Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai- The Resilient City

There have been series of grave terrorist attacks in the recent past and this is what the government has done:
First they condemned it.
Then they said such acts will not be tolerated.
Then they said it should be crushed.
At last they are back to praising the "Spirit of Mumbai" and using it as a resort for not doing anything. Mumbai has been through so much yet it fights back and recovers... is the strenght of the Mumbaikars a convenient excuse for not taking any action??

We are sick of reassurances. We are sick of top leaders issuing public statements after every attack and then going off to sleep. When will they wake up and do something??

Sunday, November 9, 2008


The slight ticking of the clock tells me it's one o’clock in the night. Only sound I can hear is that of the ticking clock and my own breathing which seems out of place. I frown and wish I could stop breathing so as to enjoy the absolute silence.

The silence is comforting and it only feels safe in the dark. I feel safe in the dark. Darkness is like a huge comforting blanket that engulfs all the troubles, pain, misery, death- everything. It’s not that suddenly in the dark these things cease to exist. It’s just that I can’t see them in the absence of light and when I don’t see them I don’t think of them. Everything becomes a blur, like a distant bad dream, very far from reality. I'm certain I'm not alone who finds the darkness soothing and comforting.

I just want to pull this darkness over me like a cosy blanket of safety, close to myself and go off to sleep. I don’t want to face the world, it's ugly. I don’t want to see the light, it's blinding. I don’t want to be able to see things as they are, they are appalling. Yes, reality is appalling and I am disgusted.

I don’t want anyone looking for me, calling out my name. People are pathetic, every single one of them. I don’t want them disturbing the silence, waking me up from my dream. There is just one person I want to be with- myself.
Solitude is the most faithful companion and the best company. Indeed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Incidents, Images, Reflections..

They were sitting on the rocks and she was leaning against his back for support. None of them spoke a word for a long time and yet the silence between them was neither intrusive nor awkward. It seemed as if conversation had invented the silence and she thought this was the best conversation they ever had.

The lull slowly pushed her into the deep memories which are rarely unaccompanied by thoughts. She remembered how different she used to be. How she never felt that she belonged to the world she had inhabited for so long. How sarcastic and cynical she was about everything around her and how she particularly ridiculed, mocked and laughed at the notion of love and yet the supreme paradox was that she herself secretly wanted to fall in love. The truth was that her perception of love was very different from those around her and it was this 'other's' notion that she used to ridicule.

She never felt like a part of the world she lived in. She was always an outsider, a stranger. The way people around her thought and talked of love disgusted her. For her love was an eternal virtue. Behind her cynicism and skepticism was a profoundly disappointed idealist. She assumed that her idea of love was just that, an idea. She thought she was chasing a mirage because 'love' as she believed it to be, as she believed it should be, did not exist. This disappointed her and her disappointment was reflected through her mockery of shallow and superficial idea of love that existed around her.

And then one fine day he walked into her life and changed it forever. Faith, trust, hope, belief and love which were nothing more than deceptive fantasy for her became a reality. From a skeptic she became a believer. The way both of them met could have been pure coincidence or destiny but shortly after meeting him she knew they were meant to be. From the very beginning the connection between them had been conspicuous as day or night itself.

She thought if he was a dream and she was living a fairy-tale because things seemed too perfect to be true. The way she lost sense of time with him was always a mystery to her. She was surprised how every moment spent with him had been etched in her life and had become a treasured memory. Was it normal to get so involved with somebody that you forget everything else, she wondered. But he was not just somebody. He was the one she belonged to. She was his Sonia. And she knew she was in love, finally.

As the sun slowly surrendered the summer sky, he lazily put his arms around her waist, interrupting her thoughts and pulling her back to reality. She looked in his eyes and she felt herself slipping again. She wanted to tell him how she loved him, how much he meant to her and the way he made her feel but she couldn't find words that would do justice to her feelings. While she was still looking in his eyes, quietly, hoping that he understood, he pulled her closer and said, "I love you too sweetheart” and smiled. He bent forward to kiss her and as she pretended to be reluctant to kiss him back she wondered and marveled at how he always knows.

P.S: Even fiction needs REAL inspiration. Mind it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Of Bfs, love & Forever..

Scene-II met an old friend after a very long time. After exchanging the regular pleasantries we got down to the ‘real’ conversation.
That’s when she dropped the bomb. “So, who is the guy?”
"You didn't tell me, come on spill it out bitch."
I was caught off guard. Dude! what is this girl talking about?, I wondered.
"Saali don't give me an attitude, just tell me will you?" she coaxed again.
"Kutti, what the hell should I tell you?" I mumbled, still trying to figure out the context of her queries.
"Uffo, tell me the name of your boyfriend, ulloo ki doom!" she said tightening her grip.

(Before you get all agitated and judgmental let me clarify, 'Saali' 'Kutti' and other such assorted sobriquet are usually reserved for very close friends. Hence the pearls like 'Ullu ki doom'(Owl's tail :-/) actually symbolize our deep friendship and comfort level.)
Now back to the conversation:

"What?" I asked still perplexed.
"Ab Kya kya kar rahi hai? Main kya french bol rahi hoon?"
"Kutti, it'll take you a whole lifetime if not more before you can talk in french and just so it's clear- I don't have a boyfriend."
"What? STILL SINGLE?" her jaw dropped to the ground like a cartoon character.
"You got it right. Now believe it or faint."
If her hopes were made up of glass you could have heard the shattering sound.
"But you are in college!" she muttered dismally.
"And is that a problem?"
"Oh my god D! You are about to get into your second year. I don't see why can't you get into a relationship?" she said, giving me looks usually reserved for animals of endangered species.
"Because unlike you I can't commit to any jackass and then hope to fall in love with him eventually, that's why!"
"Saali stop grinning like an idiot. At least I have a jackass."
"True, and it will take me another 100 years to envy what you've got." I supplied.
"D, why can't you get practical? You are in college for god's sake. Just say yes.. trust me you will eventually start liking the guy.. love just grows."
"I'm sorry, I didn't get the relation between being practical and getting a BF?," I retorted.
"You're such a bitch..", my friend began.
Jesus, not again. I knew where the conversation was ultimately heading. I just grabbed my last chance, "All right, I give up S, its my fault really, I had no clue that getting a BF was prerequisite for getting into a college. But I am ready to make amends, I shall get myself a BF before I buy my course books for my second year, I promise. Now how about a Dark Temptations at Barista?"
"Dude are you a mind-reader?", she did a little jig.

CONCLUSION: Dark Temptations is the ultimate savior and rather tasty too.

The very next day I bumped into another friend who was apparently dying to talk about her BF. It just so happened that she had forcibly forged an introduction between her BF and I the very same week and since then somehow had not got the opportunity to, erm, discuss 'him' with me.

"Hey, you know we celebrated our 2 year 3 months anniversary yesterday?" she said, evidently getting excited.
"Great. Congrats."
"Do you know what he gave me?"
"No, but you are gonna tell me."
"A bouquet of 27 red roses, one for each month we've been together.That's sooo....."
"Innovative?" I supplied.
"No, romantic! Gosh, D, why do you always have to be sarcastic?"
"Sarcastic? Who me? Ya, I know, no, no, I mean , umm, he really loves you," I said, thinking this was a close one.
"You think so? Really? Let me show you his messages," she said, jumping.
She began without any warning, "Wait let me read it out for you."

And this is how the text messages went:
1.' I love you my love '
2.'I may not be perfect, but my love for you is purrrfect!'
3. 'Baby I love you soooo much.. missing you already babes. '
4.'... love..............................................'
5. ... something love something
6. More love thrown in with random articles.

Yawn.. More Yawing.. even more ackward-bored-to-death Yawning

"Hey D, you're not bored are you? Now listen to this one", she quipped.
"N, why are you making me read your personal messages?" I asked, while praying for some mercy.

104. ' Baby I love you three much.. muah , this is for ur cheeks.. muah .. for your nose... muah.. :)'
Yawn, YAWN.. 'suicidal thoughts' while she made sure I read all her hundred or so messages!

124. ' Gud nite my love ...muah..'
125. ' I am missing u.. muah!!'

"Isn't he sweet, D?"
"Well, if he is simply texting all those 'muahs' I think he is rather lazy!"
"What did you say?" she asked, perplexed.
"Nothing of consequence, never mind."
"And did you read the message he sent me on our anniversary?"

There are always first times in life. That day for the first time in my life I really, truly envied the DEAF!

"Ok D, read this one." she said while shoving her phone under my nose. The message read- 'I will Love you forever.. :)'
"Now, tell me what do you think of him and I want you to be brutally honest," she begged.

My prudence and experience warned me, this is a trap. It has to be, whenever people ask you for your   'brutal honest' opinion, they don't really want you to be brutally honest, they just want you to tell them the truth in a sensitive, sugar coated, diplomatic, lying kind of way.

"Your Bf, huh? Dude, the guy is a pain in the backside. How did you bear him for 2 years when I couldn't stand him for two hours! This moron doesn't even have a vocabulary beyond 'I love you'. What do you do when you guys meet- have an 'I love you' saying competition or something? You say you miss him when he is not there, haven't you missed his brain even once in 2 years? This intellectually sterile bimbo is a burden on mother earth. You are bowled because he said he will love you forever. Bleeding Christ, did you even bother asking him what does forever mean to him- 2 years 3 months and 5 days or 3 years? Forever is possibly the most ambiguous word after love because it means different things to different people. It would have been safer had he said he would love you until next year. And as for love, honey we'll talk about it once you figure out how many days makes your Bf's FOREVER."

As much as I was dying to say this, I didn't . Instead I said:

"Oh, your Bf, he's a very nice guy and quite hot. You're a very lucky girl because he really loves you and most importantly you two make a perfect couple. "
(Ah, well what were you thinking?? I am not Harish Chandra or something, besides this is what she wanted to hear and at times I do give surprising people a skip.. so)

"Really? You think so?" she asked, smiling.
"Of course honey, I wouldn't be saying it if I didn't."
"Hey, thanks, btw you know what my BF has really interesting friends."
"I am sure he does."
"No, I mean if you like my BF, you are going to love his friends."

CONCLUSION: Diplomacy and being nice has its own side-effects. :\

P.S: My Peer-Pressure barometer is showing crazy figures.

That ink will stay with you forever, not sure if I can say the same for your partner.
Img Source:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fully Faltoo

Update: It's better if you skip this one. This is one of those pieces that make you cringe when you read them after a passage of time. The liberties I took with the punctuation are not the only thing wrong with this post. Thank god for growing up.

This is one of 'those' days, when I am in one of 'those' moods when I rarely make sense. I do get insane once in a while when my mind does a flip flop and I go over the top. Usually I try and hold on to my sanity but there are days in between , like this one, when I let it go.
Before you go ahead and judge me, I want you to take a moment and think. Think about why is sanity so over-rated to being with? Isn't sanity or insanity a relative term?

I guess I am loosing the thread, going off tangent. Oh wait, I didn't even have a thread in mind to begin with! Here's a confession, I was just feeling sadistic and thought of torturing people with some random atrocious writing, how’s that?

Apart from this sudden fit of insanity I am also a little confused. I don't know for some weird reason  form past few months I feel a sense of emptiness engulfing my life. Its like there's some vacuum that I need to fill but, I am totally lost on what do i fill it with. I have been missing something so terribly but the problem is I cant even figure out what am I missing. At times I feel an icy cold grip squeezing my heart and draining all its warmth I really want to break free from that grip but at that time I become so numb and helpless. I feel so lonely even in the crowd or when I am with friends its as if I have lost some connection, I know I need to reconnect but I am clueless about 'HOW' ?
I know there is something that I need that will set everything right I just hope I can figure out what is it before I lose myself.

I sound so incoherent and vague.
Mission accomplished.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Virginity- The Big Deal

She was an ordinary Allah fearing girl, her tiny but exuberant heart filled with many dreams and hopes for future. She did not even as much as look at other men. She wanted to ‘save’ herself for the marriage. She had always been told that ‘good’ girls didn't do ‘things’ before marriage. ‘Good’ girls didn't wear a certain kind of clothes because men will be men and girls must understand and only ‘good’ girls went to jannat after death. Allah didn't forgive ‘bad’ girls. There was no redemption for ‘bad’ girls. So she behaved like a ‘Good’ girl and wore clothes that wouldn't give away her slender figure. She didn't look at other men. She asked Allah for forgiveness whenever her thoughts wandered into the forbidden territory and reminded herself that she must always be a ‘good’ girl. She tried to keep her Allah happy. She had full faith in her Allah. She knew she would go to jannat. Her Allah will reward her for being ‘good’.
She got married to a very ‘good’ man. Her friends told her she was very lucky. She knew Allah was rewarding her for being a ‘good’ girl. She was very happy. She was beginning to live her dream with a ‘good’ man.

It was her first night. This night would change her life. She was nervous. Very nervous. She didn't know anything. But she knew her Allah is with her, after all she had always been 'good'. And she knew her husband was a ‘good’ man.
That night did change her life, and shattered her dreams… forever! She was stamped characterless, her husband disowned her, she was subjected to the worst humiliation and treated like some filthy insect because she did not bleed enough!

This is a true story of an Iranian woman who was forced to lead her life in dejection, shunned by society and her own family for being 'good' and because her husband suspected that she was not a virgin on her first night. What kind of world are we living in where the character of a woman resides in her vagina and is measured by how much she bleeds on her first night? In times when we are talking of woman empowerment and liberty, virginity is the yard stick we use to evaluate the purity of her character! Why is it that even as we talk of gender equality males expect their wives to be a virgin? And why is it that we women are expected to guard our virginity as some precious gift that we must offer to our husband on the first wedding night? Why is it that we women can’t ask our partners whether or not are they virgin themselves? Is demanding just a male prerogative?

Virginity has been deemed overrated since very long. In fact the terminologies that society has attributed to virginity is flawed and adds to the guilt feeling. We talk about losing virginity or giving it away. I don’t think a person has lost or given anything away or is different or less in any way if s/he is not a virgin!

The whole narrow definition of virginity is in desperate need of amend. In the strictest term; you are a virgin until you've had sexual intercourse with the member of the opposite sex. But this definition itself acts as a loop hole as it lets you get away with having a lot of different kinds of sex and still being able to call yourself a virgin. Technically, considering the traditional definition of virginity, someone who is homosexual can have sex every day and still be a virgin. Someone who has oral sex regularly too is a virgin. Does that really make sense?

I refuse to buy this redundant idea that is so biased and binding upon the women and covers up for men by stating that MEN WILL BE MEN. If being good means I'll have to curtail my freedom, I refuse to be 'good'. If society terms girls who live life on their own terms as 'bad' I chose to be labelled 'bad'. I refuse to 'save' myself for marriage. If I happen to remain virgin till I marry that will be because I choose to be one and not because I am obliged to make a gift of it to my husband.

Unusual music, some interesting sentiments.. a curious feeling in the pit of my stomach, brings to mind a Quote-
"Virginity can be lost by a thought."

P.S: Words of wisdom: "Nobody dies a virgin death, Life fucks all!"

Need I say more?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tryst with Versatility

"Two roads diverged in a wood,
I took the one less traveled by…
And that has made all the difference!"

A well paying secure job, a decent house and a family, this is all that most people aspire in life. But what would you call a man who gave up these very things and went on to become a street artist and chose a life of uncertainty ? Eccentric?
May be it does take an element of eccentricity to leave the trodden path and wander in uncertain terrain, not just to say that I’ll live life on my own terms but to go out and do it, not just to dare to dream but to chase those dreams and live it!

Piet Bel is one of those few who are living their dream. Sauntering at Connaught Place I spotted a middle aged foreigner making live sketch of a lady. More than his artistic ability what caught my attention was the glint of passion in his eyes. Something about him made me stop and take notice. There are times when one meets the most unexpected people at most unexpected place and in the least expected manner. I stood there in silence observing him finish his sketch with utmost devotion. It was for the first time I had actually experienced how does it feel to love one’s work.

Piet told me that he was well versed in six languages .By profession he was a teacher, a translator, a linguist, an artist, a musician, a traveler and an author. Phew!
‘Versatile’ would be an understatement for such a person. And in case you are wondering, Jack of all trade- you are wrong; he was the master of all.
Piet had been traveling all over the world for last 22 years and already had two published travelogues to his credit. He first came to India in 1997 and since then he has kept coming back. On being asked what intrigued him most about the country, he promptly replied “Why it’s diversity of course,” and then added “Varanasi” as an after thought. “I couldn't stop my amazement at realizing the contrast of Glen Affric in Scottish Highlands and this Indian Varanasi. No other place has made such an impression on me. While floating on the majestic and inspiring Ganges I was happy to be,” he said. His love affair with India incidentally started with Varanasi.

At 48, Piet is more in love with life than any teenager and his contentment shone bright in his eyes. I asked him about the books he had written and he said he had just finished one called ‘Hannah’ which is life story of a girl and with a child like delight added that the closing chapter is based in India. The book has not been published yet. I couldn't keep myself from asking why he chose India as the backdrop for the closing chapter. He immediately got up, opened his bag and took out a white book. “I happen to have an unpublished copy of my work, why don’t you read it and find out for your self?” he said handing me his book. I turned the first page and there it was, in a tiny hand
‘For D, Journalists are the objective and critical eye of society: don’t forget!’ signed Pier Bel.
I could feel the bubble of happiness inflating within me. “May I ask just one more thing?” I asked my voice almost shaking with excitement. “Go ahead,” he said with a smile. “What is it that you wish from life?” “I would like to be somewhere. Be somewhere without wishing any thing else. Be somewhere because I want to be there, not imagining, not knowing there might be other places one could go, not waiting for death as if I was retired or tired of life or waiting for something to happen but to be able to see the trees and look at skies and be able to hear my hear,”  he concluded dreamily.

P.S: We were actually given an assignment to go to C.P and interview any "interesting" person we can find and report it.
* First target was the CD guys at Palika and that turned out to be a hilarious and "ENRICHING" experience.
* I zeroed on beggars next but that didn't work either and Shruti ended up giving her lunch (Chicken roll) to them.
* Then We just bumped into PIET BEL and ended up talking to him for over 2 hours and finally I did get an
"interesting" interview and the draft of his not yet published book so nice of Piet!
* Yesterday I was up all night trying to write this report but I couldn't get a sentence and today morning I had this entire thing typed in less than an hour sitting in college.
 I perform best in Pressure cooker conditions.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"18 till I die !!"

Immortal words by a mortal star, ‘18 till I die'. Personally I have my own views about immortality. For instance, I would rather achieve immortality by simply not dying than through my work but then that’s besides the point here. So I’ll try to stay put and not go off tangent!I had for long been laboring under the illusion that my life would take a dramatic turn once I turn 18 and now precisely five days after attaining that coveted 2 digit figure, the state of affairs remain a paradoxical abyss.

The Indian law considers people above 18 years of age as ‘adults’ and thus one is conferred with several rights at that age. But come to think of it the very foundations of Indian laws are contradicting. The ambiguity starts from the very word ‘adult’. When does a person cease to be a child? At 18, when a girl can marry; 16, when she can give consent for sex; or 14, when a person can work in hazardous jobs?But then I don’t intend to analyze the contradicting laws or their implementation or rather the lack of it!

Coming back to my newly acquired legal rights;

1. A person is legally allowed to drive at 18.

Yes, our law makers feel that a person is capable enough to handle a car at that age.(I read somewhere that sex is like driving, so in case you can’t wait to drive till you are 18 you can still legally experiment with some sex after 16 to get a fair idea)Well my even though my parents second the law makers' point of view and feel that 18 is the right age to get a Driver’s license, the appropriate age when their daughter should get the car remains debatable.

2. It’s illegal to sell tobacco products to people under 18.

So now that I am 18 I can walk up to any paan waala and demand for my pack of cigarettes with a new instilled confidence.That I consider smoking obnoxious, inconsiderate and plain yucky is a different matter altogether.The fact that now I can lawfully buy tobacco is enough to make me feel empowered, indeed!

3. 18 is the minimum age for a girl to get married.

It's true! I can get married to any gentleman I please, who is of course above 21years (That's the age the not-so-fairer sex is expected to grow up). So the policy makers think at 18 a person is old enough to get married, start a family and have babies ... though they also feel that the person needs a lot more growing up before s/he can handle his/her drinks (Legal drinking age being 25).Therefore, even though I can get married at 18, I can't celebrate my marriage with a drink!

4. 18 is the minimum age for voting.

Yippee! I will from now onwards have a say in the governance of the country. So what if my 'one' vote is simply a drop in the ocean? The voting rights give me the mental satisfaction and the much needed reassurance that I am finally and legally an adult.

Though by the standards of the Indian government I am an adult, my parents bluntly refuse to even acknowledge the fact! So, even after turning 18...

* I continue to travel by blue lines and autos (on more fateful days).
* I continue to drink milk with two tbs BOURNVITA!! (It’s tasty and healthy)
* I continue to struggle to get back home before sunset.
* I continue to eat out of my mummy's hands! (The experience is almost heavenly)
Would I still Love to be '18 till I die’? Umm.. I would have said yes without a thought had it not been for the "LEGAL DRINKING AGE"


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