PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – ABILASHA


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Most of the good things in my life are sweet accidents. Destiny has always been kind to me despite the occasional glimpses of chaos. But Abilasha’s story was different. It all started with the sentence below. I dream of a day when disability would no longer be considered a curse, and the people who are differently abled would be given a chance to have a normal shot at life, just like the others.

After a long time I saw someone speaking my own language.  We live in a world where people are constantly obsessed with perfection. Is it possible for the special ones to co-exist ? Frankly I don’t know the answer but in Abilasha I saw a spirit filled with conviction and hope. A  spirit with a never say die attitude. It was time to merge two story lines into one single plot for ours was a common dream but first I had to connect the dots and that meant meeting her in person.

But the big question was how?  Luckily destiny intervened again and VOICES OF THE UNHEARD happened.  And I am glad it did for I realized she wasn’t alone and neither was I. There were many out there who shared the same passion.  We were all in this together.

There are times in life when you need a hand to show you the way to your destination. Luckily it was the hand of a young prodigy. A mere thank you won’t suffice for the way she’s touched my life. But I guess for now that will do. There’s a long way to go and let’s make a difference together one step at a time. 

PS : Our first meet was almost a freeze frame moment. “You are Chetna’s friend Sir ? She queries. I almost blurt out the truth. I want to say “Oh yes I am. But you are the reason I am here. An autograph please”. But a simple Yes was the answer that came out. Perhaps that’s what happens when a fan meets his Superstar. 

 

 

 

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VOICE OF THE UNHEARD – THE FIRST CHAPTER


 

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How far would you travel to meet someone you admire ? What if it all goes wrong?   My health was at it’s worst – A bad cold, flu, a voice that had began to sound like Motta Rajendran and a travel half way across the city for that brief moment of happiness. It was a gamble. But I was ready despite the obstacles.

I arrive almost an hour before the event.” You have no sense Salesh. Excuse yourself and come back at 4.00 PM”. I curse myself for being the early bird.  But something else grabs my attention. A bunch of youngsters running around to make sure everything was in order. The energy within the room was infectious. Neither of them had any idea how many people would turn up. But their passion and commitment was relentless and inspiring. At their age I had no idea where my life was heading. But these youngsters had a goal and a purpose and nothing was going to stop them.

The event begins and the voices that spoke were inspiring and uplifting. More often than not we consider the specially abled kids as an inspiration but how about those people who rarely get the limelight. The ones who dedicate their lives towards the betterment of these special people. The event was an interesting insight into their world. Their everyday struggles and small moments of happiness. 

The ramp walk too was unique with each of the participants conveying a worthy message. The finale had an interesting twist. I was asked to speak and tell my story to the world. The moment I had been waiting for finally arrived and it had taken me 5 long years to get to where I want to be. It was short messy narration but I loved the moment. I missed my family and my friends from CBC, Let’s talk life, Blogchatter and all the people who had touched my life in one way or the other. Hopefully atleast some of them would be present the next time when I take up the stage as a designated speaker.

The next time you come across people who are specially abled remember one thing. They don’t need you. You need them to inspire and uplift you. They seek your empathy and not sympathy. A big shout out to the entire team of Voice of the Unheard for a spectacular beginning.  Thalaivar style la solanum na  ” Idhu chumma trailer than. Main picture neenga innum pakala”.

PS: I did have my fanboy moment when I met the star that I was destined to meet. It was brief but a moment to be treasured for eternity.

LESSONS FROM RAJINIKANTH – PART I


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Identify and Retain your Uniqueness: What made Rajinikanth different from his predecessors ?  Tamil Cinema wasn’t new to concept of Mass Heroes. Yet he was different. What is the one factor which sets him apart. His SPEED which ultimately transformed into a never before seen dimension on screen – A STYLE Statement like never before. There have been numerous imitators who have shamelessly copied him in the hope of attaining the same glory. But he has been relentless giving us a new style with each passing film. All the rest of the heroes can do is watch in awe, applaud and play catch up.

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Age is just a number: Rajinikanth is in his late 60’s yet the aura is unmatched. Perhaps it’s an eternal lesson for those who admire him too. If you can retain the same passion even  when age when catches up with you then the grey hairs and weak muscles will merely be another hurdle for you to overcome and succeed.

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Never ever give up on yourself: We all remember the Baba debacle. There were detractors asking him to move away, hang up and retire. I believe some of them even make money out of his movies even today. But Rajinikanth answered them in the best possible way. He came back as stylish as ever delivering one of the biggest hits of his career Chandramukhi. And he gave a lesson for life with the now famous ” I am not an elephant. I am a horse.I will rise up quicker than you think”. He never gave up on himself.

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Appreciate Wholeheartedly: I believe there has never been a greater example of heartfelt apppreciation than Superstar Rajinikanth  in the cine industry. One anecdote which comes to my mind was quoted by PrithiviRaj who was basking in the success of Mozhi at that time. Rajinikanth had apparently called him around times. But PrithiviRaj didn’t pick up the call as he was busy shooting and couldn’t identify the caller. There was a call again later in the evening he picks it up to find the superstar on the other end of the line. The conversation made such a lasting impression on the young actor’s mind that he proudly declares in his interview that no one has appreciated him like the Superstar not even Mammoty or Mohanlal.

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Never Forget the people who shaped your life: Rajinikanth was loyal to his mentor KB till the great soul bid farewell to this world. We live an age where people easily forget and even push away the great souls who shaped our lives. But the Superstar was a living epitome of loyalty. The mentor himself is said to have been very happy that his mentee is the irreplaceable Superstar. 

THE STALKER


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I had my apprehensions about whether to write this one. But I decided to go ahead. A travel back to the dark days – A chapter which I want to erase completely from my life. I was a stalker once, a compulsive flirt too. For two long years I allowed myself to treat the opposite sex as objects of lust, a play thing and I was thoroughly enjoying myself with absolutely no regard to the thoughts from the other side.

I am still trying to figure out why it happened.  And till date I have no clue. People say flirting or stalking is harmless if the line isn’t crossed. My question is WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE?

 I agree there are times when both are at fault. But in most cases you push the other person to a point of desperation. The confidence is lost, fear strikes and there’s a hesitation to do the things that the person set out to. In some cases the victim shuns the opposite gender completely. Thankfully love happened; I came back to my senses and ended up getting a taste of my own medicine.

Atleast it was a lesson well learnt. That failed affair taught me how to treat a girl right. It’s a curious transformation. It is not every day that you see the oppressor stand up for the oppressed. But I still hate that version of myself. Learn to treat a person right without objectification and a word to those who are helpless victims of such nonsense day in and day out. Speak up, confront and if needed expose. Your act might just prevent another person from falling into the same pit.

PRIYA -THE GIRL ON THE BUS


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The whole of India was busy celebrating Krishna Jayanthi . It was just another day in the office for her. It was perhaps one of the disadvantages of working in an MNC. Atleast there won’t be the usual heavy traffic to bother herbut fate had other plans for Priya.

She boards the usual bus with Rs 100 in her pocket for the afternoon lunch. The nightmare begins.  The conductor moves around with the familiar cry of “Ticket, Ticket “.   “Anna 1 ticket to Olympia please”. The 100 Rupee note which was supposed to change hands is still in Priya’s hands as the conductor demands the exact change of Rs 7.00.  No Anna I don’t have the exact amount can you please take the 100 and give me the change”.

The look on the conductor’s face changes and so does his tone. “Give me the change or get down” he retorts despite having currency notes in his hands. Priya pleads again but the adamant conductor hardly relents as the rest of passengers laugh at Priya’s plight.

She decides to take things into her own hands. “Give me the change for the 100 or we can go straight to the police station .  You are a Public Servant and I believe I am one of the public. Do you want to put your job at risk for a mere 7.00 rupees”. The tables turn and the conductor meekly surrenders.

It’s a small isolated inside but I guess this is more than enough to highlight the lethargy of the people concerned.  They hardly care and we never question.  The issue doesn’t concern us is always a convenient excuse. Sometimes we need to raise our voice to set things right. A raised voice is much better than a meek surrender.

THE PAUSE


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A pause and a greeting which constituted just two words “ Hi Salesh”. I have been trying to understand the essence of those words ever since that splendid open mic session. Of course almost everyone greets with a customary hi but I have never seen a host pause in the middle of a speech just to greet a member of the audience.  We often mourn the lack of empathy but small meaningful gestures like this do remind us that empathy does exist if we look for it in the right places.

The pause itself has a deeper meaning.  Sometimes a small meaningful pause can make a whole lot of difference.  All of us are in a rush. Perhaps society has deceived us so much with it’s stringent set of norms. We are forced to be a part of the herd without even understanding what we want. There’s something called self analysis and reflection which never happens for most of us until it is too late.

And then there’s another section of the crowd who are so full of themselves.  Ok you are so far ahead than the rest of us but why not pause for a moment and lend a hand to someone who needs it.  Of course there’s a need to be individualistic and selfish but a small diversion to lift someone up can make a lasting impression. And being benevolent doesn’t mean you are naive it just implies that you love to give.

I have been addressed in so many ways “Inspiration, A fighter, A giver but I consider myself a garbage with no clear cut goal or plans. I have come thus far only because people were benevolent enough to pick me up and mould me into what I could be. They embraced me with open arms and paused for me when I needed a hand

 A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

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THE INVISIBLE MATE


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How do you define a friend? The one who stands by you through thick and thin, the one who is an inherent part of your everyday journey.  But how about those who remain invisible. The one who almost disappears among the huge crowd that surrounds your everyday life. Do we even notice them and thank them for filling up the blank spaces?

The cabbie who drives you to work every day listening to your everyday woes. The security guard who smiles at you every day you pass the pass the gate the roadside vendors who looks forward to your everyday visit, the maid who cleans up your mess. Do we even pause to embrace them as part of our lives? A hug perhaps or maybe a smile in return would make a whole lot of difference.

There’s a small story which involves travelling back to my past. It was my father’s funeral. We were struggling for money. Almost all the people we know pitched in and then there was someone I had barely noticed before waiting to console me with the required money in his hand. He was the cabbie who drove my father to office every day. A whirlwind of thoughts trouble my mind. “No Anna you might need it”. I refuse the money.  ”It’s only a small sum when compared to all that your father has done for me”.  I pause to think about the bond they would have shared as Mom gestures me to take it.

Fast forward to the present and I share a wonderful friendship with most of my drivers. The pride when they see  me accomplish something is much more genuine when compared to all those plastic people inside the premises. We have done it all from going on a trip to eating out and the friendship I share with each of them gives me a sense of fulfillment.

This post is a dedication to all those wonderful people who make my life beautiful by filling up the blank spaces with some memorable moments. I love you all. We are friends too in a different way.

 This post has been written in association with Chaayos & Blogchatter on occasion of Friendship Day

 

THE CLOSET


 

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The veil of hope seldom lifts

There are cries of freedom everywhere

But to me they are just whispers from a distant land.

Love is a choice or so I believed.

Until love blessed me in a strange way

The family shuns and the society mocks

As I lament in darkness o’er my twisted fate.

 

The promise of acceptance remains a mere wish

As fear mocks my perfectly sane choice

I yearn for a world which accepts the alternate.

A walk down the aisle without prejudice

A crowd filled with joy as I hold her hand.

 

I chose her and not him

Don’t haunt me with why

For love doesn’t bind genders

It binds two souls who are meant to be.

 

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How long  do I wait?

To cross the ocean of love,

To seek solace in your warm embrace,

To hold you close without reason.

 

I yearn for you my love

Will you hold my hand and walk with me

Till the end of time

 

Will you ever be mine?

Or will you fade away

Like the innocence of a new born child.

 

TO DAD WITH LOVE


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I did not think that I could write,
 About some feelings I cannot express.
Many many days, I tried to tell you,
All my love, that was right there.
I pen down today, with tears,
I realize it’s too late.
You could have been here,
To see your grand children grow;
To see your wife’s pride,
To see how pampered mom is now.
When you were right next to us,
We feared to even speak.
Today we yearn “If only he was here”!
We console ourselves all the time,
There is no point regretting.
That you should rest in peace,
And make heaven “Heavenly”.
After years, we still hear you,
In our thoughts; in our laughs.
Every time mom says, “You are just like him”.
You live in us every day,
With a brave heart, we will miss you always.