Monday, 16 March 2015

Running Up Rocky Steps

“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”

I and my mom share a lot of interests and hobbies, which makes life interesting for us. We enjoyed competing with each other in video games like Mortal Combat, Most Wanted or Test Drive. There are certain games I win hands down and some Mom does, but often we do have good competition between us as well. The same goes with our love for beach, organizing game parties, watching TV serials and many other activities we enjoy together.
Mom used to download some movies she had enjoyed before I was born so that she could share the experience once again with me. We loved watching some movies, but few were so bad that mom wondered how she had enjoyed watching them so much in the first place.
We loved Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Rambo, Rush Hour, ET, and many other movies. When mom told me about Rocky, I was hesitant to watch the movie because I am no great fan of boxing or any other violent sports. I don’t understand what is entertaining about people hitting people. Mom has her way of convincing me and she did. We watched Rocky not just once but few times over and over again, because the movie won over Maa once again like it did before, and I too fell for its charm. 
There was more to the movie than just boxing. It worked like an inspiration for me, where determination gets you what you want. I feel the fight where Rocky is not declared winner in the end, makes it so close to your heart. The movie itself, made by a struggling Sylvester Stallone was motivational enough.
After watching the movie for the 4th time, I told Maa that I wanted to run the steps of Philadelphia Art Museum someday, like Rocky did. She said OK, as though we were going to do it in few years. How was it possible for a teen boy from a tiny village of Byndoor to run up the steps of an art museum half way across the globe? We come from middle class Indian family, where travelling abroad is not a luxury we cannot afford. So far I hadn't stepped outside my home state as well. That is when Maa asked, “So you actually did not learn that anything is possible with determination, did you?”
True to her words, in 2 years I had my chance of running up the Rocky Steps. Standing atop the steps, I felt motivation and optimism surging through my heart. 

It was kind of an impossible dream that came true so quickly. Moreover, nothing was planned. It all happened by chance. My mom wanted to visit her friends in USA who were cancer survivors like her. They had a support group and most of them got together for meets quite often. Being in India, Maa could not attend their get together. So in 2008, she decided to visit USA and meet as many of them as possible. We spent 4 months with Mr. Jay and Mrs. Paula in Florida which was an amazing period in our lives.
By luck, one of mom’s friends Miss Judy lived just opposite of Philadelphia art museum and she invited us to spend few days with her. This is how I could run up the Rocky steps. We also celebrated 4th of July with the Americans, watching the fireworks from the best view we could have. Me and Maa stood below the statue of Rocky #together and wondered, how this did happen in real. Sometimes, things go wrong but often things go right for us as well. Life shows us many moments to be optimists and motivated, but we tend to sideline them and concentrate on things that go wrong. That is the reason why we feel that many things go wrong. We only have to learn to look at the positive side of our lives where miracles happen every day.

Some Pictures from Philadelphia

Thursday, 12 March 2015

From The Jaws Of Death to Optimism

When we shifted to Byndoor from Bangalore, the first thing we wanted to do was to have some pet animals. I have always believed in freedom, for myself and for every living species. I wanted pets but not those for which we had to keep in restriction. Hens were the first option that cropped into my mind. We could have them as pets as well as allow them to roam around in our backyard with complete freedom. 
Our Beautiful Rooster Enjoying A Warm Summer
For 8 years, we saw some amazing life cycles of chickens which sometimes are unbelievable. Though many chickens are killed mercilessly every day for food, having them as pets, changed our perspective towards them. Their happiness, comfort and lives meant a lot to me.
One of the tragic stories which had left us in sadness, turned out to be an amazing miracle which filled us with optimism. One of our chicken laid 9 eggs. We decided to allow her to hatch them. This was not the first time we did that. Earlier we had bred some 4-5 broods. Hens do not venture out much when they are sitting on eggs and we have to take care to feed them. My mom left the doors open so that our chicken could venture out whenever she wanted to. Unfortunately, this proved to be something terrible for the chicken and her eggs. A stray dog which had ended up in our backyard, took advantage of the opportunity and attacked the brood. Instead of running for her life, the hen fought fiercely to save her eggs. Finally the dog accepting defeat must have run away.
My mom must have had a shock of her life when she went to check on her chicken, only to find her dead due to the injuries beside her eggs. We all wept for her, and then accepted her fate and buried her in our backyard. We did not know what to do with the eggs where some eggs were broken and others badly shaken in the fight. We did not have heart to throw them away. There were some more days left for them to hatch. Only six eggs remained intact. We wrapped them in warm cloth and left them where they were, because the summer heat in coastal region could incubate them. On the third day, when my mom went to check in on them, she heard tiny sounds coming from the eggs. She thought she must be hearing things because of the hope she had. She called me in to confirm. I could see a slight movement in the eggs. We were excited beyond description. There was rush to find a box to house them in our bedroom, so that no stray dog could ever even have a peek at them. Mom was ok with it. Immediately, I set up a box, a bulb to keep them warm and put them under our bed. A miracle happened on the New Year’s Day when one of the egg slowly broke open and wet ugly looking black chick crawled out of it. We looked at it and worried whether it would survive or not. Slowly it crawled toward the light bulb and made itself cozy over there. Half an hour later another egg hatched and 1 hour later another one. The chicks became active in few hours’ time. 
Helpless and Sticky Chicks
We spent our time on google for 3 days, learning how to take care of chicks. The rest of the 3 eggs couldn’t hatch though we waited for another 3 days.

These chicks were very comfortable with us and soon became a part of our family. I almost slept beside them LOL. They survived to grow up and turned into two red roosters and one hen. Their survival against the odds filled my heart with optimism and also told me never to give up hope. I will never forget the moment of sadness that overwhelmed me when I saw the dead mother beside her eggs, nor the joy that filled my heart, when the chick crawled out from egg. #lookup

Home sweet home

Chatting time with their human family

Time to sleep, they sent signals to shut off lights
Take my picture... take my picture
Ready for their play time in our yard while we kept watch