An Ode to My Father. :)

My father is my first superhero. With every passing day, I try to emulate his qualities, and be a little more like him.

Dear Dad,

Thank you for loving us unconditionally, and teaching us to live with no regrets. We often fail at things, and fall, too afraid to get back up on our feet. Thank you for making us realise the value of courage, and what it means to face our fears headstrong. Thank you for pushing me to try new things, to venture in unchartered territories, and step out of my comfort zone, because all of these have played a major role in making me who I am, today.

You serve as an example of greatness to us, and we aspire to be a little more like you each day. Being a father is hard. Endless responsibilities to fulfil, countless hopes and dreams to live up to, and a million promises make. The road is not a smooth one, filled with its own ups- and downs, and dangerous curves. You are a role model, a guide and a motivator, challenging us to be better people each day. Despite everything you have worked hard to achieve, you serve as a leading example of humility, kindness and strength. Thanks for teaching me that no matter where I get in life, my feet should always be planted firmly on the ground. 🙂

Thank you for fulfilling our dreams, and contributing to our larger goals and purpose. Nothing I’ve achieved today would be possible without you backing me, encouraging me to go on, even if the idea of success seemed distant and bleak.

What I’ve learnt from you, are the values of trust, honesty, generosity and courage. I know I will never be a better father than you, and thank you for that. 🙂 You are irreplaceable, and life without you is unfathomable.

I’m sorry for all the times we’ve made you upset, and thank you for handling each such situation with so much care. Children aspire to be a reflection of their parents. Thanks for setting the bar so high, encouraging me to test my limits to get there.

To the best father in the world, a go-getter, a winner, a role-model, a superhero- all amalgamated into one person, Happy Father’s Day.

Love,

Dhruv. 🙂

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So, What’s Next?

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In light of the recent board exam results, here’s my take on what’s next. Remember- this is not the end, no matter what. It’s just the beginning 🙂

Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my blog. Help me fulfil my purpose, of reaching out to as many kids across the country, and helping them answer to their true calling. I’d appreciate feedback for this article. You can drop a comment down below, or write to me at dhruvg2507@gmail.com. Have a great day!! 🙂

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Another academic year has drawn to an end, and millions of teenagers across the country have received the fruit of their hard-work and tireless striving- their board exam results.

This period of time is particularly stressful for parents and children alike. We’re all on the edge of our seats, eager to know what destiny holds in store for us. We’ve all spent sleepless nights studying and worrying about our exams. We’ve had roadblocks in our journey, times when we felt giving up was much easier than moving on. But, here we are- we lived through it all, and we’ve emerged stronger, and smarter.

Ever since I was a child, countless acquaintances have asked me this question- ‘What would you like to be, when you grow up?’

My answer was different each time. How I miss my halcyon days! My mind was eager to figure everything out, eager to learn. I longed to be something different each day. I wanted to be an author, a pilot, a cardiologist, a speaker, an astronaut- my fickle mind couldn’t stick to one profession.

‘I want to be everything at once!’ I’d exclaim, not knowing that it would be impossible to be everything I wanted.

And then, ever so suddenly. I grew up.

The child in me was lost somewhere, or so I think. I didn’t have answers to questions anymore. I didn’t know where I was going, and what I wanted to do.

I felt bogged down, and defeated, by the education system. Somehow, the pressure became too much to handle.

One by one, I let go of all the ambitions I’d been holding so close to my heart. Suddenly, I didn’t want to go to space anymore, and feel the stars. I didn’t want to fly an airplane either. I stopped working on story ideas- just because people asked me to  pick something different.

My parents stood by me through it all, reaffirming my belief in the fact that I could be whatever I wanted- as long as I was happy. 🙂

But people around me thought otherwise. I was encouraged to abandon my ‘unrealistic’ dreams, and pick something more common, better perceived by society.

Suddenly, the opinions of relatives who didn’t matter started meaning a lot to me. I was frustrated, because I was pressurised by them to make a decision; and to make one quickly.

I was encouraged to pick a stream that they thought I should.

‘But your grades are so good!’ they’d justify their claim. ‘Don’t waste your intelligence doing something mediocre.’

Today, I’m proud to say, that I’ve let go of their opinions. My parents have supported me in every way, and that’s what has made all the difference.

My message to parents across the country would be- ‘Don’t crush your child’s dream.’

Your children are afraid of the future too. They might not have the answers to all your questions. Let them learn, let them grow. They’ll find their way.

Not every child is meant to be a doctor or an engineer. Sure, they might be smart enough to crack the exams, in your opinion. But ask them if that’s really what they want to do with their lives.

Is that where they see themselves, in the next ten years? Above all- will being an engineer make them happy?

My purpose in staking a claim is not to demean any profession. Each profession is respectable in it’s own way. What I mean to say is- let your child make this decision.

Support them in every way- mentally and emotionally. Your support is more valuable to them than anybody else’s.

The never-ending race for good grades is frustrating too. Let your child know, that your love them, regardless of their grades.

The time before results is stressful for everyone. Let your child not lose his/her way, amidst expectations pitted against him/her, by others.

Each child is unique and special. Each child has a purpose, a true calling they long to answer to. Let your child know how proud you are, no matter what. A report-card is not a true reflection of a person’s character. Your child is much, much more than the grades tagged along with him/her.

The world is waiting to see what each child has, to offer. Empower your kids, support their decisions. They will stumble and fall along their path, struggling to make their way. But what they’ll never forget is that you gave them a privilege of making a decision, allowing them to do what they wanted to. And they’ll be grateful to you for that, forever. 🙂

Hope can see you through.

Isn’t hope something that keeps us all alive? As humans, we’re all striving to get better, and to get farther tomorrow than we are today. Through this poem, I’ve explained how the old oak, who survived the bitter winter, never lost hope, and emerged victorious at the end of it all.

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Come summer, the Oak flourishes,

Ready to share with the world its ripeness and riches.

The emerald leaves shiver to the scorching notes of the warm wind,

Summer breathes life into it.

The Oak is home to summer’s guests,

Insects delve deep into its rich bark,

While birds make nests.

A state of ripeness and pure perfection,

Life back from the dead, it’s the tree’s resurrection,

After the chills of winter, at its icy hands,

That deprived the land of any form of vegetation.

The Oak spreads its branches far and wide,

And its leaves sway to the wind with a graceful stride.

‘Summer should never leave’, the Oak prays,

It wishes to flourish under the sun’s golden rays.

Seasons pass, and things have changed,

The things that once took shelter under the oak’s bark,

Are now estranged.

The birds have now flown to warmer lands,

To elude the grasp of Winter’s icy, frosty hands.

“The cycle must go on,” says the Oak,

“And I must live through this stroke of ill-luck.”

The Oak stood tall and white,

With sheets of ice illuminating the moonless night.

“Light will come,” the Oak believes,

He hoped for happiness and for relief.

He knew that the birds that once lived on its branches would come around,

Small insects would be merry, and scurry across the ground.

He lived through Winter, and never lost hope,

Just like a shipwrecked sailor clinging onto a piece of wood,

Hoping to stay afloat.

Just then, the first rays of summer,

Poured in through the cotton-candy clouds,

Making the air warmer around,

Lightening up the cold, hard ground.

The first chirp of a bird was distinctly heard,

Ringing through the air.

The Oak welcomed its guests with open arms,

And its leaves began to dance.

Slowly, the insects began to peep out.

Out of exultation and delight, the Oak began to shout.

Summer was back,

Back again,

Hope had seen him through, yet again.

And as it is rightly said,

Hope can paint black days yellow and red.

Hope can set every wrong right,

Just don’t let it leave your sight.

The Oak sighed with satisfaction,

And it beamed in exultation.

The Oak had survived the winter, hoping for moments like those,

As its life changed, from a prickly thorn,

To a beautiful, blossoming rose.

Mental Health Awareness.

 

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May is regarded as ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ globally. Through various forms of media outlets like movies, newspapers and screenings, organisations championing this cause reach out to people, and try to change their lives for the better. Through this post, I have explored the realm of mental health and it’s sheer importance. I hope to empower people, and make them less afraid of tackling such issues. Remember- seeking help when you need it most is not a sign of weakness or vulnerability. It’s only saving you more trouble later!😀

Don’t forget to like and share this post. I hope you have a great week!

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We’re all striving for perfect health- aspiring to reach the zenith of health, free from any physical complications, living each day in the hope of a better tomorrow. We’re slowly drowning under red, orange, blue, green pills- each pill is almost like portable magic- providing an instant cure to a variety of diseases. We’ve found cures to our daily aches and pains, We’re also fairly open about discussing our problems. Well, not all of them. What remains hidden, under layers of fake smiles and eye contact and warm handshakes, is the lack of mental peace and happiness. A person who is inflicted by mental wounds, if untreated or undiagnosed, is probably at a greater risk than someone with a minor illness and a proper diagnosis.

Discussing mental illness openly has been considered a taboo for so long now. We all are generally not embarrassed to admit what we’re going through, but when it comes to mental health, it’s usually an untouched territory. Almost like an uninhabited town. It is as though our minds have ceased to be important. As long as our hearts and other vital organs work well, and perform bodily functions rhythmically, we’re fine. Mental health has become secondary.

Pills can’t buy you happiness. Sure, they can bring temporary comfort and often serve as a much needed distraction. But being mentally happy and healthy is of prime importance. How do you expect your body to function well, if you are not happy? Remember- you must work on yourself and your mental health. It might not seem like something that requires immediate attention. Sure, the economy, current affairs and the dangers of an impending war are all pressing issues that we need to worry about, but what about your own happiness?

If you need help, get help. Don’t think twice or hesitate- because that’s doing greater damage to yourself than not addressing the problem- knowing about it, but refusing to rectify it. For instance- A road contractor is given an assignment. He needs to work on making a highway. The construction begins, but he realises certain fallacies in the project. Now that it has come to light, he has two, basic options. He can either chose to overlook it, or act on it, and rectify the damage by getting external help, ignore required.

Let’s analyse this situation. If he overlooks the faults, the highway would still be made. A weak foundation would be laid, that wouldn’t last long, and eventually give way. Even the smallest accident could be fatal. It would result in the death of so many commuters. If he chooses to handle the situation effectively and look into it, and make the necessary changes, he’s indirectly saving so many lives.

Your mental Heath is purely in your own hands. If you choose to overlook it, you’re not only causing damage to yourself, but also to those around you. On the other hand, if you address the problem effectively and maturely, you’re doing yourself a favour. You are securing a happier tomorrow for yourself and everybody around you.

Some days, getting out of bed is hard. You have no goals, nothing to look forward to, and you are mentally unfit. These are small signs- signalling you to take charge of the matter, as a mature individual.

If you’re comfortable talking about a headache or a throat infection, this is no different. Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health and illnesses to those around you. You never know where you might find help.

Find reasons to be happy. There are plenty! I’ve compiled a list of Thirteen Reasons why I’m happy, and I’d advise you to do so too 🙂

1. My family- I’ve had such a strong support system in the form of my family. We discuss issues like mental health and happiness on a regular basis, and that’s what is important. Understanding each other has been much easier because of this.
2. Friends- My friends have always made sure that I’m mentally fit and healthy, and have gone to great lengths to help me feel so.
3. Books- For me, books are a great way of taking a quick escape or break from an otherwise mundane day.
4. Writing. 📝- Find your true calling. For me, writing is a passion. It helps me reach out to so many people, to share my perspective of the world, and to spread happiness.
5. Good movies! 🎞🎬
6. Music! 🎙- Music has helped shape me as a person, and has changed me for the better.
7. Having the opportunity to reach out to so many people, through my blog! 💜
8. Poetry- Is the music of the soul. If you’re feeling a certain way, go ahead and write it down. Let your emotions spill out onto a sheet of paper, rather than keeping them locked up inside you, in a deep, dark corner.
9. Not being afraid to accept the fact that there are days when I feel  lost and ready to quit, but I realise that if I accept it instead of denying it, I can help improve my condition at that moment.

10. Having a great support system🤗
11. Being healthy; mentally and physically. 😀
12.Having another beautiful day, surrounded by the people I love and care for. ❤
13.Realising my true calling and purpose, and working towards it.

Wishing you happiness and success. Here’s wishing you gave your demons and tackle them, and emerge victorious: stronger, braver and happier. Rooting for your success and happiness! 😀🤞🏻

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Wildest Dreams.

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This piece is very different from everything I’ve written so far. It is a letter written by an imaginary friend, to Zach, a teenager, who has now forgotten him, He is fading away, after failed attempts of helping Zach recollect exactly who he is. Through this heartfelt letter, I have explored the ideas of forgotten friendship and the pain of being forgotten by someone who meant so much.

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Dear Zach,

I know you don’t know who I am just as yet, but I urge you to read on. I hope you’ll know exactly who I am, by the time you get to the end of this letter.

Sometimes, I sincerely wish I could erase my memories, and stop feeling so empty.

The flashbacks hit me like lightning bolts, appearing out of nowhere, and casting gloomy spells over my world, that used to be perfect, until not so long ago.

I hear footsteps in the distance, and get desperate to seek cover, as I hear them grow louder.

My eyes dart around the lawn, and I quickly seek cover behind an apple tree.

I catch a glimpse of you, and my heart sinks. It falls onto the grass below, shattering into  million, tiny pieces. Tiny, little pieces radiating the warmth and love that used to be there. They emit flashes of dazzling light briefly, and then it all fades away. I knew what it was to live with a broken heart, and I knew what it was like, to be forgotten.

The instant I saw you, I wanted to give up my human form, and curl around the tree like a dainty, powerless creeper. Tears flowed down my cheeks, as I was pulled into a vortex- that abounded in memories from the past.

I say your name repeatedly.

“Zach! Zach!”

And then a little louder.

“ZACH!”

What was wrong with you? I tried to run to our favourite spot in the yard, and flailing my hands in the air, trying to draw your attention to me.

But it felt like you were looking right past me.

You had other friends now, but you’ve forgotten your very first friend, Zach.

ME.

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I helplessly watch you walk right through me, and run over to your friends.

You have plans for tonight, don’t you?

I guess we can’t go to the lake behind your house, and trap fireflies in glass bottles.

Gone are the times we’d lie on the dock and gaze up at the sky.

But that was when you were little, and you didn’t have friends.

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You get into a car, and speed off into the night. Chasing you now is fruitless.

I turn around, and rush towards your house. I quietly open the door, and dart up the wooden steps. I go up to the attic, and look out of the small, round window, onto the street below.

I watch the dahlias grow by the sidewalk, gently bobbing up and down to the warm currents of the wind. Remember how we’d pluck their petals and throw them on each other’s heads? I miss those times. But I don’t think you do.

I turn my gaze to the dusty pictures in the attic. I run my fingers over them, and memories come cascading down into my head, like a waterfall.

The first picture is from when you were five.

You loved chasing sulphur coloured butterflies, you loved your swing-set and you loved your bicycle.

This picture was taken the day you first learned how to ride your bike without your training wheels. Your dad gave it a gentle push, and you were cruising down the path. Your eyes looked for me, and there I was. Standing on the sidewalk, cheering you on. Rooting for you.

Nobody else noticed me or acknowledged my presence, Zach. Nobody, but you. I guess that’s what made it even more special. The fact that nobody knew anything about this friendship, this bond we had conspired together.

On Sundays, we’d run across the street, on hearing the familiar bells of the ice-cream truck. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can still hear them in the distance.

Ting-Ting-Ting.

I hear your laugh, and watch the folds around your eyes, True happiness.

That sound still rings in my ears, after all this time.

That sound fills me up with joy, and keeps me warm inside, Maybe that’s what true happiness sounded like. Innocent, Pure, Unadulterated. One hundred percent joy.

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I was your only friend, Zach. Our friendship dates back to your halcyon days. You were an introvert- you hated school, disliked sports and always kept to yourself.

Your parents encouraged you to expand your social circles, and talk to more people.

“Maintain eye contact, Zach”, they’d say.

“Say nice things,” they’d say.

“But I have a friend,” you’d say, and signal towards me.

Your parents would give blank stares to each other, and get on with their work. They told you nobody was there, but only you believed that I existed. And somehow, that was everything.

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At the park, we would spend hours at an end on the swing set, talking about your day at school, and books.

We made snowmen in the winter, popsicles in the summer, pretended to be sailors and battle with our umbrellas in the rains, and took heaps of crimson leaves to your treehouse in the autumn.

You lost teeth, and with time, all your milk teeth were replaced by a set of permanent ones. That year, you began to forget me. We didn’t speak as much, and you always seemed busy.You started talking to other people, and slowly, I faded into the shadows. Piece by piece.

I’m transported back to the present. I spot a case full of old, vinyl albums. As I move closer, the familiar, musty scent tickles my nostrils. I see the colourful album covers through the periphery of my eye. Somehow, I cannot get myself to look right at them.

Remember how we danced to these songs all those years ago? I’d pretend to strum a guitar, and you would belt out your signature dance moves.

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Eventually, you are up, Zach. All my worst fears translated into groundbreaking reality. The memories faded away, and the deluge took away all your memory of me. You had new friends, who invited you to events that interested you more than chasing butterflies or running down to the pier.

Your vision of me had faded as well. You were just like your parents now. You couldn’t see or hear me.

I’d pound my fists on the window outside your room, scream your name, but for the first time, I felt like I was trapped in a soundproof glass box. No sound came in, nothing escaped it.

 

I felt myself fade away. It was as if you didn’t need me to be around anymore. They say that time changes people, but never had I imagined that you’d forget your best friend. So what if he was just a figment of your imagination? He stuck with you through thick and thin, better and worse, good times and bad times.

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As I’m writing this, Zack, I want you to know what it feels like to be forgotten. Without an apparent reason.

I hope you have a great night out, with your friends. I hope they don’t give up on you, like you gave up on me.

As I write this, I’m taking a moment to quote lyrics from our favourite song- Wildest Dreams.

“Say you’ll see me again, even if it’s just in your wildest dreams.”

If this is not enough to remind you of me, I don’t know what is.

– Your imaginary best friend.

My reflections on human relations and mortality.

In life, we often need rude awakenings to realise how important people are. It’s rightly said, you only realise the true worth and value of something, when it’s gone.

This also applies to human relationships. We might sometimes overlook the fact that humans are mortals. We are born to die, and Death is unavoidable, inevitable and unstoppable. Our time on Earth is pretty much like a sand clock. The sand starts trickling down, as soon as we take our first breaths and open our eyes. Time is swiftly running out, and maybe that’s why we should try to soak it all in, and live in the moment.

I’ve come to the realisation that we’re always, subconsciously making memories . Just know that the people you’re making memories with NOW, might not always be around.

Humans are blessed with supreme intelligence and high-handedness over lower organisms, and have their throne at the top of the animal kingdom. But this boon of speech, thought, expression, emotions and capabilities comes attached with the tag of mortality.

While trying to survive in our fast-paced lives, we tend to forget how important the people in our lives are. We often tend to take them for granted, expect them to perform a stipulated set of duties for us, and always be around to meet our needs . Here’s a super quick reality check- They’re not going to be around forever .

While fostering relationships is simple, always being there for each other, and supporting each other is hard. We have to express ourselves, and always be sure to show our appreciation for our loved ones.

Don’t put it off for another day. Telling your loved ones what they mean to you, and how much you love them, is so vital. While they are around, let them know that you love them as many times as you can.

My purpose of sharing my thoughts on this subject is not to plant a ‘fear’ of the unforeseen in your minds- it’s just to let you know that it’s important to love and appreciate those you know, and hold them closer to your heart.

Life is full of unexpected hurdles and surprises and rude awakenings. You’ll sometimes not realise the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory. You’ll watch moments fade with the passage of time. You’ll forget insignificant details, but you’ll never forget the people you love.

Let your family and friends know that they’re loved. When was the last time you told them that you loved them? Pick up your phone, and speak to someone you’ve been wanting to, but have never had the time to, or rather, never tried to make the time to talk to them.

Cherish the company of the people you love. Loving and being loved is the greatest feeling in the world.

I hope you have a great, fruitful and purposeful day, surrounded by your loved ones.❤

What Christmas means to me.

It’s that wonderful time of the year again. All around the world, people are busy stringing lights across their homes, decorating the Christmas tree with baubles and other Christmas ornaments. Moreover, it’s that time of the year, when people get together, and spend time with their loved ones. Christmas casts a spell over us, binding us in inseparable bonds of love, warmth and camaraderie. However, Christmas means different things to different people. My perception of Christmas might be so different from yours- that’s the beauty of christmas. No matter how different your definition of Christmas may be, Christmas isn’t Christmas, till it happens in the heart. It’s all about new beginnings, fostering new bonds, and letting go of our past.

Christmas is all about little joys. Looking back at the last 15 years of my life, I fondly remember all the memories I have, associated with this festival. I’d eagerly wait for Christmas Eve, waiting for my stockings to be filled up with gifts that I’d asked for. My parents would assure me, that Santa Claus would make sure that I got my gifts. I’d often try to stay awake, to see Santa do his job, but I’d eventually fall asleep, because everybody told me that Santa would visit only when I was asleep.

As I grew up, my excitement for Christmas died down a little. Of course, the memories always sweep me off my feet; as I fondly look back at them, but the fact that Santa didn’t exist dawned on me. Honestly, I was saddened, and also angered, by the fact that something I’d grown up believing in didn’t actually exist.

Looking at it now, from a young-adult’s perspective, my naivety and my halcyon days make me smile. The ‘Remember when I believed in Santa’ conversations ensue, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see how innocent I once was 🙂

Now I know that my parents played Santa’s role, and always made sure that my stockings were filled to the brim, with all my requests, before I woke up on the morning of the 25th of December. The thought of my parents making their way through crowds of equally loving parents, and trying to get me what I wanted fills my heart with warmth and joy. Maybe that’s what Christmas truly is. Placing the needs of your loved ones before your own.

I remember decorating the tree with my brother, when I was younger. We’d get all the Christmas ornaments out from the attic days before we’d actually start decorating the tree. We’d shriek at the sight of stray spiders, hiding in the leaves, and pelt each other, with small Christmas ornaments. The thought of the days gone by brings a smile to my face. Maybe that’s what Christmas is about. All the memories, that will last me a lifetime.

The last few years have taught me that Santa doesn’t exist. But what I’ve truly learned is, that it’s never too late, to be a Santa to someone. Santa doesn’t always get gifts. He is a beacon of hope, a harbinger of happiness in the forthcoming year, and a messenger of love, warmth and friendship. Santa isn’t a plump, jolly man who resides in the North Pole,  who has a herd of reindeer assisting him, and a factory full of elves carrying out his orders. All of us are like Santa, in our own sense. We know if people around us have been naughty or nice, but chose to shower them with unconditional love anyway.

I hope you have a great day, surrounded by your loved ones, soaking in every moment, that will go on to be a memory. I hope you have the opportunity to make someone who has forgotten to smile; smile once again, and someone who is losing hope become hopeful again.

Try being a Santa to someone, this Christmas. Merry Christmas! 🎅🏻🎉🎄🎄🌲