Appearance Can Be Deceptive


Originally posted on Candles Online:

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Earthworms – Ketchuain (Hindi), Vaanapaamulu (Telugu), we used to call them. Have seen a lot of them during my childhood and their sticky, slippery, slender structure sent jitters and made me go Ewwww 😖. I have a few memories too associated with them.  My mother used to compare noodles (not the instant ones) to earthworms, especially when we used to demand during the rainy season. Creepy isn’t it? And when we kids used to spot them in parks we used to huddle around them just to ascertain the direction they were moving – coming or going 🤣🤣. Their bodies are such.

That was some nostalgia. Nostalgia because now it seems as ages have passed when I last saw them.  Not enough time for me to spend outside as well as no more open spaces available for them to thrive (at least in my knowledge). Connect the dots please 😁. So when the weekly topic was tossed I thought why not remember “Earthworms” in this week dedicated to “Creepy,Crawley creatures”.

Some Wikipedia Information as to what are Earthworms:

An earthworm is a tube-shaped, segmented wormfound in the phylum Annelida. They have a world-wide distribution and are commonly found living in soil, feeding on live and dead organic matter. An earthworm’s digestive system runs through the length of its body. It conducts respiration through its skin. It has a double transport system composed of coelomic fluid that moves within the fluid-filled coelom and a simple, closed blood circulatory system. It has a central and a peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of two ganglia above the mouth, one on either side, connected to a nerve cord running back along its length to motor neurons and sensory cells in each segment. Large numbers of chemoreceptors are concentrated near its mouth. Circumferential and longitudinal muscles on the periphery of each segment enable the worm to move. Similar sets of muscles line the gut, and their actions move the digesting food toward the worm’s anus.[1]

Earthworms are hermaphrodites: each individual carries both male and female sex organs. As invertebrates, they lack either an internal skeleton or exoskeleton, but maintain their structure with fluid-filled coelom chambers that function as a hydrostatic skeleton.”

(Source: Google.Inc)

That was some basic information, anatomy you can say.  Now coming to the point that out of innumerable tiny little creatures what made me choose this literally two-dimensional reptile – my choice was simple considering the amount of good they do for the ecosystem, in short for us.

  • Earthworms help improve the drainage system of soil. When they burrow deep into the soil, they aerate the soil thus helping it to retain more water and hence enriching it.
  • Earthworms eat the dried up leaves, dead roots and break down the organic matter leaving behind the casts that work as natural fertilizers for the soil.   They are rich in minerals like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium. They are farm friendly, to say the least.
  • Their digestive juices and even dead bodies are a rich compost for the soil.

That was a bird’s eye view of what enormous amount of good these tiny creatures do. And I hope there’s no need to explain how soil is related to plants and farm and how they, in turn, are related to the balance of the ecosystem.  Basic science folks that we all have learned in school 😁😁.

What Earthworms have taught me? Looks are not at all in relation to the good qualities and character embedded inside – this was basic and cliched but a truth nevertheless.  Well, that reminds me of one particular incident where I misjudged and feared a person, though just for a few seconds but I am guilty, no shame in accepting that. As I have already mentioned so many times in the past that my son is autistic and meltdowns are our daily visitors. I was out with him along with my daughter in a crowded area. And BAAM, meltdown knocked my son and he was lying down on road throwing his legs and hands here and there, not letting me get a hold of him and was very aggressive.  People were watching me, crossing by me, few stopped to inquire as well but no one lent a helping hand. And I was perplexed and perspiring. A homeless man, with his rugged dirty clothes, a beer can in hand, unkempt hair and nails, all sorts of tacky accessories all over him, swaying to the music walked up to me. I was apprehensive now “Why he is walking towards me?“. I just held my daughter, stood close to my son trying to relax at that moment. But it didn’t take me long to realize that he only meant to help me. He spoke to my son, caressed his hair, his presence calmed down the little one and he stood up and agreed to walk with me again.  I thanked him and left but this incident never left my mind. Appearances can be deceptive, period!

Parallels to be drawn: I always found earthworms repulsive for the way they looked – sticky and creepy, but that’s just the way they LOOK, meanwhile doing so much good for others in their short lifespan. In the same way, I  feared that man solely based on the way he LOOKED but he did come forward to help me. The flaw lies within me, simple.

For me, it’s more clear now – Appearance Can Be Deceptive. Think beyond that. And in the meantime let the earthworms grow 😊.

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Life Is Too Precious To Risk It For Few Bucks


Apart from Good morning messages with very inspirational quotes WhatsApp groups serve a lot of purpose than what meets eye.  In one such conversation with my childhood friends on WhatsApp a friend shared this picture (actually this marked the beginning of our conversation, an important one)

IMG-20190526-WA0001

This conversation followed a fire incident that broke in a coaching centre in Surat (Gujarat, India) claiming lives of 21 students.  Many students died while jumping from a two storey building to escape fire.  That was heartbreaking.  It was the scare of fire that killed more than the fire itself.  Lack of basic conformities and awareness as to how one should act in such tragic situations caused more damage. And that’s when I have decided that this is something which needs my, in fact everyone’s attention as to Why, Who is responsible and How to do our bit to avoid or at least minimise the losses incurred.

Here’s a list of recent fatal fire accidents claiming lives of many and leaving charred memories for many more (all accidents happened in 2017):

  • Kamala Mills – Mumbai – 14 lives claimed
  • Plastic Factory – Ludhiana – 13 people (including 3 firemen) killed
  • Snack Shop in Saki Naka – Mumbai – 21 lives crammed and charred together
  • Rohini hospital – Telangana – 2 lives claimed 
  • Scrap market – Kota – 2 killed and 15 severely injured 
  • Cracker Shop – Rourkela – 1 killed and three injured
  • Illegal cracker unit – Jharkhand – 6 killed and 11 injured 

Special mention:

10worst-fire-accidents9.1-1-e1518757079681.png

Source: Google 

And then there are incidents exclusively where the property loss is humungous.  This is a pity picture which requires lot of introspection – Who is responsible for this after all?

Electricity short circuit is the most prominent reason behind a majority of fire accidents. Cylinders or explosives going off comes next in line followed by other miscellaneous reasons that normally don’t find any mention in the list of reasons.  But does it absolve the “human hand” completely of its responsibility? The reason that were mentioned above are the ones that are apparent but the responsibility completely rests with people.

Non compliance with the fire security rules, illegal constructions – squeezing and cramming of buildings in small spaces, No upgradation / maintenance of fire fighting systems with time to keep them in working condition, No proper fire drills to the staff in offices.  Basically many “NO“s.

And the reason behind every “NO” that I have mentioned above is Greed and carelessness. People want to save every possible penny they could even if it means putting their and others’ lives at risk.  Complying to rules, training, purchase of requisite material everything involves cost and it’s something that’s loathed.  The greed to make quick and more money is the mother of illegal constructions, sky rocketing match boxes (read apartments) where safety measures barely or rarely exist. And the basic attitude of “Jab hoga toh dekh lenge” (we will see when it happens) is something that must be done away with. “If caught for non compliance we will pay something and buy our freedom” something that lingers on mind (read habit) but not for once people plan future (in reference to fire accidents) with an apprehensive approach that we need to be careful and prepared for the worse.  And this approach is not just of the people coming from lower strata of the society with no awareness. But people with many sources of awareness at their disposal wait for the worse to happen before they realise and awaken. And after things are out of hands people search for scapegoats, oblivious or simply blind to the fact that one can’tclaim rights without carrying out duties.

Even with all the possible measures taken unimaginable can happen, no denying to that.  But we lack the basic awareness to plan escape in such situations (the first photo proves the same).  Probably because not much attention given to this subject.  Parents and schools are constantly busy in ensuring that their children score highest possible grades and they don’t miss extra curricular activities too but subjects concerning their safety and security, be it self defence or otherwise  (escape plans in case of accidents like that of fire) are of trivial to no importance for them.  Hence no place in the curriculum, not even a chapter, workshops are a distant dream.  Companies/ industries are busy improving their profit margin every quarter whereas both employee appraisals (😁) and safety are not in compliance to their policies.  Can you tell me when was the last time you had a fire drill in your office?

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A photo doing rounds on Facebook. This is what I was talking about – carelessness and in a bid to save few bucks people are risking their lives.

These things seem inconsequential or immaterial but should definitely be a part of learning at different stages. If we are paying for fire insurance for our properties then some heed must be paid towards the safety of our lives too, isn’t it?  Talk about the safety measures to near and dear ones including children, use social platform to spread a word, check if builders are completely complying to fire security regulations before moving in, yourself adhere strictly to all the regulations for safety,  electricity conformity is a must for every housing unit.  These are few things in a bird’s eye view.

Remember: Your Life Isn’t A Business To Risk It.  Read, Talk and Spread the word for Awarenss is the only key.

GIRL WITH HALF FILLED COFFEE MUG


Listen to your heart

I dream my painting and then I paint my dream

The above quote sounds beautiful when said. It definitely has a depth to it.

We all are born dreamers with lots of ambitions, goals, which change as we grow; some by situations, requirements, resources, and some we just give up; some we achieve and some we just cant afford and lose grip on them.

What is the foundation of a dream or can I say goal in life? What drives that instinct in someone’s life that makes one to work hard or the thought of that brings smile and positiveness or it can be vice versa that on not achieving so-called goal can break one. Is it a motivation? An inspiration? Purely the need to be in a safe place because of struggles in the past? Or simply the passion?

I grab my coffee mug, sit near window, watching out…

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A SPRING IN HER STEP SPEAKS OODLES


Blesses to have you Rajnandini and Candles on my side. Overwhelmed to know that I am actually heard to😊😊

Candles Online

An adroit writer, an ace homemaker and a doting mother gifted with nimble fingers for expressing the brimming creativity within her – be it by way of painting or craft skills, a brilliant smile and sanguine temperament that promises to add buoyancy to a weary day – this is KALPANA VOGETI, the writer I’ve virtually met in the blogging platform of Candles Online.

What I most admire about Kalpana is the way she brings out the best in her in even the most trying circumstances. Though I don’t know a great deal about her, from the little I know, I can vouch for her abilities to tide through testing times.

As a writer, she is versatile, vocal, meaty and inspiring. There is a gentleness in her articles that surfaces to me as a reader.

COME WALK IN MY SHOES FOR ONCE! This post of hers rates high on my…

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YOUNGER TO ME YET WISER THAN ME


Candles Online

Candles Family have a special place in my life.  There are things that I can share with family members of “this” family rather than my “that” family.  I mean it with all the integrity I have 😊.  And among my lovely family members, I found a cheerful friend who is playful in his words, teased by us a lot 😁, an active participant of all the discussions and a person whose wisdom is reflected in what he writes – meet my friend Avinash.

Why I like him? Because he thinks I am a star writer and never ceases to drop in a comment on my posts 😂😂. Well, that was a lot of boasting, kidding and a selfish reason by every means of it. But this isn’t the reason, trust me. As a reader I found his write-ups to be very soothing, providing guidance amidst darkness for he clings, perhaps…

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The Courage To Say No – Hans Brothers


Coincidentally this topic is same with which I began my blogging 😊

Hans Brothers

Achieving your greatest life is not all about what you have to do, often it is about what you must say NO to

The courage to say no… The discipline to say no… The wisdom to say no…
 The strength to say no…

Take a good look at any successful person… any truly fulfilled person… They all have this quality. The courage to say NO when they must say no.

The courage to say no… The discipline to say no… The wisdom to say no… The strength to say no…

Take a good look at any successful person… any truly fulfilled person… They all have this quality. The courage to say NO when they must say no.

The strength to say no when I need to,
 The courage and discipline to stick to the path that leads to my greatest self.

Even when it is uncomfortable. Even when it means…

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LISTENING – PIVOTAL FOR MENTAL HEALTH


Few days back I got a call from my friend. She sounded very sad and broken. Her tone was that of melancholy. When I enquired her “what’s the matter?” She broke as she discussed about her friends being mean to her and there’s lot more that I surely can’t reveal here. She confided to me as she trusted me as a strong shoulder to lean on when she felt feeble. For me (personally) the matters that she discussed seemed to be something that don’t need so much of her introspection or something that couldn’t or shouldn’t affect a person to the extent of breaking them down. But again I want to reiterate that this is my opinion and we are two different individuals. Hence, a matter which is of no to little importance to me is an issue that is demanding and holding her attention strongly.

This is just one excerpt from my life. Different individuals, different perceptions, different view points and different everything.  And this “difference” plays a crucial role in determining “Mental Health” of a person.

What is Mental Health? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.”

Mental Health is a very complex issue and very vaguely discussed or altogether omitted from discussion. Apparently the association of word “Mental” with “Health” got huge misconceptions (sadly 😔).  And hence it is something not spoken about often. If a calm, stable, content mind represents a good state of mental health then an impulsive, gloomy, often moody, pessimistic state of mind is a sign that it needs treatment. But again not much attention is heeded towards the warning bells, often brushed under the carpet with words like “Everything will be fine in a while“, ” it’s his/her habit, leave alone“, “ I am busy enough, don’t bother me“. And this paves way to chronic issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, acute stress, different addictions and so on.

What’s the problem and the solution? Ironically the problem and the solution is same in this context of mental health issues. It is Listening. Let me clarify with a petty imaginary, futuristic and hypothetical example – My daughter comes to me and starts narrating about her day at school. She tells me about a student who hits her, teases her everyday. But as I am busy with my daily chores show no particular interest in her words and laugh it off calling it play and this upsets my daughter. And over a period of time as she continuously takes a notice of disinterest from my end stops opening up herself to me. And the tension of suppressed emotions pile up in her that could possibly deteriorate her mental health and drive towards depression as she have no one to confide to. So all the way I was only “Hearing” but not “Listening”. The issue which seemed to be inconsequential or immaterial to me holds priority in her life. So without being judgemental as every individual got a different emotional quotient and perspective I should have listened to her. And only when I listen to her with all the intent, I can guide her better. So the problem which arises out of “not listening” finds a solution when one finds a “listening ear with all the heart in place“. In fact, listening is a counsellor’s first step in his or her algorithm of treatment, isn’t it? Just as a doctor needs to listen to the symptoms before prescribing a medicine, an engineer needs to listen to the needs of the client before designing something, a counsellor listens to the turmoil a person with mental disturbances undergoes before suggesting a way out. And in turn the person in question also needs to listen. It’s a two way traffic.

“Mental illness is not a personal failure. In fact, if there is failure, it is to be found in the way we have responded to people with mental and brain disorders,” said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO, on releasing the World Health Report.  

When we teach “sharing is caring”  to our kids we should mean it. It’s not just about the material or tangible things. It exceeds that. We should strive constantly to set up a two way communication process (charity begins at home) where in we don’t shy away from bearing our hearts to our near and dear ones (at least one person) as well let others reach us out . Our emotions need an outlet – be it apprehensions, our views, likes – dislikes, experiences – everything.  Sharing via speaking up and listening is what galvanises many things at one go – a person, relationships, a home and society.  When I know there’s someone to listen without judging me I won’t let the frustration pent up inside me. That could go a long way in sanitising me against mental illnesses, period!

Remember:  you want to share something,  I am listening to you 😊.

DD Era Was The Most Peaceful One


Th31-Doordarshan-1.jpeg

How I wish I could have finished writing this piece way before than the elections entering the last phase.  But better late than never you see 😊.  Well to begin with one of the highlighted line doing rounds these days in my homeland “Tanav bahut hai kyunki desh mein chunav hai“.  It means “There’s lot of tension because we have elections in the country”.  And this is not just a random sarcastic line but a mirror to the current atmosphere of the country.  The biggest festival of the biggest democratic country is about to end in just two days – Elections are about to come to an end on 19/05/2019 and results will be out on 23/05/2019 sealing fates of many, in fact everyone – the representatives, the voters & the nation.  And I know how badly I missed my opportunity to cast a vote 😔. 

I can say by far the most polarised elections we are experiencing are these.  With two major national political parties pitted (is it the right word?) against each other and regional parties playing the sidekicks the situation is you can be in either of the court. Having a moderate view is a rare sight in this particular election season of 2019.  Every citizen is trying to present the candidate they favour in a good light while exposing the true face of the opposition (based on facts, figures that they believe in) and defending the case of their favourite leaders is a self employment that they have taken up.  A full-fledged war of memes, trolls, abuses, lengthy arguments has blown out.  And I confess unapologetically that me too is a part of those discussions for I have my own reservations (I religiously follow courtesy of language though😁).  More I watch, more I read, more skewed my inclinations are becoming and more I am participating in arguments which is highly unlike me.

As I was wondering how can I be so involved in political discussions:

Since the introduction of social media people are having more avenues to information to aid the build up of their views and hence paving a way to decision-making. And there’s a plethora of channels, pages, sites feeding the demand ( in fact creating the same) of having information. And the sad part is that most (not all) of them are biased serving varied interests of their investors and misguiding the voter being one such interest.  And ironically the “Original” Media which is referred as the Fourth Pillar Of Democracy is too involved in the game of taking sides to create news (read sensation) for their respective agendas of TRPs and readership, create divide, suppressing the truth which means either misquoting/ misrepresentation of the situation or a complete omission altogether.  Yes, it is the truth of the hour.  Morality and integrity of journalism has taken a nose dive.  The picture that is being painted of the country at this moment is that it is burning, everyone is everyone’s enemy, nothing is right, nothing is bright, we are being robbed and are heading towards a dead-end, period! 

I understand that like every country our country has its own set of problems. For a nation as big as ours with its social fabric interwoven with rich ethnicities, varied languages, different religions, altercations among citizens here and there is pretty common and many a times unavoidable.  Many communal riots on our soil speak for themselves.  But the beauty is that we were always back with more strength. We are not called Secular without a reason.

Unfortunately the type of journalism that is happening today is giving an impression to the rest of the world that India is all about communal tensions. Omission of facts from past, repetition of recitals of selected few unfortunate incidents, branding of victims and culprits as per convenience or complete silence on matters that don’t fetch business is particularly what the media is into.  Here only the numbers and competition matters.  To cut it short – Media today is biased. The 24×7 nature of news channels is only doing harm by prompting to generate news instead of reporting the same.

I have to sadly admit to the fact that our politicians (most of them) irrespective of the party they belong to are scrupulous.  Dividing people based on caste and religious lines and doing politics of appeasement is something we are witnessing since a long time. But now they have media too joining the party in its own way leading to the same destination.

I was just pondering over one thought.  What if I was growing up in this age of social media and N number of television  channels fighting for the cake of TRP?  Wouldn’t I have succumbed to what I was shown day in and day out  mentally? Would I have enjoyed the beautiful amalgamation of cultures in my growing up years as I did as a person who was born during the DD (Doordarshan – the national television channel supported by government) Era. It was all straight forward news with no drama and hype. People were informed back then as well even in the absence of heated debates where no one listens to no one and reaching on no conclusion staged only to fill in a slot.  So many elections passed but never saw people fighting  to defend the candidates they support (to be precise abusing others). I wonder how secular I would have been if I was not a DD era person 😁😁.  It was the most peaceful era I guess 😂😂. 

Disclaimer:  To all my friends and family members with whom I had a discussion or disagreement on candidates and politics, I want to politely remind that I am the same old person as they always knew me.  These elections shouldn’t and won’t change our equation and relations. For elections are five yearly but bonds are forever ❤❤.

 

 

DOWN YET NOT OUT


Candles Online

Struck by the Storm and a log in my eye,

I am blinded and oblivious to the world around.

My eyes are shut closely with darkness surrounding by leaps and bounds.

I am confined to a corner petrified by fear,

I fear movement lest I would stumble down.

But the Storm did die leaving behind a dreadful silence.

Screaming at me a voice from within “Till how long?”,

“Till how long you will hide from life when you don’t know when the death would arrive?”

I was stubborn enough to not to answer,

But soon sun rays did knock my eyelids urging me to listen and care enough to answer and I had to.

I was struggling to open my eyes to let the light drive away the darkness of ignorance.

Log was gone but pain still reckoning, tears still rolling down leaving behind a burning trail.

But the struggle…

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NEVER BEEN IN THIS MUCH LOVE WITH ANYONE


Candles Online

Important Disclaimer: This is original work (not a copy, Geet I am sorry but we have some common interests 😉)

There are two places in my home where you will generally find me – Kitchen and Bedroom, depending on what day of the week and time of the day it is.  From Tuesday to Sunday I am predominantly in or around the kitchen.  Chores in the kitchen are of the visicious circle in nature especially when kids and hubby are around. I think I need not go into details of how and why. Ladies will get that easily and for gentlemen, ladies please do me a favour and explain this to your counterparts 😁. My relationship with my kitchen is ambiguous for I love to be there when a new dish or desserts are on my mind and I want the resulting dish to be savoured and relished with utmost…

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