Sunday, June 30, 2013

So still is the night....

So still is the night and dim is the light,
I can figure out the right in the dark starry night.
I can sense no trouble, no cause to grumble,
I feel ready to travel through life's joyous miracle.
It's the joy and the cheer in my mind's rusty corner,
That makes me recall distant memories with a tear.
Oh dear, dear, dear! I had so longed for this cure,
Not criticize or compare but cherish all that's here.
The simple joys of today, I value all the way,
With so much to say, I dare simply wish and pray.
Pray for this small little world battling demons of disarray,
Pray to the stream of Poesy from meandering away,
Pray to all the twinkling stars shining above,
Pray for the sinners, to be very gently touched by Love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On breaking the loop of Plans...

At times I wake up with a real dead feeling inside me. I don't know exactly why do I feel so stressed and drained out early in the morning. It may be a sign of sickness or excessive work pressure. Perhaps it may be the result of nothing working according to my plan. Plans...plans are some very dangerous tools provided to children early in life. A plan gives one the fake assurance of well-being and there is always that deadly undercurrent of probability associated with it as "things may go wrong" and then, we need to save our souls by reverting to a different plan. So basically, all our lives we are drawing one plan after another. Some work, some fail, and that is how life goes on silently. Finally, before we meet our end, we measure our success by determining the success rate of our plans. We do it unconsciously, never deliberately. Doing that calculation deliberately would make us feel terrible, but once we allow our subconscious to guide the unconscious mind things run pretty smoothly...A life of no regrets, as there'll always be a plan to salvage our lost hope. (At times praying for a miracle may be a part of a large plan too. After all being the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, we are forever up to something edgy.)

Now, my point is, in my life of twenty-seven years I have devised many such plans for myself too. Since childhood, I had been encouraged to push harder in academics and secure 'good marks' in all subjects. No 'good mark' however was that good enough and I was eternally hungry for more. My family believed that I was cut out for something great, something spectacular. In the hindsight, every family has the same story to share. Everybody is unique and everybody is running off to coaching classes to get that something 'extra' that'll give them that cutting edge...that'll empower them to be triumphant against all odds. That is the common plan.  But somehow gradually, I realized that perhaps I was only an average and not a brilliant student or a prodigy. I failed to meet the high standards of expectations at times. I turned sad, depressed and soon felt dejected, thrown into the dark abyss of hopelessness. The monumental decision of choosing between Science and Arts arrived before me after ICSE exams. While it was unanimously believed by my teachers that a good student should always prefer Science, I believed in the latter. I made a choice. A difficult one indeed. My life, my future, my career stood right before my eyes. While Science could offer me temporary respect in society, Arts could offer me the peace of mind, my true calling. Without a moment's hesitation I deviated from my original plan, of entering the medical field, and embraced reality. Arts became my reality. The choice paved the way for my liberty.

 I still remember the first day in my classroom where the apparently 'dull-minded', weak students had huddled together. 'Dull-minded' because we had voluntarily chosen Arts over Science. The students in the Science stream scoffed at us, mocked our subjects and claimed that it was all too easy. We ignored their jibes believing that they were too foolish to understand anything. Those jibes were followed by more hurtful remarks by their parents who said, " So, why didn't you take up Science? Is it because you couldn't cope with Maths? How badly did you score in ICSE? ..." And the questions ran on endlessly. "Arts has no future" became the oft-repeated statement in all conversations. I still chose to ignore that. But the problem arose when our class teacher looked at me and said on the very first day, "Oh! Neelima. I'm surprised to see you here. You've taken up Arts? Why? Are you sure you don't want Science? I had always considered you intelligent." This really shook my confidence. It got me thinking over my choice again and again. But all that mattered was the voice that spoke to me from within reaffirming all that I believe in. Today eleven years later I have never ever regretted my decision. I ended up being the topper of Arts Section from my school in class 12 in ISC examination. I took up English Honours and completed my Masters from the most prestigious university in Calcutta. And now I'm in a profession that I enjoy the most. I'm a teacher.

But how would have life turned out for me if I had chosen the otherwise? If I had followed the PLAN? I don't know. I never will know. And frankly, I don't desire to know. Today whenever I wake up all stressed early in the morning, battling to discover the reason why I'm miles away from home, living in a foreign place, in a job that most consider 'boring', I tell myself that I am the reason behind this choice. And I am proud of it. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I enjoy teaching young children, being a part of their 'whacky' world, teaching and learning new things at the very same time. I have shaped my Destiny with my very own hands. I am the master of my own Fortune. No tarot card or parrots sitting by the dusty lanes have outlined my choice. All that matters is I have had the courage to make my choice and believe in it. I have dared to pursue it endlessly. All that matters is now I have the courage to live my life on my own terms, to fuel my dreams, to live my passion. After all, we have just one life, So why waste it on unnecessary plans and rue over it when its execution fails?

One usually lives under the assumption that plans determine true happiness in life. Negative.

I believe that being able to make mistakes and learning from the same is blissful.
I believe that being able to choose our paths in life on our own is blissful.
All that matters is what makes us happy.
If we're happy, how long will the world outside remain unhappy?

And if everyone's happy then nothing really matters actually...

This post is written as a part of 'All that Matters' contest at in association with INK Talks 2013.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

East or West: My daddy's the best!!

‘I am writing ‘10 life lessons I learnt from my father’ at'

From the very first moment that we learn to steady ourselves and learn to grab the first object that comes our way to the moment when we are hungry in our pursuit for success, grabbing every bit of opportunity determining a professional high, we are always supported, guided and counseled by our parents. The mothers are forever more vocal about the things they like and dislike, more expressive by way of emotions whereas the fathers are the quintessential symbol of Man and how all men should behave in society. We look up to our fathers and marvel at their ability to calmly sit through the mother's barrage of rebuke while they gently take us in their arms to render life's important lessons quietly, without any fuss. Personally, I am indebted to my parents for teaching me everything about life and it would be really unfair to single out the lessons taught by one parent alone. But as we celebrate Father's Day on June 16, I also do realize that I get an opportunity to express my gratitude for all that my Baba has done for me throughout, expecting nothing in return. 

Here follows the 10 life lessons I learnt from my Baba :

1. As a child I hated being bullied by the elder bullies, who seemed to scold me for apparently no reason. At times I would return home crying, not knowing what to do. I didn't want to answer them back fearing that it would be rude. But the insults were too much to take. That is when my father used to tell: Treat people the way they treat you. If people misbehave with you, don't go soft but oppose the wrong. As Bhagawad Gita says," It is wrong to commit injustice, but is a greater wrong to suffer injustice in silence."

2. In one's childhood one faces innumerable disappointments. And every next setback seems bigger and more frightening, even insurmountable. But my father always believed that when Life punches you straight into your face, one should not be rattled. 'Bad days' is just a phase which will soon drift away. So, fight back and never lose hope.

3. Friends are always an integral part of life. Being a social person by nature, I always ended up being friends with almost everyone in the class. But I always had a hard time understanding why my friend never called to speak to me when I fell ill, or later failed to secure good marks in a subject.That is when my father imparted me life's most crucial lesson: There will be many friends surrounding us, offering us advice, promising us that they'll be with us till the very end when one is a comfortable space of life. The number grows thinner in the bad days. The ones who don't leave our side in the foul weather are our true friends. Treasure them.

4. A young girl wants to be the best at all she does. She wants to be popular and known by name amongst all her juniors and teachers. At times this leads to foul plays and unhealthy competition that distracts us from the most iportant thing, i.e the task. So, Baba always told me : Do not long for popularity. It is transient. Pay greater attention to the quality of work you do, every day, each moment for these moments'll pass by quickly, never to return again.

5. I remember the day when I wasn't awarded the prize for scoring the highest in Hindi in class 7 due to a technical glitch. I had cried buckets that night. I thought that I had failed everybody in the house as I was so sure of winning that prize. That is when my father comforted me by saying: It doesn't matter if you win or lose. All that matters is you've given the task your cent per cent effort. All that matters is you believe that you're the best. 

6. How often do we get impatient when things don't run according to our plan? I used to lose my temper every time when my 'perfect plan' got delayed or stuck indefinitely owing to some problems. Baba however made me see the brighter side of things always. He said: Patience is the key to success. When coupled with hard work it will tantamount to life long prosperity.

7. As I grew up I learnt to be vocal about my feelings, especially the bad ones. At times I used to end up in terrible fights with my best friends and would return home annoyed, irritated and disturbed, My father would always readily lend a patient ear to my problems and then say: Nothing can be won by violence. If one resorts to aggression and abuse, one will end up only harming himself. It will not pave way for peace and resolution of the conflict. Be reasonable and logical even when you're angry. Do not keep your mind aside while you unleash the animal in you. And
today I spread the same message to my students as a teacher.

8. Since childhood I was never interested in dressing up. I was forever comfortable in casuals and hated when my mother dabbed powder on my face saying that it would make me look pretty. Thankfully, Baba always supported my protests in this case and didn't put any pressure on me to dress up like a doll for occasions. In fact there were times I refused to buy new frocks for Pujas and purchased books instead to read! The words of my father has stuck with me till this very day: Don't be ashamed of being yourself. After all, that is who you are. You don't need to be someone better as you're already the best being you. 

9. There were times when on the day of exam our driver would absent himself from work owing to sickness. I would stare teary-eyed at my father saying that without a car I would never be able to reach school and appear from my exam. But my father would rubbish it and say  that if I needed to get my work done, I must be independent. I couldn't always depend on cars to offer me a ride wherever I wanted. He would take me to the nearest bus stop and would let me pay the fare to the conductor under his watch. Thanks to him, today I understand that one needs to be independent in life. Nothing should chain her down to a hole. The solution is always right there before our eyes. We only need to see it. 

10. Finally, my father believed that the blessings we receive from our elders is invaluable. It helps us in becoming better human beings. So, we should always respect our elders and obey their wishes under all circumstances. After all a family is all about love, faith and respect, none of which ought to be compromised ever. 

With all things said and done, I would wish to say that I am imbibing  lessons of life from Baba still today. The list can go on and on, and I don't intend it to draw to a close. I am my Baba's pet and I am proud to state that. And nothing that I do will ever be enough to show how much I love him. East or West, My Baba's the best. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Demon

"I have something to tell you...!"

The little girl shifted her gaze to the window. It was raining heavily by the normal standards. Rittika detested rains unlike young girls of her age. She detested the rumbling cry of thunder, the howls of the wind. She said that it made her feel that God was angry, really angry with somebody. It reminded her of the smacks that she received when she failed to answer the sum correctly at her tuition. It always scared her, left her feeling mortified. Yet as she was looking at her mother through the eyes of a six-year old, she knew that she wouldn't be really happy to receive the news she was about to break in. After all, her mother was a single parent. Her father had died a long time back in a car accident. No, he wasn't driving the car, but the large vehicle had vroomed over his body of flesh and blood, smashing his intestines, crushing his bones. The onlookers had said that that he had tried to seek help till his last breath. But the public was too scared to help him. They were mortified too. The killer car was after all driven by a minister's son and his drunken pals. Nobody wished to get into trouble for some dead body, whom they didn't even know in person. The man's time had come. He was safer in heaven..probably would be even happier.

But Rittika's mother was a strong woman. She knew that the world wouldn't stop for her loss. She needed to pick herself up again and continue to live for her only child. She needed to give her a good life, good education. She needed to be both her father ad mother. Rittika was too young to realize what she had lost or who she had lost forever. It really perplexed her to see her mother crying her to sleep at night. She didn't understand when relatives flooded her house to offer condolence. Rittika was too young to understand anything. And that turned into a problem. You see, Rittika's mother wanted to give her the best education possible. After all, the least she wanted was people reminding her that her husband was no more to support her. She did not wish Rittika's grades to get affected in any way. But with one loss weighing down her thin frame of shoulders, she had to brace up for the office job that she had taken up lately. She needed to earn. She needed to earn enough to keep the fuels burning. But with all the wolves pouncing on her in the world outside, she was too tired to help Rittika understand that 5X5= 25 and not 26. So, like all busy people, she took up the next best possible alternative. She hired a tutor. This man had been highly recommended for his efficiency by the neighbours. In fact it was said that under his tutelage even a dumb student could crack the IITs! Well, all was well with the hyperbole and Rittika's mother was nevertheless assured that he could teach her dear daughter the tables to pass her examination. However, there was one problem. The tutor had to step inside her house in her absence as she usually worked late at nights in her office to fetch the overtime money. The willing neighbour, one Mrs. Singh, gladly came to her rescue and offered to babysit Rittika at those times. Nobody knew one thing. Mrs. Singh had the reputation of dozing off for hours at the slightest given chance.She could well put  a certain Kumbhakarna to shame.For the same reason her own husband never trusted her alone with the house. But Rittika's mom didn't know this. And how could she?

Well, everything was fine initially. Rittika was frightened of her tutor due to some reason but she managed to score decent marks at Maths every time. But gradually, Rittika had been subject to illusions, it may seem. She complained of a demon living inside her room, who visited her in the dark, and caused her a lot of pain. Now,Rittika's mother was fighting demons of her own back in office where vultures in suits and ties were swooping down on her from every corner to ask if she was 'available'. So much for all talks on gender equality. However, Rittika's mother left no stone unturned to coax her little child believe that demons don't exist. Demons existed only in our mind, in the bad people we might come across. But her room was  the sanctum of the divine which would never allow her any harm. Yet all her attempts seemed fruitless. Rittika looked scared every time. Scared of anyone touching her. She had never been so quiet. Her eyes were always on the look out of the demon. And she still hated her tutor. Rittika's mother would often enquire Mrs. Singh about the tutor's behaviour with her daughter. The seventy-year old woman would comfort her by saying that he was always polite and cordial, trying to be friendly with the girl..but the girl never strangely reciprocated the politeness."It's so typical of children to hate their tutors at times. After all, they give them additional homework and make them do stuff that they don't like...i.e studying."

Days crawled by. And then came today. Rittika's mother had come home early. After all it is not everyday that it pours cats and dogs in a manner of drowning the city. She feared that if she wouldn't hurry, she would be left stranded in the lonely cubicle of her office.She took the bus home and reached her apartment in about 20 minutes. It was 7pm. The rain was devouring the roads,hindering clear vision. She could see from  the distance the lights in her house. Rittika  was in there with her tutor. She could never really understand why Rittika disliked that middle-aged man. He was not handsome by way of appearance but he had a charming smile. And then he was really dutiful and helped Rittika do well in her tests. "Kids are confusing", she thought to herself. She took the elevator and in no time she was standing outside her door.  She rang the door bell once. No answer.She rang the door bell again. No answer. "Strange" . Se called out for Mrs. Singh, tapped the door and rang the door bell again, and again and again..till finally there was that familiar sound of unlocking....

"What is wrong with you? Why didn't you...What's all this red on your it bloo..." She couldn't wait to finish her sentence. Her little darling daughter was standing right before her eyes, covered in someone's blood. She could see the figure of a large woman slumped into her armchair, facing television on full volume.She could see a few books lying on the table across. She could feel her room circling all around her. She was sure that she was dreaming. She sank to her knees. She did not know what to say.

It was still raining hard. Rittika detested rains. She gazed at the window. "I have something to tell you...! Ma..." She put her hands behind her back as if she were to recite a poem. She was looking down at her pink shoes, spotted with drops of red. "I have killed the demon." A lifeless body of the middle-aged man was lying in a pool of blood with a knife plunged deep in his heart. And then it dawned upon the child's mother.."Make them do stuff that they didn't like..."

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

And this post was adjudged a WOW post ......

I have something to tell you

I have something to tell you...!
You have been living a web of lies.
Lost in the castle of deception.
Yes, you're trapped, disillusioned.
And there is perhaps no escape possible.
Wait..did I just say 'perhaps'?
Stain my lips with the word of probability?
Ah! I see...hope never dies...
They say hope lives on deep inside us.
This hope carries us forward.
But where are you going?
There's nothing in there...nothing that you'll hope to see.
In the barren deserts of Time skeletons fill the space.
Skeletons who spoke once,
Thought once, reasoned once...loved once..
But love's labour's lost.
No love to water those dark pupils of yours.
The water has dried up..the sun is dead.
It's dark here, dark there..dark everywhere.
A excruciating pain beyond tolerance is filling up my head.
I can take this no more live this a part of it...
Hostile faces surround us.
Colours,green and red, merge into one..anarchy..sheer anarchy!
As I make an attempt to feel the feeling
I perceive the castle collapsing and burying you, me and everyone
Under its debris.
Time has run out.
The show is over...awake now...
But wait, do I see a waking dream?
Indeed do we wake... or sleep?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

(Drum roll)....And this post was adjudged a WOW post...on cloud nine.....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What'll make Susan happy?

Will a box full of chocolates covered in thick caramel?
Or a truck full of dreams of a life free of hassle?
Or a pair of new shoes with a matching pretty frock?
Or a pen and a bag or an expensive rock?
Or an opportunity to travel lands afar?
Or a video game where characters crush monsters bizarre?
Or a promise of  a wedding with the grandest banquet you've ever seen?
Or a walk on the beach on a breezy summer evening?
Or the bite of a mouth-watering pastry?
Or a piece of spectacular jewellery?
Tell me Susan, do you want a car or a plane?
What'll make you happy?... I ask again.

Neither jewellery nor luxury,
Neither life free of cares,
Neither a box full of candy
Nor a game with thrilling adventures.
Neither the astounding sight of the countries afar 
Nor the jarring sound of machines pumping at par.
I care very little for a bejeweled attire,
It cannot give me the peace I so now desire.
Neither a wedding nor the fanfare,
All these are fruitless, means nothing I swear

I want you Papa to love me like your own,
I want you to be by my side from night to noon.
I want you to be less busy,
Less angry,more calm,
I want you to smile a little more till you can
Not buy me with pleasures: dull and transient,
I want us to be happy, being alive to each moment.

Be Bold Stay Real

We are human beings. We live in a politically driven universe founded on and nurtured by history. All our actions, all our emotional responses are moulded by external surroundings which we reckon as society. As a student of literature, my professors introduced me to the complex concept of' modernism' and 'post-modernism' stating that the former is replete with signs of decay, where we struggle through a thriving civilization turning into a wasteland and the latter being an embodiment of chaos and anarchy at times, where there are many questions, but very few answers. The fragmented souls, the failure of language, the structures and the shattering of the same made me ask one question over and over again: Are human beings stupid? With all the education we have acquired since childhood, with all the cramming up of do's and dont's of a good and stable life, with able bodied, smart  people forming governments, deciding our present and future, why do we still make mistakes? Why are we still stuck in the rut? Why are we still the blood-stained victims of mis-governance? After all, each one of us is literate in our culture's history, either orally or through school's textbooks. We now know that the geographical divides, class and caste mean nothing as we all strive towards a common goal- the goal of bettering the human race and incidentally ourselves too in the same process. We have been made to stare into the abyss of wrong doings through various myths and folklore, told and re-told in a languorous tone over many generations. Yet we revel in the path of deceit and greed. Ignorance is still bliss where independence is mutilated in the hands of the powerful. And all that we do is sit and silently suffer while the world collapses right before our eyes.

All throughout our lives we are urged by our teachers and our well wishers to be honest and truthful, to be real, and not hide behind a mask of pretence, concealing a grotesque and ugly heart.However in the complexity of the multi-layered society, where people cannot be polarized into black and white, bitterness seeps in. This bitterness results from the quest of Truth which itself is delusional. The consequent rage questions the reality of the situations we live in. For centuries, we have known that women should be treated with respect. But what is happening in India today?India which is also addressed as Bharat Mata, which glorifies womanhood, is the cemetery for the same.The carcass of women lies buried in a nondescript corner of the universe. Women all over the country hang their heads in shame as the intelligent, educated people counsel 'the second sex' to dress less provocatively. Is this the reality that we should be tutored to accept? The country which boasts of secularism and democracy is now driven by the reigns of communalism and sectarianism. Is this the reality that the forefathers of the Indian Constitution wanted to demonstrate? Was it for this the freedom fighters of varied class and caste sacrificed their lives? Freedom of expression lies either muted or strangled. We cower under the shadows of fear. It is the century of the puppets- the playthings of mighty.And all we can do is look for some sympathy and rue over our Fate, which some still believe to be monitored by an unworldly power.How sad!

However,a change is indeed taking place. Today slowly and steadily people are taking risks, listening to their inner voice and doing the unthinkable. We have examples of the likes Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani, raising their fortunes through sheer hard work and experimenting with the fundamentals of business. We have Indian cinema evolving its technique, merging glamour with interesting content,  thanks to directors like Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. We have witnessed the global call for the acceptance of queer , where an individual gets the right to choose his gender without succumbing to shame and taunts. We are the children of the Brave New World, where slowly and steadily we are taking strides into the unexplored and the hitherto unknown.

We are human beings. We are the masters of our own destiny. We make our choices and choose our paths. The power to make this choice lies in our very own hands. We only need to realize and acknowledge this power bestowed upon us. It is we who have the power to right the wrong, do away with the old, bring in the new. All we need to do is find a voice. Perhaps in the likeliness of Mahatma Gandhi or Subhash Chandra Bose. Or perhaps in the likeliness of Rabindranath Tagore or Kazi Nazrul Islam, wielding their pens, arousing the weak-willed. It is time to say 'no' to what we dislike and be fearless in attitude. It is time to be bold and stay real; not to the reality of the deteriorating circumstances but to discover the source of the real from our hearts and express our true selves without resorting to hypocrisy. If we stay put, if we are united, nothing is impossible. After all, history bears witness to humankind's eternal struggle, to change and evolve, to prosper. After all, we are the rational, the superior race who has explored the world that lies beyond. All we need  is to be assertive,be aware, be bold, be the change that we wish to see in the world. Be real.

I am writing on Be Bold Stay Real at BlogAdda

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Even if I were broke

Even if I were broke,
I would always take note ,
Of how you feel 
About me.
Every moment of the day,
I would take care,
Of all your dreams,
Of all you love,my baby.

Even if I were broke,
I would never overlook,
That silent tear
Tearing us apart.
Every minute of the year,
I promise you that
My love'll go strong
I'll never do you wrong,believe me.

Even if I were broke,
Our love would soak
Up all the pains,
And the remains
Of sorrow.

We will always,
Till the end of our days,
Live a beautiful today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Liebster Blog Award

Appreciation is a tool that motivates one to make progress by leaps and bounds. Recognition of your hard work is always welcomed whole-heartedly. It turns your day worthwhile and makes you smile widely from ear to ear (just as I am doing now). Such a recognition came knocking on my door courtesy fellow blogger Chaitanya, who read my posts and found my poems interesting. He awarded me the Liebster Blog Award.   (Yipeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!) 

Now you must be wondering what this means? 

To quote from Chaitanya's blog:

What is a Liebster?

" It’s a blogger-to-blogger award that tells a fellow newbie blogger that they are making the world a more interesting /intellectual /funny /better place. For a lot of us, it comes just when we’re facing that first blogger’s block or wondering if it’s all worth it. For the rest, it’s a shower of accolades. Either way, it’s a great thing. There are no certificates or trophies, but hey, appreciation from a fellow blogger is always valued.

The Liebster Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. 

So, what is a Liebster?  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. "

Now, with honour comes responsibility. And mine is to list 11 random facts about myself, answer 11 questions that Chaitanya has set me and nominate 11 new bloggers(less than 200 followers) to bask in the Leibster glow.After nominating them, I need to go back to their page and tell them about the award. (Hence, be happy and spread the joy.)

So here comes the 11 random facts about myself:
  • I am a day-dreamer. I love to build castles in the air, probably choreograph a musical and perform in the same. My mind speaks a lot to me. In fact, I am a better writer, better dancer and the best person ever inside my head!
  • I am addicted to chocolates. There was a time when I would eat five bars of Cadbury Daily Milk in one single day.It's the reason behind my multiple root-canal treatments. (wink wink)
  • I enjoy talking and can talk nineteen to a fact nothing excites me better than a good conversational exchange. 
  • I am passionate about writing. It can be anything- an article or a poem or even a small note, but I cannot spend a day without writing or venting out my thoughts in the written form.
  • I am good at mimicking people around me...the way they talk, the way they walk..their  mannerisms...(Now, this attribute is taken to be hilarious by some and annoying by few...)
  • I love observing people around me. At times I shamelessly eavesdrop while pretending to drink my cup of coffee at the corner table . Their conversation provides me with food for thought. It alters my perspective of life around me. At times it gives me a God-like feeling where I can chuckle at someone's foolishness and be amazed by one's simplicity....all at once!
  • I am obsessive about cleanliness. Everything has to be organized,neat and tidy in my room. 
  • I love reading novels. They provide me with a glimpse of an alternate reality. That's fascinating. I enjoy reading Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Amitav Ghosh, Kafka, Murakami to name a few. 
  • I always wanted to be an actor since childhood. But sensing the impracticality of my dream, I switched to becoming a teacher. I love my job, and looking back, I don't regret my decision at all. 
  • I used to stammer back in school. In fact, my problem was so severe that my friends mocked at me publicly at times. However, I was a braveheart since childhood. Despite my handicap, I continued to participate in Recitation competitions, where I bagged the first prize every time. I somehow never stammered on stage...I don't know why. I guess I chose my words very carefully...
  • Lastly, although I appear to be an extrovert, I am an introvert to the core. It is very difficult for me to open up to strangers. Hence, many misjudge me at first and label me a snob. Then again,to make matters worse, I am extremely prone to mood-swings. At times I am extremely friendly and I keep talking endlessly. And again at times I feel morose and sullen. 

Well, if you have patiently gone through this list, you now know 80% of Neelima Chakraborty. The rest is unpredictable (seriously!) To know more, do read my blogs !!!

Now, here are the answers of the questions put forward by Chaitanya:

1) I blog because I want to.....
Ans. I blog because I want to express myself.

2) We all have articles we wrote with gusto but never published onto our blogs. What’s yours and why didn't you publish it?
Ans. There  was this article on my experiences in Lady Brabourne College hostel. I failed to publish it because there was too much of me in it. I felt (to quote from 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray')as if I was exposed. It made me feel vulnerable. Hence, I didn't publish it. However, I modified it a little, altered a few facts and published it later under the name "Lady Brabourne and I".

3) What’s your idea of the perfect blog?
Ans. My idea of a perfect blog is one that is offbeat and personal, one which echoes true that moves me and makes me want to read the blog again and again. 

4) There’s always a song, a book or a movie that changes our lives. What’s yours and how did it change your life?
Ans. Hmm...A book that changed my life recently was 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. It redefined the parameters of art and aesthetics. Somehow it helped me understand life better with all its  uncertainties. Well, when I was a child I was always hooked to "The Adventures of The Wishing Chair" by Enid Blyton. Reading those tales of fantasy, I started believing in the extraordinary. It gave wings to my imagination and it came to my rescue  whenever I was sad and lonely. On the other hand, there are many movies that have affected my understanding of life. You may say they have offered me an escape from the everyday drudgery. Example, the visual details of Apur Sansar, the tale of a special child 'Anjali', the simple story of the quest of a child for her lost dog-'Halo' and many more. 

5) What’s that memory that haunts you and makes you cringe in embarrassment?
Ans. Going back to my stammering days, there was a time I failed to read a complete sentence in my second language Hindi classes without stammering a zillion times. In fact, I used to feign illness every time I was asked to read. While I battled my public humiliation, my classmates always had a hearty laugh at my cost. 

6) What does the inner child in you enjoy doing the most?
Ans. The inner child in me wants to run about the entire stretch of the room, squeal with joy, have a good time with friends and spread sunshine wherever she goes. 

7) What would you do if no one’s watching?
Ans. If no one's watching me, I would break into a jig to the tunes of the latest Bollywood number.
        P.S. I am a terrible dancer.

8) If you were an item on a restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Ans. If I were an item on a restaurant menu, I would choose to be a cup of hot coffee because people would sip into me each time while making the most important decisions of their life. I would be with him/her in his/her good and bad times and my caffeine would help him/her to relax and get his/her life back on track. As some say, a lot can happen over a cup of coffee!

9) Who do you wish would compliment you on your blog?
Ans. Nobody in particular, everybody in general...I appreciate each of my reader's opinion of the posts in my blog. 

10) If you weren't in the career that you are now, what would you be doing?
Ans. If I weren't a teacher, I would have joined my grandfather's confectionery business and would have looked after it. Or may be, I would have turned into a writer and published a book or two. 

11) Describe your writing style in 5 words.
Ans. Lyrical, Lucid, Crisp, Poetic, Emphatic. 

My nominations for Liebster:

My questions to the above winners:
  1. Who is your role model in life and why? 
  2. Who is your favourite fictional character (books or movies) and why?
  3. Have you ever come across writer's block? Suggest some ways to overcome it.
  4. What will be your next blog about?
  5. If you get an opportunity to interview a person who is now dead, who would you interview and why?
  6. Define "Fun" in your own words.
  7. Describe the most memorable incident in your life.
  8. If you are chosen to play the lead role in a film,
  • Who would you like to be directed by?
  • Who would play the lead opposite you and why?
  • Give the title of your film.
      9. Imagine you have come to know from your trusted doctor that you have just another     
          24 hours to live. Enlist the things that you would like to do before you breathe last. 
     10. What is that one thing that gets you really angry?
     11. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

Winners, please note:

  • On receiving the Liebster award, you need to post 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that I have set for you. Then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you  pass the award to.
  • Choose 11 new bloggers with less than 200 followers to pass the award to and link them in your post.
  • Go to their page and tell them about the award.
  • No tag backs.
 Congratulations and good luck, dear bloggers....Keep blogging :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A child's thought

The bell rings "ding dong" from someplace afar,
I rush to my window, clinging to the iron bar.
A group of school children pass under my house,
Shouting cries of joy, while I gaze with remorse.
I can see their perfect bodies, shapely arms and legs,
I can see their faces not wrinkled with ugly creases.
I see that their eyes are big and beautiful,
They're nothing like me...strange and unusual.

I've often heard people call me 'abnormal',
But my mother tells me that I'm different, I'm special!
Yet Mommy doesn't permit me to play outside,
She says too much sun may hurt my little eyes.
A tutor comes home and teaches me alphabets,
But these books are weird, full of broken shapes and figures.
I still don't understand why they stare so hard,
When I fail to express emotions...they call me 'retard'.
They fall silent ,while my family looks despondent,
As if I am a lunatic, in need of medical attention.

I don't understand many words that people say to me,
They console me for nothing, weeping tears of mock pity.
Who is a 'retard', who is 'abnormal'? Who really decides?
I'm born with my very own Fate which someday I'll have to exercise.
In spite of the courage I show,
I stare wistfully out of my window,
Will there ever come a day when I'll run with these children?
Run far far away and discover my very own Neverland?
Will I be loved by all, will I be given an opportunity?
To show that I need no sympathy and definitely, no charity?
The green grass sways softly, the bee buzzes by,
The day comes to a close, the sun kisses me goodbye.
Tomorrow will be another day, another day of expectations,
Tomorrow may be the day when I get to fulfil my aspirations...
I dream a dream, while gradually
 Darkness descends on my deformity,
With misty eyes,
 I now seem to realize
Being differently-abled, it is highly probable
That my journey'll be difficult...but not impossible.

The final conversation between a man and his wife

I...I am tired.
I'm sick and tired.
Of your fruitless endeavors,
Of your empty promises,
Of you sitting here and doing nothing...
Of you hiding your face while I'm talking!

Don't you see how it pains me?
How it fills me with agony!
Don't you see everything crumbling?
It's like worms crawling all over my body.
The radio's loud song is drowning my words,
I can see you look at my face and stare confused
For you hear nothing, nothing really at all...

What? The words are failing you, eh?
 When have you ever spoken, anyway?
All  you do is sit and grumble
Of how politics is a sham, Earth's a rubble
Of waste, without realizing for a moment
That you've grown distant...
You no more feel what I feel,
Your stoic face fails to reveal
The warmth of  love that once 
Had brought us together, but now alas!
Everything has turned chilling cold.
Everything is lost in time's fold.

Do I see a glimmer of rage?
Do I see a hint of disgust?
I'm pained by your indifference...but speak I must:
Can't you see your child crying in hunger?
Can't you see that he needs to be fed?
Instead you break the lamp, show your anger,
When all he needs is a loaf of bread, my dear.

You fail to act, you hesitate to react. 
Is that a tear rolling down your cheek?
Is it my comfort you now seek?
I am sick and tired, yes that's a fact.
All these games trouble me, torture me.
Now I have decided to set myself free.
My bags are packed, the tickets are here,
I'm taking my child with me 
And return I will never ever.
You may continue to live in this cage
 Build up your rage,
Sit all day long (indefinitely)
And crib over all that's wrong (indefinitely).

No, you will not stop me now,
My soul is crushed, my heart is sore.
I close my door on you today,
My mind is set, don't stand in my way.
This is my goodbye to you,enough said.
I hope one day you'll comprehend ,
What made me cut loose...
I bleed, I'm dead.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The writer's block

My mind is drawing a blank today,
Nothing interesting is coming my way.
No images of beauty, no tales of duty,
No memories of past, no future- alas!
I sit by the empty sheet and bereave
The death of all I consider innovative.

I await a sweet dream to quietly touch my sore eyes,
The sheer beauty of which draws me to a world so far-
Where words are unmarred by a web of lies,
Where no relationships ever do turn sour,
Where Love reigns over the hearts of all,
Where Ignorance isn't really that blissful,
Where the Melodies bring in a word of cheer,
Where Laws are flexible and revered,
Where Unity is both preached and practiced,
Where Peace isn't lost in a maze of tactics.
A wonderful world both incredible and chaste,
Where Reason is never ignored in haste.

Holy Angels now glower at me in rage,
Disapproving the perfection I envisage.
Mock at my foolishness, laugh at my immaturity:
For in imperfection, they say, lies the core of divinity
Truth they proclaim is eternally flawed,
Reason breeds treason, unity ends in war.
Melody strikes discordant notes without competition,
An incredible world is banal; so ended their explanation.

I spoil my ruminations with my shallow expectations.
What I don't realize is that I utter nothing new..
Novelty, creativity rendered dry in the verse so base,
All that I can do is rue and place a curfew
On all that I pen, and lift it only when
My thoughts aren't gospels and bland assertions
On the morality of the world I dwell in.

Yet you, my dear Reader, read on,
Believing I can pull out a surprise hereon
And charm your insatiable inquisitiveness.
My mind so restless, neck deep in frustration,
I yearn for an escape, a way of liberation.
My soul lies chained, whipped and bare,
The crude and the ordinary now ensnare...
I turn my head  but I am led
By strange voices, befuddled.
Doubts and suspicions, a million questions-
Wander unanswered, torturing me within.

While I declare the demise of everything nice,
I go back to bed and wistfully shut my eyes.
I see a large rock destroying my peace,
Murdering ruthlessly my area of expertise.
I suffer in agony confounded by a disease.
Can you offer me a tablet to put me at ease?
No answer, I hear.. so there I perceive,
My mind perishes bit by bit...I lie grief.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The mesmerizing world of Fairy Tales

A child's mind is fascinating. He is intrigued by all that he sees. Filled with innocence, his mind  readily absorbs the multiple plausibility of the circumstances around him. He acts like the curious Alice and discovers a wonderful world of magic carpeted under the mundane and the ordinary. After all, Ms.Rowling has offered an explanation to all the 'Muggles', who fail to see the magic around, crippled by their limited perceptions.And then, when this curious mind is eager to learn something more about the world in which he thrives, he is suddenly introduced to a colorful book with many, many interesting pictures. Weaving all those pictures is a story beginning with a curious line,"Once upon a time in a far far away kingdom, there lived a king and a queen.."

 The young reader,with a smile playing on his lips, is immediately charmed by the wonderful world of fantasy and make-belief, a world where anything and everything is possible. Be it the the triumph of the underdog in 'Cinderella' or the mystical world of love in 'The Beauty and the Beast', the undoing of the wicked witches in 'The Sleeping Beauty' or 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'- their enticing space never fails to allure them. This bewitching world is composed of some stock characters who define Good and Evil. There is a structured plot, a conflict,the magical twist coupled with the resolution of the conflict marking the triumph of the Good over Evil. Simple and easy. A perfect ending for an imperfect world. The young readers clap hard when the Evil grovel on the dust while the story ends ascertaining everlasting happiness for the Good, ".....and they lived happily ever after. THE END."

These stories are read, re-read and re-read yet again with unfailing enthusiasm. They become the part and parcel of a young one's growing-up phase. They inspire them to emulate the good deeds and to be fearful of misconduct. It becomes so deeply ingrained in our hearts that every second girl begins to believe that she is a princess cut out for something extraordinary, while chivalry comes naturally to every little boy who is always up and about to rescue a damsel in distress. But why such affection for a story so unreal? Why do these characters of the Utopian world  inspire nothing short of perfection from the imperfect mortals? Well, perhaps in the questions lie the answers. Fairy tales in representing a beautiful world offer a different perspective to the ordinary. To be simply put, cutting across boundaries of time and space, we live in a fairy land ourselves. Each one of us is the hero or the heroine of our very own fairy tales. We believe in the higher realities governing life such as virtues that'll forever bring about goodness in return. Believing whole-heartedly in a fairy tale actually gives us an opportunity to step out of the griefs suffocating our lives, and thrive in the excellent abundance of new found happiness. The malaise rotting the society's core is rejected as poison or curse-a curse that can be ruled out by something positive, Hope,maybe ?

As Neil Gaiman puts correctly, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons are beaten." In fact, a 'fairy' is really an embodiment of this immortal Hope, a symbol of Belief that channels the goodness within us. This hope of betterment is always guiding our deeds, protecting us from evil in the manner of the gods and the goddesses of our particular religious faith. Believing in the sheer existence of this external power that can transform our lives 'magically' is bestowing faith in somebody beyond us, somebody who we blindly trust. Thus these magical tales of fancy can be viewed upon as the bedrock of our philosophy of life. These figments of imagination define our role in this temporal world. They quietly carve out a figure who inspires all that we do in our lives. And we don't even realize that, do we?

"Cutting across the divide between real and unreal,
Let us seek the pleasure of a world so surreal.
Come along you fairies! It's time for for some magic,
Time to create Happiness and drive away all Tragic.
Let the wondrous blossoms cheer your eyes,
Let the wizard's blessing turn you wise.
Revel in the world of impossible's possibility,
Make merry, in the land of endless mystery."

While we fret and fume over the daily battles of our life, we secretly seek an outlet to this mysterious land  where dreams come true. It doesn't turn us into escapists, but helps us understand reality in better terms-the reality which is in itself incomplete without the touch of the unreal. It is this unreal that brings back the glimmer of ecstasy when one turns melancholy, and makes us believe that "all dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."(to quote Walt Disney)

So finally,when arrives a question which makes us wonder if such stories of the unreal world teach us anything useful, it only makes me laugh and say," But baby, we are a part of these stories!" and when we are a part of a continuous action, logically, we are learning something new each moment of our lives. This unspoken connection between the real and the unreal is intriguing indeed. It simply gets "curiouser and curiouser". Perhaps the reason why we are still besotted by such tales is because they teach an important lesson of life. They help us cope with endless  hurdles and make us strive towards our goal. And they reassure our faith in the fact that God or some higher power is watching all of us and taking into account all the good and bad we do. And one day the Good will triumph.  Hence each and every moment we desperately crave for that perfect "happy ending" end that we believe we deserve. So carry on living, do not stop believing. This very belief in turn is the key to our survival. The least we can do is to safeguard the key...the key to our dreams....the time we will be entitled to live "happily ever after"..The End.( where the end is only the beginning of a new tale...)

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

(Psst...feels great on being awarded the WOW badge for this post)