Thursday, 30 March 2017

My visit to Kanpur

I am not a story teller - at least not a great one. But I like penning down incidents that happen around me. There is always something more than what catches the eye, and story tellers are very skilled to catch it and turn it into an interesting series of events. But I write in simple plain terms, without the dramatic twists. Because, this is a simple narration of something I experienced myself, and want to treasure forever.

Not far away from the hustle and bustle of metro cities, is Kanpur. Visiting the place after 12 years was a trip down the memory lane for me - it is where my maternal house is, and I used to go there often as a kid. I was amazed with the details I could remember of the house - the paintings, wall colours, carpet designs, and even the arrangement on the showcases. The streets - not much have changed - honking cars, cows at street corners, people who are always in a hurry with a phone in one hand and with eyes in all directions. But my dear cousins at Kanpur are still not a part of that madness. Shreeya and Satyam, they are called. Shreeya at the age of 13 is an avid reader, and Satyam at the age of 18 has a tool kit as his most prized possession, with which you can find him fixing and building things around the house. But as you know, we don't let kids be the way they want. There is social pressure, academic pressure, peer pressure, and then the changes which are taking place within themselves as they grow up. It is so difficult to keep kids in check, and it is so easy for them to slide away.Their parents have really worked hard to keep their childishness from being lost in the wilderness of the world.

Since I had only a day or two of stay there, my schedule at Kanpur was jam packed, and I had little time to spare for Satyam and Shreeya. When I first entered the house - they were shy, of course. They wouldn't dare to unwrap the chocolate that I had got for them (though they looked at it with craving eyes). They would do a casual namaste and wait for me to talk, and when I would, they would shy away from the conversation. but that awkwardness lasted only for a few hours. The next thing you know - these kids were always around me - figuring out tactics to convince me to stay just a bit longer. In just three days, their delicate faces, innocent smiles, loving eyes and thoughtful acts won my heart.

I had never met Shreeya before, and had only met Satyam when he was 3 years old. I have vivid memories of those days - the chubby cute little Satyam running in the park while me and my elder brother would play cricket. He is a star from the start - if he would fall down while running, he would just laugh and get up again. He loved puppies while everyone else around him was scared of them. As you may know, kids have a constant habit of picking on other kids due to their physique or any other thing they find funny - I am sure Satyam was picked on too. Most kids turn out to be introverted after that - but not Satyam. He is the most confident kid I have seen! He will easily become more than an integral part of your friend circle in a matter of hours. Such is the lad.

Shreeya is someone I can see my childhood in. Though we have never met before, she has all the same habits I had when I was her age. Love for books, collecting recyclable materials from all around the house for craft work later, love for soft toys, a composer, a music lover - somethings I can totally relate to. When I talked to her today, we talked and laughed for hours, and it felt like I was with a younger version of myself. We dressed up, where she did all my makeup and hair, took a lot of pictures and we laughed about everything we did - it was lovely.

But nothing good lasts forever. It was my last day at the house, and I had a crazy day. My train was to depart at 4 am in the morning, and it was around 1 in the night when we finally got free after dinner (crazy day!). Bhabhi had packed lot of snacks, sweets and refreshments for me. Kids also got a pack of refreshments each. The reader must notice here that for a kid, chocolates and food are something they love to get, and something they find very difficult to part with.

Moving on; as the departure time came near, my heart started sinking. As a parting gift to them, I had made them a placard each, which they could put on their study table. They loved them, and felt the obligation to give a return gift. I was about to leave, when they came to me, offered me their refreshment packs, and said " Didi, abhi hamare paas toh aur kuch h nhi dene ke liye..islye aap mera bhi saunf ka packet le lo, as a farewell gift." ...I could not control my tears, and neither could they. It was a moment of pure emotions emanating from both ends - a river of eternal bliss, a place in the universe where you are the happiest - something that I will cherish forever. Such is the innocence which you can experience only with kids - will always love you both!

केहते है बच्चो  का  मन निर्मल होता है। वो भगवान स्वरुप होते है, छल कपट का नाम नहीं  होता।  उनकी हँसी पर फूल झरते है, और पक्षी चेहचहाते है। उनके रोने पर सबकी जान जाती है। वही बच्चे कभी कभी अंजाने में ही कुछ ऐसा कर जाते है, कि बड़ों की आंखें नम हो जाती है। हमेशा उनके करीब रहने का मन करता है, पर जिंदगी की जिम्मेदारियां रहने नहीं देती।

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

It's Time to Deboard

"Wine comes in at the mouth  
And love comes in at the eye;  
That’s all we shall know for truth  
Before we grow old and die.  
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh"

The inclusion of this poem in the excellent speech by Mr. Roopank Choudhary reminded us that there is no joy in making a life if you forget to live it. The convocation ceremony left all of feeling accomplished, yet humbled, reminding us that IIM Indore will always be a part of who we are today, and whoever we will become one day.

Sitting in the auditorium for the last time, looking at the professors and listening to the guest speakers, as we were getting ready to take the convocation oath, a magical fondness filled us to the very core. Past 20 months went by in a glance- the train of thoughts started running on the tracks of time. It began from the biometric registration made on the first day at the college, gushing through all the academic activities, fun-filled events, joyous moments spent with friends, and halted just before the main exit gate of the institute. It's now time to deboard.

I closed my eyes one last time. The ceremonial retreat of the academic procession from the convocation ground flashed back. My heart resonated with the band music,my eyes watched the esteemed professors leave with deep gratitude, and my mind was considering a single thought, that it's now time to deboard.

Earlier during the day, Mam Arundhati Bhattacharya (Chairperson, SBI) had spoken about the importance of change and goal setting. She explained that once you reach the top of a mountain, you will be able to see a bigger one right behind, waiting for an adventure. Today, I am on that first mountain. People who have helped me conquer this quest have to stay behind as I set out to reach yet another peak. However, their lessons will always be remembered, and their contributions will never be forgotten, because they have now become a part of me. 

I now exit the main gate, to set out again, to climb the second mountain, not because the world can see me at the top, but because I can see the world better being there.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Utsaha: Revealing the kid in YOU

 “Lal Kado…Lal Kado…Ek aur lal kado milto, to ye set poora hoi jabo” –  the little girl said, as she kept rummaging through the bangles spread before her to complete to the pattern laid out for the game. Watching her all the while, I was enjoying her performance so intently that I forgot to stop the timer. And when she finished, her happiness knew no bounds after winning a nail paint of her favorite color… and this is just one of the plenty joyous moments the Utsaha team of IIMI gets to experience.  

 Utsaha is a two day mela (festival) conducted by IIMI at Janapav Kuti – a village near Rau (Indore). Though the intent of the event is to conduct a disguised rural marketing research for FMCG companies, it is much more than data collection. It gives happiness – where we laugh with the kids as they hit the bull’s eye in a dart game.

It excites – when we roll a dice which will decide who among the six players will be the winner. It rejuvenates – when we play hoopla with the kids in open space. It brings a smile – when, in a game, a timid woman with a kid puts the bindi at the right place on the poster and wins. It gives energy – where we organize arm wrestling for men and find an ultimate champion who takes away the mega prize.

 It leaves us amazed – as we see the magician performs his tricks, and we try to figure it out. It shows team spirit – when our entire team organizes rounds of musical chair for over 100 kids together… and it makes our day – when a villager comes and tells us that he loved playing all the games we had.

 Yes, a lot of preparation goes into organizing the event. It starts months before Kartik Poornima (the day we organize the event) where we plan out the event budget details, design projects & games, prepare materials, buy gift and decorate the stalls. The villagers don’t pay to play the games: profit is not our objective. But the entire toil is worth the learnings we get through the feedbacks from the audience, along with the sense of being close to our very own rural folks. It is an IIMI’s way of giving back a bit to the society, allowing its students an exposure to their grassroots, and giving memories to cherish forever. 

Kudos to Team Utsaha for the grand success of the event this year! I will miss this next year ! :)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A drop of rain!

" Two years back"
Early morning, birds chirping, a squirrel near my window with its irritating yet sweet voice calling its mate, a black and orange cat on the boundary wall, and a spider stuck to the window glaring at the sky... they are the first ones I see every morning.

All sweet, quiet and beautiful, (though the genre of my companions may snatch out some beauty here), I wake up. I am about to open the window, but I fear I will break the brooding of these fellow mates. I go out in the garden, and look at the sky. The garden being more of a kitchen garden, it makes me feel the concrete creeping into the city.. I am slightly depressed, I start looking down again when there is a drop of rain!

It brings a smile, it brings peace, and makes me feel that there is still hope, there are still a lot many things to do!

"An year back"
There is a clear sky. Rains have just stopped, the sun has come up, and petrichor is emanating from the rapidly drying grass. I go to my window, take a deep breath and look outside. None of my usual visitors are seen, I am never to see them again. I take a lazy stretch and look out again, fixing my gaze on the lush green tree seen far away. I smile, and think of how have times changed. I think of how have I turned my hopes and dreams into reality. I feel accomplished and just feels so complete.

Last night, I had cried.  There had been a series of disappointments. I felt I was losing a source of my happiness. I wanted to get into oblivion. I had made a hard decision. It was tough, but I had let go. As if I had a choice. My thoughts were dark, and I thought they will never see light again.

Next morning, someone had gently touched me on the cheek. It was a sunbeam:emanating through the bright radiant sky. An aroma has filled my room, which had led me as I wake up. Perhaps its the potpourri.I have finally decided to use it, after holding on to it for four months.  I get up from my cozy bed, hugging my favorite Doggie. I take a deep breath and smile, looking outside the same window. I know its going to be a rush as the clock has started ticking already.It is the best part of my day. Yet, I feel there is something missing in this grand setting of things.. and almost immediately, a raindrop falls into my hand which makes it complete: there's hope again, there is peace, and there are still a lot many things to do! :)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Finding Fanny!

As rhyming as the title sounds, the movie reverberates the same theme through out: finding a long lost love!
With a musical backdrop for almost the entire duration, I could relate it to 'The Sound of Music' ( which I still believe, is one of the best movies I had a chance to watch).
In my opinion Finding Fanny was a nice try to break the 'all good and happy endings' of the stereotyped Bollywood movies, but I am not sure if the audience is ready to accept it in the form it currently is.

The story revolves around Naseeruddin Shah ( Forgive me, I find the role names a bit complicated! :P) embarking on a journey to find his long lost love; with Arjun Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Dimple and Pankaj Kapoor helping him in the same (because of their own personal interests). The story ends with all of them finding their love!

By the way, the acting was superb! ( I am a die hard follower of Nasseerudin Shah). Everyone else was just fabulous as well. The movie does tickle you- at the silliness of the incidents and situations: though they are very unreal. For instance, the movie shows Pankaj Kapoor being shot  by accident, and nobody noticing that he is dead. His body falls into a deep river while the car is driven with the doors open, and nobody notices that either! Freddie is a post master, but he doesn't know how to read a map! The cat dies long back, but the lady discovers it days later! C'mon the body would start stinking! Also, they leave a lot of threads loose for the viewers to interpret, which I liked. ( well, I loved 'The man of the tiger by Frank Stockton too). The movie justifies the existence of the close knit village, Pocolim, which seemed to fit the crazy characters in it. I am not sure what did the film aimed at: if it was humor, well, not a five star! If it was a break through into real movie cinemas: not a five star either!
However, all in all, this film by Homi Adajania is an assortment of droll characters with a tinge of wit, romance and wild. I would like to watch it to admire the acting by Naseer, if not anything else!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Time to Act: Run for the homeless

The pavements lit, a body was nudged-
The police stick poked a man asleep
In the dark night, he was beaten- he cried
Hark- Nah! What do you care of the deprived!

You turned a blind eye to their misery -
And mummified bodies littered the streets,
You hogged and slept in a building big
And they shivered to death, those hungry breeds!

They are deplorable, they aren’t rich
Then why should your soul itch!
Of course, you are a ‘better’ son to God,
But alas- your primary duties you have forgot.

Wake up! It's time to act, they need your support!

Join us at Indore and be a marathon runner... Run for the homeless.
Log on to and be the change you want to see in the world!

Friday, 16 May 2014

People and Friends

We are human beings, in need of companionship, and care. And when we are lucky enough to get it : it breaks our heart when that is gone.

I know I should move on. I know, what is done cannot be undone.
I know, death is a part of the brief stay at this place, and I know, it hurts.

It is difficult though, to just let it go. I do everything as usual, but my heart fills up and comes to my mouth, every now and then. I still cannot listen to the song 'Zehnasseb...' without choking. Astha loved it. Akhila, well I have thought over and over and over, and now, even my tears are betraying me. I have grown rigid, I cannot instantly shed a tear, which in turn, gives more pain.

I can bear to look at their pictures and smile, looking at their bright faces; but the next thought makes me stop, and the pangs of reality strike me.

They were close, definitely, they were. And I don't want to witness the tragedy again.

I don't know what am I feeling bad about : them gone forever, myself missing them, their families and close ones missing them, or me not being able to do anything for those who loved them more than me: I think it is a mix of all the four. At times, when I get excited and crazy, I feel guilty. I should not, I think. Nobody expects me to either.

I am not sacred that I might die. I am not scared about people around me dying either. But, yes, I am scared at moments when I reflect to realize that, well, close friends are limited. They really are. I am sorry that I could not make a good friend out of everyone I meet. I am sorry that I cannot share everything with everyone, but I am even more sorry about losing friends who were once close to me.

Well... I have started believing in the law of attraction ( I guess because of the recent read of Rhonda Byrne's work, The secret). So, I am trying to have happy thoughts, enjoy so that it will attract more happiness and enjoyment. And yes, that works!