Sunday, April 1, 2012




Written By: Raji Krishnan 

My silence is born
with me – within me
consoles me
all the time
 And I used to love
 This silence
but now, a thunderous silence
some unforeseen one
comes from nowhere
and tries to
break through my thoughts
and fills my mind and spirit
this silence speaks with me
in a language
that my heart interprets
but my mind
fails to relate
This silence torments me
day and night
with eyes that speak
I try to move away from it
But it fills my mind
With strange feelings
 And with reflections of darkness
It attracts me to it.
with these disturbing thoughts,
I try to steal myself away -
inside myself, I try to take cover
 And I cry silent tears
 Unable to break away!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Be Naughty for Santa

Justin Bieber Performs for Low-Income Las Vegas School

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Fifth-grader Jolie Leach says she "was gonna explode" with excitement when Justin Bieber performed a concert at her Las Vegas school, and vowed she'd never wash her hand after he gave her a high-five.
Leach was one of hundreds who showed clear symptoms of Bieber fever after the 17-year-old teen pop sensation staged a private show Friday at low-income Whitney Elementary School. The concert was filmed for an episode of "The Ellen Degeneres Show" and came two months after Bieber promised the school's 650 students a $100,000 donation.
"He really came for us. I'm so glad that he really came for us," said fourth-grader Kynedi Harris, holding a fluffy white stuffed dog picked from a truckload of toys Bieber distributed at his show.
Tucked in a downtrodden neighborhood on the east side of Las Vegas, Whitney Elementary has garnered publicity, including a September segment on Degeneres' show, for providing needy students' families with food, clothes, money for utility bills — and just about everything in between.
Principal Sherrie Gahn said more than 85 percent of the school's 600-plus students receive free or reduced-price lunch. The school also has one of the highest homeless student populations in the Clark County School District.
Gahn, who said she used to see students pocketing ketchup packets from the cafeteria in hopes of having dinner at night, told "The Ellen Degeneres Show" she made a pact with families after she arrived about eight years ago.
"I'll pay your electrical bill, your utilities, I'll give you food or clothes, whatever you need, as long as you give me your child and then help raise that child as a person of character," she said.
Families at the school told the show Gahn has stayed true to her promise. One girl said Gahn provided her with a bed. A mother said the principal bought her son glasses. Another mother said the school provided her children with Christmas presents when she planned to skip the gift-giving.
Gahn said most of the donations come from individuals or businesses, and she said the show has brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and an outpouring of support from across the country. The school also posts a "wish list" on its website, asking for granola bars, pop-top cans of soup and other non-perishable foods that homeless students can eat for dinner or over the weekend.
Bieber's gift matches a $100,000 donation from Target that was announced on the September TV special about the school. Most of the money will be used to continue basic support — such as rent assistance — to keep families off the street and children coming to class.
"My biggest motivator for the kids and the thought and the hope that they don't have to live in this existence when they grow up — that they break the cycle," Gahn said.
Inside the closed event, Gahn said Bieber toured the campus and told students the story of his family's own financial struggles, including visits to a food bank when he was young. He performed songs from his Christmas album, "Under the Mistletoe," and invited the crowd to dance along to his hit "Baby."
Outside, dozens of squealing high school girls with camera phones jockeyed for a glimpse of the star as he was rushed into the building. Brittany Ellis, 14, had pulled out a scrap of paper just in time for a mobbed Bieber to autograph, and was showing her friends an indecipherable pencil scrawl.
Another girl, 17-year-old Kiersten Umberger, said she nearly cried when she saw Bieber.
"It was the best moment of my life," she said.
Teens from the neighborhood say the worn area is quiet, and certainly not the typical Vegas haunt for celebrities.
But parents and school officials said they were as grateful for the gifts from Bieber and Degeneres as the children were starstruck.
"In a world where these kids live in that things are not always their own or they're taken away," Gahn said, "they gave them memories that no one can ever take."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yes There is a Santa Claus

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.
He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.
"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."
At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Deppe, who said she's worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.
"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.
Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.
Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son.
"I was speechless," Bremser said. "It made me believe in Christmas again."
Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.
The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store's system.
The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.
"It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year," said Salima Yala, Kmart's division vice president for layaway.
The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.
Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. But it's happening as the company struggles to compete with chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Kmart may be the focus of layaway generosity, Yala said, because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades. Under the program, customers can make purchases but let the store hold onto their merchandise as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.
The sad memories of layaways lost prompted at least one good Samaritan to pay off the accounts of five people at an Omaha Kmart, said Karl Graff, the store's assistant manager.
"She told me that when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn't have the money for it," Graff said.
He called a woman who had been helped, "and she broke down in tears on the phone with me. She wasn't sure she was going to be able to pay off their layaway and was afraid their kids weren't going to have anything for Christmas."
"You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people," Graff said.
Graff's store alone has seen about a dozen layaway accounts paid off in the last 10 days, with the donors paying $50 to $250 on each account.
"To be honest, in retail, it's easy to get cynical about the holidays, because you're kind of grinding it out when everybody else is having family time," Graff said. "It's really encouraging to see this side of Christmas again."
Lori Stearnes of Omaha also benefited from the generosity of a stranger who paid all but $58 of her $250 layaway bill for toys for her four youngest grandchildren.
Stearnes said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, but she plans to use the money she was saving for the toys to help pay for someone else's layaway.
In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store's inventory because of late payments.
Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children's Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness.
"She was yelling at the nurses, 'We're going to have Christmas after all!'" store manager Josine Murrin said.
A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.
Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.
"My kids will have clothes for Christmas," she said.
Angie Torres, a stay-at-home mother of four children under the age of 8, was in the Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday to make a payment on her layaway bill when she learned the woman next to her was paying off her account.
"I started to cry. I couldn't believe it," said Torres, who doubted she would have been able to pay off the balance. "I was in disbelief. I hugged her and gave her a kiss."