Thursday, November 27, 2014

Each Morning Beckons

The cool air streams from my open window,
Tickling my toes...
The warm blanket pulls away slowly,
Unwrapping my dreams...
And before I can catch them, 
the dreams disappear into the glowing light, that rises from the east.

The colours intertwine, white and brown,
the boil coming upto the brim 
and then settling down.
The smell of fresh ginger fills the air,
cleanses & rinses everything around.
Breathe, Breathe deep, I hear a whisper.
I do, feel light and let the heaviness all out.

A soft kiss and warm hug,
then rustling of the newspaper.
Conversations, a bit of tease, some play
And laughter accompanying
the tinkling tea cups. 
And You.

Then like sand slipping from my hands
the clock ticks, 
The day awaits you it reminds. 
And though I wish to remain, 
I get up with a smile on my face 
and my heart beating with gratitude.

Thank you for this sunshine and another great day!

©Aditi Kaushiva

Linking to Poets United Midweek Motif-Gratitude

And also to the first Gratitude Circle, that has been launched today by dear Corinne and Vidya.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Food Over Education, Or Both? #BlogToFeedAChild

It is not uncommon that many children from the poor families dropout from schools at a young age to add to the meager income of their families. Most of our house maids who tag along their children for work are common examples to this sad situation. The children choose are made to work so as to feed their hungry stomachs rather than encouraged to pursue their education that will in the long run prove to be much more beneficial. Why?? Why choose Food over Education when we can achieve both!

Yes, with Akshaya Patra's Mid Day Meal Program, we can achieve both - Quality Food with Quality Education. What better encouragement for a child to go to school than a proper full meal a day. For many it might be the only meal they get the entire day!! Think!

In partnership with the Government of India and respective State Governments and with the support of many philanthropic donors, the program today serves food to over 1.39 million children from 10,631 schools across 9 states in India. In line with their vision "No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger", they together with BlogAdda started an initiative this Children's Day, to feed one child for an entire year per each blogpost. I am more than happy to support this cause and feel it is each blogger's social responsibilty to write and spread this cause. Taking from Roshan's cue I would like to tag Shilpa, SangeetaSulekhaMeena and Inderpreet to write one blogpost, just 300 words and help feed one child for an entire year.

Apart from this I think with a little more effort on our part, both at school level and community level we can help take this initiative a step further.

*The Delhi winters are just kicking in, but the afternoons are blessed with being bright and sunny. Have a backyard sale in your colonies/children's school and donate the proceeds to Akshaya Patra.
*You can also help collect food grains, vegetables and fruits and get them transported to their kitchens directly.
*Have a fundraising exhibition. The exhibits could be of the painting you drew and kept aside, a bake sale, the endless 'amateur' photos you have clicked or any hobby that you love.

Any more ideas? Then blog about it!

I just want to add one more thing. Like me, some of you might be apprehensive, you know since the corruption and level of bureaucracy in India has followed its way to the social sectors too. There has been a lot of criticism over the Mid Day Meal programs; just last year several children fell ill and unfortunately few lost their lives because of pesticide contaminated mid day meals. No one took accountability! Being very aware of this problem, I did my own research and went through Akshaya Patra's financial reports and FAQs and found them to be very transparent, responsible and true to their work. Kudos really!

So do join this good cause and help eliminate classroom hunger!

   Do watch this video - Hunger leads a child down a path no child ever ought to take ‘The Possibilities’ portrays various struggles a child goes through in order to survive. And how just one wholesome mid-day meal served every day at school changes his life. 

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Slice of Joy

No ticking of the clocks, no hurried steps...
More giggles, more laughter and more late night banters...
My three days in Kolkata, more accurately in the IIMC campus were this and much more.
What else can you expect when two sisters meet!

Amongst all the catching up, reliving old memories, gossiping and discovering that my sis has turned into a tea drinker and has now an unbelievable tolerance for spicy foods, we somehow managed a day for the city.

After a lot of planning and re-planning we finally ditched aside our travelling notes, literally pushed each other off the one bunker bed that we were lazing on, squinted our eyes to adjust to the hot blazing sun and took a shared auto, then a bus and finally the taxi to reach the Victoria Memorial hall and lawns.

Built between 1906 and 1921, dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901), The Victoria Memorial hall stands majestically amidst the lush green gardens, the white marbled structure hinting of a resemblance to the Taj Mahal in Agra.

A stroll in the garden and few selfies later, we took the east gate of the Victoria Memorial to find the St. Paul's Cathedral right opposite the road.

Struck by the beautiful Indo-Gothic architecture and the stained glass windows we spent a few moments sitting inside the church in quiet contemplation.

As we stepped out we noticed quite a plethora of activities around us and realized the Winter Carnival organized by the members of the Church was about to commence. Our grumbling stomachs however ordered us to move on!

The yellow taxi is most definitely the preferred and easiest conveyance in this metro city. We hailed another one and a few minutes later we got dropped off at the Esplanade searching for the restaurant I had been dying to try!

Bhojohori Manna did not disappoint, though it did leave me sweating profusely. Medium Kangra Jhal (Crab Gravy - extremely spicy but delicious thick gravy and soft flesh under crackling bones), Shorshe Maach (Fish in mustard gravy - light sauce tweaked with fresh mustard), Bhetki Paruri (Fish richly marinated with mustard paste, steamed in a banana leaf) and plain rice was plated up in front of us in few minutes. The star of the luncheon was the desert! Nolen Gurer Ice cream ( speciality Ice cream prepared with jaggery) filled our mouths with deliciously rich flavours. Yum!

I was so tempted to try out all the listings at the menu but a revisit wasn't possible so I'll have to do with ' there's always a next time'

With content tummies we walked towards the New market area. Truly a shoppers paradise, we picked up two kurtas and a saree in Kantha textile before sitting down and having a glass of sugarcane juice whilst admiring the colonial architecture around.

A slice of this City of Joy was an experience in itself. There are still many wondrous and variant colours of Kolkata that remain unexplored. But for a day we did good! And the sunset at Princep Ghat, with the hues changing above the Vidyasagar Setu minute by minute as we sat under a tree admiring the gently flowing Hooghly river beneath us and the iconic Howrah bridge at the far opposite end, was the perfect goodbye.