Thursday, 19 February 2015

STANDING UP BY CHOICE

You know the recent polls in Delhi which saw the AAP’s rise to power? Well, being a keen observer of politics, I was writing an article about it. During a lecture. (Trust me…it was a biochemistry lecture....oxidation of fatty acids....and I never liked it!!) And I missed my attendance because of it. Shit!!! What was the point of sitting for an hour then!

A friend sitting next to me remarked, “tu likhte reh APP ke baare mein…..”  (You keep on writing about APP).  My attendance being missed didn’t hurt me as much as her comment did. Why this indifference towards your own Government? So much so that you don’t even know the party’s name?

More importantly, I was reminded of an incident that happened a few years ago. It was when I was in standard 10 and something that I’ll never forget.  

Let me first tell you about my class. We were a class of 43 teens (23 girls and 20 boys) with their ever-effective hormones at work. Rebellious, fun-loving and smart. (Personally I think we were the best among all the 4 sections).
For most of the students, social science as a subject was boring. But for me, it was one of my favorite subjects. It gave a wonderful chance to understand the complexities of today's life.

We had this social science teacher in school; Mr. D. K. Pradhan who believed in teaching by example. Short statured, with lots of teaching experience and a silent sense of humor. He allowed us to explore the subject, and ask infinite questions. How? Why? What? 
The lessons might not count from the examination point of view, but they were strong enough to make you question yourself. I think that is what matters. Isn't that the point of teaching? Telling us how to think instead of what to think. 

Once we were reading a chapter on participation of women in politics in the Indian context. Given the kind of people we were, a furious debate started on the reservations for women in the legislative in our country. 14 year old boys and girls fighting about equality.  *sigh*  .
 And boy, I promise you.....We were incredibly loud.

So Mr. Pradhan got up from his chair and started walking towards us. He stopped at every desk and asked a question in a low voice. We couldn’t make out the question. When he came to my desk he asked, “What is your favorite subject in social studies?” Without any hesitation my bench mate answered that her favorite subject was geography. I said ‘Political Science’. He continued this drill with the entire class. 

We were getting uneasy, our whispers now turning into loud noises. Calmly, he then said, “Those who answered political science please stand up.” 



Reader, believe me, I got the biggest shock of my life. Just two out of 23 girls were standing as compared to about 15 boys out of 20. My friend Anu and I. He went on to explain how women of our country shy away from governance, and unless a fair number of women represent us at the Parliament, proper decisions for women can never be possible. Choice matters. The girls hung their heads in shame, and the boys thought they won this debate. That day changed my thinking. I am sure it changed for everyone else too.

 An air of disbelief and an unspoken admiration for our teacher was felt throughout the classroom. 

I think women have become the weaker sex because of their inactions. Otherwise why would 75% of the boys say politics as compared to less than 10% of girls?
                             

 This was a random survey. I hope these stats change for the better. Today’s youth and women in particular have been actively taking part in politics. The rise of AAP is the proof we require in support of the statement. Maybe the numbers are low, but there many others who are willing to risk it all. Who believe that their opinion makes a difference. And sure as hell it does.

I had intended to write this article to emphasise on one of the biggest lessons I had learnt during my school days, but today it is just to thank my teacher. 

I am very sure that all the students who were present in class 10 'C' that day, with their tummies full, just after the recess.......learnt something worth remembering.  

PS: Thank you Anu for allowing me to write this story in my way.(I cannot have a copyright battle with empty pockets :-P)
 Both of us have hosted this story on our blogs. I sincerely hope it creates a difference and changes the opinion of atleast one person.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, MAKE LEMONADE OUT OF IT!!!!

Pretty easy saying huh??
Done deal. Where will you get the sugar from? Or the water? Life just handed you a bunch of sour lemons....nothing else.

What is the recipe for the lemonade?

You are thinking. Hard. And you are fed up. You are tired of holding on, you are scared. You are scared about what tomorrow will bring. You have hit an all-time low with wounds which require a lifetime to heal. You pray for change. And the change you prayed for makes a turn for the worse. Some people about whom you cared surprise you with their indifference. And You hit hard. You bruise yourself in ways you never thought you would. 
And you cry life is unfair. That life has handed you sour lemons. 
Image result for lemons

You get the sugar from life's small joys. Small, insignificant things. Like a Sunday. Like your favorite movie playing on the TV. Like reading excerpts from your favorite book. Like getting bad food instead of getting worse. Like a class being cancelled at the last moment. I guess it stems from the fact that you grab on any small thing that comes your way. That is sugar for you. You struggle to show life that you have one reason to smile.

Did you ever notice a bird building a nest? Or a silkworm spinning its cocoon? It takes a lot of time. And energy. But you know what? It is their only chance at a better life. There are a thousand calamities that could destroy them. A strong wind, or rain pelting. That is how you gather water for your lemonade. You are working real hard on adjusting yourself. You are trying to find yourself, make your life more meaningful. You are trying to strike a balance between how much to let go and how much to hold on. This effort is ground-breaking. Strong winds of self doubt and lack of confidence threaten to blow you away. Sometimes rain might wash everything and you have to start from the beginning. Compare this to your collecting water for the lemonade.

There you go. Now you have it. Lemon, sugar and water. You are dying from thirst. But you still make it. With eyes brimming with tears, and hands too tired, you glance at the heavens and make that one final push. Occasionally another hand may reach out to help you. Recognize whose it is. And never let that hand go out of your life. 
Image result for lemonade
Life gave you the lemons, you effort at 'normalizing' things got you the water and you collected the sugar granules from here and there. Do you know how pleasant it is when you get water when you are really thirsty? You get that feeling. You're ecstatic. You survived something. The bruises are healed. Instead of putting a band-aid on it, you left it as such and trusted your soul to do the healing.
Maybe you didn't win, but you moved on. And you are never the same again.

That is when you put your chin up and proudly say- "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade out of it!!!!"
Image result for a sense of satisfaction

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

THE STORY OF 2 STATES

The last time I wrote, it was about my grandfather and my days with him. My life isn’t extraordinary or something, and it is pretty much what normal teens would experience. You know the usual........grades, friends and family. So just to continue with the ‘anecdotes from my life’ theme, I’ll tell you how I formed the definition of my identity.
My parents belong to different cultures. My mom basically belongs to Andhra Pradesh and my dad hails from Odisha. Even though these states are neighbors, believe me, they are as different as chalk and cheese. And so are my mom and dad. Right from the beginning, ever since I could remember, they respected each other’s differences. They made sure I learn both the languages and know about the cultures. The two of us, my brother and I, were made proficient both ways.
                                                           Image result for oriya alphabets
But if you studied in a private school then you are aware of the insane amount of peer pressure around. You know about the groups they form- based on the silliest criteria possible. You are outcaste for no reason, and instead of respecting the differences- you are boycotted if you don’t follow the crowd. So yes, at the age of nine I was busy fighting all this shit. How people at school always reminded me of my ethnicity, how someone actually told me that because this is a patriarchal society, I should forget my mother’s culture and all........I mean, now when I look back I honestly think all this stemmed from jealously more than anything else.
Image result for peer pressure
All this well before Chetan Bhagat wrote 2 States.
So anyway I remember coming home once in tears, determined to find an answer. I asked my parents about who or what I am. Their answer was simple. They asked me to adopt whatever I liked. The problem was, I couldn’t choose between the two.
Times changed, I changed to a much better school and I grew up. With time I realised that whoever I am, I am just perfect. I met positive upbeat people, I had friends who didn’t care about my ethnicity and loved me for the way I am. I have an answer now. I belong to both the states. Instead of choosing one, I chose both. And if I might add, I cherish the look of surprise on people’s faces when they hear my story.
But my mind goes back to the day when my parents refused to give me a direct answer. They left it to their nine-year-old daughter to figure out for herself. They left me to choose my own path. To let me decide if peer pressure could define me. I’m glad they did that. They didn’t tell me that my friends were wrong to bully me like that. They gave me a full impartial chance to develop my own identity. They trusted their kid.


Today, I am a much more sensible and a strong girl. And like I said, I belong to both the states. My background and ethnicity don’t bother me. I realised that the right people will love you anyway, and it’s your attitude that attracts people. I belong to both the states and I’m blessed to have that honour.
Image result for sense of belonging community

Friday, 6 February 2015

LISTENING TO MY INNER VOICE

I'm back! I admit......this hiatus wasn't proper. And even if I'm not that good a writer, I have started having these total blackouts in front of the keyboard (#writersblock).  But you see, I am going through some tough times myself and to be honest, I am waiting for a few things to clear up.

I still have no idea what to write. So I guess I'll be telling you mostly about what this blog is intended to be.

In this fast paced 21st century world, we are in a never-ending competition. I'm still figuring what is so precious waiting for us at the finish line. This fight for survival is enough to make us forget our inner voice, our passion and run for something we don't even know about.

The regular drill of the day, from the moment you leave your bed to the time you tuck yourself back in, it can really be tiring. Its funny how day by day nothing changes, yet when you look back everything is different. People say you are fortunate to have what you have- there are people who are in worse conditions, but that doesn't really solve our problems, does it? If anything, it makes us feel guilty about not being to handle 'seemingly easy' things properly. So fight. Life is too short to put up with things you don't like.

Take time to enjoy things you like. Do something that gives you satisfaction. Something that can transport you to another world, and give your life a reason. In addition to your daily chores, do something worthwhile. Appreciate yourself. No matter what others say, take pride in what you do.
Don't bother if your idea of fun doesn't fit the general idea. Go ahead and create your own definition of life.


There are a million things in the world that are waiting to change you, turn you into someone else. And just to stay who you are, its a struggle.



This blog is just a sincere attempt to put myself out there for you.I want to explore with you life's everyday struggles and simple joys. I want to be someone's voice. Like you could read one my posts and say- 'Hey that's totally me!!!' Coming to the selfish part, I want to write just to keep my hobby and passion of writing alive. To give shape to my thoughts and ideas. To tell the world how I learnt to fly.
It is for all like-minded people out there, whose views are just limited to tea-time chats and drawing room discussions. I sincerely hope to do justice to the title and to myself.