11 years back a girl boarded her maiden international flight to a land that fate had reserved for her. 23 years spent amidst her family, loved ones, friends, a known culture, and a habituated language. And suddenly it dawns upon her as she sets foot offshore, she is away, miles away from them. Though a familiar face, a being to call her own, a relation that weaved bonds and family with her that she can call her “OWN” greeted her with a big grin on the arrival but many journeys were awaiting her on the other side of the airport door.

Going on a nostalgia trip it’s my story. October 2009, I was really nervous and excited at the same time. As the flight hit the runway butterflies started churning in. Long stretches of treading belts running tirelessly leading to the immigration counters that had a huge crowd waiting. Wait!! I passed the same process in India too, but why nervous now? I was in a familiar environment there, here I am a stranger, a newcomer, and alone.

As the new phase of my life rolled I had so much on my plate to explore and get habituated to. The weather, to begin with, had a tone of melancholy to it, raining literally any time of the year, no sun for days together, and quiet neighborhoods especially on Sundays which means everything shut. And with my husband coming back home at 4 am in the morning the next day (every alternate day) thanks to the work burden he had then I was on my own, all alone in a foreign land. With no social networking, no social circle of my own I started feeling homesick soon.

Of all the things that seemed troublesome in the beginning, Language was the main barrier. French and Dutch are two main official languages here in Belgium. No amount of lonely walks, grocery shopping can equate to the pleasure of having a social interaction with ease. My husband being my predecessor have acquired a few French words and asked me to use them in my next outings. And I was dumb enough to not to tweak the phrases before using them.

“Vous Parlez Anglais?” (Do you speak English?) Was supposed to be my question whenever I had to start a conversation (fortunately the capital region, Brussels due to its economical, political and diplomatic operations and being the host of European Union Commission office have a considerable chunk of the population (mainly the young demographic portion) who can speak English. But I confused “Vous” with “Je” which means “I” and instead of using a “?”mark I continued with a full stop. People who understood my situation would shift to English automatically but those who didn’t would state at me and equally confused as I was. And my pronunciation of typical French nouns (words) was the icing on the cake, cake to be thrown out of the window 😂. A petty example – Champs Elysees; correct pronunciation – Shon-Zay-LEE-zay and how I pronounced it – Cha-m-ps El-I-zees. Does it ring anything? Actress Kangna Ranaut in the movie Queen. I have many such bloopers

Things didn’t seem hunky-dory at all. I had to take a decision and make a move. That’s when I got enrolled myself in French classes. After a few classes, I realised it’s important to talk, for that’s the only way to practice the vocabulary acquired in the class. Now I started to commence my conversation in French wherever I go, no matter how slow, struggling and wrong. But what important is to try.

This step that had a shaky beginning had good returns. People of any country love to see foreigners making an effort to learn their language as an attempt to integrate with them. If they believe so they are more forthcoming and warm. I experienced the same. It doesn’t matter if drop or switch to English in the middle of the conversations (if only understood by the other party), still had fruitful conversations leaving a smile.

I had to quit my French classes after two levels of beginners due to family issues but now I am confident of surviving in the environment devoid of known English completely (some Google translation won’t hurt that much 😁). My two aged neighbors are all French on either side of my house. And I talk to them in the language they are comfortable with. I handle all the school routine work of my kids including the PTAs and other petty matters. After 11 years I have embraced Brussels and feel the same about being accepted here (not going to switch my passport though 😁).

In the nutshell, it’s all about the first step you take to bridge the distances. In my case, it was taking up French classes. I am not perfect in that language yet I am enjoying my life in a then foreign land now my home❤❤ . Fear of being alone and left out, adamancy, and stupidity of superiority/inferiority are strong shackles bondage-ing people keeping them apart. A step no matter how feeble needs to be take to show the intent. I am happy I have made my stride with that First Step!!!


It is said that Paris is the city of romance and fashion capital of the world.  I agree with that.  It’s been eight years when I first visited this city just a month before my first wedding anniversary as we were supposed to celebrate our first anniversary with family in India.  I was very excited (who won’t be) after all it was my first visit to the French capital which I have been seeing only on television and the first time comes only once in life.  We boarded Thalys, the superfast train plying between Brussels and Paris and the duration of the journey was about 1 hour 15 minutes.  After reaching there and checking in our hotel room we chalked out a plan for our three days.  Prepared a bucket list, which place needs to be visited first and so on.  We decided to take the metro to reach various destinations in the city.  Talking about the metro, the very look of the stations and the metro trains looked very old which meant they were running since ages. But we had a comfortable ride, in fact taking metro is the best option.  With a guide (book) in hand, we were all set to paint the city red.

(The fashion hub – Champs Elysées)

(The Sacred Heart Basilica)

(Museum de Louvre)

(Louvre, picture from distance)

(Arc de Triomphe, which I sarcastically call India Gate of Delhi as they are similar structures.)

(Moulin Rouge)

(River Siene, picture from Eiffel Tower)

(Guillotine, the execution place)

Hope you enjoyed Paris with me… 😛


In this world that is constantly trying to make us believe in all the wrong, it’s very difficult to put our head up high and do what we actually feel is right.

But, if I am just following what everyone else is doing even though they are doing something wrong, then probably I am just a faceless body amongst these masses.

Every other person wants to feel accepted or is trying to fit-in either in their college, office or any other social gathering and I’m also one among them. But as a person, I will not compromise on my values and ethics just to appease somebody or for the fear of being left out. What is the point of being in a democracy and being privileged enough to have umpteen rights to express myself freely when all I  do is be a sheep in the mob?

There’s one particular incident that I’d like to share, where a worker at our place had decided to get her daughter married right after her 12th. She wanted to study more and he was unwilling to do so. I stood by her and explained the worker that he should let her study. He wasn’t ready to listen. I had to literally threaten him saying I’ll approach the police if he doesn’t let her study. My parents also involved and supported me to help him understand this. Fortunately, he understood this though out of pressure but now his daughter is studying happily and fulfilling her dreams.

There was this other incident, it’s not something major but it’s important to get through these little situations too. So, during my undergraduate, there was a senior who was the head of our batch. There were some registrations going on in the college and there was a huge queue. My friend and I just cut through the line only to inquire about how long the process would take before we could utter anything, the head senior held my friend’s hand and pushed her away. That led to an injury on her hand. The teacher who was doing the registration had witnessed all of this but still did not choose to take any action and asked me to leave. I told her about the injury and how the senior ill-treated us, she ended the discussion by saying maybe it was because she is frustrated with work. It was not the first time that the senior had done something like this, she had indulged in a lot of unnecessary fights earlier too and as usual, they were ignored. If I wouldn’t do anything now, it would have continued forever. I approached the principal the very next day and made sure she realised her mistakes. I didn’t want her to be punished but she should at least realise her faults and not unnecessarily manhandle somebody.

It is not always easy to voice yourself and fight for what is right. There are situations when I doubt my own decisions when insecurities creep in and I become unsure of whether I am doing the right thing or not. In these moments, I think of the reasons I started fighting for it in the first place. At times I feel like everything might just fall apart and maybe I should stop doing what I am doing but I know if I don’t stand firmly by my own decision, no one will.

There’s this one quote I read somewhere that had hit me hard and gave me all the courage I hold today;

“Stand up to hypocrisy. If you don’t, the hypocrites will teach. Stand up to ignorance, because if you don’t, the ignorant will run free to spread ignorance like a disease. Stand up for truth. If you don’t, then there is no truth to your existence. If you don’t stand up for all that is right, then understand that you are part of the reason why there is so much wrong in the world.”

If you don’t, then who will?


Nobody does, why should I do?

If a survey is done then I think this dialogue would be the most spoken dialogue in India when it comes to the carrying out of duties and responsibilities.

Is there not a traffic rule to over take a vehicle from the right side? Is it unknown for some? No, it is not. Everybody is aware of this rule yet there are drivers do the opposite or whatever seems convenient to them.

Throwing rubbish, a used cup, a plastic plate, waste food materials on the roads are not allowed. Is it not known to all? Yes, it is very well known to all of us yet, some of us do it at ease.

Urinating on the street is not allowed. Is it unknown to all? No, yet people do it disobeying the rules.

Wearing a helmet for the bikers is a mandatory rule. And this rule is made to save lives… for the benefit of the rider yet people don’t obey it.

Be it objecting to open urination, be it opposing eve teasing/ molestation, be it pointing out violation of traffic rules, be it reminding the importance of clean surroundings and sanitation – we choose to turn a blind eye by proclaiming the same slogan, “Nobody does, why should I do?”

Civic Sense is nothing but the sense of responsibility which refrains us from misusing and misbehaving in public places. But why don’t I follow it? Because I don’t want to be the first one but I wait for everybody to do it then I can imitate them like an uncivilized monkey.

I remember once I approached one of our neighbors to turn off electric lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on a specific day (I can’t remember the date) as a symbol of commitment to the planet celebrating “World Earth Hour“. His response didn’t astound me but made me feel sad about it.

Because he said, “Nobody does, why should I do?”

My former boss has a very good habit. Whenever he travels in the trains he collects all the rubbish around him thrown by his co-passengers and put it in a plastic carry bag to keep it under the seat so that whenever the rubbish collector comes he would hand over the same to him. Last week when I was travelling to Cuttack I remembered him and followed the same.  That definitely astounded my co- passenger because they have that attitude of repeating the same slogan – “Nobody does, why should I do?”

A good citizen makes every utmost effort to do what he/she can do at his/her level. There are well explained designated responsibilities defined by the Indian constitution. Simply following them would ensure that we are good citizens of our beautiful country. If I have to repeat then I would love to repeat that, if we want our government officials to be more responsible and hard-working, then we too need to strive hard. We need to follow guidelines and have to respect plans and reforms in order to maintain harmony and peace. 

Concluding this article as well as the current week, I would like to encourage all of you to  take an oath today to do at least what is required of us instead of singing our old song all the time.

I try my best to do what is required by the law of my land. Are you doing the same?

Stay Blessed!


I stopped reading the newspaper long time back. With the news full of scams, murders, rapes and corruption, it makes all of us feel helpless and resigned. “Nothing can change this country” – we say and get on with our daily routines. This feeling of resignation makes us blind. It makes us somebody who is only ready to blame and not take any responsibility. It makes us blame the authorities, government, neighbors, schools, colleges and youngsters – basically everybody other than the people living under our own houses.

As a kid, I saw my father make a difference to a small community when he first started a waste management program. I saw him work hard, toil his days only in educating people about segregating waste. That step of his was a huge inspiration for me. Waste segregation not only made our colony cleaner but it helped those poor rag-pickers who got clean dry waste to be recycled. He changed a few lives and inspired many.

I grew up and came to Bangalore. I joined a couple of NGO’s and Landmark Education. I soon found that here work was being done even at a bigger scale. Providing learning skills to underprivileged kids, teaching English and Computers to underprivileged kids, working on waste segregation at a much larger scale, basic sex education to kids and working against child sexual abuse – I have largely touched these areas while working with many people. I realized that world is full of passionate and enthusiastic people who are not resigned but all ready to make a difference at their own scale.

It is very easy to sit at home, watch news the whole day and read newspaper which is anyways full of negativity and blame the government. It is not very easy to take up an issue that our society is struggling with today and make it a mission of your life. Fight it with all your might – like a soldier protecting his nation.

Few years back, when Aamir Khan (renowned Bollywood actor) premiered the show named – Satyamev Jayate, I was touched to the depths of my heart. The first episode was about female infanticide and feticide – a major problem in this country. I cried my heart out imagining how many girls are killed every day, either as an infant or in the womb.
Satyamev Jayate is not about the problems in our society, it is not about finger-pointing and blaming the authorities. It is about looking for a solution at the ground level. The way this team has got the heroes of this country in limelight, it gives a huge inspiration to each one of the viewers.

To believe in the fact that “change is possible”! Yes, there are burning issues but the solutions are also available. In a country of 1 billion people, even if 10% of us take up a cause and a mission to bring about a change, corrupt politicians will be weakened.
I don’t read the newspaper at all. I rather subscribe to Facebook pages of the organizations and individuals who have taken up the mission to bring about the change. They give me much more hope and motivation to continue my mission. I am not interested in reading about scams, murders and rapes; I am more interested in reading about heroes of this country who never come into a limelight of media.

For me, a good citizen is the one who is not resigned about the condition of his/her county. A good citizen makes every utmost effort to do what he/she can do at his/her level. Soldiers are not the only one who have the responsibility to protect our land. It is each one of us who needs to do the work at our level to protect our land.


Last week I met with an accident. A speeding taxi rubbed my two-wheeler from the side, I tried to land my foot, my trouser got stuck on some pointed object on the two-wheeler beside me. The two-wheeler rider was obviously not expecting this; hence he couldn’t control his bike. My trouser got torn, there was a cut on my leg, a severely sprained wrist. I was in an utter shock and all the above happened in few seconds. Another two-wheeler behind me got stuck between my tire and the footstep.

I came home, crashed on the bed, by next morning I have developed fever. Unable to move out of bed, I wondered what was wrong. It was my leg, there were four bruises and one cut ☹ After a visit to hospital, got a bandage for hand, dressing to the wounds, injection and medicine, was limited to home for next few days. I remembered that petrol in my bike was on reserve. On the weekend I had to refill the petrol, if not in case of emergency it would be difficult to even go to nearby hospital. With this thought, I took out my bike and was on road.

I was driving at minimal speed of 5 kms as the road was completely jammed. There was a car behind me, he honked once, I looked in the rearview mirror and ignored it, he honked again this time I noticed that he has an “L” board on his car. One more honk, I parked my two-wheeler right on the road and gave my piece of mind to the driver. “Firstly, you have no emergency, Secondly, as you are aware the lane is single lane, Thirdly, as you are still a learner, learn to drive without honking, Sorry, I am not giving you way because there is none and I cannot harm people walking on the side”. Normally, no matter how much they honk, I do what is right, but I don’t resort to giving lectures on road. This is the first time, and I really felt good doing it.

People in India honk more than required, sometimes so much that they don’t stop it.  We don’t really care, our work has to get done. We make more noise than what the problem’s seriousness really is and do nothing about it.

Attitude is the biggest problem, there are two distinct and interesting attitudes “Chalta hai” (It’s ok) and “It’s not my problem”. Is it never our problem unless it happens in our own family? The same are the reasons why we struggle every day, it is not the government. 

Every role comes with responsibility. Being a citizen is a role and Indian constitution has defined designated responsibilities to us.

  • Indian citizen must respect their National Flag and the National Anthem.
  • They must respect, value and follow all the noble ideals used in the national struggle for freedom.
  • They must to protect the power, unity and integrity of the country.
  • They guard the country and maintain the spirit of common brotherhood.
  • They must protect and preserve the cultural heritage sites.
  • They must protect, preserve and improve the natural environment.
  • They must safeguard the public property.
  • They should develop scientific temper and spirit of inquiry.
  • They must work hard to get excellence in every area of individual and collective activity.

These responsibilities are not just for the best interest of the country but of the people. Abiding to those responsibilities would bring prosperity to us and the nation. Simple changes to our behaviors, follow the rules, vote to choose who is going to give us a good direction, pay taxes on time, participate and encourage others for community work, keep our premises clean, help the government to perform their job better.

As a good citizen it is our duty to be responsible for the welfare of society and in turn our country. We have to change our thinking and act to see the positive effect it can make on the society. Let’s collaborate and work together.


“The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power” 
― Wael Ghonim


When my eyes are bold
to identify
good and bad

When my ears are

keen to listen
to stories unheard

When my mouth

dares to
speak the truth I see

When my hands

break open free
to fight for justice

When my legs

never complain
to walk the miles
to support a cause

The day when I
scrub off the
impeding dirt
of my body clean
I pronounce
I am a
good human being
When I am able to
fulfill these
I am
a good citizen!