Strange lights outside my balcony

September becomes such a beautiful month when the autumn winds begin to flow. There’s a sweet smell that floats around, making us wish for things we want to do, and want to have. We turn into dreamers of the day, always fantasizing and hoping to encounter things that make us more joyous. So it was a wonder when I encountered a similar thing. Albeit distant but something that excited the science fanatic in me. Ever since the winds started, a strange light would come up in the sky outside my balcony. What could it be? Well the fantasy seeker in me thought it was a UFO (cheeky right?), and so did its visible features indicate- small, mobile, bright (even brighter than a star!), more importantly, it became visible only at a specific time! How stellar a discovery (seriously I intend the pun) would it be if I had a telescope to confirm my doubt. Only if I had a telescope!
However the rationale of science urged me to investigate before jumping to conclusions. So began my list of favorably ruling out every possibility. After all, a discovery was at stake!
Was it a plane? No. it was too slow for a plane, also a plane flew by it.
Was it a star? No. stars are more distant. It was so close to the atmosphere.
Was it a planet? No. planet don’t emit such bright lights. They reflect.
Was it a satellite? No. it does not appear at night so close to the earth.
Was it a hot air balloon? Definitely not. A balloon would simply extinguish before reaching that sort of height.
And so, I was perplexed by the nature of the object I could not identify. And who comes to the rescue of a perplexed kid? A guide. So our very own Tapasya Ma’am took to clearing my doubt about the strange light outside my balcony.
She began a hunt on the internet about astronomical objects visible from India, because well, who believes in UFOs apart from an enthusiastic person seeking adventure? What she found didn’t shock her but it broke my heart. It was our dear old boy, next orbit neighbor- mars, that was playing games with my mind, leading me to the dreams of a wonderful discovery for which I hoped someday I would get the prestigious Amateur Achievement Award of the Astronomical Society. But alas! My dreams of a discovery were shattered and I walked the boulevard of broken dreams that day.

UFO

You can’t tell me this doesn’t look like a UFO!

PS: at some other geographical space, my mother saw the same thing move in the sky at the same time. It was probably a coincidence.
Or maybe we really had visitors?

 

Contributed by Shruti Khanna

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The Queen of Crime

It was Agatha Christie’s birthday yesterday, on the 15th of September. Born in Devon, England – Agatha initially had a series of rejections from the publishers. Six, to be precise. Until finally her detective story ‘The mysterious affair at Styles’ was published in 1920 introducing the world to the parfait world of Hercule Poirot. The sharp, dynamic Belgian detective with his waxed moustache captured the imagination of readers worldwide. She went on to create many detectives with distinct characteristics – the apparently wooly but sharp as a stinger, Ms Marple ; the duo Tommy and Tuppence. She wrote 66 detective novels and some short stories. She started writing young and at the age of 10 she wrote her first poem –

‘The Cowslip’

There was once a little cowslip and a pretty flower too.

But yet she cried and fretted all for a robe of blue.

Now a merry little fairy, who loved a trick to play, just changed into a nightshade, that flower without delay.

The silly little nightshade thought here life a dream of bliss, yet she wondered why the butterfly came not to give his kiss.

 

Starting out with short stories, her popular detective novels came later. Despite upheavals in her personal life, Agatha continued to do justice to her love of writing and did so until she passed away at the age of 85.

Image result for agatha christie

Her writing is inspiring. The characters well woven into the gripping story, giving nothing away until the detectives laid out one card after another on the table for the readers. Thrilling. Short enough to read at one go in those lazy summer vacations from school. A companion of late nights with a torch under the drawn sheets. Invariably, one would read the book again to check for the clues she had craftily given out in bits and pieces on the murderer that you would have overlooked. In fact, Poirot is the only fictional character to be given an obituary in The New York Times after her book ‘Curtains’ was published!

What a writer! And what exceptional writing.

Here are some of my favorite paperbacks. What are yours?

(all images courtesy Wikipedia)

 

Step Up!

step-up

Teaching has to be more than a profession. It comes from within, this urge to impart knowledge, to debate and discuss, to connect…in a classroom or beyond.

Pallavi, a resident of Geetanjali till July 2018 shared this picture of hers from Bangalore sitting amidst her students, as she often does while volunteering for teaching programs. During her two years in the hostel too, she frequently taught children from the nearby slums and those of the hostel staff. Some day she hopes to open a primary school in a village and use innovative ways of teaching.

To many of us, Pallavi teaches the important lesson to step up and reach out beyond our comfort zone.

Way to go, Pallavi! You make us proud.

गुरू शिष्य बंधन

guru-shishya

कभी उंगली पकड़कर बढ़ाते हैं कामयाबी की ओर कदम, तो कभी कमियाँ बता कर बन जाते हैं क्रिटिक|

कई रूप हैं शिक्षक के, अपने समर्पित रवैये से गुरु तराश देते हैं हीरे और निखार देते हैं चमक|

सीखना ना आता था,

शिष्य होने की कला ना आती थी,

पक्षपात और नकारात्मकता से घिरे थे हम,

फिर हमें गुरू मिले

और फिर शुरू हुआ नवनिर्माण

आपने दिशा दी, विश्वास जगाया

आपने पंख दिये और उड़ने के लिए

उन्मुक्त आकाश

आपने जीवन के हर पहलू को

हँस कर जीना सिखाया |

 

यह कविता  गुरू शिष्य परंपरा के गरिमापूर्ण बंधन को समर्पित है |

यह उन अनगिनत बेनाम लोगों का भी आभार प्रकट करती है जो यूं ही हमे  ट्रेन, बस, लाइब्रेरी में

राह चलते मिल जाते हैं और जाने अनजाने कुछ ना कुछ सिखा जाते हैं |

दीपा द्वारा लिखित

A Big Heart and a Small Wish is All You Need

This dates back to March 8th this year, when I saw this little kid again in my street. He had earlier helped me find way to my pg when I was new to this city and since then, he nods at me with a smile every morning when I walk to office. Bangalore is lush with people who stay and sleep on roads. He was one among the many and used to sell corn in the streets to meet his needs.

What attracted me the most to him was his face which resembled that of my youngest brother who lived abroad and had not been to India for 7 years. He possessed the same charm and innocence!

After a few days, I felt like talking to him and so I stopped to buy a cup of corn and initiate a conversation. I asked him which class he studied in and he told me he studied till 7th after which his brother called him to help him with work in the city. I was curious if he wanted to study again, to which, coy faced he replied “Didi my brother won’t let me even think of it. Its a long story. You enjoy the corn and tell me, did I make it good?” He kept a smile intact all this time.

It broke my heart! A child of age similar to my baby brother has been creeping in streets and losing his most wonderful days by selling corn instead of being in school-learning and enjoying.

With a heavy heart, I headed back to my room. I wanted to do something for him, as most of us want to and yet, I did not. Or is it that I did not want to? Because we all want to make a change in this society and everyday we meet such people who seek this change and yet we don’t do a thing.

I have always wanted misery for the poor to end. And I always dreamt of making it true someday. Yet whenever I pass these people, all I have in my heart is sympathy and not action. I feel Society does not demand sympathy. It asks for somebody to get up and take a stand for the change. Just a big heart is all that is needed!

That day I could have told his brother that I was willing to contribute some amount every month if he let him study along work, or spared an hour everyday to teach him, or I could have searched for a government scheme that provides education to kids like these.

But that day, I just thought that I probably didn’t have the time and strength for all of this.

But again as I said, society doesn’t need masqueraders like us, just someone with a big heart and a small wish to stand up and make the world a better place.

Contributed by Simran Mittu

Image from i-India

The Taste of Responsibility

The (Wo)man Above is a colourful creator . S/He has Brains , s/he uses Beauty , has an intellect and a bank of thinking genes.The number of skeletons created by Her/Him are replicas but surprisingly the souls in them are all different. Lest different situations could not be survived with the same soul.Its the planned move of destiny that she throws lots of people on the red velvet and makes them a ” getter”, a ” user ” , a “receiver” without being a ” giver” or a “doer “. And yet others are placed by her on the rugged roads of life with crowns of responsibilities on them.

The day you rise up with a smile and move out in your best clothes on your palatial moving deck of status and you look out through the windows at the red light, and you see your frock/ your trousers / your any amiable dress acting as a body cover for a tiny creature. Its the same dress that you would have received on a Birthday and had been expelled from your wardrobe the day after for a ‘sauce’ stain…and wonder – Who owned the dress better?

A girl at a tender age carrying her younger brother donates that ONLY ice-cream given to her, which we had dumped in anger when we didn’t think the taste was much to our liking. That one particular lick lolly is the entire feast for that tender blossom but like a princess she smilingly puts it into her brother’s mouth. A content little one..smiling…as she packs up the hunger of heart and brain.”

Has destiny played its part here ? In wrapping us with the red velvet ?

Are we too busy using the benefits ?

No! No! We do write quotes and flood up social sites. We know. We just don’t follow.

Dene wale kisi ko gareebi na de maut dede magar bdnaseebi na de ! “But are we done with all this? ‘ Dene wala ‘ has given everything but ‘ We’ the ‘ Lene walas ‘ have we done our parts ? Have we ever put our giver caps on ? Have we ever shared things ? Have we ever realized our Moral Science lessons ? Have we ever bought someone a pair of shoes?The crown of responsibilities is so heavy and its realization is heavier. That’s the reason we have been ‘thrown’ and they have been ‘placed ‘.

Wear THE CROWN OF DUTIES and taste THE SWEETEST TASTE OF RESPONSIBILITY, Friends, before it’s too late.

Contributed by Sarvesh Jonwal