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THIS IS THE FIRST STEP ~ Sushant Singh Rajput

The media is rife with the news of Sushant Singh Rajput wanting to provide free education to needy children who will be chosen wisely against a set of tests of merit. If the children clear the test, they would be granted a year of free education, and as an incentive not to render the spirits of such chosen children lackadaisical, the children would have to appear for another test at the beginning of the next academic year if they are to be eligible for their education being supported for the consecutive year. Says Sushant, “This is the first step, and we will work on other models. I think this process will give kids a new excitement and encouragement to study and make themselves more competitive.”

A studious lad who had cleared multiple engineering exams, Sushant was born and brought up in Patna. Right from an early age he was rather eager to study abroad, but the circumstances were not conducive for him to pursue his dreams any further. “My mother always taught me that we educate our children not to become doctors or engineers, but that the impact of basic education reflects on their thought processes and decision making,” he says. As you can infer, he is doing whatever he is doing in honour of his mother, who is no more. As admirable as it is, the dichotomy is that in this age; where nearly everything is short-lived, do we receive such deeds of benevolence with a sense of gratitude, move onto what’s the next sensational story to make waves, or, do we build on it with a goal of permanence, just so that we may create a little bit of Sushant Singh Rajput in each of us? That I leave to each of you to introspect and arrive at your own answers.

Education is one of the vital tools that favour humanity for the betterment of it. Education provides you the ability to discern between the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. Education grooms men to be gentlemen, and women, ladies. A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special said Nelson Mandela, and even though a formal education has all the properties of helping you make a living, it is self-education that is a sure means to make you a fortune. For that reason, a fire to learn must be kindled in kids. They ought to be made to desire what they are learning, considering the mind is constructed in such a way that it retains nothing that it takes in, if it is not something it finds appealing, and that is something that people can expect from Sushant and his endeavours: the propagation of encouragement at the very grassroots.

I have believed in a simple philosophy that at the end of your life you will know that nothing you have done will ever matter – only who you have been while you have done it. And in keeping with my own philosophy, I have only one thing to say – don’t merely like what Sushant Singh Rajput is doing; strive to be like what Sushant Singh Rajput is. Be the fire that lights a million lamps, for the mind once enlightened, as Thomas Paine said, cannot again become dark. And in giving to the world would be the best honour you can be giving Sushant Singh Rajput.   


ODE TO MY BROTHER (On his birthday)


today I sit on the brick bench of the house,
where I am struck with an unending emptiness.
I remember how we used to play at this hour,
and the breeze caressed us and said,
“Love your brotherhood, boys, love your brotherhood.”

Now I shall go and hide
as before, from any admonishing,
and I trust you not to give me away
through the gardens,
the entrance,
the corridors
And later, you hide,
and I promise not to give you away too,
I sincerely promise.
how we made ourselves cry my little brother,
from so much laughing!

And then, I went into hiding
one day, just like that,
but, instead of chuckling, you were sad.
And your twin heart, it grew anxious
of those dead evenings
grew annoyed at not finding me.
And now
a shadow falls on my soul.

Listen, Ali, please don’t be late
coming out to get me, all right?
For without you,
your elder brother might just be away,
from the cry of laughter.
So just come and get me, Ali.
Just come and get me,
all right…
because this unending emptiness
is making me sad
and lonely!
For I have given my word
that only death
will take me from you.

~ Farahdeen 

When I had finished writing that poem for my younger brother Ali, who’s birthday happens to be today, I quite miraculously found in my library an edition of A River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean that I was most earnestly hunting for since a year to no luck. It was tucked behind some large volumes of old leather-bound dictionaries that belonged to my grandfather, and in moving them to find something else, I chanced upon this book glancing back at me with such glee. The timeless words of Maclean I was looking for are thus:

“Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as “our brother’s keepers,” possessed of one of the oldest and possible one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting instincts. It will not let us go.” 


On this day, don't just post a status. ~ ALI ZAFAR

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Sibling’s Day etcetera are nothing but methods invented by clever people to make people spend money. There is no ounce of love in them, only exhibitionism. As always, this fad gained momentum over the digital world, where to display your love publicly has become quite the vogue, when, in actuality, you should be doing the opposite: be with those who matter.

Thoroughly amused at the steady flow of photographs popping up all day, I shared on Twitter – Today we have to bear with all the morons who decided to wish their mothers online because some moron decided it was Mother’s Day. People I tell you!!!

A rather popular journalist and renowned food blogger friend of mine, Sunory Dutt, responded to my tweet with: Lemme guess - you wished aunty Taj a happy Mother’s Day and she said there was nothing happy about being a mother to you.

What a hearty laugh I had.

Just while I was calling it a day my brother Ali declared something on his Facebook wall. Leaving you with his words, which, for me, were nothing short of the simplest, and yet the wisest grand finale to a rather over-popularised day.

On this day, don’t just post a status. Go and tell your mother how much you love her, and how thankful you are to her for giving you not just this life but so much in it. And while you’re at it...a big tight hug. #mothersday

~ Ali Zafar ~

And then he followed it up with: 

She dedicated her life to acquiring and then transferring knowledge to her children and children of many. My mother.

And then you all ask me why I love my younger brother as much as I do.

People I tell you!!!