“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”
― John F. Kennedy
I never realized how these words of John F. Kennedy hold any truth in them, till last month. How can someone turn a crisis into an opportunity; does not matter if he is a Chinese, Indian, American or any other national. But what I have been experiencing and seeing around me since the natural disaster affected my hometown, has surely made me realized Mr. Kennedy did not express his thought without checking its validity.
Now my situation best described by the great American romance writer Susan Elizabeth Phillips in her book Breathing Room, which says, “I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.”
As most of you know, Phailin played a devastating role at our place. Although the cyclone had no direct impact on my hometown, but next day we had to face the worst flood that affected our place so badly in last few decade.
The flood water entered most of the Godowns and shops. Most of the businessmen in our small town were clueless on how to deal with such crisis.
In next few days, we saw some people selling their products those affected by flood waters on huge discounts. Like always discount matters a lot to us Indian, as we believe we are born street smart. So it was a great deal for most of the people, and in few days only all the products were sold. The discount sale did not end there. It continued and it’s still continuing… but this time they were selling all those old stock which were nothing but garbage for them before the flood. And our intelligent people are forgetting that, the sellers too are Indians and they are also street smart. People are buying those shoes, clothes which they have rejected long time back. And It all due to that mindset of us customers, which makes us believe the difference between Rupees 999 and Rupees 1000 a huge one.
The businessmen are not the only one who turned crisis into opportunity and made a profit in thousands selling goods which were tired of waiting for someone to realize their worth. Few among the great politicians too used this crisis as the opportunity too. The relief that reached our place, helped them in wooing the voters, as election is round corner.
We somehow forget that we live in an opportunistic world; where things are measured using the parameters as either Profit or loss, advantage or disadvantage. Be it in a crisis, or in good times, we all search for that small ladder that would help us to move one step up….
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” -Rahm Emanuel
Now I wonder why we always take our personal crisis too seriously as if it was the end of the world for us! We need to see, a broken relationship providing us a chance to get into a better relationship, losing a job as an opportunity or need to find a better job or start a venture that is our own. It’s all there in… how we see… and how we think.
“Successful people recognize crisis as a time for change – from lesser to greater, smaller to bigger.” -Edwin Louis Cole
Some people say, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I agree. But then, I confess I do… I really do judge a book by its cover. And I also believe many of us do. What if I would say, “Never judge a book by its author’s photo on the back cover!” How many of you would agree to me on this.
How you look…. how much it matters! I believe it matters depending on what that person wants to do or which profession he wants to choose. This question never appears in my mind while I wrote more than two hundred fifty posts in my blog, or even when I self published my first book.
This question only came to my mind, only after I decided to go with traditional publishing for my first novel. It’s only then I realized some publishers want the author’s photo as part of the proposal. That left me wondering, why is it so important to check, if the author’s face is presentable or not. After all he is not an actor or a rock star. His work would never be judged considering how he looks in front of the camera while giving an interview or how he carries himself when he marks his presence on stage.
But then after talking to many people I realized these are all part of the process for the next generations of young writers; who have to promote themselves and their books on the social networking site, who have to visit various Engineering and Management colleges to create an impression in
minds hearts of those hundreds of people present inside that podium. And yes, it’s quite impossible to create an impact with just 140 characters on a follower or to make your presence unforgettable in front of hundreds or thousands of people with just a ten minutes speech. This is when the face value matters. And it was my mistake to categorize those publishers as fools who ask for photographs of the author.
I was actually a fool who never realized what some great brains working in publishing world caught so easily. How could I forget once I too bought a book just by seeing the female author’s picture on the back cover! Then I had a huge crush on her and I am still unable to get rid of that. I was about to type the name of the author for you all ( I consider you all my extended family… you people know that ;) ) …. But then I pressed the delete key few times, until I erased her name completely from here….
Here’s another thing I have learnt and implementing in my life these days. Now I am bit cautious on what I say or what I write on a public domain. Who knows someday, I would find a small empty space to fit in that list of next generation of writers. And I do not want someone else to tell that lady, I have talked about her in my blog. Some words sound better when you tell them with your own mouth to that person for whom they are intended.
Have you ever bought any book, just because you found the author good-looking or smart?
12th October 2013, Cyclone Phailin hit my state. It was expected that the storm would bring wind of up to 136 Miles/hr. The fear in faces of more than one billion people overshadowed the dark clouds floating over our head. The news channels both local and national, reported from the ground zero.
Reports said, Phailin would landslide at 6:30 that evening. Just like us Indians, it too did not reach its destination on time. May be Phailin too was aware of the fact that, we Indian do not encourage punctuality.
It was also the day that marks the biggest festival of our state; the day on which our people worship Goddess Durga. But somehow for the first time, when I left my home that evening, I saw roads were empty, darkness covered everywhere and not many people dared to come out of their houses. We were 150 Miles away from the place where the destruction was predicted. Still the nature’s roar did not fail to reach the place where I was at that time.
Next day, was my grandfather’s death anniversary. I bought few things those required for the rituals. Before I could return home, Phailin reached its destination. That night, I sat in front of my television set and reporters of those 24/7 news channels shared every details of what they were experiencing at that time. I wondered why the hell that reporter was trying to show his unnecessary heroism, by standing on a roof top, while the back ground was too dark for the camera to capture anything. In the meantime, It was bit funny and irritating that, another woman reporter sitting in the studio informed us viewers that, we must guess the speed of the wind by seeing how the wind blew hair of the other reporter, who stood in the place where phailin had started showing its characteristics.
The rain continued all night at my small town and at 3AM the electricity went off.
After more than one year, my first novel’s complete manuscript was saved on my laptop. Copy edit was done. I wanted to send my proposal next day to all the leading publishing houses. I thought it was purely coincidental that, just a day before my grandfather’s death anniversary the project ended. I always feel the urge in me to write has a connection with my grandfather. I do not remember his face. He died when I was only one year old. I did not have any memories of him with me. Still what I heard from others, he was a great writer and he has a great command over this foreign language in a time where India was ruled by some people speaking that same language. His work never got published nor did he get any recognition for his work. He was a reputed man in our small town; but after two generations that reputation too lost its presence in the society.
Next day morning, when I woke up, I heard there was not much causality due to the cyclone. But it had affected badly so many town and villages like ours. Due to heavy rains, and sea not receiving water from the river due to the cyclone; the over flowing river water had now entered to the houses and streets of our town. In past twenty eight years I had never seen such a flood before.
Still the rituals performed at my place; while water kept on entering many of my friends’ homes. The communication to their place was broken. It was impossible to reach their place. From first floor of their houses, they kept on looking at water entering their ground floor and destroying their goods. By evening water reached to the first floor too.
There was no help from any official, so they did not have any way other than waiting for the water level to go down by its own. It was scary. That night after doing enough damage, the water level went down. I remembered I had some plan with my manuscript. But there was no electricity; and I could n’t hope of my wish of knocking at all the publisher’s mail box with my proposal on my Grandfather’s death anniversary getting fulfilled.
The calendar hanging on my room’s wall took me to the next date with the sunrise.The condition still remained the same. No electricity, no water supply. The evidence of destruction could easily be seen on the streets of my small town. Properties of millions laid in front of the shops damaged; houses were broken; accessories were floating on the water; no smiling face anywhere around me.
In next few hours, we got our power supply back. The small town lit up with artificial brightness once again. People again crowded the narrow streets joining every locality of my small town. The place now much looks like what it was before the flood. The mark of destruction still left everywhere around us, but people have started moving on.
I too sent my proposal to publishers, and started preparing for an exam I have few weeks later. The nervousness and anxiety of getting close to a dream, that I have lived with since so many years now helped me in getting rid of the fear of the natural disaster.
Does not matter how much big the crisis is; it’s us humans’ hopes, dreams and aspirations those help us to move on…..
That gives the strength to breath.
That remind us the value of faith.
That rewards the pain.
That teaches us to stay in the game.
That wraps up our soul.
That provides us a goal.
That values our strength.
That tests the values we have.
That takes our soul’s test.
That asks us not to rest.
That warns us to get up the moment we rest.
That sparks inside and waits for its visibility.
That last in moments.
That enhance a soul’s beauty.
That helps finding the answer “Who am I?”
That confuses others “Who actually am I?”
That hurts most heal least,
That creates a bridge to cross the most difficult street.
That raises the bar from inside.
That gathers the courage to stand against the high tide.
I was writing my book, and as I am getting closer to last few pages of it my mind has started screwing up little bit. I logged into my WordPress account and it showed a picture of an award as a notification. I am no fool, so I did not waste my time guessing that might be I was freshly pressed today. No it’s not that getting freshly pressed is something that is not my destiny; but it’s just because I do not deserve it.
Then I wondered why that alert was still showing up on my account and after clicking on it I realized my blog has grown up a year older might not be stronger than before. Somehow I felt my love for my blog has faded. The excitement I had on its first anniversary was no more there. It was like when a person is in a relationship, he celebrates his girlfriend’s birthday with joy and after break up he remembers it with a glass of wine and after few more years it remains a day just like any other day.
But then something that keeps me and my blog connected. An invisible force still binds my virtual world to my real world through my blog. If not so, then why after so many day, today only I felt the need to login to my account. There are few things which we need to keep away from logic and facts, might be my bonding with my blog is one of them.
Two years earlier, sitting on a mat without any prior knowledge about blogging I opened this account with the help of a friend. Being a not so good Software Engineer, it did not take me more that couple of hours to figure out how things work. Then I met some wonderful and talented people and the journey was beautiful and it still is. Might be meeting these people from whom I learn more than I learn from people living around me in real world is my destiny.
But as one of most favorite romantic movie, my sassy girl ends with a dialogue that says-
“And as for the question of destiny, it can’t do alone… all I know is even when destiny really wants to accomplish something, it can’t do it alone. You still have to go to restaurant… you still have to show up… You still have to build a bridge to the one you love….”
These two years, things in me or around me did not change much for the people who meet me, who know me or even who think they know me. But when I look at myself, I feel things have changed a lot.
May be I am not as connected to my blog as I was a couple of years earlier… may be writing a book fascinates me more than writing a blog now. Still my blog would always stay close to my heart, after all this is the only place where I let my heart to speak. Sometimes long distance relationship works better and I believe this is that phase my blog and I are going through….
I hope next year I will remember when my blog was born…. Thanks everyone for such a wonderful 365 days in blogosphere last year and all your love and support. Love you all!! :)
Night comes and this beautiful planet, covers its belongings including us humans with a blanket. The sun that slides down from east to west passing through the clouds while playing hide & seek with us hides completely and allows us humans to rest. The birds start singing with the rhythm of silence of the night. The wind reaches my room dancing and tells a story in my ears as it enters my room through that half-open window glass. I then realize, now it’s the time to meet someone whom I can never meet in those crowded streets, in that brightness of day light.
Yes it’s that time of the nights I am talking about… when tired bodies of us humans rest in peace and allows our mind to hibernate for a while. It’s the time when majority of us prefers to close our eyes… and to dream, kiss and make love.
I open the other half of my window to allow it to enter my room comfortably I allow my soul to dance with that tune of silence and to sing with those birds, those frogs without even knowing the lyrics. It’s only then I try to fall in love with that street that I see empty in front of my eyes; it’s only then I try to fall in love with that coldness of dew drops dissolving in my hand and making it wet. It’s when I fall in love with everything that nature offers us and I believe all of them have souls inside them… which are untouchable, unspeakable.
It’s only time, when I find “myself” in me. It is the time I ask that myself in me, “Who am I really?”
Every night I meet “myself” in that darkness of night, far away from that crowd, which I have to be part of every morning when the Sun again returns to my place from yours and again takes away the “myself” away from “me”.
The next day when the sun moves dancing over my head… I smile looking at the sky and realize that if “myself” could not stay with me all the time … then its’ that “I” who have to walk this journey called life all alone.
I again smile looking at that innocent little girl walking with her mother holding her hands and start walking towards my destination. I turn my face to offer a gentle smile to an old man crossing the road, to a traffic police busy with his job, to a beautiful girl whom I meet for the first time.
“I” and that “Smile” on my face walk until again that darkness of night, that silence of street, that moonlight, that empty field, that sky filled with stars again allow that “I” in me to meet “myself” and interact honestly.
Have that “I” in you ever met that “myself” in you? If yes, then what were the question you’ve asked him/her?
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou
I remember during our young days, after watching a romantic movie inside a theater, we used to say that, “Hey! Our own life stories are better than this one.” I am sure my friends were not the only ones who believed so. Even today, hundreds of young people believe that they have many stories deep inside them those need to come out. Unfortunately, once we grow up, the surrounding changes, priorities change and we somehow forget that we always wanted to tell something to the world.
But does it hurt us while living rest of our lives without sharing that story which we once thought was good enough to share with the world. I am not sure about everyone; but I believe it hurts many of us. If not, then why do hundred blogs add everyday to the millions which are already there? Why do hundreds of new books come to the market considering billions of books are already there?
At some point of time, we all feel the urge to scream at someone, to shout out really loud, to laugh until the tears come out. Similarly a point comes in our life when willingly we start telling that untold story which we bear inside us.
I started writing my first fiction book few months back, after I felt the urge to tell a story. Honestly I do not have any such knowledge about building characters, settings, point of view or even conflicts. I started pressing keys of my keyboard and gave birth to people who were quite similar to those people whom I met in my life and left a strong impression on me. Then I allowed them to talk to each other just like I do in my daily life. After a point of time, I felt like the characters which I created in a fictional world were now part of my life.
Now when I am approaching towards the end of my book, I feel like after few months I have to separate my path from all these people, who have lived with me inside my mind for almost past one year. It’s not easy to give all your free time to people who live in an imaginary world and who can never be there for you when you will need them. But there is something so wonderful in the process of creating a fictional world, I enjoyed every single moment I spent there after creating it.
Like all of you I too wonder, what is so special with telling a story that now I do not feel the need to invest my free time on roaming with friends on streets, watching movies inside a theater. I felt in love with someone for the last time, when I was so young and immature that my intelligence used to fall short while deciding which color dress suits me and which does not. After that, I have never found the right girl to experience love again. Now after so many years, I could hardly stop myself falling in love with the female character of my story whom I have created with my vision and my words.
Is not this the beauty of storytelling and writing? But a person can see that beauty only when he feels tired of living with that agony of bearing an untold story inside him.
Do not you have an untold story inside you? If yes, are you ready to share it with the world?
When I started blogging, I met a fellow blogger with one of her freshly pressed post. She is a wonderful writer, and TV news reporter ….and anchor…. and the list continues. More than all these credits adding to her name it’s something really wonderful that she feels proud of being a mother of two beautiful kids.
Melissa shares her experiences of being a mother and being a wife with her blog “Writing for Daisies“. Her words are so powerful and enchanting that they never fail to touch heart of her readers. I feel really happy that now she has decided to share her stories with the world by publishing her first children book “Sometimes the moon”.
You can check more on her book @amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Sometimes-Moon-Melissa-Morse/dp/0985679336/
or else in her blog- http://writingfordaisies.wordpress.com/my-books/
I can guarantee all of you who visit my blog, that she will not disappoint you with her book. She is one of those rare fellow bloggers whom I consider as real friends.
She keeps on inspiring me with her words she left for me in my blogs comment section and that inspiration from her and few of other wonderful writers helped me a lot as I allowed that small writer in me to nurture with time.
Now I am sure she will inspire you all in the same way with her words. Check out her book and let kids whom you love enjoy her words by gifting them this summer or winter (depending on the place where you live).
Wishing you a great journey ahead, Melissa; with this book and many others to come.
Like 1.21 billions other people living in this part of world I too feel proud the moment a name “I_N_D_I_A” comes out of my mouth. It does not mean a country to us; We consider it as our mother. I know I am unnecessarily showing my patriotism here; but I need to feel my love for my country before I will expect you to show the same love for my motherland, my India.
Since We were in school, no one has ever asked us a question, “What is the name of your country?” Every time we have to answer “India” the question remains, “What is the name of our motherland?”
A land that feeds billions of people, creates opportunities for millions outsider and outsources thousands of people is the real India which I know.
I am sure most of you have seen India painted with colors like poverty, corruption etc. Today I will try to show the other side of India that gives us many reasons to look for our Pride, our happiness and our peace.
This post is dedicated to “Amarnath Trip”; which ended recently.
Amarnath cave is among the holiest shrines in Hinduism, located in South Kashmir Himalaya region of India. It is dedicated to Shiva. It is located at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), about 141 km (88 mi) from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir and reached through Pahalgam town.
Snowy mountains cover the Amarnath cave, except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Thousands of people walk through these challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalagmite formed inside the cave and to worship that ice stalagmite.
Freezing of water drops those fall from the roof of the cave on to the floor forms and grows up vertically from the cave floor to give it as a shape of “Shiva Linga”
In 2011 it received the highest recorded visitors as 634,000 persons. The number was 622,000 in 2012. In 2013, 37,000 devotees have visited Amarnath in first four days only. People allowed to visit this place in the months of May-August. The ice Shiva Linga forms between the months of May to August and then gradually melts away. The dates for the Amarnath Yatra this year were from 28 June 2013 to 21 August 2013. But the Ice Shiv Linga Melted two days earlier completely.
It is described in the holy books that in this cave Lord Shiva explained about the divine life and eternity to his eternal consort Parvati. Before starting his eternity secret of divine life, Lord Shiva described Parvati that who ever will listen this story will live eternally and never die. But Parvati fall asleep in between, and a husband wife pair of pigeons witnessed the whole secret of eternal life. It is considered that the pair of pigeons is still alive and if someone gets the chance of seeing them while his/her pilgrimage, it is a good sign.
The estimated route of the Yatra takes about 5 days to reach the Amarnath cave. However, this is not the actual case, as the route is quite risky and depends a lot on the weather conditions which can be changed at any moment Rain is unpredictable and at such a high altitude, breathing problem is a matter of concern.
As the yatra starts, the nature starts shaping itself into most beautiful form. The greenery surrounding the paths, ice covering the rocks of Himalaya; what else a nature lover can ask for.
the One way Helicopter Fare for Amarnath Yatra 2013
1) From Baltal to Panjtarni : Rs 1500/-
2) From Pahalgam to Panjtarni: Rs 2400/-
And the pilgrims who wants to use this service have to register early.
The paths are mostly slippery and muddy due to the melting of ice and unpredictability of seasonal rain.
Important Tips for you if you are planning for Amarnath Yatra:
- Achieve physical fitness a month before the Yatra.
- Begin deep breathing exercise as there is lack of oxygen at high altitudes. (Most people face this problem, so be careful)
- Carry warm and comfortable clothes during the Yatra as temperatures can drop radically
- Carry a raincoat and torch as it might rain or snow during the Yatra.
- Keep some identification of yourself with you all the time.
- Carry a water bottle and some dry fruits to snack on the journey.
- Keep a moisturizer or a cold cream to protect your skin from dry conditions.
- Always follow instructions given by the Yatra Administration.
- Carry basic medication along with you.
- Take regular breaks and try not to exert yourself too much during the climb.
Stay Safe and enjoy what nature offers you in whatever part you find your mother in your land.
That rang in my ear,
When you were standing by my side;
Your head lying on my body
And every breath I took blew your hair.
Now I see myself,
Standing at another corner,
No one surrounding, no one near,
Time chases me,
Just like a hungry tiger chases a lonely deer.
I will never walk the same path,
On which once I walked with you,
Chasing my own shadows,
While walking on empty streets is for me nothing new.
I find it difficult to mend my broken heart
A broken piece is still lying there,
under your pillow with fear.
I can never see a dream without you again,
You made me believe,
Every dreams ends up with agony and pain.
That careless whisper,
Still rings in my ear;
I can never fall in love with someone else,
It keeps on making sure!!
Competition is something which I always hate. Does not matter if it was to decide who came first in the class during my schooling days or to get a job these days or to pull few people aside while entering one of my legs inside the local buses on busy Indian street.
When 2.5 billion other eyes watch you every second, when 2.5 billion legs run the race with a common goal to come first, when 1.25 billion minds apply their intelligence to beat you in the race…. Life does not seem easy for a common man who finds her body, heart mind and soul roaming across different location of a country called India.
I am no different. I too get irritated and tired easily while dealing with this trend of life like most of my countrymen. In a race only a person comes first, the remaining find themselves in the positions of losers. And when the race is among millions the happiness of the winner seems like a drop of water in front of the pain of millions of losers.
But as Mr. Barack Obama said like most of the other intelligent people in his victory speech, that “Hope is a wonderful thing.” Yes I agree. Ask any person who sleeps every night with a hope that tomorrow things may change for him and he may come up as a winner, ask an obsessed lover who looks at the moon every night at thinks that tomorrow his wait will be over and he is going to find his girl in his arms, ask a married couple who wait for their first child after years of their marriage and hope tomorrow God is going to listen to their prayer…. They will tell you what “hope” bring to their life.
I am dreamer; I do not have to think twice before accepting it. And a dreamer realizes the power of hope better than anyone else. When last time I appeared for an exam I had to compete with 1.7 million people to come in a list of first 356. When I look at the figure, I find out of only 2.1% of hopes are going to reach the end point and other 97.9% hopes are going to stay alive until they get another chance to compete in the race of hopes.
When I look at all these different scenarios of life, I realize why and how people of our planet came to conclusion while terming the phenomenon as “Survival of the fittest.”
I was a big believer of destiny. But then I realized it makes me weaker. I find biggest excuse of every failure I go through in those two words “destiny” and “luck”. Somehow I make something else accountable for my deeds instead of considering it as my defeat or my win. Now I hardly look for excuses when I find myself running behind in any competition.
Few days back I came to know that, if I am going to write the best 3000 words of my life while competing with millions of others; then I may get a chance to work with a publishing house which is like “dream come true” for every young writer of my country.
I know it’s not going to be a easy task for me like everyone else
who is going to try his luck who is going to test his/her talent and skills; especially when I find words are not flowing out of my soul these days when I am pressing keys of my laptop and time is not allowing me to have a one to one session with my soul. But as people say, hope is a nice thing and let me hope that, I am going to write every word which does not only count but also creates an impact on the heart of a reader.