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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Never Too Late

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

She sat on the bed caressing his pressed, crisp uniform, wiping away the non-existent tears. The tears had dried up but the searing, gnawing, ache remained like a permanent cloak, sapping all her energy and zest.

‘Is it already a year? Wasn’t it only yesterday, that the moment the informer had called, he wore his uniform and ran to attend the call of duty, promising to finish his favourite meal later, when he returned successful?’

He never kept to his promise. A definite first!

Only a dreaded call ensued, a casket clad in the Tricolor arrived  and a swarm of grieving people descended into her empty home.

‘He embraced death to give us a second chance at life’, they held her and shed copious tears as he was given the ceremonial send off.

The number of visitors reduced to a trickle as the cruel time marched ahead and she was left alone, tending to her permanent sores.

Public memory is ephemeral. If this were to be the harsh reality where everybody had moved on, while only her world had been devastated, why did he take this step? Not one remembered his sacrifice and yet he never shirked his duty. Did he even think about her or the repercussions, in his last minutes at least?

Why didn’t he leave the call of duty to others?

As the dark evening set in, the phone rang.

“Namaste Maam, we are having a service tomorrow in the memory of your brave husband. The very reason, we live…Could you please come?”

She smiled for the first time in the day.

They had remembered. It wasn’t all in vain.  It is never too late to remember your martyrs or to salute them.

She cuddled the uniform once again, feeling his warmth envelop all over her. She didn’t feel lonely now!

When you live for others…You live on…For ever

 

Independence Day

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

As Mother India mulls – 

I am 70 today, Old, hopefully still gold!
Going by the number of invokes,
I’m a much-loved ethos in a billion hearts!

When a child soars or when this nation roars as Mithali scores,
When a Varnika fights her stalker and the angered stand by her,
When a farmer in Bhatinda, smiles at his ready to reap wheat,
When a cabdriver drops a damsel home safe,
When a mother tends to someone’s precious, as her own,
When someone’s earthy rhetoric, sets many souls on fire,
When the diaspora is more Desi than the native-born,


You can be certain that, it was ME, who touched their hearts!

But,
As I creak under the weight of promises unfulfilled,
As I choke with the unbearable stench of human disgrace, violation and abuse,
As I ache at the injustice, affront and monstrosity

I remember that I wasn’t given much chance.
I was written off much before I exhaled.
Yet here I’m, still standing, with all my glaring imperfections and glowing accomplishments.

Agreed, I’m still a Work-in-Progress, at a sprightly Seventy!
The growing ‘Citizen-Activism’ against the widening schisms, gives me hope.
Where I go from here, is up to the hearts that hold me dear!  

Whether they buckle under or soar together triumphantly,
Will be the saga of Tricolor, henceforth”

There are many reasons to love our country. An essence called ‘Unity in diversity‘, binds us together.  Multiple religions, languages, cultures, cuisines, make India, a throbbing, pulsating, vibrant potpourri. It’s hardworking and Jugadoo Youngistan, is a treasure. These make my heart swell with pride, whenever I think of my country!

Vande Mataram

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.

A dream to remember

 

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

Author’s note :  It is actually surreal that this week’s Write Over the Weekend (WOW) prompt, asks us to tell BlogAdda, about a dream that has stayed on, in our subconsciousness. A dream to remember, that often makes us sit up and wonder about it’s mysteriousness. I had this dream about a year back.  I wrote this note to self, all about it, lest I forget the dream, with passage of time.

I reproduce the same  here-

It was one of the most difficult cars to navigate. A mother-of-pearl-white, gigantic Ambassador. That too for a person like me, who did not know how to drive! Against my volition, I was just thrust into the driver’s seat and asked to drive…Just like that!

The controls were all wired terribly wrong. A bus-like gear system, clutch else where, an accelerator in place of a brake and adding to this chaos was the incessant traffic. Enough to break a person.

To my utter delight, I coped beautifully. I drove slowly, avoided collisions and managed to park in a beautiful, lush green colony with happy faces and gamboling children.

Alas, the dark night came in sharply. It was time to head back. The evening traffic and T intersection seemed impossible to overcome.  I then realized with a start, that I was in the rear passenger seat.

A pristine-white clad man with the most benevolent smile, was in the driver’s seat. He navigated with dexterity and cautioned me about an open door in the front, next to the passenger seat, where my first born was sitting.  As I sat transfixed, able to comprehend the gravity of the situation but simply unable to take any action, the pristine-white clad man shut the door for me and continued cruising along.

I saw that there was a steering wheel, clutch, accelerator, brake, in front of me, attached to the driver’s seat.  I tried to use them, to no avail. As the dream ended, the meaning of this entire sequence, hit me with a startling clarity.

All along, I had thought, it was I, who did the driving but all I had, were the dummy controls!

It was all along He!  And Him alone, who steered, navigated the course of my life and who watched out for me!!

Especially when the troubles hit me, making me paralyzed with fear.

So I could hope to soar, with renewed spirit and vigor, with a strong belief that I wasn’t alone in this journey of life!

 

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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