Chuckles Galore, Wisdom Ahoy!

6:00 p.m.: I am probing fresh vegetables at the local departmental store. There is a mad rush at the store with people jostling fellow customers that gives a feeling that today is the last day of this only departmental store in our locality, and so the most obvious thing to do is hoard, loot, and stock up whatever you possibly can. Fortunately, my nightmares are not true as the rush is due to people hurrying up to finish their weekend errands to reach the venue for burning the Ravan on the eve of Dussera. Our scriptures say that the idealist Ram killed the demon Ravan on this very same day centuries ago. So, we erect a giant structure of the demon king and alight it to flames to reminisce that day.
6:30 p.m.: I follow the crowd to reach the grounds where the ‘Burn the Ravan’ act will be performed. Though the replica of the demon king can be easily spotted (yes the tall stuffed structure built with so much effort and money only to be burnt down in a jiffy), where is the Ram who will do the honors of burning the structure. If that is the question that lingers in your mind, let me enlighten you. We the hoi polloi are the Rams who do the honors of reproducing the story that happened ages ago. Eyes rolling? Hiccups? Coughing? Save it; for all of these will show up when the Ravan facsimile is set to huge flames. We have terrorists, rapists, goons, and dacoits sipping coffee in jails and our parliament, but here we are setting fire to the replica of a demon who actually was a great worshipper of Ram himself.
7:00 p.m.: It’s a pleasant winter evening, and as I stroll back home from the ‘Burn Grounds’, I decide to pay a visit to the departmental store now. I can complete my weekly shopping in peace; thanks to the Ravan who burns to ashes and the people who are now gulping prasad (offerings to ‘God’) while witnessing the fire show. Tired and hungry as I am (trotting up and down a store helps you burn calories), I go to the local vendor who sells frankies – our colloquial name for rolls and wraps. A boy of fifteen gives me these pearls of wisdom – ‘Madam, every year people spend so much on burning the Ravan. Where does all that money come from? I am trying to convert this make shift shop of mine into a permanent one, bahot bada nahi Madam, choti si dukaan (not a very big shop Madam, a small one) but no bank is lending me money neither is anyone helping me to get a loan.
IMG_20151015_195932When I read the lines above, does it ring a bell? It does. Why? I can relate myself to the ‘you know who’ in the latest lighthearted read by Twinkle Khanna, Mrs Funnybones. She believes that nothing is sacred than laughter, and with her self-deprecating humor she makes you smile at every page that you turn. She picks on everything from her name to the man of the house to her prodigal son and her baby to her dear mom to her mom-in-law to the numerous people she meets every day at work to the leaders of the country and the entertainers of the society. She identifies with every urban woman who runs the daily chores of life, goes to work, and deals with people in and out of her family, her own and by law both. This urban woman encounters situations as described in the beginning of this blog post wherein her agony comes out as satirical musings sometimes or ends with an emotional thought or two at other times.

Mrs Funnybones lends you a kaleidoscope through which you can look at life in its various nuances. She makes you realize that with each passing day we are growing old, and with that we are learning sundry things right from the circumstances and people surrounding us. So, with our learning curves rising to the peak, we are also becoming younger in our own peculiar ways. As are hairs get grey, and those lines of wrinkles start showing up, we fail to remember that they are the result of so much learning that we have amassed over all these years. And what use is all this erudition if we cannot pass it on? After all the sole purpose of evolution is to pass on the best that we know. She can actually be accredited for passing her wisdom in her unique way. She is a modern mother and yet not a preacher or imposer of her thoughts on her children. She is not proving anything to them, letting them choose their actions, and yet protecting them from anything that can malign their innocence. She laughs her heart out when they fall, and she also picks them up while rubbing a note or two into their brains.

There was a lot of reality check while reading this book, and quite a bit of hindsight. It may be owing to two reasons – one being the fact that Mrs Funnybones is a lot like any present-day woman out there or that the ‘me’ within myself relates to her thoughts. For example, she says that there is a difference between trying and holding on or when she says that life is like flying a kite wherein there will be turbulent times in its motion but don’t let go or when she says that love is imperfectly perfect or when she looks on to the festivities at her in-laws’, and ponders that most women are a misfit who enter families that are so different from theirs or when she is at the verge of crying because her toddler is driving her crazy or when she is venting out the most scornful remarks with an inkling of sarcasm after a hard day at work. The fact that she sounds like an ordinary real woman keeps you hooked on to the book. She has touched almost every fabric of life right from being named ‘Twinkle’ (a story that many can relate to for being bestowed with non-acceptable names!) to dealing with the herculean issues after getting married (yes we have the stories of those thirsty fasts and not feeding the husband enough) to the sulking that all daughters suffer at the hands of their moms being so ‘awesome’ at so many occasions to the fears of every mother with regards to their growing children to the nostalgia of teen and college life adventures that strikes all of us at some point of time to the horrifying days at work to bearing with the most stupid acts put up by maids, house helps, those far-away cousins and acquaintances, to the taboos that haunt our country (yes there are tales of the ‘Whisper’ being wrapped in those clandestine packets)!

Mrs Funnybones touches the subtle shades of life that we all experience in one form or another. Her writing is like fresh air – she breaks all the stereotypes, and yet sounds so ordinarily extraordinary. And they were saying, ‘so much intelligence for an actress!’ Buy your copies today, and you will learn to laugh at yourself, at those moments that tend to make you impulsive and snap at the spot, at those days when you felt that life couldn’t be worse! Laughter is the best therapy, and when armored with wits and intelligence, you will grow wiser with your chuckles, and look at life with an unblemished view.

The Black Beauty

umbrellaA misty morning in the monsoon, and I stepped out of my apartment to begin my daily commute to work. Becky, the dog, rested peacefully at the stairs bidding me goodbye with her poignant eyes. She looked more tired than usual or was she ill; I didn’t know. I stroked her black hair, and rubbed her forehead before leaving. The murk of the fog that morning shielded the greenery around – holding a silence that can move you. Taz, the dog, emerged from the murk with Aunty Daisy. I stopped by him for our morning love session, and then continued to walk towards the spot where I board the cab to work daily.

The rain and I do not get along too well. Well, it’s not abhorrence – it’s just that we generally encounter each other in the wrong timing.  So, in adherence with our history, it started pouring on the day I forgot to carry the umbrella. Getting wet unwantedly is not my cup of tea (clothes and shoes all spoilt before reaching work – I find no joy in it!). My only respite was the fact that this is Bangalore’s drizzle – where drizzle actually means a sprinkling shower unlike Bombay. (Bombay, my love, you are still special.) The cab wasn’t on time to make things worse. As I kept looking at my watch and wished that the cab arrives before it pours badly, I could feel the shelter of an umbrella over my head. A voice called from behind – “Didi, umbrella?” I turned sideways to see who the protector was. I saw eyes laden generously with kohl that sparkled with the rain drops on her face and a smile so full of life that can brighten a misty morning! She kept smiling while I tried to reassess my memory. I thought of Mumbai a while ago, and the past came alive – was this true? Was I actually seeing Nauheed? Yes, she was there in front of me asking if the umbrella was protecting me well.

I had met Nauheed in a local train in Mumbai. We commuted together to Andheri every weekday in the 7:10 local – while she travelled back from Andheri to New Bombay after the local reached its destination, I trotted off to sweat in an air conditioned office. Nauheed used to sell costume jewelry in the local train. Vendors have a thriving business in the lifeline of Bombay that runs incessantly.  The ladies’ compartments are their most remunerative targets for business. Nauheed also resorted to this lucrative zone of the Bombay locals. On the first meeting I had asked her, “Who buys these so early in the morning?” She had replied, “You will see in some time, Didi.” As the train jolted at a station, a gang of college girls entered the compartment, and Nauheed’s baskets were seized. “Limited edition, Didi”, she had chuckled with a twinkle in her kohl loaded eyes. I had scanned her basket, and replied, “Limited indeed. I don’t get these in Colaba too. Where do you hunt for them?” Nauheed had been prompt in replying, “That’s my secret Didi. First rule in the business is to maintain confidentiality of source.” We both had exchanged wide grins, and from then our daily exchange of stories had begun. The stories ranged from far and wide – from her village to my native city, from growing up to surviving, from sustaining to dying – every day a new face of life. She used to speak with such innocence, with an eagerness to narrate.

Nauheed touched my arm, and I was back to Bangalore. She said, “You didn’t answer anything I asked. You don’t remember me?” The innocence was still intact. I told her that it was impossible to forget her. I had drifted for a while to the city that never sleeps. I enquired about how she had reached Bangalore. She said, “I will tell you. Tell me why did you leave the city? You liked it a lot. What happened?” I smiled, and answered, “I found another job here.” She asked, “A better one? I came here for better work too.” The downpour was increasing, and I pulled Nauheed closer to me in the umbrella. It had been a fifteen minute wait, and there was no sign of the cab. I called up the driver to enquire about the delay, and realized there was going to be further postponement to the commute. “For whom are you waiting, madam?” she asked. I wiped the rain droplets falling on me from the tips of the umbrella, and said, “Why are you calling me madam? Has Bangalore instilled pretentiousness in you?” Nauheed answered, “No Didi. I think I have developed it as a habit after working at the salon. I have to address all the clients as madam.” “You work at a salon now. Where?” I asked. Nauheed told me she worked as a masseuse at a local salon. After I had stopped travelling by our common route to my work in Bombay, Nauheed told me a group of goons had looted their house in the slum. A gang bout out broke and things turned ugly. She had managed to elope with her younger brother to her village in the outskirts of Bombay. A man in her village runs an agency for people to find work. He had arranged for her to find work here at the salon.

The mild downpour had stopped by now, and yet my cab had not arrived. The driver called, and said that another cab will be coming. “What will you do madam, sorry, Didi, if the cab doesn’t come? Will you take the bus?” I shrugged, and said, “I will just go back home. Going by the bus is absolutely a waste of time now. Actually, I am thinking I might as well go home now. It’s late already.  Do you want to come? It’s getting cold. I will make tea.”  Nauheed said, “It isn’t that easy to go home madam.” I was perplexed at her answer, and asked, “What do you mean by that?” She diverted from the question, and said that she was waiting for a friend. They both were travelling to Belgaum today.

A few seconds later, Nauheed’s friend Leela arrived. She was clad in a sari, and decked up with makeup and flowers in her hair. Nauheed introduced me to Leela as her ‘Didi’ from Bombay. Leela glanced at me, and asked, “How much do you earn in a day? You don’t put makeup to work?” I didn’t quite know how to answer that.  My mind started calculating my salary per day. After a moment I held back my mind, and asked myself, “Are you seriously thinking of answering that?” By then Nauheed had nudged an elbow to Leela. I could see that she was fuming, and whispered mildly something to her friend. Her words seemed to vaporize into the moist atmosphere. I tried to read her lips but in vain. She told me, “Sorry madam. She didn’t mean it like that.” “Like what?” I asked.  Nauheed diverted again saying that Leela’s home is in Belgaum, and they both are visiting an ancient shrine there. “Oh is it? Which shrine? I have read about Belgaum. I’ve heard that it’s beautiful” I told them. Leela lost no time to answer, “Have you heard of Saundatti and the temple of Yellamma there?”  I had read about it in Nine Lives, one of my favorite books by William Dalrymple. My mind was thinking a thousand thoughts now – Saundatti, Yellamma, Devdasis, servants of the goddess, concubines, and the thoughts were endless. The whole world occurred to spin around me.

I brought myself to composure, and controlled my emotions. Maybe I was over thinking. It was possible that Leela and Nauheed were plainly visiting the ancient temple of Yellamma in Saundatti. However it was hard to believe that they were plainly visiting the shrine. Why would they do so? The ancient Devdasi system wherein young girls were dedicated to a life of sanctioned prostitution and their virginity was auctioned in the name of service to the goddess was banned in the 1980s. When I had read the history behind the whole concept I was flabbergasted by the orthodoxy and malevolence that kept this practice alive for so long, and continues to keep it alive clandestinely. In the wake of unburdening themselves, poverty afflicted parents continue to see it as a means of ‘better work’. Better work – that is what Nauheed had told me. Nauheed couldn’t have been a Devdasi, could she? I had known her for so long. What about Leela? I was struggling to find the answers that were haunting me.

Leela and Nauheed were busy counting money and discussing some route details. I interrupted them saying, “Are you travelling to Saundatti for the first time?” The cab arrived. I was looking at Nauheed waiting for an answer from her. She was silent. The silence was killing me. “Why?” I asked. Leela was arranging the folds in her sari, and was sitting on the pavement now. The driver was honking. He opened the door of the car, and called out, “It’s getting late, madam.” I sat inside the cab still waiting for an answer. Nauheed closed the door for me. The cab started moving, and then she ran behind the cab. The driver halted the cab. Nauheed tapped on the door. I lowered the glass to see her kohl enamored eyes, again.  “Didi, I was born as Nirupama. I was dedicated when I was seven. I was sold when I was twelve. I started working in the red light area in Bombay when I was fourteen.  You keep this umbrella with you, Didi. You don’t like getting wet unwantedly, I know”, she said. “Madam, can we go?” the driver asked me. “Go” Nauheed told him, and the cab sped past.

Life – the moment you think that you know it all, it will surprise you like never before. Servants of god – that is what these girls are called – the literal translation of Devdasi. What dogma dictates this? I fail to understand why humans are the most loathsome creatures on this earth when they have been bestowed with the most beautiful emotions. I had never imagined that one of those “Nine Lives” from Dalrymple’s travelogues will meet me in real life. As I alighted from the cab that evening when I was back from work, the rain came pouring again. However, this time around we were meeting at the perfect time – a time when I opened Nauheed’s umbrella to shelter myself and the rain’s twin adorned my eyes. I strolled back home. Taz was out for his evening walk with Aunty Daisy. I stopped by him again for our moment of love at dusk. I kept walking towards home remembering the black beauty. Becky was there to welcome me at the stairs. As I folded the umbrella, “What did you do all day, missy?” I asked her. She was jumping to sniff the folded umbrella – yellow colored with black spots all over it. A little butterfly came fluttering in from nowhere. It fluttered for a while around me, and finally rested on the umbrella. We all were home.

The Lowland

Lowland-quoteA loved one long gone survives in our memories. Does the loved one ever actually go then? Is the loved one painfully present? Does that mean bygone never actually departs? If yes, the palpable emotion emanating from one would be happiness – happiness of never losing who are thought as lost. Is it always happiness? I had never contemplated on it until I came across The Lowland – the swampy patch between two ponds in old Calcutta that harbors the memories of a loved one whom a family loses in a tragedy. Jhumpa Lahiri, the mind behind The Lowland made me traverse from Calcutta to Rhode Island with two members of this family – Gauri and Subhash between whom Udayan lives forever long after he dies in the lowland. Did Udayan’s unsaid presence make them happy? Lahiri’s family saga doesn’t answer this and perhaps no one can. Why? Because happiness can’t be defined. We all have our own versions of happiness, and so did Gauri and Subhash. Udayan, the seam between Gauri and Subhash when he was alive becomes the breach between them after his death. None can be impugned for none can be ascribed for life’s unpredictable circumstances.

It’s said marriage is an institution in which interpersonal relationships are acknowledged. Are they, always? If yes, then for what? Why does Subhash marry Gauri? To acknowledge his duty towards his brother Udayan’s widowed? To pacify his guilt for being away from his brother when he was tangled in Mao-inspired political upheavals? To protect Gauri from the tentacles of his mother’s disapproval and hatred for her and take her away abroad to lead a life of respect? To let his secret admiration for Gauri get a chance to bloom into love? If I look from Gauri’s point of view, a different set of questions confront me. Why did she marry her dead husband’s brother? To escape from the bondages a single mother-to-be is subjected to? To abandon in-laws who never accepted her as she wasn’t chosen by them for their son? To live a better life in a far-off country rather than her own where she lacked freedom to live her life on her terms? The society that we live in demands a name for a relation between a man and a woman not bonded by blood; and marriage possibly is the most easily affordable name that can be had. Subhash and Gauri sought its resort too; convenient and workable as most would think. So, marriage can be about convenience and work-around as well. Lahiri’s characters seem to be silently mocking at this societal norm.

Marriage is workable perhaps, but what about love? Is it workable too? Surely not. You cannot create love as much as you may try. It’s instinctive and buds on its own. You needn’t work on it. And if you are working your way out then it’s purely an affair of adjustment. Lahiri concedes this through the life that Subhash and Gauri build up in Rhode Island. They are together as husband and wife, as mother and father of Gauri and Udayan’s daughter yet they are far apart as lovers. Are they friends? No. They are two complete strangers after years of living together. There’s a bridge that separates them. Gauri doesn’t want to cross it, and Subhash is both tired and afraid of crossing it. Amidst this turmoil, Gauri finds solace in her own world – her new world free of obligations with which she had to live in her own country. She yearns for a new independence now – independence from her identity as a wife and as a mother. Was Gauri unable to forget Udayan, you may ask. Could she? Was she wrong if she couldn’t? Udayan’s death was pinned to her soul. It’s a love that succeeded to live beyond death.

Have you heard this popular adage?

Tis a lesson you should heed:

Try, try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try, try again.

Until when should you keep trying? And at the cost of what? The philosophies of sacrifice and standing through thick and thin for family cannot force all to give up desires. The school of thought that preaches living for others cannot buy off idiosyncrasy. Quitting and abandoning don’t always measure courage of an individual to endure. They also mean letting go things that instill pain and bring in suffering. Gauri is looked upon as self-conceited by many. But I would ask for what? She wouldn’t have lived a life had she been the emblematic sacrificing mother and wife. Her choice of solitude may look impulsive. However, had her choice been togetherness, it would have still brought in seclusion for her. You make ask, what did she gain by standing out solo? I would ask what would have she gained by joining the crowd? She took the road not taken. Tradition is so entrenched in us that unconventional and conceited seem synonymous.

Love doesn’t recognize blood and stark realities cannot remain in shadows for long. To build a relationship, you simply need two ingredients – love and truth. Subhash loved his daughter unconditionally, not out of duty or love for his brother but only for the sake of love. He always dreaded truth – the truth behind fatherhood of his daughter. When he confronts his fear one fine day, he realizes that he had lived with an anxiety that he needn’t have to bear after all. We complicate our lives way beyond what they actually are. We keep hiding our faces behind masks, and sooner or later the masks fall off. We give different names to this falling of masks – realization, renunciation, reincarnation, and many others. It is much easier to look at life the way it is. As always Jhumpa Lahiri gives us characters who are real, and who make you feel that their choices could be yours. They dwell questions in your mind, and their beautifully crafted sentences leave a hint or two for you to find answers in the maze of words. I kept unfolding the pages in The Lowland in the wake of knowing what happens. Nothing really happens, just like life where everything happens yet it seems nothing happened.

I don’t count Lahiri as one of my favorites for no reason. Go to The Lowland and make a journey to and fro between Calcutta and Rhode Island, and you will have reason enough to fall in love with Lahiri.


S had said, ‘In the end you will become an addict.’ Did I? Have I? Can I? Was I already? All questions seem to intersperse into one another and wander into the apartment at S.Terrace road – across seven seas where S holds it, turns its folios and gets soaked into itthis opium called Narcopolis. S sowed the seeds of Narcopolis in me and now it’s a full-fledged tree with its roots protracted deep in my mind. They say you only introduce your worst enemy to opium. Is it? Is S my friend or my enemy? Is he different from me or is he me? Is he the ‘I’ who is writing this or the ‘I’ who accompanies me while I tread on this drug journey? Now and then I turn the pages of the opium den and smell the innocent nostalgia that its author Jeet Thayil has woven within it. As I do this I reminiscence voices that are crushed and forgotten; I reminiscence a city without its veils and in all its squalor that holds these nameless voices and lets them out in the smoke of opium, heroin and weed. S made me live another life at Narcopolis – one that I had never known of, and perhaps not one but many. So, here I am making an effort to relive those lives.


Narcopolis isn’t a plot spilled with a cast that walks and talks to narrate a piece of fiction. It’s a concoction of dreams, reality, prophecy and time – all of which thrive on the drug of opium housed in another drug, the other drug being Bombay. Bombay has been the refuge for many who are homeless and lost, who are looking for themselves, who are waiting to be free, who are longing to live in addiction, who are longing to be free of addiction. What is addiction? Is it freedom or is it exile? Is freedom same as exile? Life in all its glory is an addiction and the greed to live it is a lifelong exile – exile from the emptiness that is the ultimate truth maybe. It’s an oxymoron that we live in every day, and most of us die living this paradox. While I travelled through the lanes of Narcopolis, Dom – the narrator and his opium pipe took turns to describe this enigma. Effortlessly they exchanged turns to tell the experiences of pimps, peddlers and goons, the murky and nimble desires of the lowest of the low and the highest of the high.

It’s difficult to distinguish Dom from his pipe. They seem to be one; just like S and I who seem indistinguishable many times, perhaps they too thrive on each other. Dom weaves the prologue in a single sentence spanning seven pages as if the whole of Narcopolis is a single breath of his pipe. S told me one needs to be literally high to absorb the essence of it.  Aren’t we all high on life – the single drug that captivates us, at times pushes us away from it and at others pulls us into it? Each of our lives is a long sentence that we parse with phrases, clauses and punctuations to suit our needs, to control the flow of it, and to make ourselves believe that we are in control of it. We all are scared to break this illusion of life that we ourselves have created and that we strive so bad to live. Doesn’t everything in the end turn into nihility? Yet we don’t want to believe that it is a fake life that we live. If this isn’t addiction then what is?

The notion is popular that the weakest seek the doors of opium, heroin and their cousins. Also, a theory has been postulated that they descent into a world of numbness while being entranced by them, that they tend to remain incarcerated in order to escape the reality, the mortality and the chronology that define life. If that is so why do people who have tackled and endured the ghosts of life tend to seek the shelter of drugs? Surely they aren’t the weakest if they have fought the horrendous affairs life throws upon at times. If they are strong enough to sustain why do they knock the doors of drugs? What is it that they seek? It’s a matter of choice actually. All that we do is our willing and unwilling choice. As far as the defining elements of life – reality, mortality and chronology go, do they actually delimit life? Aren’t mortality and chronology killers of the self? They are manmade concepts to keep the theories of time and space intact. We know it still we deny it; still we define our own theories of right and wrong, and pretend to live up to these dogmas. We all feed on our own hypocrisy and what a pity that we also take pride in it. S had said that it’s all fake; now it makes more sense to me, to I as well and I get drawn into what goes on within S.

As strong and resilient that we may be or pretend to be when our masks are shed and when the self is divulged – a soul that pines love is all that we have. We all are lonely in our own ways and we all are scared of it. We all want to elude from its crutches. We all want to overcome this loneliness and want a friend who can accompany us in the ubiquitous ordeals of life. We come alone into this world and while we leave we are alone again. However while we are here we don’t want to be alone. We all tend to feel feeble when we face life alone. Is it a delusion of the mind that alone is weak? Or is it a conjecture that we grow up with or develop as we grow up? Sometimes we are too padlocked to ask these questions. Sometimes we ask but we don’t get the answers. Sometimes we are tired of not being answered. Sometimes the answer is a simple no but we aren’t brave to take no for an answer. Sometimes the answer is yes but we are too blinded to see it. At all times in these ‘sometimes’ we look for support and some souls find this support provisioned in the puffs and whiffs of what are called drugs. Am I questioning the good or bad of it? I am not. Neither does Narcopolis. It’s a code switching ouroboric ear candy that S introduced me to and made me an addict in turn, as he had said in the beginning.

Iridescent, gritty, grubby, contemplative and hard-core is this opium den. When the smoke comes out, there are thoughts left on the margins of it. I take deep breaths to fathom these thoughts, and sometimes to fathom S as well. Narco – the drugs, polis – its city, S – its dweller, I –its visitor – all seem synonymous to me, all intertwined by the episodes of life’s parody. All of us are addicts engulfed in the vicious circle of living and dying and seeking in between; seeking a loving heart, seeking a listening ear and a comforting hand; and S and I are no different from us.

Super Sweet Blogging Award

It feels great to be bestowed upon with love; surely there is nothing that compares to it. This time I’ve been bestowed upon with immense love through the Super Sweet Blogging Award by Teju. Teju is the proud owner of Singing Sparrows (what a lovely name for a blog) – a blog that spans countless emotions and is full of posts that touch you, sometimes poke you and at other times leave you pondering! I am so glad to have come across her blog, and I take this opportunity to say her a heartfelt thank you to her for this award.

Keeping up with the norm of the award, here are my answers to the five super sweet questions:

  1. Cookies or cake?  Cakes any time!
  2. Chocolate or vanilla?  Chocolate of course!
  3. What is your favourite sweet treat? Anything full of yum chocolate, hot or cold. 🙂
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Generally when I am too excited!
  5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? I already have one, and it’s Sweety. 🙂

Here are the super sweet bloggers –

Congratulations! Spread the joy and spread the sweetness!!!

The Sunshine Award!

It feels great to be bestowed upon with the Sunshine Award. My heart felt thanks to Tapish for nominating me for this lovely award. Tapish has a spark in his writings. He thinks out-of-the-box and comes up with unique posts. It’s always feels great to  read his piece of mind.

The Sunshine Award requires to

  • Answer some questions about yourself
  • Nominate some of your favorite bloggers
  • Let them know that they have been nominated
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you

Answering the questions:

Love or Money?

Love any time; is there a choice actually?

High salary or job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction comes first, always for me.

Favorite Book?

Well asking this question to a bibliophile is unfair! It’s simply impossible to choose. So, I will tell you who my favorite authors are – Alexandre Dumas, William Dalrymple, R.K. Narayan, Ruskin Bond, Jane Austen, Mathew Reilly, Anton Chekov, Charles Allen, Harper Lee, Enid Blyton, Rabindranath Tagore. (I think I’ve to stop because the list is endless!)

Television character that you simply adore?

All characters from Sarabhai vs Sarabhai

Homer from Simpsons

Sheldon Cooper from Big bang Theory

Favorite Music

Depends on my mood.

Favorite type of movie

Thriller, Adventure and Animations
List of Nominees:

Ankur at darkofficehumour

Soma at Somkritya

Pooja at Parashar’s Tales

Asha at Asha’s Blog

Andela at memyselfandela

Miro at WarriorPoetWisdom

Spread the joy of writing!

Living on the Edge

It was one of those late Friday evenings when you are ready to embrace the weekend after work. I was hastening to the subway to catch a train home. In the subway I found a group of people who were putting in herculean efforts for a little attention from the rushing commuters. You must be wondering what were these people doing, and why did they have to put herculean efforts to seek attention. The group represented volunteers from Greenpeace India, Indian subsidiary of the Greenpeace International, and they were trying to sound out people on the Clean Our Cloud cause – a cause to egg on IT leaders such as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon to stop powering the cloud (data centers that store our emails, pictures and music) with electricity driven by coal – one of the most sort after fossil fuel that is nearing its end. Now, you know what these people were doing. So, you must have understood why they needed out-of-the-world efforts to make people listen to them. No? Well, who cares to listen how we are eating away the Earth and digging our own graves or how organizations like the Greenpeace are grappling to save the world; hurrying home and hitting a night club is more important on a weekend.

Our apathy to our own home that was flung upon me on the subway is the impetus behind this post. After being a pest at marts to use cloth bags, this is my second step to do my bit for the Earth. The idea is not to educate you; it is to make you realize that the issues we probably jib at are not to be brushed off so easily. Do we ever wonder what happens to the million-tons of electronic products that we discard every year? We take a jiffy to upgrade our mobile phones, computers, televisions, audio equipment but we are not ready to spare a minute to know that these e-wastes are mounting up every day; and even more appalling is the fact that huge numbers of under-privileged families build their homes on this junkyard. When we relish the tuna and salmon in an over-priced restaurant, do we ever think if they have been fished from sustainable sources or if they are the result of a bycatch (wasteful fishing practices) or if fishing is depleting our oceans? When the dump truck collects the litter from our homes, do we care to mull that all our sewage, in addition to what is spewed by our industries is disposed at our seas?  Some might ask – ‘So what do you suggest? Should we stop buying new phones? Should we stop eating fish? Should we stop throwing litter out of the house?’ My answer is yes; you have no right to jeopardize the life of the Earth, just because you care so less.

For centuries man has foisted his demands on the nature, and to satisfy his ever augmenting greed has impinged into every possible habitat on this planet – from oceans to mountains to the underground earth. And what did he do after his encroachment? He drilled oil in the melting waters of the sea declining the age and extent of the sea ice that fortifies the ecosystem of the poles, and threatened the survival of species that are still unexplored. He spilled oil over the oceans and killed millions of flora, fauna and humans with the toxins of the oil. He logged and burned forests releasing tons of carbon sealed in these trees, igniting greenhouse emissions, reducing rainfall, calling upon droughts and famines. He ripped off animals and uprooted plants, and made products to adorn his home and body, and cleared land to grow crops to feed his family and build his house. Now he is on his new endeavor to generate hi-tech wastes, nuclear emissions, and hazardous chemicals that corrode our home, and our lives. Who entitled man to rampage the Earth? Ever since man was born, he has been living under the notion that everything on the planet is his, and that he is the linchpin on which the world survives. It’s high time he cleared this misconception and realized that he has his own niche and not every nook and cranny on this planet is his legacy; and that he is alive at the clemency of the environment around him, not the other way round.

A few months have passed since my taste buds started rejecting meat. Superfluous comments came in the wake of this change – “Oh! You are an eggitarian, are you? Oh! You are doing this because your boyfriend doesn’t like meat? Oh! You are an environmentalist, eh? Well, do you know even plants are living; so why eat them? C’mon, animals’ feelings are not hurt when they are killed! It’s important to kill animals to maintain balance in nature.” I wish I gave up non-vegetarian food for the environment; this post would be my third step to do my bit then! I just developed an uncomfortable feeling that I am butchering a life; and for those who think we kill plants to eat I would like to say crops, fruits, and vegetables are not killed. They are reared, and at the end of their life they become our food. Nature has her own way of maintaining balance – every being, plant or animal has its role to play and becomes a prey for the other. Man of all these beings has countless options to eat lest he feels that by killing animals he is maintaining the ecosystem. The question is not about eating meat rather about the sentiment behind it, the methods used for obtaining meat, and the animal that is ending its life. We cannot over-exploit the nature beyond its capacity to feed us.

Apparently, man is said to have supreme intelligence, unparalleled to any other creature. So what has he done with this super intelligence…evolved from stooping to standing erect, and in the wake of his evolution  let the Earth  regress– from green to decaying, from thriving to crumbling! Man has blotted out the voice of all the vanishing tigers, jaguars, cheetahs, lions, whales, pandas, to name a few. He has blotted out the sound of the gushing oceans and the swathing forests. But if you hear carefully, you can hear them calling, “Guilty!”  As an outcome of this genocide, no doubt he is living on the brink of devastation.

When I was a child I used to ask my dad why he goes to work. He used to say, “To earn money.” I used to ask, “Why do you have to earn money?” He used to say to be able to pay for food, clothes and shelter. When I grew up, and started earning, my dad felt I am spending too much time worrying about how much I earn. To justify my concern, I told him, “Daddy, money helps us get what we need to survive”. He told me, “No, it doesn’t. Nature gives us what we need to survive. Money just helps us get it from her.”

“When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned, and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can’t eat money.”  ~Courtesy Greenpeace Slogan

Once upon a time I won the Kreative Blogger Award – Thanks to my dear Ela

The story behind this post goes back down into memory lane. About five months ago, my fellow blogger Andela nominated me for the Kreative Blogger award. I was delighted that I was nominated. I thanked Ela, (as I call Andela), and posted my gratitude on her blog.

However there is a catch here! Being a newbie to the whole blog-awards scenario, I wasn’t aware that being nominated also means winning the award. 😉 🙂

I know many people do not post the awards for a lot of reasons but I have none, and had none when I was felicitated by Ela! As I had said in my earlier blog-award post that it is never too late to show people that you are grateful for their warmth and love.

I take this opportunity to thank dearest Ela for always being an ardent reader of my blog, and for encouraging me to keep writing. I love her blog. She has done it beautifully. She puts up beautiful posts that I am sure light up the lives of many; just as they have lit up mine.

I will keep the rules of the award very simple, and nominate 15 more bloggers all of whom are ‘Kreative Bloggers’!

  1. Ankur at
  2. Akshay at
  3. Antara at
  4. Aruna at
  5. Sokritiz at
  6. Soma at
  7. Pooja at
  8. Tapish at
  9. Miro at
  10. Hannah at
  11. David at
  12. 7th Heaven at
  13. Sarthak at
  14. Rajni at
  15. David at

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” ~ Alan Cohen

The Day of Freedom Beckons

When the midnight clock struck 12, and the day of 15th August 1947 began,  ‘India awoke to life and freedom’. The whole country must have been awake that night to hear ‘India’s tryst with Destiny’ by its first Prime Minister, and also to witness the sunrise of freedom after more than hundred years of foreign rule. Today, on the 15th of August 2012 I was awoken by ‘Hum Honge Kaamyaab Ek Din’ sung by little school children with full enthusiasm and grandeur. What is remarkable about these children is their spirit. Not more than eight years old, each one of them was present in the school by 7:30 in the morning to celebrate Independence Day.

The little ones reminded me of my own school days – days when I used to head the school parade, address the gathering with the Independence Day speech, participate and coordinate cultural events to celebrate our day of freedom. Right from the age of eight to eighteen I saluted the National Flag on every 15th of August. Today, Independence Day is only a national holiday for me. I don’t go to attend any celebratory events neither do I hear the Prime Minister’s speech from the Red Fort. I am afraid that one day, the little ones singing Hum Honge Kaamyaab Ek Din’ will stop singing it.

When I was in school, I was young. I did not understand the complicacies in being an adult – the complicacy to understand the truth, and yet be a bystander. As I grew older I wondered why we celebrate Independence Day. Is it to give speeches? Is it to salute the Indian flag? Is it to sing the national anthem? Is it to hear about the stories of struggle our freedom fighters underwent? Is it to eat the sweets distributed post flag hoisting? All these are just ways of showcasing our happiness that we are a free country. But do we ever ponder why it is important to celebrate this freedom? It’s important because freedom is hard-earned, and once earned it brings the responsibility to not take it for granted. After 65 years of freedom can we proudly say that we have not taken our freedom for granted? We all know the answer to this question, and yet we continue to give and hear speeches, which seem nothing more than the annual report of the country to me.

About a week before, the talk show Satyamev Jayate (Truth always triumphs) came to an end. The show brought forth and urged people to discuss and act on some of the most challenging issues our country is facing today – female feticide, dowry, caste discrepancies, issues of unfair reservations, lack of amenities and support for the handicapped and the elderly, inhuman practices in the field of health and medicine, problems of inter-caste marriages, drug-alcohol abuse, child labor and molestation, misfortune suffered by the women, and many more. India is the largest democracy, and a country with a vastly diverse culture. This fact postulates that our countrymen must be the most forward-thinking and modern, and hence would always appreciate efforts of people who conceptualized the show. I was aghast that it’s not true; if it would have been true, then Satyamev Jayate would have received a far better response than what a one-day-international cricket match receives. We all have adapted ourselves to be bystanders, and worse that we have lost the spirit to be supportive of causes that need to be fought for.

On a good note, I would say India has progressed very well since it broke the shackles of servitude. We have come a long way, and have achieved so much in science, engineering, literature, arts, and sports, and are still making advances. What is lamentable is that along with this we have not been able to let go our orthodoxy that we misname as our tradition and custom. I know a lot of readers would find the content of this post a load of nihilism. However we may feel it is not going to change what is true. The other way to look at it is that there is still hope. The fact that talk shows like Satyamev Jayate are being made is an indication that we have not shut all the doors. It also emphasizes that we are willing to accept what is true, and have the courage to speak and act for it.

I think we should come up with new ways of celebrating our freedom. We should organize workshops to educate children who do not have the opportunity to go to schools, to educate our older generation to let go of superstition, to educate our children to be alert and safe, to educate our sons that girls are not be drooled at but to be respected, to educate the people around us that the world cannot survive with men alone if we kill all the girls even before they are born, that children are not meant to be slogged at homes, that we should learn to look beyond our homes and care about what is happening around us, that Independence Day is nothing but a day – it becomes special only if we are free of our ostrich-mentality and frog-in-the-well attitude.

India is a beautiful country, and indeed I am very proud to be born here. Despite the ugliness in many realms, I can confidently say that I can never leave India and go elsewhere. India has a unique quality – the quality to be resilient, to enthrall whoever comes to her, and once enthralled to assimilate the individual in her blood and soul. Each Independence Day brings this solemn realization to me, and this year it beckoned me to write this post. I wish India the very best in all the years to come. I reminiscence these lines from the tryst with destiny- ‘It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!’

Happy Independence Day

It’s never too late – Thanking Pooja for the One Lovely Blog Award

On 16th July 2012,  dear Pooja (owner of the awesome Parashar’s Tales) nominated my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award!

Since my life has become busy like a bee (because of which I have not been able to blog lately),  I was unable to post this beautiful felicitation on my blog.

I realize that several days have passed since then, but it’s never too late to say thank you.

Pooja’s message for my blog nomination:

“I am honoured to nominate you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Please pick-up your award at Copy and Paste the Award to your blog and follow the rules of acceptance. I am very aware that some people do not wish to participate in Awards, and I completely respect that… no strings! But in any case, Congratulations, you have a Lovely Blog.”

The rules for this Award are as follows:

1. Give credit to the awesome person who nominated you.

2. Describe 7 things about yourself.

3.Nominate 15 other bloggers.

Fulfilling Rule 1:

Dear Pooja, a very warm and heartfelt thank you. You have a fabulous blog, and it’s a delight to know you! I am a little late in thanking you but nevertheless I am really grateful for this wonderful surprise.

Fulfilling Rule 2:

  1. I am a loquacious creature! Sometimes I talk to myself. 😀
  2. I want to write ceaselessly, and how much ever I write I think it’s not enough!
  3. I am an early bird, and love to look at the sunrise.
  4. I am addicted to reading, so much that the smell of books acts as a sedative for me. How much ever I read, I think there are loads of books still left to read.
  5. I dance as if no one is watching me, and when I dance I think about nothing else.
  6. Mystery, history, and artistry attract me like giant magnets. And, of course there is another giant magnet that draws me into it – delicious food; I have to say that my sense of taste is more evolved than any other sense. 😀
  7. I have a world of my own wherein I get lost time and again.

Fulfilling Rule 3:

Here are 15 bloggers whom I am nominating for this award:

Happy Blogging to everyone. 🙂