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I’ve always loved animals, I still do dream that someday probably before this life ends each stray animal would find a loving home. I love reading some amazing rescue and rehabilitation stories from around the world and so most of my Facebook timeline feed is full of these stories. I find them to be so inspirational how people have gone out of their way to save these innocent animals and give them a happy life. So while I kept reading these stories I realised I too have some amazing friends who have adopted strays and their story has to be told. So I asked my friends Ram, Ashwami and Nayana to send me a little bit about their “paw-tners”.

Ram and Leia

Leia

I wanted a cat for a while. We’ve always had cats while I was growing up. Also with a small apartment, a house cat made more sense than a dog though I like both. I saw a flyer in E-square, Pune for stray cats for adoption. Went there, had a look at her and she climbed on my shoulder and started purring (much like she does in this photo). That’s all the convincing I needed.

Ashwami, Lucy, Tang and Daku

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Lucy is the black and white one. She is the oldest. Ashwami says she adopted her four years ago. She had wanted to get a cat after her first cat ran away. She finally convinced her mother, asked a few people and got in touch with a lady who had rescued Lucy from the street and was fostering her at her parents’ house. She wasn’t a very young kitten when Ashwami adopted her, Lucy was around 5 months old. She was a little aloof for the first few weeks. Soon she warmed up to her family. She is still not a very affectionate cat. She likes her privacy and she only plays with Ashwami’s tabby, Tang.
Ashwami got Tang one year after she got Lucy. She wanted Lucy to have some company. Ashwami already has have two dogs but Lucy doesn’t play with them. She didn’t play a lot with her family either. Ashwami thought Lucy felt a bit lonely so she wanted to get her a friend.
Tang was found outside a salon in Bandra. My friend used to work there and I would visit her often. I always played with the cats outside. Tang was tiny and very affectionate. Basically he just wanted to sit on my lap all the time. Soon we decided to bring him home as well. Lucy and Tang used to play a lot but I think Lucy bullied Tang quiet a bit. He is a very shy cat. He is also quite nervous.If he is walking across the room and you exclaim, “Tang!”, he will get startled and look super guilty as if he is doing something very wrong. He is the most gorgeous of all my cats. He loves papayas and fish especially bombil bones. I always share my lunch with him if I have fish.
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This is Daku. He is the youngest and her favorite. We didn’t intend on getting him. Ashwami’s half sister called one day and told her that she found a kitten under a car. She took it to the vet and the vet said that the kitten is weak and will need to be taken care of. She couldn’t take him home so Ashwami picked him up, walked around with him perched on my shoulder all day trying to figure out what to do with it. In the end she took him home. He really was quite weak. He refused to eat and had to be force fed with a syringe. At the time she was living in another apartment in her building so she took him there. She lived alone with him for a year and thats where they bonded. She had so much fun, Ashwami says, “Daku is a baby and a brat. He is naughty, curious, funny and very affectionate.”
Daku is the baby of the family. He loves cuddling. He sleeps very close to my face, sometimes of it, sometimes on my. I love it. He also sticks to my dogs and sleeps. He troubles my cats though. He chases them, jumps on them, fights with them. Usual cat masti. He used to follow me around like a dog earlier. He also licks people. Like dogs lick people. He is my baby and only mine. I still thank my half sister for finding him for me. He loves mangoes and likes papayas too. (My two dogs and two cats eat papaya almost every morning) But he has ADD I think because he has zero attention span. He will be eating and then he’ll see something move and he’ll leave his bowl and go to inspect what he saw. He does this all day. I got him a few days before my birthday in 2012. Best birthday gift ever.

Nayana and Patch

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One fine afternoon in December 2010, Nayana noticed a friends post on Flickr.com with pictures of some puppies up for adoption. They were all non-pedigreed but super cute nevertheless. One of them in particular just melted her heart and without a second thought she wrote to the friend saying ,” I’d like to take one home.” It was a white pup with brown-black patches over her eyes, ears & a couple of them on her back. So she named her Patch. She came home to Nayana in a cardborad box & her life was changed forever. Overnight she transformed from a carefree girl to this Puppy nursing Momma. :).  Since then, each morning she wakes up to a pair of sparkling eyes and a truckload of energy. Each time she returns home to a wagging tail & a happy jumping dog. No matter how bad Patch has been scolded in the morning because she chewed on her bedsheet or perhaps did not have her food, its the same boisterous wagging rocket of energy who waiting to play with her .
Having a dog demands a certain level of commitment. For example- Sunday ho ya Monday, a dogs got to do what a dogs got to do, human!…. :D And like the Budweiser advert goes, there’s someone waiting at home for you. And then you’ve got to play fetch irrespective of your workday has been.There’s dog hair all over the house and black coloured clothes are a nightmare. But there’s also an innocent soul who madly, grossly loves us all. 4years of mad love. :) 4 years of non-pedigreed love. And I won’t have it any other way.
It is an amazing feeling to be loved back by an animal, it is a bond like no other. Despite these beautiful and heartwarming stories, the fate of animals on the street is very grave. From suffering with diseases to being emaciated for lack of proper food, abuse and neglect. There are no proper laws in place that will ensure a safe place for strays. Until recently Municipality could pick up a ‘nuisance’ causing animal and put it to sleep if they received a complaint. After a lot of petitions the Supreme Court has promised to look into this law which is entirely unfair to animals – you can read the complete article here, I have met a lot of people who think stray animals are burden, they litter, they are flea infested etc but when rescue groups approach them for rehabilitating or spaying these animals they shy away from being part of the effort. I believe that every problem has a viable solution but we must have a constructive approach towards it – if the lives of stray animals has to be better first and foremost they need to have rights in our society. You would always most certainly go awwww seeing a Facebook photo of a cute cuddly puppy or a kitten or a YouTube video, but very few step up to the responsibility. At the same time strays do suffer from not being a ‘pure breed’ but that’s a topic for another day.
For now I have nothing but utter respect for my friends who have opened their hearts and homes for their furry paw-tners …..

Yes it is that time of the year again where we follow the mass exodus and join in the celebration of womanhood! It is International Women’s Day and not just that is is also a Happy Women’s Day. SMS’s and greeting cards and facebook and twitter posts remind every woman what a strong, independent, talented, beautiful person she is and what she is capable of. There are no limits to what she can achieve and the world is her playground. But is that really true?

Just take a look around you and you be the judge of what are the things I as a woman can be happy about? Let’s try to understand and answer a few questions

Celebration of womanhood

Limits have been set to what a woman can or cannot do even before she has had the chance to understand her own potential. As a little girl she has been told that she is different and therefore there is a set of different rules for her. She has to be careful about how she behaves, how she eats, how she sits, what she says and what she wears. And yet we are made to believe that we have the freedom to do whatever we want. Supposedly today is a day to celebrate womanhood, explore your feminity and more such colluded messages. But what is womanhood? What is feminity? Society has more colluded and confused explanations for these words. According to the dictionary

womanhood: the state or condition of being an adult woman and no longer a girl

So when we are told to celebrate Womanhood, we must rejoice no longer being a girl, which would mean that those restrictions that are posed on us as young girls would be gone? Sadly NO! Read the definition again, it says “adult woman”, which would mean any woman who is capable of making her own decisions. But is that the case? Yet on this day we are led to believe we can do whatever we please and we have complete freedom. Freedom, a big word again

freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants

The definition says freedom is power, but for women this freedom comes more as a courtesy from the society we live in. So yes women do have freedom but it comes with certain restrictions

  • Of course you can party, but you have to be home before dark.
  • Of course you can go out alone, but in broad daylight.
  • You can hold hands with a boy, but only if you are married to / plan to marry him.
  • You can be a working woman, but you must also cook.
  • You can be a career woman, but you have to dress decently.

After the Nirbhaya – Delhi Gang Rape  incident women have become only more insecure. Has this unfortunate incident changed anything? Has society learnt how to treat women? Has mentality of men evolved? Nope doesn’t look it. Rapes still happen. Women have to undergo assault, abuse, eve-teasing, most of the incidents are hushed up and women in many cases are left alone to deal with it. Safety of women now depends on time of the day and type of attire. Recently it was this video a female traveler took to defame a fellow traveler who wronged her by trying to inappropriately touch her during the flight.

Or this scene from the movie Highway, where Alia Bhat plays a girl who opens up about here sexual harassment as a child but is hushed up. There are so many of such cases where parents refuse to acknowledge such instances or girls are scared of bringing up such a dialogue with family fearing humiliation.

Think about it, we still live in a society where talking openly about sex is a taboo.  But watching this scene was part of family entertainment on Sony’s Bade Acche Lagte Hain

As woman I am expected to survive in a society which is still coming to terms with concept of equality. Equal on grounds of religion and gender. Young boys need to be made aware of how to treat girls, and subsequently women. Our movies, TV shows have to stop objectifying women as damsels in distress and eye candy affair and truly talk about the brilliance of them. Stop patronising women for sacrificing, giving up their dreams and talents and instead be their support system and help them achieve those. I would be happy in a country we accept our issues and address them rather than simply impose bans. Where we feel proud of culture and heritage and in the name of the culture propagate atrocities against women. I want to live in a society where every woman has the freedom to act, express and voice on her opinion and not be subject to discretion by family, society and any one else. And it would be my appeal to all those who wished me and sent me the messages to wish me a Happy Women’s Day what they would be doing to change this situation. It would truly be a Happy Women’s Day when I won’t have to live through societal prejudice and hypocrisy,  have to fear for my safety and feel the need to be protected.

Rabindranath’s verse would be a best quote for what I would have to say for women today should hope for in the near future.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.


Reposted from my old blog  

Its a nice afternoon with bearable temperatures of 5 degrees. Just the perfect climate for a walk around the neighborhood. As I straddle up around the corner shop I meet the owner, who nods up witha cheerful smile and greets me ,’ Hi, You alright !!’. An involuntary action I reply back, ‘Im fine, thank you!!’. I walked ahead with the thought looming in my head, am I really fine ? When we ask someone how they have been , are really meaning to find out or is it just out of formality ? I moved on and decided to notice, what the general response would be when I inquire …. this wasnt just going to be a walk around anymore, more of a psychoanalysis escapade !!

The first participant for my voluntary survey was none other than my house mate (names are witheld to respect privacy),coming back from his part time job at the Petrol Station, My instant reaction ,’hey how u doin?’, and as always he gleefully responded, ‘im fine’. One down . Of course from the chat that followed i figured out, he didnt have such a good day at work today. Some buggers drove off without paying for the fuel. He went off his head hanging down, deep in solitary thoughts and I was left wondering whether his job was all that was bothering him.

Next I walked into the supermarket to buy some dairy fudge chocolates for myself. They are so mouth watering delicious that one is just never enough. As I made my way up ahead towards the city center, I decided to pay a visit to my chuddy buddy. I buzzed myself in and was greeted with a longer than one moment hug. Just a hint of ‘im so glad u came by’ feeling there. Any hoo she was to be participant no 2 for my survey. I quizzed her how was everything and she came up with a more fastidious response , ‘Great!’. Yet I couldnt fail to notice a drop in her shoulders, eyes that gazed into gaga land. Down one cup of tea, I slowly realised the real reason behind this lull. It had to be a guy !! Some soul searching later I left realising she wasnt that ‘Great’ after all.

Heading towards the city center I looked at the people around me. An elderly couple walking hand in hand walking towards me were my next participants, I greeted them with a cordial smile and immediately I was reciprocated with,’ You alright lovey ?’. Looking at them pass by I could not help but think how long they have been together and what an amazing life they have had. I let out a satisfactory sigh, wishing my life should be like this, but was startled to see them walk into the Old Peoples Home. It made me wonder whether they walked with their hands locked reminscing about old times or was it for the support they craved for from each other

 

 

 


Our thoughts create our reality — where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus

Mark Twain

 

This post has been published by me as a part of Indian Bloggers League; 
the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by WriteupCafe.com. 
Join us at our Official IBL Website and our Official Facebook Page.

Inyourdreams is a place everyone wants to be at.

Why, you say, as anything is possible here. The best of your imaginations come true here. It is not your everyday muggle metropolis where you wake up, go to work, come back home and suffer the usual rigmarole of the conventional metropolitan life. Inyourdreams gives you the option of choosing what day of the week you want it to be. So if you decide it is Sunday for next 3 days or 10 days it is quite possible.

There are multiple modes of transport, most of them one cant see, but only experience. You only have to wish which place you want to be and ‘puff’ you arrive. No traffic and no pollution, without wasting any minute all your travel woes are nullified.

Food, you say, the world cuisine is at the clap of your hands. Best chefs serving the most delectable delicacies at your beck and call. Why it is Inyourdreams of course! Anything is possible here. Now if you could only imagine what this place looks like. No its not full of candy colored houses, with doors and windows made of marzipan and icing, with perfectly white clouds floating away in bliss and tweety birds chirping away love songs Duh!!

Inyourdreams is much more evolved than that. We have sky scrapers that have reached moon. You now don’t need a space rocket to get there. Its as simple as pushing button of an elevator and,”Voila, you reach the moon.” With bio efficient fuel technology it is most sustainable extra terrestrial habitat for humans. With the depletion of potable water resources on Earth, we tapped into Moon. The supply for now is limited and restricted for Inyourdreams only.

Inyourdreams is completely solar powered. The technology is such that all mountain ranges and sky scapers in the city have solar panels along their faces and are able to generate sufficient energy to power up street lights, electricity for entire city. Odourless bio fuels are the best invention that happened at Inyourdreams and plummeted the city to a phenomenon status. Dr. Fartsy Hawakar the man responsible for this invention lives right in the belly of Inyourdreams, very proudly besotted the title of Son of the city.

The ladies of Inyourdreams are nothing short of beauty queens. Intelligent, brainy, beautiful, fitness conscious and extremely forward fashion sense. Combined with their traditional upbringing, they make the best mates. The lasses brave various attires, often considered raunchy for tastes of old school folk, mostly non residents of Inyourdreams. The women move here freely without fear of being harmed or taken advantage of. Citizens often appreciate their freedom and feisty spirit with dignity. The gentlemen of Inyourdreams are of Adonis descent. Well sculpted and chiseled physique, often seen roaming shirtless along the city lanes, they are born charmers. Some of them are even rumored to have been dipped in charm potion as babies. Hardly a gent here that would have nasty eyes.

Multi cultural matrimony is professed in Inyourdreams, this evolved race of humans, encourages such exchanges as it allows them to study inter cultural as well as inter racial nuances from close quarters. This is also a secret behind the 150 years of peace that has prevailed in this region. There is not a report of any human deceased due to warfare, gun fire, mob fight, killings etc, anything that you may consider an unnatural cause of death.

Religion is an option Inyoudreams. You may persevere idol worship or pagan Gods. Reservoirs, dams, lakes and rivers are temples here. Devotees often flock these places not to bathe in the holy waters but to keep them clean. Harshest of punishments are bestowed upon those who would perform any act that would disturb the sanctity of the believers. Those who are caught throwing garbage, plastics, polluting water are exiled without notice. This is possible on Inyourdreams.

There are no degrees Inyourdreams. You can complete basic schooling, pursue any specialization of your choice. No profession is considered more elitist than the other. There has been a recent study conducted where most of the youth seemed to be going back to their roots. Taking up the challenges to re-invent the wheel and design tools, mechanisms and policies which will improve state of things as it currently stands. These youngsters of Inyourdreams are not afraid to go back a few steps so that they can take a giant stride towards the future with things they discover.

Tax policies and economy Inyourdreams relies much on how much you contribute to conservation. So it is a common sight to see families recycle waste. There are huge tree plantations and they are not planted as part of a produce crop, but often documented as green cover projects. Intelligent as the people are Inyourdreams, they have realized on thing quite clearly, the advantage of community living and the societal obligations they have. Dust bins are provided at every strategic point. Clean roads, a well designed waste management system, administration is aware of the nerve of its ‘junta’ and keeps at its best to live up to the expectations of Inyourdreams.

Politics Inyourdreams is a different ball game altogether. It is what they call a ‘Prajavidyanganitsutratantra’. Policies for Inyourdreams are based on scientific analyses supported by facts that can be proven and are accepted by its people. It is a holy trinity and confluence of humanity’s strongest beliefs coming together, Science, Math and people. The leaders are chosen based on their IQ and those that are above certain threshold are allowed to contest elections.

Inyourdreams has been able to eradicate a disease called ‘Stress’ with huge discoveries made by Dr.Nidra Zzz using traditional medicines combined with a balance in working hours and recreational hours of its citizens. Her formula for the right amount of dosage of both remains secret. She has also been leader in successfully deploying silent zones in the city, where no sound from manmade speech, objects is permitted.

However despite all its positives and alacrity, Inyourdreams suffers from a threat, from being attacked by outside forces which will disturb its natural balance, usurp all its know how for ulterior purposes. It stands at the brink of being destroyed by these external forces which may shake the very foundations that Inyourdreams was based upon. For a while now, it has stood firmly defying these threats and dodging attacks, but the recent rumors are to be believed then enemy is planning a large scale attack which will have Inyourdreams defenseless and ransack what has been built over a period. If that spray of water is harsh enough to shake of the slumber and make you open your eyes, then it will be the end of Inyourdreams

 

 

 


She wore her dark glasses and grabbed her red and white stick, reached out for my hand and as innocently as she could, cheerfully said. “Let’s go, Trupz”. It was a regular ritual we had. Saturday evenings, when I returned from boarding school for a weekend  I would go to her room and take Nayana out for a stroll along our favorite place. The garden of Eden, as I fondly called it. Nayana – her name meaning eyes, but her misfortune that those beautiful pair of grey green eyes, could never see anything, she was born with no sight.

As we walked our way to the garden, we always met some people regularly, Aunty Sonia would be on her way back from work and would usually meet us near Pushkar sweets. The sweet smell of Halwai prepatring his delicacies would always find Nayana’s extra sensitive nose automatically walk towards it. A little further from there we would wait up near Jayant uncle’s place – he would give Nayana a rose from his garden. He had a rose garden in his half acre land. Red, pink, yellow white roses grew ever so gracefully in his care. He offered a red rose to Nayana, and she looked up at me asking, “Uncle describe, Red to me.  Quizzed and perplexed by her question, Jayant uncle was stumped as how I can describe Red so he told her imagine, “N, close your eyes, and imagine you are waiting for Trupz to come pick you on Saturday, how you feel when you hear her voice and the joy your feel, when she comes. Now which color flashes before your eyes – that is Red.” Nayana was happy.

Taking a right turn from ‘Mamata Stores, walking the long stretch of Lane 3, we headed to the garden. Lane 3 was lined with thick trees and a tree cover always played shadow plays on the road. I told Nayana that mango tree was in full bloom and we would definitely see some ‘Kacchi Kairi’s’ (Raw Mango) on it soon. Yes was her quick revert, I smell the flowers she said. It was incredible how the things I saw and those could feel via her other senses were so different, yet we spoke to of the same thing. While walking as we came near the lush green Neem tree, Nayana immediately said,”Trupz do you see, this spot is so much cooler than rest of the road, I know the Neem is here”. These little traits of hers always had me surprised. As much as I tried to tell her something more explicit and detailed of what I could see, I always came back learning something more from Nayana.

“Nayana we are now entering the garden”, as I pushed the gate open, she always asked me to describe to her what the garden looked like, which flowers were in season and what colors they were. The garden was a circular stretch of 500m in circumference. Lined with Bamboo, Bougainvilla, ‘Chafa/ Champa’ trees along with Marigold bushes – the garden was an actual landscape with unearthly beauty.  It being the monsoon season and fresh showers have made the plants come alive I told Nayana. The vibrant colors across the contrasty grey sky had thoroughly changed the landscape into a picture straight out of photobooks. One did not have to be in a very exotic location to enjoy the peace and serene that was provided by this little garden of ours, which was right in the middle of the city.

Small bunches of roses were planted in strategic places, different colored wild flowers grew all over the lush green grass. Wild orchids grew along the creepers on the fence of the garden. They looked like laces which were stitched along at the hem and the purple bell flowers hung from their branches. The outer periphery of the garden, beyond the fence they had laid an athletics running track, many a people came there for walks and jogging. Early mornings always saw a health conscious crowd hit he garden keeping up with their gym regime. I described to her ladies late into their 40’s and 50’s who came there for their Yoga classes. Very coyly Nayana gushed, “Wait for some time, you will the heaps of them at the chaatwala outside the gates”

 

The centre of the garden was decorated with a huge fountain, they called it an oasis in the city, beautiful lights synchronized with the fountain. There would be a laser show in the evening, orchestrated music which would sway according to the fountains. Usually it would be one of the symphonies from Beethoven, little kids gathered around. “Nayana, we are here”, I said. “Is our spot taken?”, she asked . There was this particular mound on the small hillock along the lines of the fountain where we sat, it was most beautiful view of them and also the perfect listening spot in the area. The height advantage gave an 360 degree view of the entire garden, you could see the people, the vendors selling their paraphernalia, little kids demanding more ice cream from parents, love lorn couples who could only find some recluse in the garden, where they could dare to be amicable once it got dark. Nayana’s favorite was the the little boy, Nandu who sold balloons, he would make different shapes from those balloons and bring to Nayana and ask her to identify them. ‘Didi”, was the shrill cry I heard from a distance as Nandu actually tore the crowds to come to us. “Guess what I made today” and he handed Nayana a mangled balloon twisted in ways I cannot imagine. What I could make of that modern sculpture was it looked barely like a skeleton of a pair of glasses. Nayana moved her hands around, feeling every edge, turning them around corners until she laughed uncontrollably. Naughty fella, he made her a pair of glasses, as he quickly whisked away towards the kids, he shouted, “wear these, Im sure you can see then.”

 

The crowd settled, and the music show began. “Ta-da-da-dum,dum-dum,dum-dum” – i was describing to Nayana, how the fountains are reaching new heights today, she said she could feel it, i wondered how she could know about these things without being able to see the grandeur of the show. “Look “she showed me her forehead, “droplets on my face” and grinned. As the crowd swayed to the fountains, Nayana swayed to the music. It was amazing to see, how Nayana had made her handicap into her strength and her uniqueness. She enjoyed those things that most people usually missed. She would be more observant than those who were completely abled. Enchanted she remained all of the 45 minutes.

 

We completed the ritual of our Saturday, with a round of pani puris, we met Yoga ladies as Nayana, so correctly pointed out. Blushing and laughing among ourselves we gulped down last of the puris, when Nayana quipped, “Thanks to the pani puri, I can now understand that the earth is shaped just like that, and all of us living on the planet are like the potato and the chutney floating inside”. She always stumped me with most random and unexpected parallels she drew connecting instances.

As we came close the gates of her home, Lana, her Labrador came running to her, Nayana held her collar belt and gave her a pat on the back for being the best guide dog. As the sun set and light dropped quickly, I said I must leave since it was getting dark. Her sombre smile made me realise just what I had said. Darkness was something Nayana had combated ever since she came to her senses, quietly she replied, “you should try befriending darkness, its been a constant companion except on Saturday’s, when your words help me see”. Her demure silhouette disappeared in the blind people’s home where Nayana was spending her last few years. Her illness now taking its toll on her health, she looked a lot older than her slender years, she had not even lived long enough to experience everything. Her frail health meant she could get out of the barricade of the home, just once in a week. Although we travelled only few kilometres around the campus, for Nayana it was like globe trotting or she at least it made her feel like that.

 

 

 


A Birthday Wish
Blessings and wishes poured in tonnes 
He promised. “I’ll come home early today” 
For it was a special, twas my birthday
Mum said, “May you live to see a million suns”

As I donned my pompous attire,a princess to be 
He called me, “Darling,I’m leaving now” 
My heart knew no bounds, I pranced in glee O how!!
Dressed at my best for Daddy to see 

But all changed, after that dreaded phone ring 
They said, “He is no more”, it was over in a flash 
Motionless he lay there, in a highway crash 
While I waited eagerly, “Happy birthday”, he’d sing 

Of fallen petals, over floating ashes 
My dreams shattered, with melting birthday wishes.
Link to check rhyming scheme it is [abba cddc effe gg – iambic pentameter, English or Shakespearean] http://reyeseng.org/Sonnet.html 
This poem is a Sonnet by form, elegy by nature. 
 

Copyright – Trupti Mulajkar Deshmukh – UrbanWanderer

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