[Day 7] Who can be a hero?

We often hear people say that we need to be an inclusive society that would not only be compassionate to those less fortunate but also create environs that could give them a feeling of self worth. By less fortunate, I mean the differently-abled people. Though we see tremendous development in every sector, we hardly see anything manufactured/built/designed that are friendly for them to use. We rarely see a lift with buttons that also have braille. Ramps are missing in most theatres. Employers continue to hesitate to recruit them despite being well qualified for the job. All they need is someone who’ll see them for whom they are and their skill to fight, conquer the odds and not what they miss. Someone who makes them feel acknowledged, respected, recognized and duly given that chance they truly deserve. If that happens, that someone will be their hero!! It could be any tom, dick and harry who brings about that change in their life!! It’s normal for us to feel compassionate for them but we must remind ourselves to not confuse it with pity and worse still, express that emotion.  Instead, channelizing that compassion towards creating a better world for them will be the heroic deed!

I am fortunate to befriend one such person who has dedicated her life for the betterment of differently-abled people!! She is Ms. Pavithra YS, from Bangalore. In June 2006, at the age of 22, she started Vindhya, a BPO organization in Bangalore whose employee base majorly consists of people with disabilities (PWD’s) as of its production staff. Its production staff comprises mainly of physically challenged, Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, socially disadvantaged women & Border cases of Autistic, it also focuses on women from BPL families to complement the rest of the workforce. She has even learnt sign language in order to converse with hearing impaired people and be one among them to understand and address their needs in a better way.

In the current scenario where the world pities and treats them differently, she has started a new company exclusively for them thereby providing a platform to showcase their skills, confidence and prove the world wrong! She has given them a chance to use their skills, live off their own earnings and lead a dignified life. Prior to this, she was as normal as anyone you come across in daily life. But, now, she is a hero in the eyes of thousands of people!!

When you’re in deep dumps of despair, arms that reaches out to you to rescue, can belong to anyone and that ‘anyone’ will be your hero!!

PS: To know more about her and company, click here.

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What makes a person a hero? Can anyone become a hero? If yes, how?

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[Day 6] I seek you

I seek you

To be at peace,

To not be in pieces.

To be at ease.

To erase the bygone,

To dream about the dawn.

To soothe the pain,

To heal what’s sick,

To mend what’s broken,

To nurse what’s bruised.

To brighten the dark,

To light up a spark.

To calm the raging mind,

To warm the aching heart.

To strengthen the weak,

To toughen the meek.

To drive away my grief,

To be flooded with relief.

I seek you,

Whitener of the past,

Carer of the present,

Foreteller of the future,

Curer of the troubles,

I seek you, O Sleep!!

[Day 5] Sunday is no fun-day

5th post is up after a day’s delay. Ok, I agree. It ought to have been Day 6 but title says Day 5. Yesterday being Sunday, I had my hands full. So, you should excuse me on the grounds of having had a busy day!! You might think, Sunday is the day to rest and be free from the routine and hence I would have had time to blog. In my case, it is the day I am busier than the weekdays! (anyone else shares the same kind of Sundays?!?) All sorts of works which otherwise don’t find a mention in weekday’s schedule, get treated on this day. Cleaning and clearing, decluttering and arranging, washing and ironing – these couples keep me engaged for more than half of the day! It would be almost 2 in the noon and siren would go off in my stomach! After calming the storm, I rest. I rest, how? Options galore – sleep, read books, watch TV/movies/series, meet friends..most of the times, ‘Sleep’ wins and the rest find its slot later. If visitors come in, then they get pushed to next Sunday. Painful wait, yet again! Evening is allotted to get prepped up for the coming week. Once set, those that were neglected in the noon, get their space now. By the end of the day, I get to taste the real Sunday! To summarize, Sundays to me is to clear the pending works of the bygone week and get everything in place for the coming week!

Yes, I work more on Sundays but no, I don’t hate Sundays. I still am that school kid who eagerly awaits Sundays! Do you too relate to me? Are your Sundays also similar to mine? Share your thoughts  🙂

[Day 4] Mentality of people towards waste management

I live in an apartment where many residents are voicing their concerns over waste management and are actively taking part in reaching out to other residents to spread awareness about segregating the waste. Putting words into action, separate dustbins were installed in the apartment: one for WET waste and the other for DRY waste. The group took efforts to make residents understand about wet and dry waste, what fall under which category and why it is important to segregate. Explanatory messages were shared in Whatsapp group, meetings were held, pictures were shared..efforts taken in every possible way! Proved any good? Yes, whenever I went to drop waste, I noticed few people bringing two covers – one each for wet and dry. They also dropped them at the right dustbin! Though they were only few in number, it says there is a scope for improvement and people are trying to change.

If there is a group that is trying to solve the issue, then there must be another trying to counter it! Few days back, when I was taking a walk, I noticed a lady carry a plastic bag full of waste and dump it in dustbin allotted for wet waste! When I politely pointed her that plastic is not supposed be dropped in wet waste, she simply shrugged me off. No words spoken, no action taken. She just walked back. No amount of advocating can bring a change in this matter, I felt. After few days, I saw a boy walking on the pavement of the apartment, sipping a drink in paper cup. Done with slurping, he nonchalantly threw it near a flower-pot kept on the edge. I walked up to him, pointed at the cup and asked him, “Why don’t you drop it in the dustbin? It is just few yards away from here”. Without saying a word, he bent down, collected it, went near the dustbin and threw it off. Not inside but around that very dustbin that I asked him to drop the cup!! Flabbergasted by his behavior and attitude towards his action, I decided there was no use in talking. Only solution was – to pick it up myself and drop it in the right dustbin. Do they litter their homes as well, like this? If not, then can’t they follow it when they step out? Littering is the least we could do to our Mother Nature. I’m not sure of what help this post will be. If at least one of many who reads this, realizes and changes his/her mind, then I’ll consider that this post has served its purpose. Hope.

One may climb Mt. Everest, one may cross the deepest of the oceans, one may travel to moon and be back..but it is tough to change people’s mind!!!!

 

[Day 3] Busy life = Joyless life

I am someone who believes that having a checklist helps one be organized. Father has always insisted on preparing a list in order to avoid last minute panic. Be it a normal day or a trip away, I prepare a checklist: ‘To do’ and ‘To be packed’. I will get into the level of categorizing those ‘to be packed’ items like cosmetics, clothes, stationery, gadgets, et cetera. Every day, in my office, my first task is to check the ‘To do’ list and at the end of the day, when I strike off that last time, it gives a sense of accomplishment…as if every ounce of energy was used productively.

At a later point of time, for a change, I went few days without any checklist and to my surprise, I felt free, as if I had more time to do many things that I usually neglected. It got me thinking. When we wake up every morning with a list of things to do, the wonder, novelty and beauty of the day is lost. What awaits us is a deadened routine. We become blind to everything else other than the to-do list. What seemed a busy life then seems a joyless life, now. When can one feel the joy? Only when one is open to all the small happenings and possibilities in a day! Enjoy and savour all that the moment has to offer. To do this, one needs to be at the moment and fully awake.. this is totally unlikely when the day is already designed. To toil is easy but to see and feel the joy, is hard. Yes, it is hard but not impossible!

Trust me..it feels good to take a snail-back journey every now and then. You will be surprised to see and get to know of many that were right under your nose yet went unnoticed!

[Day 2] Time – what I did and did not

Today I decide to step out of my shoes, turn into a third person and observe my own life in phases: school, college and wedded, with respect to what I did, do with the time I had then and now. Indeed going back to the age of innocence does wonders to your look – age lines off; smile lines on!!

Alert: Prepare yourself to read a lengthy post.

School:

Obvious: Majority of the time was spent in school and tuition centers learning stuffs of which not even 5% have been put to use at any later point of time. It was mandatory. So, on with the flow, I went.

Best: I consider myself fortunate having had a fair share of time going out and playing with friends of my age. Instead of cooping myself in front of TV, I spent it wisely by playing and earning more friends in that process.

Loss: Failed to spend time in reading books! Though I had the means (school library and parents income), I capitalized on neither. Despite regular egging from father to read The Hindu every day, I was sporadic. Apart from wondering at my father’s great command over English and the way he came up with write-up for any articles I asked him, at the drop of hat, I did nothing to follow him. Time gave me a chance to ameliorate my vocabulary. I failed to seize it.

I had all the time to learn an art, a new language or a sport and many more. I refused to use it. First seed of abusing time was sowed here.

College:

Obvious: Majority of the time was spent in college and hostel. Having liberated from the locks of tuition, I chose to fly high on the freedom and energy that the term “college” gave. Initial years were spent on adjusting as a hosteller, getting grip of college rules and my responsibilities. Dreaded words such as assignments, presentations, semester exams consumed much of free time and were loathed.

Loss: I would be lying if I said, “I had to fight with the above mentioned demons, so never had time to think of anything else”. In this phase, in addition to time, I had more facilities- laptop, huge library, free yet restricted internet, free supply of newspapers at doorstep, and a chance to make new friends and have fun with them. I had all the time to do whatever I wished for, with all them. Free access to books in all genres- did I spend good amount of time reading them giving food for thoughts? No! Internet – did I use it productively to know how stuffs worked and keep me updated of the latest (apart from using it for study purposes, opening Facebook account and Gtalk)? No! The Hindu showed up yet again – did I make it a habit to read it religiously? No! I was just an occasional headline-gazer! Made friends for life? Yes, but very few! Art/ language/ sport?? – If I didn’t do it at the comfort of my home, you think I would have done it as a hosteler?!

Thus that seed had been watered regularly and grew into a plant. Too much of negativity is not good, right? Let’s see some gains.

Gain: During my post-graduation days, I was mature enough to realize what I missed during under-graduation days and made amends. From being an occasional reader I changed to a regular but cursory reader (!!). I read many books- mainly classics (Jane Austen, my favorite), not those CB, filmy types. It helped me improve my vocabulary to an extent that my father (remember I mentioned how much of a command he has over English) appreciated my language, sensing an improvement in it. Great personal achievement indeed!! With that confidence, I grew wings as a blogger. It opened a vast space for me to connect with people whom I have never met and in the process, gained much knowledge by exchanging mails, comments and having healthy discussions. Spent quality time in library on quality books and made happy memories with friends, staff and the campus itself! All my memories are of different shades of happiness..memories that I hold close to my heart , that I relive often! Friends for life- Yes and now, many!!

Thankfully, I woke up and didn’t let that plant grow into a sapling!

Married life:

Obvious: Initial two months into married life was spent in coming to terms with the fact that I am married, have to manage new responsibilities that tagged along. Good amount of time was spent soaking it all in.

Gain: Spent time in learning new language – Kannada – to speak, read and write! A small step towards my wish of becoming a polyglot! Not wanting to be idle, started working from 3rd month into marriage. Gained exposure to working environment, tasted the feel of earning first-ever salary and experienced a change in the way I perceive life – by observing and learning from differently-abled people in my office, felt I must be thankful for whatever God has gifted me with. By merely co-existing with them, I learned not to take anything for granted, that something which is normal for me is only a dream for many. That, I must say, has had a huge impact on me and I am only thankful for that. Other than these, time was well spent in trying my hand at cooking, gaining experiences to take control of my emotions and actions.

Loss: Being a working woman and taking active part in house chores deprives one off the pleasures of having “my-time”. Thoughts on either work or home kept my mind occupied and personal wishes took a back seat. I realized it yet chose to go with the flow! Time spent in reading papers and books dwindled down.

Those books in my shelf reached out to me with open hands, “come! Let’s venture into new worlds and wade through the sea of imagination!” But, I keep running away! Those papers keep calling me, “come! Let’s know the world!” I turn deaf ears towards those. Those series and films that I collected over years shout out from hard disk, “come! Let’s laugh, cry and wonder together!” I never let them near me. Those days I actively blogged, cry out aloud, “come! Let’s hold hands together, again and create magic with words!” I don’t budge!

I feel I am at loss.. loss of time. By now, I fear that plant has grown into a huge Banyan tree with branches everywhere!!

In various stages of life, I had time at my beck and call. But I have misused, abused, disused and refused to use it, in all possible ways! Now, standing at this junction, I regret having done so. Here is my last word.. Time – the value of which is so less when we have it, so much when we lose it!

PS: If you are here, reading this, thanks for spending your time reading my rant! Means a lot   🙂

[Day 1] My Prized Possession

What does the term “Possession” mean? To own something- says WordWeb. That “something” could be an object (self-bought or a gift) or a memory or a person that is close to your heart…that you care for deeply above all else. Many a times, it is associated with an object. Rarely does a memory become a possession in this I-have-no-time-for life, as I observed. Though I am for savouring certain special memories and devouring them at my leisure, I do consider one special thing, a letter, as my prized possession.  Every word of it oozing affection and love! From a close friend of mine, 4 years ago I received a cover letter along with a gift. A gift bought out of first ever job’s first month salary! Having two “first-ever” makes it more special, in my opinion.

Quoting few lines pearls from it, “They are not expensive, may not even be that beautiful. But I picked them out myself, bought it with my own money and that I think makes it more special. Hope you have the same feeling towards it!!“.

Of course, I did, then; I still do, now and will continue to feel the same, ever! Expressing in words could hardly do justice to how exactly I feel every time I read those words!! Like a stream of joy gushing within and out, on my face, is its reflection! We are in an era where handwritten letters or notes have become extinct species. I am glad that she chose to write instead of SMS or call. Whenever I hold that letter and read for the nth time, memory of receiving the courier, unwrapping the gift and reading the letter flood me with the exact sensations I felt when all of them happened for the first time..when that memory was first formed. I am sure that special friend will be reading this.. you know who you’re and you also know you have been, are, will be my only close friend! I am glad I have you 🙂

I have received many gifts and have purchased many for my own use out of money that I earned but nothing can hold a candle to this one letter! Instead of piling diamonds and gold in bank locker, I am happy that I have collected many such prized possessions in my mind’s and wardrobe’s locker! That’s something that nothing can take away!

A challenge to self

I have challenged myself to write a blog post every single day for 5 continuous days (minimum) to 10, the max. This is mainly to silence the voices within that says: you wish to get better at something (writing), do it regularly. To see if I could really pull this off or I will eventually yield to the external forces that have so far successfully hindered me from being regular. One word could trigger a string of thoughts and I could pen them all. One incident could move me much that I decide to share it with the world. One word might affect and impact much to write about it. One person could inspire me to share what is it about him/her that inspired. I could find the muse to pen the words, if only I am open and seize whatever that comes my way. You readers can also be a part of this by sharing a word to two about which I will try to write. What matters the most in this attempt is, consistency. Perfection and the rest take a back seat. (Note to self)

Thanks in advance   🙂

Life can be pretty strange at times

Strange to an extent that you would be feeling helpless, wondering what exactly is going on, trying hard to get a grip of what’s happening within you and around you. To an extent that you truly do not know whether you should feel happy and smile or sad and frown or both simultaneously. To an extent that one day you will find yourself flying up in the air; the next, lying deep down in the dumps of despair! One day, it turns all colorful; the next, only the shades of grey! Yet, life goes on and on you go along with its flow. Hoping one day, everything will be alright. One day and when is it? You know not. In this journey called Life all one can do is to hope for a better tomorrow but not predict. You are just as likely to be wrong about it as you are to be right. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Yes, true. In life, when everything seems bizarre and you’re struggling to get hold of it, the best way to move ahead is to accept what was, must be and would be. We have always believed in the better that awaits us however hopeless the present may seem, haven’t we? Continue to do so. Else, your mind will always be in the state of unrest and you will lose the chance of experiencing the true happiness that life is kind enough to bless you with. Whatever is happening in your life may not make sense everyday and every time. What doesn’t make sense today, will make perfect sense, someday. Till that day comes, for now, smile through tears, laugh the confusion off and remind yourself that everything happens for a reason. A reason that may well be out of your control.

On alarming behavior of kids

Today morning, as I was waiting in the bus stop, heard the following conversation between a small boy, perhaps 6-7 years old and his mother. His granny was also present near them.

Boy: *has already seen the ice cream shop behind him* Get me ice cream! Now! *sobbing*

Mother: Not now, dear! You go to school now,evening I will get you ice cream.

Boy: No! I want to have it now. only then I will go to school *more sobbing*

Granny: Listen child! Evening you can have it at leisure. Now, you are getting late to school

Boy: You keep quiet! *rudeness lost in translation; read SHUT UP*

Granny looked stunned!

Mother: Okay! Come! else, you will never stop!

To many, the above conversation might seem very casual and something that has become or accepted to be normal. Not to me. I was as equally shocked as that granny by the way that boy snapped a reply at her and more, to see his mother turning deaf ears towards such a rude behavior.  She didn’t even utter a word of reprimand. No, I am not ready to buy the reason that she was too busy in calming the boy to notice his words. No. What is this concept of kids not respecting elders? What is this concept of parent just watching it like an entertainment? What prevents them from chiding their own children, I wonder! Is it because they fear of being (/having been) treated the same way? Could their inability or the fatigue in dealing/ putting up with such disrespectful attitude of their kids, be the reason? Or worse, could it be like the saying, “children learn and imbibe from their parents”? I hope not. At this budding age, kids should be taught of values and ethics. What’s happening is the opposite of what was supposed to be. This upstart behavior from kids must be nipped off when it is still a bud. Else, they will never get to know something as basic as having innate respect to elders!

I am equally alarmed by something similar.. the latest Poorvika mobiles ad wherein the kid tries to clarify her doubt with the help of her grandfather. As she is unable to understand his response, she comments, “Why can’t you ever explain anything in a way it is easier to understand?” Now, her grandmother barges in approving and appreciating(!!) the above comment and goes on talking about Poorvika. I feel that appreciation part should have been skipped as it sends out a wrong message.. that even elders approve and support kids who pass such degrading comment (again, it is my personal opinion. I agree to disagree). Alarming, indeed!!

Today, you and I may not have gone through what that granny had to. Tomorrow or day after our own kids or neighbours’ may behave like the boy of today! So, to you, readers, I request.. please don’t merely be a spectator when you encounter such situations in future.. if not twist the ears, at least say few words so that they realize their mistake and apologize!

A small step towards creating better human beings of tomorrow!