Banana & Monkey

As I sat on the park bench one-morning breathing freshness and watching the children play while the elder ones were throwing their arms up in the air and relentlessly laughing and, two lovers were sitting under the shade of a tree speculating their future, a huge group of some 20-30 monkeys raided towards me. I didn’t move but in moments they managed to draw all my attention. There were big males in the group but most of them seemed to be young mothers with their tiny ones suckling them. Many of them had scarce body hair, fragile limbs and looked just a few days old.

As they rolled on the grass and pulled each other’s tails while climbing the branches of a nearby mango tree bearing dozens of raw mangoes, three men walked slowly towards these joyful creatures who scattered as they neared. The men brought with them some bananas to feed these mischief mongers. One held the bag of fruits, one distributed it among our cousins and of course, the last man adhering to the religious custom stood there with a mobile phone capturing all this in his camera.

All the monkeys gracefully took one-one banana each as it was offered to them and gulped it down quickly. However, the man was left with a few more bananas and wanted to get done with it. He went ahead to give them out to a mother monkey who was resting nearby but she didn’t look interested. Insisting her to have it, the man kept stepping closer. To her discomfort, she groaned showing all her sharp teeth and sprinted with her baby on the top of the tree.

Wait… what? Why didn’t she take an extra banana? Yes, she wasn’t hungry but she could have saved for later hours when she could soon be hungry!

Ahh…that’s what we do, not them. The mastery of these creatures to live in the present and care least beyond that amazes me and makes me feel stupid of burdening myself by stockpiling stuff and calling it life!

How exciting could our lives have been, how many mountains could we have climbed, how many places could we have explored, how deep could we have dived, and how far could we have walked if we went down to just the essentials!

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Aspirations

I started to study at a very humble playschool located nearby our home in the early 90’s. I was barely three-years-old when my father accompanied me to collect my very first progress report card. My class teacher was a very kind lady. I still remember standing near the door of the classroom as I saw her handing over my report card to dad with a broad smile. My father walked towards me, I held on to his finger and moved towards his blue-colored Bajaj scooter parked somewhere around the building. He didn’t tell me anything regarding my progress at the school. Probably he thought I was too little to understand. However, on reaching home my first question to him was, “Pappa what happened at the school? What did my teacher say?” “You’ve done better than anyone else in your class”, he responded. I somehow knew that my dad was proud of me and it was at this occasion when the seeds of aspirations were sown in the wet soil of my mind for the first time.

Since then, I did well academically, studied Engineering and secured a good paying job. Years passed in the blink of an eye and the overwhelming dose of aspiration injected into my mind was now dozing me off. Needless to mention, I became a sheep with no firm goals and a part of the rat race very soon. My life was reduced to completing daily tasks on the desk, going back home, watching a TV show and repeating it all over again the other day. I was 23 and by then had received some seven-eight marriage proposals. I aspired to have a fancy marriage of my dreams which seemed unaffordable then so turned down all such offers. I aspired to pay off my family’s loans, buy a new house, a new car, travel across the world and donate a share of my earnings to those in need. But how was all this possible by doing something which I never had fun with? I dreaded going to work almost everyday. The corporate life took to my nerves but I had no choice. It was too late as I was by now shouldering a major portion of the financial responsibility for my family. Taking that ‘bold’ step of leaving the job could bring down everyone’s expectations into dust. And I wasn’t courageous enough too. I dragged myself to work everyday, cursing myself, my family, and the whole social structure. I was drained out of emotional energy and reduced to bones, until one day I randomly happened to write down something in my phone. I called it to be poem then but today after four years, I am convinced that it was far from being one.

Fortunately, since then there was no looking back. I spilled everything in my heart on the paper. The sky now appeared clearer than before and small efforts each day laid down the foundation of what I aspire to do for the rest of my life. Never had I thought I’ll be writing for the big names in the country, nor I ever had a scope to think out of the box. However, I now find inspiration everywhere, there’s hope looking straight into my eyes and smiling at me. Although I haven’t quit my job, I have found means to take up whatever excites me alongside. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. And trust me there’s nothing that could be more enthralling than that!

And the best part is —

My aspirations have changed and I haven’t stopped aspiring. For aspiration is life and I am yet alive.

— Nazneen Kachwala

Art on the Streets of India

After visiting the most awaited Global Citizen Festival held at Mumbai this weekend and having had one of the most memorable times of a lifetime, I chose to give a slow start to the next day and to hit back to my hometown as soon as I could. The day before was rocking yet exhaustive. As I was waiting for my bus at the pickup point at Andheri, with the hot sun sucking out the morning breakfast energy and me sipping the Red Bull to supplement it, I saw a lady at the end of the road who was busy doing something interesting. I walked up to her and observed. She gave me a smile and continued doing her part. She was in no mood of being distracted and I chose not to disturb her. In the meanwhile, I saw a few kids on the street running here and there carefree along the roadside, few other kids collecting plastic bags and bottles from surrounding area and heading straight to collect more to earn a living. And two young guys sleeping over a bench. All in all, old lady and kids were waged and the youth was yet to recover from the hangover!

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The bus was running late than the scheduled time and things happening around got a hold over me. I could no longer resist to check out the details of the artistic arena. The lady was tactfully weaving the strands of a palm leaf to make a mat. One strand held firmly beneath the other, the course of her action continued and gave shape to a beautifully weaved palm leaf rug.

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I went up to the lady and asked her what was she weaving that mat for? Was it for a living? I was curious. “No.” said she. “It is for this temple. She said with a mild smile.” Having said this, she pointed at a small roadside temple.

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The woman was happy to serve the one who gave her all the worldly blessings. I asked her name and she mentioned, “I am Laxmi.” Laxmi’s art is invaluable and so is her commitment and enthusiasm towards it. A priceless service, devotion and dedication for the benefactor.

img_20161120_141544431_hdrHer home would be somewhere around at this roadside colony that you can see.

After a brief chat with Laxmi, as I walked towards the bus stop that was some 100 steps away, I met this trio who was relishing their Sunday noon in their own special way which I could not figure out!

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They waved at me with full laughter and joy after I clicked them. I soon boarded the bus and made my way for a long never ending journey!

Turmoil

A stormy wind hit my boat,
Leaving the voyage wrecked and worn,
The mighty waves were high and large,
That made me swallow some salt; it was a bizarre!
I tumbled upon the sea to gather the ruins I could,
Few I did, rest all seized in the ocean’s bed as it should.
I dived in, layer by layer, the pressure was more and darkness surpassing all measures ,
With breath no longer in my lungs; I strived for more.
A sudden shimmer hazed my view,
A pearl was it resting in an oyster under the blue,
Struck at once by the its glowing hue.
The depths offered me a gift that I thought the waves could.
The salt made its way through my eyes,
That were blurred by the windy skies.

The sea is calm as ever before,
Leaving me in a state to find a meaning and more.
Shall I moan of the wreck suffered, or rejoice the retreat by the depths of azure?

I hope I can ever be sure!

The Only Trick is to keep your Head High!

We all are in need of that perfect partner, a soulmate and the one who treats you at his or her best. But the reality is slightly bitter and we got to learn to swallow the facts. Every relation begins with an unnatural attraction that has an urge to know you better and you are diverted from your existing place to a world of flattery, to which you develop a gradual addiction. Targets lost, ambitions vanished! Those magical words and late night talks drive you in some fairy-tale land that is far from reality.

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As days pass, we come down to our true selves. Pretense does not have a long life, who so ever owns it. And it is at this point of time you realize being into a mess. The alarm rings not once or twice but many times, but you ignore the wake-up calls, due to your silly emotions or determination of not giving up. I am sorry for being very straight in calling your emotions ‘silly’, but this is what the wondrous realm of love has taught me to be.

So how can you combat and maintain a balance between your overflowing sentiments and picking the right approach? The very first thing you must practice is to cage your emotions in your ribs, because if you happen to reveal a huge portion of this then you shall be led to fall under the category of mentally unstable creatures who are not smart enough to be independent of their beloveds. Degrading ourselves to that level does not really make any sense. It is very well understood and said that compromise, cooperation, understanding, dependability, trustworthiness, respect and similar heavy words are extremely important for a relationship to sustain. This indeed takes an equal amount of effort by the duo and once that happens definitely the world today would not be lesser than a dreamy land housing the tales of Cinderella and the Beauty and the Beast. Unfortunately, the curse on the beast of the actuality is far more tenacious and won’t succumb itself to a mere kiss.

The Knight and the Faerie

Moreover, the gist of all problems is that impulsive nature to expect something from someone all the time. It only proves you to be lame and fragile. A major tip of the day to you all is – Familiarity breeds contemplation. The more you divulge and disclose yourself, the more you are a pain in the neck, the more you shall be shunned, the more you shall be compared and the more you shall be put down.

Being honest with your desires, emotions, efforts, care and love are indeed inevitable. However, did it work out well? If yes, then undoubtedly you are one of those luckiest people on earth and keep going that way. For those who have not been that fortunate with honesty, try being dishonest! Don’t get me wrong, all I am saying is try being a lot more practical. Have the guts to respect yourself and to carry a strong mind to reject insolence. Be audacious and be bold! Have the courage to stand alone and prove your worth. In fact why to even prove your worth to anyone? Why limit yourself in achieving just one thing, when you have the whole universe out there?

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Compromising with your respect for anything is doing injustice to yourself. It is a cruel and unforgivable act. If you cannot respect yourself no one else will. Live by this fact and learn the art to bid adieu to anyone without lingering over for long if you do not get what you owe. Add meaning to your life as you will not get another. Do not waste it and do not be charmed by the disguise! Live with dignity and with no regrets.

Hopeful

A moment excites me, the other takes me low,
I fly high in the blink of an eye, and the very next am down below.
I surrender to the Almighty’s will very often,
Very often I dream to conquer all with rage,
Years ago, I thought it to be a matter of age.

Transitions with time the mind has undergone,
I yet rest divided; to be grounded or get on my heals to be on a roll.
Thoughts infused deep in my soul,
Disturb and part me from being whole.

I hammered myself a hundred times,
Seeking right steps, for the trodden path,
Where,
I discovered two spirits resting in me,
Both trying to separate me 180 degrees apart.

An inner intelligence holds me together,
I bow down to which, now and later.
A spark of hope that enlightens my being,
Someday I shall walk undivided with exuberance and faith, in full swing!

Rise & Roar!

Lady, I know you carry oceans of patience within your soul, your spirit is soaked into the sweetness of love and extending gestures of the heavens. That courageous lioness within you is resting since long. Awaken her before you find yourself lost into the jungle of dominance and abuse. The storms of emotions cannot let you shatter the conviction to troll those sky kissing mountains that are waiting for you to embrace them ever since their existence. Roar and rise with pride!