A THRILLING JOURNEY

Our life is a journey like the waves of the ocean. We sail smooth and suddenly get the surprising turn in our life. All of a sudden, a little incident makes us think beyond our daily lives and makes us realise that we have got to do a lot for this earth and their creatures. All of a sudden some incidents turn on the hero in us. Here, I will narrate one such incident of my life. In daily newspaper, on TV news channel we often heard about illegal wild animal trafficking, but never had got the opportunity to eyewitnesses.

I remember it was Sunday. My whole family and I were planning to take a one day break to an island– Ganga Sagar Island in the Bay of Bengal. It was one hell of a journey, and by the time we left the island, it was late. We were all concerned whether we will be able to return home on time or not but somehow we were able to catch the last train on KakDweep Station. We were so tired, and everyone was sleeping. I was planning to get into bed as soon as I reached home and was praying to God that the time passes real fast. But I did not know, the adventure of the day did not end here, it had the climax saved for the last.

I, my daughter and son were on the same row of seat, whereas my sister in law and my hubby was on the opposite side with other co-passengers. Suddenly we heard a sound just like something heavy fall and also I felt a cold touch on my feet. Though we all were slumbering, the sound made us awake, and we began to search under the seats for what it is! All of a sudden one of our co- passengers draws our attention. Oh! My God! He had a turtle in his hand, and suddenly there started a clamour in the entire compartment. We wanted to find out from where it came? Then to our surprise, another turtle fell from a red bag that was kept on the luggage rack. In short time the passengers scuffle with each other to pull out the Heavy bag. I can remember that two or three people could somehow manage to pull it down and after opening the bag, we found almost 15 turtles. They were bagged to be delivered to the illegal turtle traders.

The daily passengers did not bother much. But I, my daughter and my niece could not step backward, so we cried loudly! Who is the owner of the bag—please come in front, but nobody came. My daughter and niece urged hard to set the turtles free, but not a single passenger came in support of us. Also, my hubby and other family members told us to keep the bag as it was, but our inside soul was constantly making me aware not to tolerate this illegal wildlife trafficking. So we decided to deposit the bag at the police custody. In the mean time the train becomes slow and suddenly one person came from the crowd. He tried to take the bag and want to get down from the train immediately, but he could not succeed in his mission. So he ran away; my daughter chased him, but could not catch him. We were entirely disappointed. We knew we were small enough to grab hold of such a big gang but thinking about the little innocent creature, we felt sombre.

We handed down the bag full of the little turtle to the police custody, but some co-passenger laughed at our attempts and said that the police are also involved in it! We were shocked no more, as the trade of such endangered species cannot be done without the help of a superior authority. We did whatever we could do, but could not hold down our tears. With such faulty laws and system, ignorance of public is the primary cause that our wildlife is at stake, and rare species of the turtle and other animals will abolish from the earth.

A Funny Incident

Actors: Wife, Husband, and a Shopkeeper
A small introduction about the characters, before going into detail about the incident.

Chaitanya and Mahathi, while they were studying their graduation at the same college, but on different streams met in college when a quest has been conducted by the college.

They met accidentally, but not purposefully with an unknown incident. They eventually, after a long conversation became friends. They used to meet at the college campus canteen at times. Gradually their bond became strong and exchanged their phone numbers.

They fell in love after 2 years of their friendship. Hey were placed in well reputed organizations after completing their graduation. This became harder time for both of them as they both were not placed in the same city. But this hasn’t become an obstacle for their love. Gradually, it increased and they ended up with marriage.
As they were not placed in the same city, even after marriage, Mahathi decided to give up her career to stay with her love, husband at home. She used to get bored staying all the time alone at home and would like to go around at least at weekends.

During the initial days of their marriage, they used to go out and enjoy on trips during weekends and whenever possible. As the time passes, he being busy with the work, she used to go alone for the simple shopping kind of things.

One fine day Mahathi wants to go out for shopping badly. But the husband, Mr. Chaitanya is too lazy, as he is watching his favorite show on TV, which is really breaking nerves with each passing minute. So he obviously said no to her.

But she desperately wants to go for shopping, as she felt like house arrest for a whole month and that too she need some important things to be brought.

Mahathi insisted on requesting Chaitanya, even upon getting continuous rejections from him. Then she decided to leave him the way he is and left for shopping carrying the TV remote with her putting it on her handbag.
She went to a shopping mall, where she checked with all what she want and went to the counter to pay bill regarding. All the items were invoiced one by one by the counter service person. The bill was generated.
Now she opened her bag to take out money. The counter service person noticed the remote in her bag and out of enthusiasm asked her about the remote she was carrying. Madam, do you carry TV remote always with you? No, she said, only at times when my husband refuses to accompany me for shopping.

She checked the bill and with the money. Then, she realized that she fell on the shortage of money. So decided to pay by her credit card. She gave her credit card to the vendor. The vendor took it and swiped the card. The card was declined, he just laughed and took back all the products that Mahathi had purchased.

Shocked by the way he responded and asked about what is the reason for his behavior. He replied, your husband has blocked the card. Clever she, carried her husband’s credit card too. The vendor was given her husband’s credit card. He swiped the card. The machine notified, enter the OTP received on your mobile to verify the owner.
As she was left with no other choice, returned with a sad face. At this exact point in time, her mobile phone beeped. Mahathi received a forwarded text message containing the required OTP sent by her husband Chaitanya. Appreciated his husband from inside her heart for his noble act.

Happily, she paid the bill for the items she bought and returned home safely. She narrated the whole incident that was happened there at the shopping complex to her husband and had fun together.

Love Is Not Enough

Some love stories have it all going for them but don’t have a happy ending. I am going to tell you about one such love story about my close friends Anjali and Darsh. I met Anjali in 2001 at school. It might sound clichéd but since the time that I knew her well I just knew her journey would be the kind that people talk about.

She radiated this charisma that lighted up the entire area of her interaction even then. She was the popular girl in school, in high school, her graduation college, her MBA university and even the organisation that she last worked at. Its difficult describe the joy she emanated no matter what storms she held within. As we got closer, I began to understand that most of her charisma was a facade to a little child within who wanted to explore the world, be loved and spread love. She also had high expectations from life. She had been brought up in a well known family that literally had it all. Hence she expected life to persist that way as that was the norm for her.

She met Darsh during her MBA in Delhi. Darsh was tall, handsome and had a funny bone in him. He belonged to a middle class family, with a brother settled in Mumbai. Darsh used to tell me that he fell in love with Anjali, Bollywood style that is on first sight. He wooed her for a few months until she finally said yes and a whirlwind romance started. During this time, I and Anjali interacted on the phone regularly as I was studying in Mumbai and her in Delhi. I would listen to endless romantic dates, one of which comes to mind now. Darsh booked a room at the Fort of Fatehpur once for a date. It was probably the one of the best dates and time that they had together.

They were so happy together during that time. Birthdays wouldn’t be limited to days but a week of celebration. Nothing was done in modesty but with aplomb. Gifts would be obscenely expensive for a student. I would often ask them, how long do you think you can keep this kind of a lifestyle? Every year your expectations will rise, wouldn’t it be difficult to keep this up? They listened but I guess they were too happy to really see this as a problem.
Once MBA was over, Anjali decided to move to Mumbai with Darsh. Anjali got into a very well known organisation while Darsh, who wanted something specific, struggled to find a job for a year.

They had their fights during this time but were still happy and positive. When Darsh did get a job, they were so happy, so what if his salary is low they said, he will get promoted soon. Two years went by, I saw Anjali fighting more and more often with Darsh. Questions of when will we settle, when will you get a promotion, why don’t you change your job, is your job more important than our relationship would plague their relationship. Anjali would go in and out of depression during this time. There was even a suicide attempt. They broke up and got together quite a few times. She was not happy that Darsh wasn’t settled and that he wasn’t serious about getting married. Darsh on the other hand insisted that he was serious but required more time.

Another year went by and the Anjali I saw wasn’t the one I was used to seeing. No longer was she upbeat, full of life or excited about anything. She would go away to Delhi, to her family for months and work from Delhi. She expected Darsh to understand that she was slowly detaching but he didn’t. She stopped meeting him and then one day just left her job. We were startled to say the least; we did not see the storm coming. She told him it was over and left for Delhi for good. It took him months to realise that this didn’t happen in one day but years. He still isn’t able to accept that she left.

The best memory that I spent with them was on my birthday when they took me to this amazing restaurant that serves Chinese food. The ambience and the company made me feel so special. They were special together and I remember thinking there’s was the kind of relationship I would wish for myself. Now I realise, sometimes, love isn’t enough if not followed by action. Every bond, no matter how strong, doesn’t last if taken for granted.

The day I learnt not to worry and live in the present

The last few years have been difficult and hectic, juggling a full time career, looking after a child and the myriad other responsibilities in life. How the years rolled by and my daughter grew to a poised 17 year old is a wonder. The preparations were on to send her to a prestigious college and I was counting every rupee that I had saved to pay for the expensive education she deserved.

I had to learn an important lesson, how to let go of my fear of letting go of my little one, to let her fend for herself in the real world. It was sheer coincidence that my next door neighbor walked into the house as I was returning from the airport, after dropping my daughter off. I was relating my fears to her in full flow, when I noticed that she had tears in her eyes. Stopping mid flow I looked at her enquiringly.

“My younger brother expired while you were traveling, he just did not come home that day. It was a major accident”, she sobbed. I was taken aback. This was the hale and hearty 27 year old whose marriage plans were being finalized. Slowly she sobbed out her story. Apparently, the young man had been driving his motor cycle without a helmet and was struck by a speeding bus. Aghast, I tried to console her. Her words led me deep into thought, are we over-thinking?

My thoughts kept on spinning out of control. Wasn’t control the key of all trouble? We need to control every little thing, we plan, we think, we try and manipulate every minute according to what we deem ideal. Little do we heed the old adage, “man proposes, god disposes’. My thoughts were deep and my mood troubled. Can we really change what destiny has in store for us? Are we not resting on our past laurels and fearing too much about our future. The parents of the young man had given up all the little pleasures of life, those weekend outings, those movies and dinners were all forsaken for the dreams of their son’s future.

Was I not embarking on the same journey? Was this the rude shock that would remind me to live in the present? I learnt a valuable lesson out of the tragedy. Be prudent, look to safe guard the future, but do not let yourself get blinded by the dreams that you see. Live in the present and savor the small joys that come in your way. I picked up the phone to call my daughter and asked her to get the tickets to the Justin Beiber show to be held in Mumbai in May.

Ecstatic, she asked,’ Mum, how did you change your mind? You said the tickets were too expensive! Did you win the lottery or something’? Her joy was infectious. I smiled at her exuberance and put the phone down with the resolve that I would never put the constraints of a future dream to rule the present of my child. Yes, goals must be set and dreams must be dreamt, or life becomes aimless and directionless. Bur, one should never put off the little pleasures that life brings us in the anticipation of that one big moment. For all we know, the memory we will make today may be the best one of our life.

Sad, but true, we need a drastic incident to jolt us out of the rut that life has thrown us into. It need not be that way! Live in the present and encourage your loved ones to do so too. Let us let go of the pressure that anticipating the future puts on us and live without fear!

My Favourite Teacher

Albert Einstein once said, everybody’s a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

It all started when we have to adieu school life and take a step forward to achieve something instrumental in our journey of being human. When every friend of mine was struggling to get admission in the best of colleges, I was clueless as what to do next and what I want from my life.

During my school days, I was never a good student in my life. I managed to barely pass my exams. I liked reciting poems, acting out plays and just plain fooling-around to make those around me laugh. Sadly, my teachers didn’t like that, my class monitors didn’t let that happen and my school ‘schooled’ me in the name of discipline. I think discipline is important, and is one of the desired outcomes of what excellent education, but it is secondary to the desire to know things out on your own, doing things your own way and finding out new and different solutions to problems. Discipline runs contrary to creativity, but it is also required to give a concrete meaning to one’s dreams.

Geniuses around me said, considering your academic performance, Commerce seems so far good for you. So I opted that without thinking much about the coming days. Then commenced the college days and again I didn’t find things too interesting. Rather I liked giving tuitions to the neighbourhood kids and love to spend my evenings with them. I found that it’s not only me, but a number of children who wants something else other than same repetitive lessons in the class. Who can only and only understand when told anything in an interesting way rather than mundane lectures. I like guiding them. On teacher’s day one of my student gave me a card saying, ‘Thanks for understanding me. You are my favourite teacher’. This gave me goose bumps. Maybe because I never found any teacher to whom I can say those words. Or maybe because I haven’t expected something like this. Whatever it was, it gave me a ray of light as what to do next. I took the decision to become a teacher, knowing that the salary of a private school teacher isn’t good enough to enjoy all materialist comforts but it is going to give me satisfaction for sure.
Being a negligent but creative student myself, I finally decided to branch out myself towards giving education to those who are like me. Creative but careless. Imaginative but slapdash.

Today I am a high school teacher in a not so famous school. In my classroom I ‘try’ to achieve a balance between discipline and creativity. I crave my pupils to think freely, ask questions, question the authority, seek the truth and frolic in the classroom. I went to the school because I liked my friends and made them laugh so I let my pupils laugh and fool around if they want to. I tell them stories. I never give them full answers or explanations. I end each story with a question for them to ponder upon. I ‘try’ to make them like me, I’m confident that I’ll be able to do so. I say ‘try’ because I know that it is not always easy. I like my pupils learn to be cheerful despite hardships. I don’t know the formula for it but I know that it is contagious. I try to make my pupils love come to the class. Learning follows. I try to make myself likeable and make the children feel comfortable in the classroom. Then I allow some indiscipline in the classroom. I first ask them stupid questions to induce them to ask stupid questions and turn this into a habit. I make efforts to know each one of the student personally. Each one of them so that I can tailor my efforts in such a way that not a single child feels left out. Then I give them simple real life problems to solve, based on their lessons from books, which involve issues around their homes, villages towns, etc. Those questions sometimes also involve contemporary moral issues around them as well.

Being a poor student throughout is my biggest strength. I can put myself in the shoes of those left behind in the mad race. It has instilled in me the sense to appreciate not just academic merit, but also every small thing we do and what makes us human. I become a clown and a role model at the same time. I see both the roles as important. I concede that I cannot be a role model in a conventional sense – I’ve never achieved great things in my life – but as an honest, straightforward and sensitive person. Though it may sound stupid, but I see kindling the fire to learn among students as what constitutes excellent education.

Are we losing our humanity?

The day was hot and the city was gasping for breath, even as the pollution levels touched a new high. As people went about their daily grind there was evident a certain lethargy that arose from the stifling conditions. As I walked down the street I saw a crowd of people near the sidewalk. As I slowed down I could hear a low keening sound that signaled acute distress.

When I peered through the crowd, I saw a heavily pregnant woman, lying prone on the pavement holding her swollen belly. The keening sound was coming from her! The twenty odd people who were standing around her were curiously staring at her, but no one seemed keen to help.

Even as I was taking in the scene, a 15-16 year old girl in a school uniform stepped up and held her water bottle to the woman’s lips. A few sips later, she recovered a bit. As I moved closer to the woman and crouched down to her level, the young girl asked in a loud voice, ‘Is anyone else going to help? If not please move away and let her breathe.’

At her loud admonition the crowd sidled away, no one taking the trouble of asking how they could help. The young girl whipped out her cell phone and called her mother to inform her that she would be late. She immediately asked me to cradle the woman’s head and feed her sips of cold water from her bottle. Flagging down an unwilling taxi with the help of the traffic police, she helped the now moaning woman into the cab.

I was dazedly doing as she instructed, and followed her instructions unquestioningly. As we settled into the cab, me in the back seat with the pregnant lady and the child at the front, the young girl said,” ma’am, what happened? How are you walking on the streets in this condition in the heat?”

“My elder child is unwell and at home with her grandmother. I had stepped out to buy some medicine. I still have two weeks to go, someone pushed me and I fell!’ I was outraged at the callousness of the person who could jostle a pregnant woman just to get somewhere a couple of minutes early. The cab driver had now got into the good citizen mode after the initial unwillingness and sped down the alleyways towards the hospital.

The hospital authorities needed a little coaxing to admit the lady but the strident appeal by the girl forced them to admit the lady in the emergency ward. We took the lady’s phone number and address and called her mother-in-law. She was a little panicked by this time. The girl encouraged her to come to the hospital with the other child. Once the older lady reached the hospital, the girl made her comfortable and got her a bottle of water. Once the situation was stable, she picked up her bag and started leaving.

I too left with her, thoroughly impressed with the fortitude and sensibility of the girl. Once outside the hospital I could not resist complimenting her on her cool head and empathy. Her reply was startling. She recounted how her father had suffered a stroke and was lying on the street for an hour before someone bothered to take him to the hospital. The damage was irreparable, and was totally bedridden. Her mother was the sole bread winner of the family and she herself gave tuitions to young children to help keep the family afloat. It was this experience that had had made her vow to herself that she would always stop to help a person in need.

The young indomitable spirit taught me a lesson. Today I am a part of a NGO that helps people who need medical care but have no helper. Thanks to that young girl, my life has found a new purpose.

My journey into a world of love and endless love

This is the story of a beautiful love … my love! This is how I found the love of my life.
He … a man alone, adventurous and full of desire … to simply live…

She … a beautiful woman, processing a change in her life … alone, and not having realized the immense desire she had to simply be happy …

They met one day in an uneventful coffee shop, the sun lit up that evening, and it was a summer afternoon like any other … but not quite …

He attracted her with his charm and she captivated him with her beauty…
Thus began the most beautiful story of love, the days went by, they sought…
Every night with a desperation that could not be understood, only felt …

She waited anxiously for him, knew that she would come to meet him, as every day, as every night, beautiful phrases began to be born … love began flowing, pure, sincere and above all, true because here, they had no faces, no bodies, only words and feelings, and that was enough to feel that their lives had the same destiny.
They began to fall in love, in the most tender and sweet way, like that woman…

She started falling in love little by little, with his simplicity, with his tenderness, with his affection…
He followed the path of the conquest … protected her … accompanied her and made her feel those beautiful things that she did not know could be felt…

She began to love him … she felt that he was the man in her life whom she wanted by her side to continue her life…

He felt that she, his beautiful Ana, was the woman with whom he wanted to share his world … that between the kisses and hugs, she was the only one for him.

They realized that they were needed, they were made for each other, they were falling in love, and little by little, in the sweetest and most tender way … they were longing … so came the love of their lives…
Today, they are still together. They are intensely in love, they need, they adore, they profess an immense love, the dreams accompany their lives, a future awaits them, a house … some children … who wait for them, so that fused in that passion without limits … they engender them with the purest feeling of love …

They … Ana and Christian … live immersed in joy and happiness, blessed by life to have won against adversity.
When I first met Christian, it was the most beautiful moment of my life. There were no fireworks right from the start, nor were there violins playing or rainbows in the sky. But there were smiles shared and a feeling of having known him since a lifetime. In that first moment when we first set eyes on each other, it felt like my search had come to an end. This is what I had been looking for … that one look that said, “I’ve found you and I plan to stick with you for the rest of my life.”

Seems like only yesterday that our love story grew wings but it has actually been 10 years and we are still very much in love. That coffee shop is still there and love, like that coffee shop, is still as new as it was the day we set eyes on each other. It was, indeed, love at first sight and the people that think that the concept of ‘love at first sight’ is a baloney; I say that they haven’t set eyes on the correct person till now.

Life – A Roller Coaster Ride

Life has its ups and downs. No one goes from one phase to another without experiencing these. I would like to share one of such phases of my life. I had cleared the entrance to a course in the prestigious university that I currently study in over a year ago. Here I was preparing for the next phase that is interviews. I was also dating this really charming guy working in a bank. I had met him a few times and things seemed good.

 
One reading I saw my dad stumble in the house, completely out of breath. He said that he couldn’t breathe easily. It took him awhile to calm down. Several X-rays and reports later we scheduled an appointment with the cardiologist. He suggested another test called angiography to confirm if it was a problem with the heart. As this wasn’t the first time I had a sick parent I and my brother remained overtly positive. Dad got admitted for a day as the test is pretty intensive and requires long hours of bed rest.

 

We left dad on the stretcher for the test and decided to go have tea assuming it will take time. Within 5 minutes we got a call, we panicked. Our experience told us that this had to be bad. I entered the control room of the lab where the test was done and got introduced to a video of my dad’s beating heart by the doctor. Everything seemed to slow down as he went on to show one, two, three, four…seven blockages. He said bypass was the only way and he couldn’t say if that would save my dad or not. I just stood outside the department, in the reception of the hospital and cried. It was happening all over again, like it did with my mother. We calmed down and went to tell dad in the best way we could. In the next few days there were numerous fights at home, with me and my brother insisting we get the surgery done as soon as possible and dad worrying that it would be expensive, my performance in exam would get affected or that he might not survive the surgery. The biggest concern for us was selecting the right surgeon, right hospital and the right amount that we should be spending. After a week of deliberation, we settled on a good corporate hospital close to us, borrowed the money from a relative and went ahead with the surgery.

 
It was surreal watching my dad being wheeled away into the Operation Theatre. We did not even say bye to each other as we wanted to stay positive. We had the support of an aunt from abroad who came over to accompany us during this stressful period. Five hours of waiting and stress later, we were called to a counselling room where we were told by the surgeon that all was fine. He had placed 7 grafts which was extremely task intensive in itself. He had also cleared an artery to allow blood flow. I stayed with dad in the hospital for the next 7 days. I would study outside the ward at night when he would be asleep.

 

There are some fond memories of this time. Dad being him, made friends with the entire floor including the wards and the ICU. Once he disappeared while taking his periodic prescribed walks through the floor, which he would do slowly but relentlessly. Usually I would follow him but this time he asked me to stop treating him like a baby so I obliged. This caused me and my brother to frantically search for him and alas we found him sneak out of another patient’s room. ‘Uncle is from Bahrain, we just discussed a business opportunity’, he said excitedly while we just couldn’t help but laugh in relief.

 
It’s been more than a year now and touch-wood he is doing well. I cleared the interview and have finished my course half way. These experiences have taught me to value the time that we spend with our family especially parents. Words do not suffice to explain their importance and the love they hold for us.