Saturday, January 29, 2011

Live To Inspire

Inspiration is like the lotus that rises from the sludge and is untouched by the impurity of pond. It’s the illumination of soul that is unstirred by repugnance of life. As spur of hope, inspiration is the internal mettle that keeps us moving even if the sun is down. As an internal coach, inspiration often emboldens us at the end of the road to be resilient and change the axis of our life. Such grit is a gift beyond age and above reasoning to uncountable souls across the globe. Today I am sharing the narratives of some such souls whose life is a sketch of inspiration.

At 9, she was impeccant as a flower that sprouts with charm and chastity. Unaware of the hurl, she was betokened in; Nujood Ali was married to a man in his 30’s. Post marriage, her turmoil seemed endless with harsh beatings and repeated rapes by her elderly husband. However, Nujood had once heard that judges could grant divorces. At 10, Nujood broke away from all traditions and sneaked into a taxi to the nearest courthouse. When she encountered a judge, she declared firmly: “I want a divorce!” and the rest was history. Nujood’s courage and determination is kindling millions in their fight against child marriages. As Nujood shares, “at first, I felt ashamed about what had happened to me. But I passed through that. All I want now is to finish my education and become a lawyer." Today Nujood attends a private school in Sanaa, Yemen and aspires to board her dreams.

She lived in a village near the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. She was abducted and sold into slavery when she was just 12. Her life was bondage to physical & sexual abuse. At 18, she was sold and sent to London for life of servitude and drudgery. After years of affliction and agony, Mende Nazer finally managed to escape from the grind. Her fight for freedom is ongoing! Today, Mende Nazer is an author and human rights activist. Her early life’s tribulations have been featured in a 90 minute movie-‘I am Slave’. Mende’s current aspirations involve charitable work to empower and uplift the children and young people of her native Sudan.  

In 2009, her story was published in Nicholas Kristoff’s acclaimed book ‘half the sky’. Her life was tragic. She was poor, vulnerable and was scorned in her village. She suffered repeated beatings from her unemployed husband for not bearing him a son. After days of emotional exile and physical toil, Saima Muhammad signed up with Kashf foundation, a microfinance organization that lends money to poor women to start business. Saima took a loan of mere 65$ to buy beads and cloth to start her own embroidery business. Today her business is flourishing. Saima even employed her husband and many families in her village into it. Her determination is exemplary of the inspiration to be self-reliant she provides to others like her in her native of Lahore, Pakistan.

Everyday we meet many nujoods, mendes and saimas in the subway or on the metro, at work, in our families or among friends. They may even be the common faces that we simply pass by while in our rush to exist. Each of those faces and each of us have a story to tell, have an idea to share, each of us have the propensity to effectuate our dreams. So let’s rise to the prowess inside to live a life that inspires before it expires.

Copyright (c) 2011 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be A Lotus In Life - Barkha Dhar - Hindustan Times

My latest article Be a Lotus in Life has been published in the Inner Voice section of The Hindustan Times, India's leading Newspaper.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dear God

Dear God, 
You may still remember the pristine prayer that I sang to you everyday in the school assembly. I innocuously thanked you ‘for the food I ate, for the clothes I wore, for the birds that sang and thanked you for everything’. As child, I wondered what contained in thanking you for ‘everything’. To date, I devoutly tumble on this thought that vaguely describes your art. I certainly imagine thanking you for my material existence that spurs my life in day and night. But that would be morsel of my gratitude. So I am writing to you about what subsumes of thanking you for that ‘everything’ unknown to me as child. At the outset, I would like to accede with my habitat’s preeminent contributions that have been substantial in valuing what I have than what I don’t. This feeling perhaps enunciates that life is beyond our control and sometimes its course gets haywire. In moments when logic appears irrational, your stupendous milieu guides and sustains me and my fellow inhabitants. Your signs reinstate that when things go wrong, there is a purpose and that you have something daring and exciting planned for us. 

God, alongside your immaculate lessons, yet another earmark distinguishes us in this habitat. It’s the disposition of your children. Besides physical self, our mind is most visceral. It reins our thoughts and feelings and often hobnobs with our relationships. So sometimes we fight, brush along with ego, meddle in other’s family matters and disturb someone unrelentingly instead of sharing love. In such instances, your blessings are colossal in reminding us of the one’s who express their cheer and ardor for us. You remind us of looking up to those who inspire us and accept us for who we are instead of picking on us. Besides, your sanctity and faith generates might and keeps us away from those who spite us or are vindictive. 

Dear God, your omnipotence is your third eye watching us all from a celestial cinemascope. Its mammoth screen is like a mirror that captures good, sad and changing moments of our lives. Besides, it reflects on the magnitude of our musings that quite often absorbs us in self-praise without any heed to self-blame. In such occasions, we get preoccupied with selfdom, criticize and conceal against the one’s we dislike. Sometimes, we may even go overboard to denigrate others with our one-sided judgments. God, this is when your prayers invoke hope and conveys that no matter what, truth shall always prevail. 

God, although your supreme craft sometimes appears absolute. It however leaves us with invincible quest to look inside before we look outside at others. Such self-exploration helps in coexistence. Unmasking ourselves even for once makes us realize that even if we are different, yet we synchronize as pieces of an unending puzzle. Now that awareness certainly seems magnificent! It indeed is a chunk of ‘thank you for everything’ that you gifted me and my fellow inhabitants in this abode that we call life. 
Signing off with reverence,
Barkha Dhar  

Copyright (c) 2011 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
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Voice-over: Ash D.