The Thing

I met the thing
Effortless, like a breeze
It came and whisked me away
Into a labyrinth of emotions
Of glee, of delight
Of happiness
Of passion and that unfulfilled desire
Followed by that ache of loss
Of yearning for it and wanting to hold it
To hold it close and not let it go

Sitting in cozy bed late in night, I’m compelled to think about stuff. Not even compelled, stuff automatically zooms in and out of my head. I’m in a happy space and that makes me realize how important it is to get out of that myriad of stress inducing thoughts and just have that one, precious thing – a memory of a something special that has long gone stale and just smile with the thought that you were lucky enough to be a part of it. Everybody needs a thing! To gain perspective, to smile, to laugh, and most importantly, to be at ease. Maybe that’s why I love my thing and right now, with a tiny glimmer of hope, wish that you have it too.

Of Utopia and Dystopia

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“Politics is the purest and toughest form of activism”

One of the more thought provoking quotes I’ve come across in recent times. I am 21 and hold a Voters’ ID. Last year’s Punjab Assembly Elections were my first elections as a participating voter. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I come from a family of egalitarians, with somewhat contrasting political views. Yet, they have always encouraged me to hold my own opinion and be independent and vocal in my thoughts. This is one of the reasons I started blogging. Recently, I’ve gone thorough a loss of faith in the media, the government, the parties and basically everybody in-charge. Its difficult to believe what that is reported and fear of the knowledge of what goes unreported. The news are paid and politics has become a business – a game of thrones with on a select few with the real power.

In such a dystopia, Arvind Kejrival and his band of followers have given a slight sliver of hope. They have had a tough, honest stand, have battled allegations and betrayals and are totally inexperienced –  yet continue to struggle and inspire me and many more people like me who have had their trust and solidarity misplaces and misused. Honestly, I don’t feel that they would garner much seats in the upcoming Delhi polls. Yet, people like me dream on  – of a free nation, unheralded by hierarchies, with equality in everything and freedom from corruption.

image source - google

image source – google

It sounds like a far – fetched reality and maybe it is.  Still, I keep my fingers crossed in the hope that AAP and its form of politics, i.e. their activism thrive and that there are a few decent and God – fearing people left in the world who would support them and lead India towards a political revolution.

Of Regrets

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Inspired by Melancholy. On second thoughts, this is a desperate attempt to overcome a stubborn  writers’ block,

Regret
Of jobs left undone,
Of opportunities that we missed,
Of falling behind times,
And taking time to make up the mind.

Regret
Of misplaced trust,
Of dreams turning to dust,
Of the changed personnel,
And reluctance to come out of the shell.

Regret
Of not working hard,
Of letting the time go,
Of the potential not exploited,
And the failure to grow.

Regret
Of memories that haunt,
Of the blocks left unturned,
Of the fear of innovation,
Over unending taunts.

Oh! The Regret…

image source: google

image source: google

On The Eve Of My Favourite Day…

My first ever (and favourite) childhood memory is of my grandma holding my hand and taking me to the hospital, to see my brand new baby – sister!!! I had a new sister!!! The next one, me trying to make 6 – month old Asmita sit on Snowy, our dog. She looked delicious in a pink sweater and matching hat and cute little socks. I still can’t believe I remember that.

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For me, Asmita has always been a baby to me more than a sibling. We have an age gap of four years. Not much, but she always has been so. From waving her goodbye when she used to go to Trinity in her buggy, to watching her prance around in my old pink lehenga with a fractured arm, to feeling proud over her, however small they might be, achievements – its been an amazing journey growing up. I used to walk her to her class when she was in KG, used to cover all her notebooks and do it again if mum didn’t do it according to me, to making sure she looked pretty – I can’t believe the things that we used to do together! She, being the untidy prat she is, would make everything dirty around her, yet it was exhilarating watching her just do things and make funny faces when she screwed up and hug me tight. We used to go crazy and drive our mum nuts sometimes. The highlight used to be us passing notes over sleeping mommy, when she made us sit apart and do homework! The best part used to be our birthdays, having a huge party and wearing matching dresses :)

When she started going to a kindergarten, we made a practise in her uniform the previous evening! I made her do that for high schooll too :P I admit, it was a proud moment, seeing her in that.

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Then we grew up. I have never realized how quickly we grew up. It  makes me so proud and amazed watching you do the same things I used to do. Reading the same books, sharing the same favourites over silly tv shows, being my guinea pig when I started cooking – you’ve been an awesome companion. You made my mad quite a  few times – when you hid my Harry Potter or messed up your room every single time I cleaned it, but it always makes me smile when I think of those things.

This is one of my favourite pictures of us :)

This is one of my favourite pictures of us

I admit, I have always tried to boss her around. For instance, I still hold her hand when cross a road! You’ll always be my baby rather than a sister. I’ll always continue to irritate you and use a condescending tone and try to make you do stuff. I will always keep cleaning your mess and try being  less irritating. I will always keep acting like you mum. For, you’ve are the most precious and important part of my life and I can’t imagine a day without talking to you. You’re the prettiest person on this planet. You’re more sensible than me. You’re incredibly smart for a kid you age. And I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of you.

This, my favourite picture of hers :)

This, my favourite picture of hers

I went to college and now you’ve gone on to high – school. We have had our differences and then gotten over them. There are miles between us but I promise to be there all the time, every – frikkin – second for you. You’re my baby will always continue to be, now matter how old you get, even if you are 100 and I’m 104. You’re birthday is the most special day in my life because this is the day I got you! You’re the best sister anyone could ask for and the best one God ever made!!!

Photo0643Keep hugging and strangling and trying to chipko with me and I’ll always keep trying to be your mum. I remember your 13th birthday – hiding your presents and smashing you up at 5 and then the look on your face as you saw your box full of presents! Don’t worry, you’ll get 17 this year. Let’s make this a tradition :D

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13th Birthday Special

We look so pretty and grown - up here!

We look so pretty and grown – up here!

Mommy and Daddy, thank you for giving me the best gift ever – Asmita!

PS – I couldn’t find more pictures, especially the one with you in a pram and me in Vidya – Mandir uniform!

Why do people who love reading love it so much?

I have just started using “Quora”, which is one amazing place to spend time and read. We talk of inspiration, I talk of being inspired to read and write all the time, and here’s the perfect answer to that : http://qr.ae/paER1

Please, do recommend some good books to read coz I’ve had a hangover ever since reading “Best Kept Secret” and Jeffrey Archer is in the middle of writing the next one.

Of Uncertainity and Guilt

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I look at links shared by people on fb and twitter, I go through various articles. I read at lot of books, as in A LOT. I read, I get ideas, I intend to write and make mental notes. Then, I procrastinate. Big time. Its just amazing how well I procrastinate. Not anymore though. I have decided to write a post every two days. It need not be a big one, need not be something huge. Simple and regular. If people can blog about their pets’ peeing habits, I can blog about my day! So here goes the first one.

I am in my prefinal year at college with an year left till graduation. I am pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering. I am okay-ish at studies. I am good at some stuff but most of that can not be pursued as a career. Maybe some of it can but then I am not much of a risk – taker. Thus, this cloud of uncertainty about my future. I have a plan and I intend to stick to it. Yet, there is this fear. But then I think of those underprivileged people struggling to find a place to sleep or a meal. I think of kids who do not get to go to school whereas I’ve been lucky to have been blessed with parents who value education more than anything. I feel stupid at times when I’ve lusted after an iPad when that amount equals life – savings of a family.

So the question I am pondering over is if I should feel guilty or not. Should I embrace things as they are and work towards aiming my goal or work for the underprivileged. Confusion, confusion, confusion. Or, can a balance between these two things be achieved?

(Or maybe, these thoughts are a coping – mechanism for my brain about upcoming exams)

Hell Yeah, I’m a Writer!

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This post was written as a thread on one of the forums of the English Composition course I’m pursuing.

I remember reading Enid Blyton books way back when I was a toddler and trying to sneak some past my bed time. With that, I had regular Sanskrit sessions with my grand-aunt. My mum wrote beautifully in English and my grand-aunt in Hindi and Sanskrit. I thank those two beautiful women for inculcating reading habits and pushing me to express myself by writing.

I am a writer!

Not very regular, impulsive, on a binge and writing only when I want to – lazy in straight terms.

I have experimented with various styles, tried my hand on poetry, fiction, narratives and social/political commentary. I don’t know where I’ll go with my writing and what style I’ll choose eventually, but for now, I‘m in a happy place, trying to write more regularly.

My primary motive for joining this course (apart from being pushed by a special one) is to get feedback, become regular, get a direction and see if I am ready to undertake writing as a full – time profession. Also, I’m looking forward to reading what other, talented people in the world write.

My first writing experience was the primary school assignments about my family, dog, house etc. where I learned to differentiate between do and did and other such nuances. It progressed to essays that my teachers used to award with stars and smiley faces. Another beautiful memory is of a poem about Diwali I wrote with my best friend on the bus ride back home from school. Growing up, I started writing more mature pieces. Then came my blog (RIP). The best parts I feel have been during my college life.

Now, I enjoy writing and do it at my own pace. I’m hoping to grow and develop as a writer!

hell yeah im a writer1

Wharton cancels Invitation to Modi – Lessons to Learn

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We all, and that includes the politically aware and involved people of India, are very well aware of the infamous Gujrat Riots, the image makeover of Narendra Modi and the subsequent, historic “Naroda Patya” verdict last year. It was a history of all sorts, yet the battle for justice still goes on. People have talked and forgotten and Modi has won yet another election. Lobbying is going on for his candidature as the PM from the opposition. Seems, majority of the political class is indifferent to what happens to the Aam Aadmi, as long as they are cozy in their government apartments payed for by the nation and as long as their political careers are thriving. People vote for somebody who can benefit them personally, instead of protesting for justice and standing for the weaker, underprivileged fellow citizens.  Maybe that’s the reason that a man accused by the Human Rights’ Watch is in a stronger than ever position politically.

image source: google

image source: google

I sit and watch what happens and can do nothing but watch because I know my one vote is not going to make a difference among the millions of votes a wrong – doer will get through his minority suppressing, so – called secular politics. People hardly protest against the wrong – doers and those who do, are but a small, tiny lot who go unheard. One of the examples is Irom Sharmila – chargesheeted recently for her peaceful protest.

Getting back to the fray, it was very refreshing and impressive to here of how a group of protestors from Wharton and Penn managed to raise a voice and more importantly, were heard. They protested vehemently against the invitation given to Narendra Modi for the delivering a lecture at the “Wharton India Economic Forum” virtually. Well, “virtually” because the man has been denied a visa to the US. because of his infamous heroics in the Gujrat Riots. People wrote a petition, got some other people to sign on it and subsequently, the forum withdrew its application.

When we retrospect, this isn’t a big deal. People protest, they get heard and action is taken. Correction though: not-a-big-deal in places where every single move made isn’t made for political or selfish reasons. Had this been in India, where every person’s political thoughts and background matter more than what he says, the protestors would have had a HUGE media coverage, the issue would have had been politicised by all rival parties and subsequently, nothing would have had been done. Either the protestors would have been bashed up by anonymous gundas, or paid for calling of the protest or gone unheard. Summary: it is next to impossible to raise voice successfully against a political or social giant in India. While the Forum authorities were sensitive to the sentiments and the issue raised by the protestors, here in India, people move only when needed and that too for their own selfish ends.

There are many lessons we can take from this incident. First: to raise our voice. Second: for the authorities to be sensitive to the opinion of the masses. And this doesn’t apply just on the the anti – Modi protests but our daily life too. I’m not saying that the decision is politically significant. I take this as an example of action and impact: somewhat a novelty in India.

A small example: the institute I study in and the place I love in – it is impossible getting work done unless the “giants” are benefiting from it. An application for a simple matter takes ages to get into the system and get processed. while the authorities turn their deaf ear towards it and refuse to extend ANY support of ANY type. We organized a fest which was successful and one-of-its-kind for our college. The authorities lent the minimum possible support and academically detain the students involved in organizing.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are millions of such examples and incidents happening with us and the world around us. We should raise our voice against the wrong – doings and the wrong – doers. Also, people in higher positions and positions of power (i.e. the giants) should TRY being sensitive towards those like us who aren’t as fortunate and privileged as them. We need to EMPATHIZE with those who are less fortunate and be sensitive to issues not just ours but of those around us as well. This is needed and of utmost importance if we want to create a social structure and a society which is progressive and caters to the needs of all of its members, irrespective of social status, political opinions, cast, gender or power.

Irony (image source: google)

Irony (image source: google)

To the Wharton – India Economic Forum: thumbs up for being sensitive to the issue and taking an action

To the protestors who made it happen: commendable job

Of Yearnings and Delusions

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Delusion – that’s what I learned today.

We spend ages pitying ourselves, the surroundings and the circumstances around us. We are the ultimate victims in our own eyes – for having been denied what was ours, for having been denied to get what ought to be ours, what we deserved. BANG! There comes a slap from, what my sister described in her blog, the “faith”. I guess there is something, somewhere watching us that occasionally, gives us the good sense to look beyond us and open our eyes. There is whole, big, wide world out there with people and beings in conditions worse than us. Sometimes, instead of wallowing in self – pity and loathing, we need to be a phoenix (like Fawkes – for all HP junkies out there), and look clearly as to who we really are. There is no dearth of opportunities or time or resources if we set our heart to what we really wanna do!

(image source: google)

(image source: google)

I spent the past month in grief – of going through a writers’ block (which I realize now is a fake concept made up by crazy people who need shrinks). In simple words, I couldn’t write. I couldn’t find a topic, I couldn’t find the time, I couldn’t find any inspiration. I yearned to find a topic I could write on, something which would inspire. Turns out, its all peanuts. Today, my faith intervened and I got struck by the lightening. Folks, yours truly has turned into an amateur poet :D (a round of applause would be MOST welcome here). My first piece, dedicated to the delusions we live in…

“Delusion
A single-lettered word with a thousand meanings
Sometimes an ache, sometimes a yearning
A myth that ought to be burst
Or a shelter from the world, where simplicity is but, dearth
Ah! The delusion
Living in one
Hoping someday, sometime, you’ll be the one
The one person you truly yearn to be
With the courage, the strength to tackle
Come what may be
Ah! The Delusion
That you have, in all actuality, overcome
The fears, the nerves
Of failing, of faltering
The blundering, the haltering
From the point yonder
Where you’re supposed to be
The goal of life
The fruit of strive,
Ah! The Delusion
For me, the reason I keep going,
In the hope that someday,
It’ll turn out to be,
But, a Delusion”

PS: Also dedicated to the Internet, which is a Pandora’s Box, full of magical things :)

Ashamed, Disgusted & Outraged

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Today, I’ll write about what it is like to be a woman in India. This post highlights just one in the million incidents of eve-teasing, molestation, rapes, sexual discrimination, assault on women and plain ill-treatment women go through very single friggin’ day. Whether at work or at home, whether in a park or a multiplex. whether out with friends or at a family function, whether in a chauffeur driven car or in local-transport – it is always there. That slimy, creepy, hypocrite, shameless, lewd thinking about women some people have.

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Lets start from scratch. A daughter is born – its a woman’s fault; result – abortion. A girl falls in love – result of “education” and “modernisation” or, as a politician put it, “result of using cellphones”; outcome – honor killing or social disgrace. A husband mistreats his wife =  the wife can’t satisfy him. And the worst one: a girl gets eve-teased/molested/raped – she must be wearing short clothes/ must be of a loose character/ must have had seduced the guys.  WTF man? This all incidents take place in the 21st century, every single day, in every part of India – be it the villages or the namesake – modern India. What pains me and angers me the most – nobody gives a thought to the victim, rather they rush to the defense of the offender. Heights of inflated ego, stupidity, stuck up morals and sick thinking.

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For anybody who’s not aware, this article comes in wake of the horrific Delhi gangrape. However, this doesn’t mean AT ALL that I never noticed or thought about or talked about it. Every female in India does that, goes through that and has to suffer through that every friggin’ single day! You don’t need a hi-fi, G-20 esque, politicised report on how India is the most unsafe nation for women. Just ask any girl walking down the road, odds are that she most certainly has been eve-teased atleast once.  The reason  what this never stops? Because WE NEVER RAISE OUR VOICE! That is the reason why students and youngsters in the counts of hundreds and thousands swarmed to the Raisina Hill and India Gate. Its overwhelming and makes me feel proud to see women standing up. Its makes me happy to see that some cultured, intelligent men have joined them in this crusade. It makes me want to hold up m y head high that WE are the reason Delhi is shutdown today and politicians have been forced to listen and react.

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The sad part – hooligans and wannabes who are trying to hijack the movement, the insensitive government, the stone – hearted president (didn’t utter a word), the mute Prime – Minister who comes up with the worst message ever (epicly disgusting),  Sheila Dixit’s crocodile tears, Neeraj Sharma and Sushil Kumar Shinde’s (the CP, Delhi and the Minister of Home Affairs  respectively) puke-inducing self praises and heartless responses and above all – the fact that WE NEEDED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN TO RAISE OUR VOICE! This whole episode (and countless others) could’ve had been avoided if the police had been vigilant, if some men could think of women beyond sex and if the politicians wouldn’t be busy looting our country for their pockets.

The man(?) who compared protesters to Maoists

The man(?) who compared protesters to Maoists, Home Minister Sushil Shinde

Another example of inflated ego, non – empathetic thinking and backward appprach:

 

The man who justified police crackdown on protesters and says "I wont quit". probably coz he feels no moral responsibility - Neeraj Sharma - CP, Delhi

The man who justified police crackdown on protesters and says “I wont quit”. probably coz he feels no moral responsibility – Neeraj Sharma – CP, Delhi

Glimpse of the protest:

3ashmdGlimpse of the crackdown:

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If it isn’t enough, here are some more recent incidents which were forgotten quickly by the short – lived public memory

Read http://chandni.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/i-have-never-felt-this-alone/ , it is sure to send chills up your brains (did that to me for one).

Think of Guwahati case: a journo recorded footage for his news channel while a mob was molesting a girl. Sometime later, journo’s editor tweeted (hinted) at the chance of that girl being a prostitute. There is no limit to shamelessness.

Guwahati Molestation Case

Guwahati Molestation Case

Think of Keenan and Rueben who lost their lives trying to ward off hooligans and eve-teasers away from their female friends.

Heroes

Heroes

Think of those million women who go under daily abuse of some form or the other, just because they are women.

Think of the times when you’ve been made uncomfortable by street hooligons, road-side loafers, leeches in a crowded bus/train coach  or just plain looking men.

Think about it, the girl who got raped and assaulted, the poor soul who is battling between life and death could’ve had been  you, me or anybody for that matter. We need concrete steps, not just in terms of laws and legislations, but in terms of a change in the mindset of this broader section of our society which is programmed to think of women as the weaker-sex who can be ruled upon anytime. We need to learn how to respect women, how to treat them as equals and how to follow rules. We need to change our mindsets. We need to stop underestimating ourselves just because we’re girls. We need to choose the right leaders. We need to have the guts to slap a guy for passing a lewd comment on us. We need to have some self – respect and stand up for what’s right and what ought to be done. If we don’t  start working NOW, there is no way to stop these demons

Disclaimer: I have written this article and criticised men while being fully aware of the fact that there is indeed a section of intelligent, decent, well-mannered men in our society who do know their limits, rights, duties and support women.

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