Friday, September 22, 2017

Be an explorer has a new address

Good morning! 

I am pleased to announce that Be an explorer has a new address -

All the previous posts are now available at the new address and this blog will be redirected soon. So see you there!

Friday, September 15, 2017

At last.... - Photo Flash Fiction #FridayPhotoFiction

This story is written as part of Friday Foto Fiction. It is a Weekly Blog Hop to celebrate fiction writing co-hosted by Tina & Mayuri. They give a photo prompt every week and participants need to write a flash fiction based on the photo in 100-150 words.

Rey was trembling. His palms were sweaty and cold. Luke’s knees were about to give away. They looked at each other and held each other’s hands; just the way they used to, so many years ago.

Supporting each other without a single word, they walked all the way to the cliff. Rey fell to his knees and broke into tears.

They had returned to the place for the first time after that fateful night when their parents fell off this cliff. Luke was 7 and Rey was only 5. They had finally found the courage to visit the spot.

#Tiniature - 8 Sep 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Ishieta's birthday carnival - Do I deserve to be happy

This post was published on Isheeria's Healing Circles - as part of Ishieta Chopra's birthday Carnival.

Before I wear my philosopher’s hat or start giving any tips, let me hit the nail on its head – Yes I deserve to be happy because I believe that I deserve to be happy. In fact, every person who believes that he/she deserves to be happy, deserves to be happy. Sounds confusing? It’s not.

When I was asked this question, the first image that popped into my mind was that of my friend settled in US.

During a trip to US, Shekhar - a friend of mine and his wife - Vrushali took me out for dinner. They had been in US for over 3 years.

Although I was meeting Vrushali for the first time, we connected instantly. Both of them entertained me with their struggles and experiences of coming to US for the first time and the challenges they faced while adjusting to the environment there.

Towards the end of our dinner, Vrushali looked in Shekhar’s eyes with a large grin and concluded “All said and done, now we are very well settled here. We deserve it! We have worked really hard for it”.

Somehow her words and the twinkle in her eyes have stuck with me all these years.

To be happy one has to believe that he/she deserves to be happy. Because that belief keeps us fighting all the battles and finding solutions for problems in life till happiness is found or is at least visible in the near future. The moment we lose that belief, it is half the battle lost already.

Nobody’s life is perfect. We all have our own shares of ups and downs. But people who keep fighting the battle and look for solutions turn out to be the winners. Those who think that they are destined to suffer, to pay off the karmic debts or for any other reasons, will stop all the efforts to find happiness and will make peace with their sufferings.

I have had my own phases of sufferings and I know that it is easier said than done, to continue believing that you deserve to be happy when life hits you hard in the face.

So the only mantra I follow is “Keep swimming”. No matter how strong the current is, no matter how energy draining it is to swim against it, but if I keep swimming then I will move at least an inch out of the mess I am in, if I stop swimming then I will never be able to exit it and in the end I will be engulfed by it all.

Last week a dear friend told me that she decides every day to be happy and the idea really appealed to me.

Happiness is a choice you make every day, every moment. She told me that even if her day starts badly or she has a hiccup in her agenda to be happy, she constantly keeps reminding herself about her resolution to be happy, and things work out better than they would have otherwise.

So today, let’s make a resolution that we all will decide to be happy every day.

So here are some of the practical tips from me to keep that fight on –

1) Exercise!! Yes, you heard me right. Every time I feel low or think that I have lost all the belief in the world, I exercise. It makes me feel good. Trust me it is not some theory conjured by me out of thin air but it is scientifically proven that exercising releases the ‘Feel good’ hormones in our blood

2) Every morning look in the mirror and tell yourself – “I am happy because I deserve to be happy”

3) In a boxing match, you never lose till you keep bouncing back to your feet after every fall. If you stay lying on the floor then you are bound to lose. Similarly, when life hits you and you fall down, you will not lose until you keep bouncing back

4) When you are going through a rough patch, close your eyes and think of what would be a happy day or moment in the given scenario then imagine yourself swimming towards it

5) Make a list of things you need to achieve that happiness. Start executing it one step at a time. That will keep despair away and every time you feel low you can tell yourself that you are already walking towards happiness and have covered some distance

6) Work hard to achieve your goal of happiness. No achievement has ever been possible without hard work. Whenever you think you are not getting there, ask yourself “Am I working hard enough to deserve it?”

7) Pursue a hobby, any one, that will make you happy. Those small pearls of happiness shine even brighter during dark days. Some of the hobbies are meditative and some give you nothing but pure joy.

Anyhow, it will take some stress off your mind and sometimes solutions to your problem appear out of nowhere when your mind is at relaxed state

8) Most importantly believe that you deserve to be happy from the bottom of your heart!
Share your tips on how you keep your chin up during a bad phase or in general to stay happy every day in the comments below.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

#Tiniature - Ganesha Festival

#Tiniature - Horror story at romantic destination

Her path - Photo Flash Fiction #FridayPhotoFiction

This story is written as part of Friday Foto Fiction. It is a Weekly Blog Hop to celebrate fiction writing co-hosted by Tina & Mayuri. They give a photo prompt every week and participants need to write a flash fiction based on the photo in 100-150 words.

When Sarala started to learn reading and writing from her husband Raghu, she was ridiculed by the entire family.

She had chosen to marry Raghu who could read, write over Damodar, who owned acres of farmland. Her parents had been surprised by her choice but they couldn’t pursue her to change it.

Family members scolded, laughed and insulted her for choosing to learn over cooking, cleaning, sewing like other women in the family but Raghu continued to teach her wholeheartedly.

Consecutive 3 years of drought sent all the men of the house to the city looking for work, leaving only women behind.

Now Sarala is the only one capable of handling day-to-day affairs outside & money matters in the household.

All those who laughed at her depend on her to read letters from their husbands, sons and write answers.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The shiny shoes - Photo Flash Fiction #FridayPhotoFiction

This story is written as part of Friday Foto Fiction. It is a Weekly Blog Hop to celebrate fiction writing co-hosted by Tina & Mayuri. They give a photo prompt every week and participants need to write a flash fiction based on the photo in 100-150 words.

She always dreamed of those shiny shoes as she watched her mother don them every evening, leaving for her work. One day she had tried them on only to be scolded severely by her mother. “You will never ever wear those shoes, do you hear me?” It took her many years to understand what had she done wrong.

She was overwhelmed as she put them on after so many years, the only thing she inherited from mother besides her dancing skills. Even as an internationally acclaimed dancer, she found it difficult to fit in those shoes. 

#Tiniature - Adventure Travel gone wrong

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Free Bird - Flash Fiction writing #FridayPhotoFiction

This story is written as part of Friday Foto Fiction. It is a Weekly Blog Hop to celebrate fiction writing co-hosted by Tina & Mayuri. They give a photo prompt every week and participants need to write a flash fiction based on the photo in 100-150 words.

She had waited for this day all her life.

Born after a painful wait of many years, she was the apple of her parents' eyes. They wouldn’t let out of their sight even for a day. She yearned for the camps, overnight trips and all the fun her friends had in school days. She was torn between the desire to explore the world and having to hurt her parents to do that.

This marriage was her ticket. Thousands of miles from here, a new country, different culture it was just perfect.

Brian wasn’t a bad choice either.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mirror... Mirror.....on the wall

Kritika arrived home past midnight. A surprise gift and a greeting card were waiting for her on the table.

She was filled with joy with a tinge of guilt. She had been working for 15 hours every day for the past 2 weeks, without a single day off. She had hardly spent any time with Parnika. She went to Parnika's room but she was fast asleep. Kritika kissed her on her forehead and excitedly went to the mirror room.

"Mirror... mirror.... on the wall..... am I not the happiest person of them all?" she asked the mirror while showing it her greeting card and gift.

"No," the mirror said "Meera is the happiest of them all. Her husband gifted her a brand new Mercedes on her birthday. Look at her". The mirror showed her Meera posing with her black Mercedes.


Meera showed her shiny new Mercedes and asked the mirror
"Mirror... mirror.... on the wall..... am I not the happiest person of them all?"

"No," the mirror said "Your brother Mihir is. He just won the 'Businessman of the year' award. Look at him". The mirror showed her Mihir posing with his award; his wife and his two beautiful children standing next to him.


Mihir showed his award and asked the mirror
"Mirror... mirror.... on the wall..... am I not the happiest person of them all?"

"No," the mirror said "Suraj is. He just completed his African safari and got a dedicated show on the National Geographic". The mirror showed him the trailer of Suraj's Nat Geo show starting next month.


Suraj showed his new show's trailer and asked the mirror
"Mirror... mirror.... on the wall..... am I not the happiest person of them all?"

"No," the mirror said "Your brother Chintan is. He just got engaged. Look at him." The mirror showed him Chintan's engagement photographs, with his parents standing next to him, their eyes filled with pride.


Next morning Chintan arrived at office and found out that he had lost his job. He couldn't bear the thought of telling the news to his parents. How could he lose his job? He was the gold medalist from the best university, best employee for three years in a row, the only one to get promoted even during recession. What will Reena think of him? What will her parents say?


Suraj emptied his fifth peg and looked at his mobile phone's screen. Richa got married. She didn't give much explanation except for "He is well settled, owns a house and can afford a honeymoon in Europe". He ordered his sixth peg.


Mihir looked at the sleeping pillow in his hand "Will one be enough or shall I take two?" he thought. He hadn't been able to sleep for over a month. Just as he lifted a glass of water to gulp the pill, a terrible pain shot from his left arm to the chest and he fell to the floor.


"Did you receive your gift?" Ajay asked Meera on the phone. "Yes, thank you. Aren't you coming?" she asked hopefully. "No, the sudden policy changes have opened some new opportunities that didn't exist before. I won't be able to come for another 6 months" he said. Losing hope in her voice she asked hesitatingly "Did you think about what I said?" "Meera, we have discussed it a hundred times. I can't just wrap up everything and come there. And we had decided that we can't let our kids grow up in western culture. We want them to have Indian values. It is only a matter of few more years. Once kids go to college you are free to either join me here or start your own business"

Half an hour later, Meera got down from her brand new Mercedes in front of her Psychiatrist's.


Kritika woke up with a hangover of the guilt from previous night.
"Today" she promised herself once again and switched her laptop on. She was halfway through when Parnika shouted "Mamma..... I have to go early today, we have tennis practice"

She got up quickly and started preparing the breakfast. While waiting for the upma to cook, she picked up her phone. She hadn't checked her WhatsApp in last two days. There were 178 new messages on the parents' group. "Oh my god, did I miss something?" she quickly scrolled through the messages.

There was a message from Parnika's class teacher about the educational trip to NASA & Rs. 2,00,000 to be deposited by the end of the month followed by messages with shopping lists, brand recommendations by various parents in the group.

"Mamma I want my own mobile phone for the NASA trip. I don't like you calling on my friends' numbers" Parnika said while putting her hands around Kritika's. "There is this cool new phone Kinnari has got ........." Parnika's voice trailed away as Kritika sat staring at the half written resignation letter on her laptop screen.

An hour later Kritika increased her speed glancing at her watch, dreading her boss' reaction as she was half an hour late. As she neared the building she saw an ambulance surrounded by large crowd. "What happened?" she asked Mitali standing in the crowd.

"Chintan committed suicide. He jumped off the top floor" somebody replied.

Mirror smiled with satisfaction and patiently waited for its next victim.


 - Gayatri Gadre

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


लग्नांचा season सुरु झालाय आणि लग्नातल्या जेवणाचा पण. असं समजा की तुम्हाला एका लग्नाचं बोलावणं आलं, वधू वराच्या डोक्यावर अक्षता टाकून तुम्ही तडक जेवणाच्या हॉल कडे वळता. तिथे तुमच्या सारख्या चतुर लोकांची आधीच  गर्दी उडालेली असते. गर्दी तुन वाट काढून तुम्ही एका बाजूला सरकता आणि तुम्हाला दिसतात ओळीत मांडलेली पानं आणि त्यात उरलेल्या दोन रिकाम्या खुर्च्या. तुम्ही पटकन त्यातली एक खुर्ची पकडता आणि स्वतःवरच खुश होत वाढप्यांची वाट बघता.

पानं वाढायला सुरुवात होते, मस्तपैकी बासुंदी, पुरीचा बेत असतो. तुम्हालाही सडकून भूक लागलेली असते, म्हणून बासुंदी वर आडवा हात मारायचे मनसुबे तुम्ही रचता. पण पुरीवाला वाढायला येतो तेव्हा फेरारी च्या वेगाने "पुरी... पुरी... पुरी... पुरी...." असं म्हणत तुम्ही "हो, चार" असं म्हणेपर्यंत दहा पानं पुढे पोहोचलेला असतो. जेमतेम एकदा त्याच्या भांड्यात उरलेल्या दोन पुऱ्या मिळवल्यावर तर तो बेपत्ताच होतो. त्याची वाट बघत तुम्ही आपलं बाकीचे पदार्थ संपवण्याच्या मागे लागता. शेवटी बराच वेळ वाट बघूनही तो येत नाही म्हणून तुम्ही मसाले भात वाढणाऱ्याला "हो" म्हणता. यजमानांनी दिलेल्या सूचनेप्रमाणे तुम्हाला काही कळायच्या आत तो तुमच्या पानात मसालेभाताचा डोंगर रचून पुढे निघून जातो. आता एवढा भात कसा संपवायचा हे संकट तुमच्यापुढे उभं रहातं.

तो डोंगर अर्धा पार केल्यावर अचानक पुरी वाला उगवतो आणि तुमच्या मनाची द्विधा अवस्था करून ठेवतो. तिकडे वाटीतली बासुंदी खुणावत असते आणि रस्त्यात अर्धा उरलेला मसालेभात वाट अडवून उभा असतो. अगोदरच आधीच्या अर्ध्या भाताने पोट तुडुंब भरलेलं असतं. पानात टाकलेलं बरं दिसत नाही म्हणून नेटाने उरलेला अर्धा भट तुम्ही संपवत असता, त्यात पूरी घ्यावी तर लोक अधाशी म्हणतील, वरून भात टाकावा लागेल तो वेगळा. म्हणून वाटीतल्या बासुंदीच्या खाणाखुणांनकडे दुर्लक्ष करून तुम्ही जड मनाने पूरी वाल्याला "नाही" म्हणता.

पोटातला भरता येण्यासारखा प्रत्येक कानाकोपरा मसालेभाताने भरून तुम्ही विजयी मुद्रेने एका हाताचा आधार घेत, जडावलेलं पोट सांभाळत उठता. तोपर्यंत हॉल मधली गर्दी कमी झालेली असते. हात धुवायला जातांना तुम्हाला लक्षात येतं कि जेवणासाठी पंगत आणि बुफ्फे अश्या दोन्ही व्यवस्था होत्या, आणि बुफ्फे मध्ये पाणीपुरी, दहीवडा, छोले टिक्की, लाईव्ह पाव भाजी काउंटर, पंजाबी, चायनीज, इटालियन, मेक्सिकन, असे अनेक काउंटर्स होते आणि सहज मिळत असलेल्या पंगतीतल्या जागेसाठी तुम्ही हे सगळं घालवलंत पण तोवर वेळ निघून गेलेली असते, पोटात हवा शिरायला सुद्धा जागा उरलेली नसते. त्या सगळ्या काउंटर्स चे वास घेत, पोटातल्या मसालेभाताला सांभाळत तुम्ही हात धुवून तिथून बाहेर पडता.

आयुष्यं पण असंच काहीसं आहे. सजहपणे मिळतंय म्हणून आपण मिळत असलेली पहिली खुर्ची पकडतो आणि तिला  चिकटून बसतो. स्वप्नातली पूरी नशिबात नाही असं समजून मसालेभाताला "हो" म्हणून बसतो, आणि एकदम एक दिवस स्वप्नातली परी .... सॉरी... आय मीन पूरी अवचित आपल्या आयुष्यात अवतरते, पण तोवर मसालेभाताला शब्द दिलेला असतो, म्हणून आपण मसालेभाताशी निभावत बसतो. आणि आयुष्याच्या शेवटी लक्षात येतं कि अरेच्या पूरी आणि मसालेभातापलीकडे देखील बघण्यासारखं, करण्यासारखं, चाखण्यासारखं बरंच काही होतं जे आपण सेक्युअर्ड खुर्ची पायी गमावून बसलो.
© गायत्री गद्रे

तुम्हाला आवडेल असं अजून काही - 

बुवा आहे तिकडे                                                                                                                   

Monday, April 17, 2017


काही दिवसांपूर्वी मला WhatsApp वर एक जोक आला. अमित फेसबुक वर मेसेज टाकतो कि ट्रम्प प्रेसिडेंट झाला, आता अमेरिकेचं आणि पर्यायाने जगाचं कसं होणार, त्यावर मिलिंद त्याला कंमेंट टाकतो, "तू शनिवार पेठेत राहतोस तिथे ३ दिवस पाणी येणार नाहीये, त्याची चिंता कर". आणि एकदम माझ्या डोळ्यांसमोर हरी अण्णा उभे राहिले.

कूपमंडूक! मला नक्की आठवत नाही मी हा शब्द पहिल्यांदा केव्हा ऐकला, पण त्याचा अर्थ नं कळण्याएवढी लहान होते एवढं नक्की. चौथीच्या scholarship परीक्षेच्या तयारीच्या वेळेस हा शब्द पुन्हा मला भेटला, आणि तेव्हा मला त्याचा खरा अर्थ कळला आणि अर्थ कळल्याबरोबर माझ्या डोळ्यांसमोर हरी अण्णांचा चेहरा आला. त्यानंतर अनेक वर्ष कोणी कूपमंडूक म्हणालं कि माझ्या डोळ्यासमोर हरी अण्णा त्यांच्या घराच्या विहिरीतून आपलं बेडकासारखं डोकं बाहेर काढून, डोळ्यावरचा चष्मा सरसावून आजूबाजूला बघताहेत आणि नाकातून नापसंतीचा सूर काढून, तोंड वाकडं करून विहिरीतल्या त्यांच्या नेहमीच्या कट्ट्यावर परत जाऊन आपलं दात कोरण्याचं काम पूर्ववत सुरु ठेवताहेत असं चित्र माझ्या नजरेसमोर यायचं.

तसं आमचं गाव एकदम लहान, त्यामुळे सगळे लोक ओळखीचे. जसजशी मोठी होत गेले तस तसं कुपमंडूकाचं चित्र बदलत गेलं. ते कधी वडिलोपार्जित घरात आणि दुकानात बरोब्बर मध्ये भिंत टाकून दोन्ही दुकानात हुबेहूब एकसारख्या गोष्टी विकणाऱ्या छगनलाल आणि मगनलाल सारखं दिसू लागलं तर कधी मुलाला शहरात जाऊ दिलं तर तो म्हातारपणी आम्हाला सांभाळणार नाही असं म्हणणाऱ्या शेवंताबाईंसारखं दिसायला लागलं. दहावी पास  करेपर्यंत तर त्या मंडूकाने विश्वरूप धारण केलं होतं. म्हणजे मला आमचं अक्ख गावच एक विहीर आहे आणि त्यात राहणारे आम्ही सगळे एक एक कूपमंडूक आहोत असा भास व्हायला लागला. आयुष्यात पहिल्यांदा "इथून बाहेर पडा , मोठे व्हा, इथे काही ठेवलेलं नाही" या आई बाबांच्या वाक्याचा अर्थ कळायला लागला.

कशी गंमत असते बघा ना, म्हणजे मला असं वाटायचं कि एकदा या गावाबाहेर पडलं कि विशाल जग भेटेल, जिथे लोकं कूपमंडूक नसतील, त्यांचे विचार संकुचित नसतील, शहरातले लोकं बऱ्याचदा गावाकडच्या लोकांना तुच्छ लेखतात (म्हणजे निदान माझ्या बघण्यात तरी असे शहरातले बरेच लोकं आले होते) म्हणजे त्यांचा स्वतःचा दृष्टिकोन फार मोठा असेल असं वाटायचं. आणि या समजामुळे मी काही चमत्कारिक प्रसंगात पण अडकले. कॉलेज संपता संपता ९/११ चा अतिरेकी हल्ला झाला तेव्हा मी एका परिचितांच्या घरी बसले होते, बातम्या बघून माझा चेहरा चिंताक्रांत झाला, ते बघून ते काका मला म्हणाले होते "तुझा सक्खा भाऊ त्या ट्विन टॉवर मध्ये असल्यासारखा सुतकी चेहरा का केला आहेस? ते तिकडे अमेरिकेत चालले आहे, इथून लाखो मैल दूर". सगळं आयुष्यं पंख्यांच्या फॅक्टरी मध्ये घालवलेल्या काकांना मी कसं समजावणार कि अमेरिकेची इकॉनॉमी कोसळली तर भारतातली IT इंडस्ट्री पण खाली जाईल, आणि तसं झालं तर पुढच्या वर्षी कॉलेज मधून बाहेर पडल्यावर मला नोकरी मिळणार नाही. बराच वेळ प्रयत्नं केल्यावर मी नाद सोडला आणि त्यांच्या "बरं झालं, गोर्यांची बरी जिरली" या उत्सवात सामील झाले.

अजून एक असाच प्रसंग, कौन बनेगा करोडपती बघत असतांना तेच काका म्हणाले होते "सालं आपल्याला मिळायला पाहिजे एक करोड रुपये" उत्सुकतेने मी त्यांना विचारलं "मिळाले १ करोड तर काय कराल त्याचं?" त्यावर ते म्हणले "खूप दिवसांपासून स्वतःची कार घेऊन मुंबई फिरून यायची इच्छा होती, एक मारुती ८०० घेईन फर्स्ट क्लास, आणि अक्खा आठवडा मुंबई मध्ये चैन करेन, तसाही डोंबिवलीत माझा मावस भाऊ राहतो त्याचं घर आहेच, त्याच्याकडेच राहीन". मला हसावं का रडावं ते नं कळून, मी आपलं "अमिताभ बच्चन कसला भारी आहे ना या वयातही!" म्हणून मनातल्या मनात १ करोड मध्ये कुठल्या कुठल्या कार येतील याचा हिशोब करत परत TV  कडे तोंड फिरवलं,

तशीच गंमत माझ्या एका दूरच्या भावाची. तो मुंबई ला आला असतांना खास माझं ऑफिस बघायला म्हणून आला, security reasons साठी कंपनी कोणाही नातेवाईकांना ऑफिसच्या आत येऊ देत नाही हे सांगूनही. आता आलाच आहे तर माझ्या सोबत काम करणाऱ्यांची ओळख करून द्यावी म्हणून मी माझी प्रोजेक्ट मॅनेजर आणि २-३ टीम मेंबर्स ना घेऊन रिसेपशन मध्ये गेले. माझी प्रोजेक्ट मॅनेजर christian, केस छोटे कापलेले, आणि स्कर्ट घातला होता. तिने हॅलो केल्यावर याने तिला उत्तर देखील दिलं नाही, मलाच अवघडल्यासारखं झाला. वरून ती गेल्यावर मला म्हणाला, तुझा प्रोजेक्ट बदलून घे, नाहीतर पुढल्यावेळी तुही दिसशील  तिच्यासारखी, छोट्या कपड्यात.

असे नाना तर्हेचे कूपमंडूक मला आयुष्यात भेटत गेले आणि एक गोष्ट कळून चुकली, कि याचा जागेशी, विद्वत्तेशी किव्वा जवळ असलेल्या धनाशी काहीही संबंध नाही. काही लोक समोर खजिना पडलेला असतांना संपत्ती आली की माणसाचा कसा विनाश होतो हे बोलण्यात आयुष्य घालवतात तर काही दुसऱ्यांनाही त्या खजिन्याचा लाभ घेऊ देत नाहीत, तसे हे कूपमंडूक आजूबाजूला बघण्यासारख्या आणि अनुभवण्यासारखा लाखो गोष्टी असतांना, जन्माला येतांना घेऊन आले तेवढेच विचार आणि अनुभव पदराशी बांधून आयुष्य घालवण्यात धन्यता मानतात, आणि दुसऱ्यांनाही आयुष्य जगण्यापासून परावृत्त करतात. त्यांना कधी परकी भाषा शिकण्यातली गम्मत कळतंच नाही, ना कधी वेगळं काही अनुभवण्यातली मजा. जगातला सगळ्यात कुशल chef यांना आणून दिला तरी ते कैरीचं लोणचं miss करण्यात आनंद मानतील.

© गायत्री गद्रे

तुम्हाला आवडेल असं अजून काही - 

बुवा आहे तिकडे                                                                                                                   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A mother's heart

Once upon a time, there lived a boy named Mihit. Mihit was a happy child who was loved by everyone in his home and neighbourhood. He was the apple of his mother's eyes. She would never let him out of sight even for a blink of an eye.

One day, shortly after his first birthday, Mihit crawled all the way to the coffee table, reached for the edge with his tiny fingers and before his mother could run all the way from the other end of the room, pushed himself up. The table moved with his force as he stood up, slipped some distance and before mother could grab him, Mihit lost his balance. He screamed with pain as he fell down. Mother quickly picked him up and hugged him tightly.

For few days after the fall, Mihit kept away from the monstrous table who had hurt him. But soon he got bored of crawling and decided to make another attempt at it. As he reached for the table's edge, mother rushed to him and sat him back down saying "It is too early for you Mr. You are only one, what's the hurry? You will only get yourself hurt". Hearing this Mihit crawled back to his toys and continued playing. But next day again, he was all set to try the feat again. But again mother picked him up well in time and carried him to another room. This went on for few days. Every time he was tempted to push himself up, out of fear of him getting hurt, mother would stop him by either forcing him back down and picking him up. After some futile attempts he stopped trying. He was happy crawling and mother was happy that he wasn't getting injured.

After his second birthday though, his parents started to worry. All the other children of his age around them had started running by now, but Mihit was yet to take his first step. After waiting for few more days, they decided to visit a Doctor. After checking him thoroughly, all doctor could say was that there was nothing wrong with him, and some kids just take longer to walk or speak. They unanimously decided to wait for few more months. When Mihit turned three his mother had started to lose hopes. Her son, her only child was unable to walk. They visited numerous doctors, did endless tests and each one of them stated the same thing, there was nothing wrong with Mihit or his legs.

They visited an internationally acclaimed child specialist.When he forcefully held him in a standing position, his knees gave away. "All I can say is his leg muscles do not have enough strength to support himself" he said after an hour of examinations & tests. He suggested them some exercises and a physiotherapy which might help. But even after a year of exercises and physiotherapy, Mihit continued to crawl.

Time flies even faster when one is engrossed in life's worries. Mihit turned four in no time and it was time for him to go to school. His mother had lost her sleep worrying about how will he manage all by himself in the school, how will other kids treat him and how will he face the enormous world out there. She carried him to school on his first day and stood outside the classroom with other mommies. The kids around him were crying, running back to the door to their mothers while Mihit sat in a corner wide-eyed, too scared to move anywhere. He was so confused about what was happening, that he didn't even cry. He had seen so many kids from a window when kids in his neighborhood played and he watched from a safe distance. He had never seen them so close. Watching them running so nearby was frightening to him. As the initial fear wore off, he started turning his head in every direction, his eyes searching for his mother.  All the time, the mother was watching him from a window, wiping her tears off. Those two hours seemed like a thousand years to both of them. As the day came to an end, it was difficult to say who was more happy that it was over, Mihit or mother. But then came the next day and again Mihit & his mother had to go through the same ordeal. A week later, the realization dawned upon him that the school wasn't a one-time nightmare, but he was to go there every day. At once he walked up to his mother to tell her that he didn't want to go to the school. Mother's heart melted looking at his sad face and tears in his eyes but she threw a quick glance at his father and hesitated. Seeing her dilemma, father offered to take him to school.

As days passed, taking him to school became an increasingly challenging task for both his parents. Mihit would cry, kick, start throwing things around as the time came to go to school. One day his father returned from office with a wheelchair "Maybe he doesn't like to be bound in one place. He would like it if he can move around" he said. Mother was broken into pieces to see him in a wheelchair.

Days passed and Mihit grew up. He didn't have any friends in school and he hated the school as much as he did as a child. But he had learnt to accept it. The kids would tease him, sometimes push him around and laugh at him. He mostly kept to himself, drawing as less attention to himself as possible. He would sometimes visit a temple with his mother but otherwise mostly stayed at home, studying as the study was the only friend he had. He scored well in every exam including the higher secondary board exams and entered a medical college, he was going to be a doctor. It was a completely new world for him. To his surprise, he got a friend in the first week itself. They would spend most of the time together, be it going to canteen, library or studying.

One day the friend asked him "So what is your story?". Mihit couldn't understand "I mean what is wrong with your legs?" friend elaborated. "I don't know, it has always been like that, ever since I can remember." "Didn't you ask your parents?" The question had never occurred to Mihit. So next day he asked his parent and all they could say was he never walked, his legs didn't have enough strength to carry himself. "But of course there must be some explanation to it" the friend persisted next day.

The friend applied all the knowledge they had gained so far but was lost for a reason. "Why is it so important to you? It is OK for me. I have accepted it as part of my life. It doesn't bother me anymore" Mihit told his friend. But the friend refused to give up. One day the friend forced him to stand up taking the support of the bar outside canteen and took away his wheelchair. "What are you doing?" Mihit panicked. "I can see that your legs are perfectly healthy and if you try hard enough, you may be able to walk," the friend said in a matter of fact tone. "Don't be so cruel. It can't happen. My parents have tried all the possible ways, they took me to the best doctors and none of that helped" Mihit said while running out of breath carrying his weight for so long. His hands started hurting and his face turned red. But the friend kept observing his legs, refusing to give the wheelchair back. Only when Mihit was about to fall down, did he got his chair back. It took him few minutes to catch his breath. "You are mean, you can't be my friend.I hate you" saying this Mihit pushed his wheelchair away from his friend as quickly as his hurting hands allowed.

Following that incident, the friend made many attempts to talk to Mihit but he refused to even look at the friend. "At least listen to me once" the friend persisted even after a month. "Tell me" Mihit turned his wheelchair and faced the friend. "You are training to be a doctor. Does this sound normal to you? A perfectly healthy person is unable to walk and medical science is unable to explain the reason. All the doctors said there is nothing wrong with your legs or spine. All they could say that your legs are not strong enough. But you don't have problems with your muscles either. What would you do, if a patient came to you with a similar case?" It made Mihit think. "Will you at least try? For me?" the friend pleaded. "I know it will be painful for you. Maybe you will fall down and injure yourself. It may not even work. But will you as doctor treat yourself as a patient? I will help you in every possible manner." Mihit stared at his friend for a while before agreeing.

They started with some exercises for leg muscles, accompanied by the strenuous attempts to walk with support. It started with a minute of standing and slowly but steadily kept getting better. In a matter of few months, Mihit was able to stand without support for few minutes and took few steps holding his friend's hand. Whenever Mihit wanted to give up, the hope in the friend's eyes and reprimand in his voice would keep him going. Every time he progressed, they celebrated with a samosa in the canteen.

Unaware of the endeavour Mihit and his friend had taken over, one day Mihit caught his parents by surprise when he took few steps without any support. Unable to content their joy, they both hugged him & cried.

Mihit is still working hard to be able to walk long distance without a support but not giving up. He knows that he can not go back in time to catch those missed moments but sometimes he wonders what would life have been if he could walk as a child.