The Lord and His ways.

I am up earlier than usual. It’s close to 5 in the morning, my sleep all gone and am wide awake. Maybe I am just excited about the long day ahead. A lot of things to be done – meeting old school pals, couple of mentors and close teachers, checking out my old hang outs. I lay on my bed waiting for my alarm to go off. At a distance I can hear the hymns from the church and the call for namaz from the mosque go together. It felt great to be back in my room where I spent the major part of my teenage life. Every wall in the room had bits of papers stuck – posters, write-ups, handmade calendars. The place was a mess when I came in last night. Books of my last five years’ education were all over the place. Getting into college excited me a lot that I never bothered to clean up my room. Well, cleaning my room was never a part of my to-do list even when I was jobless let alone when packing for college.
            Am all dressed up, after a quite contending shower, unlike the hurried ones before college. The climate outside was fabulous. It gets sticky towards the middle of the day but at this time of the day it was cool and there was a sign of a crisp wind, just enough to ruffle my hair. It is just ten minutes away from my place. The roads are empty. The whole place is silent except for the occasional noises made by the early buses plying through the road. The usual nostalgic feel hit me hard – birds chirping, smell of the rain – cliché it is but it does help bring up the mood. Certain things can only be appreciated when you have experienced the opposite. After spending a long time in a place filled with smokes and vehicles and your life being busy and noisy, it didn’t take a long while for me to appreciate where I was right now.
       I have always wanted to write about this place I was going to – this temple. I first came to this temple around 7 years back. It was just a small structure and not many worshippers came here then. This temple was one of those which were owned by the rulers of the place ages back. So the history says that every royal family got to keep their own temple where no one from outside was allowed to enter. It was strictly for the benefit of the royal family and only they were allowed to offer prayers there. As time went by, royal families diminished and they found it hard to maintain the temples on their own. There were no more royal families or their temples. Such temples were opened for all. This was the latest temple to be opened for public in such a way.
              As I near the temple, I walk through the memory lane. It reminded me of the times when I used to speed down in my bicycle, how I used to rush here before I go to school for my major exams. This temple has got me going through the hardest times. The walls and pillars know me better than my family maybe. They have seen my struggle with my inner-self, with my insecurities, with my fears. They have heard many things that no one in my life has ever heard from me. The Lord of this temple with whom I have confided many of my secrets has always been there performing miracles for me.
        This temple has grown into what it is today. Now it has a wide footpath running around it, a nicely finished paint job, beautiful mural sculptures on the wall, and a big framed image of the proposed design of the renovated temple. There aren’t many people when I went in, maybe a bit too early for the regular folks. Just a couple of old women and an old gentleman. The manager of the temple is amused to see me. He does his usual round of enquiries – my college and the place and how long it has been since I paid a visit. Although things have changed around here the L
ord hasn’t. The same all-knowing smile and the same gracious look that could drown all your worries.
         All my atheists friends have asked me how one could connect to a lifeless figure or a statue and my answer was always the same. Its way easier to connect to a statue than all the other living beings.
I sit there for a while talking to Him, as though two old friends catching up after a long time. I could hear one of the old ladies chanting a long Sanskrit prayer slowly. I head back to home. On my way back I realize that all our wishes die soon and we find ourselves back where we started with a new set of wishes. I was here few years back wishing to get into the college where I am studying now. And when I am almost done with it am back here again. While I have changed a lot of my beliefs and thoughts why couldn’t I ever forget this small temple? Is my greed the reason why I am here today or is it the Lord’s way of keeping me closer to Him? Well I guess I’ll never know.

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Two sides of the story

Shopping time with dad !!! So what, can’t dad and son go for shopping ! Dad was leaving to our home town and we had to please many of our relatives back home with souvenirs -like daily usable souvenirs. It is still believed that things from outside stands above anything in our own place. Foreign goods are always welcomed with open arms, may it be durables or consumables, for a matter of fact even foreign made human beings! The belief is that things are quite cheap and are of a better quality when it is from a foreign nation. I never knew people could have such a low self esteem. Come on, we are the second largest community in the world and why would anyone want to sell us anything of poor quality. We are one of the biggest markets they have, if ever they are producing anything of higher quality it is us whom they are going to sell first. But trying talking this into their heads we become misers of the three worlds! So we don’t take much pain explaining the current world scenarios to them, we simply buy stuffs for them.

Every person who lives outside the country for a livelihood shall be prepared to face a set of questions when he/she comes to his/her hometown.

“Ahh…when did u reach?”

“Ooohhkay..when are you leaving?” this question that perturbs every human on vacation would be asked on the day 1.

“So what did you get for me?” this question is seasoned with a blatant smile.

Well what am going to write is not about any of this. Going back to the story, so we were there shopping in the stores and all of a sudden dad forgets what he had to get one of the relatives so we had to call mom and ask. Since me and dad went to the stores after our evening walk we hadn’t taken our phones. Dad asked me to use the store’s phone to call mom up and ask. I walked down the racks and when I reached where the store had placed the phone I find it is already being used by another person. I decided to wait for there sometime but it was too awkward to wait there starring at the person talk. So I started checking out the things around. I almost finished one whole side of the store an the guy is still on the phone and it got me thinking like “ What did he forget to get ? His telephone bill ?” I furiously walked away from there and found dad still trying to choose between two tees for an uncle of mine. He looked at me and asked what took me long and I told about the never ending telephone call that was going on out there. He smiled and went back to deciding which tee to choose. After few minutes, I decided to check if he was done calling and from far I saw him placing the phone back on the receiver and it hit me like rain hit the broke Indian farmers. I ran towards the phone like the hero runs towards the heroine who escaped from her own father’s captivity (talking about bollywood movies..). But things turned ugly, (now slow motion ) the same guy picked the phone again and dialed another number. I was speechless and tired. I just stared at him and was ready to leave when he saw me. He gestured asking me if I wanted to use the phone and I nodded. He gave me an embarrassed smile and cut the call and left. I wanted to say “Dude this phone is for emergency and not for people to call their friends and family” but didn’t feel like to. I just called mom, clarified everything and went back to shopping.

When I was walking back home I kept on thinking about this person. I was thinking about how cheap he was to use the stores phone to make long calls and that and this. But somewhere along this thought came this question- what if there was another side to the story? What if he was trying to save some cash to make enough cash to pay his father’s hospital bills back home or what if he was saving up to pay his daughter’s school fees? Maybe he was talking to his daughter and she could have been telling him about where she wants to do college and stuffs. I who hated this guy a minute ago felt sorry for him.

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What I learned from this is no matter how ugly a person’s actions can be, it might have an explanation that a human heart could understand. I don’t know if my version of his story was right but I felt happy and good believing it that way. It is always easy to judge people out of anger and frustration that fumes out of our heads but try thinking the other way round. It wouldn’t do much good to the person whom you judge but it will definitely do good to you. Your heart becomes more human, more beautiful and more happy. The more human you are the more caring you will be. The more beautiful you are more lovely you will be. The more happy you are the more longer you will live.

Live like a five year old …..

The weekend is here, no plans in my house. Dad and mom have reached that age where you just wanna sit at home and watch some TV. Spend their only day off relaxing at home. They find happiness in here- “If you can’t relax and be happy at your home with your family, then you will never relax or find happiness anywhere on earth.” said a popular bollywood actor in a movie.

I couldn’t sit at home any longer. My body longed for some fresh air, I decided to go out for a walk. It was almost 15 minutes past 9 as I strolled down the park. There were a bunch of kids playing football. They were in various football club jerseys and boots and all other paraphernalia for football. They were happy and carefree. The first thing that I thought was “What are they doing in the park at this time?” before I realized it was a weekend. I stood there looking at them playing carefree and I really missed that.

football-player-clipart-bcyE9oygiI remember my days when I used to play till early night during the weekends. It was so much fun because we didn’t have to think of getting up the next day for school, or about any homeworks left. When we end the day’s game we would completely be contented and would be just as happy as the beginning of the game unlike the other days. I looked at them and I could only wish to go back to those days, when there were no expectations on us, when life was simple. We either wanted to be a policeman or a pilot (that was back then, kids nowadays want to be aerospace engineer what we called rocket scientist back in our days!) Well don’t get me wrong here reading all this, I am just a 20 year old. But yet I want to go back to my childhood, it happens to all of us. We all want to be young, go back to the past -maybe out of regret, or due unquenchable desire of going to the good old happy days. You come across this desire at least once in your lifetime, I can assure you that.

Today, for me the idea of success is much different, it is higher and a lot of thought has to be put in. When you were a child, to achieve success, all you needed to do was to work hard. But as you grow older its not only about the hard work element, it is also about the decisions we make in order to achieve your goal. We solely become responsible for all the events in our lives, this is when the word ‘regret’ creeps into our heads. When we fail, we regret of not choosing the alternate, not choosing the other path. The regrets pushes us to the deep pits of depression and frustration, and makes us older than we are. The regret makes us people who we are not. It blinds us from seeing the good part of the life and attracts more regret. If ever I could learn how to live life like a 5 year old…

THE HARDSHIP OF INTERSHIP

Do you remember those days when you were a kid and you made a lot of trouble, your mom would give you crayons and a sheet of paper so that you could scribble something and she would get some peace of mind. That my friends is the earliest version of internship in your life. The whole concept of internship is built on this idea.
Have you ever felt like the most important man on earth, the need of the hour, like superman! If yes, its time that you apply for an internship. An internship not only makes you feel the most useless and unwanted person in the whole of the universe but also makes you start doubting your existence.

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Now moving on to a poem written by an intern.
Note to readers – this poem is written by a commerce graduate who has no prior experience in poetry. The only poem he knows good is twinkle twinkle little star. Do not expect usage of high end vocabulary.

Poet’s note
Hey all,
Before any one reads my poem I want you all to know that this is my first time and I have no prior experience ( that’s the second time I am using that sentence. First time was for the interview.) Internship has pushed me to the deepest heights of boredom that I have started poetry. Please excuse me if I fail the rules of poetry.

To all the suffering interns…

Internship

I am sitting here looking at you,
My dear statement of profit and loss !
I did talk to the boss,
Everyone is busy it seems;
What a loss !
Two sheets of paper
With digits all over .
“Work it out and find if anything is wrong !
It can’t be done later,
And it shouldn’t take long !”
But then I did this in KG (kindergarten)!
I move to take coffee.
You know, here coffees are free !
But everyone looks at me,
I know I have already had three,
But that doesn’t mean u can judge me!
The coffee is good,
But a little more cream wouldn’t have harmed !
Joblessness in this office, I am alarmed !

I am done with this job denial

If ever I get any- it is menial
Couple of months more,
This is going to be bad,
This is going to be sad,

I willend up being mad,

The internship……. !

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The Smartphone Dream.

Like any other day I sat on the couch sliding through my facebook wall and watching a movie in TV simultaneously (we excel in multi-tasking just like the new age mobile processors). While I sit there with my eyes fixed in the phone and my ears dedicated to the movie, my ears come across couple of interesting ads on the TV. So am going to talk about it and share my thought.

India is renowned for accommodating high number of telecom service providers. You see, it’s kinda funny, since the telecom market in India is highly competitive and involves a considerable degree of government intervention these service providers cannot start price wars and hence the only way to woo customers is through their appalling ads.

The first ad goes like this- This ad is to promote the telecom service providers called ‘IDEA’. They brought out this amazing *sarcastic cough* concept called IIN which basically stands for Idea Internet Network. They claim that the youngsters in the country can stop going to educational institutions and pursue their academic dreams through their IIN. So in the ad we are shown two youngsters sitting on a hillside.Let us name them A and B for our – mmh- my convenience. A seems to be holding a brochure of some hotel management school. B then says that his father isn’t financially strong enough to send him to a hotel management school. Now A throws the brochure high up in the air and kind of screams with utmost confidence “We don’t have to go to school to study!”  B curiously asks “What? Then how?” and then the other one takes out his smart phone and says “We will study through IIN!” I sit there staring at all this mockery. Man, when I wanted to join college, I went through an enormous number of colleges in India and made research like report and showed it to my parents and they did their own researching and we all together finalized a college. It almost took me a whole month. As far as I know Indian parents are the only mammals on earth so deeply interested in their offspring’s life. In such an environment how on earth would two INDIAN boys set out to study from a mobile network that too an Indian mobile network. You know what is funny about Indian mobile networks, they are like BATMAN, can never predict its arrival, except Batman had a working bat‘SIGNAL’. As the ad moves along, we find that the two boys have started figuring out the As and Bs of cooking from internet using the IIN and they rent out the terrace of an old building and start all their practical tests there. And one fine day they decide that they are good enough to start their own restaurant (on the same terrace). Now the old terrace looks like a million dollar villa’s terrace and I have no idea how they did that (maybe they learned that too from IIN). And the funniest part-uh nah- this is the second funniest part- we see foreign customers! Have you got any idea how long it takes to get a foreign customer especially for restaurants in India. I have been to places where they hang pictures of foreigners who have come there. Indians have deep respect and awe for foreigners, then why did we ask them to leave India in the first place O.o? The foreign woman asks for some dish which obviously our IIN chef did not know how to prepare. He Googles it out!! He finds it and cooks it- the point to be noted is that he didn’t know the dish at all in the beginning and hence he hasn’t made it even for once and then he makes it right in the first try. Well I am not making any comparisons and all but I took a week to learn how to make a proper burger! Forget that part let us move on. Now ladies and gentlemen presenting to you the most funniest part of the ad- the two boys they get to be in the cover page of a magazine following which they get the ‘’BEST HOTEL AWARD’. I didn’t know it was this easy to get an award in hospitality. I bet the owners of various restaurants and hotels would have lost their cool after seeing this ad. The sad part is that the service providers believe that they can actually woo the customers by such awful ads.

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Now the second one – this one is less ridiculous as compared to the first one. This ad belongs to AIRTEL. The ad starts with portraying a young guy who seems to be a travelling places on his motorcycle. Well travellers usually travel to places they have never been to but our guy is here at his home town. Well can’t completely criticize that, preferences of travellers varies. Moving on, the guy sees an old man selling ice creams in his old cart.  He (young guy) suddenly takes his smart phone and starts recording the video of the old man. Soon there is a group chat among his friends (supposedly school friends). Now let us meet the friends. When the guy calls them, a lady is shooting (she is behind the camera) something in a forest like area, there is another guy who is in navy uniform, and a corporate guy in shirt and tie. They all are surprised to see the old man. They all come down to their old school where our first guy says he met the old ice cream man. They wait for the old fellow to come, and as he comes they call out “Uncle!” and the old guy turns to look at them, he stares at them. The ageing has mildly affected his memory. Then each shout out the money they owe to him. He smiles at them and says “No more loans for you all”. They shout out “We are not here for loans, we are here to repay it!” Then a huge red bus is seen with UNCLE’S ICE CREAM written on its sides in huge white letters and an image of the old guy. Well very touchy isn’t it. Basically the story is that the gang used to hang out having ice creams from this old guy (who wasn’t old then-duh!) and they owed him some amount each, and they are here to return all that along with some generous interest. All the viewers after seeing this would have wished to have given them loans when they were kids!! This has got a very cute and touching storyline but the reality is if we had such people around this world would have been a really great place to live in. What I think would have been more acceptable is that maybe they all going down to that place and meeting him and paying him something extra rather than buying him a whole new huge truck. How is he going to maintain it now? Am not being too much of a critic but we live in a world where kids don’t have time to spend with their parents, that’s a fact and we got to face it. In such a world people, that too people with high profile jobs keep all their work aside to meet this old man. But I have to admit this one is much better than the former one discussed.

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After seeing this ads I still am sitting on the couch staring at my phone, but I am not staring at any posts or any wall, just at my phone and am thinking “They show me this piece of thing can make so many differences, but I have seen no one using it that way. All I see outside day in and day out is people walking around looking into these, people driving around looking into these, people talking to each other looking into these. Well what do I trust now.” And I myself figure out the answer for it, I picked this up from my brother “A technology’s use cannot be generalized, it depends on the user! A wise one makes wise use of it while a foolish one uses it for foolish purposes!”

Well now that’s done with, I continue to scroll down facebook posts and watch– uh sorry- hear the movie.

SUKHDEV.

Christmas Eve, all busy planning parties and shopping meanwhile I don’t have many plans for the day. So I plan to give something back to society- this post is about what I saw on Christmas Eve. Before I start, I need to thank my landlord, a wonderful lady who I had approached with the request to cook food for 20 people, as me cooking food would be more of a punishment than help. She accepted the request even without a slightest hesitation and made wonderful dish for them. I packed the food and we set off for F.C.Road (I was joined by a friend.).

F.C.Road is a very busy and crowded road where you get everything for very reasonable prices. The road is named after the FERGUSSON COLLEGE (F.C), one of the oldest colleges in pune. You can find almost everything in this, restaurants to cheap clothes. The crowd in the road attracts a lot of homeless beggars and urchins. They would always love free food. As we start walking, a small girl approached us. She is small, I could say she was around six years old. Her brown rough hair was tied back. She holds her palm open and looks at us but doesn’t speak a word.

“What is your name?”

“Lakshmi”, she is named after the goddess of wealth according to the hindu myth.

“Do you go to school?”

She nodded eagerly waiting for me to put something in her open palm.

“Which school?”

She just points blankly to the left.

“Which class are you in?”

No answer, she just stares at me. I hold one finger up intending to ask if she was in first grade. She nods her head. I hold two fingers up and she nods for that too. I smiled realising the truth. Soon a shopkeeper walks up to me and advices me not to waste time on these urchins.

“They are born shoplifters! There is no point wasting time on them. You please go ahead sir!”

I fail to understand how bad a six year old can be. Given a situation where your survival is questioned any human being wishing to stay alive would do anything to stay alive. The ignorance just increases their frustration and desperation. They would steal, beg or do anything to move along with the crowd. We moved ahead, and we met lot of people on the way but here i am going to introduce you to a young boy who sells heart shaped balloons. What my assumption here is that after the strict implementation of the begging prevention acts, the children are sent to beg with these balloons as a cover.

It is quite late now and all of them had moved to their small tents away from the city. It was hard for us to find needy people. Soon my friend points out to a boy peeping through the window of a very famous pizza restaurant. We called him over,

“What is your name?”

“Sukhdev”, he was shy and confused.

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I asked him similar questions about school and age; I was astonished when he said he did not know his own age. His parents work as daily labourers quite far from the city. He comes to the city in the morning with balloons that his mother gives him. He tries to sell as many as possible to keep his family moving.

Dear people, here we are talking about a child who, I would say, is not more than 14 years of age. He hasn’t been to school at all, doesn’t know his own age and roams around the city where danger lurks in every dark corner. Is this ignorance because we have plenty of children of this age in the country or is it because we have become too focused or shall I use the word selfish on our own worlds that we don’t care about them.

All it takes is a little attention to find them, all it takes is little smile and a small cup of tea to brighten up their day and show the rest of the world what humanity is.

We have hundreds of Sukhdevs and Lakshmis all around the country.

Gun shots and shattered dreams

He sat staring at the television kept in the corner of the dusty room. He had just lit the cigarette and the pattern of the smoke took all his attention. The people on the screen were going crazy but nothing mattered to him anymore. He sat back looking at it burn away just like he wanted his life to. Light hardly filled the room through the drapes.

Doctor – that was his dream. He saw him in white overcoat with the stethoscope hanging from his neck. He smiled at the thought, and the smoke rushed out. He was tired, his lungs felt heavy each time he dragged in the wretched magical poison. Through the smoke he could see him helping the poor in the hospital, going around the villages serving the needy. The thought of his name appearing on the newspapers and televisions made him smile again. The shelves in the house filled with the awards he would receive for his outstanding contribution towards human kind.

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The burnt ash falls on his thighs but he wouldn’t move; he is still caught in his thoughts. They were screams and shouts in the TV – justifications and explanations! Nothing mattered to him anymore. He knows that his dreams would just be dreams. His dreams were wiped away by his blood. His life was cold and pale just like his lifeless body. The last touch of his son’s warm body was when we held his hands tightly just before sending him to the class just to hold his cold body at the end. The tiny hands and tiny legs smeared with blood. His tiny little eyes still wide open but sad and frightened. Those eyes always shined when he called him out.

Now nothing mattered to him- the reasons, the justifications, the explanation, and the promises for action! For him, his child was killed, for him his dream was shattered. The flame that pushed him to live was put out just like the stub of the cigarette. He lit another one and continued giving a damn about nothing!

My heart goes to the parents who have lost their dreams and hopes in the very unfortunate unjustifiable incident.