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Showing posts from 2015

Many Faces of Kabir

Some call him a mystic poet
Some a philosopher and saint
The Hindus and Muslims
Believe he is theirs

Kabir is a tree
The roots go beyond sight
Each fruit unique
like Prahlad and Mukhtiar

Who is Kabir?
Is he just lore?
He answers in silence
“I’m living truth”


- हेरंब
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Merry Christmas

Thuck!

It was the last pencil he had. 10 more days before mother could buy him a new one. Everything appeared blurred.

Eating a cream roll, Hari had seen all this from the kitchen. His mother worked as a maid. She called him to help her with the dishes. The broken pencil was replaced with a new one. “Merry Christmas!”

- हेरंब
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Paid Poison

There lived a miser: not so nasty, not so good.
He had an about-to-break-anytime rocking chair at home. Having crossed more than 60 years of age its squeaks had become a daily headache for his wife. “It’s my father’s last memory. I can’t repair it any form, he’ll be hurt.”

Then there was the poison bottle post expiry date in house. His wife couldn’t bear this silliness.
“I have paid Rs.15 for it 12 years ago. At least I have to recover the full price!”

 “I’ll get the price recovered for you- too many rats in the house!” The miser was happy.

That night she emptied the entire poison bottle in the cookie dough.

“This tastes awesome. New recipe?”
“Yes” she said.
The miser lived long. He managed to recover the full price.

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Goodness Will Always Fail

“Why don’t you understand? These good people suffer more when you erect their massive idols and worship them.”
Saying this she went away. The worn out sandals rubbed against the new pavement a little harder.
It was the 3rd month she hadn’t received a salary. She was a primary school teacher in a small town. She wasn’t on strike.

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The God He Found

With hurried strides Mohan was walking down the long winding mud road towards the river stream. The day light was getting dim. It was time for sunset.

Panting heavily after the hour long walk he felt his throat little parched. “But it doesn't matter now,” he said to himself.

Wiping away the tears as he strode few more steps, in a moment the world turned upside down with clouds of dust swirling over him, making it difficult to breathe as he tried getting up from the ground only to notice an upper tooth dangling in the cavity of his mouth sending the pain cracking his every nerve.

The small round shining black stone he had toppled over was clearly visible. Quickly bowing down he said, "Thank you God for giving me back my life." Tears didn’t allow him to see anything further.

It was that time of the year again, when the High School exam results are out. Many find their dream careers and a few end their mortal existence.
Mohan had found his God.

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The League of Most Ordinary (Wo)Men

Poet or writer or novelist or author, call her/him anything you like. They belong to the same league: The League of Most Ordinary (Wo)Men.

Ordinary? Ah! You thought they were the elite ones, right? Something like this?
Somewhere deep in a silent palace, untouched by any other human habitation, dressed in tuxedo, writing on an expensive rosewood or mahogany table under a beautiful night lamp, with a glass of the most expensive wine placed beside or with an occasional puff and violinists playing Mozart’s 9th Symphony of Mozart in the background. (He has composed a 9th one, right?)
And then there would be the most beautiful damsels waiting to serve them. Occasionally being awarded Poet Laureates, sitting among the knights and reading out their works to the royal family <oops! royal family should have been in all CAPS>
Stop!

The fact is poets/writers/novelists/authors are nothing but the most ordinary of the mortals. They notice and express what others try to forget/pretend to forg…

What next? 10 Seconds to Nothing

What next?

This is the question which haunts us when we finally achieve what we set out to achieve. It maybe landing a job with good pay package, finding someone special(ahem ahem!), or being able to catch the local train at the right time, which you could never in the last 10 years, and being able to find a seat to sit.

The question meets us all the time: What next?
Remove the What. Remove the next.

It's only now. 10 secs. Time's up.

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Yesterday I Was 'There' | A Tale of Seduction

The vacant lanes
lit yellow
those seducing looks
of unquenched beings
as if wanting you
to embrace them
at least for the night
when you are alone

Yesterday, I was 'there'
where 'decent' folks
never dare wander

Not having met her
for years
I wondered
whether my touch
she'll still remember

There, in the corner
she lay
with loose skin
but feeling 16
sweet emotions
present in her eyes
How does age matter
when expressing love?

I still remember
she was always taken
before I could
by someone
who envied
us being together

But today
without a moment's halt
she fell into my arms
taking me
in the moments of bliss
we couldn’t create before

She was the autobiography
of my favourite writer
I, her reader
yesterday, I was ‘there’
at the book exhibition.




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The Last Poem - a novel by Rabindranath Tagore

Excerpt: "The protagonist, Amit Ray, is a barrister educated at Oxford. He travels in order to escape the drudgery of his middle-class existence, and gets keenly in…

An Ode to the Monk

Untouched by opinions fearless and poised  on Kanyakumari's blazing rocks in burning sand and among roaring waves he strode in his own company and not for a moment stopped 
The sun who woke up India from deep slumber
The monk who has a single vision "Glory to his mother land,  Glory to the world"
Vivekananda



Read Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (9 Volumes)

picture courtesy: www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info

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Make Relations Beautiful

Utter the word "Relation" and in a moment we think about our boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/cat/dog (No! This doesn't mean a boyfriend and girlfriend after becoming spouses fight like cats and dogs. The order of the sequence is immaterial :P).

We build relations with everyone around - the chai wala (tea seller), travel partner in public transport or the child with no teeth smiling back at us for no reason.

So what's the Raaz(secret) to beautiful relations?
Making relations beautiful depends on talking to each other more than talking about each other.




PS: I'm not a 'Relationship Guru'.


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A Crime Story: The Writer's Better Half

She was sitting in a mixed air of fear and excitement, anxious to hear the judgment.

He looked at her with witty eyes, the glasses resting a little lower on the nose, forcing you to re-think the purpose of wearing it.

"Yes, I am guilty, Sir," she pleaded.

Untouched by the sudden burst of emotions he coldly passed the judgment, "You have been sentenced to come to the nearby book store, and later on drop me at the library, undisturbed for 3 hours."

Her crime: She hadn't allowed him to read/write a single word during their 10 day holiday in Ooty, India. He was a writer.

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Complementary Words: Creating a Word Bank

Whether you are a blogger/writer/banker/programmer/president of the nation, the situation doesn't discriminate. There's always a time when we have the "It's-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue-but" moment. You know it but just can't get the perfect word at the right moment!

We build a special relation with every word. Seeing & hearing a word throws forth another word in our memory. For example, nation: pride, pink: babies, disgust: garbage and so on.

Let's call the second word a "complementary word". These complementary words can vary for all one of us.

Try this
Here are 3 words along with their complementary words that resonate in me.
Nature: Love
Truth: Child
Honest: Women

What complementary words do they mean to you? Make a mental note or share in a comment below. Or maybe you can add 3 more words of your choice in a comment with their complementary words.

Using this you can create your own word bank (online or offline) and use it to refer anytime y…

Download for Free | Social Pay for #ISupportNAAM

Dear Reader,

Thank you for being a part of #ISupportNAAM! (What is #ISupportNAAM? read it here)
(as on 06-12-15 10:42pm IST)
I'm grateful for all the likes, shares, your feedback and monetary contribution. It would be great if we further spread the word about NAAM's work faster. Now let's spread the word through Social Pay by downloading #ISupportNAAM for free!

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Enter your details on the payment gateway
Share or tweet about #ISupportNAAM
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The monetary contribution received has been transferred to NAAM's bank account (see images below).



You can send your monetary contributions to NAAM through (NEFT or Cash Transfer) here are the bank account details.

NAAM Foundation | Bank Account Details Bank: State Bank of India
Branch Name: Bund Garden
Account Number: 35226127148
IFSC Code No: SBIN0006319
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I Desired

I desired good looks
to be looked at and adored

I desired vanity  for the spotlight of fame

I desired information
for them to call me smart
I desired knowledge
to be recognised as wise

I desired humbleness
and became human again
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(Moment captured: May 2011. 

My native place: Achra/Sindhudurg/Maharashtra)

His daughter

He didn't marry her because her father went broke.
Less rains, sudden rains, increasing debts, resulting poor health and family conflicts.
Here's what she wrote to him. After all she was the daughter of a man with unbound love in his heart. Her father was a farmer.
Poem: Love Them
When people you love
hate you
love them
They may avoid
go away
say "it's over"
Don't let opinions
colour your voice they are but a myth
With love it began
with love it must complete
love them

I have nothing more to say.
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The Bond with Mother Earth | धरतीशी जडले नाते

(Picture captured: Malvan, Sindhudurg, May 2011)
धरतीशी जडले नाते तरीही उमजे ना काही बघता मृत हे अंकुर शहारली मज आई
(translation) Bonded with mother earth Still unable to grasp Seeing the dead plant shoots Shivers my mother - heramb
Here अंकुर/Plant shoots is a symbol for 1300+ farmers who have committed suicide.

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आपल्या एक मित्रा/मैत्रिणी बरोबर नक्की शेअर करा!

महाराष्ट्रात,१३००+ शेतकऱ्यांनी जानेवारी-जून २०१५ या दरम्यान आत्महत्या केल्यात.

हीच वेळ आहे परिस्थिती बदलण्याची.
पहा:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBgYs0LUDH8

भाग घ्या:  http://bit.ly/1O5qGVS

डाऊनलोड करा:
कविता- "The Day I was Slapped" Background score by Sergey Cheremisinov, Music Composer (Russia)

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My first poem worth INR 11 Lakh Rupees Only

This happened in India.

One day, when an 8 year old school boy talked about his dream of becoming a farmer.

Poem: The Day I Was Slapped

My age is 8
and I love football
Messi is my hero
but that day changed it all

Doing my homework
trying to finish a math sum
of division and multiplication
pretending it to be fun

It was when Papa asked
what do you want to be
a doctor, an engineer
or a programmer maybe?

I thought for some time
and then came the answer
in a moment I said
a farmer! a farmer!

He got up from the chair
and rushed towards me
furious like never before
he slapped me three

Then he started sobbing
as I couldn't stop but cry
caressing my red cheeks
I still don't know why
- Heramb


I bow down to you with utmost gratitude for sparing your time to read this.



Farmers...

All of us survive and thrive fundamentally on food and farmers are the chief architects of it all! But what happens when they feel like ending their lives? What about their dependent families especially when the…

Insight Stories | The New Logo

August 2013, when I started writing this blog, Insight Stories looked like...

Two books in a shelf with a ball beside them to indicate playfulness.



Stories evolve with time and I hope this blog did along with me.
Glad to present the new logo of Insight Stories.

When we start every work with a "श्री",why not stories?
Let's sit around our digital bonfires(laptops and mobile devices) and celebrate our stories.

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3 Flowers, Superstars and Intolerance

That day on the street corner, in that stinky garbage bin which we always avoid passing by, 3 dull, dry and dying flowers were talking with joy.

The first flower said, "I was at the Mohammad's Dargah. How peaceful were those moments!"
"I was at the cemetery beside an old man at his funeral. Poor chap!" said the second, shedding tears.
"Being Ram Janma, I was offered at the Lord's feet yesterday. What a grand celebration it was," said the third.

Up they went, being lifted into a garbage collection truck. Beside them was a crumpled newspaper with news of superstars speaking about intolerance in India.

The headline read “Trending Now:  #Intolerance”.

Note:
A Dargah is an Islamic shrine built over the grave of a revered religious figure, often a Sufi saint or dervish. 

Ram Janma is celebrate in India as the birth of Ram also known as Raghava, the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, and king of Ayodhya.

Information Courtesy: Wikipedia

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Poet Borkar – The Flower Pollen!

Balkrishna Bhagvant Borkar (बा.भ.बोरकर) A poet handsome in every sense, inside out, just like he says आम्हीहोफुलांचेपराग! (Eng Trans: I’m like the flower pollen!)


नाहीपुण्याचीमोजणी is one of his poems which will guide us within every time we read or listen. The poem is so beautiful (didn’t know a single word to express the experience, let’s say beautiful for now!) that I wanted it to be shared with my friends who do not understand Marathi.

Translating a poem without diluting its essence is a challenge. Here’s a humble attempt. Would love to read your thoughts about it, don’t forget to comment.

(Original Poem in Marathi)

नाहीपुण्याचीमोजणी

नाहीपुण्याचीमोजणी

6 Takeaways from #SMW15 | Spinning Content - Writing for the Web

Recently I was at Social Media Week Mumbai 2015 | Day 6 held at Indian School of Design & Innovation.

Team Blogsters (from L to R: Kauro, Pooja, Deepa and Me)

The panel discussions, keynotes and talks were so diverse and powerful that it will be exhausting to read about it in a single post. Get the highlights of the day and more on SMW's channels: Twitter or Facebook page or my Twitter profile.

For me the key highlight on Day 6 was the workshop "Spinning Content - Writing for the Web" by Parineeta Mehra, Founder of Look Beyond.

Here are the 6 takeaways from the session.

#01 Write, write and write! Make new mistakes and learn from them.

#02 Keep the content precise. "Does it convey what you exactly wanted to express?"

#03 Original, authentic content is the king. It adds more value than anything else.

#04 There are no shortcuts to good content.

#05 Don't let your ideas fly away. Pin them down. A pocket diary, or few apps like Paper or Skitch can help.

#06 What …

Breakup | Kal Aaj Aur Kal

It was the third bottle of Budweiser she was gulping down, sitting near her granny’s feet and playing “Best of Sad Hindi Love Songs” on her iPhone 6s. Now, there wasn’t a thing she could see clearly after innumerable streams of tears had rolled down her cheeks having originated through her now swollen eyes.

"Oh no, not again! One more breakup?" asked granny trying to suppress her laughter.

As the sound of sobbing increased the granny took her out in the balcony.

“Your relationships are so brittle, they breakup like chalks. Don't give me that look. This is your third breakup, right?”

“Fourth!” The sobbing increased again.

“Oh dear” the granny couldn’t stop being amused.

“Don’t take what I’m saying seriously. After all I’m just a grumpy old woman. Who am I to tell your generation what you should do? You all are smart enough.

Each one of you is talking so much all the time that no one has the time to listen to what the other is saying. Being online, texting constantly and …

Tercets | The Play of 3

Numbers, numbers, numbers! Like a mathematician numbers matters to a poet. Maybe more.

More than a deliberate attempt at crafting 3/5/7 line poems, there is something natural, existential, living about these which can be lost in explanation and reasoning. Just like Albert Einstein said, "...as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure."

Tercets are one such phenomenon. They are three lines of poetry that may make a complete poem or a stanza.

Few Tercets which I wrote even before I knew they existed.


1. Death

Lock the doors,
or keep guards.
The mocking death always plays swift.


2. Young
Young leaves dance, happy and content. Old ones fall down, never to meet again.

3. The Concert
The strings stopped strumming and the bow stopped moving. The concert began. 

Paris Terrorist Attacks | PM Modiji Are You and Your Citizens Listening?

Writers must not always be lost in their solitude. When time comes they must relentlessly write against the wrong. They are a part of the society.

Yes, I know this is not a story or a beautiful romantic poem. However saddening it may be, but we must speak about this today. NOW.
Since the Paris attacks happened I see a lot of "Praying for Paris victims" posts. Prayers are the first emotional response. Nothing against them. But we pray and forget.
Going beyond prayers and sympathy, India needs to learn from this incident and further push its efforts towards Zero Tolerance Against Terrorism.
Terrorist attacks are not a border security issue. Can happen anywhere right from your local malls to colleges and theatres. Let the government do its part. But are we vigilant enough as citizens?? 
When we don't care to switch off the fans when getting down from our 12/15/17 coach local trains which burn up loads of electricity, who cares to give a damn about an unidentified baggage? O…

Let There Be Light!

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We always complain "Diwali is a festival of NOISE. Crackers, banjo's, loud speakers..." Be the change. Let there be LIGHT!
Here are beautiful table lamps handpicked for you from Shady Ideas available on Flipkart. Radiating peace from the Bodhisattva, these will make your reading time more peaceful and beautiful.
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‪#happydiwali #diwaligifts

The Last Besan Laddu

Rohan, being little grumpy that night and little tired after the cricket match his team had lost, was lying on the bed with his back towards the ceiling, listening to the sound of the old grumpy fan stirring waves of warm air.

His granny had given him a nice scolding for finishing off the last besan laddu she had kept reserved for his elder sister, who would be coming from the city in her diwali vacations.

The loving enmity between the brother sister pair obviously made Rohan the suspect in her eyes. Now she was sitting beside him trying to console him and wiping away her own tears, feeling guilty of the scolding act.

In the meanwhile, Manju the 2.5 year old cute cat, lying alone on the attic, was smacking away remnants of the last besan laddu off his whiskers.





BNLF: My First Indiblogger Meet

Compared to what was a soothing, dreamy world of literature at the Tata Lit Live (did you miss the post?)  the Blog Now, Live Forever (BNLF ) was a fast paced exhilarating ride at The Lalit Mumbai.
Oops! I couldn’t make to Day 1 at BNLF, but from what I heard and read it was a super-exciting start of the most disruptive conference on blogging by Indiblogger.

I was lucky to immediately connect with two fellow Indibloggers, Geo and Nikhil, right from the first coffee break.  Geo, from Kerala, blogs on technology reviews. You can follow his blog here: http://www.geojolly.com
Nikhil, from Bangalore, blogs on a variety of technology related topics, being passionate about Cloud computing. You can follow his blog here: https://www.pnikhil.com
Christopher Trappe, IMA Internet Marketer of Year – 2015, is a content marketing strategist and consultant. 

Christoph’s 3 hour session on “Six steps to stop traditional marketing and start authentic blogging” interspersed Q&A, felt like only an hou…