A Ladder That Ends

Went through a certain phase recently. Couldn’t stop myself from writing this.


That first day
Those first steps,
Climbing a ladder
That rose to success.

Moist with an innocence,
Entering a different place.
To encounter a new life
With infinite desires,
An independent soul
And an inborn fire.

The ladder begins,
With all smiles
On the bottom steps.

Friends come by
And bonds strengthen,
Absorbing all the love
Chuckling and giggling in unison.

Like a solenoid
Together we wind,
In our own magnetic field
We generate delight.

But who said
It was all hunky-dory?
The next steps of ladder
Weren’t as easy.

Sulked a million times
Fought over issues certain,
Wires got tangled
And minds stubborn.

But it faded soon enough
And we got back on our tracks.
We grew to be what we are today
Learnt lessons in every setback,

Only to witness one day
To leave it all,
Those last days
To cherish it all.

The last steps
And the goodbye hugs,
The ladder is over
Time to take another.

We might not see each other everyday now
Or in weeks,
Or months,
Or in years too.
The informal chats
May change to formal How are you’s

But that essence of the journey
Mustn’t fade,
The memories shall lie in hearts
Always.

School, college and friends are probably the best part of our lives. But the time always comes when we have to bid goodbyes. Each ladder ends. And its time to take another. Harsh! Hard!

 

 

VISION

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“This isn’t as good as you told me.” said the little boy to his mother, as they were walking through the narrow street of the town they had recently shifted to.

“Everything is so different here. Its been over a week and I still don’t have any friends at school.”

“Have you talked to anyone?” asked his mother.

“Well no, I didn’t. I don’t think they would talk to me.” he said in a low voice.

“Of-course they will, dear. How can you be so sure until you try and talk to them?” she said as they reached home. It was a ten floor high building.

“I just know it. There’s this boy who sits next to me. He looks so evil. I can’t talk to him mommy. Why can’t we go back home? I don’t want to live here.”

She smiled and didn’t say anything further.

The same night, she took him to the terrace. They could see the whole town from here. It was so well lit and peaceful.

“So, what can you see here son?” she asked him.

“Its looks so beautiful mom, so lovely.” he said with his eyes lit up.

“Hmm. Can’t you see any filth from here? Or breathe in any pollution?”

“No.”

“Can you tell me how many houses are there and what kind of people live in them?”

“No! How could I?”

“Oh yes, from a glance or two and from such a great distance, you couldn’t tell that. But what if we go down in the street?”

“From there we could explore that much better.” said he.

“Right. You see! Its all about vision. How you look at it and from what perspective. From a distance, you can’t make out what anything or anyone really is.”

“Yeah. That is true. But why are you telling me all this?”

“Because I want you to know that world is the same. Those who seem strong may not be that strong enough. While those who look evil may be angels from inside. May be. Just may be.”

“Hmm. May be.” he said with a contemplating look on his face.

“You never know if that boy with an evil look on his face turns out to be your best buddy.”she teased him with a grin. “Or one day, this place might seem like home. Its worth giving a try. Ain’t it? But you just can’t sit here telling me who’s what without even knowing them.”

“Yeah you are right. OK, I’ll do that.”


So, he did the same. May be he made many friends or may be just one or two. But atleast now he knew everyone better without judging anyone. What if we could all do that.

This last couple of days I was thinking of what to write. It was then that this simple thought struck me.

Extend your vision, mould your perspective and stop judging. It might be keeping you away from great things and great people.

A simple thought that means a lot!

 

 

 

 

Worthwhile at Wagah

Rare are those moments when you experience something so great and so euphoric that you wish to write down about it.

Around six months ago, we had a trip to Amritsar. It wasn’t a very well planned trip, rather, I should mention that it was just a weekend getaway. But on our way back from there, we took with us an experience that we could talk about time and again.

While there are a few must visits in Amritsar viz. Jallianwala  Bagh and Golden Temple, what caught our eyes the most was this magnificent visit to Wagah border. It is a frontier of India and Pakistan and lies between Amritsar (Punjab, India) and Lahore (Punjab, Pakistan).

Every evening, a beating retreat ceremony takes place here, wherein the military forces from both the countries participate in the drill on their respective sides and lower down their flags.

So, as we reached there by around 5 pm, we could see a hundreds of people (not only Indians but a lot of foreigners too) seated on both sides of the road.  At one end of the road was an arc like pillar symbolizing Bharat (India) with the picture of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi while the other end with that of Pakistan. The two are separated by iron gates.

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Before the drill was started, we could listen all kinds of Bollywood patriotic songs that cheered every Indian seated there. Also, we could hear a speech in the glory of our nation in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan. Afterwards, a man in white uniform in a high pitched voice asked the crowd to cheer the slogans “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Hindustan Zindabad” and “Vande Mataram” to wake up the patriot in us. The crowd grew more and more exuberant with hearts filled with pride, each one wanting to be louder than those of the neighboring nation.

And finally the splendid drill started. The finesse of the stalwart army men was something which is hard to explain in words. They performed dance-like maneuvers in perfect coordination and marched proficiently towards the iron gate one after the other with Pakistani soldiers on the other side doing the same. The proud and gallant look on their faces was evident of their valor and their loyalty for mother nation.We could feel how dynamic and honorable were those men, our real heroes!

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As the sun set and drill was complete, the iron gates were open and soldiers of both countries shook hands and lowered their respective flags. They folded it and carried it so exquisitely that every individual stood up to pay their respect to the tricolor.

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Later on, the people were asked to leave the premises. Since we stayed there for a little long so we got to go near the iron gate and also clicked a few pictures with the soldiers. Since we had a VIP pass with us so we also managed to go inside where we could see the border stone symbolizing the Pakistani and Indian land around that region.

Around one-fourth region was Pakistani territory and the rest was Indian.

The evening could not have been more worthwhile. On our way back, we had dinner at a famous restaurant known as ‘Sarhad’ (an Urdu word meaning border) just about half an hour km from Wagah Border. Based on the concept of peace, this restaurant provides cuisine and culture of two countries. Apart from authentic Indian and Pakistani meals, the infrastructure and designs are also symbolic of both Amritsar and Lahore. This again was some place to add to your list of good experiences.

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I am proud of you…

 

When I look back at myself a few years back, I witness a lot has changed. Not alone the life, but me. A lot, that I was drawn to share it and to write this post.


I remember the day I graduated from my college. It was a big day. But something was bigger. I wanted to pursue masters and had already appeared for entrance exams of a few universities. So far I had not been able to clear any of them. One after the other the results were announced and the good news was nowhere close. I felt a sinking feeling inside me almost every minute. I was crestfallen.

In my class 12th board exams I had performed amazingly well which got me admitted to a well renowned college. To this day, I remember it so clearly.

I was sitting teary eyed in front of the computer screen which showed my result while my father on the phone said “I am very proud of you beta, you will do great in future. I know.” I thanked the almighty.

What happened to me now? Where was that girl? God! how I wished to go back to that very moment.

I am proud of you.

How I wished to hear it again.

So, there I was, planning to drop the year and work harder for the next.

Some days later, I got a call from my friend informing me there were some vacant seats in the college she was in and I should come at the earliest. So, the very next day, my father and I traveled to another city. It wasn’t as good as the other universities I applied for and it wasn’t the one I had planned to pursue my masters degree from. But it was the one that I wanted the most right now. For a girl who had lost her confidence, it was a ray of hope.

So we talked to the teachers and showed my records.

“She is a very bright student. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t clear any entrance exam. It shocked me.”, I recall my father saying.

My records were good and after talking with my father, they finally gave me the admission. So, there I was, satisfied. I thanked the almighty.

I moved there some days later, delighted but lacked self confidence. I wasn’t sure anymore if I was good enough. But now, I possessed something else. A zeal, to do better now, to put in double efforts. I wanted to show my parents and myself that I wasn’t unworthy.

I am proud of you.

I so wanted to hear it. I wished to top in my college. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t really topped in my school or college previously. I have mostly been a mediocre. But now, I decided to raise out of the pack of ordinary, something I had been throughout my life.

I worked hard in my first semester and performed good but not how I had determined. I couldn’t reach the bar I set up for myself. I was disappointed! Again!

In the second semester, I focused more and worked harder. It turned out that I had performed better. Well, better than everyone else. Yes, I did it. I was beaming and so my parents were. I thanked the almighty.

But this wasn’t it. There was much more to achieve. By the third semester, apart from my college studies I took out time to study for NET (National Eligibility Test), an entrance exam on clearing which, you are eligible to apply for Lectureship or get enrolled for PhD. It is taken twice a year and I had failed my previous two attempts.

I was stuck with something that I dreaded the most. The entrance exams! Yes I studied, but somewhere I was certain I couldn’t do it. I had never been good at entrances. In the third attempt, surprisingly, I did well. But wasn’t sure if I would be able to clear it. Of course, I prayed to God to make me clear it this time.

Three months later, as the result was announced, I checked the list. There it was, I could see my roll no. under candidates who cleared it. I checked twice and thrice, confirmed the cutoff with my friends before actually believing it.

Déjà vu.

That computer screen again and I was stupefied. I thanked god “You did it for real? I just wished for it and you gave me. How do I believe this?”

You know, this is the thing with us. When we wish for something so bad, we hope we get it sooner. But when we do get it, its hard to believe. A little child wishes badly to hold a star in his hand, but that ain’t possible. I felt like that child, but the thing is, I got it. So the feeling was immensely wonderful.

In the past few years, I hadn’t given many reasons to my parents to be proud. Contrarily, I had shocked them with sad realities. May be somewhere they were losing hopes from me. So, I was thrilled to inform at home. I called them. My mother was buoyant and so was my father.

“After so long you gave a really good news. I have always been so proud of you beta”, he said.

Those words were like a tinkle to my ears. Something, I have been waiting to hear for so long. I am proud of you.

So here I am, rejected 2 years ago and now appreciated by many.

When you get something easily, you forget to appreciate it. You don’t realize the true essence, the gravity of it. That is why the best things in life are hard earned and that’s the way it should be.

The journey is not over. There’s a long way to go. But it seems like I have crossed one milestone. Some things in life just get shape with the course of time. Coming to this place wasn’t planned. But it proved to be something that carved me up. It showed me something that even I wasn’t able to see in me.

I am not just someone ordinary. You see, I now have my own blog too, something I would have ran from, had you asked me some years back. And if I have it, I believe everyone does. Everyone is uniquely talented, you just need to find and recognize it. If you work hard, no body can take it away. You put in 100% and the God will give you 500% in return, more than you thought you deserved.

Wrong Idols

We often choose our idols, our heroes in the people we see are most popular or the most talented. Be it our own small community of school, college or office. Or be it the prominent stars in world. Our heroes are often those who make more money or who are much famed.

We are obsessed so much that most of us tend to worship them. And in a fit to be like one, we prepare ourselves for a race to be on the top, just like our ‘so called’ heroes. And in that race, we forget to be someone else. Someone much needed, someone who does the right things, who puts aside their selfish desires once in a while. We forget that we are somebody else, somebody more than just money earning tools.

What about those who haven’t any special talent. What they do possess are compassion, honesty and morality. But what’s so special about them? Right? If you are surprised to read this then let me tell you, a number of people think like that. And if you are not surprised, then you are one of them too. The rays of goodness of such people get shadowed in a world that is blinded by the materialistic realm. Isn’t the basic human essence lost somewhere?

Well, before saying further, I’d like to tell you a story which I wrote in the form of this poem.


Bird oh bird, beautiful and chirpy
Fluttering wings all over the sky
Greeting her friends, ripping through the wind
Lands in her nest wherein her eggs lie.

One sunny day, two chicks crack out
Were named lola and coco.
One was bold the other too quiet
Chirped and tweaked high and low.

Then comes the day to learn to fly
Mama bird teaches them both step by step
Coco struggles, falls repeatedly
Lola, contrarily, was quick and adept.

Benevolent Coco, liked helping others
A sweetheart of poor and aged
But scorned by the peers for she hadn’t a flair
Called unworthy for a life wasted.

Lola on the other hand, dynamic and spirited
Embraced rare panache, praised by all
Made mother proud, comrades envious
To be like her was coveted by all.

Years passed by, nothing had changed
Only mama bird got injured and lost a wing
But the birds had grown and spring came
It was time to set apart on independent ways.

Lola flew to far off lands
Developed a view much pragmatic
Explored the world ,extended her vision
Led the life with a million plaudits.

Coco chose to stay back for mama bird
Couldn’t leave her forlorn and stood as a support.
Didn’t follow the path what others wanted to 
She led her life with sacrifices untold.

Her story remains uncounted not known by many
But is it not this, that made some difference?
The real heroic power was with her all the time
For the world didn’t applaud but its Coco who did shine.

 


Yes, its Coco. She wasn’t any star but she did shine.

So, this is what happens, right? We are blinded by the Lolas of our society, but who we really need are Cocos.  And rather than needing one, why can’t we be one? ‘Cause the world needs more of them.

Of-course, the stories of the Cocos in our society remain hidden, that is why all of us yearn to be like Lola, the one who gets known. While there’s nothing wrong with being a Lola, this should be something that needs to be second on our priority list. The first spot should be filled by righteousness, by sacrifice, by compassion.

Those of Hindu religion must be knowing that Lord Krishna has defined karuna (or compassion) as the foremost and biggest key to establish ‘dharma’.

Wouldn’t world be a better place if everybody thinks like that. Needless to say, no one can be as perfect as Coco. But what would possibly make a difference will be to try everyday to become a better person, prior to running in some phantom race.

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So, go dig it out of yourself. Follow the path less known but most appreciated. Cheers for a better you.

Be lovely! Be Coco!

Solitude matters?

Have you ever experienced that time spent alone sometimes feels better than being with somebody?

Or sometimes being quiet is better than blabbering over a hundred issues?

Or thought of just running somewhere far, away from all hustle and bustle?

If yes, then you are not alone. I feel that all the time. There are a lot of people out there who feel that all the time.

Just this evening, this thought came up to my mind. I wasn’t feeling like studying or watching movies or sleeping or doing anything for that matter. I live in a hostel and I didn’t even want to go chit chat with my friends for some while.

Its was dusk and I walked down and came out in the open. I turned the music on in my phone and listened to songs while strolling. The peaceful gentle air, trees swaying with the wind are the simple things that get neglected in the daily routine. I felt that I could walk like that for hours. It was then that I thought ‘What if someone would be by my side right now?

And guess what, I quickly brushed that thought aside. Because my own self is what I wanted in that moment. I don’t know how many people are there who feel just like me. But I do know that enjoying solitude is sometimes worth and rewarding. I’ll tell you why:

  1. You can think over many things going around you, introspect yourself, find solutions, untangle the complicated threads of life.
  2. There are always some answers that you find within. Nobody except you can do that for you. And for that you need to give time to yourself. So, solitude(by choice) is not being away from others. Its actually spending time with your own self.
  3.  You get to know yourself better. Your good points let you feel great about yourself. While, getting to know the bad things about you lets you turn into a better being.

Because its just you in this whole world who would never criticize you, rather forgive you for every mistake of yours and stand up again for a fresh better start.

So, there’s win-win in every scenario, right?

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You might be thinking that I do not have any friends or I am some lone introvert who is writing about its pros. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of friends and I love being with them all the time. But solitude, every now and then, is necessary too.

So, if you haven’t done that yet, just go do it, feel it and you’ll love it, for sure.

Sit out in the open or in the balcony. Feel the nature, feel the air, feel the sounds, feel the smells. Feel the simple, ordinary things. Listen to some soothing songs, or may be sit with a mug of coffee. Think about yourself. Give yourself time. Relax. Let all the negativity fade away.

You’ll instantly feel good.

Kerala tour (must visit place)

In this blog, I will be discussing an astounding visit I had to a cardamom factory when I, along with my family traveled to Kerala, early this year. 

Kerala, as of most Indians would know, is referred as ‘GOD’s own country’ and is situated in the south of India. So we traveled many places including Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady and Valayar exploring several beautiful places, lavish tea gardens, breathtaking waterfalls and flirtatious mountains. At every 5 km, there were stalls selling keri(raw mango) and pineapples with splash of salt and red chilly. And of course, there was nariyal pani (coconut water), the very own specialty of South India.

In each city/town, we had already booked our hotels/resorts. We were going accordingly as planned and first traveled to Cochin, then Munnar. But a last day change of dates in our plan for travelling Thekkady landed us in a resort called ‘Carmelia Havens’, as the resort we had planned to stay in, had no rooms for the same day. The man who suggested us this beautiful resort told us that it is situated amidst the tea gardens and is about half an hour drive from the town Thekkady. Also, they provide a visit to their cardamom factory which he said, is an experience of a lifetime.

So, the next day, we headed to this cardamom factory which was another 1 hour drive from the resort. On arriving there, we were greeted by a very humble operational manager of the factory. He asked us if we needed to use the washrooms as it was a long journey from here. Firstly, he showed us the area where the elaichi (cardamom) is washed manually by workers and then, took us to the room where it is processed and dried at very high temperature. Inside, we could feel a very strong and pure aroma of cardamom. We took 2-3 pods with us while it was still drying.

Next, he called somebody who arrived with a jeep. So the 5 of us jumped in the jeep and started the real visit to the whole plantation with the manager and driver.The first 5 minutes were like a normal drive on rocky road but what we experienced then, was something which left us amazed. The path was as such that there were big bushes all over and no ground was visible. The bushes were as big as the jeep, and some even higher. It was as if our driver was literally driving in nowhere and the jeep was ripping apart the thick cluster of cardamom bushes. It was swaying from left to right while constantly leaping over the ground. After about 10 minutes, the path became even more steep. The manager asked us to mind our heads as the plants could hurt us. For them, he said, its a daily routine thing that they are so used to. 

After sometime, he told us that the driver is going to give us all a surprise in 5 seconds. So, the bushy path was now over, but the rocky steep way was still on. He kept our mind on the surprise and counted….5….we saw a really steep way ahead….4….and we were going at a high speed upwards….3….higher and upwards….2….I felt as if we are in the air and going to jump off the cliff….1….and we all screamed badly, especially me, my mother and my sister and in that split of a second, the jeep was turned, breaks were applied, and it landed with a thud (Thankfully, no jumping off was done). Well, my brother and father were equally stupefied. So, that adrenaline rush was something worth the journey.

So, we came out of the jeep and found out that we reached a really great height. We were stunned by the beauty there, which was equally worth of watching. 

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And then the path leaded us to another higher mountain peak on which an ancient church stands and there, we clicked many pictures. That place was certainly some place to be, I guarantee that! It surely is even better than what you can see in the pictures.

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And finally, we were on our way back where we again stopped by among the plantations. There, he showed us the cardamom, coffee and pepper plants. Cardamom grows as a small green pod at the bottom most part of the plant while pepper and coffee on top.

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Coffee bean is covered in a red peel and pops out if you press it. The pepper is green in color and if it is dried at this stage it becomes what we know as black pepper. On the other hand if it is allowed to ripe further, then the shell comes off and what remains is white pepper.

We finally headed back and bid our goodbyes. We truly loved this visit, probably the best part of Kerala. It turned out, that this was surely an experience of a lifetime.

So the next time you plan a trip to Kerala, definitely add this to your itinerary. 🙂