#AtoZChallenge- Eye-Opener

“I wouldn’t recommend this!”, stated the consultant pointing his finger at one of the bullet items on the list. “Why not?!”, Robin exclaimed. “Your scores are no where close to the minimum scores for such a reputed school. Carnegie Mellon is too ambitious”, the consultant brushed off. “Hmmm, fine. I’ll do some more research on the list of schools you recommended for my profile. Will get back to you in a day or two”, Robin sighed and walked away.

Robin is a hardworking, ambitious kid who just passed out of high school. His SAT scores were pretty good, but he realized not good enough to get into his dream school. Robin wanted to go to Carnegie Mellon. After all he has been hearing wonderful stories about it since childhood from his uncle, who graduated from CMU. His uncle’s tales made him develop a fascination about life at a grad school.

Hey Bud! Wassup?!”, his uncle answered over the phone. “I just came to know that I can’t get into CMU”, Robin said softly. “What? Why not? Who told you that?!”  “The consultant. He says my scores are low”, Robin paused.  “I think I’m not good enough”, he added. “Hey! Listen Bud… Never criticize yourself. There is nothing you cannot get into. A great statement of purpose would do wonders irrespective of scores. So focus on writing a good SOP, on why you’re passionate about technology and why you want to go to CMU”, his uncle replied. “So you think I got a chance? Should I apply?”, Robin asked. “Of course! You should”, his uncle assured.

After the pep talk from his uncle, Robin swiftly went to his computer and started browsing Carnegie Mellon University’s official website. He spent hours browsing through the pictures, the facilities, their innovative research, their course catalogs, events and life at CMU posts from alumni for hours. As days passed, he expanded his research outside their website and scrolled through blogs on life at CMU, about student groups and activities, the opportunities, everything and anything related to CMU on the internet!

He also browsed through websites and course catalogs from the list of recommended schools by his consultant. No matter how many schools he looked at, he wasn’t really eager to get an admission there. But since he had to apply more than 1 school, he started putting together applications for four recommended schools and Carnegie Mellon. He wrote a strong Statement of purpose about his passion for technology and why he badly wanted to get into CMU, based on his uncle’s advice. His good research on the school made it easier for him. Thus he sent out applications for five schools.

The next few weeks, he spent day and night and dreaming about his life at CMU. Robin couldn’t get the different images of CMU he saw on the internet out of his mind. He imagined himself walking through the campus, playing his favorite sport on their fields, having a great time with friends, listening lectures in the very classrooms his uncle described and doing lab work in their state of the art research centers. His visualization was so clear that he could really feel and recognize his happiness of enjoying in the campus of CMU, though he was lying on his bed at home.

Two months later, letters regarding his applications started coming in. Though he got into two of the schools he expected, he got reject letters for two other schools, which came as a shock! They were neither as reputed as CMU nor were they ambitious enough for his profile. Robin began feeling the heat with this, though he never felt like attending those schools, he feared the thought of not making it to CMU either. But at the same time he could not stop himself from imagining himself in CMU. He preferred the temporary comfort he felt in imagining himself in his dream school rather than the panic he gained from worrying about the ‘what-if-not’!

A week later, “Robin, looks like you got an update from CMU!”, his mom called out. Robin ran down the stairs, snatched the envelope and ran back to his room. His heart started pounding as he swept his fingers through the words ‘Carnegie Mellon University’ on the envelope. He quickly opened the letter to read the first line:

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you’ve been granted admission to join Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science in Fall 2017′.

Robin was elated! He yelled his heart out! Though the program offered in his admission letter was different from the one he applied for, he couldn’t help but overlook, as he was extremely joyful to realize that he got into his dream school, irrespective of the program! This admit letter was an eye-opener for him, that anything is possible, as long as you believe and see yourself in the place you love!

Law of Attraction Takeaway–  The universe favors the brave! People who are brave enough to imagine themselves in places others tell they can never get to or doing things that others say they can never do! Imagination is not day dreaming, it is a powerful way to send out vibrations to the universe on how bad you want something.

The universe favors the brave! Be brave enough to imagine what you want, even when the world reminds you on how impossible it is!

E

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#AtoZChallenge- Crush Chronicle

The semester just began and Ria was excited to be back in college with her friends. Her first year of engineering was going good with lots of fun and frolic. Though she was surrounded with friends experiencing and enjoying puppy love, Ria never really felt the need for it, nor met any guy who made her crave for it.

One fine monday afternoon, Ria accompanied by her gang of friends, was heading towards the Electronics building from the IT department for lab sessions. As they walked away bantering, Ria noticed someone who caught her attention. A fine looking guy laughing off at his friend’s jokes as he stood with a record in his hands. His eyes sparkled as he laughed and the dark checkered shirt on his fair skin, only made him stand out of the lot. Ria couldn’t take her eyes off from what she just saw. His smile was like a breath of fresh air, which beamed innocence, yet full of charm. As she drifted away staring at him, she wondered, “Who is this guy? How come I haven’t seen him all these days?” During the lab sessions, she did not be her usual self. Her mind was filled with images of him and and his smile. She could neither get over her sight of the charming guy nor concentrate on the lab work.

She came to know that he was also a first year student from Electronics department. Ever since, each time she passed through that building, she hoped to get a glimpse of him. Days passed, semesters passed, but she never dared to approach him. She noticed him throwing a glance at her once in a while and each time she saw him looking at her, her heart skipped a beat. Just like every other college mate, they became Facebook friends, but Ria never dared to ping him.

As time flew by, Ria enjoyed glimpses of her charming guy every now and then, but made sure it didn’t disturb her to much extent. Each time she stared at him, “Please come into my life at some point, when I’m in my happy place, with nothing much to think about, but you”, she whole heatedly wished. Ria knew her priorities and by the time she reached her final year, she shifted her focus on future plans and employment.

Two years passed since graduation. Ria is now a Software Engineer in one of the nation’s top IT firms and is leading a busy life. She completed her training and is currently posted in Bangalore. After passing the hectic training period with flying colors, Ria is now having the time for her life! She loves her job, is completely joyful, devoid of any sorts of stress and is savoring every bit of her independence.

One Friday, Ria was travelling home from work and just like everyday, she started browsing her social media feed. She noticed she had a Facebook message notification staring at her. She went ahead to open it, and what she saw was something she never expected at that moment!

A ‘Hi’ from her charming guy!! “Wow! After all these years?!! He knows me?! He remembers me?!!” she cried out of elation. That message made her day. Her joy knew no bounds and she could feel her heartbeat racing. After she finished cherishing her ‘magical’ message moment, she replied back. The next thing she knew, she was engrossed in a conversation, so much that they exchanged numbers and continued chatting until midnight.

The next weeks were the most cherished for Ria. Endless waits for a beep on the phone, constant texting and blushing became a part of her daily routine. Then one day all of sudden, she receives a text.

Ria, I’ve been waiting to tell you this for years. I have a serious crush on you since college, but I couldn’t approach you back then for various reasons. I will be in Bangalore next week for a conference, would you like to meet sometime? :)”

Law of Attraction Takeaway–  Focus intensely on your affirmations in the present and let go. Do not think about it too much, as too much focus leads to confusion and raises unwanted doubts, which negates the affirmation. Releasing implies your complete trust that universe has taken over your affirmation and you will expect the results when you most need it!

Make a wholehearted affirmation and release it to the universe. This confirms your complete trust and belief in the Law of Attraction. Because greater the belief and trust, better the results!

C

#AtoZChallenge- Approved Appeal

Little Raji was all excited as she returned from school. Her mother who was clueless of her girl’s unexpected enthusiasm, inquired what made her so elated. “We have a fancy dress competition!!!”, Raji babbled. Her mother smiled but did not say a word. She knew she can’t afford to create or purchase fancy outfits for the competition, nor did she want to dampen her little girl’s spirits. “I want to win a prize!” , Raji uttered with a spark in her eyes and a glee on her face. “Why do you want to participate?”, her mother asked. “I told you I want to win a prize!”, Raji exclaimed. “The whole school will cheer for me when I receive the prize!”, she said. Her mother was taken aback by her daughter’s day dreams. She could neither encourage nor be her little one’s killjoy. “Okay, let’s see what we can do”, she sighed.

As days passed by, Raji reminded her mother about the competition. Her worried mother couldn’t think of anything better for the fancy dress contest other than her old sari. “How about this? You can be a fortune teller”, she asked, with a smile and a heart full of guilt. Raji who was playfully running around jabbered, “Yay! I’m going to be a fortune teller!” Her mother gave her few lines which Raji practiced for the next few days to recite at the contest.

On the day of the competition, Raji was accompanied by her mother. As they entered the backstage, her mother noticed how wonderfully other children were dressed up in some of the most creative and fancy outfits. The place was beaming with rich shimmery outfit clad princesses, superheros with their weapons and accessories, freedom fighters, young astronauts and cute mini professionals. She realized how impossible it was for her kid’s dream to become true and how this participation was a bad idea. To reduce the blow of failure on her little one, she asked Raji, “Do you still want to participate?” “Yes I do, I will get the prize”, Raji replied with an air of confidence.

As the competition began, Raji’s mother’s embarrassment kept increasing as she noticed other kid’s performance. Not only were they dressed up in fancy outfits, they also performed wonderfully well, much better than Raji. This definitely confirmed that her child doesn’t stand any chance. “Don’t worry if you don’t win. Your participation itself is a great effort! Shall we leave now?” Raji’s mother asked, with an attempt to save her kid from disappointment. “Wait, wait. I’m going to get the prize”, Raji replied. Her mother couldn’t help but sigh.

The competition came to an end. Just when Raji’s mother was worried about consoling her daughter, she hears, “The third prize goes to Raji, the fortune teller!!” with a huge round of applause. Just like her daughter wanted! She couldn’t believe how Raji won but was extremely happy for her child and all her embarrassment and guilt vanished in a second. “I told you I’d win!”, said Raji as she returned to her mother with her prize. “Indeed her appeal was approved!” her mother thought, feeling grateful.

Law of Attraction Takeaway– The universe is your genie. Ask away what you want and have utter faith that it will happen. Be like a child, trust in make-believe world, without any doubts or fears.

Be childlike. Ask the universe what you want and believe completely that it will come true

A

Big Fat Indian Feast of the Unknown

feast
                                                                                                                                            Image Source: Google

Why are you still lounging around like a couch potato?? We are getting late for the wedding. Go, dress up now!”, my mom grumbled, as she put on her bangles. I continued to pretend ignoring her words, while aimlessly browsing through the channels on television. Though my fingers were busy clicking buttons on the remote control with my eyes staring at the screen, my mind started slightly waning away from my idea of a perfect evening.

How long will you sluggishly switch channels on this idiot box and ultimately end up dozing off? Why not do something productive?”, my mind echoed.

What? Productive?? Is that even a thing to do? My mind has been suffering with some serious issues lately, in regards to my definition of happiness. Nothing gives me more joy than snuggling into my couch, with no damn thing to worry about! But why is it turning into my antagonist?

I can never be wrong! There is something beyond the couch that gives you immense happiness. FOOD!!!!”, reiterated my master mind.

Oh yes!! How could I overthink food? And wait! The wedding! Weddings mean only one thing to me- Food!! And lots and lots of it! Yes!! A big, fat wedding feast is all I need!

I hesitantly bid goodbye to the greatest pleasure of my survival- my cozy, comfy couch, without which, my life wouldn’t have been the same! As I stood up stretching to prepare myself for dressing up, I noticed my mom all bright and shiny, ready to head out for the wedding. “I’m coming with you. Wait for me”, I notified her. “Hurry up!”, she replied. I was least interested in playing dress up as my priority was nothing close to looking nice and pretty.

Finally, we reached the wedding venue, which appeared more like a food destination, rather than a place of celebration. My mother found her ‘known faces’ and went ahead mingling in a crowd full of dazzling, flashy ensembles. I went on my own way to find a perfect corner with least number of people, expecting minimum or zero drama. Luck worked in my favor and I found the perfect place, though no way close to my cozy couch that I abandoned.

As I waited restlessly for my mom to find me, I noticed a queue of people waiting as restlessly as me to congratulate the couple and head towards the dinner. In the process, I happened to get a glimpse of the bride and groom and wondered, Who are these people? Do I even know them? Are they friends/ relatives? Or may be, I should have at least read their names at the entrance. But, well! Who cares?!! I know what I’m here for, why bother about the unknown?

My mom finally found me and asked me to join the bandwagon to congratulate the newly wed. “I can’t pose for pictures with strangers. You have fun! And be quick, I’m starving!”, I quirked. I realized that the crowd in the wedding hall slowly started diminishing. Except for the ‘best wishes’ line, there were hardly any people around. I was pretty sure, everyone has headed for the feast. Well, I’m not alone then! That’s the reason most of us attend weddings anyway. If a movie was to be made on wedding ceremonies, the newly weds shouldn’t be considered as the lead cast. They just play a supporting role to the main lead- Food!!

Thankfully my mom was back and we were finally a part of the feast I was waiting for! With a colorful and varying number of appetizers, salads and main course, my appetite only kept scaling up beyond my control! And hey, this repeats for every cuisine! They have Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Italian. Whoa! This is an addendum for all my efforts of getting away from my warm couch. Not to forget the innumerable varieties of desserts, ice creams and fruit salads! But where do I start? Should I stick to a single cuisine? Or try them all? But what if I’m full midway? Or should I have more appetizers and stick to one cuisine for main course? Uff, this is tough! Screw it, I’m gonna savor as much as I can!

I started off my expedition for food, with a confused mind, but a hungry tummy. Hunger always wins and made me end up with a full plate of appetizers irrespective of cuisines, though my mind yelled to stop! I hogged on to try some of my favorites and then experiment with others. As I was nearing completion of the stuff on my plate, I realized I was full. So full, that a glimpse at the main course was no longer appetizing. The salads no longer appeared alluring. Screw the desserts, I don’t even wish to have a look at them!

My intention to satisfy my food cravings was left halfway. The sole purpose of my mission to attend this ceremony failed miserably. My stomach was full, but my mind was dissatisfied. Disappointed with my below average capability of doing justice to a feast, I headed home with a heavy heart and belly.

Soon after I reached home, I jumped onto my couch that I deserted. In a while, I opened a pack of chips and started snacking away. Well, if this is all that I can do, why do I need a feast?! “Lesson learned!!”, I warned my brain.

 

Daily Prompt- Feast

For Posterity- Handwritten Letters

handwritten

When was the last time you ever sent or received a hand written letter? Never? (Too bad!) Has it been years? Like once upon a time? (So you are aware how they look like!) Do you still receive or happen to send out letters/ postcards adorned with your very own handwriting? (Lucky soul!!!)

If I could single-handedly prevent something that is about to disappear from falling into oblivion, it has to be handwritten letters! I’ve been fortunate to get a number of opportunities to write letters. Though they were mostly official/ formal request letters for the banks or leave letters to the Principal in college, I wrote them (no typing!). My lethargy to type and take a print out, in spite of having the resources, might be counted as one of my excuses to hand write. Whatever may be the reason, I’m glad I chose to write over type. Informal letters to loved ones have lost significance anyway, so why not grab the opportunity to write while seeking permissions and authorizations?

Technology has taken over every sphere and one such instance gave rise to ‘writing’ being replaced by ‘typing’. The last time I received a handwritten letter was more than a decade ago, when my family and I moved to a different place during my 9th grade of schooling. After relocating, things weren’t great, life wasn’t smooth, though not the worst. I was unsure if I was slowly getting accustomed to the newness the new place had to offer or was feeling lonely deep inside for missing my old life. Could not make many friends in the new place due to language and cultural barriers. So obviously, I either spent most of the time at school feeling the voidness, or at home quarreling with my brother over Pokemon and Tazos!

One fine day, as I reached home from school, my mother handed over a letter that I received. Never did I receive a post on my name until then. Hence, my curiosity knew no bounds. The handwriting on the cover made me elated, as I was more than familiar with it! A letter from my dear friend back home, came to my rescue after months of loneliness. How better can it get, when I receive one during Friendship Day week?!

I could feel her attempt to communicate through her words on the paper I was reading, through her handwriting that I can never forget after having exchanged notes for years. Her handwriting was always very different from many others I knew. It was crisp with vivid curves and broad, clear alphabets. She was way too generous with spacing between words, thus quickly running out of pages in her notebooks! All these ran in my mind while I was not only admiring her writing, but also reading her letter with a smiley face.

As usual, she used up all the paper of the inland letter without utilizing it to its full potential. I could feel her emotions and felt so close to her through her writing. It had her personal essence that I could not find in the new place. The letter and my moment of reading it was priceless and I wished to cherish it for a lifetime!

Mobile phones weren’t revolutionary yet. They were a thing of the wealthy and definitely not an obvious need in every household.  STD call was the most used way to communicate with people living in other states. We communicated often over phone, but the feeling that came with the letter was beyond everything. I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience that feeling. I was always astonished and amazed at the way my grandmother exchanged letters with her sister until very recently. But now, the mobile bug has not spared them either and they communicate via cell phones.

Ever since the popularity of emails and SMS emerged, handwritten letters started losing significance. Now, they are a thing of the past. We live in a world, where proposals are done over Skype and break ups over text messages. I wonder if the current generation kids are even aware of a handwritten letter’s existence!

No matter how emotional the text message is, with innumerable emoticons, how detailed the email is, with more than necessary GIFs and images, they can never match the personal connection felt from a handwritten letter! The handwriting of a person connects at a deeper level, as it is a part of their personality that they share on a piece of paper. But a typed text is the same irrespective of the person typing, thus lacking a personal touch.

Try to write a letter and send it to your loved one. I’m sure they would cherish it for a lifetime in a world full of texting and typing. And who knows? A dispute over a text might lead to a break up, but an explanation via a handwritten letter might lead to a happily ever after!

 

Weekly Discover ChallengeFor Posterity

Zootopia- #AtoZChallenge


If there is one alphabet that I was sure of what to write about during the AtoZChallenge, it has to be Z. Ever since I watched the movie Zootopia two months ago, I wanted to put down my thoughts about it. It’s been a while since I felt like writing about any movie, especially animated. For some reason, I get more influenced by animated movies with animals in them. May be because I feel more stimulated with emotions, when portrayed through animals. One such movie that moved me after The Lion King, was Disney’s Zootopia! This is not a generalizing review on the movie, but about why I liked it.

Image Source: Google

Anyone can be anything” in Zootopia.

This being the theme of the movie, Zootopia is a big city where every creature, from the biggest elephant to the tiniest rodent live in harmony. The city is presented more or less like New York, with high skyscrapers and busy lives.

There is this bunny, Judy Hopps living in the countryside who dreams of becoming a police officer, inspite of the society threatening her that it’s no good for bunnies. Judy moves to Zootopia for her first job posting and is the only tiny animal and the first rabbit cop in a class full of bulls, tigers and muscular carnivores who fit the bill of belonging to the Police Department. Given her size, she is underestimated and is assigned with parking duty, even though she graduates as a topper at the Policy Academy.

With unfavorable events turning up, Judy encounters a case and is challenged by her boss to take up the case. In order to be considered seriously at the Policy Department, Judy agrees to solve the mystery. Now, she is forced to work with a witty street smart Fox, named Nick Wilde. He helps her with the case and an ample number of twists turn up as the case is solved, eventually leading to a bigger mystery than expected. How Judy solves the case and emerges a hero with Nick’s help is an old wine in a new bottle. But there were certain aspects that I loved in the movie:

Busting the stereotypes:

The movie was all about showcasing beyond the typical. First, a female protagonist, next a bunny. A female rabbit who wants to become a police officer, something very unsual. The societal pressure of discouragement when an underdog wants to achieve something beyond their clan’s imagination was aptly captured!

Why should a Fox be always considered a cunning animal? Breaking this stereotype, the movie depicts how a fox suffers all it’s life due to lack of trust and just with the fear of being labelled as cunning by all the other animals. Something synonymous with the real world. Humans are pretty good at labelling or judging, specially based on established standards and perceptions. This movie tries to bust that notion.

Attention to detail:

Zootopia is no way less than New York! They have the busiest transportation system feasible to every shape and size of the animal world. There are special areas for special breeds. The malls, streets sound similar to those of real big cities. For instance, little mouses shop at Mousy’s just like our Macy’s. The Police Department very well imitated the NYPD. While our world went crazy with the evolution of Apple and it’s half eaten apple logo, Judy Hopps skypes her family once in a while from Zootopia in her iPhone with a half eaten carrot logo! May be they too had an evolution of a Carrot company that has been a pioneer with innovation! I felt giving importance to such tiny details that just pass over in a jiffy and usually go unnoticed, was impressive.

I would do no justice while talking about this movie and not mention the ‘Sloth’ episode at DMV. This was the most hilarious scenes I have watched in recent times! Genuinely entertaining, without pretentious humor. I bet no one would watch this scene without bursting out into laughter!

Motivational theme:

Anyone can do anything! How cool is that! The movie wonderfully showcases how an underdog emerges a hero against all odds, with mere determination and positive outlook. The society never stops reminding us about who we are and where we come from, but our ability to think and achieve beyond what society labels, leads us to real victory!

If you haven’t watched this movie, please do watch it! It’s fun and enlightening.


Yearlong Yearning- #AtoZChallenge


It was one foggy morning in the month of October. Rohan woke up to the sound of bursting firecrackers in the neighbourhood. The fog was only an illusion created from the continuous burning of fireworks. It was Diwali- The festival of lights and prosperity. Rohan was much excited for Diwali than usual this time, as it has arrived a month earlier compared to the previous year. Not because he can light firecrackers in advance, but because his yearlong yearning to see his dad has come down by a month!

Rohan’s dad lives in the Middle East and Diwali is the only time he visits his family every year. As Rohan’s mom was busy preparing festival delicacies in the kitchen, Rohan jumped around the house with anticipation for his dad. “When will he be here?? I can’t wait to see him!!”, yells Rohan, doing fake cartwheel stunts with excitement. “So do I dear! He should be here by afternoon. Meanwhile, go burst some firecrackers with your friends”, his mom replied while deep frying some savories. “Nooo, I’ll burst them with Papa. He promised he’ll teach me to burn the new rockets this time. I can’t wait!!”, screamed Rohan.

It was half past six in the evening. Rohan’s dad was still not home. Rohan hasn’t stopped pestering his mother about his dad’s arrival. His mom has been trying to reach Rohan’s dad since hours, but in vain. The air of excitement began to fade. They actually began to worry, as they came to know the flights have landed on time. Rohan’s mother was tensed and felt pity looking at her 9 year old’s yearning for his dad. All the festival sweets and savories were lying on the table sans attention. Rohan’s mom was busy enquiring his dad’s friends back in the Middle East, while he looked helplessly at his mother.

At quarter past 9 p.m, the door bell rang. Rohan rushed to the door, while his mother was on the phone. “Papa!!!”, yelled Rohan and hugged his dad. His elation had no bounds. His yearning for yearlong has finally come to an end. “What happened?? I couldn’t reach you, we were so worried!”, Rohan’s mom inquired. “I missed my connecting flight and had no time to either recharge my battery dead phone nor call you to inform. I had to board as soon as I got the new ticket. Also, I thought this would make a nice surprise!”, Rohan’s dad replied winking. “This is not a pleasant surprise!”, his mom bawled. The excitement was back in the air, with a sense of relief. Rohan clinged to his dad and was living the moment, a moment he has been waiting for, since a year! “Ready to burst some rockets son?!”, his dad asked, while holding him tight. “Yes Papa, I’ve been ready since last Diwali!”, Rohan replied with a twinkle in his eye.