Saturday, 14 March 2015

All You Need is Love

Life is a series of moments bundled up together, the good ones, the bad ones and even the unnamed ones. It is all these moments, irrespective of the time make us who we are, it is they alone that decide the road we take, the future we make. And most importantly it is the people in these times both the happy ones and the miserable ones that we depend on our closed ones for hope. It is hope after all that fills the flattened balloon and gives rise to sun after a rainy day.

The incident is dated so long ago, and yet it is fresh in my mind just like yesterday. Why should I think about it? It happened so so long ago precisely when I was in my class X th. It didn't take place on working Monday-Tuesday-Thursday nor on the non-working Sunday. It was a thing that dominated most of my year, rather the entire year. One that had the power to make my life or let it go to shambles.

All through my school life I've always been an average student, not because I didn't study but because I always always made silly mistakes, cancelling the right writing the wrong and voila where I could have scored 80/100 I gracefully land to a 70/100 or a measly 65. But that was fine, as there were only two or three subjects that topped that list, one of them being Mathematics.

I was fine with it, marks weren't going to govern my life were they? How did it matter if I was the topper or not, if I loved Math or not. Well it didn't until I reached my std Xth and my future depended on my boards.

I remember it distinctly as it haunted me almost like a horror movie, we had Trigonometry in Algebra and I was a mess. Oddly enough the topic was everyone's favourite barring me. It scared the living daylights out of me. First thing I didn't like Math at all, second I always scraped through somehow and lastly I had trigonometry that was stopping me from even scrapping up a decent count. All in all I was a loser in mathematics.

Right from my first unit's I was scoring well in every other subject but Algebra and it started effecting me. I had few friends okay two friends in school and apart from them, everyone teased me. The failing group also didn't welcome me in their club as they mocked me and the elite, well I wasn't their category. That left me perpetually all alone. Every classmate I seeked help from, none gave. My teacher, well she tried to explain me after school and yet it was going downhill. I couldn't get the logic past my head, I needed some weird reasons and I had none.

So just like that, months kept on passing and exams kept on taking place. And with every exam I was scoring less and it was affecting me, slowly I started turning bland from bubbly. My mood wasn't just affecting just me anymore but my whole family, my mother was worried seeing me perform poorly and see me cry. My baby sister didn't know what to do so she tried to make me laugh but nah nothing.

Determined to not let me lose in this whirlpool of depression my mother contacted my aunt and uncle who stayed in a different city. Why you make ask? Well they were class X th and XII th mathematics teachers, they came to Mumbai taught me and yet I could only get my head around 10% of the stuff, they couldn't stay forever and soon they left. It was again me and my self with the torturing trigo.

It was then with my mother's constant support, I stayed up late every night to try to understand the subject, mould it to my understanding. Seeking help from every teacher I knew, right from my classes math teacher, to my school math miss and another ex-school math miss. When I was on the verge of losing my hope, these teachers and my mother became my motivation. They taught me at every available hour, they tried  to get my confusion and worked through it, helped me clear my doubts and answered even my calls which I did from a public pay phone.

And yet, I failed in Algebra in my first ever pre-boards prelims. I was amongst the toppers in other subjects, esp history yet not math; what did it matter scoring well in all and failing in one. Still I didn't let myself be deterred, I made a new friend and helped her in her studies in a way helping myself. Constant motivation and optimism kept me going and I finally scored a 56/75 in Algebra my third and final pre-board prelims.

I was satisfied, at least I didn't fail. And then came the big day, the actual boards itself. Prayers of my teachers, love of my family and everyone's motivation and my own determination I walked in the examination hall, wrote the paper and walked away thinking nothing hoping against hope to score good.

Day ticked fast and soon March turned to June in a blink on an eye, it was the day of judgment, the result day. I was fretting, sweating and my heart was beating wildly. I was even convinced I will take up Commerce due to my low percentage even though I detested it or maybe I would be welcome in Arts. And then a call, a call from one of my aunts asking me for my seat number. I was frantic, I said no but relented eventually. Those 15 minutes were the I dunno, can't describe of my life. And then she called and for a whole moment, I was shocked, I asked her check again is it really me? My name, this can't be happening, I can't score that much. My parents were worried, they didn't know why I was in shock. And then I exclaim I have scored 140/150 in Mathematics, that means at-least 70 in both Algebra and Geometry.

That was the biggest shock, not only I had passed, I had passed with flying colours. My running had stopped, I had reached my goal and I hadn't lost. No one could guess, no one could believe but just my family and the teachers who stood by me. They were proud of me and it was a proud feeling.

And it was that day that I realized, alone we can achieve so little but #together so much more. The coming days were bathed in positivity and optimism and filled with hope that everything is possible if we all stick together and help each other trod through difficult times.

This post is inspired by - #Together.

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A Gradual Acceptance


I was like the model student, my goal was set clear 10th std with good percentage then go to college take up science score good in entrance and then land up in a good engineering college and walk away with placement in an IT company.

Seemed like a plan until it went downhill with my drastic change in interest in the later part part of my class XIIth. This sudden change in mindset derailed me completely yet due to my parents insistence and my lack of fight, I landed up doing engineering. New start was it? Definitely not, I felt trapped and hated engineering with all my might, I couldn't wait for engineering to get done with so I could let loose and fly from the cage and build a life I envisaged for myself.

Slowly very slowly time passed and one semester changed to another, with me passing somehow (I literally didn't study in hopes of bad grades and my parents asking me to drop engineering and pursue my dream). But eventually the 4 years came to an end and I was a fully qualified not really ecstatic engineer.

Life passed between writing, finding a job and doing all the nitty-gritty chores of daily life, waiting for a new life, a new start. I thought I had found it with escaping from engineering but how wrong was I? I was still living in my old life, trapped in old ideas and beliefs.

It was then that, things changed and I started losing hope. My dreams of writing were turning to jelly and I was slipping on the slippery slope that went downhill. I had a steady job (well an engineering one itself, beat that!) but I suffered greatly, I longed for change, I needed to write, blogging wasn't enough.

And then something came out of the blue, there was freelance writing opportunity, after several failed ways to refresh my life had failed, I took to this. I applied for the post, despite my hectic schedule. And to my luck, I was offered the freelance writing job.

Happy? Yes beyond measure. No one around me could understand my joy. After all I had a good paying job that kept me steady income wise and yes it made me happy too yet there was a void only I could feel.

The first few weeks were tough, juggling between writing and teaching; two diverse topics and fields was turning out to be hectic until I found a balance. The freelance hiring company was happy with my output, they liked how I weaved words around sentences and breathed life into them.

It was definitely a learning experience, not only I learned to multitask but learned to accept life as it came. Full of vigor and new outcomes. Though at times it's tough, juggling between writing, studying for new subjects daily (a teacher needs to study after all) in a way accepting engineering and managing my home alongside my mother; it is satisfying in every sense of the word.

I'm indeed glad to have stepped out of my shell and embraced life to the fullest, after all the #StartANewLife is tough but rewarding.    

This is my official post inspired by - #StartANewLife.

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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Best Joys Come in Smaller Packets


Everywhere I go, I end up listening to this phrase "Best things come in small packages" and then one day my view changed, it's not just things but even happiness. It is happiness alone that makes us optimistic rather it is wise to say, optimism makes us happy and content.

This incident dates not very long ago, but just a mere year ago. I was a recent graduate who didn't wish to pursue engineering all throughout my graduation yet for the sake of my parents happiness I did it. Earlier I wasn't a cribber, I used to be content with what life and god bestowed on me. But with each passing day or rather semester I slowly ended up becoming more and more discontent, with life with my career choice, with my inability to not stand up to my parents et al. Yet there was no one to blame but me and in doing so many-a-times I slipped into the black hole of pessimism. Time and again I resurfaced and lived my life with joy; I enjoyed all the time spent in college and yet I wasn't as optimistic as I used to be.

Then hours turned to days and eventually years and now I was a fresh graduate with no job. Was I unhappy? No hell no, I wasn't I was finally relieved to be out of that thing called engineering. I though the world was my sky and I free bird.

My first task was to bask in the new found freedom and then join a NGO which I always wanted to do. Second would be to find a job where I want to work. And third? Well I hadn't thought that far.

My first hurdle was crossed and I landed in MAD. I was exuberant and joyous than I had been in ages. Every Sunday I used to go to my center and teach the boys (yes mine was an only boys center) English. Some Sundays were fun while some taxing and occasionally a few were emotionally draining too.

Now what did I do the other six odd days? Well I posted job resumes everywhere I knew, I went for job interviews etc. Every place I went I was turned down with a no. Some said though I was good, I was over-qualified, some others said why don't I try an engineering firm and some directly turned me down saying I was under-qualified (shocked!!!) and well some I rejected because it wasn't feasible to travel 2 hours for an Rs.8,000 that too six days a week.

All in all everything was a failure. Add to that my mum fell ill and all the household work fell on my shoulders. No one to share, no one to hang out with and too much tension. This time I slipped into the well of pessimism and cribbed that why can't I have anything? No job, no this no that. In my own words I was pathetic.

It was during one such MAD class on a Sunday when one of my student was not attentive at all and we were doing some activity on family. Me and my co thought that maybe staying in a shelter home apart from family is affecting him but we let it go, as there was nothing we could do. And then to my horror E started crying ( I won't name him, I respect his privacy but his name was from E).

What do you do, when a 13-year old young boy suddenly starts crying and you don't know what to do? Finally we calmed him down and asked him what was the matter?

First he wouldn't open up then with lots of coaxing he did, he said it was his mothers death anniversary and he was missing her a lot today, moreover we started teaching them about family so it hurt more. We asked do you want to call your father, we can go to Brother and tell him. He said, "No I don't have a father." On further inquiry we came to know he was an orphan and he just had an elder sister to was herself staying with a guardian and studying. And since his guardians couldn't afford his quality education, they sent him here so that he gets to stay in boarding and attend a convent school. He said, though sometimes he feels very lonely here and misses his parents, he has to make a name and life for himself and his sister. And that gives him hope and he continues to smile.

The shock of this left me reeling, in that one moment everything fell into perspective. Here I was cribbing over not getting a job, because I was searching somewhere where I didn't fit. When in reality I had loving parents, a roof of my own to live in and I wasn't devoid of money for my basic needs. what was I cribbing for? Why was I sad when in reality I had all the joys one wishes for.

This young brave brave boy in some weird way gave me back my lost optimism. Slowly and steadily I started searching a job in the field I graduated and eventually 2 months later, I got a job as a teacher in a college. Something I hadn't expected and I was happy, yes truly happy.

It was then that I finally realized "Best things come in small packages." All we need in life is a little hope and optimism and every good thing follows automatically. I finally looked up to joys and true contentment and happiness.

This is my official post inspired by - Look Up.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Red Blotches, Why Me?

Back then in my Junior College days, the teenage days when almost all girls tend to be affected by pimples and have their faces covered with scarfs because of the red dots splattering their cheeks, I roamed carefree with not a single pimple in sight. I considered myself lucky and prided my bath soap for keeping me away from harms way.

JC ended and I stepped onto the next pedestal, the Engineering College days. Not that I was very happy getting into it, after all my dreams of joining media studies were blown away. The dream was short lived just like my lucky-prided  no pimple free self, as it would be known. Year One passed uneventfully, with me going about my routine fussing over nothing and happily welcoming the succeeding Year Two. Year Two began on a dramatic note and well the end? Grr I don't even want to think about it..

It was in the fall of 2010 that my pimple chronicles began and continued to worsen over the winter. Year Two was supposed to be the year of the IV err Industrial Visit that was more like a Jab We Met; with we running behind the train. But coming to the main topic, yes it was the year of the IV and just like the planning to visit North began in fall slowly and steadily; the red blotches started marring my pretty face almost the same way, slowly and steadily. First they were less small patches here and there and then they grew into full fledged pimples by the time 2011 arrived. I was worried, worried is an understatement I was quiet dramatically worried. And thus, started my problems. For ease and less drama let me list down the problems I now started facing on a daily basis;

1. Itchy, very itchy skin add oily to that too.
2. Reactions, plenty of them. Gosh even my most prided soap couldn't be spared.
3. No makeup(okay I practically applied none but well what I meant was Talc) so not even talc.
4. Worried about how I looked when it came to fests especially.
5. Being teased by friends mercilessly, karma is a bitch truly.
6. And so on, so on as my principal always concluded his speeches....

I can so relate to this 
So with so many problems, I obviously tried a lot of solutions. Right from one face wash to another, not to forget the special dermatologist treatment. Alas! All failed and I was promoted to my Year Three and with that even my pimples. Eventually, I was tired and thought of giving up all the creams and medicines et al. when a miracle, an angel arrived.

Out of routine, one fine supermarket visit and my mum got Garnier Neem FaceWash  for my sister, note my sister and not me; after all she is the one who used it. And looking back now it would seem that the stars were finally aligned in the right direction. As I came home one fine evening, after a tiring day in college and later on an extreme struggle in college; I went to wash my face but what do I see? My precious oh-so-expensive facewash and serum got over! What now? I was tired and secondly I was in no mood to go down and get a new one *after all it wasn't really working.* So out of laziness I ended up using my sister's facewash and continued using it for the next whole week. And viola suddenly it seemed like there was something different. My face, my face was improving, the pimples were finally leaving me!

Rescuer  !!
I could not believe yet I carried on with the experiment, *yes now it dramatically was called experiment instead of laziness* one week then two and the pimples magically started disappearing slowly and steadily. In no time, okay almost three months my face was back to how it was, Looking back now it feels like ironic, the solution was right in my home and yet I went to search it outside failing miserably. Sometimes I feel glad of my laziness that day, had it not been for it who knows I would still be a victim of those monstrous red blotches, ruling my face. Ending my story on a dramatic note, I'm indeed glad for the karmic intervention! And now I use it daily!

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Monday, 17 November 2014

A Healthy Child Makes a Healthy Home

There is a famous English Proverb that goes as, "The soul is healed by being with children."

Children make our heart soar with happiness, contentment and joy. They not only lift up our spirits but in ways unknown help us to be better adults. There is a child in all of us, after all we too were once children and our parents nurtured us to grow into healthy adults. 

We had a home, our parents who took care of our every need. Right from our clothes to our nutrition. But what about kids who don't have a home? Or who stay in an Orphanage or better yet a Shelter Home. We all know home is a place that resonates with the joy of being with family, our parents. However, not every kid is fortunate enough to have parents, does it mean they don't have a chance at a being a healthy nutritious choice? They do, they have  every right.

So why this post or what reminded me of it? Last year I used to teach in a Shelter "Home" and those kids stayed away from their parents for 6 months at a stretch and till the time they stayed there we taught them. And believe me, teaching was not mere teaching like going and coming back home, it was so much more. I was attached to the kids and the kids to their teachers. 

There was one such incident that reminded me of this, I had a student who was very mischievous, he couldn't sit in one place for long always jumping and reading chapters which were yet to come. He looked like a 5th std kid but in reality he was a class 8th student. Somewhere around mid-term suddenly for more than two consecutive days he wasn't coming to the class. The class sudden;y seemed dull, I mean it was class of mere 4 and in that too one child missing, it is tough. Finally no longer being able to control my concern after my class ended I went to Brother and asked him where Blaise is; he was unwell. 

In brother's word, three days ago when he was playing football with the other children he was dizzy and fell to the ground. They took him to a local doctor and he said this happened because he wasn't getting the nutrition required for a thirteen year old boy. He gave some vitamins and other iron supplements. With this he even said that they could give him some Dabur Chyawanprash, this is clinically tested and proven to boost immunity and supply the necessary nutrients to developing kids. 

"A healthy child makes a happy home", this is true not only for kids who stay with their parents. Every child deserves a bright future and being healthy makes the journey less trudging. After all, home is where the heart is, and that shelter home is his Home. 

This is the nutrient supplement that the doctor suggested,