Smoothly, it floated, sashaying down the slope. It twirled around, nudging its posterior, dancing to the tune of pitter-patter. Oh! It had the moves!
The notes were clear. It’s movement swift. It was a sight to see the graceful moves. Captivated, they looked at it shimming its way through.
As the droplets became heavy with moisture, it bobbed as it went with the flow. It knew the art of adapting to the movement of the stream. There was no stopping it. It was on a mission to captivate its audience. No, it was not everyday that it got a chance to show-off its skills. And it was not ready to risk all the adulation by losing to a menial obstruction.
With determination, it maneuvered a certain puddle that tried to create another obstacle in its path. Nothing! Nothing and no one could prevent it from reaching its goal.
The slush thickened. It wobbled, yet continued its journey. Smeared in mud, it ambled along, its progress still graceful, yet slow. And then…
It did a double take. Stopped. Jumped. Escape, not capitulate- trying to hold its shape.
It tried hard, rearing to be free. Finally, it accepted its demise, grateful that it had got one opportunity to enthrall.
Soaked, and dying, it mustered the remaining strenght to push through, dead set.
Head on! Refusing to accept failure, it strove once more until it succumbed to the damp and drowned.
The paper boat sunk- in shreds of nothingness.
The silence was eerie. The darkness was sinister. After his great feat, he had expected joyous celebrations, pompous gifts and that elusive key, his mentor had promised him. He was sure he would get the award of all awards.
His mind reassured him that the silence and the darkness were temporary. Therefore, he decided to wait…
He had lost count of time. He, however, realised a long period must have elapsed. He was not a person who let fate decide the course of his life. He carved his own future with grit and blood. He took matters in his hands and decided to find his way to the key.
He took a step.
Where were his feet? He had no feet! Yet, he had somehow moved. He was falling into an abyss that had a rough and rugged surface.
He raised his hands to break the fall, to stop!
Where were his hands? He had no hands! Yet, something disrupted his downward fall. He saw his body bounce up! He tried to swim through the air but, he could not feel his hands. Where were his hands?
Like shooting stars, arrows pierced his body. He tired as he may, but he couldn’t figure out the damage the arrows had done to his body. He widened his eye! Without hands, he couldn’t rub them. Then he figured out he had no eyes, although he had eyesight. He could feel the sight… But he couldn’t see.
Before he could deduce what was wrong with him, he was drowned in a coagulating liquid which had a pungent smell that he remembered. What was it? The liquid was suffocating him. He tried to swim out but, the lack of limbs had constricted him. Sadly the overwhelming smell of blood… Was it blood? He had smelled enough blood to recognise it. Strangely, he couldn’t smell. He had lost his sense of smell.
He thought he heard hoofs of angry bulls running towards him. But could he really hear them? Or were they only vibrations? He strained his ears to hear until he realised he had lost his sense of hearing.
Suddenly, like a pendulum, he swayed. He burnt in one end and drowned in another. And then his body started bobbing in the viscose plasma that stifled him. Suddenly it dawned upon him that he could not feel anymore.
Bereft of his five senses, he tried to remain confident about his faith and beliefs. He tried to peer through the troubles.
What was wrong with him? He was frantic. He thought he was losing his mind until he realised he had lost his power to perceive and think!
But he was a warrior, he wouldn’t give up. Slowly he tried to reach this destination. The place where that divine key hung. His master had told him that he would possess the key when he performed that blessed feat.
He wouldn’t give up. He tried again until the momentum made him queasy. It made him retch, but, nothing came out. At that moment, he realised he had lost his body, yet, he felt it all!
The realisation struck him like lightning. He had lost his senses and his body. He probably was dead. It was only his soul that was facing all that torture.
He remembered what his master had said,
‘The blood of your non-believers will help him procure the key to heaven. That key would lead you to a penthouse of affluence and glory.’
He had killed a mass of innocent people to get that key. Where were the divine ushers? They hadn’t arrived yet! Didn’t his master tell him that the divine ushers would lead him to the angels and the land of opulence?
Robbed of a body and senses, what was that penthouse worth? Had he been fooled?
Although he was confused and scared, he wanted his penthouse! He didn’t want to be a soul without a body. How would he enjoy those divine perks, otherwise?
There was a reason he had agreed to be a suicide bomber. He was promised the key to heaven by his master. Without a second thought, he had agreed to bomb them. But where was the key?
He was suctioned into a ball of fire. He was burning but not dying. Had he misunderstood his master? Was his fight against the infidels worth it?
Were they really infidels?
The jarring sound of the alarm woke him up. He was thankful he was still alive and blessed that he was not dead yet. He was honoured that life had given him a second chance.
Right then the alarm beeped a second reminder! He looked at his kit. The bomb would explode in the next hour. His master had given him the task to bomb a contingent on the move. His master had promised him that this act would lead him to the key that would direct him the penthouse called heaven.
He was in a dilemma. He didn’t know if he should forsake it all or give humanity another chance. But then the bomb beeped another urgent plea.
Trusting his master and ignoring his inner voice, in greed of that divine key, he wore the bomb and walked to his target – Death!
Janmashtami is the day Hindus celebrate the birth of Krishna the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There are 10 avatars of Vishnu namely Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, (Balarama) or Buddha, and Kalki (yet to be born).
Buddha and his philosophies are followed across the world. His intellect and his way of treating life is an inspiration in itself.
Yet, Vishnu’s avatar, Krishna stands out. Why?
His adoptive mother called Him Kanha out of love. His father and his entire kingdom adored Him. This little child wore a top-knot that had a downward left slide. He wore a peacock feather in His bun. His mother, Yashoda, adorned His crown with pearls. He wore a yellow ‘dhoti’ and a pearl and gold necklace.
He is the ‘Laddoo’ Gopal the world has loved for centuries!
There is something about the child that He universally loved. Krishna is the epitome of the perfect child. Everyone wants to have a naughty, intelligent, intuitive and humane child, like Krishna. I cannot fail to mention his childhood friend Radha. Kanha’s friend Radha is synonymous with the perfect girl-child.
In India, every year, parents rejoice in the joy of parenthood by celebrating Janamashtami. Every year, a young man or woman prays for a boon – the birth of that perfect man, men dream of being and women dream of having as their partner.
Let me not get into the nuances of religion. I only want to emphasise how Krishna is beyond religion. Kanha and Radha Rani are about loving kids and revelling in their glory. It is a celebration of youth and the happiness of being alive and thriving.
That’s the beauty of Hinduism and Krishna. The philosophy and this person is beyond all boundaries that define living.
I love Kanha, aka Laddoo Gopal, aka Nadu, aka Krishna. And I love Radha Rani the epitome of a girl-child. Krishna and Radha define an inexplicable pure devotion. They define the pleasure of parenthood. They define how it is important to celebrate every child who is born irrespective of their gender. Even pets have a Krishna and Radha in them. (Kanha loved all animals and plants. He spoke to them every day and it is believed they talked back to Him)
Krishna defines the love of an adoptive mother. His love supersedes species-specific regard. Krishna is about affection as it should be. Pristine, pure and non-judgemental.
Krishna and Janmashtami are all about true love, a love that transcends all boundaries and distinctions.
The memory of the poet, orator, politician, statesman, India’s favourite former Prime Minister will live on…
As a child, I was interested in politics. I sat with my family to hear politicians speak in the Lok Sabha. And I always waited to hear him speak.
His words made my blood rush with a patriotic fervour. His poems were my personal favourite. As a poet, I wondered if I could ever write like him. Or if my words would affect the mass with the fervent desire to uplift the world. His words did that. He made people think. His words always ensured positive and progressive thoughts in one and all. That was the power of his words.
His smile to me was the balm of the early morning sun. It brightened me. His winsome smile motivated me. It made me want to contribute in the building a stronger society that was bound by values and traditions. Yet, it drove me to think differently, to break from the dead norms. It made me learn to be modern while respecting my roots.
It was when I saw him in those sunglasses that I wondered if I had got it all wrong. That simple man had an evergreen suave. It made me confident that he was a modern man with a traditional heart.
I remember Pokhran. I remember the Kargil war. Most importantly, I remember his poise when the going got tough. I remember his peaceful countenance when India achieved its national goals.
Today, it is tough to trust politicians. He on the other hand looked and sounded trustworthy. He was a man who had friends, advisors and probably detractors. However, this man had no adversaries. No enemies! How did he manage that? But he did! That was because he was extraordinary. His strong character stood out at times of crisis and at times of joy.
Born on Christmas, call him 93 or just a man in his early 20s. The truth is, he was such a young person at heart. The sparkle in his eyes, the serenity of his smile and his salt n pepper look. I liked it all.
The only politician I ever admired and look up to is gone. He has left a void that no one can fill.
There is plenty of reason why I hold him in such a high regard. The primary reason is that it easy to get carried away when one is powerful. It is easy to get swayed when the stakes are high. Only the strongest person can forgo all the trappings of the world to toil for the nation and its’ people.
This man did. He was as his name suggested. He was strong, uncompromising, generous and unmoved by temptations. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, my favourite statesman, poet and orator will always live in my memory. He will consistently inspire me. He will forever push me to be a better poet.
The poem of Indian politics has become quiet. But we will spread his lyrics throughout the world by building a strong nation.
RIP Mr Vajpayee. You will be missed by the nation.
The battered woman swayed down the street elegantly.
With her hair flying around, she strategically hid the wounds. She was a vision in black, the modern day muse of Byron’s ‘She walks in beauty’.
With her hair flying around, she strategically hid the wounds. She was a vision in black, the modern day muse of Byron’s ‘She walks in beauty’.
She turned heads with her poise. But one look at her tear-drenched face would give her beholders sleepless nights. She was a dream for many. But in her home, she was the object that was whipped, kicked, abused and banged against the wall…
She was oblivious to the concerned passersby who looked and re-looked at her tortured beauty. The people took a measure of her condition but she was suffering too much to notice. Her painful strides were purposeful. With each step, she evaluated her life.
What was her fate? Was her courage failing? Or was she just that drifting wind that people closed their windows on? Who was she? Why was she broken and bruised? Why was the vision so helpless, a putty in the hands of that Satan?
Who would rescue her, someone asked. She overheard the question. She wiped the ceaseless tears and said to herself, ‘ I will save her. Because I love her. And I won’t be assaulted and disparaged anymore. I’ll stand up for myself. But I won’t lose my compassion. I’m not weak because I am constantly tortured. I’m strong. I’ve learned from my past. And I’m equipped for the future.’
Her statement acted like a magical prayer. She grew wings of pastel pristine shades. The wings flapped. With each flap of her wings, all her bruises vanished. Her pinions swayed and buzzed with courage. With each move, she found a new purpose. She soon felt the sunshine soothe her torn soul. She flew and with that, she freed herself of further doom.
“No woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not alone.” – Salma Hayek
Did Mahatma Gandhi promote violence? Did the man who promoted non-violence in the modern era, actually promote an act of violence?
These thoughts have been nagging me since I read an article on Facebook on Nathuram Godse.
The World Health Organization defines violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation…” (Refer Wikipedia)
Mahatma Gandhi promoted non-violence by fasting. He also said that if a person slaps you, present him with your other cheek. He urged people to do Satyagraha by sitting out in the sun and protest against the British regime. Honesty, is that what non-violence means? Isn’t harming oneself a form of violence?
Mahatma Gandhi promoted masochism as a way of non-violence. But violence is not always external. It can also be internal. As a person who is born in a different era, and who has never met Mahatma Gandhi, it would be wrong on my part to blame Gandhi. He might not have realised what repercussions his conceptions would have on the nation as a whole. His method was effective enough to get India freedom. But at what cost?
There is a lot that India lost. But mostly, it came up with a generation that likes to shout slogans and waste time fighting over nothing. Agitation is a great way to go about making a change. But how about constructive agitation like they follow in Japan? What is better, to stop production in a shoe factory completely and sit outside the factory and shout slogans? Or is it more productive to make only the left shoe while agitating? In the first case, the workers waste time and sweat to get their demands fulfilled. In the second example, the workers never stop production. Therefore, when the shoe factory resumes functioning, the factory that has no shoes suffers huger loss than the factory that only produced the left foot of shoes.
It is possible, Gandhi never wanted the agitators to stop being productive. But that’s what his non-violent struggle has taught Indians. His kind of non-violence is a violence to the self (like fasting or going through the physical ordeal for a particular cause). It is a violence to the nation (where workers waste time and agitate) and violence to the whole democratic system. It’s time we review our concept of non-violence in India.
What appalled me the most, however, was what Gandhi’s assassination on 30 January 1948 did to the nation. The man who assassinated Gandhi was Nathuram Godse. His ideas were different from Gandhi’s. He shot Gandhi and surrendered, did not fight arrest. He did not fight ridicule. Godse accepted what came to him. He accepted it as his fate. Here are the excerpts on his final statement in 1948–
.I do not desire any mercy to be shown to me… I did fire shots at Gandhiji in open daylight. I did not make any attempt to run away; in fact, I never entertained any idea of running away. I did not try to shoot myself… for, it was my ardent desire to give vent to my thoughts in an open Court. My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled against it on all sides. I have no doubt, honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof some day in future.”
Nathuram Godse didn’t question the court’s decision. He did make an appeal against his death sentence. That’s all he did. As a citizen of free India, he exercised his right. I am sure he knew his death sentence wouldn’t be reversed. But he wanted to exercise his rights. Every citizen has that right.
It is 2018 now. Even after 70 years of Gandhi’s death, Nathuram Godse’s autobiography is banned. He is still disregarded by the people. People only remember him as a murderer. People have forgotten what a strong person he was. We have refused to learn from his honesty. Is Nathuram Godse given any importance in India? He only gets derision.
Sadly, the man who stood for non-violence could not preach non-violence. If he had done so, Nathuram Godse would not have been killed by law. He would have got a life sentence along with counselling.
The symbol of non-violence was the most violent man. Because he could not preach the goodness, compassion and forgiveness he so boasted of. Gandhi’s assassination led to riots. After his death, the one who assassinated him was hung to death. His books were banned. He was treated as a villain. Even after decades of the incident’s passing, we are as violent to Nathuram Godse as we were in 1948. Does any person deserve such aggression? I don’t think so.
Would Mahatma Gandhi agree with me?
Mental health issues are as common as flu nowadays. Sadly, there is a stigma attached to it that the common flu doesn’t hold. People tend to talk about an affliction like flu or allergies but avoid talking about what plagues their minds.
It’s important to understand what problems related to mental health sound like. Any unsavoury situation that affects individuals in a way that it leads them to be disturbed, disconnected or so sad that it affects their normal living and normal behaviour is a mental health issue. The obstacle can be a recurring tiff with a co-worker to any situation that makes the individual so uncomfortable that his or her normal living is disturbed.
Because we live in a society, we end up interacting with people. Not everyone behaves or reacts the way we expect them to. There is a line that bifurcates an expected behaviour pattern to an unforeseen one. The onus of our own reactions to a response lies solely upon us.
Job insecurity, failed relationships, a relationship not working as per what the individual looks forward to, a tragedy or an unexpected situation can lead to stress, difficulty in adjustment and more.
Troubled people take the counsel of our friends, family, google search or YouTube videos to find a way out. Self-help is a great way to go about. It shows that they are capable of seeking answers. It also highlights the individual’s desire to overcome stressful situations.
But the best way to go on about it is to seek professional help. Mental health experts are trained to assist individuals to dissect tough circumstances objectively. Mental health professionals instead of emotions, let wisdom govern an individual’s choice. The mental health experts help their clients distinguish between an ideal situation that they long for and the reality of the situation.
With expert guidance, an individual can overcome difficult circumstances efficiently and effectively.
Everyone in today’s world deals with stress. But everyone doesn’t need to deal with it the hard way. Taking the assistance of a mental health expert makes the job much easier.
There is no shame in finding a solution to one’s problem. It’s only a reminder that being happy is the main objective of living. Life is not an obligation but a gift. Don’t feel embarrassed. The only people who feel responsible for his or her happiness and personal well-being seeks professional help.
And every person in this world deserves to give themselves another chance at living happily.
Don’t cower down under pressure. Don’t give up or feel depressed. Mental health experts are here to guide you to live a fuller, happy and peaceful life. Write your own success story with some expert guidance. Consult a mental health expert now.
The boy by the window looked out. He wondered what was special about the day? It was same as yesterday. It was identical to any other day.
He was prohibited to look out of the window, anymore. He thought of how and why such restrictions were imposed on him.
In his heart, he knew the truth. His parents didn’t know any better. They were like any other parent. They were protective. He knew his friends had similar parents and similar fates. He questioned their judgment. In his heart, he knew…
They couldn’t do any better.
He was not sure if the sun had risen. His city was blind to the day’s rise. It was oblivious to the rumba of the dusk and the waltz of the night. The boy tried to seek nature. In his heart, he knew…
There was nothing worthy to explore in the vast sky because he could not see the sky anymore.
He breathed in the atmosphere. It suffocated him. Tears ran unchecked. Was it disappointment raining down his cheeks or was it resignation?
He surreptitiously peeked out of the window while his parents were distracted. He had found such an opportunity every day, for over a year. Disappointingly, his world remained the same. He hadn’t seen the sun or the moon for long. It had been forever since he had smiled at a twinkling star.
He missed his friends. Did they miss him too?
It was his birthday. Last year, he was excited he was celebrating his birthday in a unique way. There was no school! There was no peer pressure to have the grandest birthday celebration. Sadly, this birthday promised him nothing special. It was like any other day in the past year and more. Would they have candles on his birthday cake? Would he get a Black Forest cake? He already knew the answer to these questions. Nothing could shed away the darkness. A candle would only be a farce.
A year had passed. Many more days would follow this day gone by. Would he look out of the window expecting the universe to glisten its blessings upon him? His young mind was crammed with questions. He knew the answer to one critical question, though.
For now, his heart only knew how to succumb to the unpromising circumstances.
He reminisced those games at the school playground. The boy by the window missed his friends. He thought of his teachers. There was a time, he had hated school and home-works. That was over a year ago. His life had changed drastically since then.
Smog had engulfed his world, halting his existence. He called that a ‘Smogulfed’ world. He lived in the unfortunate city that was dazed and ruined by the thick cloud of pollution.
Did Australia still have a sunrise? Did Canada still have a sunset? The news said it did. Why couldn’t he hear the birds chirp anymore? Why did he not see trees? Would the lamp posts ever stop burning? Why was he always surrounded by artificial lights? Why did he and his friends live in a blind world when they had eyes to see?
The child by the window was always gloomy. Unfortunately, he was born in a polluted city. His city had ignored the warnings of nature for years! He was a sad citizen of a cursed city that had capitulated to the reign of pollution and smog.
He said a little prayer. If there was a thing like birthday blessings, the boy at the window would get the gift of living a normal life again. Didn’t he as a child deserve as much? Or was being born in the unfortunate city his curse? Would he never see the smog disperse and the sun shine through? In his heart, he knew…
He craved to see the clear blue sky. Was that a distant dream?
He perceived a ray of light piercing through the dense city fog. Was that an answer to his prayers? If he was hallucinating, disappointment was eventual. If what the boy saw was true, he would have clean air to breathe! The boy put his face out of the window to breathe in- deep.
He was fearful to breathe out. Right at that moment, his mind whirled, his heart pumped, his lungs couldn’t hold it anymore. He breathed out with great force. What came out was a sooty smoke of his expectations. He surmised change wasn’t near.
The boy at the window was merely a child. He couldn’t fail at being hopeful. He prayed his next birthday would be shiny and bright, with birds chirping, ants toiling, butterflies flying, trees shedding leaves of joy and his lung enjoying the breath of fresh unpolluted air.
With this ardent hope, he shut the window. He knew they could shut him in the house, not his window of hope.
There is a voice within that natters to us. Occasionally it’s a persistent prattle that jars our nerves. At other times, it is the voice that guides us through troubled times.
What is this inner voice? Is it actually the divine talking to us? Or is it the celestial that is within us? Does this voice exist among the terrorists, murderers, and other anti-social elements?
Sigmund Freud called it the Super Ego chatting with us. Some call it the God within. Others say it’s a 'gut feeling'. Sadly, there are plenty in the world today who are hard of hearing their inner voice.
The voice of reason essentially means that every person has some goodness and astuteness in them. Even before committing an act of crime for a split second, the heart stops, the mind recoils, the blood recedes from even those who are deaf to the inner voice. Just like we get habituated to narcotics, alcohol and other substance of dependence, people tend to under-hear the tune within as a habit. Those who are deaf need to overhaul their spiritual self.
Why? Because being hearing-impaired by choice to the power of self-reasoning is preposterous!
Every learned man, all spiritual or religious text requests its readers to look deep within where all the answers rest- the answer to illness, grief, triumph, and harmony. Let's try to take note of that little voice within. I am sure it is whispering the happiest and purest phrases into our spirits, hearts, and intellect.