Little Nyasa, a better tomorrow

Little Nyasa, a better tomorrow

“Before she could reach for her spear, Nyasa collapsed. The shadow of the dead piranha was her last memory.

The silt gradually deposited by the Zui Mui river had given form and shape to its banks.

The Hazanga tribe was enchanted by the banks. They moved from the nearby lands and decided to settle down there.

The Chief of the river dwellers was Onwas.

A red bellied piranha had the sharpest teeth and strongest jaw among all the fish in that river. When the tribe decided to make the riverbank, their home, they had to be safe. They had to be safe to catch fish. Fish that would feed them and earn some money for them. So, Onwas threw a spear and brought an end to the notorious piranha.

Onwas had a seven-year-old daughter at home. Her name was Nyasa.

But as they say, everything comes with a price. Nyasa was the one affected.

When her father killed the piranha, a shadow of the dead fish emerged from it. The dead fish’s shadow cursed Onwas.

It said, “You killed me today. I will make sure that the one you love the most will not live for long either.”

Before Onwas could rush back home to protect his family, his people, the doom had struck.

Nyasa was playing outside her house. Suddenly, she spotted the sun being devoured by a giant shadow. The shadow had a tail like a fish and when she moved her gaze, her eyes spotted the fins and her hand moved in reflex. She wanted to put up a brave fight. However, the piranha’s shadow caught her before she could attack it.

When Onwas reached home, he heard from his people what had happened. They said, Nyasa was cast a spell by the frightening shadow. Soon enough, the spell had turned Nyasa into rock.

Onwas was overcome with grief. His family was still mourning when a little turtle crawled up to their doorstep. It was no ordinary turtle. It could talk. It told Onwas that he could get his daughter back if he promised never to harm any water creature in the river or adjoining lakes anymore. The turtle also asked for two tear drops from Nyasa.

Onwas promised on behalf of himself and his entire tribe to be the protector of all water bodies in that region. The tribe also pledged to change their occupation to farming.

Very soon, Nyasa came back into life from being a rock.

Nyasa became emotional on seeing her family and two crystal tears appeared in her eyes. Onwas spared no moment in collecting them in a clay tumbler and handed it over to the turtle.

The turtle smiled and said, “From tomorrow, these tears will take the form of two lakes. Lake Nyasa and Lake Nungwi. To remind every human that aquatic life is precious. It is as precious as any human life. Peaceful co-existence is a must for a better tomorrow.”

 

Halloween’s Little Monsters in kindergarten

Halloween’s Little Monsters in kindergarten

Little Anu is the second born, a girl who is 5 years old

She tries to imitate and copy her elder sister, and does more than she is told

It all started when Mommy said, ”Look at your sister and try to be like her.

Eat up all the veggies and I will reward the fastest eater be it whoever.”

Anu became ready and steady as she set on her mark

But little did she know that it was a journey towards the dark

She raced and raced in every little thing

She emerged a winner in most of those things

Her teacher said she was ready for Grade 5, no need for her to wait

No need for her to be in kindergarten when she already knew tables of 8

Anu became over confident and competitive too

Whenever she won the race, her mom smiled and casually said, “Oh my daughter is so competitive, what to do?”

Little did the mom realize that it was not a virtue she was encouraging

She only created a future for her daughter, full of racing, winning and beating

But when she did not win the prize, she won a bout of anger instead

That anger paced her heartbeat and made her see little sense

There was a fellow student, he was John, a boy diagnosed with ADHD

He was hyperactive and would not even read or write if told from A to Z

The teacher lost her patience and said John should go back to KG1

He is too naughty and does not listen to anyone

Anu smirked with delight when anyone else got scolded and rebuked

She silently upped her collar, and told herself, “Ain’t I proud of you?”

She realized that someone was looking, looking at her with disgust

It was Mini, her classmate, who was also good in most things, but never came a first

Twenty-five years went by as fast as the scenes seen from the window of a train

A school reunion was planned and all those once little friends would meet again

Anu quickly popped a pill of Benzodiazepine, and straightened out her collars

She looked at the mirror with pride, and thought of her salary, worth a billion dollars

“Hey aren’t you John?” asked a slim and attractive lady to a handsome and well dressed man.

“Mini?” and he stepped down from the van.

There was excitement and fervor in the air, but Anu stood aside

Waited for someone to approach her, as she clutched her purse tight

Then she sighed and walked up to them

“Hi! Everyone,” she greeted them with a smile, as she adjusted the ring in her hand

“Anu? Nice to see you again,” greeted back John, trying to raise his voice above the banter

They laughed and joked, and then the surprise announcement came

Their class teacher was arriving soon, she was now a wise old dame

“Oh no, I got to leave,” Anu said to her buddies as she rose up to leave

“I have an important Joint venture meeting,” and a loud sigh she heaved

She listened to no requests. “I have a meeting too, “ said John

Nothing could deter her, leaving behind her friends forlorn

She rushed so fast that she bumped into an old woman with a walking stick

But Anu had not a minute to waste, to help or to pick

She reached her conference room and there she was ready, steady and on her mark

In walked the new joint venture partner – Mr. John De Park

They both were surprised to meet each other again, it started in the classroom

And a new story began in the conference, once again.

As parents, and more as mothers, we take immense pride when our child achieves something. There is an immediate and spontaneous reaction on our face. And the child sees that. What does the child see? A happy parent. So, the child knows that achievement results in happy parents.

They derive happiness in achievements, to them their achievement is making the parent happy. And they learn from us, to be happy when they achieve. When they don’t achieve, what do they see? They see disappointment, and sometimes even sadness and anger on our faces.

So, a child who has, let us assume, won a Maths competition once, does not win the second time….. will innocently come and tell his parents about what happened. He is sad that he did not win and someone else won. But if the parent gives a negative reaction, it only gives vent to the little monster. The little monster who gets angry with himself when he does not win, gets angry when others win, so he tries to win at any cost and if he does not win, he learns to blame and sometimes lie only to inflate the ego, which gets a high with a sense of achievement. And as the child grows with age, so does the monster. He takes a bigger form, till the apparition scares that child who is now a man.

As parents and teachers, on occasion of Halloween today, let us pledge to only dress our children as monsters to have fun and do trick or treat! Let us not create them.

Unknowingly or casually, we should not pass any remark that creates over confidence in one child and lack of confidence in another. As a parent, and am sure I speak on behalf of all parents, and even teachers who are parents, I expect teachers to always remember that children are very gullible. I fondly remember my kindergarten teachers and they are the ones who left an everlasting impression in my mind.

If you joke about a child’s incapability, he might start believing that. When I say good-bye to my child, as he boards the bus in the wee hours of the morning, I resume with my other chores assuming and inherently believing that at school, my child will be taken good care of, both body and mind!

As a parent, I try to tell my children, that there is no competition between brothers and sisters, not with anyone else. Try to do better than what you did last time and Mum and Dad will be happiest, for we know you tried your best.

It is important that you stop to pick up the spectacles of a classmate(if it has fallen down) during an activity or competition, than finish the task first.

Always, remember that when you are working with a class or team, there is more often than not, a shy child, who is hesitant to start or complete an activity. Helping him to pace up is more important than completing the activity first.

Talking emotions with children is something that we usually do not do. But if you tried, you will be appalled at their understanding of emotions. If there is a death in the family, help your child to grieve and let him learn to show affection towards grieving family members.

In kindergarten, the child is learning how to choose a best friend. Sometimes the child realizes his best friend’s best friend is someone else. He can be a melting pot sometimes. On some occasions, he may express, sometimes he may be cranky, because his little inner self is discovering new emotions like jealousy. All we need to do is treat him with hugs, on Halloween Day and every single day of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty with a purpose

Beauty with a purpose

Don’t we all love to judge others? Whoa, yes of course! But, how easy is it to volunteer to be judged? Tough walk all the way, isn’t it?

So far, all my blogs have had fictional characters. No doubt they were inspired by real people.

But this time, I am here to share the real journey of a very real person. Someone as real as you and me. Boy and am I proud that this is the second time, I am writing about her. Meet the effervescent, enormously talented Karishma Chawla Chhabria who has been selected as one of the top finalist contenders for the prestigious Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide 2017 -Season 7.

She will be shortly heading to Ho Chi Minh City to participate in a series of portfolio shoots, workshops and fitness programs as a pre-cursor to the grand finale to be held in New Delhi on August 5, 2017.

You can definitely not ignore the most beautiful curve on her, ‘her smile’! It has the innocence of a child and before you can even wonder what the mystery all about her is, she confidently introduces herself as Karishma Chawla Chhabria.

Karishma is your girl next door. She was born and brought up in Mumbai. A very simple and strong values based childhood is what she grew up with. Karishma lost her father only when she was in her early twenties. Such a tremendous loss did not shatter this young girl. She decided to emerge stronger than before. Karishma singlehandedly took up the responsibility of a child every parent would yearn for.

Karishma joined Jet Airways as an Air Hostess when she was only 20 years old. Little did she know then, what a blessing in disguise, her first job was! It inculcated in her a lifelong discipline of aesthetic grooming and nurturing one’s beauty. She has a beautiful yet very meaningful point when she says, “Our body is the temple we’ll be living in until we exist. What better than to keep that temple clean and beautiful.”

Karishma had set up her own training services providing organization, “Get Skilled”, 15 years ago in Mumbai. The fact that it seamlessly continues to be a ‘top-of-mind’ training provider to most Corporates, is thoroughly well deserving.

While Karishma has been engaged in participation and chasing of yet another dream of hers, her pillars of support stand strong in the form of Suraj, her husband and Krishiv, her son.

She is following a strict diet and work-out regime in order to achieve the milestones set forth in the pageant.

The reason why Karishma is participating in Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide 2017 -Season 7 is only because, she feels her story isn’t over yet! She would like to use this platform to live her other dreams. Karishma has two primary goals that she would like to focus on in the near future – to work closely with children diagnosed with ADHD and initiate and contribute in substantive ecological initiatives including reduction of carbon footprints.

I have known Karishma since 2008. And I have yet to meet another person with a unique combination of being successful and is yet absolutely down to earth.

Wishing Karishma all the best for Finals.

Please visit https://m.facebook.com/Karishma-Chhabria-Finalist-Haute-Monde-Mrs-India-Worldwide-2017-1048267245309395/ and like the page to get posted about future updates.

 

Guest Blog:The Alpha Female

Guest Blog:The Alpha Female

This blog has been written by Karishma Chawla Chhabria. She is the Director of Get Skilled Training Solutions, an eminent training solutions providing organization based at Mumbai. 

Alpha female…Wow!

Can there ever be a female who is Alpha?

I had only ever heard of Alpha Males.Until I met an Alpha female. If I had one line to describe her, it would have to be – ‘I am sexy and I know it.’

You know one when you see one. Alpha females, like Alpha males have a distinct aura and personality. The Alpha female is confident, sexy, intelligent and dominant. Clearly her description means she’s not every man’s cup of tea or coffee and is definitely an object of jealousy amongst other Beta and Omega women.

Yes u read it right.

There are Beta and Omega women too. Doesn’t it make u think who you are? An Alpha, Beta or Omega

 Here are a few signs you may be an Alpha woman.

An Alpha woman demands it’s “My way or the highway”.

She knows how to succeed and goes for it all out.

She is the decision maker who decides from a myriad of choices in life that must be made, right from which drink to next travel destination to what to do next. She knows how to get her way around and will not hesitate to use people, power, her sexuality or any other opportunity to make it to the top. She is often single because most men aren’t good enough for her. An Alpha female can only be handled by an alpha male. Rest all other men will fail. She’s the popular woman who’s often called a B**** by other Beta and Omega women.

Having said that, her right hand is often the Beta Woman who admires (secretly envious) the Alpha for her guts. Alpha women are mostly found in the Top Management of Organizations and leads places like she owns them. Famous examples of Alpha women would be Samantha Jones from Sex and the City or Miranda from The Devil wears Prada.

An Alpha Female will find herself in the most intense relationships. A word of caution here; the intensity is more often from the male. She has men wrapped around her little finger. Most Beta and Omega men will be head over heels with her. Only an Alpha male can keep an Alpha female grounded. They love fiercely and burn with passion. Mind you… These 2 are not a combination meant for marriage.. There will be fireworks and a few blasts too.. Hence very often the Alpha Female remains single. If she finds herself in marriage, she’s either the boss or she leaves someday because one clearly cannot cage an Alpha for too long, even though they think they have. This Alpha Female will Ace all her duties and responsibilities and no one will ever be able to raise a finger at her.

She is the one who you can learn the art of Delegation from.

She may be a Boss Wife; but she sure does love her off springs to death. She is a “Don’t mess with my kid” kinda mom. She is tough on her child, makes sure he/she doesn’t become a prey to any bullying. She is protective to the hilt but not a softy who spoon feeds her child. She makes them ready for the world. You see a child and you know that pup belongs to an Alpha mom – smart, intelligent, wont mess with anyone until he’s messed with, excellent with fulfilling his or her commitments and responsibilities, independent and secured. There can be only one reason for the Alpha Female being vulnerable, when her loved ones are hurt or if they hurt her. The rest of the world doesn’t matter to her too much anyway.

She ends up leading and how..

Most of these characteristics remain the same across the board of Alpha women.. unless there has been a life changing situation like an Accident, Near to Death Experience or Loss of a loved one.

In short, she is madness, insanity.. She is hell and paradise.

You maybe some of this or may be not. What is important is to watch out for an Alpha woman around you or in you… she can be both… Pride and Prejudice. She’s the Leader of the Wolf Pack… you can’t miss her in you or around you… As for me.. I’ve met one up close and personal.. do you want to guess who she is????

The Woman Factor

The Woman Factor

A very ‘Happy Women’s Day’ to everyone reading my blog and/ or celebrating this day – today or always! Agreed that its unnecessarily commercialized and too much brouhaha. And why not? With one lifetime and amidst so much of stress that we all deal with, moments like this one, provide a momentary escape into the world of ‘Feeling good – about oneself or about those around you’.

My heart bled when I read about 19 female fetuses dumped in Sangli in Maharshtra. The same Sangli which boasts to be the native place of the two best singers, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale. Lata Mangeshkar has been awarded with the Bharat Ratna award and Asha Bhonsale with the Dadasaheb Phalke award.

Irony!

The Central Adoption Resource Authority(CARA) is supposedly the nodal body for all adoptions inter and intra country across India. I have friends who have been lucky enough to adopt a child within a waiting period of 3 years with support from CARA. Between April to June 2015, child adoption centers across India received 1,241 requests to adopt a girl against 718 for a boy. Isn’t that fantastic?

But there lies the irony. While in urban areas, the mindset is broadening about a girl child, the rural areas are still under the domain of a rigid male bastion. While many couples in India are struggling with issues of infertility, Sangli could have offered many of them a ray of hope. Well, then, ‘Sangli’ is just a name…a name representing many places which are practicing the same thing.

My next question is to Rahul Gandhi. I have never been political or apolitical entirely. But what was that remark about Michelle Obama? Seriously? Had he featured in those stand-up comedian programmes on TV, probably a recorded applause would be all that he would receive. Will someone tell that M.Phil. (Development Economics) Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University, U.K. to just put a finger on his lips. It reminds me, when I was in Kindergarten Section A and my friend, funnily enough, he was a ‘Rahul’ too….he was in Section B and every day he would return with a bandage on his lips. Punishment for talking unnecessarily. How I would delight myself, if R K Laxman was alive now and created a cartoon of bandaged mouthed Rahuls, Shobha De’s….and their entire clan!

Actually there’s been too much in the news..Kangana vs. Karan Johar, Virender Sehwag vs. Gurmeher Kaur. Tiffany Trump joining an elite law school. And amidst entertaining but sometimes irritating reads, we also read about an all-women crew flight that departed on 27 February for San Francisco and returned at the Indira Gandhi International airport on Friday after flying across the globe. Kudos!

Italy is giving all women free entry to the country’s museums today to mark International Women’s Day!

Am I a feminist? Maybe…or maybe not. But I am a celebrationist. I like to celebrate the parts of life that make me smile.

Meet Dr. Shekhar Gupta. He is a General Physician in Barauni. After giving birth to five daughters, his wife finally bore a son. A male protagonist for a Women’s Day blog? Quite unlikely right? Read on to find out why.

‘Thank God!’ He sighed as he looked at his ageing mother on the wheelchair with the five girls standing by.

‘Hope now you are happy.’

‘My son. God has finally been kind to us.’ She raised her hands in the air as a gesture of gratitude to the almighty. Then she turned around and twitched her cataract affected eyes to spot someone.

‘Buddhiya, go quickly and buy pedhas(Indian sweets) for the entire colony and distribute to everyone.’ She took out some money from her secret wallet that she carried with her wherever she went.

Buddhiya was the man servant-cum-compounder to Dr.Gupta.

Four years went by witnessing the loss of Dr.Gupta’s mother, the five braided girls growing inches taller and the eldest almost being eligible for marriage. Bittu had just celebrated his fourth birthday. The lamp of the Gupta family, supposedly the heir to whatever belonged to the family. He had to be flawless, he was a son.

‘How could it happen to Bittu? How could it happen to us? You are a doctor, can you not treat him?

‘Sudha, we gave Bittu the vaccinations …unfortunately!’ Dr. Gupta sighed.

Sudha Gupta wept inconsolably. She was surrounded by her five daughters, who just stood still to make their presence felt.

‘Did you forget to give the injections on time?’

‘No…’ Dr. Gupta knew that nothing he said could make the situation better. Bittu would not be able to walk like every other person.

He stood with his head bent low. His head stooped when he worried and thought of alternatives to tackle a problem. Could a physiotherapist help? Should I take him to Delhi and get him checked thoroughly? Myriads of thoughts bombarded his mind and head.

‘How can a doctor’s son have an ailment?’ Sudha was getting hysterical and that clogged her husband’s mind. He stepped out of the room to see Bittu sitting with Buddhiya and eating a Parle-G biscuit.

Dr.Gupta tried getting his son re-diagnosed and getting the best physiotherapist to treat his son. But Bittu would walk with a limp. It was a fact that made him gulp, everytime the father thought about his son. It hit him more every time his wife passed it as a failure of his medical know-how.

The five braided girls got married and started with their own families. Bittu was in engineering college.

Dr.Guptas hair was all greyed now. It was 8.30 pm and he locked his chamber next to his house and left for home. Buddhiya had left 15 minutes before to help in the household chores.

Dr.Gupta  heard a lot of noises and chuckles coming from his house. He stepped in to find that his third daughter Meena had come over for a few days with her baby.

There were the initial round of pleasantries followed by dinner.Post dinner, the family sat down in the living room.

‘Baba, please advice me on the vaccinations that I need to take for Chunnu.’

Dr.Gupta looked at his wife. He knew that she still held him guilty for Bittu’s vaccine and its ineffectiveness.

‘Err…yes. You settle down. You are here for some days, aren’t you?

The next day morning, Meena was cleaning up the shoe cabinet.

Sudha scolded her daughter for leaving the baby alone and doing such a trivial chore.

‘But, Ma, Chunnu is sleeping. And this is till my home, right?’

Meena’s eyes went to a pair of slippers. The right seemed worn only a few times and the left worn out near the heels, due to application of pressure by the foot.

‘When is Bittu Bhaiya coming home?’ Her eyes lit up at the thought of her younger brother.

‘I hope I can tie him Raakhi this time.’

Sudha’s eyes filled up tears.

‘Make sure you consult a good doctor for your child’s health, especially vaccines, don’t trust your father, you know why.’

Meena stood up and held her mother’s hands.

‘You know Ma, my mother-in-law makes fun of Bittu and says that I have a crippled brother. He is good for nothing and that money is being wasted on his engineering degree.’

Momentary pause.

Little did the two women realize that there was someone near the door, with tearful eyes and spectacles in hand listening to their conversation.

‘I told her that he is not crippled. An engineering degree does not require bungee jumping and hurdles and relay races. It requires an application of the mind. And my brother is an ace in that. Time will prove that.’

She tried wiping her mother’s eyes.

‘Ma, Bittu’s handicap is not Baba’s mistake. I never had the guts to talk to you about this before. No parent will willingly want anything wrong to happen to the child. You are a doctor’s wife and don’t you love and understand Baba enough to know that he would not do it?

There was pin drop silence after she said it.

Then the women looked towards the door, as if there was a sound of someone walking away from it.

A minute later when Meena went to see who it was, she saw that the lamp on the study table in the adjacent room, was on. The prescription pad was open and tear drops had moistened the top page.

The next few days saw a sea change in the Gupta house. The glum was replaced by joyful merriment. Bittu arrived two days later and Raksha Bandhan was celebrated with great fervor.

It was 8th March and the rail tickets were booked. It was time for Meena to return back. Before she left, she did a customary bow and feet touching of her mother first and and then her father.

‘You were a little girl, the other day…as you stood on the grills of this verandah and said Babababa…non-stop till I left for my chamber.(Pause)Thank you!’

He hugged her tight as if she had released a big burden from his shoulders. What he could not explain to his wife in so many years, his daughter did.

He pulled out a small drawing that Meena had made as a child. On top of it, he had scribbled ‘Happy Women’s Day to my wonderful daughter’!

‘Baba, what is it that you have scribbled? It is Amoxycillin?’

‘Ha..ha…ha..ha..ha..ha’ Dr.Gupta laughed as tears rolled from his eyes.

’You know they say the worse the scribble on prescription, the better a doctor he makes.’

He pulled out a paper but seemed hesitant to hand it over to Meena.

‘What is that Baba?’

‘Well, hmm…I had made a list of the vaccinations for Chunnu. Not sure if you would like to use it, though.’

She snatched it from him and said, ‘Thank you’.

For the first time, Sudha came up and stood beside her husband as Bittu started loading Meena’s bag into the car. She looked ahead, as her hands reached out for his.

They looked ahead together. Put bygones behind.

So, you see it took one woman to make another woman see sense, pick up the beautiful pieces of jigsaws and recreate the beautiful picture of life.

But most importantly, its not as often portrayed, that women suffer alone. Men suffer too. How would ‘Women’ be without ‘men’…it comprises them. Being a woman is not being gender specific, its all about being sensitivity-specific!