Monday, August 29, 2016

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

In Association with
Mridula Chaudhari
Sonia loved to mingle with everybody in the class. She did not go by groupism at all. Typically in schools there are groups formed of likeminded pupils. For Sonia, groups never existed. She would talk to everyone, interact with all the girls and even helped each one whoever needed help.

Sonia always said that she was an ordinary girl. Her parents were not super rich, she was not extremely brilliant either, neither was she an exceptional beauty. She was, in plain words, a simpleton. She took everyone on their face, believed in what was said to her and never complained about anything.

 She was very satisfied in what she possessed and valued all her belongings. She would not waste anything and say, “I am an ordinary person, I cannot afford to waste”.

Sonia had a set of her own life rules. She was a self made person, never depending on anybody for anything. Most of all not expecting anybody’s favour, though not disrespecting if somebody genuinely wanted to help her. She had her hobbies which kept her busy in her free time. She wouldn’t chat on WhatsApp all day to keep herself entertained. She used the internet to gather information useful to her.

She lived life fully and hardly went with the herd. She did hang around at Cafes but always had her timelines well set for herself. Morality was her topmost priority and hence she always referred to herself as ‘ordinary person’. Sonia was lifeline for her parents, they were completely dependent on her for their daily needs. On her part she did all their jobs unflinchingly. She kept saying, “I come from an ordinary background and taking care of my family is my priority”.

Though there was no room for mistakes in Sonia’s life, she still committed mistakes. But instead of covering them up with lies and passing the buck to someone else, she accepted her mistakes confidently. She was always sorry for any wrongdoings and kept reiterating that she would never repeat the mistake and that she should be forgiven for that since she was an ‘ordinary girl’ and not a genius.

I kept wondering, if Sonia is an ordinary person what does an extraordinary person look like? Does she/he have extraordinary powers like Superman or Batman? Can she walk on the roof or drop several villainous men dead? Sonia could do nothing of this kind.

She was the one who stood up to what is right, was sincere to her parents, friends and most of all to herself, she selflessly helped those in need and called herself ‘ordinary girl’.

My interaction with her set my thinking process, “If Sonia is ordinary then what is being extraordinary?” For me I have not met any human being as extraordinary as Sonia. How can she be an ordinary human being? I did not possess half of her qualities and I still felt I had achieved a lot. Today I stand humbled, there is so much to achieve and learn from Sonias of our time.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Girl Power

By - Mridula Chaudhari
Remember the days you wrote your name on the freshly covered notebook! The feeling of writing  our own name fills us with pride. We make sure that our handwriting is the best. Then to read that name, written in our own handwriting, on our own notebook gives us a different high. It gives us a sense of ownership of that particular notebook. If that is so, imagine the ecstasy of the girls, coming from economically weaker background, when they see their name on the nameplate of their own house?

What? Name of a girl child on the nameplate of her house? That sounds a little weird. We are more akin to reading a man’s name on a nameplate. But that is true, a girl child’s name adorns her home, at least in the district of Balod in the state of Chhattisgarh. In this state a district collector, Rajeshsinh Rana of district of Balod has come up with a brave plan. He mounted nameplates on 2700 houses with names of the girl child in their household. With the help of local leaders, Rana, made this brave plan possible.

When the girls saw their own names in white on green background, they were taken by surprise. Until now, a girl child never thought she was such an important person in the household. The feeling of belongingness was never uppermost in her heart. “Oh, so this is my house too”, this could be a feeling she must have experienced.

With male dominating society, only the male members had that privilege until now. Watching their daughter’s name on the nameplate must have been quite a bashing to their ego. But Rana gave them no choice. The male members of Chhattisgarh had to abide by the orders and had to do so willingly and happily too.

What next now? Will Vasudha’s name on the nameplate be enough? Will she get respect? Will she at least be heard? Will her opinion matter to other family members? Will she be allowed to study in school as long as she wishes? There are these and many more questions.

What’s in a name? She must be heard and given the power to make decisions, at least for herself. She should be empowered to handle herself independently when she grows up. Hearth and family should not be the end of her life. She should be given opportunities and education to handle herself.

Though this is the first step initiated by Rana, the next steps need to be taken by the girl’s mother. If the mother can stand by her daughter, nobody can take undue advantage of her daughter. The father and brother will also follow suit. Women should support their counterpart and the world can be a much better place to live in. The mother will have to stand by her daughter and they both need to fight for their rights together.

We need more of such Ranas not just in Chhattisgarh but in other states as well. It is a path breaking action no doubt which makes the writing on the wall very clear now.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mrs Pinkcheeks: World is a stage

Mrs Pinkcheeks: World is a stage: By - Mridula Chaudhari Scenario 1 – While on my usual morning walk, I saw an old friend walking down the road. Thinking that she is ap...

World is a stage

By - Mridula Chaudhari
Scenario 1 – While on my usual morning walk, I saw an old friend walking down the road. Thinking that she is approaching me, I excitedly came forward to meet her. Just when I was about to hug her, I could sense that she wasn’t equally warm. She nodded her head, shot a plastic smile and moved ahead leaving me flabbergasted. I couldn’t fathom what was wrong.

Scenario 2 - While on my usual morning walk, I saw an old friend walking down the road. Both of us moved swiftly to cover the distance between us and hugged each other, shared pleasantries, laughed a lot and parted with a promise to meet again soon.

Scenario 2 flashes across my mind very often. Thinking about it brings a smile and my day starts on a positive note. I think of all the good things that life has on offer. At such times, the potholes on the road, traffic jams or even the rash drivers do not bother me. The feeling energizes to work hard and get results even at work place. Relations with colleagues remain cordial throughout the day. Work and result ratio reaches a crescendo and the day is made not just for me but also for those around me.

Let us ask ourselves – which category do we fall in? Everybody will say Scenario 2. Yes true! However, there could be times when we are not our own selves, too preoccupied in personal thoughts and not able to reciprocate in the same vein as our friend did. That does not mean that we wanted to be mean or avoid anybody. The fact is that, that was not our day at all. Unknowingly we missed the friend’s expectations.

Had I not retracted back at the coldness showed by my friend in scenario 1 and insisted on talking, things would have been different for both of us. She would have shared her state of mind. It could have been one of the days when you really feel low and don’t feel like interacting with anyone.

Such state of mind needs its own time to mend. Time is the only healer. And one day something triggers and you come out of your shell. This time is the best time to introspect and understand oneself. Outside chaos is sometimes too loud and mind gets immersed in that. When this kind of silence is experienced, it brings the real emotions, feelings and sentiments to the fore.

It is very essential for us to dive into the realm of our heart and comprehend the situation at hand. Problems are many but solutions lie within us. Friends can offer solutions but decision lies with us.  

Scenarios are a stage and we need to act our part perfectly to make our play a fulfilling experience!!!