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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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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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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.