Nina decided to have a quick cup of Java before the meeting commences. She went to the vending machine and made herself a cup of Espresso and sat down in the waiting lounge with her styrofoam cup. Her mind wandered as she sipped the steaming cup of coffee. It wounded through the mist of time, travelling through the fog of memories to her 12th birthday. She had been a girl full of life and lustre, but her shine was dimmed by the dust of a loveless home and uncaring parents.

She had been sitting in her home’s sitting room, wearing a new dress, waiting for her father to come home with her birthday cake and presents. She had especially asked him to get her an easel, as she loved to paint and a box of the extensive choice of oil paints. Her li’l sister Diana was skipping around her, brimming with palpable excitement. She was hungry and could not wait to taste the many delicacies her mom was preparing in the kitchen. She went to their mother and hugged her midriff as she was frying piping hot Samosas in a wok.

“Mommy, when will we eat?” Little Diana asked as she eyed the food on the kitchen counter.

Her mother smiled at her and told: “Let Daddy come home with Nina’s birthday cake, and we will all eat together.” But her mother took a plate, kept two Samosas on it and gave it to Diana and told her to share it with Nina.

Both sisters were eating the Samosa with delight when the landline rang, and their mother came from the kitchen with a ladle in her hand to attend the call, wiping her sweaty brow on her apron. She talked on the phone for a while, and as she hung up, the sisters saw that their mothers body language had changed completely.

She came to them and said in a stern voice “Come Nina, Diana, let’s sit down to eat, it’s already very late.”

Nina looked up at her mother with wide eyes “But why Mommy, Dad is yet to come ?”

Her mother turned to her with anger in her eyes “You are a fool if you entertain your petty mind with such ideas that your Dad will come early tonight with arms full of presents for you. No one is coming. He will get late.” She told full of angst.

Nina was in tears upon hearing this, and she sat down with her head in her lap. “I won’t eat. I will wait for Dad. I have been waiting for this moment a whole month.” the 12 yr old Nina had revolted brazenly.

“Nina don’t be difficult. I am already on the edge of my patience with you Dad; now you don’t get on my nerves and add to my woes. Just come and eat so we can all sleep.” Her mother shrieked, and Nina cowered with fear.

“But Mom, I want cake too.” Diana had said in her sweet sing-song voice.

“This is my last warning to you both. COME AND HAVE DINNER OR SLEEP HUNGRY.” their mother said with a threateningly low voice as her lips trembled with the effort it took to control her anger.

“Mom please don’t scold Diana. She doesn’t know.”Nina had wanted to defend Diana when her mother had raised the ladle and brought down her hand on Diana’s head. Nina had thrown Diana out of harm’s way, and the ladle came down upon her head as blood gushed out from her forehead and she fainted.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

As she was losing all sight and sense of sound, she could hear faint calls of ‘Nina, Nina, wake up, Nina!!!’

Nina jolted and looked around feeling disoriented. What was she doing here in this suave lobby? Wasn’t she just hit by her mother on the forehead? It took her few seconds to get hold of her surroundings. She saw a woman standing by her side and calling her name. “Ms Nina Parker. The meeting is about to commence, and they are all waiting for you.”

Nina nodded and got up from her seat as she straightened her skirts and shook her head to clear it from the haunting memories of childhood.



“A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer.”

My sister still calls me a monkey. For her, I am the naughtiest, mischievous and cutest brother in the entire world. Whenever there is an opportunity to talk about me she never misses out on the chance, talking about my mischievous acts. I will present to you all, one such act of mine which is often discussed in my family. 

I was five years old, used to hate milk and to avoid drinking it I used to tiptoe and empty the tumbler in the garden and silently keep it on the table pretending I finished it. My grandmother always used to keep tabs on me and she found it pretty soon and she made it a point that every day I will drink in front of her. For few days I was left with no choice but to oblige her, but then I managed to escape her keen eyes and this time I chose to hide the tumbler in her old wardrobe, it went for two days and on the third day, her room and wardrobe totally stink. She went totally mad running after me and I managed to escape and later I employed the best defense a child can think off, kissing to cool her off and promising I won’t repeat it. 

Pretty determined not to do the same mistake, the very next day I hid the tumbler in my uncle’s bookshelf where he used to keep his office materials, and I left for my school’s Annual Day function, graced by the presence of the then famous Telugu film Director (Dasari Narayana Rao) I participated in nursery rhymes competition and won second prize, during prize distribution I literally snatched my prize from chief guest’s hands even before he could give it to me only to show that to my friend Divya(she is cute) embarrassing my parents with that behaviour of mine. After reaching home everyone was determined to teach me a lesson and my grandmother took the lead asking, “you promised me that you won’t repeat the same mistake,” and I quickly countered saying “yes, and so I hid the tumbler in uncle’s shelf instead”.

22Totally irritated she warned me that she will send me out of the house if I keep behaving like this. Insulted, I took few sandwiches from the kitchen and wrapped them in a handkerchief, tied it to the end of a stick and walked out in anger thinking they don’t want me at home, I will go away. Luckily even before I could cross my street, a known person found me and brought me home. When everyone found out what really happened, they were in a state of shock and couldn’t actually scold me. As for me, I happily sat in one corner and finished those sandwiches. 

Now whenever they discuss or narrate this incident I feel embarrassed and ashamed of my own stupidity. I often wonder what would have happened to me if that gentleman didn’t spot me ? My innocent logic could have put me in deep trouble. The lesson which I learned was not to repeat the adventure which I undertook years back. 


Night I was sleeping on my couch when the television remote slipped from hand and crashed on the floor, startling me, breaking my blessed sleep and beautiful dream. I woke up rubbing my eyes and yawning wide. I looked at the time, 4:00 AM. What??? But it’s day!!! I was shocked and looked around the room. And then I realized my mistake, it wasn’t a day, I had slept with all the lights switched on, the television on as it blasted my ears. The DVD player running flashing lights in my eyes. My laptop was on, my fully charged phone was still plugged in. The AC and fans all were on (damn, my bones are sore from the cold), to my horror even the fridge door was a bit ajar, the light from the inside of the fridge lighting the kitchen. (I hunted for food before dozing off) Scary sounds came from the washroom, oh damn! The washing machine was still on. I got up and thought for a second, and closed them all one by one. The house fell silent and it felt like night again. But I went to sleep with so much of guilt. (the bill, my dad, OMG !)

Every year, we use more energy than we did the year before.

Energy isn’t free. The breadwinner in your house pays for the all the electricity you use. So wasting energy is the same as wasting money – and we know that’s not a good idea!

Wasting energy isn’t good for the environment either. Most of the energy sources we depend on, like coal and natural gas, can’t be replaced – once we use them up, they’re gone forever. Another problem is that most forms of energy can cause pollution.

There are several things you can do right now to fight energy vampires in your home:

  1. Get a power strip: Speakers, TVs, and other entertainment gadgets consume electricity when you’re not using them. Plug them into a power strip, and you can flip them all on or off in a split second.
  2. Use sunlight wherever possible. Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use. Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, not hot. Select the most energy-efficient models when you replace your old appliances. Look for the Energy Star Label
  3. replace-old-bulbYou can say goodbye to the standard incandescent light bulb.Typically uses about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, saving you money and Can last 3-25 times longer.
  4. Solar panels can be used to generate a portion of your home’s power in order to reduce your dependency on traditional power sources. For instance, you can install panels to provide electricity just for appliances or lighting, to reduce your dependency on the utility company, as well as lower your bill.

Energy, lack of it or struggle for it has been a reason for most wars in the world. Sufficient supply of energy is the biggest need for developing a country or economy. We are in such a phase in this world where energy crisis is looming large on us. For India to achieve sustainable growth, we need to make sure that we do not suffer from an energy crisis. So it is very important that we start using energy or electricity efficiently so that we save it without losing comforts in our lives. Even a small effort from all of us collectively will help our country develop in a sustainable manner. Knowing this, we now understand that saving of resources is equally important and in fact same as saving money. As our parents did, we should also save and pass the habit of saving to our next generation for a better present and future.

Let There Be Light !


“Empty pockets teach you a million things,” this was said to me by a leading practitioner who happens to be my relative. I was very young then, in no position to understand what he meant. Few years down the line, when he was in his mid-50’s, he was diagnosed with Leukaemia (advanced stage), it came as a blow to us all. His fight against the disease was valiant but short-lived, yet, he left his family with more than enough resources to go on. Time went by, and soon his family was left with little funds, call it bad luck or bad investments, as per my cousin “Our ship sank cause it lost its captain in high tides.” The truth, however, was a bit different and bitter. My uncle worked hard, putting his blood and sweat into making that fortune was betrayed by his kin after his death. His only son, a well-educated boy who was simple at heart was manipulated into helping them out, making investments that wouldn’t earn him a penny, leaving him in a position where it became difficult for him to survive. But luckily he had the courage to start again, from the scratch.

I am reminded by a small chat between friends in a hostel during my higher secondary days. Anand was praying, hands joined, eyes closed when his friend Nitin interrupted.

Nitin – “What is it you are asking God with such diligence” ?

Anand – “Ssshhhh, don’t interrupt, I am praying that he blesses me with a huge mansion, luxury cars, huge bank balance and bricks of gold.”

Nitin – “What will happen when you get them all ?”

Anand – “I will be living happily.”

Nitin – “Then directly ask for happiness no. By the way, aren’t you happy now ? In this hostel room, with your bike, with few hundreds in your Wallet ?”

Anand- “I……….I am”(shocked)

Nitin was right in a way. Anand was happy, but he just thought happiness lies only in gold, cars, and money. In today’s world, it’s tough to imagine a day without money, and it’s very hard to feel satisfied if you have to struggle for your basic needs. Right from birth to cremation you need money, it’s needed to eat a day’s meal, to live, to fight disease, to earn respect, to find a little place for yourself on this earth, to secure your life, to provide your beloved, to gift someone something, but then, how much money can make you happy and satisfied?

If you have a luxurious mansion but all rooms are empty, if you have a Lamborghini but no friends to visit, if you have millions but no one truly to spend for, if you dine in exotic hotels but alone, if you have huge wealth but no one to pass it on or share with, if you have the costliest phone but none to call, then my friend you are the poorest living being on earth.

Dreaming of being rich and making good money isn’t a wrong thing but being rich shouldn’t be our only goal and dream. we must realize that money isn’t a synonym to happiness, It’s just a means to live comfortably. I hope no one is betrayed for money like my cousin, I hope greed hasn’t pickled our hearts that no tenderness lives there. If today was the last day of the entire human race, I am sure making money wouldn’t be on any one’s list and so money isn’t the only thing to live for.


It was a scorching sunny day, an unavoidable journey, the Indian Railways, and my only respite was a confirmed ticket. That day, like my many journeys, my iPod kept me busy, closed eyes, ear plugs in ears, and I entered some dreamland, but I was brought back to reality by a skinny, baggy eyed old man, as he touched my feet. I looked at him perplexed and he asked if he can sit on my berth a while. “Fine” I said half heartedly and after few minutes he asked “can my wife sit too ? Just for a while please.” Greedy old man I thought, but in that moment I didn’t see a retired postmaster in him, or a helpless father who invested all his life to raise his sons, giving them good education, care and in return all he got was abuses and cruelty during his time of need. None of his sons had a room in their house for the old couple, but they gleefully or rather forcefully snatched the little leftovers they had left to them. Poor him, he had to leave his hometown, living elsewhere on his little pension and the small chapati center the couple ran.

Open your eyes and you will find many such stories around you. Towards the fag-end of their lives, they will be dependent on their kids, but owing to multiple reasons, the elderly are either abused, neglected or abandoned and dumped in old age homes. Old age homes are no solutions as there they are deprived from the love, affection and emotional bonds that are formed with blood relatives.

Our film industry, poets, writers, lyricist have tried to send out this message numerous times, the greatest showman of Indian cinema, Mr Raj Kapoor, had shown this in a film named “ Kal Aaj  Aur Kal”, where he had portrayed this point very well, that today’s youth is tomorrow’s heritage. The legendary actor, Mr Amitabh Bachchan did film like “Baghban”, where he played the role of a helpless father who was forced to part ways with his wife in the dusk of their lives, bringing our hearts in our throats. Superstar Rajesh Khanna too, did movies like “Amrit” and “Avtaar” on this very subject. We watch these  movies, appreciate the sentiments, but back at home, our behaviour to our elders won’t change one bit. I am reminded of a song by Mukesh,

“Ladakpan Khel Mein Khoya
  Jawaani Neend Bhar Soya
  Budhapa Dekhkar Roya
  Wahi Kissa Purana Hai”

In four short lines, he told the story of each and everyone on this Earth !

Government of India brought Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior citizens Act in 2007 making children or grand children to maintain his or her parent, failing to do so, can be punishable with 3 months imprisonment, but how many parents will come forward to lodge a complaint against their own offspring ? Certainly not the old man whom I met in train. When asked, his reply was “they are my sons and I can’t see them suffer”. Forget the Act, how many of us respect by giving the reserved seats to senior citizens in buses? A question that I asked myself as well. The reason we are in this world and alive all this while is our parents, it’s with their help we took our first steps. Now when their knees are weak, let us be their walking stick and give them some room in our hearts and homes. Let’s not just say “Matru Devo Bhava – Pitru Devo Bhava” but let us be humans again, giving them the love they deserve, making them smile, driving their loneliness, depression away and making their second innings a fruitful one.

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