Blurred visions; budding hope – What survives?

I have been a frequent flier since childhood and thus airports have a special place in my heart. I believe airports are places containing lots of emotions. When you arrive at the airport, you become witness to special moments. On one hand, there are people shedding tears of joy whereas on the other there would be people shedding tears of sadness due to separation. But there is one thing that is common here- ‘hope’.

Airports are full of hope- hope to come back home to something different, hope to ascend on a new journey, and hope to see your loved ones again. Among the many sentiments seen, ‘hopelessness’ isn’t one of them.

This year, in March 2018 a Syrian citizen and a fugitive from Assad’s army Hassan Al-Kontar was detained at the Kuala Lumpur airport. The 36 year old had been stuck there for 7 months until last month when he was granted asylum in Canada with the help of some noble Canadian souls. With starvation and sleep deprivation, it was hope that kept him going all along. He survived on food from airlines and slept listening to the lullaby of flight announcements hoping that one day he would be able to hop on one of those planes and head home.

Canada-Syrian-Freed

Often, the world gets so entangled in the spiral of rules, regulations and international laws that humanity gets lost somewhere. But this incident of Hassan finding light at the end of the tunnel has proved that humanity does not let hope down.

Airports are and technically should be a means to go home, not home itself. Similarly, laws are to maintain boundaries but when walls get blurred, that is where humanity should take the lead.

Simple Things: Complicated Ways

I used to think my life is so stressful. Being a teenager living in a hostel, I have to deal with all the hostel politics and face the fights every day whereas other people out in the world are living their glamorous lives. Until one day, while completing my daily French lesson, I read a word ‘salle de bain’. It looked like a very fancy word and seemed very impressive to me. I was excited to flaunt the new word in front of my friends before which I decided to know its meaning. With an authoritative tone, I said ‘Ok

Genie

Google’ and there rose the genie. I asked it what ‘salle de bain’ meant and what came next fell like a thunderbolt on my head. I burst into a bout of laughter and that was my moment of realization that all that glitters is not gold.

Similarly, our problems are not hard to solve. It is just that we try to use fancy and complicated ways to solve them.

PS- It actually meant bathroom.

Nature’s Call

shutterstockChail

Sitting in the Orchids in lush green Himalayan ranges of Chail, I was quietly admiring the melodious chirps of birds coming from the Deodar ranges. The flora of this place had an enchanting beauty. Ambient surroundings made the whole experience quite indulging.  At such time, my peace was disturbed by dropping of a bird on me. I was disturbed and cursing that brute. I wondered if God has created everything so beautiful, what purpose does this poo serve? I got my answer when I learnt that even this shit is useful! Japanese use Nightingale’s poo to make facial creme’! And in the 19th century, desiccated droppings of sea birds called “Guano” was considered a very important fertilizer for its rich nitrogen content and was widely traded and imported into United States from Chincha Islands off Peru. In India cow dung serves a number of useful purposes – from bio-fuel for cooking to thermal insulation and disinfectant in rural homes. So friends, from India to America shit plays a vital role. Why not take it seriously. After-all Nature’s call is a very essential part of every living being and is an indication of a person’s health. If you are not feeling a sense of completion when you are finished, there is something wrong! Isn’t it?

Nature’s call gives us some very important life lessons.

To begin with, Nature’s call teaches us how important it is to flush out the unwanted crap that envelop us in the form of jealousy, greed and insatiable desire. While it is necessary to take what’s required for good health, greed beyond that only cause flatulence.

Someone has rightly said, “Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy your own company.” Shuffling between our different roles in the day does not let us have “self” time. Nature’s call gives a time for self-indulgence. Loo is a place where I find solace and am at peace with self. No wonder many philosophers, writers, poets, scientists have found their ideas while answering this nature’s call.

Nature’s call is among the first things that a baby experiences. While other animals remain free to excrete anytime anywhere, we humans are expected to answer nature’s call at a particular time and place. Providing proper toilet facilities to public remains a big challenge for governments in the third world countries. Lack of proper facilities put women at risk and cause major sanitation and health worries.

While others may only crib over this issue, I am moved to see how social activists like Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh Shouchalya fame have turned this nasty subject into a subject of interest by indigenously designing unique and simple two pit system loo that has today provided cheap and effective sanitation to millions in villages across India.  Not only this, he has even been able to remove the blot attached with this word and rather made toilet a thing of amusement. If you don’t believe me, then visit Toilet museum in New Delhi, India which will show you the history and technology of Toilets in an interesting and informative manner.

Nature doesn’t treat anything as dirty. Decomposition and decay may appear to be unpleasant from our human perspective but these are vital in terms of the functioning of ecosystems. Nature has ways to decompose anything and make it useful again. Similarly this nature’s call if treated properly can turn into safe manure for garden. An appreciation of the natural processes and weaving our modern living around these will help us to sustain ecosystem and maintain peace within and outside. Lets learn to value what nature has provided us and develop technologies around nature rather than at the cost of nature, we will certainly be more healthier and happier.

 

Click Here for Details on Toilet Museum

 

We are fasting 

Today while debating upon the religion followed by people of Harappa civilization in history class, I recalled an incident that occurred in my vacations. The vacations were certainly not eventful until I decided to volunteer to teach in an NGO called My Angels Academy* in Delhi. I taught all sorts of kids there, smart ones, playful ones, kids willing to learn new and even the naughty ones. I must say these kids made my vacation eventful. Apart from learning new and different methods to teach, there is so much more to learn from these young and naive kids.

angels

 

Out of all those lessons and life experiences that I gained from them, there was one group of children who said something very simple but very impactful. This was one of the lessons that neither the elders nor school education could teach us.

This happened with a group of ninth graders to whom I was teaching chemistry. It consisted of four talented girls. On one particular day, I could see them tired. I habitually asked them if they had breakfast to which one of them replied that she had kept a fast. Since I knew she was a Muslim girl, I replied promptly “yeah you must have kept rozas. What about the rest of you?”. To my surprise, others said that they were fasting too. Upon thinking I remembered my mom saying that it was some Hindu fasting called ekadshi and I asked them if they were fasting for that. Their reply took me aback. They said that they were fasting to give company to their friend since she had to keep rozas every day. They also told me that they break the fast together. Also during navratris (a Hindu festival wherein you fast for nine days), if they keep fasts, they all fast together.

I felt delighted to see how the innocent children knew no boundaries on religion, caste and class that the adults had created. It is so pitiful that though being citizens of the same country, we make issues out of religion and can have massacres for that whereas these young, wide-eyed children only know how to support their friends through thick and thin. I would also like to inform you that these children come from the slums and their parents are not educated at all but they do not let this divide come between their children. It is devastating to see that families with an educated background bring this divide between the children whereas the uneducated ones live in peace and harmony.

 

* My Angels Academy is a NGO working for the welfare of slum children. It is run by Sylvester Peter who laid the foundations for the NGO when he was just 13 years old.

sylvester-peter-my-angels-academy-fb-2

To know more about My Angels Academy,

visit us: http://myangelsacademy.org/

like us: https://www.facebook.com/MyAngelsAcademy

email us: sylvestersoccer@gmail.com, myangelsacademy@gmail.com

contact us: +91 9811895134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World in a dire need for peace

Amidst the twin attacks in London, bombing in Marawi, Manchester and Jakarta and missiles in Syria, all I can world peacehear right now are the loud cheers from the neighboring houses who are watching a crucial cricket match. Not being a cricket fan, a day like this would bring laziness and sleeping around for me. But today, something is different. The current events stated above have been haunting me since the bombing in Ariana’s concert and so I decided to write this article.

I have heard life moves on but how can life just move on for a parent whose kid who went out to enjoy and never came back. How can it move on for the older sister who took her 8 year old sister to a concert but could never get her back home? How could a singer just move on knowing that there were 22 people killed in one of her concerts?

Ariana-Grande-One-Love-Manchester-Concert-1-835x557
One Love Concert Performers (Manchester)

Is this fair to these people? Is it fair to destroy a whole beautiful country? Only today did I come across a before and after comparison of Syria through photographs and the results are devastating. What could have the young happy civilians possibly done to aggravate these kind of attacks on themselves. These kinds of happenings are not only devastating but are inhuman. In the past month there have been so many attacks that the news has stopped affecting us anymore. But thinking about the number of people who would be leaving their houses forever and settling in different refugee camps every minute is horrifying. Even if these people survive how will they be able to live with the nightmares of these events? They will be scarred forever with these events and with the tag stating refugees and survivors.

In this age of social media, when people from all over the world are connecting with each other, there is a vast circle of people being formed to destroy the world. Slowly and steadily the number of the people plotting to destroy the world is increasing. At such times, all of us need to stay strong and the world needs to sort out their differences to come together to fight against terrorism. The world needs to stop paying attention to an attention seeker’s stupid typos in tweets and debating upon its meaning for the next few days and instead work towards the integration of the world together to kill them(refers to terrorists) with kindness.

I would like to urge people to do their little bit in form of spreading awareness and not ignoring such incidents. Today it is England, Philippines, Indonesia and Syria, tomorrow it could be India or any other country in the world.

 

Culture of Living Together

18955517-Indian-Map-with-Cultural-Object-Stock-Vector-india-flagIndia is a land of diverse cultures. Moving from one state to another, you will find many different people, different languages, different types of clothes, different food and different traditions. In all the 29 states of India, something stands out unique. But the best part is that all the states still exist together as a united country. People in every state of India are bound together in the same way as little birds do. On a cold winter morning a little sparrow starts chirping when it is dark and then slowly other birds join and melodious sound of many birds announce the arrival of dawn. Let us consider ourselves as the same birds and join hands in the progress and then we would be able to march together as a country and be a beautiful nation we all wish to be.

Let me take you to the uniqueness of all 29 states of India-

To start with, lets talk of Jammu and Kashmir which is rightly known as a heaven on earth. While its true that Jammu and Kashmir is a very beautiful state, the bigger truth is that we are able to maintain this beauty despite the consistent terror attacks on the state.  Next comes Himachal Pradesh, a summer retreat to the British people in the Raj era. Beautiful Himalayan peaks can be witnessed here and it has an abundance of variety of fabulous food. Another beautiful hill state of India is Uttrakhand also called Devalya- home of God. The beautiful temples here dating back to 1500 BC stand on snow clad mountains and attract many devotee visitors. Punjab is another marvel to see. Stepping in Punjab makes your feet curious to dance and your tongue lures over the yummy food like chole bhature and sarson ka saag. Haryana is proud home to the most famous epic in India Mahabharata. Here you will find people a little tough than the other states but then they are valiant and know how to work their way up to success. When the state was created it was one of the backward regions, but today its among the top in dairy production and development.

Uttar Pradesh has the heart of India. The beautiful Taj tells tale of the Mughals who came from outside and merged with India and today form a very important part of Indian history. The marvelous Rajasthan has all types of mighty fortresses. The mind blowing architecture here depicts the art that belonged to the Indian artists. Folktales of the mighty Rajput kings and queens tell us how valiantly they fought and did not hesitate in sacrificing their lives to uphold what they considered was right. Madhya Pradesh which has its heart in its beautiful cities like Indore and Bhopal shows an all over different culture with Hindu- Muslim bonding in Khujrana temple of Indore and Taj-ul-masjid of Bhopal. The world famous Mauryan and Gupta dynasties started ruling from here, the state of Bihar is the birthplace of Buddhism, a different and very peaceful religion which preaches love to one and all. In Jharkhand reside the tribals who have a different culture of their own. They assume its their duty to be living with Mother Nature and protect her from any kind of destruction. The tastiest sweet that we all savor a lot, the Rashogulla as called in Bengal comes from the state of West Bengal. The trams were made introduced in Calcutta. Also the Royal Bengal Tiger gives this state its special identity in the world.

In the east, the seven sisters through their bonding teach us to deal with the worst problems in life. Though states like Manipur face so many thrests from naxalites still it has given India they world champions like M.C Mary Kom and strong people like Irom Sharmila. The folk tales of Krishna recited by artists with Manipuri dance is a stupendous site to view. Sikkim is another beautiful mountainous state with the world famous Rumtek monastery and Nathula pass which is the only open border to China. Arunachal Pradesh has spectacular landscapes and massive water resources and an alluring Tibetan culture and also has the world’s second largest monastery- Tawang Gompa. Tea provides tranquility to a stressed mind. Assam has the most sensational and breathtaking tea fields. The abode of clouds also known as Meghalaya homes Cherrapunji and Mawsyndrum, which receives the largest amount of rainfall in the world which is in contrast to the desert state Rajasthan which hardly receives any rainfall. Mizoram is a state with almost complete literacy. The state has dramatic landscapes and friendly tribals. The region also has the rare Wild Water Buffalos. Nagaland is another state belonging to the tribals who showcase their talent every year at the Hornbill festival. Tripura is famous for its temple – Tripureshwari. The state has diverse ethnic mix of tribals and Bengalis with very sweet dance forms. The state is also famous for its leaf monkeys.

Orissa witnesses Jaggannath Procession which becomes unstoppable when the devotees come into action to give their thanks to the lords. You will find the India’s Niagara in the Chitrakoot falls of Chhattisgarh. Andhra Pradesh showcases its talent in its beautiful carnatic music written in Telegu. Also all the festivals of Islamic culture are celebrated here in full swing, with their importance not only understood by the Muslims but also by the Hindus living there. If you haven’t eaten the hyderabadi biryani, which tastes even better when it is followed by sheer korma then you have surely missed something very important. Telengana is India’s youngest state has a hybrid of the Nizam’s Islamic heritage along with a long heritage of ancient Indian powerful kings. In Tamil Nadu there the culture of eating on banana plates gives it a unique flavor. When you go to Kerala, you will see the unity of Hindus, Muslims and Christians who live together peacefully and have succeeded in making Kerala, the state with the highest literacy rate. Karnataka contains people living close to the forests. The farming is an astounding site to view here. The vanilla plantations would make you drown yourself in the lovely scent of vanilla. You would also get to listen to stories about Verrappan who still give goose bumps to the people living near the forests.

Goa is a great place for the party people who would love the place for its wonderful cruise parties. But the place also has very beautiful and famous churches. Who says that backwaters can only be found in Kerala, this is not true because even the state of Maharashtra has backwaters lying in the land of Tarkarli where the beaches are so clean that even sea bed could be clearly seen. Daldhokli, thepla, khandvi, bajra roti, doodh pak and many more mouth watering dishes originate from the state of Gujarat which gave birth to the famous entrepreneurs of India such as Tata, Ambani, Premji and Palonji and how can we forget the man himself Mohandas Gandhi whom the world salutes.

Not only the states but all 7 union territories also have their own unique features. Delhi is one union territory where we can find cultures from all the states and food from all over India ranging from Dal batti churma in the west to Momos of the east, Dum Aloo from the north to Rasam in the south. Delhi has Jama masjid, Birla Mandir, Bangala Sahib Gurudwara and Saint Stephen’s church and all the 4 places give solace to mind.

Each religion has its own beauty, its own principles but all teach us to be patient and be god lovers not god fearers. The Bhagvad gita tells us to do our work with diligence and not for the results. If we leave the result to lord, he will definitely reward us according to our work. Even the holy Quran states that all people will be tried and tested in life, and we need to bear these trials with “patient perseverance and prayer.” The word Ek Onkar which is the main focus of Guru Granth Sahib tells us that god is one, may it be Shri ram, Krishna, Christ, Allah, Nanak dev or any other whereas the Bible says that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”  Living together in different cultures makes you learn to be modest and you start finding all religions meaningful and trustworthy when you pick up the good practices from them.

Truly said by Helen Keller that “alone we can do so little but together we can do so much.” If we decide to pick all the good habits from the cultures we find around us, we can contribute towards making India a blissful place to live in.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑