Proud to be my daughter’s father: A Tedx talk by Ziauddin Yousafzai

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“Why is my daughter so strong?” Yousafzai asks. “Because I didn’t clip her wings.”

Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don’t want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity. He tells stories from his own life and the life of his daughter, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school.

Ziauddin Yousafzai is an excellent father, a wonderful husband and an excellent human being!

When “Strangers” are FRIENDS :)

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Since babyhood, we have been warned by teachers and parents alike to be wary of strangers. Which is so true…there are all sorts of weirdos out there starting from the ones who stare like one is an alien, to pedophiles or even serial killers.

Every time a non blogger comes to know that I have “friends” whom I have never met in real life, some whose real names are still a mystery, I am usually given a “Dafaq girl, you outta your mind?” look. This post is for you, dear non-blogger, to make you see my point of view.

You see, we bloggers are extremely weird set of people. For us, we show the most imperfect, broken, vulnerable parts of our souls to the world. No wonder many prefer to be anonymous, in this EXTREMELY judgmental world, it takes raw courage to speak your mind.

I know people who are broken, dealing with extreme depression, or going through a huge emotional turmoil looking for a place to vent and let their hearts out, or there are truly talented people who churn out beautiful poetry in their minds while sitting in that grey cubicle.

In real life, most people project perfect selves, living a perfect life, but that is not true. Everyone has a baggage. And somehow I am more drawn to people who are NOT perfect, I like people who make mistakes, who are insecure, imperfect and are not afraid to show these imperfections.

After I started blogging, I was able to get in touch with my inner self and refine my thoughts.

I met some truly AMAZING people who are special in their own way. And even though we have never met, I feel I know you more then many people i come across in real life.

Keep blogging and supporting each other! :)

Peace!

 

In a Land where CRICKET is religion, will these girls ever be given their due?

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We are a Cricket crazy country.

A country that MEN in Blue earn cores of rupees for their brand endorsements, which is in addition to what they get for actually playing cricket.

While I have no doubt of the sheer amount of hard work they do daily to get this well deserved success, I cannot help but think why cannot we give the same support to people who play other sport? or people of another gender playing the coveted game? I am sure they put in equal amount of energy and time to the sport of their choice, and are equally talented. Then why do we as a nation choose to overlook the other sports?

Tata Capital in its unique CSR activity called :DO RIGHT. Where the Do Righters go biking across India and find genuine problems and people to help. Do follow them to know about other stories as well at: https://doright.in.

Coming back to sports, this time DO RIGHT has found a football club, some of the members have even played for India. But, who are struggling to hang on to their passion.

Excerpt from the website:

A stadium packed with people, with over a thousand people screaming their names. People sporting jerseys with their numbers. That feeling of pride as they score goals to bring victory to their country! This is every sports person dreams of. And it’s no different for Bhabani Munda, and her Dooars XI – a bunch of passionate football players, who have fighting the odds to keep their dream alive.

As we set off from Dhupguri, a chai break on the way lead us to our next story at Dooars, West Bengal. The chai stall that we stopped at was run by 4 girls. Curiosity got the better of us, and we wanted to know what prompted them to do this. They told us about Dooars XI – their football club run by Bhabani Munda, their coach. The money they earn from selling tea and rotis goes into helping them pursue their passion for the game.

The challenges were plenty. A small village, nestled among tea estates and majestic mountains, bound by the stereotypes of society, where girls are supposed to be married off by the age of 18. Wearing any outfit that went above the knees was looked down upon. Villagers calling them ‘brazen’ and ‘shameless’. Opposition from parents, relatives, neighbours. Sneaking out for practice/ a game. Pursuing a sport that does not get the recognition or perks that Cricket does. Being promised support, and receiving none of it. Not having proper shoes, socks, or even footballs to practice with.

But through all of it, they had one strong force that kept them united in their cause – Bhabani Munda. She began playing the sport since the age of 7, and having faced constant disapproval from her family, she moved out of her family home when her brothers locked her up to dissuade her from playing in a tournament. She now lives with a few team members, in a place of her own. But the struggles are far from over.

The girls don’t have football gear of their own. They borrow their brother’s shoes and socks, some of which are tattered, old and torn. Each of them stay at least 6-7 kms away from each other, and they have just 2 footballs to play with. Which means that they cannot practice on their own, they need to meet up for that. Some have been selected to play nationally, but without the basics, how can they excel and take on challenges like these? Is National pride in sports only limited to Cricket?

They’ve won over a dozen medals and trophies, and their spirits are intact. Nothing can take away the passion they feel for the game, and they are grateful for the way it has shaped them as individuals. But it’s time for them to go further, dream bigger. They’ve created a league of their own, let’s help them score the goals they’ve been dreaming of.

We can give the team members kits consisting of socks, shoes (studs) and a football each, costing Rs 1,100 each. A total of Rs 16,500 for a team of 15. Let’s contribute to this Half Story with donations or shares/ tweets on your timelines.

 

Quintet of Radiance Award!

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My first Award in blogging field! :)

Thanks Pallavi for the nomination! I JUST had my dinner and looking at those AMAZING food pics, I am drooling all over the laptop :) If you eat food, follow her, you wont regret it.

Considering this is the first award (also, that I had no idea what a Quintet was), I googled. To my amazement I found that this award is a bundle of 5 awards, and not being a modest person, I am adding a logo of all five here ;)

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So how does this award work?

1. Display the logo in a post

2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back.

3, Using the alphabet, describe yourself in a word or a phrase.

4. Nominate at least few bloggers.

As a part of the award, I am to describe myself in one word from a to z, so here goes:

A: Artsy

B: Bookworm

C: Charismatic

D: Dog-lover

E: Entrepreneur

F: Fanciful

G: Grateful

H: Honest

I: Intelligent

J: Joker

K: Kind

L: Lucky

M: Messy

N: Natural

O: Observant

P: Procrastinator

Q: Quizzical

R: Ready

S: Strong

T: Traveler

U: Unique

V: Versatile

W: Witty

X: xenodochial

Y: Yeasty

Z: zingaro

Gosh! That was HARD.

I NOMINATE:

1. From the poet’s heart

2. Taste of Colours

3. Kira Moore’s Closet

4. dandelionsinwind

The Business Called Marriage

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Recently UTV Bindaas Chanel has come up with a program called “Change Aayega, Hum Layenge”. I was pretty impressed with the promos of the show, but unfortunately missed the first few episodes, which I plan to catch up on soon!

But the one episode that I did see, dealt with the social “tradition” of Dowry, which by the way, has been made illegal by law.

The show starts with a short story, of the girl’s family practicing severe cut backs to save money, like the precise measurement of cold drinks to be served to the prospective guy’s family.

When the guy’s family do show up, they start with a presentation on their family and the net worth of their son, They even offer them a discount on dowry as the family is from the same caste! The deal is finalized and they leave, without even meeting the girl!

Then the scene comes where the girl’s family sells everything they own to fulfill the ever increasing demands, from curtains to geometry box is sold. The girls are left to use their hands to measure angles. This is when the to be bride “lakshmi” realises that this is NOT her marriage anyways, but of other lakshmi (Lakshmi= money in hindi). She dresses up a mannequin in 500 rs notes and sends it off to get married, and no one even notices. This was a wonderful way of showing how blind people become while following traditions.

After this they conduct a social experiment, wherein this dowry business is being transacted in a café in Mumbai to see how many people actually stand up against it. Do have a look.

I feel MORE such shows instead of youth channels, should come up on mainstream channels which, as of today, is full of makeup decked ladies crying buckets of crocodile tears while scheming to ruin people’s lives/ being the oh-so-aadarsh victim, while dumb men stay in office and come home to be served hot food.

Jane Eyre: Book Review

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Author: Charlotte Bronte

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

Jane Eyre is a part of a huge book that I own called Complete Novels of Charlotte & Emily Bronte, which has Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette, The Professor and Wuthering Heights. I look forward to reading them all! (I had reviewed Wuthering heights some time back, click here if you are interested to read that.)

Back to Jane Eyre, I believe that a book is a window to the Author’s soul. You can see the raw thoughts, emotions, suppressed dreams and longings of her or his soul. And if that is even remotely true, Charlotte Bronte is one woman that I would have loved to be acquainted with!

Jane Eyre is truly one of the strongest character that I have come across in literature.

Jane’s life is divided in five major parts.

In the first part, she is an orphan living with her Aunt, Mrs. Reed and her two daughters and a son. They detest her and bear with her only because it was her uncle, the deceased Mr. Reed’s wish that she be properly looked after. The way Jane rebels in her own way, is noteworthy. The lecture she gives Mrs. Reed, wherein she refuses to call her an “aunt” shows her courage and her raw passion. At this point of time, we also see her being drawn to books. Her thoughts are shaped and refined because of these. Her thoughts are strong and sharp, as we see in the quote above.

The next part of her life, starts when she is sent to Lowood, a charity school. This is the school where there is little food, less clothes and many diseases. Here Jane meets Helen Burns, her first real friend. When Helen gets a punishment, Jane admires her for the way she handled the punishment, quietly. “Where I in her place, It seems I would want the earth to open up and swallow me up”. It is Helen who teaches her the path of passive rebelation. It is heart wrenching to read about Jane lying in bed with Helen, and waking up to find her dead. :( Loosing her only real friend, teaches her how to deal with loss.

The third phase of her life starts when she feels the need for a change. With no relatives to help her, she advertises. This is her first step to be independent in true sense. She wants life on her terms. The advertisement is answered and she moves to Thornfield to look after Adele. It is here she meets Mr. Rochester, and falls in love. But even here, she refuses to live on his money. She insists that if they get married, she would continue her job, and fund her own expenses. A thing rare to see at that time. Also, we see a character of Ingram Blanche, who is a typical “woman”, who is of Mrs. Bennet’s school of thought, get a rich guy and marry. Ingram’s plastic smiles and fake talks shows the stark contrast with Jane’s Character, both in looks (Ingram is described as “the most beautiful woman” while Jane as “almost no remarkable feature in her face, quite plain, really”) and in personalities.

The fourth phase of her life starts when she runs away from Thornfield in the middle of the night. I will not state the reason why she does it, but DO read the book, its worth it, I promise. Here she meets her cousins, and inherits a fortune. Her strength of character is again tested when she is asked to marry and move to India for “good faith”, as an unmarried young man and woman cannot travel together, it would not look good. She point blank refuses to marry just because of that. She did not believe that a woman’s worth was only valued if she married.

And lastly, her turbulent journey ends with her going back to Rochester, and that’s when she feels truly “at peace”.

Truly a book worth reading. Strong characterization and a gripping story line, is what sets this apart from other classics. Give it a read, you will not be disappointed.