BREATHE

Self-destruction isn’t just slits on arms and poison and jumping off rooftops, is it? It is in the tear stains on your pillow each morning. It is the faraway look in your eyes. It is the loud music that drowns away your screaming and sobbing. It is lying awake night after night, staring at the ceiling.

 You lock away the pain and the guilt in some far corner of your soul, where no one can see it. You are glass shattered into diamonds. You flash sugary smiles. You’ll carry graveyards on your spine till you can’t handle it anymore and you’ll fall. And the dark circles underneath your eyes will slowly suck your soul in like a black hole.

Life will toss you around like you’re a rag doll and wound you all over. Life will push you around and knock you down over and over again. But knocking the wind out of you is the only way to remind yourself how much you love the taste of air. You’ll feel like you’re caught in a storm, surrounded by destruction and rain. But I’ll tell you, my dear, that a storm’s just excited rain. It’ll soon drain itself out and leave a rainbow in its wake. So stick out your tongue and taste Life’s bittersweet flavour while you still can.

Look up at the sky, at the twinkling stars, so many of them that you’ll run out of numbers before you can finish counting them all. Look at them. Look at the big, vast Universe around us, engulfing us in a dark blue blanket. There is just one of you out there. And you have no right to deprive the universe of the breath taking beauty that is you. You have no right to make the Earth miss the feel of your weight, to make the wind long for the feeling of ruffling through your hair, to snatch away our privilege of hearing your melodious laugh.

The moon sneaks beside you every night and dances upon your face, praying that you’ll still breathe tomorrow, wishing that you’ll outshine his glow the next day. And the day after.

You are precious.

You are loved beyond words.

You are important, because the universe will collapse without you.

So breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Life will be magical again.

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My India, My Dream

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; 

Where knowledge is free […]

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake 

 

There is so much to dream about India; so much to love; so much to despair; so much to cheer about and so much to work for.

India is almost a five thousand years old civilization. And ever since its inception, various streams of immigrants, from different ethnic strains and linguistic families, have merged into India to contribute to its diversity, richness and vitality. Several levels of social evolution coexist in India and its composite identity has won her the often quoted cliche, ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Even as we should be proud of our roots, we need to be worried about the future of our country. Still plagued by numerous problems, India has failed to find the stature that it deserves in this world. Instead of treating the problems like an ostrich and ignoring them, it’s time we took the bull by its horn and tackled each and every malady analytically and thoroughly.  

Step out onto the roads of India, and you will undoubtedly see countless pairs of sweat-drenched hands begging for food. Uncombed hair, tattered clothes, unwashed and malnourished bodies are sure to greet your eyes at every traffic signal. The first thing that I wish for India of the future, is that these people are economically protected and they have a home, a job to go to, a happy life and no longer depend on the mercy of those driving shiny big black cars. Economic disparities prevalent in India should be bridged. India of my dreams is a nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy, and continues on a sustainable growth path.

Corruption has become a blood-sucking vampire and is draining out the life force of India. People openly blackmail us, burn holes into our pockets and we oblige. Honest and visionary politicians, supported by a dedicated bureaucracy, in the India of my dreams will have stronger anti-corruption laws and even tougher implementation to root out this parasite. It will be a nation where governance is responsive, transparent and corruption-free.

India, as of today, is, sadly, a society of hypocrites, sexists, and racists. Casteism is still prevalent. Women and elders are still discriminated against. Lawlessness is still rampant and we are still haunted by local goons and mafias. The common man is afraid to step out of his home for fear of his life and security. No more discrimination and insecurities in the India of my dreams! A nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed, crime against women and children is absent, and no one in the society feels alienated.

India is home to a rich diversity of religions and religious beliefs, and yet, they live in disharmony and treat each other with distaste and suspicion. The Hindu-Muslim riots are still prevalent in almost every part of the country.  I dream of an India where Shabad Kirtan from Gurudwaras, Azan from Mosques, Bhajans from Temples and chiming of the bells from churches blend together into a harmonious medley of beautiful music. Imagine waking up in a future India and listening to all these different spiritual strains merge and mingle and produce a melodious tune of brotherhood and love. Imagine all the people living life in peace.    

India has become a soft target for terrorism, even though it is a worldwide phenomenon. The humane and pacific image of India in international relations is often taken for sheepishness. This is because we only react to threats and lack strategic planning. India needs to be tougher and more aggressive in its own defense.

We need to skill-enable and knowledge-enable our youth by fostering private sector initiatives. It is essential to develop sustainable systems in every domain, so that fluctuations in the world economy do not have a direct impact on the Indian economy.

With its run of recent accomplishments, India has earned international acclaim for its ambitious space programmes and science missions, which will fill any Indian’s heart with pride. I dream for India to become a world leader in science and technology.

 

“Dream; Dream; Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts. And thoughts result in action.”

I dream of a shining India, a vibrant democracy and a secular nation taking center-stage in the comity of nations. To say the least, we will have a new heaven on earth. People will be mentally, morally, spiritually and physically better. The common man in India will feel the glow of freedom.