More than a year ago, I decided to pursue a master’s course abroad. This goal became central to my life. I worked hard to clear my entrance. The results were as expected; I was selected at two universities.
My credentials were strong and I had expected I would be able to secure a scholarship as well. But I didn’t. I wrote to the universities time and again, requesting for financial assistance. For six months, I kept trying hard. One of the universities withdrew my admission because I failed to pay the pre-registration fee.
I have been admitted to London School of Economics and Political Science for a post-graduate course in Development Studies. The expenditure is close to GBP 35,000. I have secured financial aid worth GBP 5,000 from a non-profit in India. I have less than a month to arrange for rest of the money; only then I shall be able to attend college at LSE.
I don’t know what to do, but I am not going to stop trying. I have tried to use crowdfunding as a means to help myself. And dear readers from US and UK, you all can help me. Any donation, small or big can take me a step closer to taking up my further education at LSE. Please support my Mission LSE!
Once upon a time, there was a garden full of flowers. Everyone seemed to be fond of one particular flower which stood out from the rest. It had its family and a few friends staying around. But not all that is good is liked by all. Few others were envious and troubled it every now and then. It had its own way of dealing with everything.
Our dear flower was jolly and cheerful. It worked very hard and did not like to waste time. But it was also very kind and caring. It loved its near and dear ones with all its heart. It was also sensitive and considerate towards the problems of others. It was always willing to listen and help them in every way it could. It was not an ordinary flower; it was special in several ways. It was beautiful for what it was, with its own virtues and imperfections.
But it also too had its limitations. After working so hard for itself as well as others, it often felt exhausted. It was always enthusiastic to think and try something new. However, it is a well-known fact that it is never easy to ride on a less travelled path. While some took undue advantage of its goodness, others simply did everything they could to plant obstacles in its path and let it down. But our flower was as strong as a fort and always fought back valiantly.
Due to these troublemakers, it could hardly sleep well. There were days it looked woebegone and its sadness was contagious. As soon as it became gloomy, the entire garden would follow suit. Every flower would begin to look withered and the weather would immediately become dull. When the flower would not smile, those who loved it too couldn’t be happy. It would ask them not to worry but they could not see it sad.
One not so fine day, our flower was tired and upset about something. Everyone tried but nobody could make it happy again. At night, when it was struggling to sleep, a butterfly dropped a letter next to its spectacles. It woke up and read it first thing in the morning.
I have met millions of flowers but none like you. I lead a busy life, flying from flower to flower to nourish myself. But I keep returning to you because you fill not only my stomach but also my heart. I see all types of flowers with their vanities, silly thoughts and attitudes. Believe me, you are different from everybody else. You are magical.
There are some odd days when the only smile I get to see is yours. You help me feel better about myself. I am sure you do that to so many others around you. I want you to know that it is okay not to be okay at times. You have as much right as us to be sad, angry, upset, tired or frustrated. But remember that you are fortunate to have so many who love you and will stand by you. They will do anything to see you smile again. It is for them that you must not stay disturbed for long and return to your usual cheerful self soon.
Work, challenges, new tasks, and deadlines will always be there. But you already know you are strong enough to handle it all. You’ve got to do what needs to be done, so why not smile and set it right?
Just in case you have forgotten, you have a beautiful smile. Don’t forget to wear it all the time!
Love, Your friend with wings.”
That day, our flower realized how its happiness mattered to others. It became a happy flower that smiled no matter what.
Parasitism may be an entirely biological phenomenon peculiar to certain species, but why can’t it be said that it is found among humans as well? Not biologically but socially we are parasites.
We depend upon the machines we ourselves invented. We are handicapped without the internet unheard of until 26 years ago.
Humans created smartphones; smartphones created dumb humans.
We cannot spend a day without checking our social network or updating our fake, exaggerated and masquerading identity on our social profiles. We cannot while away time unless messages keep pouring from various contacts and groups. We cannot consider ourselves worthy unless we have a thousand virtual friends we need not have met in person.
We are dependent upon fashion for making our choices. We rely on celebrities to select what occupies our wardrobe. Without cosmetics, we cannot enrich our external beauty. Without material possessions, we cannot build our self-esteem. We cannot celebrate birthdays devoid of cakes and parties. Without flaunting all these, we cannot conform to societal norms.
We bank upon the society’s approval for choosing our actions, behaviours, careers and life partners. We eschew anything that shall attract the indignation of the society we stay in. We feed upon our own conscience to nourish our desire for being included in a society whose rules were framed aeons ago.
We breed upon anger, envy and lies. We prosper in the adversity of the other. We thrive in the decline and misery of others. We flourish when we are appreciated more than others and perish when we are outdone by them. We take huge strides trampling others on our way.
Not only are we parasites, but also we are gradually turning into slaves. We are slaves of the phone that maddens us with anxiety if it does not buzz every ten minutes. The internet which brings the world to our fingertips and thereby deactivates the thinking faculties of the mind. The likes and comments on our pictures which judge the identity that never belonged to us. The gifts we exchanged and the money we made which determine our status and position in the society. We are enslaved to our own greed, anger, desperation and desires.
The only way to end this bondage is to love oneself. It is important to be true to oneself and there is nothing to be ashamed of being what one is. No possessions except truth, love, hope, compassion and conviction are invaluable.
Let us rise above these trivialities and embrace the truth of life which lies not in things but in living itself; fighting battles each day and evolving into an independent, sensitive and sensible individual. Nobody but we can emancipate ourselves from the shackles that bind us to the negativity we want to refrain from. Remember, life is a circus and you are your own ringmaster.
This is a brilliant essay written by my friend, Aman Lodha. Very few people at the age of eighteen can write stuff so wise as this. He is an avid reader, orator, singer and has a passion for writing as well. An all-rounder in the true sense, he has shared his pragmatic views on topics such as Karma and rebirth, which often divide the world into the theist and atheist factions.
Talking about Karma- The basic meaning of Karma is what you give, you get back. Karma has no menu.
It means you can’t place an order with Karma for the things you like.
You will be served what you have given to someone else. Now, that is a very simple terminology used to understand the real reason behind the entire “You get what you give” process.
If you give happiness to others, it means you are concentrating more on happiness which implies that you like happiness and hence you attract more happiness towards you.
If you give pain to others, it means you are concentrating more on pain which implies that all your energy is focused on it and hence you will surely get the same thing.
This is the law of nature. The law is just perfect. You attract more of what you focus on. I have experiencd these things even recently. Hence Karma is true. U may call it the law of attraction or Karma. Different names but the same reason.
Karma is basically a simpler way to make people understand the whole process of getting what u give.
About rebirth or pre- birth; to be honest, I do not know. And I can challenge the whole world.
Nobody knows about it. Whatever theories are written about these things are purely ASSUMPTIONS! Come on, we all are living. How can we know what happens after life? How can someone prove that there are seven lives or that there is no life after death?
We just don’t know. What if nature has the biggest twist for all of us after we die??
What if it makes us invisible and we all remain here itself after we die?
What if all our close ones who have died are also here itself but invisible?
Do we know? Do we have any idea??
No! We humans can’t accept that we don’t have answers to certain questions.
And hence we derive theories.
But the fact is we haven’t interviewed any dead person till date n hence we don’t know what is there after death. We will come to know only wen we DIE.
Maybe we will get another life. Maybe there is no life. But all the theories about life after death or no life after death are assumptions. They can’t be real by any chance.
So humans, be honest and accept that we don’t know the answer. We don’t know what lies beyond death; but we know what lies before death. It is called ‘Life’.
One can experience drastic changes in life, once he/she turns eighteen years old. It’s been three weeks since I attained adulthood. People prepare bucket lists of things to do before they are eighteen. I had none, except that I wanted to read and watch all Harry Potter books and movies, respectively. I’m proud I accomplished that.
Now, it’s time to prepare another list titled things to do now that I’m eighteen. I began with this- Decluttering. Just as Harry helps the Weasley brothers de-gnome their garden, we need to help ourselves declutter our lives. Of course, the gnomes keep reappearing; but that does not imply that we stop de-gnoming. It is an incessant process and it MUST be so. Only then we can achieve a quality life.
Decluttering is also a systematic process. The steps include eliminating all those things, memories and people from our lives that let us down in a way or the other. Anything that acts as an impediment to our progress ought to be nipped in the bud. I started with something as simple as unfriending all those people from my Facebook friend list who never even bothered to check my profile. If we have added someone as a friend on Facebook, it implies we give them some space into our private life. What is the use of giving this privilege to hundreds of people, ninety per cent of whom don’t even bother that you exist? I’m on this unfriending spree even now, in spite of having unfriended more than 250 people. What’s more, none of them even realized that I did. None of them except a girl tried to add me again. Further, I stopped talking to people who I thought were no longer interested in talking to me. I tried my best to get them back into my life, but to no avail. I considered it best to stop trying anymore.
I deleted old stuff from my cell phone and my laptop. Not only that, I’m even giving away my old clothes to a needy girl. I am a person who falls in love with everything. I’ve loved all my clothes, that is why i bought them in the first place! I’ve looked beautiful while wearing them. But there comes a time where these have to go, because only then I shall shop newer ones that suit me now. My wardrobe seems comparatively emptier now, but never mind. New ones shall occupy the vacant space, sooner or later.
Crap that surrounds us only steals our peace of mind. It is important to discard anything that is not required anymore. Unless we clean the window pane, we cannot see what lies beyond. De-gnome your life and get a clearer vision. Detoxify your grudges and get a more peaceful life. De-clutter your life and make space for all those happy things out there. Why miss out on the good? All it takes is a bit of introspection to clear your vision. So my lovely readers, take a rag and start cleaning right away. You’re only a step away from your destination if you clear off the negativity and insecurities that lie in your mind.
“When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles.”
― Horace Walpole
I belong to the category of workaholics. Those around me have never seen me go out for a vacation or enjoying a holiday. I am precariously occupied with making and following my ‘To do’ lists. This month was no way different but maybe it was, because I joined a short two week summer school in my ‘the best’ H.R. College organized by King’s College, London.
We had Prof. Michael Bedward flying in from King’s College, London (ranked among the top twenty universities in the world, whoa! ) who was our course tutor. The course was called ‘Managing innovation’. It was all about innovating in business, corporate cultures and organizations. Truly, it was an experience of a lifetime in many ways.
Prof. Michael was one of the most enthusiastic and patient professors i have ever seen. He always seems to look so fresh and energetic- he radiated some positive vibes in the otherwise very cold classroom. He made his own presentations for teaching and was not someone who talked all the time. In most of our lectures, we students spoke more than what he did. No questions or arguments ever seemed to deter his zeal for teaching. He was always interactive and entertained us with his dramatics. A raucous classroom or a silly question never bothered him. He went on with a smile all the while. I am his fan already and maybe each one of us in the class was. He gave an opportunity to each one to speak on the microphone and corrected those who were not clear. A person of order and discipline; he has a thorough understanding of student’s responses to his teaching. He often took feedback from us about how the course had been going. He believes that constructive feedback rather than praise makes one better.
Well there were unpleasant experiences too. I was the youngest student in the class. Most people out there came with their friends and never went out of their comfort zones to interact with new people. We were given two group assignments to do. I had a team which wasn’t contributing to the work, they were uninterested. They only rejected my ideas and discouraged me all the time. I was taken aback, mainly because I am used to being in teams where everyone is passionate about the goal. However, I dealt with them. I was leading a team where everyone was elder to me. This was the biggest thing I learnt here.
Finally came the day of our presentation. My team members did not do well because they never took the pains to research and rehearse well. I was the last spokesperson from my team and I covered up for all the other’s shortcomings. I became the star that day and everybody in class praised me, except my team members of course. I had done my best and got what I deserved. I was happy.
The last day of the Summer School, I was chosen from my class to share my experience. i spoke in front of a crowd of almost 200. My Principal as well as Michael sir praised me for my speech. It was a happy ending in spite of all the mixed experiences. At the end, I was really sad because it got over very soon; but at the same time, I was happy because it happened! 😀 🙂