Serenity

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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

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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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A picture perfect

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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!

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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.”

Photos from Bangladesh: A Campaign with World Vision Canada

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Sophia Hsin

bangladesh_no_child_for_sale_world_vision-16An afternoon on the streets of Dhaka

I remember my first day waking up in Dhaka. The world’s most densely populated city with 14 million people—a city filled with blaring horns, faded concrete walls, the smell of dust, curry and the sound of prayer call five times a day.

I had partnered with World Vision Canada on their No Child For Sale campaign where we would visit area development projects in the slums of Bangladesh, visit communities deep in the country, dive into gathering resources on child labour issues involved in the supply chain and how it leads back to consumers in Canada.

I remember visiting countless night schools, interviewing five year olds that worked as waste pickers on garbage mountains and meeting children with stories that seemed too brutal to exist. Along the way, I was also cared for by staff that treated me like family and meet people…

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A rose from her is always special

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I still remember that day. Everyone were happy at home. And what was the occasion? My family had just finalized that they had found the groom for me after our meeting with the guy at our place. After all this was the day they had been eagerly waiting for. I observed all one by one, there were only smiles but I knew deep in my heart that I wasn’t happy with this. In fact, I didn’t like the proposal. But since I didn’t wanted to hurt my parents, I stood there silently as if everything was okay.

Things seemed to move faster than I expected. My father booked tickets to meet the family to take the proposal further and also start with my wedding preparations. I started getting worried, wondering how can I say no to this proposal without hurting their feelings.

Later that week, on my way back home – I was seated near the window. Whenever I feel helpless I look above and seek an answer – staring at the stars and wishing for a miracle. These are the moments when I call out for help to angels and saints and every pure soul who I think are closer to God.

That day, out of the blue I thought of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I recalled about a belief that people say for St. Thérèse, when you intercede to God through St. Thérèse , she sends roses to us as a sign of miracle to let us know that our prayers are being answered.

I looked above and then closed my eyes and said,”My dear St. Thérèse, if this is true – I request you for a miracle in my life and give me a sign that my prayer will be answered”

The following day, I started at 9.00 a.m. since I had to do some shopping before I left for office. At 10.00 a.m., when I reached the outlet – the security guard opened the door for me and handed over a rose to me and said,” Ma’am, you are our first customer for today. Have a nice day”.

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I recalled my last day’s prayer. That gave me goosebumps. I said to myself, “Oh my God, this is true. I have got a rose, Does that mean my prayer has been answered?” Even though I didn’t had any idea what was going to happen – I was hopeful that things will be alright.

Some days passed by, in the interim, my father also visited the guy’s home and fixed the tentative dates for the wedding. I was still waiting and hoping for a miracle.

One fine morning, my father called me and said, “That proposal has been dropped off”. Suppressing my sign of relief I asked, “Why, what happened all of a sudden”?. “The guy isn’t confident about taking this forward” – came the response.

I entered my room and thanked God. I got the miracle that I was looking for. This was probably the sweetest experience that I had in my life, experiencing the true presence of “The One” and his ambassadors in our life. We just have to move forward with faith and courage no matter what the situation is. They are watching over us and will not let us fall down.