They were like regular kids. Noor was in the early phase of her teenage and Jaan was still some years away from this phase. So quite natural, it was not possible that their big beautiful house could have been saved from the screams and fights of the young brigade. Nazia and Ahmad spent their day in their colleges juggling the college kids and once they return home there always was the task of convincing either Noor or Ahmad to forget the latest fight or the one which just ended. After every hour or two there was the possibility of next one. Poor Noor sometimes tried to spare her little brother and ignore him, but Jaan never left any stone unturned to instigate her sister and get beaten, obviously.
Ahmad never shouted at his kids; Nazia had to be strict with kids sometimes.
“One day, I will leave this world, then at least you would learn to live together and behave “
Kids hated this emotional torture. The moment Nazia would prepare to say “One day…..” and kids would crawl to their respective rooms.
Ahmad was perfect father for his kids, but only thing he would regret all his life that he would not be able to play football with his Jaan, whose eyes were always hoping for a champion’s shot from his father.
Ahmad met with an accident, the year Jaan was born. Accident made one of his legs lifeless. But he never stepped back from his commitments which he made to his wife and his children. In fact he always put extra efforts to keep his beautiful family happy and fulfilled.
Everything in the family was usual and moving smoothly except few disturbances from the kids. But the world outside their house was changing terribly. Some geographical divisions which were created by the late leaders of the nation, those divisions proved to be more worthy than lives of human beings living on the same land. A war had started over the right authority of the land, didn’t matter whether anybody would remain alive to enjoy the prosperity of the land or not!
Tall and handsome Ahmad was the guardian of a very beautiful family, but changing atmosphere would make him tense sometimes. “Shall I be able to protect my family when they will enter our land ….” These visions were getting horrible day by day; the more he listened to the causalities in the nearby village, the more he entered the darker part of his vision.
People who could arrange money were leaving the place and those who could not, either resolved to protect themselves or die.
Ahmad and Nazia also arranged the money to escape the state and move to some safer zone. Children were asked to stay at home and lock their doors until Ahmad and Nazia didn’t return from college. They went to collect some official papers which could help them to fetch new jobs in new place.
Keeping the doors closed kids kept waiting for their parents, but that familiar knock on the door was never heard again.
In a matter of seconds, those innocent kids of Ahmad and Nazia turned orphans. Their parents were said to be died in bombing attack near College. Few items which were recovered from the spot were identified with Noor and in absence of any immediate relatives who could take the charge of kids, those kids became the part of thousands of kids living in the refugee camps along the coastal line. Time flew with its speed………………It is said “Time heals everything”. But some wounds do irreparable damages and even leave deep scars to remind the horrible phase.
Now Noor is used to shifting her so-called home regularly, from the last one and half years. But Jaan has no liking towards this sudden shifting. His mind always travels to those memories from his Haveli where he was the most pampered child of his large family. But now in this large terrain, he has nothing to cherish, neither his Haveli nor that large family. Only thing he could retain after that fateful afternoon is, Noor. And he doesn’t want to let her go out of his sight. So, the 10-year-old Jaan has matured very soon. He has buried all those dreams and tantrums of a 10-year-old kid somewhere in the same Haveli where the remains of his family are buried. Somewhere in his head he has grown to an elder brother who has pledged to protect his sister at any cost.
The 15-year-old Noor and her 10-year-old brother troll around with other kids. Water is a big issue in this area because every time they have to wash their hands they have to go to the nearest hand pump. Devoid of children’s fundamental demands in their childhood, these kids only know to search for their food for at least two times a day and to keep themselves safe. In the barren land, hopes of Noor are still alive that she deserves a much better life and capable of providing the same to her brother. She is learning photography through a volunteer driven organization and she is extremely good at it. Photographs clicked by Noor have also been published at an online website through the guidelines and support provided by the volunteers. Against all the odds, she is hopeful for their future.
And one day against the promise which the brother and sister made to each other, Noor can’t protect herself and fell into the hands of some monsters. She cried like anything, she knows that her kiddo brother would fail to save her but other than Jaan she could not recall anything else in her consciousness.
Jaan has been looking for her sister for an hour. Tears have rolled out of his eyes. Cursing and praying to Lord, suddenly he heard her voice. Jaan is a kid but grown up and responsible kid. He has understood that his little body isn’t enough to protect her sister, so immediately he called upon his neighbors to their mercy. Noor has been rescued but with some injuries. Brother and sister thanked their saviors and silently moved from there.
Black clouds have covered the sky and children are dancing with joy that they will dance in the expected rainfall. It is a big change from their usual boredom.
Along the lake Noor and Jaan are sitting with dried tears upon their cheeks. Perhaps both are travelling in their own world of imaginations. Imaginations which have crossed all the boundaries of God’s restrictions and reaches to Ahmad and Nazia. Ever since Nazia and Ahmad have left the world, travelling in the world of imaginations where the presence of their father and mother is unrestricted, is their favorite escape route to pamper their little hearts and gain the courage to live again.
Jaan comes out of his dreams when droplets of rain fell through his eyes, upon his checks. But Noor was still lost.
After a long hour of silence, Jaan spoke.
“Didi, why this has happened? What had we done? What Maa and Baba had done? “
I don’t know…why?
You have all the answers in this world. Tell me!!!
What shall I tell you? Please go away.
Didi, please tell me something that soothes my heart. I can’t survive with this pain.
(Noor can’t withstand with this sentence.)
“You know Jaan, when you were a little kid, you never paid any attention to me. Never! You used to fight with me like a warrior. Infact, we both were least tolerant of each other. Sometimes Maa turned so furious while handling idiots like us. Probably, this is the reason we are left alone to learn to love each other and take care of each other. Maa and Baba needed rest so they have been taken away by god and granted all the happiness and blessings. Anyway, what do you feel? Its better that they have been taken away by lord, if they could have survived they would die every breathe, watching us in this condition. “
“Hmm…Didi you are right, it’s better that they are not here to watch us running for food. And Baba could not have even run for food, and what would have happened to Maa! They didn’t deserve this forever suffering. This is written for us, but I only pray to God that you remain with me, forever. Now I have learnt to love you and respect you.”
“Please do not separate us, I am not a bad boy”. Jaan is sobbing in front of Noor with his folded hands and closed eyes. She takes her brother in her arms and promises to remain by his side, forever.
I don’t know how longer such brother and sister who promised to be with each other survive in the barren land. But nobody deserves this day when a sister has to justify the death of their parents to her younger brother to protect him and keep his trust alive in God.
This piece of writing just came out of my own imagination, recollecting the reflections of events around the world. I always pray and hope that reflections should never appear again because it is very painful to document. I always wish that this should never be the truth of anyone’s life, but I don’t know how many brothers and sisters are experiencing this horrible phase all over the globe. Because we are living in a world where the value of human breath is much cheaper in comparison to land which is meant to be lived upon.
Life is a treasure of beautiful opportunities and blessings if we really seek to create one. And in the long run, these blessings add to some unforgettable memories in the chapters of our life.
Our World is beautiful and humanity is the greatest contribution, in an effort to save this beauty. I believe, volunteering injected this belief in me, in a far stronger way than I have always tried to apprehend this.
When I decided to volunteer for Lighthouse project (non-profit initiative) , I was sure that this will add to new learnings and experiences in my life. But in actual when I really onboarded the journey, it was more than just an experience.
At the training session of the program, we all volunteers were provided with an envelope containing the details of our mentees. With a sense of responsibility, I joined this program. But, the moment I removed the form from the envelope, bright face of a very young girl in the passport size photo met my eyes. All of a sudden, the value and sensitivity of my commitment banged my head. A feeling that, this innocent face and kind smile needed all my sincere efforts. Later on, I came to know about her background and the background of other students as well. And certainly, moments like this, make me more humble and thankful towards almighty, instead of being a difficult child for him. Living in my own space has never been a big deal for me, this is something that I always took for granted. But this is a privilege to the uncountable population in our country. It is well said that the hardships and struggles of life carve strong character out of a human. The urge to come out of the darkness becomes so strong that it pushes to reach the heights which are a dream to many of us. Well, this was only day-1 but filled me with lots of inspiration and compassion.
One week later came the day 2 – Somewhere; it was in my head that it would be fun since it was an ice breaking session. And seriously, I believe that we (me and my mentee) melted all the gap between us and major contribution goes to the little girl who never let me feel that I was a new member in her world. The sweet and kind smile was an indication of warm reception which made me comfortable to start our conversation. As instructed, we were supposed to know about each other. I briefed her about me and then she started about herself. Well, forget about the hardships of her life, this is the thing which I knew very well before meeting her and evaluating her on the account of her hardships; I don’t think that child needs all these things to identify her. Well, I told her about my profession and asked about her aspirations. Very energetically she declared “Didi, I want to be an archaeologist and a filmmaker”. Seriously, I was not prepared for this reply; we are so much used to the preconceived notion that anything out of the box surprises us; at least for me, it was quite an amazement. And very true to her aspiration, she was fond of history and arts. I really appreciate that a 13-year-old kid was able to neatly distinguish her likes and dislikes.Once done with a formal introduction, special activities were designed by lighthouse team to enforce the trust and warmth between the mentor and mentee pair. And that was real fun and I overjoyed the moment of sharing a very little part of my life with her. Life is long and, in comparison, the time which I am contributing to her is almost nothing. But these few hours were full of real laughter and fun that will remain with me forever.
I am anxiously looking for rest of the journey, and these blissful moments are going to leave some irreplaceable impressions in my life, which will continue to challenge me with its innocence.
God loves equally to everyone?
“Only a Child sees things with perfect clarity because it has not developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.”- Douglas Adams
Live like children! Childhood is the most innocent form of human phase in this life. I wish that innocence remains with us forever. I think this is the only phase when we live our life like “LIFE”. No regrets of past and no worries about future. Whatever is there, that is just in hand which is ‘PRESENT’.
They will laugh like anything almost uncontrollably when happy and cry at the drop of a hat, no matter what others think. Whereas, we are more worried about other’s perception rather than our own emotions. Sometimes we don’t even realize that what tickles them so much that they laugh hysterically. We lose this madness to enjoy the moments, once we start stepping out of our childhood. Whatever we strive to be in our lives; but this innocence should not diminish because the pure happiness of life lies in this innocence and celebration of emotions.
I also feel if we could have learned to have faith and trust upon others like children do. Once they believe us, they will surrender completely; laying their tiny body against us. They remain clinging to us till the last possible way, unaware and not bothered about themselves. Whom so ever they trust, they do completely; giggle like anything when we throw them high up in the air while playing because they believe that nothing going to happen to them. We would again hold them in our hand. This is the trust of the little heart which we forget to bestow upon someone; somewhere in the process of growing up.
Children have the most honest and purest form of perception about anything or anybody. They will list out all positives and negatives regardless of whom they are speaking about. We term this ‘fearlessness’ as their ‘innocence’. We ourselves develop this fear as we gain so called ‘wisdom’. This is the fear of status, society, money, fame and countless of things which eventually develops its root crushing the truthfulness of childhood.
Surviving in the world with childlike innocence is tough, the world around us has to be impeccable enough to understand and honor this trait. But until then, laugh like a child, cry like a child, dance like a child, fight tirelessly like a child and be a free soul like a child.
Every land has its own tale. It has its own aroma and freshness. Bhutan is one such land that has the taste of happiness and peace along with serene calmness of nature. And certainly this is the attraction of this beautiful Country which can’t be left unnoticed. Another attraction is the peculiar culture and tradition of the country that can be felt in almost everything; be it the chanting of the lamas in the monasteries, prayer flags all over the land, traditional clothing of men and women or even the exclusive architecture of the country.
The Journey started with Phuntsholing and marked across Paro, Thimpu, Punakha and Wangadu. And every land has its own distinguish identity; Phuntsholing and Paro are subtle towns reflecting the preserved heritage; be it in terms of culture of the city or the architecture . Whereas, Thimpu being the capital city has the bit of modernity thrown in but still holding the essence of original Bhutanese identity. Punakha holds the peace and serene feeling of a Hill – Station. But no matter where ever the feet move, journey is always accompanied by the beauty of the pink flowers of cherry trees, positive vibes of the prayer flags, recitation of mantras with the rotation of prayer wheel and off courses the beautiful traditional cottages over vast stretches of hilly land. The pleasing beauty gets further amplified with the flow of rivers along the hills.
Tale of Bhutan is untold and inexperienced in absence of Trek to Tiger’s Nest. Dedicated to the devotion and belief of the country to its King Rinpoche, Tiger’s Nest is a Monastery situated at a height of about 3000 ft. above the Paro Valley. Legends are associated with the monastery that King Rinpoche destroyed the devil and negativity and protected the country from evil at this holy place. So, local people always trek to this prominent Himalayan monastery in their traditional clothing Gho (Men) and Kira (Women) in order to pay respect to the sacred land. Although it’s high up in the mountains, but one can never get over with the prayer flags and so its blessings.
Among several memories, the royalty of the kingdom can be experienced at the Palace visit and the amazing Flag down ceremony. It’s always special to feel the patriotic touch; no matter you are in a different country.
Celebration of Tsechu festival with the performance of Cham dance is also something which should be seen in order to make the image of Bhutanese culture memorable . Costumed and masked dances depicting the legendary tale associated with Guru Padmasambhava are definitely to be captured to understand the glory of Bhutanese culture.
There are several places with their own significance either the gigantic Buddha Dordenma in the mountains of Thimpu or Chime Lhakhang at Punakha district known for its founder Lama Kunley “ Divine Madman” and his unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism and outrageous behavior. But the reflection of cultural heritage of the country is quite evident in almost everything. And it is very pleasing to the eyes and good to find that the land is still holding its distinguished identity and grooming it constantly.
Elephanta caves had been introduced in my wish list since the day I gathered a bit of it in my school course books.There had always been an itch to know more about it. Basically, the name itself is more captivating and being a kid the childish imaginations were more adventurous. Years passed but it was still in my imaginations. But when I finally shifted to Mumbai I can’t hold my excitement to visit this heritage.
It was an almost two-hour journey through the deep waters of Arabian sea. But upon reaching the entrance, I was astonished to see the massive structures. The splendid rock-cut architecture of the caves whose creator and origin is still unknown and a subject of mystery definitely deserves all the admiration and attention. Although these are said to be caves but to me, it seemed adobe of lord Shiva. This adobe houses various statues of lord Shiva which depict several significant instances from Indian mythology and Scriptures. Although most of these statues had been damaged several centuries ago but it’s not easy to destroy the admiration of the travelers who still find it more impressive, massive and subjective. Several legends and archaeological facts are linked regarding the originator and as well as the origin of these huge caves, residing sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist sect. Well, it could ever be revealed or not we can’t say but whoever has created it several centuries ago has indeed built a masterpiece.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book” – Ernest Hemingway.
Recently on my birthday, I was gifted with books and it feels special and privileged when people find you worthy of this. I don’t clearly remember when I developed the habit of reading but I seriously enjoy the world of books and find myself blessed that god gifted me with this trait. I personally believe that once we enter into the beautiful world of stories either fiction or non-fiction and get attached to it, then we are living in a different world. It’s the world which author has created and it’s not easy to come out of it until or unless we find the next one in our hand. We feel the happiness and pain in words of the writer. We create those faces in our own imagination and reading seems like travelling with them in their world. It is well said that “A Reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.”
I just wish the magic of books and spirit of reading remain alive in me forever that will always keep the zest for life unbeatable.