Monday, November 18, 2013

Mind matters.

I had read somewhere that,

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right!”

What had just been a quote to feel good about, turned true for me today.  I had been trying for quite some time, to walk for more than 20 minutes on the cross trainer. As much as I tried, I failed every time. My legs wouldn't carry me beyond 15 to 20 minutes at a time and I had given up trying too! My old trainer having met with an accident last week, a new trainer had taken charge. He made me do the cross trainer today.

 “45 minutes” he said, setting the timer on his watch.   

“Oh, no…no… no…. sir,” I protested. “I have never been able to walk for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. I’ll try to stretch it to 25 minutes today.”

“45” he said sternly.

“But I can’t!!” I was not about to give up.

“Says who?”

“I know myself, don’t I?”

“For someone whom I have seen doing  100 counts of 8 variations each in ab crunches, 10 variations in weights and 5 in jumping jacks, all of last week, this should be a piece of cake.”  

Really?  Would it be a piece of cake?

“You WILL do it today” he said, as if he was very sure of the outcome.

I will?

I set the timer on my watch too and began the walk, my heart telling me that I will walk 45 minutes today.
The first 10 minutes were easy, then my legs began to get heavier, I wanted to stop. But it wasn't even 20 minutes. It would be a shame if I didn't even clock my regular time. So I continued walking. The trainer put on some song and it felt soothing. My steps started to fall in rhythm with the song. As I continued to walk, the heaviness in my legs began to wean off and I walked rhythmically, telling myself I can do it. He came in some time later,

“10 minutes more,” he said.

“35 minutes up already?” I asked, happy that at least the previous record had been broken.

“Yep… you can stop if you are feeling tired.”

“No, no, I’m fine,” I told him, I wasn't feeling tired anymore. I was  now walking with a renewed enthusiasm and vigor.

“Didn't I tell you, you can? It’s all in your mind.” He said his finger pointing to his head.

I smiled. He was right after all. Lesson learnt! 






Monday, November 11, 2013

A Lifetime of Love....

With the changing times, we have every rhyme and reason to celebrate everlasting love.....Valentine's day, Lover's day, husband's day, wife's day and what not!! Couples spend fortunes to keep each other happy...when just a little love would have sufficed.Thinking of love brings to memory one couple instantly. Not for such kind of over-the-top proclamations of love, and I even doubt they know of the existence of such days to celebrate their love. I remember them because they stand for what such days are supposed to signify. Unending and unconditional love for each other.

Twelve years ago, Nitika had been beautiful and young. Just about 35 years of age, bubbly, vivacious, energetic, full of life. They were watching the construction of their dream house. It was almost ready, except for the painting. She had gotten Akash to promise he wouldn't paint it without her choice of colours. It was a long day in the sun, and she felt tired. Suddenly she had collapsed and the doctor later diagnosed it as stroke caused due to rheumatic heart disease. She was paralyzed neck down; their life had come to a standstill.

I had heard about the incident but distances had kept me from meeting them. Now when I was in the same town, I decided to pay them a visit. Akash was gleaming with happiness when he saw me at the door.

“Nitu, we have a surprise visitor for you,” he announced.

For a moment I thought she must have recovered in these twelve years. But nothing prepared me for when I saw her. She was now 47, the prime of her youth snatched away from her.Her beautiful face was now wrinkled and sunken, the lush black mane now all grey, the full of life Nitika lying limp on the bed in an old night gown. I could have cried. But then, I caught the glint of happiness in her eyes and smiled back. She tried to speak but I couldn't understand because of the slur in her voice. Mercifully, Akash translated it for me. I was awed by how he could understand anything at all. As if he had read my mind, he said, “Whatever a child may blabber, the mother always understands what it is trying to say isn't it?”

I simply nodded my head in agreement. We chatted on and I learnt how Akash had been looking after her for the past twelve years, tending to her every need, giving up his high profile job and starting a daily needs shop close by and bringing up his sons who were 11 and 12 years of age at that time. The kids had grown up now and they took turns taking care of their mother. I couldn't help but notice, that all this while, Akash had no regret on his face and Nitika had a slight smile on her lips. It was almost 1 o’clock, and Akash excused himself to feed Nitika .

“She tells me what she wants to eat and I prepare it for her,” he announced as he brought in a plate of chapatti and potato sabzi , little rice and dal and fed it to her with utmost love and devotion and then lulled her to sleep. I couldn't control my tears this time.

We chatted for some more time about what treatment was being given to her and how she was responding, when my eyes fell on the walls. Almost the entire house was still not painted. Akash saw me gaze at the empty walls and told me he was waiting for Nitika to get well and tell him what colours she wanted on the walls. They had moved into the house just as it was on the day she had been paralyzed. I was visibly moved. 

It was almost 4 o’clock and Nitika would be up any time now. Akash excused himself again. He wanted to make some tea for her and keep her book ‘Chimanraoanche Charhat’ , humorous short stories by Chi. Vi. Joshi , ready for reading it out to her. Not wanting to disturb them, I bid them goodbye, leaving them to enjoy their "Platinum day of love", happy knowing that every single day would be exactly this.

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

(P.S. This is a true account, however names have been changed to protect identities)


   This has been written for the contest "Platinum day of love" on Indiblogger

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tiny voices....

My elder one participated in an elocution competition in school, and the topic given to them was "My favourite Indian". He is a voracious reader like me and writes pretty well (did I tell you he writes a blog?) He is fiercely independent and does not like me helping with writing for him. Well, this is the exact version of the speech he wrote. It left me amazed and speechless and I just had to share it here. (the pictures are my addition....) So read on...

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When I think about Indians who have inspired me, a lot of names pop up. From great freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, and great sports persons like Sachin Tendulkar and Vishwanathan Anand, to great minds like, Narayan Murthy to Abdul Kalam. Each one of them have inspired me in their own special way.

But there is one person closer home who has been my biggest inspiration ever. She is my grandmother- my mom’s mother. She is the Indian I like the most. Yes, you heard it right! My grandma is my most favorite Indian. I have never seen anyone quite like her. She stands for everything a true Indian should be, Secular, Democratic and Courageous. Amongst her many qualities are her joy in giving, caring for everyone irrespective of who they are and treating everyone with utmost respect. While most people just go to school, she is educated in the true sense. Let me tell you why I admire her so much. I have learnt many valuable lessons from her.


Most people follow one religion or faith. But, have you EVER heard of anyone following all faiths. Yes, you heard it right. That’s my grandma for you. She is a born Hindu, but she also reads the Namaz and visits the Dargah, the Church and the Gurudwara with equal faith and devotion.  She is as comfortable when offering a chaddar at a dargah or lighting a candle at the church as she is when offering puja to the shivling. She says that all religions are the same, all God is one and all scriptures teach only one thing and that is to love your fellow human being. Reading and knowing about other cultures helps us to understand and respect everybody. She is truly the most secular Indian I have ever seen.

Once while travelling by a cycle rickshaw in the hot summer heat in Nagpur, we took a break to have a fruit juice. She promptly ordered one tall glass of juice for the rickshaw puller too. How many people can actually think that the rickshaw puller is human too?

When we visited her, I didn’t even realise that the aunty who was helping her clean the house was actually the maid. She never treated her like a maid. She believes in offering to people in need and makes no differentiation between people based on their financial condition.

I have never seen her behave like a dictator with anyone. She always listens to everyone’s opinion however small or elderly they may be. She never forces her opinion on anybody and we have the full freedom to do what we want to do. She firmly believes that children should not be hit by the elders. I can proudly say that no one ever hits or threatens us at home and that has made me confident and helped me believe in my abilities. I can also openly discuss anything with her and my parents.


She has immense knowledge of all subjects, especially of geography, history and maths. It is very interesting to talk to her on any subject as she is always up to date in her knowledge of current affairs. She encourages the reading habit in me and she is herself very well read.
She always encourages me to be honest and truthful, whatever the consequences may be. She says that being noble and being a good human being is more important than being rich, famous or successful. She also motivates me to work hard and put my best effort in whatever I do.

She is my most favorite Indian. Thank you.


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After his speech, the headmistress was quite moved and she wanted to meet his grandma.Well, Mom lives in another city so he promised to bring her to school when she comes here. 
That is kind of impression we make on our little ones, and they observe everything we do and learn from it. 

The latest news and the icing on the cake is that this speech won my son the first prize!! 






Sunday, November 3, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel....

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 43; the forty-third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "LIGHT"

                                                 This post won the Silver Batom....!!!


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

 “Call me as soon as you reach Hyderabad, don’t forget, ok?” said Malini looking visibly concerned.

Sending your 18 year old daughter alone on a night bus to a city 500 kms away wasn’t so safe in these days and times. But who could ever win an argument with Shreya? Once she had made up her mind, no one could persuade her to change it. Malini had tried her best to convince Shreya to study in the city, but the young girl had her heart set on a prestigious college in Hyderabad and had worked hard towards getting admission to the college of her choice. And now she was leaving home to join college in a new city with new people, and Malini grew sick trying to think of how Shreya would adjust to the new environment.

Shreya gave her a shrug and a nod, so typical of girls her age. It was beyond her comprehension why her mom was so ballistic about her studying in Hyderabad. She wondered how her mom would react when she told her about her plans of going abroad for her Masters. We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it, she thought and smiled.

“Bye Ma, you take care, ok? Take medicines on time, eat on time and get some good sleep, don’t fret over me. I’ll be fine.” She said giving her mom a peck on her cheeks.

Her mom was crying now, hugging her daughter tightly, as if she’d never let her go.

“Oh Ma, come on now, don’t do this, we’ve discussed this a hundred times before. Now be a good mom, and give me a smile.” She comforted her mom and wiped away a tear before rushing out. “I’m getting late, ma, don’t wanna miss the bus. Muaahhhh Ma” she blew her mom a kiss just before she disappeared out of the gate.  

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

14A…14A….Ah! Here it is… she found her seat, settled into it, plugged her earphone on and closed her eyes. She could feel the bus filling up, and then someone settling into the seat besides hers. She was in no mood for small talk and chose to keep her eyes closed. Leaving home was an emotional moment for her too but she had tried not to show. Nothing could come in between the grand plans she’d made for herself. Not her mom, not her emotions, nothing. She knew her mom would be all alone now, but Shalini aunty next door had promised to look after her. Her thoughts of her mom and her home coupled with the soft whirring of the bus and the gentle movement soon lulled her to sleep.

                                                             **************
Shreya got up holding her abdomen. The pain was severe and she wondered how she was able to actually get up in spite of the pain. Suddenly, what had seemed like a sharp shooting pain had miraculously vanished and she felt just fine. She touched her abdomen where it had been hurting and it seemed like it had been a bad dream. Something bright shone in the distance and she opened, closed and blinked her eyes trying to adjust her vision to the source.

And then she saw it.

A bright blinding light.

Seeming to come from what looked like the end of a tunnel.



Walk towards the light Shreya. A soft voice called to her.

Shreya, obeyed and walked as if in a trance. And then she stopped mid track; her attention diverted as she saw the bus.

The bus she had been travelling in.

Turned turtle, it lay in the middle of nowhere. And then there were people. People gathered around, trying to pull the passengers out of the bus. A girl in a blue salwar kameez was now being brought out. The body looked limp and lifeless. Her earphone wrapped around her neck. Shreya, instinctively touched her ears.

No earphones. Where did her earphones go?

And then she walked closer to the girl. The earphones looked similar to hers. The girl was bleeding at her abdomen. Something sharp seemed to have pierced through. Then she looked at the girl’s face.  
Image: Pixabay.com

Oh God! That’s me! Am I…?. She cupped her mouth with both her palms drawn together and froze even as reality dawned on her. 

That’s why the bright light… 

She took one last look at her own lifeless body and then turned around and began walking towards the bright light at the end of the tunnel, shoulders drawn in, and her back almost in a hunch. Her heart was overcome with grief at the thought of how little she had been able to achieve and how little she had lived. She thought of her mother, what she would go through, looking at her daughter’s dead body. She didn’t even want to think about it. 

God, why me? What did I do to deserve this?

Keep walking child; you are in my care now. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

It was the same voice. But it wasn’t like someone was speaking to her. It almost seemed like the voice was in her head. She continued to walk towards that light. As she emerged from the tunnel, she saw the bright light but now it looked brighter and pulsating with life, the air filled with aromas she had never smelt before and music so soothing that she had never heard before. Someone was walking towards her, and she thought that he looked so much like her.

 “My child, my Shreya” he said giving her a hug.

“Who are you?” she asked pushing him away.

“Bhaskar, your father.”

“No, you are not my dad, my dad’s Anil Kumar.”

The man just smiled and walked away. Then she saw her dad and ran to him.

“Dad, I missed you so much. How could you leave us like that?”

Her dad smiled and held her hands in his. “Sometimes, that’s the only option we have, child. Your mom is right about what she thinks.”

What did he mean by that? But she seldom understood what he said.

Then she heard that voice again.

Close your eyes child.

She did as she was told. Glimpses of her entire life passed by like she were watching a movie. The little Shreya, center of her mom’s world, everything her parents had done for her, the fun times, the sad times, her dad’s sudden passing away, her school life, her friends, the times she had hurt her mom, everything. When she opened her eyes, there was no one with her.

“That is it God? I really haven’t got much done isn’t it? I can’t believe you took me so soon.”

What is it that you wanted to do?

“I wanted to get a degree, go abroad do my masters, get a great job, get married, have kids, lead a good life.” 

All that is of no use when you come here. As you have already seen, you will not bring anything of it with you. Do you want to see what you left behind? Look there.

She saw herself lying on a bed in the ICU. Bandages running across her abdomen and wires running, literally, everywhere. Then she saw her mom. She was standing outside the ICU. The doctor was talking to her.

“I don’t think we can save your daughter, not even a miracle can,” the doctor was saying to her distraught mother.

What a liar, I’m already dead. Why doesn’t he just say so? She thought.

Because you aren’t...not yet. The voice.

Her mom broke down and there was no one to console her. It pained Shreya beyond what she had imagined.

Suddenly the truth dawned on her.

How she wished she could hold her mom again and sleep on her lap! She meant so much to her mother but she had only thought about herself and nothing more. In fact, she had never thought about anyone else. She had been proud, arrogant, and selfish all through.

I’ll grant you a choice, child. You can choose between coming back to life or going towards death. If you choose life, you’ll wake up in that hospital bed and go on to lead life till you come back to me again. If you choose death, you’ll be free of all your bonds and stay here with me.

“God, give me another chance please, I beg of you. I understood what you meant…what my purpose in life is. Let me go and live that life you would have wanted me to lead.”

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

The electrocardiograph had started showing signs of activity again, just as the nurse was about to report that it had become blank. She rushed out to call the doctor.

“Maliniji, looks like there’s been a miracle, this is not something you see every day. Congratulations, your daughter is a fighter after all.”

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

A fortnight later, Shreya was ready to go home, though she still needed to rest for some more time.

“Mom, would you believe if I told you I went to heaven and came back?”

“I’ll believe anything you tell me darling.”

Poor child, she thought, must be hallucinating from all that heavy medications and anesthesia.

As if reading her mind, she asked again, “Would you still not believe me if I told you that I met Bhaskar, who said he’s my dad?”

“What….?”

“And that the only dad I know, committed suicide? You knew that all along, didn’t you? He said you were right.”

“How…? Oh my God… Shreya….” She didn’t know what to say. Shreya couldn’t have known any of this. She had never mentioned this to anyone ever. No one except herself knew. Did Shreya really die and come back? Did she really meet her father? Maybe it was time to tell her everything.

She knew her mother believed her now. “Can I sleep on your lap mom?”

Shreya smiled as her mom ruffled her hair. Life never gives you a second chance, she was just plain lucky. The light at the end of the tunnel had shown her the way.                   
       
                                                         ***************


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