Child Abuse

© Anjali Grover

I am giddy, my body so weak,

My heart sinks, as tears roll down my cheeks.

My voice quivers, my pulse rate drops,

Frozen to death, my eyes see it all.

Lifeless I watch, the brutal child abuse,

It makes me miserable, my existence of no use.

Tender souls being tortured, in-and-out every body part,

Beaten with the sticks, thrown to the floor, torn apart.

One by one they lineup, waiting for their fate,

Their innocence destroyed, their smiles fade.

They shiver with fear, ripped, they cry out loud,

No one to rescue, no one to pull them out.

I wonder how ‘she’ repeatedly, commits such heinous crime,

Lashing her anger over them, shaming them all the time.

 She continues the torture, help, for she has lost her mind,

Leaving bruises and broken bones on body, and lasting scars on mind.

 Someone pull that stick, she holds it with all her might,

For they haven’t learnt how to speak, they don’t know how to fight.

 Someone shake this sinner, take away that knife,

For these kids, if survive, it’s a damage done for life.

Hey Mom could you hug them and wipe off their pain?

Hey Dad could you help them return to their childhood lane?

Oh Doctor, could you heal them and give them tender care?

Oh Teacher could you make them giggle, and make their world fair?

Oh Lord could you bless them, with them could you stand?

They really need you NOW, they need Your caring hand.

You know they deserve better, they deserve a good life,

Please be with them Oh Lord, that is all I pray for tonight….every night…for ever.

Amen

Behind The Veils Of Yemen

Book Review by Anjali Grover
BEHIND THE VEILS OF YEMEN is a memoire of an American missionary family’s experience in Yemen. I’s a story of Audra Grace Shelby’s (author) courage to fight the odds, take risks, and step out of comfort zones to venture into the unknown both geographically and culturally.

The story, however, doesn’t seem to be standout as well as the title of the book does- the narration of events being quite at a surface level and failing to delve deeper into author’s perspectives, feelings and insights. Additionally, the idea of the missionary that is geared towards ‘conversion’ rather than serving the society for the bigger good seems myopic and utterly incomprehensible, particularly in context of growing globalization and diversity.

Statistically, Yemen is one of the Arab world’s poorest country. Issues such as slavery and ‘Khat’ addiction, corruption, unemployment and illiteracy continue to chew it to ‘nothingness’ as a termite. It needs some serious work and perhaps collective efforts of many shall slowly but successfully be able to pull it out of the miseries and ill practices. As I write this review, Yemen suffers political turmoil, war and human catastrophe. I am too naïve to understand the politics behind it, all I wish for is peace and harmony.

Mohira- A Woman’s Journey

Book Review by Anjali Grover
MOHIRA- A WOMAN’S JOURNEY is a blend of aspirations, love and betrayal, the efforts to keep the nuptial bonds intact and then liberating oneself to start afresh.

Mohira is an Uzbek who lives in south Kyrgyzstan. She carries some scars of ethnic tension and divide between Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks and aspires to settle in the US someday.

As the fate has it, Mohira falls in love with a peace corp and moves to the US. The move however brings with it stork cultural differences and adjustment issues. Mohira tries her best to adjust, but some engagements are beyond her understanding. Her marital relationship gets strained and bitter over time. This lands her in a divorce situation and her idea of ‘Living the American Dream’ ultimately comes to a bitter end.

Shattered and with nowhere to go, Mohira builds herself up from the scratch. With the help of her childhood friend, and the love and trust of her family, Mohira finally collects herself back and is stronger, determined and all set that ever to turn over a new leaf in her life.

The story is relatable and perhaps the journey of many women like Mohira, just that it ends differently for each of them. My takeaway from the book is: be good and do everything you possibly can to fix the issues in relationships. Be flexible, understanding and considerate but not at the cost of self-esteem and self-respect. It takes immense courage to do what Mohira did, it isn’t easy to part ways with those you love. But when enough is enough, it is perhaps best to move on.

Innocent Love

© Hiya Grover

The road lay flat cradling the dead
With death grasping on so very tight
The wind pinching the skin of my face
And the sun unable to give any more light

Poor thing oh dog
It’s all just my fault
I should have made him stay
I should have made him halt

I have to get hold of my speeding breath
And accept the fact that he is no more
I have to go and pick him up
I have to bring him back to my ghostly door

Stop being the shivering mouse in an earthquake
Getting up with all my might
Walking across the lawn towards my hell
Ready to give up my defeated fight

Poor thing oh dog
It’s all just my fault
I should have made him stay
I should have made him halt

Picking up the displaced head
The blood fled like an endless waterfall
Snakes of flesh wrapping my hands
All that I had left to do now was to run away and crawl

Yes, I had to crawl away in my silent world with no company anymore
But little did I know, that God would let
Me and my dog start over again
He gave me the chance of a lifetime to reunite with my little pet

Poor thing oh dog
It’s all just my fault
I should have made him stay
I should have made him halt

He took my life in a tragic way
That you might have been told of
He got a young man to do his job
He got a young man to take me far off

He got a young man to crash into me
The same way someone did with my dog
He left me with car tracks down my back
He took away the light of my eyes and left me in a venomous fog

Poor thing oh dog
It’s all just my fault
I should have made him stay
I should have made him halt

The last thing I remember
Is seeing a man still as stone beside me
Apologizing for what he didn’t need to
Apologizing for bringing me back to my dog

Love can be so innocent at times
People ready to give their life
So don’t break the chain of love
With your heart as brutal as a knife

Or you will regret all your mistakes
Without a chance to apologize
You will have to pay for it with time
And watch the dead victim as he unresponsively lies

Poor thing oh dog
It’s all just my fault
I should have made you stay
I should have made you halt

Come On In…It’s a Beautiful World

By Anjali Grover

An unparalleled assortment of cultures, a unique blend of values and an unmatched fusion of people from countries across the globe – I have been in an expat in this foreign land for a few years now and I treasure my association with this country for its diversity.

My circle of friends, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances here come from different walks of life, from territories near and far. They symbolize customs and traditions, they epitomize beliefs and values, but more than anything they exemplify life at the most fundamental level- as one of its kind individuals- distinctively unique and inimitably special.

It is beautiful to connect with them at this elementary level – as personalities beyond nationality and religion, gender and age, accent and color.

But what happens when amidst all variety and diversity, you suddenly meet someone who has belittling views on people based on the passports they hold and the nationalities they represent? Well, it hurts….

Recently I met someone with narrow and utterly suffocating views about people based on their nationalities. He spoke with an air around him, constantly forgetting the thin-line that separates stereotyping and racism. What a disaster, I thought, a loss to the organization he works for and an embarrassment for the profession he represents.

Felt sorry for him, wished him wisdom and luck,  and walked out of the meeting and back into the world I have known- it is bright, global and multi-cultural. It has respect for where people come from, it values for what they bring to the table in terms of experiences and skills and it has the maturity to see everyone with equality.

And I am sure I am not the only one has witnessed this cohesion and inclusion, most of us have. I am not the only one who has had the opportunity to work with some genuine and authentic people who value every person for being unique and special in his own ways, most of us have had it. And I am not the only feels honored and gratified for this exposure with diversity, most of us do.

Yes, there are issues and challenges, host of them! but not so grave that we start boxing and labeling people – and that too in a place like this, where respect for diversity and appreciation of differences is what defines the country.

It’s a beautiful world and if you believe in it too, then come on in…

Jinxed

I come from a country known across the globe for its much admired rich culture and traditions, and also for the not so appreciated superstitious beliefs.

As a kid, I grew up amidst friends, relatives and acquaintances who did hold superstitious beliefs that varied across a wide array of practices. Back then, my ‘beyond-age wisdom’ and logic would debate, argue and try to find answers to things like the role of lemons and chilies hanging at the main doors of the shops, the relationship between us stopping and waiting for someone else to pass when a black cat would cross our path, connection between the twitching of an eye and bad omen, the sense behind hooting owls and death, the rationale behind itchy palms indicating loss or gain of money, bird poop meaning good luck, and the list goes on.

 Unlike my initial belief that ‘it happens only in India’, I have come to realize that these beliefs are omnipresent.

Speaking about self, being an educated and well informed individual, I had safely and proudly kept myself away from these illogical beliefs over the years. I thought it was best to avoid these thoughts as much as possible especially with kids around who would sneeze as soon as you are ready to step out of the house(sneezing is a bad omen). Not to forget, we have had a lot of cats in the vicinity, and if one is superstitious, the colour doesn’t really matter.

But they say change is the way of life, be it age, phase or beliefs.

Off-lately and strangely enough, I too was bitten by the superstition bug.

I may conveniently blame it on the ‘everlasting impressions of childhood’ but I must admit that my head no more retaliates, debates, argues or tries to find answers.

It is a change difficult to comprehend, but yes, it seems rationale to say that I recently got jinxed when I wrote my article about ‘MY SHARE OF GREEN.’ It seems to be under a dry spell and for now some lucky gem-stone or some quick tricks to ward of the evil will be a good start. Fingers crossed !!

Wreckage

Book Review By Anjali Grover

Authored by Emiley Bleeker, Wreckage is a story of survival and secrets.

Two plane crash survivors, Lillian and David, are stranded on an Island for two years. When rescued and flown back home, both decide to keep a few secrets from their families. After a series of exerting lies, they finally open-up and are off the burden that had been sitting on their chest plaguing them with undue anxiety.

The subtle chemistry between Lilian and Dave is interesting. They connect in the first instance and it stays throughout. There is a sweet mischievous play of head and heart, each taking turns to win over the other. Even after their conscious decision to return to their own married lives after the rescue, they seem emotionally inseparable. For some time it seems that, if only they had the slightest possibility of being together again, they perhaps would not think twice. But there is a lot at stake, and they finally choose family over ‘heart.’ A neat, non-controversial, selfless and safe climax to the story.

The book also touches upon one of the inborn and well fed human tendencies called ‘FEAR.’ The fear of ‘what ifs’ and the associated nasty stories that we weave within ourselves and the fear that ‘the world won’t understand.’ Once caught in this downward spiral, it just leads one towards negativity, guilt, lies and secrets.

Though the book does not offer enough to keep one intrigued., it can be considered a simple one-off read with a ‘happy’ end.

Measure…to Infinity and Beyond

via Daily Prompt: Measure

© Anjali Grover

Measure, how can I,

For you, I unconditionally love,

At times I wonder if you are the centre of it,

Or if you are my entire universe itself.

Measure, how can I,

My life you deeply touch,

I will always love you,

But don’t ask me how much.

Measure, how can I,

For you, my affection knows no bound,

May be it’s to the square of infinity,

Or may be even beyond.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Book Review by Anjali Grover

I am not sure if a single book can change one’s life. It hasn’t happened with me so far, but yes, every book I have read has enriched my life in its own little ways. Some touched me on the surface, some penetrated deep down and have stayed within. One such story that remains in my heart is ‘A thousand Splendid Suns’ authored by Khalid Hosseini.

It’s a stirring tale of two Afghan women. Mariam is an illegitimate child with hopes of being adopted by her father and being accepted in his family. After her mother hangs herself to death, Mariam is forced to marry against her wishes. She submissively surrenders to her 30-year senior husband, serves him for years and is rewarded with the shock of his second marriage.

And then there is contrasting Laila, a good looking and educated individual who grows up in Kabul. Laila is tricked to marry Rasheed (Mariam’s husband) and that is when destiny unites both Laila and Mariam to face the good, the bad and the ugly.

My heart goes out for women like Mariam and Laila who go through the endless pains of psychologically draining marriage and the terror of war-torn country, But they still stand strong and tall as an epitome of love and sacrifice and refuse to give up to misery and despair.

The story moved me as a woman, a wife, and a mother.  Mariam, Laila and innumerable women like them shall continue to shine in my heart with the bursting radiance of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns.’

And now this very beautiful poem written in the 17th century that describes the beauty of Kabul and was the inspiration behind the title of this book:

 

KABUL

Saib-e-Tabrizi 17th Century (Translated by Dr Josephine Davis)

Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies

Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust

My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees, I blush

How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I-Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!

 Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven

From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan

Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And 
the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair

Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats

And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures

 

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