NEED came a while ago..

It’s a dream. A dream many would find so simple. But in his world, it’s a big one. His mom picked up a third job to help him. His dad works all day, everyday, to try and give him what he wants. He puts in so much effort. He wants to make his parents proud. He wants to give them a better life, a better world. He repeats his mantra to himself every morning, I’m going to turn this around for them. I can! Or rather,

He could have.

Today, the world teaches you to think “positively” and turn yourself away from the face of negativity. We’ve become so focused on this that our positive thinking is now just ignorance towards the things that matter. And I don’t know how to make sense to a bunch of people that break the internet over something as irrelevant as a photograph of a dress with #TheDress. But I’m going to try. And I’m never going to stop trying.

Because “I donate a lot of money for charity” isn’t good enough anymore. Because his parents were looking forward to the day they could go to his university and watch him graduate. Because his parents went to his university to identify his dead body among 140 others.

Because I’m terrified that the level of ignorance is directly proportionate to the increase of dead innocents. Because we as a society are empowering people to get away with this by not shedding enough light on something as important as human life.

Because I’m not a blue and black dress. And this post is never going to be as relevant as optical illusion. We cannot break the internet. Not the problem. Not the dead university students. Not the thousands dying everyday for no fault of theirs. Not the selfish that cause this level of destruction of human kind.

People often talk about the tyrant that killed so many innocent people through a harmful gas. Little do we realize, for the one monster that died, there are a hundred more today. Every one of them claiming to have a reason – the religion, the race, the spirituality, the tradition, the culture. So what about the human being?!

Paparazzi gets paid thousands of dollars for a picture of a new celebrity couple. Did you know there are pictures of the dead students from Kenya? Every one of them more disturbing than the one before. But it’s not gossip. it doesn’t get the world going. it’s not as pretty a sight as two celebrities who constantly wish for privacy. How can someone not see why the entire concept of this is so unbelievably wrong?!

But what if it changed? Just for a day. 24 hours. If every celebrity in this world chose to talk about nothing but war zones and gunfires and dead innocents. If for one day, the paparazzi published nothing but news. If for one day, every government head in this world used every ounce of their power to track down the monsters that create such tragedies. If for one day, someone drops the gun and refuses to fight the war. If for one day, the loving parents could have their son back..

We’ve waited months, years, decades. We’ve hoped for world peace. We’ve prayed for world peace. We’ve created campaigns. We went on strikes. Until we put our hands in the air and gave up. We turned our faces away because we told ourselves, “What I’m doing is not going to save the world.”

We focused on better things like the weather and the Box Office. We cried when Paul Walker died because he played a bigger role in our lives than some kid holed up in a university room that called her parents to tell them she hears gunshots and doesn’t believe she’s going to make it out of there alive.

She was right.

And we’ve waited this out for a long time now. We’ve told ourselves that when they want our help they’ll call us.

But we’ve turned away for so long that we didn’t notice when the want came. When the want transformed into something more desperate. When the evil destroyed families. We were drowning in new age music, we didn’t hear the loud scream of the mother who saw her baby die before her very eyes. We were buying that new pair of expensive denims, we didn’t see the thirteen-year-old get raped. We were reading our favorite gossip spread, we didn’t notice the girls that got kidnapped for wanting to learn how to read.

We were so busy living our lives, we didn’t turn to them when their want came. We were so caught up with our problems, we didn’t pay attention when the want was replaced with need – the need for help, the need for support, the need for protection, the need for someone to look at them and see what they’re going through.

The need that is now turning into death counts.

And you’re still waiting… for what?!

What You Leave Behind..

Andy Warhol

We all want to do something significant. We want to leave a part of us behind for everyone else to remember us by. We buy all these things and then we write a will about who’ll get what. That’s the part of us we leave behind for them and they’ll leave behind to their kids and for generations this will be passed around and you will be known as the person to whom it belonged. You will be remembered through that object.

I was at an Andy Warhol exhibit in Singapore a few years ago. I loved the art, the creativity, the small facts I got to learn about him. Spread across many different walls were quotes. His quotes. As a writer, I love reading quotes and thinking about what it might have meant to that person when they said it but when I read this particular quote, I didn’t care. I didn’t care what it meant to him or what he was thinking when he said it because this quote was all about me. It spoke to me in a way that I can’t explain. It was every thought I had ever had about death – My death. Andy Warhol had read my mind before I even existed.

Death is one of the most commonly occuring thought processes in my mind. Last night, right before I drifted off to sleep, I couldn’t stop thinking about the number of people that would be affected should I die that very second. My close family is a given and I can’t stop them from feeling miserable about it but the outsiders. The friends I’ve made and the people I affect. The ones that choose to love me and the ones I presume our affectionate towards me, though I may be wrong. How many of them will actually have a day when they pick up their phones just to realize I’m not alive for them to call? How many will miss me? This was the best thought I have had in a very long time.

I hate to admit this to anyone because it always rubs off the wrong way – I’m a control freak. If something is a certain way, it has to be that way. If you make a plan to meet me, you better show up. Do not call me in the very last minute and say “I can’t make it.” I’ll understand. But I will also be so so annoyed because that just completely wrecked my day. A few years ago my brother and I were supposed to go birthday shopping. He ditched me last minute. Even today, I always call him ten minutes before I leave to ensure he’s going to make it. And it’s difficult to find a friend that is not annoyed by this. Someone who understands and accepts this part of you.

They say a friend is the only person who doesn’t judge you for your choices and sticks with you no matter what and I got to realize exactly who they were in my life last night and I felt bad. Because when I die, I affect some of the kindest people I’ve known. Is that really what I want?

This is why I think suicide is selfish. It’s not cowardly. It’s not stupid. It’s selfish. When a person decides to take his own life, he is only thinking about himself. He is only thinking about ending his misery. He doesn’t stop to think just how many people around him, how many loved ones will suffer for the rest of their lives because he chose not to care about anyone but himself. They will live forever wondering why they didn’t see. Why they didn’t help. Don’t you think Robin Williams’ daughter wonders that? His friends? His family? His colleagues?

A long time ago, I had this plan – When I’m old and done with all my responsibilities, I want to throw a party. A big one to invite everyone that’s ever known me. And if any of them ever wanted to write a euology, they can write one and read it to me at that party because seriously, what’s the point of saying nice things to me once I’m dead? So I just want them to read it. And I’ll say goodbye and I’ll take a little bit of the money I’ve earned in my life, pack my bags, erase or throw away any object that could remind the people that love me that I’m no longer there and just leave. They won’t know where I am. They won’t know if I’m alive or dead. I’d have vanished. Like Andy Warhol said he’d like to do.

Because we can’t live in fear. We can’t keep away from the ones we love, the ones who love us just because we’re afraid of the scar we’ll leave behind. We can’t not make memories in fear of those incredible moments turning into nightmares someday. But there is something we can do :

We can stop spending our times accumulating materialistic things and instead just care and be compassionate. We can learn to be kind and show others what living can truly mean. We can save something that five generations wouldn’t just pass around but would talk about. Would want to live upto.

Because the things you leave may rot and fade but the memories and life lessons – they’re here to stay.

The Bigger Problem

Glossophobia. Do you know what that means? I didn’t. In my first year at university, I stood in front of my entire class and instead of flawlessly explaining the cultural differences, I froze. Two weeks later I wrote a very long paper on that word. Glossophobia – The fear of public speaking.

We humans do this very often. We tend to not notice something until we have the need to do so. There aren’t a lot of things on this planet we learn about willingly.

Unfortunately, the people that aren’t a part of our lives fall under that category.

If you had looked at my History book at the end of an academic year, it would have looked brand new. I hated history. I was very clear – Somebody killed somebody. They’re both dead and I couldn’t care less.

And I know there are a lot of people that agree with me about that but even they cannot deny the fact that though History may be insignificant, the future will always matter. And I don’t want to wait until I am left with no choice again. Because Glossophobia – it is the smallest of our problems. There are bigger problems with fewer support groups that nobody talks about. But I want to talk about it.

Because the fact that my mother wakes up every morning and knows I’m going to be fast asleep and not dead is actually a privilige – That is a problem.

I’ve tried to put this thought into words for a very long time now and luckily someone else did it for me. Because this – this moment when we realize that someone out there could be smarter, better and absolutely amazing at doing exactly what we do but with no means to show it – this is the truth.

“I have never understood why some people are lucky enough to be born with the chance that I had—with this path in life. And why across the world, there’s a woman just like me with the same abilities and the same desires, the same work ethic and love for her family who would most likely make better films and better speeches. Only she sits in a refuge camp, and she has no voice. She worries about what her children will eat, how to keep them safe, and if they’ll ever return home. I don’t know why this is my life and that’s hers…” – Angelina Jolie, Governers Awards Speech

And I have wondered for a long time how it is fair that I get to wake up in the morning and her innocent, darling child didn’t. And the truth is, it’s not and I would love to be the individual that changes that, that changes the world and brings about world peace but I can’t. I can’t do this alone.

I can’t stop poverty alone. I can’t stop wars alone. I can’t save those kids with amazing talent – the ones being shot in war zones, the ones dying of hunger, the ones struggling to jump from one refuge camp to another and the ones that might not wake up tomorrow – and help better their lives.

“She speaks more languages than anyone in the family. Because she plays with all the children in the street.”

This was a quote describing a little kid on Humans of New York. It makes me feel sick that a child has the ability to see something so simple that we as adults have failed to understand. That she has the ability to look at a child and see just that. She doesn’t see where they come from or who their parents are. And if only we could do that.

Do you know about the photographer, Kevin Carter? He killed himself after shooting a picture of a kid in starvation. I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked at my mother and said “I’m going to die of hunger. Feed me now !”

I wanted to put up that picture on this blog but I just can’t bring myself to. I can’t look at it. It may have been taken a long time ago but I assure you, there is still a kid somewhere in this world that looks like that and is going through that. And yes, there are people rallying about it and screaming about it but nobody with a life takes the time to listen and that is a problem.

Because..

Is it fair that we get to whine about not having pizza for dinner? Is it fair that I get pissed with the Universe for not letting me travel the world when some kid out there can’t even travel home? Is it fair that this life that I don’t do much with, some kid would have used to the best of his ability and maybe even cured Cancer with but he’s sitting in a little room made of plastic scraps and wondering where his next meal’s going to come from while struggling to ignore the mental images of his dead parents?

And should we really wait until we are left with no choice but to listen?

Death, The Inevitable End

9/11 was this past week. I don’t live in that country anymore and I was quite young to understand what was happening when it did. But since then I’ve heard many different versions of what went down on that tragic day. I only took one thing from the dozens of stories I heard – innocent people died for the personal gain of someone else. I don’t care who the person behind it was. It only matters how many family members were made to suffer because of it.

911

I believe there are two kinds of death. The one that comes naturally and the ones that arrives when disaster strikes. But when someone dies, the world doesn’t differentiate it like that. How many times have you heard someone say, ‘Good riddance. She/he was such a horrible human being” ? Death in the human mind is always differentiated in two ways – the kind hearted person’s oh-so-soon passing; the ill hearted person’s long overdue riddance.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before – Death plays a huge part in my mind. For a fairytale believer, death is probably a more commonly occurring thought process than love because love doesn’t happen to everyone. Some people live their entire lives not knowing what it feels like to be loved unconditionally and passionately. But even to them, death is inevitable. It cannot be pushed away. It cannot be erased. This quote is simply a hint at just how much the world tries to make it go away :

“The walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches.”

But it is the undeniable truth. And I’m not as afraid as I should be. For it is the only thing in life that is certain. It has to come some day and I will accept it when it does.

Yet everyday, I wake up in fear of who around me is still safe from it. When the phone rings, my heart skips a beat and I have to check in on everyone to know my family is where it’s supposed to be. Here. With me.

A friend of mine passed away a few months ago. This past week he’s been on my mind constantly. I see someone with a mohawk and think “Oh look ! He’s here !” And then I remind myself, “That cannot be him. He’s dead.” He was a nice guy. Quite young too. His mother was orphaned for he was the last family she had left. I hate to imagine how many mothers were orphaned on 9/11. How many kids were orphaned. Engagements broken, weddings stopped, successful marriages turned single parents.

Then again, just how many of those people were thought of as “Good riddance” ?!

“We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love.”

– Mad. De Stael

It’s so easy to talk about it from a distance. It’s so easy to dissect the process. It’s so easy to say, “Life has to go on..” And it is definitely easy to say “Good riddance.” But the ones that lose the person they love – disastrous or natural, sickness or an accident – to them, Death is but a ghost that continues to live in them and haunt them everyday for as long as they live. It doesn’t matter if the dead was innocent, arrogant, ruthless or stupid, the ones that get to live never really get to live.

Ever wonder why Disney movies always have parents that die early in the story or are already dead? Especially the mother?

Disney Princess

Walt Disney’s mother died in a fire accident in the house he bought for her. It’s suggested that it may be why the Disney movies don’t have a significant mother character in them.

How many days would he have spent thinking to himself “Wish it had been me” ? You and I may think of 9/11 once a year, but to those families that lost someone they loved, every single day they have lived since the life altering disaster is 9/11. How many times do you think they would have thought to themselves, “Should have been me” ?

I say this now and I will say this always. I will always rather it be me than anyone I hold dear to my heart.

There’s no moral to this post. There’s no inspiring message. Just a passing thought from me to you – Death has to come and it will. To you, to me and to every living being on this planet. It comes to the good guys and the bad. Wouldn’t it be easier if we didn’t all kill each other and just spent whatever little time we have on this beautiful planet laughing away and spreading love?

In memory of every lost loved one. <3

(Images courtesy : Google)

Someone Cares

Like almost everyone, I went through the typical teenage phase – “nobody cares about me.” But unlike most people, that didn’t stick long because I realized that there was someone out there, who didn’t know me, that was risking their life for me.

Do you know that feeling you get when you think about someone and you smile because even if you lose everything you’ve got – your money, your looks, your memory, even – they will always care, no matter what? That’s the feeling I got and it’s a feeling I’ve carried with me through all these years.

This person, is possibly the most selfless person you’ll meet. Though his family suffers and is in utter turmoil more times than normal, he will still give up everything to give you the life you live. He might even have to leave his innocent new born so you can have a roof over your head and food to eat.

I knew a teenager about six years ago. She was just like everyone else. “The world doesn’t care. My parents don’t care. Nobody cares. My life is a mess. I have nobody.” And then one day, a YouTube video changed that. It changed the way she connected with other whiney teenage girls like her. The nobody cares turned into a “how dare you say nobody cares?”

The video was .. “Dad’s Homecoming.”

An innocent middle schooler was sitting in class when his father walks in and the kid just bawled his eyes out. He was seeing his father for the first time in three years. Because the father was too busy protecting the nation so people he didn’t know can get up and go to work without having to worry about the safety of their lives. A wife somewhere had to cope like a single parent so her husband could help some kid somewhere without the kid having to worry about his/her life and just focus on learning colors. A girl somewhere has gotten through prom, graduation, university without her father being there for any special moment just so some other girl can have the opportunity to do so without getting killed.

That video changed the way she looked at life. Somebody out there cared. He didn’t know her, he didn’t know what she did, he didn’t know her flaws and most of all, he didn’t care. He was willing to give his life to keep someone like her safe. If that isn’t care, she didn’t know what was.

That teenager was me.

There are more videos like that than you can imagine. Every one of those will bring you to tears. The sacrifice those people do is beyond me. Since then, every time I feel like nobody cares, I think of this person. This person who left his family, who left his “safe” life to go risk his life just so I can peacefully sit here and write about this.

Imagine living a life where you wake up everyday fearing that maybe your father / husband / friend / son / fiancé / brother will come home in a box, dead and cold. Having to record every moment of your child’s life in hope that someday you might be able to show it to them should they come back alive.

I am thankful to those innocent people, men and women, who give up everything they have to give me everything I have. For their struggle, for their strength and for the lost lives. Most importantly, Thank You for the care.

 

The Life & Death Of It All

I wrote this post on Sunday. I didn’t post it. I was too emotionally lost. I’m still not very sure but I’m going to take a deep breath and here goes..

This whole weekend has been such a blur. My friend was having her Sangeeth (The Indian version of a pre-wedding party) today evening and I’ve been planning for it for a while now. Last night I got food poisoning. I was so sure my weekend was ruined. Things can’t get worse. You know, the usual whiney “My life is cursed and bad and nothing ever goes as planned.”  This morning I woke up to a status message on Facebook.

Every time you think you have it bad, life shows you that it could be worse. A while back I wrote a post called “The People Who Change Your Life” about a guy who was the reason I chose to study what I did and pursue the career and somehow find what I now know I absolutely love doing. A cardiac arrest had led him to a coma for close to ten months and at 7a.m today ( 22nd of June ), he ended his journey here. I have this shaky feeling that I can’t get rid off. I really had hoped he’d get better in some miraculous way but life isn’t always fair. I’m here whining about not getting to go to a party when his mother has to live with the fact that her son is never going to wake up.

So many messages of love were pouring on to his Facebook timeline. What’s the point ?! He’s not going to read it. He’s gone. He doesn’t care if you both had a memory anymore. He doesn’t care to say “Oh look I had so many friends on Facebook.” It makes you question the concept of “OMG I HAVE THREE HUNDRED LIKES AND TWO THOUSAND FOLLOWERS !” What’s the point ?!

I did go to my friend’s Sangeeth. I not only needed to get out but I also wanted to be there for her. Though time may have put us at a distance, she was one of my closest friends in school. She was so happy and giggly. Her fiancé was doting on her and it was such a pretty sight to watch. They were ready to begin their lives together. Their love surrounded them and you could see it when you looked at them. But even that didn’t help the way I was feeling.

I often feel like death takes up too much space in my mind. Not just in reality but when I read books or watch movies, I tend to turn to stories that I know will depress me and I let it occupy my mind though I swear I am usually a very happy person. But I feel like there’s something about it that’s so realistic. It’s the truth that is inevitable. It’s going to happen to every one of us no matter what we try. But I can never accept it. I believe in spirits and ghosts because I hate thinking that something s simple as that has the ability to take a person away from us forever. I don’t even know.

I’m pretty sure this post is as lost as I’m feeling at this point and I’m sorry for that but I really just don’t know how to feel. I wasn’t close to him but to me he played a big part in how my life tuned out and so he mattered. It mattered that he came out of his coma. It mattered that I got one last chance to say Thank You. It’s funny how you never realize how important a person in your life can be until you know you might never say something to them again. I wish I’d realized this before his coma. I wish I hadn’t lost touch.

I guess the only thing I can do at this point is to hope he rests in peace and his family and friends find the strength to get through this..

 

 

Life goes on..

Today, May 4, is the birthday of someone very very close to me. “Happy Birthday bro..” It’s been a while since I met him and when he saw me he said, “You look bright. Full of hope. It’s nice to see you like this again.”

Last year I had to give up almost everything I had. My plans changed, my life changed. I spent the entire year in depression. Everything made me cry. There was a point when I believed things will never change. That my life was over and all I have to do is sit and just let the end come when it may. Now when I say it, I realize how over-dramatic that sounds. But at that point in my life it seemed like the most logical thought process one can ever have at a time like that.

It’s funny how when something bad happens, we believe that it’s the end. I’m not talking about a fatal sickness or an accident but rather just incidents. When you quit / get expelled from university, when you get fired, when you break up with your loved one, when someone close to you passes away or even when you fail an exam or miss your dream university by 2 points. It seems like a life or death situation. I mean, I get that it possibly is very life altering but it’s never the end.

It took me one and half years of moping around before I decided that I have to change things. ONE AND HALF YEARS ! You know how much I could’ve done in one day? Let alone 500 days ! 500 days before I realized it’s not the end because it’s not happy. That in fact, all I had to do was accept that things have changed. Because the only thing constant in our lives is change and the best I can do is to make use of all that I’ve got. I mean, I’m sure I could’ve sat around another year and half dreaming of what could’ve been but that’s just another 500 days that I won’t get back.

In my life, I’ve learnt that there’s nothing better than dreaming big. Dream what nobody dares to dream of. Dream to fly. Like Peter Pan. To just take off to Neverland. But that’s impossible if you never put your feet on the ground. Even a flight has to hit the runway, move forward and only then can it fly. Sitting idle and wondering about would-be’s and could-have-been’s will never get you anywhere. You have to put one foot in front of the other and walk forward.

I’m not a settler. I’ve missed what many would call “incredible opportunities.” When my previous dream crashed, I had to get a new one. I wasn’t, and I’m still not, mentally prepared to create a big dream again. I’m afraid that it’ll crash too. So I set my goals a little lower. Instead of a big future plan, I set my eyes on simpler things. Things that are more NOW than five to ten years from now – A company that’s not really easy to get into. A publisher that probably won’t even take a second look at my manuscript. I told myself that I won’t take anything besides this. I will get into that company if it’s the last thing I did. I will send the publisher every story I will ever write and at some point, I’m going to write something they will publish.

Think back the years you’ve lived through. How many moments have you had where you thought it’s the end of the world and it wasn’t? No, I’m not talking about December 22, 2012. I mean, you’ve lived through tough times. You’ve moved forward when you thought you wouldn’t. You’re alive and present. When you think about it you’ll realize that all those bad experiences have only made you stronger. Brave. Never weak.

Two years ago, I had it all. I didn’t work as hard as I could have. I didn’t make use of the opportunities. Now I can’t go back. I have to look ahead and I feel stronger than I ever did. Positive that if I could live through that, then I’m sure I can live through the next disaster and the next and the next. Because.. Have you ever sat in front of the ocean and stared at it? You know how beautiful and mentally soothing a view like that is? The way the waves move and hit the shore. The salty smell that comes from it.. Now, imagine sitting in front of the same ocean but this time, it’s still. No waves, no sea salt smell. Just still water. It’s not as beautiful, is it?! That’s life too. It has to have its ups and downs. I promise every wave has something incredible to give to you. A life lesson, a person, a memory.. And when you look at it as a whole, it’s beautiful.

No matter sunny or rainy, draught or storms, the waves in the ocean never stops.. The way, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s over, life goes on..

Cancer and the Battle | World Cancer Day 2014

A couple of days ago, I read the book “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. Though it may sound overdramatic, I’m simply being honest when I say, that book killed a part of me. To lose someone you love is tragic. But to lose someone you love for no fault of his/hers is unfair. It’s also the definition of Cancer. Every day you hear stories about it. Our parents, our well-wishers inform us about the vaccines that prevent it and advise us to get it done immediately. If we have lost someone in our family to Cancer, we live in fear that we might end up having to battle with it someday.

I lost two granddads and a grandmother to Cancer. Last year, I also lost an aunt to Cancer. I can never say I lost them because of Cancer. They didn’t die because of cancer. They fought a battle. A war, even. But they lost. They lost to a disease that seems to be affecting more and more people all around us every single day.

The thing is, if someone dies of a head injury, a drunk and drive accident or even a cardiac arrest, I’d get over it. Maybe not immediately, but at some point I’d accept it and move on. But I can’t seem to do that when I lose someone to Cancer.  Because they didn’t just die. They didn’t just say “Hey, I have Cancer” and fall flat to the ground. The pain, the agony, the screaming and shouting, the mood swings, the humiliation they feel, the loss of self-esteem, the loss of a life they dreamt they’d live, the regret they feel for putting their loved ones through so much pain, hurt and trauma – if this was so upsetting for my aunt who was above 60, imagine what this is like for a 6-year-old. An 8-year-old. A teenager.

Beyond the victims, imagine the trouble their loved ones go through. The mental torture. Every time I think of it, I just want to hug them. Every parent, every child, every husband, every wife and every friend that has had to lose someone they love to Cancer. There’s a part in this book where the mother says to her husband when they think their daughter is about to pass away, “I won’t be a mother anymore.” That broke my heart. It might be a fictional story but I can imagine so many mothers out there having to live with that as a reality. What did she do to deserve that? What did that poor child attached to twenty different tubes do to deserve that?

Especially, to learn that the cancer has been cured in their system, only to go back to the hospital three years later and realize “the Cancer’s back.” I have no words to describe that emotion. I can only hope that the love and the support they find around them gives them the strength to fight and win that battle a second time. In my mother’s friend’s case, a third time.

I would have loved for an opportunity to meet my granddads. The way my nieces/nephews would someday wish to meet their grandmother and I’ll them the story my parents told me. The story of how the vicious and scary ghost of a sickness and my aunt got into a fight. How she lost to it because she didn’t have the love of a very very very adorable little child. They’ll live with that story until they grow old and learn all about Cancer. How all the love in this world couldn’t have saved her. In fact, all the love in this world cannot save anyone battling with Cancer. But it can make the difficult journey a tad bit easier.

So on World Cancer Day, this February 4th, join me along with a million others across the world to raise awareness about that vicious and scary ghost of a sickness. Teach the world to accept and love the ones struggling to fight Cancer.  It might not save them, nothing but their own strength and possibly a cure for cancer can save them, but I assure you, it’ll make their journey a lot easier.

If you or anyone you know wish to give or seek support, there are so many websites and organizations that will connect you to the patients and their families. You can simply Google them.

Last but not least, if you are someone battling with Cancer, I want you to know, you have my love and support and I will be waiting for you at the winner’s lounge. Last round’s on me ‘kay? 🙂

Speak Now , Live Now

Cory Montieth, 31, died in July this year. Paul Walker, 40, died in a car crash on November 30. Someone else I know, 23, is battling for his life for over three months now. It’s sad. It’s depressing. It’s shocking, really. None of them ever thought this would happen to them… Their age makes me think “For all you know, it could be me..” What if it does end up being me?

Before YOLO became the biggest thing on the internet. Before I knew anything about the internet, an incident.. or should I say disaster?.. changed my life, changed the way I live it.

December 26, 2004.. Earthquakes and a Tsunami destroyed lives, destroyed families, destroyed homes..

I was supposed to be at the beach with my father that morning, but I’d overslept. I woke up and jumped with joy about leaving and my parents told me there’d been a Tsunami. I had no idea what it meant but with time, I understood it and I wished I hadn’t..

I’ll never forget what it did to me. I remember the TV ads asking for help. I remember switching channels because I couldn’t listen to that music, couldn’t watch those images. I remember crying under my blankets praying for those lives and those children who just lost their parents.. I remember my mother telling me about this woman who’d killed herself out of depression, a child who’d had a heart attack because the ads were too depressing. I remember wanting to help those kids. I even took a bag of my clothes and went to the beach, to the families living in tents on the streets because their houses were gone. I gave them clothes and in minutes, my car was surrounded by kids asking for food and clothes.. I was terrified, depressed, pissed with the universe..

How many people woke up that day with plans? How many had had a fight the previous night and told themselves “Today, I’ll fix it..” but never got the chance to? For one second, forget the dead.. Imagine the ones sitting at home who never got to tell their loved ones “I love you” “I forgive you” “I need you” “I miss you”..  Praying they were the ones dead and not the other person.. Hoping that the people searching the waters find their loved ones’ body so they could go ahead and do what they had to? Imagine waking up late on a Sunday morning, turning on the TV and realizing, your friend, your family, someone you know was probably dead by now. I always imagine someone with a coffee cup turning on the TV and dropping that cup with shock..

I swore to myself, it doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t want to hear it. I’ll always tell everyone – the ones I like, the ones I love, the ones I hate – how I feel about them. I will never miss an opportunity. I will make the most out of my life. As a teenager, all it did for me was get me into trouble. But with time, experience and a lot of mistakes, I’ve learnt to fine tune that attitude. I’ve learnt what LIVE NOW means to me. What SPEAK NOW means to me.

It may not always mean the same to everyone. But to me, Live Now means doing something with my life. Helping myself and everyone else around me. I’ve learnt that Live Now does not mean I have to go bungee jumping and skydiving as soon as possible. It means I need to help the ones in need. So even if I’m gone, I would’ve made a better life for someone who gets to live.

And as for Speak Now, it doesn’t matter whether it’s my parents, my siblings or just a crush, I have and will continue to tell them what they mean to me. I’ll tell them how much I care and how important they are to me. I’ve learnt to keep the hate to myself though – Because if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything..

So here’s a piece of advise to anyone that’s reading.. Do you have a dying need to do something – for yourself or anyone around you? Do it today. If it’s a long-term plan, start working on it. Do you have a loved one? Tell them today. What if you never get another chance?