Daan Utsav at Bal Sahyog

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#100DeedsOfKindness There are many things in this world that can make even the most weary, break into a big smile. But, the joy of making someone happy, ranks really high up on the happiness index. Daan Utsav is India’s festival of giving, which brings people from various strata together, to celebrate and spread the joy of sharing.  This gesture has given millions of Indians, a chance to give back to the society.

On Saturday, the 28th of October, at around 3:30 PM, 126 kids were presented with a new pair of shoes & socks, as a part of the Dana Ustav. This noteworthy initiative came alive at Bal Sahyog, opposite L-block market, Connaught Circus, New Delhi, under the aegis of Anjali Kumar. The kids with their smiling faces, couldn’t contain their obvious excitement.

The youngest of these kids was about 5 years old.

There was no chief guest. This was done to make the event more inclusive and homely.  The donors and the members’ children mingled well with the kids at Bal-Sahyog. It was heartening to see the walls breaking between the kids.

A carnival feel was created by organizing various fun games for kids. Counters were put up where kids could ring the bottle with a hoop.

Tattoo stand was a big hit. Each kid wanted to get a bigger tattoo than his/her friend.

The kids were very enthusiastic to get their pictures clicked when they were receiving the shoes. This was a very memorable moment to most present when the new shoes were accepted for the old.

The kids were also very happy to showcase their talents – some danced, some sang and entertained. Some even acted for the members present.

At the end, the kids were given a snack box consisting of samosa, sandwich, muffin and a juice pack.

The target of collecting the amount that was needed to buy Bata shoes and socks was achieved because of the kind sponsors of the Dana Utsav.

A huge heartfelt thanks goes to all of them.

In all, it was a day filled with some happy stomping, fun, frolic and smiles. Also utterly enriching.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1347949208651468

 

 

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A Blessing in Disguise

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

“You will have to do this for me Rupa! For the sake of our friendship! You know, I consider you, more of a friend than my cousin, right? Moreover, I cannot trust anyone with this. I haven’t told any about Raj. You know, how conservative everyone around here, is!

“Still, Simi Didi, asking me to go and tell your boy-friend that you have moved on and are getting engaged today to a hotshot NRI, is a bit too much to ask of me. Why can’t you do it? Call him, break the news and cut. Then clean up your digital footprints.”

“Arre Rupa! It is not that easy. Raj can be very clingy. He is an emotional sorts. He might even come home and create ruckus. You know then, what tsunamis will be unleashed. And I kind of like this hotshot NRI. I will have a much better life in LA. Then I will find someone for you too. For that to happen, the old ties have to be broken. Please help me Rupa.”

“I don’t need any of your matchmaking skills. Where should I go? And how does he look? Show me, his pics at least, Simi didi!”

“Arrey, I just cleaned my phone.”

“What about FB/SnapChat/Viber”

“Uffo! So much cleaning! Forget all that, I will show you on fb, before I unfriend and block him. Please make sure he is OK, na. Don’t want him to hurt too much. We are supposed to meet today, at the Starbucks, in Mega Mall, at 6:30, in the corner booth. Today is Friday right? He will be in Red. Tall, wavy hair, well built..”

“That is most of the men folk Simi didi. Show his pics!”

The bedroom door opened and Mother burst in, cooing excitedly.

“Simi! The groom’s party is here!”

“Already Mom?”

“Their Pundit told the Boy’s Mom that the auspicious hour will be over in the next ten minutes. Thank God, you are ready” Mother then grabbed Simi and marched out, while Simi gesticulated to Rupa wildly, to go and do the deed!

Rupa sighed wearily and walked out.

***************************************************

She soon found the corner booth, with its occupant. Wonder of wonders, reading a book! With his mobile on silent, savoring his coffee, in a Red Polo. Rupa took a deep breath and found her courage.

“Raj?

“Yes?”

Words gushed out of Rupa’s shapely mouth, in a breathtaking pace. The man in question, looked at her stupefied, which Rupa mistook to be stricken.

He then gesticulated for her to sit. This time Rupa, took her own time,  conveying the grave news, all over again, all the while, patting Raj’s hand, giving comfort. Over cups of coffee, they talked.

**************************************************

Raj never told Rupa, that he had been sent, by the original Raj, to convey the news to Simi. That the Original Raj had found his golden girl who was loaded. And that the original Raj was getting engaged that very same day.

The Duplicate Raj had found Rupa so enchanting, that truth got a quiet burial. He simply confessed, he was a different Raj.

What a blessing in disguise, that mistaken identity turned out to be!

Today it is their tenth anniversary. They are the ideal couple, who fill in each other’s sentences and worlds.

Paradise!

Mum’s the word

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

Dear Diary,

Today, I have a big secret to tell you.

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. Promise?

There is someone in this house, who knows everything. Nothing can be hidden from her.

Even when she is watching the TV, she will know, I am eating cookies in the kitchen.

When I come back from school, she knows that I had a fight with Sam. I swear, I haven’t even opened my mouth. Just by my angry face!

I don’t tell her, but she knows that I have got my Maths marks.

Sometimes, I go to the bathroom and cry, she will know. Then she will make Maggi for me, to cheer me up.

She even knows, I haven’t finished my dabba, even before I take it out from my bag.

I pour my Bournvita, into kitty’s plate and she will scream from the bedroom. “Are you drinking your milk or giving it to Kitty?”

She gets up before everybody and sleeps after everybody. How does she get the energy, I don’t know!

She knows what I like, what Pappa doesn’t like. But never tells me what she wants.

She will hold my best birthday parties and drives me to classes.

And when she starts telling a bedtime story, I am already asleep.

But she has one problem. Actually two!

She worries so much!

She worries when I go to school or go out and play with my friends. She no longer sends me to the market. She makes me repeat GTBT, everyday. Sometimes, I get very scared then. But I don’t show. She stills knows. She gives me a big hug and tells me, everything will be alright. 

And then she tells me not to waste my time and study. But I’m still a kid no? I hate these classes that she keeps driving me to. Then she will ask what did I learn there? I can’t say, nothing. Because, she will call my teachers and find out. Funnily, they all are her friends. They tell her everything.

I think she has X-Ray vision. She must be the Hulk’s cousin or must be SuperMan’s secret sister. Or Both!

You know who, I am talking about no?

Mummy!

More tomorrow,

Love

Pari

Dear Beti

sampu n I

Dear Daughter,

My heart swells with pride, as I see you bloom every single day.

I then, want to open the very world to you, with it’s myriad opportunities. I hope that, you get to live out every single dream of yours, unfettered by the rigid parameters of this still regressive society.

I so want to set you free, but the breaking news about the brutes around, puts the brakes on my enthusiasm. So I enroll you, my delicate darling into self-protection classes, placating myself that I have somewhat prepared you, for the goons around. But have I really?

You prance around in shorts, often showing your legs off. I smile in indulgence and an inner voice begins to grow louder.

Let her not get used to this skin show! Cover her. Dress her in sedate salwar kameez. The earlier she starts, the better. She will be conditioned.”

I then smother that irritant and join you in the revelry. Honey, I send a silent prayer heavenward, asking for similar indulgence from the carping crowd of prehistoric times.

One day, you will finish college, find work and make a go at this, to be super successful. That will surely entail long hours and obviously, to recharge your batteries, some days you will let your hair down. Let us hope, by that time, the thinking all-around would have progressed, beyond the usual mundane and suffocating “Kids shouldn’t be alone outside, after dark! What terrible parenting!!”

Your brother says, “Make her strong enough to protect herself. She shouldn’t need anyone else.” How true really!

So, some of the sensible gifts, that we as parents, can give you are

  1. Letting you be yourself and not stifling you, according to others’ kosher parameters
  2. Making you self-sufficient and super strong
  3. Standing by you – Always! Non-Negotiable
  4. Respecting your choices
  5. Holding onto you, yet setting you free

So live your life, dear child, while we abide with you. Sky is the limit.

 

An Unforgettable Friend

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

I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart

Thought the teary-eyed, recuperating patient, lying on his bed, in the intensive care unit.

In a split second, he was back in time and to the very place where it had all started.

They were childhood friends, who grew up with same tastes and who then developed intense feelings for each other. The boys knew, they couldn’t let the world sneak in on their secret. It wouldn’t understand with its draconian divisions of people.

So they masqueraded their affection as ‘close-friendship’ lest the hyper vigilante society separated them, punishing them.

They then decided that the first world with its more liberal outlook might be safe for them to disappear, to breathe free, to be alive.

The families definitely had no clue about this. Otherwise, all hell would be let loose.

They even acquired the requisite permits till a killer truck played the spoilsport, while they were returning from a night-show.

It is a perfect match. Both are of same age, build and height. Ravi has a chance to live if Sarath’s heart is used for implanting.”  The good doctor had advised.

Beta, I see my lost son in you.” cried Sarath’s mother, clutching Ravi.

I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart!

And in death, we are finally together, away from this rigid society’s judgements and rancor. Rest in peace, my love, my unforgettable friend. For now, I will protect you with my life” Thought Ravi, clutching his beloved heart.

I am Seshu

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We are having our monthly picnic in the hills now, as I speak to you.

I, Seshu, my twin sister Diya and her beau Raghu – Her Beau who is my best pal.

There they go again, hugging and kissing, right in front of me, as if I don’t exist, my views on this display of love, don’t matter! Anytime and anywhere is PDA time for these two love birds!

You must be wondering, why do I fret so. After all, these two, are my sister and my best pal. What else would one ask in life?

Ha! Ha! You see, God( if he exists that is!) has been flagrantly unfair to me. My sister Diya, is youth and beauty personified with the grace of a gorgeous gazelle. And I? Bound to a wheelchair, because of my cerebral palsy. Even with this disease, I am an Einstein when compared to my sister. She is a bimbette, you know. You could say a kind one at that. She looks after me with a smothering love! There have been enough times when I have wondered, how does it feel to snap her delicate neck, whenever she came running to bestow upon me, her innate, albeit grating kindness! If only my hands could derive the requisite strength from my burning anger at the unfairness of it all – She being the destiny’s chosen one and I, it’s cruel joke! But then, almost immediately, I feel ashamed at my vile thoughts as Diya fusses over me, narrating her – as is usual – a spectacular day.

Oh! how I hate this see-saw of naked emotions! You can almost feel my blood boil when the public goes gaga over her! How often have I heard them whisper conspiratorially to my father, (an unfortunate widower, who has to bravely bear the vicissitudes of life namely his wife’s death and thereby, looking after the crippled me!! )

How beautiful and dutiful is Diya! So caring! Can’t believe these two, are twins! Tch Tch! Don’t worry, you poor man. Your darling daughter will be the pillar of strength to your handicapped son! He will not be left alone. All will be Ok!

I’m not handicapped, dammit! I have a brain, I have feelings, my heart can feel love and conceal vitriolic hatred too, Thank you! Then, just to rub salt on my festering wounds, my father would come in and ruffle my hair, check the settings of my wheelchair! Eesh father! stop pitying me. They don’t make like you, even in the movies anymore!

To this saccharine sweet setting, to save me from further disaster entered Raghu, Diya’s classmate, as my savior. Raghu is virile, the quintessential Alpha-male. Raghu’s views and tastes match with mine. We would often chat about books, politics, events and he would read out to me, interesting excerpts. He was the first one to see a soul hidden deep inside my crippled and under developed body. He drew me out. I mattered to him, my opinions did.

Diya would often join us, not to contribute but to nod periodically and to eye her dishy classmate.There were fireworks all around. Between Diya and Raghu and unknown to all, my heart beat violently for Raghu. I would wait for him to touch me, lift me, help me around. Those were electrifying moments. But sadly only to me. Raghu had no inkling whatsoever of how I felt. I couldn’t dare let Raghu or for that matter, anyone else know.

This society wasn’t ready yet, for a brother and sister to have the same lover. But if my sexuality or my sexual preference made others uncomfortable or did not fit into the ‘usual’, is it my problem? Should I be the one, always adjusting and conforming to what is ‘Kosher’? Why can’t I be accepted and left alone? I am neither abnormal nor abominable. I just am!! 

As I vacillated between these extreme thoughts, Raghu proposed to Diya. Everyone celebrated except me.

Why good lord? Why? To have your sister touch what was supposed to be mine…All mine. Can you imagine the choking ache that sat permanently in my chest, in my throat? And it was open season now. That open, anytime PDA was enough to pierce my heart. Incensed at this new betrayal by fate, I tried to hog Raghu’s time, whenever he came visiting us, often asking him to help me out with various activities. Seeing Diya get irritated at my being a nuisance, hogging her time, somehow satisfied me.

Father, though, encouraged my growing dependence on Raghu as it somehow comforted him that there would be someone who would look after me, after he was gone.

All was honky-dory, till yesterday. I asked Raghu to help me change my shirt. As his hands struggled with my body, my fingers grabbed his hand and…You should have seen the revulsion in his eyes. As if he had touched a snake. His mental rebuke, killed me on the spot. Wordlessly, he walked out, closing the door behind him, leaving me to battle with my darkness, my demons, my insecurities. The longest hours of my life!

Today is the scheduled day of our monthly picnic in the hills. I thought, Raghu wouldn’t keep up with his date. Surprisingly, he did come but there has been no eye contact with me so far. Today Raghu seemed to hug Diya more, as if to drive home the point.

I am elated nonetheless, just to feel his presence around. I turn my head away, lest someone sees my hot scalding tears. I vow that I will do whatever it takes, to get the status quo back. He is just too precious to let go.

Now, please don’t advise me to forget him, to move on and that there are other fish in the pond as I agree to these already. The heart always craves for what it wants, you see. I don’t think I have the strength to tell father the truth, or to start all over, with someone else. Maybe time will be the best healer.

I move to the edge of the cliff. I can see the valley deep down. I turn back to see them kissing. Raghu’s eyes meet mine. There is that searing hatred in those black orbs…I know it clearly then, that it will never be the same again, come what may!

In a flash, I Seshu, am flying. I can feel the wind in my arms, my legs are dancing, mother Earth is eagerly waiting to embrace me.

I am one with the approving universe, finally.

Last Day in the City

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You could call me Sita, Jahnavi or Vaidehi but the narrative remains the same!

It was my last day in the city of Ayodhya.

Raghav had asked me to leave, knowing fully well that I was carrying his progeny. How easily had his manhood been threatened! By mere hearsay!!

This incomprehensible diktat, broke my faith, my spirit. As my husband, wasn’t he duty bound to protect his five months old pregnant wife? Raghav reckoned that his duty as the king, to be more important than his duty as a husband. By doing so, he might have been eternally deified as the ideal flag bearer of dharma, or as someone who exemplified and taught detachment to his citizens. But was he now, the ideal or coveted life partner?

His need to sustain his thus far unblemished reputation was greater than my needs. Didn’t he realize that by choosing so, he had pierced my tender heart?

Or was it my fault, that my attachment to him, gave him the raw power to hurt my soul?

How many times was I required to prove my purity, my chastity? Probably, as many times as the number of his subjects!

As I sat watching the helpers pack, I couldn’t even cry. The hot scalding anger, refused to flow out as comforting tears. They could pack my clothes, my jewellery. Could they pack in my reminiscences too?

Or my youth spent in the shadow of the epitome of human virtues? My unwavering belief in my man? My eternal love, in spite of it all?

My bravery, my vulnerability, my dreams, my fears or my hopes?

Why didn’t words of anger spew out, questioning the skewed justice of it all?

Why didn’t anyone feel that they owed me an answer, at the very least? Why this abject all-around acceptance of this harshness? They all simply averted their eyes and went about their business. Closing your eyes or your senses to the injustice meted out, didn’t quite make it disappear!

Why couldn’t I say, when I was served my sentence and pronounced guilty, “Raghav, May I be allowed to ask you the same question? Can you honestly promise me that, you didn’t think about another paramour, even for a second?

Those searing questions stayed put, buried deep inside and all I was left, was this gnawing ache. Was that due to the conditioning of generations of us – ‘the so-called fairer sex’? To accept and to endure, without any questions asked? Did I do myself any favor by staying silent?

I am tired, and I am fed up. I don’t want to fight anymore.

Still, something deep inside me cried – I couldn’t give up now. I had to keep on fighting. This fight was not about ME alone. It was about, what is right and what constitutes as fairness!

As I looked around my palatial quarters, the gilded cage of righteousness, I heard some of the staff wondering, if I could cope with the harsh jungles. Especially in my present condition. Would those be more constricting than these opulent, uncaring walls?

Soon, it was time to go. I searched for the same affection that I carried in my heart, in Raghav’s eyes. I barely found any.

I then surveyed around, took a deep breath in, filled my senses with my fragrant memories and walked out with my head held high, to embrace the unknown newness with open arms and innate dignity.

Because, sometimes, walking away from injustice is also ensuring justice to self.

I exhaled.

I lived again.

To write another enthralling chapter!

And that, would be my story!

Author’s note : Narrative changes often due to changing social mores. Only when faced with adversity does one find strength to move on. If she had found the strength to question, the story would have been different across generations.

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

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