Life as we know it!

25 Oct


We are all living lives that are a lie. We live to impress others. We work hard to sustain a life that will make others tilt their heads in slight admiration and a smile that says ” I am happy for you” but an heart that says “Damn you”.

As if the little world we had built that surrounds us was not enough to keep up with, that social media decided one day to proudly increase our horizon to now compete with anyone across the globe. We all have been victims to this sort of competition. We stick with unhappy jobs, humiliation, lost love, long distance relationships – all so that we can meet the standards of this world. The few that dare to tread their way are then labelled losers, dreamers or impractical people.

How many times have we traded our dreams for what our parents wanted us to be? How many times have we laid down our happiness only to impress those around us? How many times have we suffered humiliation as a small price to pay for the acceptance of others?

I know I have. Every time I have been bold enough to take a huge step, mankind gives me a giant kick, to bring me to a realization that maybe just maybe I am being foolish to throw all this away. I get that disappointed look on my parents face who very conveniently miss seeing the sadness of my heart. I get the sympathy of my neighbors who think I am unstable and mentally demented. Because clearly the world has defined how I need to live if I have a certain kind of degree, work experience and family background. There is this imaginary software that exists in the cosmos far far away, where we put in the combination of things like: Age, Gender, Education, Status, Country, Experience, IQ etc and based on those combinations it will determine your perfect life. If you deviate from that, the world will send out an alert message much like the GPS in your car to remind you that you are heading in the wrong direction. “RECALCULATING”. And once again you brought right back to where you were.

Of course there are exceptions to the case. Those who dare to leave and care little about what people have to say. And those who actually love the life that has been calculated for them. In that case, this will not interest them much. But the rest of us in between have to quickly move to the either side or then live life striving to get closer to the end we choose. I have dared many times, to tread on the path I dream of, but then I am afraid of hurting people I love, that I fall back into the same pattern and routine. I then slow start pushing myself to the end where I am happy with what has been calculated for me. But I know I am not.

I know many of us who are afraid to take the first step, wondering if not being accepted by this world is something we can accept to live with. I know that its hard to not care of what others think and do that which will truly give you the satisfaction of living. I know its hard but it cannot be harder than the lie you already living. All those who are happy with conforming to what the world expects you to be – I am happy for you. All those who are searching the path to your true happiness – to them I say – Do what your heart tells you, not what the world and society tells you to.

Equality in Humanity..

11 Oct

I recently visited Santvana, a Children’s Home run by Dr. Lalita Edwards. I had been there one before and had resolved to go there more often, but yet it took me 3 years or more before I visited her again. This is what life does to you, makes you insensitive to the world around and worse self absorbed. Hence, maybe it had become even more necessary for me to go there that day.I was at the brink of losing my faith in humanity. Life experiences make it very difficult to trust people any more. One moment you may feel you know the person in and out only to be left disappointed to know that you trusted the wrong person all along. Thankfully, one of such moments lead me to the doorsteps of Santvana.

I heard a loud, “Yes Nani” as I walked through those doors. I tried quietly to settle myself on the chair closest to the door, but too late the kids were distracted by my entrance. Their eyes followed Dr. Edwards, as she smiled kindly and asked me to be seated. She continued with her conversation with the children, both in a loving tone and the stern voice to ensure they do not do what they did again. She taught them the value of life, to be sober in their behaviour and above all to respect girls and to be kind to one another. These were things must have been too much for a 4 year old or even a 8 year old to comprehend, but it was necessary to be told none the less. Before I proceed let me tell you a little about these children. They were between the ages of 4 and 18.They had clean and neat clothes put on along with an occasional radiant smile and rapt attention as the situation demanded. Most of these children baring two to three are HIV infected, but they did not fancy any pity or attention, but quite the contrary. They were confident, smart, happy and content individuals. So if you are feeling sorry for them, I would ask you humbly not to. I just sat there amazed as I spoke to them and how articulate they were in their thoughts and speech. This is what these homes give them- just someone who believes in them, someone who does not treat them differently or make them feel separated. Just like no parent would make their child suffering from any disability feel helpless or alone. They need money no doubt to sustain, but what they need more is respect and acceptance in the society. Our culture (which we are so proud of)  does not allow them to have an equal standing in the society. Our society (that we say is progressing) tries to drag them down both emotionally and physically such that their disability is so nakedly mocked.Our mindset (that we claim is westernized) cripples them and forces them to be separated from others. Sadly, even if they do survive the disease the world will crush them. Hence, they need people like us to reinforce that they are accepted, that they are our peers. I see them no differently than how I see my 4 your old nephew. I know I am guilty of allowing life to keep me so busy that I am blinded to the pain and suffering of those around me. It taught me to be less inward and more outward in my thinking and doing. I am not writing this to make you feel guilty for not doing the same, or to appeal to your conscience to start keeping aside money to give. No! My only appeal to you all would be to accept them for who they are and not for where they come from. I could give them nothing in return for what they gave me – to open my eyes to see clearly that I had nothing to complain about, to instead thank God for all that He has blessed me with and to give more and spend less on things I have no need for. Just imagine if all of us could only sacrifice the one thing that we really wanted but do not need and give it to the one who has the need, even of the basic necessities, we would have more smiling faces.

I have had the privilege to know many such children who have had little but by the grace of God have much today. They have bought their own homes, cars, best of the bikes and have good jobs and yet those who know where they come from treat them differently. Conveniently forgetting that today they stand equal to them in the society with respect to making the money or living good lives. The work that the people who raise them up in such homes put in, where they are told that they are no different, is all in vain when someone from the other side of the society, the self proclaimed ‘fortunate’ ones who never allow them to forget their place in the society, makes them feel otherwise. I challenge each one of you to shake hands and accept people for who they are and not from where they come and what their past is. I know even as you are reading this, you are going in your head,” I would never do a thing like that.” But we are so caught up with pleasing the society and are so aware of the difference in the classes and standard of living that even unknowingly we shun them and say something that would immediately make them stand out of the crowd.

These children have a better chance of living a healthy life than a dignified life here. My sincere prayer is that what they learn from this home and the life that Nani so lovingly provides to them will strengthen them to face the world outside. Until then I hope we as people realize more not to distinguish anyone based on what they wear or what they look like or which class of the society they belong to, but only look at the person they are.


12 May

You know who we take for granted the most in our lives? Our moms.
Their happiness when we smile. Their joy when we achieve. Their sorrow when we suffer. Their tears when we cry.
They cook, they clean. But expect nothing in return. They stay awake till you get home, they let you be when you in a bad mood. But they say nothing at all, silently praying you will find your peace through it all.
Her true belief that you are the best amongst all the millions out there. Her trust that you are the most precious jewel she will ever possess. Her worrisome brow when you don’t reply to her messages or come home late. Her happy heart when you achieve success.
Oh ma where you get the strength to be, all this and more for me. Oh ma how do you love me so, without letting me know. Oh ma my comfort, resting place. I thank God for blessing me with you in His grace.
Ma can there be me without you? Ma can one heart beat as two? Ma you created a world around me, one which was beautiful and good for me. You gave me all you had. The last morsel of food so I could be full. The extra blanket at night so I could be warm. Being there cheering me on for every sports day at school. Telling me that I could be anything I want. Singing the songs of life togather. Knowing we can face anything in life as long as we have one another.
Thank you ma for love unconditional. Thank you for showing me what Ma really stands for…

India – Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people

14 Aug

I was lucky to have been born in an era where we were already liberated, had freedom served in a silver plate and the privilege to vote for a government who will safeguard the sacrifices so many people have made to make our country independent.

We all have heard of the freedom fighters, their heroic stories and their martyrdom. We have seen movies depict reality and bring alive the suffering and ordeal they had been through. And if any of you have not seen that yet, please switch on your televisions to DD or to a more patriotic channel that will faithfully pay homage to some of the freedom fighters through a well depicted movie or series of movies. I must admit each year around this time I get caught up in the emotion of patriotism and filled with zeal and pride for my country. This year is no different. Just this time I decided to write it all down.

Freedom, Liberty, Autonomy, Autarky are some words we associate and use to describe Independence. Well 67 years is a long time for us to recall what price we had to pay to achieve it and rather easily take for granted what we have today. But has the struggle ended? Have we really stopped fighting for what is ours? Has all been done to be truly independent? Have we paid the price in full?

One must wonder why am I asking questions that have an obvious answer? Why am I on a day when we should be singing patriotic songs and rejoicing, being so cynical? My answer lies in the horror each Indian has been through since Independence to realize that each day some of us have paid a huge price to be free – Free from the fear of death, free from the fear of being raped, free from the fear of being mutilated and violated, free from the fear of terrorism itself.

Be it reliving the 1993 Bombay Blasts or the 2008 Mumbai Attacks. Be it paying condolences to the 1991 Punjab train killings or the 2010 Pune bomb blast. Be it trying to grasp the intensity of the 100,000 women who were claimed to have been kidnapped and raped during the partition of India or the gang rape of a 23 year old girl on a public bus on 16 December 2012. The various political scams and death of all the ones who tried to question the system. The fights each one of us fight daily against bureaucracy, sexism and casteism. How are we free when we are chained to the adversities of this nation? How are we free when we are bombed with terror each day? How are we free when we have no choice but to lead a life cribbing and fighting against the system that is supposed to be built for our convenience in the first place? My heart breaks when I hear people say, I can’t wait to go to America/Australia or anywhere other than where they are. I hate to see so many young graduates packing their bags to pursue an education elsewhere, where they will be valued. Why do we continue to live in bondage even after Independence?

Most or all countries grapple with this question each year they celebrate their Independence Day! Most or all individuals hold in their hearts to make a change someday. My country and it’s people are no different. We love our nation no matter where we are. We are proud to be Indians no matter what happens. This is evident when even after the worse terror attacks an Indian wakes up, puts on a clean shirt, boards the train or bus and gets going with his/her life. This is evident when you see an Indian aspire to go into the army. This is evident when a martyr comes home wrapped in the Indian flag. This is evident when you see our journalist posing our leaders with thought provoking questions, demanding an answer. This is evident when Indians are running successful IT companies. This is evident when an Indian makes his way in the worlds top 10 richest people list. This is evident when an Indian wins the title of Miss Universe. This is evident when each Indian whelms up every time the National Anthem is played.

So to conclude: India is my country. I am proud to be an Indian. Through poverty and richness, through terrors and success, through pain and through hope, through good and through bad – I will stand tall, I will stand firm – safeguarding the pride of my country as I sing aloud tomorrow – Jana Gana Mana…. (Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people)





While the whole country gets ready to celebrate the 67th  Independence Day


Who is she???

16 May

I saw the doctor beaming with pride, nurses rushing towards me with blankets to ensure I am warm, lights were dim and things looked very hazy. Then I felt a warm tender hand caress me gently. It felt familiar, like I had known this touch all through my existence. I could not open my eyes wilfully, I had little control over my senses and functions. Yet with much struggle I sneaked a peak – There I saw a lady, the most radiant and wonderful lady staring down at me. “She must be my guardian angel God was talking about” is what I told myself and immediately fell asleep. 

A month later….

I laid helplessly on the bed. I barely could move and had no co-ordination of hand and eye or did not know exactly why my feet moved but did not get me even an inch closer to what I desired to get hold off. Once again the lady comes in view. I idiotically look up to her and look at the bright pink object that lay a few inches away from me on the bed. She immediately picks it up and brings it to me. Knowing my dilemma and also at the same time sensing what I needed. How did she know? It was affirmed that she was my guardian angel God spoke of.


Several years later…

The lady relentlessly worked with me. She fed me, dressed me, took care of me and brought me to health. Since that day in the hospital I knew nothing. I did not know how to talk or speak, or respond or walk or eat or drink. She taught me everything. Patiently each time I lost my balance she picked me up and did it all over again. She taught me to speak one word at a time. She taught me values, one moral a time. She taught me to eat, one morsel a time, She taught me to walk, one step at a time. She had to make ends, for her loved ones she had to leave me for sometime to go out and make money. I remember all those days when I waited eagerly on the balcony for her to return from work. I would shout with joy with just her glimpse, screaming her name as she drew closer to home. But my voice was drowned in the noise from the road.People around me told me she can’t hear and just when I was going to give up and be grim, she looked up and caught my eye. She heard what I never said, she heard my happiness and joy. She was indeed my guardian angel God spoke of.

Few more years later…

The lady never gave up on me. Her efforts and love made me whole. Even though we had both grown up in years, we were closer than ever. She could feel my pain even when I was covering it with a smile. She would take the blame even when she knew I was wrong but was truly sorry about that. She would hold my hand when words evaded me. She stayed awake all night worrying about me when I was away, she would give everything she owned only to see me happy and content. I look at her as she sits besides me, she is still that radiant and wonderful lady I met in the hospital that night. She was the guardian angel God spoke of.


Years have gone by since the day I first met her, but her love for me remains unchanged. She has grown old, but her care for me is forever young. She has nothing to give now, but she still gives me the world. She has lived all her life for me, but yet lives on to make me happy. Who is she? Why does she do so much for me? Why has she lived all her life to only make me happy, to see that I have a full life? After all these years I realised she is more than the guardian angel God spoke of…  She is a ‘MOTHER’….


A word that defined her. A word that describes her life. A word that moulded me into who I am. A word that held in her hand the life of many. A word that made this world a better place for me to live in. A word that gave up everything so that I can have everything I desire. A word that smiled even through her darkest moments so that I would never know pain. A word that every child finds comfort in distress..

Thank you God for ‘Mother’. You have indeed blessed me. I pray that you bless her with much happiness and goodness all the days of her life. I pray I can be all that she was to me. And someday be a ‘Mother’ just like her.



Movies that blow your mind- Literally

19 Apr

I am amazed at how a bad book gets made into a feel good movie. Chetan Bhagat’s books should be stocked up in children’s section. They are nothing but local fairytales and with very basic English skills. I would not let a 10 year old child read it- as it would be an insult to his/her intellect. My post is not about bashing the writer or the movie as both lack imagination and sensibility. Come on people challenge your readers and viewers. I mean in India we only opt to watch movies to be able to sit in air-conditioning for three hours instead of the scorching sun outside or to see the drama that happens each day on tv or even better at home being potrayed by good looking characters (provided it’s a big banner production) on screen. If that’s not enough to create love in a delusional fashion at some exotic location with some really meaningless songs shoved in so that you can go out and buy popcorn or take a bathroom break. I remember a few movies we friends were fighting who would go out and get something to eat as sitting on that seat and watching the movie made me a smaller person with each passing scene.
I wonder who to blame, the ones making it or the ones making it popular. Are we creatures of habit or just the ever optimist? Take me for example: before watching every Bollywood movie I do my research. If I am going to spend three hours of my life and worse still my only day off of work in that theatre I need to know what I am getting into. So I see trailers, watch reviews, interviews etc. And I always hope this one won’t disappoint me.
I am not saying the whole cinema is bad. We make some really good and intelligent movies and if you will notice, people are now able to distinguish between an entertainer and an actual movie. And kudos to that. They make a Dabang or Singham or Chennai Express a hit for its larger than life potrayal of our idiosyncrasies. At the same time they recognize movies like Kartik Calling Kartik, Kahaani, Luck by chance, and many others for its simplicity and intelligent plot and storyline.
Yes you right we need both. But we need to maintain equal balance of both too. I mean right now every one in ten movies makes me happy about spending a fraction of my earnings worth it. Or tingles my senses and makes me go like wow.
Movie makers and now since we adapt most stories from bestsellers too I humbly request the writers too, to please raise the bar and try us. We will surprise you just how much we love our senses being picked and also don’t just makes movie for the masses but also for the classes. A sincere request from the ever optimistic bollywood movie goer.

Living wisely….

5 Apr

As we grow older we have farther to look back. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to make mistakes when we are young we have too little to look behind and too far ahead to look. But that kind of changes as we grow older. You are in the middle of of what was and what will be. The distance between what is and what was has widened too much. Heartbreaks, broken friendships, lost opportunities, bad decisions made and those stupid mistakes that in hindsight definitely diagnoses you as a retard. How many of us when we take a stock of our lives can truly say that we have made good choices, that we have made less mistakes because of those choices?

They say live without regrets, but can we really? They say let the bygones be bygones, but can we really? They say we have this life just once live it as you please, but can we really? When we stand at the point of what is: we see that we have little to show for our past and very little to accomplish for our future or we maybe exactly where we always wanted to be. If you fall in the former category please stop reading. This may not interest you. But if you are the victim of the later, read on.

We always look back. We don’t necessarily want to, we may even try to bury it deep down inside and hope it will all go away or even better pretend that it never happened. Almost making ourselves believe that all that happened in the past happened in the alternate or parallel universe. But then one dreaded day it all comes back to you. Choices are hard to make. Not all of us are good at choosing wisely. But we only know that once we reach the outcome of that choice, so then where is the saving grace. It is in living wisely. There is no alternative. We can be as young and foolish as much as we want, as we are living the life we are so ordained to do by this world that accepts noting less. We laugh at those who live a life lesser than that. We aim to make choices that are naturally wrong at so many levels – morally, ethically and spiritually. But we do it anyway. Atleast we are happy in the moment – who has seen tomorrow right? How many of us make choices assuming that we should live in the moment, seize the day, carpe diem? How many of us take the quote by Gandhi “Live as if you were to die tomorrow” to the extreme? As we stand at what is: I realized that the choices we make bring us to the point where we are today not our circumstances alone. Circumstances and our choices are intertwined with each other in an obscure way. I am not saying the point you are standing at is necessarily bad, after all it built you up, it taught you to pick yourself up. You learned quite a few life lessons along the way, so I won’t say it was all bad. But if we had chosen wisely and asked ourself what if I do do this? How would that affect me years from today? Maybe we would have made a different choice. I am not discouraging you from living spontaneously or at the spur of the moment. I am not asking you to stop believing in destiny and what will happen will happen or stop humming to yourself que sera sera. All I am asking you is to evaluate your every thought, every action, every choice and every decision on whether that will edify you and the others around you? Will this build you up or break you down?

Ephesians 5: 15 says this: So be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly. Even more interestingly Proverbs 13:20 says this: He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Do you want to be someone who is known to be a fool, who would come to you for counsel or advice? Do you want to be counted among the unwise, who would like to hang around with you? Let your choices determine the person you are. Let your decisions be sound and wise not just as they affect you personally but also for those who are attached to you. Maybe today from where you standing in the ‘what is’ zone and looking back at all that you have done, makes you seem foolish. But that very thought right there, yes the one where you want to make a change just made you wise. 

So don’t think its too late, you are only half way there. You can choose to be wise, to live wisely and choose it today….