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An unavoidable phone call

How often does it happen while you are travelling using a public transport that you are compelled to over-hear a conversation not because you want to but you have to because of loud fellow-passengers. In one of my commute days, I happened to overhear a phone conversation between a Mom (my fellow passenger) and her son (which I guessed from her talks). This is how it goes. This might probably remind one of your conversations with your parents 🙂

Mom: Hello!

Son: Hello Mom, how are you?

Mom: Forget about that, first tell me why didn’t you pick up dad’s call in the morning.

Son: Aahh.. hmm..

Mom: He has been trying to reach you from last few days. Why don’t you respond?

Son: Mom, I’m so so sorry. I.. I was was just having a severe headache.  So I was taking rest.

Mom: Severe headache? Do you have a migraine or what? You should have picked up his call. He does night shift and keeps himself available before 6.30 a.m. so that he can talk to you before you leave for college. And you.. you don’t even bother to respond neither on phone calls nor his Whatsapp chats.

Son: Mom…. I… didn’t I tell you last time my net isn’t working.

Mom: Net isn’t working? Whom do you think you are trying to fool. I can see you post daily on Facebook.. Commenting on the pages of political parties.. But, why are you following these pages.. Why don’t you keep yourself away from all this? I want you to focus on your studies.

Son: Silence…

Mom: Ok, so how’s everything else? What time is your college? Are you allowed to take mobile phones? Ok then take care son. Will call you in the evening.

PC : Google

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Listen only mode

When we think about effective communication, the first thing that comes to our mind is active listening. It’s only when we are attentive to what other person says, we can respond back accordingly. This probably holds true for personal and professional life.

In our relationships though, active listening can never happen literally. Which means, if you are waiting for your loved one to express or say what they feel for you that can not happen always. There are times when we want to express and then there are times when we just express our love through our actions and deeds more than talking.

Thus, it’s important that we keep ourselves in the “listen only mode” in order to observe the beauty of people who are a part of our lives and not overlook any cues that are unintentionally given to us expressing their love and care.

Image credits: From Google.

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Here’s a recap!

Few major developments in both my personal and professional life has been keeping me away from the little bit of writing that I used to do. Apart from this, I recently joined an NGO. To be a part of an NGO was always a dream which has now started becoming a reality. My schedules including my commuting hours never made me think of anything else than just going home and taking some rest or do some reading while I am travelling.

It’s been great so far. I’ve met some kind people who have been putting in tireless efforts to create meaningful environment for the community. I am really looking forward to be a witness of many more success stories by this group of enthusiasts.

I’ve also partnered with a wonderful young woman to start a Kalam Library for the Juvenile Home in Ahmedabad. We are really hoping to see this active by the year end. So wish us good luck. Fingers crossed 🙂

If you missed to check out my recent stories – there’s still time 😀

I’ll make you smile

I do not belong to this world!

It’s a small world

So here is what happened next

Happy Reading! Until next time.

~Ayesha 🙂

Image credits: Goes to myself. I clicked this picture during my last visit to Udaipur.

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It’s a small world

“What can I give?”. I had finished reading this book somewhere in later part of year 2016. This book was published by Srijan Pal Singh in the memory of his most loved teacher and India’s most loved personality, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. When Dr. Kalam left us in July 2015, I really felt sad for not having got the opportunity to meet him at least once in my life because I knew he was one of his kind, a scientist, a successful former President of India, a teacher, a writer and above all a great human being.

Thus, when I heard first about this book, without wasting much of time I ordered myself a copy. Probably within a day or two of the receipt of the book, I had finished reading because it was so captivating and so much about a common man and his teaching for the people like us. Inspired by Srijan’s mention of the Kalam Library Project in the book, I was all energized to do something and be a part of this overall project and make a difference for the under-privileged kids. I had already started following Srijan’s page on Facebook so I could stay updated on the recent projects of the Kalam Center.

Once I sent him an email inquiring about how I can contribute to their mission. He was kind enough to respond to me and provide me further contacts to get additional information. For some or the other schedules I didn’t get a chance to reach out to these individuals.

In one of the following weeks, I went to a cafe to have my breakfast after my French classes. As I was looking for a table, an individual who was seated at the corner table caught my attention. I stopped and thought, “Isn’t this Srijan Pal Singh?” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was still confused and wondered,”What would he be doing in such a small cafe like this?” But I was confident that it had to be him. Since he was talking to an elderly lady who was sitting along with him, I thought I should just take my seat and order my food. Also, I thought I wouldn’t be a great idea going and talking to him.

But once again, I thought – this was a lifetime opportunity to meet the writer himself and who knows if I ever got this chance again. So I decided to talk to him and introduce myself. As he was leaving, I reached out to him and confirmed if he was the person I thought. He smiled and said yes. I introduced myself and asked how he was here. He said this had been the place where he used to hangout the most as he completed his studies at IIM- A. I told him how much I liked his new book to which he requested if I could write a review of the book as well so he can share with people. We exchanged few words and he left.

For me this was an experience of a lifetime. Out of nowhere there was this person whom I was recently talking to,  in front of me.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you can get your copy here.

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I do not belong to this world!

“Because I live in the world of my imagination where everything looks exactly as I want it to be.” ~ A child.

What a child needs is something attractive (to them of course :)) and the moment they get hold of it, no one can stop them. My niece and nephew often reminds me of this and most recently through these artistic drawings that they mercilessly drew on the walls of their house. They definitely have a story for what they do but do they care about the outcome or how it looks. No. What keeps them going is the sense of satisfaction in keeping themselves active and engaged in their “adventures”.

Made me think, why spend money on wall paintings for my new house. Let me call these little artists and give them a day to fill the house with innocence.

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My new workstation!

I moved to a new workstation this week. And the best thing about it was to get additional space to hang these beautiful souvenirs that I bought from my trips earlier this year. The first one is a Lohe Qurani from Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, Delhi and the other is a Kathputhli (string puppet) from Udaipur, Rajasthan.

I am glad they finally found a new and comfortable place, from where they will continue to remind me of my travel experiences and fill me with joy! 🙂

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I’ll make you smile

As a person, I’ve been an observer both in my personal and professional life. I like observing people and adopting the positiveness from them. And now been a blogger, there is always an urge to also share this positiveness and the inspiration that I get, to my readers as well.

So let me introduce you to this little baby and her mom with their enchanting smile.  I met them during a recent trip. I was really awestruck to see the mother at work with the baby tied in a handmade sling and she managed it so flawlessly.

Often when a challenge comes our way, naturally we get bogged down by the situation failing to carve out a direction for ourselves. But this capture proves that there can be no roadblocks in life, all we need to do is to put our energy in finding solutions to pursue our dreams.

Have a great day!

Cheers!

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A flashback

It has been over 3 months since I started spending my time here – reading blogs and writing some. It has been a learning phase for me so far understanding what content to choose, that should be a combination of mine and my readers’ interests.

You won’t find a specific trend in my posts except for the fact that I prefer to keep it short in the interest of everyone’s time. 😀 And most recently, I have gained interest in posting some of the random pictures that I clicked or pictures from my travel experiences.

If you haven’t got a chance to view them, sharing my personal favourites:

A conversation

The Home within a Home

The Joy of Giving

The boy who never grew up

Heaven on earth

The White Mosque

And if you want to know more about me, please visit this page.

Happy Reading! And feel free to share any of your blog posts – the favourite ones in the comments section below.

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The White Mosque

While rushing to get captured with one of this background view, I fell down accidentally and sprained my ankle. And the pain spoilt the rest of my day, as I was not able to walk properly. Nevertheless, the feeling that I experienced at this place was worth the pain. And few of these captures will always remind me of my pain yet bring a smile on my face. cof

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The Active Award

I am back after a short break and I was pleasantly surprised to be nominated by my fellow blogger, Bhavana. I have come across many blog posts where people get nominated for awards but never did I think of myself getting nominated for one. I am really grateful to Bhavana for this nomination and encouragement.

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Rules for this award:

  1. Post it on your blog.
  2. Thank and link the one who nominated you.
  3. Nominate other bloggers.

Nominees :

I nominate these fellow bloggers for The Active Award

  1. Prajakta
  2. Anju
  3. Zinni
  4. Myweekinbooks
  5. Jen’sJewishJourney

Thank you for reading and all the encouragement. Wishing you all a great day!

Cheers!

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Here is where it all started

In one of my French classes, our professor gave us homework to write a paragraph describing an event from our childhood. The condition was to use as much past tense as possible so that we can practice what we learnt in the class and ask questions for clarity the next day.

I was already pushing myself by joining the French class alongwith managing my office as well, so a homework always came as a task. Despite of that, I always tried attempting the homework because I knew that only the practice could help me learn at a faster pace.

I sat down with my journal and started writing about a funny event from my past. Even though this was a language I was still trying to learn, I realized how much fun it was to recall an event from the past and describe it for someone else to read. And and, that’s where my love for writing started. I had created a WordPress account years ago but probably it was just lately that I started picking up by writing a bit and publishing it for a larger audience. Honestly, I am loving this and I love to be here.

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I can confidently say that probably, this is the only place I found in recent times where people are so encouraging and motivating. Everyone are so kind enough to take time to read and provide feedback on what they love to read. There is so much of experiences to share or learn from everyone without the need of showing off (#trending on Facebook or Twitter) 🙂

I am glad I finally made it here and I am looking forward to knowing you all more through my reading experience.

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Serenity

This was captured by me during my visit to one of the Heritage spots of Ahmedabad, Dada Hari ni Vav.

I caption this “Serenity” because every call to prayer calms my soul and connects me to “The Creator” no matter where it comes from. When everything seems to be going too fast or when I think I have no time for myself – these are the moments that reminds me to take a pause and say thanks – be grateful for this wondrous gift called “Life”.

It may be a call to prayer, the ringing church bells, choir singing, hearing the Gregorian chants, children playing, violin music, chirping birds or anything that wakes me up to Serenity.

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For anything urgent, better call

I couldn’t think of a better caption for this image. I was in a hurry to leave for work when this view caught my eye. I immediately ran to get my mobile phone to capture this before the bird flew away out of fear.

I zoomed my camera to get a closer view because I knew that if I made a noise it will fly away for sure, but that didn’t happen. No matter how closer I went to take the picture, it stayed there without any movements or sign of fear.

It was as if it had put on a status, “For anything urgent better call because I am busy” 😀

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The Home within a Home

This was probably taken a couple of years ago. I usually leave one of the windows in my room open for fresh air. Once when I came back from work, I found two little birds hiding in the corner of the window. Getting a little closer, I was able to make out that they were building themselves a home.

Since I also wanted something to engage myself with, I let them stay there and left the windows open everyday so that they can complete their task for which they were so actively in the process of building that little nest.

I used to check their progress. There were three eggs already in the nest hatching. Days passed by. I started seeing a change in the activities of the parents. They were now coming with food for their little ones. I climbed on my bed to get a close-up view to find three cute babies with an open mouth asking for food 🙂

This was indeed enough for me to feel good about my decision to let them stay. Building a home within a home!

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A picture perfect

While I was capturing some beautiful views at the old city in Ahmedabad, three kids came to me requesting if I can take a picture of them. Their innocence and the happiness on their faces would not have let anyone turn down their request. I agreed and took this picture of them.

To my surprise, they didn’t ask me to show how the picture turned out to be. They just went away with double the happiness and smiles. Maybe for them being captured was the greatest thing to happen.

I don’t know who they are. I never met them thereafter, but this picture still gives me joy and inspires me to take life easy and to be in the moment.  And I am sure wherever they are, this is what they will continue to do – inspire and spread smiles.

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The boy who never grew up!

After a long and tiring day,  I decided to stop by a coffee shop to recharge my energy. Even though I have tried out most of the cafes near my place,  this was my first visit here. As I opened the door, I was pleased to see the decor, there were some pretty and fun stuff hanging on the walls from decorated coffee mugs to funny quotes on why chocolate is irresistible.

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I took a corner seat and on the wall near me had this cute images of the comic characters from our childhood days.

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Snoopy dog, Garfield and Archies, – they reminded me of my friend who could talk endlessly about his crazy love for his favorite comic characters. Talking about them gave him immense happiness and he would laugh like a kid. During one of our conversations, I asked him, “What was the origin of your crush, I barely remember seeing these images in the newspapers but I don’t think I ever read any of their stories”

He narrated, “As a kid, I used to go to my cousin’s place to play. During one of our group play, I felt I was being neglected by them and no one were interested to play with me, so I stopped going there. I used to stay at home, sit and relax on my couch doing nothing. My parents started getting worried since I was not engaged in any activities.

Once my dad bought me a comic book. I immediately started reading; found it interesting and fun. There was a puzzle on the back of the book. Within a day I had finished both reading the book and also solving the puzzle. “That was so fast” – said my dad. My routine was back to normal. Since it was summer vacation, I absolutely didn’t had anything to do.

To my surprise, the same week – my dad came back home with a heap of books. He bought them from an old book store so that I will have enough to do during my vacation. I read everyday and started falling in love with these characters – not just because they were cute but also because I could relate with them even though they were fictional characters.

And out of all, Garfield remains forever close to my heart because he is a foodie, lazy, hates the world unbiasedly and doesn’t care what people think of him. He likes lasagne and hates getting older. In fact, he is my alter ego, my other self.

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And one thing I can say for sure is over these years no one has ever been able to replace the charm and innocence these characters bring to us. Kids love them, I still love them. And I have stored all the books so that one day my kids can have an access to these too.”

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A conversation

Me: In my dreams these days, I’ve been seeing celebrities whom I admire. What does that mean?

Friend: Maybe, there are bigger things waiting for you.

Me: Really? You think so?

Friend: Yes, but don’t make this a yardstick for your success.

Me: What do you mean by yardstick for success?

Friend: I mean, don’t think if you cannot meet these celebrities, your life isn’t successful. Success is when people who care for you and whom you care for, are multiplying, or with those that are existing the bond deepens.

You do acts of kindness and are blessed by people even if you don’t know. That’s success. People whom you meet on your path are your celebs and for those you bring hope, you are a celeb to them.

Me: Wow, I never thought that way. You are an excellent dream interpreter.

Friend: No, I am a story-teller 🙂

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Face of God

Grandmas' stories

A woman of substance, a face as bright as the sun and love as the flow of the water – that’s my grandma.

She left us to the heavenly abode three years back but she still lives in our hearts even closer than during her earthly life.

Through the Grandma’s stories I wish to bring her to the world. I want them to know what it means to consume oneself for the love of humanity.

I pray to God that He may give me the wisdom and the strength to portray her life exactly as it was.

More to come soon!

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When it rains…

The Red Velvet Mites, the first time I saw them was when I was in school. I have a very vague memory of all the students always in search of them, that came out of their hiding place during rains. Though this looks like a spider, the students knew this wasn’t harmful. I remember us taking a multiple of them in our palms and see the beauty of this creation – so red and velvety and so attractive.

It was then and it’s now after almost two decades I found this again at my home ground – took me back to my school days.

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Heaven on earth

If someone were to ask who accompanies during my daily commute to work, the answer will be books, music and occasionally movies. Thanks to unlimited data availability, my new music player is now YouTube with an endless list of songs, movies and interesting videos. Despite of this huge collection, my search usually ends at “Ustad Hotel” for scenes, songs and background scores.

For those who have not seen this movie, the story is about a young man Faizy aspiring to become a well-known chef. After finishing his course in Hotel Management, his father wants him to join his business, however Faizy is hell-bent to go abroad to pursue his dreams. This results into a dispute because of which Faizy’s father forcibly takes his passport so that he cannot travel.

Faizy unable to handle this, leaves for his grandfather’s place who runs a hotel on a small-scale and takes up work there. It’s here that Faizy is introduced to the beautiful concepts of life by his grandfather who is a man of principles and known for his care for the poor. Though his grandfather is tough on him at work, they share a special bonding with each other.

When everything seemed perfect, Faizy gets an offer to join as an Executive chef abroad. During his conversation with his grandpa, he expresses how much this offer meant to him. Maybe this was all he was waiting for and he wanted to be successful in life. His grandfather is caught up with a cardiac attack, unable the bear the thought of losing his grandson. Though he is out of danger, he sends Faizy with a letter to his friend, Narayanan Krishnan in Madurai, Chennai.

Faizy follows as requested and goes to Chennai. He hands over the letter to Narayanan. Narayanan reads the letter, the content of which mentioned said that grandpa wanted Narayanan to be an eye-opener for Faizy. During his stay, he sees the unsung hero, Narayanan, who left his 5-star hotel job to serve the poor and needy after witnessing an old man eating his own waste because of hunger. He changed the purpose of his life to satisfy the needs of these people who were unwanted and give them love and affection.

Before leaving Madurai, Faizy is requested to make a special Biriyani for the mentally disabled kids at an orphanage. While accepting the request, Faizy never realized this was going to be his life changing moment.

He makes the best Biriyani he would have made so far and serves to the kids. The sight at the place moves him completely, seeing the challenges of the innocent kids. After the event, he sits there with tears and a heavy heart when all of a sudden the kids starts flowing in and writes something on his hands. He could not understand what it meant. One of the teacher tells him that they are saying “Thank You” in a code language.

He goes back to his Grandfather’s place with a new purpose . However, by the time he reaches his Grandfather goes for a pilgrimage leaving everything behind.

What I have tried to describe will not be enough to capture the soul of this movie. The conversations between the grandfather-grandson duo has now become an integral part of my life inspiring me to look at each day as a blessing and an opportunity to make a difference. I may probably not be able to take a big step like Faizy or Narayana, but I still have my family, friends, colleagues and a big community of needy people; whom we meet in our journey called “Life” and I’ll forever be on the lookout for such opportunities.

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The Joy of Giving

Earlier this month, I got the opportunity to participate in the event organized at Apang Manav Mandal Boys Hostel, an NGO focused for elevating the children with disabilities. As per the original instruction that we received from our Event Lead we were to assist and motivate the children for a drawing competition. The first thought that initially came into my mind was, how will I be able to motivate a child in a duration of 2 hours that too for a drawing competition? But once I actually participated in the event my perception was changed and it was indeed an uplifting experience not just for the children but also for me as a volunteer.

The children had come back from their summer vacations and this was their first event post-vacation. Once we were all set for the event to start, the children started getting in at the place where the drawing competition was supposed to be conducted. Seeing these children with disability made my heart-melt and I was almost in tears wondering how much they have to struggle to undertake tasks.

Once the event started, every single child put in their creative efforts to give their best shot. As a volunteer, we got the opportunity to be with these kids and assist them adding to their thoughts and creativity; suggesting what best could be done to stand-out in the crowd. The response and the enthusiasm shown by the kids throughout the event was overwhelming. After the competition, we had a small gathering where the winners were announced and the children with some unique talent were encouraged to come in the front and perform. Each win was appreciated and celebrated by the crowd. In addition to this, I was truly amazed to meet and see people from our organization with such high spirits to make the event a success by engaging the children in conversations and spreading smiles. To me some were known faces and some were new, regardless – we all knew we had one common purpose – “To GiveBack”

Grateful that I got an opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and work together with colleagues to make a difference and give back to the society. Looking forward to be a part of more such events, which definitely will strengthen me as an individual.