Global Changemakers

This is a life changing programme I’ve got selected in and I really want to be a part  but I need your help. Even if you donate 1 pound I would be a step closer to achieving my dream.

To be a part of World Merit’s Merit360 programme I need to fundraise 1000 pounds. World Merit is an international NGO which works with the UN in various initiatives in Haiti, Syria and developmental projects like creating sustainable schools.

Merit360 is set to have young global citizens from all over the world come together to tackle the worlds most pressing issues.

360 talented changemakers will be joined by leaders of other NGO’s, world leaders, World Merit Patrons & Ambassadors, and senior UN Representatives. Previous World Merit events have included Richard Branson, Malala Yousafzai and Giancarlo Esposito. Already confirmed for Merit360, 2016 are world leading educationalist Sir Ken Robinson, Poet Suli Breaks, Human Rights icons Jack Healey and Eva Haller, activist Lauren Singer, Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi, Lord Michael Hastings, Ambassador Joao Vale De Almeida and North Korean activist Yeonmi Park.

It will be a life changing programme for all the attendees and I hope you donate anything you can. I am tackling UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger, and hence you foregoing one dinner will aid us in creating a plan which will feed thousands.

You can donate here:

Let me know if you have any problems, I would love to share my experiences with you all and empower my community.


Tanvi Kusum

Dear Sylvia,

Today I was thinking how easy it is to hurt, and how sometimes it is something we cannot escape. There is some dirt we have to bear on our soul no matter how perfectly we try to polish it.

If someone loves me and I don’t love them the answer is just a jerk and a quip at life being unfair. It hurts to break someone’s heart but it doesn’t hurt hurt. It is so easy to walk away it is almost scary. You have such immense power over somebody but you never give them credit for it. The rational in you is at its best reasonings. Anything could make you walk away when you really want to run.

But when tables turn and you are pining, your piercing eyes wonder how the other can’t see? Can’t he see here I am twisting and turning waiting to be recognised? Waiting to give my all in two seconds? WHY can’t he see the beginnings of the great love I do?

How can we forget the wounds of the previous and go on so easily imprinting it on the one who loves us? Is there any way to not be the inflictor? When you shelter yourself do the sharp edges of the cages only bruise your heart even more?

How does one come out of this without a trail of tears?

Publishing- First Love

I am currently working in a publishing house which is based in India. It is publishing an anthology on First Love, if anyone from India is interested in getting their work published please contact me through the comment section. I will tell you the details.



Tanvi Kusum

Dear Sylvia,

I am not very good at letters as I have not written one ever in my life, except those which were forced upon me in English class. Even those though were very to the point and businesslike, even the informal ones!

Recently I read the letters of my father to my mother, my cousin’s to my father, and my father’s friend to him. I find them sometimes, in some forgotten drawers. What struck me in them was how they talked about their life and what they were doing with such clarity. My father’s friend was in USA at the time and studying Civil Engineering, he described all the buildings and what he saw and how their engineering differed from India’s. In this era of texting, we speak in short sentences, we know too much but also too little. It is so instant that a person doesn’t really get to say what he wants to, there’s too much of sending each other links than real talking. Letters are great because you get to fill this page with all you want to say, written letters are obviously better. I wonder if I have forgotten to write. If you’re interested in letters, there are there beautiful ones which Vladimir Nabokov sent to his wife, Vera. Though when it came out in public she was so ashamed (maybe that is a wrong word) that she burned all the letters from her to him. It was too private, she said.

While I am writing this I have a huge bowl of dal makhni which I think I’ll finish up in no time, though I am trying to stay away from it. I also have an exam tomorrow, but that is fine because I have already gotten in a better institute. I wonder what makes it better, I think I’ll go with the one which has more tennis courts. I hope all colleges have a different number of tennis courts to make my decision easier. Other than that, nothing much is going on in my life. It is also quite weird because I am still not ‘bored’ of it. I am in my house the whole day, doing unimportant things and yet I don’t feel the urge to go out and see my friends or do something. I am really confused as to what this something is. Though I do enjoy when I do go out, but I don’t miss it when I don’t. Maybe it is because I hadn’t really enjoyed, or that I am just lazy.

There was also this very important exam I had to do well in which I didn’t do. Wait I am new at writing letters so I haven’t really told you what exam yet. I was preparing for law this year so I am talking about those entrances. I did well in all the side exams, but not very well in the main one, which was CLAT. I don’t know what happened that day, I was very confused, in a trance, if you can call it that. Maybe I was over-confident or under-confident. One never knows, the difference between them is so miniscule. I also got this Pulitzer prize winning idea in my head for a story just before bed and I was too lazy to write it down. Obviously I forgot all about it. I forget almost ninety percent of my ideas, it is very dismal. But that is also because I am always thinking and I always get to some points which are writable so it is tough since I can’t write everything down. Someone must invent a brain recorder or something soon, since I also get very hilarious and unrealistic dreams which I’d love to watch again.

Anyway, it is the most annoying thing on the planet to lose an idea which you really liked. After losing one I find myself rummaging through my mind like it is filled with drawers. It is like finding a small handkerchief in a huge mess, sometimes you remember only a word of the idea and you get the whole of it back. That tiny little white corner saves your life. But most of the time god punishes you for being lazy and expects you to get a pen and paper.

That is all for now, I must go to sleep if I want to take tomorrow’s test. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.





Dear Sylvia,

Tell me where your ghost wanders so that I may find you again. In my mind, I see you – floating eternally, autumnally, blowing along in this October chill, swept along in a gust of flame-colored, fire-crackling leaves. You wail down the city streets of Boston, a desolate specter, though not wholly lonely. You inhabit the fields behind the new high school, the grassy paths, the library named after your old English teacher. I walked down Elmwood Road once, spurred by some desperate, disconsolate hope I’d find you lurking there, scribbling poems into flesh & swallowing down pills to keep the love down. You were my Lady Lazarus, my Ariel, and I am writing you my first mad girl’s lovesong. Sylvia, don’t stick your head in the oven. The stars are coming home tonight, and they are not the bright, cold pinpricks you’d once described but warm, friendly, twinkling in their congenial manner. They light the sky ablaze, and I keep them close to my heart so that I may find you again.

You can find more by this author on-

(Photo contributed by author herself)

Tanvi Kusum

Dear Sylvia,

I am quite new to the art of letter writing but I do believe that some things would have been better said through this medium. The art of sending another human words  has shrunk to text messaging, and the sentences are getting shorter and shorter. Some things we are forgetting to say, simply because we don’t know how to say them.

Today, I wanted to write to you about love. Really, what is it about the affection of another person can we just cannot resist? Being strong, independent. happy, but one day a guy strolls in and there you are, trying to win him. What is it about love that we all search for it, and no matter how hard we try, it envelops us in it’s saccharine goodness and kills us slowly.

It attracts everyone of us, and we give in, at the moment or gradually. It makes us stupid and makes us question our decision. It makes us forget ourselves as we struggle to agree we what the other person likes, and it does this all without us knowing! How do you hold your own and fall in love, how do you say, this is me and I love She’s The Man, and it doesn’t matter that you hate it, maybe we aren’t right for each other?

I know there is supposed to be this ONE PERFECT PERSON, but really what about the long intervals he isn’t present in my life. Are we supposed to wait, but waiting hurts. We fill our lives with unimportant amusements to take our mind away from love, and when it actually knocks on out door, it has been so long that we’ve forgotten what true love was.

Why does love make me want to feel accepted, when the only thing is desire is being free?


Opher Goodwin

Editor’s note– Here is a little bit different post from our usual ‘talking about feelings’ blog posts about a very relevant issue of our times in a beautiful and understandable manner. I hope it gets you thinking, just like it did to me.


Dear Sylvia,

I am extremely depressed by the state of the planet and what we are doing to it.

Let us look into the future and extrapolate from where we are to where we are heading.

Scenario 1

The premise:

  1. The population continues to grow
  2. There are no catastrophes that wipe us out

Man is extremely good at solving problems. So let us assume that we negotiate our way through problem after problem. We do not annihilate ourselves through nuclear war or manufactured biological warfare. We do not succumb to a virus. We merely continue to grow in numbers.

These are the consequences:

  1. Space and shelter. We need land and housing and our cities, towns and villages grow. The countryside becomes consumed in plastic and concrete. Roads connect and transport systems enable easy access.
  2. The Wilderness. The wilderness and natural world become open to us and exploited for farming, mining, logging and habitation until there is no more inaccessible wilderness areas. Roads run through every place.
  3. The Wild-life. The wild-life now has no habitat left, no food, shelter or way of living. It is butchered for meat, hunted for ivory or medicine (The rarer it gets, the more it is worth, the higher the price, the more worth the risk). The remnants of the wild things are corralled into parks or zoos and confined, protected and used as objects of tourism. Those considered pests, unpleasant or dangerous are eradicated.
  4. Food. Even with all the wilderness opened up for farming, the seas fully harvested and hydroponics, genetic modifications and intensive farming methods there is not sufficient food for the burgeoning population. Food is produced from bacteria and fungus in vast industrial vats (Pruteen, mycoprotein etc. – already produced in large quantities – in our pies, sausages etc.), textured, flavoured and used as a meat substitute. Proper meat is a luxury food item.
  5. Water. Water is a dwindling resource and desalination plants provide supplies.
  6. Energy. Fossil fuels are replaced by large-scale sustainable technology – probably nuclear fusion supplemented with solar.
  7. Weather. The effects of global warming are alleviated. The hurricanes and extreme weather conditions are now able to be controlled.
  8. Oxygen. Oxygen is a natural product of photosynthesis. With the destruction of the forests and pollution of the oceans it is no longer being produced in sufficient quantities. Oceans are seeded to produce algal blooms and hydrolysis plants produce oxygen from water.

Our lives in these huge metropolises are highly controlled. Our environment is plastic. Our food, water and even the air we breathe is manufactured. We take our children to see the last remaining trees in the tree museum. We then go to the zoo to get a glimpse of and wonder at the little animals that used to run free in the wild.

It’s a vision of the future. It is quite possible. But is that the way we really want to live? Is that the world we want to pass on to our children?

In Scenario 1 the population continued to grow eating up space, wilderness and destroying all naturally living creatures. Technology dealt with the problems of food, water, energy, weather and even oxygen in the atmosphere. We lived in huge urban developments and the world is devoid of wild-life and natural areas.

Scenario 2.

The premise:

  1. We realise the impact of our actions on the environment and limit our numbers, conserve the wilderness and wild-life, stop our habitat destruction and pollution.
  2. We lay aside 50% of the planet for wilderness and wild-life. We do not allow roads, hunters or development in these areas.

We are extremely good at solving problems. We can easily create a sustainable future where wilderness and wild-life has a place.

The result:

  1. We introduce contraception, education and family planning on a global scale and successfully reduce our population.
  2. We use technology to produce better transport, housing, energy production, and food.
  3. We do not have urban sprawl, deforestation, overfishing, or other unsustainable exploitation of the environment.
  4. We raise the standards of life for all people globally so that there is no longer war, conflict or poverty. There are social services, pensions and sick pay enabling people to live without requiring large numbers of children to support them through hard times.
  5. We produce technology that is not polluting and is sustainable. We have ample energy (probably through nuclear fusion and solar) and our farming methods are not cruel or ineffective. We can produce ample good food to support the population without encroaching on the wilderness areas.
  6. The forests are conserved. Fishing is sustainable. The weather and global warming is controlled.
  7. 50% of the world is teeming with wild-life that we can marvel at. The air, water and soil are not contaminated with carcinogens. We globally control the weather and global warming. Everything regarding conservation and pollution is controlled and enforced globally.

I know which of the two possible future scenarios I would prefer to live in.

The future is for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. In my own life-time we have destroyed over half of the world. I feel we are at the precipice. Will we jump?

What do you think Sylvia?

Best wishes

Opher Goodwin

You can find more by this author on

Google – Opher’s World – for original writing on a vast range of subjects.

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Tanvi Kusum

I’m like the heavy bulk of a sinking ship
Riding on me is my self esteem
Drowning in the negativity
First bow then stern
Look at me vanish
Let me be home to the fishes now
Let wolves feed on my corpse.

Someone told me that they wished they were there to save Sylvia, it made me smile because really we all wish we were. But it actually wasn’t possible. I can’t say for sure if it was or wasn’t, but for me I think it wasn’t. Not because she was beyond hope, but because you couldn’t see.
Everyday thousands pass us, sad and unhappy, and yet we are helpless, moving with our lives, living our struggle. I see it impossible to say to someone what I really feel, because frankly I don’t know what I feel. One day I’m happy, in the sun, dancing, listening to birds, lying down in the grass, being one of those indomitable ones of nature, and a heart which echoes the unlimited possibilities. And the second day, here I am, lying in my dark room, smelly bed sheets, worse self confidence and bleak prospects. It is not like I don’t have friends, or getting more friends will make it better. I really don’t know what will.
I just know this is how I am, and thousands pass me every day, they not helping me, me not helping them, each stuck in our own storm, quivering in life.

( Image is Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream)
(You can find more by this author on-

Vidhi Tiku

Dear Sylvia,
Lately I’ve been thinking about death. What would I feel like after? Would it be blissful like the saints preach? Tranquil like the monks hope for? Or just another existence after this existence we call life? Would I feel like a person or just an observer? But the most important question is, Sylvia, would I feel? Feel the insane emotions I feel right now? My mood swings from enraged to sulking to contemplative to happy in seconds.
I have to confess, I know nothing about how you must’ve felt while you were alive. You can’t really rely on Google for that stuff. Your life must be as crazy a ride as any woman’s, I’m sure.
What am I to feel when my hearts in a whirlwind of emotions from a heated argument I had earlier that day and I look at a child, limbless and blind asking for money like it wasn’t his right to life and luxury as any one of ours? I feel little. Little in front of all these people who’re literally fighting to live in a world where most of us are just busy depreciating and devaluing things we should be grateful for. It’s funny how the things we’re taking for granted, are the things that someone else is praying for.

On second thought, no matter how miserable this existence, you deserved to live. To be able to see the beauty of people and their ways. I personally find it fascinating. Some choose to deny the existence of a supernatural being; thereby denying optimism. After all, believing that you’re being watched is not only beneficial in a test hall. Some steal, lie, cheat, beg… Anything that’s convenient. Like they say, life is interesting for those who think and tragic for those who feel. I’m of the interested lot. You should have been too. I don’t know where you are right now, I’m sure you won’t see this(still hoping actually)but you shouldn’t have given up. Whatever this is, I know that you can either take it as a jail sentence, or a jungle safari.

Tanvi Kusum

Dear Sylvia,
I’m having a particularly difficult day. I feel aimless and weird. It is not made of what constitutes a ‘bad’ day, no failures or embarrassment, or heartbreak and hate, just this sort of emptiness. I woke up early like a good girl, studied and studied and yet it doesn’t feel good.
The boredom of my being is making me puke. It feels as if I have lived too long and it is time I put myself to rest. There is nothing to look forward to, I can’t perceive my future in solid letters. It seems bleak and distant, like a life lived by someone else. I don’t seem to form a connection with my future self and it feels like I need to end because the future will never arrive because I have made my soul stagnant, forever. I need something to stir me, to wake me up from this slumber. My consciousness needs to feel the sweet warmth of spring.

It is not the suicidal, passionate kind of dying I’m talking about, not the one which arises of pain, love and randomized uncontrolled trepidation of heart, it is the boring kind, the lost, the logical and feasible.

Maybe this is what is called the mediocrity of heart.

The author is a regular on the blog.