Samar had difficulty sleeping that night. He twisted and turned on his bed but couldn’t find rest. Finally his eyes closed out of exhaustion. His slumber was deep and Samar looked peaceful as if all his worries had been put aside.

Samar could see her, his mother, playing with a little boy. She pulled him close to her and nuzzled her nose against his. She lifted him high up in the air. The little boy’s eyes beamed with excitement and belief that her mother would definitely catch him. Samar saw that little child’s face. It was him. He was so happy and his mother loved him so much. His dad was there too waiting for his turn.  He would bring him toys and take him out for walks after he had learned to walk. Samar could hear his parents singing him a lullaby.

He could see his mother’s face clearly. Her radiant, compassionate face and then he saw his father approaching him. But as he drew closer his face distorted. It became a blur and he could not recognize him anymore. He could only hear a voice saying, “HE IS NOT YOUR DAD! THEY ARE ALL LIARS!

Samar woke up with sweat on his forehead. He had to do something about his past. He could not go on living like this. He gulped down a glass of water. The dream was fresh in his mind. He tried to understand Sagar’s reaction the last time he had seen him. He tried to remember his own feelings and his reaction towards his mom and his stepdad whom he had thought to be his real dad all along. He remembered how they had loved him and brought him up. Of course the job kept them busy but still they tried their best to spend time with their kids. And he thought about Sagar, his little brother, his friend; how was he doing? Will he ever be able to make things right with him again? So many things rushed through his mind.

The last ten years of his existence had been no less than a punishment. It was like living in an exile away from your home and your family. Samar had left everything behind. He wanted to meet his mother. He wanted to see her and ask her lot of questions.  The next day he sent his parents a lovely bouquet of red-roses as an anniversary present. And along with that he also sent a note for his mother. It read, “I want to see you mom”.



Ankit tried to listen carefully to the speaker. He was attending a seminar on self-development which the company he worked for conducted quarterly with an aim to help the employees to deal with issues like stress, work-life balance, and workplace setbacks. Ankit doubted if these sessions ever impacted the people holding the managerial posts in improving their behavior in certain instances, but he did realize that these were necessary. It helped people if they knew that the others too faced problems of a similar kind. And the sharing really helped the employees to feel better and build more meaningful connections with their co-workers.

The speaker called out if anyone wanted to share anything. Ankit raised his hand. He spoke on gratitude. When he spoke the audience felt Ankit believed in everything what he was saying. They seemed to enjoy it.

Ankit’s positivity endeared him to the people. It had always been his strength. He ended with a quote by Rumi, “Wear gratitude like cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” Ankit beamed as he saw the people smiling at him.  He felt privileged to feel happiness once again.

The episode with Nina had left Ankit heartbroken. He had genuinely loved her but for some reason she rejected him. Ankit often thought if Nina had been honest with him. There was something in her refusal which he felt was out of place. Nina had carefully, cautiously uttered a “yes” when he had asked her if she loved someone else. And if she had really loved someone else all that time the two wouldn’t have developed such an immense chemistry. With time Ankit became sure Nina had lied to him and there must have been a different reason which made her refuse him.

Whatever it may be Ankit chose to move on. He did not hold any sort of grudge against Nina. He did struggle initially after his heartbreak. His mom’s love and affection had prevented him from falling into depression. After leaving his job he immersed himself into poetry for a while. He had always loved poetry: Hindi, Urdu, English, all of it. Poetry made him take up English literature for his undergrad and he really loved it. Although, content-writing wasn’t as interesting or creative as poetry it helped Ankit to pay the bills. He was very sincere, hard-working and great company to be with which helped him to find employment again. And when there was a good position available, and due to his past affiliation, he joined back the company where he had once worked with Nina.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

Love finally made its way into Ankit’s life again. And five years after his tryst with Nina, Ankit tied the knot with Nisha. Nisha interestingly shared Ankit’s love for poetry and taught English. There was something in Nisha’s mannerisms which reminded Ankit of Nina which made him irresistible to her. He made sure he was honest with Nisha about his past. He wasn’t sure if this revelation would work in his favour but he wanted Nisha to know about this. Nisha was flattered and surprised but accepted the past. Where Nina lost, Nisha had found herself an endearing partner for life.


Most people reserve the New Year to make new resolutions and set goals. On the first day of the New Year people are ready with resolutions which they hope to fulfill in the upcoming months. Most hope and only a few actually plan to attain their goals.

The New Year symbolizes a fresh start, a break from the past. Although every day, every moment we live, is a new one compared to the previous moment or day.  And then there is life which presses the reset button without our consent and we have to start again in our lives. A death of a loved one, end of a relationship, loss of job, change of place causes us to restart our lives in one way or other. It’s not always easy and we have to stay strong.

New beginnings are symbolic of the cycle of life and death. All good things come to an end. One may say all that begins has to end. It’s the law of nature. In a movie I recently watched “Tangled” (It’s a Disney movie released in 2010 based on the fairy-tale of Rapunzel). In a particular scene, Rapunzel is excited to see the lanterns which have fascinated her since her childhood. But when she is very close to find the source of the lanterns she becomes anxious.  First, she is unsure if she will actually like it and second, she does not know what she will do if she likes what she sees. Eugene tells her that if she likes what she sees then she has to find a new dream.

Change is the only constant in our ever-changing world. And our ability to adapt becomes very important to face the diverse situations and challenges. As I mentioned earlier it’s not always easy to take control of our lives especially in times of immense heartbreak, sorrows and failures. These are the occasions when the affected person needs our help.  People who can’t cope up are termed as weak, failures and losers. When people say they are in depression they are not taken seriously. Certain friends would invite them to a party and ask them to forget their sorrows. Parents just say that one has to be strong and they had faced tougher situations in their lives. This is not exactly the right approach.

People suffering from mental breakdowns and depression can find it really difficult to get their life back in order. In a society which does not take mental illness seriously the impacted individuals need human understanding and compassion.  They require constant encouragement and instead of criticizing they should be allowed to embrace their feeling which helps them to cope up and let go of their losses gradually. Spiritual guidance often becomes very significant and effective in such cases because God has always taught us compassion and love.

Another case which is highly prevalent in our Indian society is the high expectations parents have from their wards to perform in the examinations.  Poor results result in suicides in some cases and parents fail to see beyond the report-cards of their children. A sister of my close friend took her life owing to a poor result.  A child is deemed a loser, a failure, an idiot incapable of doing anything with one’s life just because one fails in an exam or does not secure an expected grade. Parents should realize that their wards can always start fresh. Instead of heaping their expectations on them, they should rather act as their guides and share their wisdom.

Life does not exactly run in a linear course. There are always ends and new beginnings. Life is convoluted and flows like a wild river. Smooth sailing has to be enjoyed but inevitably it gets rough and sometimes we have to go the river-bank to fix the sail and start again till we reach our destination.


What’s the meaning of life?

I don’t have a definite answer to this profound question asked by many a people over eons.

Philosophers have debated over it and there has never been a one-for-all answer. May be that is what makes this question intriguing and yet so infuriating at the same time. Man has tried to answer this question since the beginning of time and this search has led to much philosophical, theological and scientific speculation. The diversity of this world and its cultures presents a myriad collection of answers different from each other.

Pico, in his famous “Oration on the Dignity of Man” published in 1486, states that God placed man at the midpoint of the world and addressed him thus:

Adam, you have been given no fixed place, no form of your own, and no particular function, so that you may have and possess, according to your will and your inclination, whatever place, whatever form, and whatever functions you choose…by your own free will, in whose hands I have placed you, will determine your own nature…You will have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are bestial. You will have the power, by the judgment of your soul, to be reborn into the highest forms of life, which are divine.

Pico sees this free will as the supreme generosity of God through which man will himself become the fruit of whatever he cultivates. According to him this is what qualifies man as the most supreme creation of God.

Any living being on our planet primary goal is survival. Man is not any different in that matter but because of his rational faculty he tries to find something more than merely survive. This is what makes us more than an animal and adds color and flavor to our world. Finding the meaning of life in general seems like a futile exercise. If you look at the whole, the idea of finding or attaching a meaning to our life in this complex world appears pointless.

For every good act there is an evil equivalent. For every honest person there are plenty of dishonest persons around. An honest politician remains an oxymoron. Innocence and purity are shunned since the innocent and pure of heart are inevitably duped and exploited. Our faith which is meant to elevate us closer to God is used to divide us, and used against us. Instead of getting us closer to the divine it brings out our bestial nature. As you can see our world is imperfect. But does that mean that we cater just to our own self-interest and don’t try to look beyond ourselves?   

 The free will gives us the power to not succumb to this world’s corruption and find our personal meanings of each of our lives. The materialistic world which runs on ostentatious displays of wealth and merriment makes us afraid of delving deep into ourselves. All that is cared about is the superficial appearance and every achievement has to be measureable. I too have joined the pursuit to find the meaning of life—my life. I am sure that in due time I will find something but I can’t be sure if it will be worth it or not. One thing I am sure of is that the experience will be of personal benefit and that in itself is a reward.

Oliver Sacks, when he first discovered his diagnosis of terminal illness: staring death in the face, he wrote, “Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Let’s not lose hope in these dark times we live in, and let’s choose to believe that our life has a purpose and a meaning, whatever it may be. If we persist enough, our brief-lives on this earth can be worthwhile and we can definitely make at least a teeny-tiny positive difference to our surroundings.


I was in my ninth standard. The distribution of computer weekly test paper was in progress. Few of the students surrounded Mr. Rituraj Pradhan, our computer sir. He was fairly new to the school and had made a pretty good impression on us students. Even though I struggled in computers and Java was way beyond my limited scope of Computer understanding, I put in lot of effort. The students negotiated with him for some increase in marks, and few of them even got into an argument for his corrections. It was the usual scene which all of us would have experienced during our school days. Everyone discussed about their scores. The toppers complained about getting 21/25 or 22/25. The lesser lights were happy with a 10/25 and some did not care about their single digit scores.

I had scored a very decent 19/25 in my paper. I went up to our sir for enquiring about the correct answer for a question. As I went near he turned towards my face and shouted on top of his voice commanding me to get back to my place. I shivered a bit shocked by his rage. Everyone who had been trying to get the scores added up took a step back and graciously returned to their seats. I was back at my place trying my best to calm myself. The period got over soon. The 10 minute short break followed. I went out of the class to get a breath of fresh air outside. A friend shared his Tiffin with me. It was roti and chana, and it was tasty. We got back to our classes and eagerly waited for the lunch-break. I enjoyed the football in the afternoon. It refreshed me from the morning showdown. I felt much better after that.

The afternoon session had a computer practical period. The post-football fatigue made it very difficult for me to stay awake in the first period after the lunch. I looked at my watch wishing for the class to get over soon. The next class was the computer practical and I wanted to sit inside the air-conditioned computer lab which would help in relaxing my overworked calf muscles. I was looking at the monitor trying to understand the piece of code when Rituraj sir tapped on my shoulder. I greeted him formally. The next few lines he uttered were completely unexpected. He genuinely apologized for shouting at me in the morning class and there was no pretence in his words. He sounded very sincere and I was overjoyed by this action of his. A deep sense of respect grew for him, even though he was not the best ever teacher but his best efforts never seemed fake.

Apologizing is the sign of a strong character and Rituraj sir was one. I have never forgotten that act of his, a teacher saying sorry to a student for shouting at him. Teachers with nature like his can really move the students in the forward direction and certainly make them better human beings. The last time I heard of him was when I paid a visit to my school during the summer vacation after my 2nd semester of college. He was suffering from a kidney ailment and there was a notice which requested the staff and students to contribute for his treatment. I have no clue to where he is now. I wish and pray that he is healthy and still making a positive impact on the people around him.

DEAR DAD . . .

I can see the mountains in the north,
I don’t want you to be rigid like them.
I want you to be like the gentle breeze,
Which in the summer heat brings some chill.

I want you to make me feel at home,
Not imprisoned by a wall of rules.
I know you want me to be good,
But all you have to do is trust in me.

I’m your son, oh Dad,
Hey Dad, I love you,
And I’m saying all this,
Hoping you will understand me,
I’m your son, Dad 
And I will always be yours.

I know that you care for me,
And in all that you do,
You want to show it too.
But Dad you can be more than that,
You can be more than just a Dad.

I’m not just a kid any more,
I have grown up and I have my feelings too.
To be honest, you have hurt me at times,
But I’m ready to let all that go.

All that I’m asking is,
Hey Dad, can we be friends?
I need you to listen to me,
You matter a lot to me,
That’s why I’m making this effort of mine.

I am grateful for all that you have done,
But I need your friendship more than anything else.

When I was growing up,
I thought we will become friends with time,
But I guess it never worked out.
I’m giving it a second try,
Will you join me too and answer my cry?

I’m your son, oh Dad
And I love you.


When I heard about the topic for this week, “The folly of expectations” I was a little disappointed. Not because I expected a different topic but because I personally never consider having expectations to be a folly. They are natural for a human as Payal so wonderfully put it in her article.

I don’t think a person can stop harbouring expectations. As human beings our hearts and minds is always on a lookout for something nice to happen for us. We are always anticipating with a belief that something we desire will be fulfilled. But to be on a safer side and counter the despair of disappointment we have to learn to manage our expectations and keep them realistic.

Whom do we expect the most from?

In our short lives it’s our parents and friends from whom we expect the most. Its inevitable isn’t it. People whom we care about and who care about us are the ones whom we want to understand us, provide us with whatever we are searching for. And whenever we depend on another person for something there is a probability of being let down and left disappointed.

In terms of physics, Probability of heart-break/disappointment is directly proportional to the degree of expectations. The more we expect the more are the chances of being let down.

Our parents love us the most, but even then, it becomes difficult at times for them to be all fulfilling all understanding. We have to try to understand them , their troubles, and make sacrifices and even a compromise. Their intentions are always noble for their children and that should always be remembered, respected and cherished.

With friends the expectations keep varying. The chances of heart-break are more because we take our friends for granted. So many things are just assumed and left unsaid. There are situations where a friend take undue advantage of the other all in good faith. If the air is not cleared the relationship may get strained even to the point of no return. We have to stay honest and express our concerns and not let things get complicated.

There is another person from whom we expect a lot and that is ourselves. I have had many moments where I have not been able to finish an article due to the fear it will not be good enough. This self-critic within needs to be kept in check and we have to stop taking ourselves too seriously.

Expectations like hope helps us to move ahead but of course with its caveat. It can’t be done without. And if things don’t go as we expected we should pick up the pieces and carry on learning from that experience.

As the great poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “The greatest glory lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”