Sunday, December 10, 2017

An apple a day for good health. A good deed a day for happy soul

Maryam is a young, beautiful lady in her twenties. She is visiting the pearl city with her husband, who is invited for the World Entrepreneurship Summit from Bahrain. As her husband headed to attend the conference, Maryam decided to take a tour in the city and landed at the Forum Mall to do some shopping.

She was done with her shopping and was looking for some help to reach back to the hotel she was put in. The autowallas quoted some exhorbitant amount as usual. I noticed her when she was requesting the security guard and some dwellers to book a cab for her to Westin. Since no one was responding, she looked disappointed, lost and confused. I helped her book the cab and in the mean time I had a brief chat with her on their lifestyle, freedom for women, culture..etc. And gave her some tips on must visit places for shopping and fun in and around Hyderabad.

She is a lot more different than me in skin, religion, caste, country, economic status..blah blah. Albeit all the differences, we could connect, speak about her family, occupation, their religion. In no way, she looked different than any of my Indian sister in heart and mind. That made me wonder why do we carry this baggage of differences all our lives. In the end, it’s a human-human bonding. Nothing else.

Maryam, her gratitude filled eyes and words made me smile from the heart today. I hope she carries beautiful memories to her country back.

What Nature teaches us?

It's been a while I have written and posted something.

Wondering what I was doing?


I was watching the blue sky and was elated by its wide heart
I was gazing at the stars in the night sky and was amazed by their collective power
I was looking at the flock of birds and felt exalted by their unity
I was following a group of ants and was astounded by their discipline
I was inhaling the sweetness of Jasmines and was amused by its effervescence
I was viewing the banyan tree and was delighted to see its tenacity in calamity
I was hearing to a nightingale and was in trance listening to its poignant song
I was playing with the palash flowers and felt pompous looking at the brightness it spreads
I was touching the water ripples and felt euphoric experiencing the smile it induces

And then, I looked at humans and was disgusted by their stupidity.
Hence, I closed my mourning eyes and went into deep slumber.

Blind Date

To the man who asked me for a coffee date and didn’t turn up


It was after your constant follow up, I said “yes” for a cup of espresso. Unlike a regular day dress up, I garbed the neatly ironed floral gown. I had to beg my not-so-friendly cousin for few ml of her MAC pink lipgloss. You made the messy me hunt for Sephora mascara, white wedges and beads bracelet in the chaos cupboard of mine.

And then, I waited for you with my eyes wide open at the coffee shop. When you didn’t turn up even after an hour and when my artificial curls started to show its true colours, I plunged to leave furiously. Believe me, I would have punched your nose had you met me at that moment. I was leaving the coffee shop disheartened when I bumped into this handsome hunk by name “Peter Parkin”.

After the embarrassing moment, we looked at each other, giggled, apologised before staggering towards the door. He offered to give me a drop at the nearest bar. I am sure you are smart enough to guess the rest of the story. As they say, everything happens for good. I have not yet recovered from Peter Parkin’s charisma coupled with his impressive Irish accent.

So, thank you for this blind date and few selfies that I took awaiting you. One of the pics has crossed my all time record of pic likes and is falling short of just two likes for hitting 500. And the last favour I ask you is to “like” the cheek-to-cheek selfie of Peter and mine posted on my instagram handle.

The girl you missed

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dear Sunshine

A letter from a liberal, feminist, progressive father to his adopted daughter. This work is purely fictional.

Dear Sunshine,
As you and your mother sleep serenely after an exhausting day, I took this plunge to pen this before my thoughts fade away.

Not before you entered our lives, I knew how a tiny soul can make a difference in our lives. All thanks to your Mother. The beautiful woman sleeping beside you is no ordinary woman. I was apprehensive about making you a part of our family. Initially, I detested and have had huge arguments with you Mum. Her conviction and belief has no bounds. Your grandparents and I took time to understand her love towards you.

You were 9 months old when we brought you from Pune’s rescue home. You were sick and in a pretty bad shape after being vicious raped by cruel men. People called you “survivor” and outpoured their sympathy. You Mum called you “Warrior” and showered her immense love. The day we brought you into our tiny home, nothing else mattered to us. Family, friends, society were immaterial. Our hearts knew we did something right.

Unlike many fathers who wish their child to imbibe Dad’s mannerisms, style and action, I want you to grow up like your mother. She is an epitome of empathy and love. Her resilience, strength, patience are inspiration to many. She refused to conform to restrictions put by this regressive society. Becoming a mountaineer, marrying a person from different religion, going on solo international trips are some of the rebellious things she did in her times.

Your Mum’s story of defeating cancer moved many lives. She would undergo chemo sessions in the mornings and used to gather her strength to see your smile in the evenings. The only thing that made her fight battle a stage 4 leukaemia is your smile. You took us into a different world where only happiness exists. Your crankiness, antics, laughter, actions everything is mesmerising. Like the way you are smiling in your sleep right now cuddling your Mum. You are her reason to live.

You are no less than your mother. You are already a warrior princess. I am proud of you for taking up a cause like women and child welfare and working towards it. Honey, since you are turning 18, the three advices I give you today are 1. Don’t stop saying “NO” to things you dislike and ask “Why” 2. Be brave, tenacious 3. Spread love. Go ahead, experiment, learn from your mistakes, fight back and experience the entire journey wholeheartedly. Be it your dress or subjects you want to study, the choices and decisions are totally yours. You choose your religion. Choose your life partner. Think and act wisely. We shall only be mentoring you. Child, open your wings and fly. Fly as much as you WANT to. And never give up.

Happy 18!!

Your Daddy dearest

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Life in Traffic

The weather is pleasant. The impending rain drops just touched the railing of the bus stop, splashing tiny droplets on my pretty face. How romantic can life be when you have worked your ass out in office and trying to breathe some fresh air and positive thoughts when this eye candy sky mesmerizes every nerve cell in your brain. Thrillingly, I plugged in my ear phones, gazed at the retiring sun and switched on the local radio.
Here is how my bus journey typically unfolds every day.

5.30 PM
· Waiting for the bus.
· The smell of the precipitation, unwashed socks fill the evening breeze.

6.00 PM
· Thanking the almighty for blessing me with the window seat, I took a deep breathe and occupy 60% of the seat before someone settles next to me.
· The bus kick started with a little jerk.
· I close my flimsy eyes indulging in the music.

6.20 PM
· My play list, loaded with few of my favourite songs took their turns to play songs from varied genres Telugu melody-Bollywood-Rock-Jazz-Sufi-Pop.
· I open my eyes and look around.
· My bus moved a little ahead and stood at the traffic signal 200 mts away from the starting point.
· Nothing has changed.

6.25 PM
· Restlessly, I look around and remove the ear phones and put my phone back in the lovely handbag.
· Some colleague desperately rings me to calls me back to office for an important work. I was about to utter F***. I kept repeating “hello” for 4 times and behaved like there is a serious signal issue.
· By now, mild headache triggers.

6.30 PM
· Bus moves a little ahead but signal is yet to be crossed.
· Hunger pranks kick in.
· The couple, perhaps a pair, gently opens the pack of samosas from the thin foil.
· The fragrance touches my nostrils. For a minute, my insane mind thought of stealing their samosas.

6.45 PM
· My bus moves and stops at another traffic signal. I can still see my office building.
· Darkness is slowly creeping in.
· I pull out a book to read but I immediately put it inside after reading a couple of lines.
· Nothing is going into my head except the honking and vroom sounds.

7.00 PM
· I try to overhear the conversations of my fellow travelers.
· The couple discuss on how to convince their families for their inter religion marriage.
· The guy in the back seat forgot that he is in a bus and has started singing a creepy number from Kollywood.
· The middle aged aunty in my front seat is taking a nap and is snoring annoyingly.
· The guy in the next seat is watching a ridiculous Telugu comedy show on YouTube.
· Driver is honking obnoxiously.
· The girl next to me is explaining her sister the great recipe of Kaju Upma.

7.30 PM
· We have thankfully covered half the distance of the travel.
· The air slowly transforms from grey smoke to awful garbage smell.
· It started raining. Driver took a short cut bumpy road and we are swinging.

7.45 PM
· I look at the traffic from the window.
· The guy on the bike is looking at me incessantly.
· "Does he knows me"? I wonder. I again look and wish he drove Benz. I would have at least smiled back and requested him give me a drop (Stop judging me !).
· Beggar stands beside the car and is trying his luck.

8.15 PM
· My urinary bladder started to trouble.
· It is extremely difficult to hold your pee for more than an hour.
· Glaring lights from the vehicles are hitting straight into my eyes and causing terrible pain.
· Hawkers sell all useless items like fidget spinner to face masks at the signals.

8.30 PM
· Intensity of the rain subsided
· Finally, bus reached the destination
· My co-travelers couldn't wait for the bus to park and got down from the moving bus
· Some run to catch the train. One of them stamped on the cow dung. Yak !
· I slowly get down. Smell of urination is too strong
· I walk briskly on the swampy mud to avoid smelling too much of urine
· Moon, I think, is looking at me and laughing

8.40 PM
· I hurriedly cross the railway track to move to the other side of the station.

8.45 PM
· No autos around

9.00 PM
· Autowala agreed. The last leg of the journey begins.

9.30 PM
· Reached home.
·  Rushed to the bathroom to relive my urinary bladder

Total time taken: 4 hours

What anyone could have done in that time?
· Watch one Indian movie or two Hollywood movies.
· Cover 3-4 episodes of GOT.
· Read at least 100 pages book. Prepare for a competitive exam. Surely I would have cracked it.
· Do a painting.
· Cook a three course meal.
· Air travel to any place within India.
· Play a sport.
· A good deep sleep.
· Burn calories recommended for a week at the Gym.
· Watch back to back episodes of Tom and Jerry.
· Undergone liposuction surgery.
· Listen to a complete episode of Pravachan. God save me!!

What did I get?
· Headache.
· Strained eyes.
· Giddiness.
· Gossips.
· All kinds of smell - Popcorn-Samosa-Gas-Wet garbage-Urine-Poop-Coal.

What should government do?
· Build some pop up shops to sell snacks.
· All the restaurants should start delivering food at the traffic signals.
· Public toilets to be built at distance of 1 kilometer. Sanitary pads and diapers to be sold at the toilets.
· Special stalls to be set up in between to sell cigarettes, medicines (for diarrhoea,
indigestion, vomiting, cardiac arrest), Joints, shangrias, energy drinks.
· Private companies can cash on the opportunities and sell hot air balloons so that people can fly, just in case of emergencies.
· Initiate never ending projects and dig all the roads in one go.
· Block the way if a politician is traveling that way. People can wait. There is nothing important to do.

What government shouldn't do?
· Build infrastructure like flyovers, signals, clean roads.
· Appoint traffic police at the junctions.
· Clean garbage on regular basis.
· Explore other ways of public transport like local trains or metro - waste of money.

What Citizens should do?
· Throw wrappers on the road fearlessly.
· Spit recklessly Pan/Gutka on the roads and footpaths.
· Urinate where ever you want. Right to freedom.
· Show PDA. This is democracy.
· No need to disclose your name and other details. Use right to privacy.
· Abuse the carwalla/autowalla that bumped into your car. Freedom of speech.
· Bribe the traffic police who caught you for not wearing helmet or obtaining license. Cash can solve all the problems.
· Carry a snack, a meal, blanket, power bank, a torch and necessary items you would need in a disaster.
· Honk relentlessly. Don’t worry tax payer! You aren’t causing more noise pollution than Arnab Goswami.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A letter to present self

Dear Present me,

You are in MESS right now. Easy.

I know you are looking for a shoulder to vent out the wrath you are undergoing. I know you are depressed to an extent of giving up on life. Nothing seems to be aligning. Universe isn't conspiring to put all odds in your favour. But, don't you worry !

You aren't a disappointment or a sucker as people assess or calling you. Your patience is under examination. But, don't you lose on your morals. The days are dim, depressing and sucking every moment of your peace. It feels like battling alone with hundred monsters at a time. Exhausting. Dejecting. Dilapidating. People are calling you names. Dumb, useless, shame, Idiot, stupid. You are ramshackled into irreparable pieces. But, don't succumb or accept the defeat.

Your organisation rated you the lowest rank every year consistently and stars aren't shining on your shoulders. There aren't trophys on your workstation. Which ever phase you are in, the condition is deploring. There isn't enough money in your bank account. Y axis of your career graph is constant or disproportionately making moves at low pace. Right now, you cannot afford an international trip. Can't even think of Steve madden shoes or Marks and Spencers sleep wear. You are failing terribly to find beauty in small joys of life. Still, hold on.

People around you can see you but no one is going to pull you out of this dirty pit. They instead laugh or bully. The world doesn't seem to understand your language. Unfathomable. There is a transparent wall between you and the entire ecosystem. You are crying alone in darkness. You are torn ruthlessly. Yet, don't fall back that deep that you can't bounce. Don't go lunatic rather poise with grace. The energy you are spending on shedding tears is going to convert into your strength. Law of conversation of energy works here too. Gather the strength as much as you can. For each fall, bounce back with double fierce.

Bad luck is obscuring the bright future that is ahead. Similar to a solar eclipse. It's a temporary period like the moon's phases. You are wondering whether you fall in the category of world's below average intellects or lowest IQ humans. Extremely brilliant is anyways out of sight. At the same time you are much better than more than half of your peers. You are striving for your identity and the luxuries you deserve. Don't let anxiety rule you. You shall be bestowed with an identity soon. It might take months or years. It took 27 years for Nelson Mandela, 1000 failure experiments for Einstein, 12 rejections for JK Rowling, few bullets for Malala.

Wait for that one day when light will be shed on you. All of sudden you will see camera's focusing on you. You will find a write up about you in the newspapers. At the least a few words on the left bottom corner on the last page of a newspaper. A part of the world will turn their heads. Okay, let's be practical. At least few hundreds will be inspired by you. Google will surprise you with a Wikipedia page on your name. People will buy tickets to hear your success story. That day.. that day address the crowd and cheer them with your story. On that day, tell about your hunger stints, messy days, failures, fears, flunk tales. Tell them that you took breaks occasionally to deal with the phases but did not break off from the world.

On that glorious day, you will shed tears of joy. You will find purpose of your life. You will grace the podiums. People who mocked at you will greet you with immense respect and look at you in awe. Your signature will hold great value. Your hug will become prestigious. Each act of yours will entail a few smiles. You will fly with your own wings to islands, planets and everywhere you wish to. Stars will envy you. Till then, search insanely, hopelessly, ravenously for your love, passion and just live without giving up. Keep calm and go on. A lovely life will follow inadvertently.

Awaiting you !!

With love,
Future you

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Say NO to workplace Sexual Harassment

Mr. Sharma: Congratulations Ms. Simran !! you nailed the presentation today. I am glad you are meeting organisation's expectations. We are extremely happy with your performance.

Simran: Thank you Mr.Sharma.

Mr.Sharma: You will climb up the ladder. This is inevitable. I think you deserve a promotion this year. I will recommend your name to Mr. Saxena during PMS.

Simran: Glad to hear this. Thanks once again for considering my name.

Mr. Sharma: I was thinking it would really be great if you are a little flexible and available.

Simran: Like?

Mr. Sharma: Why don't you join me at my guest house next weekend. You know.. so that I can have a clear picture of your skills, strengths and weaknesses.

Simran: Sounds brilliant !! But, my skills are already part of my resume. Guess, you didn't pay attention. Never mind, let me take through. I earned black belt in Karate. I won state championship thrice in Shooting and Wrestling. My weekends are saved for kick boxing practice sessions. Moreover, I am on the look out for a  partner to practice Silambam and Taekwondo these days!!

Don't forget to text me your address. I am looking forward. BDW, thanks for the offer.

Deceptive Looks

Mahshallah ! his eyes

Mahshallah ! his hair

Mahshallah ! his body

Mahshallah ! his biceps

Mahshallah ! his beard

Mahshallah ! his physique

Mahshallah ! his smile

Ma..sha... his talk.. Run raja run !!

P.S. Colgate or Sensodyne is not a fix

Miss Misfit

In the world of snapchats and tinder friendships,

I am a misfit

In the era of living relationships and one night stands,

I am a misfit

In the days of kissing a stranger and killing a partner,

I am a misfit

In the nights of losing between tequila shots and puffs of hukkah,

I am a misfit

In the hours of getting high on cocaine and weed ecstasy,

I am a misfit

In the minutes of attracting to one and breaking with one,

I am a misfit

In the seconds of lusting and winking,

I am a misfit


hovering in the happiness of Sufi, Rumi, nimbu paani, sunrise, pure oxygen, sand art, good books, colour palettes, handlooms, star gazing, solitude and dreams of unconditional eternal LOVE.

Diet Idli

"I am on diet, Mommy" I declared one fine day

Mom looked at me in suspicion and asked "So, what are you going have for dinner tonight?"

"Make a plate of Idli"

“Okay. What shall I make along with it? Peanut chutney or Sambar or Coconut chutney ?"

"That's too much of fat, Mamma. I will eat with Mixed dal power (Commonly called karam podi or mulaga podi) or dried curry leaves power. They are healthy and are good source of proteins" I replied sounding firm.


Mom handed me a plate of idli with dal powder. After the first bite, I thought I need to add something to make it tasty and interesting.

Hence, I added 2 spoons of oil to the dal powder and sprinkled 3 spoons of ghee on the idlis.

Mom gave a hopeless look 👀

Never mind. Burp !! Burp !!

I am still on diet BDW.

Bitch, Side please !

I drove my yellow Scooty on the smooth, unimpeded road. It was a beautiful journey with Gulmohar and yellow Bougainvillea planted on either sides of the road. I joyously rode on the traffic less road until the red signal interrupted my speed.

A thundering Royal enfield came from behind and stood next to my Scooty. The hunk driving it looked rakishly handsome with french beard and biceps. He enticing looked at me and I reciprocated. I took off my helmet, pulled down the hand printed colourful scarf, untied my hair and adjusted bangs on my forehead.

I looked at him again. He did too and I guess, our eyes spoke. The monsoon pleasant weather added the feel.

The next minute a sheeny black benz rushed annoyingly and came to a halt beside his bike interrupting our mutual admiration. Slowly, the window of the car came down. The "Gori Chitti" wore tube top, nauseating perfume and had utter disgusting green and yellow shaded hair. I could see piercings and tatoos on her body.

Chewing the gum, she pushed the shades over her head and winked at the hunk.

Signal turned green. Hunk followed her car.

"Bitch" I yelled. 

Naming Ceremony

Bhanu called me today to share good news.

She said our beloved Lakshmi in our backyard gave birth to a beautiful girl. Thank god!! We were all worried about her fertility. It would have been distressing to hear neighbourhood calling her "Bhaanjh". Baba Faiku Das's blessings showered on us. Though we were little disappointed that it's a girl, now we are happy after hearing the Pandit's prediction of her horoscope.

Bhanu says "Baby likes singing. She is a Born Singer. She melodiously sings "Amba Amba" throughout the day". Hence, we are planning to name her "Dhinchak Amja".

We cordially invite you to the naming ceremony on 32nd of this Month at
Gidrft village,  Klhdf Mandal. Post 98765

P.S. We accept gifts. Electronic fund transfer facility available. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The liberation of Sita - Book Review

Before writing anything about this book, if I were to rate the book, it would be 5+/5.

Have you ever thought of women in Ramayan and how their lives must have changed after playing their role in the multilayered epic? Majority of the scripts that have been passed on to us rather widely believed have glorified every act of Lord Rama, the dharma he followed, his ideals and beliefs for attaining the ultimate purpose of his avataar. Who is going to tell us about Sita, her feelings, the endurance, the wisdom, the truth-untruth, the other side of story and the intricate complexities of Ramayan?

The candid conversations of Sita with Surpanakha, Ahalya, Renuka and Urmila are covered in the book in four different chapters, each of which igniting Sita's rationality. Every conversation is profound, enigmatic yet refreshing and eye opening. Sita had the choice to join her husband, the royal court along with her children. Instead, she chose liberation from all the bonds after performing her duties. She immersed herself in the lap of nature. Wondered why? You might get an answer in the book. Although, the stories are fictitious, each encounter will open varied perspectives.

Most of the situations hold true in contemporary scenario as well if you have an eye to look from feminist's perspective. Probably I will have to re-visit the book after few years to completely absorb the philosophy.

Answers that I always search for while reading Ramayan are

1. Is there any dark side to Rama Rajya? Humans are born with defects and do survive with corky emotions. If people of Ayodhya were benevolent, why were there rumours about Sita's chastity? 
2. Was Ramarajya really bereft of thieves and burglars? If so, from where did the thief later turned sage Valmiki come from?
3. Sita conceived after almost a decade and a half after her marriage. Was she not a victim of incessant inquisitiveness of procreation? 
4. Why did Lakshman not for a second think about his duties towards Urmila. Does Arya Dharma say that for a Kshatriya duties towards his father, brother are more important and high than any other duty? What about the marital vow he undertook to look after his wife and her needs?
5. The same story which gave high importance to Kaikeyi, her wishes, doesn't talk about Urmila's consent while Lakshman left to the forest. Isn't her life entwined with his?

and some more I may encounter in future.

Interestingly, all the questions are answered by various spiritual gurus as per their understanding of this great epic quoting other versions of Ramayan along with Sage Valmiki's. I am equally astonished to learn that Valmiki's Ramayan is dissimilar in many ways to the story we believe in. 

Co-incidentally,  in the parallel world, I am learning to sing "Nama Ramayana" in M.S. amma's style. I indulge in the song, in hope to find some answers, trying to match my music teacher's expressions as she utters melodiously "Rama rama jaya raja ram, Rama rama jaya sita ram". 

About Author: This is a translation of "Vimukta" written by a popular Telugu feminist writer Volga (Popuri Lalitha Kumari).

Not Without my Daughter - Book Review

On recommendation by my dear friend, I picked this non-fiction book "Not without my daughter". The story was gripping, fascinating sending chills down my spine throughout. I ravenously completed reading in 2 days. I imagined myself in the situation and wondered if I ever have courage to pass such treacherous circumstances. It's unfathomable how Betty (lead of the story), an American woman in a country like Iran managed to escape to Turkey in ice and cold. Despite awfulness around she did it three decades ago sans understanding the language, money and contacts.

Will we women be able to endure that agony, melancholy yet have strength to oppose highly dominated patriarchal society? To vehemently curtail the violence.  To blatantly protest for our rights and freedom. My fellow sisters out there facing obnoxious situations, do not ask me how much time and pain will it take to fix up? Well, I don't have an answer. Days, months, years or decades. Keep faith and do not succumb to the situation. One line that kept repeating often in the book is "Where there is a will, there is a way" and that kept Betty moving, motivated.

I strongly recommend this book to any girl in need of high dose of motivation.

P.S. I picked up few Farsi words that I shall be using in my future conversations and keep people perplexed.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Calling Card

I randomly looked at my office id card that I have been hanging around for few years now. As I observed few droplets of water under the plastic sheet that protected the card, I tried to wipe the same against the cotton kurta I was wearing. It was long after I did that, a realization occurred to me that the tissues provided in office were meant for that purpose and my kurta deserves something better.

Then, abruptly a thought flashed my mind. A keen stare at the faint yellow ID card took me back to more memories and this little identity is growing a shade darker every few days. This has been my honour, dishonour, confidence, respect, assurance, fear, comfort, failure, hope, despair, win and loss at different levels.

Now, I feel the desperate need to return it.

And perhaps the card is in so much love with me, it says "I see I see I see - I - can't let you go anywhere so soon!!”

Nature's school of thought

Sipping a cup of coffee, I was overlooking the building opposite to my office when a heap of clouds made their way in the sky. These dark clouds passed sluggishly at their own pace. I, then wondered if these dark clouds resemble our problems. How slowly a problem penetrates into our lives, sedentarily settle in our minds, sometimes leaving us hopeless, at times killing us, spreading darkness all around.

But, what we often don't realize is that our problems are like those passing clouds. They look dirty, hit us coldly, camouflaging our perspectives, sickening us temporarily. The moment they pass, they leave us fresh, confident, exposing us to the vast clear sky and sun.

Nature has the best way of teaching life lessons!!

The legend of Lakshmi Prasad - Book Review

Twinkle Khanna aka Mrs Funny bones has a quirky, satirical way of writing. Having read her columns and experienced peels of laughter (especially the Cut-Appa one), I ordered "The legend of Lakshmi Prasad". I didn't bother to read the blurb or reviews before placing the order. Partly, because the book is always placed amongst the best selling books and in top most row at Landmark and other book stores and I safely presumed it to be a great book from this entertaining columnist. Also, at times you know, I want to experience and make an opinion myself than going by what XYZ newspaper or Mr. Famous says or blogs about the book.

A glance at the contents elicited that it is a collection of 4 short stories. Honestly, the book was a lil let down in terms of waggishness it offers albeit the relatable, heart touching and well built characters. Perhaps it was because her columns were exceptionally well written with humour at its best. The first 3 stories in the book revolve around the women of different age groups, their emotions, struggle to conform and fit into the stereotyped Indian society. They are sure to entertain any feminist. But, the last story is a surprise. It is an inspiring story based on the true life incidents of Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham, who invented low cost sanitary pads breaking all the taboos. He was awarded Padma Shri last year and is fondly called "The menstrual man".

Overall, the language is lucid, people and situations are beautifully crafted with strong female characters leading the plots, light hearted and will serve a good 2-3 hour nonchalant read. Though fun and wittiness is not as promising as it is built in her articles and columns.

My favourite line is "Here lies Elisa, she briefly belonged to many, but truly to herself" and favourite story of all is "Salaam, Noni Appa". 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Afternoon with Ammamma

After attending a cousin's wedding on a sultry day, exhausted I was, I tried to take a nap and relax while sharing the bed with my maternal grandmother. My granny felt happy that she finally had someone who can lend ears. Granny's tales began with her financial accounts, grandfather's jail life and his contribution during Independence, her sisters, cousins, brothers, complaints about her sons and daughter in laws, daughters and finally grand children.

She then started praising some of her granddaughters - Mrs X, Miss Y and some distant cousin of mine. I patiently waited but my turn of glory never came.

I thought Mrs X, Miss Y are giving me serious granddaughter goals.
Finally, she expressed displeasure about few grandchildren who didn't visit her or call her often. She whined about grandchild Mr. A, Mrs B..etc. Having sensed the intensity of the situation, I slowly fled from there before my turn came.

P.S. Aforementioned is what I wrote earlier. But, I later realised perhaps we have become mean in our own busy lives and do not take out time to talk or spend with our grandparents often. What is that my granny expects or rather any grandparents expect from us ? Just few words of love and gratitude. Nothing more. Having brought up 9 children, 22 grand children, 21 great grand children (still counting), 1 great great grand child (still counting), her siblings families and their grand children, at the age of 90, she just needs a lending ear, warming heart, empathetic people around her.

For the love of Mani Ratnam

For the man who rules millions of hearts through his stories
For the man who has showed me luring faces of Madhavan, Arvind Swamy, Siddharth
For the man who drifts my soul into the magical world of Cinema
For the man who makes me weep, emotional, think, grin with his every piece of work
For the man who gives visual treat of hopeless romance and love
For the man who creates awe-inspiring, strong, candid characters
For the man who depicts ugly truths of life in a subtle manner
For the man who taught me life lessons that no text book taught
For the man with extraordinary taste of music. For collaborating with Ilayaraja and AR to give us mellifluous tunes.

Thank you for Nayakan, Roja, Sakhi, Ravanan, Geetanjali, Amruta, Bombay, Guru, Anjali, Dalapathi, Mounaraagam and all.

You are an icon. You are an enigma. You are a legend. You are more than that. May you touch the highest number a human can possibly live.

Happy Birthday Mani Sir !!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Withering Souls

"Yaadi... Yaadi... where are you? Come fast or else you will miss the bus to the town?" I said anxiously.

"Oh.. stop grumbling. Let me fill some water in the bottle" screamed Yaadamma from inside the muddy hut. 

"Water in our mudpot is frigid and refreshing. Fill your bottle with it. The sun appears to be performing taandavam these days" my daily dose of unsolicited advice continued.
"Ok ok. I am leaving now; you take care of the house. Water the plants. Feed the hen. Prepare manure with cow dung. DO NOT intake much of tobacco. Your coughing is tremendously increasing each day and it is scary" said Yaadi sounding like an old tape recorder reading aloud the list of my daily tasks. Actually it is my failure of memory. 

I promptly replied "Do not worry! I shall take care. You come home soon" 

"Well! it is not in my hands. That is directly proportional to quick selling of Jasmines. I cooked rice for you. Tomato pickle and curd is kept on the attic" saying this Yaadi staggered to the bus stop.

I stood up with great difficulty stooping and placing my right hand on the side bone. Tardily, I took bath under the motor pump and glanced at the sky. Sun looked fiercely at 45 degrees in shades of bright red and orange with rays penetrating deep on my rough skin causing scorch. Time must 10.30 roughly I thought. Hunger played pranks ejecting ludicrous sounds indiscreetly. It only grew profoundly every minute. Soon I rushed inside the hut to have my brunch. No, it is not a Sunday. But we have only brunches daily unlike the rich. The tomato pickle and wheat rice tasted exotic today. Yet, I am craving for Sambar. I asked Yaadi to cook it for me but she would say "Sambar needs lot of dal, tamarind and many vegetables". I shall prepare it for you the day I sell the whole basket of Jasmines. 

I look after Jasmine plants, take out weeds, water and manure them. While Yaadi entwines flowers to make chaplets, wreaths, garlands and carries them to the nearby town to sell it in the market. That's our summer mundaneness. The job of visiting market was mine in the past but owing to my old age, blurred eyesight and hearing impairment we have interchanged our roles. Thus, I officially became home keeper and gardener and I am thoroughly enjoying it except few times when I laze around. It is an apparent consequence of old age. I must be nearing 90 and Yaadi is somewhere in 80s. My parents were illiterate so my birth date was not recorded.  Once my Father's brother told me that I was born in the summer in Shukla Paksha two days before Amavasya in the year when Gandhiji's Salt march kicked off. Few years later a school teacher of my Village guessed my birth year as 1930.

Yaadi is my distant uncle's daughter. Her full name is Yadamma. The first time I saw her, she wore some bright coloured Paavadai and her oiled hair was kempt with beautiful jasmine maala (Chaplet of flowers) adoring her thick long hair. I instantly loved the way she looked. She was perhaps 12 at that time. An year later we got married immediately after she attained puberty. We never bore children but I promised to stay loyal to Yaadi and so did she. Yet, we have beautiful lives, few hens, our own home filled with greenery. Cruel, stoic, jobless world it is which often inquisitively questioned about our children for many years after our marriage and gave unsolicited advices. When anyone questioned about our offsprings, Yaadi would cannily reply with a grin "We have hundreds of children playing in our backyard and thousands of grandchildren who spread happiness with fragrance". 

Our lives are dependent on this flower business that is inherited from our ancestors. Albeit our efforts, it is so disheartening these days people don't buy flowers. They would love to spend thousands on Beers and Biryanis and not a mere 20 rupees on fresh flowers that spread smiles and happiness. By chance if they decide buy, they would bargain for lesser price or few more flowers. It is a rare sight to see young girls wearing Jasmines or any other flowers. Jasmines not only embellish woman's hair beautifully but also bring coolness to their head. That's what was told to me by my Grandmother. 

Our village school teacher, the one who told my probable age used to visit at times to buy handful of fresh Jasmines for his wife. He once said his wife teaches a subject on plants in town. It is called something like "Bootny" and she loved Desi Jasmines. Each time he bought flowers from us, he told us how useful these Jasmines are. He once explained "Science has proved that these will bring calmness to the body and refreshes mind. These are used in perfumes, herbal, health and beauty care and in making oils. Along with herbal uses, jasmine is also used to brew Jasmine tea. The extracts of these flowers are used in healing stress, headaches, sunstrokes, pain, irritability, uterine problems..etc and sometimes in curing breast cancer." And few I do not even recollect. You see my fading memory. I just knew and believed that Jasmines do good for the body and mind. But never understood why young girls these days avoid wearing them. Ironically, they at times pick up beauty and health products, chemical bearing, of jasmine flavor in excitement exclaiming they unstoppable love for Jasmines. When doctors said fresh fruits can do much favour to our bodies than fruit juices, people understood and are trying to follow it. Shouldn't it be applied here too?

Anyways you are more learned, educated and knowledgeable than me. So you decide. Oh.. Ghosh!! I need to cut down old Jasmine trees in the backyard. They have become old and weak. The main stem has turned fragile, delicate, stooping. Today was theirs last flowering day. Nonetheless, we have planted new trees instead. These shall be blossoming tomorrow I suppose. Yaadi has been waiting for this day. I should tell this to her when she is back. She will be ecstatic. We keep aside few flowers to offer our family goddess Pochamma whenever new plants bear flowers for the first time. A ritual followed since ages.  

The layers of darkness are sweeping in, birds flew back to their nests, farmers returned from fields but Yaadi hasn't turned up. She usually reaches home before the dawn sets in. Now, I am becoming more anxious. Body pains are creeping in, my joints are mourning. I think I should settle down in the Veranda gazing the road till Yaadi returns home.

It is more than hour I guess since I am here in the Veranda. I could hear some squabble voice approaching our hut. I could decipher only few words from their conversations "Old lady", "sun stroke", "body", "gloomy", "Basket full of jasmines". My heart beat increased rapidly and I was panting. Few seconds later I saw people carrying a body. I had no guts to know what happened. I couldn't speak or react. I was startled. Something was happening to me. Eyes starting burning, nerves pulled impetuously, there was churning in my stomach. I felt like throwing up. The last thing I saw was Yaadi lying in our Veranda (Porsche) peacefully beautiful than ever with chaplet of flowers adoring her hair bun. And my nostrils felt arousing aromatic smell of Jasmines. Instantly I remember Yaadi's words "There are only two beautiful fragrances in this world. Smell of fresh Jasmines and Petrichor. That's why both cannot exist coherently. One comes after the other and in that lies the greatness of nature."

I closed my flimsy eyes and went into deep slumber swiftly in my deliberate attempt to reach Yaadi. We had only two desires "to have three full meals with Sambar and Papad, to see buds blossoming on the young Jasmine plants in our backyard". 

By the way my name is Saidulu, no pet names thereafter. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Conundrum

So, it is apparent that I am of marriageable age (as per Indian statistics) and there are many people around me - family, extended family, distant relatives, neighbors, friends-close/not so close, acquaintances, birds, animals, insects who are deeply concerned about my marriage than my parents or me. So, they unrelentingly judge, advice, ask, suggest, worry, poke, gossip, irritate, enquire, embarrass, offend, hurt and humiliate.
Since I couldn't fall for a guy on my own, I fell for the concept of arranged marriage. Once and for all I have decided to clear all doubts or speculations around this conundrum.

What others think?
  • I am arrogant and reject all the proposals preposterously.
  • I don't dress up in a saree, so guys don't find me beautiful, attractive.
  • I have too many expectations when I say I am looking for a well educated person with a liberal mind.
  • My parents are careless, lazy or apathetic about searching the right groom.
  • Prospective grooms might be rejecting me because of my height, weight and colour.
  • It's high time that I should nod "yes" for any living thing that stands in front of me.
  • Too much late can cause complications during my pregnancy in future. In any case my eggs are dying.
  • My horoscope might suggest some terrible flaws.
  • My family and I are too cool about this thing and will stand bad example to parents looking to marry off their independent daughters.
  • I should visit tantrics, mantrics, babas, godmans, godwomans and 330 million gods/goddesses in India.
  • Our family god is angry on us for not praying him periodically.
  • Daughters shouldn't be given freedom or sent to big cities.

What the truth is?
  • Guys with good education, rational mindset and liberal views are rare. (They don't exist. If they do, they are either hooked or booked).
  • Patriarchal system has creeped too much into the society.
  • No marriage is possible in India without dowry or lump sum gifts.
  • Unfortunately, high price tagged grooms may also not guarantee happy married life.
  • Expectations of guys parents like - girl moving to another city/country leaving her career, cooking and cleaning for the entire family, keeping on ever smiling face..etc are not to be traded. Not even in dreams.
  • I need to give up on mini skirts, jeans, pointed heels if required.
  • People younger than me are getting married, roaming on honeymoons and procreating.
  • I am growing fat, old with strands of grey hair.
  • Guys working in India have suddenly disappeared into abyss.
  • Guys working in foreign ONLY want brides with these qualifications- Btech, fair, tall, rich, some software skills, GRE score if possible.
  • Great astrologers give my parents deadline of 3/6 months and keep repeating the cycle often.
  • I don't visit temple daily, perform puja, do fasting to please god.
  • Yet, I wear thick band of red sacred threads around my wrist.
  • The unending pujas to different gods continue including the cow gods to stone goddesses in villages and we pay exorbitantly for all the rituals.
  • You need to decide your partner within 20 minutes of your interaction that too amidst 10 more family members.
  • We end up spending too much on sweets and savouries when match fixing meetings take place.
  • Everyday I am required to login all sorts of matrimonial sites. (Heck! I don't even do that for my Naukri account).
  • My pics and biodata needs to be kept in handy so as to forward it in fraction of seconds to any matchmaker or prospectives.
  • My granny wishes to see my wedding before she dies.
  • My cousin's saree and jewellary shopping is linked to my wedding.
  • I am the only one left out in the entire generation and my whole family is keenly staring at me.
  • The first thing people ask when they meet us is if we have zeroed on any match.
  • Desperate men of all ages try to hit on single girls irrespective of their relationship status.
  • Single girls do not have family errands like buying groceries, bills, changing baby's diapers, yearly vacations, parent teacher meetings.. so they are not expected to take many leaves.
  • The chances of finding a groom starts diminishing once you hit late 20's.

What I think?
  • May be I am happy single.
  • May be I am tired of taking responsibilities.
  • It is weary to keep sending your pics and biodata everyday.
  • Will I be paying a high price of losing freedom?
  • What if the person turns out to be an abusive, chauvinist pig?
  • What if our wavelength doesn't match?
  • Why can't I find some genuine family who wants a sane humble bride?
  • Can I truly find a man who looks beyond colour, body, properties and social status?
  • Why can't I demand a choice of my own?
  • Why marriage is not a choice in India and is mandatory?
  • Why marriage and bearing children is the primary goal and a flourishing career and my entrepreneurship goal is trivial?
  • How can someone judge me without peeping into my mind?
  • How easy it would be if grooms come with customisations akin to Subway burger.
  • May be I should stop being stubborn on particulars and go with the flow.
  • May be my mom should stop accumulating sarees, jewellary, stuff for the D day.
  • May be I should stop attending weddings and functions for the fear of becoming a muse or centre of all discussions.
  • May be 36-24-36 is extremely vital and I should give up on butter on bread and cake beneath the cherry.
  • Even the ugly friend, dumb cousin, our street dogs are married and have a partner. Then, what is the fault in my stars?
  • I should start making questionnaire, develop factors, criteria to derive at an easy formula. Put the guys details and the result should come out as "Yes/No/Standby".
  • I give a scornful look at those who bluntly make statements on this whole drama.

The list is incomplete, ongoing. Don't get surprised if I come out with books with titles like "Finding a Family", "Buying pomfret vs Buying groom", "Tips to find your groom", "What prospective Indian guys look for", "The importance and happiness of being SINGLE", "Arranged marriages and underlying tales", "Critical analysis on arranged marriages (Detailed methodology, Sindhura's theory, formuale and practice material)".

Followed by training classes and mock tests. If interested, please register. (Absolutely free, free, free).

Happy Mother' day

I mount

I soar

I shine

With you "Amma"

Without you,

I am a mere breathing statue

Dream girl's muse

a sip of wine
over a dine
doesn't make me fine
for the heart of mine
longs for a dutiful prince
who clasps me and dance
relinquishing his endearing stogy
wiping my chronic agony
promising scintillating stars
healing horrendous scars
nah; not another Cindrella story
this is my abysmal melancholy

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Misogyny in the Uterus

We have spoken to the men, chauvinists, misogynists and the privileged gender. But today,

I am talking to that mother who
Who disowned the days old girl baby
Who do not see the need for my schooling
Who stops me from jumping and playing
Who counsels me to work on my dark skin
Because girls are meant not to be born, educated or play
They are supposed to look fair, cook and protect their hymen

I am talking to that friend
Who tells me how dangerous it to dream
Who cautions about my nocturnal activities
Who judges me, gossips about my breasts and butt
Because girls are meant to not step out, laugh loud and expose skin
They are presumed to play deaf, dumb and execute the rules

I am talking to that sister
Who advises me to look Indian
Who shares the secrets of pleasing husband
Who warns me of my blatant voice
Because girls are meant only to satisfy, entertain, perform
They are assumed to accommodate, abide and endure

I am talking to that Mother-in-law
Who draws lakshman rekha around my feet
Who is concerned of her lineage
Who constantly looks out for my flaws
Because girls are meant to be taken for granted, mortified and killed
They are supposed to nod yes, bleed and procreate

Dear Mother, Sister, friend
Why do you want me to carry and sell
The rotten past and horrifying hell
And not yell, I urge you to tell
Or empathize my feel.

Girls may not be the goddesses or the princesses
They are the sapiens, akin to the other animals
Seeking their freedom of speech, wander and dream
And being born as a girl is not a crime
They can do more than serving lime
Do you get it at least this time?

Dear Mother, Sister, Friend,
I am talking for the sanity of our gender,
To empower the purity of our tribe,
Slaying the insecurities of generations          
It is not the Greek god or the self-proclaimed lad
Who is going to save us and hence I take this pride
To lay the thorn less road for the daughters of tomorrow
Try to follow me, if not allow me not disown me

Nevertheless, I shall wallow this battle till death swallows me

Teeming Night

It was one of those nights when it was teeming on a summer evening unexpectedly due to cyclone effect. Late sitting in office is not a regular phenomena but that day was hectic with back to back meetings and project discussions with onsite clients. Before I realized it was already 10 pm. I winded up my work in next 15 min and reached the gate of the building to realize that the heavy downpour has lead no transportation. I missed the last office cab by a whisker. I was weary and dejected. With no other alternative I moved on to the main road to find any public transportation to reach home. It was hauntingly dark with minimal human activity in that area.

I stood on the road glancing at my phone. Incessantly, I tried booking cab to reach home but all my efforts went in vain. Uber, Ola, Radio cabs.. all of them have put their hands up. I moved towards the bus stop located next to office building drenching in rain. In hope to get a bus I stood lonely for almost half an hour. Slowly, chills started flowing down my spine. All sorts of ghost stories, robberies, kidnaps were moving on my mind. Although I am not a pious person, Jai Hanuman was what I uttered staunchly. 

Suddenly, a black car rushed and halted on the road. My heartbeat grew faster with fear and suspicion. I looked at the number plate to memorize anticipating an untoward incident to take place. Glass of the car window came down. I could see a young man gazing at me. I grew suspicious and held my bag tight to flee away from there. Before I did anything he smiled at me and uttered "The weather is turning bad and I do not see any transportation coming this way tonight. If you don't mind, I can drop you wherever you wish to get down. Do not panic. I work at Microsoft and you can trust me".

Frantically, I moved near to take a closer look at him. Yes, he worked in my office. I have seen him couple of times in office food court. I stood there still contemplating on whether to accept his offer or not. I looked around and realized that god didn't leave me any option than taking his offer. Although he was a stranger he was a familiar face to me. I moved to the other side, opened the door and settled in the seat beside him. We moved a furlong distance. To break the weird silence, I uttered "Thank you so much".

"Oh !most welcome Mam" he grinned.

"May I know where do you want me to drop?" he inquired.

"Please drop me near main bus stop. I think I can manage to get a cab from there" I replied.

"Do not worry. I can drop at your home. It is growing really bad and quite unsafe to take a public transport at this hour. Trust me"

Well! I thought there is truth in what he said but how far can I trust this person. I looked at the Lord Ganesh idol hanging in front and said  "Then please drop me at Kavuri hills"

"Sure. By the way I am Ayush" he introduced in warming smile.

"I am Sitara" I meekly mentioned.

After a while I became comfortable and started looking surroundings in the car. I noticed a book on the backseat that caught my eye. 

"Do you read Charles Dickens?" I enquired curiously.

"I am a huge fan of his works. I have almost read all of his books twice"

"Really! That's great. Where did you get this copy from? I have looking for it for a while now"

"Uhh.. that's the inheritance my Dad acquired for me. He is a scholar and great reader. We have a mini library at our home with books from varied genres."

"Ah I see. That's exhilarating" I said raising my eyebrows in amusement.

Rest of our conversation for about half an hour revolved around classics to contemporary literary works. It was never ending but my destination came to a halt. We reached Kavuri hills soon. I gave him directions to reach my apartment in the cozy lanes. The car stopped in front of the building. 
I finally said  " Thank you Ayush. It was nice meeting you"

"Mention not. Same here" he said.

 I got down and walked towards the gate. I heard a voice hollering "Sitara" and I looked back instantly.

" I thought you will be glad if I lend this book" Ayush said handing the book.

"Of course Ayush!! I am" excitedly I wawled

"But how do I return it back to you" I posed at him in doubt.

"I have written my number on the last page" he answered and moved towards the car.

Standing in the elevator I realized something was happening inside me.  My heart beat grew faster. There was connection that I can't name it.  Technically, he was stranger but why do I feel a part of me is left inside the car? Was it an epiphany? Do I know him earlier? I moved inside the house, threw my bag on the sofa, and turned the pages of the book. I stopped at the last page and dialed the number.

Phone rang thrice before it was answered

"Hello" came the voice

"How about a cup of coffee in case you have not gone too far" I muttered.

"Not too far from your thoughts and building. I was secretly hoping this and hence didn't move ahead" he said disconnecting the call.

Mid-crisis Love

At the stroke of midlife crises,
A frigid breeze touched hastily
Unveiling the elusive vistas
Swaying the heart of mine

Diving me into unweary inns
Scuffing into palatial palaces
Of exuberant love and affection 
Unrelentingly bestowed upon me

Inundating hope and happiness
Into my mundane days
Diffusing them profoundly into my innards
Like a dreadful cocaine

The trance wrecked quick
Ebbing away in a flip of an eye
Leaving the staunch memories
For me to relinquish in slack

Shattering my dreams
Bequeathing bleeding scars
Victimizing me to ludicrous hysteria
Standing up to the name "Love"

A day of retrospection

While birthdays are more of days of celebration to many, for me from past 4-5 years this day has been a day of retrospection. A gush of feelings pass through me. Involuntarily, I travel back in time to look at how the year has passed - Not on good, bad, ugly, awesome, happy, sad moments. Well! All these emotions are ephemeral and relative. Period, I understood that. It is all about where I stood, where I stand and where I wish to stand. 

Each passing year reminds me and puts a hell lot of pressure on me to do better, run fast to achieve my goals. You see this day reminds you that you are going closer to nature. And I am stimuled to position myself better not just in terms of success, money, identity but most importantly as a person.

So, on this day, I do not wish for years of wealth indulgence, painlessness and exclusive happiness. I pray for a life of odds and evens, challenges and cakewalks, blessings and despairs, darkness and illuminations so as to become strong, grounded, balanced, tranquil and mature. To become more kind, humble, compassionate, forgiving and generous. To learn and read more. To embrace art, nature, relationships and goodness. To lead a quality and a peaceful life. To live upto the word "Human".

"A day remains the same even if you enter a new year, decade or era if you refuse to evolve than your previous day"

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hyderabad Metro's Extended Timelines

Dear Government,

Hello!! You there..

Thank you but we don't need it anymore.

We have survived all these years making our ways gleefully on parched roads narrowed maximum with potholes which are eternally filled with squalored liquid that I don't call water anymore. Occasionally, rain water also graces them. I am privileged to travel on these paths shedding hefty amounts to Uber, Ola and Auto rickshaws. But, I see people making it hard to cross crests and troughs of filthy stony road; the blue-collar worker pushing hard his bicycle; that Amma struggling her feet with vegetable basket on her head; the kid who attends municipal school moans due to endocarp he stamps. Well! This is nothing, we had child births, demises, accidents, weddings on these roads and we now got used to it. Our children shall also get used. Oh.. it's neither you nor your long pending metro works. Traffic diversions are least of our problems. We are happily taking the long road akin to "find your home" puzzle in my Sunday magazine. Our asses are now accustomed to bumps. At times, our butts inadvertently raise themselves while travelling on familiar roads. I know it is our fault that we are unable to afford high end cars with seamless aerodynamic tyres.

All your plans of metro looks marvel on papers, laminated frame boards. Go ahead and present it to your high esteem including foreign regimes. You know what? sometimes few things are flawless in prototypes and never should be executed. We may be disappointed post metro operational (Not virtually) to gaze the cracked walls, unfunctional elevators, sporadic trains, squalored floors at metro stations. So, I say, let it be.

This has nothing to do with Congress or TRS or BJP or TDP. Let them fight, collaborate, joke, get corrupt, blame each other, taunt, dissolve or whatever. My mundane life, congested roads, traffic jams are trivial problems of no importance. I am a common man/woman who doesn't understand politics. For me Government is Government!! Nevertheless, I will vote and pay taxes without default.

A day after International Women's Day

Dear Men,

We are extremely humbled and thankful for the love and gesture you have showered on us today in the form of cards, chocolates, flowers, messages.
To the random guy in the auto who wished me, to the group of male colleagues who distributed chocolates and greeted at the office entrance, to the juice vendor who served an extra ml of milk shake, to that restaurant owner who out poured his generosity in the form of discount coupons, to husbands and boyfriends who treated us with perfumes and dinners, to all men who did kind acts today.

Will you remain the same tomorrow?

Will you allow us to grow and hold equal positions in the society?
Will you stop doing marital rapes?
Will you wash dishes willingly?
Will you terminate raping children, old women or any woman?
Will you take equal responsibility of raising a child?
Will you pay us equal?
Will you stoop your male ego to our level?
Will you stop staring us at bus stops?
Will you ban abusing us?
Will you stop masturbating and jumping on us lecherously?
Will you stop groping and molesting us at gatherings?
Will you make us reach our homes safe?
Will you intercept feeling superior and start treating us equal?

Will you?

We do not want 30 percent, we deserve 50 percent. Do not help us, allow us to make our way to reach there. Just DONT make us feel special for few hours, be considerate and compassionate towards us always. We want to co-exist with you PEACEFULLY and HAPPILY throughout 24x7, 365 days.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The great failures of a Modern Girl

She was a curious little kid, innocent and cute looking. She was born and bought up in a large family with several cousins of various age groups. When she was perhaps 6, an elder cousin of her hauled her into the bathroom in an isolated house. Before she deciphered the happening, he enjoyed her private parts. She couldn’t scream or retaliate for he was elder than her by 20 years. That was her first failure.

One day when she was 15, a gang of despicable youngsters stood at the street corner passing lewd comments. On her hips, lips and all tangible parts. Outraged she was, she staggered ahead to give a tight slap. She stepped back when potential perils of acid attacks intimidated her. Yet, another failure.
Another day in college, she was reprimanded by a professor for her dupatta less garb. “What has my duppatta got to do with my studies” was what she wanted to question. She couldn’t utter a single word because her honors’ degree was her obligation. Failure,  yet again.

She was in her boss’s cabin along with the other colleagues for an annual review. Excited everyone was to know their perks. She was too. Dejected she became, when denied deserved promotion for she refused to oblige her superior’s invitation for a drink and a date. Her employment was essential to run the house. So, another breakdown added to the list.

Beautiful she was in vivacious red lehenga.  But, her eyes looked dull and swollen. A whooping sum of money and ornaments were paid to them in the form of “dowry”. She screamed in silence. The worst dream came true. She was working, intelligent, educated. Are these not enough reason to get married without any conditions? What is the difference between him and her? Do you say the human on the other of Mandap can eject some x number of sperms? That’s it!! Is that the only difference? But, again she couldn’t retort, this time for her ailing parents.

He took her for granted. She was a victim of his antagonism. Sadistic, obnoxious, sexist he was whom she called her husband.  She never had guts to bid farewell to unrelenting abusive relationship. She feared the despondent gossip and insult from the society.

By now she lost count of her failures. She was tolerant to this incessant hassle. The saga continued every day, every instance. She in the story could have been you, me or any other woman.

People called her "21st Century’s Modern Girl" when she was born. But, is she?

How do you define a modern girl?

Modern girl is not the one who gets the privilege to attend an international school or a foreign university. She is not the one who wears voluptuous short skirts and intriguing perfumes. She is not to be judged by her blonde red lipstick and thick kohl. She is not confined to the kitchen. She is not a sex object.

Modern girl is the one who palpably voices her opinion. The one who retorts the ordeal she is subjected to. Who slams patriarchy and refuses to bow to it. She is deeper than her attractive boobs and vagina.  She blatantly talks about her sexual desires and menstrual cycles. Marriage or Motherhood is her choice and not a society standard. Long hair or boy cut, it is her pride. She gracefully walks away from an abusive, unpleasant relationship.  In 6 yards Saree or 6 inches cloth, she not vulnerable.  She does not succumb to obscene remarks. She is bold with indomitable spirit. She is not hesitant to open about her sexuality.  She steps confidently in all walks of life. She wants to be heard and acknowledged as a fellow human.  She stands for herself. She is empathetic, forgiving, boisterous, discreet, assertive and confident.

If you are failing to become this, then lady take a rebirth right now or few centuries later because if you remain the way you are, this cruel world will engulf you into its darkness.

So, shine on ladies unleashing your potential and celebrate womanhood. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dear NRI's and Expatriates, INDIA Welcomes you!!

Last week I attended a family wedding and bumped into many of my forgotten cousins and family friends. It was exuberance watching them giggling under one roof. Few couldn't make it to the event due to their toiled work life and their global presence. The obvious common situation in Gult (Telugu) families is that at least one child in the family is an engineer and is settled in USA. As a gesture behaving like a good girl, I engaged in wishing and greeting people. I met this sweet lady, a mid 60's aunty who is a family friend of ours. I enquired about her health and then asked her casually about their son and daughter in law staying in Colarado. I saw an awkward hesitation in her face. Apparently, I asked her about her Son's next visit to India and how frequent they visit Hyderabad. The moment this topic emerged, the old lady threw a fake smile at me and said she is not sure of their visit due to panic in US regulations on H1 visa. I smiled at her and looked around. There were many parents of NRI children present there, who once upon a time had sparkling eyes filled with pride when spoke about their kids and grand kids living in the US. It is always a matter of prestige when a child is in the US or UK.

But what has gone wrong? Why did this woman waffle?

This is inevitable when the President of the most developed nation USA makes some terrifying statements. And so, the Indian parents are going through a strange fear for their children and their future. I can totally empathise with the uncertainty you are going through. For years money, good infrastructure, quality life style has been a driving force to migrate to US. Is that the only motivation?

Well! Then you need to know something. In the past few hours you were on your flight to overseas we have evolved. Our super genius scientists at ISRO must have accomplished something in astronomical sciences. Our economy must have recorded a substantial growth. Hundreds of startups took birth; Thousands of children have begun attending school; few women have walked out from their kitchens to board rooms.

And people staying in overseas for decades, how frequently do you guys visit India? Do you know what’s happening here? Let me take this honour to tell you. This country you left is no longer the same. We are transforming imbibing technology and Knowledge. Our economy is growing. We have the best international schools, gated communities and prestigious universities and well paid MNCs. Every instance we are stepping ahead towards success. We are relentlessly working to mark India in World Map and in the infinite Universe.

Today USA has announced stringent reforms. My heart is weeping seeing the ordeal you are going through. At airports, restaurants, shopping markets. I am losing a part of me hearing the stories of gunshots you are enduring. People will start migrating to another country. I came across an article that says Canada is making reforms to attract foreigners. How is your future guaranteed in that land? God forbid! if the highest authority of that country turns into a megalomaniac preposterous democrat like that of US. Will you look for another country? How long? 

We are trying to put our best to make India a developed country. I with my minimalist knowledge on economics can tell you that "the future is in the developing nation". I am proud to be part of this expansion. My dear NRI’S, we do not need your investment. We need you, the highly educated skilled individuals to lend a helping hand in our growth. You are sure to find a job here. If you don’t, consider yourself to be lucky. This is a land of opportunities. With the experience gained there, transform lives of people here. Who knows you may start your company providing numerous jobs to jobless and beat the competition at Silicon Valley.

We are inviting not because of perils you are exposed to. This is ephemeral. Our invite is because we love you, care for you and need you. I understand the hesitation in your decision. Are you afraid of mocking from your relatives and friends? Oh don’t! Give a damn to it! It is moment of pride for us. Come on you stars, be a part of this success story.

In the end we all crave for a safe and secure place. My dear brothers and sisters, an unsolicited advice from me; There is solace in your Mother's lap and Motherland. A flock of birds eventually return to their nests wherever they wander.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why NRI groom is not my first choice

I happened to bump into a school friend of mine recently. And we had a gala time reliving our childhood days. Before parting our ways, she gave me tight hug and said "It is all different there. Life has become so mechanical. Five days at work, attending parties or visiting places on weekends has become mundane and lifeless". This friend of mine moved to USA post marriage. During our conversation She inquisitively enquired if I am interested in marrying a NRI and fly overseas. I kept pondering over this and gave my reasons why wouldn't choose a NRI groom. Because...

  • Because I am gonna miss savouring pani pouri every other messy day at workplace
  • Because I don't want to sacrifice a flourishing career and start it all over again
  • Because I dont want to give a break to my career only to clean utensils and wash clothes after moving out of India
  • Because I wanna fulfill my dream of working for an NGO or good cause and that too for the people of my country
  • Because I don't wanna miss the bliss of listening to classical concerts every weekend and seldom I get perks like selfies and autographs of the celebrities. Who would want to miss that!
  • Because I love spending time with my family, pampered by aunties and grannies for few days a year
  •  Because I wanna to get lost in the vivid hues of overcrowded streets in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi
  • Because I am more comfortable wearing a saree in India than a short with crop top in Vegas
  • Because warmth of this country entices me to fall in love over and again
  • Because I enjoy eating chana and bhel puri at Marine drive than having hotdogs or hamburger overlooking liberty statue
  • Because I crave for Anna's filter coffee and desi wada pav every now and then
  • Because I would miss peace at Grandmom's backyard in the country side, sitting under age old tamarind tree, gulping maize or bunch of custard apples while listening Md Rafi on Grandpa's old Radio

And because of many elusive reasons, most importantly I do NOT want to lose myself.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Not being Daddy's Lil girl

It is ubiquitous to come across pics of girls posing with their Dad's and the description reads "My First hero", "Dad's lil girl" or "Best Dad ever". Somehow I never relate to this idea of Dad's lil girl. I have been bought up in a conservative environment in a middle class family where education was the utmost important thing in life and all others came next. With all strict rules like no bunking school and tuition, daily study hours, no cable, early to bed early to rise..etc. I was accustomed to certain pattern of life style. Pampering children was a rare sight. I was not often bought pretty dolls, soft toys and my parents told me to understand that everything I asked will not be given. Essential requirements were fulfilled but nothing was given in excess. I too was matured for my age and I don't remember insisting them for a toy, barbies or sandals. I was happy with whatever I got. So, where are we? Pampering….was never my Mom or Dad's thing.

The conservative orthodox society I grew up had protocols in caressing or coaxing children, especially a girl child. Where hugging or expressing love to fathers or for say elderly men in the family is not so common. I was no exception. My equation with my dad is elusive.  I have huge arguments with him incessantly. Almost on everything, from enrolling in a good school to selecting a groom. We are never on same page, forget page not even in single book. Our perspectives divulge broadly. He reprimands me, I nastily yell at him. Phoning him for a pleasant chat or regular chitchat is uncommon unless he answers Mamma's phone when she is not around or if there is any important thing to be discussed.

As a child I missed to steal that extra attention at times that my brother received for the only fact that he is the keeper of our surname. Nevertheless, my place I know is unconquerable. I can relate totally to a teenage guy complaining about his nagging Daddy. Probably because my dad subconsciously bought me up like a boy and not like a girl devoid of snuggling. He never said he loves me, neither did I. But he took all efforts to fill my forms and polish my shoes. He will certainly not shy away to do the same even today if given a chance. He packed my bags, carried them and waited for hours till my train left the station. He bought my favourite food and fruits. In my every walk, he played a major role.

But he evolved in last few decades from stubborn orthodox to a forgiving modernist. Not completely but to certain extent. He is a more like an ugly sibling you never liked and fought always for petty things. I do quarrel with him for a piece of chocolate even today. Nobody can beat his preposterous decisions. If I attribute my creative skills to my mom, my intellectual skills are inherited from him. He is man of rare species. My dad, I feel is a ludicrous enigma. He is my conspicuous pill of energy. He will not stop being protective and I will not stop being reactive. No matter how old I grow. I want to travel world with him to sand filled deserts, dense forests, developed nations, seven wonders. Few call him intelligent muggin. I call him Dad and our saga continues.