April 19, 2015

My Life's Greatest Lessons-Part 1 (THE SOLITUDE'S PARADISE)

As I sit today, writing about the journey of my life over the past year, I feel a sense of completeness building inside me. I feel that I have been away from my inner self for quite some time now and so, now, I am trying to reconnect with all over again.

If I look back to my life till now, I have had my share of failures and success. I have had both. I have had moments of extreme happiness and moments of absolute gloom. But, that's pretty much part of everyone's life. Right? So, here's a thought. When every human being faces the same set of challenges, served in different ways obviously, why is that some of us come out of it emerging as leaders, innovators, people who change the world, while the rest of us end up being someone less than what they can be. Who is stopping them from becoming what they can actually be? And, what is that one thing that sets the two kinds of people apart from each other?

Over the course of next few writings, I will tell you about some of my own life experiences that have shaped me who I am today. And, who I wanna be over the next few years.So, let's get started.

A man who learns from others' experiences is indeed wise. 

Since the time I came back to Pune, I have had my share of moments when I felt absolutely disappointed with my life. True that I have a wonderful job, a good place to be in, a perfect family and all the other ingredients of a perfect life. But, I felt that something was missing in my life. In my life before coming to Pune, I had given in to the issues which were not only petty but also unproductive. I had started to consume alcohol more than once in a while and have started to date a few people. But, in the process, I had started to disintegrate myself from the person who I really was. A person who I cultivated over the years with so much hard work and will power. But, as they say, no  thing happens in your life without a reason. All you need is to have the right perspective and the will to see that reason.

There are nothing such as bad experiences, lessons is what they are.

Now, coming back to Pune, I realised that I have less number of friends in this city. Being a guy as social as I am, it was never difficult for me to make new friends. But, somehow, I was finding it difficult to do one thing that I was actually good at. The initial days were so tough that sometimes I could barely wake up from my bed. I felt that my life has lost its purpose. That, it has lost all of its meaning. I wanted to make some changes in my life and, as they say, the one who wants to see will see even through darkness. 

One day while surfing on one of the website, I saw this book titled "THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI" and I remember one of my dear friend telling me the profound impact it had on his life. I immediately ordered the book and I started reading it. I couldn't believe the profound impact it had on me right from the first word. At the end of the book, I realized one very important thing that has been missing from my life and that is, the power of silence. I remembered the time when I could just sit in my room with absolute silence for hours contemplating on all the good things that I have in my life. Now, all of that seems missing in my life. So, I decided to act.

Over the next few weeks, I would wake up early, and go into the room, which I call, "The Solitude's Paradise", leaving the whole world outside and I would just sit there. The first few days were difficult. I could see my mind wander to the things that I had done in the past, the things that I'd do in the future and all other unproductive thoughts. Then, slowly but steadily, I started to hear silence. I started to see what the world actually wanted me to see. I started to feel all the wrong that was there in my life and slowly I started to remove all the dust that was hampering my growth. Today, it's been three weeks since I started that practice of Solitude's Paradise and it has done wonders to my life. I feel calm, peaceful, loving and more focused. And, I have started to do things that I love doing most, writing being one of those, maybe the best of those.

In the end, I would just like to tell all of you who are reading this that if you feel you are stuck somewhere in your life, that you feel you're frustrated with your life or that you are confused between things, stop whatever you are doing right now, go and find your "Solitude's Paradise". Keep your mobile phones away from you, don't keep the track of time you are spending in there, make yourself invisible from the world for sometime. There, my friend, you will find all your life's answers. For, every answer that you search for is right there. Inside you. Inside your "Solitude's Paradise".

Special thanks to my friend Vishal, for indirectly being a part of this experience. 

April 9, 2014

A FINAL GOODBYE- A LOVE STORY.



“She must be somewhere here”, Pranav thought.

“I need to find her. I need to see her for one last time before she goes back to Mumbai. “


Today is the day when the love of Pranav’s life is going back to Mumbai after her semesters break is over. And she isn’t coming back for another 6 months.


“Priya, where are you?” he called her.

“I am standing right here Pranav. Why don’t you come? I want to see you. Please come na.”


Pranav wondered in irritated amazement and thought where the hell she is. He has visited the Delhi Railway station quite often and he could not understand why he is not able to see her even when the station is at its quietest possible. 


(It is 4 A.M in the morning and Pranav, after travelling the length and breadth of the platform a record 4 times in 4 minutes, seemed to lose his cool when the phone rang)


“Where are you Pranav? Tell me if you do not want to meet me? I will not say anything and just go.”


In the span of this conversation, Pranav recalled the hard ordeal he had to go through to come visit her at the station. He had to make a pillow arrangement on his bed so that he seemed asleep to his mother who was sleeping right next to him. Also, he had to push his scooter a fair distance to make sure that nobody came to know that he is gone at 3:50 in the morning. Also, he drove at almost 100 km/hr to reach the station just in time. 


He wanted to tell all of this to Priya, but he managed to say something totally different.


“Baby, of course I want to meet you. I am sorry. Now, please tell me exactly where you are? And on which platform?”


“I am standing right at the footsteps of the bridge that separates the 2 platforms. How many times do I need to tell you the same thing? I think you are not even on the station and you do not want to meet me either.”


(There is a very interesting fact about love. It has no place for reasoning. When you are in love, you cannot apply logic to most of the things. And when you are in a situation when you just have 5 minutes before a final goodbye, logic is hard to come.)


The situation was going out of control. Pranav was standing right at the footsteps of the bridge where Priya was supposed to be present too. 


“I am standing right where you told me you are but I can’t see you. I have been running on the platform for the last 5 minutes and I see no sign of you. “


“Pranav, please go back. I think we are not destined to meet for one last time.”


In the course of this conversation, Pranav suddenly found himself moving upwards on the stairs and in no time he was at the top of the bridge from where he could see the whole station.


“I see you Pranav.” Priya shouted.


Suddenly her voice seemed new and fresh. All of a sudden she seemed alive.


“I told you that I am right at the footsteps. Why don’t you listen to me? Now come down from the stairs please. “


Now, Pranav started to come down from the stairs, as told, but still there was no sign of her. He was getting impatient.


“I still can’t find you”, he said.


“Come back to the bridge again.” she said.


“Ok.”


“I can see you again.”


Suddenly something dawned on Pranav. He realized that he might be searching on the wrong platform. So, he went down on other side of the bridge. 


(You see, they both were at the footsteps of the bridge but on different platforms. Pranav was searching on Platform 1 while Priya was at Platform 2)


“There she is”, Pranav smiled.


“If you would have told me that you are at Platform 2, things would have been easier Priya.”


“You never asked me Pranav.”


Pranav knew that he had asked her. But he knew that doesn’t matter now. What matters is right in front of his eyes. They both could see each other now. But, Priya was not alone. Her parents, other girls who were going with her, and the parents of those girls were also present there.


Pranav was hiding behind the tree on the station and he was looking at her continuously. Priya wanted to, but she couldn’t.  He was acting as if he was talking on the phone just to be safe. His phone rang.


“I love you.” she said in a voice that could melt ice even in a snow storm.


“Wow. How do you look so beautiful even at this time?”


“I said I love you Pranav.”


“I love you too babe.”


(The train is approaching to the station. It is coming closer and closer. The engine is making huge amount of noise. But, the connection between two hearts is making its own sound. A sound that is unheard but is always in the air)


“I need to go”

“I know.”


Pranav could see her board the train. After adjusting herself in the cabin with other girls, she came out for a final goodbye. She was standing on the door with other girls. He could see her eyes filled with water.


There was a complete chaos on the station, but there was complete silence in the eyes of both of them. They just looked at each other and understood everything. They were now one in their own world.


(The train finally started to drift away. The moment had come)


Pranav could not see her now but he knew he had found something today. And he couldn't wait any longer to call and tell her.


“You looked different today.” he said.


“What?”


“You looked like my wife today.”




April 4, 2014

THIS TIME...LETS VOTE!!

This time it is different. What is? The elections are different this time. What is the reason for this? The reason is that for the first time many of us (15 Crore first time voters) will have the opportunity to elect the next government at the centre. We will have the power to select. But the main question still remains, which party to vote to in these general elections?

Well, there’s no denying the fact that there is a huge NAMO wave in this country. But there are still many answers that Mr. Modi needs to answer. The main reason of Mr. Modi’s success in recent years is mainly because of two reasons, the first being; he has been successful in presenting the Gujarat Development Model, and the second being his excellent orator ship skills. The fact that he has the ability to strike the right chords while delivering his speech made people listen to him, believe him, over other leaders. Even though he has been given a clean chit on Gujarat riots recently, there is still no denying the fact that he spoke seldom about the rights of minorities. And by minorities, I meant not only Muslims, but also the LGBT community. He made a strong statement against Muslims by refusing to wear a skull cap offered to him at a public function (what harm wearing a skull cap would have done to him I wonder), and he being endorsed by none other than BABA RAMDEV (who calls gay sex unnatural, and even compare gay sex with having sex with animals) is another cause for concern. Note that the concern is not in the fact that BJP under MODI with RSS backing is fighting under HINDUTVA tag, but in their thinking process. The country would like its ruling party to be someone with a radical thinking.

Now, coming to another party, which is Aam Aadmi Party. Sad to say, but the party is no longer in the fray of making any mark in these L.S elections. The fact that they hurriedly gave up the Government in Delhi to jump to the LS elections is an act with a purpose of getting power stronger than they already have. And, let me tell you a very interesting fact. Dr.Himanshu Singh, a probable MP (AAP) from Meerut constituency has 3 criminal cases against him, with serious charges related to criminal intimidation (IPC-Section 506), attempt to murder(IPC-Section 307), voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty(IPC-Section 332), etc , are leveled against him. Now, a clear double standard is seen here. Even Rajendra Agarwal (sitting M.P from Meerut from BJP and probable second time M.P) also has 2 criminal cases against him. Ironically, Nagma, a Congress candidate from Meerut, has no criminal cases against her. Now some might argue that in democracy, no one is guilty until proven so, and then in that case the same goes to the likes of Suresh Kalmadi, A Raja, Ashok Chavan and many more. For AAP, jinke ghar khud sheesho ke ho unhe doosro k ghar p patthar nahi phekne chaie.

Indian National Congress(INC) has lost its moral right to contest the elections. The scams raked in huge numbers and the honorable Prime Minister never spoke.  Even though for one moment we leave aside the corruption angle, the fact that he spoke 10 days after the Delhi gang rape, made his presence unworthy. For many of us, including me, that was the moment when the country lost him forever. And forcing Rahul Gandhi (who seems to do everything except genuine politics) into the election scene made INC even weaker. His reservation from taking responsibility, unfulfilled promises of  food and shelter to the people in whose homes he would visit unannounced, calling some ordinances “a complete non-sense” , etc, “torn out” his party even further.

Now, the question still remains who to vote to? I think, first of all, we need to make sure that we go out and vote. Maybe, we don’t want to vote for any party. Then, we can exercise our power of NONE OF THE ABOVE (NOTA), an option with which we can both be a responsible citizen and reject what we have. The importance of voting is not only limited to selecting the next government. It also helps us in taking responsibility of changing our future. Any good/bad deed of the government would be because we gave them the power. We can’t always live in a situation where we do not exercise the most important power given to us and still complain about the situation the country is facing. Also, when we vote this time, we make sure that we do not vote keeping a party or an individual in mind. Because, for example, when I vote for BJP this time(it’s just an example), I am voting not to Mr. Modi. Instead, I am voting for Mr. Agarwal. See to the work that he has done, or will do, and then vote. 
In the end, no matter where we are on the day of voting, this time, LETS VOTE!!!

WRITTEN BY- NAMAN BANSAL

March 31, 2014

JUST DO IT!

“”He was a small boy with an eternal smile, but was without a Dabba. He had a lot of friends who always wanted to hear his incredible stories. His shirt was always dirty, but he wore it as if he wanted it to be that way. He had a teacher, a Hindi teacher, who was obsessed with food. He would follow his children all around the school just to make sure he gets his hand on their dabbas. But, Stanley had no dabba of his own. He was told not to come to school until he gets his own dabba by the Hindi “master”. Stanley obeyed the order and returned with his own dabba, filled with Paneer, Aloo,  and other mouth watering stuff.””

I remembered watching this movie, Stanley Ka Dabba, a long time back with my friends. At this moment, I was wondering what the movie is trying to convey to the audience.

“”After taking part and excelling in a dance competition, Stanley waited for his parents to pick him up. He told his favourite teacher that his mother is in the black coloured car parked right across the street. But, instead of his mother, his principal came and Stanley went with him. When Stanley went down from the car, he reached an ill-managed restaurant where he was slapped repeatedly by his owner who, ironically, was his uncle. Stanley was no more a story teller. He was one of many kids whom we call Chotu.””

Now, coming at this moment, I had tears rolling from my eyes. I remember exactly that when I was about to take a step further with my crying, I heard a voice:  “Look at him, he’s crying like a little girl”.                        And the next I remembered myself doing was making sure that I was a man to them.

Yesterday, I watched this movie again and cried. But this time there was nobody to question my gender. And seriously, I felt relieved and awesome. Also, not to forget, I am still a man.

Often we have seen that when a man cry over something, he is regarded as weak. He is often told that he has to hold his emotions back in order to make sure he has his gender in check. But, holding our emotions back just because someone else want you to, is an act of cowardice. It is an act in which we are forced to wear a mask and be a man. How can someone hold his emotions back all the time and still be a man? 

Some interesting facts about crying-

·        *  88.8% of people feel better after after crying as compared to 8.4% feeling worse. 

·         * On an average a woman cry 47 times a year and a man 7 times.

·         * Testosterone may reduce crying in boys, while oestrogen and prolactin in girls increases the phenomenon.

There are two very interesting facts that we can observe. One, almost 89% people feel better after crying. So, when a man cry he also feels better and thus is no different. Second, a man cry only 7 times in a year on an average. So, when a man cry, let him do so, because he has the chance of feeling better only a mere 7 times and calling him a “little girl” then is like making him less human.

Benefits of crying-

·         * Crying(Tears) help us to see more clearly. Without them we would all eventually become blind.

·         * Tears also act as an antibacterial and antiviral agents. Very helpful in preventing sicknesses like the common cold
.
·        * Crying also helps in reducing stress levels.

·       *  Crying brings people together. When you can’t say something, you can cry and spill it out.


So, if you are a man and you cry out loud, don’t think there is something abnormal with you. You are absolutely human. If you call a girl in the middle of the night and cry infront of her, that does not make you less manly. If you call a boy in the middle of the night and you cry infront of him, that does not make you more feminine.  You are what you are. You are a man! 

So, the next time if you wanna cry because you watched some movie, do it. If you wanna cry because your college days are getting over, do it. If you wanna cry because you laughed too much in the past, do it. 
JUST DO IT!


Written by-Naman Bansal.


                                                                                                                               


March 23, 2014

LIFE WITHOUT THEM!



Freedom, a word which literally means “” the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint””, is a word that holds dear to all of us. As kids, when we learnt our lessons on independence, we were told that our country first kissed the soul of freedom on  15th August 1947. A day when the lives of our ancestors  changed forever, and was hoped it changed for good. I remember, as a kid, the only time I took part in any dancing activity, was when I danced on the tunes of “Ae vatan, ae vatan, humko teri kasam”. At that time, I didn’t know the meaning of any word of that song, but I cared about it. I cared about taking care of the song because my teachers told me it was like caring for my own country.  And, today, when I know the meaning of each and every word of that song, I feel that we, as India’s countrymen, have stopped caring about it. For us, it's just another song. 


Today is not just another day. And, yes, today is not only Sunday. Today is a special day in the history of our country. It’s a day when 3 individuals, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev, laughed at their own demise 83 years before. It’s a day to be proud of. It’s a day to understand that the freedom which we have today is not because we are lucky enough to get it, it's because someone fought for it, someone died for it. Freedom, as simple as it sounds, is hard to achieve. And, someone provided it to us not because he/she didn't have a choice, it’s because they wanted us to live in a country we could call our home. 


Bhagat Singh is a Shaheed to most of us. But, when I asked a guy of  the same age as mine who lives right next door to me, he asked me if he lives nearby. This is Bhagat Singh for him. No wonder, he’s a revolutionary terrorist, and thus not a Shaheed, for our Central Government too.


But, today , I will tell you Bhagat Singh’s views on some issues which I believe everybody should know, quoting from the texts of the book, “INDIA’S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE”. 


“Bhagat Singh, born in 1907 and a nephew of the famous revolutionary Ajit Singh, was a giant of an intellectual. A voracious reader, he was one of the most well read of the political leaders of the time”


“In the assembly bomb case, Bhagat Singh told the court:’ ‘’Revolution,” dosen’t necessary involve sanguinary strife, nor is there any place in it for individual vendetta(individual heroism). It’s not the cult of the bomb and pistol. By “Revolution”, we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change”. In his letter from jail, he wrote: “The peasants have to liberate themselves not only from the foreign yoke but also from that of landlords and capitalists”. He said that the struggle in India would continue so long as “a handful of exploiters go on exploiting the labour of common people for their own ends. It matters little whether these exploiters are purely British, or British and Indians in alliance, or purely Indians”.


Bhagat Singh also saw the importance of freeing the people from the mental bondage of religion and superstition. In his article, ‘Why I am an atheist’, he subjected religion and religious philosophy to a scathing critique. He wrote, “Any man who stands for progress has to criticise, disbelieve and challenge every item of the old faith”.



The 2 most important views of Bhagat Singh were written above. The latter of the above made me wonder that if someone hadn't challenged the old age systems like that of Sati, Jauhar, etc, we might still be having those in our society today, and we might still be saying, “Chalta hai. India me esa hi hota hai”. We would have accepted it as our tradition. This a small example of how our life would be without challenging the old systems which we feel are undermining the relationship of a human with another human.


We, as citizens of this country, should understand that the freedom in which we live today is not god-gifted to us. It has been given to us so that we could respect it and we could protect it for our future generations. It’s a liability that we should be proud to be made care takers of. 


In the end, I should just say that, “”Ghodi pe to sab chadh jate hai, desh ke lie jaan sirf kuch hi dete hai”. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Raj Guru were the special ones!

March 19, 2014

A Story Money Can't Buy!!

In this world of extreme competition, having a good amount of money is a necessity. Money buys us stuff. But, it can never let us buy a beautiful smile from an unknown person. So, i am gonna tell you all a story which involves both money and a smile which actually made me believes, ""You always know what is right and what is wrong. You just have to take a step which is a little harder"".

It all starts one fine morning when i was going to my college. Mostly, i drive my Activa on the way to college. But, on that particular day, as has often been the case, i chose to go via a local bus. So, i went on the bus stop at around twenty past eight and waited. I needed to board the bus from Jail Chungi to Begumpul. After waiting for around 5-10 minutes, the bus finally came but it was over crowded. But, as all of those who've travelled in a local bus know, it was absolutely normal. And, since i wanted to reach my class by 9(which i never do), i boarded the bus instantly. There was a complete chaos inside, as expected. I couldn't remember who all were there inside the bus, but i remember one fine girl wearing a ""burka"" which made me wonder how her face looks like, and how she smiles. Well, that didn't happen.

The journey between my boarding stops takes about 10 minutes and costs 8 INR. And, due to the fact that the bus was very crowded, the bus conductor could come to me for a ticket only when i was about to de-board. So, i gave him a 100 rupee note. He needed to return me 92 rupees. But, i don't how, he returned me 192 INR or 152 INR(I don't remember the actual sum, but it was one of the two).
As soon as i came down, i knew that he had made a terrible mistake. I wanted to return the extra money, as the bus was standing right in front of me, but i didn't. I let it pass through. If i wanted, i could have returned the money to him then and there, but, honestly, at that one moment, i wanted to steal his money and run. I made a feeble call to the conductor which only i could hear.  And, in the process, the bus was gone.

But, then came a moment in my life when i had the chance to do the right thing. When i had the courage to walk the path less travelled. When i had the option to choose the story i wanted to tell.  Immediately, i boarded an auto from Begumpul to Ghantaghar, and i could see the bus at some distance. I told the auto driver to follow the bus and soon began the game of cat and mouse. Whenever the auto came close to the standing bus, it started moving again, and again! It happened twice or thrice until i could finally catch up with the bus where it got stuck in traffic right at the point when it was about to change its course to the City Railway Station.
I remember the rest completely. I came out of the auto. I looked into the eyes of the conductor who was standing at the door of the bus. I ran up to him and gave him his extra money. He looked at me in amazement, as if asking me the questions that i didn't want to answer, and he just smiled. I smiled back at him.

That was the story. I didn't write this story to score any brownie points to build up my image. Actually, i felt that i needed to tell this story to everyone to tell them how completed i felt at the moment when i got the 2 most beautiful gifts , a smile, and ""a story money can't buy''. To tell them, that even though i don't remember the sum of money i returned to the guy, i remember his unconditional smile.

In the end, i would just say that if you feel that you don't have your own story to tell, you can always have one by following what your heart says, by walking the path only some could dare to walk, by choosing what is something ""culturally"" different and difficult, but is always right. That is how i make my own stories..!!

Written by- Naman Bansal.