Making India Clean

Making India Clean

Well, I don’t have a “Before” and “After” pic to validate my claims, but this is a true story.

I was part of a workshop this weekend at Manpho Convention Center, next to Manyata Tech Park. There were plenty of educated, rich businessmen who had come, dressed up in a prim and proper suit. Just outside this center, is a tea stall. During the morning break, hoards of *educated* people flocked the tea-stall, drank tea and smoked cigarettes…Now, just next to the tea-stall is a dustbin…which ideally is where the used paper tea cups should have been found. Alas, this is *India* (so, they say) and hence, most of them just threw their cups down on the roadside, mimicking what every other person was doing. At one point when I reached that tea-stall, there were hundreds of tea cups on the roadside, making it seem like a sea of white on the jet black road. Well, typically, I would have gone “Look at those foolish people, can’t they throw it in the bin, can’t they take care of India…blah blah blah”. But, for the first time in my life…I felt intense sadness, and not hatred for the people who littered the place. It was then that I began to truly change.

I went up to the tea-stall, picked up the dustbin, placed it right in the middle, and start picking up each and every tea cup from the road. One by one, people started turning and looking at what I was doing…I went on picking the cups…one after another…and throwing it in the bin. Nobody helped me out….but, most importantly….nobody stopped me. I finished putting all the tea cups into the bin…and just walked away…not speaking a single word. In the evening, when I went back to the same tea-stall, I kid you not…not even one used tea cup was on the roadside, everything was inside the bin. This is true, and I’m not mincing words here.

From this, I understood three major things in life:

1. If you find a place filthy, PLEASE clean it, instead of waiting for someone else to do it or cribbing about how filthy India is. Chances are, you might have been the cause for filth somewhere in India.

2. If you are doing something good, people might not necessarily help you out, but…surely…they will NOT stop you from doing it.

3. If a person finds a place clean, they will NOT make it filthy. It is only if someone finds the place already filthy…that they will litter it more. Next time you go to United States or Netherlands or UK and come back boasting and cribbing about how clean those countries are and how filthy India is…Stop. We know it. You don’t need to tell us what we already know. But, you can tell us one thing. What can YOU do about it?

Advertisements

My Struggles as a Non-Vegetarian

Protect all Animals!

Isn’t this chick cute? How can you eat it?

I was born into a proud vegetarian family, who have been veggies for generations. I loved eating various delicacies, amazing cuisines from different parts of the world, sumptuous meals cooked by two of the most beautiful women in the world: my mom and my grandma.

So, imagine my family’s surprise and my own, when I was introduced to non-vegetarian food when I turned 19. Things started taking a vicious turn after that, nothing remarkably bad…but, what started as a fad, slowly turned into a more poisonous addiction. I knew I was slowly losing myself to the allures of non-vegetarian food, and suddenly before I could even imagine, there used to be complete weeks when I would eat chicken, lunch and dinner. KFC became my second home, and my struggles to beat the meat and the fat (I had gained over 10kgs) sank without a trace.

I’ve become more controlled now, I can manage by eating chicken once or twice a week, not a great addiction, but an addiction nevertheless. I never believed in the cliched talks offered by vegetarians..”How can you kill animals for food?”, since the non-veggies immediately argue that all vegetarians are eating plants (which itself is a living being) that was primarily meant for animals.

I couldn’t even find the answers in religious texts, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam do not condemn killing animals if it is not for pleasure but for survival. Buddhism did offer me a different view, killing of any living being was forbidden, even the accidental killing of millions of bacteria around us. That I found to be another extreme.

It was at this confusing juncture that I came across 3 incidents that have truly changed my way of thinking.

(Graphic content. User discretion advised)

1. Bite of the Mango (Mariatu Kamara)

Reading the Bite of the Mango first set me thinking about the concepts of killing and death. Mariatu Kamara was twelve years old when she was caught up in the civil war in Sierra Leone. Most of her village was killed in a raid. Heavily armed soldiers, some no older than 12-year-old Mariatu herself, attacked her village, torturing her brutally and killing many of the people she loved. During this senseless violence, they cut off both her hands. She runs away and reaches a village, famished and fatigued. When they offer her a mango to eat, she realizes that she cannot even hold the mango in her hands. She cannot drink water from a stream nor wash her face since she no longer has hands.

Can you imagine someone cutting your own hands off? Can you even begin to visualize the pain that you will go through when your veins are spliced and blood gushes out? We scream in pain if a thorn pricks us. Imagine this pain. Imagine.

2. A dead dog on the highway to Pondicherry

I was travelling on a bike from Bangalore to Pondicherry when I noticed a horrendous sight. Yes, I have heard stories of accidents on roads and all of that, but, this scene made me cringe. A long, winding road was painted with blood and in the distance, I could make out the body of a dog. As we drove the bike closer and closer, we saw something much more horrific. The dog’s head had been completely quashed. Completely quashed. So completely quashed that it was stuck to the road. Imagine that one moment…when the dog faces impending death…imagine…how you would feel if you are facing death…how would you feel if you see someone you love…face quashed beyond measure? Imagine the pain.

3. Beheading of James Foley and Nick Berg

This was the major turning point. Early one morning, I logged in to FB to find the beheading of James Foley video going viral. I knew that it would be an unpleasant experience watching the video, but, I still gathered courage to watch it. I almost puked after watching the horrible incident. Other videos led me to the most horrific beheading ever on camera, that of Nick Berg, and I have a link to the video here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2f30af0d52. Watch it only if you dare. But, I urge you…take a look. You will know how much of suffering there is.

Imagine, how it would be, to be beheaded? Imagine.

These three incidents changed my life. You might argue that you cannot find the connections between beheading of humans versus eating animals, but, all of you know how a chicken is killed. All of us know what happens to a fish, or a cow, or a goat…at the time of slaughter. Now, my question is….why show empathy to human beings and not animals? The pain is the same for a chicken or for a human being.

The world is an universal energy field. We are all from the same source, God. This world needs to be made better, and we can start by loving all living beings around us, humans, plants, animals…everything. One day, when I become a vegetarian completely, that day I will be the happiest…since the world will be a better place to live in. Let us all strive for harmony and love and peace in the world. God bless us all. 🙂

You don’t need to try . . . too hard.

You don't have to try . . . too hard

You don’t have to try . . . too hard

I’ve been a firm non-believer of make-up. Well, girls might be of the opinion that it tends to make you look good, if that’s the case . . . well, great! But, there’s another section (of men and women) who put on makeup only so that the society accepts them. So, here’s my question . . . why should we try too hard to look good…for others? Is all the makeup that you put on, the lipgloss, the rouge, the kajal, the mascara, the eyeliner, the fake eyelashes…for the society? To all the women who wear makeup, try too hard to impress and fall in line with the “standards” of the society, just know that . . . you are gorgeous even without it.

Women of today are amazingly beautiful as they are. Financially stable, articulate, well-read, passionate, intense and fantastic. Gone are the days of trying to make ends meet, gone are the days when you had to look after the kitchen at home and nothing else, gone are the days that you need to accept the bullshit that your boyfriend/husband gives you because its the social protocol. Today, women are achievers, astronauts, nobel prize winners, pulitzer awardees, CEOs and what not!

And, so there’s no need for you to dress up, doll up, and turn on your “sexy” because people can look at you, boys can cast glances at you and drool over your mini-skirt or your clear, acne-hidden skin. Beyond the artificial enhancements, the pain you go through to match every shoe to your dress, match every accessory to your shoes, match every lipstick to your accessory, be presentable. Just don’t try too hard. The society is just plain stupid. It will never stop criticizing.

I firmly believe, as do so many men and mothers out there. Girls are beautiful, just out of bed, no makeup, their hair crazily strewn, skin wrinkled, acnes, and rashes included.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wear makeup. Simply be you. If you do wear make-up, wear it because you want to not because you feel like you have to.

You are beautiful as you are. Period.

In Love with You . . . Always and Forever ♥

Love

Waiting an Eternity

Quiet my heart, cry your tears in seclusion.

Rejoice; for today the love of your life will be married.

“Be the best man at my wedding, Vishnu” you said, nonchalantly;

And that was the knife to my heart; I died.

 

Do you remember at all, my angel?

The years of love we shared together,

The dreams of togetherness beyond seven lifetimes,

The castles of unconditional love, the stories of eternity

Etched on the walls of our beating souls?

 

I still ache for you, my love.

I yearn for a glimpse of you – surreal;

Across the floor, I notice

My angel with her hubby, happy and content;

Dressed in a resplendent saree;

Your hair braided till your waist,

Your voice, divine and enchanting;

Your face, the little mole on your lips,

Your deep blue eyes, your heavenly smell;

You laugh, and you smile,

And he kisses you gently on your cheeks,

I feel my tears burn my soul to cinder;

And, I move, in haste, to wipe them away,

Lest you see them;

 

My soul is missing you much, my love.

I wish for a single whiff of your heavenly breath on me;

A single strand of your long, luscious hair to brush past my face once more;

The music that lulls my heart to tears;

The imprints of your kiss, the echo of your whispers of love;

Will survive within me – long after I pass.

Erase me from your heart, my love.

Never were you mine;

 

Come to me, oh beautiful death,

Embrace me in your heavenly arms;

Let my soul be stripped of life,

And my heart be filled with eternal love. 

One Minute Reads: Family is Everything

Its been 3 years since I moved out of Chennai. There were belongings that I took with me to my new abode, Bangalore. Books, clothes, shoes, mobile phones, goodies, and cash. Some physical objects, some tangible. Some intangible. I left my heart back at Chennai as it refused to make the 8 hour trip across the Tamil Nadu border into Karnataka. Its been 3 long years, and though I have settled down in Bangalore, I have never really felt at home. I’m a family person. I can’t imagine a day without speaking to my grandparents, my parents, my sister. Today, I chanced upon a few photos hidden inside a long forgotten diary that I had carried with me. Love . . . Brother and Sister Love . . . Brother and Sister Mom and Daughter Love 1623577_419303368216364_2042999753_n 1896867_419394584873909_554203801_nI looked at these photos and tears dropped from my eyes. How I miss my family. Some relationships can never be forged again, some memories can never be replaced again. My family has been, and will always be my greatest gift from God. I miss Chennai. I wish that I go back to the place I love the most in the whole world.

I love you Dad . . . Always and Forever

I lay on the open terrace beside her. The divine smell of her long, luscious hair traversed the inches that separated my lips from her forehead. The wind stroked me tenderly with its ice cold fingers. The jet black sky was punctuated by the glow of million of stars. The moon beamed with all its glow, happiness personified.  With my outstretched arm, I cuddled her even closer into me. I was in love. Pure. Eternal. Love.

“God’s most amazing painting . . . the night sky. Isn’t it?” I asked her.

She grazed my neck with her tender lips, and ran her fingers across my chest.

“I thought you were his most amazing painting” she said with a smirk.

“Bad joke Maya” I retorted.

I turned my face towards her. A smile was playing on her lips. She looked up into my eyes with her blue eyes that were as beautiful and as deep like an ocean. I searched her eyes, eternally lost in its resplendence. She smiled reassuringly and placed her hand on my heart beating wildly and crazily for her.

I was in the most beautiful place in the universe. The moonlight danced across the whole world, the gentle breeze and the million of stars felt like magic floating in the air.

I closed my eyes. 

My dad was standing over me. I could feel his breath washing over me. He was smiling, grinning at me. I peered back at him, disbelievingly. 

“Dad?”

Father - A son's Hero

He smiled. “So happy for you son, that you married the woman of your dreams” he said.

“Like father, like son . . . dad” I replied, grinning.

He smiled back at me. “That’s my boy!”

My dad was my hero. Always was, always will be.

“I miss you dad. Why did you leave me?”

“I never did Vishnu . . . I never did. You can feel me, caressing you always.”

“But you are dead dad . . .you left me.”

“I never died Vishnu ma . . . I’m always alive. In you. Around you. Within you.”

Tears streamed down my face. I missed him like hell.

“Do you love me dad?”

“Always my little one. This moment . . . Every moment. Forever.”

He reassuringly brushed my hair with his hand.

The moonlight filtered through my closed eyelids into my mind. I felt at peace. 

I could feel him smiling down at me. I could feel his warmth, his love flowing through my body, assuring me that his love for me was true, always true.

I wanted to be in that moment forever, suspended in my own dreams, with just him for company.

Maya kissed me on my chest and wiped my tears off my face. She understood my silent communion with the one man I loved beyond the world.

“I love you Vishnu . . . ”

I clutched her fingers even tighter and kissed her gently on her forehead. “Maya  . . . I love you more with each passing day…each passing moment. I’m crazy about you.” The moment I finished speaking, I realized that my dad had told these exact words to my mom moments before his death.

Dad, you are right. You never left me.  

I smiled.

She smiled.

The night sky and the million of stars smiled back at me.

“When I die, where will I go? I will be here in the winds, in the night sky, in the million of stars, in the moments of happiness; and if you loved me, you will feel me around you, always. In your silent moments you will feel my presence. Wherever you are . . . your love will keep me alive…always. And you will find me in your very heart, in your every heartbeat.” he had said to me on his deathbed, his frail arm placed across my heart. 

I remembered.

I lay Maya’s hand on my heart, where I knew my father was. Resting in Love.

I love you dad . . . Always and Forever.

When I Die . . . Do not Cry | Audio

When I die,

Don’t shed tears,

Celebrate.

For I lived my life to the fullest,

The way it was supposed to be.

When I die,

Don’t weep,

Raise a toast.

For I achieved all that I aspired to be,

And made a gang of friends and well-wishers.

When I die,

Don’t feel low,

Rejoice.

For I always followed my heart,

I never gave up, nor gave anyone up.

When I die,

Don’t lament,

Fly high.

For I was a phoenix rising from the ashes,

After every failure.

When I die,

Don’t weep,

Party.

For I lived life as an adventure,

With no fear, nor anxiety,

But always with courage, and confidence.

When I die,

Don’t ponder.

Feel proud.

For I forsake my ego,

I made love my religion,

And hearts my temple.

When I die,

Don’t brood,

Dance.

For I lived life like a song,

And lost myself in its divinity.

When I die,

Never be sorry.

Cheer.

For I lived life fully,

And, loved with all my heart.

When I die,

Don’t worry,

Applaud.

For I leave the world a better place,

And go back to the One who I always loved.

When I die,

Don’t sulk.

Smile.

For wherever my soul might be,

Your smile will keep me living on.

For an eternity more.

***

I recorded this poem in my own (untrained, unedited, unmodified) voice. Hope you like it. 

Instrumental Credit: Nils Frahm. Track Name: Sol.

A world with no boundaries

Unconditional love

I lived in a world with no boundaries,

Where time ceased to move beyond the present,

Where the mind thought of no one else but you,

Where the heart knew no fear but only love,

Where the soul found itself dissolved completely . . . in you, 

Where the universe shrunk to contain just the two of us,

Where the only tears I shed were of happiness,

A prayer of hope,

Of love.

And I dissolved . . . melted . . . unconditionally in you.

I wish to die in your embrace . . .

For my nirvana is not in reaching God,

But in dying on my angel’s lap.

I loved you with all my heart,

With everything I’ve got . . .

And nothing else mattered.

My rendezvous with God!

I woke abruptly from my deep sleep as a brilliant flash of light literally blinded me. Squinting my eyes in protest, I turned towards the ceiling of my bedroom cursing all the while.

“Hello my dear boy!” God beamed a million-watt smile.

“Huh? Could you please turn off your toothlights please? Its blinding me!” I pleaded.

“Oops . . . sorry my dear” God said and snapped his fingers. The lights glowing from his teeth went out in a flash.

I rubbed my eyes in wonder. I couldn’t believe that God was standing in front of me. . . well, rather . . . he was floating.

“Is it really you God?” I asked awestruck.

“Ofcourse my boy . . . Whom else were you expecting?” God shot back and adjusted his long hair full of cobwebs.

“Yuck!”

“What now?” He asked.

“Your hair . . . Its full of cobwebs! When is the last time you’ve had a bath God?” I probe.

“Huh . . . Its all your fault! You bathe me in milk once in a blue moon and then forget all about me! How am I expected to stay clean?” He questioned sadly.

“We didn’t know you needed to bath everyday! I thought you were well taken care of in heaven!”

“Well . . . as a matter of fact, we don’t have any shampoos or conditioners back there . . . all we have are an abundance of waterfalls . . . but, no soap! Humph!” God exclaimed.

“Yuck!” I ridiculed, holding my nose playfully.

“You are a naughty kid! I will ask my personal assistant Mr.Fate to keep a close watch on you. Wait and watch!” God teased.

“Am just naughty, but . . . you are evil God! Why do you create tsunamis, earthquakes and natural calamities and kill innocent people?” I shot back.

He sighed.

“It is with a heavy heart that I do it beta, sometimes you humans take relationships for granted. You understand the value of a person only after they pass away. Till the moment they are alive, they are treated like mere dogs. That’s why I create natural calamities. . . to make humans realize the value of love, care, affection and above all hope. Hope that the next generation would treat humans as humans and not as objects. They are my sons and daughters beta and I need to take them away to heaven with me. It hurts me like hell, but I still do it even though my heart aches.”

I nodded in silent contemplation.

I tried changing the topic. “How is it that you never grow old God? Do you use some anti-aging creams?”

God blushed a bright red. “Now . . . you make me shy! I have drunk the elixir of life potion you see! That’s the secret to my beauty” He winked his eyes in pride.

“Oh God! You are so vain!” I teased.

He let out a huge laugh and brushed my hair with His hand.

“So . . . Mr. Aditya, I heard your mom complaining that you aren’t concentrating on your studies at all! Is that so?” He asked.

“Huh? Aren’t you supposed to KNOW if I’m studying well or not instead of asking me?” I shot back, bemused.

God smiled sheepishly. “Well . . . the servers in heaven have crashed down for the past two days, so am not keeping track”

“Why is that?”

“It’s because of all of you . . . Look, you multiply and reproduce at the speed of light! We can’t keep adding fate lines into the server for every baby that is born. Even before we write one child’s destiny . . .you produce a hundred more!” He sighed.

“That’s because we love families and kids God . . .” I argued. “Don’t you have a family?”

“Am an orphan Aditya . . . I have no parents. That’s why I love the world being filled with happy families and kids. It gives me happiness.” He said.

“Oh . . . Are you a bachelor too then?”

God grinned sheepishly. “Guilty as charged!”

“You must lead a boring life!”

“Well . . . you can’t have everything in life!”

“But . . . aren’t you God Himself? I mean, you can do ANYTHING you want to!”

God-s-creations-god-the-creator-10507897-1280-800

He smiled. “Let’s just say I haven’t found the right woman in heaven as yet!”

I rolled my eyes. “I thought heaven was like . . . well, heaven!”

God laughed. “Heaven is on earth my dear boy”

“On earth?”

“Yes . . . This was heaven once upon a time . . . but, now its turning into hell.”

“Earth is heaven?” I ask again in amazement.

“Yes it is Aditya . . . Look at all the trees, the waterfalls, the snow capped mountains, the flowers, the rainbows, the oceans, the stars, the rain . . . everything is heavenly isn’t it?”

I gape my mouth in wonder. “But . . .but . . . we don’t even realize that we are living in heaven?”

God smiled sadly. “Humans are caught up with individual fantasies, ego, jealousy, mistrust, deceit, treachery, lies and hate that you don’t have time to understand that you are living in heaven”

I nodded in silent contemplation.

“So, back to the question I asked you . . . Why aren’t you studying well?” He questioned.

“God . . . There are so many things I need to do . . . Watch cricket matches and serials on TV, speak with my huge group of friends, go to parties, coffee shops, play games on Xbox, chat on FB, eat, play, sleep . . . ” I rattled on.

“FB?”

“Facebook, God!” I shook my head disbelieving. “Don’t tell me you don’t know that!”

“What does it do?” He asked.

“Well . . .its a platform where you can catch up with all your friends and chat and share photos and videos!”

God beamed. “Will you create one for me too then?”

I laughed. “Aren’t you just like a cute little boy? Sure . . .I will create a profile for you God!”

He extended His arms towards mine. “Friends?” he asked.

“Friends!” I exclaimed and shook His hands. A jolt of electricity seemed to rush through my veins.

“Ask me any wish Aditya . . . I will grant it to you”

I thought long and hard. Any wish? Wow . . . I could ask for the fastest car, the biggest house, the prettiest girl! Anything!

“Give me a world without corruption, poverty, illiteracy and misdeeds and a world full of love and happiness God”

God looked at me with pride. “Its in your hands Aditya”

“Mine?”

“Yes . . . Yours and the billions of other humans in this world.” He continued.

My face fell. “That’s impossible God!” I said.

“Nothing is impossible Aditya . . . I have given each and every human being the power to change the world!”

“But . . . ?”

“No ifs and no buts! Just promise me that you will not indulge in any of the misdeeds that you know of. Change should begin with you and spread to the world Aditya” He pressed on.

“I will change, but . . . the people? They won’t!”

“Why won’t they Aditya? Nobody was born a bad person. It was the circumstances which made them bad. Believe in the magic of change, believe in the magic of love and tomorrow the earth will turn into heaven again.”

I nodded my head. I needed to hear this.

“Promise me that you will concentrate on your studies and do India proud! And follow your dreams come hail or shine, I have created problems only because I trust you to break them. Problems help you grow stronger. It gives you courage. Spread love and happiness to the world. Share with the underprivileged. Make them change. Make them see a better future . . . for themselves . . . for their families . . . for their kids . . . for their future generations. You have the power. You can create heaven on earth. Will you promise me that Aditya?”

My eyes were wide open in awe. “Yes, I will God . . . I will!”

“Deal?”

I laughed.

“Deal!” I exclaim with pride.

He kissed my forehead. “That’s my friend!” He said.

Just as He was preparing to teleport himself back to heaven, I asked Him a question.

“God . . . Why don’t you come to earth more often? We need you here. They said you were omnipresent, aren’t you?”

He smiled a divine smile. “Am always around you Aditya . . . Everywhere” He said.

“Everywhere?”

“Yes . . . everywhere!” He smiled back.

“I don’t see you anywhere!” I remark.

“Well . . . what do you think are the powers of God?” He asked.

“Hmmm . . . I guess you can do whatever you want and create anything you wish . . . ”

“Create human beings too?” He probed.

“Ya . . . I guess you can do that” I say.

“And love unconditionally?” He asked again.

“I guess so . . . Ya!”

“Don’t you know of anyone else who can do that?”

It struck me like a bolt of lightning.

“My mother?” I gape.

He smiled.

Mom_Loves_me_by_garang76

“Not only your mother . . . but, all the mothers in the world.” He said.

“The women too?”

“Well . . . they would become mothers one day!” He said with a wink.

‘Wow’ I thought to myself.

“Hard to believe?” He asked.

I shook my head.

“I’ve been around you God every day and I don’t even know it!”

He laughed. “Now you know!” He said.

“But . . . aren’t you supposed to be a male?”

“That’s your notion Aditya . . . I can take any form. Infact, I take the form of women more because they are the epitome of love.”

“That’s why half the world is filled with females?”

“Yes . . . They are all manifestations of Me”

“And . . . knowing this, we ill-treat them, misbehave and harass and rape them?” I ask in shock.

“Humans don’t understand my value Aditya . . . They treat me as objects.”

“I won’t allow it God!” I exclaimed.

“Huh?”

“I won’t allow people to mistreat women from now on!”

He smiled. “Thats my boy!”

“I will make sure the world understands that women are the messengers of love and the manifestation of God Himself! That’s my promise”

He smiled. “Thank you Aditya . . . I hope one day . . . the world will change and learn to respect women. And that day . . . ”

” . . . The world will turn into heaven again!” I proclaim.

“YES!” He beamed.

“So you will grant my wish?” I asked Him.

“Will you uphold your promise?” He asked back.

“I will!” I said.

“Then . . . I will too!” He said.

I smiled. He smiled back.

And with a flash, He was gone.

“Wake up Adi! Its time for your college!” my mom screamed into my ear.

“Huh??” I wake up with a start. Was it a dream after all?

“Here . . . I’ve prepared coffee!” my mom said, handing me a cup. “And today I have prepared your favorite breakfast!” she said and kissed my forehead. A jolt of electricity seemed to rush through my veins.

I hugged her tightly. “I love you ma!” I said.

She hugged me back. I felt a drop of her tear fall on me. “I love you too Adi!” she said.

Tears brimmed my eyes as the only messenger of my rendezvous with God.