Greatness is Contagious

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As you walk on

Into the 22 yards

Listening to the rhythm

Of the 40 thousand beating hearts

As you jump in your stride

When you take your mark

As you look into the crowd

Searching for your heart

Remember this day

For the nation would remember too

They will celebrate your victories

And at your loss they’ll cry with you

You are the battle weary soldier

Looking for pride in that crowd

You should know our hearts maybe weary

But our heads will be unbowed

Today we stand for the love

Of an Englishman’s game

And as a storm slowly brews in the south end

You know you will play as foes but remain best of friends

It matters not what you do today

For the nation you will remain great

And if you don’t end up glorious

You should know that Greatness is Contagious…

A Suitable Girl

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For when you think I’m too old
To love and to have and to hold
Your Dorian laughs in his frame
As cracks appear across his face

For when you tell me I should cook
And not be reading so many books
Your kitchen sink mocks you
When everyday your dinner gets brutally bruised

For when you chide me for being too loud
And ask me to hold my tongue in a crowd
You know not how your friends oblige
By laughing when you really make them cry

For when you wonder if I’d be a good trophy
Me, with my innate lack of propriety
Your workplace thanks heavens
When you step away from matters of importance

For when you check if I’m “suitable”
If I’m a good enough “marriage material”
Alas! You are not able to see
You are not good enough for me!

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The day she cried…

She cried
For souls lost
Love forlorn
And tombs in gold were cast

Like flickers of a lamp
The tiny hearts they beat
Fading slowly I wonder
Is their pain the same as the one she feels

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When did innocence die
Was it the cold November day
Or has it been dying
Since He left us to wander astray

She cried
Wondering where the brother went
Sighing about how without a fight
One loses a best friend

How do we walk on
Paths laid out by those who rest
How do we smile
Across shrouds of souls thus blessed?

This little angel
In my minds unnerved eye
She cries today
As the processions pass her by

How many more sons
How many brothers
Must walk this cursed path
She wonders

And then in a breathy sigh
She walks back through the rusted doors
Wondering does he play here still?
Are those his footsteps on the floor??

Eat. Pray. Love.

This is not a review, but just an observation. I was watching Eat Pray Love (which is a great watch until you realize Indians NEVER take an year off). But what I noticed most obviously as Indians always do, is how the west perceives us. And the movie and the book is perhaps the best representation of the country’s spirit I have seen or read in the recent times. For a person from the west, and I intend no racism here, it must seem like this land of loud noises and chaos. I remember someone being told by a German, how they just do not honk in their country.  I suppose even the exchange students from Europe must find us unimaginably loud!
Having never really traveled abroad, I have nothing really to compare my country with. But this I find to be true. We are in our own world so chaotic that we manage to find some lame sense of joy in our chaos. We laugh at a lot sillier things than most people foreign to this country do, and for the most part we just laugh because inherently we all seek joy and never really lose track of what we are seeking. 
I look at the lack of political stability or the rising prices and the frustration of the people and wonder when a class struggle would break out in our world but the truth is it won’t. Even the poor and the desperately hungry smile in India, and I wonder why is it that they do so with nothing in their hands, no agenda for the day, no dreams, except to just last the night. 
We might not take year long trips to a guru or a medicine man in Bali, but we find our true selves in a different way. We all have our moments of silence even at the edge of chaos. We find peace in crowded trains of Mumbai, and are just as loud in our spirituality. As I write this, the temple in my campus tolls its bells to remind us of some sense of conscience, the mosque not too far away reminds people to finish their five prayers of the day and somewhere on a Sunday church, the priest says the same things in three different languages for people to understand.Understand what I wonder?
God is important to us; even the atheists in India believe in the lack of him and thus, religiously, avoid temples and churches. We are called secular for a reason, a majority of us believe in the existence of different paths to god, we just sometimes think the path we take is more important than someone else’s. 
 We are proud because sometimes we welcome ruin. “Ruin is good” says Elizabeth Gilbert in the book. It helps you transform and that’s what we have done, for centuries even before the west found us. We transformed and each of us takes deep pride in the history they are a part of. We don’t need an year round trip, we eat, we pray, we love, all in the same country.

What’s Justice?

I live in the images of death
in the lives of wrath
and in the depth of despair
in the sorrow of this red sand

I am silent
I do not scream
and yet I haunt your days
and your darkest dreams

I lived in innocence
and died in negligence
I laughed at joy
and cried in agony

What justice you serve
what fruitless spite
what end you hand over
to this endless fight

I have sighed my last
laughed over my past
and yet you live
your guiltless heart

What justice you give me
What dress for this wound
What life for the lifeless
What justice for my tomb?

Three Cups of Tea

The idea that appealed  most to me when I saw this book was the subtitle : “One man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time” Here comes a story I have never heard of before. In fact had somebody narrated it to me I wouldn’t even believe it. It breaks past stereotypes of all kinds and makes you realize that if you want to help anyone at any part of the world all it takes is one good heart!
Greg Mortenson is ahead of his time always. He is a new picture of America, a picture I’d like to keep. One of humanity and kindness. And one of humility.

This story is far away from the images we have of Pakistan: The “madrassas”, where maulvis “train” children to become terrorists and how every village has a Kasab born in them.

We, Indians, are generally very shallow. We take everything exactly the way it is served and forget that there exists a world where such battles exist, where a walk to school could maim you or even kill you. Greg Mortenson goes to such a world and comes back victorious. He talks of a tangible permanent solution which we could use against all forms of terrorism (and god knows we have fought our demons too many times!) He answers the question everyone is now asking regarding the Maoist “situation” in our country. He answers it with one word : education.

A part of a team of mountaineers, scaling the difficult terrain of K2, Greg was lost and spent a terrible time surviving the grueling cold mountains of Karakoram till he was found and taken care of by Haji Ali a local village chieftain. There is a sweet moment in the book when Haji Ali shows him the local school, or the place they call a school. The village has no teacher who’d come this far everyday so on the days without a teacher, the little boys and girls sit in an open ground writing on the sand with sticks. Haji Ali says, the one thing I wish for is a school for this village and Greg overcome by the desperation of the kids to learn puts his hand on Haji Ali’s shoulder and says “I’ll build you a school”.

What starts with one school goes on to become a revolution. The one thing the author writes about is that the moment you meet Greg Mortenson you start thinking “What should I do? How could I help?” and this emotion is not just on the meeting. I found myself going through the Three Cups of Tea website and clicking on the How To Help section, the moment I finished the book. The story is simple enough. The man had no money, no job and just had a simple dream to build a school for a bunch of Pakistani kids he had only met once.
The best part of the story would probably be Mortenson’s humility. He’s bad with compliments the author says, he just blushes and mumbles I just got lucky. And he did, the story has a lot of other heroes as well. But for Mortenson’s desire and relentless will, these people would have never known how exactly to help.

For the first time I saw the Kargil War from the other side and actually went ahead to apologize to my counterparts across the borders. We all really do have the same problems : corrupt governments, uncontrollable armies and social issues. I wish Mortenson would realize that none of the Indians knew about the injustice done in Pakistan during the war.

The book is a must read for inspiration, kindness and most of all for humanness. I think we are innately human and want to help, we just have to believe in our convictions and take that first step and make the resolve. With you all the way Dr. Greg 🙂

P.S: The next book has been published and talks about the next piece in the struggle and is called “Stones into Schools”. Mortenson has now moved on to Afghanistan with the resolve of building schools for the war ravaged country.