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Step Out of Your Mercedes

The kids that you see by the roadside at every traffic light in India are not just beggars. They are the future of this country. Their population rises and their dreams get trampled by the lack of resources such as food, shelter and education.

They are not incompetent and neither do they have low IQs. In fact, I could vouch for the fact that some of them are more intelligent that the Mercedes owners who overlook their presence. This is an issue I have written about time and again, and yet I feel more in tune with the realities of their world now.

For the past couple of weeks, my friend, Sachit, and I have been frequenting an NGO that works towards education and empowerment of all. This NGO runs a small school in a rather busy village of Devli. For the Delhiites, it may seem unreal that such a rundown area actually exists in our national capital.

This is where the underprivileged children come to gain some knowledge and complement what they are learning in the Government Schools of India. With their backpacks, they bring their dreams and their aspirations. They struggle to learn because in their world, teachers barely come to school, and if they do come at all, they have almost 200 students to teach at one time. They are nameless in their classrooms… just faces that the teacher looks at while he/she scribbles on the board. They wonder what the teacher is scribbling, because for the most part, they have not yet mastered the art of reading.

It is when I meet these children in groups of 10 that I realize what a bright future India could have. In three hours of play with us, these fifth graders have managed to learn more about phonetics and spellings than they have in their lifetime at school.

So you wonder why they are still lagging behind? It’s because all of us choose to focus on our busy lives. We wake up in the morning and rush to get to work, and when we are done with our daily struggles, we choose to go out for a nice dinner and some drinks. Our 24 hours end with us dreaming on our comfortable beds till the alarm breaks our sleep.

If, however, we all pledged to take just one hour out of our week and made it to these schools before work, these children would be at par with our cousins who attend expensive private schools. Four hours a month can change the lives of these children because all they need is a playmate who can teach them what their teachers have failed to teach them.

So if you like your motherland and if you wish to see a truly prosperous India, step out of your Mercedes next time and let a child know you are there.

 

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Your Fundamentals

We write blogs to convey emotions, ideas, and even events. Sometimes, though, words just don’t suffice. Yes, they help communicate some of what you are feeling, but they aren’t adequate because they just can’t be. 

If you really want to realize the depth of what I’m going to say – crank up  ‘The Winter’ by Balmorhea and then read on. 

Feeling lost is as human as an emotion can get. We live our lives pretending we control the world and yet, there are moments when everything falls into a frenzy and ‘control’ just becomes a word you can look up in the dictionary. This year has been amazing – it has been filled with sorrows, fears and a feeling of impending doom which were fought with or overcome by faith and love. There were moments where life seemed dark and I thought I had reached a dead-end, at other times it felt like I could touch the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Through all this, I have questioned truth. What do I know as the absolute truth? The answer was hard to come to terms with because I have no proof of anything. The only thing I know is that I want to believe and have faith in things.. small and big. Whether it means that I believe you are actually standing in front of me and I’m not hallucinating or whether it means that I want to thank some higher power for all the fortunes that have come my way. I don’t know what exists anymore, just that life is about feeling. We make what we can of it and go on with those fundamentals that we have convinced ourselves are true. 

Here’s the greatest part of it all – these “fundamentals” are chosen by us. They may be influenced by our upbringing or our experiences, but they are OURS. And that means, that you can mould them to accommodate what you want. They are yours to live with and yours to live by. 

Find what you want and adopt your fundamental. Just know that these moments are never coming back and positivity negates negativity. I want to look back and smile, perhaps even laugh. I want that shine in not just my eyes, but yours. So live a life that will make you happy when you look back on it in your final moments. Choose your own fundamentals.

The Problem With Magic

I was flipping through channels this evening, trying to find something intellectually soothing to watch. Star World India came up and I decided to give it a few minutes. This show they have just starting airing, Pan Am, was playing – some gig about stewardesses, captains and their lifestyle. Although I didn’t stick around long enough to complete the episode, there was a dialogue that got my attention. So here it is: “The problem with magic is that there is no surprise for the magician. He knows how it ends.” Oh, I love this quote!

Suddenly my life has been taken over my colors. It’s a pleasant surprise after a rather bleak beginning to 2012 and all the white-wally-ness of it, life has suddenly been taken over by laughter, smiles, love and lots and lots of colors.

Holi this year brought the realization of just how beautiful life could be. After perhaps 10 years, I spent Holi with my older cousins. Yes, I was the kid once again (refer to previous blog) and perhaps suffered because I was also the target for lots of color and water guns lol. Buckets upon buckets of color and water (and colored water) were thrown on me, and while everyone prayed that I didn’t fall sick again, they also made sure that this was a really memorable Holi for me.

As if that wasn’t enough to make me happy, Dad and I went on a 3 hour long drive and I got to see his dorm from when he was in college! I’ve heard so many stories revolving around this place that seeing it in person just put a big smile on my face.

I just know two things – I’m happy and I’m lucky. Honestly, that is ALL that matters because all this love can beat anything that comes my way.

My life is complete.

(Oh and a good friend of mine, practically like a sis to me, shared something with me right before Holi that made me even happier!)

You know those days when memories from your childhood just take over and you go back to being a kid? Today is like that for me. The festival of Holi is day after tomorrow and preparations for the same are in full force. What is even better is that we have some family visiting!

I get to spend Holi splashing colors on my cousins that I haven’t really had a chance to spend quality time with in years. The aroma of all the Indian mithai from the kitchen, playing with Bagheera and Moti, spending time with my aunt, my grandfather and my cousins – it’s absolutely perfect.

It is as if I am reliving school days – studying for GMAT, working (in place of assignments), and being surrounded by love, love and more love!

Thank you from down here to whoever’s watching over all of us. You are truly remarkable and definitely know how to lift our spirits!

PS: Silly 90s music helps with this entire scene 😛

This is my first Christmas/ holiday season away from family. Strangely, this time I’m the one who is home. Everyone else is away – vacationing up in the Himalayas. Yep, I’m grumpy about it because apparently I don’t know what to do with myself when my family isn’t around… and hence, I’m blogging about it.

No worries, I’m planning to make up for this lack of vacationing in my life by traveling to some unusual place next year. I don’t want to go to some place touristy – maybe something rustic would be the right choice. Yes, I know I have a huge travel list, but this time I’ll waver from it. No five-start hotels, no special treatment because of the family, nothing – just pure traveling with a backpack. That’s precisely what I’m longing for… some wilderness, a cottage or something, and the sounds of nature. It’s something I imagine in my head, so I’m guessing it’s something worth doing.

Merry Christmas everyone! Live it up and take that step beyond the usual – life’s too short.

Some emotions are so hard to share, and thoughts so hard to voice. It’s like speaking about them will make them a harsh reality… a reality shared that can’t be taken back. I want to throw a fit right now, be demanding, because I know this is probably the last chance I have for it. Yet, if I say anything right now, questions will come pouring down and feelings will get hurt. It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, or bring them more pain than life already has to offer all of us…

Sometimes you just want to look at someone you love and tell them the truth. You wish that they would listen to you without asking questions. It isn’t that you don’t want to answer them, but that answering these questions would hurt. I wish I was a kid still, cuz then this wouldn’t be so hard.

Time For A Vacation

As if a blog vacation wasn’t enough, I think I’m about to take another little vacation in life. Sometimes it becomes imperative to step back and reflect on the bigger questions plaguing the mind.

I have been festooning my life with people and events, when all it really requires is thoughts and ideas. A dreamy and peripatetic life is what I wish for. It’s when I feel settled that the restlessness sets in and my feet just want to wander and lose the ties that have helped me settle…

I’ve learnt over time that there are very few ties that have the strength to keep you grounded. The rest are simply superficial and unnecessary. They need to be slashed, abandoned and left to become the material memories are made of. That is their sole purpose – to be a reminder of times that have gone by… a messenger of sorts, flooding your mind with images and memories that have molded you into who you are.

Yes, it’s time for another one of those vacations… 🙂

 

 

Realigning to New Goals

It has been so long since I’ve actually written a blog post that it took me a few seconds to get accustomed to WordPress’s new format. Yes, I know it’s sad.. but sometimes things that bring peace to you and keep you on track end up taking the backseat.

I’m devastated right now, although you might argue that such a reaction isn’t warranted. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I will have to switch gears and goals to reach where I want to go. It’s tough realigning when you are running full-speed towards something specific.

I guess it’s time to learn one more art in life 🙂

Small Things Make Me Happy

I’m a kid at heart. That statement in itself sums up my character. I’ve been observing my temperament for a while now and attempting to make each moment of my life worth living (and reliving). What I’ve learnt from this is that it’s the small things in life that make me happy.

Here are the moments recently that have made me happy, and some of these may seem silly to you but that’s just how it is:

1.  I had a busy day at work as usual and since I’m working out of client-site these days, my drive home is no less than 1.25hours every day. It’s on my way back that I was driving the car at about 70km/hr on a road that I frequent. The music was playing but I have no memory of the song. Sun-down was a few minutes away and suddenly the street lights came on. It wasn’t dark and neither was it light; there weren’t many cars on the road and in the emptiness the street lights reflected lightly in the cloudy weather.  The scene reminded me of Harry Potter and how this scene would fall perfectly in a fantasy book. And this made me unimaginable happy! My heart seemed to jump with joy at this minor occurrence which seemed like my miracle of the day 🙂

2. Again, same old long drive to work. I was stuck in heavy traffic and as the road curved slanting downwards, a light green plant that I don’t know the name of swayed on my right side. It was a certain height above the car as I was on a bridge of sorts, and it’s gentle swaying in the breeze set the mood for my day 🙂

3. About 2-3 days ago, I was driving to this place for some personal work, and on the way this little girl of about 4, dressed in a dusty, faded purple dress was attempting to cross the street. I slowed down almost to a crawling speed – you could have walked faster than my car was going if you tried. The girl looked up. She had this animated look on her face – a look of pride at crossing the street alone, and also a look of caution. Her expression said it all, while she ran in short steps to the divider and looked back at me with pride in her eyes. I was reminded of the first time I ever crossed the street and realized that that feeling will never come back. Her look, her tiny steps and hops, and the pride and caution on her face float in front of my eyes even now, and I find myself smiling.