it seems.

There's got to be something that drives us towards a positive outlook everyday. What could that be? It could be a warm hug, a gentle kiss, a cute smile, blooming flowers, so on and so forth. That's precisely what we should be looking for to have that zeal to carry on. As I write this post about being positive, my mind is playing a game with my heart. While the latter wants me to be positive, the previous has something else going on. So, for once I know whom should I follow and thus I simply smile at myself and write this post. Meanwhile... my son lies next to me and smiles and laughs and cheers me up like never before.. as if reminding me about my zeal to stay positive. :-)

The third poem is therefore about smile..something that can melt angry hearts..something that can bring you back from the turbulent past to a pretty present..something that you do not really have to search for or make an effort for.. it just comes naturally..

Smile

Make me your friend
For I don't get lost;
I cling to you 
like the bee on a flower.

I am no alien
You know me well
I am merely lost
In the tussle 
Between your mind and heart.

Don't look anywhere beyond
I am hidden right within
Just think of that moment
Which made you feel special
I will be there right where you 
had left me last.

I am no mean
I am no kind either
I am simply your shadow
That comes at your pleasure.

You find me here
You find me there
You will find me everywhere
For I spread happiness 
Like no other being does.

Try thinking about me for a while
You shall not be disappointed
Rather I 'll be there to soothe you
And shun your disappointments forever
Forget yourself, look around
And I shall be there 
Spreading joy all around.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Keep Calm and Stay Positive- Day 3- Oh Lord, She's a Girl

Happy Children's Day to all! I know its a bit too late to wish now. But its better late than never. No? So, in my attempt to stay positive and keep calm, I am going to attempt my third poem in this post. Though the three days have been hardly anywhere close to being positive, I have at least tried being calm. It is as if no one around me likes me being positive or is it that they are jealous of me being positive? Who cares.

Since, it being Children's Day, what better theme to choose for my third poem than the children themselves.

Oh Lord, She's a girl

She gasped for breath,
Clutched the sheets, 
"Push, Push" said the doctor
She was breathing heavily
Her noise was loud and clear;

"Hold on, Hold on" said the doctor
She was waiting for it to let go
As she let it go,
A loud cry freed her 
from the labor pain,

The doctor smiled,
She faked a smile,
The doctor held her little soul 
cupped in his hands
Her smile broadened 
as she saw her little soul.

'It's a girl,' said the doctor
She was overwhelmed
As she held her little soul
She noticed her shining eyes
and forgot the pain   
she bore a few minutes ago,
The pain, she bore
for nine long months,
The pain, she had been bearing 
even before those nine long months.

Reality dawned on her,
'She's a girl,' Oh Lord, Save her,
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, they wouldn't let her live
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, Give me the strength 
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, I'll stand by her
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, She is my child 
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, She is born to live
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, She will be my light
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, She will be like a diamond in the sky
'She's a girl' Oh Lord, She will live 
And, with her, I will live.


This is the third post in the series Keep Calm and Stay Positive. 
Read the other two posts here:
#Day 1
#Day 2

Where there is hope, there is belief

Niharika was late for school today. Unlike other days, she dozed off moments after her alarm went off. Her mother finally woke her up from her dreams and asked her to get ready as soon as possible. It was quarter to 7 and her school bus would be here any minute. She walked up to the dining table where her father was reading the day's newspaper. She stood for a while looking at her father, whose eyes were glued on the front page of a leading daily. Realising that he would never look up, unless she made a move, she coughed a little to distract her father's attention. "Yes, my darling. You aren't ready yet? Isn't your school bus about to arrive?," said Sanjay Rao, Niharika's father. "Daddy, I was thinking if you could drop me to school today? Please?" said Niharika making a puppy face.
"Well, that would require some bribe."
"No Daddy. Taking bribe is an offence. Mam told us."
"Oh yes sweetheart, it is. But a sweet little kiss from daddy's little angel isn't really a bribe after all."
Niharika smiled, ran towards her father and gave him a peck on his cheeks.
"Now you get ready and I shall drop you to school. But you have to make it fast. We shouldn't be reaching late."
"Ok Daddy."
By 7.30, Niharika was down at her apartment's parking lot with her father, to head off to school.
Niharika had everything that a young child like her would want. She studied in one of the most popular and elite schools of Delhi. She had loving and caring parents who themselves were well educated and whose monthly income ranged from 1-2Lakhs. They lived in a three bedroom apartment in Greater Kailash. Money was not a concern for Niharika. Neither was food, books, toys or anything. Her parents gave her all that she desired. Her wish was their command.

*******

Somewhere in the dark corners of Kusumpur Pahari was Fardeen's small pucca house, where he lived with his parents, grandmother and a younger sibling. A student of class vi, Fardeen was extremely intelligent when it came to studies. He scored an A plus grade in his class V final examination. All his teachers were quite impressed with the way he managed to excel in his exams despite being from an economically lower background. Fardeen's mother works at a Kothi in Vasant Vihar, one of the posh areas of Delhi. She earns a monthly income of Rs3000. Meanwhile, the other source of income at his home is his grandmother, who is around 50 year old. His father is neither an alcoholic nor a wife beater; He simply doesn't like to work.
Fardeen has several aspirations. More than him, it is his mother, who wishes to educate both her children and give them a suitable living. "I don't want my children to work in houses or be labourers. I want them to study. I want them to excel in life, achieve their dreams, what I couldn't do," said Afsari, Fardeen's mother. This was the thought in Afsari's mind all through the days that she toiled at her work.

********************


The above two fictional representations are somewhat familiar stories that we would come across everywhere in India. Have you ever thought how could these gaps be bridged? How can Niharika and Fardeen study in the same environment or live in a similar locality? Its too big a cause or thought to think about. But if you look at it from your own perspective, you'll come across many such Niharikas and Fardeens. We talk about abolishing child labour but we will find in our own homes/nearest family relationships, small children being employed to work. Reason being they are fast at their work, easy to handle and can be paid less. A look at the traffic signals, you'll find small children holding infants and begging for alms. You call them and tell them that you'd make them study, they will rush away from you. It's not their fault. It's the fear that has been instilled in them by the people who brought them to beg.

****************

** Imagine **

A country where every child gets the opportunity to read and write.

A country where the primary education system and sarva shiksha abhiyaan stand true to their aims.

A country where when a girl goes to study in a school, she wouldn't be asked to drop out for she is a girl.

A country where children like Niharika and Fardeen can study together in the same school and environment.

A country where a child will not just be taught subjects of understanding but also left to imagine a world of his own where he can put to use what he was taught in class.

A country where more than your academic scores, what would matter is, your understanding and love for the subject that you study.

A country where every child will have free access to books.

A country where the tiniest of the village will have a school and teachers, who would be paid well and motivated well to go that far and teach those children.

A country where the future generation will not detest being a teacher but would want to become one and teach their next generation.

A country where children will be taught the true meaning of secularism, socialism, culture, history, geography, not how they see in books but through their peers' oral rendition/ understanding of their own class/culture.

A country where children will not be differentiated in schools basis their caste and creed, religion and identity.

A country where the mid-day meals would comprise of a healthy meal that would drive more and more of students to come to school and study.

A country where there will be no reservation of seats in schools for economically backward students rather each and every child would be given free access to school, books, food and activities.

*********

This list may go on and on and on. Where there is will, there is hope; Where there is hope, there is belief. I simply hope and believe that whatever I imagine here, will one day come true. Who will set the example? I do not know. But I will surely try my best to set up an example. How? Time will tell.
Till then, you do your bit and I will do mine.

Thank You BlogAdda

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Keep Calm and Stay Positive- Day 2- That bird on the Peepal Tree

It's that time of the year, when the entire India witnesses Autumn but our very own Madras (Chennai) has its share of monsoon. And, It's rained hell lot since yesterday. So much so that the schools were shut (same old story) and there was water everywhere (Nothing new here too).

But amidst that rainy weather, like how rains usually lighten up your mood and brighten up your day, there were several of those winged wonders huddling on the parapet, the trees, the shades (wherever they could find it) and shutting themselves from everything around. I couldn't help but stare at them and how they moved to remove that one drop of water which probably had fallen on them while they flew from one tree to the other looking for a shade from the incessant drizzle. But still they showed no sign of distress, because they believed they were in safe haven. 

Inspired by those winged wonders, who believed, is my second poem: 

That bird on the Peepal Tree

Seven 'o' clock in the morning
When every little thing moved at its own pace,
She sat there, on the Peepal tree
Next to the high rise.

She was drenched
It had rained, rained very heavily
The night before,
And the day before that night,
But She still sat there, on the Peepal tree
Next to the high rise,
And then I observed
Why She sat there.

She sat there
Be it summer, winter, autumn
or monsoon
That Peepal tree was not merely an abode
But a friend on whom she clung to 
in the harshest of weather
A friend, who was below her feet
giving her the support
That she didn't really need.

As the rains became harder and harder
She still sat on that Peepal tree
Clinging to it like a baby clings to her mother
She was determined, or so, it seemed
She believed in the firmness of the Peepal Tree
She chose to be on it rather than fly
to a safer haven
For she knew how the tree had been
a support for her all this while.

She merely sat there, on the Peepal tree
Next to the high rise,
Soon the rains disappeared
and a bright yellow sun parted the dark clouds
She flung her wings into the air
and took a leap away from the tree
For she knew she would come back again
to the Peepal tree, next to the high rise.

Keep Calm and Stay Positive- Day 1- Hope

Are you wondering where is this coming from? Well, well, well, I am inspired. A bit too much. I started reading "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne (okay now don't give that 'I-should-have-read-it-earlier kind of look). I am done with reading it. What have I derived? Positive vibes. So much so that I am inspired to write an entire blog post on it. Rather, I am inspired to 'Stay Positive'. Going by the kind of person I am, I thought of challenging myself a step further. Hence, I am going to definitely follow what I have been inspired to do. Not for a day, but for an entire month. Thirty Days. Period!

What new am I going to do in these thirty days, I haven't yet thought about this. However, when a day of being positive can make me write this post. I wonder what can a month long of positive feel can make me do. I remember a friend of mine doing a month long culinary experiment on her blog during our Durga Puja festival. Now, my month long 'Stay Positive' posts might not have the culinary bit or it may have but it will surely have the positive energy. So, like my friend chose food as a medium, I choose poetry. Yes, I love to write poems. And, its been quite some time since I gave my mind a run for imagination.

Starting today, I shall post over a period of thirty days, 30 poems that will have as its theme- 'stay positive' mantra. Here goes, poem one-

HOPE

Do you know who am I?
I am Hope. 
The hope that you hope for when
in doubt, in fear, in joy, in sorrow.
I am Hope.
The hope that you feel when
you are heckled.
I am Hope.
The hope that you hope for
when 
in anxiety.
I am Hope.
The hope that you hold onto
when all the doors around are closed.
I am Hope.
The hope that you had been looking for
in your surroundings, your bed
your books, your letters
your pen, your phone
your room.
I am Hope.
The hope that you had been 
wanting to meet for long.
I am Hope.
The hope that you had been looking for
everywhere but within.
I am Hope. 
The hope that has clung to you
all this while that you had been
in doubt, in fear, in joy, in sorrow,
in your surroundings,
in your anxiety
in your stress
But you couldn't spot me,
How could you?
For you searched everywhere,
even at the almighty's
But the place
where I had been residing patiently,
all this while,
waiting for you to find me.
I am Hope.
Your friend for now and forever.
I am Hope.
With you for now and forever.
I am Hope.
Living within, YOU.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review: 7 Secrets of the Goddess By Devdutt Pattanaik

Let me confess. I have not read a single book by Devdutt Pattanaik. However, I have heard a lot, and when I say a lot, I literally mean 'a lot'. His books were on my list of "to-read" for quite some time now. Hence, when BlogAdda announced that they had 25 copies of this book to be reviewed, I registered instantly. Knowing well that I am not used to read mythological books, I gave this book a try. I must admit, I don't regret reading it. So, here goes my review of the book.

The book, 7 Secrets of the Goddess, is divided into seven chapters where each chapter talks about seven different goddesses- Gaia, Kali, Gauri, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Vitthai. The book starts off with Gaia, which seems to have been added to make the book more 'inclusive'. Gaia or the earth mother from Greek mythology, is represented as the primal female deity. The chapter then goes on to explain the various other mythologies and tribes across civilizations to show the importance of female deities over the male; the earliest meanings of the words- virgin and whore; and the shift of the social attitude from matriarchal to patriarchal society. This chapter seems a bit of a drab as it focuses on so many minute details in one. 

As the chapters progress to the Indian goddesses, we find ourselves in a familiar territory again and then the book paces up. All familiar stories that we've been hearing for years, are sectioned logically. The terrifying Kali vs Gauri, the homely. The rich and luxurious Lakshmi vs Saraswati, the humble. The pure women gods vs Vitthai. Besides exploring the myths and beliefs associated with these goddesses, the book gives us an insight into the changes that have taken place in the interpretation of the powers and nature of these Goddesses over a period of time. Each chapter explores in its way the playful, sensual, benevolent, angry and generous sides of those women who were created by the gods, those women who married the gods, those women who gave birth to the gods, those women who are the actual gods.  

Links between Hinduism and Buddhism are established often. The book consists of facts from Indian History where the reader has to understand the facts which contributed to the change in people's perception of the Goddess over the years. The underlying theme of the entire book is- Goddesses rule. They are everywhere, as mothers, consorts, sisters. They are the ones who have the male Gods under control, and who keep coming to them for help when in trouble. 


The 260 pages long book delves into many hitherto known and unknown facts thus forcing the reader to stop and absorb what he just learnt. While the book has illustrations on left side of the pages, and the text was huge too; it makes it a little distracting for a reader as he/she will have to either read it together or read the text through at once and venture back to the images later (like what I did). 


Whatever be it, have a read. :-) Happy Reading! :-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

There is light

I bury myself on the comforting sofa
Trying to keep the lights dim
But I realise that it's already dark
As dark as the no moon night
Now I want to keep the room lit
Brighten it up with lamps and lights
But however much I try
This light eludes me
It looks at me from a distance
Laughs an evil laugh
Speaks up just when I try to grab it
"Didn't I tell you before? Keep me with you,
I'll lighten up your world"
I argue with it to come back to me
I promise it to never let go
But it has had its share
I have plunged into the darkness,
it says
Have I really? I think
I hear a cry as I think
A cry loud enough to wake me up
From my dreams
As I open my eyes,
I see only lights
My room is lit bright
Now, I laugh an evil laugh
and say
"There is light at the end of every tunnel"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review- God Is A Gamer By Ravi Subramanian

Ravi Subramanian has managed to do something that till date no other author has been able to do to me- sit straight and finish a book in one go. Well, yes. I take quite some time before I manage to finish a book that too in one go. Moreover, if you have a five month old baby to take care of then finishing a book becomes quite a task. 

Lets get down to the book now. The book begins with a discussion between two corporate honchos. After a year, the US Government is shaken by the Wikileaks exposure and Bitcoins come in to the picture. As you flip the pages, lots happen. An explosion kills a bureaucrat, a close aide of the US President; this leads FBI into a mad chase.


Meanwhile, back in India, things are taking their own course; a prominent banker dies after slipping from the rooftop of a building in the middle of a party. A small gaming company, Indiscape run by Aditya Rao and his friend Sundeep gets on the world map after Varun, Aditya' long lost son, joins them and turns its fortunes around.

Simultaneously, an online portal is flourishing by the day and run by the dark currency, called the Bitcoins is turning people's life upside down.

This and a lot more, God Is A Gamer is a roller coaster ride with many surprises and shocks in equal amounts. The book has several characters, each telling a different story of their own but in the end having a link to each other in one or the other way. What the author gives its readers is a book filled with surprises at the end of every chapter. Once you hold the book, you want to jump to the next chapter in order to know what's going to happen next. 

The book is filled with thrilling elements. chapters are small and easy read. Characters are entwined together toeleave the readers guessing about whose done what. Barring a few editorial or proofing errors, the book overall provides vivid explainations to the world of banking, phishing scams, Bitcoins, gaming world and much more. It does lose the plot a bit when it comes to Bitcoins as it delves more into the world of gaming but the climax of the story comes to the rescue. That's not all. When you feel that the story is all over, comes the real climax. A lot like what you would witness in a movie. 

As I finished the book, what I could picture was actually the episodes as they were unfolding in each chapter. I couldn't help but finish each chapter as soon as possible to know whether I had been guessing right all throughout. 

Overall a must read for one of those lazy afternoons or weekends. Happy Reading!

This review is a part of the biggest http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank"> Book Review Program
for http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!