THE OLD AND ABLED

The title sounds a little paradoxical, right? But that is what I learnt and realized after visiting the S.S. Old-Age Home in Thane. There were about 20 old people, each one of them being above 65 years, who were living happily in a home away from their home! Some had paralysis, some had a weak vision, some were mentally-challenged, yet each one of them was much more able than we are!

An old lady who was almost 90 years was much more active than a young person could be! She kept on saying that she was illiterate but her experience in life overshadowed the really low years of schooling! I asked whether she had a son and her immediate reply was ‘why to think of the things you don’t have!’ That one simple answer taught me so much in a matter of seconds. She hugged each one of us and told us about how everything is destined and no matter what, life isn’t unfair. She proudly claimed that she was old just by age but her heart was as young as it could be! However, she didn’t fear death; in fact, she was ready to be taken when called! She didn’t even fear loneliness but she did crave humans around; she kept on mentioning that all of us were her grandsons and granddaughters and how she wants that there are always people around her to talk and chat. She even recited a few poems in Marathi which weren’t coherent enough but clear enough to make you realize that life is beautiful; you just need to accept your destiny positively.

Another man, who was paralyzed from one side, was another lesson for life! He was a teacher and kept on working until the day his body gave up on him. Since he was a bachelor and partially-disabled, he had no choice but to stay in an old-age home. He gave us lessons on how to live a healthy life and how important it is to always take care of yourself. He didn’t have any regrets about staying alone but he regretted not walking and not working; he regretted being dependent on others especially when he had dealt with his life all alone for so many years. The paralysis attack had scared him so much that when I was standing he told me to sit since the fact that he couldn’t do the same pained him. One stroke changed his life forever! I cannot imagine how he accepted such a harsh phase of his life; it would have certainly been really difficult but his hopes hadn’t shattered yet. Even at 65, he had hopes that his new physiotherapy sessions would make him better soon and he could again live a life he always did.

Contrary to what I had expected, none of them cribbed about their spoilt children who didn’t keep them or about how unfair life is and how difficult it is to survive alone at such a place with so many illnesses. The only thing everybody spoke about was how happy they were at their young age and how good life had been to them. They had no regrets, no envy and no bitter feelings for anybody. All they had was a pure heart!

Yes, there is immense inequality in this world. Everybody is struggling with some or the other issues in life. Some don’t have parents and some are orphans in spite of their parents being alive! Some are sleeping on beds full of money and for some the open sky is their bed. Some are throwing tons of food in the garbage and some are struggling to search even a small morsel from that same garbage! However, at the end everybody reaches the same destination- the coffin. Thus, what matters is how happily you live and how accepting you are.

It’s not that those old people hadn’t faced any hardships or they weren’t unhappy. But they knew how to live and more importantly, how to die. They accepted their destiny with open arms. The smile on their face was so pleasant and soothing that it could make anybody forget their personal issues. They had nothing to give but only love- a love so pure, a love so unconditional! I can never forget the lessons I learnt and the knowledge I gained in those 2-3 hours of interaction with the people I never saw or knew.

One quote that can describe them is-

“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.”

And they certainly loved much deeply!

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TO EQUALITY, TO PARENTHOOD!

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The Indian Parliament recently passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill and made it a law. This law is widely being celebrated and boasted by the government as well as the citizens. However, every coin has two sides and so does this law and it’s up to each one of us to decide which side is heavier. I will first begin with the positive aspect.

The changes proposed in the new law are certainly beneficial for all the mothers expecting a child or adopting one. The major amendment is the extension of the paid maternity leave to 26 weeks from the existing 12 weeks. This will give more time to the mothers to rejuvenate themselves as well as spend some quality time with their newborn. Also, the compulsion of crèche facilities in the organisations is a step in the right direction. All these changes will encourage more and more women to enter the workforce either through the organised or unorganised sector. This is not only beneficial for women empowerment but will also help in boosting our economy. Another positive side is that through this act, India has entered the list of 42 countries which provides more than 18 weeks of maternity leave to the mothers, certainly something to be proud about. These are few of the reasons which make this law a blessing for the goddesses without which human life couldn’t have existed. They have compromised and sacrificed a lot all their life majorly for doing justice to their role as a mother. Indeed, they deserve this gift in return. However, what is not being debated is the other side of the coin.

The first thing which makes me sceptical about this law is the name itself i.e. “MATERNITY” Benefit Act. Once again the responsibility of nourishing and upbringing the child has been put on the weak strong shoulders of mothers. Although the act has made the changes in favour of the females but unfortunately it ends there. There isn’t a single mention about the other parent’s duty – the privileged one (father). There is no provision for the father to visit the crèche at least once in a day if not four times. Also, there isn’t a single clause which encourages the father to take a leave in order to take care of the mother or their own child. Once again the male is allowed to continue with his daily routine while his better half takes a backseat. Yes, the mother has to stop her work for a while since nature has designed the evolution process in that manner. But that shouldn’t free the fathers from their duties towards their wives or child. And mind you earning isn’t the only duty a father has to perform. Although this act may encourage the females to enter the workforce but the employers won’t be eager to employ them since they will be considered a liability rather than an asset. So it would have been better if there was a shared responsibility, thus sharing the inequality equally.

I was really keen to know the nitty-gritty of this much-awaited law but I was quite disappointed. I would have been happier if the name would be “PATERNITY” Benefit Act. At least there would have been a ray of hope in the much needed revolutionary process in the field of motherhood PARENTHOOD. Another good thing would have been to provide at least a few paid leaves to the father as well. This would have motivated a few males who realize their duties as a father. After all, a huge revolution begins from a few individuals only. There could have been provisions which talk about the shared responsibility of both the parents instead of just the mother.

All-in-all, this is certainly a progressive law but there is a lot more to achieve if we really desire to give equal rights to each individual irrespective of the gender. Working and being independent is a basic human right and nobody should be deprived of it just because of nature’s design.

No law would be required if we didn’t belong to a patriarchal society so I would like to sum up all my points in one sentence-

“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

WHY FEAR THE INEVITABLE?

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‘FEAR’- I don’t think there is any person on this planet who might have not come across this feeling in their life time. This is one of the basic traits of being a human. Each one of us has some kind of fear. The fear can be of heights, water, some insect or the biggest fear- the fear of DEATH (yours’ own or your loved ones’). I personally fear from a lot of things but my biggest fear, like many other humans, is of death.

We humans are very weird and have the habit of taking things for granted and in that course we even take our lives for granted! We have the belief that we are immortal and there is a long, long journey ahead of us but we fail to accept the fact that we have entered this world with a limited time frame. Our countdown begins from the day we enter this universe. We all might have encountered the death of someone in our lives but we ourselves are going to die just can’t be accepted by us.

We make so many plans for our ‘secured’ future; we are always in that hustle-bustle to finish the targets, to have a family, to have financial stability, etc. While making our lives stable, we shatter other people’s lives in some way or the other. That’s how humans have now become- more of robots and less of a civilized person. What have we done to ourselves? Where are we leading? Why are people fighting and killing and destroying each other’s lives? What is the purpose of all this? What is the difference between animals and humans today? Each day we hear about wars, terrorist attacks, rapes, murders, political fights and what not. But how many of us actually are moved by it? We may feel bad for a few moments after hearing about such news but not more than that. Why is that the case? What has made us so self-centric that even such barbaric acts fail to move us?

All this is because we fear death and we want to delay it as much as we can. As long as we are safe and secured, we are happy, then it doesn’t matter who is getting murdered or why wars are going on. This is what the definition of ‘happy’ has become today. So much of ruckus just to secure the limited time span we have come with! Isn’t that funny? We kill others to save our life but we forget that nature is going to kill us someday! Such short-sightedness of humans will destroy the world much more than any war would!

The first step towards eliminating the evil going on is to accept the fact that we are perishable and we will leave this world sooner or later. I, myself, was a thanatophobic and the thought of death made me sweat and anxious. But now after reading a few good books and talking with certain people I have realized that death is inevitable. No matter what I do or no matter the extent of healthy life I live, I am still going to die and my countdown has already begun nineteen years back. Then why fear a thing which you just can’t avoid? Why destroy other’s lives to secure your own? Why be in a hurry when you hardly have some fixed number of years to live? Why ignore the inevitable?

Life is a beautiful gift and we should learn to enjoy its beauty. Every human has certain basic necessities and in order to survive, it is crucial to fulfill those, but not at the cost of snatching other people’s needs. I feel it doesn’t even make sense to fight for anything because everything is temporary. We slog and suffer so much today in the hopes of a better tomorrow but we don’t even know whether we will have a tomorrow. That doesn’t mean we should just sit and wait for our time to go. In fact, we should make the most out of this nature’s gift. If we have a tomorrow, we should be prepared for it today. In short, there should be a balance between the two.

Living your life happily and allowing others to do the same should be our main motto. At the end I will quote a famous poet’s beautiful words which sums up everything-

“LOVE EACH OTHER OR PERISH.”

Little Something For Change

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Before starting I want each one of you’ll, reading this, to take a minute and think about the things you are blessed with. Have you ever thought about how lucky you are and how good God has been to you? Reading this itself proves it.

Now that you have thought about it, let’s see the other side of the coin. As fortunate as you think you are, there are thousands of unfortunate people as well in this country and the whole world. Some aren’t blessed with parents, some with their body parts, some with food, some with a shelter, some with vision, some with EDUCATION and the list goes on. But still they manage to smile and here we cry and crib if our parents don’t give us an I-Phone. Irony, isn’t it? That is what the whole world is about. Some are unhappy in their huge mansions and some are joyfully playing in the mud!

The reason why I have highlighted education is because this is one of the most essential things those unlucky people are deprived of. There will be many who will donate food and money but how many will provide them with education? Education is a path to change and change is what is required in today’s disrupted world. Many of you’ll might be philanthrophists regularly doing charity but how many of you’ll have thought of removing a little time of your “busy schedule” and enlightening them with knowledge? Do we really know the importance of education? I guess we don’t since we are easily provided with it and the things which are easily got tend to have less value. If you ever want to know the value of anything in this world, ask the person who doesn’t have it.
Coming to the point, my main reason to write all this is to aware you’ll and majorly request and PLEAD you’ll to do your bit for those thousands of underpriveliged children deprived of learning. For those who have the passion and capability but don’t have the resources. There might be another Einstein or another Sachin Tendulkar among those children but they require a chance. A chance to show their skill, a chance to change this world and a chance to be as lucky as we are.
I will just give you a quick example of two great people who sacrificed their successful careers to change the fate of those children. One of them is Dr. Roman Saini who is a doctor and an IAS officer but recently quit his job as an assistant district collector to work as a free E-tutor and give full time to his you tube channel ‘Unacademy’ which educates lakhs of people in varied fields for free.
Another is Shaheen Mistry who is the CEO of Teach for India organisation which is successfully working for the same cause I am talking about. She started doing her bit for this cause at the age of 18! I won’t tell you’ll to make such big comprises. Everybody is not as passionate as them but can we just try and remove a little time of our life for those needing us? Can we try and mend their bad luck a bit? If there is an inner voice compelling you to say a yes to all these questions then please find any way possible to help them. One of the very good way is to enroll ourselves in Teach for India organisation and work with them full time or part time. If you’ll wish to work for a good cause then do visit their site-
http://www.teachforindia.org

We all are lucky so let us share our luck with those who are the real deservers.
It is time for change and education will bring the revolution. Let us promise to contribute to this cause and not let them be ‘underpriveleged’ anymore.

After all,  “A CHILD WITHOUT EDUCATION IS LIKE A BIRD WITHOUT WINGS”!

THE DEADLY LOVE!

“Please help…. Leave me… Go away… Ouch… I beg don’t do this with me… God help me… Somebody please stop him…..” I was screaming hoping somebody will hear me and come to my rescue but nobody was bothered! All my shouts were going in a vain and he on the other hand continued with his inhumane act.

I loved him from my heart and soul. We were considered the best couple on the campus. He was the most precious person of my life. We were on our way for our first official date. There were butterflies in my stomach; my heart was throbbing and my breathing became heavier as we came closer and closer to our destination. All this was really new for me. Considering the kind of person I am I never had a relationship in the past and being nervous was quiet obvious.

We finally reached at a place which seemed like a 7-star hotel. I was awestruck just by looking at the lobby. I never, in my life, had visited an expensive restaurant let alone such a lavish hotel! He took our room keys and led me on our way. I was unaware about his surprise and was shocked to see a fully decorated suite!

I knew he was romantic but this isn’t what I had expected. His surprise sent shivers down my spine and I could sense something really negative but tried to keep calm. There was something which told me I should run away from here or else the consequences will be worst but before I could contemplate anything he locked the door with a ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign and pushed me against the wall. I was taken aback by his action and before I could protest he started kissing me all over my face and neck. My first kiss was supposed to be special but this just didn’t seem right. Immediately he lifted me and threw me on the large bed. He started unbuttoning his shirt and now I was aware what was coming next but I was too shocked to move. He came over me and started showing all his male power. By that time I was screaming, yelling, sobbing and begging him to let me go but the demon inside him had taken over his control and he wouldn’t stop at all. His eyes were fuming with an indecipherable emotion as if he is taking some revenge but the only thing that was going on in my mind is that what was my mistake? Initially I tried to protest but I knew it was of no use. The monster couldn’t be stopped now so I just laid on the bed helplessly as tears were rolling down my eyes. He triumphantly entered me and I lost my virginity due to someone who didn’t love me but my body. He pushed in and out of me and I just held the bed sheet and closed my eyes. Now all things seemed clear. I clearly understood why such a charming person was behind an average-looking girl like me because I was too naive and could easily be trapped. This was my mistake- my naiveté was my mistake. Staying in a fairy land was my mistake.

When my parents had divorced I had decided I won’t ever let myself get trapped in the circle of love because no matter how much you love a person, at the end of the day your first priority will be yourself and so till 21 years of age I was single but then he came and broke all the walls and my life changed thereafter! I allowed myself to go with the flow; I allowed myself to feel the emotion which people say is the best feeling of the world; I kept my fears aside and gave myself to him but what did I get in return?  All these thoughts were running in my mind while I was practically being raped by the person who I thought was my better half! Suddenly I came out of my thoughts and realized he had stopped and was sleeping besides me with a winning smile. ‘A monster can sometimes even come in a beautifully gift wrapped package’, I thought.

I saw blood on the sheet and tried to get up but I was in a terrible pain. When I was 18 my mom had told me it is painful but it gives pleasure but what I had experienced was in no way close to pleasure. It was the most horrific thing. I again tried to get up and I finally did and rushed to the washroom. I was in a state where I was scared to even touch myself.

I let the water flow through my body while I stood under the shower recollecting whatever had just happened and how my life changed in just few minutes. I wasn’t crying though. I couldn’t feel anything; I was numb.  My entire life was playing in my head- my happy childhood; my parent’s separation; my high school days; my struggle to build those walls and then the breaking of those walls by a charming-faced demon. Too much for a 21 year old to take!

I was feeling helpless when he was raping me but not now. If he tells this to anyone, which is sure keeping in mind how low he can fall, my life will be devastated then. I need to do something. I allowed him to destroy myself once but not again. I did what came in my mind first.

I put on my clothes; broke the champagne bottle kept on the shelf, walked towards him and inserted that broken glass in his stomach. He woke up screaming the same words with which I was begging for mercy, “Please help…. Leave me… Go away… Ouch… I beg don’t do this with me… God help me… Somebody please stop her…..” But mercy was not what he deserved and so finally he succumbed. Yes I killed him. He destroyed my life and I ended his. Revenge taken! God knows where I got that much of courage from but as it is said pain makes you do all things possible!

I don’t care what the consequences will be. May be I will spend the rest of my life in a prison; may be my family and friends will hate me forever and I will be called a murderer but I don’t care. At present what matters to me is that this is what lessened my pain. I didn’t try to hide the body because I wasn’t afraid if I will be caught. He killed me even by letting me stay alive but I couldn’t do the same. I couldn’t let that devil stay alive and destroy my life and other innocent girl’s life.

I removed the problem from its root. I collected my belongings and left the room fearlessly with the same smile he had on his face while he took away my virginity ruthlessly.

 

PS- THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION.