Zindagi me nazariye badal gaye hain….

Corona pandemic has forced each of us to rethink what is important in life…
Money or loved ones?
Desire to conquer the world or have another peaceful and free morning…
A Hindi poem for the changing attitude towards life…

ख्वाब बदल गए हैं
मर्जियां बदल गई हैं
जिंदगी को देखने के
अब नज़रिए बदल गए हैं…

कल तक थी आस
नाम की
शोहरत की
पहचान की
दौलत की…
देखते कहां थे हम
कौनसी कली खिली है
कौन मुई चिड़िया चहकी थी
लगे हुए थे एक दौड़ में
आज को भूल, कल की होड़ में

कैसा फिर है अब समय चक्र देखो
नहीं चिंता पैसे की
कपड़े की
ना छप्पन भोग की…
आज बैठे हैं सुन्न
सहमे हुए हाथ जोड़े
आस है तो सिर्फ
एक और सुबह की
एक और लम्हे की
अपनों के संग
गले लगने की
कभी ना बिछड़ ने की
फिर से मिलने की
संग हसने रोने झगड़ने की
पीठ थपथपाने की
रूठने मनाने की
ललक है ज़िन्दगी की…

सच ख्वाब बदल गए हैं
अब नज़रिए बदल गए हैं…

Going The Theatre Way To Bring Positivity In Life

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ~ Oscar Wilde

And indeed with its live presentation, the artists connect better with their audience, leave a lasting impact by its tradition of living in the present, transparency and immediate gesture or word.

Mime

Initiated in 1961 by International Theatre Institute, the World Theatre Day is celebrated across the world on 27th March.  With an aim to generate interest and awareness of this important medium of art in future generations, an yearly message by prominent stage artist, translated in more than 50 languages, is conveyed to the theatre fraternity and read to thousands of spectators.

Art For Wellness

The performing arts are known for creating an atmosphere that enhances wellness and grasping quality of children. The visuals tend to engage the imaginations of children and make them understand better. The right kind of cultural stories and influences also promote a feeling of security, responsibility and happiness quotient. This may prevent children from going astray, feel neglected or abused and from becoming violent as some studies claim, especially the under privileged children with low income families.

French Philosopher and Mathematician Blaise Pascal, has rightly said : “Imagination…creates beauty, justice and happiness which are everything in this world”

Across the world many institutions have resorted to involving children in music, mime, painting, ballet, dancing and plays to express themselves. The performing arts  aid in driving away the inhibitions of young children. The children gain confidence by exploring the medium fearlessly.

Mime

Researchers from the School of Social Policy Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, over two years have found that low-income New York City residents with more access to cultural resources experienced better education, security and health outcomes. The study  showed a 14% decrease in cases of child abuse and neglect, an 18% decrease in the serious crime rate and an 18% increase in the number of students scoring at the highest level on standardized math and English tests compared to low-income communities with fewer cultural resources.

Many Indian institutions have included theatre and performing arts as tools to engage kids and motivate participation especially for under privileged children. The Child’s Play India Organisation provides Music lessons and instruments for under privileged children in Goa.

Salam Bombay Foundation also works to promote this among the children in its educative programmes. With an aim to keep the children in school and lower drop-out rates, an experimental Play ‘Eka Dhotrachi Gosht’ – a production by theatre students from the Academy has held several successful shows across the country including performances at the National School of Drama, New Delhi.

Recently a group of students of Stanford University, Stanford Talisman, interacted and performed along with Salam Bombay Foundation’s Academy of Arts students thus giving the children an international exposure and a hope of dreaming big.

Stanford talisman

If theatre and performing arts could be utilized in keeping children aware and away from a life of crime, what else could be better than that? World today is in dire need of compassionate souls, less rage and more happiness and love…

“The object of art is to give life shape”~William Shakespeare

फिर भी..


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

हर दिन हों लगे चाहे सारे छप्पन भोग,
पर रस-स्वाद ढूँढ़ते हैं वो लोग,
हम तो लगाते अपने प्रभु को,
नमक-सूखी रोटी का भोग,
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

फीके रंग, कपड़ा ढीला या तंग,
इसका करते हैं वो सोग,
पुराने-फटे पिछली होली के
रंगे कपड़ों में,
साल बिता लेते हैं हम लोग,
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

रौशनी के महलों,
ठंडी हवा के झोकों में,
भी निर-निराले उन्हें
लग जाते हैं रोग,
सितारों की चादर तले
सर्द-गर्म हवा को लगा गले,
यूँ ही इश्वर को,
प्यारे हों जाते हैं हम लोग
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

इस रोटी, कपड़ा और मकान
की जंग में ,
हर दिन हारते हैं हम लोग,
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

Prank That Sealed Our Love

There is a popular saying among the men in armed forces the ‘faujis‘…. “We work hard, we party harder”. What the others might not be aware of is that these men in uniform are big pranksters too!

One such prank not only showed me the lighter side of my husband but also reiterated that he meant the world to me.

Married to an Indian Air Force Officer, I was welcomed in ‘fauji style‘ into the folds of unit posted in Srinagar in 1999. Kargil war was fresh in my ‘civilian’ mind. The terrorist activity was also at a high in Kashmir Valley…. Jhelum flowed with her waters red..

The day I landed in Jammu as a new bride, there had been a fresh attack on the military base in Srinagar and there was a high alert. Men in olive-green army fatigues armed to their teeth could be seen keeping eye on every nook and corner. Deserted roads and closed shopping areas all were reeling under a pall of gloom. The tense atmosphere had already registered in my mind…and I was quite visibly disturbed.

After an overnight stay at the army transit camp, we flew to Srinagar. We were received by two officers who were the part of a prank that awaited me in the Air Force Station. Those two officers appeared very sad and quiet. Later in the evening one of them arrived at the door of the room we were putting up in…The prank was taking up its form. What I did not know was that my dear husband was also a party to the larger prank…!!

We were informed about a terrorist attack and that all hands on deck needed to report back to duty. Aby, my husband played along and psyched me further. He went away leaving me fretting in the room of Officer’s Mess. Late night I sat at the residence of Commanding Officer of the unit still worried. And then one officer walked in ….heavily bandaged, blood on his clothes, dishevelled, limping…. He told us that due to a landmine blast all in the vehicle were seriously injured particularly Aby and he was fighting for his life in the station medical centre.

I was totally shocked…. The other ladies were also a part of prank but they showed a concern causing me to panic. We all rushed to the hospital where the doctors scared me even more… I saw Aby lying on the table with blood over his chest, hands and eyes. As I sat near him shaking like a leaf, the doctor tampered with the wires of ECG machine. Soon enough the machine started showing a flat line denoting that there was no heartbeat !!

I had totally lost my cool and screamed for the doctor. The doctor did come and played the last cards of the prank. He very seriously informed me that I would have to resuscitate my dying husband by administering a mouth-to-mouth respiration!!

Without giving any thought to the doctor’s suggestion and not wanting to waste a single second, I complied though I had no idea how to administer a mouth-to-mouth respiration. No sooner I bent and my lips touched my husband that everyone broke into claps and Aby woke up from his supposed serious condition laughing….he kissed me back right there with everyone shouting “welcome to the Air Force”

With relief flooding me, I too joined in the laughter. With a loud “I love you” he folded me in his arms sealing our love.

I remember the evening as if it happened yesterday though it has been sixteen years now. We still laugh about the whole episode and he teases me no end.

And that moment of love and laughter and the twinkle in his eyes still tugs at my heart.

“This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.”

Marriage Woes!!

Published at Women’s Web

Marriage is a beautiful bond between two people who stick to each other through thick and thin even with no blood relation between them. Strongest of friendship cannot break the bond between married couples….this when the husband and wife are equally committed and consider the relation above all….when both of them uphold the vows of marriage to be a friend first and love, protect and cherish each other through all challenges life throws at them.

What if either one abuses the sanctity, the promise…physically, mentally or emotionally….?

Usually the abuse which comes to light is of physical violence, dowry harassment and forced abortions. What mostly does not come out as a marriage woe is the mental abuse, the belittling comments, the threats and not even the forced sexual activity because of the attached stigma of dishonoring the family.

It is no surprise then that the Supreme Court denied to deem the forced sex in marriage as crime….there excuse being “If marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress”….Do they mean that if such a matter is not raised and we all turn a blind eye towards the issue then the family will not be in stress? Really? Because I believe that a family, where the wife is being subjected to any form of abuse, will always be in a stress whether she reports it or not!

These issues are real and very common but we read and rant about them, discuss about  them for few days and till another such thing happens we forget about such news and carry on with our lives silently thanking our stars that something like that has not happened to us!

And what if there is no physical intimacy between a married couple?

Recently, in the capacity of an air force unit’s commanding officer’s wife, I had the misfortune of being privy to a diametrically opposite form of abuse in marriage. The husband, in fact, never even realized that his behavior was the cause of his wife’s distress!

This woman came to me with a unique problem, one that I had never heard of earlier ever. She wanted me and my husband as the head of unit, to intervene and persuade her husband to have physical intimacy with her. The couple had been married for good ten to twelve years but they had no physical intimacy due to which she had not conceived and was being taunted by her in-laws and neighbors in village as infertile. For years she put a lid on the matter, bearing the brunt herself. The reason that caused her final breakdown was that her in-laws had started planning a second marriage of the man in hope for a child!

This woman’s husband was involved with some religious group which practiced abstinence from sexual activities. For no fault of hers, she was being subjected to such mental agony. Her request was simple that her husband should be ‘ordered’ to spend just enough time with her to impregnate her. He would be then free to return to his way of life with the religious group. She reasoned that if she could bear his child no one would blame her of infertility and they could continue to live under same roof with same indifference as past twelve years of marriage.

This poor troubled woman wanted to be held in her husband’s arms, wanted to be caressed, kissed, and passionately made love too. But she had been denied, for all those years, of any conjugal bliss. Her mental state was such that she looked gaunt and much older than her 35 years of age.

I was stunned to come across such a situation and was little unsure of how to address the matter. Both of them were counseled privately and we wished them well.

But will this be considered a crime… a mental torture by society and court or not? Or is it best for all to look the other way and let the family deal with this issue on its own too? Who should a person going through such a situation turn to?

In the recently released movie ‘PIKU’, the protagonist subtly mentions the sexual gratification as the need of women. People refuse to recognize that a passionate love-making is as important in a woman’s life as it is for man (however that does not mean at all that a woman can be raped in or out of marriage at the will, whim and fancy of man!).

Is it not the time yet to discuss such issues instead of caste and religion? Have we not come a long way yet to let women speak out about their desires? Is it not right yet for a woman to demand physical satisfaction from her partner in a way she wants?

Let us grow up and talk freely about issues relevant to humans without making it into something gender related. Unless men understand that a woman’s body is not a toy for them to be used at their will….unless the women have autonomy on their bodies, thoughts and desires…there will never be any justice…..rapes will keep happening…and women will keep curbing their own freedom!

Visitor at my home…

Few months back, when I came back from some grocery shopping, I couldn’t see our pet kitten at the gatedog Buddy, at his usual spot near the gate instead I saw this little visitor who seemed scared and unsure of his next move!

Buddy must have scared him‘ I thought as I called his name. Buddy however was snoring in shade under the tree in the backyard and was not at all bothered by the little guest or me!

I was vary of the kitten and did not want to encourage it by giving any tit-bit so I ignored it and carried on with my other chores. It must have found out a way to get down from the gate without attracting Buddy’s attention, because neither did we hear Buddy going mad at seeing a cat nor did we see the little kitten for the rest of the day.

The kitten had somehow found out whole routine of Buddy and slowly started visiting our home regularly. At night if Buddy left his meal half eaten, it was not to be found in the morning! Buddy’s water bowl also would be empty sooner. The little kitten, feeding on dog food, had also grown and suddenly become bolder. He would sit outside the kitchen window waiting for an opportunity to sneak in if the window was open. He would at sudden burst of speed bolt up the tree when Buddy went near his bowl. Buddy knew the cat’s smell but could never catch him and in vain kept barking on the (right) tree!

Our dog died because of some undiagnosed ailment. We buried him in the backyard. The kitten, now a cat, did not have any reason to be afraid anymore and would unabashedly lie in shade seeing me going about my chores. Its food supply had come to a sudden halt but that did not seem to concern it! I found the cat still growing larger and bulkier day by day… Its nonchalance now brought a smile to my face and I let it be, not shooing away like before.

Few days back….I heard some faint mewing from the window in the bathroom. There between the fly mesh and the glass panel of the window lay two small kittens with eyes closed mewing away for their mother!

The cat who had made our house its home was a female and now she felt safe enough to keep her newborns in the bathroom window near to humans!!

Now I can see two kittens huddled under the shade of tree waiting for their mother, their eyes two huge pools….yellowish green…I do not go much closer but the cat is not scared. She runs away to fetch food leaving her kittens as I stand there some feet away in the backyard.

We still haven’t recovered from our dear Buddy’s death. And I still do not entertain the cat and its kittens neither does my daughter want the cat family to use Buddy’s bowls but watching the two kittens fall over each other, mewing, trying to stand on their little paws…. has worked like a soothing balm…We smile at their antics, find a topic to talk about, remember how Buddy always got duped by other cats too….We do not shed tears every time Buddy’s name comes up…

The little visitor made our home hers and gave us a reason to forget our pain. Thank you Cat!

This is for A to Z challenge.

Until death do us part….

Anniversary celebrations15 years ago, in October 1999, that is what we promised each other on the altar…..to be together till death do us part. Since then we have loved, fought, argued, laughed, teased, cried, worried about each other, sometimes neglected each other, missed each other, have been suffocatingly close to each other, have blamed and forgiven each other and what not…

I wrote few lines on our tenth wedding anniversary which still holds true…and by God’s grace we will be together until death do us part….

Tiffs and fights,
Love and love bites
The hurt prides and egos,
Realisations and sorrows
then forgiveness and new vows
Winters and the fires
The hopes and desires
Yearnings and expectations
The passionate culminations
How time flies
A decade goes by
Sharing and discovering
annoying and cajoling
loving and caring
Together we await
Yet another decade
and another and another
living and loving
for ever and ever

This is for A to Z Challenge.

Questions of an almost teen…

“What are periods? Did your body change like it is mine? When will I have my periods? Why do girls only have periods? Does it happen everyday?What happens to boys when they are growing up?”

“Mom, what is a condom? What do you mean by ‘making love’? Do you and Dad sleep like they show in movies below the sheets? How can anybody kiss on lips for so long?”

“It isn’t true that God gift wraps the babies and puts them in mommy’s tummy? Who operates on the wild animals when they are having a baby? How does a baby then come out from wild animal’s tummy?”

I am stumped and at loss of words when out of nowhere my 12-year-old pops one of these questions….I have tried answering most of her queries with as much information as I think is easy for her to digest. The topics end and sits there in her mind where she analyses my replies, formulates some more questions and stumps me yet again….

I am always confused myself about how much information is enough for her at this age and how I begin to explain to her! Her questions seem so innocent and may be slowly I might be able to answer all her queries. But what about the life’s difficult questions……

Can I prepare her for all the questions the growing up years will throw at her? Can I prepare her for the ups and downs of life? Can I protect her from all pains and heart breaks? Should I hide her from evils of the world?

I recently had the misfortune of coming across domestic violence between a couple of a year long marriage….I had never imagined in wildest of my dreams that such a behavior existed in reality….I always thought such things happened in a movie or at some alien place! I was shocked beyond words could explain.

I hope nobody meets such fate but how do you prepare a girl about society’s evil, dirty face without scarring her faith and destroying her dreams?

In another year, my daughter will be a teenager talking about love, boyfriends, commitments etc….I too have to be ready to field such questions and many more.

For now….Simple questions of an almost teen keep me at tenterhooks.

This post  is also for A to Z Challenge.

Praying for Patience, Positive outlook…..Peace

The world today needs Peace much more than any new drug, weapon, scientific discovery, space travel, climbing mountains or discovering other habitable planets in far of galaxies.

People, world over are at war….with each other, themselves, circumstances …..everything. There is so much of pain everywhere and nobody to hold hands and say ‘I understand….’ People are killing, torturing, kidnapping, bombing ….. as if the barbarism has returned….Innocents, law-abiding, god fearing simple people are perishing at the hands of such violence… Why?

Beside the pain of denied opportunities, broken faith, misled beliefs….there is a complete dearth of patience in people today. Nobody takes out the time to listen to the opinion of others, no one wants to hear advice of others, nobody wants to talk to iron out the differences…. The world has become obsessed with ‘I , me ,myself ‘.

If there is no communication then obviously, there is only a single outlook of the problem which leads to more negativity when actually there is a need of more and more positive outlook.

Belittling of one religion by other religion, discrimination of one race by other, dismissing someone’s way of thinking and way of living by others who consider themselves better….all this is disrupting the peace.

The pain of people, their patience all are related and only way to have peace is a positive outlook……To live and let live is what the world needs today.

Why should one religion try to force its ways on others? Why should one religion consider itself superior to others? Why should Christians be against Muslims or Hindus, Parsis or Jews and vice versa? Why can not all be able to follow and practice a religion of their own choosing?

I feel troubled, hopeless, scared, irritated….all types of emotions well up inside me when I pick up a newspaper and read about killings, abductions, bombing, maiming in the name of religion. I wish I had a magic wand to wipe away the pain and all negativity of the world and establish brotherhood and world Peace.

PI pray for peace…..Let us all pray for peace and understand each other to create a better world.

This is also for A to Z Challenge.

G for Greetings!!

GHonestly speaking, I was so busy since morning today that I never got time enough to think what I would write for letter ‘G’ in A to Z challenge.

It was my daughter’s birthday… the twelfth (OMG how time flies…she was born only yesterday!) and she had made a long list of what she wanted for dinner today and lunch and how she wanted to take her friends out for a birthday treat and a hundred other things !! Phew!! I completed everything to her satisfaction and she has slept off with a happy face!

I remember celebrating her first birthday….it was more for our happiness than hers! She was happy to have her feed and sleep at her regular time. We had to do everything…the cake cutting, the photographs etc according to her sleep timings and her un-cranky timings! Once she was photographed to our hearts content, she slept and the party for adults carried on.

But today she turned twelve….only a year now that she will turn thirteen….A TEEN!! Now I have the difficult task of explaining to her about birds and bees, of mood swings, of developing body, of hormones, of being aware of bad men and their thought process, of PMS…of hundred things which might make her check her carefree childlike attitude, which might scare her of the big bad world, which might make her little apprehensive…..which will make her little guarded…little grown up.

I wish I could keep her childlike and innocent for few more years…to let her be free and bear her worries all by myself but the time won’t stop for me to relish her childhood any more. It is better I let her know what growing up entails.

She is one curious girl and wants to know everything as soon as possible…wants to wear my shoes, wants to do bigger chores in kitchen, wants me to let her be alone at home without a chaperone…she says she is a big girl now and not scared of anybody! But darling girl, how do I explain that I am !! I am scared of everybody and everything now that I have been a big girl since many years now. I am scared for her well-being and safety.

birthday goodies at homeYes! But today is her day and I don’t want to cloud it with my fears. So Greetings!! my little baby on turning twelve. Wish you a very Happy Birthday ! May all your dreams come true and you grow up in a calm, safe happy world! May God bless you!! Love you tonnes sweetheart!