Review: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I do not obsess over zombie films. However if a movie us particularly good, then I will make a point to watch it. One such movie that I did end up watching couple of months ago on the TV was World War Z. I did enjoy watching this take on the movie, and ended up reading some reviews of it. It was during this search that I came to know that the movie is based on the book by Max Brooks. The full name of the book is “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War”.

Freshly having finished a different book, I was itching to get into another one. Few moments later, I was ready with it on my kindle. After the first 3 chapters, I began to lose my interest in the book. You see I had based my frame of reference on the movie. The book and movie are nothing alike. Zilch. The movie follows the plot about a zombie apocalypse from Brad Pitt’s character being the central character. The book however, is entirely different. It is (as the title says) an oral history of the war on zombies. I will cover this review in two aspects: The (long) synopsis, and the review.

 

The narrator had been asked to prepare a report for the UN, but his supervisor found the report to be too human and opinionated and has only the facts and figures submitted as the official report. The books serves as the records of the narrator as he interviews people from all over the world about the zombie war. His intention with this compilation is that a report on the war on Humanity cannot be complete without the human side of the war.

 

The book covers 8 major periods of the Zombie War:

  • Warnings: Referred by some of the characters as the pre-war time, this particular period has very few cases of out breaks. Patient Zero can be traced to a boy in rural China, and begins spreading to India. A hiker is said to have brought the infection to USA. Bodies that were dumped in the seas wash up on the shores of the countries and spread the infection across the world.
  • Blame: Isolated outbreaks begin in China, but the government tries to suppress knowledge of it. Black market trading of human organs spread the infection across borders, as some of the organs are harvested from people who had fallen sick to the infection, but before their corpses had been reanimated into zombies. The blood from these organs infects the recipients, who after reanimation begin to attack people and spread it even more. There are large outbreaks in Africa, and disease begins to be dubbed as African Rabies. Most of the governments are still in denial about the infection, or its extent. A company tries to profiteer from the scare by marketing a vaccine called Phalanx. Since the vaccine is designed rabies, and not the zombie infection, it fails massively when the infection begins to spread across the USA. While the initial Alpha teams manage to contain the infection, in sufficient follow up actions by the government on account of wanting political gains causes a surge in the spread.
  • The Great Panic: After a new reporter breaks the news that the Phalanx vaccine is just a placebo and has no protection against the actual zombie virus, there is a mass spread of panic and a resulting breakdown of society/civilization from the rapid spread of the infection and people’s attempts to run. The United States Armed Forces try to hold a big stand against the zombies at a choke point called Yonkers near New York. Instead of being the morale boosting war, the battle is a disaster with huge casualties and serves to further reduce the morale of the surviving population.
  • Turning the Tide: The Redeker Plan, prepared by Paul Redeker (an Apartheid era official) is executed in South Africa. The government realizes that realistically it cannot save everyone. Safe zones are identified in highly defensible areas, and the zombies are lead to other zones. People who are not in these safe zones are killed and reanimated as zombies, while the armed forces defend, purge and slowly expand the safe zones. Other countries implement a similar plan based on this plan’s success. Millions of people are reported to have lost their lives during this period.
  • Home Front: Primarily set in the USA, this chapter deals with how the country is restructured. Once bitten, twice shy (excuse the pun); the government reorients its strategies based on the lessons learnt throughout the world. This leads to not only just new military, but also economic and social strategies.
  • Around the World: Similar restructuring and stories of people from around the world, in other countries.
  • Total War: Around the time that most of western USA has been reclaimed, the governments of the world think that it is better to wait out the rest of their time for the zombies to decompose, get weaker so that they either die on their own or are easier to kill. However the USA wants to go on a full offensive to reclaim the entire nation and hence increase morale by touching Humanity’s undying spirit. In itself, it is a very difficult task. This is because the zombies do not require any logistics or weapons. They do not need to stop for feeding or resting. There are no leaders whose assassination can cause a collapse as each individual zombie is a self-sufficient enemy that only focusses on attacking humans. Even large injuries like burning, cutting of limbs only seem to just slow them down. The only way to defeat them is to destroy the brains of each and every one of them. They employ old war strategies re invented by General Raj Singh in India, where by a square of armed forces can go against thousands of zombies. It is used on a large scale at the Battle of Hope in USA with great success. Ten years after the start of war, North America is cleared free of zombies. The world celebrates Victory Day two years later, when China is also cleared of zombies. Russia and Europe have been able to clear the zombie infestation as well.
  • Goodbyes: Also known as the Post-War time, most of the nations have been able to become zombie free. Some parts in the extreme North face a different problem, where the zombies was frozen due to extreme winter and start coming out to attack after they thaw out. There are still millions of zombies at the bottom of the oceans, of which some manage to float or walk to the beaches and have to be killed by the armed forces.

What really works for this book is that it is an oral history of people around the world. Barring a select few characters, characters do not reappear. It does require getting used to, because by the time you get attached the story of a character, the interview of that particular character has finished and we move on to a different character. The reason this works for the book, is that this is the story of humanity as a whole, and not some particular central characters and other secondary supporting characters.

The book covers both, the good and the bad of humans. When you read about the screw ups, each one is as painful as the previous because all of them cost human lives. As you read through the books, it becomes easier to observe and predict the screw ups and poor decisions, but one cannot change or control what happens in this story. We have to live through these losses, as much as the narrator and characters do. To balance this, each act of courage, and help makes you wonder an awe at the strength of human bonds and survival. This book shows how stupid and brazen, and how helpful and caring humans can get.

Another reason (which is discussed in detail in the book) for why lost so many lives, and took this long to recover is that most (if not all) of our war tactics and strategies are based on fighting fellow humans. All of this fails when we’re fighting an enemy that can wage total war against us. This an enemy that does not stop, and has no specific leader. Things that would kill a normal human (like gunfire to the torso, being set on fire, drowning, or starvation fail when it comes to zombies. Every human lost to a zombie bite, is a loss to the humans, but is an addition to the zombie army. This is literally an army that grows as we lose ours.

The interviews are not limited to military veterans, or politicians. There are people who survived only because of the kindness of strangers, people who became veterans because they had no other choice but to enlist and fight, people who witness that sometimes it is humans who are to be most feared as they descend into violence and cannibalism. This is a story that talks of the best and the worst of us.

Since this is a book, and not a film or TV series, it relies upon the imagination of the reader to deal with the gore of the zombie attacks, of them eating humans. Honestly speaking though, these are the least disturbing parts of the book.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely yes. Full 5 stars. I will leave you with some quotes from the book:

 

 

“Fear,” he used to say, “fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe.” That blew me away. “Turn on the TV,” he’d say. “What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products.” Fuckin’ A, was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells. That was my mantra. “Fear sells.”

 

Our country only exists because people believed in it, and if it wasn’t strong enough to protect us from this crisis, then what future could it ever hope to have? He knew that America wanted a Caesar, but to be one would mean the end of America.

 

Marty chose, instead, to show the other side, the one that gets people out of bed the next morning, makes them scratch and scrape and fight for their lives because someone is telling them that they’re going to be okay. There’s a word for that kind of lie. Hope.

 

When that famous Latin singer played that Spanish lullaby, it was too much for one of our operators. He wasn’t from Buenos Aires, he wasn’t even from South America. He was just an eighteen-year-old Russian sailor who blew his brains out all over his instruments. He was the first, and since the end of the war, the rest of the IR operators have followed suit. Not one of them is alive today. The last was my Belgian friend. “You carry those voices with you,” he told me one morning. We were standing on the deck, looking into that brown haze, waiting for a sunrise we knew we’d never see. “Those cries will be with me the rest of my life, never resting, never fading, never ceasing their call to join them.”

 

KONDO: I thought he was insane, and told him so right to his face. The two of us against millions of siafu? TOMONAGA: I handed his sword back to him; its weight and balance felt familiar to the touch. I told him that we might be facing fifty million monsters, but those monsters would be facing the gods.

 

I made eye contact and gave him this look, like “Hey, Doc, they’re all nut jobs, right?” He must have known what my eyes were asking because he just smiled back and shook his head. That really spooked me; I mean, if the ones who were acting loopy weren’t, then how did you know who’d really lost it?

 

Yeah, we stopped the zombie menace, but we’re the ones who let it become a menace in the first place. At least we’re cleaning up our own mess, and maybe that’s the best epitaph to hope for. “Generation Z, they cleaned up their own mess.”

 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t miss some things about the old world, mainly just stuff, things I used to have or things I used to think I could have one day. Last week we had a bachelor party for one of the young guys on the block. We borrowed the only working DVD player and a few prewar skin flicks. There was one scene where Lusty Canyon was getting reamed by three guys on the hood of this pearl gray BMW Z4 convertible, and all I could think was Wow, they sure don’t make cars like that anymore.

 

I’ve heard it said that the Holocaust has no survivors, that even those who managed to remain technically alive were so irreparably damaged, that their spirit, their soul, the person that they were supposed to be, was gone forever. I’d like to think that’s not true. But if it is, then no one on Earth survived this war

When someone speaks broken English

For quite some time now, posters and status updates of this quote are doing rounds on Facebook.

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”

english

Most of the people who had shared this, along with the commenters were in agreement with this and cheered the support they had received. Of course, this seemed natural for many to feel so on account of the ridicule they may have faced at some point for their broken English.

When I did think about it, it made me think of my own parents at first. My English grasp is better than theirs. Most of the times when we receive some letter or communication from banks, service providers or such, it is kept aside for me to read. While mum can easily read and understand, she insists that I run through it just in case she may have understood or missed something. I can understand where this comes from because she like many people, had received formal education in Hindi. English classes were either discontinued after primary school, or given very little focus and treated as a second language.

I found it hard to understand why some people would ridicule or make of fun of others in college for their English usage, who had had their education in a regional language. While of our own generation, they were given the same treatment when it came to English, as my mother and most likely their parents did as well. It was a secondary language of which they needed a working understanding because that is what they would end up using for work. It really was/is on the back burner when it comes to being taught.

So when it came to people like them, I understood where their feelings came from. What I still do not understand, and made my eye twitch when I first saw this, was that it was shared by many people who have received a formal education in English! People who studied English in “English medium” schools, where it is the primary language taught. Over the course of growing standards/classes special emphasis is given on aspects like grammar, structure at the same level as prose. People who’ve learnt the language for ten years, out of which at least 5 years have been for correct usage of this language.

I am not saying that we should have perfect usage of the language. Everyone is prone to mistakes at times. Not everyone is expected to have a practical understanding of Calculus, but we’re expected to be able to perform basic math. You can question me for not being able to perform Integration because I studied Calculus till the second year of my college. We don’t expect people to know at which concentrations and thermodynamic conditions stable Iron and Carbon alloys are formed. But we do expect people to know what atoms are, and how elements differ from compounds. All of it is part of the basic schooling we have received.

So people who went to English medium schools are expected to NOT speak broken English, just like everyone is expected to know that it rains on account of evaporation, condensation and precipitation of water, and not because of the tears, or blessing sprouting of some divine being’s hands. So when people speak broken English it just doesn’t mean that they know a second language, but can also mean that they didn’t pay attention to what was taught in school.

How E-Governance can make a #DigitalIndia, a better India.

Information Technology is a powerful tool. It’s a tool that we continue to use for great advantages in our personal lives, but a tool that is yet to be used extensively in our ‘public’ lives. In spite of its wide reach in our lives, we have not yet fully ingrained its use into our public and government affairs. The opportunity for it, particularly in a country like India is immense. There are many ways in which E-Governance can lead to a better digital India.

E Governance is the application Information Technology in Government Services. The most common form of this application is the linkage between government bodies and citizens, followed by the communications between the different government employees/agencies. Directly, the first form is the one that touches are lives in the most obvious manner. The communication between the government employees and agencies serves as an underlying aspect, the skeleton upon which the body stands.

If you think about it, E-Governance is something that most of us are already familiar with. It is common place to use the internet to file taxes and pay bills. We don’t spend time standing in the queue to pay for our electricity or other utility bills. We can pay it from the comforts of our homes, at any time we want. For those who don’t have access to internet at home (or do not know how to pay online), they utilize the 24 hour bill centers that are scattered throughout the city. I have paid my bill at 11 in the night, because I couldn’t find go and pay it in the office on account of work and some personal commitments at home.

The challenge over here is that much of these facilities and developments can be easily and quickly utilized by the urban citizens. More than half of our country’s population lives in the rural regions. Most of them do not have access to internet at their homes, or lack the knowledge to use it. This however does not mean that we E-governance cannot impact their lives. They too can go digital through something as simple as a cell phone. This doesn’t need to be a smartphone, but just an old fashioned cell phone that can send and receive text messages.

One of the pillars on which our country stands is agriculture. Farmers can now be helped via E-governance. One of the aspects which affects their crops and our lives is the health of the soil. Samples of their soil are taken sent to the government laboratories for soil health checks. Tests can determine which nutrients are needed to improve the soil health, and the same can be quickly communicated to the farmers via sms. Using only their registered number when the soil sample is taken, the information can be quickly sent and acted upon instead of waiting for days for the reports to be sorted and sent.

Not just soil health reports, but aspects like the right fertilizer and its quantity make a significant impact. With timely information, and use of fertilizer, the crop health is improved. In fact, why just limit ourselves to fertilizers? Other details like how much rainfall is expected, what is the day’s selling price of seeds/produce can be shared in relevant season, allowing them to make more educated decisions.
One important manner in which going digital helps us, is healthcare. From time to time, we all need to visit a doctor or hospital on account of some illness or accident. It is imperative that the correct information is available to the medical professionals to treat us properly. However we are not always in the right frame of mind, or awareness to share the same. If our medical information, like what we’re allergic to, the diseases we’ve previously suffered from, and medical background are easily available, then doctors can take more informed decisions. This will only be directly helping to people who have some specific medical history or allergies. However if you look at the large population we have, this can be thousands or millions of people who can be saved with the right information. A central identification details like Aadhar UID, voter ID, or PAN Card can be used to identify us.

This is why I believe that going digital and as a result E-Governance can help us all form a better India. This post was inspired by Intel, and its vision for a Digital India.

Paying back my friends

Living in a hostel taught me quite a few things, and lead to some memorable incidents. It is one thing to have people as friends, but yet another to live with them. When you spend enough time living in the immediate presence of someone else, you get to see different shades of them you normally cannot. In the same manner, when you have some highs or lows in your life, you get to see a different part of people in the manner to which they react to your situation.

Hostel usually involved commuting weekly. We would leave from the college on Friday or Saturday to reach home by dinner time, and spend the rest of the weekend at home. Depending on which schedule our lectures were, we would leave back for hostel on Sunday evening or early Monday morning. This happened on one such Sunday evening when a bunch of us were heading back to the hostel. The evening commute train came in, and instead of patiently waiting for it stop and the passengers to get off, I ran along with the coach. Keeping pace with the door, I threw my bag in and slowed down as people started to get off. Moments later when I got on to the train with a grin, I found that my bag was not there. Someone had taken it with themselves.

After trying to search the train, and running around on the platform, I came to accept that my stuff was stolen. The loss of the bag in itself wasn’t that hurtful as that of its contents. Two of my favorite sets of clothes were in it, along with 700 INR. At that point, 700 INR was a BIG Deal for me. It meant nearly a month’s food. There was no point in waiting at the station, and I left with my friends in the train. I lodged a police complaint at the railway police station after getting down at my station and went to the hostel with my friends. I didn’t do anything that night, at once falling asleep on reaching my room.

700 INR meant a lot of things. First it was nearly the amount I would have spent on eating dinner for an entire month. I used up some of the allowances I had saved up to buy new underwear and socks. I had some of them in the bag as well. I didn’t even feel like asking mom for money (for it was no fault of hers), and planned on how little I would have to spend on eating, or what my new dinner options would be. In hindsight, all of it seems a very stupid thing to do. Nobody gets on a train like that, but that wasn’t something that I could take back.

The next day two of my friends offered me close to 500 INR so that I wouldn’t skimp out on my meals.  I was too proud to ask any one for the money, on account of how I had lost it. They simply told me to give it back to them a month or so later when I would be in a better position to do so. I almost cried when I had dinner that night.

In the same week, we found out that there would be an inter college technical fest and competition at a college in Ahmedabad. Being organized by one of the most reputed colleges of the state, many people wanted to attend it. It had events that I was looking to take part in, but being short on cash (the sign up cost was 500 INR), I just walked back from their kiosk in our college atrium. Another friend asked me about it and I told him about not signing up for it. As if my luck in good friends wasn’t run out, he quietly offered to pay my amount, while he himself wasn’t attending himself.

Later that month, when I did participate in some of the competitions, I managed to get an unexpected 2nd place with a cash prize enough to pay back all of the friends who had helped me out in my time of need.

Inspired by Housing.com about a memorable time my friends gave me the strength to go on with optimism.

Starting a new life after school

There have been some very educational changes in my life. It would be false to say that I had full control over the circumstances that lead to these changes. While the changes that I couldn’t control taught me loads, I will tell you about two changes that I did have control. Changes that I chose and executed, while in themselves seem to be something very normal/common place but hold great value as to how I had to start a new life on their account.

The first change that I want to talk about is college. I had an option between two colleges. One in my hometown where I was pursuing my Bachelor’s in Science, and another in a different city for Engineering. While both the colleges are equally good, I chose to study in a city different from home. After the initial misty eyes when I did leave for hostel, and the first night away from home, things began to feel pretty normal. The routine of the college seemed to help too.

While the routine of everyday was distracting in itself, small changes began to feel big. Back then, Debit Cards were not yet so common. This meant that one had to either control the money spent, or keep extra money as backup. While keeping extra money in itself wasn’t something of note, what made a difference was the temptation to spend it. Temptation showed up in innocent things like wanting to have a slice of the chocolate cake after college, or go catch up on the latest movie with friends (Cola & a tub of popcorn). But this also meant that money was needed for extra stationery, or to buy medicines, it wasn’t there.

Money aside, things we take for granted became more profound. Home food felt dearer compared to what we had in the hostel mess. While it is common to feel so for the taste, but for me it was a different reason. At home, food is made keeping the likes and mood in mind. If I felt a craving for mushrooms, then mushrooms would be made. If I feel like having dinner late in the night, it can always be reheated. Such aspects became a comfort instead of something being taken for granted.

 

The next major change that happened was moving out for a job. In itself, this was a chance to start a new life. AN independent life. Living away from the family wasn’t new, but living by myself was. Now that I was fully responsible for myself, it was up to me to do things as I wanted. Things like rent were not that much of an issue since I was earning, but other aspects of the house were. Since I was the one who would choose where I lived, I began to look at houses with a new insight.

How far would the place be from the bus stop? How much difference would it make in the daily commute? Are there traffic jams nearby during rush hours? Where does the water go when it rains? Is there a vegetable market nearby? If the week was hectic, clothes and undies would pile up. I would need a space to keep a laundry basket, and a larger cupboard to keep my fresh sets of clothes. I generally like to sleep on the floor with just a mattress below me and a bed sheet to cover myself. It became a different situation when I would have friends or family over. Mother would need a cot, and more storage space for extra mattresses for friends to sit on.

The house would need a gallery to hang my clothes out to dry after washing. I had tried doing that inside under the fan with a clothes rack, and the room ended up feeling damp and smelling of soap. While books were initially kept in a simple carton box, I ended up needing a dedicated rack for storing the extra ones. While I had started with a simple platform for cooking, I had to look for a new house with a kitchen that would allow me to store my vessels and vegetables. One cannot live on Maggi forever.

These are two times in my life where I have had to start a new life, a different life.

 

Inspired by this video of housing.com:

Changing my approach towards drawing

I personally believe that one of the most defining times for a person is that spent in school/college. The experiences one has during the same end up giving shape to the outlook they have towards life in general. Apart from the person themselves, two sets of people add (or remove) filters to our views. These are our parents and teachers. What I am about to share with you is how my lecturers in college gave me a more positive approach to learning in general.

I have generally been a good learner. I was able to grasp most aspects of what I had been taught in school/college, struggling only in mathematics. Of course with more time and practice, mathematics would become something I could wrap my head around. One aspect that I would often neglect was drawing. Since I had opted for Science after my Tenth Exams, I had to study Biology which involved generous amounts of drawings. I confess to taking mom’s help in doing most of the tougher drawings, and opting for a different question to answer in the exams.

However when it came to Engineering, I literally had no way out. I managed to scrape through my first year’s drawing exams with average grades, but received a probationary pass grade in the second year. Honestly speaking, that was my lowest point in college. It wasn’t a subject like Mathematics, where I knew that with more practice and better understanding I could cover up. Drawing required a different approach to it, while mine was that of neglect, and in most parts fear.

When my faculty advisor called me for counselling after the grades were out, I was fully expecting to be rebuked. I had spent most of semester not preparing for the subject. During the exams, I had completed my drawing sheet in nearly half an hour, in a three hour exam slot. I had drawn what I could, but that was not enough to get me even passing marks. When I did attempt to finish the remaining of the questions, I ended up using the eraser so much that I had large smudge and small tear on the sheet.

Instead of bemoaning how miserably I had performed, she and another lecturer first asked me as to what I felt the reason was. When I explained that I felt that I didn’t find it useful, and considered a rote activity. After letting me say my side of the problem, they showed how a different approach was required. In a previous counselling session she had appreciated my logical & problem solving skills in programming. I was asked to approach drawing in a similar manner. While I did have to memorize some of the drawings, the larger part of the syllabus didn’t require rote memorization. Instead, if one approached it as a problem as to how the views of an object if viewed from a different angle, then I would have to process those changes. I would have to factor in which surfaces would get hidden, which would now become visible, and how these will interact with the change in viewing plane.

I will not get in to more technicalities of it. What I do appreciate is that instead of asking me to do what every other student does, or just go by rote memorization, they changed my approach towards the subject in a manner that would make it more interesting, and in turn challenging. I retook the subject in the next semester, and was able to get above average scores in the exam. To be honest, more than the exams, I was able to use the drawing skills in my projects in much more useful manner (than just clearing exams). For this, I will remain thankful to these two lecturers who took out time to change how I approached drawing in general.

This post was inspired from Housing.com, for how optimism  & positiviry can be found in any aspect of life.

A mouthful of paan

Have you ever had a Paan? Typically it is made from the Betel leaf with all sorts of pastes and mouth fresheners slathered in. While it is common to have Betel nuts & tobacco in the stuffing (making it carcinogenic), one gets safer and tastier versions too. In fact it is not uncommon in this part of the world, to have the occasional paan to finish off the meal. In fact, paan has kept up with the modern times to incorporate chocolate, dry fruits, and other ingredients which were not available to us years ago.

A picture of paan by Charles Haynes @ Wikimedia

I am all about enjoying this occasional paan, but one of worst things associated with betel based paans is that after enough chewing one only has to spit it all out. Areca nuts and lime lead to a distinct red saliva. While many people are civil enough to spit in gutters, bins, & such, there are so many more people who just spit it out on the road.

 

Paan spit captured by Anna Frodesiak

It‘s common to see such red stains in the country, where people who are paan addicts spit out the quid remnants. The other day when I was waiting to cross the road and minding my own business, a bus sped by. A man stuck his face out the window and spat out the paan he was chewing, a large ball of red, disgusting, quid laden spit that hit me smack on the face.

Ugghh! I spent fifteen minutes washing and cleaning my face.

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Envy

How does one process the feeling of envy? Within itself, envy is very simple. Typically envy is the emotion one feels when somebody has something that they desire. There have been times that I have been envious of people, and typically those are times that make more sense. Sense in the manner that I can work the means out about. Things like people having a better phone, a car, a lovely set of jeans, a lovely spacious home, and such are easy.

I mean all things come for a price. If one is envious of people having things, one works out the price and the effort that goes into obtaining them. If you can, you make a transaction. If you can’t, you work a little extra for ‘x’ amount of days and then make the transaction. Those in want of instant gratification can utilize a loan, or credit and work it off later. The point I am trying to make is that if you’re envious for something you usually know what you’re going to have to do.

Of course there are things that one can’t work out the price of. When I am envious of someone being in the company of someone else, when the sense of longing for someone mutates into a feeling of envy on their being with someone else, how does one know what the ‘x’ is? How does one know what to do? How does one process that?

When strangers came together for a grieving family

Compassion is an important emotion. Compassion for our fellow humans is at times what brings us together. People identify with the pain and sorrow of others and go out of their way to be there for them. While friends and family do these the most, it is the compassion of strangers that touches us the most. These are people who we don’t know, and who could mind their own life, but make a choice to do something for us.

One of my most memorable incidents is something that happened on Reddit last year. Nathan Steffel made a Photoshop Request at the Pics subreddit, regarding his daughter. Nathan’s daughter Sophia had passed away at the age of six weeks, suffering from complications in her liver. Since she had been in the hospital her entire life, the only pictures her family had had of hers were with her medical tubes. Nathan simply requested if someone could give his family a picture of Sophia, by digitally removing (or Photoshopping as it is known) the tubes from the picture.

The picture shared by Nathan Steffel

 

It is one of those rare moments where people felt his pain, and sent him photoshopped pictures and drawings of Sophia without the medical tubes and other equipment. Here are some of them (click on them to take you to the source):

 

by Reddit user /u/funkybrewster

 

by Reddit user /u/ChangingYang

 

by Reddit user /u/jloooong
by Reddit user /u/izzyzzi
by Reddit user /u/Markaes4

It was later revealed on Buzzfeed that he and his wife knew of their daughter’s condition from an ultrasound, but didn’t know the extent of it. Sophia was on the waiting list for a new liver but passed away due to complications. The pictures of Sophia show how many lives she has touched, and how some of these people cared enough for her family. This is why it is one my most memorable acts of compassion, when strangers who haven’t even met this person, or know him, pulled out all stops to give his family some peace.

 

Written for #1000speak, where bloggers all over the world wrote together about compassion and what it means to them.

1000voicesspeak

Catching a few winks

When I am coming back from work, tired from the day’s work, or when I wake up all groggy from having slept late previous night; the best thing is catching some winks. Years ago when I had started working in shifts, it would be common for me to fall asleep in the company bus. My commute takes around an hour, enough time to doze off.

It is an entirely different matter, that I would fall asleep within few minutes. Sleeping in buses has always felt so comfortable. So comfortable that I would sleep long post my stop and wake up in a further part of the city. One particular night I woke up at almost the last stop of the route, and had to walk for half an hour before I could get an auto to reach home.

I get these winks more often now, and I am not one to complain it :D

A mini post, because I am just too tired right now.