Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Miles We Travel, The Smiles We Unravel

She brings a smile on my face  
In a million hundred ways
The memory of her words, her grace
Stay with me through my life’s toughest phase.
She is the sparkle of the skies,
The movement of winds, the twinkle in my eyes
With her, time just flies
And life seems like paradise.    

They say, with the birth of a child, your life assumes a different meaning. It is a milestone we cross, and we’re never the same again! Well, the day my sister was born, I had determined to give her all the happiness that I can fetch for her.
Travelling is one of the best ways of getting the family together to enjoy. And when you are in the company of children, it only doubles the enjoyment! Isn't it amazing how children make the best out of any opportunity- be it a tough situation at school, bad marks, first crush or a trip! They are the first ones to get all excited, making plans of how they’d sit in the back seat, what songs they’d sing and what toys they can hide in their luggage and bring along!
We are a family of travel enthusiasts though we are not able to travel as much as we’d like to! However, when we do travel, we make the best of it. Like while travelling within the country, we make sure we stop at dhabas and interesting spots and we try the local cuisines, click pictures with the locales and basically, we eat a lot!

And when travelling internationally, we’ve trekked to places, climbed into trains going to unknown destinations, lodged into wrong hotels…Ah! The craziness sounds much more decent than it has been!

With my sister by my side, we end up doing a lot of quirky stuff and in that list, tops “Posing for photographs”! Give us a mall, an actor’s wax model at Tussaud’s, a stadium, an ice-cream cone or if left to just ourselves, we can create the right blend of spices for us and for those around us! Trust me!

Being her elder sister, I have experienced some great moments of my life with her. To see her smiling, to be her support, to be the one she trusts, makes me feel good about myself. It is the way in which she looks at things so differently, the way she trusts us completely to take her wherever we intend to, I don’t think we are able to trust like that once we grow up!

She notices the littlest of things- the fountains, the changing colors of the sky, rainbows, how there are lakes with “green water” and then lakes with “blue water”. Her bespectacled lenses open up a world of their own and I love being a part of it sometimes; I feel like a child again. Trust me, it is a privilege. In a child’s world, everything seems animated. You are not part of the rush, the camaraderie and you just do what makes you and people around you happy!
Children are such innocent angels who through their words and acts can amaze you! So when an opportunity comes to show them what you’ve got, you must do nothing less than amaze them! They see the world we show to them, make sure you show them a bright picture!

We had a fun trip to Kasol recently where we rode ponies for the first time and she was scared and enthralled all at the same time! We saw open pastures and she marveled at the picturesque view! We’re planning for a trip to Prague next. I cannot wait to see her inquisitive eyes drool at the magnificent architecture and historic culture of that place! But I think I am most excited to be a part of the journey she will take me through, through her eyes!

I wish to thank Indiblogger and Club Mahindra for this wonderful prompt that brought back quite a many memories to my mind! Enjoyed writing this post thoroughly. If you enjoyed reading, do let me know with a comment! Thank you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Life and Death-Two Sides of the Same Coin? #PeshawarAttack

I do not think there is anyone left in this world whose heart hasn’t been affected by the Peshawar Attack that shook our conscience, the way we undermined the kind of destruction we are capable of doing and the extent to which our own kind can go to hurt our own people! In those four-five hours, we have cried, mourned, and have run around with those hundreds of parents as they searched for their children!

Terrorism is an understatement for the trauma those eight alleged terrorists caused. I remember the live interview of a man who went in the front lawn of the school to search for his nephews and carried a dead body out saying he’d seen more bodies lying around-some shot in the head right in between and some had bullets pierced into their eyes!

This isn’t terrorism, this is Hell! By which religion, I wish to ask, does this act of sin be justified? I remorse; for the dead as well as for those who’ve suffered injuries. For more than the physical experience, I think the emotional and mental trauma to see your classmates being killed, lying in pools of blood, tattered clothes , fire, smoke.. Colourful futures being shredded to wrath..

It just makes me wonder… The things we say about how good things happen to good people, the promises we tell our children about, do they mean anything at all? If yes, how do we justify the inhumane termination of so many innocent children? Where did God hide then? Are these jihadists right that we needed to feel this pain?

These are the moments when you let go of the trivialities and introspect- How much does death affect us? And this loss of life is inevitable..Someday we die..But does the way we die, make the whole difference?
Also, what is religion? What is the scope of existence of a God who supposedly punishes the wrong and rewards the right?

How do you define a day of yours? A yesterday you spent procrastinating about that test you have the next day or that cake you need to bake or how cold it is going to be.

You wait for a tomorrow. You dream and hope. You get busy in the mundane and leave out the special for a fine day. I'll wear that dress on my next date, will treat myself to a doughnut on Xmas, will go for a manicure when that friend's wedding approaches...

 And then one fine day, you're gone. Startled you realise, the days just went by. The words you wanted to say, the hugs you wanted to give, the pain you wanted deliverance from, the eternal wait for justice or a punishment for someone who'd wronged you, all neatly folded in the casket that once held your heart firmly shut.

You want to breathe but you don't even Own your body anymore. You feel devoid of an identity or matter. Limitless and numb, you only wander.

All of a sudden, you know you won't be returning home. And you know it'll hurt, but they'll survive. You'll become a memory, a milestone they had to eventually move on from. They need to go back to the ordinairé, the mundane too. You'll see the pages turn, exactly one by one. You'll taste the saline and the bitter.

Death is the culprit, or life does that to you? Or is it we ourselves who are to be blamed? Should we blame each other or sit down and pray? Pray to a God for a miracle, because we cannot take a step back and think what we’ve done that was not right?
Is today not good enough to think about the coin we’ve tossed high up and not wait for God to catch it and throw it back to us? It’ll fall upon us one day and whether for good bad or ugly, the consequences of our own actions shall see the end of us!

For now, we can only take this one moment and pray for the souls that could have represented the future- a much more peaceful, educated, responsible Pakistan. It is indeed an immense loss, Mr. Nawaz Sharif. I hope you'll realise that the tiger you'd chosen to pet in your house, has eaten up your own family. It is time to kill that man-eater, NOW. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Road Rules: Safety Begins With Me!

I do not know how to drive.

Yes, I know it is pretty weird in today’s times to not know driving, that too in a place like Delhi! However, you must understand my reasons for the same. I have always been terrified of rash driving. After having two autos, three rickshaws and two cars over my two feet, I think you’d sympathise with me.

Sometimes, I really regret my decision to not have learned how to drive. However, I have been reading quite a few driving manuals and thanks to my friends who drive sanely.. I have learned much about driving appropriately.
I simply do not understand the rush that people get by driving recklessly. It isn’t an adventure; it costs precious lives.. irrespective if it is yours or mine. Often we find social organisations and school children presenting skits, silent marches in the streets of Delhi expressing the need to drive safely and follow road safety instructions as have been prescribed by the Traffic Police.
Simple things like putting the seat belt on and making sure that the car lights are working properly, giving signals at every turn and slowing down before bumpers, slowing down before a zebra crossing or simply following traffic signals and choosing to stop when the signal is orange than to feel the rush of crossing over- these are inevitable of not just road safety but also simple civic sense.

Now that the nation seems to be awakening itself on slogans of cleanliness such as swacchta abhiyan and its voting rights, I hope that times are changing and we are realising the value of our lives.
And yes, keeping my faith in the goodness of us humans and believing that every step must start with mine, I promise to learn safe driving from a proper driving school and earn my driving license.
Safety is my responsibility- should be the slogan of every person walking in the street or driving a car or a bike not just in the city but in the entire nation!

Like Gandhiji said, Change must begin with Me!

Me asking an auto for a ride. Pic courtesy: Nadia Ahmad

There is a need for caution regarding the road safety rules that have been best expressed by the NSDF (Nissan Safety Driving Forum). It is an ideal platform to learn discuss and ask about our doubts, fears and apprehensions and essential tips regarding driving and safety of not just our own-self but also be accountable about those walking and driving around us. This sense of collective responsibility is the only way forward for us. Thank you Nissan for providing me with this opportunity to reclaim my fears and to be a  responsible person especially in terms of driving safe!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Kids make Happy Homes!

When two people get married, a family is born.
When a child is born, a family is complete.

The child is that one last brick in the wall that constitutes home.. family.. relations. A mother is born, so is  a father. Her tears, sorrows, rashes, sleepless nights, hunger pangs, fevers, injections, first Barbie, calling teddy bears with different names—her experiences become ours!
She is that one bout of happiness that bursts into our mundane existence and we then realise, what we were missing. When my little sister (well, she isn’t that little anymore, but she will always be my little one for me!) was born, God forbid..I hated her!
I had seen my mother go through so much pain for her..the swollen feet, her intense mood swings and nausea, the insulin injections my mother had to inject into her stomach directly for three times every day for months! But then there was that one moment when she was carefully put into my arms, as my grandmother feared I’d drop her for my vengeance!

Well, I do not blame her. I almost felt like doing it. And just then, my sister feebly settled herself into my hands and yawned like she was in the most comfortable and warm bed ever. Perhaps it was that moment that I fell in love with my sister.

When a child entrusts his/her well-being in your hands, it can boost your confidence and happiness to a new zing-level! From that moment on, I did all of what I could have for her. I did try my best to do so. And it has been almost 13 years of doing just that and a little more..

Last week, I got to know that a friend of mine died of a brain haemorrhage. He was in the hospital for quite some time now. However, it left a crappy feeling within me..That guy was my childhood friend. What I felt was not grief entirely, it was the realisation that he was of my age..just 23!

Then I got to know how he was into drugs and alcohol.

I have no qualms against alcohol consumption though I desist drugs of any kind. Occasional drinks are fine, but when a child enters college, he tends to overdo such habits what his peers may call “cool” or the “in” thing. This is where parents, friends-his support system comes to the picture. I’ll always wonder whether Sanjay would have been alive today if I’d kept in touch with him and perhaps stopped him from the over-indulgence. We’ll never know if Aunty’s ignorance regarding his drinking habits had cost them this loss! Or Uncle's indulgence by giving him money, car, etc dug the grave deeper..!

The “what if’s” and the “maybe’s”  always haunt us. Regardless, we must with hope and concern be there for our family and even though the young ones need to flock out of home towards new horizons, it is imperative for the family to be the air beneath their wings.

I came back home with a bottle of olive oil, Dabur Chyawanprash and her favorite pack of kitkat; and saw  my sister gurgling with laughter watching some cartoon programme. She saw me, and ran to me and gave me a big hug. And then, as if to calm me down, she petted me as if I were a kid. Understanding the turmoil that I had been seething with. And in that moment, I found my calm.

The kids are much more aware of things than we were. We've got to move step in step with them.

It is important to be friends with the youth than to question their faith. It is a process towards the natural evolution of humankind.

This post has been written for the Indiblogger write-up on :

"A healthy child makes a happy home"