Monday, February 18, 2013

A Loaf of Bread

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Rishika went to the store just at a walking distance. She did not have much time to go to the mall. She was going to bake croissants for the very first time and went to pick up some instant yeast from the nearby store.

As she entered the store she saw a young boy maybe 8 years old holding a loaf of bread in his hands. She also saw the store owner yelling at the top of his lungs."Were  you trying to steal this bread and go off without paying ? Glad we caught you red handed. You  thief !!! I know your types." 

The boy was shaken and trying to explain. "I'm sure I had money in my pocket and now I don't see it, maybe I lost it on the way. I was going to pay for this". Rishika's heart went out for the little boy and she told the store keeper that she would pay for the bread, It was alright. Why would a boy steal a loaf of bread. Maybe he lost the money or maybe he forgot the money at home. Its only a loaf of bread. The boy thanked Rishika and left the store.  

As Rishika stepped out of the store , she saw the same boy waiting for her.He had tears in his eyes and he was so transparent that Rishika immediately knew that he did not have money in the first place. "Why did you do this ? " she asked the boy.

 He said he only took this bread for his little sister who was home sick. His father who was an alcoholic had abandoned them just as his sister was born. He and his mother were left to fend for themselves. His mother worked as a maid but she recently lost her job when the family she worked for moved to a different city. So now they lived from day to day. He ran errands for people and got some money. Today he did not get any work at all and it was almost evening. He said, "My younger sister who's 3 cannot be hungry for long like me and my mother. She hasn't eaten anything yesterday and that's why I took this bread. I'm not a thief. I wanted to somehow repay the store keeper back for this bread. But I cannot let my sister starve to death. I would like to pay you back, the moment I find some work". Rishika's heart sank. She stood there speechless and with unstoppable tears.   

This is my entry for week 7 of the fifty-2 weeks of 2013 Project. This week's theme is that we should begin our piece with  "He was so transparent that..." or include it in our piece.    

Monday, February 4, 2013

A love story...

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Pooja looked out the window. The sun was trying to peek through the clouds.  The landscape outside was a sight to behold. Everything covered with a beautiful white blanket of snow.  As the sun hit the snow it glistened like beautiful diamonds.

Pooja always woke up a little earlier on weekends. She had a routine. She loved to enjoy her hot cup of ginger tea first thing in the morning and loved her quiet time. There were no kids to get ready for school, no breakfasts to be made this early,  no packing lunches and not in any rush to get ready for work. She loved the slow pace of the weekends. She was a nature lover. Today she was just content looking out the window from her dining table since it was a cold and chilly winter morning. Though during spring ,summer and fall, she loved to sit out in the patio and admire the beauty around. The beautiful foliage, colorful flowers in their blooming glory and the birds singing their beautiful tunes was always something she looked forward to.

As she's going through whats to be done for the day,  she realizes its February already. This is her favorite month, because Valentine's Day is in this month. She got married on Valentine's day. As wedding plans were being made the only thing on her wish list was to be married on this day. She got what she wanted. She was always a girl who believed in love stories, in love, in fairy tales, in happy endings, in prince Charming. Would even cry in the movies if  the hero and heroine were separated. So in short she was hopelessly in love with the very idea of LOVE.   

Pooja came from a very loving but conservative North Indian family. She finished her post graduation and landed a job in a prestigious software company. A month later Raj who is a South Indian joined this company as well. They soon  become really great friends. They knew intuitively what each other was thinking, could even complete each other's sentences. They were happy when with each other and confided in each other. Around this time Pooja's family were looking for marriage alliances for her. Pooja somehow knew her conservative upbringing  demanded her to go for an arranged marriage. She was still a dreamer nevertheless. But she had a desire to work on a project outside India before she was married and  settled down.        

Soon Pooja gets an opportunity to work in Paris. Around the same time Raj gets a great job offer in the US .They still keep in touch via email and frequent phone calls. Then the moment comes when they realize they really miss each other and had feelings for each other. As they say, Distance does make the heart grow fonder.

Now the big question was to convince the parents and the extended families. Two different cultures, different languages, so many barriers. Though both of them were raised and brought up in Mumbai. Now the people were watching, people were talking, some disagreements. Some excited, some not sure. But the good news was the parents on both the sides agreed eventually as more than anything that mattered to them was their love for their child. So Pooja and Raj get happily married on Valentine's Day.  Their love marriage had a happy ending. 

I wish and pray that all the love stories have a happy ending, which I know unfortunately do not happen. It's because people are so concerned about "Log Kya Kahenge" (What will people Say ? ) or 'Log Dekh rahe Hain !" (People are watching) .Wishing and hoping I get to see the day when the headlines of the national daily(TOI)  doesn't  talk about honor killing yet again. As you are reading this I wonder how many more stories are about to turn into tragedies or the girls/boys forced to get married against their wishes. 

I'm sending this entry to the "Fifty-two weeks of 2013" project. This week's theme is " People Watching" .

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The World Goes On.

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A girl just died , her loved ones cried.
The world goes on.

A beautiful life just taken away,
by a few merciless crew in a barbaric way.
The world goes on.

There were vigils there were protests,
there were some arrests and some outrage.
The world goes on.

Finger pointing and Soul searching,
Making laws and changing old ways,
The world  goes on.

We called her Nirbhaya the fearless one
and saluted her strength for not being a victim
and emerging a fighter and paving the way.

We saluted her for telling her story
which sadly is a story of so many.

Who are not only the victims of the heinous crime
but society makes them a victim yet again.
So they live in terror live in shame ,
What kind of nonsense is this yet again.
Oblivious to it all,
The world goes on.

 What sense do you make when they proclaim,
That girls are to be blamed as well.
Why would a girl think it is safe,
and have the audacity to be out at night.
To be able to aspire and dream of a career ,
To be able to dress up as she desires,
Men cannot be blamed they say, as
The women are provoking them all the way.

What kind of madness is this I ask ?
You tell me if this makes sense,
We do live in a nonsensical world.
Where the rules are not the same
for each and every one.
And Still the world goes on.

This is my entry to the "fifty-2 weeks of 2013 project". I absolutely love this project as they have new and exciting themes each week. This week's theme is "Nonsense".

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Guru Dakshina - A pound of flesh

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 In the epic Mahabharata , Dronacharya is a Guru of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Soon Arjuna becomes his favorite student because of his hard work and dedication. Dronocharya believes that Arjuna has the potential to be the best archer of the times. In the meantime Eklavya who belonged to a tribal caste did not have the privilege to be trained in the art of archery. Nevertheless determined he makes a clay replica of Dronacharya and worships him and becomes an expert in archery.

Learning of his skills ,Dronacharya is so determined that nobody can come in the way of Arjuna's success he asks Eklavya for his Guru Dakshina. His Guru Dakshina is Eklavya's right thumb. Since Eklavya respects and thinks of Dronacharya as his guru, he cuts off his right thumb and offers it to his guru. Now even though Dronacharya had never taught Eklavya he still makes a demand of Eklavya's "pound of flesh".    

I remember as a child as I listened and enjoyed the great stories from the Mahabharata , but this particular story left an impression on my mind. Even as a child I thought it was so unfair that the Guru who should have known better shows favoritism and discriminates as to who should be worthy of his training and who should never even dream of being an expert . At the same time it shows Eklavya's unconditional love and respect towards his Guru who just offers his thumb and ends his dream of being the best archer ever.

Guru Dakshina

Eklavya asked his mom in despair,
"Why can't I learn from the great Man itself ?"

His parents tried to reason with him but in vain,
"We cannot match up with the heirs of this land"

Dronocharya can impart his great knowledge to them,
but you my poor child will just have to wait.

Eklavya is still determined and sadly exclaims,
"I will still learn from the great master, no matter what it takes !"

He goes to the forest and sculpts a statue of clay. 
He worships the statue and respectfully says,
"You are my Guru Dronacharya itself".
I'm ready to learn and there's no time to play.

His love for archery sees no night or day.
He practices and practices no matter what people say.

Dronocharya is so happy with his shishya Arjuna
and thinks nobody can surpass the skills that he has.

Unless one day he's amazed by a perfect display, 
 A wild dog who was disturbing the peace and quiet ,
his mouth was sealed by arrows so perfect. 

Who could the great archer be, is his query
It's me my dear Guru and its your knowledge that I just displayed.

Dronocharya thinks quick,
In this great land , there can only be One great archer,
That title belongs to his favorite one.
How dare this tribal prince shatter my dreams,
He must pay a price for his great misdeed.

Dear Eklavya, since I'm your Guru
How about my Guru Dakshina for the skills you just learned ?.

Ask me anything since I regard you as my Guru
How about your right thumb, that's what I desire.

Eklavya bows down to his Guru,
Cuts off his right thumb and offers his Guru Dakshina.

This is my entry to " The fifty-2 weeks of 2013 Project". This week's theme is " A pound of flesh".

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year Resolution - Empty your cup !!!

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I most certainly belong to the group of people who do not believe in making new year resolutions. I used to though make them once upon a time. Then as time progressed and got so busy and tied down by the demands of a busy household of 4 us two and our 2 kids. A job, a blog, baker on the side and being devoted to be a good mother, a good wife, a good daughter, a good sister, a good daughter in law ,a  good friend and  a good citizen of this world..Phew !!!  (I'm sure if not all, most of us home makers, stay at home moms, and working moms feel what I feel)  You see where this is going, right..yes No time to make any resolutions as such..for fear of not being able to be committed enough and see the heartache of breaking them one by one..and feel the guilt and pain  that follows. Who has the time and stamina for that.  

But one fine day after a very tiring and hectic day, as I was lazily scrolling through my FB posts, I came upon this wonderful and exciting project - The fifty-2 weeks of 2013. You can read about it here. The very first theme for the 1st week of this project is "New Year Resolutions"...I am such a procrastinator..I'm doing it the very last day. The new theme will be announced tomorrow. So If anyone of you are still interested I highly recommend doing this exercise for yourself..It feels good. If nothing it makes one think and wonder. Wow..what do I really want to do this year. A little bit of soul searching and you will be amazed as what you will come up with. 

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!" 
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?" ...Courtesy of Wikipedia

  •  My resolution this year is to be able to empty my filled up and over flowing cup(life) with things that are not important to my growth and well being of my family and loved ones. Fill it up with new possibilities , new beliefs (and let go of the old and redundant beliefs), new passions(read hobbies), new energy. Be receptive to change and embrace new ideas. Be able to let go of fear, anger, frustration , to be able to step outside my comfort zone from time to time , to challenge myself.  
  • Fill this empty cup with one random act of kindness a day. I'm very curious and so excited  to see how this cup fills up with my random acts of kindness by the end of this year.  
Maybe it takes a lifetime for a person to achieve a Zen like state, but every step towards it will be a path to be a Better Me and that's what I'm aiming for. 

Sending my entry to this awesome The fifty-two weeks of 2013 Project. Would love to hear from you all and maybe you could share your new new resolutions with me as well.