Our school recently informed us that from now on they would start taking oral tests , better known as VIVA. For checking whether we truly comprehend things in classes or not. It was our first time giving it and I for one was scared and nervous. How difficult it would be to face a teacher one on one but obviously I had to give the vivas if I was to score good. Secondly I had understood things, and I didn’t want to spoil my vivas with my nervousness.
On the day of my Chemistry viva, 1 hour before the scheduled time I started feeling jittery because it was my class teacher who would question me. I started walking here and there because there were butterflies in my stomach .
At that time, my younger cousin entered the room, he had crayons in his hand and a paper in another. I had told him to draw a night sky so that he would not disturb me but here he was and out of anger and nervousness perhaps I shouted at him to leave the room .
He looked at me with his innocent eyes and asked softly
“ Di ! there is only 1 moon but how many stars should I make ?”
There are billions and trillions of stars aren’t there? But what would I tell him?
“ You can draw as many as you like. Just leave the room “ I said
“ As many as i like??” he asked with wide eyes “ there are so many stars in the sky but all surrounding just one moon?? “
“ Yes all surrounding just one big moon “ I replied
“Or they are scattered all over. Not surrounding anything! ”
“ Yeah” I replied gruffly.
“ di why are you so angry ?” he said
“ I am not angry, I am just nervous, I have a test and then some pending assignments and then…. Nevermind just go and draw something the sky if you wish”
“Oh so you are like the moon. Centre of it all! ” He said and left the room.
He came back to my utter utter displeasure teasing “ Not centre of attraction, centre of all problems” I had to give in. My life appeared..
I sat there to just revise once again but my brother’s words resonated in my head.
Maybe I was making too big a mountain out of a mole? Maybe I was scared when instead I should be happy that I got to interact one on one. And what better opportunity than now to actually show who you are. But you know what? I didn’t apply this to my chemistry viva that time. Of course. I felt nervous but the viva went just fine!.( If you care to know!)
But more than that I think the proposition in my mind which is something different was just wrong. Which means he is right. My cousin. We all do live in our own universes. Where we are the moon surrounded by different stars of different shapes and sizes and the sun. But the moon is illuminated by its surroundings, right? The sun and the stars. For us our biggest flaw or the biggest challenge is like the sun – massive and hot. Every challenge seems big. But in the end it is the light of the sun which when reflected makes the moon and us, who we are , illuminate.. ( Not exactly beautiful, yes, but it may soon be in your hands!)
And the remaining stars are the everyday problems some big, some small but all of them a beautiful attribute to define our universe.
IF the moon starts hating the stars ( Which cannot happen, maybe some scientific deed could explain) what will it be other than a mere dark spot, just like our lives without obstacles- dull and boring.
We all need ups and downs in our life, maybe that is why a sudden change in our exam pattern was required , to surprise us, yes but also to enhance our personalities. We all like to hear the success stories filled with chunks and chunks of problems, not luck.
I know it is not that big of an incident to learn this from, it was just a viva ( to say that so simply though is still a big deal because it felt big that time) , there are bigger problems , Yes I fully agree.
But learning can come from anywhere I believe. Maybe what we now think as stars are just waiting for us to learn our lesson 🙂 It is if we just don’t get too scared away. Try once. Going in?We will too!
Written by KHUSHI.M
Heyy there everyone. We all deal with problems we do and you do too! it was just to give you an understanding that why we can’t and shouldn’t wish for a problem free life! Hope you all liked this post. A deep topic indeed( Not restricted to the current time only) it is and we would love to hear anything and everything from you!!.
Imagine someone, some people breaking into your homes. The knocking and greetings dismissed ( wait what?) and stepping into your home with loaded guns, entering and opening cupboards and racks for anything gold documents or just anything. They know they will find it. All the documents.
And if you hadn’t been careful to know or do something , admonishing you with sticks and canes.
Not what we expected right now.
But not that it is not happening today..
Afghanistan – a country in south Asia, our neighbouring country has been overrun by the Taliban. On the day of our 75th Independence Day celebration when our country’s Prime Minister underlined the serious threat of terrorism, later came the news of Taliban, a terrorist organisation, that it had captured Presidential Palace of Afghanistan. It had captured the capital Kabul without resistance. It has been an utter shock for everyone and the two of us can’t help but mull over it again and again in our thoughts and prayers.
Kabul has been taken over, and Afghanistan’s name has changed to the Islamic Emirates, with the Taliban even ceremoniously declaring their rule over the state, promising an inclusive open Islamic government. With the Taliban overflowing the country, emitting threats for security for neighbouring countries as well as world wide nations, foreign ministries of nations will be wrestling and deliberating again over the question – ‘Should the Taliban government be accepted?’ Some fast countries including Russia and China have already strided one step ahead. International relations are built on ensuring peace, harmony, cooperation and maintaining security as well as addressing concerns in an effective manner. However another aspect, if not less important is providing aid to countries and addressing issues that are important in response to the donor country. Foreign aid by one government to another can effectively underline its objectives such as combating poverty, health, education as well as terrorism.
Though it is a partnership between governments and depends upon the nature of undertakings by the two governments it ultimately benefits who?
The people of the place.
Afghanistan was as much our ally than any other. In 1950, a Friendship Treaty was signed between Afghanistan and our country which has continued to expand development projects in Afghanistan including public libraries for people. The hasty troops pullout of The United States has led to the ultimate Taliban takeover, contradicting the relations it had evolved with Afghanistan over the past few decades. The previous 20 years had meant 20 years of fighting for women’s rights. Under The U.S it had been achievable.
“I can’t believe the whole world abandoned Afghanistan… Our relatives are gonna get killed”
Today it is the responsibility of all the nations who had affirmed in the past, friendly ties with Afghanistan and its people to really come up to their good means they had meant. There are horrible pictures from Afghanistan being forwarded on every social platform. People are running frantically, are subdued, or are shut in their homes. Thousands of people can be seen thronging the Kabul Airport and climbing the evacuation aircrafts parked on the taxiway. The frenzied spirit of the people to evade the Taliban regime just to escape the cruelty in their lives is clearly evident as they dangle off evacuation flights meant for diplomats and Embassy people.
However it is an even tougher battle for the women. Not a battle, an end of the matter consequence to be correct. The UNSC affirms that the Taliban says it will ensure the rights of women in the country. We know what that really means. The rights would be assured/deleted under the Sharia Islamic law. Under their interpretation women have to drop out of universities and give up their lives they had earlier worked for. Pictures of women without hijab have been vandalised, and they will have to cover their body and not be allowed to step out of the house. Most likely women will not have any doable representation in the government. Women won’t have any life, because they won’t have any choice..
“It’s a tragedy and it was completely avoidable…”, Immigration activists.
The fight is and has always been against religious radicalisation and Islamic terrorism, not Muslims. Leaving them to rejoice the future of Afghanistan will be the worst open mistake we will make in the face of terror. We must ensure an escape for Afghans as well, and open up borders and accept Afghan refugees looking for shelter. Evacuation flights must be sent for the people who wish to escape in capacity. Humanitarian aid must be revamped. It can still be different from the 1996 time. That is if the world chooses to support the afghans. Actively.
“Biden must protect Afghans amid Humanitarian crisis- Malala….
” When I die wrap me in my country ‘s flag.”, an Afghan woman.
“As Afghans take responsibility for their future, the world must stand with them in solidarity and support- Prime Minister Modi, in 2015”
Humanity is at its true test.
If you really care about the situation in Afghanistan don’t hesitate to contribute to the protest in your own way, be it through writeups, (like us), joining protests, speaking in social media, art illustration, singing, or basically anything. ✌. We are not the policy makers but support like such brings solidarity. Thank you.
“At the stroke of the midnight hours, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. Not without a costthough……”
Mama shuffles a piece of paper into his hand and fondles it in a frail knot with her weak and shivering hands.
She closes her eyes and sits back in her chair coughing.
They had planned to watch the parade in the small Sony screen she had adored till date and kept it alive through regular fixes here or there. The screen would wake up on coughing and screeching as the son would wrestle with the remote buttons with his technical mind.
“Ma, Ma, where are you? Maa ! ” he shouts now at the moment. He knew this much that she was getting old. But hadn’t expected to.. No time was the right time. Not certainly amidst their bonding moment/
The flag brooch falls down, and a loud crunch comes from beneath his foot. Barely audible to the recipients in the room.
She doesn’t move now. She sits there a still figure disobedient to his trying call.
No not yet…
Some more spits and yellow phlegm. Some more hopeful coughs. And finally there is complete silence. That is Her heart stops.. Silence-
“ Maaa!!” He shakes her violently, and recoils down in sad weak cries.
“Maa pls come back”
But she doesn’t move and doesn’t pay heed to a single word.
Cries are the sounds in the room. After sometime, his red swollen eyes jerk up in movement. He opens the crumpled paper in his hands and begins to read it.
Today I am holding a pen after 75 years to write the last time in my life. I know that I am going to die tomorrow. I just know it is nearby, waiting. My 34 year old son will be arriving here for our celebration together. Still handsome and chiselled. Not exactly a celebration our bonding moment.
Maybe I had to be happy and smiling about it. Independence day.. Freedom.. Mahatma Gandhi.. freedom fighters! And whatnot.
Today I just feel sad. Gloomy sad. Not happy. And I can see a tear carving beneath my eye.
On the 15 day of the 8 month, I was there, my childhood self. Sullenly sitting behind in the cart. My sikh father walking behind. My mother among all the ladies…? no.
I was working to hold back my emotions because I knew any sound could get me killed as well. Invite killing stares from the other women.
We were travelling to the railway station from Ladakh to Punjab. I remember sleeping in the verandah with our family together and staring at the heavy black clouds carving into the air. And snippets of red bursted in night like guiding stars to traveller ‘flight.
It was Fire at the nearby village. I couldn’t hold my eagerness to visit the river the next day. Hands and legs and limbs If luck favoured even cut breasts or a face with no ears!
We got free from the British today that time. However there is so much more to the text.
Our Nehru ji and his Congress didn’t do enough to prevent the bloodshed. Their negotiations failed and I will and everyone who survived are the witnesses to prove them to blame for those who died! However. Let us move on.
Among the 14 million people who had to leave their homes, the 7 year old me was one of them as well. I was inside my small house with my dad when we heard chants of Allah, and loud clicking of metals. They had arrived.
I could not see them behind my father but through the long silhouettes under the roaring fire I could make out the weapons were sharp. Would they behead us? Would they cut us into pieces? Would they touch me after killing my father?
I didn’t know. They had the whole village lit into flames. All the houses, everything. My father gestured me towards the back door. He said he would come with clothes for me and some utensils. I was scared but he cared for me too much. He even defended me when grandfather was about to behead me among all the women before the riots.
Later when I had come to meet him after marriage we both rejoiced in the memory of the village. I still miss my Muslim friends and wonder about their state in Pakistan. Have they gotten married too? It is just so dreadful.
I see myself crouching in the same hiding spot and the replay of the scenes amidst laughter, in the living room. It goes like this first my friendship with my friends to silence, Muslim neighbours leaving in green lorries, Aarifa the last time meeting me then more riots, and my elder brother. And finally my mother.. Lovely end.
We talk about Fraternity. I say What fraternity? Three wars have been fought at the Kashmir Border and I am sure more will be fought. Revolts happen in robust show of religion ain’t they even after freedom?
Today at a time when we look at the past there is so much that India and Pakistan could have been together and the partition is now a black stain to both the countries where blood flowed in streams. Indeed, Partition should not have happened. Cyril drew without knowing that the lines he was drawing would be lines of blood.
But a wise person has said acceptance of past can tread us into decisive steps forward.
My mind couldn’t think about anything else today. I was scared to speak mournfully in such a frenzy of elation or hear the “Old woman is mourning again”.I wanted to write all this in my diary. Maybe this diary will go up for a historical record or something of a partition survivor. I can be famous after death too ain’t I? Eh I just feel happy knowing I got to write the sacrifices of the real people before I died. In some way.
Typical of Ma who can think of joking on her death hour, her son thought, grinning. He looks at her mother now. She didn’t tell him all this.
Now she looks so solemn and quiet, hands resting on her knees. Without movement. Her eyes don’t itch as they used to when she blinked, and spoke or laughed. She is no more.
He starts to cry.
“Ma please come back na!”.
Partition is a grave reality. A crisis between two communities which lived harmoniously together for centuries. Ethnic cleansing swept Punjab, Lahore and the region we call today as Pakistan. Yes it is very true that we have had grave distrust in relationships due to Partition, and it is another matter of thought. Yet today It is not social acceptance of Partition as it happened, rather the sorrowful tragedy has become a part of exchange of swathes of debates of another intention. This was a big refugee crisis in the south Asia continent. Its impact, far greater than we can pen down. Partition shares the common nuances, to World wars, across the European continent as well as wars worldwide. Gradations of people ‘s lives and emotions, deaths and betrayal, trust for sometime, and revenge the next get tucked away from the original debate. Are we yet still entangled and scuffled? Accepting the history is very important to understanding ourselves as we are. Blaming it or defuncting it from history textbooks can do no good. At the stroke of this midnight hour, when this post gets posted on 15th August, we must remember that this date means independence to us, too short from the real context because 15th August,1947 was yet another day of torment for those people who survived in a fearful atmosphere. Only torment and well
‘Have a great day! Didn’t you check these sweets out? They are freshly baked rich oil! Oh, madam you are a beauty. This colour will suit you the best’
Shopkeepers bestowed the passers-by with plethora of compliments, disappointment flayed when they got to knew that people just came in to check out. “What Madam! You wasted our time”, the shopkeeper would scoff. The MANOJ SAREES shop was tucked between two other SAREE shops, and a perfect round of competition was full on. A light shri Ram bhajan could be heard from the shop. It was anything but hidden in the night, lit by strips of different colours of tiny LED lights, the difference due to the switching colours from red, yellow, blue and white and a big yellow bulb shined above the threshold, thronged over by people in and out. The look was perhaps synonymous to Diwali that day. The fluttering lights symbolising the switches and chiaroscuro from dark to white and the immortality of another light, one which is always there, hidden away from us, right at the centre.
The shop looked majestic.
A red Toyota car came and stopped near the market, and polished shoes, emerged out as the door opened. In the streams of purple and blue the gentleman entered the shop in a heavy brown coat. He carried a languid grin on the face sweetened by a slight petite dimple on the other cheek. Uncertainty flayed in his eyes as he moved towards what was supposedly a women’s saree shop. Maybe for many such unsure commuters, shopkeepers are always on the cue, ready to remove their confusion with their profound knowledge, because the very next moment the shopkeeper and with his nurtured round belly grinned and beckoned the gentleman in.
‘Tyohaar hain tyohaar. Yaha pe aapko badiya saree mil jaygee! Suna hain bagal waali shop mein toh ghatiya kapde ki saari bechi jaa rahi hain. loot maccha rakhi hain. (Today is the festival. You will get really good sarees here! I have heard that in the other shop beside it, bad cloth is being sold. The people are being looted away.’ The shopkeeper crunched his face and said.
He continued ‘ I have just heard and informed you. And you didn’t tell me what is your wife’s favourite colour?’
The man finally answered ‘No I am not married. It is for um a neighbour.’
‘Yes, she is old and can’t visit these shops on her own. The man remembered and continued ‘But she loves to dress up’
‘Arey, so why didn’t you tell me before’.
You didn’t allow me to say, thought the gentleman, Ramesh.
‘She would love sarees then. Appreciate it better than anyone. In our time women wore only sarees, not what we have today. Graced men’ he nodded and shook his head .
‘See you must tell her about this shop. And about what I had told you before you know…’ Sure, she would love some ramble. He shuffled behind for what seemed like 10 minutes ‘Ah! This one. Red orange texture. Having a nice border. Jute silk saree. Take it. She must be having a matching red blouse’
Left with no other choice Ramesh chose the colour and stood up with the shopkeeper towards the cash counter. ‘Old women like to dress up young.’ The shopkeeper said as Ramesh was leaving.
After his purchase, Ramesh hurriedly walked out in the night and in a similar fashion into his car, and drove off. ‘Diwali is today, and I must surprise her’ Ramesh thought while driving. The night encompassed thin layers of blue and black dominated over by a blaze orange. Suddenly, you could see the red Toyota parked near the iron wrought gate. A strip of lights was haphazardly placed over the gate. Ramesh approached the door, in a bit of wonder and looking down sheepishly rang the doorbell.
Black chappals came visible, below black coloured pants a brown shirt, and a perched oval face bearing a grim serious expression for a wise old man. After some time though, Ramesh realised the serious expression was because of something else entirely.
Ramesh asked excitedly ‘How is she, Ba? I have bought her a nice dress to wear too! she will be so happy!!’
Yes she will be. Certainly.
Ramesh waited for the man to say something. Beckon him in. He felt sheepish that day. After so many long unmet days.
‘so, what are we doing standing here. Let us go inside!’ Ramesh squeaked a tone.
The old man finally his neat demeanour giving up, teared up. Seeing Ramesh ‘s confusion, he pushed his head under his collar and tried to clean his tears. But failed. ‘She is unwell. ‘He loudly spoke in a throaty voice and started sobbing.
Ramesh couldn’t believe it. ‘She must have a bit of fev- ‘
‘SHE HAD A HEART ATTACK LAST WEEK’ the old man cleared. Sensing Ramesh ‘s shock he added ‘And… she is alive, but it feels as if she has lost her will to live. Lost herself. She doesn’t talk much. To me. She has changed entirely.’
‘That is why I called you. Before leaving, you had been close to her. Very much. This is an old man ‘s last attempt. I want to see her recover into her old self. Even if people expect old people to have lost energy already. So, you would stay here?’
The old man again asked ‘You would stay here, right?’ He thought the kid was shocked, and sad to hear the sudden news.
‘Hah!’ Ramesh said. An affirmation?
Ramesh walked in with an unusual attire on his face. There were no decorations, nothing. He put the jute bag on the mahogany table in the centre of the room.
And then started backing away slowly. From the room. He made his way and the old man confused asked ‘Aren’t you going to meet her? aren’t you gonna do what you always do. Talk to her.’
Ramesh, his beady eyes distraught again iterated a ‘Hah!’ just started backing away and when finally, he could feel the entrance behind himself turned and started walking out.
The old man finally understood what it was! He waited for him to move towards his car to come back only with his luggage. Of course.
He didn’t though. He didn’t turn. He went towards the car but didn’t move towards the rear. He moved towards the front wheel, and didn’t look back as he started searching his pockets sitting inside.
‘WHERE ARE YOU GOING YOUNG MAN?’, the old man called. Confused.
Ramesh looked around. The old man did have a very loud voice..
Sensing people, he turned and approached the old man . And hugged him. And spoke loud enough as well ‘Have a nice day dear uncle! And take care Aunty!’ uncle replaced Ba..He thrusted the the Ganesha gift card into his hands and walked away. Swinging a melody Ramesh started the engine. And the car roared and in no time went away. The old man looked at his occupied hands
‘I have many of these’.
And the gift prolonged into darkness as the door of the house creaked and closed.
Hey everyone. This time we bring to you a poem that we wrote amidst conversing. In an easier way poem with a person. Just have a companion who shares with you the knack for poetry ( or wants to write poetry), and bring about a conversation in poetry. the conversation can be in depth on life, love, friendship or basically anything. We two found it is a great way to practise and and get in line with ‘poetic language’. Our first attempt wasn’t easy. Check this out.
Kunjal: Life,my life is smattered into colours of red and hue,
Red is not inspiring, hue of prolonging darkness,
I don’t know what to do.
Khushi :At least in life u have colours by your side,
My life is dull and gray
Better a prolonging darkness
Than the melancholy at the bay
Kunjal It seems you ‘re confused,
Riddled by emotions, you can’t seem to etch,
What you feel in parchments of white,
The truth, is still crushed inside,
You are not letting it out pure and right.
Pity, at least I know I am falling,
I know I aint trying,
I know I am falling, without calling.
Khushi: Confusion is but a fleeting dream
I have started to fall in love with chaos
At least I know it will pay ear to my screams
When the world is trying to ignore me
As I see dreams of breaking free in doss
Kunjal: Your misery is nowhere near mine then,
I shall bid you a good bye,
I am searching for the lovely souls,
Who are just slipping down the slope
It’s a good slip though,
I don’t have to try and cry
To people who can’t listen to me,
To people who won’t
But at least i hope to find,
Khushi: Goodbye is a strong word isn’t it?
How easy it is for people to part
When you say you wanna find likeminds
You ignore that each one of us is worlds apart
What is life? What are likeminds?
There is no likeness in Mankind,
There’s only disturbance and difference
Kunjal: What i mean by likeminds,
Is people who have been labelled,
By the same “chaos”
You have fallen in love with it.
Khushi: Ah! The chaos
Yes People have been labelled I agree
But what you forget to see
Is that every person has a different chaos
There’s A different storm in each cup of tea.
Kunjal: I shall tell you one more pick aint i?
You are interpreting it all wrong,
That is what people of the dreamland do,
Guard them from their own wrong.
Khushi: No interpretation is wrong my friend
Its a symbol of the difference
That every person has their own thoughts ,
Every person his own way of existence
Kunjal: I hope i dont hurt you by saying this,
However you are already getting hurt and pinched.
It is not the thoughts we see, the actions we do
Then tell your own people to do what they think.
Khushi: Don’t worry I dont get hurt anymore
The world has done this to me
Made me learn to be strong
As they silence all my roars
I agree what you say is right
And let’s not talk about the conflicts
All it does is start a fight
Kunjal: The world,hah what a joke.
It has taught me differently, sorry to say.
Taught me that those who slip away,
Aint have a chance to find their way.
So, I am doing as they say.
Khushi: oh well my friend I am a rebel,
I don;t run or slip away
Its just now being inviolable has become my song
Kunjal: Dear, you aren’t not a chance,
It is me who is and I aint to stop it.
You just found love for your misery,
And I just found hate.
It is simple isn’t it?
Hah you can never win,
And I ain’t eager to continue.
This world can’t listen the feeble argument of the weak,
Here it is you.
You must be confused by the names. Check out who we are here
So, how do you feel about this exercise. would be happy to know below. Ours was not a perfect attempt. But it was enjoyable and fun along with learning. So find a companion and do poetry writing with them. A convo for a start?