Saturday, 29 July 2017

IS THE RAIN FALLING ON EMPTY STREETS?


Every rainy season, Mr. Azim Premji’s words, “Now the rains fall on empty streets”, come to my mind. A few years back I had been invited to judge an elocution competition at a SoBo school in Mumbai. One of the topics then was ‘A Rainy Day’ and to be honest not very much to my surprise, the kids spoke of umbrellas, raincoats, colds and coughs; and that was all. As I was listening to them, I kept hoping that at least one of them would say that she loved the rains and then as if an angel had overheard my wish, a sweet little girl said just that. It indeed brought a twinkle of joy in my eyes. “Wow”, said my mind thinking about two things simultaneously, “the rains are still loved and angels are around.  If this little girl enjoys the wet season, then surely there have to be many more who love to sing and dance in the rains.” But then my mind began to think that if it were so, why hadn’t the other children expressed a similar love enthusiasm?

When after the event I was given a few minutes to chat up with the kids, I asked them the question which was refusing to leave my mind. The obvious answers were, ‘If I catch a cold, I miss school’, ‘Mum is worried that I’ll get sick’, and the barrage of parental threats and worries is all that I got to hear.

Later when I had to round up my observations, I shared with them some of the moments I had enjoyed in the rains during my school days. Rains for me then meant no umbrellas or raincoats but cold showers of nature. Rains meant becoming a human boat and wading through floods. It used to be fun! Rains meant hot dudhi halwas, potato chips and onion bhajiyas. Rains meant making paper boats and letting them go free to search their destinations. Those were the moments when the heavens opened up the skies to pour out showers of blessings on a thirsty me. A rainy day morning had music in itself for my ears. Even today I love getting drenched in the rains; after all, there is certainly no specific age limit to get drenched in waters falling down from God’s abode and enjoy. A simple walk in the rains is like a dance with nature where ones partners are the branches of the trees moving to the rhythm of the universe. Even today, these are the moments which leave an imprint on my mind time and again.

Perhaps the rains which stress out the present parents with the fear of sickness and missing out on school did the same to my parents too. I’m sure that when I reached home bone wet, my mother making hot vegetable soup or ginger tea was a precautionary way of abetting the fear of the colds and the coughs. Whatever it was, the rains were the most joyful and exciting moments to be remembered. The sound of rain drops even today energizes me to go out for a walk without an umbrella; the thunder and lightning revitalize the gloom of the summer heat. But today as I look around and see empty streets where nobody comes out to dance in the rains, I feel that the environment is under a threat of insults. I hear the muffled whispers of children wishing that the chains of restrictions could be broken. I feel sorry that the present system of living has destroyed their peace and left the streets vacant.

We are today pumping ourselves with knowledge and neglecting the most basic need of connection with nature which adds to our lives cheerfulness, pleasure, gladness and indulgence in perfect proportions. In spite of all our knowing that we are a part of nature, we have cut ourselves from it and become alone in the company of humans.  Again, we all know that humans are in the clutches of aggression unlike nature which has a recipe of satisfaction, love and rest. If we were to pay attention to theoretical studies, we would quite clearly observe that modern health statistics show concern for depressive human beings whereas nature encourages man simply in the thrill of its company.

When the skies begin a communication, all life gets to hear healing. Probably, before science and technology imprisoned us in chains of gadgets, we enjoyed the rains at a completely different level. Even today when the showers from above fall on the earth, they fulfill an intimate connection between the physical and the spiritual. This season offers us year after year an opportunity to realize our connection with the elements of nature which are the building blocks of our physical body. If we were to move one step further from this physical manifestation of grace falling from the skies, without which life on earth would not be able to survive, we can at least attempt to understand the cosmic grace which continues to fall on us consistently and is not just seasonal. As the rains drench the earth transforming it with a new life energy, the cosmic grace too attempts to drench us with its power of transformation. But, are we hiding and sheltering ourselves under an imaginative precautionary shade and letting our fears hinder a change from happening? 

After I had finished sharing my experiences of this beautiful season with the children, the In-Charge of the institute gave a vote of thanks and at the end she did not fail to remind the children to not forget their umbrellas and raincoats to shelter themselves from the monsoon.


Pic. Courtesy : Google

Saturday, 22 July 2017

SURROUNDED BY THE HIMALAYAN KNOWLEDGE OF FORGIVENESS


The irony of war is that it destroys the meaning of life in site of victory, because in reality it gives only a fake layer of temporary delight. A beautiful creation called life gets lost in the wind of hatred; and strangely, people keep talking about the end which is 'so close' and instead of learning to live with love, they prepare themselves to learn to die.

Again, there are so many inner battles to fight which are far greater than those fought outside. Military achievements are superficial exultation celebrating the life of a few survivors damaged internally for eternity. Whereas the triumph of the soul with the weapons of forgiveness and compassion brings the prize of eternal peace and harmony.

There are life performances happening all around us which require us to dive deep in order to understand them. Making life or destroying life definitely points in opposite directions. As we see hatred running all around us at top speed, we are most likely to be puzzled as to why it fails to catch up with the speed of love.

This is the clutter of emotions I find myself submerged in today. Two recent happenings in India, got me focused enough to get into the range of my hearing, a thoughtful whisper.

A Pakistani couple bid a teary farewell to India after their four and a half month old son recovered from a complex heart surgery. Taking a flight back home to Lahore after a month long stay in India, the couple expressed their gratefulness to the country whose doctors had been instrumental in the recovery of their child. The child with a hole in his heart had a rare chance of survival because his heart was pumping blood without oxygen and his body was turning blue with continuous bouts of pneumonia. It was only after a five hour long surgery that the boy did fully recover.

These lucky parents got to travel to India in spite of the prevailing climate of hostility and returned with great spiritual strength of love, to the land they call home. However, at this same time nearly two hundred school children were evacuated to safety in bullet proof vehicles in Nowshera sector amid heavy shelling on three villages along the border by the Pakistan army.

With such diametrically opposite happenings of some worthy and unworthy acts of life, I couldn’t but help wonder as to how some men seem to ceaselessly pump the blood of hatred and revenge without oxygen of love and forgiveness. Don’t they know that they will never find rest until they learn to finally let go of hatred and hurt that has taken residence in their hearts? Unfortunately the answer is ‘no’; because these are the damaged people themselves, and it’s this damaged personality that causes them to move further into destruction. They live in zones of pain and therefore it’s very unlikely for them to even think of themselves as wrong. They therefore take no responsibility of their actions; neither do they have any understanding or concern for the damage they do. They are dwellers who live even today in structures of a painful past which has robbed them of all happiness and joy of the present and future.

Someone may ask, ‘Is India a fool to constantly help those who don’t care for her, and instead repeatedly come to cause her pain?’ Certainly not! India has grown on the soils of love surrounded by the Himalayan knowledge of the strength of forgiveness and the immense depth of the waters of peace and therefore she continues to heal holes in hearts.

Friday, 14 July 2017

THE FOX AND THE GRAPES - A TWIST IN THE TALE FOR A HAPPY WORLD


When one afternoon, a fox was walking through the forest, he spotted a bunch of grapes hanging from over a lofty branch. “Of course”, he thought, “this is exactly what my parents, my teachers and my friends would want me to reach up to.” So his endeavours to succeed in getting those grapes began. He jumped high, and then a little higher and then the highest he could, but he couldn’t reach the bunch of grapes. “Bother!” he exclaimed. “They’re probably sour anyway.” Moving on with his journey he continued to search for something else to eat.

When Aesop wrote this little fable, he probably had the youth of the future in mind. He had prophesied a great truth through the fable to which the new world gave a new moral. As this new world told its youth this beautiful story of the essentials of movement in life, it instead focused on stagnation. It claimed that it was always easy to despise what one could not have, and that failure at success often suffered this ‘sour grapes’ syndrome.

True that nothing comes easy in life, true that hard work is essential and true that one must aspire to gain success; but the question is, must one be unhappy if one’s attempts to succeed fail? Must one move with a long face and suffer for eternity for not having reached the goal? Must one get stigmatized for life and be ostracized from the world of successful people to the extent of falling into a deep well of depression?

Misinterpreting the Fox and the Grapes story has led our schools and homes to neglect emotional development. Today we are aware of depression and lay emphasis on it on the World Health Day, but in reality we focus on its suppression and not its expression. Depression today is considered globally one of the leading causes of morbidity amongst the youth. These are the unspoken emotional troubles that regretfully lead to self-abuse and suicide. Obviously then, this invisible disorder needs more attention.

The World Health Organisation estimates that today millions are affected by depression for life. Research states that globally 322 million have depression. This sadly makes up 4.4% of the world population and it is found more in women (5.1%) than in men (3.6%).

Several causes have today been recognized to cause depression. It could be due to an imbalance in brain chemistry which may be triggered suddenly or over time by genetics, it could be because of hormonal changes or chronic illnesses or stress of grief or an inability to face difficult circumstances.

Strangely those who get help in this disorder are only the tip of the iceberg. Today suicide is the leading cause of death among the young. Ironically, it’s an inexpensive and easy to treat illness which is taking lives. We have to work to remove the stigma attached to this illness which prevents people from seeking help and treatment.

A twist in the tale therefore is the need of the hour today. We need to retell the story of The Fox and the Grapes to our children.  This time though we could tell them that it was alright for the fox to be unable to jump high enough to reach the bunch of grapes. The society today needs to learn to accept the foxes who can’t reach the bunch of grapes. Our inability to face failures shows how unripe we are in our vision of success because though we have learnt that ‘Failure is a stepping stone to success’, we have failed to accept failure in a mature manner. 

Failure involves emotions of sadness, shame and regret which lead to exhaustion, fatigue and depletion. At a time like this, the one who has failed needs someone to share this sadness with, but the society has done just the opposite. It has encouraged concealment of emotions. The society pressurises its individuals to hide their emotions arising out of failure and such undercover behaviour in turn leads to aggressiveness; the worst towards oneself.


If we wish to create a happy world, we will have to change the understanding of our relationship with the material things we strive for. A question we need to ask ourselves then is, ‘Are the bunch of grapes an end in them self?’ If we can get an answer this, then we will have no need to sulk and grieve if we cannot jump high enough.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

HAVE YOU MET A JONATHAN KOSHY?


Jonathan's friends remember him as a man who has grown up on his own; ‘Life was his Parent and Pain his teacher’.
The initial chapters move slow, documenting Bandra in her good old days. She is painted in words all over the pages; her people, her roads, her churches with her Christmas and Easter celebrations, her community feelings, her gas and kerosene lit street lights and her film star bungalows, all step out of the book like a film.

Certainly a work of genius, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy digs deep down into the heart of a man; a man for whom all is fair in love and war; a man who has the capacity to transform a tragedy into a comedy, a man who can become a villain hero, and a man who is always a ‘youth on call’.

Shroff’s Jonathan is no ordinary character though. Throughout the story he comes out as someone who is a survivor in spite of oceanic waves all around him, rising tall enough to drown him. He has strange workings indeed. He can make a recovery gangster believe in karma by instilling ideas of professional change in his mind and help him find his ‘true calling’. He is a man of sure risks when he opens the gates of his friend Anwar’s house to the wildness of two hundred locals who have ‘blood in their eyes, fire in their hearts’. Only a Jonathan could think of a history lesson in the midst of a riot. He could touch the ‘right chords’ and convert ‘rioters into protectors and saviours’ and gangsters into helpers. Probably we all have sometime or the other seen a Jonathan in our life and loved him so much to wait for him to arrive again and again.

Jonathan is the neglected child of a world filled with demons. He is a young abandoned man who takes to the world with feelings of ownership ‘without responsibility, without fear’. In his lonely moments he goes to a whore and ends up celebrating her birthday.

In short, ‘Waiting for Jonathan Koshy’ is the story of a man with mixed longings, mixed appetites and mixed emotions and that’s exactly what makes him human. With a childhood that longed for parental care, he observes and appreciates the same in birds. ‘Crows make best parents, did you know? They build the strongest nests and tend to their young till such time as they can look after themselves’, obviously these were the overwhelming thoughts of an untreated and an unhealed wound.

Jonathan’s connections open up to the reader a hidden world of the not so lucky ones. A world where the poor and the helpless are left with no options; but, Jonathan cares for them. He takes Varun, the son of a prostitute, to be counselled by a non-profit organization, convincing him enough to step back from getting castrated and becoming a eunuch for the love of his mother and enter the flesh trade of a different kind. Its Jonathan always, who thrives on ‘doing good all the time’ pushing his readers to think about their own contribution to the world.

There are moments where the book works as an awakening guide for parents, throwing light on parental acts of betrayal which affect children; parental behaviour which lead to deep-seated anger, so deep that the victim feels no need ‘to shake’ it off with therapy.

In all seriousness, Shroff allows humour to sprinkle a shower of smiles on tensed reader brows, such as when people begin to worship Jonathan’s snake image planned to terrify them about Aids. They come with folded hands to worship the icon meant to create a totally different effect; a total boomerang of his plan. Puzzled at the behaviour of the religious minded, he compares his country with a woman and says, ‘I also figured out that India is a woman, a puzzling, enigmatic woman. Try as you might, you can never figure her out. You can love her, yes, or feel frustrated by her, but you can never fully understand her.’

Asking some of the most important questions about life, Jonathan turns philosophical. He claws at our hearts when he fathers to his own old man, who had abandoned his mother for a younger woman; the one who suddenly fell out of the boat of love and humiliated him as he continued to refuse in all his stubbornness to step out of his sinking love vessel.

The story envelopes along with the life of Jonathan, stories of all the women connected to him. Karuna Koshy, Jonathan’s mother, is a woman who returns to a man who in the first place drove her away with his love itch. Without any feelings of hatred or revenge, she returns to help, probably because she has understood that, ‘We are loaned to this world only so that we might repay our debts. This world is not ours, nor has it ever been.’ There are other women characters too who have suffered or have been the cause of suffering, being unable to do justice to their children; women whose breasts had burnt with burning tires which rolled during angry riots, women who were unable to keep promises to their children because the society had no respect for their commitments, women who couldn’t look into the eyes of their sons because of the jobs they did to bring them up, women who had seen their mothers suffer and continued to wage ‘war against all men and against all love’, women who had goodness in their hearts and charity in their hands to help the Jonathans of this world, women who unquestioningly rushed to help those who had destroyed them.


Shroff has ventured to teach us life through Jonathan’s story, which he has interestingly packed with sufferings, longings, doubts, darkness and yet allows moments of realization to pop up ‘when you least expected it’ because after all it has been a long journey for a Jonathan who cares; and it has been long since we have been ‘Waiting for Jonathan Koshy’.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

LEARNING TO BE A NOBODY


Have you ever wondered why our schools and centres of learning are ill-equipped to nurture creative skills in our children and instead keep them unengaged with life? Have you wondered why a sufficient number of graduates in India face unemployment?
It is because we have brought up a textbook culture in which we test our children not for their understanding, but their capacity to download textual matter into their heads and let it pour out verbatim onto the answer sheets. Connecting studies to reality today, appears far from reality. Mind well, it’s not that the matter cannot be connected, but the inclination to do so is absent. The education policy may want the students to get practical knowledge but a clear gap remains between the planning and the execution of intentions. The heads of our students are filled with factual information till they swell up with the pride of collection. Our children today are caught up in the arguments of problem solving and problem finding and in the process of frequent policy changes, they are often lost.

This brings to my mind a short and simple lyric by a nineteenth century poet, Emily Dickinson. Literature students often quote her with pride; but the irony is that the poetess herself preferred to live in obscurity. Our present system of education is like a leaking tub which collects knowledge in it and fails to notice how it all empties itself out after the exams are done; because the focus is only on the temporal market value of grades. These are the heady graduates who have no scope of employability. Their pride remains on paper as they shrink in reality.

Emily Dickinson, recognizing the futility of such headiness preferred to remain a nobody. “I’m Nobody! Who are you?/ Are you – Nobody – too?/ Then there’s a pair of us!/ Don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know!”
She hid from recognition which many longed for. In one of her most popular short lyrics, ‘I Am Nobody’, published in 1891, she elucidated the longing to become somebody, as ‘dreary’. She never wanted to croak like frogs that made sufficient noise in order to be recognized by the least progressed individuals.

Perhaps our education system would do good to take a lesson from this humble lady. We have tragically transformed our ancient system of learning into a corporate world of accomplishments. Our institutes have become brand labels; which students long to wear.

This system has made many of us into learned and domesticated beasts who like the unthinking bovine, have no sense of choosing their fodder but eat instead, whatever the world feeds them.

Today this system, has put before each one of us, a great challenge with every step we take on the rungs of the ladders of knowledge, in order to cross the bridge from one corner of ignorance to the other corner of wisdom. This challenge, in Nido Qubein’s words is, “The greatest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone wants you to be somebody else.”

This system treats only the best as individuals. The others fall out into the world with depressing lack of recognition. This, our present education system, a gift of the British to us Indians, was in fact a plan to destroy the desire to know, in order to learn. Education soon became a stepping stone for achievements of the body, where the soul of man was left totally ignored. With the shift in focus of purpose, the obvious follow up was pride.
Ever wondered why today we have learned criminals? This is obviously because the purpose of their education was only earthly success.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who keeps his way preserves his soul. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16: 16-18

The tree of life has on it, many branches of love, care, concern, responsibility, compassion, empathy, mercy, pity, tender heartedness, kindness and deep awareness; and yet we have on it thousands of parrots achieving expertise in rote learning and screaming a chorus of arrogant satisfaction.

If only they were to humble themselves like Rahim, – (a great minister in King Akbar’s court!) who often went out donating to the poor, keeping his head and his eyes lowered to the ground. This queer behaviour of his, puzzled his friend enough to one fine day question him regarding this peculiar habit of his and Rahim’s answer, to date is quoted by many who understand their insignificance in the magnitude of the cosmos. “Denewala aur hai, beje woh din-rain. Log bharam hum par kare, neeche howat nain.” Which means, “I am not donating this wealth. The actual donor is the Supreme Lord Himself. But people falsely understand me to be the donor. So, in shame I bow down my eyes.”


All of us involved in the system of education today, whether as students, teachers, parents or ministers, need to ask ourselves a question. “Is our education helping us to grow tall like a tree, or is it helping us to sway in the breeze of success and yet stay firmly rooted in the ground like the grass?” Because, when a strong gale will blow, the humble grass will survive but the proud tree will fall down.

Monday, 19 June 2017

LET THE WIND BLOW

Sudha Murthy’s story, ‘HOW THE SEASONS GOT THEIR SHARE’, has a share of depth of understanding for all her readers. In spite of being a story for children, it has in it material to set ticking the minds of adults too. The story in brief mentions about God having six sons namely, Day, Night, Summer, Rain, Winter and Wind. He instructs them to live together peacefully and divide themselves to share the world. So the boys get down to work immediately.

Day and Night being twins, decide to take turns of twenty-four hours each. So for the first twenty-four hours, Day begins to shine and the world remains sparkling with his bright light for all that time. The next twenty-four hours Day goes to rest and Night takes over his duty. Night’s darkness envelopes the earth and the people are left to rest and sleep under the black blanket of nature. The twins feel happy with their decision and believe their plan to be amazing. Then the other brothers, Summer, Rain and Winter decide to take a year each. However, all of them ignore their youngest brother Wind. They simply keep him out of the turns they take, and poor Wind keeps away silently without any demands. Their plan is to allow each brother to take one year completely in his charge; and so begin the seasons on the earth. The first year, Summer heats up the planet to the extent that everything almost gets burnt and dries up. The people of the earth long for some relief from his heat. After a burning hot year, Rain takes charge and pours down heavily to the respite of one and all. Initially, the people who have suffered immensely from the heat of his brother Sun, feel good; but when the downpour continues ceaselessly, they realise that it is not all that blissful. There are floods everywhere and everybody has to remain locked up in their homes without any food since all the crops have got destroyed due to water logging. So for another one year the scenario is painful. Then comes Winter’s turn. This cold brother comes with all his iciness and the people begin to shiver in spite of all the warm clothes they wear. The earth trembles and her denizen are terrified of what has been happening around and in a state of helplessness, they pray to God for a change.

 When the brothers see the unhappiness of the people, whom they were supposed to help as instructed by their father, they begin to worry. They wonder if they have made a mistake in their decisions and get together for a change of plan. After all, they had no plans to harm the earth people! Their new decision therefore is to divide the year in parts with their presence. So Summer being the eldest brother, takes charge for a few months and begins warming the earth. The earth soon begins to grow crops and everybody is happy, for food is being generated. Rain then takes over and drives away the thirst of all the people and helps the growth of crops with his showers. Soon Winter arrives and the crops begin to bear fruits for all and the world is now largely contented. Now when the twins see how their other brothers are sharing and caring, they too decide to share the day. So for twelve hours, Day shines bright and the next twelve hours Night showers his cool light on the earth.
However, a problem still continues to linger. The brothers have not yet teamed up with their youngest sibling. Wind continues to be left out. Because of their keeping him away, Summer’s heat continues to be unbearable without any breeze, with Rain the water continues to fall unevenly on the earth, whereby only some patches of ground get the water and the others stay dry and arid. Even during Winter’s turn, the earth faces a similar problem.
The brothers then realize that the youngest among them whom they had ignored thinking him to be of no use, can in fact be their saviour. They now become aware of his qualities which till now they have left unexplored. Soon they go up to him and repent and bring him into their plan of work. Wind too feels better and joins his brothers without hesitation. It is to be noted that Wind has no pride or strife.
He begins to blow and easily gives relief to the people on earth during the time when Summer lets the sun shine. Also when Rain begins pouring buckets full of water on earth, Wind helps to evenly direct him to different areas and there is equal amount of water on the planet. Winter’s arrival this time, gives joy to the people when Wind touches their nose and makes them feel pink.
The share of understanding I spoke about in the beginning is that, if only in our lives too, we would not ignore the breeze of kind and gentle words, which have the power of understanding to blow away strife of arguments in the summer of anger, we would have a beautiful life. Wind would then blow away the sweat of antagonism leaving us free from the hot sting of bitterness.
The breeze of quiet and kind lips would be a blessing during periods when our lives could be flooded with displeasure and hostility.
The biting cold of violence in moments of aggressive mood, could be lessened with the refreshing breeze of words of affection and love which would give warmth to cold hearts like the comfort given by woollen garments.
Isn’t it after all the winds of charity, sympathy, affection, trust and mercy which help us to approach one another to change painful circumstances everywhere? What a story indeed! Though written for children, we adults too could gain a lot from it.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

WHEN THE MIND WHISPERS TO THE BODY.

                         

(Thoughts inspired by Dr. Mickey Mehta – Global Leading Holistic Health Guru/ Corporate Life Coach.)
This is a featured article for all who aspire to join his wellness revolution for human evolution to get illuminized and Mickeymized!!!

Modern day living has become disjointed due to a new life-style where bodies appear to be moving without the joys of the mind and the spirit. Be it the corporate world, a world of educationists dealing with young lives or a world of the blossoming youth, stress has been blamed to be a terrorist on the prowl to victimise all; the ordinary and the extraordinary as well.
Everybody is today searching for cures, but healing seems to come not to many. This is because the remedy has been the cure of the mind or the soul or the body disjointedly. However, Dr. Mickey Mehta leads on gently to look at it as a whole.
Moments spent with this man of well-being are portions of learning about the unity of the mind, body and spirit trinity within each one of us. When this holistic guru speaks, all who listen to him learn. Moments shared with him become adventurous trips within oneself because Dr. Mickey Mehta believes in trekking within just as much as he enjoys trekking on the rough roads of adventure.
The path to fitness, according to this man of health is an engagement of a contemplative, spiritual and devotional nature which ultimately culminates into physical well-being.
Nature is vibrant and so must we be, as humans who are a part of the universe. This universal energy is waiting to explode in us if only we give it time and space.  Whoever gives time to listen to this wellness guru, cannot rest in ignorant slumber because it is his soul call to awaken dozing heads. This healer energizes every cell in the physical, mental and spiritual being to awaken and move towards its original holistic health.
Dr. Mickey Mehta believes that to exercise the mind is as important as to exercise the limbs. If a thirty minutes walk has the ability to calm down a troubled mind, thirty minutes of disturbance to a mind can in turn play havoc on the physical body. Today’s man is playing a lot on the see-saw of the psychosomatic and the somatopsychic illnesses. Dr. Mehta’s voice of balance then has been one that has knocked at many closed doors of modern minds opening them to a view of the grandeur and magnificence of health.
Complete body fitness takes more than a trip to the gym and that’s where this doctor of health walks in to help condition the body to deal with the rollercoaster rides of everyday living.
Our physical bodies are master pieces of creation invented till date. There is no more powerful and complex piece of equipment available on the planet. They are the temples that hold in them, our minds and souls and Dr. Mickey Mehta leads us in the course of association with him, to respect this supreme creation with total reverence.
Often, everyday levels of stress weigh down on our bodies causing our souls to experience a state of shock. This is a very common modern day experience for any man or woman and sadly today even children are not spared from this soul-shock of anxiety attacks. This sorry state of modern living, which has in the course of its rash success journey detached the link between the body, mind and the spirit, needs today a guiding soul to rejoin itself to its former state of overwhelmingly powerful and splendorous being.
Dr. Mickey Mehta is that modern binding agent who leads to the mastery of oneness. With his help, many have taken power over themselves to walk in the light of wisdom of getting into the best shape of living.

- Ruby Malshe


She is a lecturer in a South Mumbai College. She has written a book of devotional Earth Poems, a novel probing a spiritual search within-‘Jars Filled with Gold’ and a book of short stories-‘The Short Skirt From India’. She is also a guest writer for Proeves, an on-line magazine for young mothers and children and a motivational speaker who talks on different issues regarding women, life and children.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

WE CAN SAVE THE EARTH - (On a positive note)


The heroine of the Indian mythology Ramayana was a female deity of agricultural fertility. She was believed to have been discovered in a furrow when king Janaka had gone ploughing. Considered to be a child of Mother Earth, her birth was taken as a symbolism of union between the king and his land. Some in fact considered her to be a personification of fertility, abundance and well-being. In all likelihood it was possible that the wise ancient writer Valmiki was conveying a deeper message to all mortals for all times; a message of love and respect for the environment through his leading character of Sita.
However Sita’s journey was not one of exhilaration but one which had much anguish in it. In the present day too, her story is often repeated in accounts of abduction where she is often found dwelling as a shadow, afraid of coming out in the open to be spotted by evil Ravanas.

‘CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE’ has been chosen as this year’s World Environment Day theme.  However, the odour of violence today appears to be bordering extremes of aggression and the worst sufferers of all wars inflicted on man or nature are the women. In the past, humanity went to war unthinkingly. It was like a ‘Follow the Fool’ plague that struck every unthinking mind; but today the modern minds are blessed with the breeze of awareness. We are today aware that war only destroys and never leaves any winners to enjoy fruits of its destructive labour. Why would then any sensible species run into a game which has no scope or hope of a win? Every day, news channels splash blood in every home and all relatives of mankind are fed up of all kinds of destructive action. However, on the scale of justice, the side of awareness today seems to be getting heavier with the help of education. Everywhere, in spite of human generated damage, talks of peace can be heard. Enough generations have been taught the effects of war; now teaching effects of peace is in fashion. If continued, this definitely will bring about positive results. It will take time of course, for the old crop of vengeance to wither and die unattended and the new crop of love to blossom with focused attention. Our generation has understood that at times, in order to move ahead in the right direction we need to go back to the wise words of men like Martin Luther King who once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Celebrating the environment once again this year a large number of us will ritually gather with the knowledge which we normally refrain from using on other days. We will visit parks, plant trees, host pro-environment activities and events and then I hope that we will not go back in an inconsiderate slumber like the yesteryears but instead continue to connect to nature.  In the past we were very busy being ‘social-animals’; so engrossed in our social life were we that we missed the point and turned into animals; beasts who drank blood of the innocents. But today, a large number of us work hard to protect ourselves from the barbs of universal blame for the misbehaviour of some solely responsible for evil constructions. Many of us today have already begun to hold  tight to the knowledge that we are a superior race, too strongly armoured with compassion, love, care and concern to ever indulge in war with humankind or our environment.
Mother Earth will never be able to forgive us if we do not esteem the feelings and minds of others. The animal in us from the past has sorrowfully dug into her womb, making graves to bury all consideration and mutual respect for our fellow human beings and our surroundings. In fact every inch of the anatomy of the earth, is the knowledge that those of us destructively intelligent, left out from our laboratory of research.

However, today we are learning from the lessons of the past and submitting in love which grows only out of peace. All we need to do is pause and see the beauty of our environment; not just one day a year but every single morning we wake up to walk on the surface of the planet. Decades of stress to the ecosystems has caused us suffering, but today we have understood that we simply cannot displace and destroy in the name of God, who we believe commands us to fight a holy war. To our misery we have realized that when we plant a bomb to destroy our human enemies, we also damage our own compounds along with rival courtyards.

We will hopefully celebrate this World Environment Day with respect for our creation’s master maker with reverence, for we have understood that when our creator formed the earth, he put his love of abundance in her. “Creation made you and/ you created us. Where else could I see/ the creator, but in you! You are the clasping/ hands of the Lord./ You are the kissing / lips of His./ Where He not in you/ how could you have/ so much?” – from my poem, ‘Where Else Could I See?’

However, to achieve this stage, we will have to become irreligious and step out of an indistinct mindset into the luminosity of a belief where we will make use of science and technology to restore the earth we have battered and not fight and waste our time and energy battling over superiority of one faith over another. Then with the help of our newfound peaceful intelligence, we will be able to see the damage we have done to the earth; whether we will do something about it or not is the question awaiting an answer. Today we need to consciously strive for a continuous lifestyle for peace to celebrate our former monarchy. 

The earth, like a patient on a hospital bed is lying silent in excruciating pain; will we be able to hear her silence and work towards her healing is the question. “Your spiritual height/we do not understand./Since you prefer/to lie under us/we take you as an object./ Your silence reveals/ nothing to the deaf./ It would take/ears of understanding/to hear your message./ Oh Mother Earth!/ You speak the sacred voice,/if only all could hear it.” –from my poem, ‘Ears of Understanding’.


Monday, 8 May 2017

HEAVEN AT OUR DOORSTEP




Beautiful things and happenings are always at our doorstep or perhaps a little away. All we have to do is to see them with our eyes, chew on them with our minds and digest them with our spirit. To recover our ownership of this planet, we have no option but to go back to loving it.

Even a scientist like Albert Einstein understood the benefits of being in the lap of nature when he said, ‘Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.’
Nature is in fact the most invisible potent force of the almighty creator of all things. It is this strength in it, that lures us all to walk near shrubs, under the shade of trees, besides rives, at the shores and to climb mountains.

Once we have got hooked onto this infinite natural show, we will never be satisfied with sitting in closed boxes to view tales of human trifles.

In ‘The Chariot Pageant’- a very short story by Rabindranath Tagore, this great master of creativity shows us how indeed very short a journey it can be, to perceive what has always been in front of our eyes and yet not see it in the ignorance of long distance hopes of emotional prosperity. In all the simplicity of his writing, he brings an awe inspiring beauty of a world free of technology, a virgin world of beautiful natural designs where all space is lit up with the light of the stars. And all of this is brought to us through the character of a simple man whose job is to pick up loose broom straws off the palace grounds. When the whole kingdom, with all its high and mighty position holders, rushes to see the chariot parade, this simpleton feels too lowly to race alongside the influential and the strong. However, this set back approach of his is not due to any inferiority complex. It is his humbleness in all its innocence that points sharply to the neglected lifestyle of a modern man who is all the time seen rushing to parades in the world of mankind. But the uncomplicated self has no need to hasten to any parade at all because, ‘God comes to my doorstep in the very same chariots’. What an optimistic approach for humankind to take indeed! An approach that gives a surety of tasting the authority of the creator by simply respecting his creation.

But for the majority of doubting Thomas' of the world, if the chariot were to come at the doorstep, then it would have to leave its wheel marks for his eyes to see. For the unsophisticated however, the one free from earth desires, the invisible is not impossible; ‘His chariot has wings’.
The chariot then can be seen only by a few like the simpleton.
“The Minister asked, ‘And where is that chariot now?’ The wretch pointed – two newly bloomed sunflowers flanked either side of his doorway.”

Probably Tagore wanted to communicate some lofty truth to us, telling us not to run after the chariots or any kind of exhibitions of the world, but to look at nature which is the creation of God, and allow it to help us praise Him by  observing His powers all around; the power that has the strength to make a most delicate flower shoot up from a hard surface of a rock, the power of a stream to flow and make its way to the oceans, the power to help understand things unfathomable.


(Pic.courtesy: Google)

Saturday, 29 April 2017

GRAVES OF EXPECTATIONS



READING KABIR BEDI AND M.J.AKBAR TO UNDERSTAND THE MIND OF A DEPRESSED YOUTH.

As I go through ‘Ramblings on a Beach’, a memoir by Mr. Kabir Bedi, where he describes spending time at the shores where baby waves run to kiss the sand with fascination and the mother waves run after them to pull them back, I get transported to my past visits to a beach; and stand in my mind with my feet sinking into the sand and the waves kissing them gently. No doubts about how relaxing those times were! It doesn’t seem the same though for children who are taken to a beach today. The school children in the memoir, who had been brought there by their teachers were not allowed to simply loiter around and take in the beauty of the water dance but instead were made to race on the sand which would hold on to their footprints, however only till a wave would come rushing in to erase them. The writer then sees two girls run the race where one obviously wins and the other loses. What he goes on to describe further is worthy to be noted.
“I look at the girl who has lost. In her eyes, I see shame, I see fear, I see despair. Shame at not being able to win, fear of what others are thinking, despair at not knowing what to do next. I see the face of a child that has been hurt and humiliated. I see a soul that is slowly being bruised and brutalized by comparison: being forced to compete with the physically stronger on the beaches and playgrounds. In the classrooms, the same game will continue. She will be compared to the more intelligent, the ones with better memories and those who can write faster than her.”
One such depressing story happened recently when a twenty-three year old jumped off the 19th floor hotel window at the Taj Land’s End hotel in Mumbai, and shook the city of its complacency.
Who would have thought that such a young student from a reputed institute would have done this? Life suddenly appears to have become so cheap that at the slightest distaste and feeling of uselessness, it can be flung out of windows. What was more to come was that he didn’t murder himself in secrecy but went live on Face book video and tagged the hotel’s location; seeing which, his friends contacted the hotel staff, who then ran to save him but were just a few seconds late.
Such self murders today are indeed a loud and clear bell ringing for attention. Many a youth and the young at heart, in spite of all the joys and facilities of living at their feet, don’t seem to be close to happiness and joyful about the fact they are blessed with the miracle of life. In fact, they are grieved with several pressing forces which bleed their cheerfulness. They even face restrictions in matters of love. Our religions compartmentalize even this basic need of men and women. Often, we have heard of stories where a Dalit youth has had to face terror if he has erred to love a Brahmin girl. Even our education system fails them. In fact, it frustrates them to the extent of losing faith in life. The knowledge of equality remains enclosed in the pages of the text books and men and women continue to be ostracized. Mr. M.J. Akbar, a veteran journalist, calls such love, visions of a sleeping mind in his short story ‘An Indian Dream’; where he kills his hero in a posh hotel room. “Ashfaq’s suicide in a posh hotel room in the early hours of the morning on January 21 (as the newspapers said) did cause a few minor ripples.” An Urdu medium graduate, but heart-broken because of his poverty, falls in love with a rich girl and dreams of getting a job. “He would get a job, get a flat, get Ayesha and live happily ever after.” But dreams are not real and Ashfaq is not equipped to face reality. However, life moves on and Ashfaq is sadly forgotten. “After the funeral they talked the whole thing over. ‘What a goddam coward, what a weak person!’ .....In the course of fruitful time, Ayesha married a foreign-returned wealthy Muslim businessman who danced very well, spoke English with an excellent accent, and was after a fashion, intelligent too.”
My country India ranks 122 out of 155 countries on the World Happiness Report. It’s time to give deep thought regarding the reason for such placement. Ironically, foreign seekers of emotional fortunes come searching for it to India; leafing through her philosophies, her yoga, her temples, her family values, her traditions, her culture and her spirit filled ambiance with a lot of faith to return fulfilled. Little do they know that a majority of her citizens have only residual values for all these and are more focused and influenced by power, wealth and pleasures of the body and mind.
A country that should be overflowing in joys of body, mind and spirit and in fact, one which is successfully selling it to others, has its youth dying under pressures of material achievements and fears implanted right from the kid zone times. Mr. Bedi expresses his sorrow of the same when he talks to his daughter, “Now, at three and a half, you’re a little lady. You have your own friends, you own stubborn opinions. All this is super. But I’m sad because now you come and tell me about the Buddhi Mai coming to get you, and ghosts in the dark, and you’re afraid of the water because you’ll ‘doob’ in it and a hundred other fears.”
Giving undue attention to such demands of the world and fear implants, only ends up in the break-up of a peaceful soul. Frustrations, disappointments, anxiety and stress don’t hesitate to follow. “And I am sad because your mind will be wounded even more over the years. Your schools will use fear to make you behave: fear of punishment, fear of ridicule, fear of humiliation. They don’t want you to behave, baby, they just want you to conform. Bit by bit they will try to kill what makes you different from others, the differences that made you so distinct as a child. They’ll tell you......all good children go to heaven. And good children are children who think like other good children. The best children, of course, win races and come first in class. Try to be like them. If you question their stupidities, they’ll throw you out.” The free spirit of the children with time gets stiffened by their anxious family members, their ‘rule of conduct’ following teaches and a fearful world that often foolishly believes that holding on to fears in secret is the best. These are the people who in their timidity give up on life and instead hold on to their miseries in secret; and secrets often become heavy burdens weighing down on the person like a hangover. What we need now more than ever are good Samaritans who have listening ears, who can help by lifting the weight of such emotional baggage with their ears. Private Ponderings over disturbing issues rather than sharing them with family or friends has often proved crucial to the well-being of the secret holder. Unresolved issues have never solved matters but only made them worse. In fact the Confession Box at the Roman Catholic churches is a perfect cost free idea of making light, heartbroken individuals.
However, all may not be church goers and for them the confession box of nature can become an open air field of healing. Nature is a great stress buster. Therefore long walks under the shade of trees, or near rivers and ponds can get unimaginably helpful. Nature lifts up depression caused of secrecy. The stressful burden of secrets is blown off by the winds at the sea shore. The sea too holds back no secrets. You can throw anything into it and it throws it back cleansing itself to remain light from any burden of filth. At the end of the day, it is the letting go that matters.
It is very common to be unhappy; a large majority of the human tribe are trying to hide their unhappiness under their smiles, failing to accept that happiness is a ‘State of Mind’. This uncomplicated emotion is not dependent on the climate outside or the timely arrival of a flight or a reasonable availability of a holiday package.
It’s our ignorance that traps us in negativity. Instead of being conscious and aware of the beauty of our lives, we allow its charm to be destroyed by accepting the coloured glass vision of others. Instead of appreciating and enjoying the things we have to do, we endlessly and most of the time search for things which we will appreciate and enjoy......and the moments slip by.

“Children are Masters of Zen. Curious about everything. Adults are serious and boring. What happened?” The worst is that these solemn adults are digging graves for the youth with spades of great expectations.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

THEY SAY, FIGHTING LONELINESS GETS EASIER WITH THEM BY YOUR SIDE


The news flashed saying, ‘A stray dog that had been adopted by a woman repaid her kindness by laying down its life saving her from a knife-wielding attacker.’ Lucky was the name she had given to this stray who she had adopted and lucky indeed she was to be saved by him. Lucky came into her life when she was battling loneliness after her mother’s demise; and for someone who had lost somebody special in her life, Lucky was like a sudden profit after a colossal loss. I am told and do believe that dogs do fill up gaps in the lives of many.
My thoughts then jumped to a striking statement made some time back by a well-known actor’s wife, who was quoted to have said that she would never want to be a woman who spent her day at work all day long, only to come back home to her baby in the evenings as if it were a puppy. She successfully outraged several ladies who claimed that they stepped out of their homes not to enjoy kitty parties with friends or on shopping sprees, but to bring back home a good amount of expense contributions with self-respect. 
However, when one and all were so much focussed on the love for their children and the pains they took for their upbringing, I could hear a whisper murmuring to me some truth about the way a large number of people behave with animals. I wondered if the star lady’s statement had implied something more about humans who kept pets at their homes. Did they not care enough for their pups who they said they loved and cared for, did they simply had them home to feel better when they returned from work, or were they in any ways irresponsible shirkers who found that dogs would always in their barks and silence accept any injustice mankind did to them in all their ungrateful humanness?
Again, another supporting happening in my thought process was the movie ‘Boss Baby’, which got me thinking over the strange plot of a baby as a secret agent in a secret war between babies and puppies. The modern world being already overpopulated, perhaps some couples prefer to bring home puppies rather than those little demanding human creatures. The question then arises, does man bring home a pet to share his overflowing love or does he do so because he is grieving due to lack of  reciprocated love? Of course, everybody knows that a dog’s love is genuine? Or has man become so careless and irresponsible that he prefers to shirk the responsibility of a human child and instead brings in a fun and loyal companion? Or is it that man has heard enough stories of ingratitude of human children to bother about them; their expenses and the heartbreaks from such relationships and feels lighter with a speechless creature at home?
Whatever the reasons, it does not show man in bright light. Though I am not a passionate animal lover myself, I do respect the four-legged friends who have secured a mark of loyalty in all stories of the past and present. On the one side I feel it injustice towards these animals whose movement gets restricted in cluttered city apartments, for I believe that they need open space to roam around freely. But I am also aware of the research on benefits of pets, which have proved tremendous therapeutic health benefits to their owners. Dogs are believed to reduce loneliness and decrease stress. Dog owners get loads of health benefits when they take their pet out for a walk having an advantageous position of exercising themselves. Dogs are known to repay love tenfold. Their commitment is a life-time one. And all they want in return for all their love is to be loved; it’s that simple. In fact when I wanted a character to fill up a short story of mine, where a little girl needed help to overcome her stress levels, I put over there a dog as her helper. In ‘Reading to Tommy’, little Kishori got an intent listener in Tommy, who simply heard her read, without being judgmental. His silent presence had tremendous effect on her stuttering and she was able to read with a flow which was surprisingly joyful. It was the presence of this animal which helped her to scale new heights. The reading of the story to the animal, itself proved to be a moment of transformation.  “One day, as she was going home from school, she saw a hill-lock. Oh! She walked close to it and felt like climbing its small height. She knew that her mother would be upset with her as she would be wasting a lot of study time, but then she wanted to waste her time and so she began to climb. As she climbed the hill she saw beautiful, colourful flowers growing at her feet. They smiled at her as her toes touched their soft petals. She bent down to feel their smoothness and even plucked a few of them and put them in her hair. She climbed higher and higher till she reached the top.” – (‘The Short Skirt from India’ by Ruby Malshe)

In India, animal activists have a tough job trying to explain to people about difficulties that animals go through due to the negligence of mankind. Take for instance the festival of Diwali, where a number of animals are reported to getting scared and some even fatally burnt due to the careless use of crackers. A little information about Nepal’s Kukur Tihar Festival could help us become sensitive towards these furry and loyal creatures. This five-day autumnal festival has lamps lit everywhere since it is the festival of lights and celebrates the triumph of knowledge over ignorance when it understandingly values the role of dogs in the life of humans and extols them to a position of companions and friends. The festival does not simply waste itself in self pleasures of good food and clothes and entertaining gatherings of the kind, but acknowledges a deep connection between all living things.

At a recent function organised by the Bombay Veterinary College at Parel in Mumbai, a special program was organised to felicitate working dogs from the police, railways and bomb squads and a lifetime achievement award was given to a retired police dog who had been adopted after his retirement by an octogenarian lady, who in her speech made a very striking point that perhaps needs cogitation. She expressed her concern as to why people did not adopt retired or maimed service dogs? She believed that some facility for such animals would be a great service to those who had served us in all their unselfishness, safeguarding the public during their tenure. She expressed that it would be a great way of thanksgiving to these honest and loving creatures, if people who had farm houses could adopt at least one such retired dog. I had always believed that dogs needed space as big as farms but honestly I hadn't given ever mind to a thought as generous and altruistic as this.


Perhaps if her suggestion were to be taken into consideration, then many lonely and remotely placed hearts would get companionship and many more stories of loyalty could be given narration opportunity. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

LET THE GRASSHOPPERS SING


What if the Ant and the Grasshopper, the heroine and the villain of this one of the most read Aesop’s fable exchanged places? If we were to switch their roles, I’m sure they wouldn’t fit in easily. The delight of the Grasshopper to enjoy the beauties of the surroundings; to take in all of the environment as the base of inspiration to sing, rap, dance, write poems and stories wouldn’t be easy for the Ant. And of course the seriousness of the Ant, her laborious life, her hard work would be indigestible for the Grasshopper.

The philosophy of the Ant, the one which focuses on material goods and the philosophy of the Grasshopper, the one which delights in life and its beauties, are two sides of a coin which are essential for the piece of metal to be of any satisfactory use and bring happiness.

The Ant would normally feel that creativity takes no great talent; that it’s just a waste of valuable time where the whole of man is given away to the senses, where he lies drowsing away days, where the creative person is dangerously lazy and a lot of his time is wasted on vain and empty pleasures. Whereas the Grasshopper would express that hard work was not difficult at all; only drab and dull. That it only concentrated on profit in life, that comforts of industrial wealth was a prior in his life, that it always sought substantial protection, that it felt safe only when it saw a firm future, that it believed that joys and security had to be lasting, that it never went out of season to experience something different and that it always successfully passed avarice upon the world.

The moral taught to us in this story, was that hard work during summer prepared rest for us during winter; and that those who wasted their time singing away in summer, could be told mercilessly to dance away the winter. 

The story in a way promoted a strict code of behaviour of toil where misbehaviour of leisure was unpardonable.

Today however, the need of the hour urges us to be more forgiving and less harsh with those unfortunate ones who probably were not taught the difference between the right and the wrong of the puritanical code of accountability. Of course we need to take care of our necessities, but once they have been fulfilled we also need to take a look at the needs of our neighbours and give them what we may have in spare. Such encouragement of sharing would do common good to humanity at large. What we need to understand today in spite of wearing our crown of self righteousness, is that forgiveness need not have any feeling in its applicability but a decision to act in a particular way. Wouldn’t it be harsh on our part to focus on one man’s fault while ignoring the duty of another? Our conceited response, bereft of mercy to the wrong the other man did would only lead us to be inhumane. The Ant would have risen in her soul climb if she had relieved the Grasshopper in his distress, even when the troubles his way were the evidence of his actions.

And to look at this issue from yet another point of view, if all the Grasshoppers were left to shiver in the winter as a penalty for spending their summers singing and painting, there would be no art left in this world. It is after all the songs the Grasshoppers wrote that the Ants tapped their feet listening to, when they were labouring away in the heat of the sun.


Our society needs Grasshoppers to make the fabric of our community of workers more endurable. For what are the Ants of the world but little birds who make nests on branches that could break under their weight and yet ceaselessly go on working to establish a place for themselves, tweeting away a song they may have heard which reminds them about their wings which could help them fly in moments unendurable. 

So let us not stop the Grasshoppers from singing if we want to hear and sing charming tunes of encouragement during arduous moments in our life.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

INDIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF CELEBRATING WOMEN’S DAY


A few days ago, my daughter called and asked, “Mum, do you know what the problem is?” and without waiting for an answer continued, “The problem is that I am a woman. I can’t help that though.” This angst was regarding the disparity regarding her salary. The Monster Salary Index has researched and found that Indian women earn quite a bit less than the Indian men even though they may be placed in the same position and work the same number of hours.

Today we may not be having a blatant disregard for women like in the olden days, but women still continue to face prejudices; which to avoid inconvenience, many of them brush aside like dust particles under carpets and sofas in their living rooms.
Yes of course women did get, or rather fought for rights to vote or to get educated; or in Mr. Narendra Modi’s India, a toilet to pee in privacy; but there is always a horror story which women seem to be scared of at their homes or work or even in the streets.

In fact on the 16th December 2012, every woman and every man who loved a woman was shaken up by the horrific Delhi gang rape. Since then the fear psychosis continues everyday in all places; even in schools where bra straps get snapped in classrooms in the presence of male teachers who tell the girls to ignore the mischief.

It’s ironic that we study women at the university level in our country and yet are unable to brush off the dust of tradition. Personally I feel that India has no right to celebrate Women’s Day; in fact India should be ashamed to ceremonialize this day. Indian men urgently need to get rid of all their women deities from their temples; their Laxmis and Sarawatis, Durgas, Kalis and Mother Marys must be brought out from the temples and churches as due respect to them from the hypocrisies of duel standard worship. These men must relearn instead to shift their form of veneration; transforming it with reverence towards their daughters, sisters, mothers and wives and women friends.

India must understand that her women don’t hunger for awards during fake elaborate entertainments, where Women’s Day cards or bouquets of roses mean nothing but business for card manufactures and florists. This pink spirit for one day and for the rest of the days the gloom of blood is not digestible.  Women all over the world are in general a strong and smart species. Their courage, their resistance, their smartness, their emotional strength in their day to day life is itself a great occasion for an Every Day celebration without any sort of worldwide recognition.

So this year, sans all the frills of this international celebration, sans the hypocrisy of a good number of Indian men, I prefer to salute this creative force in the world by acknowledging her greatness in all her simplicity.

Happy Every Day to her, who has been serving at my place and making my life easy for more than two decades. Sometimes happy and sometimes grieved; of course she has her moods; which I have learnt to manage, for I know that back home she has to manage a lot more. Married in her teens, troubled by her alcoholic husband and with a toddler in hand she dared to step out with fear and courage to give her company on the rough path called life. In all her illiteracy she had learnt that education was a must for her daughter in order to save her from a life like hers; and now her daughter, an economics major, has bought a home for herself. Today, I salute this courage that overcame fear.

Happy Every Day to her, who fell in love. They grew up together and yes, even got married. Strangely he found someone else. It broke her heart. She asked, ‘How could it have been?’ because it was a long time relationship. A shirt of self-sympathy and an overcoat of sympathetic pats on her back would have been so much more comfortable to shield from the world’s breeze of mockery; but she chose to take a swim in the harsh waters of life. Stepping out of marriage she chose to live life with respect. Today, I salute this strength to overcome disrespect.

Happy Every Day to her, who was too young to understand the difference between a good touch and a bad one. In those days there was no awareness too. Yet, she knew that something was wrong. There was no comfort in his lap. She stopped going near him; hid when he arrived. Showcasing his nonexistent innocence, he kept inquiring why she had turned so shy of him. Now she was big and strong to face the hypocrite. One day she knocked at his door. His wife welcomed her home. It had been so many years ago. “What has brought you home?” she asked. “I wish to confess”, she answered. He was old and his hands shivered; the old man’s disease. She went and sat on his lap. He smiled surprised and said, “Young lady, you are too old to sit on my lap now.” “Oh yes, I know”, she replied. “I just wanted to know if you would have the guts to touch me wrong even now”. Today, I salute this confidence to recognize a wrong and make it right.

Happy Every Day to her, who in a world that rejoices the birth of little boys, was a proud mother of two. They took long to grow and she worked hard too. But one day, the usual bickering and irritable one; unlike the fairy tale ‘one fine day’, she shifted herself to an old-age home because she didn’t like being shifted every few months from one son to another. She had worked hard to make them stable in life and didn’t appreciate the instability they offered her. Today, I salute this power of vision which sought self-respect even when vision in her eyes had gone weak.  

Happy Every Day to her, who continued in her marriage for her children; whose strength lay in abandoning personal joys for the happiness of others. Today I salute this power of sacrifice that woke up every morning with a smile in spite of the tears of last night.

Happy Every Day to all the women who in spite of having a voice, had to go through remarkably quiet and difficult personal journeys to find their vocal cords.

Happy Every day to all those women who didn’t ask who would let them do it but instead asked who would stop them from doing it.


Happy Every Day to all those women who could have sat down and cried till they died; but who instead wiped their tears and chose to stand strong.