Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A book in a month!

I must be mad enough to do this, but then again, I love challenges. And, I love to challenge myself, push myself constantly to do something different, to better myself. It has been years since I am trying to write a book, and have been giving excuses, sometimes it's the plot, sometime's the story, and sometimes, actually most of the times, the fear to find myself written in my own book.

This time, I decided to go beyond that fear, I am finally addressing the elephant in the room - my life. Every writer starts with an autobiographical element, it's like a curse, one just can't escape it. I tried to run away from it too, thought of 100s of detours to write my first book on something that would not be remotely related to me. And, I failed miserably each time. That's when I decided to write it the way the inner me is asking me to do so.

I will write from my heart, and edit from my head. This month, I plan to get my emotions and logic to work together, herculean task, I know, but I am not giving any other choice to myself.

This month I am set to fulfil my long-standing dream, to finally pen down my first ever novel. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When the guard refused to let me climb Charminar!

Hyderabad was the first-ever city that I had explored on my own, way back in 2006. It was a fun experience, with a really funny anecdote.

As I made my last stop to see Charminar, the guard checking the tickets refused to let me climb the minar. He was shocked to find that I was travelling all alone. Plus, he didn't basically trust me to go up the higher chambers all by myself. Despite assuring him that I had no intension of jumping off the minar, he was reluctant. He said only if someone takes my guarantee will he allow me. Desperate to now accomplish this, I requested two young girls to let me come along with them. Thankfully they agreed. The guard issued them strict instructions about me, which they actually followed through, to the extent of trying to hold my hand!

As you could see, it was an uneventful visit and true to my words I did come back to the ground and showed my face to the guard too. He apologetically said, "Kya karein, loga kudi maarne ko bhi ata na," in a true-blue Hyderabadi style!

Finally, have started to grow my roots

I always had wings, and therefore, the reason to fly. Though, I wished for roots, the ground was never right. It was either too dry or too marshy. How would they have helped me grow? I couldn't anchor myself there, even when I tried. The roots refused to grow, they kept shrinking in itself, prompting the wings to take a flight, again and again.

And then, I found a nice patch, semi-green with enough water to sustain myself. The ground was welcoming. It let me settle there nicely. I liked the view, I grew comfortable, actually too comfortable to notice that I was drying out the very essence of the ground.

It gave away one day. And, I thought maybe it was time to find another ground. As I prepared to flutter my wings again, I noticed a small root sprouting from my feet. It surprised me so much that I unknowingly grounded myself, and the magic unfolded.

The root had finally found a ground to grow, and it refused to stop. It went deep within the ground to its very core, and halted my flight.

I love this patch of semi-green. It is not perfect, but it is perfect for me. I am tending it with love and care. And maybe, some day it will be carpeted with green grass, beautiful flowers and a tall tree standing proudly with its roots firmly in the ground.

And, that day, it will finally have a reason to stay forever.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An artist

Her monologue is perfect. She only fears her emotions. They may finally betray her stoic attitude. Not today, she tells herself. I have to be the best.

She takes the centerstage. As a tear escapes, threatening to ruin the moment, she skillfully wipes it while tucking a stray hair.

She knows the time has come. Time to say those oft-rehearsed words. As she takes the mic, it becomes magic on the stage.

"I am trusting, vulnerable, transparent...And I don't know any other way to live...If that makes me a fool, be it...I would rather be a foolish puppy than a clever bitch!"

She finishes with élan.

The standing ovation said it all. Soon, the curtains fall, ending the drama forever.


#tinytales #shortmusings #storiesthatneedtobetold

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Brutally honest reviews of top networking apps by an annoyingly opinionated single woman!

That's me. Annoyingly opinionated. And, yes, single too :p

All the single men and women out there would identify with this. When you are single, networking apps become your lifeline, it kind of gives you hope that all is not 'lost' in the world after all!

So, here's reviewing some such apps in a brutally honest manner, laced with dollops of sarcasm. If you are easily offended, do read this now!

Facebook makes us depressive and then demonic - Of course we feel crushed every time we see those cute little babies or lovey dovey couples on their honeymoon. What do you think we are, emotionless robots? But hold it, we also carefully plan our revenge. We display our awesomeness with our cool swag and sexy profile pics, that amazing solo trip we undertook, weekend hangouts and parties, and an unashamedly blatant showcase of everything and anything new. Oh! Yes, it's all planned baby!

Twitter is our external brain - We have an inherent need to be re-assured that we are intelligent and because that 'significant other' is missing whom we could have bored with our non-stop fascinating chatter, we turn to Twitter, or get turned on by Twitter. Hey, isn't Twitter kind of sapiosexual! Now, we rattle our brains to come up with something funny or interesting or pensive in 140 characters, editing and re-editing our thoughts to the extent that we don't stop unless we shout 'Eureka' unlike Archimedes (difference being we don't run like him dude!).

We use WhatsApp for work - That's actually the truth. Either we are using it for coordinating with our clients, boss, colleagues during the day or lamenting about our sad lives with our few still-there-to-give-us-their-shoulders-friends at night. And, if you catch us at the dead of the night on this app, well, that's because we are either snooping on our exes, or checking out our crushes, or simply trying to mute that conversation the American chachi is having with the Canadian moushi on home remedies for curing loosies!

We are the 'inventors' of hashtags on Insta - We squeeze out our creativity on Instagram just as we squeeze the toothpaste tube when it is at its fag end! Because we have a smartphone and we think ourselves no less than a Raghu Rai or Steve McCurry (in my case), we click whatever is clickable or even-not, and post it with a hundred non-imaginable and difficult to comprehend hashtags. And, yes, I am confident that all those incomprehensible hashtags are the creation of my kind (singles that is) because, hashtags are all we can think of as we don't need to dabble with dippers, dinners and dishes!

We have an off-and-on relationship with Tinder - We secretly hate it. It just reminds us of the Yahoo! Messenger days. Seriously, it takes immense self-control not to type ASL the moment you 'match' with someone. On bad days, Tinder is our best friend, and with determined zeal we log on to it to find someone out there (nearby, of course), and end up just swiping left, left and left. And, at a moment when you were getting bored out, you burst out laughing when you find someone like the guy below, and remind yourself, it is after all worthwhile to be on this app, just for the heck of it :D





Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zikr

Kuch dhundlayi hui si yaadoo mein kuch khojne ki koshish, har baar us ek modh par le ati hain jiska zikr na tum karna cahate ho na mein. Phir kyu, roz hum yeh socchte hain, ki kuch toh hain, un dhundlayi hui si yaadoo mein...

Aur kabhi yuin hi, bina daastak diye, har us baat ka zikr ho jata hai jinhe humne ek bare se sandook mein samet ke rakha hai, jiski chabbi ek muddaat hue kho gayi hain...

Jaab woh band pitara khulta hai, kisi zikr pe hum hustein hain, kisi pe chuppi sadh lete hain, lekin woh ek zikr na tum karte ho na mein, jo hain kahi dabi hui un dhundlayi hui si yaadoo mein...


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yesterday

It is the day that is gone by. The day we cannot do anything about. It has become a part of our memory, irrespective of being good or bad. Then why do we lament about it? Because we hold on to it with our dear life, we get attached to that memory and if it is bad, we keep trying to analyse how we could have turned it into a more positive one. That, doesn't work. Our job is to learn from our mistakes and move on, not analyse and keep over-thinking about it.

Yesterday is the day that will never come back, and it never should. Whatever is in the past, let it remain there. The past could be our podium to grow from, but never an anchor that should drag us down.

Learn to release your past and live in the present moment.

I wrote this a few years ago, but it still holds true:

Jo beet gaya wo kal ka sach tha
Jo ayega wo kal ka sach hoga
In do kal ke beech mein
Ek aaj ka sach hai
Wahi jeena hai
Wahi sach hai...


Friday, April 28, 2017

X-factor

Women by default are endowed with X-factor, they are born with two X chromosomes after all! While men need to really work it out, they have to get the Y or as they constantly ask (the Why) out of their system to finally attain the X-factor.

So, what is this X-factor, that has made Axe cash-rich by selling some elusive dreams?

From a woman's perspective, it is really not a wowsome physique or drop-dead good looks or someone drenched in the 'scent of Arabia'. It is more to do with the intrinsic personality of an individual. That one factor which makes an individual unique from the rest of the crowd. And it could be anything, it could be as simple as a smile to as heavy-duty as compassion for everyone. It is that one characteristic that defines a person.

You see, X-factor has nothing to do with your outer appearance. It is all about who you truly are. Be you, that's your X-factor.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Why I love Superman

I always had a special attraction for Superman, he has always been my favourite superhero, even with his ridiculous costume and equally funny hairstyle (Though the modern version got an almost 'better' upgrade). I never understood why it was Superman that I loved so much, instead of the other superheroes. I even had his stickers pasted all over my Walkman. 

And then, years later I heard of the following lines from Kill Bill: "Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race."

And I instantly knew why I always loved Superman. Because he has inherently always been Superman and only put up a face for the world, to hide his real identity. Superman is a strong character, full of idealistic views, he is a saviour, a crusader against the evil, but it was not something he developed unlike others, instead, he was born with it. He was the first man ever to make me believe that it is worth to fight for your beliefs, but he was also the first man to make me realise that it is quite lonely out there. Yes, Kent got Lane in the end, but the question is was she ever really able to understand him, his loneliness?

The point is, I am no Superman, but who says you need to be Superman to believe. Do what you want to, even if it means getting hurt, fighting with people, being lonely or often being sad or depressed. Be your own Superman.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Voice

I had lost my voice
In the din of crowd
Among those people
Who lusted for power
They wounded me badly
Scalded my flesh
With hot iron rods
Of crude words and phrase.

I endured them still
Waiting it to end one day
The day their soul
Will call for peace
But noise is all
That they knew
Used it in force
To drown my voice.

They shouted
And shouted
The tempo was up
I have had enough
And told them to
Shut up
Now I know a peace so rare
It ties my heart to the sky up there.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Undo the ego, dissolve it

It might seem the most difficult thing to do. But when you dissolve your ego, a sense of calm envelopes you, and you feel at peace like never before. The ‘I’ evaporates and your entire being is in sync with the energy of the universe.

But, as exhilarating as it may sound, it is not easy to perpetually live without the shroud of ego. The moment you feel liberated, the ego starts the dance of celebration and you are again entangled into the same cycle. However, you can break this cycle, the answer is simple – Just live in the Now!

Ego is fed by our desires, expectations, personalities, and even by the seemingly positive traits like self-righteousness, charity, helpfulness. It boosts our ‘feel good’ DNA and our head touches the moist cloud. We feel invincible, strong and on the top of the world. And, from there our degeneration starts.

There is, however, a way to stop this. A simple solution – Being aware of yourself, about each moment of your life and living in the present moment. This helps in overcoming your ego. Actually, you don’t let ego enter, as there is no space for it when you live your life by each moment.

Many may say, ‘Better said than done’. But really, it is that simple. Once you are aware of your ego and know it is not doing you any good, you would want to forsake it, discard it. And that moment of awareness would set you free. And, exactly in that moment too, you would know how to live in the ‘Now’! 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Taken for granted

We crib about being taken for granted but recently a friend said, "I would love to know that my wife takes me for granted, that's the most awesome feeling. It means that she trusts me and does not want to look beyond me." I tried to find logic in that answer, but somehow couldn't. Maybe, it is different for men and women.

Frankly, I don't like being taken for granted. When someone takes you for granted, it basically boils down to you being an option or a choice, you no longer remains a priority. The other person may just keep giving excuses in their head, some being, "I don't need to give her any explanations or I don't need to tell her anything or I don't think she is going anywhere." They keep you at the back burner, because, guess what, they think it is okay to take you for granted!

And that's where the problem arises. It is never okay to take anyone for granted, even if it means it is your wife or husband or even kids. Treat them as individuals with their own preferences and choices. Ask them what they want. And above all, never assume that they will still be on the same page as you left them when you went off to complete your 'Important work.'


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sanitary napkins in black polythene!

There are two universal truths that most of us (women) cannot escape due to the way we are created - we have menstrual cycles and breasts. With regards to breasts, that is an essential part of our anatomy and once and for all we would like to tell the menfolk that these do not speak, so stop staring at them.

However, this post is about sanitary napkins, and the entire stigma around 'being down' or having 'those days'. Really, why do we mince words. This is a reality that cannot be avoided and hiding it under the carpet is not a healthy option. But that's a topic of serious discussions, that requires ground-level effort at a mass scale to bring about change. And, maybe starting by de-taxing sanitary napkins the Government could do a big favour. Let's hope for the best.

But, for now let's focus on our main topic, sanitary napkins in black polythene. My same gender readers, especially in urban India, would identify with this. Every time you buy pads from a local grocery or chemist, they duly wrap the package in a newspaper, put a string around it and then carefully place it in a black polythene! Why? Just why? What is the logic behind it? Well, it is either of the two - people don't want to be seen with the 'offending' pack or people don't want to see someone with the 'offending' pack. In both the cases, it is bullshit!

As girls, we were being told to be hush-hush about 'those days', our father and brother are not supposed to know about 'it'. Again, why? These are educated men, they have studied Biology and come on, mom, you menstruate every month, so dad knows, right! As for brothers, won't it be better to educate them as teenagers, and tell them to respect a woman's body as she goes through so much rather than keeping them in oblivion. Will they not become better men if they are brought up with the same sensitivity that a woman is taught?

And then of course, you are told to be coy when you go buy the pack at the shop. It is exactly this kind of nonsense that led to stigma around condoms too, and look what it did to our population!

I, for my part, did act coy and shy at a few instance in my teens, going to shops where I could see aunties at the counter. I would wait patiently for the men to go and then almost in whispers asked for Whisper (And, why is this called Whisper, why?). After going through this absurdity for a few times, I decided, it was enough. So, one day I just walked up to the chemist, which was full of men at that time, and asked in a clear voice, "Give me a pack of Whisper please." Yes, there were stares and I coolly stared back at them. That was it. My logic was simple, men don't behave all shy and coy when they have to buy their shaving kits, then why me?

As for the black polythene, I ask them to give it to me in a clear polythene or I put it in my handbag. But, how could one change their habits. These days, instead of the newspaper and black polythene, they put them in a brown paper bag, separate from other products, mind you! Well, at least the black polythene said its goodbyes.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Raindrops keep falling on my head

The quote of the day says, "Happiness is a warm puppy." - Charles M. Schulz

Although, ironical, but this song really makes me warm and happy, and never fails to bring a smile on my face. Especially this Spiderman version, the vulnerability of a superhero...sublime.



And, hey enjoy this poem that I wrote years ago, as I sat on my stairs soaking in the midnight rain. Wish it rains in Delhi soon, the heat is getting unbearable.

At the stroke of the midnight
I sat at the foot of the stairs
To hear the pattering of the raindrops
On the concrete street and rooves
The scarlet sky did not scare me
Nor did the constant downpour
Instead I attuned my heart
To beat with the fall of each raindrop.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Queen or a Sweetheart

If she was a queen
She would have swaggered down the street
Sashaying her attitude
But, that's not her
She is what she is
A sweetheart
She is dreamy but believes in being an achiever
She is emotional but hides her expressions
She is sensitive but prefers to be practical
She is patient but also immature
She is intelligent but makes silly mistakes
She is lovely but gets cynical too
She desires but sacrifices easily
She advises others but follows none
Her heart is simple but head is strong
She cannot be a ruthless queen
Because she is what she is
A sweetheart.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Perhaps...What if...

I don't believe in perhaps or what ifs. If you are convinced about something, go for it. Don't get entangled with conventions or societal ideals. If something feels right for you, it is right, that's all. Our internal compass tells us what we ought to do and what we shouldn't, so why listen to anyone else. Just do what you have to. And, then you would never have to look back, and ask yourself, 'What if'.

It is simple. Test your conventions, validate your theories. Unless you do it, how would you know you were right or not. But, we keep our desires and wishes under the carpet, thinking about thousand different things, re-thinking a few more thousand never-to-occur scenarios. And, that's when we let go of things we ought to have tried at the first instance.

Years later, as we sit and analyse our lives, we go through certain memories and realise that those could have been different if we had the courage to take a different path. But, at that time it seemed too daunting or too unconventional to take the leap.

My motto in life is 'never live in regret'. So, whether it was jumping off the cliff from 1000 feet for paragliding or leaving a job on a day's notice or leaving home to be on my own, I have done it all. I am the sum total of my own decisions, and good or bad, I don't regret any of them, including telling a guy how I felt for him! Actually, two guys. That story is worth more posts :)


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Oranges

This is one of those random posts which has no meaning. But then again, seemingly meaningless things are often the most meaningful thing! Paradox, that's what life is about, which often hands us lemons, but wait, this post is about oranges. So, let's talk about the juicy oranges, the bigger and better than lemons, and therefore, tastier too.

This post is clearly inspired by the story '17 oranges' by Bill Naughton. If you haven't read it, do read it. A fun story, with an unexpected plot twist. Spoiler alert: The story is about a boy who ends up eating 17 oranges, peels and seeds included to avoid being caught for steeling them! Yeah, a small boy eating 17 oranges, that's impossible right, but that's what this delightful story is all about.

Oranges also remind me of a scene from one of my favourite movies, "Andaz Apna Apna". Salman Khan's character Prem suffers from stomach upset, and while trying to convey his feelings to Raveena Tandon, he keeps avoiding the offer to take an orange from her. It is one of those hilarious scenes, and the words 'oranges' still resonate. You have got to see the film to understand.

In India, Nagpur is famous for its oranges, and most vendors try to sell their products in the cities labelling the fruit from the famed city of Maharashtra.

You see, oranges are not just an ordinary fruit, but there could be a story behind it too, you just need to find one!



Monday, April 17, 2017

Nice guys never finish first...And, that doesn't matter...

Nice guys oath to finish first. Every single time. They should. Then why is it that they are the ones who leave alone being first, often struggle to even finish the race? The answer is simple, most of the time they are not even running the race. And during the rest of the time, they are busy helping someone else to reach the finish line.

Does that mean they lose out often. Prima facie that's what it seems like. They are seen as the ones losing out on that dream job, the wonderful house, the ultimate relationship et al. They are constantly the ones at the backdrop, giving way to the others, who are often seen as less deserving and yet they get the 'prize'. 

But on a deeper level, the nice ones know that these are not what they want at the first place. And, what people see as opportunities are merely some milestones created out of societal expectations. 

So what do they want?

They want what is right for them. And they wait. They wait for what seems right to them, and not something what others define as right. Their internal compass tell them whenever their 'right' thing appears in front of them. And, that's when, without any delay, they get it. It might not meet any societal norm, but it is what 'clicks' with them.

Nice guys may never finish first, but they always get the best!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Make way for the future...

The past is left behind, and you decide to move forward. While everyone talks about freeing oneself from the past, they seldom focus on what happens when one free themselves from past experiences.

When you clear out the past, it creates a certain vacuum inside, as we have forever held on to our pasts in a guarding manner. Suddenly, you have nothing to fall back upon. Your personal history has all of a sudden obliterated. Does that cause anxiety? Or the need to fill it up again with those memories? No, it creates uneasiness, but not anxiety or the need to fill it back again. However, it does create certain nothingness inside, a gaping hole, though in a comforting way. I don’t really know how to define this.

Reminds me of something that I read in Paulo Coelho's 'The Zahir'.

-----

“How does one go about abandoning the story one was told?”

“By repeating it out loud in meticulous detail. And as we tell our story, we say goodbye to what we were and, as you’ll see if you try, we create space for a new, unknown world. We repeat the old story over and over until it is no longer important to us.”

“Is that all?”

“There is just one other thing: as those spaces grow, it is important to fill them up quickly, even if only provisionally, so as not to be left with a feeling of emptiness.”

“How?”

“With different stories, with experiences we never dared to have or didn’t want to have. That is how we change. That is how love grows. And when love grows, we grow with it.”

“Does that mean we might lose things that are important?”

“Never, the important things always stay; what we lose are the things we thought were important but which are, in fact, useless, like the false power we use to control the energy of love.”

-----

When you let go of your past, you create a space for something new to enter into your life. The vacuum inside needs to be filled up, the emotions may rush in, and that's where your wisdom comes into being. Choose what you want your life to be filled up with, and choose wisely, choose what would set you free, yet gives you reasons to stay. Make way for a better future...


Friday, April 14, 2017

Let it go...

But can you really? And how to? It's tough to get the answers for these questions. The attachments are too deep. You want to cling on to your comfort zone, even if it has been making you miserable. Or maybe, you don't want to let go of your expectations.

You keep believing that things will one day become fine, they will fall as per your wishes. But, those wishes remain that, just wishes. And, that's what you need to realise, some wishes cannot be fulfilled, no matter what you do or how hard you work towards them.

You finally you come to the finish point, the edge, from where you know that either you could be stuck there forever or just let it go and take a turn towards a new road. Granted that it would be an unknown one, there would be new challenges too, but that should be better than being trapped at one place endlessly.

Question remains, how to? Once you realise that you have been holding on to something that is not worthwhile, the next step is to letting it go. And, that happens in a moment of epiphany. It just happens all of a sudden, you just let it go, that's it. Something triggers it, and it is different for each one of us. And, when it happens, you are filled with a sense of peace, a peace that you had never known in your life.

So go for it, leave what is not worth keeping, because unless you don't let it go, how will you create space for something better in your life...


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Kick your mask off...

We are all actors
Some best and some really bad
We...
Hide our scars behind flawless photos
Hide our tears behind hearty laughter
Hide our fears behind adventurous acts
Hide our loneliness behind a group selfie
Hide our love behind some puny puns

We hide us from us behind a mask we wear everyday...

Unmask...
Be you. Live today. Live now. 
Life is slipping by each moment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just want to give up...

There has been insane amount of things happening at my end at this single point in time, and in all these, I am not sure if continuing with this challenge - blogging from a to z April - is a good idea or not. But, then I told myself, "I am not a quitter." There are obstacles, but I need to push my boundaries, I need to go beyond my limitations. Plus, if I quit now, I am surely going to regret not completing this task once the month is over.

Somehow, it is not just this challenge. Today, I feel like quitting everything, and just sit at a quite place and be with myself. I want complete and pin-drop silence around me. I want to leave behind the raging storm, or maybe just find a spot under the eye of the storm where things are completely calm. Maybe, I should just let the storm rage around me, and be Buddha-like, have a Zen-like attitude. 

But then again, sometimes I feel like screaming at the top of my voice, take those pending rage out of me, and give each one of them my piece of mind. And, then I think, will that be a justified behaviour? 

As the day passes by and the restless night begins, I toss on my bed to stop the lone tear that is threatening to break the barrage of my willpower. 


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ice-creams make me thirsty!

People usually have ice-creams to quench thirst. Not me. I eat ice-creams because I love them. And, just after devouring the sweet-iced-candy I need to drink water, almost immediately. Ice-creams become responsible for adding on to my thirst, rather than doing anything to quench it!

For years, it was such a tough thing to manage. My parents could never understand why would I need to drink water after having an ice-cream, neither could my friends. And, frankly, even I could never figure that out, and brushed this 'weird' characteristic of mine under the carpet of 'the many weirdness of Asha Dey.'

And then I found someone as 'weird' as me - my soul sister. As we talked about our love for ice-creams one day, she surprised me by telling me that she also has the same tendency of drinking water almost after eating an ice-cream. I wanted to jump out of joy at that moment, the world finally seemed a little less 'weird'. It was like finding your 'Man Friday'.

So, after finally reaching to the conclusion that this is not a singular phenomenon only reserved for probably the most 'weirdest' person on the face of the planet Earth (let me take a claim of something at least!), I thought of googling about it for the first time ever. And, it threw some really crazy explanations as well. Plus, this phenomenon was being felt by a lot of other people too. Wow! The world is really infested with crazy souls.

From the body feeling dehydrated to the quantity of salt in ice-creams to the composition of milk, God Google provided many views, but did not give any conclusive answer. It basically said, "I am omnipresent, but you need discretionary wisdom to see me!"

As at that time I was contemplating to switch my faith to Bing, I decided to basically take a chill-pill, and literally gobbled down the information with a choco-bar on one hand, and a water bottle on the other!




Monday, April 10, 2017

Heaven took them...

Death is the ultimate reality of life, yet losing a loved one to death is the most painful emotion. It creates a vacuum which can never be filled, no matter how much time passes by or how many new people enter into your life, that empty space would remain forever.

As children, most of us never realised these sorrowful adieus, but as we grew up, crossed certain thresholds in age, death became a prominent fixtures in our lives. Some of us lost our grandparents, parents and even siblings, and some painfully children or spouses.

The immense pain such a separation creates is beyond anyone's imagination. No one can ever understand what a person goes through at that moment, because that tragedy is personal. It is only the person who has lost truly knows what it means to never see a person ever again.

There is no hope, those people are gone forever, and yet we might have taken them for granted when they were alive. We never account for the vulnerability of life, and cling to expectations and attachments. Why can't we just let go off all these and truly show ourselves for what we are, and love with our whole-heart, so that even if we say goodbye tomorrow, our loved ones would always remember us with a smile and glow in that special light of our compassion and kindness.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Go for it!

Have that gut feeling that it is the right thing to do? Then, don't think, just go for it!

At times, we waste our opportunities by thinking and over-thinking a particular situation. We keep worrying about what ifs and what nots, and sometimes without any rhyme or reason. And, the end result is we get nothing out of it.

Then why do we indulge in such useless pursuit? The answer lies in our insecurities, our fears, and our past experiences. Often we don't want a repeat of certain instances and experience pain or hurt. While at other times we fear to take the plunge, we fear the unknown. We keep trying to find instances that could provide us a reference point to our current situation. We also extend that to people in our lives. The moment we find some similar pattern with a person in our past, we label them as per our experience. We forget that every individual is unique, and different from the other person, no matter how many similarities you could draw between them.

The point of this post is that whatever is in the past, let that remain there. Give your present a chance. Live for today, live in the now. Take the plunge and go for it. You never know, it might be worthwhile after all!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Fish and bongs are interchangeable!

How could I ever justify myself of being a bong if I never write about fish. So, here's a post on the unofficial favourite food of almost every bong born in this world, and maybe even alien bongs too, fish or as we call it maach.

The love of fish is established firmly with the very first few morsels a baby is fed with during her annaprashan (grain initiation ceremony). A special fish dish is prepared for the occasion and post the payeesh (kheer / rice custard), the baby tastes her staple food for the first time and my guess, loves it too! We are bongs, we are born genetically to love fish. No questions asked.

And our fishes need to be fried, only and only in mustaard oil (that's how we pronounce it, and we are proud of it too, thank you very much). I wonder what we would have done if Kanodia never existed. The whiff of the mustard oil, along with the smell of the fresh fish, my mouth is already watering!

And, if this wasn't enough, we are the ones who can have even the most ridiculously 'bony' fish ilish with ease and call it a delicacy. Our fish menu is actually worthy of a PhD thesis. Who would not love to do a research on 'Bhaapa maach, maacher kalia, chingre maacher malaicurry, sorshe ilish'. The list is just starting, and I have no idea of how to translate the names of these dishes.

All our ceremonies are incomplete without fish. Weddings, for instance. The groom's family, along with haldi (turmeric) and other gifts, send a whole fish duly decorated. And, mind you, the groom is served with the head of the same fish and is expected to eat the entire thing post the wedding!

Fish for us is auspicious, it is our way of life, and 'maach bhaat' (fish and rice) is what defines us :)


Thursday, April 6, 2017

English does not define you

There is a propensity in people, especially in the upmarket Indian urban hip and happening crowd, to look down upon those who cannot speak English in a proper manner or have a certain diction in their speech. For these ‘dudes’ and ‘dudettes’, anyone who is not fluent in English is not smart or intelligent enough to be ‘acceptable’ in their social circle.

I know a lot of these snobbish prigs, as my work demands me to meet some of them on a regular basis. These people are almost everywhere, upmarket bars, restaurants, swanky offices. For them, people from hinterlands or small towns are being defined by their accents and they never shy away from being blatantly racist about it too. They make fun of such people, and often on their faces. Do they ever question themselves, ask themselves, what good is their so-called convent education if they are not even able to respect someone’s basic characteristic. But, I guess not, they are the truest examples of – Angreez chale gaye aulaad piche chor gaye!

This is however, not just an Indian issue. In fact, when these same ‘dudes’ and ‘dudettes’ visit the developed nations, they are faced with the ‘amazing’ question of ‘how could they speak in English?’ That aside, often they are also mocked at for their ‘Indian’ accent. Getting a taste of their own medicine, well, most shallow their pride by smelling the dollar bill!

But the thought remains. And that takes me to a childhood memory. I am a huge fan of ‘Reader’s Digest’ and used to get my copy every month diligently. There used be a section on real-life anecdotes, where readers contributed their motivating incidents. I read the following in one such issue, and it impacted me so much that I am sure it would remain with me for the rest of my life. Recreating the anecdote from my memory:

A kindergarten kid to his mom: “Mummy that Mexican kid has such a funny accent. He can’t speak English properly.”

Mom in a serious tone: “Timmy that means the kid knows more languages then you do.”

There, that and not 42 is the ultimate answer to everything, everything especially related to those people who define others based on their English speaking ability!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Deadlines whooshing by...

It has to be poetic justice that I am writing about deadlines as I run against the clock to finish this fourth-day challenge, with a strong coffee in hand as I desperately try to control my low BP. Wow! This challenge is really becoming challenging now.

Well, most people get panicky about deadlines, not me. I love deadlines, the stringent the better. I could identify with what Douglas Adams had once famously said, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Deadlines are like the fire that gets me going. It keeps me on my toes. Being in a creative domain, it is natural for writers to slack. We always take the liberty of saying, "I am getting a writer's block." But that doesn't work when you have a deadline to meet. Then, you got to be creative, whether you like it or not. Amusingly, I write the best when I have to submit something within the next 10 minutes!

So, deadlines...I love to beat them black and blue!




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Clumsy me

Clank! There goes another utensil. Guess you can call it divine intervention that every time I step into the kitchen, the utensils start falling on their own from everywhere. As if the auto clumsy button gets activated as soon as I am near something that is ‘fallable’ (I know that’s not a legit word, so what, the dictionary needs new words once in a while). Actually, I am one of those people because of whom the stores put up placards saying, “Considered sold if broken!”

In fact, just a while ago I tripped on the doormat of my room. And if not the doormat, it would have been the door stopper, the side table, the book rack, the dressing table, you got the picture. I can even stumble on a perfectly leveled floor!

My pinky fingers are so prone to getting hurt that now I hardly well-up when I dash them against anything that I had so conveniently ignored to see, despite seeing. Once, I attempted a magical feat by trying to walk through a glass door. Yeah! You read it right. I was getting late for a meeting and hurriedly wanted to get to the car. So despite seeing the glass door and instead of opening it, I just rammed into it, leaving my colleague awestruck for a few moments. He just didn’t know how to react for a few seconds, and now a good friend, he still remains as ‘awed’ as he was at that moment whenever we talk about my ‘Harry Potter’ act.

Which got me thinking that during school the only sports that I played was basketball and that too all alone. After all, nobody wanted to risk getting their bones broken by playing with me!

And then of course I always end up feeding my clothes before I feed myself, spilling coffee and water on my workstation and scattering papers all over. Oh! And, I even once somehow managed to rip the entire switchboard from the wall while unplugging the laptop charger! As I tried to ram it back into the wall, my friend in an alarmed voice said, “Stop it! Leave it! I will do it!” He anticipated that the next move would be me getting electrocuted if I continued with my antics.

However, there are days when I need to behave in a prim and proper manner too, carry myself with dignity. Weddings especially demand saris worn properly, parties demand stilettos and client meetings neatly ironed spic and span shirts. These are the days when I am extra careful and I become a woman with poise. Walking on stilettos is not an easy job, but I keep reminding myself that if I fall, the least I would endure would be a sprain. And, that thought, trust me, keeps me going. Besides, there are perks to it too. Being perfect on such occasions guarantee appreciative comments of aunties, admiring gazes of men and even the jealous stares of women.

But then again, I often think, it’s being clumsy that makes me endearing, isn’t it? :)


Monday, April 3, 2017

Badrinath Ki Dulhania…A great movie on clichés

Brides in India are supposed to bring loads and loads and loads of dowry. That’s the truth of the entire country – be it the hinterland Bharat or the upwardly mobile India. A girl is still a liability, and boy an asset. And yes, we don’t believe in family planning, unless we are lucky enough to have sons during the first few attempts. To hell with Beti Bachao Beti Padhao! We are here to raise a generation of girls who are taught to remain in their ‘maryada’ and boys trained to become MCPs.

Now imagine such a heavy dosage theme turned into an entertaining movie. Did I hear impossible? With Badrinath Ki Dulhania, that’s exactly what newbie director Shashank Khaitan made possible. In its outer packaging, this rom-com looks fun and entertaining, but the deeper themes of dowry, gender inequality, women emancipation, sexism, interweaved in the movie portray the condition of the society we still live in.

It is in this very ‘progressive’ India the protagonist Vaidehi (another name for Sita, the pun is very much intended by the makers) decides not to go through the penance of self-sacrifice but to live on her own terms. She leaves the groom jilted at the alter to pursue her dreams. Despite Badri’s unending devotion for her, Vaidehi still isn’t convinced if he is the right guy for her or not. It is her independent and strong characterization that finally leads Badri to see through the façade of being a typical ‘Indian man’.

The emotional atyachar of Indian parents were amazingly showcased. Heart ailments are dropped like a hat by the elders at the meekest mention of ‘love’ by the young ones. The heavy duty words – sanskar (values), sabhyata (culture), dharm (religion) – are served to the children on a daily basis as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Superstations and illogical views are supposed to be pure oxygen one should breathe in. If the young ones try to rebel, they are either disowned or are emotionally blackmailed. And, that’s the story of almost all the households in this country.

However, this movie gives some hope. Somewhere, something is changing. Yes, men are becoming more supportive and sensitized, and maybe, our next generation would be much more open in their outlook. But for now, let’s hope our elders wake up to the reality of the situation and the young ones are not resorted to do a ‘Badri’!



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Apology is just saying ‘I am sorry!’

Apologizing is not an art. And, come to think of it, it is not even a science. It is just an expression of admitting to that stupidly dumb thing you had done, which could have been otherwise avoided. Then, why is it so hard to apologize? There could be multiple reasons, but the prime one is you know you have screwed up, you don’t want to face the ramifications, there could be explosives at the other end, and you don’t want to basically face the music.

But that’s the escapist route. I think the best way to apologize is to apologize the moment you know you have done something wrong. Don’t linger it. Because not only you are prolonging someone’s pain, but you are also pushing your luck too far!

Next comes the question, how? That’s simple too. Just tell the person that you are sorry. There isn’t any need for prolonged explanations, bouquets of flowers, boxes of chocolates or expensive gifts. A simple and sincere ‘I am sorry’ is enough to let the other person know that you had screwed up big time and you will not repeat, at least, that particular stupidly dumb thing ever.

After all, to err is human, to forgive, well…