Joy

Happy Holi Folks. 

I am getting a chance to be with my family on Holi after some long time. Holi is one festival which gives you the opportunity of reaching out to and reconciling with “friends” who turned foes last year, Holi is one festival to paint yourself with whatever colour you like and allow everyone else to color you (as a child we all have painted ourselves, have we not ? even if that was with just the sketch pens), Holi is one festival to reach out to the person you secretly like and say “Bura na mano Holi hai”, Holi is one festival to wallow in mud like a buffalo with no one to judge you, Holi is one festival in which you can enjoy some deep sh*t desi drug added in laddoos or the lassis and laugh the whole day, and Holi is one festival to eat like maniacs and say “Dieting gayi bhaad me”. Holi is may be much more than that- its not just a festival, its a legacy, a way of living.

Why do I call it a way of living? Because there are a lot of learnings to absorb and apply in our lives from the festival. The basic one is to be carefree. We need to be more carefree and take life just a bit lighter

Its festivity all around and I am happy and joyful. The festival of holi brings the memories from childhood ever since I could remember. Do you all also reminisce about the bachpan ka holi like me- the carefree attitude of the kid you were who didn’t give a damn but was happy. I hope you all do and I also hope you enjoy your holi today as much as like your childhood holi. 

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

As a child, it was always about what kind of Pichkari I wanted for the given year’s Holi. (I really have no clue what is Pichkari called in english, I would rather use the words “the coloured water expelling syringe” if given the liberty of choosing words on my own) . What colour or which gulal was never a  matter of concern for me. The other thing was always the three exact things my mother used to prepare for sure  (still has not changed)- Pooris, kabuli Chole and Pua (Mal Puas). Added with these staple dishes, she used to prepare Gujiyas and some other sweets mainly the Gits wala Gulabjamun. Slowly with time, we started buying all the sweets from the market but the three dishes remained the same. To this day I am not sure, but this has to do with us being Biharis and we cant imagine of a holi withouts Pooris and Puas and that is why it stays with us every holi. And then the next important thing that was important for me as a child were the friends with whom I would play holi. That was important, may be as important as the festive food. Since I, as a child moved to several places due to the transferrable nature of my father’s job, the friend circle changed, the people around us changed but what remained constant was the Festivity and the Joy. 

Today I think about Joy- The happiness, the contentment, the rush of some hormone to your brain which makes you relax and feel good about being in this very cosmos. Is Joy quantifiable? Is it not? I think it is. It is so and so number of things in my wishlist. It is the endless number of wishes that keep replacing the older and the ones I have achieved and I postpone my joy to the next wish. Yes, I would be happy, I would be Joyful, but let me first achieve this- the next on the charts. 

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

The definition of Joy has changed now. May be that change is just for me and not for others, may be it is just the older version of me who has to step into his 30’s  but he is trying to hold on to his “present”- heck, may be he is trying to speak aloud that he is still a child at heart, just the body has stopped listening to the heart and has grown.  I need to add pictures on my facebook account before actually living the moment of taking the picture and wait for people to validate my Joy with their likes and comments. I have to think about what my relatives are thinking about me if I deny getting married now at their whims and wishes. I have to think about what life has in store for me in future. I have to compare me with my 500 friends on facebook and see if I had a similar or better Holi pictures to put on display for the whole world to see. I have to think where do I stand in this rat race of life, how fast am I running and would I be ever able to chase that God knows what thing I am after at the end of my race. I have to think about everyone else but me before being happy. The definition of joy has indeed changed now.  

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

Anyhow, that is just me trying to correlate A festival and the Joy it brings. I hope you all a very happy Holi and hope you all are enjoying to the fullest. 


Till next one…

A Sunday well spent

I don’t get to interact with small kids a lot. Many of you would feel me who live in a nuclear family in which either you are the youngest one or everyone around seems to be grown up already. Yes, I do have relatives who have kids (and boy, they are smart), but its not usual to visit them on a very regular basis and so interaction remains to minimum.

Why am I talking about interactions? Because I recently realised that a kid can teach one a thousand things. May be this is not something new that I am talking about, but yes, the fact bubbled up last Sunday when I, volunteering for CRY(Child Rights and You) at Kolkata, visited Howrah Maidan area for a medical/ health camp set up for kids which was organised by CRY. Little did I know that the camp I was going to be a part of would give me immense pleasure and joy inside even though the simmering heat of Kolkata made my bones sweat. Yes, the reason were the kids. The little ones, the true ones, the joyful ones.

The medical camp was organised in a school  adjacent to a local club room. The Public outreach team (of which I am a part of)  was given this small club room to interact and engage the kids after they were done with their medical check ups. Of course we were excited to engage the kids with our short plays which gave information about maintaining hygiene. The play that we had prepared was based on various topics such as Sanitation, washing of fruits and vegetables before eating, teeth hygiene etc. The kids were so much enthusiastic and attentive that it made our energy go double.

1
A still from the short play
A lot of kids knew already about the steps of washing hands. Do you all know? There are six steps of the same. I was amazed with this because I myself have never paid attention to these steps. I was happy to learn something from them along with being able to impart some education to them.

I had not imagined the kind of potential and talent those kids possessed; when asked if someone can dance or sing or for that matter, perform any entertaining act, almost all hands in the group used to go up and we were left with lesser time to choose kids to perform.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I initially complained to myself about the heat and the sweat that the summer was causing, but after a while, I got so much engrossed that these petty things didn’t affect me. On close interactions or one to one interactions with some kids, I realised the kind of happiness they carried. They were so much happy with us coming over there on their holiday and meeting them, talking to them, knowing them. They felt so important and took pride. One of the kids, I remember, told me that she performed very well in her last exams and when I asked what does she want to be when she grows up, the answer was- a responsible Doctor. I could see the spark of dreams she carried in her eyes; probably she was encouraged with the fact of CRY organising these health camps where Doctors come and impart their services for the well being of the community. Some other kids kept just smiling. I did realise that kids are the tap of wonderful energy and reasonless happiness. I used to smile without reasons when I was kid. And I was thankful that I was there, in middle of these kids, to learn it back.

13221063_10153603261011918_7902881849101834719_n

 

I felt happy with my step to be a part of a batch of people who are doing something to help these small bundles and packets of energy who will be future of our country.

I felt happy seeing those kids being happy.

I felt happy being a kid again in mid of those kids.

I felt happy for the smaller things that I have in my life which I take for granted.

I felt happy as I took a baby step of what Rippan Kapur (Founder of CRY) says:

“What I can do, I must do. ”

Truly, a Sunday well spent.

He was silent and so was I.

He was a ragpicker. He was young, very young, probably a kid of 8-9. His face was full of innocence and enthusiasm. He wore a dirty cream coloured tattered t-shirt and half pants of black colour. I could see the playfulness in his acts. He was trying to make rag picking a fun activity which seemed unusual for me.

 

I lived in Satna, a small town in Madhya Pradesh. My father was a teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya and we lived inside the school campus, in teacher’s quarters. The school campus was away from the main town, close to a small village.

 

I had noticed him outside my school campus a day before at around the same time as that day when I was going to tuitions. He was not alone. There were  few others as well. Some younger, some older. But he looked most enthusiastic of all. I could see and tell that he was mischievous for he was laughing out loud and was all in jolly mood. It seemed that others enjoyed his presence. Since I had to go to tuitions, I rushed without paying detailed look. I saw him the following day and the next as well.

I was studying in class XII then and since board exams were coming closer, I was more involved into finishing up my syllabus. Apart from thoughts of studying and preparations and worry of exams, rarely did a thought cross my mind.  But that night I felt restless and it was not just because of the usual pressure that was ongoing. I could tell that for sure as that night when my mother served me dinner, I couldn’t resist thinking of him. I also thought of him when I went to bed.

Next day there was no sight of him or his companions. I didn’t pay lot of attention probably because of exams pressure. I didn’t see him for a few days after that and he went out of my mind. Life continued in usual way and I was engrossed in preparation. Maths was giving me a hard time and there was a notion that geniuses are those who understood integral calculus. To soothe my mind sometimes, I used to curse those who sat at the high levels in Education ministry or whosoever designed the CBSE course for XII class. To me, it seemed like a challenge of climbing Mount Everest (or PEAK X which would have been 4000 metres higher than Everest, if there existed a PEAK X).

That day is still vibrant and a part of the memory is fresh in my mind. There was supposed to be a test the following day at the tuitions. I had put on the new shirt my mother had bought some days ago for me and was happy because of that. Yes, wearing a new piece of cloth makes me happy. So, anyhow, to reach early to my tuitions to ask a lot of doubts, I hastened. After crossing the main gate of the school premises, I saw HIM there, alone, having the same cloths on. It would not have been more than ten days when I had seen him last. He looked the same and did his chore with the same energy. Something inside me urged to go and speak to him. What, why and how were secondary to me, I just felt like speaking to him. So having parked my bicycle near the gate, I started walking towards him. At first, he didn’t see me and when he did later, he seemed a little confused. He probably got scared and scurried in the opposite direction. I called him, he stopped, turned and gave a hesitatingly look.

Him-     Kya hai ?          ( what is it)    [reluctantly]

Me- Arre suno, kya naam hai ?    ( Listen, what is your name?)

Him- Raju.

Me- tum yaha aur logon ke saath aate the na    (You used to come with others as well, isn’t it?)

Him- Haan, aaj wo log nai aaye. (yes, they didn’t come today)

Me- Tum yaha roz nai aate ? (Don’t you come here daily)

Him- Nai, aata hu, kabhi kabhar dusre jagah me bhi milta hai shishi ya bottles, waha chale jaate hain    (I come here and I also go to other places where I get rags to pick) [with a smile on his face now]

Me- acha Raju, ye sab cheezein kaha bechte ho, kitne paise mil jaate hain ( Raju, where do you sell these and how much money you make out of it)

Him- [ Said some name of a place where he sells and some small amount, I cant recollect after all these years]

Me-  Ghar me kaun kaun hai, papa mumi hain?? ( Who are there in the family, your mother, father??)

Him- Papa bimar hain, ek choti behan hai aur maa…[pauses]… kabhi kabhar idhar udhar kaam karti hai.  (father is ill, I have a younger sister and mother…[pauses]… does some work here and there when she gets a chance)

Me- acha wo log kaun hain jo tumhare saath aate the (who are those who used to come with you)

Him- accha wo [smiling], wo meri basti me hi rehte hain, hum sab ek saath ghumte hain. (ohh them [smiling], they live near my home only, we wander in search of rags together usually)

At this point he was smiling and still I could see the spark of innocence and mischievousness in his eyes, I felt elevated by his smile and I asked him… 

Me- School jaane ka mann karta hai ?   (Do you feel like going to school?)

Him- . . . pauses, tries to speak and pauses again, his smile fades away instantly, he tries to fake the same smile on his face, he looks away and then gasps, makes eye contact with me and then meekly opens his mouth to say and tears rolls down his cheeks, he looks down, and sobs….

                            he was unable to speak… not even a mere yes or no…

I was dumbstruck. My question had made his smile vanish. I felt very small for a minute. I felt smaller than him. For a second, I felt thrashed to ground. I struggled for words to say, to console him, to make him feel better or just to make him stop crying. I could see him wiping his tears and my eyes went wet, I felt inconsolable myself…I cried… I cried with him. I hugged him and wanted to speak. But… he was silent and so was I.

 

 

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

On my way to tuitions that day, I was just thinking, why did I ask him that last question. Of course, he wanted to go to school. Millions like him do. But do I care if some random kid named Raju goes to school or not?  Does it matter to me when he cries if I ask him such a question?  Why the hell did I cry with him, or probably for him?  I should just mind my own business. I struggled with emotions and conflicts in my mind. Is not it the duty of humans to help each other. Are we not called the most intelligent piece of God’s creation, so shouldn’t we be “Humans” in a real sense. Everyone works for himself and herself, for his or her dear ones, but shouldn’t we be also empathetic towards them whom we don’t call ours?

 

This incidence made a lasting impression on my mind and I vouched to help such kids in my own small way, in whatever possible way I can. It has been years since that incidence happened, but I can’t forget his innocence and eyes. I always wanted to share this piece of incidence and so I have written about it. Whenever, you see someone of such sort, please understand that there is a story behind it. Everyone has a story to tell. There should be someone to listen.

Let us join our hands to make this world a beautiful place to live, in whatever small possible way, try helping others,  it will give you immense satisfaction which no money can buy, I can guarantee you that.

Thanks for reading.

 

Image

Paradise in Bengal (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered how does it feel to wake up to a cup of tea in your hands ,facing mighty himalayas, beautiful flowers of different colours and nothing but greenery all around added with sound of chirping birds. Wonderful, right??

IMG_6547
Kalimpong, Morgan house

That is how I felt when I witnessed this. I felt calm and my thoughts flew to the wonderful lines written by Angela Morgan:

God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?
How did you dream of the Milky Way
To guide us from afar.
How did you think of a clean brown pool
Where flecks of shadows are?

God, when you patterned a bird song,
Flung on a silver string,
How did you know the ecstasy
That crystal call would bring?
How did you think of a bubbling throat
And a darling speckled wing?                                                                                                                        (Some lines from God The Artist)

As I had promised to share more about my trip to Kalimpong and Lava, so here I am with another blog taking you to the journey of what I would like to call as  “Paradise in Bengal”.

When I planned for a vacation to Kalimpong, I wanted to do one thing different that time from all the other trips that I have taken- that was not to go sightseeing the usual, I just wanted to sit in mid of nature and soak maximum vibes from it. Luckily the choice of my stay was exactly what I needed- Morgan House. I have shared about it in my first blog(Read it here 🙂) I am sharing some more pics that I have taken of this wonderful Tourist lodge.

IMG_0166
Morgan House, Main entrance

They have maintained the old, colonial look of this house doing justice to the stories that I had heard or read about the place (I recently watched a video about the same made by MTV.) Anyhow, I was interested mostly in the nature and views which were great from here. And also the whole house is surrounded by so much greenery, I could have stayed there for a week longer 😉  . See for yourself.

IMG_0158IMG_0149

I woke up when the first rays of sun shooed the armour of darkness that night had donned and I could see the faint light on the peaks of Kangchenjunga. I have already shared the picture in my first blog (here) but I can’t resist posting another one.

IMG_0299
Break of dawn, Kangchenjunga

I still remember how silent and how composed I felt seeing this, I started thinking that mankind has evolved so much and we are developing day by day but somewhere in the process we are doing harm to  mother nature, Deforestation being one of the examples. My mind raised questions like why do I need to visit some tourist places to have this peaceful feeling, this unnamed connection that I felt with nature and felt so happy, why can’t I feel the same at my home? Is it really worth running after the endless materialistic lists we have got in our mind? What does exactly make us happy? … thousands of interlinked questions hovered my mind and I had to ask those questions to go away as I wanted to enjoy and soak the beauty of nature that lie in front of me and the questions obeyed me and went away 🙂

 

We had a lot of options to choose from for the breakfast and after a sumptuous breakfast, I wanted to take a walk out and expose myself to all that the place had to offer.

IMG_0143

The whole place is full of different flowers, so if you are an admirer of beautiful flowers, do stay at Morgan house if you visit Kalimpong.  Whenever I see a flower, I feel its smiling to me and asking me to smile back and sing something for them (and I did hum a song)  do you guys feel the same way or is it just me?

IMG_0167
The whole place is full of different flowers, one being this one

I also tried to locate the smallest flowers I could find (even in the grass) and could take a nice snap of this one.

IMG_0188

While taking a walk around the hotel, I came to know that there are other cottages as well in the vicinity which are considered to be a part of the same hotel, bookings can be done via State Tourism site and they are all located within walking distance of the main building. Since the main building- Morgan house has just six rooms, its occupancy is limited, so they have built other cottages to accommodate more.

IMG_0173
One of the other cottages nearby
IMG_0200
Another cottage

Apart from humans and birds, I found this spider inhabiting the place as well. I don’t know about you all, but I find spiders very intelligent. Any idea where they take their architectural degree and expertise to make a web from ?

IMG_0177

And this cobweb reminded me of a few more lines from the same poem I quoted earlier (God The Artist ):

God, when you thought of a cobweb,
How did you think of dew?
How did you know a spider’s house
Had shingles bright and new?
How did you know the human folk
Would love them like they do?

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

Kalimpong has many other places to visit as well, but as I said my plans were a bit different, so on day two, I took another long walk and visited a nearby Buddhist monastery which was closed for renovations, but at least I was allowed to see the top of the monastery. One could get a nice view of the whole town from there. I don’t have good pictures of the monastery, so please excuse me for that.

IMG_6565
Monastery, Kalimpong
IMG_6557
Top of Monastery

 

IMG_6555
View from the top of the monastery

As I was walking back from the monastery,  I was very much delighted to see Kendriya Vidyalaya (school) on my way as I have done my schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya (different cities) and my father was a teacher (just retired) in the same institution.

IMG_6552
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kalimpong

And those of you, who want to try paragliding, there are ways to do in Kalimpong. I didn’t do it since I had experienced it earlier and (as I mentioned earlier) I had different plans that time.

IMG_6553
Found this board about paragliding

 

 

After a bit of rest at the Moran house, I visited the market in the centre of the town which had many things to offer. The market is big and I bought some tibetan crafts and handmade goodies. I exhausted myself by walking the length of the market, its BIIIIGGGG. Anyways, I don’t have pictures taken of the market so I am skipping the story to the next part.

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

My friend wanted to rent a bike to visit the next destination- Lava. We had less time to sort out the bike finding process and all attempts went in vain and funnily enough, we landed renting a scooty. Yes SCOOTY. Boy did we take that as a challenge to take that mighty scooty to cover 34 kms distance to Lava with our backpacks (unloaded with a few stuffs that we bought at market). The way to lava from Kalimpong is essentially rising altitude with great slopes and it was fun to see how me manoeuvred the scooty at times with our science- driven brains.

 

 

IMG_6472
the friend that carried us- the rented scooty

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

I will share the last part of this trip- Lava (which will be a short one, I promise) in the next blog.

Hope you enjoyed reading, please let me know in the comments and share if you like.

Till later 🙂IMG_0202

…the opening titles

Yes, so here I am. I wanted to start blogging since 2013. The thoughts hovered my mind when I started reading a lot of blogs about so many different topics and was very happy to see the way people can share and actually there is a lot to share. I felt suddenly as if I am connected to a lot of people who share common interests. Yes, all thanks to technology and to internet, it has made so many things easier 🙂

It took me sometime to think what should I first write about … Well still having less clue about it. As I just wanted to write about general life (as of now…who knows I will be a great writer one day, lol), I would start with sharing some pics of some really wonderful places I visited within last year (yes, why not from last year, remember, I would have started my blog 3 years ago, so would have shared that anyways). I like travelling and would always pick my backpack to go anywhere if situations permit(money, vacations). There has been instances when I get completely lost in the lap of the nature, so much so that I forget the time. Will share some posts about places I have been to.

Anyways, so what was I talking about, yes about the places that I visited last year and some nice clicks from there. Please bear with me as I am learning photography (yes I am and nothing wrong with it).

 

 

 

IMG_0321
Just before Sunrise, Kangchenjunga

The above pic was taken at Kalimpong, early morning,just at sunrise. Believe me if you would, it was majestic to witness in real when the first rays of the day fell on the peaks of Kangchenjunga which gave it an orangish tinge as if some white canvass was being coloured with orange paint.

The good thing was, I didn’t had to go far to take this pic, just out of my bed and the window of my hotel room offered this view( amazing, isn’t it? 🙂 🙂 😀 😀 )

IMG_0149
The famous, Morgan House at Kalimpong

This click is of the hotel where I stayed. It is called Morgan house, which was originally Home to a family, surname Morgan. It has 6 rooms which the West Bengal Govt. Tourism has converted to a beautiful place to stay and is a hotel now. If you google about this place, talks of horror and ghost stories will come your way. Some people believe the ghost of Morgan and his wife still stay here. Afraid already?? Do not worry, I didn’t had any experience except for a small one which I guess was a prank from my friend and I believe if there are any souls wandering there, they are good 🙂  and also this place will offer the best scene of the Hills in whole of Kalimpong 🙂 so paisa vasool 🙂

IMG_0209
Golf court, Kalimpong

Who wouldn’t want to play a shot if you have such a golf court, agree?? Couldn’t resist posting this pic, it was 2 minutes walk from Morgan House.

 

IMG_0369
Golf court and around, Kalimpong

Another one from the side

IMG_0368

IMG_0372
Golf court, Kalimpong
IMG_0396
Tea (as I said, can’t live without that) at Lava, West bengal

The above pic is from Lava(West Bengal) which was 34 Kms(if i remember) from Kalimpong, a sleepy little disconnected town nestled in the hills. I was there for 2 days and almost was lost in the nature 🙂

I think its enough to start your blog with (what do you think). Will continue next blogs with some more pics from lava and further. Hope You like my pics and would like to visit these places. Do comment and let me know about this post.