Muse n' Motivation

The Thinking Blog!

Missile Abdul Kalam: A Tribute

abdul2

A beautiful soul just took off
Like the missiles he so popularly made.
A newspaper hawker just left behind news
That will be hard to erase!

Tears flow unabated
For a man related to the citizens of the country
With the delicate chords of love
That he wove around their hearts.

His life – an inspiration
For the poor, deprived, non-motivated Indian.
His emotions – a brilliant story
Of patriotism, unconditional love and morality.

The only President who connected with the youth,
Slashing the prejudiced view of ‘generation gap.’
The only man who was so very ordinary
That he made us re-define the term of commonality.

While the lovely soul has now decided to take a break
Let’s not mourn his absence.
Let us offer instead, tributes to this untiring man of vision
Whose life-story is an inspiring missile into the unlimited space of undying encouragement!

abdul1

Freshening Up Your Life With Ambi Pur Air Freshener!

Never ever a believer in air fresheners except for the agarbatthis that I used more out of a ritualistic compulsion than anything else, it was indeed a surprise to my family when I offered to review a product for an air freshener. Of course, the fact that it was a well known and reliable brand was a point its favour. Ambi pur is well known everywhere. So, would it work out if I tried it? Well, here was a ripe opportunity. Some relatives were coming home. I thought I would spruce up the air in the house by using the blossom and breeze Ambi Pur Air Effects spray.

(Now, now, don’t you think that my house is a stinking den!! It is normal like any household. Just that if the air around in the house smelt more of flowers or something similar, it would indeed be wonderful! Don’t you agree? The result was fantastic! I closed my eyes for a moment (that’s the best way to feel the effectiveness of the fragrance of Ambi Pur). And, was immediately transported to a world of flowers and mountains, of fragrance and walks through woods. I have to admit, I was smitten. And, when the relatives arrived, they automatically ignored the bundle of newspapers that I had forgotten to shove into the store room nor did they even notice the books scattered on my son’s study desk. “It must be nice living here?” they asked instead. “Why?” I asked back. “The air smells wonderful around here. We must come here often!” That clinched it. I had become an Ambi Pur fan for life!

 

 

IMG_0406The Ambi Pur Air Freshener that I got to use and review is a 275g handheld bottle air freshener which has the fragrance of blossom and breeze. A trademark of the Procter & Gamble Company, it is priced at Rs. 250 and is available in stores and online. According to the information available printed on the bottle,

Air Freshener Eliminates Odours and Freshens the Air. It is like a breath of fresh air any time because it actually sweeps away those stale and stifling odours and leaves a fresh scent, just like you’ve washed malodour from the air.

“I am blogging for #SmellyToSmiley at BlogAdda in association with Ambi Pur.”

Bat (tling) over the Past!

(Part of MID-WEEK BLOGGING #1 by WRIMO INDIA )

He flew in gliding over our desk as we held our meeting. Startled at first, we ducked. ‘Who would want to come in touch with this creature, we all mumbled together, the expressions on our faces revealing our dislike for an entity which was a stranger to us.’

Just imagine! We had never met him. He had never harmed us. Yet, we hated him from the core of our hearts. But then, he did not seem to have any intention to come in contact with us either. All he wanted was to practice his flying lessons or so it seemed. Now, why should that be in a room filled with administrators attempting to hike the salaries of hard working teachers of a socially backward school?

Before my dislike transformed into hatred I realized that the creature was only trying to connect with its past. A student from a socially and financially backward background, all that his parents had wanted that he study well, something that they had been unable to do. But, life and situation, circumstance and distraction was too much to inspire the 10th Std boy to study, to take his life seriously. There were other things that worried him. Like his first smoke, his first theft, his first drive in an officer’s car and his first attempt at getting even with the boy who tried to get fresh with his girl. Not his girl exactly, but the girl who he liked. Where was the time to study then?

Board Exams descended upon the horizon. He wrote it like any other exam and was confident enough to get through like he had always done. Maybe, not get hi-funda marks but still pass.

And did he? No! He failed, letting down poor parents who had only wanted to give him a future that they had been unable to have. When his father came to know about the results, he slapped him and burst out of the house shouting, “The bloody son of *%$*&. How will I show my face to everybody?”

Everyone at home knew where he was going. The local Tasmac shop cum bar was his respite whenever frustration and helplessness made life miserable for him.

What about the poor mother? She simply sat down near the gas stove and kept turning the chappathis over the fire again and again until they burned and turned to a dismal black. Maybe, she saw her future in it.

Unable to bear it any more, the boy headed towards the nearest well and jumped into it until his body lost all hope to swim against the current.

Did that make him pass? You bet it didn’t. Instead, he found his astral form transforming into a creature far beyond his imagination. He flew over his old school, at night because the glare of the sunlight hurt him. It was the shrillness of the dark night that made him wander around the places that were once upon a time familiar to him. And, that is how he landed in the room where we were seated blissfully unaware that a human was trying to come to terms with his lost opportunities in another form.

I am told that the bat visits this room every night, frequenting the library especially. It harms no one. But, there are times, it descends upon people like us who presume that we are making a difference.

Do we? Really?   …………………………………

Oh Aruna! Oh Humanity!

119ec3fe-18c2-434d-95e7-4f7ad83761c2wallpaper1

The spirit, suffering
Is finally free.
Trapped treacherously
By an insensitive act of a cruel carnal desire,
Losing luscious longing
To a human desire gone wild,
The soul slowly let go.

The body brutally hurt, badly bruised
Tearing through the senses
We all take for granted.
Four long decades of living a dead life.
While the culprit escapes claustrophobic existence
That ravaged the mind, heart, soul and body of a young woman.
Rejecting death, her soul fought hard to breathe.

A vegetative existence, they said.
Let us fight for euthanasia, they clamoured.
But to no avail. She neither lived nor died.
Years pass by, a forgotten case she had become
Why did she stay alive so long?
Was she working out a heinous karma?
Was it some message she was conveying to humanity?

We will never know…
(For the young pretty nurse who passed away today after battling a 42 year old war with life after being brutally sodomized and dog chained into a vegetative existence in 1973. So many of us were not even born then.
Aruna, may your soul rest in peace now.)

Married To A Railway Man!

My article was recently published in the special Railway issue of the unique magazine called One India One People. 

scan0003
FullSizeRender(2)

MARRIED TO THE RAILWAYS…ER, RAILWAY MAN!

By Shail Raghuvanshi

When I religiously and playfully took my rides in the toy train of Cubbon Park ages ago in Bangalore week after week and, enjoyed it thoroughly, I did not really understand the significance of railways as a medium of travel and transportation. Again, when my family headed north for our annual winter vacations and I loved every moment of our train journeys in the non-AC compartments, I knew not how the Indian Railways was becoming ingrained in my mindset so to say.
Everything fell into place (as far as the railway part of my life was concerned) when I got married to a railway man! It was as if the last jigsaw puzzle had finally fallen into place in my life. Though the importance of it did not strike me then, over the years, being part of the huge railway fraternity has made my life complete! And, when the realization dawned only then, did I realize that I wasn’t just married to a railway man, but like a newly married woman who doesn’t just marry her husband but his entire family, I was being absorbed into the entire railway family!
For a civilian who’s only connection with railways had been toy train rides and the yearly train journeys to Calcutta, Varanasi and Delhi where my relatives resided, this sudden surge of railway ambiance gushing into my life was albeit initially unwelcome! Honestly, I hadn’t taken into account the vast legacy left behind by the British to chug into my life without my permission. To top it all, my husband turned out to be one who lived, and loved the Railways. He practically breathed railways! If the smell of perfume aroused me, it was the smell of heavy metal (pun intended) that energized him. Watching a steam engine chugging into a station gave him a kind of joy that I just could not fathom. Train, tracks, passing scenery – all made my husband become philosophical about life. My childhood train rides came nowhere near the ecstasy that my husband felt while going ‘on duty’ (‘on line’ in railway parlance) every other week.
Train accidents which had been viewed as unfortunate accidents by me in the past now began being seen by me in a completely different perspective only because I now belonged to the railway family. Added to this was the fact that my husband’s role in the railways involved procuring a first-hand account of such incidents. So, compared to the time when my view was more objective and less personal, I was now slowly and steadily forming subjective and personal opinions about the railways.
I remember the time when I almost lost my husband in a railway accident in the year 2001. The train in which my husband was travelling on duty had plunged into a river bed crashing through the Kadalundi Bridge somewhere near Calicut. The seriousness of the incident dawned on me only when I saw the images on television while I sat huddled with my 3 year old son. Fortunately, my husband survived the accident and except for the call that he made to me sitting below the broken bridge asking me to not worry, I did not hear from him for an entire week. The fact that he was also a railway officer seemed to overrule the reality that he was a victim of an accident too. So, because he was miraculously alive he had to assist the rescue operations too! When he returned home (clad in the same dress for an entire week) he was in a real mess. After having heard wails of families, of seeing bodies of children, women and men he was like, “Good Lord! Why should such a tragedy take place? How had I survived this disaster while the next compartment passenger had plunged to his death caught between metal and water?” It took my husband a long time to overcome the inner conflicts and the nightmares of the accident.
So, did this unnerve my railway husband? If I had been in his place it certainly would have brought me down to my knees. And, I would have switched jobs. But, railway men are made of sterner stuff I discovered just like the innumerable ones working in the railways all over the country. For somebody who vaguely believed in the law of karma and hardly knew anything about mass karma, this accident was indeed an eye-opener.
There have been times when I have wondered as to how life would have possibly been had I not been connected to the railways. Well! Lots of images popped up in my mind but nothing equalled the joy of being part of such a unique system, an institution in itself. It is not as if all is hunky dory in the railways. There are times when professional dissatisfaction does seep into family life leaving the inmates of a railway household as unhappy as the railway man himself. But then, that is part of any job!
All I can say is that my knowledge of railways that had been limited to treating it as merely a medium of travel and transportation has today, been transformed into a more humane perspective to the extent that I have become biased. Unlike before I got married, now I can judge or sympathise both, railway travellers and railway employees in the same manner. Suddenly, the T.T.E. looking smart in his railway coat, the tea vendor on the platform, the porter – all speak of stories waiting to be told. Train drivers, guards, clerks, peons, officers – all breathe, live and love their railway journeys as I become an unseen spectator in their everyday lives.For good or for bad, the railway is part of their lives and they carry this emotion into their graves. Each one’s experience is a saga in itself.Yesterday, I would not have even given it a thought but today, because I am married to a railway man, it makes one hell of a difference!
The intricacies of railway life, work and culture can push you or bend you and sometimes can even break you. But there is no running away from it as I realise that I am not just married to a railwayman – I am married to the railway in him as well!

………………………………….

Introducing a New Book: PLUCK OUT THE HEART!

PLUCK OUT THE HEART An anthology of a different kind

  • horror Have stereotype stories begun to bore you to death?

Have regular tales of love, valour and adventure begun to get on to your nerves?

Then, get ready for this unconventional anthology of horror stories that don’t just make your hair rise on the nape of your neck but, almost PLUCK OUT your heart!

So, who are these HORROR writers?

There are five of them actually, transcending different professions, crisscrossing varied ages, having got together to bring for you a powerful collection of dark horror tales.

Each tale is a genre in itself. Each story is written to unnerve you.

Some writers are seasoned ones while many others are foraying into the field of story telling for the first time thus, providing an innate charm to the anthology.

Sagher Manchanda, Nalini Srivastava, Nikhil Katkar, Shail Raghuvanshi and Neelam Saxena Chandra are out there to haunt you with their tales of horror!

If I write any more I shall be giving away the plot. So, enough said for now.

The book, published by Airavat Publishing is going to be launched on 15th April at 6pm at Kitab Khana, Fort, Mumbai.

For those it is possible, please do make it. I shall be there and will be delighted to meet you in person!

For those it is difficult, do purchase the book once it is available online and in stores in your city.

Thank you for your time! PhotoGrid_1423122074119

Every body has time for a little love…..

fbuvanshirag copy

It is Valentine’s  Day and what a lovely day to announce on my blog that a love story of mine is part of a beautiful collection of 14 (yes, Feb 14) authors, talented all of them, including that of dear friend,  superb writer and successful marketing man Faraaz Kazi who is responsible for the creation, compilation, publication and marketing of the book, LOVE which when expanded reads, LOTS OF VOLATILE EMOTIONS!

Wishing all friends a very happy Valentine’s Day and a fantastic time reading the stories of beautiful writers.

God bless you all with love. Always.

Following My Heart…..

 IMG_0118

The most vivid choice that I made in life was when I thwarted a fiftyish man from trying to grope me from behind. I yelled out at him in the bus I was travelling. I was a school going kid, a teenager and felt utterly violated when I found a man old enough to be my father getting too close for comfort. I could not muster up enough guts to slap him but I gave him a lecture of my life right there in the bus that I am sure he never forgot.

 

I walked into my house from the bus stop, rushed to my room and burst out crying.
I learnt two valuable lessons that day.

 
One, to never keep quiet when exploited.
And two, I discovered that I had suddenly become a fantastic elocutionist. It was after this incident that I began taking part in elocutions and debates and I always won!

 
I had made a choice then. And, I was to make many more choices later on in life. Mom wanted me to become a teacher. Dad wanted me to become an I.A.S. Officer. I wanted to become none of them. So, off I ran to a Career Guidance Centre and got a test done and presented the report to my parents. The report stated Journalism.

 
Nothing doing, I was told. The Career Guidance folks called up my father and asked him to meet them. He did and discovered the scientific methods used in tracking my field of interest and abilities.

 
And today, they both are proud of my literary acumen.

 
I could have kept silent and suffered a probable molestation.

 
I could have opted for I.A.S. or B.Ed and stayed unhappy my entire life.

 
But, I chose to make a difference, and one hell of a difference it has been!

 

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_55_1D439DF3DE65195643C896BF9FAADE7F

 

Here, in the following audio I speak about how I felt and did while making my choices.


Journey from ‘OR’ to ‘AND’
Your story of how you took charge of life and made a choice, not a compromise. When you refused to choose one thing OR the other, and instead followed your heart.

 

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

What to Make of Memories When They Fade Away?

2981543442_ca62564553_z

“Memories are the best gift we can give our children. Sometimes, despite our efforts, certain memories fade away while the ones that we least expected stay. All we can do is to help the children to remember the good ones. After that, their minds take over.”

My mother passed away about 8 years back. My memories of her are clear as pure water. But, I can’t say the same for my son. He was barely 7 years old when she passed away. So, though he feels her warmth and remembers certain words of hers, his recollection is hazy. When he first told me this, plagued with guilt, I was angry.

“How can you not remember Nani?” I had asked him.
“She was the one who used to chop the papaya and feed it to you lovingly with a fork.”
“She was the one who used to massage you.”
“She was the one who used to chat for hours with you.”
“She was the one who used to play ‘ghugua ghoon’ with you.”

So I rattled on and on. I had every right to be furious…..

My mother, my son’s only grandmother who doted on him had become just a hazy memory for my son! What had happened to all the warmth and love that she enveloped him with? Had he forgotten it all? How could he?

Want to read rest of the article? Then do visit Parentous.com where my article has appeared.

 

Have a nice day!

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_55_1D439DF3DE65195643C896BF9FAADE7F

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 300 other followers