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Small but Unavoidable

Few years ago I had attended a cousin’s wedding. The dressing room was crowded because the bride was being dressed up there. So I and a few other cousin’s decided to explore the wedding hall primarily the menu. We were just going to begin with the starters when one of the aunts called us to the dressing room. She seemed very tensed. There was mayhem in the dressing room. The moment we reached, the bride’s mother instructed us to start looking for a blue colored box. We were expected to get to the task immediately. I thought one of the expensive jewellery was lost. Suddenly a small girl shouted “Found it”. The box was handed to the beautician. I asked her what is there in the box. She said safety pins. It seems the bride’s dress was so heavy that additional safety pins were needed to tuck it. Since so many valuable things were there to be taken care of, no one bothered about safety pins. It turns out that was the most important thing since it was impossible for the bride to stand for so many hours without being tucked.

It is not just in wedding. Once I was standing in line at the airport, suddenly I heard “Madam do you have a safety pin in your purse. I need it to restart my cellphone”. The person behind me said “Its for you”. I looked around, there were 20 guys behind and 20 ahead of me. No matter where you are, you may be requested for a safety pin. It might be small in terms of cost or size but its use is unavoidable. Today, 10th April is International Safety pin day. It just reminds me, one should not be judged by their appearence but by their abilities. Next time you go out, please ensure you have a safety in your purse, since it is small but Unavoidable.

Penning on the Pen

Something came out while re-organizing the old cupboard which motivated me to pen my thoughts on the pen. It was my Grandfather’s fountain pen shown in the image above. I was in third grade, when I saw it for the first time. It was very special to my mother so one had to be really careful while holding it. I just wrote an ‘A’ with it and was simply amazed at the smoothness. From then onwards I started looking forward to writing with fountain or ink pen. Every time my mother re-organized that cupboard, I would take up the opportunity to use the pen. Most of the great litterateurs like Rabindranath Tagore, William Wordsworth, etc used to be shown with a Fountain pen. Seeing them a childhood fantasy began to take place in my mind. I started thinking, holding a pen would motivate one to write better.

We were allowed to use pens from grade 5. The results of an academic session use to come by post during summer vacation when I was in school. From the day, my Fourth grade results came, I started pestering my mother for an ink pen. The moment the ink pen came, I started studying the language textbooks and solving the assignments. Everyone was surprised since this happened 2 weeks before the school opened. They thought I was going through the change phase when mischievous kids become responsible. The reason was the fantasy. I always wanted to excel in language and have a beautiful handwriting. That is why I had took on the language textbooks. Even after the school started, I used to love doing anything which involved writing using the fountain pen. My school work was always up to date although my dress and fingers had ink stains. I realized my fantasy when I was in grade 8 and had moved to ballpoint pens. It is one’s thoughts and dedication which motivate a person but sometimes a fantasy inspires one to improve. Luckily I found a few fountain pens in an old pouch. Its so nice to look back and smile on those childhood fantasies.

A day for the Pranksters

Today is First April, which is often called the April Fools’ day. This is a day when people play simple pranks on their friends. The pranksters shout ‘APRIL FOOL’ after playing the prank. Most of us take these jokes lightly if played today.

April used to be a month of exams during my school days. So we would try to lighten the atmosphere with the excuse of April Fool’s day. One of the most memorable April Fools’ day happened within my team. One of my colleagues managed to play pranks on 6-7 people. She did it separately. On the same day, we had a team meeting. We all ended up complaining about her. I can still remember our manager’s face. He was neither able to laugh nor able to scold. Towards the end of the meeting we all were laughing. These simple events give a break from monotony. A year of social distancing and isolation has reminded us, it is so nice to meet others and have these special events. Every year I tell myself before going out, I should think before taking believing anyone but every year I get fooled. This it is different because I did not get fooled for the first time. It is because I did not go out. Let us pray that things go back to normal again and we are able to laugh together again.

Challenging the Marbles

A new children’s toy store opened near my house. I was passing by it on my way to the grocery store. My curiosity got the better of me and I ended up entering the shop. The colorful games are always a sight to behold regardless of the age. Among all the games, one game stood out. It was Brainvita and I ended up buying it. The very thought of challenging the marbles in this game fills me with energy.

This game has always been a challenge. I received the first Brainvita on my eighth birthday. Initially I used to end up with 8 or 9 marbles. I used to get bored after 1 or 2 games and give up. Most of my friends also ended up with same results. One fine day, someone asked me how intelligent I was. I did not have anything other than my scores. I asked myself, how should I confirm my intelligence. The answer was Brainvita. That day I decided to work on it. After playing for 2 hours I was able to complete a game with 3 marbles. The box said, if you end up with 3 marbles you are intelligent. I was happy and informed my mother. My mother asked if I would be able to reproduce it. That was a lesson for me, since I did not remember the steps to end up with 3 marbles. Before you claim anything, you should check all the facts. Same goes with our work, before marking anything complete, we should validate all the tasks have been done. It is most important to prove your expertise to yourself. Once you do that, you need not bother about what others think of you. I did continue my practice and eventually identified the steps to end up with 3 marbles. Sometimes I feel these solo games are a big motivation. If you want to turn your mind from negative thoughts just pick up brainvita and aim to get one marble. Soon you will be so engrossed that all the useless thoughts will be substituted by ways to find solutions. This is my way of activating my brain.

Enjoying with Colors

The festival of Holi happens when the season is about to change from Winter to Summer. There are warm days and cold nights. Many people fall sick. During my school days the final exam for an academic session used to happen in April. The month of march used to be full of internal assessment where our notebooks, workbooks and assignment books were checked. Falling sick had to be avoided because one may miss out on internal assessment.

On the day of Holi we used to prepare our bags with colors and pichkari. Pichkari is like a spray bottle. We would fill colored water in it and spray it on others. We would be given strict instructions to avoid water while leaving the house. Within 5 minutes of stepping out of the house, we would be colored and wet. In those days, cell phones were not common with kids so after 2 to 3 hours, it would be time for lunch. We would be so colored that it would be impossible to identify us. Calling up the neighbors to find out if we are near their house would not work. So our parents would come out in search of us. Once they found us, we would have to go home. That day we would spent long hours in shower. The rest of the day would be spent in instructions of being extra careful since we had exposed ourselves to the risk of getting cold by playing with water. The next day all of us would have colored faces. For a change, our school prefixes would be lenient in their checking. The amount of color on the face would show how actively one celebrated the festival. Although the festival of Holi would come right before the final exams, it would give us a colorful break from studies. I do pray those days come back again and we are able to meet everyone without the fear of getting sick. Wishing everyone a very Happy, Safe and Healthy Holi.

Celebrating Earth hour

Today, 27th March 2021 is the Earth Hour 2021. It is a world wide movement organized by World Wide Fund for Nature on the last Saturday of March. It is held every year by switching of non-essential electric lights for one hour between 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. We used to spend this time singing songs or reciting poems. We are so habituated of electric equipment that we cannot think of life without it. Pollution is increasing every day. Conserving forests and wild life has become a necessity. This day is meant to remind us of our responsibility towards our planet.

During lockdown many people spent their time on digital media. We all are aware of the side effects of looking at a screen for long hours. At the same time, there were many who came up with creative activities. People realized gardening is actually fun. They created beautiful vegetable gardens in their compounds and even on their balconies in flats. As one starts studying plants, seeds and manure, one realizes there is so much to do. One can use everything from broken mugs to jars to old boxes. I often used to wonder if every community had a green balcony competition or a green compound competition, where the greenery in each house or apartment would be judged. The one with the most healthy plants would be declared a winner. Every apartment would look so beautiful. How would it be if every kid’s school project included nurturing a plant for an academic year. This would help the child to learn so much. I think if all of us do our bit in increasing greenery and reducing carbon footprint, the world would be a better place to stay. Let us try to make this Earth a better place on this Earth hour.

Celebrating World Radio Day

The first thing that caught my eye in newspaper is today that is 13th February is World Radio Day. Mention of Radio brings up beautiful memories. Let me share the most recent one. Last year due to lockdowns, I was at home like everyone. Initially the rising counts created fear and I started looking for ways to keep myself busy. At that time, I started trying new things in kitchen. But the fear kept on coming so I started listening to Radio. The monologues by the RJs followed by songs allowed a nice break. Radio allowed me to move around the house doing different activities. Also it is less stressful for the eyes. There are different programs on various genres of music. I also discovered audio dramas for suspense stories. This took me to the world of Sherlock Holmes, Feluda, Byomkesh bakshi. I searched in net and found the Radio broadcast of special events like that of Apollo 11 when man stepped on moon or of India’s independence. These just reminded me Radio had been the such an important part of our lives although devices have changed from dedicated radio to radio app in cellphones.

These broadcasts not only helped me get over the pandemic stress but also helped me relive special events about which I had only read in books. Today Radio is part of my life while cooking and walking. I would take this opportunity to thank all the people associated with Radio for making our lives better in these tough times. Best wishes for World Radio Day.

Celebrating the Republic Day

My mother was surprised to see me awake early today before 5:00 am. I told her its 26th January and I am at home. 26th January is celebrated as the Republic Day in India. The Indian Constitution was created after Independence. The new constitution came into force on 26th January 1950. From then onwards, every year this day is celebrated as the Republic Day. This is one of the special events of winter. My school used to start at 7:30 am. We used to start practicing march-past 2-3 weeks before republic day. For this practice we used to reach school by 6:30 am in cold. I used to get up before 5:00 am to reach on time. Maybe this was the reason I woke up early today. The house captains used to align us based on our heights. The school band used to play the drum and we would practice march-past for days. “Haven’t you seen the march-past of Republic day!” This was the ending statement of every scolding of every teacher and captain for every mistake during the practice.

We used to have a dry run of the entire ceremony on the previous day. Before the Republic Day, I used to iron my uniform and polish my shoes. On 26th January, I would wake up early to dress up in freshly ironed uniform and put on the polished shoes. Then my mother would tie up two tight plats. We would reach school on time, stand in our designated positions. Then the march-past would begin. We would walk a path across the playground. Then the principal would come and unfurl the flag. As soon as the flag unfurls, we would sing the national anthem. The event used to complete by 8:30 am. We used to rush home, to catch the Republic Day Parade at the capital New Delhi. The defense parade is followed by the tableau of different states and national organizations. We used to discuss about our favorite tableau for the next few days. Our Constitution gives equal opportunities to everyone. We have leaders who have come from humble backgrounds. They have proved themselves through their work. They always inspire me to strive to be better. This year I watched the entire parade like school days. As the day comes to an end, I hope everyone is inspired to do their best and make 2021 a great year. Happy Republic Day.

The Farsighted Shopper

The precious Calculator

Whenever we buy gifts, we always think about its use to the receiver. Have you ever thought about gifting something which may not be of much use at present but may become a necessity in future. Seems difficult but its possible. Let me share a memory. My father, who was in shipping, had to visit Singapore for work. I was in 12th grade at that time. He was very fond of buying new gadgets. When he returned there was the regular big box of gifts, chocolates, etc. He got a new scientific calculator. My mother scolded him for spending on complicated gadgets which are not needed. He didn’t say anything but kept on smiling. At that time no one needed it. So the calculator was kept in cupboard. A year later, I was in college. I still remember the first physics laboratory. The professor mentioned everyone should have a scientific calculator. That day I came home and declared Baba(Papa) is the most farsighted person I have ever met. He did not know what would be my major in college, yet he got the calculator. That was my father, he knew what we needed way before time. He was unable to predict the same for himself. I often wonder what was it that gave him this power. I still don’t know how much salt would be needed in my meal until I taste it. Maybe it was his love for us, which gave him that ability. That is the father, who thinks about our wellbeing all the time whether he is travelling, shopping or resting. He always encouraged me in everything be it work, studies, etc.

Today is Father’s day. Let us take this opportunity to wish our father. The strongest pillar of our lives, the one point 24-7 helpdesk who can solve all problems, the farsighted shopper, the role model, the best friend and biggest gift of our lives. Happy Father’s Day.

Guided by the Poet

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

7th May is Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday. He is engraved in every aspect of a Bengali’s life. He is the first Indian Nobel Laureate. His works are quoted in appreciations, motivations, lectures and scolding in our upbringing. A celebration is not complete unless his name is taken. My mother was named after one of his books and even my name is synonymous to one of his books.

Let me share one story where he guided me. When I started working, I was posted in Mumbai with a few of my friends. Initially we explored all the famous landmarks of the city in group since we all were new to the city. Then came the phase where we all started discovering our own interests, some delved into studies, some sports, some into work and so on. It was at that time, I felt there was more to Mumbai than just landmarks. My roommates often visited the famous fashion street clothes market. On one such visit, I happened to look in the opposite direction while entering the market and saw rows of book store. We decided to explore the book market and then go to Fashion street. The book market was simply amazing. There were books on every topic from classics to mysteries to self help to competitive exams. I had been meaning to read Tagore’s works particularly the novels but never found time during college. I was unable to find them in local libraries also. My eyes just fell off my head when I saw his works in one of the shops. That day I did not buy any clothes although we went to Fashion street, still my bag was the heaviest because it had books. I ended up reading all the books in one month and wanted to go to the book market again. This time no one was available to accompany me, so I went alone singing the famous song by Tagore “Jodi tor daak shune keu na aashe” (If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone). That experience gave me the motivation to explore new cities on my own. I still have some of those books at home.

My Treasured Collection

This was one way where Tagore helped me grow. As we grow, we find our interests differ from others, many of us even find it difficult to fit into a particular group. This may seem strange but remember everyone is unique. Appreciate your individuality. I take this opportunity to thank Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore for motivating us.