Saturday, December 31, 2016

New year Greetings

11:11

As another year draws near to end and a roaring 2017 waiting to happen, I take this opportunity to thank each one of you. “Thank you” is not just an eight letter phrase for me; it is an unalloyed voice from deep inside of me that says, that, “Hey! You have made me better, happier, wiser, more loving, more spiritual and accepting. I cherish the forms in which you have bestowed your love upon me.”  Not belonging to the ilk of those who indulge in waffle, it is my sincere gratitude and appreciation of the fabric of your humanness that I wish to express, despite knowing very well how incompetent words are in converting the regard in heart into a readable form.

Most of you have been in my life since a long time, many I met recently and few intellectual and warm people in the last year. I am grateful for you have come along with me in the journey of my life and adorn my life, despite my eccentricities and occasional intransigence. A relationship never peters out, it is always alive, conventional wisdom has actually warped our minds and made us beings who suffer from “categorizing mania”.  In a more colloquial sense, “we never break up, or we never really get cut-off”, a part of those people who mark our lives always remains and a tendency to begin communication always persists and IT MUST for all of us are mortals, so why not allow people to be recipients of our unconditional warmth? Nothing can ever justify actions which are not that of love.

Past year was eventful, I am sure yours was productive too. The most common of definitions that I harbored when I was in college were shattered; my beliefs were assailed only to be replaced by  something more lasting, more pure and aligned to the Holy Spirit. The process of attack was unsettling, but looking at what has come up, I am happy and grateful and that is LIFE. 

I hope you shed your inhibitions and embrace the new year, I hope you forgive yourself and invest time in creating a better “you”, I hope you call that one person and just end all conflicts (not necessarily then become great friends, but diminish the cold war), I hope you look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am great the way I am and I will become greater”, I hope you stop by and look at the morning sky’s majesty,  I hope you caress the head of a dog on street casually, I hope that you live and not merely exist. I also hope  you discern people in your life who make you better and those who drag you down, be with the former and drift away from latter blessing them. I hope that you carry your uniqueness without shame! Lastly, I hope that you realize “There is always hope as long as we are alive”.

God Bless you.

Eternal learner,
Yeshoda Bhargava.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

At the touch of Love, everyone becomes a poet..



Of all the things, though,
What I cannot seem to forget is your eyes,
Your eyes, Oh! How vividly I remember,
The way you all coiled up,
When I looked deep into them,
And you called it a “stare”.

Your eyes, where I could just look,
And get lost forever,

A doorway to a Light they are,
A Light that sent you to me,
And thereby sent His Love,
His Warmth.

Your eyes, I know why I love them so much,
For they are,
A doorway to a place beyond right and wrong,
The place where we are one!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Repaired & Healed

I had a most profound conversation at the most wee hours of the day with my recently made friend Saumya Tripathi, and in that conversation, a series of few dialogues have changed me. I produce the conversation below for the readers:

Me: Do you like chocolates?
Saumya Tripathi: Not that much, jiske liye girls itni famous hoti hain. 
Me: Girls are famous for breaking hearts too.
Saumya Tripathi : And also famous for repairing those broken hearts. 
Me: Of course! How can I forget that? I will never say that again. From now on I will always say what you said. 

Entire day has passed, but what has not passed is what she said to me. How quick I was to point out that girls are famous for breaking hearts, forgetting absolutely that some of the most beautiful ladies in my life have actually repaired mine (Anshika and Aayushi : Thank you). I was happy, I was happy that I had made a mistake when I wrote that, because after her reply I was not the same person who wrote it. "And also famous for repairing those broken hearts", the kind of warmth, truthfulness and peace in this sentence transformed me. I was terribly wrong to make that statement, the statement had meant that I had allowed the beautiful times when they have resurrected me to fall into oblivion: how short sighted of me. 

Her beautiful and innocent reply made me acquainted with my own darkness, a hidden resentment, an anger unmanifested and converted all that to gratitude precisely at that moment. Of course, I wondered, two of the best ladies in my life have cupped my  broken heart in their hands and tended to it. No such love I have ever witnessed, the most pure and caring of love, a selfless love. And these memories are always stronger, deeper and more powerful than any amount of disappointment. 

The moment Saumya uttered those lines, I felt lighter in my heart for what she had said was true. I am the evidence. She had struck the right chord in my heart, at the moment she said that, she helped calm the seemingly still yet restless bosom inside of me. The way a girl repairs a broken heart is beautiful. She cares for you, listens to you, laughs with you, cries with you, she heals you. I have been healed twice in my life and both of them are divine. Saumya also healed me. 

I flooded myself and my innermost self with the light of love. Disappointments and separations are part and parcel of life, we really cannot do much in that case. But we can always do one thing: we can be grateful for the love that adorned our path, because that will make it eternal. One does not have to be in a lifelong association to make something eternal, "your memories of love and warmth, are safe in my heart, eternal. Period". I decided at that moment when Saumya wrote those lines, I decided to always look back with utmost gratitude and reverence.

I decided never to forget again that my heart was repaired and healed and that from now on I will only talk about how it was repaired and healed. I will always remind myself of this blessing in my life.

Saumya, thank you. Words are not enough, I wish I could give you a hug full of gratitude. Precisely that is why I said, "Farishta hain aap". You changed a dark part inside of me to light.



Friday, December 23, 2016

8 days, two injuries, sea of emotions, ocean of lessons

Only today I have been able to feel that I am walking properly (I want to jump with joy, but no, I must wait), though long distance walk and standing still take a toll on my left knee. With 75% recovery till now  post an injury,  this past period of time I have spent in my solitude, retired to self in totality, much closer to that sense of being all by your own self. It sometimes was nerve-breaking but often times an opportunity to go deep within . It was not easy, especially the day I ended up having an over-stretched muscle and second time, during marathon when at 3 am I realized that the pain in my feet was too excruciating to move forward. Makes me laugh now!! :D

Here I am, better, much better , emotionally stronger and closer to my soul. In my life, injuries both physical and psychic have invariably catapulted myself into sanity and I am not proud of it. It feels like my sanity gets engendered in unsettling times, "a raise of consciousness should not be contingent to suffering and pain" I often tell myself.  But Heaven has its ways. 

Managing and healing oneself by self is a liberating experience. I think we get to know our selves better and discover a hidden trove of strength and mental toughness which can be difficult to find out otherwise. I have learnt what responsibility is when I went to station at 11pm and stayed there till 2:30 am, to receive my friend despite my inability to walk on both the feet. This incidence reminded me of my parents, I felt like an elder guardian that night. But there has not been a single day when I have not gone to gym - my healer and an eternal anodyne of my life for all physical and psychic afflictions. 

Transforming periods are difficult, every moment is a test of faith, patience and belief. I had an urge to talk about my pain, I paid attention to that urge, the urge vanished. I had an urge to be resentful to my trainer, I paid attention to that thought and I replaced it with gratitude for my trainer. (Thank God,  I have so much to learn and improve.) But I never had this urge to not go for workout or to rest. My mind told me to call someone and just talk to them reasoning that I might feel good, I used that thought instead to fuel my own ability to comfort myself and my soul. I had to drag myself to do that. Sanity, I had decided was going to be the next chapter of my life. 

Words and sentences fail when it comes to describing pain or beauty. The beauty about pain is that when we see ourselves at most vulnerable of times, crouched in blanket, gagging self with towel so that the walls cannot hear our cries, that is when we shed a huge burden, that is precisely when our new self is born- resurrection. I was brought up with this teaching that to cry is to be a coward, I have learnt that it is not always a sign of weakness. A vis-a-vis with self shortcomings and vulnerability leads to strength. But the greatest of lessons a psychic discomfort has taught me is that I am responsible for my decisions and the consequences of those decisions. We only inflict pain upon our own selves and batter ourselves continuously like an insane person. And when I learnt that, my life changed! 

Amen.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Birthday Poem


Here's my wish for you, 
On this day, when born were you, 
May smile always remain on your face, 
as fresh as leaves with dew !! 

Here's my prayer for you, 
That happiness comes in your life, in all hue, 
Even if you have friends, who are few, 
You never forget to say, "Thanks" which is due. 

A message from Lord's side, 
In whom we all unconsciously confide, 
From Whom nothing we can hide, 
And who saves us from every tide, 
"Keep your eyes open and wide, 
Behold the glory coming to your side"

A blessing from my inner self, 
A gratitude from my heart within.

A wish that you always smile, 
amidst the thorns, amidst the storms, 
amidst the losses, amidst the challenges, 
A wish that you always fight, 
amidst the treacherousness of life! 

A last thing, a secret I share, 
You are special, that's why you are here. 
Spread your love in the air with flair, 
let your soul be bare, dream and dare. 
Life might not be seem always fair, 
But in larger scheme of things, 
He does care, 
Everything, hence, is fair. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

अपना दोस्त बना लिया


आज शाम सैर पर जब मैं निकला तो,  
पत्तों पर पड़ी ओस की बूंदों ने मुझे देख के मुस्कुराया ,
मैंने खिलखिलाहट भरी ओस की पत्तियों को अपना दोस्त बना लिया।

यूँ चलते चलते जब ध्यान गीली सड़क पर गया ,
तो मैंने उनकी विनम्रता को जाना,
मैंने गीली सड़कों को अपना दोस्त बना लिया..

अँधेरी रात मैं जब बरसात की बूंदें मुझ पर पड़ीं ,
ऊपर आसामन की ओर देखा मैंने ,
इन निःस्वार्थ उज्ज्वल बूंदों को ,
मैंने अपना दोस्त बना लिया..

काले बादलों की ओर देखा मैंने ,
कुछ कहा उनसे , शायद शुक्रिया अदा किया,
उसकी खूबसूरती को निहारा,
और आँखें बंद कर मैंने बादलों ,
को अपना दोस्त बना लिया ।

ये हवा जो हलके से मेरे गालों को चूम गई,
इस चंचल पवन को मैंने अपना दोस्त बना लिया ।

रात के काले अंधेरों मैं मैंने अपने ,
दिल की रौशनी को अपना दोस्त बना लिया ।
मैंने आज एक बार फिर अपने अतीत को भुला
अपने नए कल को अपना दोस्त बना लिया ।

Saturday, December 3, 2016

On the ocassion of International Day of People with Disability

Today is International Day of People with Disability. Having spent more than a year since past August 2015, enlightening myself about the largest minority on Earth, I feel compelled to write today on what I have learnt, and how learning about them and their hidden aspirations and abilities  has made me more humbled, polite, grateful and disciplined.

Children at a special school I visited in Maharashtra. There was a moment that choked my throat here: when I was leaving, everyone of them raised their hands for a handshake with smiles on their face. I touched their hands and they touched my soul.
 Only yesterday, I had a mild injury in my knee, it immediately brought my attention to all those stories I had read and people I had met who were physically challenged. I for sure, was no where near to them and knew that it is a temporary bodily affliction, but I could not stop thinking about how difficult it would be for someone who knows every morning they wake up that they have to battle challenges due to  their bodily impairments. Makes me thing of how much for granted we, the temporarily-able-bodied people, take our abilities There could not have been more opportune time for this injury to strike, than on a day before this Disability Day. I have seen myself always sulking at the prospect of injuries taking time to heal, in this respect I have been a highly impatient person! But while passing days with injury I have also learnt that it will take time and when it will get healed, we will bounce back doubly hard.

Talking of lessons that I have learnt while insanely reading about disability: it has made me acquainted with my own apathy, lack of knowledge and shortsightedness. I never knew that a physically disabled women is more prone to a sexual assault.  I never knew also, on the contrary that physically challenged women are considered asexual and denied opportunities in many cases to express the longing for the deepest of human emotions : companionship.  And I call myself educated!!  Before reading about them, I never felt the need of ramps in public places, or disabled friendly doors in parks etc. Much more than that, my own movie industry, Bollywood depicted lame and crippled as bad omen, or someone with crooked back as a cunning person and that imprint I am learning to unlearn as I surge ahead in my life. Most of the lessons that I accepted in my life before this 25th year I am unlearning; it is not a very comfortable process, but it is redeeming and liberating. 

When I read about this lady who regained partial eyesight after an operation and exuded limitless joy, I looked at myself and questioned, "How many times have I been grateful that I can see"? This lady by her joy to be able to see things partially made me realize how precious it was to have eyes to be able to see without any impediments. Nothing has made me more conscious of my own life than reading about people with disability! I do not want this to be taken as if they are less-privileged in some case, or that at the cost of their 'misfortune', I have come to value my 'fortune'. No, certainly not. I think Frank Herbert captures beautifully the transformation that has happened in my life by this quote, 
"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.".

 This quote had always been on one of the walls that I use to see daily, but only when August 2015 happened I could really feel what Herbert meant in his profound words. And today I can say that I understand many things better due to my knowledge of the lives of people with disability.

Embarking on this journey and still continuing has been one of the greatest chapters of my life. This has made me clear of so much discrimination and prejudice that remains to be addressed in the world. This has also made me more aware of existing  barriers that exist in the society towards their full participation. I want to share my most incisive finding from reading about disability and rights of disabled people. 

This is something called as the social model of disability. According this model, the disability lies not in the person but in the society. There is a spectrum of people in the society, and all of us are different; when the society fails to take this diversity into consideration that is when a physical impairment becomes a disability and a handicap towards more fulfilling lives. I think this has been one of my most profound findings because before reading this I never paid attention the diversity in the human population in this way. Disability, thus I have learnt is a social construct!! 

 I have learnt that people with disabilities are people with dreams, aspirations, desires and passions! There is really nothing different between them and us at the core. A Course in Miracles says that, "when you reduce a person to a body, you have led yourself to an illusion that does not exist". I will read that chapter again today, before sleeping. As a society we pay too much undue attention to physical looks that we disregard the value a person can create by his essence. And I think this is not the case specific to people with disabilities. It is rampant among the way women are expected to be in our society. I would like to quote an excerpt from a book I recently read, "Women, Disability and Identity". The excerpt beautifully captures the preferences that exist in our societies which are invidious to the goal of human equality. 

"From a very young age, in general, gender is constructed through appearance. Beauty seems a gender-related category: "looks are important but inconsequential for men, but they are defining feature for women" (Tseelon, 1995:78). Attractiveness is associated with better physical outcomes and women are more critically judged for attractiveness than men. A woman is expected to embody a 'timeless' cultural phantasy, but she is not really naturally more attractive than the man. The physically (un)attractive play the role of socially (un)attractive. While there are some exceptions, ugly or physically disadvantaged people are regarded as clearly disadvantaged (Tseelon, 1995:79-85)."


Thus, on this day, let us look around and let us become a conscious voice to enable society to reduce these barriers to enable full participation of these people. We cannot look at them as mere 2% of entire population, we have to teach ourselves to look at them as the irreplaceable part of the 100%!!

But most importantly, let us learn to revere the diversity among our race and look beyond what the senses can perceive.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Letter to a friend : As you begin a new adventure

This is a letter I wrote to a friend, who is going to get married. I put it here for my beloved readers.

Dear Thoshika,

As you start a new adventure in your life, I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best. But I have few much more important things to share with you, to imbibe in your heart few words which will always stay close to you, words which you can fall back upon in times of confusions and disappointments, words which will be beacon of light, of hope and of courage!

Marriage is a very sacred union Thoshika. I would not want to waste my words on how it has been reduced to a mere physical association to bear children and as a means of comfortable retirement. It’s a holy bond, in which two people bare their soul, accept and revere each other’s vulnerabilities and aspirations. Everyone of us is vulnerable Thoshika, that is human and at the very core of our being. It is not something to be ashamed of, being vulnerable is not being weak, being vulnerable is being you, being human. Treat yourself as a human with flaws, treat him as a human with flaws! This makes us more understanding as human beings and ushers a benign association.

Thoshika, as women, we must never forget to love ourselves thinking that it’s our partner’s job to love us after marriage. Affection from the partner makes life beautiful, but the only love that gets showered upon us must not be from them, a major component of that love has to come from our inside, our beautiful heart. Only when we are ourselves fulfilled, can then we water every relationship in the purest, most divine and unconditional of ways.

Our identity is still intact after marriage, it’s like a crown on our head, never forget Thoshika therefore, that you are a unique individual and that your very essence is still married to that deepest part of you which only you know of. Preserve this, every part of it. It makes you beautiful. It makes every woman beautiful.

Marriage is an aspect, and an important aspect of our lives Thoshika, but it’s not “The Life”. Your dreams and goals for your life will remain important, do not let them silently get consigned to history. You are an educated woman, a promise of a more equal world; we cannot let powerful women fall back from stage one after other due to marriage. I am sure, you will continue to work understanding the responsibility that you have in this world of rampant gender discrimination and inequalities.

Thoshika, the crux of my letter is just one thing: Never forget to love yourself. Life will be demanding, and you will have to take out time for yourself. Life will be confusing and you will have to take out time breathe fresh air. Life would seem to be unfair and you will have to look at Heaven above and say the only prayer that is worth saying, “Thank you Lord”.

Communication, Thoshika, is a very crucial aspect of a healthy relationship. It would be a bad thing to assume that our partner knows what hurt us or what bothers us, all the time; it is not humanly possible. So, when something bothers you - speak, in a manner that you always do -  politely and humbly. Words which emotionally hurt us, if not spoken, can turn into poison and surface in future in ugly ways. Healthy communication keeps a relationship healthy.

Never shy away from expressing! Beautiful relationships are lost when love is not expressed.

The physical part of the relationship might look scary to you, but make your partner understand that. Thoshika, your body will still be yours, you have entire autonomy over it. You do not have to, if you do not feel like! Make him earn your love and your deepest, purest, Godly essence. I sometimes feel that girls are the most beautiful creations of Lord, they are close to being true humans! Having had the privilege of being close to some of the best ladies in my life, I can tell you that the amount of reverence I have for each one of them is tremendous! You are a sweet and innocent girl, and deserve all love.

In the end Thoshika, all of us are humans, mortals! Our physical anatomy differs, there are men and women, but at the core all of us are the same. Your partner is no different from you Thoshika. In deepest of his heart he will have yearnings to be loved and cared for, just like you, just like all of us. There is no human on Earth who does not want to be loved!

Create a beautiful, loving relationship, an association which upholds self-esteem of each other. Create an association of mutual respect and never ending love. Love, Thoshika is not an emotion, it’s our Being and emerges from a place beyond mind. Love is not a transaction, this marriage is an opportunity for you to carve a soul-soothing friendship with your partner. How beautiful! The mere writing of all this makes me imagine the bliss of a truly loving relationship.

Thoshika, nurture this lifelong friendship with your love and warmth. There is a charm in a woman’s love, a Heaven on earth. I am sure, you will have a great time in this adventure.

Always there.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Everyday

Everyday, yes every day,
"Take a step", I humbly say.

Everyday, yes every day,
"That step takes us closer to our dreams", I say.

Everyday, on Earth that you get to stay,
When sun shines, I hope you make hay.

They say, Rome was not built in a day,
Slowly I am learning that progress is made each day,
In this small thing secrets lay,
That all dreams comes true, work hard if you may.

Everyday, yes every day,
Without an exception, comes that morning sun ray,
I know what it wants to say,
"Keep walking, I am creating your way".

Everyday, yes every day,
Magic of life makes me happy and gay,
Everyday, yes every day,
"Thank you Lord", is what I only pray.

Everyday, yes every day,
I strive to become human in a better way,
Every day, yes every day,
I love my life, much more than yesterday.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Meaningful friendships are a privilege : Walking down memory lane

Most people are sharing years of friendship on Facebook these days. I also feel like expressing gratitude to that one person in my life who has allowed me to be her friend and who has been a kind friend to me all this time. I do not exactly know how many years have gone by for I precisely cannot point in time when we became friends - it has been a series of unsettling ups and downs and eerie silences without any compromise to self-respect of each other. 

I think friendship is an evolutionary process;  as we grow we become mature friends, we become more open to our friend. I believe it is a process of continual acceptance, embrace and a soul-cleansing experience. I always tell her, my friend Deepshri Gupta that if I have to look back and cite my biggest achievement, it has to be this friendship, the relationship that we share. I am an eccentric person who follows her own whims and fancies but I do have memories when I have seen Deepshri taking initiatives to better the situation between the two of us.  I must admit we both have become better friends and better humans together, our values bind us despite stark differences. 
This was the most beautiful day of my college
life. I can say we became friends this day. 

I think a good friendship is like that of a family relation in which we just accept the person, care for them and yet allow them liberty; its like always being there as an inseparable part of their life's existence. Friendship is knowing that I can always call her up and say anything, or that she can call me at any time of the day and say the most stupid thing in the world and yet I will listen to it and participate in the conversation. I guess she is the only one with this privilege of saying the most nonsense of things to me. She is the only one with whom I gossip :P  I think that is beautiful, a relationship without judgments, a relationship in which the other person ceases to be "other" and becomes one's own, very own. 

I will also say that we have become better friends after college and distance has only imparted more strength to this association. And Deepshri takes credit for this one. May be people who are meant to be together always are together, I can assert that with confidence when it comes to us at this point of time in life. Deepshri is a very fine human being, her honesty, child like innocence and lack of pretence makes me respect her all the more. And I am convinced that she knows the value of relationships and how to nurture them (a skill): something we both have learnt over the course of time in our respective lives. 

Of course, there have been resentments, months of awkward period of silences, mis-communications but never have been situations of loss of trust. I know she is my greatest benefactor and she knows that I am her well-wisher and this remains a doctrine even if we separate due to any conflict. And this is precisely what friendships are about: mutual respect while acknowledging the differences. She has her own life and I have my own life, yet we are closely interwoven into each others' life through this beautiful bond of friendship. 

It amazes me that I have this privilege of a deep relationship with someone. Meaningful friendships are a treasure, never let them go.  A very fine human fabric in the form of Deepshri Gupta, it is a privilege to be your friend. Thanks mate! 

My trip to Swasthya Swaraj : Computer Lessons

This is a post in continuation of my attempt to share lessons from my visit to Swasthya Swaraj Society. Swasthya Swaraj is a secular, not-...