Where holding back your Imagination is a CRIME

A Learning In Rural India – Monitoring and Consistency

‘Rural India is a goldmine, filled with riches but harvested badly, without any planning marred with corruption and inefficiencies.’

Well the start of my post is not new. The question is how to go about changing the dynamics of rural India and bringing back its riches.

Some of my leanings are as follows –

1. ‘Make in Village’ and ‘Buy from Village’ –
A paradigm shift to make in villages is a must and a focus in handmade items needs to be developed. As of now, a large part of the products made in villages are clothing and stitching items, followed closely by jewelry and wood products. The Finishing of these products is immense and being handmade a lot of focus is on quality, so just don’t buy expensive stuff from large shops and malls but people need to ‘Buy from Village’. Supplement the incomes of the village folk and spread the great Indian movement of quality handcrafted products.

2. Consistency and monitoring –
The Indian folk are hardworking but can easily slip back into their old ways. Once we teach the people a skill, once used correctly and efficiently, wonders are made but if not monitored, the old ways are back to haunt them.
For example – in many villages around Pandhana, MP, the local NGO has built a large number of toilets but they either us it to stash their local Alcohol or do not maintain it as a result Open defecation is still a nuisance. Initially after spreading the word and teaching people, they do use the toilets but after a while with no monitoring or strict punishment, they return to their ways. Urban India itself is an example of people spitting on roads but once fines are imposed with strict observance from the authorities,people slowly stop.

3. Reality check, akin to shock treatment –
The reason our education system is of a below standard is not just our desire to learn by rote, or our inexperience in the field but how our perception lies within the framework of how corrupt society is or how hard village life is. ‘It is not so’ but we make it so. This is a controversial statement but a statement nonetheless. Many People love their life in the villages, they are content but not how we change their way but modify it is significantly. Remember, if you create employment opportunities in rural India, it is faster to change the mindset. This also helps in constant monitoring, not just the products but the people as well.

4. Product Bundling –
As much a possible, try bundling your products. Try tying up with people and organisation that work in rural India. This not only adds to your products but also creates more opportunities for people. These small add-ons make a huge difference.

5. Giving back to the Village-
Once a product is sold from the Villages, a part of the ales proceeds must go back to the village. this not only helps in the overall development of the village but teaches the people the need to donate to their village. This is paramount

These are my learning, this is not new but some of the things I had to modify my learning on and not unlearn anything. Cheers and god bless.

Shriti- Thank you 

“Sir,I will continue working on salt bricks and animal feed. I will call the existing fellow and talk to her”. Few days later I was in Kandwa, MP and after three was deputed to Pandhana, MP. I remember sitting on her bed on the first day and just talking about random things. We connected instantly. She was here for the last two months of her fellowship and those two months were the best months of my life. I love writing about people who inspire me and she is up there with the very best. This is not a piece of flattery but a small way to tell her what she means to the people here and me.

The way she looks at the world, understands it for what it is, not judging but accepting it makes her someone who you would love to hold a conversation with. Her maturity on another level and it was at times hard for me to put my views across not because she was aggressive but because she made so much sense that it was a new journey towards a more holistic approach on a topic. Her honesty, her love and dedication towards her work made her an example I will always follow. She taught me patience, she taught me to accept, to understand, to empathize, to believe, to live. Her love towards her animals was immense and I will keep frequently updating her about them.

She deserves the very best because she is the very best, a person I strive to become one day. As she left, I felt an emptiness which was shared by our colleagues here at the Aga Khan office. I wish her all the very best and she will always be my guide, my guru and my friend.

Shriti, thank you.

What makes change beautiful? 

As I wait for the bus to take me to Nirvana, the village bus rolls in to take us to our host. Lunch on a farm by the hills, made by Rekha Di. “The fish awaits”, her early morning call too inviting to turn down. My co-fellows and I in anticipation missed the first bus and waited an hour for the second by the road. A dreary Sunday in the trading town of Pandhana greeted us with the heat of a thousand suns. “Survival of the fittest”, Darwin’s principle holds true for us city folk trying to live in India’s rural landscape. The disease of kindness runs rampant and the terrible epidemic of village hospitality had taken its toll on us. We were welcomed and invited for every small meal. Every new guest is invited and asked to stay overnight and every child we see contorts our faces into smiles. What is this powerful yet simple magic?

We hear this blaring loudspeaker of Swatch Bharat and the various yojanas and we are told,”Kuch nahi hone wala hai” (nothing will happen). Yet in the atmosphere of pessimism, lie optimism for growth.”Hame age badna Hai”(we want to move forward). As I sit eating, I realize that the perspective to change is preached but the change of perspective is spewed upon. The vicious cycle of poverty hard to neglect but the pedals that turn it even more so, for knowledge is power but knowledge is also perversion. Perverted to the notion of the change it can bring. My meal done. The sun on its last errand for the day, nudges us to take our leave. What makes change beautiful? Well that’s what I am here to find out


“You need to change your attitude, you need to tune it down a bit” came the retort.  We were discussing our future and what we wanted to do when I said that I wanted to work only for my myself and have no dreams of working for a company big or small. “We all have that dream but you need to build your base, you need to understand the corporate life and the way to deal with everyday situations which will make you stronger, not by having an attitude of getting angry and paranoid”. He was absolutely right realistically. As they say, ‘no money, no honey’. You could be living in a bubble and reading about all the success stories but its not easy.I had been working for a company selling securities but everyday was getting harder. With that in mind I needed to part as my next inquiry came in.

That night I needed to be true to myself. I needed to put things into perspective and I needed to share, but with who?  So I lay down, closed my eyes and decided to question my self. I woke up on this planet, cool, beautiful, all green. Not Earth but something like the planet MOGO (if you are a Green Lantern Fan). I have always been a Green Lantern fan and combined my creativity and my dreams into  a meeting place. An inner body intervention with all my emotions. For people who are not familiar with this, I have listed the below emotional spectrum and their significance.

Red Lantern – Rage

Yellow Lantern – Fear

Green Lantern -Willpower

Blue Lantern- Hope

Indigo Lantern – Compassion

Violet Lantern –  Love

This may seem childlike but I needed to go to my ‘go to place’ and just be honest with myself and what could be more honest than personifying your emotions and having an honest conversation with them. An interview of sorts with my panel of interviewers; my emotions.

Indigo  – I understand what you are going through, so what do you want to do?

Blue – You are entrepreneurial and full of me. You have your aims and objectives and look to a bright future, which I am sure you will achieve, but what do want to do?

Red – You are angry with the way things are going on in the office. Lack of creativity and and the monotony is killing, no wonder you are full of me but don’t quit, I get stronger day by day there.

Yellow – Keep doing what you are doing. You are getting paid and that is keeping you afloat. Do you have a plan B? What if you fail? what if you don’t get another job? Don’t answer back at work, you might be given a warning letter. Don’t loose the security and just continue. Be realistic and build your self up. I may be fear but I am a realist.

Violet – What ever decision you take I will always burn bright. I understand sometimes you hate yourself and the rage in you swells (I see the red lantern flash a smile) but you need to remain patient and need to be positive. Have faith in your self.

Green – What do you will?

ME – I am scared (the yellow burns bright). 

Yellow – And you should be.

Green – Of what?

ME – scared of making decisions, for someone else always held my hand, scared that I take the wrong path, scared of falling.

Blue – I am here to wash away all your consternation. The blue in you dims but the green in you needs to erupt and to do that the blue needs to shine. Don’t be afraid to hope, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Yellow – How often we have heard all that rubbish, don’t be afraid etc etc. ‘If you  want something so bad get it’ and then you fall face first. Don’t be a fool. How will you live? Will your parents be happy with the decision you have taken? So many cases of failure, can you guarantee your success. When you fail, would you like to go back home crying.

Blue – What makes you so sure he will fail?

Yellow – Because he has been doing this for a along time. Every time he dreams up something, there is no consistency and he fails.

Red – And he lights me up further.  He fuels my fire and I glow brighter day by day.

Blue – So you want him to just forget what he wants and continue where he is?

Yellow – Yes and in the future, go forward with his plan.

Green – What if these opportunities do not come? can you guarantee them coming in the future?

Yellow – No one can guarantee anything, but he will be in a better position to take a decision. You all know I am rational and correct.

Indigo – Yellow is correct but what do you want?

ME – I DO NOT KNOW. (The Red glowing)

By this time I knew Yellow would win. His argument unshakable and realistic.

Green – Are you are coward?

ME – Never

Violet – Do you hate yourself?

ME – Yes.

Violet – Why?

ME – Cause I can’t make up my mind.

Green – Good, because now is the time to prove to your self what you are about. So what if you fall, wont you get up? will you crawl around moping?

Yellow – Do you have a plan?

ME – Yes.

Red – Do you know where you will be after 5 years.

There was silence for a while. I was perspiring. Imagine being cross examined by all your emotions, It is hard.

I slowly felt the blue lighten and his soft light wash over me.

ME – What or Where ever I am, I don’t want to kick my self and say,”I wish I took the step then for the time was then”.

Yellow – What if you fail?

ME – I’ll just get back up.

Green – What do you want?

ME – To follow my gut and stay strong. Have the courage and will to move forward. I have the experience and  I have my goals and plans. The road will be tough but I know what I want to do, I Know what I have to do.

Green – Then lets dance.

The morning light hit me with refreshing vigor. I never felt so light, never so free. The toughest person to face is not your boss but you.

The green had filled my room.









Inescapable – Chapter 6

Silverblood woke up in a blue room. The room had heads on the walls and they were alive. It was gruesome and  disgusting but the room had a beautiful hue to it. It took a while for him to get up to speed with his surroundings. “You never know what to expect at my place, never”, came a voice from the corner of his eye. As he turned, he saw two figures, one sitting on a grotesque sofa and another, a beautiful light that calmed everything. He immediately knew he was in between the two most powerful beings in existence. “Hello  Silverblood or Bruce, I like Bruce. I’m the devil, pleasure to make your acquaintance and this is your so called father; God”. The devil smiled in his despicable way pointing to the light. God looked beautiful, words could never describe the calmness he brought to everyone who felt his presence. Silverblood walked up to the light and punched God in the face,”you forsake me while I was down, you did not come to her aid and mine, you left us for dead”. God remained unmoved. “Silverblood, I’m sorry”. God put out his hand for forgiveness but Silverblood spat at it. He immediately took out the axlium and was about to stab God but with a flick of his hand he was on the floor bleeding from the mouth. He rushed to try his luck  not willing to give up and struck again but this time was pinned to a wall with all the faces silent, looking at him. “Now, now, there is no point of this. He betrayed you, you betrayed him, the story goes on and on”. Silverblood dropped to the floor in tears,” You betrayed us, how could you?how could you?”. Silence drowned out the room. ” Welcome to the wining side Bruce” the devil sarcastically applauding without taking his eye off God. “We will rule this world and lets fight the good fight. All I ever wanted was entertainment but he has come to stop it”. The devil smile grew bigger. Silverblood was on the floor dazed. “But now knowing you are on the right side I think it’s time to return, the elders have something to discuss”, and then there was darkness.

Inescapable -Chapter 5

Death was loose and she was alone. She was always alone but this time it felt different. It was always something different but this time she felt broken. She had roamed the world free collecting souls with her reaper. Her reaper, her constant companion, a constant friend, a constant enemy, a constant. There was never a time on earth that they were apart but when she had finished her quota for the day she would return to her lair and the reaper to hers. She was always alone inside but that was what death was, however, it felt like she was missing something, something she could never place and the harder she tried to remember the harder it would get to place it so she decided to call it quits.  This time though it felt different she kept this feeling to herself.

When God made DEATH, he made it to counter the reaper. She was the Destruction of Evil and Adversities Threatening Humans. She fought for centuries against evil and the reaper and saved mankind from many a threats. She stopped wars, conflicts and humanity lived very long. The devil  felt threatened by her and instead of killing her, he wanted to bring her onto his side thus he unleashed the four horsemen and only together could they imprison her. God did not come to her rescue, no one had come. She had come alone and fought alone.

The devil through his powers bound her to the reaper and together they roamed the earth collecting souls. Her horns were her pride not because it made her look menacing but because they were her source of power, her connection to the devil. Death had to exist, she was the only reason the earth was surviving because if she died the reaper would end life and the devils game would be done for. The reaper hated life and everything it stood for. She was the devils favorite child before death and after turning  death into a tool of his, he decided the join the blood enemies together thus one could not do without each other.


Inescapable – Chapter 4

“You have no Idea what you have got yourself into Silverblood”, the Angel Ariel looked into Silverbloods eyes hurt but not broken. “You have betrayed everyone, everyone. Your family, your friends, everyone. How could you?”. She was tied to a chair bleeding. Her golden blood oozing from the wound he had just opened up. They were in a room, surrounded by casters. Casters were the most vicious kind of people given powers to caste objects into anything their liked. Wind casters, rock casters, sand casters. Surrounded by five of the devils own, Silverblood looked unmoved. “I am on the winning side Ariel, look around you. Angels are done for and the good are going to be destroyed. Humanity is finished”. Ariel looked perturbed by what she had heard. “You cannot fathom to begin what we have planned”. Silverblood laughed in a such a scary manner that even the casters quaked in their boots. “What have you become brother?”. “Nothing exceeds the dawn of true life for 3 days is the key to move. Nothing is safe for we let go strife, for we shall find at the bottom of every bridges groove”. Silverblood laughed hysterically while the casters were confused. “Now give me the axlium and let me finish her”. He was about to strike her down when the room shook and the lights went out. A loud explosion enveloped them. Everyone had lost their bearings. The roof caved in and there were screams and then silence. The light caster Memosa lit the room and the rock caster Rocque started to remove the rubble. Ariel was gone. Silverblood was on the ground, the axlium in his chest and his left foot under the rubble. He was barely breathing. The aircaster Artemis created an air-cushion around him and slowly lifted him into the air. Just like the world of Avatar these casters could manipulate materials around them with ease; the devils chosen. “It has missed his heart but this is a very dangerous wound” the healer Contessa observed. “Wait” Rocque came charging through. “Remember what he told Ariel and then the explosion and now she is gone. I have seen many movies. he is playing us”. Memosa looked confused, “Impossible, he killed three angels  with his bare hands”. Roque smiled,”The perfect  betrayal, let him die. I know these so called ‘fallen angels’. I spit on their grave”. “We are loosing him”. Contessa shouted out. “Leave him” retorted Roque. “How can we, look what he has done for us”. Memosa looked worried. “The master will not like it”. I shall answer to him”. “Hes gone”,sighed Contessa.

Inescapable – Chapter 3

“Its been a long time, a very long time. I thought you would never come. I was just watching the series called Supernatural. Thrilling isn’t it, how these humans have such an imagination”. The devil smiled as he watched the life like hologram of Sam and Dean playing out their evil killing spree. “I like the way darkness is projected but what a boring end”. “Why is it that always your side wins in the these television shows but the real world is so much different?”. God had come a long way down into Hell. Well it wasn’t all red and fire as everyone on earth thinks. The room was big, very big. Unlike the fire and all the red that we mortals imagined for centuries. It was disgustingly beautiful and horrible, ironic in every way. The devil, a shape shifter, never met anyone in the same form, never. This time he Met God in the handsome form an actor ‘Jason John’ whose character killed the devil in another hit show ‘Unwalled’. The walls of the room were adorned with the heads of every type of human, every cast, creed, sex. The head of humans from the age of fifteen were on one side. He had numerous minions who made sure they were well groomed but what was even more scarier was that the heads were all alive. All shouting and screaming. They helped the devil think. Gods heart broke every time he saw them but they had their chance and this time God did not take his eye off him. The number of souls entering the gates of hell was phenomenal. At least 100 times more than the number entering Heaven. The center table was intrinsically horrid. It composed of two mortals, a man and a Woman in their thirty’s in an ‘X’ overlapping each other. They were forced into a back stand with their hands and feet glued to the floor. Such sadistic pleasure could only be enjoyed by the so called king of all. With a drink in hand, sitting on this green sofa too gruesome to describe cheekily called out “Shall we begin?”

Inescapable – Chapter 2

“Run, Gabriel Run”. Faster than the Eyes could see, faster than the wind could talk. Gabriel ran as fast as she could across the universe, passing the stars, faster than warp as the humans would say. The world was in silent chaos and with only a few angels left. God had called all of them back but one. He was going to meet the devil and try for the billionth time to change his plan for humanity. Gabriel has been on Earth for generations and she has seen the destruction that man had slowly brought onto himself. Men fulfilling prophecy or in other words ‘fulfilling the devils plan’. The devil from time to time would unveil small details of his plan just to see how people would react and men called it ‘Prophecy’. More game for the hungry. After all, he knew the outcome and no one was as powerful as him, none. He watched how God tried to fight him in every small way. He won many battles and lost few, some purposely so that false confidence would spur God on. The movies, the television shows all depicting the devastation of evil brought a smile to his face. Such irony, joyous irony.

Gabriel knew she had to run faster. Panting on reaching Heaven, the last bastion of hope hidden from everyone and revealed only in dreams she called out to Hadraniel, the Gate Keeper. “The password please”,”Bless  the unblessed for they fight , through showers of blessings indeed”. Haniel on seeing Gabriel, rushed to her side, “any news?”. “Where is he? take me to him now”, she shouted. God immediately appeared. He looked tired but his light beautiful and full of love. “Lord, Siliverblood is in, he is in and he wanted me to give you this”, handing God a scroll. He smiled for only the one intended to open it could. He unfurled the scroll and a small handsome angel arose. He spoke, unheard to anyone but God for the scroll could only be eligible to the one it was intended for. Precaution upon precaution for no one could be trusted, no one. Once he was done, the small angel bowed down and as he slowly fell asleep, God smiling painfully handed the scroll over to Raziel. “What is it God?”, Gabriel and Haniel inquisitive as ever. God looked at them with such love in his eyes,”our final play has started. Its time to meet him”.



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