Majeed is like any other nineteen year old, checking out girls, posting selfies on Instagram and flexing his abdominals at the drop of a hat. But the closer you get to him, the more you learn about the rivers and forests he has crossed to where he is. For a young boy it has truly been a long way from Syria to Berlin and sadly the journey has just begun.
I met Majeed in Berlin recently and we instantly hit it off. He was sort of the star of that evening, impressing fräulein with his b-boying skills. But surprisingly not, reserved and shy off stage. One can notice how Majeed's struggles have made him, his best friend. I want to share his story with the World - One of struggle, hope and of finding that spark that keeps you moving.
I met Majeed the following day at the Holocaust Memorial. Reminding us of the terrible consequences of war and dictatorship, Majeed's story and the significance of the memorial was uncanny.
Majeed came to Germany in late 2015, following his brother who arrived here a couple of months before him. After shuffling through several camps he finally came to Berlin, a city he now calls home and is absolutely in love with. The sunny afternoon is a stark contrast from the cold and grey winter nights he spent crisscrossing treacherous paths to get here. But in his words "It was all worth it, I feel safe now".
Majeed now stays at a local gym, he doesn't like the food there but he is not complaining. Besides exploring his new home, Majeed spends his day exercising and dancing. He is a member of a troupe and is also being trained by accomplished b-boying artists in Berlin. His face brightens up when he talks about b-boying. You can feel the energy bounce of him.
He is also learning German on the side but he can only start college after three years of "quarantine-ship". Like any teenager he doesn't know what he wants to study. Somedays he wants to become a doctor while on other days he just wants to be lazy. But he sure does know he wants to continue dancing.
Most of his family and his parents are back in Syria. He doesn't like to talk about the grim situation back there and I agree with him on this. One should rather look forward to a brighter future here than talk about what he was forced to leave behind in Syria. Berlin has embraced him and has given Majeed hope for a safer today and better tomorrow. His positive outlook on life is contagious and is another example of human will and triumph.
Germany has truly established its position as a World leader today by opening its doors for those seeking a safe haven. I have always loved Germany and I have a really special corner for this country. But today my appreciation for them has increased manifold. The country has tremendously transformed itself in the last 70 years and is great example of positive human spirit.
*Majeed is seen here wearing T-shirts from Brown Boy. Each T-shirt has a significant meaning and a back story which resonates with the situation. This is one of my most interesting photoshoots and I am really glad that Majeed agreed to share his story with me and World through our platform.
Love needs to first come for you. It has to be an internal manifestation first. Only when you truly love yourself you will grow from being a seeker of love to a giver. It will empower you.
While clouds blotted out the view in most other places in India, the century's most spectacular total eclipse of the Sun was witnessed in full glory in holy Benaras. It was a sight to behold. The city was suddenly clothed in a surreal glow of faint light that was eerie, exhilarating and nothing like most had ever seen before.