Thursday, January 17, 2019

Friend - 55F

Diya stood at the edge ready to jump. She had lost everything worth living for and was feeling completely alone!

Reema wiped tears, looking at the photographs, missing her friends. Finally divorced, she wanted to reconnect with her old world she had lost touch.

*Phone Ringing*

“Diya, Reema here. I need my best friend now!”

P.S - This post is part of weekly challenge that me and my friends have started to get us back to our passions of writing and art work that we all used to do!!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Empathy – Novel concept of Human Library!

Last weekend saw me and my husband attending something pretty interesting!
Human Library – is a novel concept which has started its edition in Hyderabad 1st and now in Bangalore.

We both had registered out of curiosity. We got a mail confirming our registrations and a time slot was given for us to come. We went to the venue wondering how the event will play out.

There were 7 books from which we could choose. We realized that time slot was just 1 way of confirming for 1 book but we could actually visit other books in other time slots if it were open.

Each book topic had got us curious but with time constraint and slot constraint, we chose 2 books to attend on that day. I mention attend here, as the book(author) shares his/her story and we can have discussions/question-answer as needed. Since this was the 1st session, there was 30 mins time slot fixed so that everyone will get a chance with the books.

I am not going to share on what were the books and what was discussed, because this is something one needs to experience and have their own insights on it. You can read more about them in these 2 sites :

What I am going to delve into is how interesting this idea is and why we should have more of this to spread “Empathy”.

If you read the “about” section of human library page, they mention: “The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.”

Empathy is an emotion or I can even call it a tool, which can help us immensely in our lives – both professional and personal. In this era, where we are all chasing dreams, numbers and are all moving so fast to get where, which even I don’t know, we are missing on one very important aspect of life called Empathy. We want everything done for us, we want others to stop and help/support us but are we ready to stop when someone else wants us?

In this generation, where we are more vocal about things and question the so called “stereotypes”, are we actually accepting the world as it is or want the world to be how we want to see it? There is less tolerance and anything that’s not in line with our thoughts, we either question it or fight it.
There are times when I believe that while we have access to more knowledge and these should give us the exposure to change our minds on lot of things, we are actually narrowing our mind on the knowledge.

We are all so engrossed in our lives, that we do not realize that the small world we lead in is not the only world but a small subset of so many things that this world has to offer! We believe that “things” happen to others and not to us!
The books in the human library question this narrow mindedness and want to bride this gap by making us aware and question the stereotypes and make us wonder, with the technology advancement, why are we not advancing in these thoughts!

I sincerely hope Human Library expands and we have more books/readers growing across the country to break these shackles and make our world more open-minded!

Monday, July 18, 2016

1st Heartbreak!

Neetu sat patiently waiting for him to come. She looked around but could not see him.
She hoped he will come before his parents came home. This was her little secret that she cherished. She knew that her parents would never approve of this. She didn’t want to get caught when these moments gave her the happiness she has been yearning for.
It was not that her parents were bad, it was just that they were strict and wanted her to study and be the “good girl”. She had always wanted them to approve of what she does but they were too busy to notice this. Being a single child, she felt bored at home doing everything herself. All her friends lived quite far and she was not allowed to go alone to meet them. The one time she had thrown tantrum to go to her friend’s place, her mother had made her sit in the dining table and tried to explain the “safety” reasons of not allowing her to go alone. But it didn’t help her mood and only made her angrier.
She still remembered the day she met him. It was a lazy afternoon and she was bored. In no mood to study, she went out in the backside near the gate to sit and enjoy the slight breeze. The gate was always locked. She sensed someone staring at her. She got scared and was about to go back to the house when she saw his eyes.
Those dark brown eyes were staring at her. She stood frozen in her place as she saw him and knew she was in love with him.
Soon they started meeting every day at the same time. She started looking forward to each day with fresh energy. She realized what love can do to your life. She tried to hide her enthusiasm behind her day to day mundane tasks so that no one suspected.
After almost 6 months after the 1st meet, today he didn’t come yet. He was always on time. It was cloudy and seemed like it might rain any time. She kept waiting and waiting and then headed back inside wondering what happened.
She waited the next day but he didn’t come. Soon a week passed and finally she could not bear it and broke down. When her mother came back home, she found Neetu crying.
She tried to cajole her and tell her, but Neetu just could not stop crying and didn’t say a word.
She kept looking outside waiting for her prince to come and call her out – meow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ghost in the Pipes! or House!

As the princess (she is called this by her friends but I have always seen her dress unlike-princess!)sat in front of laptop, I peeped from behind and saw her google for shrieking shower and found the answer as "faulty faucets". Bless these new technologies and the technical terms it keeps throwing! Soon the Biker(I have always seen him with camera and not bike!) came and they laughed over the shower incident and slept off.

I wondered how long these 2 new folks will stick on here. This was my place and all the previous folks who stayed had left this house thinking it was some kind of bad omen but then they never realized that it was because of me!

The next day again, princess got scared of the shower for a second and then reminding biker to get a plumber to fix it, both of them left. With the whole house to myself, I started snooping around.

They had not unpacked everything but the 1st things I saw outside were some kind of strips of colorful papers and glues etc even before all her clothes! And there was something called x-box next to tv and camera! What a weird couple!

I love each time someone new come and live in this house. I have been around for more than 200 years and seen this house grow from a small ranch cottage to an uptown house! After playing around for sometime, once I get bored I make them leave! I have realized that the only way to get people to leave the house was to get the family members fight among each other and they will believe all this stupid superstitions of the house bringing all the bad luck and they leave!

But this is the 1st time, I am seeing such a crazy family - couple.

As these 2 are spending their time decorating the house, am trying to figure out the language they talk and especially the expressions of the princess. Every woman has such various expressions but this girl - for everything, she has same expression!

Only couple of days ago, they came back with a few friends. All were happy but sad. Biker got a job! And she says - I hate you! And that too with the same expression!

Its almost 1 month since they have shifted and I am amazed/amused by these 2! Life is never going to be dull!

I see this princess typing in this laptop daily while she is watching something else, and also cooking and also trying to read a book!

I think I might let these 2 stay here for a while and shall update you all soon! ;)

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Fool!

How life can change in a week! And that too in a total mixed bag.

On one end we were celebrating the arrival of a new joy to our family and very soon on the other end, tearful farewell to another soul! Mind and heart needs the power to handle and deal with situations that we have to face suddenly.

And such times are the ones when you see your parents and uncles/aunts at their emotional breakdown and you realize that you need to step up and take care of them and the roles have slowly reversed!

There are times I wonder why life is cruel also.

I got a chance to visit Vishranthi yesterday. It’s a place of destitute women. What started as a small Monday afternoon ladies club of meeting and sharing ideas and recipes and having “ladies time” soon turned to a charitable trust which led to this place called Vishranthi. Right now providing shelter for 170 women, this is one of the well known homes being run in Chennai.

Ironically, the woman who started this amazing service, Savithri Vaithi, is currently immobile and can’t talk. She has been like this for past 3 years! Seeing her like that broke our hearts and wondered what is there in life when a person who has done such wonderful deed in life and gave shelter and life to countless women has to suffer like this!

There are lots to cherish from the past, there are lots to think and feel for from the past but then we need to realize that it’s the present that is most important because there is a future lying waiting for us to make our present memorable for the past!

P.S – Too many things in my mind, especially emotions. This is just one of way of letting it out! 

P.S 1- April fool, well am sure you must have thought some hilarious post was coming up! :P Sigh. My pathetic attempt! (Just ignore it)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Life Moves On - Chennai Rains!

The Rains in Chennai which started this year during mid October had me worried a lot but it didn’t baffle me till 30th Nov, Monday. 2 quick personal trips to Chennai during month of Nov, gave me a sample of what the city was witnessing and I came back to Bangalore on 29th Nov. A narrow escape for me.

30th Nov saw the worst rainfall the city is ever going to witness for some years(hopefully!)
All the network connections went crazy. One quick call from my mother informing me that power is cut and network is also going down and not to worry about my family at Chennai made me realize the week wasn’t going to like previous ones!

Different whatsapp groups were created by to quickly check on our Chennai colleagues of our department as no mails/calls were working. A few others from different locations were also added to check on their Chennai counterparts and then started a marathon tracking mission of 2200+ folks based out of Chennai. Similarly other department folks also got into checking for their folks across.

The biggest challenge : No Network connectivity or power in the area for them to reach out to.

The next 6 days was a total emotional roller coast ride days which tested the will power, perseverance of the volunteer group who went on to track all these associates! The volunteers were based out of all locations – across india and overseas – NA/UK etc who also pitched in despite the anguage barriers and time zone differences.

There were some really heart-beating moments during all these checks. Am sure, for the 1st time no one in the group would have complained about the number of messages in the group! (I myself get bugged when so many messages keep popping in various groups in normal days, but this time I was one of those folks who kept msging – checking/updating the status of associates as and when we got the news.

Once a few Chennai folks were able to connect , they were able to update us on the weather and how things are on the ground. A few braved the rains which was still pouring at some places in Chennai to check on other colleagues or give some urgent medicine supplies which we got as requests.

The volunteers left no stone unturned to track the folks especially the trainees – continuous calls to their numbers/emergency numbers, back to back messages in regular phone and whatsapp and then going on to twitter/FB/Linkedin to check their profile, leave a message or trace some friend/family who could update them. The whole process could be looked like stalking or an FBI investigation! ;)

A couple of heartbeating moments came when one associate had to be evacuated by Army. We got an update that he is stranded with his family(wife and  1yr old kid) in his house. On Thursday, 2nd Dec – a call was patched to Army helpline and cognizant helpline also and army evacuation request was made. The feeling of all the folks in the whatsapp group could be compared to those movie scenes where a group sits in the data room with all the data and updates hero who is out there to save the world! All of us went, to and fro checking through different sources and whatsapping on the status. Around evening we got the update that he and his family were evacuated and all of us felt so happy and relieved! But then the next day morning, we got the news that he was still stuck and army had not evacuated him! The tension grew up and after again multiple channels, finally on Saturday only army evacuated him! This time we double ensured we got the news correctly and he was safe with his family!

Another moment was when one of the associates called back saying she was fine, her family was evacuated by army on Thursday but during the evacuation, she and her kid got split from her husband and MIL and now she had no idea where they were. We got his number and the search for the family began. After 2 hours, finally network came in and he responded to our call and we were able to trace his and update on his wife and kid’s status! We felt like we were united with our family!

Tragedies also occurred, as one teammate msged back saying, all were good but he lost his uncle in this 2nd spell of heavy rains while his grand father passed away in the 1st one. We also mourned with him L 

The news of colleagues belonging all being washed away courtesy rains, were moments where we felt our houses were gone.

But then on optimistic side, there were no casualties of any associates. Trainees had their own share of experiences in the floods and as we spoke to them, we could sense the fear, anxiety and a bit of relief that they were safe now. Counselling centers/calls were immediately set up for all the trainees whom we could support through these tough times!

Simultaneously I was checking on my own family/relatives/family friends (who seemed to be countless in Chennai) on their safety and was following the volunteering scenes through the social media which was used to amazing effect this time! My aunt lost all her belongings and when she told me, I could only cry inside because that house was a dear to me during my college hostel days. She was my guardian and that house was my temple which I visited practically every weekend.

But then as she said, this is life and knowing that we are safe and healthy we need to smile and brace ourselves for the next journey of resetting life.

People in Chennai and other affected places have shown us that they can survive, support each other and rise together! Sincerely wishing this trend continues on normal days also as the city comes back to being normal step by step!

P.S - This post has been long due from my end but then my mind had so much of mixed emotions for past 1 month that I took some time to clear my head and then pen this down!

P.S 1 – The voluntary work that I was part of might not have been great compared to the actual ground work, but then that’s the solace we tell ourselves, that we were part of something during these tough times for Chennai folks!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kaleidoscope of Colorful Butterflies!

Present Day:
She looked around her as women sat in groups working hard on getting the final touches of their entrepreneur journey ready!
One of them looked up and spoke,” Ma, Am very confident we will do well. Thank you so much for teaching us, showing the path and helping us.”
She smiled looking at the confident women around her, who once were meek and quiet and facing their own sets of challenges at their home.
Each woman in this group of 20 were from different background and of different ages from 17 to 55 – newlywed, widow, abandoned wife, happy mother, grandmothers, single women – from all the walks of life but in one small village. The only common thing they had was dreams of doing something of their own!
Another woman got up and said, “Yes Ma. Your family is so lucky to have you. Am so happy you came here to our lives. It feels like we are going to fly!”
A tear came from eyes as she turned to hide it from them and looked out of the window, remembering her families’ reaction the same day, 1 year back!
1 year earlier:
Everyone looked at her shell shocked as if she had committed a big sin.
She sat calmly waiting for one of them to respond. Her husband was sitting in another corner of the room without any kind of emotion as he already knew of her decision and was not happy about it.
Her son walked up to her and asked – “Ma, are you ok? What is this sudden nonsense of going to your native place? There is nothing there and then all of us; Papa, I, my family, your daughter and her family are here in city.”
She simply smiled at him. Before she could reply, her daughter also got up and asked – “Ma, what is your problem here. We have provided all the comforts for you and taking care. You do not need to worry about anything, then why do you want to go and where did this come from. Is this your new friend’s influences?”
She had recently joined the old women’s group in her son’s huge apartment on all their insistence when she kept complaining for need to do something.
She looked at both her son and daughter and then at her husband who was waiting for her to respond. He had full hopes on his kids to dissuade her from the decision she had taken.
She closed her eyes looking back at her life journey. She had just graduated from college when her parents had fixed her marriage. She wanted to teach and have her identity but her husband’s work required them to travel places and with 2 kids and in-laws, it was pretty clear that she had to manage the house. At that time, this sacrifice didn’t matter as she felt the joy of motherhood was more. But somewhere in this journey, she lost her identity. She was wife, mother and then mother-in-law and grandma but nothing else. She looked around and saw that each of them had an identity of their own in their professions and were respected for it and not just as a family member!
Her son’s voice broke her thoughts. “Ma, why? The kids want you here
She looked at her son again and replied, “My grandkids are my eyes now but I don’t think they need me anymore. They are pretty busy with their school, tuitions and all the classes they are attending over the weekends. You are all well settled and have your own families to manage.”
And that’s why you need to relax and just enjoy the retired life, Ma”, her son interrupted her.
She smiled and calmly replied, “That’s why I want to go, son! There are so many women who need help and I just want to do my bit. This NGO with whom I want to tie up will be the best way for me. And what better way than to start from my own village
Her kids just shook their head helplessly.
Present Day:
She was not sure if her husband or kids still understood her decision but they had stopped asking her anything. Once a month she visited them and they were cordial. She tried to get her husband to come and see her work but he was quite busy in his own world to bother!
She turned back to see the women looking at her, full of happiness. She didn’t know how to explain to them that this year was all coming from the shell, growing her wings and spreading it. Finally she was also going to fly along with others just as a kaleidoscope of colorful butterflies!