Saturday, September 27, 2014

Kho Naa Jaye Yeh Taare Zameen Par

I don’t know at what age I started feeling every bit of emotion on my own, but, from the very first moment of my life, I have felt someone’s abysmal love for me. She is my elder sister ‘Bhaiya’. I started ambling and talking at the age of months. You will be surprised to know that it was just two months after she had started. I learnt fast, she was a bit slow. But, I have never left her alone and till this day she always finds me by her side.

She is a cerebral palsy patient by birth. I have heard from my parents that, as a new born, she was very bubbly, but only when she was months old did my parents understand but she was not capable of talking, standing or even sitting. At that age, it was quite aberrant. After some medical tests, they came to know that their first child was a cerebral palsy patient. There was no looking back, no abdication. They took her to various specialists for her treatment. This attempt did not go abortive. It was the result of God’s blessings and their determination, Bhaiya kept improving. Each day was a challenge to them. From physiotherapy to speech therapy, everything was carried out with her. As a result, she is now 80% cured.

In this struggle of Ma and Baba, a new member came into their family. I was born when she was 5 years old. The nurse delivered the newborn into two unknown arms. I could not feel the love then, which made that person hold me tightly in her arms, although she herself had trembling legs. My Bhaiya touched me, kissed me, and found a new world around me. She started dreaming of a brighter world which includes this new member of her family, her sister ‘Bube’. She took care of that baby more than a mother, supported her more than a friend and loved her more than a lover. I could not realize when we became the biggest support for each other. My stupid stories used to start with her blank look, and ended with her innocent smile. She tried to imitate me in many ways that made her start murmuring one or two words.  From that time onwards she dreamt of achieving her goals with me by her side. 

Baba and Ma were happy to see us loving each other so much. In many families, they have seen siblings fighting with each other, one neglecting the other. But, our bonding was different and it was too strong to break. Now, she is more than a friend. She knows about every book, every copy of my desk. She is so aware of my studies that her interest makes me show my report card to her before showing it to my parents.
After passing the 2nd standard she was admitted to a normal school to have better communication skill. Unfortunately our country does not provide an education system that can be conducive to this type of children. She struggled a lot, passed every standard till class 10. After that, she gave up, thanks to our education system. It has never helped such children to get promoted with a lower percentage. She learnt painting and now she is having training in a beauty clinic named ‘Shakambhari’.

In our society, most people are sympathetic, but these children don’t need sympathy. Yes, from my experience, I am saying that, they need support and love from every one. Negligence gives birth to inferiority complex in them, and this stops their progress. It is very disappointing that, still in this 21stcentury, they are treated so badly that they forget to believe in themselves. Not as a sister, but as a human being, I request the society- please do not neglect them; instead try to encourage them to move on so that, breaking all the barriers, they can be brought into the main stream of the society. Like normal children, they also deserve a better chance to grow and look at the future. So, please provide them a supportive society and let their hopes shine.

Contributed by 
Srijani Mukherjee

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Good life begins with gratitude!

Fewer things in life make you ponder over more than a good movie. Well, writing a movie review is not my forte but some movies are so compelling that no matter how unemotional or how controlled a person you are, they make you sit upright and think! That’s what happened when I saw the movie “The good lie”. It is based on true incidents depicting the after effects of war on Sudan and how the people who get left behind as survivors have to wage a constant war to keep surviving.

For most of us, who have been born and brought up in the security and comfort of a home and parents it gets difficult to imagine a world where there is no certainty of survival. A world where you do not know if you would wake up awake or perish in your sleep, a world where all you think of is how do I dodge this bullet to live? That is the kind of world that exists parallel to our world. The movie revolves around the fate of a small group of young kids left homeless and orphaned by the war. These kids survive amidst deaths of their family and friends. They are determined to live even if it means compromises like swallowing your own urine to survive. Yes, makes you nauseous even in thought. But that is the reality for many around the world. That is the kind of nightmarish life they lead.

Despite all odds, these kids nurture dreams to be educated, dreams to live normally among the millions of other people. The right to be educated, the right to eat good food, the right to sleep peacefully, these are the things bestowed to all of us yet appreciated by how many?

We curse the bus when it is late by a minute, we curse the education system when we are burdened with assignments, and we curse our room mates who do not get along with us for making our lives miserable! What happens when you compare these miseries to the ones that actually matter? Imagine the variance in the magnitudes and realize how blessed a life you live!

If your day does not start with the thought “Will I live today?” appreciate the life you are leading. Many would die to be in your place. Every time you throw left over food in the dustbin, think of someone who could use it to curb his hunger. Every time you raise your voice to complain, sit and think of the parallel world. The world is beautiful and if you have a chance to be a part of it, be a beautiful and happy part that the world is happy to have!



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Learning From Houston!

Life takes a completely new route once you leave India and come to Houston. Same old lines and same clich├ęs to begin with! So what do I begin with? Well, I will begin with two things about Houston that fascinated me the most.

Like every student living off campus I too take the Metro everyday to reach college. In my initial days here I was shocked one day to see a female bus driver! Yes, the Indian in me is not used to such sights!  And I was filled with fascination at first and later on with admiration. We proclaim girls are catching up in every field but what is the reality? How many of us have seen female traffic inspectors or bus drivers or for that matter female police inspectors in India?  Very few may be. Frankly, I had not seen any. Agreed that these numbers are increasing in India too but it’s a long journey as of now. So for the beginning, I raise a salute to all the minority of women in India who are coming forward to take the less travelled routes! You go girls!

Another heart warming incident that shook the Indian in me happened yesterday. At one stop in the journey to college in the bus, the driver stopped the bus at a stop. All of a sudden, he got up from his seat, lowered the floor of the bus and helped a person with disability to embark on the bus. He fastened a belt with the man’s wheel chair and asked him if he was comfortable. After making sure that he had done his job satisfactorily he started driving again. Well, sensitivity towards people with disabilities is one area that our country needs a lot to do about. Here, we find separate reserved parking spaces, special accommodations in even the washroom made for people with special needs. That gesture speaks volumes about the sensitivity level of the community. This is one change for which I would like to work once I go back to our country. Even if on a small level we can show that persons different from us are also part of us, that would truly be a service to the great nation we come from. 
Signing off till the next time I write!