Let Every Color Breathe!

We have been hit by the worst crisis of all time and all lives have come to a standstill. There is uncontrollable mayhem that nature has brought before us in the guise of a lethal virus. But what about the virus that we humans have shaped and allowed to breed alongside? Mankind has left no stone upturned to let its demons like racism and hate add to the turmoil. 

These words that put mankind to shame. I usually refrain from indulging in debates but I have to condemn mindsets that overlook the simple fact that NO life is any less precious. Today I find myself involuntarily involved in the agony. Agreed that there are two sides to everything you see but I believe you must swerve regardless when you hear “I can’t breathe”. The three words that have rocked the emotions of already wearied hearts of millions of people. 

George Floyd’s unfortunate death has flooded social media after the pandemic. It is overwhelming due to the updates, videos on peaceful protests across the country gone wrong, slogans, and painful messages from the African American community. Then there was a heart-wrenching post on Facebook by the former president of the United States of America Mr. Barack Obama.

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Tears rolled down my eyes as I read his post. In the post, he shared parts of conversations with his friends equally outraged by this, and the video of a song by 12-year-old Keedron Bryant that stirred my soul. His song reflects pain and anguish as he appeals for the life he deserves and what is his right anyway. To me, he not only represents the community that hasn’t been looked beyond color and has struggled for way too long, but also the innocent hearts of young children that don’t deserve to hold so much pain and fear. His song titled ” I just wanna live” breaks my heart for I’m a mother and I feel a child’s pain. 

Respect for all. No conditions apply.

Many people come to this country with the dream of a secure life for themselves and their future generations. A country that is now far from the path of becoming great again. But as this event unfolded, we witnessed the prevalence of depth-less mindsets that still carry out their conduct towards others based on color and race. It is disturbing to learn that despite our headway in technology, better education, and globalization, we still have prejudices like racism and discrimination in our society. The sheer fact is any country can’t become great or rise if its people don’t deem the entire human race as one community. Respect and empathy for each other can never be conditional and it is the right of every human regardless of its race and appearances.

I am an Indian but I call myself a global citizen. I expect to be treated with the same respect no matter where I go. I believe this is the urge of every human on the planet and the wish of every mother for her children.

It hurts because it matters.

I am unsettled looking at the hurt, tears of humans that are mourning over the unmerciful treatment received by another human. Some may pull up facts that I don’t know and I will be made to learn politics. Can someone also help me unlearn the anxiety I feel after this event of cruelty as an analog to racism? 

If it’s about a felony that demands action, then law & order should do what it is expected to. No system ever authorizes its delegates to rule and serve justice without hearing the other person’s voice. Ironically, one man who kept voicing in however feeble but audible tone “I can’t breathe” wasn’t even heard.

Today, it’s not one community that mourns the death of George Floyd but every human who has arrived at the fact that we are much more than just a race. We are dreams. There are protests all over the country to get justice for the family of George Floyd – an African American that the world didn’t know before but will never forget now.

Our children deserve a virus-free world.

Children are naïve and one incident is enough to pop their bubble of belief. Many people in the past have experienced racism and many still do but not everyone is brave enough to skin the hurt and make a mightier comeback. How do I empower them if I lose faith in the society we live in? What assurances do I have that my children will not endure discriminatory treatments because of their skin color? 


I teach my children to be strong and voice their opinions without fear. I tell them to keep faith in a country and its system. I work incessantly to educate them on equality and the power of character regardless of their color, race, and religion. 

I am brown and my children won’t look any different either but do I want to live my life worrying about their safety? What if their capabilities, their dreams, and their self-respect aren’t safe here? What if they will never be given the best chance to speak if a moment of uncertainty arrives? These thoughts haunt me and make me anxious. I ask myself if I want to be here and give my children the false hope of a brighter future? 

Our lives can never be worry-free if perils like racism continue to exist. We can’t give a better world to our next generations if we don’t resolve to take corrective measures today and annihilate self-created problems. 

Restrict the growth of “wrong” by expressing what is “right”!

Cavalierly suppressing any community because of its color or any other societal parameters isn’t acceptable. If this pandemic wasn’t enough to teach us the true meaning of disaster then we humans have our virus in the guise of ‘racism’ to take us there. We collectively are ensuring to call upon us the “ Doomsday”. Some by acting unlawfully, some by enduring it and some by ignoring it.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

One life lost and many more in jeopardy now as we are still amidst a pandemic, I hope all this wasn’t for nothing. I hope to see a change in the system, the mindsets, and justice someday.

It’s important to remind ourselves each day that no effort is too small to have an impact. If this is affecting you, express it because every voice matters. After all, we are all much more than just race and color. 


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Lockdown: Pause, Reflect & Let’s Not Repeat History

In the routine of complex living, we fail to realize the void due to connecting less than usual with our loved ones, and even voicing our feelings not as much as expected to? Amidst the day to day chaos, aspirations of all kinds, things to do, and the things that don’t reach the much-desired finishing line we are all continually juggling. But in the progression, we are drifting away from likely feelings that separate us from androids.

“When life goes down, don’t worry. Sometimes you have to go down to learn the things that are down.” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Do we ever get enough space to see our privileges compared to many others, or think about all that we do and what even possibly makes us seem gifted to multi-task? COVID-19 and the consequent lockdowns all over the globe have compelled us to pause open-endedly and look within. It has made us realize that there will never be any greater reward for running away from relationships than actually staying closer to them.

Lockdown: A moment to pause, reflect and untangle

Shortage of time has been a constant complaint and now that we somewhat have it on hand, yet we appear unhappy. This phase has left many of us numb and muddled about the misplaced feeling. Not just confused but this crisis has made us all emotional too. Won’t you approve?

The activities and the duties haven’t gone down and the fatigue is getting the better of us. Schools and offices are closed, the basic services and amenities that were earlier enjoyed righteously are now luxuries beyond the scope. We can’t stop weeping over this temporary slowdown because it’s exhausting in every thinkable aspect. This is a slump in the face of a pandemic that is beyond anyone’s control. But if this slowdown hasn’t made you fall in the introspective line then nothing ever will.

Reframing is a superpower!

It’s important to understand that not everybody is heroic or privileged enough to skin the not-so-pleasant emotions under the layer of a new found love for an activity, long lost interests, or even chattering with a like-minded group of friends. Courtesy social media and exceptional communication technology, I am seeing a lot of people loosen up and express more care-freely about their sentiments. They are talking a lot more openly about their unsettling moods, fears, and even insecurities due to the current situation and thereafter.

With the trapped-in-our-bubble kind of a situation, I am beginning to comprehend and express feelings that I didn’t earlier. The aloofness we all face today due to the restrictions over normal living is upsetting but I am beginning to appreciate the tête-à-tête with my unattended emotions. It is bringing me closer to the people that matter and should always. It is giving me a clear view of my strengths and allowing me a window to work on my not so strong aspects.

Moments that connect us with our precious days from the past…

Yesterday, I ran after my 4-year-old as she attempted to ride a bike without training wheels. In the pursuit of training her to ride successfully, I must have yelled at her uncontrollably. I thought she didn’t want to follow my instructions, whereas, I was trying to save her from falling. I felt she isn’t going to learn and I must have contemplated giving up on her more than she.

Amidst all the emotional and physical stress that I endured, I also shed tears of regrets for not hugging my father and thanking him. He must have run after me the same way but never yelled. Not just for the bike learning but every single thing I know or do today. If at all I fell, he used to say “I let you fall because I knew this is the only way you will avoid falling in the first place in the future and give your best in whatever you do”. His ways have taught me to be vigilant and perseverant. Giving up can never be an option and I never thanked him enough for instilling this in me.

It’s almost like an invisible & immortal book of parental proverbs

I have seen the new generation including my own get easily nervous over unsought guidance. If not all, most of us at some point in life have ridiculed those pearls of wisdom that came to us at no cost but then life is vicious. It works in a way that you come to the same pass where our elders once claimed to have stood. I call this “The Wheel of Life”.

This will sound familiar as my parents said this to me, not just once but perhaps repeatedly in my childhood and thankfully it continues to date. The immortal warnings “One day you will realize this when you have children of your own!“, “We didn’t do this to you and this isn’t right the way you are doing!”, “I was once where you are today but I listened to my parents and you aren’t.” If these words don’t sound familiar, then a smirk would equate just fine. The smirk that spoke as loud as words and meant equivalent to “You were exactly like this but we handled you with love and hugs.”

A note of thank you for bearing all tantrums

On many occasions, my father seemed indifferent from outside and his ways of dealing with us were inconvenient, so I would every so often grumble myself to sleep. My mother who knew me well, used to encourage me to speak more openly about my feelings as she said the more you communicate, the better nurtured your relations will be. This advice from her has helped me across all the relations I deal with today. I asked her once how she or her age people handled issues like generation gaps, the difference of opinions, day to day worries, or even ego clashes? And if they also had similar anxieties due to the slit?

Her answer touches my heart to date. She said, “Be glad for the gap for that is where experiences come in handy. Think of it that there is someone more practiced to guide you when you need assistance. Be grateful for everybody is different, this exclusivity in each individual makes life thrilling and worth living.” In the current time, we need counseling and professional therapists to help us deal with our complex emotions but in earlier days, it was strong communication and affection for each other that healed and sealed the gaps if any. She taught me acceptance of who I am and that I am enough in every way. I never thanked her enough for making me see pride in being unique.

What joy did my mother derive from her repeatedly asking “How is the food and did you like it?” or “I won’t sleep until you come and have your meal”. I hear the answer now every time as I feed my children and with every morsel of food that goes down, I feel satiated. I realize the peace and incomparable joy in sleeping with well-fed children in your arms. I get it today and I regret not responding to her questions in a manner she truly deserved.

The fear of getting stranded with unspoken feelings tucked in my heart!

The schools are closed and we have officially become in-charge of the studies for our little ones and it’s the hardest job on earth I reckon. To educate your little ones and with an entertaining methodology, it is just a skill that is too hard to acquire, and for those who have this skill, we call them ‘Teachers’. It takes immense courage to handle the mistakes but not lose patience. The sight words, tips for simple Mathematics, and reading storybooks – nothing gets easy but then a thought dawned on me. I wasn’t born with these basics stuffed in my baby brains. I reached where I am today because someone handled me with love and motivating hugs. Someone helped me learn at my own pace and never pushed me into any race.

There is no end to the moments that make me stagger upon the memories from my growing up and years spent with my parents. Every time I think of my parents, their beliefs, and their unconditional love for me, my heart is filled with gratitude and also fear.

There are surging emotions in me due to the unspoken emotions for my parents but for many people it can be similar or deeper sentiments due to guilt, regrets, anger, or even love towards someone that must have been important at some point. A close friend, a partner, a sibling, or even a fellow worker. The feelings hidden for an untold number of reasons but now when they are reappearing in your mind, it is time to deal with them and bring closure for acceptance and peace.

This pandemic has already claimed so many innocent lives and the mark of salvage isn’t in clear sight yet. We are all stuck in our locations and many are far away from their loved ones. In the last 7 weeks, I have inexpressibly mourned the departure of so many people I knew and some I didn’t. Life is uncertain and everybody has to leave one day, agreed! But not when you don’t even get a chance to say the goodbyes or express your unequivocal love for them.

Nothing is permanent but memories are!

I am grateful for the fact that my parents are around and although distant but I can pick up the phone and make them feel important which they deserve to know. What you hear from them days after days, year after years is precious and someday you won’t hear it at all. That day, you will be lonelier than the lockdown phase is today. This social distancing is here to tell us that even if you have to be socially distant, don’t be spiritually distant. This figurative chapter in our lives is signaling to acknowledge all kinds of feelings and provide a much-needed restart to our fatiguing souls that aren’t made to carry the unwanted weight of emotions.

Acknowledge your feelings! If you haven’t acknowledged the efforts of your elders for guiding you and for bringing you this far, or any other relationship that suffered due to deficit of time, then it’s time you do that with the symphony of these words…“I Love You and I wish to see you soon after the lockdown ends.”

  Leena Asnani is an Indian but considers herself a global citizen.She has lived in the Middle East, India, and the United States. She is a mother of two girls and is currently based in Chicago, Illinois with her small family. With an MBA degree in Sales and Marketing and a rich corporate span of 12 plus years, her heart always remained in traveling, exploring the beautiful globe and still does. You can enjoy her curated content on Instagram @milesupheart.