Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Just another day : Blog # 176

Just another day ~ Say No to Smoking

     Gaurav woke up to the blaring alarm, a sound which he has come to hate the annoyance quotient of which comes second only to the sound which the auto rickshaws make when they try to overtake a speeding bus. As usual, he went to the balcony for his morning puff. His mother who was watering the garden looked up and wished him morning.

How I wish he quit this habit! How do I tell him how worried it makes me to see him smoke? What will happen to his health?

            Wanting to not be late to office two days in a row, Gaurav got dressed and went down to see his father sitting with the newspaper. “Dad, how is the new Government coming along?” He went near his father and quickly passed a glance through the business page. “Looks like this government means business! Come, let’s have breakfast”, his father said.

He is reeking of cigarettes! Where did he pick this habit from? I should have a chat with him. But then again, what do I tell him at this age?

              Gaurav couldn’t wait to get in to his car. He waited till the car got out of their street and opened a new pack. He lit one when he reached the signal. A school bus came and stopped next to him. He reminisced about those days. What fun it was! To study was a pain but then there were no responsibilities, no targets. Life was fun.

Hey all of you come here. Look what that uncle is doing. He looks so cool with a cigarette in his hand, doesn’t he? I can’t wait to smoke! But our teachers tell us it is the bad people who smoke! Does that uncle look like a bad person? And I have seen our teacher smoking in the bathroom! So it is not that bad a thing to do after all.

            Walking in to office, Gaurav met a few friends on the way. He went to his bay and started working on the ppt. which he was to present that day to his Boss. Once the finishing touches were done, he went in to his boss’ cabin.

Guys, isn’t it Gaurav’s birthday the coming week? What do we gift him? “Let’s get him an ashtray!” Akshaya said. “Yeah right! And please be there to gift him that sun sign mug when he gets sick!” Akshaya did not expect this reply from Madhav. Realizing he came across as rude, Madhav said “I am sorry Akshaya. The thing is we take this awful habit too lightly. Somehow it has gained acceptance in our social circles. We fail to look at how grave a situation this habit can land a person in”

            The presentation went quite well and Gaurav was happy. By evening, he made plans to go out with his friends for a movie. In the break when his friends went to buy snacks, he went for a puff. They came back and the movie resumed. Someone passed on a snack which used to be his favorite. He took a bite and realized that he did not like the taste of it. He asked his friend if it has gone stale. His friend said “Not at all. In fact, it tastes great!”

           Gaurav drove back home, had one last smoke and slept off.His cellphone lit up for a second. It was a Whatsapp message which read “To Sin is human. But to make others pay for your sins is evil”.

                                                                                                            Arun Babu.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Amma : Blog # 175


        The earliest vivid memory that I have of my mother is her asking me what Saree she should wear whenever we went out. I should have been in 1st standard if I remember right. I always used to ask her to wear a particular Saree and I can’t remember a time when she did not oblige. But I also remember her asking me to put on a particular shirt and my refusal to do it time and again. To this day, the pattern continues. Coming to think of it now, little deeds like these show how much of a selfless relationship a mother has with her daughter/son. A mother gives and gives and gives!

            I believe if not for mothers, we never would have understood the concept of love in its wholeness. I can’t think of any other relationship which is completely devoid of ego. Whatever the circumstances and situations are, a mother’s first instinct is to love. It is not that the relationship doesn’t go through transience. One of my friend's sister says that she could see how her son is changing now that he has entered adolescence. He doesn’t have time to talk to her and if at all he talks, it is to argue. I am sure most of us can relate to this. We have all been through that phase. Have you ever stepped in to her shoes? The void that she would have felt when her son/daughter moved from being completely dependent on her to her struggling to find  a few minutes in a day to talk to him/her!

            I think the moment of truth comes when we finish college and move out of our homes to another city on work. It is then that it suddenly hits us. Now that friends are at different places and many of them who used to be around for day and night slowly drifting away, a new found solitude sets in. The realization sets in that this is exactly how our mothers would have felt. If one is sensitive enough, he/she takes efforts to make up for the lost time. And when it comes to mothers, it is never too late, isn’t it?

            My cousins and friends who are married say it is after they have a kid that they understand what being a mother means. They talk about how taxing and tiring it is and how still they can’t help feel happy to be a mother. Whenever my grandmother visits, my father asks her to cook one dish or the other for him and in spite of her age, she happily obliges. I ask my grandmother why and she says “For you, he is an old man. But for me, he is still my little son”. Doesn’t that sum up how a mother feels for her children all her life?

            I don’t think we can even attempt to love the way a mother does. All we can do is to try and respond to the warmth she exudes and be eternally grateful.

p.s. Amma,I can't thank God enough for your presence in my life. I try and express my love for you in more ways than one. But I know I haven't done enough and it will never be.
More often than not, a father’s love goes unacknowledged. More so, when it comes to the relationship that he shares with a son! So here goes; I love you dad J.
Lots of Love,

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Of relationships & Life : Blog # 174

Of relationships & Life

Somebody asked me what will be that wish I would ask for if I am granted just one. I would wish for the ability to love as much as I am being loved. These days,the ability to love is like common sense – not common at all. In fact there are very few people who can love fellow beings in the true sense.

    Many a time, we look at our relationships as secondary. We tend to forget their importance in this ever transient life of ours. Coming to think of it, relationships are among the few constants in our life; the relationships that we have with friends, family and hopefully not foes J. Everything else in life doesn't stay till the end; education, job, success, failures et al are passing phases. But relationships stay with you from the first breath till the last.

It takes time and effort to nurture relationships and it is worth it and how. It is these relationships which lend the much needed charm to our lives. People who have moved across cities in their life would know. It is not the glitz and glamour of the city that makes it close to ones heart. It is neither the amenities that the city promises nor the ambiance it holds within which makes it loved. It is the people; it is the relationships which we build in a city that lends it a character in our minds. Amidst all the steel and glass, it is the relationships which lends the city its soul.

Of the few ways to find some semblance of this conundrum that is life, I think the most enjoyable one is to bond with a few fellow souls. All we have is some finite time on the face of earth. Wouldn't it be great if we have a handful of people who care about us? More importantly, whom we care about! We have come to a state in life where all we are concerned about is oneself. I read somewhere that if something else moves you other than self pity, consider yourself to be blessed! What a sad truth, isn't it?

Many a time we underestimate the fragility of relationships. The smallest of deeds can make or break a relationship. If one were to compare Life to music, relationships are the most difficult notes yet the most soothing ones.

It is said, In a relationship, there is always one person who loves more. All of us strive constantly to be not that person. Once in a while, it is ok to be that person. May be, there is happiness in being that person. How will one ever know if we don’t take the plunge in to the sea of relationship? At times, it can be a tempestuous one which will need us to sail against high tides and strong currents! But the serenity in between, resembling a cool breeze on a sultry summer day is worth sailing for.

And about the lack of time in our life these days, all we need to think about is that one might want to scale a summit alone but not many would want to celebrate a birthday in solitude.

Arun Babu.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Respect for Women ~ Catch them young

Respect for Women ~ Catch them young

        One of the benchmarks for wellbeing and social maturity of a society should be the way it treats its women. Going by that thought, the lesser said about our society, the better. It is time we brought respect and dignity to our women which they rightfully command.

         A large number of crimes against women that are happening in our society is due to the mindset of the perpetrators; the mindset that women are in some way inferior to men. It is this cancerous a thought that need to be uprooted. For this to be achieved, we need to put in efforts from an early stage.

To begin with, we should look at ways to establish respect for women as a deed that is not a choice but a habit. There can be one person who advocates this thought in every educational institution. Right from when a student clears his/her lower primary schooling (when they reach their 5th Standard) one session which lasts one hour need to be conducted every month for those students.It can be called 'Equality Hour'. In these sessions, the person who anchors this initiative will educate the students about the role women play in our society. This will be done in very subtle yet innovative ways. For instance, showing them films in which women play pivotal roles, inviting women who have contributed to the society in any way to address the students, showing them videos of women achievers, et al. The idea is to get the students understand how women play as equally important a role as men in our country.

Once this pilot program succeeds, the idea can be extended to include taking students to witness women working in positions of power. For instance, the students will visit a Lady who is a district collector or a Police commissioner carrying out her duties efficiently. The intention here is for the boys to begin to accept women as equals and for the girls to envisage themselves in pivotal roles in the society.

The root of all evil is destructive thoughts and these thoughts arise and grow over time. If these thoughts are clipped early on in life, unwanted intentions will be eliminated and so will be the undesired acts. No amount of punishment is deterring people from indulging in heinous crimes against women. What is required is a change in mindset and this initiative is looking at achieving just that.

                                                                                                Arun Babu.