Showing posts with label Living a Meaningful Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living a Meaningful Life. Show all posts

Monday, 8 April 2019


"The other day, the doctor ordered a stool test, then concluded that I have to give up the yogurt, lactose intolerance or some shit like that to get the shit out of me. They say one way would be to throw the yogurt and start afresh."

To read the full story click on Motion-Emotion

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Thursday, 21 February 2019

In the Business of Life

My most precious Gratitude,

Your accent, your dialect, your jargon, your lingua franca is difficult to decrypt, decipher and understand. I have struggled all my life and realize that you can only be felt. I read somewhere today that you are dying a silent death. It gives me immense satisfaction to know that you choose to live in me. Is there something special about my heart or is it my stubbornness that I don’t let you go?

Either ways, I am happy. You see, you have kept me right where I belong- ON THE GROUND, IN DUST. I started a life with my parents where we were always ‘IN- NEED’. A humble life brings in its own grand challenges and turmoil. I hated the thriftiness then, despised the frugality which enveloped my life and once even thought of stealing a Barbie from a friend’s house because I didn’t have one. You saved me then. But I didn’t thank you. You see then, my eyes could only see that much.

Later, life blessed me with abundance, beyond my appetite, my needs, and my survival. You made another grand entry in my life and helped me feel satiated and content in more or less; the notion of each is relative. If that wasn’t enough , age and experience( which I fondly refer to as LIFE) alerted me from the uncritical gullibility of finding happiness outwards, in 'things' and presented me with eye glasses through which everything is far too clear even if it is not visible. I am thankful.

The way I see, you are not an easy partner to live with. A world teeming with temptations and a wallet teeming with cards, a world infested with ‘more, better, brighter, sleeker, smarter, classier’ products, it is difficult to make peace with ‘less’, ‘limited’, and ‘without’. A world diseased with ‘get, want, acquire, accomplish’ it is easy to forget the well- being that comes with the art of ‘GIVING’. I had once read somewhere that ‘the character of a person is known by how you treat those who can do nothing for you.’ I made it a motto of my life, a conscious choice to keep you alive.

So, when the rickshaw puller, with a tattered baniyan and pajamas, pulling me and my mom in the sweltering heat, woefully looks at the uphill road, I GET DOWN. You whisper something in my ears and I GET DOWN, MY SON GETS DOWN AND MAKES MY MOM GET DOWN TOO. 

When we reach home, I sneak in my Dad’s cupboard, take out his not so favorite shirts and hand it over to him, secretly. You see, my mom has lived a budgeted life, for her it’s difficult to let go. I do not blame her.
When the maid servant comes shivering in Delhi’s bitter cold, bare foot, heels cracked and sore, I do not overlook. She is as cold as me when she looks at the sink full of dirty dishes. I see the pain in her eyes and start washing the dishes along with her. Do I share her pain? I don’t know. I try to live it with her. When she leaves, a moisturizing cream, a shawl, a sweater, a pair of socks doesn’t make my wardrobe empty. I have learnt to give because YOU WHISPER IN MY EAR. Thank you.

It requires a conscious choice to  overlook the luxury of driving a car and be part of metro or carpool. You choose to not add to the woes of the city. It’s a choice I make to pray for the girl who got raped ,the parents of the child who got murdered or the pregnant wife whose husband died in a road accident and not for once think about ‘my life’ in that prayer. I cannot do anything to change their fate, but if I see a child in need, a family in distress, or the wife seeking a job, means of livelihood, I reach out, I take the step. You whisper in my ears.

The boy who sells rose flowers in bedraggled clothes, the girl  with hungry eyes who knocks at my car window to buy that one Christmas cap makes me resolve that Christmas is about giving and not buying more for the self. If my child gets a toy, so would another one standing in rags on the pavement.
To donate toys which are broken, clothes which are worn out is not a GIVING. Nobody coerces you to buy new clothes and donate but donating gently used clothes shouldn’t feel like a LOSS either. 

The gardener who mows the grass in our apartment community, the postman who delivers my mail, the old man sitting on the pew of the church staring blankly, the old woman trying to cross the street in her wheelchair or the maidservant daughter who accompanies her mother to my house, I do not let you die. A helping hand here, a smile and greet there, a glass of water to him, an hour of teaching to her, a cloth bag for grocery and picking my litter ... my life goes on.

Is it some way to salve my guilt? No.
I am not guilty. I am GRATEFUL and this emanates from there.
Is it BIG? Can it bring BIG change?

While I cannot get a planet named after me, I cannot be the next Mother Teresa, I cannot be the Dalai Lama, I know what I can be……………………I can be ME. It’s a conscious choice to ensure that whoever and I mean WHOEVER crosses my path, his/her life is better because of my smile, my prayer, my words, my hope, my behavior, my actions, my efforts, my money….my GIVING. It may not change the world but it could mean the world to that someone who isn’t as blessed as I am.

I have understood in life that it is easier to manage the inflation rate and GDP growth but to awaken the moral consciousness of a society is an uphill battle. I am sure I cannot change the country and its people and their mindset and magically fix what is broken. I can only change myself, my thoughts, the family that I am a part of and ensure that we are not the evil fly in the Pandora ’s Box. We will not employ a servant and promote child labor, we will not employ a 15 year old girl child to replace her mother or put a price tag on our son when he reaches a marriageable age. 

But your legacy needs to son has been a kind soul…till now. :) He is 5 year old and I hope his heart remains that of a five-year-old all throughout. You see, his heart somehow understands what you whisper in my ears and I convey to him. We choose to have our birthday parties a close-knit affair, family, relatives, and close friends, people who care about you and people whom we care for. I do have the money to Chuck-e-Cheese his birthday but you whisper and I stop gladly. The Chuck-e-Cheese is spent on poor, underprivileged children in an obscure village of Uttar Pradesh. For one day, they know what a birthday treat is. Gratitude is a language which is not taught. It is a prayer that is lived every passing moment. There is much that goes behind the fervid chants and mantras. He has to decode it himself. I can only set the stage for him. He is the director of his life story. In the world of 'Instant' he has to learn the language of 'Patience', in the world of Artificial Intelligence, he has to unfold Human Compassion, in the world infested with 'Not Have', he has to find his 'HAVE'. 

Thank you for choosing my heart to dwell in.  I am at peace because you reside there.


Image courtesy-Pixabay

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

May your 2019 fly like Bugatti Chiron @261 MPH !!!


And to top it all, rule your thoughts with tyranny and dictatorship. I have never seen a worse master than our THOUGHTS. You let it loose and it rains mayhem. Make it your slave, choose the thoughts that facilitate your well – being. You leave the gate opened and serpents will enter your living room, pull out your favorite wine, take control over your TV and have merriment at your expense. CHOOSE WHAT YOU THINK AND THAT WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

I wish you all a busy year ahead... have an overflowing plate. To read the full article, click on Mompresso


Monday, 17 December 2018

Gujiya- The roads never end.

It is another thing that you do not want to look at the one opening in front of you, that you are not able to gather courage to take that first step, that you are so attached to your previous road that you do not find any other road worth it. Click on the link to read the winning story-----------

Image courtesy-Pixabay


Happiness is a choice Naina. Comparison is a choice. Making a choice is a choice. I am just trying to get across one point Naina. CHOOSE. Is it so difficult to not look at others? Are you so unoccupied and if that is the case Naina Roy, I Sanjukta Sircar will tell you the biggest secret why I choose to work till now. An empty mind was a devil’s workshop and continues to be so. Social Media has added to the power of this demon. If you do not have something productive to do, find one, start one. It requires one to be brave because we love our comfort zone. It is the best place to settle in but it soon starts rotting and decaying and you have to get out of it. That, undoubtedly calls for some effort and courage which you have shown. To me you are a bright kid and your start –up looks like a great idea. What is the problem then? Your friends and their FB posts? Delete your FB account if you cannot handle it.

Click on the link to read the winning story-Choices 

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Just living is not enough.

Both came from small towns, Durgapur and Lucknow respectively, and both placed their career chart much above the marriage kundli and the ‘chattis gun’.

7th August 2018
“Naina, come on in. Congratulations. How does it feel? I am so happy for you. You deserve every bit of it” said Chandana, the 42-year-old, Director, Marketing, Xerox India, rising from her seat, hugging Naina as she entered her room. “You are the Virat Kohli of my team,” she added patting Naina’s back and pulling a chair for her.

Click on the link to read the full story -Just living is not enough.

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Saturday, 1 December 2018

FB , FB on the wall, who is the fairest of all?

The festival of Diwali came, saw, and conquered not only the atria and the ventricles but also, OUR BODY. Resplendent in all glory, we ditched our inhibition and shopped like there was no tomorrow, sparkled like diamonds and moissanites and posted like an octopus with many hands; all of them working synchronously. Yes, this festival makes you feel like a whole enchilada and satiated. The 'oohs ' and 'aah' of friends and frenemies over the 'Sabyasachi' in all of us ensured we have enough in our pantry to last a year, until next Diwali. Facebook was on a rampage and I loved the overflowing 'likes' and 'hearts' moving around. At age 35, neither too young nor too old, just in the middle, these 'likes and hearts' matter. Even more if you are a MUM.That’s important because the world is cautious about a woman's age and the tag ‘MUM’ changes the way people look and perceive you.

People don't compliment me often, courtesy- ME. I wonder what part of my oddity reflects that I am not a 'compliment to be given' type and on the Diwali day, by some stroke of luck, I was the one who was getting it all.

“Yummy Mummy, wow, look at you, you don’t look like a mum.”

“Age is reversing for you. No one can say you have a kid.”

“You are back to 16.Wow. Tell us how to go back to 16.”

I was flummoxed. Are they joking? Really? Shit! No! Ouch! Why? How come?
With so many question marks, I responded meekly-'Thank you' wondering what was so grossly wrong with me? 


Yes, even I was.

You see, it's been 4 years that I gave birth to this ‘joy’ and officially joined the ‘mum’s community’. And guess what? Considering it an all-women community, compliments are vital, desired and omnipresent. :) ;)

Why is everyone so fixated on 16?

While I don't know how a 35-year-old mum should look like, I know for sure that I am a mum and I am comfortable looking like one, feeling like one and behaving like one. For sure, I do not want to jump around like a teenager, giggling at a boy who looks chocolaty enough to be licked right away.Facebook could be a ramp walk but my life isn't and I TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. NO COGNITIVE DISSONANCE WHATSOEVER.

And why shouldn't  I? Am I not proud to be a mum? Is looking like a mum a concern, a crime?These compliments circulate like the quintessential flu virus in September-October, and the more they do,the better it gets on the ones who are looking like mum and the ones who look like teenage mums :). The former hides her belly bulge behind the pallu of saree and the latter moves around with her flat tummy like a Filmfare award.
The problem doesn’t cease here. It’s the mind that gets affected and the self-esteem which gets injured. This heart work that one engages in is sheer HARD-WORK and one with no rewards. It is futile. The present loses its worth and meaning and the ‘past’ yearns to be re-lived.

Hey Mums (of all kinds of belly and bust),

It’s important to be peaceful in your present. Motherhood brings some long-lasting changes in the body, the mind and the soul. Let’s carry those changes with pride; if not pride then at the very least, some peace. 
Don’t pull your breath while you are getting clicked.
Don’t hide thunder things behind those overflowing oversize hip length tees. It’s OKAY.
You don’t get ‘Likes’ on your pics -It’s Okay. You were born to live your authentic life and not to get 'LIKES.'

Stretch marks on belly- Check. Great!
Sagging breasts- Check- Great!
Wider Hips-Check. Great!
Belly Bulge-Check-Great
Flabby Arms-Check-Great
Tires around Waist-Check-Great.
If you don’t have these. Great. If you have these. Great.

Live your age ,Live your looks and whatever it has to offer. You lived the past, why do you want to live it again?Come what may, the fact is that you cannot go back to Chapter 16. Nor can you feel 16.How am I supposed to feel Chapter 16 when I have reached Chapter 35? And why would I want to? And why is looking young so important? Haven't you looked, felt and lived the so-called  ‘youth’... You did...right?
Now feel age 35 and move on. Being fit and healthy is a sustainable choice for the body but doing so to look and feel 16 is an unsustainable choice for the mind and the soul.
So, the next time someone hurls that backhanded compliment, I shall run for cover.  I value my my thoughts, my feelings and my action. That may not necessarily make me happy (the way the world views happiness) but that definitely provides peace.

20 is madness and so is 35 and so would be 70. It’s just the nature of madness that differs.

Getting poetic-
An autumn leaf which broke away from the branch and lies on the grass will soon be shrouded in snow.  But can it say that it feels like a new green leaf? Should it still revel thinking about its green charm?It was but once a green leaf… and now it's brown…green was beautiful then,brown is beautiful now, green or brown… the color is not important…The question is how well it lived green and how well it lives brown…and how well it gets buried under the icy snow.

 I believe every woman has TRUE BEAUTY within her in all the roles she plays. For over 18 years across 650 plus salons across the country, Naturals has been helping the Beautiful Indian Woman get more Beautiful.
Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.
Presenting Naturals TRUE BEAUTY… 

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Sunday, 28 October 2018

My NEST is empty; I am not DEAD!

"Moms, don't miss the opportunity to make the most of your time with the little ones while they are still little. Cuddle them, squish them, smell the top of their heads, shower them with a hundred kisses! Let your clothes soak up their tears and let their grubby fingers ruin your hair as they fling their arms around you. Etch each moment in your memory because no pictures will ever do them justice.
Trust me, time flies. Soon, these days will seem like a distant dream and you will wish for them all over again!"

These lines have not been written by me.It's been pretty viral on Facebook and it made me think. Literally pause and think.

Undoubtedly, beautiful words, heartfelt emotions and just so TRUE.

Then what's the discomfort?
It's painful and unfortunately unavoidable. The nest one day will be empty.

Can you prepare for it? NO.
Can you ensure it doesn’t pain? NO.
What can you do? Make the best use of your time RIGHT NOW and know that every phase of LIFE (and not only MOTHERHOOD) brings itself two companions- a longing for the past and worry for the future.  Seeing our teenagers, we will yearn for our babies, seeing the adult we will miss our teenagers, once they get married, we will miss all the years they spent with us. WE ARE GOING TO MISS come what may. I have often heard my mother in law get nostalgic over the days when all her three teenage sons ensured her 24 hours were utilized well in cooking, cleaning, caring, how much she loved/hated it then and misses it now. J

Just the way we miss our school days and college days, as we progress through our age, these two companions steal from us the beauty of living in the present. The past keeps pulling you back to how good it was and the future towards fear and worry. 

It's difficult but that doesn’t change the truth. The nest will get empty no matter how many times you kiss your child right now. What you can warrant is that the nest is never empty of emotions. You can ensure that when you look at the nest you don’t feel regret about anything. The empty nest should give you satisfaction for all that you could manage to do, forgiveness for all that you couldn’t and peace by seeing the abundant emotions residing peacefully. 

Every phase of life has something to offer and something to take away. Try to accept with gratitude and let go in peace. When you look back you will smile at the thought of giving birth to a child and raising him to become his own person in this world. 

Let's come down to some business- Why does the world cease to exist when the child has flown? Why do we, as parents, feel the need to draw the curtains and not let sunshine in? A child is the source of life's chock-full joy and occupies not only the entire of the house, the home , but every artery, every vein, every nerve and every ticking second of life;so much so that there is no room for anything else. Herein we start the journey of subjecting ourselves to the suffering of empty nest syndrome. Didn't we also give the same dolor to our parents? Our priorities changed; the time we had for them at age 2 has shrunk considerable at 32. Why do we then find it so difficult to let our children go? You were not bringing them up to stay back. You would not like it either. Stagnation at any age or stage creates the same stench that a water does when stagnated and not allowed to flow. Try not to lean on your child for all your emotional needs. To do that is to become  a parasite.  Attachment is inevitable but dependence can be and should be managed. 

Most importantly, engage yourself in productive work that adds meaning to your life beyond your child. You can be gainfully employed or voluntarily working ; spending your time wisely and efficaciously will make you look beyond your motherhood and help you cope with your empty nest. When you fuse your identity around the 6 alphabets--------M-O-T-H-E-R, define yourself by activities of a mother, there is bound to be affliction. Not the best choice.

My mom had a way of dealing with her children- She ensured we did not take precedence over her husband- her life partner. Guess she knew we would leave the nest one day. She had left it too. Later, when it happened, she was in deep agony but both my parents chose not to suffer. They had each other. Nurture your bond, your relationship with your life partner. A child has come from the bond you share with your husband, he cannot be the reason for your relationship. You and him exist, love, thrive independently.
Another strong, parallel voice doing the rounds these days is- YOU ARE A COMPLETE AND WHOLE PERSON. There is no other half somewhere to be found and fitted in to make you complete and happy. While this does have a pragmatic, hard-boiled and reasonable amount of truth, I choose to go with my mum right now.

Easier said than done? YES
Do you have a better choice? 

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Of course I am happy.....till I FIND SOMETHING BETTER. Till...


And this is what the biggest human frailty is all about. Isn't it? The itch, the hunger, the thirst with which we pursue, chase our 'happiness goals' and manage to realize them, why does it cease to provide the happiness which was the very goal we started the quest.

To me, it is our biggest weakness that ails us, psychology calls it the habituation-a form of learning in which an organism decreases or ceases to respond to a stimulus after repeated presentations. 

From a TV to a long-awaited promotion to a Green card to 10000 likes, WE GET USED TO IT ONCE WE HAVE IT AND IT NO MORE MAKES US HAPPY? The acquisition of one leads to a momentary feeling of happiness and then what? WHOOSH!

Happiness is an abstract concept which we have come to define in terms of material acquisitions, coveted degrees, SAT scores, salary, good-looking spouse and the list is infinite. So, we acquire these possessions and try to make ourselves happy only to discern that this CHASE IS NEVER ENDING. Courtesy- HABITUATION. It is this 'get used to' which is the final nail in the coffin. It seals our sense of happiness forever. With this 'used to' one can keep adding more and yet feel empty.

"Once upon a time I desired a fancy life, then I got one and then I got used to it. I craved for a fancier life and I managed to secure it for myself, and then I got used to it.

From fancy to fancier to fanciest, my human nature of 'getting used to' tarnished every happiness that came my way.I started again- the relentless, perpetual, ceaseless persuasion to acquire that other thing which will make me happy. Soon,I am standing at the doorsteps of old age,  and wondering ..."

So, are degrees not important? Yes, they are.

Should you flush your money into the drain? No, Of course not. You must be insane to do that.

Is achievement, recognition, a good house, a cool car and a comfortable life nonessential? NO. 
Either you be mindful of the value they bring or don't attach your happiness around it and your sorrows around their absence.
Try, if you can, to not float high with joy if you get through the Ivy league college or earn the envious 8 figure salary. Much the same way, to make failures, challenges your personal funeral. If that looks difficult and problematic, try the other one- practice valuing what you have, what you have accomplished, what you craved for, worked for, and got and JUST DON'T GET USED TO IT.
I prefer the former option. I have a tendency of ‘getting used to’ J

The problem with happiness is that it is fleeting ...fleeting till you keep changing its destination from a modular kitchen to a deluxe bathtub to Louis Vuitton handbag. Place it within you and you shall be happy forever irrespective of the circumstances.

Coming to my own parenting and my son, to raise him to be a lifetime hunter is not on my agenda.
To have him value what he has and to try not compare. The comparison makes ‘getting used to’ the easiest thing on planet Earth. I don't want my child to be rich. I want him to have 'just enough'. The strange part is that no material acquisition ever guarantees happiness.

Neither does money. Can money buy happiness? Yes, only if it can pay your bills, it is fair in comparison to what your peers/friends are earning and you get to spend it on others. Others? Really? Why? That is not why I earned money in the first place. Note that we need research to confirm it, but it does: It is better to give than to receive. People report higher levels of happiness when they spend money on others than when they spend it on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with spending on yourself, but when you reach out to others, the feeling is SOLID GOLD, MATCHLESS, ETHEREAL, UNRIVALED. Try it for once. The day you feel the worst, go, and help someone else out. I can bet, you will feel the heaviness of your own heart disappear.

Of course, a bigger house, a comfortable car, right salary can give the happiness kick which you can revel in and enjoy. But there is a catch--------------Researchers have discovered that the less money you have, the more it can impact your happiness when you get more of it. Logical? Yes. If you make $20,000 and you quadruple your income to $80,000, your life satisfaction will improve significantly. But beyond $80,000(good enough amount of money) life satisfaction increases only slightly with increases in income.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue making more money, just know there is a barricade beyond which your money and happiness are not necessarily friends. Be rich if that is what you desire, but do not attach your happiness around the richness. One can get used to richness. And when life defies your expectations, provokes you in painful ways, and threatens your so-called 'happiness' know for sure that you can still be peaceful from within and live a meaningful life. The way I have understood life and this delicate, tender, creamy emotion of happiness is that it has the potential to stay without profit & loss. It’s a myth to say that happiness expresses itself in chest thumping, grand parties, platinum jewellery, twitter followers or a post going viral. Some of the loneliest and unhappy people throng to these parties burdened with their own richness, seeking happiness.
I have a deep sense of appreciation, respect, appetite and longing for a meaningful life. Parenting cannot guarantee happiness to the child every time. What it can assure is 'meaning' so that the child feels worthwhile and purposeful, both in falling and flying high. And done meaningfully, it ensures that you as a parent know that your role is not to make your child reach a happy destination but to be part of the journey. And while the child has come through you, he is not YOU...and all you can do is to help him become HIM in meaningful ways.

I subscribed to the myths for 34 long years and realized late (thankfully it isn’t too late) that this path takes you - NOWHERE. 

I now steer my life differently.I have learnt to segment my need, wants and desires. I care a lot about the money I earn, the house and the comfort and the car I drive. I have not renounced the world or the worldly things. But I have learnt to hold back my chase, my desperation for better, bigger, flashier, newer.
To me, parents should make it their first priority to debunk the myths of happiness on which they largely place their life and teach children to realize it as a state of your mind, your being and not emanating from material acquisitions or pleasing people and seeking approval.

While it's the best feeling in the world to see your child happy, I wonder if it is  going to happen if he sees you chasing and you teach him how to keep hunting.
Good Luck!

HAPPINESS IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. IF YOU WANT TO FIND ONE/FEEL ONE- TRAVEL INWARDS...into yourself and your soul, for out there, in the external world, there is only COMPETITION for MORE and MORE and MORE. 

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Wednesday, 25 April 2018


Dear Prime Minister,

I listened to you over the comfort of my smartphone and a much smarter lifestyle, speaking so eloquently at the Central Hall Westminster in London. Very carefully you touched upon the pressing concerns of our country- Woman’s safety, Unemployment, Heath care and Farmers. The रोटी  , कपड़ा ,  मक़ान   with a शौचालय and  स्वछता  around is a burgeoning reality  of today’s times along with ‘सबका साथ, सबका विकास ’ kind of movement. As the 2019 elections draw close, I wonder, is it all done? I am sure not. But you see, it would be unfair to only look at what is left undone. I am not one of those onlookers. As you remarked on your twitter- we have a million problems but we have 125 billion Indians to solve it. I am sure your intentions are honest and that is where big dreams have the potential to become a reality. It is just a matter of time.

So, why am I here? I have a concern, which I know has not escaped your seasoned and alert eyes. Yet I choose to write, to share and to remind our fellow Indians of the long road ahead in front of us. Everyone deserves a smart life, a comfortable one. 

I traveled to India few months back and my journey did not end at the world class Indira Gandhi International Airport. I took another flight and then an Alto ride to my home in Ranchi. While my family greeted me and their 4 year old grandson with warm hugs and merriment , I noticed an 8 year old child, clad in over sized faded tee-shirt( I faintly remembered it was my elder brother’s) and pajamas, staring blankly at me. The sight of my 4 year old kid excited him though, as he smiled at Manavi's antics in the patio.

“Who is he Maa?” I enquired.

“ यह हमारा नया नौकर है ,” my mom uttered carelessly.

“नौकर ? Maa please. But why? I mean..ummm why is he here? Does he study?” I questioned.

“Study? Naina, get back to reality. This is India. His grandfather served at your paternal grandparent’s house and now he is here.  The reality is that he is much better taken care of here. Back in the village he would have starved to death. Here, while he helps us in household chores, he gets good food to eat, a shelter over his head, clothes to wear, mind you we have brought two sets of new clothes for him for Holi and slippers to wear in winter. He even has socks and sweaters from us.”

I was silent. When I do not understand the grim realities of unfair and unjust life and my own helplessness, I go silent.

Few days’ later, after Holi, over a cup of chai served by Chotu, our maid servant entered. She looked barely 10 or 11, clad in a bright pink salwar kurta with glass bangles in both hands.

“Who is she, Maa? Has Pushpa daai left? She use to work?” I questioned again.

“Yes. She is not keeping very well. Today she called up( thank god to the telecom revolution)to say that now her daughter Manju will work.”

“Really? How will she? She is herself a kid. Doesn’t she go to school?”

“She is 15. She has to support her family Naina. Her elder brother pulls the rickshaw, younger one is barely 5, and her father left for Delhi two years back to work as cook.”


“Where is the time for them to go to school? Or do they go empty stomach? Anyways, soon she will be married off. Nainu, these people live like this, generation to generation. There is nothing much we can do. But don’t think they are innocent. They are so pricey and demands of saree, suit and other things at every festival,” my mother’s annoyance was visible.

I went silent again. When I do not understand the grim realities of unfair and unjust life and my own helplessness, I go silent.

My sister-in-law Priya works for Care India and my brother is a reputed journalist with a leading news channel. Her younger sister is all of marriageable age and over an dinner invite at Priya’s parents place ( NRI do get a lot of dinner and lunch invitations), I learnt that they are looking for a suitable boy for their younger daughter Rishita.
“So, uncle, have you found someone yet?” I questioned, popping the gulabjamun in my mouth.

“Yes. I did. Couple of them. But you see betaji, suitable boys have a suitable price tag which I cannot afford.”

“Sorry, I didn’t get that?”

“Last week a probationary officer working for Punjab National Bank, Kanpur branch finalized the alliance at a price of 22 lakhs cash, household goods and a midsize car plus jewelry.”

“You mean ‘dowry’? Really Uncle ji? Even now?” The gulabjamun had never tasted so bitter.

“Yes Naina beta, PO’s are priced between 20-40 lakhs, class A civil servants cost around 50 lakhs to 1.5 crore.”

“But it is illegal and  Rishita is an educated, good looking and homely girl. She would be an asset to any family,” I interrupted.

“And that is not part of the groom’s side calculations.” The wrinkles on his forehead deepened with each word he spoke.

“Let it be uncle. We don’t need to marry Rishita to such savage, greedy people. They do not deserve. If you ask me, let her study some more, send her to Delhi where she can prepare for her civil services and make her career. She is already a graduate and barely 24.” I blurted with a deep sense of angst and remorse.

“Delhi? The rape capital betaji. Betaji she is secure here and I will soon work out her marriage. Once that is done, she will be somebody else’s responsibility.”

“But..umm...I can you uncle ji?”

“Such is life Naina. It is not easy in the country we live in. No wonder people still lament over the birth of a girl child."

I went silent, all over again. When I do not understand the grim realities of unfair and unjust life and my own helplessness, I go silent.

In that one month that I stayed, I tried to teach Chotu the Hindi alphabets and numbers. I tried to help Manju while she struggled to mop the floor and I motivated Rishita to start her preparation for state civil services and take up some online coaching if possible. Did I do enough? I don’t know. I have met a Chotu, a Manju and a Rishita in my life on various occasions before. All throughout my growing up years, I have met them and to my dismay, they are still lurking around in the dark alleys of life. I am 34 years old now. How much time does it ideally take to bring social reforms? I wonder. Can these reform percolate deep down, to the last suffering individual? I wonder.

I am not an economist, a strategist, a financial expert, a statistician or a data miner. I only have experience and I speak from experience.
Can YOU wave a magic wand and bring a smile on their face? I have understood in life that it is easier to manage the inflation rate and GDP growth but to awaken the moral consciousness of a society is an uphill battle. I am sure I cannot change the country and its people and their mindset and magically fix what is broken. I can only change myself, my thoughts, the family that I am a part of and ensure that we are not the evil fly in the Pandora ’s Box. We will not employ a servant and promote child labor, we will not employ a 15 year old girl child to replace her mother or put a price tag on our son. And while we say ‘NO’ to the unfair and the unjust, it is equally imperative to take a small step to do what is fair and just. Can Manju be enrolled in a local school and an affluent family like ours sponsor her education? You alone cannot do it. I alone cannot do it either. But as you mentioned on Twitter- India has a million problems but a billion people who can solve them. Count me in!

Image Courtesy-Pixabay, Blogadda.

BlogToPM is an initiative by BlogAdda(India's biggest blogging platform)  where they propose to aggregate posts from the community and present it to the Prime Minister's Office. They started on Republic Day and end on Independence Day.


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