AS IF, IT WAS YESTERDAY!

August 2007

Almost every year Bihar gets affected by the flood. The reason is when Nepal receives heavy rainfall, the water flows into Koshi and Bagmati rivers. The water level rises which may break the Koshi dam and Koshi embankment barrage, resulting in severe damage to Bihar and Nepal. Therefore, the gates of the Koshi dam are opened and water enters North Bihar.

I remember it was raining for days. The power was cut down in villages and so we couldn’t watch the news on TV. Radio was the only option. Many parts of Bihar were under high alert. Our was Madhubani district and luckily, it was not as much affected as neighbouring districts. We were in school, an announcement was made the dam in our city (Jhanjharpur) is on the verge of breaking. This would lead to a severe flood in Jhanjharpur.

In no time, we students sat in our respective school buses and those who had their own means of transport went straight home. It took 2 hours to reach home and when we reached, we heard the dam broke! It was raining cats and dogs and water started to flow in the villages of Jhanjharpur. That night, we couldn’t sleep as we were praying for the rain to stop but it didn’t. It rained and rained.

In the morning, we saw, the low farmlands in our villages were submerged. We couldn’t see a sign of our crops and people were crying. The water level was rising and water started to flow on roads and the thatched houses fell down.

Luckily, the water didn’t enter our house but the way it rained we feared water might enter our house. However, there was water in the compound of our house. We heard on the radio several people were forced out of their homes. Farmers lost their families, crops, cattle, and houses.

This flood is considered to be the worst ever flood in Bihar and caused thousands of death. 2008 flood is also considered to be the worst, as it flooded the areas remaining untouched by flood for years. The Koshi river picked up a different channel and this resulted in the flood.

25th April 2015

It was a cloudy day. In fact, for Bihar’s climate (during April last) it was a pleasant day. I remember it was our last viva exam of 1st year B.tech.

We gathered around the viva room and were memorizing topics. All of us were busy in memorizing as much as we could till our turn comes. The place where we were standing was more like pavement having an asbestos roof.

Suddenly, I heard a loud cry and within a blink of an eye it turned out to be so much chaos. “Run, it’s an earthquake!” Everyone was running here and there. I was pushed by my classmates, I fell down and got my knee skinned badly. Somehow, I managed to hold one of my friend’s hand and make my way towards the open area. I stood in the lawn and then what I felt was horrible. I could feel the land beneath my feet was in motion.  A very fast motion! It felt as if there was a wave under my feet.

The height of the wall of the lawn was merely 2ft and we could see it was shaking badly. It felt as if in no time the wall will fall. I must say, the tremors were quite strong and the trees in front of the lawn were shaking. The electric wires fell and there were cracks in the walls.  

This was Darbhanga, a district in North Bihar. North Bihar is very close to Nepal. On that day, a severe earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal and many parts of North Bihar were affected by the earthquake. In fact, Bangladesh and some parts of China were also on the list. However, Nepal had heart-drenching damage. Thousands of people went missing and so many went homeless.

I called my parents because the place where I belong to (Madhubani) is closer to Nepal as compared to Darbhanga. After 3 hours, I could connect to my parents, he said it was really scary and the whole house was shaking. One of the walls in our house had cracks. My brother was in school and so my parents were very worried.

That night, we couldn’t sleep. As the area was on high alert and rain didn’t stop. Somehow we managed to sleep for a few hours. The next day was followed by aftershocks of 6.7magnitude. It was for a week but the memory still remains fresh. In fact, on 12th May another aftershock of 7.5 hits.

Those who saw the pictures of Nepal were either in grief or in shock. It took months to restore things but the mental damage remained in everybody’s mind.

Till now, when I think about the earthquake and the floods I have witnessed, I get goosebumps. I know we can’t stop natural calamities but we can take some preventive measures. This way we can save the lives of humans and innocent animals. But still, I have faith in God and I believe he is the one who will protect us from every disaster.

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THE STORY BEHIND MY NAME

According to my parents and other family members, I was born on Sunday morning. In Hindu Mythology, Sunday is dedicated to Sun, whom we (Hindu) popularly call as ‘Aditya’. But I am a girl and, therefore; I could not be named as Aditya. I was named ‘Aditi’. For my father, this name has a great value and he only gave this name.

Years after when my parents took me for admission in school, Papa wrote ‘Parineeta’ as my name. The story behind ‘Parineeta’ is, I am a Virgo and according to the zodiac sign, my name should have started from letter P or T. And therefore, officially my name was Parineeta.

My friends used to call me ‘Pari’ and they would say you have such a unique name.

I was unaware of what my name means until one of my teachers asked me. That day, I went straight home, called my father and asked, “Papa what does my name means?” My father explained the meaning and then I knew ‘Parineeta’ means ‘a married woman’. Next day, I went proudly to her and said what my name meant. She says, “Dear, you must change your name because it is not nice according to your age.” Eventually, all my classmates came to know my name’s meaning and they started teasing me just because they heard my teacher laughing over my name.

At that time, I was in class 4 and so I didn’t understand these things doesn’t matter. As a result, I continuously asked my parents to change my name. Everyone at home tried their best to convince me for not changing my name but I had made my mind.

Finally, everyone acceded. It was decided when I will pass class 4, I’ll be renamed. Then went a series of discussion on what should be my name according to the zodiac sign. I chose ‘Prerna’ as my name out of all the proposed name. When my father was filling the name in the admission form of class 5th, he wrote ‘Prerna’. It was then I noticed, he was a bit sad as I was changing the name given by him. So, in the column of the last name, I asked him to write ‘Aditi’. He asked why and I said, “I will never lose ‘Aditi’ the way I lost ‘Parineeta’.”

Hence, I was named Prerna Aditi. Most of my friends call me with my last name ‘Aditi’. At home also, I am known as ‘Aditi’. In fact, at my workplace too, people call me Aditi more often. Now, I think I should have never paid heed to what others said about ‘Parineta’. Papa gave this name after he read the famous novel ‘Parineeta’ by ‘Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’. Years after, when I got the chance to read the book, I realized how beautiful the name was. That day, I regretted a lot. But it makes me happy when someone calls me by ‘Aditi’. It feels as if they are respecting my father.

I have seen so many people making fun of other’s name. But they never think of the emotion and love behind the name. Your name is your identity and if you want people to take your name with respect then you will have to ignore what people talk about your name. It is not about if someone’s name is old-fashioned or modern but it is about the love of our elders behind the name they had given and how we retain its meaning. 

Now, it is your duty to decide, which name you are going to choose, to address me… 😛

EVERY NOSE IS BEAUTIFUL

God made us so beautifully. He has given us enough to survive in this world and feel its beauty. He has gifted us with different body parts and has assigned a specific work for all of them. Even if one is completely different from other body parts, it is equally important.

Out of all the sense organ, the nose is the only one that is capable of smelling and performing the process of breathing. Doesn’t matter if the smell is pleasant or not, the nose never fails to perform its duty (except for the time when you have nose congestion). Even if, out of frustration you say, I don’t want to live, your nose won’t stop breathing. Such a dutiful organ nose is.

In schools, we were taught idioms and phrases based on the nose. For example: “don’t poke your nose”, “keep your nose clean”, “keep your nose out” and many more. Have you ever wondered why?

In my perception, the whole idea of using nose in idioms is to highlight and compare a person’s behaviour. Also, according to me, these idioms were made to remind people of how an ideal person should behave. For example: what’s the need for interfering in other’s matter unnecessarily? This is similar to not being satisfied with the amount of air we are breathing in and out and trying to inhale every single molecule left in the air.

Now, let us move to an incident of my life that is closely related to my nose.

I am a person with small and a little fat nose. Though it looks good on me (I am proud of it), I have gone through so many bizarre comments. Even today, I go through the same.

When I was a kid, one of my relatives would consistently say, “Oh what a pity, such a lovely face but ugly nose”. She would repeat this comment twice a day (this continues till now). Other people considered it as platonic. My aunts did the same and this would upset my mom and my grandmother. These two ladies would massage my nose to and forth every day, in the upward direction, just to make sure my nose looks good to people. Thank God! my nose remained the same.

Since I was a kid, my mind developed a mindset that my nose is ugly and people with the long, straight and thin nose are the only pretty beings. I had this mindset until I was in class 11th. Shocking, isn’t it? I guess I am not alone in this world to hear such things.

One day, one of my teachers said, “hey girl, you have such a pretty and cute little nose. I have never seen such a cute nose”. I couldn’t believe my ears. A quick question went through my mind, “was he saying the truth?  But my nose is not at all pretty. How come on the earth he found it cute?” That one compliment changed my mindset and since then, I consider every nose as a beautiful and unique one. Moreover, I have people in my life who admire my little nose. I love those people.

Big, small, crooked, fat, thin or flat, all noses perform the same job. Owning a straight nose won’t supply more oxygen to your lungs as compared to the person having a crooked or small nose. So, it is better and advisable to accept the fact that every nose is beautiful and functions similarly.

And those who get to hear this type of blabbering should say to others, “keep your nose out of it!!”

REMOVE THE ENVY BLOCKS

Lucius Annaeus Seneca has said- “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. In this, I would like to add a line, where there is a human, there is a chance of envy as well. Why? Because we can’t have everything. And this is when the feeling of envy raises its head.

If I talk about my experience, I am not untouched by Envy. I remember, when I was a kid, I used to be envious of my cousins. This used to happen when they (my cousins) received appreciation for the drawings they made. I would then give my best to compete with them. They too felt envious of me whenever results were out. However, this didn’t harm anyone of us.

Some of you might say, envy is not harmful. But the story is different. It is very harmful. Let us see how:

In my neighborhood, there is a man who is always envious of every other person. He can’t stay calm on the fact that a person is climbing the ladder of success. The man always looks for ways to drag down other people.

So, one day a lady went to him for seeking some financial help. The man assured her and did the needful. After a few months, the lady came to my house. To my astonishment, I came to know that man was forcing her to return the money with double interest. I felt sorry for the lady as she is financially weak. The lady tried to convince the man but the man was in no mood to pay heed. Later, we came to know the reason behind this was, the man was envious of the lady’s farmland and was eyeing the land for a long time.

People choose envy over kindness just to satisfy their ego and quench their longing for something they don’t have. Sometimes, we feel envious and think it is fine unless it is not causing harm to other people but it never stays there. It keeps growing as we grow if not checked at the right time.

When we feel envious, we get surrounded by negative vibes. In order to possess those qualities (for which we are envious of), we tend to make wrong choices. Instead of giving best and performing better, we try to harm the person we are envious of. And these wrong choices never make us a kind human.

One should understand, no one is perfect and we will lack in some or other things. For that, we don’t have to envious and drag people. Instead, we should work on our grey areas. 

Being envious won’t bring peace and internal happiness to us. Because the envious feeling itself is full of discontentment. When we are discontented within ourselves it is very difficult for us to show that compassion and kindness to anyone else. Kindness is an act when our mind, body, and soul are at a state of contentment and peace with each other. On the other hand,  envy blocks that free-flowing connection within our own self. And we fail to show that kindness to our family members, neighbours and the people we come across in life.

Therefore, be happy and let kindness occupy your heart.

TIMES WHEN I GRUMBLE

Those who know me well, for them, I am a jolly and sensible girl (this is what I have heard about myself) but for others, I am a harsh and outspoken person. They think I get irritated easily and which is true to some extent.

I am very particular about things. I have always been in the discipline since my childhood. I love being organized. But that doesn’t mean I never enjoy and have fun. However, in spite of being a joker and doing circus every single minute, I love enjoying in a way that doesn’t seem odd and annoying. I have spent so many crazy moments with my friends (I am not talking about random batchmates and neighbors) and especially, with my hostel mates.

I hate complaining and I try my best to stay away from complaints. However, this can’t happen completely. No doubt, I laugh loudly and you will see my dimples throughout the day but I become grumpy when I get annoyed.

Those incidents are:

  • People mocking others: I had this batchmate of mine in college who would mock every other person entering the classroom. Let us call her ABC. ABC would not spare even the specially abled person. For ABC, the only perfect person was none but her. I know, I am still grumbling but this is the best I can do when I talk or hear about ABC. She still thinks why I was never good to her. Poor girl!
  • People cracking senseless jokes: Jokes are meant to make us laugh. But if every time you crack meaningless and illogical jokes, I am sorry you are at the pity of listeners.
  • Untidiness: Cleanliness is something which is very important and let me tell you there is no substitute for this. People being distant to cleanliness (here, I am talking about those who have enough resources to maintain cleanliness but still, they stay like trash) are never ever welcomed by me. I can’t waste my smile or a glance at such people, leave about time.
  • Lame excuses: I have seen my friends making lame excuses every now and then. This makes me mad. If you are unable to do something then just say it rather than making lame excuses. A final word is 10 times better than any flimsy talk.
  • Asking silly questions: Some people have the habit of bombarding silly questions at you. One of the most annoying questions I keep facing is, why don’t you eat more green vegetables to cure your eyesight. To such people pretending to be a great doctor, my answer is, not every specs wearer has vitamin A deficiency. I am a great lover of green vegetables and my plate is incomplete without green veggies. I never remember an incident when my mom had a hard time convincing me to eat carrots, spinach, and cabbage. My eyesight is poor because of the accident I faced and due to macular degeneration which is incurable.

Also, some will feel so pity of my short height and will ask, if I ever drank Complan or Horlicks? I guess they don’t know, genes do exist in biology and are responsible for our physique.

  • Sick mindset: I don’t understand why these people are on this earth. I wish if scientists could find a way to send them away from the earth’s atmosphere. For the reason, the mindset of these people contributes to the global warming effect. These people always have an uncontrollable urge to poke their nose and puke their annoying words. They have a problem when they see a 24+ girl being unmarried and their metabolism will not let them be in peace when exam results are out. Moreover, they want every girl to cook food and earn a surplus amount. I think these people should move on to Mars and spare mother earth.
  • Being an over smart: Smartness is important and it makes us look confident but showing excessive of it, especially when you know nothing, can backfire you. Whenever I come across such an overly smart person, I do grumble.

To overcome these, I just walk away and I take the help of ignorance. And sometimes, I don’t stop myself from slamming such people. Being grumpy can be a choice for some people but it is mostly due to the incident taking place around us.

Concluding, I would say, stay calm and pay no heed to things and people who make you grumble.

APOLOGY, THE ONLY WAY TO WIN AN INCENSED

There is a very famous saying, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. We, humans, make mistakes and we are not perfect. Even if, we try hard, not to commit sins and mistakes, we end up committing mistakes. Sometimes, we hurt people through our words or action and maybe we don’t realize it. There is no such human who didn’t hurt a person or two, throughout life. As, Rajnandini said in her article, “we can’t please everybody we meet”, but we can apologize.

I remember one incident, my niece was one year old. Like every other household, we too taught her different words like please, thank you etc. One day, she hit her father while playing. We asked her to say sorry, she immediately held her ears and apologized to her father. It seemed so cute that I couldn’t resist myself from planting a soft kiss on her cheeks. Now, she is about to turn 4, and she understands, whenever she hits or hurts somebody, she must seek forgiveness.

Those who think an apology is a sign of being weak, they are always wrong. Seeking forgiveness will never make you weak. Owing to the fact, you are strong enough to realize your mistake and making an effort to win the trust. When you don’t apologize, you lose a valuable person. When you apologize, let it be from within because the fake ones can never restore things.

Since every human commits sins and mistakes, so every human should seek forgiveness, irrespective of their age. Apologizing has a power that heals the wound caused by our words and actions, to some extent. When we apologize, then it shows we value the person and the relationship, like anything. It shows, we are sorry for our action.

Concluding, I would say, an apology is a string that brings back the incensed and one should never miss this string.

EXPLOITING THE FREEDOM

Sia (distant relative) and Nikhil have married two years ago. First few months went so well. But gradually, Sia realized Nikhil was controlling her. He wouldn’t allow Sia to talk to anyone, including her parents. If she talked to her parents, Nikhil would abuse her for this. Also, he would ask her to wear only the clothes approved by him and eat what he likes. At first, Sia thought her husband was caring for her but then it became suffocating for her. She would forgive him every time but Nikhil would never change. Now, they live separately and are on the verge of getting divorced.

I have a friend who was in a relationship with a girl long ago. Like every other guy, he too was smitten on his girl. For him, the girl was perfect and so he loved her a lot. He made sure not to control his love. The girl had many guy friends. Whenever my friend would ask about those guys, she would say they were just her friends. However, the girl was cheating on him and was dating many guys. After knowing the reality, my friend ended the relationship but she would call him every other day and would say, she doesn’t want to leave him. Also, she was not willing to leave other guys as well.

Reema was dating a guy and both of them were in a long distance relationship. The girl was of liberal thinking and so, she never minded her boyfriend befriending other girls. The boy, however on the other end was having some other plans and so, he cheated on Reema. The guy started dating one of his friends and when Reema came to know this, he denied and accused her of suspecting him.

The above incidents tell about how people misuse the freedom given to them by their partners and how they don’t realize the value of their other half.

When it comes to a relationship, we preach so much about “space” and “freedom”. We say every human should have freedom irrespective of whatever relationship they are into. But do we actually retain its meaning? At times, we start taking this freedom for granted. Or, maybe we don’t understand the true meaning of freedom in a relationship.

If your partner gives you freedom, then this doesn’t mean you can have a relationship with other people at the same time or you don’t have to be in limits. When you get into a relationship with a person, that person becomes special. But if you exploit the space, no one is as evil as you. Misusing the rights allowed to you doesn’t make you great. This shows, you have no respect for your partner and you do not value him/her.

Concluding, I can only say that – when you value the space given by your partner, the relationship becomes a fairy-tale but when you become controlling or crossing the limits, you ruin the relationship.