A few days ago during the Bengaluru Poetry Festival, I was almost done for the day when the Master of Ceremony announced that the next event was going to be a performance by Padma Bhushan Teejan Bai. Only the mention of Padma Bhushan made me stay back. When Teejan Bai began with her Pandavani, I was happy that I stayed back. Although I barely understood the language, she was so fascinating and inspiring with her songs. It was one of those moments when you realize that certain arts are so powerful that they appeal to you breaking through the barriers of language.

Have you ever wondered how mysterious the game of life is? How something nice happens to you out of nowhere making you feel all charged up and excited. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. As I walked through the Church Street of Bengaluru hunting for food, my legs stopped involuntarily in front of this beautiful place. It had a long inviting rack of books put up on display, a sight too tempting to not yield to especially if you are a BookStalkist. The name on the board  read “Bookworm”.

It’s 15th August. Hum your favorite patriotic tune, speak about the achievements of the Government of the day, talk of pride in our culture and history, and proudly flaunt our progress as a society. Close your eyes and sleep. Happy Independence Day!

Or wake up! Look into the problems, discuss what is eating us from inside, find treatment for the termites of the system, struggle, fail, struggle again, fail, rise again, fight, bring a change! It’s 15th August. Justify the ‘Independence’ in that clichéd  ‘Happy Independence Day’!

You can skip this article if you would rather like to follow the first method. If you are ready for a long-drawn battle, read on.

I was walking down the steps of the morning assembly stage of my school after collecting my annual report card from the hands of the Principal. It was customary to felicitate the top ranker in the class by awarding them their reports in the assembly in front of all the students of the school. As I moved to fall in line to watch other achievers collect their report cards, a Teacher walked up to me and said –