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iMansiSharma

Socially Acceptable

Are you socially acceptable? Yes? What makes you think so? Who decides who is and who isn’t socially acceptable? Oh this tag, I hate it! SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE!

When you do things that are right by the society, things which the “wise” think are “acceptable”, that’s when you become socially acceptable. So you! With the low cut top and the low waist jeans, and you! With no job, hanging out with your “good for nothing” buddies, you are socially unacceptable. I’m sorry but you are. Because in our society only the ones dressed for work are acceptable. People with dreams are not. People with year-gaps are not. People with flaws are not.

So if you wish to wait it out and see what your interests are rather than slogging your arses in 9-5 suited jobs or if you choose to wear what you want to wear please don’t expect to be a part of the accepted group. And don’t let it frustrate you either. Instead, embrace it and cherish it. Be yourself. Because the “wise” generation is not going to define your happiness. They are not going to make sure you go to bed with a content heart. They are only hear to look and judge. Of course some of them might even talk sense. But they will be the ones going the distance with you standing by your side guiding you through every phase. Not the ones who’ll stop by the road and give you looks and walk off.

So yeah. You’re not socially acceptable. But you’re acceptable to your self. Do things that your heart desires. Be rational and look out for yourself because no one knows your reality better than you. Think about your happy future and work your way towards it. Don’t give up, don’t look back and definitely don’t stop for the looks.

Let your mirror be your reality. Let that reality lead you to a better life where you’re happy being you

Awkward Attention Seeker

I guess I have always been the kind who needed some form of attention to be centered on me. I’ve been told that when I was a kid I often sang songs at Dad’s official Naval parties and my Dad had to literally drag me out of there! (If you knew me personally you’d say I was lying because I look like the sternest version of say.. Professor Umbridge may be!) But yeah, I’ve been the kind to fool around, screw up and still always love the attention – positive and negative, both.

But as you grow, your definition of accepted attention changes. What was once a strong desire to be the center of attraction on birthdays, changes to the part where you love to show off your achievements and may be hideaway in your ‘winter palace’ (air conditioned rooms in the hottest month of the year) on birthdays.

So as weird as it may sound, I am an awkward attention seeker. I love every bit of it but I get awkward wondering if I deserve it. “Have you earned it?” is one question that often drives me mad, quite literally. Year after year your age increases in number but what is it that you can call ‘yours’? What is it that will make you proud enough to accept all the attention that you get. Just a while ago I had a conversation with a friend about birthdays and enjoying every bit of it. But my question is, what have you done to deserve it? Sure it’s your ‘birthday’, but why does it need to be a day full of celebrations and gift-showering and awkward phone calls? If anything, I think it should be a day of celebration for your parents because you’re their achievement in a way. They got you in this world.

Many might read this and say ‘Oh God, she’s bonkers!’ But this is just my opinion. I am an awkward attention seekers who demands attention at every step but gets awkward when she starts questioning its need.

PS: I also think that birthdays are really not about you. They are about meeting the expectations of others who demand that you throw a party.

This Day, That Year

I honestly quite enjoy this latest feature of Facebook that shows me my memories from the previous years. It is more of an eye-opening feature that makes you realise how stupid and dumb you were to post your feelings as statuses on social media. It reminds you of those lame fights that you had with your buddies and put up a status attacking them indirectly by writing “Oh gosh! Some people are so unbearable!” Honestly, I do feel embarrassed when Facebook shows me those!

But what it also does is show me the great moments. The pictures of happier times which I then chose to post on the site (no matter how much my parents told me not to!) The huge ‘albums’ of get-togethers with friends and family, of quotes and “who is what- tag your friends” images! It reminds you of those days when you were a rebellious teenager who chose to make their life public against their parents wishes! What a rush, right?

So as I woke up today I got the same notification from Facebook saying “Hi Mansi, see your memories here.” And like the hopeless lover of past that I am, I did. I found a couple of statuses declaring my love for Dominos (which still stands true by the way!) and some declaring my love for my sister (this is also stands true, no matter how much we fight) and then there was one about the moment I actually grew up – the day I left for my trip to Australia. How did that make me grow up, you ask? Well I was always someone living in the shell. Being picked up and dropped from and to everywhere I went. And getting on a plane? I’d only done that twice or thrice before that too under the umbrella of my parents’ support. But then, five years ago, on this day, June 10, 2011, I travelled to a foreign land, all by myself (because my parents were already there). This isn’t a story about how my journey was because it was quite boring to be honest! I spent some 7 hours quietly staring at the map on the screen. This is a post only to remind myself and to tell you all too, that you can be brave and do things you once thought you never could. All it takes is a single step. So thank you facebook for reminding me of the day I took that step.

Who Am I?

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Mansi Sharma

I am a scribbler. I scribble my thoughts in black and white, sometimes even on the white screen of my black phone. I’m not a big talker or a big sharer. I keep my thoughts to myself mostly and most of what I really say is pure crass, an attempt to get your mind off of the real troubles in life.

I am a friend. I’m the one you search for when you’re lost on a crowded street. I’m the one you think of when you wish to download your emotions on to someone. I’m the one who’s there to hold your hand and gently tell you when you’re being a fool.

I am a sister. A whiny opinionated one! I download my emotions on to you with the faith that you’ll always be there. But I’m also there for you. Through your ups and downs, through the good and bad. I will tell you when you’re wrong, but I’ll never leave your hand.

I am a daughter. A Mamma’s girl and a Daddy’s Princess. Yes Princess, because that’s how I’ve been brought up. Not a spoilt for choice princess, but one who gets whatever she wants but never fails to understand it’s true value. Even on days with limited income I got what my parents could give, and if they couldn’t give something, I wasn’t told a sugarcoated story. I was told things bluntly as they were so I knew that all good things came in good time.

I am a worshipper. Not of idols, but of faith. The faith that tells me to be strong no matter how rough the ocean may seem, you will sail through. The faith that tells me that no matter what people say or do, there’s always some good in life to hold on to. The faith that tells me that “This too shall pass.”

But most of all, I am me. I am all of those things listed above and a lot more. I am an ocean of emotions with lots to give (and take). I am a thinker who sometimes (mostly) goes overboard with the over-thinking too. I am a crier. I cry when I see babies cry. I cry when my favorite character cries. I cried when Severus Snape died. I am a laugher (is that even a word!). I laugh at the tiny little jokes. I laugh at what we call “PJs”. I laugh when I see someone laughing. I flow with my emotions. Sometimes with the high current, and sometimes with the low.

Who am I? I am all that and much more. I am me.

Timing

You’re sitting in a group, one person says something, you say another thing and at the end you realize you’re all poking fun at one person. Nothing harmless, you say. We’re buddies so it’s okay, you say. But is it really? It’s okay for you, but what about the one who’s just smiling away secretly hoping that you’d all just stop.

Timing is one thing that we rarely think about. “Live in the moment,” but only when the situation affects you alone. Your jokes and poking fun at one person alone at a time when he’s already feeling vulnerable may end up being a reason for his sorrows.

Timing isn’t only important while poking fun, but it is often the basis of all being. You do a good deed during a sad phase and you may end up bringing joy to someone’s life. Similarly you do a bad thing during a good phase, you’ll end up ruining the happiest moment of someone’s life.

I know it all sounds very haphazard but may be its just the timing. Attempting to write something good when your mind is clouded with a zillion thoughts doesn’t really bring out positive results, does it? So yeah, keep the timing in mind. There’s always a good time and bad time.

My One Good Deed: 1 Cup of water

Do one good deed today

Make someone smile, make their day
Do one good deed today
Be your best, offer someone rest
But do one good deed today
Smile a little more, cry a little less
Just one good deed today
Bless a child, make someone’s life
But do ONE good deed today

It’s not really a poem, it’s just a thought. It’s one simple action of mine that led me to realize that one good deed, no matter how big or small, can light up someone’s day. It was just another horrifying hot day in Delhi when even people could’ve melted due to the heat. 45-46℃ must have been the temperature and I was visiting the post office with my dad. It was then that I heard the lady at the counter ask another man about when the guy will come with water. You see, she was sitting at the post office, under the slowest fan you could possibly imagine, with not a single drop of water to drink.

Well, I am someone who never steps out of the house without my water bottle, yes, even in Winters. So I offered her some water from my bottle and she looked a little apprehensive. I wouldn’t blame her. We live in a world where trust issues are increasing as people from the same family betray each other without thinking twice. But then she ducked down and picked up her cup and asked me to fill it up. The amount of blessings I received that day for that one cup of water is something that I had not expected. She have said “God bless you and always stay happy” at least a dozen times! Only for one cup of water.
So do one good deed today?

Troubles At Sea

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The party went on well with FORTAN (Fortress Commander Andaman and Nicobar) having his drinks with his staff all with the good intentions to bid us bon voyage to Vishakhapatnam for engine repairs. After the merry-making and forced courtesy smiles we all got into serious business of making preparations for the long voyage. Of course I forgot to mention that we were at Port Blair and the vessel was INS Ghariyal (landing Ship Tanks). It was my first war ship and was there to earn my watch keeping ticket. This would be my first long trip of six hundred nautical miles of Blue Ocean sailing.

The year was 1982 and season was monsoonal.

Met briefing must have been obtained by the Commanding Officer which I understand must have been comprehensive culminating into standard parting shot which is the favorite of  IMD i.e. “weather seasonal”.

So the very next day we set sail leaving island for the main land and into the Bay of Bengal.

The only navigational aid on board was a simple-minded radar , with the limited range which at times exceeded visual range that too after lot of cajoling and tuning of dials, other was a versatile sextant. Communication wise we were better of as we had a good operator.

After crossing the channel when we were truly in the Bay of Bengal the wind picked up and the clouds started gathering forces. INS Ghariyal braved on taking sea and winds on the bows. We heroically took it as a part of the sea life that awaited us in our chosen carrier.

Come the third day, winds started howling and sea became violent at our odiousness of competing with him. The first item to give way and take off was the bridge canopy, not that we minded it because it was of no use as there were only thick blue and black angry clouds totally obliterating the sun. Then suddenly the quartermaster (helmsmen) took off unable to hold the wheel and his stomach contents in place. The poor sod was replaced with a bucket for all of us to puke when not steering. Anyhow steering too was a joke as we were at mercy of the angry Neptune. Whenever we tried pointing the head towards the Vishakhapatnam the waves would fling us off course with impunity towards North. Then came the rains, I can now well imagine the plight of people of Mathura would have through when Lord Indira vented his ire and Krishna had to uproot the mountain. Not so lucky for us, Captain was not even a shade near of Krishna, any way there was no hill that could be lifted. We were drenched to the core of our skin with no dry change available. The ship was old and its joints creaked and portholes leaked and the rubber coaming yielded to the nature’s raw elements. The sum total was that our bunks were wet and not only wet but soggy and soaked with the water squeezing out due to the body weight pressure. So no sleep, rather no rest after a good four-hour watch of steering, braving gale force winds and threatening waves ready to break overhead, with a lurking suspicions of the end of our survival. Cook being a mere human being was constrained in cooking as the utensils were finding difficult to stay in position on the hot plate. So no food.

The sea was getting dangerous the waves were getting bigger and bigger imagine a ship climbing up an incline of 45 deg and one had to support himself to stand upright. What upright, during the ascent  we  were looking upwards at a very unpleasant sky with rain falling on our exposed face, with  winds making a deafening noise in our ears and when we reached the crest of the monstrous wave the ship would topple over and commence its seemingly  never-ending downward journey. During the descent all around the sea was churning and frothy and waiting to engulf us. What held her back we know not? Mercifully on hitting the trough the vessel did not dig in but dutifully found will power, time and space for its upward journey to the crest. Both sea and winds had crossed all known beau fort scales. We were truly at the mercy of our Captain who was also at the mercy of his own limited knowledge and ALL KNOWING. The best part is that even the rats on board were sea-sick they would not move even after prodding. To think of it no one bothered about them.  We were wet, dog tired, and hungry and shit scared.

With all efforts of our keeping the vessels head into sea having been failed the Captain decides to turn back to Port Blair. Taking note of our admission to defeat the winds and sea started to relent. Now all ashore wanted to help and be generous. To show and shower generosity we were asked where we were. To this we had no answer. Busy fighting the elements we lost all senses of position. We dead reckoned our position to be somewhere in the northern part of Bay of Bengal since the winds and sea was pushing us in that direction. So with a new purpose in life we chugged up on an easterly course.  Lo and behold something did start painting on the radar, but then knowing the capabilities of the equipment we decided for the day break. Come day break and we sighted land. With every passing hour HQ was breathing down our neck, with same question “where are you”.

With the conformation of survival the stock taking of the vessel commenced. Our tank space was flooded; all tightly packed items were floating.  Within minutes the submersible pumps after sucking up water from the tank space and spewing it overboard ate up garbage and got clogged thus spluttered to a hissing halt leaving us helpless with a miniature swimming pool in the tank space.  The same was dutifully recorded and transmitted as a sitrep.

The HQ meanwhile had launched a SAR mission namely twin-engine islander to go up north along the coast and report the position of INS Ghariyal. We were sighted but no material help could be rendered as no help is possible between warships at sea and a fixed wing aircraft. The aircraft circled around us as confidence boosting measure and position reporting. The position thus given by the islander was plotted and we suddenly realized that had we drifted a bit more to the north we would have missed the northern most islands and would have hit Burma. A missed opportunity of a foreign visit.

The cook on board found courage and entered the galley and cooked something to sustain us for the rigor ahead. The ships’ company could be clubbed into two groups. Group no 1 which was sea sick and had thrown everything out of the wrong hole. Result they were near dead and of no use. Group 2 not sea-sick but had worked empty stomach for a week and nearly dead of fatigue and hunger but were still pushing them self to the limit to keep the ship afloat and us alive. It was a disciplined misery all round. But the vessel chugged on nevertheless.

Once again the aviation came to our help. The ship’s company leaped up in joy when they heard the fluttering of the rotor blades. Down came the winch of Chetek with a heavy load and the charge of the able-bodied seamen towards it was visible. Onward they charged thinking it was hot cooked food. Imagine to their utter dismay when the bag revealed a working heavy-duty submersible pump. Not only it was a big letdown but it meant extra work for the pump needed to be dragged down, placed, connected and operated. The groans of men and officers could be heard in the bridge and I am sure FORTAN would also have heard it.

The next day we went alongside the jetty. Amends were made, the sister ship INS Guldar gave us a hot meal and dry bunks to sleep.

Thus we were back from where we started. Wish it had all ended here, but no gods were preparing a twist in our next foray to Vishakhapatnam.

By Cdr Anil Sharma

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss You Ma

This is a poem written by someone known to me for her mother. I truly fell in love with it the moment I read it. Posting it here for everyone to read and appreciate the beautiful sentiments of a daughter for her mother.

 

You slipped into eternal glory

Without saying a word to me

It is hard to believe that you are not there

As every dawn I looked for you

In every gentle breeze I thought you passed by.

 

Every dew drop reminded me of your pure love

 

Every twilight I smelled your fragrance, and,

I believe that the soft night star is like your gentle smile,

 

Ma do you know

I miss you in my hustle bustle

I miss you in my simple meals

I miss you in my evening prayers

I missed you on Christmas eve.

 

It was too hard for me to let you go

But heaven could no longer wait for you

As I sighed and cried

Calm assurance embraced me and 

Gave me the solace and comfort saying 

You are in a better place, safe in his ever lasting arms.

 

Love you and miss you Ma, this is to remember you ever since you left us two years ago.

– Esther Bhandaru

Grow Up Already!

Isn’t this what you always hear? Even before your birth, the world starts waiting for the day when you’ll grow up into the young dashing person they expect you to be. If you’re a boy, you’re expect to behave like a man – talk with respect, don’t play with toys, shave, comb your hair, study, work, earn. And if you’re a girl well then they search for the woman in you who sits straight, looks beautiful, dresses well, talks politely and smiles before saying anything.

We live in a world where we are all in a rush to get somewhere. Where, you ask? I’m sure no one really knows the answer to that. But it’s all a race. So you can’t really afford to be a child, you know. You don’t have time to embrace those childish fantasies because if you stop for even a second, you’ll be left behind in the race to get wherever it is that you’re supposed to be. (Please tell me too if you somehow figure it out! Thanks!)

So yeah, grow up already! This is no time to be a kid. Instead, I say, it is the time for you to be YOU. (Ah! Plot twist!) Who says you have to be a child or an adult? Over the last few years, if there’s anything that I’ve learnt it would be that the world will ALWAYS have something or the other to say. We have a very famous song here in India which says ‘Kuch toh log kahenge… Logo ka kaam hai kehna.’ (People will always find something to say because that’s just what they do!) So be you, do whatever the hell it is that you want to do. Run, stop, laugh, cry, jump, sleep – do whatever you feel like doing.

Losing your identity in this race doesn’t affect you alone. It affects the people around you too. They lose the one they once fell in love with. Sure, they’re probably the ones pushing you to get ahead but take it all one step at a time – a step that allows you to work at your own pace.

The only thing to keep in mind is that there is always balance required to maintain the equilibrium in the world. So work hard, but don’t lose yourself along the way.

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