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?

Well,

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

Hey,

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.

Regards,
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.