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Because kindness is our only sword to save humanity, here are 13 tiny tales on random acts of kindness…

1. “One evening I was home and was going through my contacts. I saw the name of a woman who used to come at our place for help I just asked myself “You can help this woman by sending a small amount maybe she needs it now.” I did send her some money and I called her to say hi and tell her that I sent something for her. Imagine I couldn’t believe that amount could mean so much to her. She told me her baby was sick and they had nothing to eat at home. That night I cried so much coz of happiness.And I was crying that day coz i got the chance to make someone happy😥😥😥😥😥😥❤ it means the world to see someone happy and crying because of you…”

2. “This one day it was ramadhan… 3 kids came asking for food but there wasn’t anything…so mama wanted to give them food but only a small amount had remained and wouldn’t be enough for all three. Plus he had kept the food aside for my young nephew. My nephew was there so he told mum “I’ll eat with them but right now I am not even hungry. When they come again just give them the food I will fast.”

3. “Back in my madrasa days, there was this ustadh of ours who used to walk from likoni to kibokoni to teach us. He wasn’t well off compared to other teachers but he was the most sweet and helpful of them all. He used to care for us, motivate us,teach us about good morals. So I used to put my break time money in his pocket without him knowing.I did it for weeks I guess unfortunately he caught me one day and asked me, “why you doing this?” I just said “you need it more than I do ustadh.” He just told me you don’t have to do that. You need to eat so that you can grow. He is one of my heroes…

4. “When I was young I had a homeless kid as my best friend. I used to share food with him, play with him, i used to take him home and shower. We didn’t have much back then but I used to share my plate with him. Whenever I go to school I used to take anjera to him under the masjid stairs where he used to live. I used to cry every evening when my mum calls me back home because I loved him and I felt helpless at that time. He was my friend and I couldn’t do anything for him. One day he just got lost.It broke my heart.I mean I don’t know where he went. He wasn’t there under the masjid stairs… We used to dream together. When I came from Madrasa he used to wait for me downstairs then we’d go to the beach just to swim and chill and talk. He wanted to be a pilot and i wanted to own the plane.”

5. “There is that time a classmate was stressing over school fees. He missed out on bursary that term and if he didn’t come up with 10k he couldn’t do the exams. I had 1k in my pocket. You know what I did? That evening when everyone was going home I stood in front them at the gate and pleaded for their help. I was so nervous but everyone was helpful. We managed to come up with 10k. It was amazing.”

6. “I had a close friend; a bit younger than me, but I liked her and considered her like my baby sister… we’d talk quite often. Then came a time we just drifted apart and I couldn’t get to her. She had changed her number I guess. So many moths later, I came to understand of the reason why she’d cut me off (which was actually something beyond both of us). I really cried that day because it was not worth it. I was hurt but then I decided I won’t let my ego take charge. I was going to do something for her which in turn would give me peace in both my heart and soul. I tracked down her new number and sent her an anonymous gift via another friend and we made sure it could never link back to me. Alongside the gift, I wrote a few tiny notes, just motivational ones on life and all for her. Another friend of mine told me of how she had met her on that same day she received the gift and how much she had really cried and said, “she needed to hear those words”. A few days after I sent the gift, she contacted me. I was worried she had found out that I was the one who had sent the gift but that was not the case. She said she had dreamt of me and that I’ve been in her mind lately. So we talked a bit. She contacted me a few days later and we had a longer conversation. She wanted us to be friends like before…and that’s when I mentioned that the gift was from me…I swear her reaction was priceless” (Below is the second party’s version)

7. “It is normal to feel down, lost, unwanted and rejected…well that’s what I was feeling for couple of days until this day when I got a call from some place that I had a parcel.I couldn’t make it that moment so it was a later thing .I went to pick it up.It was a gift from someone I didn’t know who that time, a pair of shoes and pieces of notes that meant world to me. I couldn’t help it, curiosity was at maximum, I read the notes and opened the gift inside the matatu. I cried all the way, I was touched.I was so much thankful, in one way or the other I didn’t expect it from the actual sender,because of some broken issues but there, Alhamdulilah I was really consoled.”

8. “So I was going to Eastleigh with some friends of mine. When we got into the mat, we noticed, every time young school children would come into the mat, they would walk straight to a post to stand and hold on tight. And we started asking each other why they were just standing around the matatu..so I called one of them over and asked why he was standing, and he said he has no fare. And I was shocked. The Eastleigh conductors let kids get on the matatus to get home free of charge, provided they stand though. Although this was nice of them, they didn’t really sit well considering how rough these “manyangas” get driven. Standing in one as an adult is a struggle in itself. So I told all the kids to sit and I would pay for them.When they were getting off, one of them said thank you to me and I honestly felt so nice…”

9. “So two years ago, I lost my scholarship. You can imagine, it was a stressful and depressing moment of my life. It was not just about losing my scholarship but also failing in my studies. It brought a lot of doubts in my head. I could not tell people at home and I seriously had no idea what to do. During those trying moments, four of the many friends I have were really there for me. They put up with my awful moods, my attitude… they encouraged me and help stand up again. I was financially disable and because I did not had the courage to tell people at home what was happening, they took it upon themselves to make sure I have my basic needs, got pocket money and I was having fun. At the same time, one of them held a harambee for my fees for that semester, $750 anonymously. And when I last got the courage to talk to my family about it, they were there and made sure I was okay. If it were not for them, I would have killed myself or worse, stop pursuing my dreams. But they believed in me, and found ways to make me believe in me. I can’t repay them for that and what they continue to do for me to date; but Allah is the Just…am sure He will pay them Justly, thus I pray for that.”

10. “My mother has always been my biggest inspiration to kindness (and maybe this is why parents should really take note on what their children pick from them)…She has done a lot (may Allah reward her with jannah) but one story still touches my heart deeply. A long time ago, we had a male house help. My mother helped him revert to Islam and taught him about Islam. So after some years working with us, his sister dies, leaving two orphans; young boys. So everyday, the house help would come home with them because they didn’t have someone to take care of them except their old grandma. My mum enrolled them into madrasa and after classes he would sit and teach them or let them play around. A time came, the house help left without notice or goodbye. Maybe for greener pastures. But so, the two boys were used to coming home so they’d still come. My mum never told them not to come again since their uncle had done a mistake. She went on to teach them and taking them to madrasa and in the evening they’d go to their grandma. Years later, the house help came back and apologized. He said, “Everywhere I go, I realize there is no human like you. I kept talking about how good you are to all my bosses until they wanted to know who you are. I can never forget how you took care of my nephews despite me leaving without any communication. And if there is any person I can predict paradise for them then it’s you…” To date, the house help still comes back home. He goes to work in other places but he always found his way back home. Oh yeah, and he still has the mashaf (qur’an) mum gave him when he first converted. And he repeats this too many times, “Mum, I can never forget your kindness…”

11. “One day, just after sunset, a boy went out to buy some groceries for his mum. That day’s order though could only be found at the grocery stores near the boarding stage, a fairly distant place. It was on a weekend so most of the grocery shops were closed and the ones that weren’t, we’re out of stock.
“Great. Just great” he thought to himself

After a fruitless search, he was left with a final try that he’d give up after. It was a sizable grocer that stood on the edge of the road a few minutes in from the stage. It was next to a charcoal supply shop characterized by the mixture of finely and pebble sized charcoal spread over that whole section of the road. The grocery’s light illuminated it’s front side just enough to see the set of rigid bricks meant to be the stairs.

As he got closer to the shop, he saw a white figure amidst the sea of ground charcoal. It was curled up into a small shape. People were barely missing their footing on it. A Boda Boda then rode passed it almost running it over. It was a kitten. He walked for the shop and threw his eyes at it once more. It was scared, eyes wide open with fear, frozen, as he watched it exist motionless among the numerous feet and exclamations of passersby and the horns of speedy motorbikes
He walked to the shop. A relief for they had the last batch of his order. He bought in smiles. He also bought a batch of Omena. He took his change and walked back to the kitten. He opened a bag and poured almost all of it just at the edge of the road, called the kitten in that common tongue noise and watched as the life flow back into it, as the fear in its eyes being replaced with wonder, slowly it moved towards the pile of raw fish and pounced at it with gratifying hunger.
He smiled thinking what the kitten must have been thinking at that moment. He fed every cat he saw on his way back that night and left just enough of the batch for those cats that always find their way to their compound. They ate gracefully as well..”

12. “There was this one time I was going to Nairobi just for a day to get some of my things at a friend’s house. But it turned out that he was in Mombasa so I couldn’t stay at his place (he was living at his aunt’s in Nairobi). So he told his other friend (who is also my friend) to receive me. So he calls me and says he’d be my host. I arrive in Nairobi at some minutes past 5 in the morning. It’s cold. And he comes with a taxi. We greet each other and ask how we’ve been (it was a while since I last saw him). Anyway, he’s like “you know, I won’t take you to my room. Let’s go to a hotel.” I was like “okay!😄” and the taxi drops us off at Eastleigh where we start walking around looking for a hotel. It was still dark and we are alone so I was slightly apprehensive.

All of the hotels were fully booked, I was kinda bummed out coz I was becoming tired and dragging that luggage was becoming a pain. But we finally found a room, it was just from being checked out and we had to wait for 20 minutes for it to be cleaned out for us. But it was kinda expensive (for a student). My friend had to pay 5k for one night. So I was kinda worried and said “dude are you sure? If it’s gonna inconvenience you it’s okay we can just stay at your messy room” And he said, “I’m doing this for the sake of Allah. I believe that if I spend it on others in a good way, He’ll give me more in return” Naturally I was touched by this, so I agreed and made a silent prayer for him that he succeeds in this life and the next. We spent the day roaming around town while he treated me to lunch. It was a really good day, and I promised myself that I would never forget his kindness and that I would repay him somehow in the future. The hotel is called regent hotel or something. It was really really nice. The room had dstv and all that. Plus it was big; Double bed room. Weh I felt like a prince. I keep remembering him. Still haven’t come round to making it up to him. But I pray for him well.”

13. “There was a time at my workplace, an old man came by to have his phone checked for repair. So I usually work upstairs and it was only by chance I came down and saw him standing; confused. He was really old, frail and weak. So I asked him what he needed and he said he wanted his phone repaired soonest, that he needed it immediately if possible because he was sick and some relatives kept sending him some money to help him around. I took the phone and handed it to the one in charge, who agreed to check it out immediately. After the phone was repaired, I took it to the old man who was really relieved. I then gave him 1k and told him, “I hope this helps you…” The man was really really grateful. He said lots of prayers for me then left and I thought that was the end of the story.

The next day, he came to the office again, but since I was upstairs and didn’t know my name, he couldn’t find me. He tried asking about me but my workmates didn’t understand whom he was talking about. The following day he came once again and my workmate decided to ask me if I knew the old man. Going downstairs, it was him. He said he came to thank me once again. That from the money I gave him he got to book a ticket to Kisumu, back to his family. He asked for my number and promised to send me omena and unga from there. He then said, “Because of what you’ve done i’ll become a Muslim.”I just thought it was a by the way but when he got there he did call me to say he arrived safely. After a few days he called again just to greet me. Then on another day, his son was the one who called to say that his father was in hospital and had requested to talk to me. We talked and his voice seemed so frail and weak.

A few days later, fajr time I received a call from his son; the old man had passed away. But he had left a message for me. That he wants to be buried in a plain white cloth without the coffin (sanda). I asked his son, “Had he converted to Islam?” He said, “There was a time he requested that we bring a sheikh to him, so there is that probability.” I decided to ask the son to go to the nearest mosque and let me talk to the imam, of which I did and we had arrangements that he is buried in Islam. Even after his death, his family members called, thanked me and still wanted to send me the omena and unga as promised by the old man but I didn’t see the need so I rejected politely. Nonetheless, I really hope that the man did indeed die a Muslim…”

Dear You…If you can’t find any good in this world, then be the one to do it. It doesn’t have to be ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ or ‘Maria Theresa’ big, it just has to be sincere. Do good to people. Try everyday. Make it a habit. A routine. Be kind. Be kind again and again. Making a difference in just one life is invaluable so never underestimate the effect of your actions and words.

Great appreciation to those who sent in their tales. God bless you…

You are welcome to comment any other stories of kindness below here 😉

CHAPTER ONE

Photo Courtesy: https://img0.etsystatic.com\

 

PROLOGUE

I have met several disabled people in my life; people with a physical flaw, with a scar, with something on them that they are forever going to see when they look at the mirror. When our hearts are crumbling into pieces and our insides are no longer a beautiful sight, we still can wear a huge smile and stand in front of the mirror, turn left and right, admire ourselves and totally ignore our hearts that are screaming, ‘HELP!’ This is quite different for someone with a disability. They see what they lack, EVERYDAY. It is not as simple as having bushy eyebrows or cellulite or panda eyes. It is not something you can simply use concealers on or make-up to cover it up. It is something permanent. Something they have to accept and live with. They sometimes dread looking at the mirror or even looking at people, because it just reminds them what they are missing or how life would be different if they had normal hands, or eye-sight, or legs, or normal skin etc. But from the physically disabled that I have met, there are those that have picked themselves up, those who have an aura of confidence, they send off very strong vibes of self-esteem and pride, they shake hands with a firm grip and whenever you are about to pity them, they remind you of how whole they are despite what you see. Nafisa is one of them.

UNBROKEN WINGS

A January baby is usually a gift for the New Year. It’s a symbol of hope; the undying hope for an ageing couple. And when the baby is a girl, the only girl in a family of three children, it’s a special gift. The over-joyed couple named her Nafisa, a Muslim name which means Precious. Delicate. Gem. She is indeed Nafisa; she is the girl who was born with spina bifida. The baby that struggled to survive, and when you are born with spina bifida, you just have two choices. You either become a victim of your own pity as you wither away or you fight through all the odds to bloom. Nafisa chose the latter.


In the heart-warming city of Mombasa-Kenya, on the 22nd of January 1976, at 5 a.m. at Aga Khan Hospital, a tiny baby girl came into this world. Mrs. Fatema held her baby; Nafisa lovingly as the nurses helped her clean up. But they kept pacing in and out of the room restlessly and worry immediately started sinking in Mrs. Fatema’s head, ‘what is wrong?’

Right then, Dr. Varma came into the delivery room with a rather enigmatic face.

“You wanted a baby girl right? God gave you one,” he said as his lips remained tightly sealed.

“Sorry,” he continued as he held Nafisa to check her. Mrs. Fatema looked at him with puzzlement as the fear in her grew. Before she could ask anything, Dr. Varma interrupted her thoughts, “When is your husband coming?”

“Any time from now. Once he is informed that I have delivered then he will come immediately.”

Dr. Varma nodded before leaving the room, leaving Mrs. Fatema drowning in her thoughts.

Just when Nafisa’s father, Mr. Kutubudin, arrived in the hospital he was summoned in the doctor’s office and was informed that Nafisa’s spine was cracked above her hip area and the nose of her spine was outside. Her condition is called spina bifida. She needed a surgery immediately. The consequence of the operation was that either her lower or upper parts of the body would end up numb; with no feels or movement. But to survive, it was crucial that she undergoes the knife. However, there was one other problem; the doctors were unavailable. There had been a railway accident and the critical situation of the patients required the doctors there. This left them with only one other option; that they out-source a surgeon to operate on Nafisa. Out of desperation, Nafisa’s father agreed and signed the required papers.

Nafisa was operated on successfully leaving the lower part of her body affected. She was alive, that was what mattered most to her parents and for the years to come, they ensured that Nafisa wouldn’t be any less than a normal child. For the first six months of my life, the doctors tried to support my spine with a cast. Her mother was not allowed to breastfeed her until she was six months old. Other people were hardly allowed to touch her because of her delicate condition.

 In Kilifi area near the large and famous Coast General hospital, Nafisa Kutubudin Khanbhai was brought up. Her parents worried what school to take their gem to. Special schools were not any special anyway and in the early 80’s there were not many choices in terms of schools with special needs. They wanted her to lead a normal life like any normal child. Coming to their rescue, Mrs Rosy Ganiwalla who was a teacher then was able to enroll Nafisa into Alibhai Panju School. This was when her journey started; not just as a child or as a student but also as a survivor. Life was not going to be any easy for her in normal school. There was stigma. There was speculation. There were a lot of rumours. None of the other children would easily understand why until the age of 9, Nafisa was still wearing nappies. They couldn’t fathom why such ‘a big girl’ would still get dirty by passing out stool or why she always had to carry an extra pair of clothes everywhere she went to. Slowly, other children stayed away and for those who understood her condition, pitied her, something she didn’t really like.

But how many people actually understand what spina bifida is all about? It was either just the doctors or its victims and at most, the people who had relatives or friends affected with it who knew what it were about. Her hip had a crack and thus had to be operated on. This is what had caused all the health complications in Nafisa. She could not walk unless with her crutches. She could not control the urine and stool unless with medication. She became a victim of strange stares, whispers around her and eventually, stigma.

Something else unexpected happened, Nafisa became a woman at the age of 6. “My white uniform turned red while at school. I thought I had hurt myself. My mother was called in and took me home. I stayed out of school for three days. Later my parents were told that although I would menstruate regularly, there were low chances of ever being able to conceive.”

Adolescence at such an age can be very alarming. Still in diapers, Nafisa was already experiencing the monthly periods. She was already exposed to the world of cramps, breast pain, pills and darkness with barely any light at the end of the tunnel.

“My school deskmate used to make fun of me; talk about how I smelt of urine and waste and how disgusting it was. She wasn’t the only one though but I don’t blame them. We were just kids; barely understanding what is really happening to me. It used to make me sad but I never used to cry about it. This is because I happened to have amazing friends too; friends who supported me since. I had my neighbour Fatema; we used to go to school together and spend time together after classes too. She was the same girl who used to buy me snacks during break period,” Nafisa narrates.

As expected, Nafisa never had much interaction with her class mates. Not everyone was ready to look beyond her disability and her helplessness but still, not everyone totally ignored her. Some few friends really tried to cope up with her situation and helped her whenever she could. During the prayer time, the students would all go to the mosque to pray and getting stares from everyone as she removed her shoes was not a surprise. Yet she learnt to ignore all that and be the strong girl she is. As they say, ‘when they stare, make it worth their while.’

Mrs Fatema would go to her school every day during break time to change Nafisa’s nappy, something even the house girls used to refuse to help with. And whilst her friends played around merrily, she could not take part in any out-door activities.

“Since Nafisa’s birth, my life changed forever. I dropped everything and I had no interest whatsoever in the life out there. My life now revolved around Nafisa. I was always thinking, thinking and thinking. What will I do? What should I do for her? It has always been about her. I wanted her to have a comfortable life. We both wanted that; her father and I.”

Locked away from the normal life her peers enjoyed, Nafisa would soon find herself falling in love with books and movies. Nancy Drew books were her favourite. She would imagine herself lost in a different world, tailing Nancy as they uncovered piece by piece of new clues and evidence for a new mind-blowing case and draw in sharp breath as they discovered, together, something unexpected or find themselves in trouble. She would borrow the books from her friends but those she brought herself, she treasured even more.

So it passed that her free time was spent lost in the imaginary worlds offered by the crisp pages of her books or glued to the screen of their TV watching Tom’s and Jerry’s shenanigans play out. These were her happier moments, she recalls. A bubble all for herself. A tiny one but enough for herself.

Nafisa’s impairment meant that she had to frequently visit her physiotherapist doctor Kishore Adatiya who dedicated her efforts to seeing Nafisa overcome her paralysis and walk on her own. But grit and effort alone wouldn’t be enough. Every six months she had to travel to Nairobi to make her calipers (devices that enable people with motor disabilities to walk and thereby remain mobile) which were being made in Kabete hospital.

At the age of 9, Nafisa started getting persistent stomach aches. The younger of her two brothers took her to hospital where she was told that both her kidneys were infected. She was operated on by a visiting doctor from India. At that time, she was the first and youngest child to undergo that procedure which left her wearing a urine bag (in medical terms known as Urostomy i.e. when a bladder is bypassed or removed, an opening in the belly (abdominal wall) is made during surgery to redirect the urine. The patient is thus unable to control urine coming out so a pouch, which is the urine bag, is needed to collect the urine as it comes out).

“It costs me 7 pounds and 50 cents for every urine bag for Nafisa and the bags were being manufactured in Denmark. The financial costing was becoming heavy on me and her father, and that is when my sister Tara, who lives in the United Kingdom, stepped in to support us in buying the bags. She also raised Nafisa until the age of 6. I didn’t get much support from family but I can’t totally disregard the little much they offered,” Nafisa’s mother says.

Despite all odds stacked against her, she persisted in her pursuit of education. She wasn’t exactly the genius of her class but neither did she settle on being the tail. For her, everything was a struggle but she kept up with the top students as much as she could and never strayed from the top twenty. Her teachers, who mistook her struggles for apathy, complained when she lagged behind in her studies. It was the price she had to pay for wanting to be treated normally, like the rest of her classmates, for trying to prove that her physical handicap bore no effect whatsoever on her ability to learn and think like anybody else. One sentiment she does share was her dislike for maths. “Maths was my childhood enemy, maybe my foe for lifetime.” She would tell you if you prompt her. She would always skip maths classes to the extent that her maths exercise books were literally empty. Her class one teacher was another particularly negative highlight from her early school life. She was too harsh, too rigid; the type to give their seven year old students nightmares. It was from this point, perhaps, that she first learned to hate.

After school every day Nafisa used to go for tuition where she made another friend Naheed. “I remember how we would always carry Jujube (commonly known as ‘kunazi’) to the teacher’s home where she conducted the tuitions. When she got distracted with a phone call or when she disappeared in her kitchen, we would quickly throw the Jujubes into our mouths and act innocent when she is back. Despite everything, I did enjoy my childhood,” She laughs lightly.

It was these kinds of moments that gave her the strength to go on with school life but that was only until class eight when she dropped out. Her medical condition was too heavy on her shoulders and decided to call it quits for school life. Yet still no one could ever forget that she had once won the most disciplined girl award or that she had done her very best to not let her disability or stigma fail her entirely. Of course it did mean she had to give up her dream of being a lawyer but she never gave up hope in life. She decided to accept this situation fast and not dwell on the things that couldn’t be changed. She therefore soldiered on…

———————————————————————————————————————

“Since her childhood, Nafisa, never accepted to be left out in anything just because of her condition. She would always help me out in the kitchen, peeling the potatoes and cutting the tomatoes. She was still that strong girl seating on a table to make her bed, arranging clothes in all the house ward robes and dusting the place. She enjoyed setting up cutlery for events; deciding what plates to be used when the visitors arrived and what cups would best fit. She would anxiously and skillfully choose the appropriate dress for the event with matching jewelries. And whenever there was henna at home, she would always tattoo herself with it. Despite everything, Nafisa loved and lived. She just never allowed her disability become an inability,” Mrs. Fatema, Nafisa’s mother says.

They say, ‘beautiful souls have it the roughest’ and indeed Nafisa had her fair share of ‘rough’. Getting friends was difficult but getting real ones was even more difficult. Her social life was greatly made up of people using her for their own gains, misusing her kindness and forgetting her when she needed them the most. “But I have had life-time friends too. Mariya FidaHussein, Tasneem (my kitty group friend) and Hasanain have been more than just friends, but sisters from another mother. There was Aziz Mustanir too, a brother who came later into my life. These are the people who have been there for me for the longest time; even before I grew into the firm and strong lady I am today,” Nafisa says.

However much darkness overflowed in her life Nafisa still found reason to find happiness and joy in the blessings in her life. She created her best childhood moments from the trips she went with her family and their family friends to Tsavo, Amboseli Park and several other beautiful places that exposed her to that light at the end of the tunnel. Adnaan Bhaiji was the son of Talib Baiji; Nafisa’s father’s best friend. “Adnaan was so charming and naughty and he always knew how to make me happy. He always came along to the trips in the wild. And when we settled in our hotel rooms, he would come to me and excitedly tie his dirty socks or any clothe around my eyes before disappearing for her to find him. He would hide in unexpected places like on a wall and still expect me to find him. He would untie my neat braids and mess with my hair and there were those endless surprise birthday parties that we would do for each other…We shared such a special sibling bond that would live on for a long time afterwards,” Nafisa narrates nostalgically.

Her other childhood friend, Anar Gulam, made it a trend to visit Nafisa every weekend or on some weekends Nafisa would return the favour, and sometimes, she too joined them during their trips to Tsavo or Amboseli or wherever their next vacation adventure took them.

Life was not all that bad after all. Her parents raised her with a very positive attitude, with tremendous support and showered her with love such that she would never feel alone in her journey. Yet there were a lot of surprises yet to come…


Today we celebrate world spina bifida and hydhydrocephalus day. We celebrate the patients and warriors battling with the two. You are indeed an inspiration to many of us! TO BE CONTINUED. PLEASE STAY TUNED…

Photo Courtesy: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Mondal

 

If you are thinking that bollywood is all about romance then you are getting it twisted. There are many moral and life lessons to be learnt but well, it all depends on your kind of thinking. Do you spend one/two hours watching something just because it was a hit and worth your cinema ticket or do you really try to analyze what is to be learnt from it? That’s food for thought but for now let’s get back to our topic. I am not always on track with the latest movies and most of what I’ve watched is many months or even years after it’s release. Nonetheless, I am critical in what I consider a good movie worth my time. These are just a few of which I think even if you aren’t a fan of bollywood, perhaps you should give a try to. They are quite some years old but their effect never get old on me. I am sure there are several more that have inspiring after-effects but this is what I could come up with for now.

1.Taare Zameen Par: My all time favourite. I have probably watched it a dozen times now. It still moves me. It still makes me cry like it’s my first time. The story revolves around a young ‘naughty’ boy who has a major problem in reading and writing. His father is very hard on the boy and keeps comparing him to his older brother who is just the ‘perfect son’; perfect grades, perfect cricket player. The young boy; Ishaan grows with a very low self esteem and becomes a loner. Only for his teacher to break it to his parents that he has dyslexia; a mental condition yet still a very talented artist. Coincidentally, Ishaan has several features like my baby sister. His height, slimness, the shape of his face, his teeth. Perhaps that is why it always gets to me but it has inspired me a lot. This is especially a good movie for parents (for teachers too); this exactly shows how scolding children really brings them down and how their support can make the best out of a student. How children should be allowed to persue what they can do best and for Ishaan, his art was simply spectacular! I’d just like to mention what the teacher told Ishaan’s father about a certain island called Solomon’s island where people don’t have to cut down the trees all they have to do is go in front of the trees and shout at them, insult, scold…and the trees die on their own. (Another food for thought).

I previously wrote an article about dyslexia which is also available on this site. That is how much this movie inspired me. You can always have a look at it! Well, to cut the long story short; it is definitely worth your time if you haven’t watched it already.

 

2.Bhaijang Baijarang: Well who hasn’t watched this?! A story about a very honest man trying to return a dumb girl back to her country Pakistan after getting lost in India. The obvious is that without anything this is already an awesome plot and a great story but there is about sacrifice here. How far do you go to helping someone even when you know you will be risking your life and not getting anything in return? Especially when you are dealing with a dumb girl and communication is such a struggle?! Crossing borders illegally is not exactly ‘an honest man’s way of doing things but he still tries his best to make it ‘right.’ I particularly like the similar ending of this movie and of the previous movie that I mentioned on Ishaan. The teacher throwing his student on air and in this, the saviour throwing Shaheeda (the dumb girl) on air too. Very moving! Very inspiring! Oh yes, stories involving children are simply the best! So, how much can you sacrifice for any human being?!

 

3.Ek Villain: Okay okay, it is a great love story alright but there is such a great lesson to be learnt from Aisha. Aisha is suffering from cancer and the doctors see no hope in her living any longer. So she has a bucket list that she wanted to empty before her death. A very interesting bucket list if I may add. But there is so much we learn from her. How her bucket list involves making other people happy more than herself. She keeps putting up very inspirational quotes on path ways. She is like a shining star that’s slowly falling. She smiles, she laughs, she has hope, she dedicates herself to fulfilling other people’s dreams even when she knew she was dying. But what I loved the most is how she taught her husband (who was filled with rage and pain over his alarming past) that darkness can never drive out darkness, it is only light that can drive out darkness. She was able to change her killer husband into something amazing. She was able to teach him that in life there is day too besides the night. We learn from her the art of being happy, of creating change in others, in being the light at the end of the tunnel for others. It is such a sad story and how it ended (or rather, started) wasn’t exactly what the viewers wanted but I like stories that beat the ordinary; unpredictable. Worth the watch, worth your time.

 

4.Three idiots: Ohhh boy. Amazing, simply tremendous! If you love stories about school life then this is definitely it. So much humour, adventures and craziness. But besides all that, this story evolves about three friends who invest all they have in their relationship. The kind of friendship that lasts forever. There is so much sacrifice, laughter, smiles, tears, sorrow, standing up for one another. Well, with our current world filled with fake friends maybe we can borrow a few ‘real friendship’ tips from these guys. Perhaps then we can start having the right definition of friendship.

 

5.Mary Kom: A tough girl who dreams of being a boxer and the obvious is that her father was totally against it. But she was persistent, still persued boxing, went training, had her many challenges but still became a champion. The twist of events happens when she gets married and gives birth to twins of which one was sickly. She had to stop boxing and training for a while and when she decided to come back to boxing it was like starting from zero again. But she still didn’t give up and struggled her way up once again. The perfect story for the saying, ‘where there is a will there is a way’. It’s all about dedication, courage, bravery, hard work and determination. You have a dream? It’s never going to come easy.

 

6.Baghban: Another very touching story of an old couple and their grown up children who decide to separate their mother and father after their house was sold. Really sad story in how it vividly potrays how children poorly traet their parents when they are of old age. The two parents are neglected and are hurt several times by their children and their spouses. The husband and wife miss each other but are miles apart and all they do is lie to each other that they are ‘okay’. Something interesting about this story is that their adopted son is the one who comes back to them, brings the two back together and treats them well more than their own children.  Yes, the story very well highlights that another man’s son could be better to you than your own family.  This is the ‘treat others right’ call. You just don’t know who will be good to you when you least expect it and who will be bad to you when you never expect it. Be good unto others, you just never know!

 

7.English Vinglish: Many of us take for granted our ‘illiterate’ parents and not just that, we rub it on their faces that they don’t know a thing. Well this is the same thing here. This story evolves around a very loving mother and wife who doesn’t know English. Her husband and daughter treat her awfully and mock her for being uneducated. When she travels to America for a family wedding, she secretly joins an English class. She gets to meet new people who really appreciate her and consider her delicious cookery as art. She starts loving herself for what she is and does all her best to learn English, which she does at the end. It’s a light story, perhaps not a super hit but one you can learn from. Again, where there is a will there is a way. She breaks all stereotypes around her and makes herself appreciated. The issue of parents come again; perhaps we really underestimate the damage we cause in our parents when we make silly jokes, mock them around or treat them misappropriately because of their weaknesses. Do only what you would want your own children to do to you!

 

8.BLACK: Being both blind and deaf from a young age is not any easy thing. This story talks about a young girl who becomes blind and deaf after recovering from some illness at the age of two. She becomes trapped in her own darkness and becomes a frustated and violent girl. Then comes this new teacher who is very hard on her at the start but he becomes the main reason of her learning and becoming better mannered. He teaches her to express herself. The teacher walks hand in hand with her in this journey until she is able to join university. She keeps failing but still continues persuing her dream until she finally graduates. At that time her teacher is already succumbing to alzheimer’s disease whereby he starts forgetting her and other memories too. On her graduation she ensures that her teacher is the first one who sees her in the gown and when he sees her he starts remembering bits from the past. They start pronouncing the letters together. It’s the teacher now learning from/with his student. Another inspiring story for teachers especially those dealing with special needs. What we learn? Teachers really have a great impact in our lives more than we assume.

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

I usually see so many inspirational books looking all glittery and attractive on the shelves in bookshops and by the street sides. Personally, as a writer, that’s an appealing view. I have read several such books and being an inspirational writer has always been in my goal list.

I remember once a friend sent me the book, ‘how to stop worrying and start living’ because of my paranoic and hysteric behaviour. When I was done reading it, I was so anxious to start working on myself, follow the advised tips and really stop worrying and start living. I tried my best to keep track of my life in relation to what I learnt from this and the other books I had read but with time laziness overcame me. Actually these books need a very dedicated person who is really willing to accept changes and to be keen in their lives; something I’m not really good at all.

If I can give it a wild guess, probably only 3 out of 10 people who read such books follow the tips fully. The rest of us follow only for a week, maybe a month or two. But my belief is that, if a person is able to continue with this routine for six months then they’ve made it.

Writing an inspirational book can be an easy way to earn money because people have been made to believe that what the inspirational speakers say is the only light in your very dark tunnel. My own realization is that words are but a consolation to the soul. They make you feel understood. They give you the illusionary shoulder you couldn’t get elsewhere. They give you hope when you have none. But the moment you close that book, all those words can’t help you much. You have to realize that it is your own will power that actually makes you seek happiness and love. You have to know that Zig Ziglar, Robin Sharma, Ben Carson or whoever else you read are just but an eye opener and a guide on how to deal with what you don’t want to admit is within you. Read these books; read them as much as you can if words are what are making you wake up with a wider smile each day. They actually make you wiser and more open minded…oh, and probably improve your grammar as well 🙂

Nonetheless, you also have to take note that none of these words will ever heal your wounds, or pick you up the floor, or make your life to miraculously become better. Everything is within you; only YOU have the power to wipe your tears, fight your fears and keep seeking your dreams. No one should lie to you that a book or a speaker changed their lives; they were just but a push for them to stand up once again. You have all the power in the world. You just have to realize it.

Sweetheart, be your own anchor!

Photo Courtesy: http://d1zlh37f1ep3tj.cloudfront.net/

 

 

When I first came across the names of the most inspiring failures, I immediately wanted to share it to all the readers who are facing failure at the moment. Whenever I came across hardships and failed miserably in achieving what I want, I always remembered these great personalities. It is inspiring to know that the most famous successful personalities in the world are yet the most famous failures, but what makes them outstanding is how they tackled their failure to become very successful. These are just some among’st many other achievers in the world and who knows; maybe you and I could be the next people in the world charts?? Let us have the will power and confidence that we can get there someday.

 

  1. Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, has literally changed the work culture of the world in the 21st century, by simplifying the way computer is being used. He happens to be the world’s richest man for the last one decade. However, in the 70’s before starting out, he was a Harvard University dropout. The most ironic part is that, he started a software company (that was soon to become Microsoft) by purchasing the software technology from “someone” for only $US50 back then.
  1. Abraham Lincoln, received no more than 5 years of formal education throughout his lifetime. When he grew up, he joined politics and had 12 major failures before he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.
  1. Isaac Newtonwas the greatest English mathematician of his generation. His work on optics and gravitation made him one of the greatest scientists the world has even known. Many thought that Isaac was born a genius, but he wasn’t! When he was young, he did very poorly in grade school, so poor that his teachers became clueless in improving his grades.
  1. Ludwig van Beethoven,a German composer of classical music, is widely regarded as one of history’s supreme composers. His reputation has inspired – and in many cases intimidated – composers, musicians, and audiences who were to come after him. Before the start of his career, Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him “as a composer, he is hopeless”. And during his career, he lost his hearing yet he managed to produce great music – a deaf man composing music, ironic isn’t!
  1. Thomas Edison who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S patents to his name. When he was a boy his teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything. When he set out on his own, he tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created the first successful light bulb.
  1. The Woolworth Company was a retail company that was one of the original five-and-ten-cent stores. The first Woolworth’s store was founded in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth and soon grew to become one of the largest retail chains in the world in the 20th century. Before starting his own business, Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21. But his employer would not let him serve any customer because he concluded that Frank “didn’t have enough common sense to serve the customers”.
  1. By acclamation, Michael Jordon is the greatest basketball player of all time. A phenomenal athlete with a unique combination of grace, speed, power, artistry, improvisational ability and an unquenchable competitive desire. Jordan single-handedly redefined the NBA superstar. Before joining NBA, Jordan was just an ordinary person, so ordinary that was cut from high school basketball team because of his “lack of skill”.
  1. Walter Disney was American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator. One of the most well-known motion picture producers in the world, Disney founded a production company. The corporation, now known as The Walt Disney company, makes average revenue of US $30 billion annually. Disney started his own business from his home garage and his very first cartoon production went bankrupt. During his first press conference, a newspaper editor ridiculed Walt Disney because he had no good ideas in film production.
  1. Winston Churchill failed the 6th grade. However, that never stopped him to work harder! He strived and eventually became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Churchill is generally regarded as one of the most important leaders in Britain and world history. In a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002 to identify the “100 Greatest Britons”, participants voted Churchill as the most important of all.
  1. Steven Spielberg is an American film director. He has won 3 Academy Awards and ranks among the most successful filmmakers in history. Most of all, Steven was recognized as the financially most successful motion picture director of all time. During his childhood, Spielberg dropped out of junior high school. He was persuaded to come back and was placed in a learning-disabled class. He only lasted a month and then dropped out of school forever.
  2. Akio Morita is the founder of giant electric household products, Sony Corporation. First product was an electric rice cooker but it became a fail since it burned rice rather than cooking. Today, Sony is generating US$66 billion in revenue and ranked as the world’s 6th largest electronic and electrical company.
  3. Albert Einstein, when he was young; his parents thought he was mentally retarded. His grades in school were so poor and he even considered himself stupid. However, he became a theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and “for his services to Theoretical Physics”.
  4. John Grisham‘s first novel was rejected by sixteen agents and twelve publishing houses. He kept on practicing the art of writing until he became best known as a novelist and author for his works of modern legal drama. The media has coined him as one of the best novel authors even alive in the 21st century and his books are read worldwide.
  5. Marilyn Monroe was dropped by 20th Century-Fox, one year into her contract, because her producer thought she was unattractive and cannot act. She didn’t give up on her dreams and eventually she was recognized by the public as the 20th century’s most famous movie star and pop icon.
  6. Henry Ford not only revolutionized industrial production in the United States and Europe, but also had such influence over the 20th century economy and society yet his first two automobile companies failed. His first failure did not stop him from incorporating Ford Motor Company and being the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the production of affordable automobiles in the world. His combination of mass production, high wages and low prices to consumers has initiated a management school known as “Fordism”. He became one of the three most famous and richest men in the world during his time.
  7. Soichiro Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation during a job interview as engineer after World War Two. He continued to be jobless and soon, his neighbors started buying his home-made scooters.  He set out on his own to start his own company, Honda. Today, the Company has grown to become the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and one of the most profitable automakers. With a global network of 437 subsidiaries, Honda develops, manufactures, and markets a wide variety of products ranging from small general-purpose engines and scooters to specialty sports cars.