Been a while since…

…I blogged last — not just posting on mine, but commenting on the million other posts I religiously read.

…I cooked a proper meal. Like, a complete lunch/dinner the way I used to.

…I really got down to gardening. I force myself to water them frequently to keep them alive.

…I spoke to my best buddies from school.

…I sang a full song, loud and clear.

…I’ve met some ex-colleagues I’ve been really wanting to meet (some things just do NOT happen).

…I’ve gone about taking random photographs. The camera is dying under a layer of dust (not literally).

…I’ve been fired by anyone for a really weird reason.

…I’ve done something mindless.

…I spent some real good time with family.

Been a while since I’ve been me. Sucks. Bah.

In Life. Just be fair.

I’m tired of writing come-back posts. So, don’t count this as one. For, I’m almost sure I’ll go off again.

Blogging, when in a bad state of mind, is not something I do or even want to do. Hehe…too many people may get hurt, shocked, whatever. So I’m not here to explain why I have been hibernating, for the umpteenth time. I just wanted to tell you…

I’m still kind of reeling under the effect of a major insight into what we fondly, angrily, exasperatedly and hopefully call ‘Life’! That no one has any right to judge another person—no matter what that person may have done or said.

I’m not the kind who sees or meets someone, judges them immediately (as being funny, nice, trustworthy, full of attitude, creepy, and so on) and compartmentalise them. I take my time, give them their space and study them well before I decide if I like them, love them, trust them, dislike them, hate them… But yes, over a period, I do end up judging them—as being good or bad. If they do/say something that is so against my principles and what I consider ‘right’, I do judge them. I suppose it is human.

And when I say we should not judge “no matter what that person may have done or said”, I mean it quite literally. Now, if you ask me if we should not judge someone who has committed a heinous crime—such as a murder for instance—well, I still think we shouldn’t. While you may judge someone for a physical murder, you may reach a point in life where you murder someone’s spirits, kill them mentally. As long as you destroy a person, it does not matter how. The end result is the same in both cases.

So yes, whatever whoever does—there is always a reason. The only thing is that their right maybe our wrong. What we cannot fathom, must have come so naturally to them, thanks to a lot of catalysts. Someone hates his parents, someone cuts off her best friend, someone falls out of love, someone cheats on a partner, someone walks out on his marriage, someone takes another person for a ride, someone steals, someone kills… They all have their reasons which we may never even be a million miles close to finding, ever.

So, when we judge someone, I think we need to know that at some point in time, invariably, we will find ourselves in that spot—the spot where that person we judged stood. At that time, our eyes will open wide, something will go smack in the head, make us stop in our tracks, feel our body go limp, sense our jaw drop…and we’ll be like ‘Oh my God…I never thought I’d ever be here /do this /say this…”

But one day, you will. We all will. I did. And I’m still shocked. I did NOT have this in mind, ever. I did not think I’d ever be where I am right now. But the fact is that I am…and I’m really shocked.

I guess the best we can do in life is to be fair—to the ones we love, hate, hurt, respect, bear with… Just be fair. Be fair, but don’t be sacrificial. Give them their chance at life, but not at the cost of yours. Grant them their happiness, but don’t lose yours.

OK, this is a little strange right now. I’m bad at these kinds of talks. So let me just admit I’m shocked, but I’m not sad about it. It could not have been avoided. Really. I did try. Quite many times, in many ways.

God, I’m shocked. 😐

What’s your dream?

Dreams…who doesn’t have them? What makes the difference, I suppose, is what we do about them. If we believe in them enough to make it more than just a dream — rather, a dream come true!IHaveADream_RashmiBansal
I have a Dream, by Rashmi Bansal, is an inspiring, motivating book that tells us how 20 different people decided to take the “good” further, and not for profits or their own growth. The book starts off with the famous speech of Martin Luther King’s: “I have a dream…that one day all of God’s children will be able to join hands and sing… Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what else will 😉
In the Author’s Note, Rashmi says “A tree is known by its fruit” and so the author’s note as it defines the book, best as “These are people like you and me, not Mother Teresa. They are using the principles of business, to create a better world” A world where profit does not equal greed where people come together for a greater common cause. A world where “I” does not mean crushing “them”. And this probably is what motivated me most to read the book till its final page.

Rashmi has done a great job at writing a simple, thought-provoking book, with inspiring examples—just a perfectly brilliant read for any aspiring entrepreneur.  The simplicity of the entire book is what I liked the most.


Rashmi Bansal is a writer, entrepreneur and youth expert.She is the author of two bestselling books on entrepreneurship.  ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’ features the stories of 25 MBAs who left lucrative jobs to follow the rough road of entrepreneurship. The book created a new record in Indian publishing by selling over 300,000 copies and has been translated into 8 languages.  
Rashmi’s second book, ‘Connect the Dots’ focuses on non-MBA entrepreneurs. It has also been a bestseller, selling over 100,000 copies. More about Rashmi here!
I’m an active community service volunteer, and I love doing it. I’ve always felt I should just team up with a few people and start something off. But there’s always the fear that there will be quite a few obstacles, which we’re not prepared to handle and overcome, given our position and contacts. This book did bring to light the nitty gritties and the challenges other like-minded people faced, and overcame as well. I think this is a great book for every inspired volunteer, to go ahead and do the things they’ve always wanted to do – with more confidence, with more hope and with more belief in themselves and in their actions! 🙂
I will not give out much of the synopsis, or what the book has – not ever any excerpts. I loved the one about Akshay Patra the most, though I don’t know why. Among the many Rainmakers, Change Makers, and the Spiritual Capitalists, which one are you? Throughout the book, I kept trying to find out which one I fit into 😀 And well, I think I can safely say I’m a Rainmaker—though I’m no “entrepreneur” in the right sense of that word 😉 But yes, I’m not interested in “charity”, I rather prefer to just do good 🙂 Plus, I’m such a “rain” person 🙂
Wondering what I’m blabbering about? Get a copy of I have a Dream, and find out whether you’re a rainmaker, change maker or a spiritual capitalist :)Meanwhile, I wish you all a very meaningful Independence Day, and I hope you all have a dream for the betterment of our country — and get inspired to do something about it too 🙂
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com.
Participate now to get free books!

My first toy…

Penguin Race

Penguin Race

…was this penguin race, which I absolutely adored. Well, if I remember right, it was my brother’s. My aunt got it for him, but well, me and the brother being best friends, we only had “our” toys. I remember the quiet evening we spent together, watching the penguins open their little door, come out one after the other, get on the slide and race. The most wonderful part was watching them go “plop, plop, plop” up the stairs. Now, when I think of it, I can’t remember why it was called a penguin “race”, because there was no way they could race each other 😀 I’m sure that toy is one main reason I’ve always LOVED penguins!

Two years later, the penguin race was broken to many pieces by a cousin, and I howled away to glory when the aunt chided “stop crying. it’s just a toy.” I still wonder if she realises it was never “just a toy”. It was my many evenings’ activity with my brother; a huge part of my childhood then; a factor that bonded us so well, apart from many others; my first memories of the joy of “sharing”.

Squeaky Rubber Toy Horse

Toy Horse

Another favourite toy, was a rubber squeaky toy horse. I remember the many evenings I’ve spent making that lifeless little animal hop all over my room. I have no idea what I was thinking. That was in 1992. And when we shifted from that house and relocated to Guruvayur, I left my toy horse behind, and was depressed about it! In 2002, when we returned to our own house (I was in Std 12 then; yea, go calculate my age 😛 I’m 26, silly! :D)  I spotted a sunbleached, moss-covered, barely-recognisable rubber squeaky toy horse on our sunshade. I still remember how overjoyed I was! I picked it up, cleaned it (it was even mis-shapen after 10 years of heat and rain and cold and dirt and dust and loneliness) and took it to mom to ask her if she recognised it. She did, and she thought I was crazy 😛 But I can’t tell you how much of my childhood came rushing back — not just about the times I played with it, but about the time spent living in that house, and a million other joyful memories!

Game of Life

Game of Life

Then there were the two Barbie dolls, which I cared for like they were my kids; then came the G.I. Joes (yea, I was a tomboy for a few years 😀 :D), the cars, the guns; the the soft toys, the teddy bears, the tweety, the monkey. The bunny, the rabbit, the piggy, the somersaulting pup!

There were board games aplenty: Memory (a visual recall game that’s excellent for stimulating memory power, observation and identification); Scrabbles (of course, the famous vocabulary andword power builder); Monopoly (the one that brings out the businessman/woman in you); Life (about life itself, insurances, loans, family, health and what not).

Building Blocks

Building Blocks

Needless to say, each game/toy had a lot of special memories attached to it; a lot of learning; a lot of wisdom; a lot of joy, fun and happiness. I still love toys — I’m not ashamed to say this out in public. Give me a little car, I’ll play with it 😀 Give me a penguin race, I’ll be as fascinated as I then was! Give me a box of memory cards, you wont hear from me for a looong while. Give me a soft bunny toy, I’d love to play puppetry with it (yes, I even use different voices for different dialogues! 😀 ) Yes, so I LOVE toys, and I love to see kids playing with them.

And now, when I look back on all the toys that we had,  my bother and I, I  realise that we had very few — i repeat: VERY FEW — toys that were meant for individual play. Most of our toys required two people to play…and if it didn’t, I think we took it up on ourselves to make it work that way, because that’s how we were conditioned with most of our other toys! I don’t know if it was intentional on our parents’ part to give us toys that made us share time, space and joy. I must ask. But whatever that was, we learnt the art of sharing, of building memories together, of learning to call it “ours” than “mine” or “yours”, of happily extending it to other kids, of openheartedly sharing our time, space and toys for the happiness of our cousins and friends…

And today, when I see toys or go to a toystore, I do not long for toys I never had as a kid — but I always long for my childhood to come back: those evenings where we would wait for Amma to return from work while the penguins went up and down the slides and steps… 🙂

Childhood is a time to remember…a phase of life when one is carefree, filled with innocence and finds joy in everything — the joy of learning, the joy of spending time with friends, the joy of playing with toys and the joy of having fun! I think toys are an integral part of childhood. They play a major role in moulding a child’s temperament, behaviour, personality and ideals. They instill the concepts of sharing, team playing, being responsible and so on.

Childhood definitely is a time to remember, and look back to longingly. And it is sad and heartbreaking that a huge number of children the world over have nothing but misery, loneliness and almost-nothing to look back to, remember, or long for!

So, when one fine day at work, I got this in a mail, I was sure I wanted to:

Toybank

Donate a toy: make a difference.

We formed a group within office, collected toys from wherever we could, segregated it by age and gift wrapped it. We now plan to take them around to a few NGOs with the help of Toybank officials, so we can see for ourselves the joy on the kids’ faces when they open up their gift wraps 🙂 I’m already excited!

We held a 2-week drive at office, and here’s an overview of what we collected: over 200 toys ranging from soft toys and figure toys to board games, building blocks, card games, balls, colouring books, and coloring sets…

I must say, we all had a gala time, sorting toys, ooh-ing and aah-ing over some real superb ones, thanking the many people who cared to give these away, even kidding about planning to take a few home 😉 We didn’t, of course: but I say that because some of the toys were REALLY AWESOME, and I sincerely am grateful to the parents who decided to give them away, and to others who decided to BUY NEW ONES since they didn’t have any at home! And all the while, we kept saying how much fun the kids who’d receive them would have, when we ourselves were enjoying so much.

Here are a few pics of what we collected and wrapped 🙂

Naimika pushing the complete load of wraped toys to the storeroom :D

Naimika pushing the complete load of wrapped toys to the storeroom (long story, sigh!) 😀

Some of them, as we were gift wrapping them all

As we were gift wrapping them all

The toys we segregated before wrapping them up

The toys we segregated before wrapping them up

I urge all of you to take this up as an initiative in your respective organizations and bring a load of joy to some kids whom you’ve never even seen before! Toybank has a presence in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, UK and Bhutan. Even if you’re in a city where Toybank does NOT have its presence,I’m sure you can identify a few NGOs that would LOVE to take in these toys for the kids who they give a home to!

It’s an experience you’ll cherish for life. I can guarantee that! 🙂

***************************************************

Toybank stresses on the need for non-formal education through play for every child. The basic philosophy of this organization is centered on providing toys to children who have no access to them. Toybank will identify NGOs, municipal schools and hospitals for the distribution of the toys. Toybank has a presence in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, UK and Bhutan.

Toybank’s mission includes:
>> Ensuring that children from under privileged backgrounds receive toys through collection and distributions.   >> Bridging the gap between children from different backgrounds by creative play/group events/community events.   >> Making play space available for children through toy libraries using available infrastructure; to reclaim open public spaces for children.   >>Designing and provide toys that are context specific, and to have toys made in local languages as well.

Toybank accepts new and old/used toys as long as they are still in presentable/working conditions. They accept all kinds of toys, except for those that promote racial or violence streaks (like barbie dolls, guns, artillery, etc.). They also accept stationary: crayons, colour pencils and paints, solouring books, story books, notepads/books, pens and pencils, etc.

toybanklogo

This post is part of BlogAdda’s Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. I am exercising my BSR by supporting Toybank.

You can too, with three very simple steps. Visit http://www.blogadda.com/bsr-list and support the NGO’s cause.

You can also take a step further, contribute as much as you can, and spread awareness about this wonderful initiative 🙂

sounds in the silence

I’m in love with the weather in Bangalore today! It’s partly cloudy, it’s not hot, it’s not humid, it’s not glaringly sunny. It’s just perWeatherInBangalore-22April2011fect (and personally, I think it could use some real good downpour as well!) But well, the weather report says there’ll be scattered storms and showers today and tonight. And well, in the weather’s favour, it does NOT “feel like 29 degree celsius”!

And though I love rains, and wouldn’t mind if it rains day and night, I think today’s climate — or at least how things are right now — is perfect! And it’s a lot silent when compared to other days.

The vegetable vendors have gone home after quickly selling off their wares — probably in anticipation of a storm 😉 So there are no more yells and screams of “pappaya, vendakka, pavakka, muringakkaaa” 😀

There’s very little traffic flowing by the road in front — so things are relatively calm and silent.

There’s the distant drone of a concrete driller somewhere, that’s bringing in the effect of a waterfall closeby!

Pumbaa’s behaving well, and so there are no yelps, barks and “Pumbaa, NO!”s

The street dogs also seem to be mourning “Good Friday” today; I haven’t heard a single bark / fight since morning.

(Best of all) Hathway seems to have lost connection with the satellite; so the TV is dead and life couldn’t be better on a holiday, with husband at home 😛

The crows, a few pigeons and some butterflies seem to like the area around my house, and have set up a conversation (yea, of course, the butterflies seem to just listen and not say a word!), but without any cacophony.

We celebrate our 5th unofficial anniversary today, and I opened my groggy eyes this morning to see a handwritten — yes, HANDWRITTEN!! — love letter from the husband, and a wonderful three-folder card with a lot many of my favourite pics of “He and I” designed in a lovely collage waiting for me! I knew right then, today would be awesome 😉

And I was right. It’s an awesome day. And I hope it brings a lot of rain as it makes way for the night.

Oh, I think all Fridays would be this awesome if it’s a holiday 😀 😉

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