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A life beyond expectations

How many times in our lives do we end up in a situation, where we are compelled to think, “Wait, do I deserve this? What wrong have I done to anyone? I’ve always been kind to people and their needs, why can’t they think like me?”

How many times? I think the answer is, each moment of our life. It can place us in similar situations. Well, the good news is – if we want to get over this, we need to extend our kindness to people who are actually in need. Whom we can never expect to repay for what we do for them.

When we give to someone who we have never known, who we know can never repay us back – it naturally doesn’t make us expect. The expectations are what leads to disappointments. The people whom we touch through this kindness have only good words and blessings for us. That’s what is more fulfilling than any wealth in this world.

Have you felt the same way? Please do share your experience in the comments section below. I’d love to know your stories too and how you are bringing happiness into someone else’s life through your acts of kindness.

Wishing a blessed day ahead!

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The last leaf

A short story by O’Henry. This was also a part of our English curriculum. My memories as a student have always been vague as I was never interested in studies. Surprisingly, there are a couple of stories from the English textbooks that I can recall. I would rather say, I don’t just recall but also think it still drives my approach toward different circumstances.

The Last Leaf is one of those. It is a story about a young girl Johnsy, who is struck with illness and is not able to recover due to her lack of willingness. The falling leaves of an ivy wine tree near her window in the hospital turned out to be her reason. Day by day she counts the number of leaves left and is confident that with the last leaf falling she also has to die. Her mother Sue worried about her condition reaches out to old Behrman. Behrman – a failed artist. Despite his 40 years in the field, he was still not able to create that masterpiece which he always wanted to.

Hearing Johnsy’s imaginations and Sue’s worries he gets ready to help her. While Johnsy is asleep, Behrman goes to the other side of the window and takes his position.  A cold rain was falling with some snow.

The next morning, Johnsy insists her mother open the window shade. Sue obeys. To Johnsy’s surprise there stood one ivy leaf without being affected by the rain and snow. Later that day, the doctor says he is positive now of Johnsy’s recovery since she was responding well. He leaves the room referring to another patient that he had to attend. It was Behrman struck by Pneumonia too. His chances of living narrow.

That afternoon, Sue came to Johnsy’s bedroom and said –

“I have something to tell you, white mouse. Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in the hospital. He was ill only two days. The janitor found him the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn’t imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and – look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn’t you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece – he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.”

Such a touching story! Behrman’s masterpiece didn’t lead him to gain wealth or fame but saved the life of a little girl. Gave her the hope to live and in the process lost his own life. In our own lives, we are tangled in the web created by ourselves and make them our yardsticks to measure our success. Success is not about our capability to fulfill our materialistic wishlist. If today, we are able to give a ray of hope to someone, that comes back to us in the form of self-contentment and gratefulness.

Let there be a little bit of Behrman in each one of us!

Here is a picture from my own garden of the Arabian Jasmine. Every time it blooms – it gives me happiness. And the bud? It symbolizes hope, isn’t it?

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An Instrument of Peace

At 8.00 a.m. in the morning, we had to be ready for the assembly that started with prayers followed by announcements, news and prayer requests. I remember being dropped by our school bus half an hour early to the school time that allowed us to take copies from our friends to finish our homework before the school day started. There was always a sense of urgency to finish them on time as we never wanted to get those red remarks in the school diary. 

At 8.00 a.m. in the morning, the entire school stood still because it was time for prayers. From a very young age, I was always attracted to a conversation with the Invisible, but standing alongside 60+ students with joined hands never gave me that feeling of being prayerful. 

“Make me an instrument of your peace”, used to be a frequent song played during the prayer time. I loved this song, I still love this song – but probably I never understood the deeper meaning of it until later when I heard it on YouTube recently. It took me back to the memories of my school. Looking at where the world is heading into – constant chaos, hatred, destruction, and distrust – each of the word adds so much meaning. If there would have been something called a “World Anthem”, I would have proposed this song for the same.

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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 could 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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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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