Sunday, November 29, 2015

I survived, but a dream died....#OrangeDay

It is said that books take you to places you cannot go. These places are not just the ones that are physically remote. These are places hidden deep within our consciousness - places where lurk darker thoughts, sinister emotions, hidden pains, feelings of anguish, secret desires, ambitions crushed, goals to be achieved, undisclosed loves, words unsaid but often thought of consciously as well as unconsciously. Authors, sometimes omniscient like God, tell everything about the characters, and at other times, they leave it to the reader to draw conclusions. Narratives, by way of perspective, become powerful means of interrogation and understanding. Who we are, what we think, whom do we identify with, where are we in the timeline of history, what limitations do we possess which we are unaware of, and many more questions like these are answered through the books we read.

I came across some really good books recently which I would recommend everyone to read. They are inspirational, and tell us how one can achieve a goal despite financial or other hindrances. These books tell us how small we are, enveloped in petty thoughts and confining mind-sets. They tell us that greatness is achieved by serving humanity. They tell us that nothing is greater than serving others. 

Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen
Things a Little Bird told Me by Biz Stone (Twitter co-founder)

The first two books tell us how a common person, without a lot of money, but with a deep desire can surmount all hurdles to keep a promise. Both the books also deal with the issue of education, and its relevance, its undeniable importance for all. They also give a peek in other cultures, especially, Greg Mortensen's book. The tile of Greg's book itself is window to the culture of the people living in Baltistan. A thing as simple as a cup of tea is all it takes to bridge the gap of hearts, or as they say, to break ice. Biz Stone's book is the confessions of a self-made successful businessman. Biz talks about creativity, about dreams, about ego, about risk-taking, about failure, about success, about the desire and steadiness of trying, and not quitting. 

I now want to dwell a little on a book that has kept me awake recently. A book that has made me cry, that has made me wince in pain as the characters in the book became part of me or, should I say, I became one with them.

This book is Khaled Hossieni's A Thousand Splendid Suns

Image Source here

This book is a splendid historical chronicle of Afghanistan from the Soviet occupation through to the time the Taliban take over. History affects all. It is told keeping in mind the closeted life of Mariam and Laila, the two protagonists of the novel. But it is so much more than that. It is the story of Mariam who dotes on a father who fails her. It is the story of Laila who has never seen her brothers as they have been out in the war-zone, and yet, strangely, her life is overshadowed by their absence. It is the story of Mamy who pines for her sons and stubbornly refuses to leave the war-torn country as she wants to see her sons' dream come true - the expulsion of communists from their territory. It is the story of a woman whose womb is barren and who endures the wrath of her husband who just wants a son. This woman is Mariam and her husband is Rasheed. It is the story of the one-legged Tariq who cherishes the friendship with Laila, and will, despite his handicap, fight for her honor without hesitation. It is the story of the two friends who part, love that is forsaken, friendship that is formed in the most unexpected corner of life. It is also the story of a little child Aziza who is scared at the sound of bomb-shelling and seeks assurance from her mother by simply hugging her. And the mother in return keeps her safe from all save the brutal father. 

Hosseini has crafted a flawless narrative that brutally shakes you to the core. The violence out there in the streets is told only as a matter of fact. It is what the protagonists cannot witness. Their life indoors, is more violent and affects them in a way the larger historical events do not. It is the abuse they face in their own home, at the hands of their own family, that forms the master narrative. History stands right outside the door. 

I wish to quote a few lines that have amazed me and left me speechless. 

"A man's heart is a wretched, wretched thing Mariam. It isn't like a mother's womb. It won't bleed, it won't stretch to make room for you."

"....each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into the clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below."

"Careful where you step," Babi said. His voice made a loud echo. "The ground is treacherous."

"....there was a scrambling, a bare-handed frenzy of digging, of pulling from the debris, what remained of a sister, a brother, a grandchild."

"But when it came to fathers, Mariam had no assurances to give."

"Aziza shrieked at the thumping of mortars. To distract her, Mariam arranged grains of rice on the floor, in the shape of a house or a rooster or a star, and let Aziza scatter them..."

"And the past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion."

Hosseini writes in the Postscript to the novel that he wanted to explore "the inner lives of these two fictional women and look for the very ordinary humanity beneath their veils." And he has done that brilliantly. It is this very denial of 'ordinary humanity' from the male fraternity, from the power-holders (be they in the house or outside), that provokes a response of restlessness as we read the book. 

The UN this year has launched Orange the World campaign to increase awareness against the violence women meet in their day-to-day lives.

A few lines by me here... 

Born unwanted, raised
raised sitting at the periphery....
Married, sometimes sold off....
I survived but a dream died....

Sometimes looted, sometimes uprooted

prodded, traded,
squashed, crushed
trampled upon
I survived but a dream died....

Sometimes fertile, sometimes barren

Scoffed, rebuked
Used, misused, abused
I survived but a dream died......

Branded, disgraced,

veiled, exposed,
strangulated by masculine stares
choked up, touched, maligned,
innocent yet tarnished....
I survived but a dream died.....

Image Source here

Written for Indiblogger IndiSpire Edition 93.
Also liinking to Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Survival

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Few Words on Words I Like.....


What would we do without words? What, I wonder! Yes, eyes speak too. But we all are so used to them. Can we go without speaking for even a single day? Perhaps not. Words help articulate our inner depths of consciousness. Words help us unburden our pains. Words help us express our joins. They give rein to our love, as well as our hatred. They are tools of communication, devices of influence. They can be like a balm that soothes, or like a sword that pierces. As I thought reflecting on the words that I just love, I realized that it was so difficult to choose just three out of the many that I loved. I loved the sound of certain words, and the symbolism of others. I liked a word because it evoked a strong memory and I liked a word because it had an association that made my heart flutter with excitement.

I thought and thought and thought and finally, here are my thoughts....!


Those who know me won't be surprised. Tell me there is a book fair, a book sale, a library around the corner, and the greedy bookworm inside me wiggles and wriggles to break free and rush to where the books are. The affair with books started at a young age, when my mom gave me one of her Enid Blyton books. Then, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie happened. What followed was a long association with books - poetry as well as prose, fiction as well as non-fiction. There also came a time when I could not pick a book anymore. Reader's block, I guess. I would fret as to why I could read no more. I would buy books, borrow books from the library and then, they would just stay there on the shelf, untouched. But gradually, as if it was a miracle, things began to change and I could read again. I have gone a bit slow but books have been with me. Come to my house and see books in every room -  many now are for children. My kids are growing up and they need to uncover the treasure too. 

There are many of my friends who fail to understand my craze for book. I always have felt that a good book can change your life. You don't need to read all that is out there in the world. But one good bok, and your life's perspective widens, you become more sensitive and wise. There is a world of emotions that goes untapped because we live a superficial life. It is book that questions, that prods, that asks us to dig deeper. For those who like books, and those who don't, I have something to say -

कभी अकेले हो तो कोई किताब उठा के देखना 
उस किताब के पन्नो को दोस्त बना के देखना 
उन पन्नो में लिखे शब्दों को परख के देखना 
उन  शब्दों में छिपी भावनाओं को जी के देखना 
उन भावनाओं में निहित कुछ सबक भी होंगे 
जो जीवन के अभिप्राय का आइना होंगे 
उस आईने में खुद को देखना 
तुम्हारी कहानी वहां से झलक जाएगी 
तुम भी किसी कहानी का पात्र ही तो हो 
किसने रची कौन जाने 
तुम बस अपनी भूमिका के प्रति सच्चे रहना 
उस सच्चाई को कोई तो पढ़ ही लेगा 
तुम्हारी कहानी को कोई हमसफ़र भी मिलेगा 
सच्चे साथी होंगे तो कहानी भी और रोचक बनेगी 
किताब के पन्नों में और जीवन भरेगी 
सच मानो मेरी बात 
कभी अकेले हो तो कोई किताब उठा के देखना। … 

Image Source here


A word that sounds beautiful to the ear, and that evokes so many images - lullaby or लोरी in Hindi. A baby cuddled in the mother's arms, all attentive to the sweet melodies she sings, as she weaves a dream about her child's future, or a baby in her father's secure arms, listening to his bass voice, as he struggles to find the right words of the lullaby while trying to put his little bundle of joy to sleep - aren't these images beautiful. A lullaby evokes images of sleepless nights, anxious but proud parents, a little seed sprouting to life, a chick sitting cozy in its nest, comfortable yet restless since it pines for more. It speaks of a future taking shape, some dreams being imagined. It tells about a beginning - a new life of not just a child but of the couple who have become parents now. It is symbolic of new responsibilities, of new ambitions, of new plans. It speaks of nurture, of care, of an unbreakable bond. A lullaby.....

Hear these wonderful lullabies...Sleep, baby Sleep and Hush Little Baby....

Even though I am a mother now, I still like to hear my mom singing. She sings for her grandchildren and it soothes me too!


Doesn't it sound good to you? Have you ever felt the season's first snowflake touch your cheeks? Have you ever seen it descend slowly towards you? Have you noticed the magical serenity with which it floats? Isn't it truly, purely blissful? 

Yes, it melts me too. It is cold but the moment it touches me, the moments it dissipates, it undoes me. It dispels every hard thought. It scatters a softness with its delicate fragility. Its transience speaks of a life lived fully. It is an exquisite example of nature's symmetry. They say that each snowflake is unique and the possibility of finding the same symmetrical pattern in a snowflake is rare. I don't know about that. All I know is that it is a special gift of cold winter months. It is what makes winters beautiful. Its white purity speaks of something unblemished, un-scarred. It is like a poem, falling word by word from the sky, touching us here and there, melting the frigidity away as it vanishes. 

There is something worth sharing here with all of you. It is from Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. It is a coincidence that I came across these lines just when I was thinking about writing this post. 

"She remembered Nana saying that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clods, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below."

With those lines, I stop. Over to you, my friends...!

Image Source here

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Poems heal, Poems Probe....Poems teach us to be Humans again...!

Indian Bloggers

The first sound that a baby hears, apart from her mom's words, is a lullaby. It soothes her when she is distressed. It calms her mind. It is the music in it that she can relate to. The words are yet to form some meaning because she doesn't understand language yet. As she grows, she begins to understand the words too and the connection with words begins. Kids at an early age develop an affinity toward poems. Poems attract them because they are lyrical and they are easy to remember. Poems tell stories and generate knowledge in an easy manner for them. Thus, early learning teachers stress on alliterative and rhyming poetry. Poetry that is repetitive, that plays on words in essentially every child's favorite. I would like to share a very fascinating poem here which I read recently. It comes from an anthology of poems (The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry) my son's teacher had suggested for him to read. It is simple, and playful. It creates an imagery for the child's mind and by its repetitive use of words makes it a hit among them. Children relate to it on a different level too. Like, when they tasted a food for the first time and found its taste funny. They also find it hilarious because it is like a tongue twister. They say the words wrong and then they say it right and the fun continues...

Rabbit by Ann Hobermann

A rabbit Bit 
A little bit
An itty-bitty Little bit of beet 
Then bit 
By bit 
He bit 
Because he liked the taste of it
But when he bit
a wee bit more
It was more bitter than before
"This beet is bitter",
Rabbit cried
"I feel a bit unwell inside!"
But when he bit 
another bite, that bit of beet
Seemed quite all right.
When all is said and done
Better bitter beet
Than none.

As we grow up, poetry speaks to us in more soulful ways. It reflects our deep thoughts and touches an inner chord of heightened sensitivity. It speaks in a way that feels blissful. It questions our fallacies by the honesty with which it creates meaning. Good poetry is like good music. It makes us cry, it melts our biases, it cleanses us of our deceptions, it purges us of our pain. It delves way deeper than any other medium and because of its unique style, interrogates in a way nothing else can.

Poetry has various forms too. It can be lyrical, like the songs or lullabies we hear. It can be an epic narrative, like Homers' Illiad and Odyssey. It can be a short poem like a haiku or tanka. It can be a fourteen line sonnet. It can be an ode, a ballad or a free verse. There are umpteen number of ways a poem is written. A good poem, irrespective of its length, moves its readers. See for example, this short piece by Ryokan, a poet from ancient Japan:

The thief failed to take it - 
The moon shining
At the window. 

Image Source here

Inspirational poems are like lighthouses that help us see when everything else has become murky and miserable. Most of us are familiar with Harivansh Rai Bachchan's है अँधेरी रात पर दीवा जलाना कब मना है . I will quote a few lines from that poem here

क्या हवाएँ थीं कि उजड़ा प्यार का वह आशियाना
कुछ न आया काम तेरा शोर करना, गुल मचाना

नाश की उन शक्तियों के साथ चलता ज़ोर किसका

किंतु ऐ निर्माण के प्रतिनिधि, तुझे होगा बताना
जो बसे हैं वे उजड़ते हैं प्रकृति के जड़ नियम से
पर किसी उजड़े हुए को फिर बसाना कब मना है
है अँधेरी रात पर दीवा जलाना कब मना है 

(Source here)

The sordid human condition that prevails in a decadent, spiritually lost world, is well depicted by one of my favorite poets T. S. Eliot. The Hollow Men is a strong, sharp commentary on the utter desolation of  humanity. The hollow men are barren of emotions, they are devoid of the very essence of humanity.

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;......

or the lines

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars

In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

(Source here)

In contrast to this is a very sweet poem written by W. B. Yeats. It speaks beautifully of love. The lines are so simple, the feelings coming straight from the heart, they make each and every word of the poem sublime. Read the poem to see if you can feel what I felt after reading it. 

The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 

Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
(Source here)

The great thing about poetry is precisely this - it touches on a myriad of subjects with equal efficiency. Each theme that a poet picks becomes intensely probing. Poems shake away our deafness, our blindness, our indifference. They are weapons of change, they are balms of calmness, they appease, they unsettle. They are poems.

Written for Indiblogger IndiSpire #91

Friday, November 13, 2015

Darkness Scares me Not, It Stares at my Greatness - We all are great if we choose to....

There is darkness all around. I try to burn a candle but the stormy winds blow it out. I try to burn another candle but it blows out too. I fear not. I quit not. I do not give up. There is something in me that says 'Have courage.." There is something in me that helps me 'see' through the hazy, foggy, obscure surroundings. The darker it gets, the steadier becomes my tread, the stronger becomes my 'sight'. No, I am not the one to surrender. I go on, and on and on. I fight. I fight the negativity inside me. I fight the forbidding gloominess around me. I fight. I fight without weapons. And then, as if it was a miracle, as if it was a dream, everything lights up. Luminescence wraps me in a gentle embrace. I feel elated, enlightened, victorious. I have defeated the dark forces within and without. I have won.

It is often the despair and hopelessness that lurks inside us that shatters us, defeats us, becomes the cause of our undoing. We resign before our own fears. We withdraw because our thoughts become our enemies.

But people who are resilient, people who rise above the commonplace, are people made different by their inner strength. It is as if a light shines inside them. That light is the light of persistence, of faith, of belief in one's own abilities. 

Think of a butterfly who sticks to a petal and even the harshest of winds is unable to move it. Is it just the physical strength of the tiny butterfly? No, it is it's unwavering belief in itself that helps her battle the raging winds.

Think of a child who builds a tower of blocks. The tower crumbles. The child builds again. It falls down once more. The child does not stop. He still builds it. Isn't it the the force of persistence that keeps the child motivated? As we grow, we lose that persistence and become edgy on our first failure.

Image Source here

Think of the great leaders of the world who inspired others to stand up for their cause, to defend their rights, to defeat the wrongs in the society. Think of Gandhi, the frail Indian leader, whose sheer mental strength and determination led thousands out of their homes and spearheaded the country's movement for independence. Think of Stephen Hawking, the world-famous physicist whose disabilities deterred him not and his findings in the field of science and his book The Brief History of Time has made him a timeless hero for all. Beethoven's deafness in now way hindered his exceptional musical skills. 

Image Source here

One might say that they were great people. But don't we meet great people everyday? Aren't those people great who can smile in adversity? Isn't that father great who despite his painful illness smiles and gives a thumbs up to his children so that they don't despair? Isn't that mother great who eggs on her child who is physically or mentally disabled? Isn't that teacher great who pushes his weakest student and helps him inculcate a belief in himself? Isn't that friend great who despite your failures, motivates you to give it one more try? Isn't that person great who takes the courage to suppress her own sorrows, so that she can wipe the tears off your face?

Greatness is something that spreads cheer, hope and faith. Greatness is something that we all are made of. It is only upon us to discover it. Greatness is in the heart that is receptive, that is full of love. When we discover that well of love within us, we bathe in that well and cleanse ourselves from thoughts that bind us. Greatness is in the persistence, in the will that refuses to succumb to harsh circumstances. 

I want to pen down my thoughts through the medium of a poem I have written.

जब मैं तुम जितना लम्बा हो जाऊंगा 
मम्मी तब क्या बड़ा मैं बन जाऊँगा 
मैं हंसती हूँ सुन यह बात 

कद-काठी से नहीं बनेगा 
उम्र से भी कुछ हो न पाएगा 
बड़ा बनेगा अच्छे मन से 
जब तू खुशियां बिखराएगा 

जीवन नदी के जैसा है 
रिश्ते उनमें बहती कश्ती 
जितना सहज रहेगा तू 
उतनी ही कश्ती आएंगी 
अहंकार और क्रोध से जब 
नदी में तूफ़ान आएगा 
कश्ती खुद को संभाल कहीं 
दूर निकल जाएंगी 
तू अहंकार से लड़ना बेटा 
क्रोध को ठंडा कर देना 
भावनाओं के भंवर से जब तू 
बाहर निकल के आएगा 
तू उस दिन बड़ा बन जाएगा 

जब हाथ बढ़ा के मदद करेगा 
दुःख के आंसू पोंछेगा 
निःस्वार्थ भाव निष्कपट हृदय से
निश्छल प्रेम तू बाटेंगा 
हार नहीं मानेगा चाहे कितना ही श्रम करना हो 
डग-मग पथ पर अडिग रहेगा 
नैतिकता ना छोड़ेगा 
खुद पर दृढ़ विश्वास रखेगा 
जब उथला  सम्मान ना चाहेगा 
तू उस दिन बड़ा बन जाएगा .....

Hope we all discover the greatness within us!

This post is written in response #madeofgreat campaign being organized by Tata Motors. Linking it to   

Tata Motors and Lionel Messi - What do you think of the two coming together?

Answer in the comment section below. The best entry has a chance to win Rs. 750/- voucher from Amazon.

Friday, November 6, 2015

काश वही दिवाली होती - Wishing for the old feel - Happy Diwali

Indian Bloggers

It seems like it was yesterday but it has actually been a decade. I see myself standing in the balcony of my house, all dressed up for the day's festivities. People are gathering in large numbers. They wait to witness the burning of the demon-king Ravana. They wish each other, greet each other, hug each other. Sweets are exchanged, and the wait finally ends with the effigy coming down with a loud burst of crackers. The festivity does not end here. The countdown to Diwali, one of the most important Indian festival has begun. Bazaars are decorated, houses well-lit. Everybody waits for the day Lord Ram returned from his fourteen-year long exile, to his home-city Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. It has always been like that - the celebrations year after year after year. And yet, everyone waits for the day with much anticipation and delight.

Image Source here

Lost in reverie, I laugh. And then, I realize I am so far away from it all. Ten years back, I had taken the first flight in my life. No, not anything symbolic. My first actual travel through air. I landed in New Jersey, the little India in US. My first impression was not of being in a strange land. There were so many Indians here, I had to strain hard to see a 'foreigner'. But things had changed.

The realization dawned upon me as I gradually lived through the days, and months, and years. Festivals came and went like any other day. People here try to keep up with their roots, their rituals. But it was different here. Things became more deliberate. One had to plan for everything. Plan for long weekends, plan for Holi, plan for Diwali. Diwali was such a defining festival, back in India. But here, in the society I lived, which comprised more than ninety percent Indians, I saw not more than ten percent homes lit. There was no evidence of any festivity. Diyas were replaced by candles. Fresh sweets were taken over by frozen desserts, or cakes and cookies. And Diwali went like any other day, except for the occasional greeting 'Happy Diwali'!

As I expanded my circle of friends, we started planning too. But this was necessary. To introduce our children to our roots - to tell them about rituals we observed, about traditions that defined us. I did not want them to see diyas as candles to be blown out on birthdays. They were not candles. They had no other translation. They were diyas. They symbolized Diwali. And they ought to know this. There were other things too. Like greeting relatives, exchanging sweets. Like the special foods - call them oily, or heavy, or unhealthy - they still were the spirit of the festival. Like crackers. So we went to a temple where they could light them up. No, I am not much of a fan of crackers. But I wanted my kids to get the feel of it. Well, the feel was absent there. In a small place -small by the standards of open celebrations that we have in India- many had gathered and cheerfully lit crackers, and screamed with joy. I did not find joy there. It was missing. It was, well, 'deliberate'.

So, for once, I wanted to go back and celebrate Diwali like we did a decade ago. No, I do not want to change it, for it has already changed so much for us. The old feel is long gone. I wish it was back.

काश वही दिवाली होती 

जो बचपन में मनती थी 
घर के बाहर लड़ियाँ होतीं 
अंदर दीए जगमग करते 
माथे पर टीका 
मौली हाथों पे -
चावल-मिश्री और पताशे 
से सज जाती पूजा की थाली 
आरती कर के चरणामृत 
पापा फिर हम सबको देते 
तारों के जैसे उज्जवल दीपक 
थाली में रौशन जगमग जलते 
एक दीपक इश्वर के चरणों में रख 
सारी रात जलाते 
मैं भाई संग घर के हर कमरे में जा कुछ दीप सजाती  
फुलझड़ियाँ फिर खुशियां बिखराती 
काश वही दिवाली होती 

Written for IndiSpire# 90

Happy Diwali to All!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I lose myself.....

The usually busy shore is quiet. Even the waves are indifferent and refuse to dance . They say their  song is missing, the rhythm is absent today. The silence gets deafening. I fidget sitting on the ground and with my shivering hands, try to draw a picture on the sand. It stares back at me awkwardly, asking perhaps, what it is. I have no answer. My feeble mind fails. Fingers get shaky and my palpitations seem to rise higher than a high tide on a moony night. I get up and throw a tiny pebble in the blue ocean. I want to mock at its majesty. I sneer at its blue tranquility. What business does it have to be so silent today? 

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I want to provoke it into action. 

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I am too frail to attempt jumping. So I throw a pebble instead. There is a stir. A ripple that gets wider and wider and wider till it disappears. It leaves me entranced. I stand staring for I know not how long. And then, a rude nudge shakes the stupor. I startle. What was it? Ah, the seagull. It finally caught the poor fish. The pristine whiteness of the predator seems to be a joke. It is a killer. It has no right to be so white, so flawless. But then, white is associated with so many things. White is pure and innocent, but white also stands for death. White is the halo behind the enlightened ones, and white is the ghost too. Another irony of life! 

The poor fish must be struggling hard, or it must be already gone, released from the scaly traps. 

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The seagull is flying farther away from my gaze. Where is it headed to? I follow the flight, as farther as my eyes permit. It seems to vanish, zoom out like a picture on the TV screen or like a dream within a dream. No trace of it is left behind in the alluring sky. The orange hue in the sky tells me the day is bidding goodbye soon. It seems to captivate me with its serene strokes. I can not see the painter or his brush. If I could, I would love to learn the magic of his palette. A solitary cloud floats past the falling day, as if saying farewell. It seems to move further away from the setting sun. It does not want to diminish in the darkness. As its distance grows from the sun, its proximity to me increases. It comes closer, and closer and closer till it is literally over my head. I strain my neck upwards. My arms stretch saying hello. What if I could just touch it just now? As I muse, a drop makes me gasp. It is not that cold but it comes suddenly catching me unaware. I breathe so deeply I can smell the rain coming. It will awake the ocean for sure. Droplets falling in the ocean make a melody of their own in the blaring lull of the shore. I should run, I will get wet. But I stand. I want to be soaked. Drenched like the cloud floating by. I open my arms. I close my eyes. I let the rain come to me. I care not for the ocean that stands aloof, uncaring and callous. It is the cloud, so high above but descending to caress me. Yes, it is the cloud I love. The cold rain mingles with something warm and it flows down my cheek. I don't open my eyes. I let it flow. My tears and my dreams, my failures and my victories, my friends and my enemies, my desires and my sacrifices, my knowledge and my ignorance, my convictions and my doubts - I let them flow away. 

I melt. I lose myself. I become one with the rain.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

A Teacher for Life.....

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Lessons learnt by rod
The little child forgets - all
that remains is pain.....

A child is like a flower. Treat it with a gentle touch, caress the buds, nourish the soil and you find the flower blooming beautifully one day. But neglect it, abuse it, starve it and it is sure to die. So is the heart of the little child which beats and flutters delightfully at the slight sight of affection. But harsh words wither the heart away. Joy flees, innocence takes refuge in some remote world and all that remains is bitterness and pain.

I am reminded of the words of Alexander the Great who said, " I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well." Teacher is the lighthouse in the life of a child who is growing up. The light guides the exploring ship on rocky paths, warning just in time of dangers lurking ahead, and yet letting him go on on his journey. Imagine if the lighthouse blocked the way of the ship and stopped it from moving forward. What would happen then? The ship would be trapped and might drown. 

The role of the caregiver, parent or teacher becomes very crucial in upbringing the child. If the person in charge of taking care of the child is not equipped with the primary quality of kindness, then the future of that child is sure doomed. Without a loving heart and a tolerant mind, the teacher can never instill good qualities in the child, primarily because, the teacher himself is devoid of them. Good guidance includes sensitivity for the other mind. Good mentoring incorporates acceptance of faults and flaws, and their rectification without judgement. Where the mind starts judging, compassion flies away and what is left is bias.

So if you are a teacher, teach with love. Sit next to a child who can not hold the pencil properly. Rebuke him not, but gently hold his hand and let him write. Let him write that he is the best. If he finds it difficult to read, or does not understand the words on the page, feed his imagination. Let him dream, spark up a scene for him and fly away with him to his fantasy world where he will find words to express his feelings, and discover new joys. Let him find pride for himself. Let him feel worthy of what he is, of who he is. Judge not by the flaws. Judge not at all. Praise the goodness in him. For you might not be with him for long but your words will travel with him way longer than you might have imagined. 

Linking it to #Monday Musings on WriteTribe