An innocent blackmail

Big brother: Please give me that toy. It’s mine and I want to play with it.

Little sister: No, It’s mine. I won’t give it to you.

Big brother: Think again. I won’t allow you to watch TV. I won’t let you watch Doraemon or Pokémon.

Little sister: Please take this. When did I say it’s mine?

Big brother: That’s like a good girl and my sweet sister

Her first solo travel!

She looked at her watch again. It was half past 12. She had been standing at that place for more than an hour. Still there was no sign of the bus that would have taken her home.

Her school had closed earlier than expected, that’s when she decided to take the public transport instead of waiting for her school bus. After all, someday she had to try this, to be independent, to explore the roads never taken, to be bold enough to travel alone. Someday she had to, so why not now.

But now, she stood there feeling stupid of her decision. And started getting worried more than ever. Calling mom wasn’t an option because there was no mobile phones back then and a public phone bhooth was no where to be found.

All she could do was just stand there and wait. To her relief, à bus finally arrived. Having waited impatiently for a few hours now, she just hopped on without giving a second thought. The bell of the bus rang and it took off. She stood there shocked as there was no passenger except her.

It was just the driver and the conductor. Not knowing what to do, she quickly took a window seat and sat there hoping the next stops will have passengers.

One, two, three, four, and so on. The bus passed stops, but no one to take it.  Her heart started beating faster. What if something happened to her. She was the only girl in the bus. No one to witness if anything happened to her.

She reached out to her bag, and found her weapon to fight any harm. She held the white rosary, closed her eyes and starting chanting her routine prayer. Seeking help ! With hope!

The bus stopped, and there emerged a woman and sat in the front seat.

Ayesha looked out of the window to get a glimpse of the sky. “Thank you” she said and closed her eyes in relief.

Shimla

Visiting a new city is like meeting a new person. From the moment I land, I am in conversation with everything I see or encounter. To me, it’s more than just checking off something from my bucket list. When I am there I want to make the most out of each moment. It feels like the city says to me, please don’t go, not yet, there is still so much to see and talk.

Shimla! Was always on my wishlist. And finally getting to visit was a dream come true. Sharing a few pictures from my recent visit.

Travel clicks

Despite of all the rush, happy to have found opportunities to go back to my childhood memories.. Counting the little chicks, or chasing them alongwith Grandma.. Life was so careless back then, though it’s only now we realize.

A Silent Night

Christmas brings to me beautiful memories from my childhood. Known to be an average student during my school days, getting an entry into a school activity was always hard to believe.

The first one to name was preparing for a Christmas carol along with a group of 20 more kids from my class. We were handed the lyrics and the song was played for us to hear and practice the tune. “Silent Night, Holy Night” the song played and was played, again, and, again, and again.

The more it was played, the more I fell in love with the idea of waiting for little Christ on a peaceful and Silent night, to an extent that even now this memory is still so fresh and preserved in my heart.

What is your Christmas memory?

Happy Liu..

“Me, I wanted to live up to my name and be happy. That’s not to say I wasn’t annoyed, but everyone should have a bird singing inside them as well as a crow cawing” 🐦 🎶 😊

~ Happy Liu

From Happy Dreams

A Novel by Jia Pingwa

Bloom 🌸 🌷 🌹 💐

Last month I got an opportunity to participate in several events organized as part of our company’s Community Impact Month.

One of which was a session for the budding women entrepreneurs from rural background. The objective was to provide them an overview on the ways they could promote their products through e-commerce. There was an overview on Paytm, Netbanking etc. Post introductory session we dispersed into groups with each volunteers leading one and showing the practical aspects of the session.

I sat down with a group of seven to eight women from different age groups. This was my first experience of this kind. I took my phone and assuming they know about smart phones, started showing them the different apps.

Before I could go any further they all had a reason to share why this learning wasn’t fruitful for them – some didn’t own a smartphone, some didn’t even had their bank accounts, some belonged to traditional families that didn’t allow girls to go out fearing the society, no one knew how to create an email account or access the internet.

So what was supposed to be a practical session for them turned out to be a motivational speech. Instead of showing them the apps, I convinced why it was important for them to invest in themselves. All the women came from different backgrounds and had their own struggles and thus it was important to let them know that it is ok to spend some on self to buy a phone. At the end of the day it makes you feel independent, more confident and connected to the world.

To all my comments they repeatedly said it was not in their budget. I just had one question for them, “Where do you manage to get all the money on your child’s wedding day? Isn’t spending on a phone much less than that?”

They were dumbstruck. They did not have an answer and agreed that I was right. All of them promised to take these learnings and bring them into action.

I spent almost an hour with two batches. I don’t know where those words of wisdom came from. But when they blessed me while leaving, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I came back energized and content with what I managed to give back to the society in a simple form.

The lyrical challenge ~ Day 2

From my childhood, I’ve always been a dreamer and there has been no control over things that I accomplish in those dreams.

Maybe that’s why the first time I heard the song, “I have a dream”, it made my belief and reasons to dream even stronger.

So here it goes:

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream”

An advice

Me: Why do I always have to face difficulties? There are people who have no struggles in life and they are free to choose a life of their choice.

Her: I don’t care what others do. If your life is a struggle, I’ll be proud of you because that is what will make you stronger, wiser and humble. On occasions, when you think of boasting about your achievements, think about your journey and be grateful. When you have kids, let them know what struggles were, so they don’t take life for granted. For every struggle you go through now will bring a brighter future.

Is there any advice that you received which is close to your heart? Do share it here in the comments section below.

So here is what happened next

If you have read my recent post, “It’s a small world“-here is a continuation to that story. 🙂

So I did write a review of the book and it was published by the writer on his page.

Get your copy today! 🙂 Happy Weekend.

Find reasons not excuses

A decade ago when I read the book, “Who will cry when you die?” by Robin Sharma, it had a lasting impact on my outlook towards life. For those who haven’t read this book, it’s all about living your life as if it were your last day. Ever since, I have read a few more books and anecdotes of people who have experienced unexpected death and how it changed them and the people around, their family and the loved ones.

“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch and lately “When breath becomes air” by Paul Kalanithi. Both of them suffered and died of cancer. Reading about them and their urge to live the life to the fullest in their last days makes me feel even more grateful for the time I have.

If we get a day to live, I think we should not regret the past and feel sad for our unfulfilled dreams. Regretting and being sad steals us of many happiness. Generally for many, an adventurous life is all about travelling and exploring the unknown. For me, there’s more to this –

When I live as if this were my last day, I won’t find excuses for things I want to achieve, instead this will be my sole reason to go for it. Maybe, it’s talking to my loved ones, learning a new language, learning to play a musical instrument, learning anything that makes me feel more confident and enriches my experience.

I clicked this picture of my favorite things. As I wrote, it’s never too late to enjoy the things that you always wanted to. For me it was going back to my childhood when I bought these soft toys whom I call Robbie and Rosie. Now they are at the mercy of my nephews and niece. Or, it was just filling a book with colors or jotting down my personal thoughts or my goals for me to look back how far I came in life.

20160729_003432

For you a thousand times over! 

Often we end up into situations where we don’t feel confident in our own potential. But there is a voice that keeps reminding us of our worth and don’t fail to encourage no matter what.  That voice is not our heart or our soul, it’s that friend who is with us through our thick and thin.

Hassan the quiet and the most important character from “The Kite Runner” is a reminder of that friend who genuinely mean when they say or feel – “For you a thousand times over”.

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.

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

Trust in God

Few years ago, I was in Mumbai for a business trip for a couple of days. This being my first trip to the happening city of Mumbai, I wanted to take all the opportunity to experience it and visit some of the famous churches which I always wanted to. 

The first day, I visited Mt. Mary Church and lone time at Bandstand. It was enjoyable to see the families, kids and couples having a fun time together. Particularly, I was astonished to see the enthusiasm of the young people waiting in front of ShahRukh Khan’s house “Mannat” waiting to get a glimpse of him.

On the second day of my trip, I made up my mind to go to the Mahim church. I called up one of my friend to consult on the route I should take to reach there. I was planning to hire a cab or rickshaw but my friend encouraged me to take a train to Mahim. I wasn’t sure if this was a great idea being a solo traveler to which he mentioned if I was able to, it will be a great achievement.

I decided to follow his advice. I took a train with the help of other fellow travelers and successfully reached Mahim. The next steps were tricky since I didn’t know which way to go and I couldn’t find anyone who could help me with it. I decided to take left from the station and kept walking up to a point where my inner voice said this is not the right path. Immediately, I recalled the verse from Isaiah 30:21 which goes this way, Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.”

I started walking back and took a road straight from the station. I asked a cabman if he could drop me at Mahim church. He was kind enough to inform me that the church was at a walking distance. I kept walking until I reached a Church tower where a lady was lighting candles. Assuming this was the Church I confirmed with her. She said the church was at a different location. She paused and said if I can wait for her to complete her prayers she’ll escort me to the place. I happily agreed to this offer and observed her as she completed her prayers.

We walked for a kilometer until we reached the destination. What a peaceful experience that was having finally reached place. The lady bid me goodbye after guiding me on the way back to station. After spending a good one hour at the church, I returned to my hotel.

This simple event from my life has increased my faith and confidence in God. This depicted how close God is walking with us. No matter where we go he places his angels –  in the form of a friend, cab driver or the lady at the church tower. We just have to place ourselves in his care he will take care of the rest!