Wednesday, 13 April 2016

From You, To Yourself

Today, in the world of complexity and desires I have a simple question for you. A question that you have heard many times in your life and you obviously know the answer to, or do you?

Where are you from?

It seems like a stupid question but I really want to know where do you hail from? The obvious answer is your district or your state you were born in. And then the question is silent because the one who asked you the question formed a mindset about you and he already knows whether to hate you or probably don't give a damn about you.

Sometimes your place tells your community, your community defines your culture, your culture tells your behaviour and your behaviour speaks about your religion, and after one knows your religion, it's a period. A full stop. Because it doesn't matter if you’re are an atheist or not, your religion will define you.

The place you hail from is like a shadow and people see it as your mirror. But how can you let yourself be defined from a small question? It is because you don’t tell the truth. You don’t answer where you are from. You only tell what you have been told from the beginning.

Why do you have to be from a state or even from a country like India, Pakistan, China, Russia or ‘The’ USA? Why do you have to define yourself by the borders? Why can’t you be from this little planet Earth, where we all are from, where we all belong!!

The reason why we are all alone in the universe is because ‘they’ don’t want to contact us. Who would want to contact a race that kill each other for its self-righteousness!!!

This world is a War ground and we need to stop until we turn it into a graveyard. 

Ask yourself – where are you from?

Friday, 7 August 2015

What’s so new about ‘The Old Delhi’?

July 28, 2015

What’s so new about ‘The Old Delhi’? Me (Aman) and my friend Ankit have been asking the same question to ourselves. It was about time we get the answer, or in other words – we explore our answer.

Delhi is been like a pearl in the eyes of tourists because of attractions like Qutub Minar, Akshardham, India Gate – Rashtrapati Bhawan, Connaught Place, Raj Ghat, Humayun’s Tomb, Hauz Khas, national Museum and many more. These places give a heartwarming hug to the visitors.

The infrastructure, development, progress and expansion is on the top in the capital. But what makes Delhi, Delhi is its heart. Like an old wine, Old Delhi, the heart of the capital, is a treat to savour.

After a serious discussion on a Sunday evening, Ankit and I decided to follow the heart with our heart. Tuesday was the day, weather was in our favour. Ankit grabbed his DSLR and I decided to go with my pen and diary. Funny thing is that both our tools help in capturing something precious.

Best way to reach anywhere in Delhi is travelling by metro, it saves time. We met at Shahdara Metro station and boarded the metro at 11:15 AM sharp for Chandni Chowk. There are only four stations in between from Shahdara - (Welcome, Seelampur, Shastri Park, Kashmere Gate) - but you have to change one metro at Kashmere Gate. It only cost us about Rs. 12 by metro card.

We reached there before 11:30 AM. It was our first expedition so we decided to sit down and prepare a check list and a map of ‘how we are going to do it’. It was obvious the Red fort will be the starting point (It is better to start from something known). From the red monument we will traverse on foot towards the great chandni chowk bazar to the destination Jama Masjid. It covers most of the root alleys of the area.

Time 12:00 PM. We reached Red Fort. The tri color flag at the top was bowing down to pay tribute to our most beloved former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. We thought of going inside and take some beautiful snaps but there was a long queue. I have been to Red fort before, but never seen a queue like this. Probably because of coming Independence Day.

Standing outside Red Fort, there was a huge line for entry, some Foreigners were looking frustrated. Because there was only one queue to enter. We both looked at each other thinking, “thank god we were here to cover the streets”.

You can always find rush and multitude of people and vehicle in front of Red Fort. It would take you 5 minutes to even cross the road. I knew, no one will share their views about Old Delhi easily. So I pulled my Mass Communication college ID card thinking people will share something looking at the badge, and it worked. Though Ankit had already said it will work.

In the entry queue, there was a guy with red cap, cream t-shirt and shorts, wearing sport shoes. He was looking like a tourist, so I decided to talk to him. His name was Neemesh Mehta, all the way from Gujrat.

Neemesh said he was here with his group to visit Swami Narayan Akshardham Temple. But he was here at Old Delhi alone. While Ankit was busy photographing the streets and mob, I asked Neemesh – why alone here? What he said was touching – “I wanted to ‘see’ Delhi and this is the exact place to start. It’s little messy compared to our city but I can smell different flavor here”.

“My group was here to visit only Akshardham. We are leaving for Gujrat today, I didn’t want to waste this opportunity. I grabbed my gear and here I am”, he added.

We took some photographs, rickshaw pullers were posing for us, and we continued our Expedition. Just opposite the main gate of Red Fort there is a long road filled with diversity. On this road you will find a 200 year old Baptist church, a 350+ year old Digambar Jain Temple, an 800 year old Gauri Shiv Hindu Temple, a 230+ year old Gurudwara standing with 370+ year old red fort of Emperor Shahjahan.

As we were walking along the road, we saw many food joints, garments shop, small tourism company and lots and lots of people. Ankit was feeling hungry, he didn’t have breakfast before coming but I think it’s because of chandni chowk’s street food. Who can stop himself with all those delicious mouthwatering food! We stopped at a shop, read the menu but decided to walk away. It was too humid inside. And ‘The Humidity Problem’ is with every shop here. We wanted to grab something which is quick. Finally found a ‘shikanji wala’. It is basically lime, some salt and spices mixed together and refrigerated. A Rs. 10 glass will give you energy to walk more.

As we kept walking we came across the name of the market on a shop board. It is called Moti Bazar. There are several rickshaw puller there. They get a lot of passenger from there to Jama Masjid, another beautiful historical monument. As I was clicking some photograph Ankit asked a rickshaw puller about his life. His name was Manoj Yadav, from bihar. He lives at Shashtri Park, other side of river Yamuna in delhi, but come here to work on his rented rickshaw. He earn much here because of tourists.

Ankit is very fond of Photography, he saw some cycles lined up on the divider, said it is a good scene, let me capture it. But it took us much time than pressing a button. Why? Because it is chandni chowk and traffic here is unstoppable. In about 15 to 20 times we got one good shot, though we cropped the person who tried to ruin it.

As we keep walking there is a huge Saree market on our left, through this market we can go to Jama Masjid. But we decide to walk some more. At the end of this road we can find Fathepuri Mosque. We stopped at Ballimaran Chowk. A huge old Haveli caught my attention. It has about 20 doors in front, people living in the Haveli reminded me how old architecture is preferred by Indian people.

We 'captured' the Haveli and took left to enter ballimaran market. The market is of shoes and sunglasses and specs. At a point we couldn’t stop ourselves from checking out the shoes. It is a huge market. All varieties of shoes and specs whether branded or local are available. You can also buy handmade shoes from here.

As we kept moving forward in the market, the road lead us to ‘Nai Sarak’, a street, which happens to be the biggest books and paper market. It was 1:15 PM, we were in Chawri Bazar, Nai Sarak. It was time we had something to eat. As you know its Old Delhi, everything here is famous. First we went to ‘Shyam Sweets’ famous for his ‘Matar Kachori’ but Ankit had some ‘Bedmi Poori and sabji with salted Lassi’ and I had one sweet Lassi which cost us only 120 bucks. Next we tried some flavored milk from ‘Sudarshan’ for only Rs. 35 each, just opposite Shyam Sweets. You can review and can check review from for both of them.

As we started walking, after having our fill, we saw Jama Masjid’s side wall. It made us happy that finally we are here. Took a nice snap from street and started walking. You have to pass through Motor Market to reach Jama masjid’s main gate, if you are coming through this way.

It is a huge building. We entered and climbed up the stairs. We sat down facing the entry. Time was 1:41 PM. You can see the Whole Street, full of people. We removed our shoes put them in my bag. Shoes are not allowed inside masjid. Ankit paid Rs. 300 as camera charge, which I think is too much. We entered inside in the amazing building. The architecture is immensely beautiful. There are two towers inside but you have to pay to reach their top. We walked around or, as we remember, jumped around as the floor was Oven-like hot, but still we clicked some photographs. Ankit was running to and fro finding the carpet to stand and cool down his tootsies. And there is problem if you are wearing an I-card, people think you work for a news channel and try to come in your camera frame when you are capturing something. 

After we had our moment at the heritage, it was time to go. It was different and amazing. How things change with perspective. I have never seen this side of the city and its culture. In all this mob and humidity i still found the heart. What is so special about 'The Old Delhi’ is its cultural diversity which cannot be found anywhere else.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Mr. Incredible

Mr. Incredible

Education is one of the biggest power humans has ever created. It brings together different people with the aim of creating something different every day. Babar Ali is one of those person who has harnessed this power very beautifully. That is why he is been given the title of “World’s youngest headmaster” by BBC at the age of 16 (2009).
It all started when Babar was only 9 year old. He was born in Murshidabad, West Bengal. Returning from school he saw some poor children playing Marbles in his village. The young mind thought, why not share what he learned at school with them so they can also learn and stop wasting their time. He called those children at the back of his house and started teaching them in way they thought they were playing a game.
The distance from his home to his school was 8 mile travel. But the rock solid will powered boy did it every day. He was an ideal student at school but what he did after school stimulated people. His decision of teaching children at a very young age was miraculous. At first there were only few children whom he would teach. Soon his tales began to spread around children and his class started getting bigger.
We used to play school-school, with me as teacher. My friends had never seen the inside of a school, so they enjoyed playing students. They ended up learning arithmetic and enjoying It.”, said Babar in an interview, explaining how he started teaching (source: Internet).
Soon his school started getting famous and help began to come from different areas. His own school teacher, Monks from local Ramakrishna Mission, IAS Officer of his area, local cops and other government official started helping. The young teacher thought of having mid-day meals for his students. His father provided Rice from his field but now it comes from government.
The boy’s hard work was acknowledged by the government. Today his school is recognized by West Bengal state government i.e. students graduating from his school are eligible to take admission at other local high schools. His school have over 800 students with 60 regular attendees every day and 10 volunteer teacher, teaching from grade 1 to 8. Textbooks are given free in his school.
Babar completed his schooling from ‘cossimbazar Raj Govinda Sundari Vidyapeeth’ in Berhampore, West Bengal. He is also an English (Hon.) graduate from Kalyanyi University in West Bengal and currently pursuing M.A. in English Literature which makes him worthy of his title of ‘world’s Youngest Headmaster’.
Babar’s school today is called ‘Anand Shiksha Niketan’. He himself is a regular speaker at Ted Fellow and Ink Conference. He is doing whatever he can to bring down the illiteracy rate of our country.
The narrow age gap works to our advantage. We are more like friends and the rod is spared in my school.” Says Babar Ali, the Youngest Headmaster of the World.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

‘The Woman’

When Impossible says "I am possible", it only means Jyothi Reddy. The never give up attitude, hard work, perseverance, determination, diligence are all words describing her. She is the living example of will power. The journey of her success started at a very early age.
Jyothi Reddy was born in 1970 in Narasimhula Gudem in Hanumakonda mandal, Warangal District, Currently in Telangana. She was eldest to four out of five girl children of her parents. Due to the family attachment, her father left the job at Army. But she inherited the military attitude of her father. It was difficult for everybody to survive in worst financial conditions. So she was admitted to ‘Bala Sadan’, a government orphanage, as a motherless child, though her mother was alive and well.

From class 5th to 10th, she stayed in the orphanage living a recluse life. Every day she missed her family. Especially in the winters when the blankets provided would be torn and tattered. But, she was determined enough to pass class 10th with 1st division. She was unable to continue her education because of her family and came back home.

In a country like India where girls are treated as a burden, it was no different for Jyothi. At the tender age of 16, she was forced to marry her distant cousin. By age 18, she became a mother of two girls. Even there her family’s financial position was not good. She persuaded her husband and mother-in-law to allow her to work in agriculture field. She worked for Rs. 5 per day as an agricultural labour. From 1986 to 1989, she was in the same profession, until she heard of the government scheme of ‘Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK)’ starting a night school for illiterate adults. Being the only educated person available, she started working for NYK. She started earning Rs.120 a month.

Her determination and unique method of teaching impressed the higher authorities of the program. She was promoted as Mandal Prerak (District Auxiliary) of Hanumakonda."In those days, Rs. 120 was a lot of money for me. I could at least buy fruit and milk for my children. Next, I worked as a National Service Volunteer for Rs 200 a month," she said, in an interview with the Times of India.

Jyothi also told the newspaper that despite her husband’s disapproval, she moved out of the village, Mailaran, with her children and went to Hanumkonda town. She joined a typing institute, did a craft course and earned Rs. 20-25 daily by stitching petticoats at Re 1 per piece. She also got a job as the librarian at Janasikshana Nilayam and joined an open school where she would go every Sunday to continue her studies.

In 1992, she was appointed as a special teacher at Ameenpet, 70 km from Warangal. The journey was costing more than her salary. So she started selling sarees in train for a little extra income. Her hard work paid off and finally she got a regular job in 1994 with a monthly salary of Rs. 2,750. She worked as Mandal Girl Child Development Officer and would inspect the schools. But she was not earning enough to raise her two girls.

She noticed the differences in her and her cousin's lifestyle who came from the US in 1998. Then Mrs. Anil Jyothi Reddy took a big step. She learned software from VLC institute, Hyderabad. She took a long leave from her job, got her passport and H1 Visa ( H-1 visa is required if you are going to the United States to perform services in a pre-arranged professional job) ready and moved to the US, leaving her two daughters at a missionary hostel. The brave and bold woman stayed there as a paying guest for a Guajarati family. She worked in a shop at $60 for 12 hours.

She then joined a company called CS America as a recruiter with an aid of a close relative. But soon she left the job so that she can start something of her own. Later she visited Mexico for stamping. Already familiar with the paperwork involved in visa processing, she thought of starting her own company. With her savings of $40000, she opened an office in Phoenix. She has been successfully running her company KEYSS (Key Software Solutions) since then.

Joythi Reddy is one of the most successful women. Her daughters are engineering graduate, married and based in the US. From her experiences in life she has learned a lot. Whenever she visits India she goes to old age homes and orphanages to provide alms and donations. She has partnered with NGOs like Prajadharana Welfare Society, MV Foundation and Child Rights Advocacy Forum (CRAF) and has formed a Pressure Group Force for Orphan Rights and Community Empowerment (FORCE) and many more.

She once said, "I want to tell women to be economically independent and take their own decisions instead of depending on their fathers, husbands and sons at various stages in life. They keep educational degrees as mere certificates and stop working after marriage unlike in the US. Be the master of your fate and remember, taking care of children is a part of life, but not a life,"

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Miracle of God

"I keep a pair of shoes in my closet because I believe in miracles”, said Nick Vujicic, a man born with no limbs. Nick is stronger than most people on earth. His faith is immeasurable, his will unbreakable. He is a great son, a caring husband and a good father.
Born on December 4, 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, Nick Vujicic was diagnosed with Tetra-Amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. Nick’s parents, Dushka Vujicic and Boris Vujicic, were in a shock when he was born. Their only concern was whether their son would ever be able to live a normal life. But little did they know that their baby boy would become a source of inspiration and guidance for many. Nick is also blessed with two younger siblings, Michelle and Aaron, who have supported him at every point in his life.
Nick’s childhood was filled with depression and anger. His parents did their best to keep their son in a mainstream school and they tried to give him every opportunity so that he can live his life to the fullest. But no one actually knew what pain Nick was going through. It was not easy for him to digest his parents' well-meaning words, “Everything is going to be ok”. Every Sunday Nick would go to the church and ask God, "Why did you make me like this?”, “What is your purpose?" By age 8, Nick was convinced that he had no future. At the age of 10, he tried a couple of suicide attempts by trying to drown himself in the bathtub. But soon he realized that he did not want to leave his family with a burden of guilt. So he started searching for the purpose.
One day, it all finally came through for Nick when he was reading in the Holy Bible - John, Chapter 9 where Jesus said of a blind man, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned that he is born this way. This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” After reading it Nick's purpose became clear. He felt a large amount of tangible faith and peace that someone understands his pain. He thanked God for giving him life and told him that he believed in Him. He put his trust in Almighty who, according to Nick, knows what He is doing.
Nick was encouraged by a janitor at his high school to speak about his faith and taming tribulation. For over two years Nick spoke to smaller group of people. Then he was given opportunity to face 300 school students at once. Nick was nervous as he was facing this big crowd for the first time. But, within the first three minute of his talk almost everybody was bursting through their eyes. A girl was sobbing pretty hard, she raised her hand, apologized for interrupting and asked if she come and hug him? The girl hugged him in front of everyone and said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you. No one has ever told me that they loved me and that I am beautiful the way I am”. Her gratitude inspired Nick to aspire others.
Today Nick is a successful man. He is an Evangelist, a preacher, a motivational speaker and the director of his own non-profit organization Life without Limbs. He once said, “My pain is real but my victory is real too”. He truly is a miracle of god.
"I keep a pair of shoes in my closet because I believe in miracles, but there is no greater miracle than seeing someone come to God. So pray for faith, and God will help you one day at a time”, said Nick Vujicic, the man who knows what life really is.

Written by - Aman Chaubey

Edited by - Hemant Sachan

Friday, 13 February 2015

Usual Day to Love

Headphones on, bag on my back, I am ready for my college. I say bye to mom and leave. It is a usual day like every other day. But... there is always a "but".

I am at the bus stand, listening to 'The Galway Girl', when I see her. ('Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue); she really has blue eyes. I am shouting happily, obviously in my head, that she is the one, she is the only one. Before I can admire her more, she takes an auto-rickshaw and leaves. And the first thing I do is to look at my watch to check the time she comes to the stand, hoping that I'll see her tomorrow at the same time. And from this moment on, the usual day becomes a happy usual day.

So, I am waiting for the bus. Reached my college... Am I still dreaming? Yes I am day dreaming about her. Smiling and fighting in my head, "why didn't I say something to her". "She could have also said something". I don't know what I am doing. I have so many questions but no answers. I know that I will not see her again. But... there is always a "but".

Damn! She is in my college, not in my class or branch though, but in my college. She is in management and I am in IT. Then the next best thing happens, she smiles at me. She remembers me. It's not every day your dream comes true so instantly. Believe me, her name is Sapna. The usual day suddenly becomes a beautiful usual day.

The new day has started with the usual things I have imagined. I normally don't talk to her at the bus stand, but thanks to some of my friends, we are finally talking. "Yes, I noticed you on the bus stand. We can, maybe, go together from tomorrow." she said... The only thing I needed to hear. We have now exchanged cell numbers and I never miss my college now. Days have passed. Weeks have passed too. From good friends we have become best buddies. Talking all night, gossiping, talking about things that don't matter. I don't care, I love her. The usual day has become a wonderful usual day now.

"Sapna I don't want to wait for the Valentine's day. For me each day with you is a day of love. I love you.", I say to her today on the new year's eve. She hugs me tightly, as if she never wants to let me go. I hug her back. "I love you more.", she whispers in my ear. Dream has now become a reality for me. But... there is always a "but".

We have graduated. We have met for a couple of days. Her dad has got her into Howard university, Washington. She has left and I am still here in some college doing my post grad. My family cannot afford studies abroad. Yes we talk or rather, exchange some words. Time difference sucks. Usual is not the usual anymore.

We fight, we shout whenever we talk. We cry, I know she does. But one more thing, I know that she loves me more. Trust is all we have now and also some hopes of meeting soon.

Yesterday I got a call from her at night, "I have told my family about you. They don't mind as long as you are a good person and a successful man", she has said on the call. There are lots of "buts", but I choose to neglect them now. I will do what needs to be done now. Suddenly, the "not-so-usual" day has become a happy, beautiful,  and wonderful usual day. Like me, she doesn't lack the courage to do what is necessary.

She really does love me more.

Written by - Aman Chaubey
Edited by - Hemant Sachan