Category Archives: Perspective

Just when you need to clear your head and get a fresh perspective of life..

Remnants of a Wreckage

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It’s not really something I know how to put down in words. It’s not a broken heart truly, it’s a solid kick in the gut. That’s what it feels like – something that takes the air right out of you, not just because of the pain, but for that moment you lose the will to breathe. You see it coming but nothing can honestly prepare you for that blow.

It’s not the loss of a loved one, or a friend; it’s losing your person. All your friends can be there for you and make you feel like you are on top of the world, but on a legally bad day, there is only one person you go to. That person can’t fix anything but they make you feel safe, they feel what you feel. That’s all we really want in life; to be understood. That person takes the brunt of your existence, all the ups and downs and idiocy in between. And when that person is gone, you don’t really know what to do anymore. All the small meaningless things that you used to remember to share get lost in the crossfire of neurons, buried in a pile of ‘things only you’d understand, but you aren’t here anymore’. All the big things, you can handle that. You get up, you go about life, you keep dreaming and you keep moving forward. But life isn’t about the big things. It’s always been about the small little things – a song on the radio, a hadith someone shared, a smile from a baby, a random conversation with a stranger, a long day at the office, a sale in your favorite store. Maybe it had no significance to them and maybe I wasn’t their go to person, but here is where my selfishness comes out. They were mine and to me, that’s all that matters.

Though I love them to pieces, it’s not not about redirecting that love. It’s a literal hole in your life, a void you don’t know how to fill, a silence that is unwanted. I’m fine. All I am is a little lost, aren’t we all at some time or the other? But I’ll find my way. I just don’t know what to do with that loss. I’ll figure it out. I know I will. I have to be okay, for them to be okay. And I will be because I care so damn much. That will never change.

So here’s a piece of advice: Make the most of your friendship, especially the ones who fill up the spaces in your heart. Make time, keep in touch. Nothing lasts forever, and you never really know what you’ve lost till it’s gone.

La tristesse durera toujours

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Right Here, Next To Me

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Unfailingly, sometime in the course of your education you have been asked who your role model was, am I right? I know I have, way back in the 4th grade. Who even knows what a role model is at the age of 10? Since I most definitively didn’t, I researched fitting role models. Let me tell you, back then female role models were limited – and between Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, no offence to Mother Teresa at all – but I had the makings of a Princess Diana shrine. She got the Prince, the heirs to the longest ruling monarchy in the world, a fantabulous dress and got to travel to all parts of the earth to do great things. I was awed.

Until I handed in my assignment, and everyone else had written about their mothers, teachers, sisters, or some other family member that I should have written about my mother or my grandmother too. They have surely come so far for women of their generations, and it’s definitely because of them that I have come as far as I have. But let me explain, I love my mother. I’m not an ungrateful daughter. I appreciate all of her stubbornness and word of law in my upbringing. I’m thankful for her constantly pushing me and her sacrifices. I’d like to tell her that she knows me so well, I’d like to fool myself into thinking that she could pass a test of my life – but she won’t, and till this day she thinks I have been a fool on several occasions. While she might think so, I’ve always been totally aware of the situation. We don’t have that best friend relationship. As much as I look up to her, she could not be my role model.

The dictionary states that a role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people. Now looking back, I knew exactly who my role model was. I changed school so much, I was in one school from Gr 3 up to Gr 7. That’s where I had 2 great role models, both were successive head girls – Kaleivani and Pavithra. They don’t have a particularly inspirational story and I might even have a distorted view of them since they were miles older than me – but I looked up to them for the strength they exudated with their silence, in their manners while dealing with problems of different ages, and that they were always approachable if the need arose. To me that was what a role model needed to be: inspiring in their hard work, in their choices, in their approach, in their proximity, in their problem-solving. They inspired in me a goal of one day being head girl, I wanted to meet that mark, that standard, the seriousness in which that role was voted on, I wanted to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves.

It’s been a long time since then. Due to unforeseen routes of destiny, I didn’t get the chance to be head girl, but I still want to be inspiring to others. But that’s not why I’m writing today. After Pavithra left school and I moved around some more, I struggled to find another role model to look up to. It is quite sad that there is a shortage of inspiring people in our daily lives. I’m not talking about sportsmen or writers or celebrities – I’m talking about everyday heroes; everyday people. I did find one, and today I’m writing about him. 

He is not perfect, like every human he has his flaws. Never-the-less, he is inspiring at the most. He is my role model because he inspires me, and he hasn’t failed to continue inspiring me in the past decade or so which is a really difficult feat because I’m so fickle. He inspires me because he fights for his dreams – he doesn’t give up when things get hard and he knows when to move on when there is nothing left to gain. He inspires me in his friendship – he doesn’t give the time of day to negative people, but will bend backwards for those who have been through thick and thin with him. He inspires me through his faith – for his incessant journey to know more, to have greater iman, to be closer to Allah. He inspires me with his character – loyal, harsh, yet kind. He inspires me in the ways he helps people, knowingly or not. He inspires me in how he knows when to be serious and when not. He inspires me through how far he has come as a person through change and self-improvement. He inspires me to never settle for less than I am. He inspires me to keep fighting when I’m ready to give up. He inspires me to keep turning to Allah when I’m stuck because no one else can really do anything to help me. He inspires me to be kind even if it’s the smallest thing. He inspires me to be resilient and tough, yet gentle. He inspires me to think about the bigger picture and not focus too much on the insignificant little things. He inspires me to stay true to myself and what I believe in even if I’m going against the wave. He inspires me to be honest, loyal and confident. He inspires me to set my bar high and work hard enough to catch those dreams in the palms of my hand. He inspires me to always test before trusting. He inspires me by always being a phone call away no matter the distance in miles.

That is what a role model is – someone who greatly inspires you to be exactly who you want to be. This world has become so career orientated, that most of our role models have something to do with what career path we choose, or some this-or-that celebrity that has gone through some this-or-that adversity. I don’t think I have a role model in my field. In fact I have no clue about celebrities and awards and nobel peace prizes and innovation awards. I don’t need it. I don’t need a role model for my career. But I need a role model for my life.

You don’t have to be famous to leave a mark on the world. Sometimes all you need to be is – inspiring. And for that, I’d take him over Princess Diana any day. Right here, next to me.

#Solidarity

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As Salaam Wa Alaikum!

Today, I’m not writing a personal blog post… I’m reaching out, not only to the muslim ummah but to humanity. For me, this year has personally been great – yet it has been a terrible year for humanity. And as a person who feels things so deeply, I can’t just stand by as my heart is breaking for all those suffering around the world.

A quick google had me amazed, we’ve had over 200 terrorist incidents this year alone, the year isn’t over… Of those, almost 90% were by allegedly “Islamist” militant groups, such as the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, etc; claiming to put things in order, misusing the word Jihad for their own agendas, giving the most peaceful religion a name it doesn’t deserve. I may not know everything about Islam, but I know enough to understand the difference of it’s true teachings and secular, cultural beliefs of those who don’t. I know that a religion that clearly states “Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all of mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all of mankind.” (Al-Quran 5:32) doesn’t really condone all these murders or bombings or ridiculous suicide missions. *Note that it doesn’t say Muslims, it says human beings.

To my ummah who is suffering greatly under all this negative media – stay strong. Allah is with us and He says, “Verily, with every hardship comes ease.” (Al-Quran 94:6) I know it’s hard my brothers and sisters to lose the ones you love, your parents, spouses or children – but this world is temporary and we are never really sure of what Allah has written for us, that we will all eventually meet in Jannah. We can only pray that He takes us when we are cleansed of our sins and He is happy with us. Be steadfast in your prayers and continue to seek forgiveness for ourselves, our ummah and for those who are misguided. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Al-Quran 13:28) Find out the truth, don’t be discouraged with what these militant groups claim Islam to be. Don’t be angry, be informed. Our ummah is suffering due to lack of knowledge. We must ensure that the generation coming will not be the same – “Seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim” (Al-Tirmidhi #74). I don’t know what the answer to end all this suffering is, but I know it’s not revenge, it’s not honor killing, or anything else radical that will help, it’s mercy.

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My beloved brothers and sisters, let us not point fingers at others, but at ourselves, for letting things get this far that lives of innocent children are lost. We are all human and we all have faults, but instead of picking on others faults, we should be encouraging them to be better Muslims, we should be open and understanding that we are not in a position to judge others, only ourselves. “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Al-Quran 7:199) Instead of fighting with each other due to our cultural differences, we should be uniting because of our religious similarities. We are #oneMuslim #oneUmmah #oneWorld. We should work towards bettering ourselves so that our ummah has wonderful people to turn when in trouble. Let us strive to be better Muslims, to be better humans, to be more tolerant of others, to let go of all the hate within ourselves and to be more forgiving and more merciful. “Indeed, the help of Allah is near.” (Al-Quran 2:214) May our ummah have patience and solidarity till it comes.

Prayers going out to the lives and dreams lost in:
#Pakistan
#Sri Lanka
#Australia
#Iraq
#Philippines
#Bahrain
#Saudi Arabia
#Lebanon
#Palestine
#Syria
#Nigeria
#Kenya
#Sudan
#Burma
#Indonesia
#Malaysia
#United States
#France

Ameen!

Shades of Perfect

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I thought you were my support.
That I could fall apart in your arms.
Until I was ready to piece myself together.
But you weren’t, and all I was, was broken.

I thought you were my knight.
Yet you had no armor nor a horse.
You were perfect, then you weren’t.
My flaws were apparent and yours too.

I thought you always had the words.
Those right words to soothe my restless heart.
A rush of fire to my dwindling hope.
How wrong I was to believe so.

But I learnt, I couldn’t expect you to be perfect.
Just to understand my imperfections.
You are human, just as much as me.
We err.

To myself. To my creator.
I am perfect.
That is my peace.
My support.

He has the words to forever guide me.
Like He guides you.
I don’t need a knight when I have a King.
He is everything I always needed, I just didn’t see it then.

#LuckyTeamSamar

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Volunteering missions are always amazing memories. I was nervous going down to the meet-and-greet with Dr Magee and the rest of the volunteers. It’s overwhelming when you are new, especially when you are me, not always so forthcoming on the first day. It was such a relief to have a fun-spirited roommate who was just out and about and almost never left my side. And I guess I was lucky to straight off meet a team member at the start of the party, who dragged me to meet another. It was a lot less nerve-wrecking then.

The next day was a lot easier with the group down in the lobby waiting to get going to the site. Randomly striking up conversations like age/sex/location net speak, but instead – designation/location. The flight was uneventful to Tacloban, a beautiful landing strip just along the coast of the island, and it was quite hilarious that even though they had a conveyor belt, our luggages were transported manually. Then we all piled into a truck, 2 vans and an ambulance, heading towards Jollibee for lunch. However nothing prepared me for the drive. We passed through around 2 hours of towns severely hit by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. There were inhabitable houses and washed up vehicles without the man-power to be cleared. There were tents of both sides of the roads with every imaginable international relief agency logo. The children were just out of school with matching UNICEF school bags. It was a shanty town. Rows and rows of temporary houses, now homes. There were up-rooted coconut trees and electricity lines. Road works were yet to commence.

We drove on and on and on. And we reached post-nightfall. We were tired. Tomorrow was going to be screening day.

Screening day was amazing. I loved handing out candy and stickers to the kids. What I loved the best was that they were waiting for us before we even set-up. Parents advocating for their children – mothers, father, even grandparents. You could see that some of the younger ones were starting to be conscious of their clefts, while the older ones mostly covered their face with a cloth. It was heart-wrenching. But they came and they would be fixed. We screened 59 patients that day. The youngest being 4 months, the oldest, 54 years. We had a full range. However, as smooth and uneventful as that sounds, screening day was a lot worse than that. The weather was hot, there was no air-conditioner and the fans were insufficient. We learnt that the hospital didn’t have an ICU, that the closest one was 4 hours away. We learnt that the recovery room was 200m from the theatres, instead of being within the vicinity. We learnt that we weren’t prepared for this. The day wasn’t over. We had lovely dinner with most of the team at Seranada, possibly one of the nicer restaurants in Borongan, overlooking the seashore. All of us getting to know each other more, striking up conversations and playing Heads Up! terribly.

The next day was team day. We were promised a beach trip. We were excited. It was an hours drive away and we were visiting the town of Hernani, one of the worst hit by the typhoon. For me it was not the tents and the rehabilitation going on that touched me, but it was the upturning of the burial ground. Many of those put to rest in peace, were disturbed even beyond their death with the tombstones overturned, cracked and even unrecognizable. The beach was beautiful – the sands white, the water clear, but even then there was evidence of destruction with coconut trees strewn around, temporary shacks and even a grave of possible father of 2 toddler girls. The water was hot, the air was hot. It was just hot. It was our fault going at noon. After lunch at the seaside, we grudgingly went back to the hospital to get everything sorted for the next day. Let me take this time to paint a quick picture of the town. It’s a place that functions from 9am to 6pm. It is no frills, no cinema, no entertainment, no bars. Most days we were super grateful to Francine’s Grill smack across the street for it’s variety menu.

I’d like to say that surgery week went smoothly, but that would be a lie. The air-conditioner in the operating theatre conked out mid-way. Delegates were sent out to get fans and possibly even buy a new one. The hospital didn’t have stand-by blood for us, so we had to get that transported in from Manila, which was great, but then improper storage happened and we had to throw that away. Hence we were back to a no back-up blood situation. One of our students got the stomach flu and was out of it. But 16/20 scheduled patients turned up and received their surgeries. We had a few more walk-ins which raised our numbers to 66. All the walk-ins were cleared for surgery. We finished off day one of surgery around 8. It was a long day. A long, hot, sweaty day.

Day 2 of surgery was the smoothest. The air conditioner was working, the fans were working, all 20 patients showed up, the stand-by blood situation was sorted and we were in full swing. We even had one additional walk-in that was immediately scheduled for the next day. Everyone from day one of surgery was discharged and fit to go home. It was a rather uneventful day. And we did hope it would continue that way. However, while the children were doing fine, the team wasn’t. The student with the tummy flu was recovering but their were others showing signs of cold, but the cherry on the top was one of our nurses undergoing an unknown allergic reaction and being taken to the hospital for 12 hour observation.

Day 3 of surgery started off with just 13 patients on the schedule. We were glad though that 3 no shows on Monday showed up and those that were previously sick were now able to get the surgery. As usual though, the day did have it’s challenges. The electricity went off mid-operation with a child still on the table. Manual ventilation had to be done, staff had to manually fan the surgeon and others had to manually fan the fanners. Towards later afternoon, the heat broke, the sky was clouded over and it poured. We welcomed the rain in the unbearable heat. But that welcome was short-lived once the water started leaking through the roof onto all the OpSmile equipment and wiring with still one surgery to go. Our nurse was released from observation, but that too was short-lived. She developed breathing difficulties and had to be taken back. We had no adult intubation kits handy. We were helpless. The next day she was accompanied by an anesthesiologist and nurse back to Manila. One of researchers also succumbed to terrible stomach flu.

Our journey towards the Gift of Smiles in Samar was not easy. Especially to those for whom this was a first mission. But I think it was equally hard for the experienced team members who were used to more easier missions. There was obstacle after obstacle. We were holding each others spirits up, lending a hand beyond our designation when necessary. Our team worked together, side by side. On looking back, I’m just thankful. Our team was resilient. Resilience would not be enough to describe the agony the team leaders and coordinators had to go through overcoming all the hurdles. We didn’t have any call backs or sick post-ops. All the surgeries went perfectly. All the children got their smiles. God threw a lot of hardship and difficulty on our path, but we made it through and he saved those children through our strength and courage. Because we would have been so helpless had there been any misfortune with the children. So I’m thankful that it was just us that had to face everything. The people of this town have already undergone enough. They are of the poorest people in the nation.

So, it wasn’t about our comfort. It was about giving them their smiles. And that’s exactly what they got.

We checked out a day early and headed back to Manila. At the airport, well you already know its on the coastline, so much of it was rebuilt. It’s all about cross-ventilation in it. We had to be there scarily early as they don’t have scanners and they had to manually check each piece of luggage. Funny, when you think about it. How much parts of the world has progressed technologically and yet there are areas where if a person needs an ICU he is left to die and a 10 min check-in takes 1 hour. Those people have immense fortitude to live through that unnecessary struggle everyday for those things we take for granted.

Technology. Healthcare. Entertainment. Food. Love. Family. Friendship.

The final party was amazing. All the strife we underwent was evident by how close a team we were and the immense team spirit we had. We stood out in our glory of red. Everyone knew WE ARE SAMAR! We are #luckyteamsamar, no doubt. Go #teamRED! ❤

May God bless those children who have a chance at a new life with a new smile. May God bless the team and allow us to be humble in our work, always. May God bless all the friends linked to each by this experience forever.

For us to overcome certain battles, the battles have to take place.
They have to exist to begin with.

If we weren’t in that place or circumstance or situation,
the scenario would not have taken place.

As you move forward, sometimes break out of your comfort zone
and go to places where you might not necessarily see who are like you 
but you know your presence will set a prescient
for those who come after to have it that much easier.

When the opportunity comes to go out and do work,
don’t put conditions on who your allies and your partners could be.
There is no doubt that each of us as individuals can go out and do amazing things on our own,

but just because you can do it by yourself,
doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to start doing things together.

 

Farewell; Hello

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For me, the most terrifying yet happiest place is an airport. Don’t you think so? Airports have this mix of deep melancholia, nervous anticipation and unparalleled joy. A mix you rarely find anywhere else.

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Although I feel like I have nomadic blood, I’m still a nervous flyer, but airports; they fill me like a churning pot of emotions.

When I depart I’m filled with guilt of leaving those I love behind, with the fear of the possibility of never seeing them again, with so much love that I sometimes want to turn around and go back to them, with sadness that you might never see the places that you have fallen in love with, with a melancholy that you realize that from now its only memories that with keep you looking forward. I have this frantic anxiety to call everyone and tell them I love them and that I’ll miss them so that if the worst does come, my last words were sweet. I’m such a romantic; unfortunately.

But as soon as I land and am safe, I am in awe. I am the silent observer of a romantic ruckus where anxious family members or friends catch sight of their loved ones coming through the doors. For a split second they breathe a sigh of relief, whisper a grateful prayer and make a mad dash to hug, kiss and smother the person with words until they tire. Until it’s my turn. I send messages saying I reached safely and while the excitement builds in me slowly, I just absorb my new surroundings. Then it hits me with full force. I want to know what the doors open up to, what places will carve memories in my mind and who I will carry on.

There is nothing like coming home, but there is nothing like flying free either. There is a certain charm in coming back home to the familiar, but there is that unmatched love that comes with walking into the unknown.

Airports. A place that’s almost like second nature. A place where you see heart-wrenching goodbyes and heart-warming welcomes.

Wounded Lips & Salted Cheeks

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Lot of things being said about love these days, but here’s an interesting word to bring back into the coversation – “trust”.

I’ve got a lot of questions about this word.

Can anyone really be trusted? Can you trust your own self? How do learn to trust someone? Can you base your trust on actions if words are contradictory? Is trust important? Does trust equal loyalty? What happens if someone you trust doesn’t trust you? Is trust easily broken? Does time change trust? And here’s the biggest question of all: if the trust is gone, will it ever come back?

Most are easily answered, I presume.

Trust is natural to some, and foreign to others. I keep my distance from people. I don’t let them in easily. Some embrace their vunerabilities, I’m not one of them. Vunerabilities are a weakness in this world. Everyone is waiting for you to show your flawed cracks; not to bandage them, but to make them deeper and irrepairable. Of course I know I’m being cynical and not everyone is like that.

My weaknesses are hung to dry with the people I trust.
For those who I know will always be there.
For those who I know can handle it.
For those who I know will be supportive with their constructive criticism.
For those who believe in me.
For those who don’t judge outwardly or silently.
For those whose dreams for me are the dreams for myself.
For those who see beyond my imperfections and flaws.
For those who will carry me when I’ve fallen.
For those who know me in my silence.
For them are my vunerabilities.
My true strength, my whole self, my trust.

But even then, even then – trust can be broken. It can get lost. When you longer trust them with your words or actions. When you change, or they change. And then you get lost. You can’t decide whether to hold on to a past filled with trust with the hope it will be rebuilt, or to let go of a present drowning in distrust because somethings can never go back to the way they were. Do you throw it away or do you fight for it? Is it worth it? Will it ever come back?

See Beneath Your Beautiful

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ImageYou know what I love about a teenager – the way they love. Nothing matters to them. There are no boundaries, there is no red tape. It’s plain simple – I love you! I remember those days. I used to be like that. Love unconditionally. Believe in forever, perfection. Poems, love letters, song dedications, ice cream and coffee.

As you grow up, you learn that the world is cruel, that you will get hurt if you love the way you used to. You begin to have expectations and boundaries. You lose that faith that you once had. You don’t trust as easily. The broken, scarred heart you now have is happy not letting anyone in.

ImageLife goes on, you become selfish and independent. It’s really unfortunate. You reminisce about your past and sigh about your future, because you know that those days are never coming back. There is nothing like loving someone when you were young. Sacrificing to see them smile. Doing everything you can to bring out the best in them. Believing in their dreams and sharing their hopes. Being a better part of their lives. Doing things because it reminds you of them.

I love how teenagers love like that. I love how nothing matters. I love how it’s so hopeless and endless. I love how it’s so silly and ridiculous. I love how it can be that warmth in the winter and that cool breeze you look for in the summer. I love how the jokes are not even that funny but you have tears streaming down your face with laughter. I love how a hour together always seems like a minute and a minute apart feels like a decade. I love how even through all the brutal beatings, my heart still has a small flicker of hope for a love like that.

I live to love like that. I’m hopeless.

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Sharity

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Since it is the blessed month of Ramadan and this topic seems befitting (I’m a Muslim, if you didn’t figure it out already :P) I just wanted to share some personal experiences with the hope that it will encourage you, to be more open about charity. Sadly, people close their hearts all year round except for times of celebration – where giving seems to have become a part of culture rather than a part of human nature.

“Charity, if you have the means, is a personal choice, but charity which is expected or compelled is simply a polite word for slavery.” Terry Goodkind

The initial thought of writing about this came across through a conversation with a friend. She was asking me how I managed to be involved in so many activities. And at that moment of time, I really had no clue on what she was going on about. My life really felt like I had a lot more time to give. Anyways, as far as life experiences go with sharity = sharing + charity.

As a child when I was on holiday in SL, mom used to make us walk the summer heat distributing food packages to the poor. Sometimes I used to wonder why half of them never used to just go and get jobs, rather preferring to hope that some passerby would feed them – then I grew up and realized that people are judgmental. Anyone, even with a minor disability, is not considered fit to work in our society. So they make their living by begging, somewhere they too have a family. Ever since then, the concept of giving has been there and I thank mom for that.

I have a friend who somehow never had this idea of giving. He thought beggars were smelly and a hindrance to society (don’t we all at some point!). He could actually walk by without a second thought. Until one day… He was hungry and had happened to buy some bananas, and while waiting for the bus, was munching on them. Anyhow, the bananas weren’t ripe enough, in annoyance; he left them on the bus bench and got up to catch the bus. As soon as he did that, a beggar came from behind and finished off the remaining bananas that he had discarded. He saw that and then he told me, “Did you see that beggar? I left those bananas there because they were not ripe and she ate them so fast not caring that they weren’t tasty. She must be so hungry and I didn’t even think twice about throwing them.”

Sometimes we don’t realize how fortunate we are until we see those less fortunate and we live in a society where those who are less fortunate are pushed to a side and made invisible, in return we too develop that blind eye.

“The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has none; the money which you hoard in the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help.” – St. Basil the Great

Lately, with the whole Arab uprising going on, a friend and her friend decided to have a “Bake Sale for Syria”. She initially was telling me how there aren’t enough charity/volunteer opportunities in SL, especially for the youngsters. Just because of that, I’m so proud of her for making this happen. Though they had a lot to overcome with the location and what to make and how it was going to happen – they made it through. Lots of others volunteered to bring in pastries and what nots, a facebook page was created and from a meager 30 odd people, it grew to over 300 people. The event was a success and even after, people were still donating money, they totally raised beyond Rs. 10o,000. For two girls that started out with just an idea, that’s a lot to be happy about.

Sometimes all we need is the will to do something, to change something, to be something. Never underestimate the power of people. For every 9 that turn to look the other way, that 1 that passes on the message reaches out to 20 that respond positively.

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”Helen Keller

In this Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims go rampant with flamboyant iftar parties, but the part I love most about Ramadan is the immergence of giving to those who have less than us. Local mosques that host iftar parties are over flowing with donations of food, and not a single thing goes wasted. There are so many who can’t afford to eat well yet work long hours under the burning sun. This is the month of rejoice for labourers. We had a campaign here – Iftar for laborers every Friday. The campaign was a thorough success. Though it was meant to feed the ladies camp of only 100, it not only fed them but 600 others in the nearby male labor camp, the donations were just that much.

Sometimes it’s really not about the money, it’s about the heart. Whatever you give from your heart automatically becomes enough even if it feels like it isn’t. Small efforts lead to big results. Don’t give because culture expects you to give, but give because you expect yourself to give.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”Mother Teresa

There are numerous occasions all over the world where you find moments for sharity. Remember that there are poor people everywhere. Whenever I walk past a beggar, I have that immense sense of guilt, that I could have given him something. Many a time, I buy some fruit or bread and walk back the entire distance just so that I can have some peace of mind. When you give once and you experience that feeling of gratitude from someone who has nothing to give back but that, it’s a better high than anything get from any other illegal substance available. It is such a beautiful feeling that at some point, you don’t even have to think about it, that it just flows out of you. Be those people. Give. Giving is indeed what most of life is all about.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.” Sam Levenson

Rainbows and Butterflies

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From the time we take our first breath to the time we take our last, we spend much of our life forming attachments. Somewhere in between it comes a huge tangled web of good, bad and ugly. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to make sense of it all, wondering why, reminiscing and sighing.

Truthfully though, did we really need to submit ourselves to a life of attachment? People leave and get replaced by new strings. We change, we grow and out grow. We begin to see things we didn’t notice before. And before we know it a whole new chapter is over once again. It’s time to start afresh.

We spend so much of our life on nuturing these bonds. What we don’t factor in is — everyone dies. We don’t know when or where or how, all we know is that it’s an inevitable fact of life. Our parents, our friends, our siblings, our first love, our last love, our children, our near, our dear, us.

So why do we not spend as much time and sacrifice on our attachment with God as we do with people and things that will ultimately prove to be useless when the time to answer questions arise? Have we really lost the ability to see the bigger picture?

At the end of the day we are a nation of brothers and sisters. We are one blood, one heart, one goal. We are born to have emotions and be there for each other. To make sacrifices, have dreams and live our lives. We can’t do it alone, can we?

I’m soon approaching that stage in my life where I will have to say bye to everything and everyone and start again. I’ve created so many attachments in my almost quarter-century that I don’t know where to start letting go. I don’t know if I can make it without them. I don’t know if life will mean anything if they are not there to share it with.

I will miss them, their presence and guidance. The gifts that came late but made it safely anyhow. The cards filled with laughter and good cheer. The leftover ticket stubs of concerts, late-night movies and restaurant openings. The memories embedded in my mind that will last until they too slowly begin to fade.

However, I’ve started to move closer to someone who will never let me down, who will always know what is better for me when nothing seems to be going the way I want, who will have the patience to deal with my bad days and instill that same peace within me. Someone who will never judge, never compare. He will carry me through.

I’m tired of the bad decisions, the heart ache, the unwarranted tears, the sacrifices of no avail. When the pages turn, I want to be sure. Sure that I’m done with the past and ready to step into the future. To step into the world of adults and adult decisions. To wake up and go to work every morning. To get married and have children and “settle down”.

That’s such a scary word. And a whole new set of attachments. I just desire freedom. Freedom from the scary thoughts in my head; from the world waiting to eat me alive; from the pressures of society; from the wild tongues that run rampant and ruin lives. Freedom to fall; to get dirty; to make mistakes; to fly into obstacles…all to end up standing on my own.

Thankfully,it looks like it’s not just me but others stuck in this period of answerless question. We question our life dreams and the path we have chosen to fulfill them. We question our life partner, are we ready. We question our sacrifices of self for work, relationships and stepping out of our childhood.

Oh God! Forgive me for my years of neglect and carry me through. Take away this hesitency in my heart and fill it with peace.