I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.

–From ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M. Scott Peck

Both these quotes say one of the biggest truths.We all have always dreamt of being in love. Love looks like a seredipitous phenomenon- you have somebody to understand you, listen to you and care for you. Seldom do we realize that love is that one thing that requires the maximum investment. The care and understanding that we all expect must be given as well. Love is action- oriented. It involves the growth of two people. It becomes even more important in present times. Relationships are failing at an alarmingly high rate.

People today are moving towards conscious love. People want to be in relationships where both the partners are committed to growth- individual growth,  collective growth and the growth that makes the world better. This growth requires efforts. Love might just happen, but it won’t be able to sustain itself. To most of us, love looks like a destination, whereas it is a practice that must be practised day in and day out.

Blogging 101: Introduce yourself

Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.
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Either you do it or you don’t! There’s no try.

I am Ritika Khanna. By my degree and profession, I am an engineer. However, I have a special inclination towards writing and words. I think a lot. There is, perhaps, no end to my thinking. I was inspired by a friend of mine to begin blogging. He began blogging; I read his posts and got motivated for myself.

My blog is a reflection of my thoughts with certain elements added from my imagination. I always try to see manifestations of my thoughts. These manifestations fuel my blog. I haven’t been a regular blogger until recently when I came through the Daily Post where I found Daily Prompts. Engrossed into the peeves of daily life, I needed this push to establish myself as a regular writer. I hope I can grow.

I am a cheerful, affable girl who can gel with people easily. I am genuinely interested in knowing people. A nefelibata, I don’t follow the conventions set by the society. I have legions of wishes I aspire to fulfill in this life.

I have copied this portion from my About Section. I am here to express myself! I aspire to improve and grow by the knowledge of the world. The concept of learning from others has always captured my imagination. What amazes me the most is our ability to learn by pooling the knowledge and resources all over the world, via the WWW. I could maintain a personal journal also, but until there is an obligation, I never work. All my peers here are a source of motivation to me.

I like to write about the things that happen in our lives, things that tend to affect us: friends, people, conscience, the different phases of our lives and all that comes to my mind. Presumably, I can converge to something one day. I have owned a blog page for the past two years. But it is only now that I have decided to write regularly.

I hope I can become a part of this larger community by writing regularly. I have always loved to have people and friends in my life. If Blogging 101 can give me a few friends with whom I can connect beyond this platform, I will consider my task done. I aspire to have read several books and have at least 1000 followers if I am able to blog successfully for the next year. I also wish to try different styles of writing over the next year. Later in my life, I want to have several books to my credit. As of now, I am garnering more and more ideas.

The adage written above is for nobody except for me. Initially, I thought I couldn’t find topics and issues to write on, given it took me some time to think about the appropriate topics. I found Daily Prompts on the Daily Post and thought my trouble had come to an end. Then, I registered for Blogging 101 and Writing 101 courses held in September this year. I couldn’t even complete those courses. I realise, the issue with me isn’t the ability to think what to write on, it is the lack of determination to write.

I had written this introductory post for the last Blogging 101 course. But, for this course, my aim is to prove myself to me. I am here to write daily, at least for this one month. I wrote this publically because, I think, if you want to achieve something, tell the people around you about it. There are few assignments that I had completed in the last course. I will always edit them a bit before putting them again. (The first two assignments are same).

Buyers, Have it!

The year is 2214, and your computer’s dusty hard drive has just resurfaced at an antique store. Write a note to the curious buyer explaining what he or she will find there.
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Daily Post

Hey there!

So you are the specie of the future, a distant future as our generation would have called it. As a kid, we always read what our future –self would be like!

So you exist! If you are holding this in your hand, believe me, you are holding one of the much coveted thing of our times- the digital times. How much we loved this small black box! I surmise even this must be big for you. Your generation must be far far ahead than ours in terms of technology. You must have progressed to insurmountable limits, at least, going by our standards- the way we people fought, with literally everything- other people and even our own selves, and got indulged in insignificant things.

If you go through the contents of it, you will probably know our times. You will find in it a few songs, not literally a few, but few compared to what most people around me had! You will find several gigabytes of pictures, mostly from my college. You will get to see my friends, the buildings we had, the trees and the nature, in general. Few of my pictures are hilarious. My room-mate clicked those when I was in the college hostel. I never showed them to anybody. But, you get to see them now. I hope you will think of me before you show them to your friends.

Besides, you get a store of movies- Hindi and English, mostly. Although I didn’t watch many, I liked to maintain a collection. Also, you get the set-ups of many soft-wares, some with the keys even! That’s not all! I also had some stuff you might not like. There are e-books, mostly related to our course and a few novels, documents and pdfs that I referred to while studying and some presentations.

I hope, at least some of what I have helps you. If you also have those history books where they teach you about the past, believe me, this is the practical knowledge of our times! For us, few of the animals were the species that were extinct. For you, the supreme form of life of our times has disappeared. Hope you have a wonderful time viewing this and otherwise!

Your kin from two centuries ago!
Ritika Khanna

Locked and Sealed

Can you keep a secret? Have you ever — intentionally or not — spilled the beans (when you should’ve stayed quiet)?
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That was in the 1990s, say 1997 or 1988. I wasn’t even 10. We were approaching the new millennium. We were enthralled for the new millennium more than anybody else- me and my siblings. We had been gathering money for the few years of our lives, which we had been living. We are three. Every year we went- to our aunts and uncles, our paternal and maternal grandparents- we were given money and gifts. This is usually the tradition in India- bestowing gifts and money on small children. I don’t know if the rest of the world follows this too. You can probably tell me about this in the comments section.
We had bigger plans, only my sister. We being younger to her had to succumb to hers- we weren’t given any choice of our own. You know how the elders bully their younger siblings. Well, we have been subjected to a lot of bullying by our sister and if she reads this post, believe me, today will be ‘The Day’.
So here goes the plan.

One, two and three
Ready in full spree

Three kids go to their uncle
Bestowed with money and sweets’ bundle

In the mind of the eldest, strikes a plan
Probably nobody thought of in their clan

Eager to share it with her siblings
Toffees, Ice cream, a time ripping
All she left them was cribbing

We need to save the money we earned
Discard the things that were yearned

What? Why will we do with that?
She had said herself in a tone so flat!

After many pleadings, she explained her intent to us. The idea was to save money till the new millennium and give it to our parents. So throwing herself body and soul into it, she convinced us. And this was supposed to be a surprise-God knows for what!
One fine evening, I was sitting with my dad and I narrated our entire plans to him. Again I don’t know, why?
Well I spilled the beans only to dissatisfy my sister and make her believe that I was a stupid unreliable chap. I don’t remember what we did with that money. All I remember is on the New Year’s Eve, when the new millennium was round the corner, I was sitting in my dad’s lap and all of us were watching some movie.

Advantage of Foresight

You’ve been granted the power to predict the future! The catch — each time you use your power, it costs you one day (as in, you’ll live one day less). How would you use this power, it at all?

So, I have a new power, the power of predicting things- I can tell people what’s in store for them. Within seconds of having read the daily prompt, I had begun imagining myself as a futurist. I was telling people what lies in store for them- giving people a vivid description of their future- opening the Pandora’s box for them. For some I was Cassandra, for others a fortune-teller. I had been telling people to be prepared for tomorrow- asked a few to be ready to celebrate, while I asked others to be prepared for some ordeal that was about to grip their lives. I wasn’t doing this for free. For every prediction I made that turned out to be true, I charged people exorbitantly. After all I was their savior. Making my fortune by gazing at a crystal, not literally though. But then losing a day for each prediction; was it really worth it? For whom was I gathering money, when my own life was being reduced to countable days? Weren’t I gambling?

fortune_teller

I turned myself into my own sibyl. Predicting tomorrow, sometimes things turned out to be true whilst at other times; I ended up losing another day! A shorter life began to scare me. I had countable days left and not even half of the legions of wishes I had, had come true. Each day began threatening me. Soon I found myself lain down on my stomach in front of God begging him to undo what I had done.
This was when my catnap broke and I realized that all that I saw was a dream- a nightmare! Soon, I got up and thanked God for not having turned my dream into reality.

Nightmare Job

In honor of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.
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The college had gotten over in May. There were some holidays before the beginning of the new job, rather the first job. In the evening, I was standing on the terrace and gazing at the blue sky and the skyscrapers that obstructed my view of it. It was one of those introspective days. I could hear some voice…
“So, what do you think you are going to do now?”
“Now I am standing on the terrace. I will go down after this and greet my dad and my sister when they come.”
It was the evening time.
“Now means in your life, not the present day. Let me rephrase. Now that your college is over, what are you going to do?”
“Oops! What now? I have a job. Few days left in joining. I will shift to Mumbai and begin working.”
“I thought you wanted to stay here.”
“Yes, I do. Even now.”
“Then?”
“Then?”
“Try hunting for another job here.”
“Yeah I have uploaded my resume at websites, let us see who calls!”
“But what do you want to do in life?”
“Job!”
“What kind?”
“Any kind that rewards my graduation and gives me a happy life.”
“There are umpteen jobs in the world. Why don’t you be a gardener or a potter? You can have a living here.”
“You know it well I am unskilled for these jobs.”
“Try pulling rickshaws, driving autos round the city!”
“For that there was no need for me to graduate. I could have done that even without completing my school. Will you stop this non sense? Why would I study if all I had to do was pulling rickshaws? I will work in the corporate world, which will reward me enough for my efforts.”
“There are a number of other sectors that will reward your efforts.”
“As in?”
“Get through some government job. Study hard and relax later on.”
“No, the government sector is sluggish. The most stagnant sectors of all!”
“Join some political party.”
I could already see the smirk ion its face.
“Weird!”
“Sit at home and relax. No effort, still you get a lot of luxury. Soon your parents will marry you.”
“And I will be at the mercy of a guy! The guy who will try to establish his hegemony on me and the entire house. No ways!”
“Ah! Now we are into it. But, why? I mean, what happened?”
“No, I didn’t study only to be dependent on somebody else. And not a guy at least!”
“Consider spending your life with a girl in that case.”
“Wwwhat? Insane? Out of senses? Should we consult some psychiatrist?” I felt smothered.
“Really? Can you take me to one?”
“Alright! But the point is I don’t want to be at the disposal of a man. Everything else is acceptable.”
“What is the problem?”
“The issue is most men, even today, think they are superior. Yes, they do! No matter how much we boast of our development, we are still in a patriarchal society. I mean we are still not a free society. All I can’t dream of is accepting that. Men think they are more tech-savvy, knowledgeable in all the domains. If I am at home and stay aloof from the outer world, this will promote the thinking of the guy I am with! What they don’t understand is this is a matter of interest of the individual. Not that girls have different incapable genes. Doing a job that makes me inferior to a guy, not because of his abilities but because of his gender, is something I can’t imagine myself doing.”
“Okay. I get a hang….”
“Well, my dad is here. I think I must go now.” I interrupted.

Mirror! Cracked?

If there were no mirrors, I think, the immediate consequence would be that we won’t be able to see how we look, everyday, once we are ready for school, college or office. Well that would be good in one way- people spend myriad time in dressing themselves and owning satisfaction when it comes to their looks. The most affected people will be the ones who need to fard up before going out. But doesn’t your presentation of yourself create the first impression? But then, I think when nobody would own a mirror or get to see them in the mirror, this parameter of judging people would hold no significance.
However, the absence of mirrors would do more harm than good. You won’t be able to see the person you must see the most.
You won’t be able to meet the best person in this world. Since ages, pictures have served more purpose to mankind than mere words or memories. You need to see yourself to remember the good deeds that you did in the past. People often need to see the face and in the eyes of the person they are confronting. Same holds true for one’s own self. There are times when one needs to introspect. When one is going through such grueling phases of life, one really needs to look in one’s eyes and introspect. In the absence of mirrors, this task seems impossible. In my opinion, confronting ourselves is the most essential task. The only person that man fears is his own self. Once you can’t see the person you fear, there is a great chance that one might be heading in the wrong direction. Is there anything else where you can see your reflection? Water? Even if it does, do we have as many water resources now?
Every coin has two sides. Mirrors have their own pros and cons. Somehow, I think the pros outweigh the cons.