Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

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Climate Change and Pandora’s box

November 2, 2010

It was different experience in Colombo this past week, as twenty youth traveled all the way to meet, enthuse, engage and empower each other. We all had gathered because we have one common belief- that we will tackle the impacts of climate change together. The South Asian Youth Climate Action Network (SAYCAN) consisted of youth participants from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka- countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change.

All these youth were different in there own ways with extremely diverse backgrounds. Some studied Environmental Management, some, Economics, some Computer Engineering, some Journalism and Mass Communication and some Literature or Law. They speak different languages, different dialects, in different ways. Some are passionate about science, and others about art.

They have different tastes too, mind you. Some like shopping till they drop, and some like sight seeing. Some are into books and philosophy, some into music and some into photography. They look at life differently and live differently. Some believe in the peace of finding calm and quite within themselves to lead life. some find solace in finding little things in life beautiful and making the best out of it.

They all work on projects and programs, relating to environment and climate change. Their designs are different, so are their models. They have lots of ideas, and energy.

How do you bring them under the same roof, how do you get them to agree on the same goal, vision, and action plan for the South Asian youth?

This was the challenge for SAYCAN- to bring all these youth to explore and agree on common goals and aspirations and make them draw the road map for the network. There is a always a fear for these attempts to turn into talk shops, to deviate into something completely different.

Lets face it. Climate Change movements have been extremely challenging. Following last year’s BIG failure at COP 15, challenges seem to take a greater toll.

Many articles continue to suggest different pictures of this big game- some say it is time to give up, the political order of liberal democracy is just incapable of rising to this challenge. Others, continue to believe that the world’s biggest polluters will not bend and the rest bring in new models to combat climate change. Stephen Hawking being the man of physics, suggests that mankind should colonise distant planets. James Lovelock thinks the remnants of humanity will seek refuge on the tropical shores of the Arctic.

Moving to the scientists, some suggest climate change does not exist to begin with and other scientific data now strongly suggests that physical and biological changes in the planet are increasingly greater than those defined by the modelling in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Despite the steadily rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, even countries expressing commitment are having little impact compared to the huge task in hand.

Governments continue to fight, focusing on the monetary values than trying to just solve the issue first. Everything is being calculated. Survival of people is being negotiated. It is all about the money. It is all about mandates. It is all about negotiation.

In the middle of this, you have youth movements striving everyday to fight for this cause. You can tell, that some of these passionate people would one day give up and just walk away, instead of watching the whole climate debate go no where. After all, isn’t that the only way to not hurt?

I myself, could not help, but wonder what it was that had brought some 20 of us together to fight for a cause that is under so much criticism and how we would agree on anything by the end of it all. More often than not, all around us, passion seems to seep away and leave behind just uncertainties and insecurities. This cause has the same potential.

Then, why, despite all questions, have all these youth come together for this conference? Why spend so many hours, all day long brainstorming, planning and designing action plans to tackle climate change in our own little ways? Our governments do not recognize our strength and we are never a part of the policies that run our lives. Then why bother?

Some of these people have stayed up nights to make this possible, run around from one funding organization to the other, in hope of organizing a conference for youth. Some have skipped their biggest events, some have paid out of their own savings, just to be here. together.

It was during the first night at the beach that I stared at the distant endless ocean, waves slapping against the hot sand of the beach, while I felt my feet burrowing into the deeper depths of the cool sand. I wondered, why I was here? Why all these people were here? why so many of these youth were working so hard in their own country for this cause?

I could not help but think of this Greek myth.

Greek myths never failed to fascinate me. Somehow, I seem to have had the greatest fascination of all towards the Greek mythology since God knows when. Staring at the beach, the story of Pandora’s Box came to my mind so many times.

According to Greek myth, Pandora was the first woman on earth created by the Greek Gods. She was stunning and she was created by Zeus to take revenge on mankind. It is said that the Gods would give her gifts. Each one of them. Which is why her name meant ‘the bearer of gifts’. Pandora was given a beautiful box by the Gods and asked never to open it. Pandora, however, could not resist herself and had finally opened the box, which let out all the misdeeds, diseases, hatred, greed, jealousy, pain and sufferings in the world.

Pandora shocked and guilty, had closed the box as soon as possible to ensure nothing else came out of that box to destroy the world. Zeus wanted Pandora to open this box, so she could bring sufferings into this world. It is said that this story explains the world we live in today- the world where we are consumed by jealousy, anger, selfishness, hatred, greed and many more.

However, the myth also suggests, the box was closed and there was still something left there, and that was Hope.

Greek myths never explained further as to why hope was left in the box- if hope should be taken in absolute sense or narrow sense. There have been millions of interpretations of this myth since then. Archaic and classic Greek literature went further to explain the concept of hope. One thing that came out of the mythographers was that hope was not gone. Hope was inside that box, intact, to ensure that mankind has the ability to live through all the odds that life has stored for us.

True or not, personally, I have believed this version of the story- that hope is intact and will keep us going come what may. I would have died, had I not seen a glimpse of hope in my life. In the worst times of my life, hope pulled me through. Every morning that I wake up, I wake up with hope, as though it is a part of me, a part of who I am and the sheer reason for my survival.

And I realised, it is hope, too, that brought all these South Asian Youth Together, to ‘enthuse, engage and empower’ in the middle of all the stories of Climate Change and failure.

For us youth, science or economics is not the basis for negotiation of our survival. True, there may be big failures, and true, there may not be any end to this long debate and our efforts may never be recognized. True, negotiations may never come to an agreement.

But, it is hope that keeps us going. Everywhere. Everyday. And we continue to work, together, in our little ways with that one thing that keeps us together- and that is hope. for better days to come.

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Leave me a few good songs, take the rest

September 14, 2009

I need a week to pack up
or maybe more.
Could you do my work for this week?

I gotta dig a hole to keep
to keep too many things
your box would probably not suffice
nor would your biggest suit case
there are way too many moments we gotta wrap up tonight
too many moments to pack and lock away my friend
You can Keep them all for me, just leave me a few good songs.

Exactly, there are too many moments
Should we start packing them all? or should I just leave them in the attic?
Too many moments – too many little things and big ones
and none at all
too many first times
Too many aches, and too many scars

Too many words too, would you not say?
Chew them, and your jaws will start to rust
Swallow them and they would be too much to take in

Where do we keep them?
How do we keep away?
keep away from memories
Keep away from lonliness
Keep away from the scars that remain?

There are too many voices, too many silent screams
screaming at you. you just left too many shades of blue
or may be black
clean your own part, clean that dirt
why leave too many on this floor?
Why would you not bother?

Clean this surface
Clean that attic of mine
pack those things lying around
pack up the smell too,
the rotten smell of the many bitter memories
pack the good ones too

Take everything, just leave me a few good songs though
for now. forever.
forever is too long to hold you by
but those good songs of you and I will suffice
would you not say?

I am digging deeper
lets bid farewell to the many moments
to the broken promises, disappointments, bitter memories
to that screaming silence and you?

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April 28, 2008

Why do we spend most part of our lives in search of unconditional aspects? love. dedication and happiness. Can everything in life be unconditional? many would say yes and others would oppose. Ofcourse there is a reason to oppose. if we knew since the moment of birth till that split second of death, that we are gifted with many wonders in life- each being conditional- having their own limits, boundaries and conditions attached, it would be difficult to live through, isn’t it?

People speak of unconditional love- love that is without limitations, conditions, or reservations. But we constantly seek for someone who will provide us with all that- as though our happiness is dependent on how others perform, how others will love us and care about us. And when they don’t provide you with that, you are left shattered and lonely. and you wonder as to why you cannot provide that love, that happiness to yourself- you give them to your loved ones, why not yourself? why do we need to look on to someone else to heal, support and stand by?

At the end of each experience, most of us seem to be always disappointed and hurt. People come, love and leave at the end. and that is simply because we always tend to place people in the position to let us down, we give them the power to hurt us and make us feel ignored.

But, I can’t fight the logic that at the end, no matter how much you try to make yourself happy, you need that warmth and love from someoneelse. after all, through years, human have lived a life that is interdependent.

But, where does it all come from? the expectations for unconditional love? We have seen it in books- where love is at the end the meaning of survival and happiness. we have seen it in movies- where togetherness and warmth is the inherent part of life. At some point, at sometime, someone showed us a glimpse of it.

It’s strange, but since birth we were born knowing that love is ought to be unconditional- that mum will love us no matter what, that you will feel that same warmth and that love is forever and there are no boundaries to love.

But, as days pass, as you love and ache, in the whole process, your mind is replaced by the conditioned aspects, you learn that nothing is forever and that behind every care and love, there is a reason. and that everyone is ought to be selfish to survive. we learn distinct differences- good or bad, right or wrong and categorize them.  but you are also, during this very process, reminded that like pandora box, there is hope, there still exists unconditional love and care.

And we walk on. believe in lies. love and ache at the end…
we learn distinct differences- good or bad, right or wrong and categorize them. what is ought to be and what should be..

 

 

 

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My little yellow bird

January 31, 2008

I look at her today and wonder- is this really my little yellow bird?

 There she is, standing before the crowd of students reading out her first writing. She has spent the past one week hiding away papers. and finding the meaning of words from me, without making it too obvious. She has spent the afternoons, in the empty corner of the study and busied herself in drawing my picture. she has used different colours- blue, black, red, yellow and tons of others. she has tiptoed into my room, while I was working and taken my picture from the album. It has been a busy week for her.

And now, she reads out her first work- it’s about her favourite person, her sister. I thought I had failed to make her understand that like others, she cannot write about her father. she has the vaguest memories of baba. at three, she had learnt to deal with his absence and all this while, I felt I had failed to make her understand. But, she knows. perhaps, more than myself.

She smiles at me. she is wearing her little barbie watch that I got her. She stands straight and utters each word clearly and confidently. her teachers are right, I think to myself. she does speak a lot like me.

As she reads out her final sentence, I love you api.. I fight back tears of pride. I fight back tears of this inexplicible joy and sadness.

and I stare at her lovingly- my little bird has grown up. and today, I pray silently, under my breathe, may all the happiness in the world touch her and all the hurt and life’s bitter ways stay miles away from her…

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Remonstration and more..

January 30, 2008

I have been tremendously upset lately. I have let myself break down. I have been chewing on my sorrows lately. I have been pondering excessively and complaining- so much so that it has exhausted all my energy.

I have let myself break down. In the past week, I have stayed up almost every night- often lying on bed and looking at the ceiling blankly and at other times, pacing across the hall room. I have sat under the cold shower and cried like a little girl, for endless hours. I have lost my appetite, interest and more importantly, I have lost my sanity. I have lost my ability to be strong and make sense of everything around me.

Last night, I finally let myself scream and utter absolute truths to myself. I have finally let myself face realities that hurt the most. Not that, I have not faced truths before. Not that, it has never been worse. But somehow, this week, everything piled up. Took a toll. And made me miserable.

The truth is, I am tired. Tired of being strong -of being grown up and living this life. People call me a fighter. But I don’t want to be one. They say, I am stronger and I will live through it all. But I don’t want to be one. They say I am mature and grown up and I can make my way. I do not want to. Not anymore.

Lately, I have come across absolute truths about life. I have learnt a lot, but I don’t know if I can carry them till the end of this journey.

I have learnt that it’s always all about “you” and not others. I have learnt nothing is forever. And that, nothing is perfect. True. and pure. Nor is love. I have learnt promises are meant to be broken. I have learnt, that faith can die and so can a part of you. Just as a part of me has died.    

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When we met

January 25, 2008

‘Okay. What would you say, if I ask you out right now, at this moment?’ said the sms at 3.45 am in the morning.

I had laughed my heart out. At the same time, I was taken aback. I admit, my heart had skipped a beat. just one beat though. not more. not less. 

‘You are crazy,’ I typed. ‘I would say you are completely crazy. and you don’t even know me and all that! what would you say in response of that?’

In a minute, my cell phone beeped. one new message. I giggled like a thirteen-year-old and jumped up from my bed and saw the message that said- ‘true. If you had only known that ever since the day I met you- six months ago, I had not been able to take my mind off you. If you had only known, how crazy I am about you!’

I hated to admit it but i blushed and typed, ‘You are crazy!’

He said, ‘ yes. about you.’

I had pushed away almost every other guy who had approached me till now. At various times, I had disappointed my friends, who desperately tried to “hook” me up. at other times, I just walked past great individuals and never stopped by to get to know them, to discover people. and in the process myself.

I was stressed out- for the longest time. I had tons of responsibilties, where there was no space for those little things that I had dreamt of. There was no space for the young girl in me- to be carefree. careless. and be myself.

I was just pretending. to be the strongest girl. to be allright till the very end. but inside, I was dying for respite. from everything around me.

And at  3.45 in the morning, I had finally wanted to let myself be- free and careless. after years- i wanted to be crazy. carefree. and absolutely stupid. and I was.

So, we played the silly sms game and finally he gathered the courage to call. and we talked. all morning. all day. and the next seven nights. none of us slept. none of bothered about anything. and my spoke our heart out. we shared the little things about life. and the big ones. and the ones that did not matter at all.

We had met first, at the launching ceremony of this new forum for young writers. I had thought him to be “ancient”, “pompous” and not nice at all- being the judgemental person I tend to be.

He, on the otherhand, had sat back and looked at me for the longest time and finally had bothered to tell my friend, who was sitting right beside me, about his music and that he would be performing in two weeks. He had invited us. or rather me. I had not even considered going to his show.

He had gone back home that night and “stalked” me on facebook. He had also left a line in his blog- ‘ if this young lady had known that her one smile kills the mere mortals of me, perhaps she would never smile again. Yes,I am interested in someone, after the longest time, but I am too much of a wuss to take a step..’

and he had left it right there. and I had moved on. there was no possibility of us meeting again. But, we did.

I went to his show. accidentally or maybe because, it was all planned. fate it was, maybe.

But we never had a conversation. He was right- he was too much a wuss to make a move. I, on the other hand, was to stupid to figure out and also too occupied in pushing everyone coming my way. There is no way, I could even consider knowing. oh, well.

six months passed. my life changed. so did his. i would say, his changed for good. he gathered the courage to speak to me online. and I was too bored and so, we had what was due for the longest time- a conversation. and then the whole process of knowing each and discovering the little things that sometimes slip away.

and finally, he made another “great” move! yes, he called me. and the rest is history. we met- and there was no end to conversations. to the little get-aways. to the quick lunches. to the musical evenings. to the moments that stood still and seemed so perfect. to those beautiful magical moments. to those moments when it seemed just right. to those moments when it was perfect. and meant to be.

and so we met. and it started. it seemed perfect- the way our hands fit perfectly into each others. the way we lived each moment, as though there was no tomorrow. the way he sweeped me off the floor. he knew magic. and everything he touched, shimmered with love and beauty…

and so we met- as though we would never part. as though there would be no end to the love we had.. and time passed.

but did that love really end?

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hurt

January 2, 2008

Saif had laughed the otherday and told me not to fly. he had told me not to fly so high.

I had ignored him completely. I was sure this time nothing would go wrong. Only this time, just for this moment, I will be happy. I had found love. and I still have love. yet, it hurts.

It hurts because I can’t seem to be as strong anymore. It hurts because, this time even if it hurts, I won’t let go. I won’t be able to let go. I have loved too much to do that.. I have dreamt too much..

I sit back tonight and swallow my grief, swallow my tears.. this time if this dream breaks, I will run away for sure..