Only A Shade Of Black And White

If the oasis of truth can pierce through

An ocean of gnarling lies,

I believe we must somewhere see,

The innocence in our own eyes.

The tapestries of time have

Seen darkness and sunrise,

Legends are only those that

Stand through the lows and highs.

I am a wanderer here,

Yet I try to surmise,

An ineffable truth

Veiled by a weak disguise.

They say I’m lost, but am I?

They say I’m much too wise,

They mock the hope I hold

With their cynical sighs.

The sinner will sin

Through day and night,

The giver will give

As I solemnly write.

The universe moves in circles,

It’s sole mission to spread light

But then again, the world is

Only a shade of black and white.

Goodbye, School Life!

“Good bye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be.”
― Walt Disney Company

The good thing about goodbyes? They make you reflect on moments that have flown by at an astonishing pace, they make you introspect – think of the person you have been and the person you want to be, and most essentially, they make you value true, indestructible friendships.
The bad thing? Well, it is the sheer fact that a journey has come to an end. All that begins has to have a closure, maybe not a definite, concrete closure, but a closure nonetheless. This is life; everything is ephemeral. It seems sometimes that we are living in an illusion, swinging to and fro like little pendulums.

But it’s okay. I believe that this is the very fact that keeps motivating us and bolstering us to go ahead. This is the fact that acts a fuel, pushing us from inside, to test our boundaries and redefine our limits. If we were, by some miracle, assured that every good thing is to last forever, we’d probably never understand how important those things are to us. One simply cannot comprehend the power of light without understanding darkness.

Image

Today was officially the last day of my 12-year long school life. The school, the teachers and the invaluable friends to whom I bid goodbye today have been a part of my life since the last four and a half years. It’s as if a small part of my soul and spirit resides in the school building. I was overcome by a deluge of emotions; the very thought of parting hurts. But then again, that’s how life is, and what the heck, I’ve only just lived 17 years. There’s lots more to come, and it’s going to be one rollercoaster ride!

Image

The friendships and bonds I’ve built over these past years will always be cherished. Though, I wonder how many of us are even going to recognize each other after the next five years? It’s seems sad! Sadly hilarious, as a matter of fact!
Today, we find it impossible to live without each other. Tomorrow, we’ll be all on our own, walking our paths, maybe ringing each other a couple of times, but the thrill of meeting up and arguing and gossiping and talking endlessly without a care in the world will mostly be gone!
Again, I said mostly – because out of the seemingly large ocean of friends I believe I have, there are a few friends, very few actually, whom I trust and care about deeply. And though distance and time will intervene blissfully, some threads are simply never meant to be broken! These are the people I’ll always, always care about, however far away we may be.

 Like James said in the final book of the epic Harry Potter series:
Harry asked, “You’ll stay with me?’
“Until the very end”, said James.”

I’ll keep visiting and revisiting these old memories, because they will be an oasis of unmatched joy and inspiration forever. I’ll always be indebted to the few teachers and few friends who have been by my side through the sorrowful times and the challenges and life…but I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky, be-who-you-want-to and live-how-you-want-to sort of a person, so the friends I’ll miss most are the ones with whom I’ve shared stomach-churning, unending and absolutely insane laughter. Yep, that’s true friendship. Laugh like crazy and be who you want to be!

As our juniors and teachers bid us farewell, I couldn’t help but cry, cry like a baby, and cry without holding back any tears. They were, I admit, tears of sadness. But at the same time, they were also tears of joy, because I’ll always be thankful to the school and all that it has done for me.

How I’m going to miss all my wonderful teachers and the passion with which they taught each lesson. How I’ll miss the punishments and the ‘you better keep quiet!’ and ‘I want pin-drop silence’. I’m going to miss the school bells, the short breaks, the lunch hall (with all the wonderful food..ah…I should say this at least once now!), the chatter, the playgrounds – everything! It’s all going to be very, very nostalgic. All I can probably do right now is say a big, big thank you for all the love.

Image

And like Ernie Harwell said, “It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”

Image

Happy Republic Day

I see, painted across the wall,

Discoloured splotches and splashes

Of red, white and green.

They speak to me, ruefully,

In a spiral of nothingness.

 

The butterfly of freedom

Sits forlornly on

A flower of withering nationalism. 

Integrity fades, a mere silhouette now

Against the backdrop of corruption.

 

Our country is built

On the pillars of sacrifice and unity.

But what have we today

As conclusive proof of evolution,

To show to the mighty men

And soldiers from yesteryears?

 

Are we thanking them

By jeopardizing Indian honour?

Is prejudice and mockery of the law

Our way of expressing gratitude

To those noble men

Who laid down their lives

For this very country?

Image

We must begin now,

We have risen, and we will rise,

Slowly, and steadily,

Striving towards change,

Upholding our hard-earned honour,

We  will walk and walk and walk

With infinite patience and fortitude,

Towards redefining ourselves,

Rethinking our policies,

Redrawing the boundaries,

And reforming our beloved nation.   

Happy Republic Day!

Of Aam Aadmis and Indian Politics

The Great Indian Election Mela.

The most happening and piquant Indian event that every citizen of the country looks forward to is back, and even if I say ‘It’s back with a bang’, I believe I’ll merely be making a naive understatement.

The most interesting element? It’s the one person who has radically managed to shake the very foundations and dynamics of Indian politics today: Arvind Kejriwal, the man behind Aam Aadmi Party. And well, with the promising jhaadu (broom) which is very appropriately AAP’s symbol, this man has kick started a far-reaching drive for sweeping the country’s beloved Capital city clean. I am another aam aadmi who is vouching for Kejriwal. A decent man with an IIT background, willing to fight for the people, and most importantly, a man with resolve for change.

I was born in Delhi, and I somehow feel a strong emotional attachment with my city. Although it is not as strong as my patriotism for India as a whole, there is still a feeling of belongingness and love. Lately, I have not felt very proud, calling myself a ‘Delhi-ite’. I have felt shameful, in fact, coming from a city where the safety of women cannot be guaranteed, a city where the water and electricity mafia seem to be more powerful than the Government itself, a city of lust and crime. But today, I look at Mr. Kejriwal and I become hopeful that someday in the future, the original grandeur, and the rich social and moral culture of Delhi can be restored. It is, after all, our Capital.     

The Aam Aadmi Party is building its prowess around delivering change and we are seeing the results. It’s a simple strategy: smart, in-the-face politics with brutal honesty and a no-non-sense policy.

In the very first week after Delhi elections, AAP managed to ban the VIP culture in Delhi, made 20 kilolitres of water free for all Delhi citizens, introduced a 50% subsidy on electricity bills for those who use only 400 units, kick started the audit of Electricity companies (something Congress has been conveniently been neglecting for the past four years), introduced a helpline for parents to report problems their children might be facing at school, introduced late night inspections at police stations and bus stands, began the process of simplifying VAT, granted 5500 licenses to inter-state autos and added 15000 new licenses for the unemployed SC/STs. And they guaranteed us that this was just the beginning. 7 days for these thriving changes! A lot more is underway.

Image

The most recent of their efforts has been the dharna at Delhi. The AAP dharna has attracted much attention from all over the country, and surprisingly, a lot of criticism from our beloved netas, babus, cops and journos. Times Now even ran a campaign on Twitter(#AAPDrama). The turn of events has, in fact, been dramatic.

I am only a dilettante when it comes to understanding politics, but there is one loud and clear statement which AAP makes through its ideas and movements: Mr. Kejriwal will not play by the rules anymore, and if it is for common good, he’s willing to move mountains. He stands resolute and unwavering on his stand, despite the media, bureaucrats and industrialists. He is undaunted by all the Rajdeep Sardesais, the Barkha Dutts, the Arnab Goswamis and the Kiran Bedis. Mr. Shinde can lash at him, calling him ‘yeda mukhyamantri’, but he isn’t going to give up on what is right, and for that matter, nor are we.

His dharna outside our honourable Home Minister’s well-guarded, extremely luxurious home caused a lot of upheaval, but it was necessary because keeping quiet is simply not the solution to any problem in any corner of the world, especially if that corner is India.

Mr. Kejriwal justifies his Dharna sensibly, saying “Is Delhi police responsible only for security of those living in Lutyens Zone bungalows? We will not stand still while the women of the city are being raped, burnt for dowry and illegal drug and sex racket is in full swing. We will act and make sure that there is accountability within the system.”

I want to conclude this article by sharing what Mr. Avay Shukla, a retired IAS officer has to say about Kejriwal and the circumstances of his governance in Delhi: They want him to sit in the Secretariat and be guided by his bureaucrats and lose all touch with reality- he won’t fall for this Pavlovian routine. They desperately want him to become one of them, red light, siren, gun-toting commandos, Lutyen’s bungalow and all- he knows that if he falls for this he loses his USP and becomes just an intern in this hoary club of gnarled sinners. The French Revolution would not have happened if the existing rules had been followed. Tehrir Square would not have happened if everyone swore by the old rules. Changing the rules is not anarchy – it is the beginning of a people’s revolution.

I Am A Wanderer

I am a wanderer;

I walk across the planes

Of lust and life.

I meander on these hills

Of sure uncertainty.

I saunter around the rivers

Some grubby, grimy,

Some a reflection of purity.

I am an ambling rabbit

Who has lost her way

In the world’s thick shrubbery.

I search and search and search

For meaning and purpose.

Image

I call on my inner voices,

I ask them to guide me,

I ask them: Where do I belong?

They tell me, keep walking

Walk and walk and walk

Straight ahead on one chosen path,

And you will see the light

That you have been seeking.

But the moment you stand still,

You stop, you wait, you give up

On searching,

That is the moment you will have lost.

That is the moment when

You will drift into nothingness.

So don’t stop, don’t give up

Walk and walk and walk

And one day,

You will meet your purpose.

 

THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY #2: CRICKET!

Right. I promised I’d write about Cricket (in the earlier post about ideal Friends and Family, read it if you haven’t!), and here I am, with a deluge of thoughts pouring into the temporarily vacant chambers of my brain. I don’t know when, why or how I fell in love with Cricket. I really don’t! Yet, I do love it all the same, and more than any other sport I have played or watched in my life.

One (extremely valid) explanation can be the fact that I’m Indian.

Indians and Cricket. Wow. I feel like I’m attempting to explain something which could possibly take years and years and years of writing across a million pages in the universe, in a mere single paragraph. Just for the record, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s a very profound relationship- us Indians and the unconditional love for Cricket.

Different religions, castes, communities, backgrounds, tastes and opinions. A lot of boundaries, a lot of conflict. We rise, and we fall. We fall, and we rise. Mostly, we love fighting. Whether it’s simply bargaining with the street vendor, “Damn you! I’m paying only 20 bucks for these potatoes.” or perhaps talking about the Great Indian Elections, “I swear to God Kejriwal is going to win this time! Modi should probably give up his dreams of Modi-fying India!”…We simply enjoy fighting! I know I digress, but it’ll all make sense, so keep reading.

In a nation like this, it is evidently hard to find a common thread, a link of unity, something for which all of us stand together, regardless of our creeds and castes, something about which there are no two opinions. And this is what Cricket has given us. It gives us hope, players to cheer for, victories to celebrate, losses to mourn about, an occasion to travel away from the stresses and sorrows of life and stare unblinkingly at the television screen. And how we enjoy it! Every moment – beginning to end. Those nail biting finishes which leave our hearts nearly in our mouths, the boundaries, the singles, the toss, the commentary, the piquant controversies, everything about the game does not only have immense national importance, but people often tend to give personal meaning to the game – “If I stand for these last five overs, I’m sure Sachin will score a century!”, “I’m standing with my back to the television, that’ll probably ensure we win this match!”, “One more slice of this delectable cake and we’re bound to win!”…if this seems ridiculous, you should perhaps try looking at the faces of some ardent supporters when they make such statements. You’ll probably feel like asking them “Why so serious?” but I’m telling you, please don’t, because whenever anybody tries to disturb an Indian when he is watching cricket (things like switching off the TV randomly or running away with the remote, making senseless commentary that does not pertain to Cricket in any way), I warn you, you are bound to be punched – and punched very hard. I already told you about how we love fighting! And oh yes, we do have to learn to keep our calm when the team goes through its rough patches. But there is always some solace. Manchester United’s going through some rough times now, but I’m sure that enthusiastic supporters trust it will bounce back. Same’s with Cricket. Everybody has their bad days at the office.

We are honestly of the opinion that days on which important Cricket matches are being held should be declared as National Holidays. Cricket is, after all, a religion. And being the winner of the most recent 2011 Cricket World Cup just adds to the glory and glamour.

Cricket is much beyond the bat and ball. I have another exceptional reasons for loving Cricket: my grandfathers, who support the game very, very passionately. I have conversations at length about Cricket with them, and they are all highly animated, even slightly aggressive! It links our thoughts and opinions, and is a such a great way of bonding. We look at the TV Screen and make remarks as if the players can actually hear us at the moment! Comments like “How the hell did he get chosen for national team! He doesn’t know HOW to hold the bat!” and “THIS guy is going to make sure we lose! Thank you, yes, thank you so much, you blithering idiot!” are most certainly ubiquitous. But it’s all so much fun and it gives us so much joy.

I must talk about Cricket players too, my personal favorites and the ones I don’t like too much, but I’ll save that for another day.

Here are some images I hope you’ll enjoy!

ImageImage

CRICKET-WIS-IND-ODI-5

ImageImage

 Image

Image

kohli-dhoni

sir

Image

Also Read (the first part to the post): https://swastikajajoo.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/things-that-make-me-happy-1-friends-and-family/

Things that make me happy #1: FRIENDS AND FAMILY

There are so many things in the world and around the world (come on, I’m looking at life on Mars and beyond very seriously now) that manage, in the simplest of simple ways, to bring forth unlimited joy and a flurry of smiles. Like everybody else, I have my own list of ‘things that make me happy’, which have, over the 17 years of my existence, established an integral niche in my life. Of course, some of them may sound extraordinarily naive, but they make me happy, and that’s the whole point. Every post henceforth will cover one of these things in life, and I’m hoping some of you will be able to identify with them. So here’s the first one!

1. People – Friends and Family

Right from our old yet young, sweet and wise grandparents who pride themselves to be occupying the top most berths in our family hierarchy, to our meddling, annoying distant cousins, and the uncles and aunts who make it a point to very insightfully remark “My Gods, you’ve grown so much!” every single time they meet us…Yes, that’s family.

Family is happiness. Family is crazy. Family is love. Family is the one place you can count on when everybody else in the world stands against you. And to quote Lilo and Stitch, “Family means nobody gets left behind”. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Image

Then obviously, we all have our beloved friends – the trusted, ‘goody-goody’ best friend forever, the ‘one-who-tells-me-all-the-hot-gossip-at-school’ friend, the stupid friend who makes you laugh but that’s about it, the sociopath who’ll never ‘fit in’, the friend who’s a downright geek, the movie buff, the food dude, the friend who you almost wish wasn’t your friend…Oh, I’m going to save this list for another day.

But I believe that the best kind of friends are those with whom you can have meaningless, irrational conversations, argue endlessly on insignificant topics, those who manage to make you laugh (in however stupid a manner!), those who appreciate the beauty of life and live to the fullest, those who are preferably thick-skinned when it comes to the irrelevant issues in life, people in who’s company you can be who you are, those with whom you can connect not on a mere superficial level but establish a spiritual understanding, who have a considerably good taste in music, movies, books and food(!), and most essentially, those whom you can confide in and trust at all times, because you know that underneath all the drama, there is a sensitive, understanding individual.

Image

People believe that best friends are those who can see eye to eye with each other, who share the same perspectives and viewpoints about everything in life.

But I believe that’d just be downright boring! We strive for variety, for difference, so we can learn more and enhance our thoughts and personality. Having the same opinions and views is a baseless criterion for friendship!

I have some very interesting (and a few funny) quotes about friendship I’d like to share:

ImageImageImage

ImageImage

…And now for the one quote about friendship that sums up everything…It’s my favorite! 

Image

Coming up: The Second Thing In Life That Makes Me Happy. Clue: It’s a bat and ball game. (Yes, yes, it is Cricket…kind of obvious when it’s an Indian talking about a sport!)

What Disney Teaches Us

Walt Disney famously said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. If you can dream it, you can do it.”

The Walt Disney company was founded on October 16th, 1923 – and with it, began the endless journey of kings and queens, princes and princesses, elephants and lions, a journey of magic and hope, and a journey that began with the conception of one brilliant idea by one brilliant mind…precisely, the idea of a mouse, Mickey Mouse. From Three Little Pigs in 1933 and Peter Pan in 1953, to movies like Frozen and Planes and Tangled which recently released…Disney has woven its web of magic very effectively across the passage of time.

Disney has redefined animation, elevated innovation to a whole new level, given the kids and adults – let’s admit it, adults are grown up kids anyways – something far more substantial and meaningful than Doraemon and Shin Chan

Disney has reignited hope, even though it comes with melodrama that can be termed as slightly excessive. But the scope of Disney movies and characters stretches far beyond the sheer entertainment. Disney Movies are ageless – they are for everybody to watch because every character, every movie reveals to us something unique about human temperament and life lessons that we can never forget.

You may not always see eye to eye with people, but it’s important to understand their point of view. -Brave

Princess-Merida-red-hair

  You can’t run from who you are.

Oh yes, the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.

And remember, you are never alone.

-The Lion King

Image

 The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. -Mulan

 Mulan-mulan-31201130-390-683

Too many people grow up. That’s the trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old. – Toy Story

 

It’s not what a person is that defines them, but rather what a person does. – Pirates of the Caribbean

 

Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life. – Cinderella

cinderella

 When life gets you down, just keep swimming. -Finding Nemo

Finding_Nemo

 Our fate lives within us, you only need to be brave enough to see it. – Mulan

 

Sometimes all you need is some dessert to solve all your problems. – Lilo and Stitch

lilandstick

 The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability. – Remy, Ratatouille

Image

 There is magic inside all of us. -Mickey Mouse

 

You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. – Chef Gusteau, Ratatouille

 

Don’t judge me. I was born to be true, not perfect. – Despicable Me

minion_in_despicable_me_2-wide

 Always keep moving forward. No matter how many times you are pushed back, get up and keep going. – Meet the Robinsons

 

Don’t follow your dreams, chase them. -Eric

 

You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. -Winnie the Pooh

 

You are never truly alone when standing up for what is right, even when the odds are stacked against you. -Atlantis

 

Sometimes life will take you to places you never expected, but that is no reason not to enjoy the ride. – Cars

 

Embrace what makes you different, it might just help you to fly. -Dumbo

Dumbo-HD-Wallpaper

 Bravery is taking the right path, even if it isn’t easy to do. – Mulan

 

Never let the fear of the unknown stop you from pursuing what your heart wants. -Little Mermaid

 

Hakuna Matata, it’s a wonderful phrase.

Hakuna Matata, ain’t no passing craze.

It means no worries for the rest of your days!

It’s our problem-free philosophy…!

Hakuna Matata…! – Lion King

Hakuna_Matata

Meow!

So I didn’t pretty much know about the little furry thing that somehow managed to enter our backyard earlier this week. I couldn’t even see it clearly; it concealed itself quite prudently in the midst of the thick shrubbery.  I don’t like these things, you know, kittens and pups and guinea pigs and apparently sweet mice. For one, they are creepy…obviously a little of the ‘Awww..’ factor might be involved when you see them initially. But at the end of the day, they are creepy as heck. Bouncing up and about your house like they own the place, doing whatever they please wherever they want..and you just got to put up with the stuff because well…damn it, they are adorable. I really never understand how I manage to do it, you know, how I manage to contradict myself every single time.

Image

I decided to finally look at the woolly creature that sat huddled there, apparently immobile. It was a cat, yeah. Baby cat. Oh, that’s called a kitten or something, I guess. Like I told you, I’m not very fond of these things, but mark my words, when you initially see them, there’s this surge of warmth, and love, and joy and all you want to do is cuddle the benign creature. I put my hand forward to stroke the thing’s head…the kitty’s head. It moved. It clawed at my face. Damn that cat! So much for being nice, eh! I can never seem to understand how in the world these pretty little things can have deadly, almost fatal claws. I got lukewarm milk for her…still enthralled by her charm. I decided I’d probably need a name because although I am totally against the idea of keeping her for a pet…I’d have to be a hospitable host as long as she decided to make my backyard her darn home. So I called her ‘Micro’, not because she’s small or anything…but just because I was struggling to grasp some Microeconomics concept for the paper we had the day after. That’s how unimaginative I am.

Right, where were we? The milk. So as soon as I got it for her, she lapped up in a jiffy, her head fixated on the bowl at a convenient angle. She looked emaciated; she probably needed this desperately. I thought to myself, I must really get back to studying now, but decided against this almost as soon as I thought of it. This thing…’Micro’ was absolutely, amazingly adorable. Cute kitty. I gave it some crushed biscuits then…cause seriously, I’m not going to go around the place looking for mice and rats and weird things which cats eat. It finished its meal and I headed back inside. But even before I could pick up my book, Micro started scratching and screeching and meowing (that’s what they call it, right?) as loudly and disturbingly as she could. She wanted to come into the house! What a bummer. I couldn’t possibly do that!? I’m not even fond of kittens. So I just went out and sat beside her, trying to study – but that wasn’t possible, you see, because after every  two minutes, she’d lick my leg and try somehow to climb into my lap. For goodness sake, I had an exam tomorrow! As if she’d ever understand that. I just kept sitting there, naive and irritated, looking into my book, completely aware of the fact that  I wasn’t reading a single word.

 My little brother came back, equally ‘Micro’ in stature. He found the kitten irresistible, and couldn’t stop running along, playing with it. He was frankly quite afraid of the little devil. She stayed at our place till evening, and decided to go back to where it came from. I felt a little nostalgic; suddenly I just didn’t want it to go. But who am I to curb a cat’s freedom. So she went away…trudging along on her little kitten legs, her little kitten tail wagging as she walked (I bet Lady Gaga and Britney Spears could learn a few lessons on how to get the ramp walk right). She then turned around, suddenly, and her magical blue eyes met mine for a split second…wow. I was going to miss this cat..kitten, okay, whatever. She turned back around and continued, and disappeared into nothingness. And I watched and watched and watched, hoping she’d maybe turn around. Damn. I miss her now. I really hope she comes back. I waited for the next two days, but eh, there was no sign of Micro.

 Someone told me an auto rickshaw killed her right outside my colony. But I’m not going to believe that. I’m just going to wait for that miraculous, diabolical, adorable little creature to come back someday and mesmerize me all over again. Maybe she does, who knows…and I think she really liked me, again, who doesn’t?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/gonzo-writing-challenge/