Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mere casualties.

So I got a text message earlier in the day about this candle light vigil that's being organised in the city. I am considering the option of going to get my voice heard, but really, is my presence there justified? I pray for the peace of the affected families and the people of the city of Mumbai. Holding a candle and adding to the huge number of people walking on the streets with candles in their hands doesn't necessarily result in turn over of the steps taken to ensure safety to all the ctizens of this country. I heard about this family in Bombay... They apparently make peace with each other every morning after a fight they had at night and say those three magic words to each other before leaving home to work or school simply becasue they wouldn't know which of them they won't see again the night after. That isn't going to change. The government that's blinded to the concerns of the people isn't going to change its agenda. It took such a huge disaster for the corporate world to react to terrorist attacks in the country. The deaths of poor people that sold coconuts or the deaths of cobblers on the streets of the city didn't evoke such a reaction simple because each one of them didn't affect the other's life in this country. The economy of the country was being threatened when the Taj was attacked. There are several conclusions that can be drawn from the unfortunate incident that took place. I visited my sister last summer at the hotel and stayed with her for a few days, we had breakfast at the Trident and I passed by Cafe Leopold several times. Learning that these places have bullet holes in their windows and walls is tragic. There are so many questions. The bullet proof jackets that the policemen were wearing didn't match up to international standards. They weren't good enough for protection against the guns the terrorists were equipped with. Is it the fault of the system? Is it our fault for electing a Government that brings about no change in the system even after seventeen terror attacks on different parts of the country? Will holding a candle and walking on the streets with several other people with similar questions in their heads bring about a change? I wait for an answer to yet another rhetorical question.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Love Forever, Love Is Free

I still remember the time when I used to run down the stairs of the apartment building i used to stay at earlier holding the shiny black shoes that my maid polished for me in my hands at 8:20 AM in the morning with my mom's constant "you haven't finished your breakfast yet, come back here right now" ringing in my ears. I would run to my car and my sister would follow. She was the Head Girl then and would get away with being 2 minutes late for the morning assembly while I had to run around the front field of my school twice because of her friends who complained all the time to her about my not being on time to school. We would listen to this compilation called 'Progressive Rock' something while we were on our way to school and I still remember the album art. It was pink and it had a ballet dancer sort of thing. I remember the sequence of the songs too. There was 'Here is Gone' by the Goo Goo Dolls and then this song by Staind that would follow. I was probably the only girl in class 6 who listened to Def Leppard. I miss it. All of it. I missed those converations we used to have in the morning in the car and I miss her asking me for a pen to put this wierd little star on her palm. After she passed out of school, the senior school teachers called me "Divyashri's sister" for almost a year or two. I was twelve. I hadn't made my mark yet. I'm seventeen now. The senior school teachers know me as Kavyashri, ex-Head Girl and Student Editor, batch of 2008. So many similarities. Not the same path. I'm not following the cliche of taking the path less travelled or anything but it's definitely not the same. She's still seven years older, still the one older and wiser... But now it's getting tattoos together and hanging out at the coolest places on the planet. It's strange sometimes how people change and how some people keep loving you no matter what you become or who you become and however you change, for better or for worse.

Friday, June 13, 2008

More Than A Reminiscence

Teenagers face some of the most difficult situations in life. Their adolescence makes them seem more complicated than they actually are. This is not merely a reminiscence but more of a message to today’s teens telling them what they can learn and how they can benefit from a place and different people there who are greater than its magnificence.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, said Thomas H. Bayley. I attended school one comparatively cold January morning, while the preparation holidays for the class 12 Board Examinations were on. I was on my way to the Science Block of my school, when Mr. Dennis Powell, my favourite teacher was walking past me and casually said, “I see you are missing school already!” Those words were enough for everything around me to become blur. That was when I realized that I will not buy a new uniform and a pair of shiny back shoes for the first day of a new academic year. Thirteen years is a very long time, but it seemed like I stepped into this place I call my world just yesterday. I am reminded of a quote by Austin Dobson from the ‘Paradox of Time’. He said, “Time goes you say? Alas, time stays. We go.”

Coming to terms with the fact that the most amazing days of your life are over isn’t easy. There’s the sinking feeling you get when the last Board Examination is over and you know that it’s the last day you’ll be dressed in that uniform you’re excited to wear every morning. To leave the ‘Generation Next’ inspired, it would be appropriate to quote Kipling from my favourite poem, “If”.
“If you can dream, and not make dreams your master,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.”

Through the years, I’ve learnt that if it’s one thing that you need to survive the big, bad world out there waiting to pounce on you, it is self-belief. You are what you are today not because of circumstance, but because of the way you chose to benefit from it. Sometimes, you need to rise above and be better than the person you are if you have the slightest feeling that you’re a disappointment to your worth. Figure out the one thing that will rekindle the desire to be the person you’ll be proud of being if you are lost. I was lost once and my sister said to me, “The world is your oyster, just waiting to make your dreams come true. Just figure out what they are and see the magic that follows.” Those words worked like magic. It could be a few words from your most favourite person, a place, a book, a movie or even music that you could find inspiration in. Recognize yourselves as inheritors of a proud tradition in this country and believe that you are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. Believe in the infinite opportunities that are waiting just for you and be certain of the fact that nothing can hold you from achieving your rightful destiny. I have been taught to have that indomitable spirit to rise. I was uncertain earlier, but I know what my favourite word is now. Believe.

The Investiture Ceremony Speech

Very late....but this is my speech! :)

Every human being has multiple roles to play in life. A girl my age can be a sister, daughter, a friend..
I am honoured and humbled to have another identity- Head Girl of the Hyderabad Public School. Being the representative of around three thousand students- each with great potential- is certainly a privilege. Leadership to me is having a vision that is well communicated, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential. As the Girl Representative of the aspirations and dreams of HPS, I am reminded of Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharatiyar, who in 1910 composed this poem envisioning women of India:

"She walks with a raised head
With her eyes looking straight,
She has her principles,
Unafraid of anybody!
She has a lofty and knowledge based pride,
Such cultured women,
Don't falter from the chosen path.
She drives ignorance away.
She welcomes the bliss of life,
With a learned mind.
This is the Dharma
Of the emerging woman."

For me, HPS has been home for more than thirteen years. Every moment spent here has become another story to tell, every experience has made me the person who stands before you. Every unforgettable moment that I have spent here shall remain with me my entire life- joys, sorrows, victories and defeats. HPS has always been my defining identity. It has been and will be a place where there is always freedom of thought, word and action. When I succeeded, teachers and friends encouraged me further. When I stumbled, there weren't many people giving me a 10 point theory on how to overcome failure. I was told that leadership was not about how many times you stumbled and fell, but how fearlessly you picked yourself up and carried on with life's journey. They would watch me dust myself, stand up on my own and rise again. That has been my biggest learning here. HPS has prepared me for any eventuality and taught me how to be vigilant and tough in a fiercely competitive world.

I still remember the time when there were eight class captains in class 1P. My class teacher apparently did that so none of us would feel let down. I remember the time when I was narrator for the Play Sleeping Beauty in class 1 and the time when I won a recitation competition for reciting a poem called 'My Shadow' that my teacher chose for me. Making charts for our classroom and hoping it would go up on the walls remains a cherished memory. Even distributing spoons and forks during lunch in Primary School seemed like a great privilege back then. When we were promoted from Primary School to Middle School, my classmates and I spent time with my craft teacher because we wouldn't have craft classes after class 5. She told us that when we love something, we should be able to do it all by ourselves whenever we wished and be dedicated to the task at hand. I am fortunate to have inspiring teachers like this through the years at school, who've influenced my life in more ways than one and contributed to my being who I am.

I've learnt that it is important
"To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star."

The years at Middle School made me believe that I could excel in what I loved doing. The 1st ever Inter-house Music Competitions were held when I was in class 6. I won my first gold medal for music then. Seeing my painting put up in the Senior School Art Exhibition made me feel like I was heir to the genius of Ravi Varma. The first debate I won was in class 7. All these successes seemed like each one was the biggest then. I exercised my first leadership role as prefect in class 8. I realized then that leaders are not born, but made.

Senior School was the most exciting part of the thirteen years I spent here. The play, 'The Fiddler on the Roof' was certainly the highlight. The friends I made, the songs we recorded, the bloopers on stage, everything is still so special.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my sister, parents, teachers and friends for supporting me. I also thank the support staff- especially my ayah amma in pre-primary school who I still talk to today, the art assistant for helping me with all my art work and the bearer at the Lunch Hall who we smile at for extra cutlets every Friday. Thank you HPS for helping me spread my wings and reach greater heights. On behalf of the Prefectorial Board, we promise to be responsible and retain the best possible conduct through the year.

We recognise that we need a spirit of victory, a spirit that will carry us to our rightful place under the sun, a spirit which will recognise that we, as inheritors of a proud tradition, are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit was to arise and we work as a team, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny.

Thank you.

-Kavyashri C, 12 A
Head Girl and Student Editor.