That thing called leisure

The resplendent brightness welcomed her aboard
Unto the final emptiness stretching till eternity
The freezing slapped against the unseen door
And she was ushered forward, all drenched up and messy

The heaviness descended upon her
Through the hollow passage of emptiness
The void enclosed in upon her
She was on her way to heaven

Traversing through the incessant corridors
Her imagination, her fancy came to front,
And all the dreams that she’d dreamt
Unfulfilled, lay before her

She saw the life that she had just passed
Crippled and crumpled by the burden of responsibilities
She felt the lack of leisure
And the upcoming of emotions so witty
She detested and frowned at the role that she had cast

Daughter, mother, wife, sister
Nothing of the sort that could appeal to her
The fetters of social ties had had her tethered
Leaving her to live a life so peculiar

Peculiar, to her own self,
Peculiar, to what she wanted to be
Peculiar, to her own philosophy
Of what she was meant to be

She was pushed on to a ground
Welcomed by the gardens of paradise
She saw happiness, she saw the leisure
That she had, all the time, wanted to be,
And, then, she saw for one last time
The words on her tombstone
‘ to exist is to survive
To love is to live ‘ ”

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Rendezvous With the Chamberlains of Fortune

“Catastrophe! Catastrophe!”, she screamed as she regained consciousness from a deep slumber that had continued incessantly for a week. Her whole welkin seemed to have undergone a wholesome transformation after the attack, the attack by the unknown.

She wandered too late into the forest, where her own doom pressed upon her as thicker darkness enveloped her on all sides. Set to meet the chamberlains of fortune, she ended up being lost forever in the black hole of the trauma, the occult and the unseen. She had seen, changed and transformed. Nothing remains with her now but the memory of that one moment which had imposed itself on her.

stock-photo-solitude-concept-lonely-sad-woman-in-the-woods-71038273

The laws of nature are not meant to be tampered with. The are meant to be accepted and to not be questioned. What she saw in that darkness, we will never know. What came upon her by her own venomous magic, we will never be able to tell. But all that remains in her life now is “Catastrophe! Catastrophe!”

THE power of DrEaMzzzzzzz!!!

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The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ These words by Sir steve jobs immeDiately direct us towards the realm of possibility of the fact that Man can achieve whatever mind can conceive. I firmly believe in the philosophy as the word impossible can itself be dEduceD as i-m-possible. All the world leaderS testify the statement who unflinchingly followeD that insane voice of their heart. After all, alL the people who have LeFt their footprints in the sands of time were as human as we are. The only difFerence was their aBility and coNfidence to think and aCt diffErently! As sir william shakespeare puts it, “dreams are the mere shadows of reality”. The world history is replete with examples when a single pers0n coloureD his reality in tha vibrant shades of his thoughts and dreams. Nelson mandEla, mahatma gandhi, bill gates, dhirubhai ambAni, abraham lincoln are but a few examples who serve as evidence to our point of discussion. Twn coNcludE, I would once again strongly support the fact that a dream baCkeD by the willingness to work hard is asSureDly achievable. As walt disney puTs it “it all began with a pen and a mouse”
 
 
 
 

EXCERPTS FROM THE BHAGVAD GITA

EXCERPTS FROM THE BHAGVAD GITA

(Commentary by swami Chinmayananda)

 

कर्मणयेवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि। 

 

The right is to work only, but never to its fruits; let not the fruit-of-action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

 

 

To act in life “without any expectation of results” would seem to be almost impossible to one who is only trying to understand the stanza mentally. Wrong imaginations are the banes of life, and all failures in life can be directly traced to have risen from an impoverished mental equanimity, generally created by unintelligent entertainment of fears regarding possible failures. Almost all of us refuse to undertake great activities, being afraid of failures, and even those who dare to undertake noble endeavours, invariably become nervous ere they finish them, again, due to their inward dissipation. To avoid such wasteful expenditure of mental energy and work with the best that is in us, dedicated to the noble cause of the work undertaken, is the secret prescription for the noblest creative inspiration; and, such work must always end in a brilliant success.

 

 

If success you seek, then never strive with a mind dissipated with anxieties and fears for the fruits.

 

 

The future is always carved out in the present. Tomorrow’s harvest depends upon today’s ploughing and sowing. But, in the fear of possible dangers to the crops, if a farmer wastes his present chances of thoroughly ploughing, and carefully sowing at the right time, it is guaranteed that he shall not have any harvest at all. The present moments are to be invested intelligently and well, so that we may reap a better time in the future. The past is dead; the future is not yet born. If one becomes unhealthy and inefficient in the present, certainly he has no reason to hope for a greater future.

 

                                                                                                                                   P.T.O—à

All that is given to you now is to act and, having known the cause of action to be a noble one, to bring into the activity all that is best in you and forget yourself in the activity. Such inspired action is sure to bear fruit, and again, it has its own reward-spiritual.

 

The reward of an action, when we understand it properly, is not anything different from the action itself. An action in the PRESENT itself, when conditioned by a FUTURE-time, appears as the fruit-of-the-action. In fact, the action ends, or fulfils itself, only in its reaction, and the reaction is not anything different from the action; an action in the present, defined in terms of a future moment, is its reaction. Therefore, to worry over and get ourselves pre-occupied with the anxieties for the rewards-of-actions is to escape from the dynamic present and to live in a future that is not yet born! In short, the Lord’s advice here is a call to man not to waste his present moment in fruitless dreams and fears, but to bring his best – all the best in him – to the PRESENT and vitally live every moment, the promise being, that the future shall take care of itself.

BEGIN TO BE NOW WHAT YOU WILL BE HEREAFTER

BEGIN TO BE NOW WHAT YOU WILL BE HEREAFTER

Image“I slept and dreamt that life is beauty,

I woke and found that life is duty…”

These words by the eminent poet, Sir John Milton, are the harbingers of the significance of duty and responsibility in one’s life. Every person from a mendicant on the road to the monarch of the world has certain dreams which he wants to be fulfilled. All of us want to realize our dreams. Why, then, are most dreams unable to touch the realm of reality? The basic reason, according to me, is the most dominant human character – laziness and lassitude. We feel that dreams are only confined to sleep, but I say, dreams take away our sleep and replace it with the spirit to work hard and achieve those dreams. The desire to fulfill our dreams replaces the lethargic hours of our sleep with toil and hard work. We, however, want everything to come to us but sadly enough, the bitter truth remains unaltered. The truth as quotes by Sir Eleanor Roosevelt, states:

 

“There is no elevator to success,

We have to take the stairs…!”

 

The stair to success is, of course, something all of us hate to accept – perseverance and patience. No one wants to get rid of the hard-earned, growing flab around their bellies. If we don’t want to work hard and bring about a change right now, how then can we even dare to hope to achieve our goals in the near future? If we can dare to dream, why then, can we not dare to toil for the realization of our dreams? Ambition requires immense will-power and the urge to work hard. Change is the only thing that is constant. If we continue to be what we are today, we would inevitably be the same tomorrow. If we vow to change ourselves today, we can make our future much better and we can embellish our life with rare achievements and contentment.

 

Amitabh Bachchan, the icon of Bollywood, went against the wishes of his family and left his home, endured the excruciating pangs of the terrible days of struggle, unemployment and so many other difficulties an his journey to the Indian Cinema. However, one crazy dream did not allow him to be weakened by the plethora of troubles that adorned his way. He is, today, symbolic of high society, grace and elegance. The only place where success comes before work is the dictionary. If we want to become someone tomorrow, we have to stop being just anyone today. Mahatma Gandhi has very rightly said…:

 

“The history of the world is full of people who rose to leadership – by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.”

 

The Africans who were enslaved not only physically, but mentally as well by the manacles of intense colour distinction, fought for their skin and their freedom and ultimately succeeded in attaining their independence. The appointment of Nelson Mandela as the first independent Prime Minister of Africa earmarks the fact that hard work and the will to succeed enforces all hurdles to vanish and great glory to appear. Thousands of other examples can be quoted where sheer toil has changed millions of lives. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, etc. are all examples who forced the world to bend under their dreams. They were also born as naturally human beings as we were. Why, then, can we not rise to levels as high as them? It is obvious that our tomorrow solely depends on what we are today. The mastermind of English literature, William Shakespeare, also believes the same and has said.

                        “The shadow of a dream is the essence of life.”

 

The dire need of the hour is to cultivate the dormant qualities of will-power and the desire to persevere willfully in ourselves. If we change ourselves today according to the requirements of the future, it will undoubtedly befit us better. Imagining doesn’t pay; it is the work that matters, the change that matters. As per Sir Rudyard Kipling:

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run

Yours will be the earth and everything that’s in it

And what’s more, you’ll be a man, my son!”

 

Life is a strange juncture of ups and downs. We fall, we get up, we learn, we dream. Imagine a world where everyone becomes what he wants to be, where dreams are meant to be realized! The world would assuredly become a better place to live in. All we need is to shove away our hesitation, laziness, reluctance and fear. We need to roll our sleeves and get set to work on our desires. Nothing in the entire firmament can stop us from achieving what we want. All of us dream, but our spirit dies and debilitates when hard work and industry come into view. Once we vow to accomplish our dreams, nothing can dare stop us except, of course, our very own lankness and lethargy. It is imminent and imperative for us to discard our laziness and put ourselves forth in action. A positive and relevant change in our today can bring about a massive transformation in our tomorrow.

 

It is extremely mandatory to change ourselves today to be what we want to tomorrow. People don’t become great by sheer imagining, they become great by working for their future and by not whiling away their time in the present. If we ruin our time today, time will ruin our tomorrow. As per Navjot Singh Siddhu :

“It is better to prepare and prevent rather than repair and repent.”

 

The need to prepare and prevent is today otherwise it may be too late for us to even repair and repent. We light just end up regretting our foolishness and sighing, “I wish I had changed back then! I would have certainly made something meaningful out of my life…”As per Robert Frost:

“I took the road not taken….and that has made all the difference.”

 

It’s our life! It’s we who have to do something about it! The human mind, in itself, can make a heaven of hell and hell of heaven. It’s up to us to turn our life into the Shangri la of plenty and prosperity or the netherworld of distress and misery. The world is the lord’s gift to us…Why then are we polluting this priceless present with virulence, malice and torment. After all, what Napolean Bonaparte said was not that false. His words sound like echoes in my mind – “Victory belongs to those who persevere…”

 

Dreams have the power to raise us to levels where we can’t even imagine ourselves. All we need is to change. Change is the only constant. All we need is to harness our time into something useful and meaningful. If we don’t accustom ourselves to our future right now, we would assuredly be replete with regret and remorse in our later life. However, if we manage to realize our shortcomings in time and change ourselves for good today, we might change our future to come. We should pledge to work hard and fulfill our wishes. If we can dare to see big dreams, we can then, definitely possess the ability to reach that level of success. In a nutshell, I would like to say that its high time we quit our laziness and foolishness and act wise. We need to be today what we have to be hereafter. Waiting for the right moment won’t help. This is the right moment. After all, Sir George Bernard Shaw, was quite right to have said:

 

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not’?”

 

ADITI DUGGAL

 

 

UTTARAKHAND DELUGE – A catastrophe which was waiting to happen….

UTTARAKHAND DELUGE – A CATASTROPHE WHICH WAS WAITING TO HAPPEN

 

“Where logic ends, the Almighty begins.”

The Uttarakhand flashfloods, the news of which must have moved to the last page of the newspapers by now, have embroiled the entire macrocosm of our nation (India)

Uttarakhand Floodinto a state of utter shock and dismay. Nations worldwide have expressed their sympathy and sorrow for this colossal tragedy that hit one of the most sacred lands of our mother India. Nature seems to have let out all her wrath with absolute incontinence. I would like to ponder over the reasons, the man-induced reasons to be more unambiguous and candid, which led to the drastically intense magnitude of the floods which have lacerated the very countenance of the sacred land of the “Char Dham” region, leaving it in an extremely cantankerous and petrifying a condition.

 

Mother Nature, in my opinion, is not solely responsible for the rife and rampant destruction that took place lately. The selfish, avaricious, rapacious, modern-day man is equally responsible for having aroused the fury of the Plenipotentiary. It was man, in the first place, who enforced unendurable pressure of modernization and development on a land as holy and sensitive as Kedarnath, particularly the Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts. This pressure was the outgrowth of the State Government’s incessant self-centered desire to augment its treasury through the vast income that flows in from tourism. We, human beings, have stopped being humane and have lost track of the basic vitals of humanitarianism. We have been unscrupulously using Nature’s resources without taking due care of her.

 

It is a widely known fact that certain parts of the state of Uttarakhand have been fragile since the past few years and that the government ignored all warnings, indulging in a variety of devastation-promising unplanned and non-annotated exercises in the name of development. Scientifically speaking, the ferocious cataclysm was the outcome of a plethora of man-made lapses such as unrestricted entry, faulty architecture, local corruption and administrative indifference. The notification by MoEf (Ministry of Environment and forests) had, on December 18, 2012, declared the entire area around the 135 km stretch between Gomukh and Uttarkashi along the Bhagirathi River as an eco-sensitive zone under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. This declaration itself bans all construction activity in the region. The State Government was berserk and cynical enough to oppose this warning and many others that came in its way before the Pandora’s Box of Nature’s anger opened. Ignored signals such as petty landslides were quite prevalent already in the flood-struck area.

 

I would also request the readers to keep themselves in the place of the Lord Almighty and then think, “Why would God hurl such vagaries on his devotees?” The answer lies in the Lord’s perspective. The “Char dham” constitutes the “abode of God” and is one of the holiest shrines in the nation. The place had, lately, begun to lose its sanctity. Lord Shiva, as we all know, resides in tranquility and serenity. The peace and purity of Kedarnath had been stained with excessive mortal interference and vitiation. The shrine had become more of a tourist destination rather than an enlightening pilgrimage. All acts unacceptable to God, including liquor, corruption, rapes, injustice etc. had become a part and parcel of this sanctimonious spot. Just like we drive miscreants and trespassers out of our house, Nature too drove away all grunge out of its shebang. The Eldorado of harmony had transmogrified into the netherworld of human intervention and avarice. This, in my view, was a tragedy waiting to happen.

 

To sum up, the June 2013 Uttarakhand disaster surpassed all others in magnitude owing to extraneous devastation of 2000 villages, 1500 roads and 150 bridges. The loss of lives seems to have crossed the ten thousand mark. Epidemics and obsequies dot the once pious land now and around 43% of entire Uttarakhand has been damaged beyond repair. This, however as I feel, is not the cul-de-sac. Destruction will continue in an even more terrible and shocking intensity, decimating a titanic part of life and property in this virulent welkin. This tragedy is but a paradigm, a foreboding, a premonition for others to come. If man does not curb his nefarious ways in time, God has, de jure, taken up the task of imminent and imperative action. The Judgement Day, or Dooms’ Day as we all know it, does not seem to be too far. We are not, now, in a position to hope for a messiah who’ll come and save us. The only option that remains is to make up for the grave wrong that we have committed by at least trying to restore nature to its original peaceful state. With this, I request the readers to pray for the lost souls and strive to protect their environment. Just like little drops constitute an entire ocean, little steps by us common human beings would definitely carve a large impact on the environment. I would like to conclude with Shelly’s thoughts, “If winter comes, Can Spring be far behind?”

 

Aditi Duggal

 

MOTHER

This story begins when I was a child: I was born poor. Often we hadn’t enough to eat. Whenever we had some food, Mother often gave me her portion of rice. While she was transferring her rice into my bowl, she would say “Eat this rice, son! I’m not hungry.” 
This was Mother’s First Lie. 

As I grew, Mother gave up her spare time to fish in a river near our house; she hoped that from the fish she caught, she could give me a little bit more nutritious food for my growth. Once she had caught just two fish, she would make fish soup. While I was eating the soup, mother would sit beside me and eat the what was still left on the bone of the fish I had eaten, My heart was touched when I saw it. Once I gave the other fish to her on my chopstick but she immediately refused it and said, “Eat this fish, son! I don’t really like fish.”   
This was Mother’s Second Lie.

Then, in order to fund my education, Mother went to a Match Factory to bring home some used matchboxes, which she filled with fresh matchsticks. This helped her get some money to cover our needs. One wintry night I awoke to find Mother filling the matchboxes by candlelight. So I said, “Mother, go to sleep; it’s late: you can continue working tomorrow morning.” Mother smiled and said “Go to sleep, son! I’m not tired.”   
This was Mother’s Third Lie. 

When I had to sit my Final Examination, Mother accompanied me. After dawn, Mother waited for me for hours in the heat of the sun. When the bell rang, I ran to meet her..  Mother embraced me and poured me a glass of tea that she had prepared in a thermos. The tea was not as strong as my Mother’s love, Seeing Mother covered with perspiration, I at once gave her my glass and asked her to drink too. Mother said “Drink, son! I’m not thirsty!”.  
This was Mother’s Fourth Lie. 

After Father’s death, Mother had to play the role of a single parent. She held on to her former job; she had to fund our needs alone. Our family’s life was more complicated.  We suffered from starvation. Seeing our family’s condition worsening, my kind Uncle who lived near my house came to help us solve our problems big and small.  Our other neighbors saw that we were poverty stricken so they often advised my mother to marry again. But Mother refused to remarry saying “I don’t need love.”  
This was Mother’s Fifth Lie. 

After I had finished my studies and gotten a job, it was time for my old Mother to retire but she carried on going to the market every morning just to sell a few vegetables. I kept sending her money but she was steadfast and  even sent the money back to me. She said, “I have enough money.”   
That was Mother’s Sixth Lie. 

I continued my part-time studies for my Master’s Degree.  Funded by the American Corporation for which I worked, I succeeded in my studies. With a big jump in my salary, I decided to bring Mother to enjoy life in America but Mother didn’t want to bother her son; she said to me “I’m not used to  high living.”   
That was Mother’s Seventh Lie. 

In her dotage, Mother was attacked by cancer and had to be hospitalized. Now living far across the ocean, I went home to visit Mother who was bedridden after an operation. Mother tried to smile but I was heartbroken because she was so thin and feeble but Mother said, “Don’t cry, son!  I’m not in pain.”   
That was Mother’s Eighth Lie. 

Telling me this, her eighth lie, she died.  YES, MOTHER WAS AN ANGEL!   M – O – T – H – E – R 

“M”        is for the Million things she gave me,  
“O”        means Only that she’s growing old,  
“T”       is for the Tears she shed to save me,  
“H”       is for her Heart of  gold,  
“E”       is for her Eyes with love-light shining in them,  
“R”       means Right, and right she’ll always be, 

Put them all together,  they spell “MOTHER” a word that means the world to me.

For those of you who are lucky to be still blessed with your Mom’s presence on Earth, this story is beautiful. For those who aren’t so blessed, this is even more beautiful.