Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Face to Face

I was busy orkutting today in the evening when my friend Akshay came into my room and asked me, "Do you want to go to teach the street children, for NSS? Hours will also be awarded." Smitten by lethargy and internet, my usual answer was, "No, not interested." Even the greed of NSS hours could not motivate me.

Fifteen minutes later, I was frustrated with the net speed in the hostel and finally thought of moving out. I saw Apoorv going for the Teaching Project. I accompanied him just for the sake of providing recreation to my mind cluttered with boredom.

We moved towards the place in our campus where all the masons who build our hostels live. There were about a dozen children of the age-group of 5-10 who haven't yet touched a pencil. We had to convince all the parents to allow their children to be taught by us. In most of the cases the father would allow, but the over-protective mother would always hinder saying, "Anjaan log se padhne kaise bhej de?"

We told them that we were not strangers but we too were students. We decided to teach the children in their locality only, so that more children turned up and parents could also develop a faith upon us. This was just the beginning. Everyone of us(the volunteers) were assigned with one child to teach. We were asked to be a friend first and then be a teacher.

I was assigned to a girl of about an age of 8 years. Her name was Rani. Inexperienced in the domain of teaching, I tried my best to do my job effectively. I asked her how much had she studied. She told, "Sirf ek saal tak, uske baad ma ghar ke kaam me baitha di."

She turned out to be interested in studies. She told that she knew counting from 1 to 20, she knew hindi as well as english alphabets, she could identify all the colors and she loved playing luka-chupi. She told that she liked to study when she was in school, but her mother did not allow her to go to school saying it was of no use. I was in gloom after hearing that, feeling very very apprehensive.

To change my mind, I asked her what her ambition was, what she wanted to become when she would grow up? After I poked her for some time(she was feeling shy to tell, perhaps because it could be too big dream for her), she said that she wanted become a doctor. Drawing inspiration from the movie Taare Zameen Par, I asked her to draw anything on the paper. She asked me what to draw. I told her to draw a circle, and then a leaf, then a flower and then a face...and so on. She drew almost everything which was constituting our the surroundings. Wherever she stumbled, I helped her out. It was great fun for both of us, especially when starting something from scratch...from the grass-root level unlimits the possibility of explorations. I taught her how to write her name in hindi as well as in english. I talked to her about basic hygiene, about what's the importance of washing hands before meal and cutting nails. I asked her to share all these facts with her family too.

Time passed swiftly, and soon dusk overtured the sky. Our work for the day was over, Before leaving, I asked Rani to do a homework i.e. to draw a cow and come tomorrow. To my surprise, her reply was, "Ghar mein pen nahin hai." I asked her that your Dad might have it. She said,"Baba ko padhna nahin aata hai." . Stunned at what she said, I came to realize the real condition of my country. In the campus of India's best academic Institute, ironically when these people don't even have an access to the basic ingredients for education like a paper or a pencil, then what would be the condition of the remote areas of the country. I looked at her eyes, all I could see was the innocence and an immense desire to learn. I gifted her my pen and two A4 sheets and made her promise me that she would turn up tomorrow, no matter what her mother said!

What more, we had done our work, and probably two hours would be awarded for that(thereby making my hours count for NSS as 54). If I take off my mind from the NSS hours, this day has showed me something bigger than any of my personal desires i.e. my real India : the condition people at the very base.

Look at these eyes, can we be so mean that we don't even pay notice to the fire hidden behind those cute little eyes. The grass-root level has got an immense potential which will remain unexploited until people look forward to contribute. If we look around carefully, we can find numerous Rani waiting for us to show them the way. Often, we want to contribute but we feel insufficient to convert our thoughts into actions. Today, I came to know that we are not insufficient, but we are gifted with a great tool which is enough to bring a radical change in various lives and that tool is nothing other than EDUCATION. YOU and only YOU have the all the ability to reach out to thousands and touch their lives. This one hour of teaching has provided me with much greater feelings for my nation than my entire lifetime life had, and now I can say proudly, "Life is too big than these NSS hours."

P.S. NSS stands for National Social Service.
P.S. Some of my friends had a great struggle teaching kids who didn't even understand Hindi, but they didn't surrender. Hats off to them!
P.S. I have completed just 52 hours of NSS in the first year, of which about 10 hours are by fraud. They ask us to complete 100 hours in a year though.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tunneling to the Next Level

After penning down about 50 articles including two poems in my blog, I plan to tunnel to the next level of creative writing. I think I am capable enough to proceed to the next level. I am starting a short novel, which I will post in another blog chapter-wise. It is interesting, hilarious and dramatic. It's my first attempt of such a big thing, so I hope you read it and comment. Proper criticism and suggestions are warmly welcomed.

Here is the link to that blog.

P.S. Please popularize it as much as you can.
P.S. The writing has been started with just an initiating thought in the mind, its end is still unknown to me. I will decipher it as I proceed.
P.S. It might take some time to upload the next portion of the writing, as I have regular classes, so kindly cope with me.
P.S. Good Night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The smell of rain
The muddy terrain
With football on the wet grass
A dozen guys going insane

Kicking each other more than the ball
Dodging and dancing in rock-n-roll
Totally lost in the game
With laughter and cheers crushing every wall

Iota of ecstasy painted on each face
Felt like a shower of God's Grace
Oblivious to the surroundings
Enthusiasm climbing much above the base

Soft drizzle played with sweat
Bestowing relief to the wet
Some slipped and skidded
While others trying a goal to set

The fight for water after the games
Calling each other by the funny nicknames
Fully exhausted, yet
Pushing hard for recognition and claims

Tired, back home
Rubbing soap hard to have a foam
To clean the wounds
And shrug off the loam

Those days are still alive
Vibrant and full of jive
Making me nostalgic
Everytime in my mind, they contrive!

The elusive thing is not any ploy
It's something enigmatic, O boy!
It's we played not for success then
But instead, just for JOY...

P.S. It's my second attempt at writing poem. I had a thought which I thought could be best described by a poem.
P.S. This poem tries to distinguish the borderline difference between success and joy. When we have success vs joy, often people choose success, but the reality is - "Success is doing the thing which gives us joy."
P.S. It's not too long, nor too philosophical, I hope you can go through it once and comment!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Taste of Triumph - 2

I had no expectations, it was totally out of sudden, amidst mixed emotions - a call made me dumbstruck. I was strolling along the Wind-tunnel of the institute when my phone rung up, I was jumping in heaven after that call. Man, I got to know that I had got the third position in the Rendezvous Abstract Photography Competition(which consists of Rs.200 cheque and a certificate to cherish). I screamed the loudest "YES!" I could on the road, almost the whole of the crowd near me was a kinda' dumbstruck. I called my Mom and she jumped on her toes, talked to my Dad and my Dad became emotional, my life could not have been better. It brings great pleasure to have a sudden surprise, without even having any expectations.

P.S. Acknowledgements : Vidhu for taking great pains for inquiring exquisite details for the event, Akshay and Aman for their words of appreciation(which really mean a lot to me even though I don't tell) and my parents for being twice more happy than I am and for believing in me twice more than I believe in myself.
P.S. I saw Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy performing at a 10 metres distance, they are so versatile man...hats off to them!!!
P.S. Don't judge my photography by seeing the photograph of my certificate, as the poor photography owes itself to my sleepy head.
P.S. I want to sleep, though it's a morning now...good night!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Photographer is Back

It had been a while since I touched my camera. Yesterday, I came to know about an event of Abstract Photography to be taking place in our fest Rendezvous, so I took out my digicam from my cupboard(after 3 long months) and experimented with light and darkness. Some shades appealed to me and I thought of finding something resembling the texture of the wall. Luckily, I had drumsticks in my room, so I got an interesting outcome. It is titled "Rhythm of Light". Do comment on it - concept and innovation :

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taste of Triumph

Finally, the wait has been over. I had been waiting for this very day from the last one and half years. I have shared this feeling with no other person, but now I can write this feeling to the world. Last two semesters had been time of despair, failures after failures, with no taste of success coming in any field of activity. I am not only including academics in my list but I am pointing towards everything I tried my hands upon. I was involved in music, but none of the competitions did I win; neither in photography, neither in football, almost everything I tried my hands upon I ended up finishing last in it. I used to say that I am happy and satisfied but that was just to please my mind, I was totally at war with myself. My self-confidence dripped down day after day and I would be switching from one hobby to another intermittently. A dilettante like me could not find anything in which he was better than the majority, dissatisfaction clouded my mind all the time. That X(in the article 'The Algebra of Life') which I was missing in my life was success, as I was tired of failure. From the beginning of this semester, I was craving for success and I knew success in academics was the easiest to achieve as it had been my forte in the school-days.

And today as I got my optics paper, a wait of 3/2 years has finally been over. I got 21 out of 22 and I was definitely very happy. The lost self-belief was finally won back. I could see the happiness in the faces of my real friends at my marks and anguish in the face of some of my fake friends. Some appreciated me while some condescended and disbelieved me that how could I get that marks. I called my Dad and told him my marks, and to my surprise tears started rolling down my eyes. I could not decipher what was making me cry but I could feel iotas of relief stacking over my mind as my tears were rolling down. Dad was much more happy than I was, as he craved for my success much more than I did. I could feel the happiness in his voice. The voices of yesterday - when I used to tell my school marks to my Dad - echoed my ears and brought more tears. I am missing my tutorial class now - just because I needed to write this feeling, the feeling of success, for the first time in my life after I started blogging.

P.S. No P.S. this time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Awed to envy...

For the past 15 minutes, I was on the rickshaw, having no faint idea of the way ahead. I told the rickshaw wala, "I need to get to Daryaganj - near the mosque." The rickshaw was trotting ahead and I enjoyed the view sideways. No, there weren't any girls there, but there was a majestic monument - The Jama Masjid, with elegant red textured walls. The other side of the road had a chain of slaughterers, butchers and spice-dwellers, the smell along the road was not at all pleasing my nasal cavity. A sudden advent of some dark clouds pleased my sun-warmed body. I was quite relishing the other side of Delhi - which contained an air of Mughal era in itself. Old architecture, sufi houses and small dhabas provided a periphery to my curious vision. Small roads, too many rickshaws and 'thelas', and ultra small shops retailing paper, clothes and glasswares brought back the memories of the Arabian Nights back into my mind.

A sudden voice brought back my mind to the present moment, I had reached the mosque and rickshaw-wala was demanding his reward for dropping me to the place. I gave him his share of my wallet, and went on to inquire about the shop that made me visit such a remote area of my city. The guy told me, "Just follow these stairs, the shop is at the third floor." About a half-century of helical steps gave me a sight - An ultra-modern heaven in between these small shops. Awed, definitely, I opened my sandals and entered the place. My eyes grew bigger and bigger to its maximum radius as what I observed was a childhood dream come true. It had every thing, every possible brand right from Fender to Givson, starting from a mere 3000 bucks to as high as 94,000 bucks. I was wondering that someday I win a lottery and purchase the whole shop. Clarinet, piccolo, ukulele, cello, pedals, double bases, tenor sax to the twelve-strings., you think of any of them - it was there. You might be wondering what I am talking about? If you haven't got it till now then let me elaborate. The shop had every kind of synthesizer, even the Yamaha electronic drum-set worth Rs 1.5 lacs and ranges of violin from a simple one to the elite. (You got that, I know!) Amidst this rural outset, this monolithic shop had it all, all the musical instruments, all the brands and everything one can think of. It was a kind of musical instruments library - just no lending was possible. I tried my hands upon a V-shaped electronic guitar worth 23,000 bucks and it was a fabulous experience. After spending 2 hours in the shop, analyzing every small detail of the instruments, I finally made up my mind(and my wallet too!) to purchase something. I finally gave upon a German chromatic harmonica(popularly known as mouthorgan) worth 550 rupees and was overjoyed at its mellifluous voice.

The return journey to my hostel was a very thoughtful one, my mind still being intrigued and awed by the wonderful sight I just saw, and a part of me pushing me to acquire the whole shop someday. In the midst of happiness and temptations, the auto moved along the road transmitting me from the remote area to the ultra-modern capital of the nation. Back home, there was nothing but a smile on my face showing my happiness on a nano-scale. I placed the harmonica in my drawer and had an ecstatic siesta!

P.S. Clarinet, piccolo, ukulele, cello, pedals, double bases, tenor sax are musical instruments.
P.S. The shop's name is Bhargava's Music. It is in Daryaganj. Do pay visit to it once in your lifetime. I bet you can't resist being awed!
P.S. Yes, I know how to play harmonica, I am not prevaricating!
P.S. Did you know that harmonica is the largest selling musical instrument in the world.
P.S. An advice - consulting a dictionary-cum-thesaurus while seeing a word is much more conducive for developing a good word power than consulting only a dictionary.
P.S. Today's movie : What women want.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Peculiar Peculiarities

There are some peculiar things about me that I inherently like. They are very unique to my personality and I think everybody has something in them that makes them unique. I love my uniqueness. I feel great about myself after reading an inspiring book called 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch. Life has offered me with great peculiarities that had made me whatever I am.

Those peculiar things(often termed as 'Learnings of life') about me are enumerated below :
  • I like writing in the original way, I don't use short forms, not even in my SMSs(I prefer dictionary there). This habit, I find, is very useful, as I can cruise through my typing at an exceptionally good rate of about 55 wpm without any mistakes. I also don't have to do conscious editing while making any presentation or writing any article.
  • While listening to music, I can tell all the instruments that are played in the background. I can distinguish each individual sound of instrument. That's perhaps because I spent my entire childhood with a synthesizer with about 200 voices in it. But there is a demerit associated with it that I don't pay heed to the lyrics, lyrics are always my second priority.
  • I like my nail short and tidy always. That's because its comfy while playing guitar. And also I don't wear stones or any ring whatsoever, because I already have one stone of Hope inside me.
  • Having spent nearly 12 years with musical instruments, now I have got a knack of playing any tune whatsoever on any musical instrument whatsoever.
  • Any time I come across a new word I straightaway consult a dictionary, that's the reason of my satisfactory word power. I also have a huge turn-off for wrong spellings. Wrong spellings straightaway predicts careless observation and insincerity.
  • I play challenges with myself and I love rewarding myself for any of my small deed. Anytime I get to see a difficult task or situation, I bet myself, "If you surpass that, I am going to give you one 5 star." And everytime I achieve that challenge, I rejoice and dance in the joy of triumph and the sweetness of 5 star. (This dance literally means dance).
  • I love being at the top. There is just one flaw with this thing, for loving being at top, I need to get to that level. So that motivation is difficult to find. Once I get to that level, I am not going to lose it under any circumstances. Perhaps that was the hidden factor behind my success in JEE, I won at the school level and to maintain that position I toiled day and night.
  • I am a closed book. Even the closest of my friends and my parents think they know me or my thoughts-pattern, but the fact is their knowledge is very superficial. I am totally different from what they perceive. I hide many things from people, I don't want them to know me. I have different facets to different people. Only one person in this world knows me almost fully. For the rest of the world, I am very unpredictable and very mysterious.
  • I love reading about things which are not even faintly related to my area of interest. Be it genetics, art, Indian history, geography, philosophy, technology or science, everything appeals me. Perhaps that's why non-fiction books never bored me.
  • I love to dream. The wildest and especially the weird ones, which other people don't even dare to dream. I dream of winning a Nobel in literature as well as physics, I see myself being awarded Bharat Ratna when I am 40, I dream of having a stroll on mars, I dream of a big mansion with a Jimmy and a Ferrari in my car stand, I dream of travelling the whole world, I dream of writing a best-seller, I want to be famous, I dream of making a lots and lots of money to pursue all my passions as well as those of my closed-ones without any inhibitions.
  • I am always under addiction, once it was cricket, then it came to stamps, to coins, to countries, to books, to football, to movies, to computer, to gaming, to internet, to guitar, to photography, to writing, to blogging. Presently its that I am addicted to time-management and I found it is one of the best addictions to have. At present I am managing my time the best way possible.
P.S. Gratitude : I imbibed almost all of these habits from my Dad.
P.S. Today's word : Zilch - which means nothing, of no importance.
P.S. The best way to manage time is to avoid idle company with goal-less wanderers.
P.S. It is purely personal account, any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely intentional.
P.S. Do read the book : 'The Last Lecture' for some inspiration in your life. Its video is in my orkut profile.
P.S. I saw Rock On today. A total kickass drumming and guitaring and crispy voice of Farhan made it wonderful.
P.S. Its 3:21 am in the night and I have no mirage of sleep visible as far as I could see.