Si j’étais riche…

This is my first attempt at writing anything in French (apart from school assignments); I have really grown to love the language and am fearful of the day when it will no longer be an element of study in school, (which is from eleventh grade onwards). I do not want to forget what I have learnt (I mean, I have to use it when I visit France one day) and hence, I am practicing this language as much as possible now…

Request to all native French readers- Please do not judge this too harshly and notify me of any errors.

Topic- If I were rich… (Si j’étais riche…)

Si j’étais riche, je pense que je serais un humain bienveillant. Le premier instinct des gens serait de résoudre la faim dans le monde. Alors, ils dépenseraient leur argent pour leurs intérêts. Je crois que je dépenserais mon argent pour un projet ou une idée spécifique. Je sais qu’on ne peut pas résoudre tous les problèmes dans le monde avec l’argent. On a besoin de la compassion, de l’humanité et de l’intelligence pour gagner les cœurs des gens.

J’utiliserais mon argent dans le domaine de science. Je crois que la science est l’avenir. Je financerais des ingénieurs, des scientifiques, des médecins et des universités pour faire la recherche et pour développer la technologie de l’avenir. J’espère que tout le monde aurait d’accès aux soins qui n’est pas coûteux. La technologie développée pourrait aider les gens qui souffrent des maladies comme cancer, HIV, etc. J’espère de créer une humanité qui est contente et satisfaite.

À mon avis, donner mon argent au gouvernement ou aux organisations de bienfaisance ne semble pas une bonne idée parce que je ne pourrais pas voir l’effet direct de mon argent. Donc, je crois que la meilleure idée est le financement des scientifiques pour établir la technologie médicale et pour aider les gens pauvres. Après cette mission, j’aimerais financer l’éducation des enfants. Selon moi, les domaines de médecine et d’éducation sont d’une importance primordiale. J’espère de voir chaque enfant en bonne santé et bien éduqué.

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A Parallel Reality

Let us sample a parallel reality with Donald Trump, the Supreme Leader of North Korea and Kim Jong-un, the President of the United States of America. (Thank you so much, daily late-night talk hosts, for providing me with tons of material). 😉

Scene 1- Washington D.C, Oval Office: Kim Jong-un now occupies the body of President Trump, unbeknownst to anyone, even his closest aides.

Kim Jong-un (occupying the body of Trump)- I’m frustrated with these leaks to the media! Why doesn’t this country have only three state-approved channels?! You know, when even one channel goes against you, you throw them in a chamber full of Zyklon B cyanide pellets!

Mike Pence (gasps)- Sir, what is wrong with you today? Are you feeling alright? We’re a democracy!

Kim- What could be wrong with me? Am I not always like this?

Pence (assuming Kim to be normal Donald Trump)– Sir, you’re….unpredictable….but never like this.

Kim- We’ll see. Summon the Head of the Defense Department. I need to conduct four missile tests before dinner.

Pence- Sir! If the United States conducts unauthorised military tests, this could have severe implications on our position in the U.N. Security Council.

Kim- Ohhhhh. Ha ha ha. Who cares about the U.N.? They’re just another body of silly diplomats achieving nothing. I only agreed to be part of them to, you know, conduct insurance frauds with the European Union member nations and help our economy.

Pence- Sir! That’s not the reason why we joined the U.N.! Don’t go out in front of the media or tweet today, please!

Kim- What is this ‘tweet’? And I only go out in front of the media on Daddy and Grandpa’s birthday, no?

Pence- ‘Tweet’ is the dangerous method of communication that you use to reveal our most confidential information to the public.

Kim (slaps Pence)- How dare you commit treason against me?! I leak nothing, ever. Don’t let me hear this again, or you’re going to the gallows.

Pence- (faints)

Kim decides to take a walk outside in the front lawn of the White House while Pence recovers. He encounters several reporters.

Kim (addressing a group of reporters)- We’re the happiest people on Earth. We have free health care, the best education system and everything is government-owned, so everyone gets an equal share!

Reporter- Sir, free health care?! Have you, Congress and Mr. Mitch McConnell developed a new plan? And best education?! Have you fired Ms. Betsy DeVos?

Kim- We had free health care since the days of my father, no? And stop talking back to me or this is the last day that your channel will see.

Reporter- Sir, referring to us as ‘fake news’ was one thing, threatening to close us down is taking this to a whole new level!

Scene 2- Pyongyang, North Korea: Trump now occupies the body of Kim Jong-un, unbeknownst to anyone.

At the birthday parade of North Korea’s deceased leaders, Trump makes an appearance.

Trump- May their souls rest in peace.

Crowd- Hail our Supreme Leader!

Trump (addressing the crowd)- You know, I won the election last year. All the votes were in my favour and there was no electoral college to contradict anything. It was the ‘bigly’ victory that we all wanted. I broke all records. No single leader ever got everyone’s votes.

Associate/Seniormost Advisor (Kim’s sister)- This gathering is for the leaders. You have to tell the crowd some legends about how they were godly men. Everyone knows you won the election. You were the only choice on the ballot!

Trump (ignores her)- It actually gets quite cold up here, doesn’t it? We should build some nice winter golf courses where they serve delicious chocolate cake. Also, China is pretty close by, right? President Jinping can visit me and we can have more chocolate cake together. I think I’ll invite Putin too.

Crowd is confused at this point.

Kim’s sister- Here we play basketball and the accordion, not golf. And you cannot just invite world leaders to our headquarters. There is a special protocol. Are you feeling well today?

Trump- No golf?! That’s why everyone in the crowd looks so sad. And I’m Supreme Leader, I’ll invite whoever I want!

At this point, Trump stomps away from the balcony where he was giving his speech. Trump, later resettled at his residence, decides to tweet.

Tweet- North Korea threatens the United States with fire and fury like the world has never seen before!

Kim’s sister- What are you doing? Out of 1000 IP addresses in this country, 500 exist only in your office. Do not use them for such silly purposes. We must show our fire and fury with missile tests, not with tweets. Oh, and even our state media, who follow everything you say blindly, were rattled after your rambling at the gathering today.

Trump- The media is ‘fake news’.

Kim’s sister (exasperated)- You’re impossible! I knew Daddy made a mistake when he decided to hand over the control of our family regime to you!

So yes, this parallel reality is a complex (and humorous) concept, but to simplify it, I trust that Christopher Nolan will happen to come upon my blog, explore the concept and create another masterpiece like Inception on this topic. 😉

Questions and Answers With President Trump

Hello! This is my first attempt at a political satire, but I watch so many late-night talk show hosts that I feel like I owe them for their amazing insights by creating my own set of jokes.

Disclaimer- I have no right to comment on the President of the United States, but frankly, Indian politics doesn’t intrigue me. Modi is always right, Rahul Gandhi is wrong. Nothing else ever happens. I have tried to portray both sides (the reporter and Trump) as best as I could, but, in the end, this is for a good laugh. No offense intended to anyone. Further, the United States is an extremely important nation as it is the leader of the free world and even if we are afraid to admit it, President Trump is one of the most important world leaders. So, this satire stems from the fact that I am a future citizen of the world, not from any malicious intentions towards the United States.

Reporter (R)- President Trump, are you aware of the gravity of your position as the head of the administration?

POTUS (T)- Yes, I am the 45th and final President of the United States. After me, there will be nothing but authoritarianism! (Cackles- I love North Korea For this reason. Every night, I dream of being Kim-Jong-un). Bwahahaha….

R- Umm, yeah, I guess… You must be knowing about the Grand Jury appointed by former FBI Director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller to further investigate your collusion with Russia. Any comments on that?

T- Unfair. It’s sad. They won’t let the guy with the highest ratings (me) do my work and they just keep involving me with some silly allegations. So what if I colluded with Russia? I didn’t, but so what? This is not a major scandal or anything! Everyone wants dirt on their opponents. It’s the political game of chess. And I won, both the popular vote and the electoral college by a big, big, big margin if you don’t count the millions of illegal votes. And also, a jury needs to be fair. Where are they going to get a jury full of people who colluded with Russia to aptly decide my case? My campaign team is not free as of now!

R (sighing)- Sir, you will bring in only those immigrants who have proficiency in English as part of your new RAISE plan. What message are you trying to put forth to the world? Are you implying that only people who know English are skilled?

T- Nothing; no message at all. We just want highly skilled individuals. Bigly, goodly skilled. I just want more people like my beautiful daughter, Ivanka, who can architect a great future for this country. That’s a great word I learned to use. In fact, I wanted to become an architect when I was growing up. That was until my Math and Drawing teachers told me I had no aptitude for either of the two subjects. So, I decided to prove them wrong. I got into real estate. But I guess I haven’t improved much in Math. I still can’t count how much money I have.

R- Sir, my question was about racial stereotyping and English ability…

T- I know, but I chose not to answer that because…well… you know….. (Mumbles-‘Putin didn’t teach me that one’). I’m just trying to save jobs and keep my campaign promises to the people who voted for me. It’s a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous responsibility. Why are you and the other failing media outlets making things so complex?

R- Sir, the world is not black or white. Things are going to be complex. And you are now the President of the entire country, not only your voters. And don’t you feel that by cutting legal immigration, you will be delivering a solid blow to the economy? For example, South Carolina has said that Americans are just not willing to work at restaurants and tourist shops. Those jobs are then taken by legal immigrants who work for half the wages. Isn’t this a symbiotic, win-win situation for the immigrants and the economy?

T- Listen, stop lecturing. No one knows how to run the economy better than me. The failing economy got a boost when I began my term. There has been a 2.6% rise in GDP just this quarter. What do you know?

R- Sir, this kind of rise was present in Obama’s term at least fourteen times, that means in fourteen quarters, he saw a raise of 2.6% or more. And he wasn’t implementing such controversial policies. I am sorry, sir, but doesn’t this serve as an indication to you?

T- What? Stop comparing my term to President Obama’s. I’m new into politics and look, I’m President. I must be doing something right that you and Obama are not.

R- Sir, please….Obama couldn’t have lawfully run for re-election. Otherwise, I doubt that the American people would have even batted an eyelid when it came to making a choice in the 2016 elections.

T (utterly ignoring the reporter) – And those numbers from Obama’s times are fake news. Mine are real, because, hey, even Fox reported it. The only numbers that aren’t real in my time are the fake poll numbers. Everything else is real. And I don’t have time to answer your questions anymore. I need to sign an executive order to allow for more golf-ball manufacturing factories. I need to lower their taxes, because hey, in this stressful world, golf is the only thing we poor Americans have left….(leaves)..

R (screaming)- SIR….POOR AMERICANS DON’T PLAY GOLF…. THE TIME’S NOT UP YET….I STILL HAVE TO ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR TAX RETURNS!!!!

POTUS runs away even faster now.

I Just Don’t Know Anymore

Sounds like a song, right? Well, it isn’t.

Tenth grade, or as my neurons affectionately call it, their catastrophic demise, requires more brainpower than the power carried by a 132 kV transmission wire. These days, I turn more to my parents than to my own brain for support (nothing wrong with that, they’re much smarter than me). Plus, they give excellent morale-boosting pep talks that I desperately need, as the various textbooks that form the bulk of tenth grade are making my brain go haywire as I’m trying to connect the dots.

These days, at school, I feel like a car that’s running more on fumes than on oil. I am still running on the positive impression that I made on my teachers back in the days when things were easier, in seventh, eighth and ninth grades, but there’s no new innovation happening anymore. The problem lies in the fact that I, as a person, haven’t changed, but my grade has (ninth to tenth). My brain is still trying to comprehend why my ninth grade strategies aren’t working as effectively as they used to.

All I can say is, these days, my parents are trying hard to give my utterly passive personality an active plan of action to work upon. They are wholeheartedly immersing themselves into my books to see where they can make things easier for me. I never even tried doing this for myself. I have no clue about the toll that college is going to take on me. Every other day, my dad schedules tests and my mom encourages me to read over the syllabus for the upcoming exam. Yet, with so much support, I’m getting nowhere. And I’m not new. There are thousands of kids who have gone through an even more rigorous curriculum, worked harder than I have and have struck it big. Then why am I wallowing so much in self-pity? (Sighhhh…. Fine, I admit that I am a drama queen. But, I was always told that I lacked the emotion-controlling centres of the brain, the amygdala and the hippocampus.)

I’m not depressed at all, as a matter of fact, this is funny. I’m laughing that I-am-on-the-verge-of-insanity-laugh right now. I still love tuning into physics conversations with my dad at ten-thirty p.m. (even though I don’t know anything), but I just can’t bring myself to open that textbook and read! Why?!

The Merchant of Venice/The Jew of Venice

William Shakespeare’s vastly discussed comedy, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, alternatively called “The Jew of Venice’, highlights several themes, love, loyalty, friendship, appearance and reality and also the Christian-Jew rivalry prevalent in Elizabethan society. The “Merchant” is a reference to Antonio, a passive character suffering from nameless melancholy. Although Shylock, a usurious Jewish moneylender, is a more dominating character, I believe that “The Merchant of Venice” is a more appropriate title than “The Jew of Venice”.

Antonio is a reputed, wealthy, Venetian merchant with ships all over the world. As a moral Christian, he considers it his duty to lend money without interest. To help his dear friend Bassanio amass money to woo a rich heiress, Portia, Antonio puts his own life at stake by signing Shylock’s fatal bond of three thousand ducats, without interest, for three months and if unpaid, entitling Shylock to a pound of flesh from any part of Antonio’s body. Antonio is mostly melancholic, acquiescent and submissive. Salarino says that “a kinder gentleman treads not the earth” in context of Antonio’s love and generosity. Bassanio describes him as his “dearest friend” and “the best condition’d and unwearied spirit in doing courtesies”.

Shylock despises Antonio for lending money gratis and reducing the rate of profit in Venice. Though a compassionate and generous friend, Antonio is a religious fanatic, berating Shylock at the Rialto, the Venetian Stock Exchange, spitting on his Jewish gaberdine and beard, hurling insults and humiliating him; calling him a cut-throat dog and a misbeliever.

Antonio, however, is an honourable gentleman; standing by the terms of the bond, accepting that the Duke cannot deny the course of the law. He does not blame Bassanio for his predicament, but displays courage and strength of character, resigning himself to his fate, thus becoming a victim of Shylock’s hatred and revenge.

Shylock, a cruel, Jewish moneylender of Venice, exploits the financial needs of others by charging exorbitant interest. When his daughter, Jessica, elopes with his jewels and ducats, he is more concerned for the loss of his wealth than his daughter, wishing for her to be dead at his feet and his ducats in her coffin. A multi-layered character, on one hand, he is depicted as bloodthirsty and cunning and on the other hand, he is shown as an oppressed and despised alien.

Shylock displays his most prominent personality trait, vengefulness, when avenging the ill-treatment meted out to him by Antonio. Deceitfully luring Antonio into accepting the bond, he says that the clause of a “pound of flesh” is meant in jest. Jessica’s elopement with a Christian, Lorenzo, heightens his fury towards Antonio. In the Trial Scene, the Duke and Portia (disguised as a lawyer) appeal to him for mercy, however, he feels that he has been wronged and wants the verdict in his favour.

Shylock evokes sympathy from the audience due to his daughter’s betrayal and his daily suffering. Devout, eloquent and the champion of his race, he is outwitted in the Trial Scene only by a legal quibble. In a powerful speech highlighting racial antagonism, Shylock portrays Jews as humans with rhetorics like, “Hath not a Jew eyes?” and “If you poison us, do we not die?” Thus, Shylock emerges not only as a malicious villain, but also as a voice for the oppression faced by Jews.

“The Merchant of Venice” is apt as Antonio is the central character of the whole plot. The major conflict arises from the Antonio’s ill-conceived bond story. He signs the bond, openly risking his life. The bond theme leads to the caskets episode, the elopement of Jessica and Lorenzo and the climax, the Trial Scene. Thus, Antonio’s fortunes and misfortunes become the source of joy and sorrow to his friends. None of the plays’ events would have occurred had he been more active and worldly. Further, the title “The Jew of Venice” would clearly be referring to Shylock, whereas the title “The Merchant of Venice” is slightly more ambiguous and allows the audience to interpret whom they believe the “Merchant” is.

Is India Truly Independent?

An Answer Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the Mind is Without Fear”

Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the Mind is Without Fear” is a poem that envisages a country where there is no fear of oppression, where discrimination is eradicated, where illogic and superstitions have no place and where the people have dignity and embrace reason and knowledge. In the form of a prayer to the Almighty, Tagore sets the ideals that he believed would make India a prospering nation. Even the Constituent Assembly adapted Tagore’s ideals into the Preamble of the Constitution, where India is declared to be a sovereign republic. Sovereignty refers to supreme control by the nation itself and freedom from internal and external coercions. When the Constitution was brought into effect, India as a nation was free from external oppression, but internal compulsions have still not vanished. We still cling to some of the worst issues that a society can possibly face.

In the decade of 1940, the world saw two iconic events of the last century: first, the pre-independence struggle of India and second, the macabre Holocaust. While the horrors inflicted by Adolf Hitler on Jews, gypsies and other minorities in Germany spread ramifications all over the world, the non-violent Gandhian struggle for India’s independence spread another powerful message; a message that the world respected, a mass freedom movement, Satyagraha, that relied on truth and insistence, ultimately forcing the British to withdraw and transfer power. It later influenced the American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., and the anti-Apartheid movement of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Inspite of our glorious freedom struggle, the question is, have we attained the ‘heaven of freedom’ envisioned by so many revolutionaries apart from Rabindranath Tagore, such as Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar?

The answer, I believe, is unfortunately, not completely. No country in the world has achieved an ideal set-up and all are in the process of achieving freedom, in terms of mindsets and societal issues. After nearly 70 years of independence, the Indian society still faces some alarming issues that if we address, we can progress further in our goal to achieve an ideal society.

Tagore envisioned a country where the mind exists without fear; even today, there are several fears among people. There is fear to speak out against wrongdoing, the consequences being severe backlash and the branding as being ‘politically incorrect’. There is fear to expose corruption of high officials, consequences being harassment and even killing. Money and wealth define status; people in impoverished communities still cannot hold their heads high with dignity. People blame women for the crimes against them and lawyers defend those criminals. Victims of such crimes still have not been empowered enough to hold their heads high with dignity.

Knowledge is still not free; government schools lack the infrastructure to cater to the talents of their students and private education is still the monopoly of the higher income groups. Even reservation systems in private schools are exploited by the wealthy. A sizeable population of ‘independent’ India still represents an emaciated nation submerged in poverty and illiteracy.

Tagore further idealised a country where narrow domestic walls do not fragment the nation and words emerge from the depth of truth. However, in undeveloped regions, age-old prejudices, the caste system, honour killings and dowry still persist. In the name of diversity and adequate representation, the huge body of Parliament exists, but its sessions are washed away with trivial issues, blame games and politicians trying to defend their self-worth. Resolutions do not come out in benefit of the people and the depth of truth, rather the interests of the ruling party. The judiciary hesitates in implementing the Uniform Civil Code across all religions.

The poet prays that the clear stream of reason does not vanish in the dreary desert of age-old customs and superstitions do not override the ability to make right judgements. He wants the mind to be led forward by the Almighty, into open-mindedness and a willingness to embrace change. With growing urbanisation and the rise in a younger, more free-thinking population, people have abandoned their superstitions and are gradually eliminating irrelevant age-old customs. However, due to the restrictive nature of our education systems and mindsets, even with such a talented population, India still cannot boast of twenty-year-old billionaires and innovative start-ups. We are a country where the Prime Minister needs to start a cleanliness drive (Swachh Bharat Mission) across the nation to keep our surroundings clean.

India so far is the most developed of the developing countries and the current government is working hard to address infrastructural projects and improve living conditions. New industries are emerging, the younger generation is trying to break the mould, however, there’s a long journey ahead. The journey of a thousand miles, however, must begin with a single step and our government is working to take those steps which will accelerate our growth as a nation. We, as the youth, must be the flag-bearers to take the nation forward and bring Tagore’s ideals as close to reality as possible.

Sick of Studying, Ready to Learn

I’m sick of studying. No, not sick of learning, sick of studying. I’m still somewhat fascinated with the way nature functions and the various elements that have brought us together and the fundamental questions of existence. I have not completely lost my childly inquisitiveness and readiness to embark on a journey of acquiring knowledge. However, I am sick of poring over the same concepts and topics and testing and evaluating myself constantly. So, in short, I have a fear of tests. I feel like they’ll expose my weaknesses in a way I am not ready to handle. Maybe I have ego issues, maybe I am under-confident. I don’t know. There are so many students like me, it’s scary. We all feel like we’re bursting with knowledge, we want to share our ideas with the world, we want to be judged by the choices we make, but instead, we’re judged by exams. No, I don’t want to turn this post into a rant about exams. So, let me talk about an incident that happened recently.

It was a family dinner night. My parents and I were enjoying dessert when the conversation switched from the latest cricket match to health issues, obesity, diabetes, food choices, etc. I elaborated on some interesting facts about diabetes and food choices that I had read online. My parents listened, but the conversation ended with them saying “We’ll trust you after you obtain an MBBS or a medical degree.”

I was dumbfounded. This was coming from the most open-minded people I know! Why does everything boil down to degrees and qualifications?! It’s not their fault, the entire education and grading system is like that. But as I enter senior high school, degrees and entrance exams have this creepy habit of stealthily sneaking into every conversation, whether it is with my parents, with relatives or even with friends.

This is something every student (I hope it’s not just me) encounters at the cusp of entering senior high school. We are constantly, almost ruthlessly, questioned by family members, relatives and friends, of our life goals and aspirations. Some students have so many expectations, it ties them down. Others just don’t know. Further, due to a plethora of choices and opportunities that our hardworking parents have been able to provide, everyone (teachers, family, etc.) wants us to succeed.

I recently visited two coaching centres; they conduct classes from seventh grade onwards to prepare students for high-level competitive exams such as NTSE (National Talent Search Examination), Olympiads and entrance exams. These coaching centres effectively and completely kill the process of learning, self-discovery of the subject and appreciating the beauty of such knowledge, (no offence). They are successful in providing guidelines, tips and practice materials to succeed with top ranks in exams (they basically provide exam help).

I don’t intend to deviate, but there was a very interesting story I read. A young kindergartener’s course book said “Father takes his bag to the office.” However, this little boy had seen his father put his laptop in his bag and take it to the office. In the class test, there was a fill-in-the-blank that said “Father takes his __________to the office.” The little boy wrote “laptop.” The teacher awarded marks for the question but gently reprimanded the boy for using a term totally out of context. Similar events occurred several times in the course of the boy’s elementary education. By the time the boy reached seventh grade, his creativity had been effectively murdered in the process of standardisation and the “need” for marks. Now, when the boy entered an engineering college, he was asked to develop skills of innovation and present an original idea for a project. After effectively having his childly creativity and innovation skills murdered, the higher education system demanded him to demonstrate those skills. See the disparity?

It’s sad to see how exploratory skills and creativity get murdered. Even I feel like I have somewhat lost those traits, being so engrossed in the textbooks and materials I already have. Maybe you are feeling like you’ve read too many rants like these before, but I felt the urgency to articulate this issue in my own words and put it out there. Sorry if it was boring, but it’s true.

I still like to learn, but not with the same enthusiasm as before.

The Solitary Reaper

The Solitary Reaper-

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

William Wordsworth (My favourite poet)

Rain; Its Share of Joys and Sorrows

The pattering of rain on my windowsill indicated that the monsoon season had indeed commenced, gradually taking the reins from the oppressively hot summer season. It had been a week since this rainfall had begun and due to extensive traffic conditions, my school had declared a holiday. Although this meant that I could sleep in late, I wasn’t too thrilled. My mother would never let me do what I really desired; going out to play in the rain.

I opened the window of my bedroom slightly and peered outside. Cars were lined up on the streets, bumper to bumper, stuck in heavy traffic. Improper drainage systems resulted in water almost up to the tyres of the cars. Many people were returning home from a day of work, only to face traffic, which augmented their frustration. Occasionally, I saw some children in school uniform occupying the back seats of cars, indicating that parents were picking them up. As I looked around and breathed in the fresh aroma of the wind and rain, I observed two boys, in the range of five to eight years, merrily playing with an umbrella which had been torn from a few places. They were dressed raggedly and were very thin, their bones visible below their skin.

The children played, opening and closing the umbrella, laughing and rolling on the ground. They seemed oblivious to the traffic and all the honking of the car horns. They were doing exactly what I had wanted to, forget about all the worries of my life, homework, studies, classes and just enjoy the rainy weather. These two children came from poverty, with almost no indulgences and luxuries available in life, yet they found a best friend in nature. Then, there were people who were in the traffic, having a roof over their heads and air conditioners running in the inside of their cars, yet complaining about the aggravation of traffic.

Despite being able to afford the many luxuries of life, many people are still not content. This is due to the fact that they expect too much and feel like they deserve far more than what they receive. I observed that these children were carefree, fully aware of the fact that in the end, they would reminisce the days they enjoyed, not the days that they spent tired and aggravated.

I wished I could be a young toddler again. These days with increasing responsibilities and work, I wished for those days when my mother would take me to the park, gently holding my hand. I could play and get dirty, not worrying about my demeanour or appearance. As I grew older, these activities gradually diminished, reaching an end.

I wanted to sit and watch this scene forever. The cars were an element of the manmade world whereas the rain was a gift from nature, a break from all those days of sunshine. Many people dislike the rain and describe it as grey and dull, however, as I stood at my window watching those children play, I realised just how much I loved it. I wanted to capture this moment forever, so I hurriedly grabbed my camera and clicked a picture. This moment redefined my understand of the expression ‘Be happy with what you have.’ For now, I had rain and I was going to enjoy it.