Unposted Letters : Do forgive me someday

Often it happens, what is want to say to someone – remains unsaid. That silence and mum for years builds up in our hearts and minds. Here is a series of “Unposted Letters” which will feature emotions – feelings – thoughts of people who have something to say.

Dearest Antara,

I have been meaning to write this letter to you for the last eight years but every time I put paper to pen guilt got the better of me and I couldn’t write a single line.

We worked together for two years and all this while I never understood why you were always in a rush to go home from work. I always thought, “What was the big deal if you had left your one-year-old daughter at home with a maid?” I thought that did not allow you to skip your responsibilities at work and find some pretext or other to leave office early when all of us were slogging it out late into the night.

Although age-wise you were older to me but I used my senior position to tell you at times to stay back like all of us. I knew this annoyed you.

At that time, since I was not a mother, I never realized how hard it must have been for you to leave your precious child all alone with a maid and come to work.

I remember we even got into an altercation about this once when our boss, who understood your predicament better since he was a father of two, very tactfully ironed out our differences telling me it was not easy to do the balancing act between motherhood and a career. I never understood then. I thought you took an equally good pay pack home so you needed to put in equal number of hours at work like all of us.

I never realized that you time-managed well enough to meet the deadline while all of us, who had husbands coming home late or were single, spent quite a lot of time in the cafeteria, in the smoking room, at coffee breaks and then stayed on late  at work to make up for lost time.

I hope you will be able to forgive me one day. Today I am a mother and I precisely know what you felt every minute you spent in office. I am sure your daughter occupied your thoughts all the time and you were worried if the maid was feeding her, bathing her and keeping a watch on her properly.

Now I realise how brave you were to have come to work every day with a smiling face and perform to your best. Today I feel sad that I created such a fuss about your leaving early. I guess this much of support you deserved from your colleagues.

I remember when my son was a year-old all the paranoia I went through when I got a new maid. By then I had given up my job because I wanted to be at home with him, but when I went to the bathroom while my son was asleep I locked the front door because I feared my new maid, whom I hardly knew, might run away with my sleeping child. Then I thought of you and instantly knew the fears that you locked in your heart every day.

Hope you will be able to forgive me one day.

Amrita

Guest post by Amrita

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Unposted Letters : to my future daughter on her 18th birthday

Often it happens, what is want to say to someone – remains unsaid. That silence and mum for years builds up in our hearts and minds. Here is a series of “Unposted Letters” which will feature emotions – feelings – thoughts of people who have something to say.

Dear Anya,

If you’re reading this letter,you must have turned 18 today. I really hope I’m alive and around to spend this day with you. 

I hope I’ve been busy enough to fulfil all your needs,yet not too busy to miss any of your important milestones.

I’m sure you must be wondering why I wrote this letter so much in advance!

Well,it’s because I’m about to step into the big bad world next year(I’ll be finishing college soon).This means my views haven’t been carved into the adult mould yet.I’m still a girl and not a woman.The advices I give right now will be quite different from the ones I give when I’m 40 or 50.

So what do I have to tell you? 

Honestly,there’s a never ending list,but I’ve tried my best to limit them to a few points(It’s your birthday after all,I don’t want you to keep reading all day!)And yes,do forgive me if you can’t make sense of the order in which I tell you all this.I’m still quite naïve,remember?

• Study what you want to : I really can’t guess whether you’re studying science/commerce/arts right now. But whatever it is, I hope your decision has nothing to do with pleasing me, your dad or any other relative.Remember, it’s your life, not ours. Fight for it, if you have to.

• Do some soul searching : If you can’t find your passion just yet, then take a gap year. And no, not the gap year in which you end up cramming in some coaching center. I want you to leave everything and do what you feel like. Write, travel, sing or go mountain climbing. When your mind is completely free, I’m sure you’ll find your true calling.

• Don’t try too hard to fit in : If you’re an introvert(like me), then don’t try to change yourself. Being an introvert is not a ‘condition’, it’s a gift. That of course doesn’t mean that you become anti-social. All I’m saying is if you like reading a book on Saturday night instead of partying,then it’s not abnormal.

• Relationships are just a part of life : If you’re already dating or planning to date a guy in the near future,then I need you to know something. Firstly, you can tell me and your dad.We’re ‘cool’,remember?However,don’t make him your number one priority. Relationships are just part of your life. You also have your family, friends and career to care about.

• Stay away from the ‘looks’ game : To me, you’re already the most beautiful girl in the world (and I haven’t even seen you!). However, if you feel that you aren’t fair, tall or pretty enough, then start looking for the other talents that you’ve been gifted with.Maybe you’re a Math Queen, Physics Empress, Poem Diva or Sports Star. Physical beauty is just one of the many other attributes that one can be endowed with. 

As I said,I don’t want to bore you with lots of reading on your birthday.There are few other things I want to tell you,but I guess I’ll save that for another time. 

I hope you had a great time reading this letter.I can’t force you but I hope you follow at least some of them.Now go  running back to the living room.Dad, Aryak, Duke and of course I have a surprise in store for you!

Loads of love,

Mom.

Guest post writer : Srishti Singh. See her blog here.

Unposted Letters : Dearest Mom

Often it happens, what is want to say to someone – remains unsaid. That silence and mum for years builds up in our hearts and minds. Here is a series of “Unposted Letters” which will feature emotions – feelings – thoughts of people who have something to say.

Mom,

When I sat down to write this I thought about writing a thank you , I love you, and will miss you note. While all those are true, and go without saying, I find myself at a loss for words ,which doesn’t happen very often.

I laughed, realizing how appropriate it is, for both of us that clarity is now the dish served cold. On second thought it is presumptuous of me to assume that your clarity is as stone cold. I would be selling you short if I lumped your seemingly endless capacity to take a hit in with my new found acceptance of who I was and why I was so happy.

It’s important that you understand – you make me happy. My thank you is for making me different. For opening my eyes, for making me think, question and imagine. You planted a little seed, so long ago. Sometimes you forgot to water it, sometimes it almost died, in the end, your kindness patience, and nurturing paid off. It took most of a lifetime, yet it finally bloomed.

You had so many dreams. You pictured your life differently. You had no idea you were going to grow the perfect flower. Thank you for making me bloom, for creating something special. We’re so much alike. We’ve both made mistakes that at times crush us with their weight. I forgive you, as you have forgiven me. What’s more important is I’ve forgiven myself; you have to do the same. You need to know that there is at least one person who understands all your dusty little corners. You need to know how beautiful they are when the sunlight hits them. I doubt what I have become would have been possible without your dust bunnies in my flower pot.

Thank you for stumbling and picking yourself up. Thank you for getting a little crazy at times, and for never going completely mad. Thank you for standing by me at the darkest of times, and believing I would pull through. Thank you for hardly ever rolling your eyes when I talk politics or aliens. Thank you for teaching me that Red Winged Blackbirds only nest in bulrushes. You planted a magic bean, instead of a beanstalk, you grew me.

I couldn’t be happier. I’m going to miss you so much. I can’t imagine life without you nearby.

Guest post writer : Notes-to-Ponder

When your hero is not your hero anymore..

In our tender years, we generally look up to the two people we’re most close to – mom and dad. For most people, mom is a synonym to affection, care, nurture etc. While dad is inspiring, motivating and a hero-like figure.

He earns the bread, looks after his family, pays the bills, takes care of every big small need of his kids and never lets them down.

During the pre-teen days, when world is a bed of red roses without thorns, most of us have an inclination to be like our moms or dads. In school paintings we draw our dads as super man and while giving a speech on “who is my hero” we describe our dads.

dad

These rosy days last long for few like me and generally end for many as they hit the teenage clock. With denied permission, checking school bags, inquiring about grades, restricting outings and friends, most dads become Hitlers for their kids.

The other category – they still live in their dreams. The restrictions and permissions feel logical enough. The denial and strict attitude feels necessary. And we still consider our dads as our heroes.

Until finally maturity or harsh reality hits. Then we realize those taunts – he actually means them. When he says he has no faith in you – he meant it. When he told you on your face that you can never do anytime in your life – it wasn’t just meant to shatter your ego. He did mean it. He wanted you to feel the shame of disappointing him. Feel the agony of letting him down amongst his peers.  Feel zero confidence because you’re not worth it. He meant it all.

Maybe you’ll try understanding why he said those things. At times even shrug them aside thinking he really dint mean to say those things. Or even completely laugh about it that he much be having a bad day today.

Until it happens again. And again. And yet again. And everyday.

father

Then you’re forced to think. Really? I am that pathetic? I am totally worthless? And you conclude that you have not achieved anything and you deserve those daily doses.

All those files full of certificates of appreciation, all those friends who boost you, all those unknown people who have faith in you – you ignore them all.

Since you worshiped your dad – he was your hero – every word he says is inked in your mind.

You cry about it every night. Some days those sobs put you to sleep and on other days the same sobs don’t let you sleep.

But it doesn’t stop anything. Nothing changes. With no family – no emotional support you finally start to live in suffocation. Suffocation of your own actions. Actions you were made believe were bad and for which you deserved such a treatment.

And your once beloved dad – stays your hero no more.

dad-father

I hope it’s not true for you.

I hope you don’t live in the constant thought of, when can I run away or death is my only way out.

I hope someone saves you from suicide, someone understands you, someone believes in your convictions and someone stays by your side and says – its okay. You can’t change your parents. You can only learn to live with them.

Month of March : “In Print”

Month of March

Week 1

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Week 2

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Week 3

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Week 4

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Overwhelming joy of seeing my name IN PRINT.

Thank you MONTH OF MARCH.

How smart is our cell phone habit? : my article in GULF TIMES

When decades ago, Nokia was introduced with its catchy tag line “connecting people”, who knew mobile phones would eventually become more than just a necessity? For years after the first mobile phone was introduced, it remained a luxury item, out of reach to most middle-class users. With the advancement in technology, the number of players in the market increased and mobile phones became more affordable, and therefore ubiquitous.

The first phones had just the bare minimum function of dialing or receiving a call. Later, there was a phenomenal growth of SMS or Short Message Service. With these two functions, the requirement of a “mobile telephone” was met. And today, ‘smartphones’ feature many different useful functions like alarm, calendar, portable camera, Internet connectivity, media players, video recorders, and even GPS units.

Lately, the mobile phone industry took a step forward to introduce smartphones. And like every new product in the market, it remained exclusive for the richer class of customer. In the last few years, however, even this trend has completely changed.

More than two dozen companies have now introduced affordable smartphones in the market. So how has this trend affected the recent generation of users?

Read more here :

http://www.gulf-times.com/technology/233/details/347049/how-smart-is-our-cell-phone-habit?

Please “like” , “share” and give your feedback on the article on the link above.. I would appreciate it 🙂

smartphones

Also an extensive list I prepared for this article :

Applications to check out

General (an app for everyone)

Wikiweb — a Wikipedia app that serves up the usual content crowd-sourced from willing bodies around the world and also visualises the connections between articles.

* * *

For young kids (age 5-10)

Eye Paint Animals — discovery tools aimed at energising kids to play, create, invent, explore and learn in enjoyable ways without the limitations of set parameters.

Native Numbers — provides a deeper understanding of number concepts and imperative math vocabulary; builds a strong foundation.

Red in Bed — teaches kids about the colours of the rainbow; each colour gets its own musical note, too.

Bee’s ABCs — singing along to the alphabet song, spelling simple words and learning about pronunciation.

I See Ewe — explore more than 50 shapes, colors, objects and animals; adjustable levels of difficulty, verbal prompts and four different languages included.

Preschool Jobs — learn and explore various professions such as a doctor, astronaut, rock star, police officer and a construction worker, see their work environments and examine the tools that they use each day.

* * *

For middle and high school students (age 11-16)

Tense Builder — teaching the tenses; includes the English words that do not follow the rule, otherwise known as irregular verbs.

MyHomeworkApp — keeps track of homework, projects, tests, and other assignments; set reminders for when things are due, set level of priority and keep track of schedule of classes.

TED Talks — customised quizzes, discussion guides, and other supporting materials to facilitate making a great lesson plan.

Ankidroid — perfect for exam cramming; helps students memorise anything through information flashcards which they can create themselves. Once loaded they can quiz themselves anywhere, anytime.

Wolfram Alpha — uses a vast database and various algorithms to answer to any questions of wide range like physics, chemistry, astronomy, maths, etc.

Khan Academy — over 2,500 free videos on everything from basic maths to venture capitalism

Languages — a fast offline translation dictionary app

* * *

For students appearing for tests (age 13+)

BenchPrep — choose your course (high school, higher education, graduate and professional), choose your device, and study independently or with friends.

SAT Vocab Cards — browse and quiz on 1,000 high-frequency SAT words for free, with 1,000 more available for purchase.

SATLadder — a competition-based question answering structure including over 2,000 SAT questions.

MCAT — features over 2,000 flashcards so you can study on the go.

GRE Word Boost — with 500 essential GRE words in its database, study and quiz anytime.

* * *

For teachers

ClassDojo — teachers can create a free account, add their students’ names and customise the behaviours they want to encourage. During class, positive behaviour is reinforced by dishing out feedback points to students; these feedback points automatically compiles the data into reports, letting teachers monitor progress, trends and share information with parents.

* * *

For parents

Famigo Sandbox — a brilliant and free way of making your Android device safe for your kids. It includes a free app of its own for kids to play as well as listing certified safe apps for parents to browse and choose from. There are no ads or in-app purchases and you get shown games and activities that are platform and child specific.

App Timer Mini (ATM) — simple tool to track user’s time on selected apps; the app timer can be set for all the apps, based on how much time should be spent on each which will be shown on the screen while you are using an app.

* * *

Other fun apps

Auryn Ink — digital watercolour-painting app; feels like real watercolour painting, right down to choosing between wet or dry canvases, and watching the paint dry on the page.

Tapestry — offers short stories from various authors, displayed full-screen rather than in e-book style layout; readers are encouraged to give feedback to the authors too.

Celeste — combines 3D graphics of the heavenly bodies with fun facts about astronomy; aim the device’s camera at the sky and see exactly where each object is located, day or night.

Famous Artists and Their Paintings — learn about more than 100 famous works of art from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, da Vinci and more and test your knowledge with a time-trial quiz.

Britannica Kids — encyclopaedias come alive on a range of topics; info presented alongside videos, games and quizzes.

Robots for iPad — learn about electronics and robotics through videos and interactive examples of more than 100 real life robots like Sony’s Aibo dog.

How it Works: Machines by Geek Kids — get an introduction to engineering and learn how various machines work by taking them apart and reassembling them.

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FEAR : an analysis

It is undeniable that we humans live in constant fear.

However much confident, independent, solitary or loved we are, there exist an ounce of fear within each of us. The fear some share openly, the fear some hide mysteriously, the fear some admit consciously and the fear some know unconsciously..

So what are these fears?

I made a small list of my own here, trying to explore different types of fear found in the deepest corners of our hearts.

1. Fear of losing a loved one

This is the most commonly found fear in humans. Maybe in animals too, but I haven’t thought about that (yet).

Be it a person fearing his/her old ailing parent would die soon. Or a teenager head over heels in love with someone, fearing its just infatuation and won’t last. Fear of losing a loved one stirs up anyone – even if they claim they’re emotionally strong. Losing a child or spouse or parent / grandparent is the most natural fear, and natural because it is defectively installed in us to love our family. The ones who nurture us over the years, the ones who stand by us all along.

fear of losing a loved one

They say break-ups are hard, because even lovers become emotionally attached, falling prey into the fear of losing each other. This type of fear in fact, causes many other issues like being possessive, over protective or addicted.

Fear of losing a friend is also found in many. Some friendships do last long, but some are lost in the sands of time.

2. Fear of being lonely

Man is a social animal, which needs to be occasionally, if not constantly, fed with emotional interactions with others.
The fear of being lonely results in actions like seeking attention from family/peers, be always surrounded by people, or even being a party animal.

All these, and even more circumstances signify that people have a need to interact with others. And devoid of it causes mental imbalance too.

Nobody wants to be lonely. Its i different thing, to be alone for a while – to maybe sort out a problem, or think peacefully. Solitude is essential, but prolonged solitude is harsh on a person.

fear of being alone

Moreover, as there is a saying – with sharing, happiness multiplies and sadness decreases. To be not able to share and celebrate one’s happiness is disheartening, and similarly, not being able to share the burden of a problem or worry also consumes a person from inside.

Hence everyone has a close-knit circle of family and friends, and the idea of losing them is always scary.

3. Fear of failure

Failing to meet expectation, repercussions of not meeting a deadline, losses of a failed project or continuous bad luck/timing – all these are perfect examples of fear of failure.

Giving up a dream because it doesn’t seen feasible, not taking up a task or not taking risks in a project/investment – these also imply that we are scared of failure.

fear of failure

Success matters so much, that we resent on miscalculating and not take an unplanned step. Uncalculated decisions taken without much weighing of matters can cause failure, but it is short-term only. For the long race, it teaches us what not to do which adds on to our experience and wisdom.

Staying on shore won’t fetch you pearls. And staying aboard won’t give you the experience of swimming. So dive in!

4. Fear of being judged

This is fairly common too, in all age groups.

A student might not raise a doubt in class, because he is embarrassed that it might be a foolish doubt and what others might think of him. A high school student hides from his peers that he writes romantic poems, because he fears they’ll laugh at him. A college graduate looks at the mirror before stepping out of his room, because he doesn’t want to be the laughing-stock. A manager doesn’t suggest improvements because he doubts if they’ll be implemented or even considered, and the management might dismiss him saying its a waste of time. A professor throws out a student from his class because of asking an irrelevant question, but actually because he dint know the explanation for it.

fear of being judged

There can be a million instances in everybody’s life, when we act according to others. Because we fear what will others think. How many people have you seen singing in the public openly? Very less right? That’s because they fear they’ll be laughed at, or looked down upon, or be stared at.

We judge others and we are scared of being judged. It’s a vicious cycle which needs to stop.

5. Fear of conscious

A famous person once wrote, I sleep peacefully at night because I have a clear conscience.

If you haven’t borrowed or stolen, why will you fear anyone? Who can harm you, unless you have harmed someone? The inner voice won’t leave you alone if you know you’re guilty.

That is the power of conscience. It’s not in self-control. We can’t shut the constant nagging of our mind reminding us of our sin.

fear of conscience

This fear of conscience, I say, is the best fear. Because it keep a check on us, guarding us from our own deeds and protecting us from decisions we might regret.

If such a fear of karma exists in all of us, this world would be such a peaceful place to live in.

6. Fear of death

The biggest truth of our life is death. Even though death is inevitable, there isn’t a soul who accepts it wholeheartedly. Everyone wants to live just a little longer.

Maybe the old and ailing wish to end their lives, and the ones who commit suicide don’t actually know the worth of this beautiful gift called life, but for the rest of us the fear of death doesn’t go.
Even our cultures and religions don’t preach us particularly to accept death with open arms with a smile on our face.

Indeed, our holy books narrate about the wonderful afterlife, lure us towards the glorious heaven and tell us how angels will take care of us, but these hardly leave an everlasting impression on our minds to fight or curb the fear of death.

fear of death

Maybe I am wrong, but at least I haven’t read anything which tells people to give up the life and be dead instead. The holy books can guide us, how to lead our lives, so that when we die we don’t suffer (in death or life after death). They can even tell us how committing sins will hinder our transfer to the other side of death. But none can teach us how to accept the ultimate destination of death.

Some people don’t travel by airways, some avoid water, some prefer walking than sitting in a machine called car and some just keep bodyguards. All because they love their life and don’t want to die.

To a certain extent, this emotion is justified. We humans make emotional bonds with not just living beings but also non living things. So just the fear of leaving it all behind does stir up some unpleasant feeling.

But how far can we fight death?

7. Fear of future

Got final term exam tomorrow? Or results?
Or a thesis presentation?
Or maybe an appointment with your manager?
Or a meeting with your employees to tell them their allowances are reduced?
Or maybe its your baby’s first day at school?
Or a new collection of clothes releasing tomorrow?

And are you having butterflies in your stomach? Not able to sleep?

Well my friend, then like all of us you are excited and maybe fearing the future.

fear of future

There is one thing to look forward to future – which is a positive aspect. Because you have worked hard for it, and you know nothing went wrong and you did it all absolutely correct. Then you look forward to future, waiting for the fruitful results.

But if you have doubts, you are not confident or you’re confused, you have done something wrong, crossed someone, they you fear your future. Because you worry what hell might break loose tomorrow!

As to how to avoid this, I really don’t know. Maybe with a clean conscience. But then, actors or fashion designers etc they do their hard work, but they fear the critics and audience on day of release. That has got nothing to do with conscience because an unknown factor is judging you and deciding your fate. Conscience has no play then.

8. Phobia

Google can list more than 100 types of phobias found in people.

See here for the complete list.

Some are afraid of the dark, some are afraid of being lonely, and some are scared of crowd. This is a play of hormones in a person’s body, in my opinion.

As far as I know there isn’t a cure of phobia or other types of fears for that matter. And definitely there is a limit to which one can control his or her mind. Lets agree not all of us have a tactful control on our minds and hearts. Then how do we deal with fears?

faith-vs-fear

Faith. Facing the true facts, looking right into the eyes of our fear, and keeping in mind the truth of our living, may help some fight some of these fears. And that is what therapy also does. It makes us believe in ourselves. Believe that we are the sole writers of our fate, destiny, life and death. And come what may, we have the strength to face it.

Live life in each moment with whatever you have around. Maybe lesser people tomorrow, maybe fewer loved ones by your side, but its you my friend who decide the terms and conditions for your life. Tomorrow I may die or I be so embarrassed that I wish to die. But at this moment I live this moment. With no fear. With no fear.

somthing-to-lose