Your Opinion is Not My reality

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What is the most difficult thing to do in this world – Being Yourself.

People are quick to judge. It comes easy. What doesn’t come easy is the power of observation. How hard is it to just observe people and not judge ? For a lot of people – Impossible. A  judgmental mind is a weak mind. It’s a threatened mind. It’s a cynical mind. Cynicism is ok sometimes because one should not plainly accept what is being given to them in life. One  has to and should question it. But to question just for the heck of it , or let’s say out of habit is so not cool .People always want to see what they want to see and not see what really exists. This attitude , this bent of mind ain’t right.

Don’t try to seek answers that you want to hear. Be open minded.Be evolved and learn to accept the truth as it is without judging people because if you can’t , you’re a mess for life. Each one of us including me has judged sometime in life. The only difference is that some of us ‘grow’ and get evolved to not judge again.Others just can’t let go of the cynicism. When strangers try to make an opinion about us based on their own short comings it doesn’t really matter. But when our close people do it, it hurts because they know us so well. So why should they judge us ? Should they not understand what we feel or think ? Or at least make an effort to understand our point of view ? Even if their stance is different from ours , what is the point of judging? Just accept the differences without being cynical about it.

William Shakespeare mentions in his play, The Merchant of Venice that ,”it is easy to give a sermon to to a crowd but it is extremely difficult to be a part of the same crowd and follow that sermon yourself.”  This is the problem the world faces. People want to preach and preach all the time without ever doing it themselves. It takes a lot of nerve to ‘not’ hold back people in life. It takes guts to trust people with their decisions. Sadly, very very few people do that.  From the very beginning, Society teaches us to ‘”Always be yourself.” Ironically when that actually happens it doesn’t approve of our ways. The moment when we are confronted with a situation like this where we stand conflicted,  is the time when we should decide  whether we will bow down to the fear that society wants to inflict on us or whether we will live each day our own way. The choice is always ours.

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Honoured with the Versatile Blogger Award

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A fellow blogger on WordPress whose blog is entitled – ‘The Human Lens’ has nominated me for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’. I am extremely grateful for receiving this award. It’s been a while i accepted an award here since i always have felt the need to promote lesser known but riveting blogs of new writers. But this time i graciously agreed to receive it since the blogger who has nominated me is a very talented, bright and intellectual individual. I keep her in my highest regard and have utmost respect for her not just as a blogger but as a human being. Before i share with you the rules for the award, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely lady who has nominated me .

She’s a Pakistani woman, who stands out of the crowd. The woman is a human rights journalist/activist and trainer. She’s also a feminist and advocates equality.Her affiliations include the South Asian Feminist Network, Pakistan Women Media Network, Dignity International, Islamic Relief, Search for Common Ground etc. She lives it real and is a very aware and pragmatic woman. I insist all of you reading this should definitely visit her blog. Here’s the link : https://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/

The rules for this particular award are :- 1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog 2. List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do. 3. State 7 things about yourself 4. Nominate other bloggers for the award. 5. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. 6. Display the award logo on your blog.

As per the above rules i have to list 7 things about myself .So here they are :

1.I believe in the notion of ‘Live and let live.’ Therefore neither do i impose myself on people nor do i allow people to impose themselves on me. I like being a free spirit.

2. I love to travel because travel teaches you what your books or society doesn’t. It opens you up to new horizons. I plan to take a solo trip to a  distant place soon.

3.I love to write. It makes me forget all the stress of life, if there is any. Writing makes me really happy.

4. I love music. It’s something i can’t do without. I don’t just listen to it but i write it too. Writing lyrics is my latest venture.

5.I like spending time on Twitter.

6.I love watching Sitcoms. They make my life interesting. I don’t need human contact if i am left alone with my shows.

7. I am 100% loyal to the people i love. I owe my happiness to my family and friends. They are my lifeline :-)

Having written 7 facts about myself , i’d now like to nominate some amazing writers here for this award. My list of nominees includes the following lovely people :

The extremely talented , versatile and piano maestro – Mihran Kalaydjian (https://kmihran.wordpress.com/)

The very resourceful and  modest Lorrie Bowden (http://lorriebowden.com/)

The very optimistic Pratik Akkawar (https://pratikakkawar.wordpress.com/

The man who lives it real Bikram (https://mannbikram.wordpress.com/)

The intellectual and aware blogger from Sleeping Geeks (http://sleepinggeeks.com/)

The ever bright and sparkly blogger from Silver Threading (http://silverthreading.com/)

One of my all time favourites on WordPress Ronovan Hester (https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/)

I wish all my nominees best wishes for all their future endeavours :-)

Feel the Joy Within

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If you can sip hot cappuccino , read a Dan Brown novel and plug in ear phones post midnight with a smile on your face , it means you are happy. If you can move about randomly in the street , all by yourself with a song on your lips and ecstasy in your heart , you truly are feeling the joy in your life. It’s precious. So precious !! With that subtle composure in your life, you can so easily let go of things that once triggered you and made you upset. You don’t even care anymore about things that drain your energy. A friend tweeted this a few days back – The journey from “What the hell?” to “I don’t give a shit!” is the hardest! I agree. But this journey is worth it :)

Life is not that difficult so why purposely sign up for a life full of struggle when you can sail through it really smoothly. Work hard, achieve your aspirations, follow your dreams but don’t complicate your life just because you are too scared to pursue the one thing you were meant to do on this planet – ‘Be You’ !!! Every single moment , just be ‘you’ – One hundred percent. Life will turn out to be beautiful :)

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Life is Fleeting – Count your Blessings and Stay Grateful !!

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The most uncanny aspect of life is that one can never be sure what follows next. It’s a full circle one goes through. Ups and downs, joys and sorrows , success and failure , life and death – All of it makes us stand and wonder that here each one is to their own. Every phase, every experience, every moment adds a new perspective to the way we view ourselves. We are all just an insignificant spec when we compare ourselves to the gigantic microcosm. Therefore one should not be petty or arrogant about their essential being. Life is to be embraced with open arms. Happiness is meant to be shared. Misery is to be made a teaching moment for endurance.

Love the people around. Don’t discriminate. Keep your humanity alive because life is fleeting at a pace so fast that things can change at the blink of an eye. Remain grateful because you owe a lot of people a lot when it comes to shaping you as an individual that you are. You just never know what you encounter next. So be thankful to the people who made you who you are. People will not stay around forever because eventually all of us will leave this place. But until then, live in harmony and radiate out positivity as much as you can. Spread your vibrance out there in the universe.

P.S I am dedicating this post to all those people whose loved ones mean the world to them. Nothing lasts forever, they say. Only memories remain. So create moments you can cherish for a lifetime :)

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” You Are My Love” by Mihran Kalaydjian in Duet

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Duet ” You Are My Love”

Lyrics:  Akriti Mattu
Producer: Samer Khoury & Sami Abdo
Recording & arrangement: Paramount Studios

Hey people, wishing all of you an extremely progressive and a joyous new year -2015.

There could have not been a better way to start the new year than by sharing a song about love , that i wrote.  We recorded it a few days ago but i waited till today to post it. Firstly because it’s the first day of the year and secondly and more importantly because it is Mihran’s Kalaydjian’s birthday. Mihran Kalaydjian is my mentor and also the composer of this beautiful  track. I wish him all the very best on his birthday today and a remarkable year ahead. Also, a word of gratitude for letting me be a part of his venture and giving me an opportunity to write lyrics for his outstanding tracks.

To all you lovely people, i wish lots of happiness , strength and success in 2015. Keep rising and shining :)

What the World Needs Now is Peace. Don’t Let Hate Win !!

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As i sit down to write this post, the world is becoming a dangerous place. It’s slowly being consumed by hate, prejudice, stereotypes and most of all religious fundamentalism. A week ago there was a siege in a Sydney cafe. The world was appalled by the incident. Seventeen people were taken hostage and three were killed including the hostage-taker – Man Haron Monis, a fifty year old man born in Iran and settled in Australia. The Prime Minister of Australia -Tony Abbott has described Monis as “a deeply disturbed individual with a long history of crime, a long history of mental instability and infatuation with extremism.” The man has over forty cases concerning  sexual and assault related offences and a history of religiously motivated activism. During the siege , Monis displayed an Islamic flag.

The world stood in solidarity with Sydney. The best thing that happened was the hashtag that trended globally on  Twitter – #illRideWithYou. The motive and the feeling behind the hashtag was to support those individuals of the Muslim community who could have got cornered and who could have been possible targets of retaliatory attacks, just because one man (Haron Monis) was crazy enough to be so extreme that he landed up being responsible for a siege and killed innocent citizens. Australia set an example for the world to follow. It didn’t work up into an Islamophobic rage because of the actions of a single maniac. I’d like to share here how the hashtag started because it’s heart warming.

It started with a tweet from @sirtessa, a TV content editor and writer from Sydney whose real name is Tessa Kum. Tessa Kum told BuzzFeed News that “her heart broke” after reading a story tweeted by Rachael Jacobs as news of the hostage siege broke.Rachael Jacobs, on Facebook had posted a status in which she mentioned seeing a woman, she presumed was Muslim silently removing her hijab while sitting next to her on the train: “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone’. This  little encounter of  Rachael Jacobs with a woman in religious attire inspired this Twitter user, @sirtessa, and she tweeted – “If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.”  Moments later she tweeted again “Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?”  And that’s how it began :)

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Some of the tweets under the hashtag were plain beautiful:

“I was going to drive to work tomorrow but seeing the outpouring of support changed my mind. #illridewithyou Thank you. See you on the train!”

“Anybody concerned for their safety going to work in Brisbane tomorrow morning from the Northside, #illridewithyou”

“illridewithyou because together the journey is more fun. That, friends, is our victory: one haters will never know.”

“i’m muslim and verry happy to see that people in austrilia know that a group of jihadist don’t represent all the religion #illridewithyou.”

Isn’t this a wonderful response from Sydney?? It just touches your heart and you feel that yes even in a world full of hate , there is goodness and people stand with and for each other above religion, colour, caste everything. At times like these, all we need is to be human. That’s all. The world should learn from Sydney because i can vouch for the fact that had this same incident happened elsewhere, including the top nations of the world, there would surely have been communal attacks and innocent people would have been targeted.

After the world stood in solidarity with Sydney, Peshawar in Pakistan witnessed one of the most brutal acts of violence. This time the victims were school going children. One hundred and forty one deaths in a just a few minutes. Out of these one hundred and thirty were children. I will not call it death , i will call it a massacre. The Taliban gunmen just stormed in classrooms and shot children randomly. They shot them in their heads point blanc. I am flabbergasted at the psyche of such inhuman brutes. Do they not think at all? Are they so weak to be brainwashed into killing innocents. What kind of a Jihad are they fighting for? They didn’t just kill children, they killed aspirations , dreams and hopes of a hundred families.They killed the future of a nation that just doesn’t learn and because of which every Muslim in the world gets ‘generalized’ as being a filthy human being.

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I am an Indian. My country shares its border with Pakistan. Their internal disturbances affect us too. It affected us this time as well and we feel sorry for the people who are born in a country which in my view is a failed state with an absolutely weak establishment. We didn’t start a #illRideWithYou hashtag but we did start #IndiawithPak which has exactly the same intent as the hashtag from Sydney did. I feel proud as an Indian that majority of the people from my nation stood in solidarity with the families of the innocent kids that got massacred. I feel proud that even the most extreme right wing proponents showed their support . I’m proud that our Prime Minister spread the word for observing a two minute silence across schools in India today and the schools observed it. After all each and every innocent life across the planet is precious and terrorism in any form is to be condemned.

However what i am not proud of is the fact that when we as a nation stood in solidarity with our neighbouring nation, people like Hafiz Saeed from Pakistan were planning terror attacks on some of the major cities in India. Hafiz Saeed is the mastermind behind the terror attacks on the Indian Parliament. Pakistan , instead of nailing this marauder acquitted him of all the charges. He now lives in Pakistan as a free citizen. Not just this, underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim live freely in Pakistan. Every limit was crossed today by Pakistan when just twenty four hours after the brutal carnage, a man known by the name of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was released on bail for ,”lack of evidence.” Can you beat this.? Hypocrisy anyone? Yesterday their Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had taken a vow to combat terrorism and wipe out every single terrorist out of the country. Is this how the establishment plans to combat terror ? Lakhvi was one of the main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks where we lost so many of our innocent people, our loved ones, our dear ones. And we haven’t yet healed. We really haven’t.

There are also spineless assholes ( i will not abstain from using such language because they deserve it) like Pervez Musharaf who publicly issued a statement slamming India and blaming us for the incident (God knows how) . He said,“Pakistan will harness these incidents to fuel old mythologies of hatred and provoke even greater violence against India and Afganistan.” I am flustered at the man’s audacity blaming a nation which has right from the outset preached for peace and that too for the entire region. We lose soldiers on our borders, we lose friends in terrorist attacks, we even get threats all the time. Yet we stood in solidarity for the families of the innocent children because we feel the pain and instead of appreciating this gesture, some madmen from Pakistan end up blaming us ? For what ? If only Pakistan had been more careful with their internal security, their country would be much better than what it is now. Today if Pakistan removes their security forces from their borders and use them for internal security, they still have nothing to worry about. I’m saying this with such surety because India will neither encroach their land nor violate the ceasefire. This is my beloved country that their establishment so easily blames. It’s upsetting.

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Having said all this, i’d also like to point out that on Twitter there were so many people from Pakistan who not only appreciated India’s support but also held their establishment responsible for the violence and brutality of their nation. I’d like to share a few tweets here:

 : “ was an important moment of solidarity. So should be.” 
 
 :“No Murderer should ever be given Bail to roam on Streets Hang Them All! It’s time we stood up against Terrorists .” 
 
 “Thank you for hashtag. We are together in this. It’s about humanity.” 
 
:”Thanks from Pakistan for .” 
 
: “Dear India, BE ASSURED THAT PAKISTANIS LIKE ME WIL STAND WITH YOU. We Want Peace. .”

Hence there are people on both sides of the border who want peace everywhere and who appreciate what we do for them. I feel terrible for people who get ‘generalized’ because they happen to be a part of a particular nation or religion. I am sure just like me there will be women of of my age, my caliber and my dreams that are born in Pakistan. I am sure there are men who live in fear every passing day and who want to lead normal lives. I am sure that there will be people who are as fed up of the atrocity as we are. That is why how can one possibly ‘generalize.’ I am a woman and i hear all the time women being raped by men. But that doesn’t make every man a rapist. Likewise just because a few extremists and politicians of a country are spouting hate not just against India but anything progressive , doesn’t make an entire population culpable.

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On twitter, i had a little debate today with a dear friend of mine. He too stood in solidarity for what happened with the children yesterday but was extremely aggravated by the bail of Lakhvi today. His point was that how can we as a nation stand up for Pakistan when they acquit people like Saeed & Lakhvi and they are completely hypocritical when it comes to terrorism. Now he’s right on this. He surely is. However my point was that even in a nation like Pakistan there definitely are people like my friend and me who are innocent so we have got to stand for them. How can we possibly hate them because it’s not their fault. His rebuttal was that the people are responsible because they are the ones who have chosen an establishment like this, Pakistan being a democracy. My counter was that people had to choose them because they had no other choice. Now both my friend and me are on the same page as far as our stand on terrorism is concerned. However he feels ( and he has every right to) that people in general in Pakistan are responsible for what happens to them while i say that they are not because it’s easier said than done. Taking a stand against the establishment is not easy , that too in a nation like Pakistan. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t. Ofcourse they should but it’s hard .It is. Either people will have to enter politics or get united (which i highly doubt by the way) and then pave a way for reforms. Pakistan needs a second freedom struggle. This time to counter the enemy within.

As a woman i feel very strongly on issues around and i speak up. I was just wondering if instead of India i was born in Pakistan with exactly the same attributes, would i be allowed to take a stand? The kind of person i am, i would have actually and i’m definite the fundamentalists would have shot me down in cold blood. Forget about taking a stand, i don’t think they would have allowed me to write a blog against the establishment that i can so freely do in India. That is why i said it’s easier said than done. I might believe and shout all my life that i want to combat terror but when my own family members will be taken hostage and i’d be warned to not believe what i’m doing, i’ll have to take a step back. Actually this holds true for every one not just me. We might be the strongest of people ,wanting to get rid of terror but we can’t when it comes to the people we love. A young girl of 15 – Malala Yousafzai gets shot in her forehead, takes a stand and becomes the youngest recipient at 17. to win  a Nobel prize, that too for peace. This is an individual taking a stand. But she was forced to leave Swat Valley , the place where she belongs and now wants to fight terrorism from UK .I commend her courage but it’s sad that her country cannot accommodate her because she happens to be in a minority. Minority of individuals who need peace, who need education and who just like us want to progress.

This is the problem with Pakistan. It just doesn’t protect individuals who want to make their country a better place. It’s a country where the extremists don’t even want to allow kids to be educated. They are retrogressive. Fear is the strongest weapon that a terrorist uses against innocent citizens. So if individuals from Pakistan don’t take a stand , it’s not because they don’t want to. They are instilled with fear that they just can’t. But now is the time. Someone will have to initiate it and that too from the masses. I mean a country of 182.1 million with a handful of dolt politicians and extremists can be handled but that one initiation is required. Even though i know that this reform (if it happens) will lead to the loss of thousands of lives, it will have to be done some day and i hope that ‘some day’ arrives soon.

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I read a quote once according to which – we end up being ruled by inferior people just because we are too weak to take a stand. Holds true. Pakistan needs to put their arrogance aside, stop blaming India for the mess they’ve created and save their ‘innocent’ citizens a lot of trouble by not letting them being ‘generalized.’ Even if today, Pakistan supports India in its fight against terror , it will be a better country in a lot of aspects. I tweeted yesterday that ,” Hillary Clinton had once said,”You cant keep snakes in your backyard & think they’ll bite only your neighbours. Pakistan is a failed state.” This is what Pakistan needs to introspect about. They need to stop harbouring terrorists, else their country will become living hell. My friend tweeted – “Selective approach against Terrorism will cost Pakistan dearly..how can a nation be so double speaking..“. This says it all. High time. Live in peace , let your innocent citizens live in peace and let us live in peace.

This is my last post for 2014. I’d like to see 2015 bring in more love, more compassion, more peace to the world. I’d like to see more unity, more oneness, keeping our prejudices aside. I really want our globalized village to be a much better place to live in. Wishing you all an extremely happy New Year. See you in 2015 with a greater zeal for every cause i strongly feel about. For now, I’d like to conclude by saying -

DON’T FIGHT WITH EACH OTHER, FIGHT THE COMMON ENEMY, FIGHT HATE !!

P.S : ( i owe my dear friend this post because our debate got me thinking and i had to write :) )

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

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Pristine White

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Amidst the wintertide’s frore

It falls from the sky high …

Dazzles the air around

And delights the beholder’s eye …

It’s the snow so white

So pure , so pristine  …

It is nature’s bounty

So lovely , so serene …

I fall in love with snowflakes

Each time they light the zephyr …

i wait for the season all the time

Wish it could arrive quicker …

It’s the time of the year

It is cold outside …

A time for bonding

With warm hearts inside …

Adoration of the snow

Is what i did as a child …

I cherish it even now

i still hold that smile … !

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