snehasophy

This is for all those who seek the joy in little things !


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The Tale Of The Furious Fighter

This 25 year old isn’t your average joe. Having earned his place in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) circuit, he has come a long way from being a lanky teenager. At first glance, towering at 6 feet and dressed in a cargo jacket, Farhan Siddiqui looked straight off an army camp, but his jovial demeanor was in stark contrast to his appearance. As we exchange pleasantries and settle down with a cup of coffee, he begins narrating his story with a sudden intensity!

As a kid, Farhan loved to watch WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) on the television and imitate his favorite wrestler, “The Undertaker”. This fascination with wrestling and combat was what attracted him to MMA. “I observed that the gloves used by MMA fighters were very different than other combat fighters and so was their technique”, says Farhan. Curious to know more about the sport, he convinced his father, who was very much against “ladaai-jhagda”, to let him enrol in a one month MMA class. Having extended the class without his parent’s permission, 3 months into training, Farhan had already fought his first professional fight; which was rare for a student with no prior fight history.

However he says, his turning point was when he fought in the India v/s France match in which he suffered a bloodied defeat. Bruised and broken, he picked up where he left, trained rigorously for 6 months and won the next match he fought in. “That’s where I got my stage name Furious Farhan”, he beams. But with no financial assistance from his family he had to take up day jobs to support his MMA ambitions. From being a salesperson, to a marketeer and a personal fitness trainer in local gyms, Farhan took every job opportunity that came his way. “I would work during the day and train at night without any coaching”, says Farhan.

Despite the hardships, there has been no turning back since his first tryst with the sport. Amidst all this, Farhan has successfully coached 3 national level champions at AIMMAA (All India Mixed Martial Artists Assosiation), trained over 600 women in self defence with the help of TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) and innumerable other clients in the field of Martial Arts and first- hand combat.

When asked on what keeps him going, he says, “My firm belief in the Almighty and my stubbornness to hold on to my dreams!”

A foodie at heart Farhan loves trying out new cuisines as much as he loves travelling. He says, his recent trip to China representing the CFK (Chinese Kung Fu Federation) was the most memorable one yet, but he loves the himalayan ranges and makes it a point to visit them every few years. Farhan also enjoys being in front of the camera. He often films videos of his rehearsals and training sessions for his social media pages. This fascination also got him featured in MTV’s Indies music series. [You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/siPJV-F1V2I ]

Apart from this, when asked about future plans, he says he wishes to go abroad and join a MMA federation that can support his ambitions. Sighting infinite loopholes in the Indian MMA federations, he says many budding fighters and athletes slip between the cracks due to the apathy on the federation’s part, “The politics in the Indian federation restricts growth of budding fighters, it’s a shame” he adds.

On a positive note, the things that top his list of plans for the future are- fighting 500 matches and becoming the next best Indian featherweight champion in the pound-per-pound category.

“I never thought I’d come this far, but now that I am here, I only want the best there is”, he ends with a determined smile.

For those who want some inspiration to get off your couch and chase your dreams, here’s a video of Farhan’s story to push you: https://goo.gl/nfWRAu

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I have known Farhan for over 5 years now. And throughout the years he has only gotten better at what he does. There aren’t many people who are determined enough to cling onto dreams when it gets tough. Farhan is someone I’ve personally learnt how to be “dheet” (stubborn) and fight for my passion and beliefs. But most of all I think his story is worth listening to!

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How It Felt To Be Bride’s Maid To A Blind Girl

Calm and unfazed, Premala sits smiling even as others frantically move about running last minute errands. Premala is getting married today! She says that in her 23 years of life, this is her happiest day.

She pouts & holds, as I line her lips with the deep red shade of lipstick that her guardian selected. Why her guardian you ask? Well, ever since Premala lost her sight when she was 10, her parents kept her at a distance. Too poor to look after a blind child who was also happened to be a girl, her parents dropped her at a school for the visually challenged children & never really intended to look back & take her home again.

I look at her dimpled smile as she chatters with the guests. The way she blushes when someone mentions the name of the groom. And emotions flood my brain.  I’m at loss of words as to how someone who is missing such an important aspect of life is so positive. I am at awe of her nonchalant grace.

She suddenly bursts into a song in Marathi & sings a couple of verses in her beautiful voice. Her voice so confident & clear, stuns everyone in the room.  Her voice managed to silence an entire room of cackling relatives and friends, at a wedding house! And then, she abruptly stops and asks me if her lipstick has smudged because of the singing. The women giggle as they hear her naive questions & tell her not to worry too much about the lipstick, to which she stubbornly replies that she wants another coat of lipstick! “It’s my wedding and I want to look the prettiest in the room.”, she says pouting again.

For some reason Premala had taken an instant liking to me ever since I first met her. Even at her wedding I was her maid-of-honor of sorts.

As I head towards her she asks me what I’m wearing. After all, she wouldn’t want her “didi” (sister) to look under-dressed at her wedding. I tell her I’m wearing a floral dress. I see her face light up! She asks to me come closer so she can feel the dress with her hands to know what a dress feels like, “I’ve never worn one didi, come closer, I want to SEE how your dress looks.” She runs her fingers through the creases of my dress and then looks at me with a smile and says something I will never be able to forget, “You look Beautiful didi.”

That one statement had tears flowing down my cheeks. I told her that she looks beautiful and all the guests were in love with her saree and her radiant smile returned!

This was followed by the wedding ceremony that was held in a church. I bore the bride’s trail. I was by her side until she was finally united with her husband, Sharad Patil who is a visually challenged person himself.

It was so beautiful to see how these two souls found each other. Their blinded vision didn’t stop them from finding love. Just because Premala didn’t see colours didn’t stop her from dreaming of rainbows and chasing behind them. At 23 she has a college degree in biblical studies and aims at reaching out to young girls like her.

If this isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is!

Many of us complain about things that don’t even matter. We are never satisfied and crib about everything that comes our way. Inspite of having the best education, best parents & friends to love us we point out to that one thing that we might NOT have. That one dress that you can’t afford or maybe that bike that your dad refused to buy.

One failed relationship and we give up on life, one test gone bad and we are ready to jump off the 17th floor of a building.

Sometimes all we need to do is look around us and absorb the strength and determination to keep going. Hey, no one said it’s going to be an easy ride. Take Premala for instance, she’s got it the worst way possible. An abandoned blind girl child, who had to fend for herself. But instead of letting all of this hurt and disappointment take a hold over her, she decided to give life a second chance, then a third & a fourth! Until she finally found what she was looking for. Purpose in life & someone to love. And that’s amazing!

Hopefully someday there will be more of Premalas in this world that gives up so easily. A world that fails to see the beauty in the little things. A world that has forgotten to be grateful.

Hopefully, Someday.


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Mumbai

You will find me in a million beating hearts.

In the clutter of the Dadar market,

In the chai -sutta of the rebellious city teen.

In the waves that sweep through the shores of Marine drive.

In the misty coffee houses of Matunga,

In the dingy slums of Dharavi,

In the chic bungalows of Juhu tara.

In the alluring charms of Kamathipura,

In the abusive banter of the fish mongers.

In the first rains that soak the children,

In the humid summers that drench everyone in sweat.

The groovy nights at blue frog,

The blissful prayers at Siddhivinayak.

In the buzzing streets of bandra,

Or the country-side bliss of vasai.

In every heaving-breath of a Virar local,

In the saddened silences of Tata hospital.

In the legendary evenings of Prithvi theatre,

In the infinite aimless games of cricket at the oval maidan.

In the cheers for the Mumbai Indians,

In the masked smiles of the LGBT pride parade.

From the nalli nihari and the salli boti

To the masala dosa and vada pav.

From the pillars of gateway,

To the roads of palm beach .

I’m a heaven for dreamers.

I’m the love child of chaos and tranquility.

I’m the unbreakable spirit.

I’m the euphoric emotion.

I am you .I am me.

I am Mumbai.


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To Change Or Not To Change

I was never like other people.

The world always looked upside down to me.

I saw colours even with closed eyes.

I chose to see the good in people even when it hurt.

I chose to hold on, give a chance even when they didn’t deserve it.

But I guess it’s time I changed. I guess it’s time to let go.

Maybe the world needs to see a different me now.

Maybe it’s time to do what the rest of them do, blind myself, numb myself and just not care anymore.

Let the sands slip through my fingers and forget what it felt like, to be alive. Maybe…

 

Picture Credits: Haranish Mehta.


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It’s all coming back …

“The hospital is a strange place . It’s a place where happiness and sadness co-exist . There is a continuous cycle of birth and death in action . Its a place that can turn an atheist into a disciple ,but at the same time, it can push someone to the limits of disowning their faith . Fate bought me to this strange place . I waited at the lobby with about 50 others for my turn . Each of us probably had the same hope in our hearts .The same eagerness to return home with our loved ones . I could see a man nervously fidgeting with his phone , two women who murmured and sighed occasionally and a child who cried incessantly in his mother’s arms . But inspite of all the commotion ; there was an unsaid silence , a disagreeable gloom over the place .There was an uneasy feeling running through all of our skins , and no matter what we did , we couldn’t shake it off .
And then all of a sudden I heard a loud thundering voice ,”Relatives of Rosily Palaian ? ” . The voice startled me ! Almost Picking myself up, I approached the half open door in front of me .
At first I desperately searched for a familiar face but couldn’t . After looking around for quite a while I found her .
Her eyes seemed that of a stranger’s . It was dull and lifeless and dazed with morphine . The Air conditioning was a little too cold for her comfort . She kept groaning and twisting about in her 6/4 bed in an unsuccessful attempt to get off it . I could barely recognise her . The ICU had turned her into a completely different person . Even from a distance I could clearly say that she was in pain . The hands that once pinned my hair in braids were now swollen nubs . Her lips seemed parched and dry and had cracks all over . She tried to call out my name but either she couldn’t recollect it, or she had no strength to do so . The infinite tubes and wires entangled around her like snakes .

I could barely stop the tears streaming down my eyes . I couldn’t imagine how she ever got here . To this place that resembled a nightmare . How could she become this person ?
She had forgotten who she was . I remember , her running around the house , busy with her errands . I remember how she loved to eat sweets even though her doctor had advised otherwise .
But the person I was seeing before me wasn’t her .
At that moment I realised that the person we were trying to save , was already lost . Even if she did get better , we could never recover her spirit . We could never recover HER”

This happened a week before my grandmother finally passed away . And a part of me was relieved to see her pain and agony finally end .
As ironic as irony could get , she died on her birthday . Her life had literally come around in a complete circle . She had suffered more than she deserved . Why ? I can’t say . But inspite of all the wounds that scarred her life she remained the meek and humble soul that she was . Now that I think about it , I can’t say she was talented or had an extraordinary personality . She spent most of her day in the kitchen .Didn’t have many friends to socialise with . Her family was all she had . We her children and grandchildren were the source of all her happiness . And that’s why it hurts so much to realise that she’s gone now . To know that no one else will love us like she did . Selfless and complete love . But I’d like to think she’s in a better place now . She can finally be at peace . She now has achieved ,the complete happiness and bliss that she always deserved .

-To a perfect wife , a doting mother and the most loving grandmother ,Roslin Palaian .
June 13, 1944- June 13 ,2016 .


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The Real Deal .

Plato once said , “Every heart sings a song incomplete , until another heart whispers back .”

I wonder if that stands true even today . In a world where our ears are muffed with headphones , and our eyes buried into our smartphones , I doubt we might even hear that whisper !
Other than that , who has time for such whispers ?
All we want is small talk and Tinder chats . Non sexual conversations don’t seem to get us anywhere !

Gone are the days when a relationship between two people didn’t just happen overnight .
It took patience , understanding and love to build one !

I’m not saying that the all ‘love’ of today is fake . I’m saying that it’s so difficult to find something true and lasting !

Blind dates , speed dates , horoscope dates you name it , and there’s a type of dating system for everything under the sun !
But to what end ?

Dating today resembles a blind man’s game . No one knows what we’re looking for , no one knows where we’re going , Hey, we don’t even know why we’re doing it !
One date after another , one person after the other , the cycle is vicious and endless .
By the time we actually meet the right person , we are so tired of this game that we just give up and convince ourselves that our ‘Soulmate’ doesn’t exist .

People have started differentiating between Love ,Sex and Emotional attachment !
When in reality , none of these can survive without the other .
Hook-ups and quickies are in trend . No commitments , no strings attached . They sound so tempting and uncomplicated , so inviting !
But are they really what they look like ? Is it really that simple ?
Instead of making it my personal opinion , I’d like to paint this picture according to what science has to say about us .
Humans are built in such a way that intimacy is related to a emotional connection . I literally hear everyone today telling ,”Oh ! It’s no big deal , it’s just sex .” Or , “oh ! We’re just dating casually .”
Well science disagrees with you my friends . If we were to get intimate , and have sex with every other person we felt like , we might as well be called animals . We are different because, the millions of years of evolution have instilled in us , a sense of “Humanity” that includes the emotional attachment to the person we are with (partner) .
Sure , you can still argue with this and say that it is possible to have emotionally detached relationships , But I’d rather side with science on this one .

I’d rather look for something real . Something that is not only about physical attraction . Something that is more than just sex . Something that is greater than just a sense of mutual liking .
I want the whole deal . I want the comfortable silences along with unending conversations .
I want us to have insatiable thirst for each other . I want us to Like ,Love and Lust for each other . I want the good days and the bad . I want passion and complete submission . Most importantly I want it to be “Us” , not just ‘me’ or ‘you ‘ .
And I’m sure like me there are still many others who would say the same . So this one is for them ! The ‘Ol style people . The ones who still believe in the concept of “Us” . Who want “Forever Afters ” . Who are convinced that it’s worth having a ‘life partner’ than a ‘sex partner’ .
To those who still think that “For eternity “always better than “For the time being ” .
So go on , whisper in the air ; And hope with all your heart that the universe will call someone to whisper back !


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Work ,Work ,Work !

I apologise if the title was  misleading , No , this is not about Rihanna’s new song !

This is about something that can make us cringe on a lazy day and  can even  steal a smile ! Well , I’m talking about hard-work .

Since the beginning of age , man has tried to make his life simpler . Hard-work has always been something that’s a little too difficult for him to digest .

The world today markets “The easy way out ” . Come to us they say , And you won’t have to chose between a slice of pizza ,and an hour at the gym . Come to us and , we will give you all the success you could wish for . Shortcuts are “In” .

Everyone wants results without efforts . Results without consequences to their half willed actions . We tend to appreciate instant gratification rather than long standing gains .
We expect to maintain unrealistic standards with little or no effort to achieve them .
We are surrounded by people who have no interest in telling you the truth of what goes behind the making of a dream . All they do is sell you the false idea , that you can have everything you wish for , within the blink of an eye .
And the sad part is too many of us have bought that idea .

We are seeing an increase in the ‘suicides’ , ‘divorces’ , ‘murders’, ‘rape’ . They might all seem completely different from each other , but they share the same conscience . Of Neglect , Apathy and Surrender . Of utter defeat and hopelessness .
Think about it , a couple that was married for 2 years decides to part ways on grounds of “incorrigible differences ” .
A girl who has failed her entrance test three consecutive times , decides that death would be a better option than facing defeat again .
A rapist let’s insatiable lustful desires to take control and gives in .A murder might imagine that , to take someone’s life is a necessity , that there is no other option apart from that !

Why did these people do what they did ?
One simple answer would be , they failed to work it out . They thought life would be a piece of cake , but Oh Boy , were they wrong !

It takes effort and energy to do anything at all ; Be it excelling at academics , getting that beach body you always wanted , Getting over that girlfriend who cheated on you (oh that just drains you, of life ! ) , Maintaining relations with your parents  or Attaining spiritual enlightenment .

Giving up always seems like a easier and pleasant option , but struggling through it all and persevering is the undermined winner always !

You have to fight no matter how hard it might get .
You have to aspire to be better everyday . You have to toil , sweat and work every muscle to get what you want without giving in .
Shortcuts might take you places , but at what cost ?
Easy might sound nice , but is it potent ?
These are questions you have to ask yourself .
And it’s rightly said , “If it’s easy , it probably ain’t right ! ”
Which runs true on most accounts .

So don’t be afraid of “work” ! Embrace the pain and discomfort . And time will surely bring you lasting and beautiful results .