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The Hypocrite Zone

The Indian political scene will always be a conversation starter in every household. When face painted bahus and katharnak sasumas fail to amuse, one flicks the channel to the loud, wrathful tones of Arnab Goswami and the puffy, red faced politicians sharing screen space with him. The Government did this. The Government did that. Inflation, the nation’s worsening state, corruption, economy, religion, poor infrastructure and your husband’s infidelity- it’s all the government’s fault.

We, as a nation, exist today in a state of lazy restlessness. We are ready for the world to change, we are eager to see those money eating bastards go to jail already, ready to shout slogans and gather in hordes and skip work but we are not ready to get off the couch to contribute two hours to social welfare, not ready to give money to those who need it and not ready to fight harder than the next man. What’s the point? The government’s got machinery and people for that kind of extra-occupational matters. We’ve got to work hard and get a job and make money, money, money. Paise seh duniya chalti hai bhai. Aaj kal bhalayi ka zamana kaha? Itna hi shauk hain to jayoh na Benaras, pahan lo lungi aur ban jayo saadu.

India is a developing country. India is the fastest growing economy in the world after China and India’s got one of the largest armies on the planet. India is also a country of mediocre men who only preach hypocrisy and judgment and religious intolerance. The decent sort tend to run away to other countries.

Isn’t it time to look beyond the little universes we’ve built around us? Isn’t it time to burst the bubble? Isn’t it time to mean what we say and stand by what we believe?

So next time you’re sitting in the car and eating oranges, stop your friend from throwing the peels outside on the sidewalk like his father is the Maharaja of Hindustan. Don’t urinate out in the public. Be kind to your country.

Start small. But do start, nonetheless. Don’t just sit. For god’s sake, don’t just sit there.

And oh, I nearly forgot. Stop blaming the government.

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The Growing Problem Of Substance Abuse

The world we live in today is a world where everything is readily available. Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, countries are becoming more and more developed, standards of living are continuously rising, and most importantly, people are becoming more and more open minded and becoming more tolerant than ever before. In such a fast-paced, developed, ever changing society, the prevalence of substance abuse hardly comes as a surprise. Substance abuse is something that nobody, young or old, is a stranger to. Substance or drug abuse, as it is popularly known, is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others, and is a form of substance related disorders.

From a time, some 30 years ago, when Hollywood and Bollywood actors used to hold a cigarette in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other, drinking and smoking seemed to appear as a very “cool” thing for people. If one would drink or smoke, they would automatically be counted among the cool people. Who would have thought that half a century down the line, this would be a major problem in a society and be the hindrance towards a stronger and more developed nation tomorrow?substance-abuse

The open mindedness and easy access to substance and alcohol has given rise to a class of youth which are extremely smart but extremely lethargic. Over the last 10 odd years, the number of smokers and drinkers in India has risen by a fairly great margin. Statistically speaking, India has the 2nd largest number of women smokers, next only to the United States of America. Today, a lot of the youth of our country are also heavy consumers of recreational drugs such as marijuana and other hard core drugs like cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, acid, LSD, etc. The list is endless. While these drugs maybe fun to get high on and while they may help the person in shying away from their problems and responsibilities, one cannot deny or ignore the fact that these drugs cause a great deal of physical, emotional, mental and psychological problems in the long run.

I am not advocating the ban of these drugs. I am not saying that one should completely be aware of their priorities. If we don’t have fun now, then when do we? When do we live life carelessly? All I’m saying is that while it is a great idea to party and smoke up, drink and party on the high LSD and acid give you, it is an equally good idea to know your responsibilities and to know where to draw the Lakshman Rekha and not step out of it.

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Lakshayam- A Ray Of Hope.

We all nurture a passion but few translate it into action. A passion left unanswered results in a dry life; an act driven by passion can transform lives. This defines the journey of Rashi Anand and the dream she nurtures.

Rashi is the founder of Lakshyam, an NGO working for street and underprivileged children in Delhi. The idea behind the noble venture was the sheer number of street children in Delhi that totals over alakh. What are these vulnerable kids falling prey to? Drugs, beggary,pick-pocketing and prostitution to name a few. Rashi discovered a zeal among these children to do something meaningful in their lives; they only needed support.rashi-anand-blingg-bazaar

Today, Lakshyam has a school in the name of Sakshyam located in Vasant Kunj in a slum area where 200 children are provided necessities such as education and taught crafts. The organization also conducts workshops with street children under the flyovers, in the red light areas and at the railway stations to aware them against drug addiction and tobacco intakes.

Within a span of a year and a half, Rashi’s efforts have taken Lakshyam to such heights that it has a presence across six states namely Jharkhand, Delhi , Bangalore, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Rashi can recall vividly a scene of a group of street children playing enthusiastically, cheering and chirping. But what did they play with? Discarded tires, empty plastic bottles and stones. She compared the picture with kids more privileged who are blessed with real toys and play inside swanky homes. This instigated her to start a campaign named Lakshyam Toy Library in under which huge boxes were placed in 12 esteemed schools of Delhi and students were motivated to donate their toys. The response was surprisingly huge with a collection of over 60,000 toys and books in the boxes. These were distributed to street children in Delhi. As the number was massive, Lakshyam tied up with organizations in different states as a result of which toys were sent to rural villages ofBihar, Kurnool village, Theni district and Refugee camps in Dharamshala to name a few.

At the age of 18, Rashi was the board member of Lakshya, an NGO founded by her mother Poonam Anand who has worked for tribal women, against naxalismand in the red belt area in the state of Jharkhand.

She has opened an orphanage in Ranchi city. Also, she has worked for three years with blind, deaf and dumb children.

Rashi considers her mother as her idol and fondly recalls all the trips she made with her as a child to rural and tribal villages. Her travels have made her sensitive to the problems of the underprivileged. “I feel blessed that even at a young age of 25, I have been able to touch the lives of at least 7381 people, making a difference – small or big – in those lives,” she says.
Rashi’s aim is to see every woman stand on her feet and every kid enjoy a normal childhood. She feels that every one of us must give back to the society in any way possible, be it voluntary or monetary services. She says that if we go into theses hunned areas and have a first-hand experience of the lives the dwellers lead, we’ll know how valuable our lives are.

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The Contradiction

When asked what being a girl means to various guys, we are usually told that it is very easy, that we always have the option of falling back onto marriage if our careers do not lift off as well as we hoped. The irony here is great because most women are doing excellent in their careers but according to their families, only the trophy of being married matters, everything else is just a hobby that may drift away in a while.

Marriage is just an example, what the society is actually producing in us is a contradiction. A contradiction between being Independent and being what the society wants us to be. We are told to not be scared of the outside world, but then we are put in cages for our “protection”. We are told to go out, discover ourselves and find our identities, but one step forward and we are pulled back every time, so we try to figure out who we are in the little corners of the society that we are told to live in.

I think all of us have been the victims of the emotional d5095661rama that follows asking for permission for something you may have not done before like going out for dinner with your friends. And then you are blamed for ruining everyone’s mood because you finally got the courage to ask for freedom. That’s not what a girl is supposed to do in our society, at least the primitive part of society because the new generation is just pushing us to do so.

Even if we do escape the clutches of this Neanderthal thinking, and go out into the world, our minds are poisoned with various fears so that we eventually give up and come back to mother nests, living like nothing more but second grade dependents.

Our society can be considered to be a joke, because it’s in the process of changing so it believes in empowering women but it hasn’t changed completely so practically implementing women empowerment is nowhere to be seen. It’s like teaching a bird to fly but then telling it, why don’t you just fly in the cage, what’s the need to go outside?

So this is what it really feels like, being a girl, fighting against yourself and the society and yourself almost every day because you want to be great and you want to be independent but the society has other plans for you, so you fight a little everyday just to make your place in the world, just to feel a little better about yourself but sometimes the societal pressure becomes so much that all your will to fight just dissolves into thin air and you find yourself nodding yes to all questions while dying a little inside. So, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like in my world, a girl’s world, how “easy” it is, here’s a summary of it.

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