Tonight was a dark, gloomy, cold pahadi night like all those nights which were part of her special childhood. She always waited for this night and finally it came after 10 or 15 years. When She could breath and hear herself breath in flesh and bones. What happened in all these years? Why she took so much of time , meeting herself again? Why she was never alone in all the years and why she is now happy being alone again? When a girl marries a man, his dreams become hers, his life become hers, she finds happiness in his success and happiness and as a woman, she never thinks it’s wrong or or may be there isn’t. This whole idea of becoming one; why this is so fulfilling for a woman only. After all this years of love, break-ups and relationships, she only realised one thing that two people do become one but only one of them to be lost. It’s only one person who actually survives in this idea of becoming one, the other one just vanishes and most of the time its us women who like to sacrifice and lose themselves.
Were you always scared to be alone, to live alone or to die alone, Not having anyone to share a beer on a Sunday afternoon, or to chill your wine on a Friday night. So all these compromises were out of this fear, the job you took, the man you married, the children you birthed and the life you lived. All because you were scared to be alone. But now after all these years, you suddenly realise loneliness was the least scariest monster. The real one was losing yourself but now it is too late even for realising it…
I was never scared of being alone but I was always scared to hurt people. People who were my birth relations, people who did favour to me, people who were basically around me when I was nothing and everything. I did normal things in life to make myself feel normal, to make my mother feel normal about me. Nothing left nothing right, just walked on that line which was marked by those people. I kept mum when I wanted to scream. I smile when I want to smash somebody’s head. I studied at nights when all I want to lie under the stars till dawn. I took a 9 to 5 job when I wanted to stay awake all night to write my day dreams. I got married when I want to run away from everyone and find myself in that small Himalayan village where nobody knew me.
I did all that and more for what. To reach this point in my life where I have everything and nothing at the same time. Where my mind is numb and my heart is swollen. Swollen with the happiness I created for others. Have you ever have your heart swollen? not full but swollen. so much that you are not able to breath. so much that you can’t laugh anymore. And if you ever laugh, you suddenly become inaudible to yourself.
So don’t get scared. Not of situations, not of breaking hearts, not of hurting people, not of getting disliked or hated and certainly not of being alone. Because even if you will be left alone in life, you will have yourself. The same self whose heart is full not swollen.
Veins carrying vodka to the heart,
Or maybe my blood has lost its romantic color,
And now its white,
White as angels or white as if someone died.
Who can tell if I am carrying the burden of a colorless heart
Or poor swollen heart carrying my dead soul,
See that’s the thing with life,
When you know it’s perfect;
It starts to loathe you.
So bad that your skin forgets to breath
And if does, it only does with a deep cut
Oozing rivulet of undone desires…..
A pregnant moon full of light in its womb was celebrating my arrival. Six young boys from my would-be village were carrying me in a wedding wooden wagon. All I could smell is sweating masculinity in the month of July in Himachal. I could see a dark brawny arm holding my wagon from in between, trying to balance my weight and suddenly I was envisioning Satu’s muscular body. I don’t remember his face. All I remember is his folded sleeves up to elbows, the thick hairline running from his wrist to the elbow and yes, his fauzi haircut; as my brother says zero haircut.
Today I married him. I will be living with him in the same room. I have always shared a sleeping room, with my mother, with Rani and suman, with my cousins but I have never shared a room with a man, with a man of my age. How it is going to be? We are supposed to sleep on the same bed, with little or no separation. How is that going to be? Our bodies will rub each other. I can smell him, his neck, his arm pits, his chest and he can do the same. Nobody will think why we are together in the same room? What we will be doing behind the doors?
Suman was teasing me for my first night. How is that going to be? I am tired, my face and forehead is all red with sindoor. Marriage ceremonies were too tiresome. In the red veil, I could see no body. I mean why to get ready and be so beautiful when nobody can see you? All I could see was hands, my hands, Satu’s hands, my mothers’ hands and priests’ hands, all stained in grains, water, milk, butter, sindoor and what not. My face contorted at the thought of whole ceremony. I remember how I hated marriage ceremonies and how I used to tell amma that I so want to marry in court like my teacher in school did. Amma used to snap and say, ‘haan bhaag ke jayegi, naak ktayegi hamari.’
dancing on my roof,
they know how I feel,
they know how I feel,
kissing the drenched soil,
They know how I feel,
lost in this gigantic city,
and a black moon
hanging on my white drape,
they know how I feel.
Lust took over
at the midnight,
old jeans pockets,
here I saw you,
broken with bleeding neck,
held your neck gently,
our lips met,
the long kiss
burnt my mouth,
and I consumed you
until you dry,
I did it
and did it well,
a broken cigarette.
Things changed between
You and me..
Earlier it was love,
Then it changed to commitment,
And finally a desolate relationship
Where we were together just because of
Friends, family and our beautiful past.
What went wrong? Who went wrong?
Is it me, you or this relationship?
Or the expectations we had from this relationship?
‘You were never my friend’, I guess this ‘went wrong’.
You were always a lover,
A soul mate and a person with whom
I wanted to be bounded, to be hitched, and to be confined…….
Love opened my heart but I deliberately,
Let you see only that part where you used to reside.
I wish you could have asked more,
And been little more obstinate to see the other million little things there.
They were beyond you and this love.
You called me selfish; I agree I was, and I am….
She stopped feeling everything after few weeks. Pain, happiness, smiles, cries; everything. Only one thing flowing under her skin was nothingness. Feeling of having nothing; feeling nothing; dying of sinking to the deepest waters; where she couldn’t hear her own heartbeats. As if it was not beating and still for a moment.
Mother was crying on the phone, of her disappointments, her misfortune, her pain, and her never ending sorrows. And, all she wanted on the other side of the call was to end the call. Had it been some other day; some other moment, she would have felt the need of being with her mother, consoling her in her arms, wiping her tears off and shedding some to accompany hers. Surprisingly, she was feeling none of that.
She left him; that relationship; every relationship for that matter. She didn’t know for good or bad but she had to. Everyone thought that she is wrong. Maybe, they all are right. She didn’t know much. All she knew was that it had to end.
Not because, he was wrong or she was right. But because they were different; or maybe only she was different. She couldn’t understand him, her parents, or the quintessential decent society. She was imperfect to everyone.
She didn’t know not putting her dreams on the back seat made her less committed. She didn’t know not putting a red mark on her forehead made her less married. She didn’t know not changing her surname made her less loyal.
An imperfect daughter, an imperfect girlfriend, an imperfect bride and an imperfect woman.
An imperfect woman who couldn’t understand the art of taking permissions; obeying orders; making herself indispensable; and having smiling lips and a sore soul. An imperfect woman who could not understand what it means when someone says, ‘sacrifice for love’.
A little girl lives in my heart
and she wants to fly…
She walks, I walk;
she sleeps, I sleep;
and I watch her dreaming…
I feed her innocence,
truth & Bravery;
And nurtures her
with madness & wildness,
I tried to hide her from others,
But then she fights for them
and I watch her fighting…
I want to be like her,
Spread my wings and not crawl,
Dream like her,
But then life couldn’t have it all….
I am glad she is still there
And I didn’t let her die
A little girl lives in my heart
And she wants to fly..
Watching the skies
has been my favorite pastime,
From early dawn
to the late half past nine.
Clouds, changing colors and
tracing varied contours with a poise
Putting me in a light trance;
like a dreamer, I always close my eyes.
But, today the storm clouds gathered;
and, no contour they could trace
Dyed the sky, blackish-blue;
they shouted, screamed and lost their grace
And, I slaughtered my dreams
with the cantankerous clamour,
kept the parts in my clandestine closet;
glad, only I can hear their yammer…
I call him a painter,
he painted my heart
with the color of love;
he is a writer,
As he wrote
lyrics for its beats.
Filled silent hours
of my morning,
With his chuckles
dissolved in mine;
Walking on the cold,
wet grasses alone,
I felt his fingers’
warmth in mine.
A stranger to my heart
And made my heart
a stranger to me…
Its’ four twenty three in the morning; background music of ocean splashes from the movie ‘the ship of Theseus’ filling my spooky empty apartment, (recently, I have developed this habit of listening movies than watching them), a packed blue giant suitcase and a stale rose bouquet from the Valentine’s Day. Yes, I am leaving this city after 4 years. Before this moment, I was thinking, I am going home. Am I really going home? A place full of love, security and comfort; that’s home; right? Convenient life, loving & dependable people and never alone; that’s home. But for a person, who is comfortable when insecure, scared, alone and independent – what’s an idea of home?
I came to this city alone with nothing but dreams. Four years back, first day in this apartment, which I never called home; I slept alone on floor bedding. I never had a more dreamful night in my life and surprisingly, all those dreams have come true by this time. I had my best and worst moments in this apartment. I laughed, cried, read, wrote here with the best companion I ever had, myself. I found a new friend within me here. Had long conversations until dawn with none but myself. This place taught me to be alone; not to be happy or sad but to be content, while alone. It was different than being in hostel, letting friends, roommates joining my giggles or wiping off the tears coursing down my cheeks, as none was here but me to do that all.
From the little stupid modern art on its walls to the old, not-so-pleasant but very accustomed fragrance its rooms have; everything is so damn mine here. You buy things everyday but seldom you create. I guess I created something here. From a scared, little village girl to a strong and independent woman; I guess I created a lot here. Poems, stories, love, strength and yes, I created a home here.
This is home for sure; my home and tonight is my last night here…
So, Saying goodbye to this home. I am damn sure I will never be able to create this home again.
See its’ morning… From last night to last morning in my home..
Not related to this piece but the only song playing in my mind… so ‘she is leaving home’
Have you ever witnessed a heart breaking?
Crust of Happiness shedding off,
Abysmal voids of desires leaving,
Or ever seen its color changing to deep blue from romantic red….
You know it’s there, but no music,
Is it still beating; I’m not sure,
Once it has a list of songs playing,
Today it’s all about broken strings…
Have you ever witnessed a heart breaking?
Pitying tears, sprinkling its dry soul
New blood, blue blood
Making a criss cross arrays in blue veins,
Have you ever witnessed a heart breaking?
She was a girl,
a young girl
And she had names,
She was called;
She was called.
afraid in her heart,
she decided to run away
Crossed villages, cities
and reached an open plateau,
Seeing her reflection in sky’s mirrors,
gone were her fears
Forgot her names,
her own name too..
Who I am,
Nobody she is,
and has never had a more beautiful name
to be nobody..
Nobody she was,
Nobody I am.
a leaky tap
dripped a drop,
or an acoustic jazz,
I heard on an autumn night,
Frozen city lights
illumined my streets,
or a full moon bath
I beheld on an autumn night,
puff of cool breeze
caressed my shy cheeks,
Or a perfect kiss
I felt on an autumn night,
forgot to go home tonight,
Or a lost love
I missed on an autumn night….
I met her yesterday
She was quiet again
Hands on the chest
Like was holding some pain,
Lifted her face
Tried to look into my eyes
Out of guilt, couldn’t pull myself up
And kept gazing the skies,
‘Murderer’ – she called me
In her languid tone
True she was
In despair, I could only moan,
Yes, I killed her long back
And, I take the blame
Assassin of my ‘own’ innocence
But, the crime was still the same..
and moving cadavers,
and mourning eyes,
in a ‘VERSACE’ chemise,
under a ‘CARTIER’ ticker,
Yes, I smell money
and hear cacophony,
My faith plummets
and so my chest-throb,
Have resplendent gems,
still a thirsty soul it is,
Today, I touched myself,
and finally numb it is….
Would you mind if I borrow your dream for a night?
haven’t smiled in my sleep for long…
Would you mind holding my hand till dawn?
these eerie figures scare me every night….
Would you mind let your chuckling stay here tonight?
tired of crying with my gloomy room….
Would you mind covering my face, when the morning sun knocks at my window?
he breaks my dream every time he enters my room…
would you mind!!!!
Lazy afternoon nap, I was taking at my home town. Amma was sleeping next to me, muttering the same question 100th of time, ‘when are you leaving for Delhi?’
She waits for me, coming home to sleep with her, telling her my office stories, and sharing my life with her. She counts days, rechecks my bag to count clothes; I brought home, to be sure about my days at home.
‘Amma, I told you so many times; its’ tomorrow evening’, my raised voice made me sound annoyed this time. Amma didn’t say anything after this; she got up quietly and sat on the bed, looking for her old and dirty spectacles. I realized my mistake that very moment and dragged my head to her cozy lap. ‘Amma, I told you, I can’t ask for any more leaves; they will kick me out of this job’, I tried to soften my voice as much as I could. She remained silent and kept on running her fingers through my hair and I almost cried at the feel of them, all my childhood memories stayed there in my closed tearful eyes, for a moment.
The days, when my now-85 years old, thin, physically fragile Amma, my grandmother, used to be a strong headed, single, and an independent woman; as I recalled her in my childhood days. I remember how even old villager men were scared of speaking anything nonsense in her presence. My mother is an emotional woman and exactly opposite to my Amma. I hardly remember my mother shouting at us, or caring for our school dresses, studies or anything else, she used to be too depressed and sick to do that all. Actually, she didn’t need to as Amma always played a strict and dependable father to us, shouting at us, fighting for us, supporting us physically, mentally and financially too. I remember her busy days starting from getting us ready for the school, working whole day in the farms like most of our villager women do, scolding us for playing too long or for not studying.
She was heart of our family, taking care of everyone, scolding every one for not being perfect at their jobs. Everyone used to respect and get scared of her, at the same time. She was still working like a strong man, few years ago until this dreadful disease hit her. I could have never imagined Amma as such a weak person, who now needs another person to even fetch a glass of water too. Walking slowly in the veranda of our house, she is hardly noticeable. Maybe new brides, kids, newborns in my house have taken much important place in everyone’s life. AND, now she has become a task for everyone; her special meal, her medicines, her appointments with doctors, is job to everyone. She coughs all night and everyone complains about their disturbed sleep. She forgets things and keeps on asking same question, but sadly my busy family including myself has no time to repeat the same answers for her.
But, then I saw my cousin holding his two years old daughter and answering to her repetitive questions about the flower pot in our veranda. What was the difference, I could not understand? I was wondering how many times Amma would have answered our weird questions? How many times she would have hugged us when we were hurt playing? How many sleepless nights she must have had, when we were having fever? This was never a task for her; it was a joy to her; it was her life. And, now when she needs us, she is task to us. We explain, saying, ‘we are busy in our own life.’ I wonder if she didn’t have any of her own life while we were growing.
I guess this is not only my story. We all are impatient with our oldies; we ignore them assuming they don’t understand our modern lives. Now, may be they are weak and have a short memory; but if you remember, we used to be exactly the same, when we were young and then, they nurtured us with their love and raised us to what we are today.
I hope we could be the same to them as they were to us. When we had tiny hands and no voice; when we were strangers to the world and the world was to us, they held our hands and let us see, speak, understand the world through them. They spent a life time to make us understand the world and gave the most pleasing memories of our lives. So, what if they don’t remember anything now, can’t we make a new memory every day for them; as a small effort to repay the IMMENSE which they gave us and they are still giving us. Love can overpower the most terminal sickness too. They supported us when we were kids so don’t you think, they also have a right to be kids now.
Then why we treat them as a task in our lives, why we are impatient with them.. we have played enough on their shoulders, now it’s their turn.. Let them be kids now….
My head was still resting in Amma’s lap and she again asked me, ‘kalu jana tu? (When will you go?)’ I kissed her lap and said, ‘kadi ni Amma’ (NEVER Amma).
‘Small, Medium, large, XL, XXL, XXL or 10, 12, 14, 16, or 22, 24’; what is it? These are not sizes of a ‘Zara Top’ you bought today or you are going to buy tomorrow or day after. But this is actually you ‘my love’. Yes, you, the pretty woman; and of course you are more than that. You are white, extra white, ‘brown rang (yo-yo honey singh)’ and so many ‘rangs’, you must have never imagined. Thin, extra thin, Zero-figure; white skin, extra white skin, glowing skin; long hair, straight hair, painted hair; big breasts, rounded posteriors , Flat stomachs and list goes on.
Ha ha ha and if you don’t have any of above features then you must have only little brains up in your skull but sadly that would not be much appreciated.
Welcome to my society! Not Asian or American but a world society; where a woman has adjectives like Hawtt, prude, slut, whore, cock-tease, nympho and so on…. Or sometimes we are known as big-boos, pimples on the chests, V shaped and so much else. Every magazine (no matter what is the theme of that magazine) has zillions of tips for girls to look attractive, so called saaxxyy. Why? Not to make them feel good; but to be what men like about them. And this is the tragedy, a woman struggle her whole life to be fit, look beautiful and sensual enough to hold her partner back in her bedroom.
Give me definition of beautiful and who the hell ever defined this term beautiful? And, why a girl is being recognized only and only if she is beautiful? Why beauty means just a few terms like white skin, perfect body (with proportionate flesh on your frontal and posterior and your stomach skin touching your backbone), Kilos of makeup & facial paints, implants, never eating, constantly exercising to the point of exhaustion?
I feel sorry and disheartened when my 17 years old cousin is skipping meals to be like the other super-hot girl in her college. She is more concerned to be like a skinny model or an actress on TV rather than discovering herself and her uniqueness. Zillions of teenagers are into these beautifying exercises. Why? To impress their Prince Charming! That f**king prince charming (FPCs), who is always after those super-skinny, painted girls who flirt with everyone to make themselves feel noticed in colleges, offices or even on the roads.
I am not writing for these wannabe girls because when god has forgotten to put any brains in their skulls; then how I can help them. But what happened to you? You, the real girl, who is continuously dieting, are putting paints; either to imitate these girls or to impress your FPCs. But, what happened to be real? Why you can’t be proud on just being yourself? I agree you would like to be fit and healthy and that’s great; but, do it for yourself; treat yourself nicely. Don’t do it because some stupid girl around the corner is doing.
But, you know something; I guess I am blaming society in vain. The biggest problem lies in women only; they are being their own critics. Oh! you have grown so fat, oh! Poor you! Your skin is so dull, oh, you are looking so old!! F**k you!! I am happy the way I am and I have much more of productive work to do rather than listening to your f**king tantrums and advices.
Beauty exists beyond flesh, whether it is for a skinny woman, a well-built woman, or one with any of the ‘rangs’. Everybody is different, and that’s what makes people normal. For god sake, be real and love yourself. This is the biggest blessing you have that you are a normal & an average girl. Don’t listen to society and make your own identity. You need not to be someone else to be perfect. You are yourself and unique. Be natural and let world recognize the real you. And, if someone like your FPC is judging you on your looks and appearance, ask him to go and marry Sunny Leon (yeh, because maybe he is looking for the so-called-perfect-body and of course she has one).
“We met at the railway station or a bus-stop,
Or in that old church, on a Sunday Morning,
Early in the morning,
Late in the evening;
You ran behind the bus I took,
That old bus, with rusted stairs;
You jumped over the back stairs,
Watching me, from the back-window panes;
Or we met in those dark nights of my village,
Where I could not see your face;
Neither could you see mine,
You were the same stranger,
I smiled back, coming out of an ATM,
You were the same guy, who laughed aloud,
While watching me,dancing alone in rains;
It was you, who lit that cigarette,
On a cold evening, and I made a face,
You, then squashed it against your foot,
Seeing me, smiling back to you;
You kissed me, in your poems,
You painted my soul, on the walls of your room,
You heard my voice, with closed eyes,
You dreamed about me, with open eyes;
It was you, whom I wanted to see,
Waking up in the morning,
Or before closing my eyes, in the night;
You heard me, laughing like crazy,
And, crying like an insane too,
You saw the most beautiful of me;
And the ugliest of me too;
You missed me,
Around and inside you,
I felt you,
Around and inside me;
We fought hard like friends,
We fell in love like two teenagers and their first love,
We supported each other like an old couple,
And, we shared little moments like a newlywed.
We have almost lived a life with each other
And, still you say, we need to meet once.”
‘I have never believed in religion all my life but I believe in faith and I believe when we have nothing to give to someone, we can give him faith/hope’, Paulo told me this in his broken English, while we were walking through the streets of Rosa favela. I met Paulo in a party two weeks ago at a Brazilian colleague’s house. Paulo Mota and his wife are running an NGO called Restoration Ministries in Favelas for last 28 years, supporting kids, drug addicts, and prostitutes in around 10 Favelas in Sao Paulo. Paulo has single-handed raised money from different parts of world to have a sports camp for favela kids every weekend. Yes, of course sometimes volunteers from North America, mainly students, support these camps but Paulo is yet to see a wealthy Brazilian who can spend a single penny from his pocket for these have-nots. I requested him to make me visit one Favela and he agreed on one of the Sundays I had in Brazil.
I got few instructions from Paulo and William (one of the leaders of Volunteers of Restoration Ministries) before our car entered the community.
– Don’t take photographs without our permission.
– Your name is ‘Paula’ not Pooja
– If someone asks you anything, just nod your head and let us speak.
– Don’t look into the eyes of drug-dealers or any criminals.
As we entered the community, I could notice the aesthetic differences there and the places I have been staying in Sao Paulo. They don’t even have legal electricity so they steal it from the government and you can see millions of wires from a single power pole. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention, for sure.’
William signaled a few drug dealers standing on the other side of a sewage water-pool in Favela and they let our car come in. William was calling these Kids, drug dealers. They were hardly 17 to 20 years, wearing loose clothes but still I could see weapons popping out from their hoods. William told me that they get involved in drug trafficking since they are 10. ‘Each favela is famous for something other than drugs. ‘This Favela is famous for weapons, so if you want to take any military guns, machine guns, AK-47, rifles to India, you can buy from here,’ William teased me.
We parked our car near a small soccer ground, which Paulo and his organization had supported and started walking the narrow streets of favela. It was not different than any slum area of east Delhi or Dharavi in Mumbai. Paulo and William were telling me about poor education and public health in these Favelas. Suddenly, a girl in her mid-twenties, came running towards William and hugged him tightly. I could see her crying loudly and saying something in Portuguese. I wanted to talk to her but as instructed, I maintained distance. Suddenly, William beckoned us and we entered her tiny house. Paulo told me that she was one of the Drug lords’ girls when she was young. By young, he meant 13 to 16 years. These Favelas are run by mainly drug dealers and criminals, All the Sao Paulo favelas are run by a Criminal Gang known as PCC, Primeiro Comando da Capital and these criminals can choose any beautiful favela girl to have sex with them and these girls are known as Drug lords’ girls. It is a status symbol for these girls because somehow they are saved and protected under this title. This girl, Marini, was a Drug lords’ girl until she was 20. Then they abandoned her with her three daughters and a drug addiction which she has no control over. She wanted to kill herself and her daughters too. All of us joined our hands and prayed with/for Marini. William encouraged her for life and asked her to continue her rehab at a clinic nearby favela.
I became numb as we left Marini in her house. I asked Paulo why Police and government are not doing anything against drug dealers. Paulo told me that people in Favelas don’t believe in government/Police, moreover they have a reward for every policeman’ murder. For every murder, PCC gives 5000 Reais to any Favela person. According to Paulo, until now they have killed more than 100 policemen in this year. They don’t go to police, never. Whenever they have a dispute, they go to PCC. PCC can even kill the culprit based on the crime like rape and drug theft. One of the famous death sentences in this favela is called Microwave death sentence where PCC burns the culprit alive in rubber tyres.
Nobody touches the body until the ambulance or medical police comes, sometimes it takes 24 to 48 hours and until then dead body is there rotting, sometimes people cover it with newspapers. This happens to be one of the strongest laws in Brazil. Even someone is dead on the streets; they cannot take them to hospitals in private cars.
In these favelas, are also many talented artists, like rappers, guitarist and singers? Competent kids but without a possibility of showing it to the world, they can’t be educated because the teachers are afraid of them, they can choose either begging on the streets for food or candies or working for the criminals and drug-dealers. They always find the second option easier and go for a dreadful and short life.
But beyond all this despair what I could see in these Favelas is a hope for life. Every night they play music, they dance, trying to forget the son who was shot dead last week by a drug dealer or a daughter who is nothing less than a dead person, all dependent on drugs or prostitution. People like Paulo are trying to make a little difference in these lives. Like he said,’ even if you are not able to give anything ; give hope, give faith, in every or any way we can ..
I was absolutely exhausted after my four business meetings in last seven hours; same presentation, talking to people about nothing but business, projects, practicality and lots of money is really gruesome. But after a busy working day, if you still decide to sit in a bolted hotel room, it even makes you feel more sickening. So like every evening, I decided to take a small gait around my hotel. It is my routine now; in Santiago, a small gait means three to four miles easily and you never get bored of walking miles and miles on the road. Believe me or not, you experience best of the life on these roads or particular on this road to Santiago.
On the same road only, I met a Brazilian-cum-Chilean-cum-Colombian musician, talking to me in Hindi about A.R. Rehman and song ‘Roza’, which made my Indian heart proud of our music and heritage. He invited me to his concert the next day and made me believe that music is truly a universal language which can even make Indian feet dance on Spanish melodies.
Sitting in the veranda of Spanish learning institute, I met this Bolivian girl studying political-science in University of Santiago with scholarship, working part-time at a restaurant to support her studies, learning English, French and Portuguese while teaching Spanish at the same institute, parties everyday but whenever she goes to sleep, she thinks of her farmer parents back in Bolivia who works hard every day from early dawn to late evening, just to earn two meals and support her in every way they can. She had dreams in her eyes and been brave enough to leave her comfort zone, and chase those dreams, no matter how hard is the ride going to be.
When I walked few blocks to the downtown of Santiago, I met a civil engineer from America’s best college, sitting on the road, sketching and painting life. When I asked him what his real ambition is, he got confused. He said nothing and then I was confused. He said, ‘I paint and sketch because I love it, now anywhere life takes me, I hardly care.’ He used to live in a 20 dollar per day hostel with some other crazy people like him who does nothing but what they love. I felt life could be so easy without planning a future, only working on and in present.
When I walked few hundred kilometers towards the west to Santiago, I met an environment science student, a tree lover in Valparaiso, camouflaged in a tree, standing at a tourist place in Viña del Mar all day, earning some pesos every day during her vacations, but whatever she does is not for money but she truly believes in the idea of saving trees, saving environment and saving earth. I asked her why you need this, when Chileans are already so environment friendly, riding bicycles to the offices and keeping their streets and roads clean. She told me, ‘it’s’ not something I am doing for gaining anything.’ ‘I am doing it because I believe in it.’
Down to Valparaiso, I met a wonderful dancing man, selling fresh shrimps on the road with his mom and he doesn’t want to get married whole his life because he loves his mother too much that he doesn’t want to share himself with some other person in his life. On the contrary, his single mother wants him to get married and start his life so that she can die in peace. The most important person in my life is my mother so his story touched me and left me crying with his mother.
I met scientists, doctors, artists in Santiago whom US Government issues thousands of green cards, inviting them to live in US but Chileans leave them completely disappointed as no Chilean wants to leave his/her country, which I feel true patriotism is. No matter how good or bad their country is, they would not leave it. These people are no different than any of us but still for me they were extra-ordinary. Living their lives the way they want to, no goals in life but still passions to die for, less money but more satisfaction, less comfort but more happiness, eyes full of dreams, hearts filled with love, no planning but insane optimism. These are and these were the people I met on the road to Santiago. People who are not Chileans, Americans, Brazilians, Indians or Latinos, they were people passionate about what they have and what they are doing in their lives, respecting 4 or 5 decades of time which we all call our lives…Meeting People – On the Road to Santiago…
So, did you feel the budding thorns of winters on your face, in your hair and all around your neck above the blue jersey you are wearing in Shimla today evening? Well, I am feeling the same sitting thousands kilometers away from you, on this wooden bench outside the Spanish learning school in Santiago, Chile. Few days ago, when I reached Santiago from Sao Paulo, the first thing came across my mind was, ‘Wow! Its’ almost like Himachal. You can easily compare the big green mountains covering the snow-covered Andeans with Himalayan range in any part of Himachal. It started watching the andeans from the plane itself.
The difference is the infrastructure akin to any American or European country, better roads, and of course I can’t have a Chilean playing Spanish music right just for me, while I am writing in Himachal. I have been to a few countries in Latin America but believe me, Chile is special and Santiago is for sure special. Santiago is one the most spotless cities of Latin America. I am not comparing Santiago with Sao Paulo, Rio, or Buenos Aires, neither can I, but it has serenity, contentment in the air it breathes. Chileans are quite unlike Brazilians and Mexicans. They are not loud but still they enjoy their lives, and of course not to mention, they know how to win the hearts.
I don’t know what it is? May be less population, embraced & blessed with nature, or the weather or the famous road to Santiago by Paulo Choleho, but Santiago has a place and heart for accepting and loving anyone and everyone. You can find an old woman advising you on how to cover yourself in rain, while you don’t have an umbrella with you. At the same time, an unknown passer-by Chilean greets you in the morning with a beautiful smile on his face. I can walk all alone to the meetings having GPS in my hand on walking mode. I know it’s funny but Santiago is a place where you would love walking miles and miles alone and that’s what I am doing these days. I have learnt a new language ‘sign language’ since I am traveling to Latin America. No matter if they don’t understand English and I have a broken Spanish, still Chileans make sure to walk with me to my destination or at least make me understand the way in their broken English or the special sign language.
Santiago has two things flowing in its blood; one is the Andeans Mountains range which I hope to see this weekend and of course the great Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet. My love for Pablo Neruda started from the two hours spent in the lobby of Chilean embassy in Vasant Bihar, New Delhi, while waiting for collection of my Visa. I pick a book from the library of embassy and it had to be a small collection of his poems and I didn’t want to leave that lobby for the whole day. And when I was on the poem, ‘A Song Of Despair’, I couldn’t control the tears flowing down my cheeks. The pain and love, Pablo could have felt while writing this poem is beyond details. I was wondering if the translated version has this effect then how would be the original one. And I got a chance to listen to the Spanish and original version of this poem recited by a Chilean which was an extra-ordinary experience. I just met, Paula, a Bolivian student living in Santiago since last four years for her studies in Public relations and the way she recited A song of despair to me, I fell in love with the poem all over again.
This is Santiago, and its heart still beats for and through the poems of Pablo Neruda. It has romance and pain in its air but still smiling for no reason. That’s first few steps on the road of Santiago, I hope a lot more coming.. chau chau..
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” – E.B. White
So, I am again here to tell you that I didn’t write a single word on paper since last month. No particular reason, just looking for a right moment or right thing to pen down. Looking for fodder for my new post, I literally wasted hours and hours and finally I found that there’s nothing called ‘the RIGHT thing’ to pen down.
Nothing exists like writing hours. It’s not important to write when your novel vein hits you but it’s important to write any day and every day. After dinner, before dinner, early in the morning, late in the night, in the bed, on your desk, with a drink in your hand or a coffee at your table, nothing matters, if you are sitting in a park with nature, or in your living room filled with kids or exploiting the last hour of your work like me, right now. What important is to write and write with discipline, write regularly and write every day.
The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie
You can learn how to write by writing only. Sometimes life is hard, a bad day at work, fight with friends, arguments with room-mates, colleagues/partners, suddenly viral hitting you, so many things in routine. So what! Fuck everything and put everything on a piece of paper. Remember melancholy is writer’s best friend.
Writing is nothing different than a regular job or skill or getting master at a machine. You can learn a skill by repeating it again and again. And, who said you can’t make mistakes. Who said your every article has to be a master article. Go on! Make interesting mistakes, accept opinions from whom you genuinely respect and value. Let them tell you where did you do wrong. Accept it not to repeat and keep your journey on being awesome in writing.
Most of us, I mean we, bloggers are not professional writers or I should say full time writers. We work, some of us teach, some sell things for living, some engineers, doctors, consultants, the job what feeds us and we excel there as we are regular in it and we take it more seriously. Believe it or not but we need to make writing seem like a regular job and in this way only we can respect it and make more space in our life for it.
So I decide to write some crap every day! Maybe it’s not worthy enough to be posted here but it will for sure make a small place in my old notebook! Remember Anne Tyler once said,
‘The one ironclad rule is that I have to try. I have to walk into my writing room and pick up my pen every weekday morning.’
Today, I burnt a dream;
And bought a morning of despair,
Bartered my wings;
With broken swing of a debonair,
Grey is what I have;
When I always sought white,
Blues is what I feel;
When I always passed red,
There was a place;
I could always go to,
Today, I unlearned that road;
Hurt his heart too,
I am not alone;
Everyone is here but he is not,
Never Fell in for him but;
Today, I decided to fall out,
Today, I burnt a dream;
And bought a morning of despair…
Fatigued little drops, resting on my roof;
they know how I feel,
Dry leaves kissing the drenched soil;
they know how I feel,
Alone in this gigantic city;
with burden of memories
And a black moon hanging on my white drape,
they know how I feel,
Left that, what was mine;
Unforgiving, barbaric, heart breaking,
Crushing that dream, between two palms;
They know how I feel,
Tears, moans, cries, screams;
Leaving me almost,
Waiting for the moment;
That has already been lost,
Still, eyes on that brown door;
Squall imitating him,
Heart pounding, eyes widening;
They know how I feel,
Fatigued little drops, resting on my roof;
they know how I feel,
Dry leaves kissing the drenched soil;
they know how I feel,
On a winter evening;
smoke comes to me as a secret chum,
Smoke, I make in the air;
Smoke, people hate about me…
Smoke of disappointment;
smoke of pleasure,
Smoke, who hides my past for a moment, I dare;
smoke, who gives a hope to have a future, bright or not; I hardly care…
Roasting peanuts’ smoke,
smoke wafting from my home’s chimney
Smoke from my village’s open fireplace;
that village, where I always sought solace…
An aspiring smoke and a deceased smoke;
that was the smoke and this is the smoke,
smoke, on a winter evening;
smoke comes to me as a secret chum…
On a sooty shelf;
found an old diary,
Looked for a virgin page;
started writing a smoky poem.,
Sniffed a whiff of happiness;
inhaled a cool puff of life,
Saw starry nights in my smoggy room;
my skin imbibed the white smoke,
Page is no more virgin,
pungent, blue-black ink;
February is about kisses, chocolates, hugs, proposes; that’s what everyone around is telling me. Happy rose day; happy pose day! Happy propose day; happy remorse day! Hah…. So, February is love for you and I guess for everyone else. But February is nostalgic for me, every single day is full of nostalgia; nostalgia of friendship, nostalgia of togetherness, nostalgia of laughing aloud, nostalgia of crying hard, nostalgia of living a lifetime in one year, nostalgia of making the best friends for life.
‘De’s been with me since the time; I didn’t even know how to spell ‘FRIENDSHIP’, and she got married 5 days ago, which is like a dream to me. I have never told her that she is my best friend and neither had she felt a need to convey the same to me, anytime in last 25 years.
I met ‘Dr’ through her and never met a more selfless person after that in my life. I remember Dr’s reaction when she saw me lying in the hospital bed; she wasn’t able to see my one leg and thought that doctors have cut my leg just after 15 minutes of my accident. She started shouting and crying like anything, oh god, I can’t forget her face.
And yes, Su; ‘Su’ is one lady in my life who doesn’t know what fear is. Shop-alcoholic, fearless, bold, sexiest in the group and we call her ‘Satyabadi.’ She doesn’t know what a lie is and her Satyabadiness made her meet a wonderful man, whom she got married last year and that too in February (See, February is special).
Lastly, Chinky and Nones ; my only friends from college and they never stop fighting with each other. I can proudly say that there exists one person on this earth, who is more confused than me and that is ‘Nones’. ‘Chinky’ is what a true friend is, emotional, loving, caring and knows what friendship is.
The craziness began when we, six stumbled on each other in one city at one time and five of us staying under same roof. Oh man! What a ride that was; a road accident that I can never forget, friends laughing with/on me, on a hospital bed, a friend who lost true love of her life at the same time, wounds; visible, invisible, smiles with tearful eyes, craziness, a passion as journalism, a job paying me Rs. 7000, break-ups, patch-ups, friends supporting my madness, full adrenaline rush and what not! Life was hell and heaven at the same time. Friends were family and sometimes more than that. Su and me, the only entertainment in the house. Nones was dealing with the biggest catastrophe of her life, and chinky, struggling to prove herself in the big city with her big dreams. De and Dr, our full-time mothers, cooking & feeding all of us, picking me from my night classes at college and they still are full-time mothers for me. I never felt a need to call at my home even after one month of my being bed-ridden, due to accident and the reason was De & Dr.
That was the year when we discovered a new word, ‘Adam-teasing’ and Su, of course was the inventor. That was the year when we learnt, life is a struggle and this struggle is fun with friends. That was the year when we learnt, friendship is not about being judgmental, friendship is not about doing favors and making your friends realize about those favors but friendship is about staying together with friends, laughing in the dreadful situations, no matter what world think about your friends but you must know how you keep your friendship alive and fresh even in the tough times.
It’s been five years for that wonderful year but I am still floating in nostalgia. I know, life has changed for few of us and life will change for rest of us too but I am sure that this friendship will last forever and when we will be grandmothers, I will still be the biggest ‘Phenku’ of the group, De & Dr be our mothers, Chinky and nones be fighting with each other like the way, they always do and Su would still be our leader for Adam-teasing and we will still laugh with/on each other sitting in a park, on a winter afternoon, enjoying the sunshine, the sunshine of friendship, true friendship.
Love you all….
‘RIP to the rape victim‘Are you fucking kidding me…Do you seriously think that DGRC victim will rest in peace after what has happened to her? Tell me, if you and I were there on that night of 16th December and it was one of us who would have been raped and assaulted brutally with an iron rod, thrown off on road, lying with our body tattered apart… If I would be the one who would be fighting to hold on to life for more than 10 days, undergoing knife several times, multiple surgeries & organ failures while the media made zillions by turning me into a “HEADLINE”… If I would be the one who would be flown off to die on a foreign land only to pacify the unrest & anger…BELIEVE ME …. I WOULD NOT REST IN PEACE…
‘MEDICAL REPORTS SUGGEST THAT THE WOMAN SUFFERED SERIOUS INJURIES TO HER ABDOMEN, INTESTINES AND GENITALS DUE TO ASSAULT AND PENETRATION USING A BLUNT OBJECT SUSPECTED TO BE AN IRON ROD. THAT ROD WAS LATER DESCRIBED BY POLICE AS BEING A RUSTED, L-SHAPED IMPLEMENT OF THE TYPE USED WITH A WHEELJACK’. The moment I read these words, they have been flowing within my blood. You read the above lines and think, ‘Would she really rest in peace?’
We have failed, we, all of us; we have failed as a society. She died; but galvanized a cause that will not die; she waked every one of us from our long sleep of ignorance. But did we really wake up or are we still sleeping? Ban the tinted glass vehicles, hang the culprits till death, much brutal punishment; there are so many resolutions, everyone is suggesting now. There are few precautions which are advising women not to go alone anywhere. The point is, sexual violence is so routine in India that most people are habituated to its prevalence. You open any newspaper on any given day and you find on an average about more than three sexual crimes reported. So what was so different about this case – the absolute, appalling cruelty of it? So if the case is not so brutal, RAPE is fine with you? Or you are going to wait that victim should be dead like DGRC then only you are going to protest?
Yes, we all feel the same right now; this has to stop somewhere. But, what is the solution? Who is going to stop this? Would ‘impeding women going out late’ be suffice? We need a change in law and law makers; we need to make a stringent law against rape. But before that we need to think about a social transformation in our country. A social change where girls are physically prepared to fight against these situations; where you don’t gift your daughter a doll and your son a Cricket bat; a situation where you teach your sons that women are important and they are not only the sex objects; a situation where no woman would have to grow up with the fear that she will likely be raped. When your daughter is growing up, don’t tell her that her body is made to be covered; don’t tell her that she can’t do what her brother is doing and when I demand this social change in Indian society, I demand it in the India living in villages, that India where sons bring prestige and money while daughters are viewed as a burden with their dowries and low income prospects. We need to change the mind set of people around us, starting from our family. Being a young Indian girl, I know how it feels when your elder kin tells you to cover your chest with a dupatta, while of course escaping the dirty gawk. You feel embarrassed and unprivileged at the same time and your embarrassment doubles when your brother is standing nearby you. This does not only make you feel low in front of your brother but it teaches him that- if a girl is not wrapping her chest with dupatta he has all the right to stare at it; up to an extent that the girl would like to drown herself somewhere out of humiliation.
You raise your daughter as if being girl is her honor; she has all the right to say yes or no to anything and everything.
2nd agent to the social change should be in our cinema and the celebrity obsessed public. As suggested by economist Swaminathan Aiyar,’ yet item numbers and rape scenes are not the main problem. After all, cabaret dancers and villains are not role models. What’s truly terrible is the manner, in which film heroes have for decades pestered, stalked and forced their unwanted attentions on heroines in a thousand films, yet ended up getting the girl. That sends the most outrageous of all messages to the public: pestering girls is what heroes do, and a girl’s “no” actually means “yes.” According to one particular well-known screen villain did about 100 rape scenes “with the audience almost cheering him on.”In a celebrity obsessed Indian culture, where every dance move, every dialogue, ‘every items song- where girls are compared to tandoori murgis and supposed to be swallowed with alcohol’ is being followed by people blindly.
3rd is our identity. We are not only sisters, mothers, daughters, wives and girlfriends; we are human beings first. Why women are described in relation to someone too often? Why DGRC victim is called as ‘Daughter of India?’ She was a woman who had her own dream. Why when a woman is single, she has her dad’s name and when married, accustomed to take her husband’s name? You can judge from this thing that even after her death still DGRC victim is known as some pseudonyms given by media. What all are big shot people scared of? Why our society is such that even after her death, the family has to keep secrecy of her name just to avoid the family’s disgrace. She herself was a victim and her family is only ashamed? These social slurs increase recidivism, woman is fearful of reporting against these crimes, and ex rapist is encouraged to make the repetitive crime best option.
I know we cannot change ages of patriarchy and misogyny overnight. But we have to start somewhere. I am starting today:
- I pledge not to ever forget this heinous incident.
- I pledge not be indifferent to ‘eve-teasing’ and any violence against any woman in this world.I pledge that I will stand up to every man who dares to misbehave with a woman.
- I pledge to treat every man with a doubt in my mind throughout my life.
- I pledge to raise my voice every time I face harassment.
- I pledge to raise my daughters, telling them, they are born to make a change in this society and to break its rules wherever they feel a need.
Do you remember launch of winters in New Delhi? When you like seldom shivers crossing your body, when the cold breeze doesn’t seem that freezing, when the fragrance of roasted peanuts wafting from across the streets delights your olfactory nerves, when you don’t need hot air blowers but just a cup of tea to keep your hands warm. Well, this was one of the mornings of those days broken in my wrecked apartment. It was 4:30 am in my digital table watch and I was still reading an-already-read-50-times book on my broken swing. Don’t take me wrong, I am not turned as an early riser but for sure this was one of those mornings or I should say, one of those nights when I forgot to sleep; and believe me it happens with me a lot. I have been a nocturnal creature since the moment I was born. I feel more alive and full of ideas at night. World seems more mine at night. Less people, less noise and more of myself.
Well, a broken morning of an insomniac night always gives you two options; either you ruin your day and go back to sleep or you embrace the new born day with jogging shoes on. For once in thousand veins, I chose the second option. Swathing in a cold blanket of smog, Delhi had woken up into a hazy morning.
After running almost half of a kilometer along shivaji marg, when my legs finally surrendered for lactic acid accumulation, I had to stop for a while to feed my lungs with some air. I looked around, there were few trucks and bicycle-riders. But what caught my attention was a black figure standing on the same pavement I was running on. At around a distance of 50 meters,I could see a young girl, all dressed up to her thighs in black impeccable chiffon with heels of almost my hand’s size, confused, shivering and furious about something. I simply saluted her guts and started walking towards her not to have a conversation but just to cross her.
‘Excuse me’, she said, the very moment, I was about to cross her. I turned back. Wow! Being an average looking girl, I was in a mix vein of shock and envy, as soon as I saw her flawless white face with abandoned eye make-up.
‘Yes’– I responded in a pretending-not-to-be-interested tone.
‘I need some money or if you have phone, I need to call a taxi’ – a confident voice.
‘Excuse me’ – “who the hell dressed up like you asks for money early morning”, my thoughts.
‘Yes, I need to go to Gurgaon and I left my wallet in my friend’s car’ – no worries on the face.
‘Ok, so why don’t you call him and ask it back’ – I can be a CID.
‘I left my cellphone too’ – she is definitely not polite
‘I sought my trouser pocket, luckily I had my phone. I unlocked it and gave it to her immediately.’ – Delhi needs few more years to make me a completed delhiite.
She called ‘Easy cabs’ and asks for a taxi at exactly the same place, we were standing.
‘You need some money?’ – Though I only have 50 rupees in my pocket. 😛
‘No, no thanks, I will manage. But I would need a cigarette. Do you have one? – Now, I could see some politeness, smoking can change a person, definitely.
‘No, I don’t’ – who carries cigarettes to morning jog?
‘Oh crap! Taxi would take half an hour to reach here and this dress would kill me by then’ – she murmured, maybe seeking my attention.
I could have gone back to my jogging but something held me back. ‘Okay, I can buy you a cigarette; there is lot of small fag vendors just behind this main market.’
She seemed pleased and followed me quietly. I was amazed at my own behavior. Why I was being overfriendly to this weird girl? But Somewhere, I wanted to know about this mysterious woman who looked beautiful and sounded professional & confident, obviously not drunk and she is all alone on a road, early morning. She was with a friend who had not the mere gentility not to leave a young girl alone on Delhi’s dreadful roads.
She lit the cigarette and inhaled it with closed eyes, exhaling the smoke with a mysterious smile on her face. ‘You are thinking too much about me’, suddenly she caught my thoughts. I was befuddled for a moment. ‘No, no, it’s not like that I am just confused about what are you doing here?’
‘Believe me, you would not like to know’, she continued smoking.
‘No, I would like to and if you want we can walk and talk. It’s still twenty minutes for your taxi,’ I didn’t want to ruin the whole day thinking about this enigmatic lady.
‘There is nothing special about me. I sell myself to make money. This fake-rich, son of a bitch hired me last night, promised me 10000 bucks and then duped me, taking away my money, cellphone, every damn thing, leaving me like this. Given a chance, I would have killed that asshole. Now, as you know me, if you want to continue your jogging, you can leave’, she said all that stone-faced.
My jaw almost touched my fatigued knee. She is a prostitute, my curiosity doubled as for the first time in my life, I was meeting one. I gathered my wits and spoke calmly, ‘no, there is nothing bad about it, and I mean, I don’t have a problem. We still can talk.’
‘What else you want to know?’ how I landed up there? ‘Don’t be so typical,’ girl. My story is not interesting enough to entertain your colleagues at office.’
‘See I didn’t mean that. I guess I should leave. You take care of yourself,’ I said all that turning back.
‘No, wait, I am sorry. It was just sudden. I don’t want to stand here alone. Stay with me for some time. Let’s sit on the next bus stop,’ she looked so different saying that.
‘Where’re you from?’
‘Himachal’ – a big smile on my proud face.
‘Oh I love hills. I went there with a client, to Shimla, he kept me for whole week.’ She had a skeptical humor in her eyes.
‘And you?’ I tried to make the situation easy.
‘Katihar, Bihar, not as beautiful as Shimla.’ Why did you leave Himachal?’
‘For job, I am a MBA & got my first job here in Delhi,’ I responded calmly.
‘You are a MBA?’ for the first time I could see her big smile.
‘Yes I am. Why are you laughing?’
‘No nothing, I am also a half MBA’ – her voice was full of irony.
‘What? Then why you, I mean what happened,’ – I tried to be considerate.
Her face fell with what, grief, memories, repentance, I didn’t know. We kept silent for next few seconds and then she started.
‘I am the third girl child of my parents, the unwanted one. Dad used to work as a clerk in forest department. My two elder sisters got married at the age of 17. Katihar was a small town and my dreams were way too bigger than I was worth. My family wanted me to get married after graduation. But I wanted to study, learn English, wanted to go for MBA, have a good job. My father told me he could spend 5 lakhs on my dowry but can’t afford my studies.’ She said all that looking at the road.
‘Then’, I asked with a curiosity in my voice.
Then the same story happened, I made a mistake, maybe the biggest mistake of my life. Fell in love with a wrong guy. He promised to support my studies in Delhi and get married to me. He was from a lower bihari caste. Deep down, I knew, my family would have killed me, if they happened to know about my affair. Moreover, nobody in my family loved me enough to give a second thought and I eloped with him to Delhi. But as it happens in more of our movies, he turned out to be an asshole, betrayed me, had fun for a few days and then sold me at a place, no girl would have ever wanted to be. And I am still at the same place with a better lifestyle since last 4 years.
Why didn’t you do any job?
Big joke! I didn’t know how to speak English, had no ideas about computers and had no money & no place to stay. Moreover, I accepted that place as my destiny which had already betrayed me enough, so could not have courage to challenge it one more time.
‘You could have gone back.’ I asked
to what? To witness my furious family and society who would have killed me in the very first sight? I knew being a third girl child; they had already hated me enough and moreover I liked this work. Less time, less work and a lot of money.
‘Are you happy?’ I asked looking at her.
‘I don’t know but I have money.’ Moreover I have left thinking about happiness. Certainly, this was not any of my dreams but for sure this is my real life. Live this day that’s all.
I wanted to ask more, talk to her about so many things other than her profession. Maybe, somewhere I could see a friend in that honest girl. But I could not.
Taxi came. She looked at me, said nothing, just a smile and got on. I also turned but then suddenly I shouted, ‘hey I didn’t even ask your name. I mean we can talk, if you want.’
‘No, I don’t think so, just remember me as a friend you would never like to meet again,’ she smiled and taxi soon disappeared on the smoggy roads.
I started walking towards my apartment thinking about what just happened. I could not understand why that girl was there that day. Was it one of the curses of our system, dowry, caste system, the prejudice against girl child? Or was it her boyfriend, her young age mistake? Why couldn’t she believe in her family? Why couldn’t her family give her a trust to go back? Is this the only profession left for a girl in a bad situation? Maybe, she had options but she chose this deliberately? Was she really happy? If she is happy in this profession, then is it wrong? How she must be feeling, selling herself for money?
So many questions and no answer!
I am here writing this piece on her and she would be selling herself once again. For what? Money? I doubt!!
January 2012, leaned on that window pane of her tiny apartment in Mumbai, Stuti was sitting with arms hugging her folded shaky legs. A half emptied fine bottle of Smirnoff, 3 cigarettes left in that Marlboro packet, tears were flowing relentlessly, wetting her face and neck; that too since how long, she had no idea. The point had come, she could not stand it more, and the pain in her heart had made her dead cold. Having the wildest thought running across her mind, she stood up slowly, looking for a wall to support her trembling legs and started looking for something specifically in her make-up box. After 20 seconds of blurring vision, she could grab a new unused razor from that bag. Fearlessly, she took the same position near that window.
Not looking at the target, she cut her ankle deep with her shuddering left hand and then slowly let the razor fall on the floor. She could feel no pain but a pleasure and a real pleasure hurting herself. Blood drenching her ankle, her foot and then painted the white marble floor in the most vibrant color. She could feel her body all drained out of blood and vodka taking its’ place; running through her arteries and veins. She smiled to herself out of that pain as Anant’s voice was echoing in her head, when he called her last time, eight months back.
‘This is what you really want; money, career, glamour I mean nothing to you; our love means nothing to you. I want a simple girl who listens to me, who loves me, who can sacrifice for our love. You are not the one. I made a mistake, I chose a wrong girl. A girl like you doesn’t deserve my love, you don’t deserve me’, he was shouting at his peak on the call.
‘Listen to me Anant, why you comparing yourself with this practical stuff, you know I love you. Acting is my passion and I do it because I love to do it, not because I want glamor and money. I wanted to do that play because the character fascinated me. It had nothing to do with real life and the person I was romancing with, in the play. Why don’t you understand?’
‘I very well-understood Stuti, I know, you are not the one. You don’t respect me; you don’t respect my decisions. I did everything to be with you but all in vain’
‘Why would I need to respect you Anant, when I love you? Can’t you just accept me as I am and with everything I want to do?’
‘Hah! You love me Stuti??? I have sacrificed so many things for you. People sacrifice their lives in love and you can’t let go this filthy theater. I told you hundreds of times; I don’t like you to do all this nonsense. You know something, I used to love a simple girl from that small village of Kerala who had innocent dreams and who used to love me a lot since our childhood. But I guess she died long back or you killed her, I don’t know. But guess what? I don’t know you and I don’t want to anymore. So goodbye and everything is over and believe me when I say EVERYTHING IS OVER.’ these were Anant’s last words before disconnecting the call.
‘Why one has to sacrifice to prove one’s love? Why couldn’t we just love each other without sacrificing for each other? I love him but I never understood where I did wrong; I just loved my dreams and my passion which makes me complete. I have gained so much; but I am not happy. But, will I be happy leaving my passion for my love. Is this only love which I want to be happy, to be complete? He had argued several times with his orthodox parents who didn’t accept me, a girl from different caste. He hadn’t visited his home after the day his father abused me out of frustration. I know he loves me like nobody can. He denies but he knows that I love him. Then why we are apart? Why none of us want to leave our ego and embrace the selfless love.’ Stuti was asking the same questions to herself and to Anant in her alcoholic hallucination for like millionth of time. Sleepy, dreamy and hallucinating Stuti tied a scarf around her ankle and lit another cigarette. Leaned on the same window pane, she couldn’t realize when her quizzical, exhausted eyes fell asleep, without giving any solution for her happiness.
Lying on the bed, she was staring at the roof and it was incessantly the fourth hour. With the wings of that dirty fan, all the good-bad memories of last three years were spinning around her eyes. Three years ago, December 2009, when she was on the way to meet him the very first time. In the shivering winters of New Delhi, wearing a red-green suit, wrapped in a black shawl, she took an auto early morning. A heart pounding at its peak, full of fears, excitement, insecurities showed her the way to her destiny. It was her first month in this gigantic city and her first time to Delhi airport or to any airport for that matter.
She could not sleep the whole night after the moment he said on phone, ‘See you tomorrow morning sharp at eight.’ “Are you serious? You can’t be. You had no plans until yesterday and you are in Bangalore”, she said in a shocking-cum-scared voice. “Yes, I am but you only say that I am superman, so?” ‘I don’t know but every time the confidence in his voice makes me believe everything he says,’ she thought and saw her face in the front mirror adjusting that hair flick behind her ear. After 8 years she is finally meeting him, he, who was her superman, her first crush, her first love, the man of her dreams. How he would look like? He will be taller than before for sure and those big black mischievous eyes, will they be same? Those fine black strands of his hair, always falling on his forehead and how he used to comb them with his fingers every ten minutes, she thought about all the childhood memories and smiles at herself. The fear transformed into nostalgia, smiles, love but it again hit her back as auto driver said, ‘Madam domestic arrival aa gya.’ Confused & scared she got down, looking at everyone as if he is the one.
After a ten minute gait around the arrival terminal, she thought finally she should call him. As soon as she took her mobile from the purse, she sensed a 6 feet tall figure in front of her. Still looking down at the mobile, she knew it was him, but she couldn’t gather herself to see him up. ‘Hello madam curie, How are you?’ he said the same way he used to tease her back in school. ‘Ok, I cannot avoid this situation any more. She thought and looked up and there he was, more handsome and confident than she had thought. She was all blushing and he was all smiling. She found herself completely lost, could not say a single word. ‘Madam, there is no chutti from the unit. I have literally absconded for the day and have to leave by 2 pm flight so can we sit somewhere and talk, plus I am hungry to death?’ he said all that so confidently as if we meet every day for the breakfast.
She followed him to ‘the Costa Coffee Café & Bar’ like an idiot. ‘So what will you have for breakfast? Pranthas? Sandwich? Or nothing, actually you should avoid eating much and did I mention u look fat? He said all that in a single breath and smiled. Shockingly she murmured, ‘See I hate this when he controls me so easily right from the school.’ Anything you like, she said and headed towards the corner table for two. As soon as she sat on the chair, her train of thoughts started adding compartments as always. ‘He has come all the way from Bangalore to meet me or to have breakfast. He hasn’t proposed me yet. Its’ only two months since we are talking and today I am meeting him, why?’ before she could reach to any conclusion, he came. ‘Same fearless walk like a tiger, smiling to me or smiling at me; I don’t know but who wants to know when he is actually there’, she thought. They didn’t say anything to each other. Again he was all smiling and she was all blushing. They had breakfast in silence and then as usual he took charge, ‘Come, I show you a place.’
They went up to the runway. He showed some document to the security there and then beckoned her to join him. ‘Where we are going?’ she asked. Lets’ go to the airstrip and we will watch some planes taking off. I like the sound when they take off’, he said that not looking at her but on the pavement they were taking to the runway. ‘You live with them. You must have been seen a hundreds of them taking off, landing on the ground. You fly them every day still you want to watch them taking off,’ she said that with a disappointment of getting her first date ruined by watching some planes flying. Suddenly he turned to her, ‘May be, I live with the aircrafts but I still can live with them whole my life because I love them. Flying is something I love to do, my passion. Whatever happens in life, the charm for what you love, should never be lost.
Seeing her still disappointed he came close, held her face in his hands and said, ‘Madam, this is our first meeting, we are excited that we met. We will meet again and again. After sometime, we will stay together, get married and have kids but I want to love you and feel excited and happy every time and every day I will see you, the same way ‘I Am’ right now. We should be always fresh in each other’s heart & mind, every day, every moment and our love should be as fresh as it was in school days when you used to be my crush. This charm should never be lost.’
Looking in those big black eyes, she lost her self and found all the answers of her life. She needs no flowers, no proposals, no promises, and no commitment. She doesn’t need anything. She knew that whatever happens, this man is going to support her, to be with her at any cost. He will never let the charm lost.
Her dreams broke with the knock at her door. Her neighbor was calling her to show some of her stupid new bought dresses. ‘Yes, the charm should not have been lost but unfortunately it did get lost’,she thought getting up from the bed.
Love was always ‘freedom’ to me. Free emotions, Free love, Free lives!!
Friends ask me, “don’t you miss him in your life.” I don’t know or maybe I don’t realize as I have a busy life. Missing a person in your life means missing a caring heart, a few phone calls, an outlet for your happiness, your frustration and if this is all about missing a person, I think I never missed him. I am emotionally independent since the time I was born so missing a caring heart is no big deal; moreover I don’t feel comfortable when somebody is caring for me. Phone calls? Well, I talk to my 5 five fingers of friendship, almost every day plus the fifth one stays with me and her nagging habits and the non-stop 24*7 loud mouth hardly let me miss any tête-à-tête or pillow talk in my life. And yes, the frustration, I got to tell you this part!! Recently I have grown this habit of abusing people and learning new slangs and at this moment, I can proudly say I know at least 100s of Hindi, Pahadi, English, Portuguese and Spanish slangs which can lob all the sleeping bugs out of your ears. Believe me or not; but when you abuse someone loudly with the dirtiest slang you ever know, you feel extremely relaxed and happy.
So, if I don’t miss him and my lost love; why I am so sad and incomplete. When everybody is around me then why I miss someone every time. Maybe I really don’t miss him but for sure I miss something. Now, when somebody asks me to trust her or him I look at their face with a raised eyebrow. Now, when somebody tells me about their love stories, everything seems a big lie to me. Now, when somebody smiles at me, I start looking for the reasons behind that smile. Dreams, smiles, love, and care – everything is so momentary. No doubt I am stronger now, but I miss my fragility. For sure, I have become more secure in my life but I miss those little vulnerabilities, I used to have. I live more in my present now but I miss that little girl who used to spend hours and hours in thinking about past and daydreaming about future.
I miss that beautiful and confident lady inside me who was ready to love a person with whole heart, surrendering everything of hers for that love. I miss those sanguine eyes that used to believe ‘Everything will be alright in true love.’ I miss that innocence in my smile when I used to wait for him for hours and hours without ‘a single blue line of nerves’ on my forehead. I miss that woman who used to trust everyone and anyone in love. I miss that woman whom my friends used to say, ‘you are lucky darling.’
When I fell in love; I remained the same person; I was before love. In fact I came to know who I am, when in love. But to my surprise, falling out of love was different. I was no more ‘Me’. I knew and I used to believe that you don’t make love; In fact its’ love that makes you. But love sometimes breaks you, and that too in the finest parts and even if you try to gather those parts and make a ‘new of you’, it will always be ‘a new of you’ not ‘the same you’. so I don’t say I miss him or I miss my lost love but for sure I miss ‘Me’ , I miss the person I used to be when in love….
This is not what a husband in the interiors of Punjab or Haryana is saying to his wife but this is what, these days our almighty high court judges are telling to every Indian woman in the name of keeping a family together and bright future of the kids. When one of my domestically violated friend told me that a judge told her to compromise and adjust with her husband’s mood swings (which eventually turn into brutal beatings almost every weekend) to keep her marriage alive, I thought there is something wrong with this judge’s grey matter or maybe he doesn’t have it for that matter.
But, hey I was wrong, this isn’t her case only; all our legal gods seem to have lost their marbles. This morning, when I started leafing through the last few days’ newspapers, (Yes, I read newspapers for a week in one day; have you got a problem with that.) there is this one case came up. During one of the domestic violence case hearing, some Bhaktavatsala, a high court judge from Karnatka, said these wonderful words to the victim lady, “Women suffer in all marriages. You are married with two children, and know what it means to suffer as a woman. Yesterday, there was a techie couple who, reconciled for the sake of their child. Your husband is doing good business; he will take care of you. Why are you still talking about his beatings?”
Please somebody pinch me and say I was reading these lines in one of my dreams. How can a high court judge tell a victim to accept her husbands’ beatings just because she is a woman and what the hell means, “Woman suffers in all marriages.” Above all he is not advising the woman to be financially independent but saying that she should be beaten every day because “her husband is doing good business.”
I really pity this judge’s law school which taught him only Tulsidas saying, “Dhol Gawanr Shudra Pashu Nari, Sakal Tadan ke Adhikari” means ‘DHOL,( Drum) SHUDRA(Of or belonging to lower caste),PASHU(Animal),NARI(women) are to be beaten brutally and to be kept as dust below the feet”. Plus I really pity his chauvinistic mentality and statements which can impact thousands of domestic violence cases in Indian courts.
I really don’t know how system, law and our so called opinionates are going to react on his statement or if they are going to ignore it. For me and for any sensible human being, verbal or physical- any kind of violence is unacceptable even if it is in a relationship. Even if your husband is a multi-millionaire or a road laborer, he cannot beat you to release out his frustration from work from where he is paying your bills. After this statement, what this judge expects that all women should have a sigh of relief and say, “Thank God! Beating wives is not a constitutional right for every man in our country.”
I am not saying that every household dispute has divorce as a climax but accepting somebody’s violence just to pacify everything is not adequate. There are so many problems when two people decide to live together. Sometimes your spouse is driving you crazy with his or her nagging habits but mind it that happens with both HIM & HER. Just because you are a man & stronger than your counterpart – nobody has given you this right of releasing your hormonal frustration on a woman. Woman is no-fucking piece of a born-punching bag for you people and your god-damn frustration. So For Mr. Bhaktavatsala and People like him, I don’t care if you are born from a woman’s womb or some dropped down shit of a flying bird known as ‘Male Chauvinism’ but mind it and be careful when you are advising a woman, while sitting in a Judge’s chair or sitting next to your wife or daughter at your home.
‘Thapaad Kha Roti Pakka’ is history baby!!!!
Yes, he can. Not only an actor but a solider, a doctor, a police man, a school teacher even a poor villager earning Rs. 500 per month; has got the capability and power to change a nation. Aamir Khan, an Indian Bollywood actor dared to change the old school of Bollywood and chose to stand for social issues of India rather than selling soaps and detergents in advertisements. Today he got featured on US magazine TIME’s cover page for taking up India’s social issues on his television show ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Discussing issues like Female Foeticide, dowry, domestic violence, Child sex-abuse, medical issues, Un-touchability, Honor Killings, opposing big fat Indian weddings and supporting differently abled people on a national forum, he has talked about so many things in these thirteen weeks of duration of his show. He showed the real face of India to the ‘New Yo-Yo generation’. I don’t know if Aamir khan and his show have just moved us or we are going to move-on after the truth has knocked at our door..
Or maybe, we think that he has a face, a name and a history behind him and that’s what has worked for him. Do we have the capability of doing the same? Maybe we don’t have readers, audiences and followers like he has and may be our start up is not going to make to ‘TIME’ but still we have the capability of doing a bit of our part.
We complain for the poor education facility in our country; but we never cared to teach our maid’s son at home just for half an hour. We complain for the poor health conditions but as a doctor we chose to open our own clinic and not to work in a remote area to help the have-nots. We curse the country for the social slurs like domestic violence; but we never chose to interfere our drunkard neighbor’s fight with his wife’ no matter we attend her funeral the very next morning. We shout to the slogans of ‘No more honor killings’ but back at home; we oppose our kids to go for an inter-caste marriage. We call our country a big heap of shit; but we never care to clean our part of that shit. Instead we chose to leave the country, get settled in developed countries and come back for Diwali’s every year. If you really want to do something for India; I guess you need to be there in India.
JKF has once said, ‘Once Do Something, Do Anything except stand around with your hand out for freebies.’ ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’. I am born and bred in India, no matter how my country is; it’s my country, if it is not the best, we are going to make it better. Every other day I read slanderous and corroded posts and tweets by my young friends about how pitiable our condition is, how scrawny our government is, how corrupt our politicians are, how they say, and ‘there is nothing going to change in India.’ If our youth is spreading this message to the world, there is absolutely nothing going to change in India.
We got our freedom 65 years back; but what we have done of that freedom, how much we could have made of that freedom. We are standing on the carcasses of people who had fought, sacrificed and died for our freedom; what are we doing with it? We are still bound to the shackles of superstitions, corruptions, social bondage, religious atrocities, political incapacities and so forth.
Yes, we do need personalities like Aamir Khan who has such a mass appeal and influential power who can speak to masses and leave impressions on their mind, soul and lives. But at the same time we should not step back in doing our own bit for the country we live in. Mind it, if you don’t like anything, stop complaining and start changing it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Our parents have lived a life and our next generation is going to live their life; we have only our life to stand for the things we don’t like and dare to change them. I hope we can make our India, the dream india of our freedom fighters:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out
from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving
stretches its arm towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind
is led forward by thee into
ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom,
my Father, let my country awake.
After ages and finally ashamed on my lethargy on a weekend, I decided to perform my newspaper rituals and read it devotedly. Not to my surprise, everything so conventional was there, corruption, dirty politics, doping in sports and Rapes. Again not a unusual news for any metro city: A Mumbai girl was drugged and raped in a Kolkata park. Some five to six months ago, a woman at a Gas nightclub (Mumbai) was taken by 5 men; who gang raped her before dumping at Bandstand Mumbai. Rapes are common in metropolitan cities but all of the sudden, Drug-facilitated rapes, the date rape drugs, Rohypnol, GHB, roofies, roaches, or the forget pill beats other hot topics on Google. The drugs which were being used in countries like America and Europe to cure severe sleep disorders are ruining thousands of girls’ lives in most of the metropolitan cities.
Apart from these Hi-Fi drugs, high doses of alcohol are also used as date rape drugs. Imagine a tasteless drug which you can consume unknowingly in a soft drink or juice can leave you confused, sedated, and finally raped when you will get up after 18 or 24 hours. This is not the limit; excess of these drugs can even cause cardiac and respiratory arrest, coma, or death. Some of them are even worst when you can’t remember what exactly happened with you a night before. Sometimes these drugs also affect the fertility of a woman. In 80% of the cases, the person who gives drugs to the victim is her friend, boyfriend or a known person whom she trusts, accompanies him and finally got trapped. We call ourselves 21st century girls who believe in freedom, nightlife, parties, and live-in relationships; but do we believe in letting somebody take advantage of the trust we put in the person? Do we really want to enjoy a night life with complete strangers or with people who can drag us into a situation like this?
Before jumping into the solutions how we can try to tackle these situations; let me make things more visible by putting you in the worst situation. Do you know rape is one of the most profane experiences a girl can endure? This is not a physical trauma but it is always aggravated by our society that customarily blames and makes rape victims unacceptable. According to the figures, at least 75% of rape victims suffer from chronic psychological conditions all their lives, 15% commit or try to commit suicide and 10% die or suffer from enduring physical disorder after the sexual assault.
I know after reading this, you would have had Goosebumps; but this is reality. Girls, new in cities, new in love or with immature and improper curiosity for night life, fast life end up like this and the biggest reason behind this is faith; trusting a wrong person. I know he can be your boyfriend, whom you think: can never do any wrong to you but actually he can and you should always have to keep your eyes and ears open before following him blindly. I am not saying going out late night, parties are reasons behind rapes but trusting a person blindly and give all your strings to him is not a wise decision. You go out, have drinks but remember few things in the parties you are attending:
- First of all try avoiding parties thrown by friends of friends or strangers.
- Try to go in a group and by group, I mean your own friends, your room-mates or longtime friends.
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Always try to get a drink only from the bartender, waiter, or waitress.
- At parties, never accept open container drinks from anyone.
- Whenever you are leaving your drink to go to the washroom or dance floor; try to finish it before leaving or get a fresh one when you are back
- Do not take any drink, juice from someone you don’t trust or from anyone for that matter. Remember, at least 80% of all rapes are committed by acquaintances.
Finally Stay Safe and always remember which I had read somewhere “Don’t ever get excited & blindly trust any new person you meet. If you already have some good friends then don’t look for many friends & don’t let your friend turn into your enemy. People change just like seasons. Stay with only those whom you think that they won’t be leaving you ever. People come & go in your life & you don’t have to worry about why they left. Enjoy spending time with a friend who knows everything about you & understands what friendship is….”
It was 3:50 am in my digital table watch. Things were so spread all over in my room that even if somebody breaks-in; he has to actually search for hours and hours to steal the stuff. This is me, in my ragged knickers, sitting on my sofa-cum-bed-cum-carpet with a laptop on my lap. The irony is even after 36 hours of brain-fuck (yes, that’s the new word I have learnt), including 12 hours of detaining at the airport and 24 hours of travel (deportation to-be-specific) back to India, I was still restless and awake.
I think this is what exactly happens to you when you suddenly meet a person who is not a different person; but your alter ego. The one, who responds you in just one go; the one, whom you talk to the first time; still he makes you feel like, you have always been belonged to him. The one who reminds you of signals and symbols from every Paulo Coelho’s book; the, one who reminds you of Amrita-Imroz and their paintings & poems.
It was only two days, not even two days and he is all over me; from hell-head to toe. We haven’t met but feel like we have already spent a life-time together. It seems as if we belong to the same place or the same destination or at least we will meet somewhere before heading to our destinations. I know he is so-not-me, I am so-not-him. He is a nomad river and I am like a tranquil foothill. He wants to walk on the waters and I would like to wait for him on every shore. He wants to let his soul roam across the world and guess what; I dream of becoming his that-soul. He is those dry leaves of a tree which would like to be free and flowing with the air; and I am as stupid as that tree that would cry after every parting and again wait for the next spring to meet him.
I hate him because of his carelessness, his happiness, his ‘I don’t care; I don’t feel anything’ attitude; maybe because I always wanted to be like that but could never become. You know what it might sound crazy to you; but he is like one of those giant fast streams which is so fearless as if it knows it is going to swallow everything that comes its way. He is as raw and pure as nature and I guess that’s what charms everyone more-or-less like me. Life was simple before he happened to me and now nothing more is simple. He unhinged me, every emotion of my life, my priorities, and my dreams every-damn thing. He hasn’t any fear of losing anything as he has left everything behind; but I am yet to find the reason why? He is like the golden words of my favorite books or that fragrance of my old novels which let me freeze and make me alive in a single moment. He is like that fog on the rugged roads of my village which used to play hide and seek with me. I know the more I effort to get closer to that fog; the more it’s going to be away from me. I want to get lost in that fog but I know even losing myself will not be worth.
To love a person is easy but to love a soul is different. I haven’t seen him, felt him or touched him but it seems, he touched my soul somewhere. I am yet not sure if he even remembers my names’ initials or not. I don’t know what and how much he matters in my life but for sure he is one hell-of-a-person in my life that made me believe serendipity possibilities, signs, symbols, or Brian Weiss which used to be the words of a different language of a different planet for me. I remember Punjabi poetess, Amrita Pritam used to describe her relationship with her lover Imroz, “Yeh mein hoon, Yeh tu hai, Aur beech mein hai Sapna.” I don’t know even if my love or whatever it is, so intense but that’s the same way I am feeling right now it’s absolutely me, him and this dream.
From the day he happened to me, whole world seems like a big signal to meet him. I remember apart from sun rays and cool breeze in last morning; there were so many signs floating in the air. Remember the saint smile of that hotel manager, that stranger baby girl who stopped and waved me good bye, the guy wearing that familiar blue jackets in the same shuttle to our plane. Everything seems to be a symbol, an omen –good, bad I hardly know. Sometimes you just get trapped in a long, dark tunnel and unable to see the bright rays of hope on the other side of the tunnel. For a different reason I am happening to see the other bright part only; no more darkness and I guess this hope will bring him to me and One day I will meet him, where how , I don’t know. I read this poem long back and liked it; that time I didn’t know the meaning but today every word seem to explain ‘ME’ –
Main tenu fer milangi
kithe? kis trah? pata nai
shayad tere takhiyl di chinag banke
teri canvas te utrangi
ya khore teri canvas dey utte
ik rahasmayi lakir banke
kamosh tenu takdi rawangi
Jaa khore suraj ki loo banke
tere ranga vich ghulangi
jaa ranga diyan bahwa vich beth ke
teri canvas nu wlangi
pata nai kiss trah-kithe
par tenu jrur milangi.
Jaa khore ik chashma bani howangi
te jiven jharneya da paani udd da
main pani diyan bunda
tere pinde te malangi
te ik thandak jahi banke
teri chaati de naal lagangi
main hor kujh nai jaandi
par ena jaandi
ki waqt jo v karega
ae janam mere naal turega
Ae jism mukkda hai
tan sab kujh mukk janda
par cheteyan dey dhaage
kaayenaati kana dey hunde
main uhna kana nu chunagi
dhageyan nu walangi
Te tenu main Fer milangi…
– Amrita Pritam
”Visiting an old monument is like visiting your grand mom; you would like to sleep in her old warm and cozy lap”
- An after hundred years -5 o’clock morning for me
- Deadly combo Dawn and red fort
- Unfocused ‘Me’
- Here we enter the symbol of History, Power and struggle
- From the veil of leaves
- A walk around the Periphery
- The Complex
- The FACTS
- The Throne Of Legacy
- The Marvelous Marble
- And That’s Why We call It”RED FORT”
” Nazar Teri Buri Aur Parda Mein Karoon?’ ‘Don’t tell me how to dress, tell them not to rape,
No, you can’t go alone there; No, you can’t wear that; no you can’t opt that job; why? ‘Because you are a girl.’ And being a girl is a crime you never chose to do. These are some of the things my parents and your parents, in the name of our safety, have been telling us since we were born. Why a girl has so many restrictions? Not, because girls can do anything wrong; if we were given liberty. The reason is because some bloody, gibberish, SONS of DOGS who cannot control their sexual urge; can rape her. The irony is , these dogs are never taught at home; how to behave with girls but girls, are always taught how to dress up so that we can escape from the greedy glance of these dogs, how to ignore these dogs.
If a girl is raped on a street late at night; the first thing people ask why she was there on the street so late. Why she was alone? What she was doing? What she was wearing? What was her occupation? Nobody asks who the hell was that bastard who did this to her. Even if she was a prostitute; who gave right to these mother f***ers to do anything to her. Even she was wearing revealing clothes and their god-damn sexual urge is so damn aroused, I think, I have no shame in telling that without anybody’s help they can calm it down with their own hands in any public toilet. So, who gave this right to men to take any open-minded girl as a f***ing piece of their inherited property that they can do anything with her.
I don’t get this mentality. Obviously Man and woman are created by God with different bodies but who said which body part to be revealed or which is not to be. Its only skin we have; nothing else. If men are blaming us for wearing shorts, showing cleavages and bra strap as a reason of rapes ; Can’t we blame them for wearing shorts (again), those deep neck t-shirts showing chest hair and those low waist jeans where their Jockey’s line is yelling to come out, for the same reason.
But it’s not about we, young people, it started long back when we entered 13 and our brothers entered 13. Nobody told them they are grownups; but every scary glance on our body reminded us that we are grownups. Moms told us not to wear body hugged tops, not to go alone anywhere, not to play much with boys of our class. They never told their son not to look at girls as if they were nude, not to eve-tease, Not to RAPE. Parents tell girls n number of things before they leave house to be safe. They never told their sons how to make their fellow girls friends feel safe.
If girls were given insecurity by saying they are not safe; mind it; but they are never going to be safe for their whole life. Instead give them confidence to leave the house alone and kicking in between the legs of any strangers who tries to take advantage in any sense. Ok, I agree, parents can tell their girls to be safe which is actually required in this god-damn society full of bastards but at the same time they should teach their sons not to become one of those bastards.
If you want to tell your daughters something; tell them to be bold. If you want to teach something to your daughters; teach them how to become a pain for all those bastards out there. If you want to give something to your daughters; give them a faith that whatever happens you will always stand by them supporting them. At the same time don’t forget to tell your sons ;how to be a gentleman to every woman he meets every day. If you want to teach them something; teach them how to respect woman. And if you want to give something to them; give them a faith that you know whatever happens they will not be a shame for the society they live in.
I have no shame in saying that I was a frog since I was born and I would like to die being a frog only. Before you jump over to conclusions I would like to clear that yes, I am talking about rains and I am always happy and jumping like a frog whenever they are at my door. Rains means renaissance for me. I belong to the northern most part of India, spent almost first two decades of my life in mountains where rains mean heaven. The very thought of those big black clouds over the green mountains let me drown in a big ocean of nostalgia. I used to leave every important thing at home including the last day studies before my exam to just have a look of that heavenly sight. The pure rains, the mesmerizing fragrance of wet clay, the music of rain drops on our slanting roof, everything seems like my last birth.
And now when the first monsoon hit Nova Delhi, and I am sitting in a 4/4 cabin of my office in this huge building of this goddamn gigantic city, I can’t even feel it’s’ raining until I go out and let my hair and body drench with these little drops of showers. Oh I miss my home like heaven (can’t say hell here). I know this is a clumsy, crowdy and an emotionless city where the only quality time you spend is the sleeping time; but still when my olfactory nerves gets a treat with the fragrance of wet clay, It’s heaven (Bryan Admas’s style) here.
I was feeling bad because I could not complete this post on Friday which was officially the first day of monsoons but my melancholy got washed away this morning when it rained on my way to office. Wow! I love this city for the first time; people were going crazy in these morning busy hours. Motorcyclists were enjoying the beautiful bath with this cool breeze, couples on the bikes were even happier than me (come’on more than a Frog!!! Huh!!), and the kids, OMG they were getting their school dress deep drenched and I have no idea what they are going to do or on the other hand, what their teachers are going to do with them? I wanted to get inundated in rain like those kids on the street and didn’t want to come to this 4/4 cabin.
But then the very thought of money, career, job, and n number of complexities comes with unemployment kept me coming to the office and my romantic heart broke when I saw little rain drops falling from the window pane. I shut down the air conditioner of my room and let the cool breeze come from the opened window. It seems the wet birds on my window pane are teasing me of being a human being and surrounded by so many things other than happiness. Isn’t it true? We keep on ruining our moments for the years we spent and for the days yet to come. Life is simple but we have to make it intricate. I don’t know if it’s only my penchant but I tend to run away from complexity. Even if people call me a weakling, they say I deserve more than I have but I think if I am content with what I have, It automatically becomes more than suffice. See rains make me sentimental and keep on diverting my shrewd mind. I know life is full of unfair things, mean people, crazy relationships but nature and its bliss keep showering its surprises on all of us saying,’ Life is beautiful and it will remain beautiful if you keep enjoying it like frogs.’ So who cares of practical stuff in life as long as frogs like me exist in this world and continue to dance like a frog whenever rains come!!!
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.”
I guess he was there in my mind even before I was born. In School, he was not only ‘My superhero’ but for every science student, he was the most common excuse to be dumb and still super smart. These things were then and there, and now when I wanted to write about him on this space, I rather see him ‘the coolest nerd’. You see his quotes and the way he used to live his life, it’s totally amazing and inspiring. His quotes are the real reflection of his wit and quirkiness. He used to say, “The important thing is to not stop questioning”. He never let that craving for curiosity go away from his life. Everybody knows about his contribution in physics and the every-day life we are leading right now. Albert Einstein showed speech impairments until the age of nine. Imagine the person who shook the world with his wit and brains, once found it difficult to express his ideas, and had problems with spelling. The school wanted him to join some school of special kids as they have declared him to be border-line retarded. He never has interest in the subjects except Math and Physics and his teacher used to call him ‘a lazy dog’. There is a misconception that he was once failed in a Math exam which I don’t believe to be true. As according to what I have read in his biography that during one entrance exam for a polytechnic course, he flunked in all the subjects except math and physics. He knew what he liked and what he loved to do the most. He was funny and full of witty humor in everything he used to do. If believes the sources, when Einstein wanted to divorce his first wife, Mileva Maric, he told her he would win the Nobel Prize one day and give her his future earnings if she’d give him a divorce. Maric accepted, but had to wait three years for the prize money.
In his last years of life, Albert Einstein knew he was ill and going to die, still he refused all treatments that would save his life. He wanted to be cremated so people won’t come to worship at his bones. He was such a genius that world was after his brain and the fact that made his brain so sharp once he died. His brain was removed within seven and a half hours of his death. Things got especially crazy for Thomas Harvey, who performed the autopsy on Einstein in Princeton Hospital. During the procedure, he removed the brain to examine it, which is routine. But instead of placing the brain back in the skull, Harvey put it in a jar of formaldehyde to preserve it. According to Michael Paterniti’s travelogue ‘Driving Mr. Albert’ Harvey made a grand cross-country trip from Princeton to California donating the brain finally to Princeton Hospital. The brain had come full circle, once again ending up where it had begun its fateful journey.
Albert Einstein was so sharp and active that even after his death his brain didn’t stop moving and we still have to scratch our heads when comes to its uniqueness. Some of the coolest quotes I like from Einstein’s’ brain are
- “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
- “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
- “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
- The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”
- “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking”
- “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.”
- “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.”
- “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
- “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference!”
- “I am a deeply religious nonbeliever – This is a somewhat new kind of religion”
- “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
- “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
- “To us believing physicists the distinction between past, present, and future has only the significance of a stubborn illusion.”
The best one I like the most was
“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
For last few days, some sounds are literally being resonated in my mind. It feels as if I want to stop somebody from going away. I say, ‘stop, listen to me once; I can’t live without you; this is going to be hard for me; once you are away.’ But it’s not stopping, it’s going away; leaving me crying on my knees; yelling at myself and my stupidity; lying on the desert , a large and lonely desert which has nothing for me; no water, no love , no life. I keep on thinking whom I miss so much in my life, who I never want to say goodbye to. I have almost everything with me and why I am saying ‘Almost’? I definitely have everything with me. Lovely family, lot of good friends, love of my life, then what is it, which is indispensable for me; yet away. I want to chase that figure, go after it; want to know who and what it is? I tried several times, but I get exhausted running after it, the moment I catch it, it slips from my hands, it disappears, it fades and there is only a white smoke of disappointment every time.
Then, this day happened to me; which was quite an unforgettable day. From love to work everything failed; not because, I made a mistake but because it was a failure from the very starting. I tried a lot; sacrificed a lot for making everything work; from career to love in my life. And, I succeeded. People loved me because I pretended; I wanted to shout but I laughed. I was not happy with my relationships but I pretended to be in the best relationships of the world. I was never content with the outputs, I got at work but I faked to make the things look the best.
But one day, before this broken morning, when I was alone in this god-dam crowded city, I got to listen my own heartbeats. Every heartbeat, slowly, audible but still silence. All around this huge world what really mattered were my heartbeats. This is what makes me alive; if it stops, everything stops. If this is there deep down in my system, my system works. I have this with me; my heart, my heartbeat, my life, my companion, then why I was afraid all these years; of losing things, getting hurt, crying hard, living the way I wanted to. Now, the chase had been stopped; I was calm and composed enjoying myself.
That figure was still 2 steps ahead me but I didn’t want to catch it now. I didn’t even want to know who and what it was. Eyes closed, counting my heartbeats, I just wanted to be in that state. Then something strange happened that figure turned. I opened my eyes slowly to have a look; it was there, she was a girl; a beautiful girl, smiling to me. I shook my head, my eyes seem to cheat me; my mind was absent and I tried to recognize who she is.
Slowly the figure became clear to me; she was me, a girl; honest and pure as innocence, long back I used to be. No fakeness, no lies, opening my heart to every second person I used to meet, helping everyone without an expectation, making people smile, smiling and laughing without guilt. I found her finally, she imbibed me deep and once again I started listening to my heartbeats not in silence but even in this big deafening city full of fake people around me.
I understood the only thing you need in your life is to be alive and Mean it when you say,’I am alive’ and I am ‘ME.’ Now, I don’t get afraid, I don’t lie, I don’t pretend. Why??? Because, she is with me and she promised to be always with me, no matters what!!
One of the close and like-me friend, a lazy summer noon hours and 35 degree Celsius in New Delhi, we rather escaped our selves from the fuming Sun and entered this movie theater. I have heard some stupid TV anchors saying some stupid bad things about this movie ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, so I knew its going to be worth watching and I rather pushed my friend to kill these afternoon hours watching this movie. The one reason I had to see this movie is Dev patel and the spontaneity in his eyes which can almost kill a young heart like mine. Well, after long time I watched a movie full of exoticness, exotic love stories, exotic India, exotic emotions. A group of British oldies with lost zest in their lives; still to have that feeling of being independent and gratifying that lingering craving of their lives, they come to this hotel in exotic Jaipur, Rajasthan, India to be there in this best exotic Marigold hotel. Some of them have desires like having the first job of their lives, meeting the old Indian –gay lover (whose love got sacrificed on the name of Indian tradition, family values long back), fulfilling their sexual desires at the age of 80, getting a hip transplant (India being reasonable in terms of medical expenses), and many more. The sophistication of British finally meets the real exoticness of India. Dev Patel, as an extra-optimistic manager, his passionate love-story, drama, the culture shocks and the touching Indian humility and values are some of the highlights of movie. ‘Everything will be alright at the end of a story and if it is not alright that means it is not the end yet’ is the main theme of this movie like all the Indian movies. Full of humor and witty dialogues, this movie is all about the optimism we all must have within us. Judi Dench just won the show with her unforgettable role as a broken-heart widow with the guts to give life another chance in her old age. The biggest plus for this movie is the unprompted acting of all these old British veterans and the whimsical Dev Patel who didn’t let the energy out of the movie. Foreigners come to India; complain about the unhygienic food, roads full of dust, poverty , infection; but they still come here to regain the lost colors of their lives, to resettle their jerky lives and to see and to learn that emotions and values are the first and last thing a human want to have in his or her life. John Madden the director of ‘The best Marigold hotel’ undoubtedly tried to see the India once again from a normal stereotype eye of every foreigner but still he could not refrain himself from highlighting the values, comfort, optimism and the peace we Indians have in our lives; in terms of sacrifices, love and contentment. You should for sure go and watch this movie at least for the incredible wit and emotions it has.
This has to come from me!!!! It was destined!!! This was my second time in Brazil and my pretty Brazilian colleague got a big emotional and, mental set back when I told her that I have never had Caipirinha yet!!! This cannot be possible, its shame for me; how I can be alive and all her all time dramas… Finally on this dinner she ordered one for me and Oh my god, I never had such a consecrated drink ever… I love it yes! Totally I do!!… My taste buds were literally yelling at me for keeping them away from this heaven… After first sip they declared this is their favorite cocktail now onwards…and I do agree with them religiously… what to do??? The love pushed me to get a Cachaça (special Brazilian sugarcane rum, the main ingredient of Caipirinha) back home and finally I could try it in my apartment. The results were obvious,- ’ HEAVEN’…So how can I forget you people while sharing the heaven so here is the recipe n enjoy the heaven….
So to make the Caipirinha this is all you need
- 1 big lime, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 30ml Sugarcane Rum Cachaça
Take a big Lime, wash it and cut it through its side wedges. Put the cut pieces of lime and sugar into a small glass and muddle together (squash it using a muddler or a wooden spoon works well). Fill glass with crushed ice, add Cachaça, the Brazilian Rum and stir.
- Remember one big lime for one glass of Caipirinha!!!
- Don’t drive after drinking
- Don’t you ever share your Caipirinha!!! This is yours and will be yours enjoy ;;
So here it goes, it was Sunday. I was in my small but special village with no so called Wi-Fi (My Mom calls it Wi-Wi, like noodles J), my data card doesn’t work there. So I was without internet; though it was not the only time I was deprived-of this netoxygen (the new term for people for who take internet as their oxygen). I NEVER HAD IT IN MY SCHOOL NEITHER AT COLLEGE SO EASILY. I just got addicted to netoxygen after coming to this giant city. So, I sat down with my laptop in my lap near the small window in my room which opens into a big wheat field and start writing. I am writing or at least trying to write some stuff these days on a single topic. I was unable to write more than 50 words-a-day, when I was in city. As whenever I had something interesting in mind, a ping from a never talked-to classmate or a mail icon had knocked my lapi’s door (or windows whatever you ). And I was again busy checking my mails and responding to those stupid pings. If my mails spare me then I was always checking for good word I want to express in my piece. To my surprise when I was writing in my den I could write more than 3 hours until my laptop died of hunger for power. So I concluded, ‘I am creative when my internet is not working.’ So do most of us would agree? Internet has snatched the power of pure innovation brutally from all of us. I agree we do a lot of stuff easily now with internet than we used to do earlier. But things are same with writing? We are always reading from internet about others’ work and get inspiration for our blog or articles. If it is inspiration; its good but then we keep on comparing our work with theirs and we are never content with what we have done (At least I am not). But when you start writing with a blank paper and pen with nature where there is nothing for your inspiration except yourself; then you get what you actually want to. You think, you analyze, you innovate, and finally a well-written piece is in your hand and you are finally content with it because it is YOURS.
Author: Pooja Parashar
It was 09:00 am on ED watch of the airport and I was still in Istanbul. A bald but handsome Brazilian dressed up like a super cool monk sitting next to me and reading ‘GANDHI’. We were waiting for the connecting flight to Sao Paulo. I wasn’t excited for this trip and this is the reason that stopped me for so long to write about it on Parashar’stales. This was the first time I was going to leave my Mother India, still I was not happy. I am going abroad for the first time at the age of 24. Shame on you! Hello! Hold on! Don’t you dare to say this? For your kind information, I am not having a citizenship of any of those countries which pay for your unemployment-hood (Is there a word like this, who cares!!). So, as Queen Elizabeth is not paying my fares to foreign countries, there is only one chance when a middle-class girl like me can fly to a far place like Brazil. Yes and the chance – when your company has a little-bit confidence in you, and sends you to a foreign country to represent them. So I reached Sao Paulo and It welcomed me with beautiful rains.
after an hour’s wait and roaming in the airport finally I found my colleagues and we checked-in the hotel. Don’t ask me about the location of the hotel. It was famous or notorious (I don’t know);but any client whom I told that I was living in Downtown Sao Paulo would see me with a raised eyebrow as if I was doing a samba on the streets of downtown every day. It was a 20 days trip but I feel like I was living there since long.
The people, the streets, the openness in culture, the way they use to hug each other (abracos) whenever taking a leave from each other. Everything is very welcoming in Sao Paulo. People know how to smile, to laugh aloud and to make everybody smile around them. Brazil is one of the most ethnically diverse countries. I don’t have any fair idea about other states of Brazil but in Sao Paulo, you can find Japanese in one corner, an Italian in another, German, Spanish, Jews, Ukrainian, and Arabs apart from only Portuguese. Every person I met in Sao Paulo was a hybrid, My mother is Spanish But My dad is Italian; oh my father is a Japanese but my Mother is a Portuguese; they used to introduce their origin like this only.
What I loved about them that these interracial marriages happening almost since the birth of Brazil have given birth to a different type of ethnic group, we call Brazilian. Some Japanese, who have never visited Japan in their life, speak Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish and now English so fluently. They all are bonded together with the beauty of Brazil as they all are proud of being a part of such a beautiful part of nature. I have visited some places in Sao Paulo but would not like to mention about them here because there is so much to talk about inhabitants there.
The one most important part of their culture is meeting people; they have this tradition of going out for food with friends and peers almost every day. This makes Sao Paulo, food capital of Brazil. You can find any and every cuisine there. Though I went to a few restaurants there; (An indian appetite can be fulfilled with Indian food only; be it any part of the world) but the food is just finger-liciuos every time. The best thing I had is Pizza at BRAZ, One of the best Pizzeria in the world.
One more restaurant I remember; not because of its food but because of its location is Edificia Italian Restaurant, you can almost see every part of Sao Paulo from the 44th floor (as the restaurant is on 44th floor of the building). Other restaurants I ate at are Majestic, Badebec in shopping Market Place; which has amazing Mexican and Italian food.
To my surprise Brazilian relish Indian food a lot. I had my dinner in almost every Indian Restaurant in Sao Paulo from Delhi Palace, to Govinda to Ganesh to Tandoor everywhere and I found more Brazilians eating there. Brazil is a place where people embrace you with their culture and let your culture flourish with open arms.
I had heard a lot many things about Brazilian landscapes and nature (unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to visit Rio this time); but what took my attention amidst of the meetings, work there is the true Brazilian who may be confused about his origin or the ancestors but he knows how to laugh aloud and how to be always cheerful just like Brazil itself….Eu te amo Brasil ……..
I remember when I was young; I saw a Hollywood movie and witnessed the Christian marriage for the first time. The father at the church asks,’ Do you take her as your wedded wife or do you take him as man of your life?’ and they say’ ‘Yes, I DO.’ At that time, I was not mature enough to understand the love, the time taken to explore each other before those vows or the compatibility you and your partner share enough to take your relationship to the next level. Moreover,we have more of arrange marriages here in my country. Divorce is a thing which is a taboo for a well cultured couple. Sometime, it is an offense to the Indian middle-class society. You are not allowed to leave your husband, no matters if he kills you or the melancholy of a failed marriage kills you. I live in a society where the would-be husband decides what you are going to do, wear what kind of dresses, using social networking sites or not, being in a job or not or even live or not. What the fuck do our society, our culture, and our values bloody flaunt of, when they actually have nothing. There is no love needed for marriage here. People decide on marriages as if it is a contract. If you can leave your job then we can get married, if you can stop wearing jeans then we are good, if you are not on any social networking sites, then we can marry. WTF all you guys think of a girl? Is she fucking dropped down from the sky? She has done nothing in her life. Her parents mean nothing to her or what? I love a man. I love him because he is he, because he does the things he loves to do. But he can’t love me for what I am. He needs to change me. He has also committed blunders in his life and I have accepted him with all of them; but no, he has to flash my small past mistakes and has to do it for our whole life until I commit suicide or his distrust and his family members’ continuous tantrums kill me. I had no intention to post something like this today until I heard that news which almost changed me as an Indian woman. My flat mate’s friend committed suicide day before yesterday or her husband killed her, nobody knows. I had known her through my friend only as she was her best friend. She was a girl full of life, fond of clothes, fashion, travelling and living her life on the edge. She has been suffering from a disease, very common in Indian society, the domestic violence. She was not a woman dependent on her husband for her bread and butter. Then what stopped her from leaving her husband and start a new life all these four years? I tell you, it was you, yes, you the common middle-class Indian. The Indian society and apostles of the domestic violence in the name of culture and values here killed her finally. It was you, who threatened her of divorce and the miserable life of a single woman in India. If a woman doesn’t want to get married or even she wants to get separated from her husband after marriage, then how many slurs our society would cast on her, we can hardly imagine. If a girl doesn’t want to get married, it means there is something wrong with her and her life. I don’t know who talks about the freedom and improvement of women’s condition in Indian society. I am sorry but apart from a handful of open-minded families, nobody is ready to accept this fact that GIRLS ARE NOT ONLY MEANT TO BE DOMESTICATED. In a society, where people and even educated, elite people boast of ancient customs like “sati where a widow throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. This is disgusting and ironical also, because in my country I get everything equal to men, from education to jobs, sometimes we have quotas also; but when I am married I suddenly become the HOUSE KEEPER. My friends, whether male or female are no more mine after mt marriage. I need to forget them all just like this. My family is history; I can’t go and see my mother without my in-laws permission. Its ironical that on one side my country MEN are supporting SONIA GANDHI, an Italian lady but an Indian daughter-in-law to become the next Prime Minister of India, and on the other side, WHEN THEY COME HOME THEY BRUTALLY BEAT THEIR WIVES FOR NOT MAKING THEIR DAAL-CHAWAL PERFECTLY.