Fears Of the HEART !

It’s 4 in the morning. My heart wakes me up saying, “Pragya, what about the future?” The mind shuts it up by giving the “Live in the present moment” gyaan. I sense some restlessness.

I ask the heart, “Sweetie, are you alright?” And say hello to the FEARS OF THE HEART…

Of the pain that hurt as bad as an arrow shot straight through the chest,
Of the tears that couldn’t hide themselves or give the eyes a day’s rest;

Will you end up crying again? Will creating all the barriers go in vain?

When did I ever say no to happiness,
whilst the mind wants more,
I just wish to avoid unnecessary sadness; 

The world may follow traditions of partying hard today and every day,
The past teaches me to treasure what I have and never ever drive it away;

They rightly say, you are one strong lady will a golden heart,
Dear O dear, broken friendships or relationships tear us apart.

Don’t say you don’t have an option,
I have and will keep saying CAUTION; 

While, for the restlessness caused to you, I take full blame
I advise you to do not listen to the mind or let it play any game.

I sit here wow’ed at what that so called, “child” inside me had to say,
Amidst all the irrational immaturity, such far-sightedness lay…

How can I deny that these very fears saved me from a lot of miseries before?
How can I say that these are just fears and nothing more?

And as I jostle with the mind and the heart,
the wind not me closes the maroon curtains

“To be continued…”

in gold italics flashes before me on black background, as I shut my eyes for a nap again!

 

 

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Milaap Fellowship helped me unveil the REAL INDIA- the RURAL INDIA !

An excerpt from my childhood: Knowingly or unknowingly the very idea of travelling to a new place filled in me the “get-up-and-go” thrill. More so, my family always preferred to travel via train. Bus was never comfortable for any of us and flight was not something we could afford then. Well, either way, I feel it worked in our favour. Train journeys gave us just the right amount of family time. While our parents would be busy setting up the luggage and arranging food, my brother and I started fighting for the window seat. Seeing our battle, the uncle/aunty sharing our compartment, usually ended up giving their window seat.

As I would sit by the window, the green fields, the distant horizon and limitless sky made the innocent me wonder, “What lies ahead? Why are these only found in trains?”

To add to my childlike queries, I had never been to a village before.
Living in a village was only a distant dream…

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It had been almost an year now working in a 9 to 5 job, life had now started to become monotonous, when I came across the opportunity of Milaap Fellowship. I had been a lender on Milaap since my college, but this was different. The fellowship would give six-months to live, experience (while documenting) inspiring stories of change. I did my research and applied for the fellowship, got selected and then it was like,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
I was stationed in Rural Karnataka with Milaap’s partner, MASS. And began the voyage…

That, I only saw in my school textbooks. Here I was capturing one scenic view of My India, Rural India.

Mornings be like!

Cause going to school barefoot is fun, something the urban kids never experience.

An air of contentment surrounded the villages and people.

They ain’t no need any feminists out there!

And this, this one made me a poet, as I sung:

I could always take a walk down that road surrounded not,
by concrete buildings, but by trees and fields and open sky.

It was no less than being in fairyland where I spread my wings to fly.

I never knew that such an India also existed,

I never knew that no-vehicles’ roads also subsisted.

Now I know why they say,
It in the rural India that the real India lay.
This blog post was first published on MILAAP.

Story of Hope, Faith, Determination & Success !

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Pilani, April 2016

Chubby cheeks, mole on chin; Sparkling eyes, dreams within,
Short hair, confident glare; Smile so true, bubbly too,
Savita Verma, Is that you?  “Yes, Yes, Yes.”

I visited Savita’s place in April this year. Although she’d always narrate to me her exciting stories of college and hostel life over phone, but when I met her she had so much more to tell me. Her laughter did most of the talking and I couldn’t be happier.

I had taught and mentored a lot of kids under Project Umang, but Savita was different. She had dreams & aspirations, and just the right determination to pursue them. And the fact that now she had stepped out of home for all the right reasons made me feel so glad.

About a month later, one evening, her mother called me up to break the news that Savita’s father had abandoned the family and had left for Mumbai. Savita was obviously shattered. A week later I got a call from her, “Didi I plan to drop-out of the college. I want to support my mother in this time of adversity.” I was shocked. I tried telling her that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but she wouldn’t listen. It took me another week to convince her why she should not drop-out.

Next, her fees for college tution and computer course had to be arranged. I made a list of the people who’d contribute for her education. Everything seemed pretty easy by end of June, when the government hostel authorities decided to keep only the 1st year girls.

The total sum needed for 2 years of her graduate education was now huge. I didn’t know what to do. The thought of giving up struck me at one moment, but the very next moment I knew that was never going to happen. I had promised her I will do whatever it takes to arrange for her fees and that she didn’t have to worry about it.

But the main challenge was conveying her story in an impactful way, so that people would understand the genuinity and be willing to contribute. “A video will be able to serve the purpose”, I said to myself.

What next?  We shot in July when Savita visited Gurgaon in July.

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Hauz Khas, Delhi, July 2016

 

A loud shoutout to 3 awesome heroes whose help made this video happen!

Devyani Choudhary for composing the beautiful script !
Gunvarun Singh for sharing inputs & reviewing ideas at all times !
Aamir Fahim for shooting and editing the amazing video !

Savita’s college began in August. The 1st installment of her tution fees and August month’s hostel rent had to payed immediately. A friend’s contribution helped Savita with that even before the fundraiser campaign started. Well,the “friend” wishes to maintain anonymity  🙂

Finally on August 25, the fundraising campaign was live. I was overwhelmed by the response. People came forward and took responsibility and the campaign met it’s 100% on 29th August (yeah, that’s right in only 5 days) It’s not any one person who should be thanked for this, it’s an endless list of amazing people.

Well there’s another 2 years to go, till Savita completes her graduation.
But atleast now, we both (Savita and I) know that we have crossed our 1st milestone.

P.S. “Thank you everyone, thank you for making this happen 🙂 “, says the wind, not me 😀

That one magical word and more…

What is love?

If someone is able to answer this question, just know s/he is bullshitting you 😛 And exactly, what makes me say that? Well you’d know…

I’d start simple. I googled up the definition of love and this is what it said…

love

Affection, liking, infatuation, passion,  and what not! But that’s not how I see it. I also see it’s presence in sadness, anger, pain, happiness, satisfaction and sacrifice. How can one then define something as vast as love?  I’d rather say…

“Love is everything and everything is love.”

But hey, says who, a girl who was shattered by her first love two years ago, and this is what she had to say back then. But why today? Because two years back I was not too sure I wanted people to know and today, frankly I don’t care.

A very learned person recently told me, “Whatever it is that is troubling you today… in the overall scheme of things.. it will be too small in the future.you will laugh at it yourself 🙂 So don’t take things too seriously”. Now I know what she meant.

Two years ago, when I got over my first love, I thought, I would never ever be able to be in love again. Damn, I was wrong and I do laugh at that today…

Yes, I am in love today, and not just that I also share a beautiful relationship with the man I love. Time changes, you see… This man is the best man I’ve ever known, his way of thinking, his values, his nature and what not. Not only do I love him, but I deeply respect him for all that he is and I secretly smile for I got to be the lucky one. 🙂

But that’s not it, like every story takes its own course, this one did too… After an year of wonderful moments of joy, fights, talks and walks, I was presented with a choice, a choice by the nature-

His Happiness today Vs His Happiness tomorrow

Our Love today Vs Our Love tomorrow

No, you don’t get to know, what is it that has come up, some things better be personal.

But hey let’s go back to the question we started with! Love is magic and more, it creates miracles but it also leads to destruction. Who has ever been able to explain magic, then how did we think, we could even attempt to explain love…

P.S. The wind said something very crucial this one time “Treasure what you have had, nothing lasts forever”

It’s time I let it out to the world…

This is something which needs courage and when I say courage, I mean a hell lot of courage. It’s taking the whole of me to be able to type these words… I don’t know what to call it “workplace harassment ” or a gradual “torture” that I faced while I was doing an internship (PS-2) at XYZ company. I am not taking names, because that is not where I want you to take dear reader. By this, I wish to take you to the inner world where the mind struggles to understand the right and wrong.

 

About 8 months back I started my internship with the XYZ company, as a part of my college course structure. I chose that place for one single reason, “I wanted to stay at home.”  The company claimed to be “cool” and asked employees to wear whatever they wanted to… However it didn’t take a month to understand it was all just a swamp…

Well this is what I am talking about-

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Sometimes we feel, when I can fight for so many, I can definitely fight for myself. Uhh, I wish that were true, but for most of us it isn’t. I remember how as a kid, I used to give scary looks to those street lofars who stared at my mother, or how in my college days, I took good care of some school kids and made random stalkers regret their actions.

Here at the internship, I didn’t raise a voice for 4 months. A frustration has started to develop inside so much so, that staying at home wasn’t fun for me or my family. It took me so long to realise the real reason of frustration. I knew they couldn’t harm but the very little gestures everyday were making me hollow inside. You’ll know why-

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I sincerely thank one of my friends, who encouraged me to do this. She said one thing, “If you bear one torture today, you’ll bear bigger tortures tomorrow and never be able to break your silence“. Just what I wanted to hear.

Thanks to my institute, I never had to go back  to that hell again. But it took me about two week to realise that it was finally over. My mail did follow allegations on me and weird questions, but all these din’t affect me so much once I was done writing the e-mail. By some I was asked questions like, “Did you use this in your advantage to take extra leaves?”, “Why did you write the mail to the complete PS-2 division? Do you even know many people must have read it, the clerks, all the professors?” Back then I had no answer to the questions. The answer to the first one should have been a tight slap on the face.  The second question has an answer today… I don’t care how many people read it. It wasn’t my fault. Why should I be embarrassed? In fact, I want people to read it and understand that at times no one but only we need to be our own saviour.

When you take the right stand, you stand stronger than ever before.

Dear Reader, I sincerely request you to not sympathize with me or comment with rage. I don’t want this to be another story where people say, “Oh some men, some companies are so bad, let’s revolt, blah blah” We have a lot out their already and we all know these don’t work in the real world.

Well I wouldn’t mind you saying things like “Bravo”. But what I’d really love is you (if a female) fight such situations with more strength and come out stronger, because we all know the world isn’t so safe anymore or (if a male) help your friends fight their fears and encourage them to take the right actions.

On a lighter note, when this was all over, the wind blew and made me smile yet again 🙂

 

B’lore to Surat with CBF – Take #1

I clearly remember that day, I was sitting in the room thinking to myself, “Kuch toofani karte hain” and then I came across this…

1Click here to read what I read!

“In two simple words-Loved it”, that’s exactly what I wrote to Saajan and Naman after reading their story. Capturing smiles and tagging the reasons behind them, that was Clothes Box Foundation (CBF) to me. Next all I wanted was, to be able to contribute to this organisation. One thing followed the other and there came the Cloth Drive idea! It certainly did change that bit of my life.

The discussions of when, where & how began! It all seemed okay until thoughts like these started to pop up- “Man this is Bangalore, the drive is not even a week away, I don’t know many people out here, what if no one turns up at the drive, what if it rains, what if I make myself look like a fool?” Phew!! Thankfully a bunch of great friends (Richa, DikshaPallav and Rajdeep) were by my side 🙂

To all my BITSian seniors whose presence made it all seem so much more worthwhile, a mere gesture of saying “thank you” wouldn’t do the deed.

So, came the big day- the cloth drive day!!!
It did rain but not enough to pour down our enthusiasm 😉

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We collected, we sorted and then…

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…we took off to distribute and capture smiles (Take a closer look here!)20140713_165406

That day there was something so special about the wind, (not me) !
It whispered, “You go girl!” 😀

And so I did, but you gonna have to wait before I take you up there!
Till then why don’t you post a comment below to tell me what you think?

Go ahead fellas! 🙂

This time it’s me and not the wind!

“I could create Queen sequel-2 with my experience now”, I said to myself when I was in that  city trying my best to survive every moment that passed by. No, none ditched me really or maybe I got ditched. For once in life, I took that risk and travelled that far with the slightest hope of re-establishing that connection. Connection? We shared a “telepathic connection”, as he called it.

Three long years or four since I knew him and I had lost it completely, yes I loved him in the most pure and selfless way one can or atleast I could. When I met him there (the place where our friendship blossomed) he was in a relationship and I knew what was right for me, and I thought the feelings, the infatuation had all dissolved in the friendship we shared, but sigh I was wrong. And it took me another year after we parted that I realised or accepted the truth. It was late by then, no not that he had waited for me or something after his break-up. But late before I could make him realise about his feelings. “I was set on fire”, he had said to me when I danced with a friend. Inside somewhere, I knew how much he loved me (only back then) His eyes, they mesmerised me, so much that I could talk about the effect the whole day. But now these talks seem just like an undigested piece of food. Why did I fall for these things? Why did I love him? etc etc were few questions which could have frustrated me, but I knew one thing for sure~ I do not regret it. Not that I am still in that imaginary world but because they taught me lesson for a lifetime or maybe for lives to come. All of it gave me pain, so much pain that I could physically feel it for so long in my heart, pain which would like Chemotherapy (as I see it), and the sad feelings which keep coming back like Cancer. Sad feelings for the parting memories I have of him~ when he left the city we met in, when I left for the train, and the last one which he made the worst.

I know it is for the best and most importantly I know he doesn’t deserve me. I mean it when I say it coz I know it. When you’re SiXtEen, you have your first love and it’s special… I cherish those special feelings, yes I do. But when you’re TwentyOne and still not over that 1st love, it is true love. But that doesn’t mean it is the love you deserve or desire for that matter. I didn’t realise all of that sitting comfortably in my drawing room. Instead it took me tears and buckets full of tears to realise just an ounce of all that, Whisky and Vodka did for the rest.

I changed and I knew it wasn’t for good but the best was what I said to myself. There’s no hatred but what’s more important is there’s no love I have for him anymore. And this feeling of living your life for yourself not really working upon your looks for someone else but for yourself is incredibly beautiful and I love it and I love the universe and am grateful to it every moment that passes by for being so generous when I needed friends, being so kind when I had shaken deep within and being so loving when I needed love.

Love? Do I still believe in that word which almost made me stop living. Infact my faith became stronger in God and Love. And I know there will be a time again I would love unconditionally because I know it wasn’t him who made me love but this thingy which continually beats on the left. Though I am not really sure when or how, because it’s easy said than done. But how does it really matter? I know I am in love with myself, and a whole bunch of other people I know (family and friends), so why wait for that one blah blah.

P.S. I have started to admire beauty (not the right word 😛 ) around, yet again!