Showing posts with label blogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogs. Show all posts

Monday, 15 April 2019


"The literary circle had accused her of being a coffee table, light-hearted romance writer, feeding on the surface of life and emotions, incapable of weaving a deeper tale seething with human pain."

Click on the link and read the full story  BLEED

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Monday, 1 October 2018

The Green-Eyed Monster

When your maidservant's 12-year-old daughter tries to dream, aspires to rise above her class and become somebody like you, when she poses a threat to your own daughter and her talents, it is difficult not to remind the mother-daughter duo of their status----------------------MAIDSERVANT.

Click on the story-The Green-Eyed Monster to read .

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


“Maana, would you please listen to me? I am not insane to keep hunting for things to keep you safe. You think I am doing all this for myself? Have you forgotten…?”

“No Maa. I haven’t forgotten her, but what you need to understand is that I cannot and I refuse to live in this huge fear.”

“Fear? We are talking reality Maana,” Naina followed her daughter to the kitchen with a pepper spray bottle in her hand.

“Reality? Really?” Maana rushed to her room to get her satchel. Pouring the contents on the glass dining table, Maana roared with anger, “This is my reality Maa? This? More than books, I have weapons in my bag.”  A 30 inch foldable iron rod fell from the table on the floor with a clank. A steel baton, a small knife, a big knife, a razor , a stun gun lay on the table while the pages of H.C.Verma’s Concepts of Physics fluttered.

“And this, the brass knuckle which I wear like an ornament whenever I am outside. Now you got this pepper spray?”

“It is not a weapon. Honestly, I think, this is the best first line of defense and then run away. You don’t have to get into a combat with them.” Naina tried to persuade.

“WHOOOO?”  For a moment their eyes met, piercing each other, ready to flood, heart pounding so hard, it could destroy the soul within.

“Who do I need to run away from? Who do I need to save myself from and why?” Before Naina could utter another word that the doorbell rang. Naina cleared the table, shoving the argument and her anger inside the schoolbag.  Another ring and Maana hurried to open the door, gulping her tears.

“Maa, Pallavi Aunty is here.” Maana announced and raced back to her room.

“Hi Naina, what is wrong? She looked angry. Huh…children these days,” Pallavi Aunty sighed and plopped herself on the beige sofa.

“Yeah! Teens and their temper. We were having a difficult conversation. It’s okay. You tell me.”

“Oh, do you have tamarind paste? I just realized I ran out of mine. Rishi is travelling and Prateek is too busy on his phone to run the errand for his mom.”

“How is he doing?”

“He is good. He and Maana haven’t been talking for some time now. He hardly speaks about her.  I wonder what went wrong. But then, you know how it is at this age.”

“Yaa…17 has been the worst for me. She has her own mood swings.”

“They will fight one moment and make up another. Teens I tell you.”

“Hmmm. Why don’t you stay for a cup of chai. It’s just 7:30 pm. Rishab will come late. He has overseas client coming over.”

“Umm…okay. My best friend’s chai is not to be refused ever.”

“Hahaha.” Naina tried to shift the heaviness of her heart and dissolve it in some light hearted banter with Pallavi. They had been living in the same community for over 10 years now. She met her when they had shifted to their apartment-Ajmera Infinity in Greater Noida. Prateek was her elder son and Maana and he attended the same school-Tagore International. They had been buddies since 5th grade, in the same class until 10th. Maana chose Science stream and Prateek opted for Commerce.

The aroma of cardamom tea spread in the kitchen as Maana came to take a bottle of chilled water. Naina stared at her as she went back banging the door of her room. The balcony overlooking her bedroom was wet due to Delhi’s   infamous showers in the month of July dropping the temperature heavily. There was a slight chill in the air one could feel due to the incessant rain. Maana let her feet soak in the wetness breathing the cold air as if to douse the fire within her heart. The clouds floated aimlessly, happy to have shed off their burden. Maana came back and sat on the edge of her bed. Switching off the bright tube light, she clicked on the lamplight which glowed soft yellow. Holding the hair clip in her hand, her eyes stared at the wall adorned with most exquisite photo frames holding memorable moment with her parents. Walking up to a big frame where her parents had cuddled her between on the photo, she mumbled, “This is not love, this is suffocation. I want to run away.”

Few minutes went by, Manna could overhear the chit-chat in the living room. Suddenly, she heard ‘the name’ again. “Are they talking about her? Again? Why? What happened now?” The questions screamed in her mind and her eyebrows crinkled in desperation. She drew herself nearer to the door, trying to hear clearly.

“So, finally they passed the verdict. Good.” said Naina sipping the warmth.

“Yes. But life is so tough for girls anyway. You hang them or slit their throat, it doesn’t make any difference to the victim. She is doomed for life.” Added Naina.

“I agree. That is why we need to make them strong so that they can…”

Before Pallavi Aunty could finish her sentence that Maana dashed out of her room and stood in front of them with bloodshot eyes.

“What did you say Aunty?” Her voice beyond the threshold of manners, courtesy and respect.

“Maana, is that how you talk?” Naina said sternly.

“Mom, please.” Turning her face back to Pallavi, Maana roared, “What did you say? We need to make girls strong. Really? You know how strong I am? ‘Nirbhaya’ happened in 2012 and I am living under the trauma of it in 2018. It is all fresh in my mind as my current breath; courtesy my mum. She doesn’t let me forget it even for a second of my life.”

“Maana, what are you talking. What is wrong with you?” Naina spoke furiously.

“Hold on Maa. I need to talk today. So, Pallavi aunty, we need to make girls strong. So my mom enrolled me in Taekwondo classes. Then, when I was done with it I was enrolled for Karate, followed by Kickboxing and now she has a new self-defense class enrollment form on my table. Do you know for what? My BIG SAFETY.”

“Maana beta, I guess you should sit down. We can talk calmly. I understand why your mom is concerned. You don’t need to get militant about this. It is all for you. ”

“No, you don’t. You don’t know anything neither does my mom.  What happened six years back, was very unfortunate. Then, I didn’t understand but now as I do, I find it burdensome to live each day. I am held captive by my mom’s fear, so much so that I am unable to breathe. You want to know…wait I will come,” hollered Maana clenching her teeth, her ears flushed red with anger.

Maana ran back to her room, the door clanked against the wall, the closet door opened and shut, few things dropped while Maana pulled things out of her cupboard. With her hands full of ‘FEAR’ she came back, panting, her eyes reigning terror.

“Look at this, and this. You see Maa, you see aunty, my mom buys these XL size T-shirts for me so that my breasts don’t show. At an age where my friends wear makeup, cold shoulder dresses and strut around in stilettos, I am left with a Vaseline in my life. Why? Because I will attract attention and someone will rape me. Thank god she hasn’t yet cut my hair short. She goes around telling massi-maa that she is lucky she doesn’t have a daughter because in such times, it is a curse to have girls. Thank you Maa, Thank you.” Naina’s mouth stood wide open, as if her eyes and ears were not enough, swallowing all that was happening before her.

“You see this- a razor, a blade, a brass knuckle, and today a hot pepper spray, my bag is less about my dreams, my future, my happiness and more about how I save myself.”

“You know Maa”, Naina held on to her mom’s wrist and made her sit down on the beige wicker sofa, “Maa, you are killing me. I cannot live like this.  I know you care for me but somewhere the C, the A, the R, the E has vanished and all that remain is RAPE and FEAR. ”

“But Maana …Isn’t it all for you? Girls need…’ Pallavi tried explain

“NOOO…..” shouted Maana, “NOOOOOO”, the storm in her voice ready to engulf the serenity of life.

"Girls do not need self-defense if boys know how to respect them. It is as simple as this. We are not a problem which needs a solution. Your boys are. Teach your boys to respect girls, women. They are no perpetrators and we are no victims. TEACH your boy, do you hear Pallavi Aunty. I am more than my breasts and a vagina. ”

Pallavi raised her eyebrows, outraged at the insolence, “You need some counselling.”

“No, your son needs counselling. Do you know what he has been up to? Let me tell you.”


“Yes. Hear me.  Two weeks back, your son Prateek came to me with a proposal of his best friend Rajshekhar. He wants to date you Maana” is what he said. I ignored him first thinking he is just being playful. After all, he has been my friend for a long time. But, the story didn’t end there. After a week, when it became too much to handle, I retorted back to your son “Prateek- I don’t want this shit in my life. Please do not bother me again.” Haha!…few , simple words and you have no idea what hell has broken on me. It’s been 10 days, some 65 odd boys of my grade, 11th grade, yes, they have got against me. When I walk down the corridor, they stand in a line and clap, calling my name. They follow me to the washroom and stand there. When I am out, they clap again. My girlfriends have started avoiding me because of this unwanted attention that I am being given. You know, my best friend Madhusmita avoids my company and it tears my heart into pieces. You see, when a girl is on target of boys, the first thing people and friends do is –run away. She did exactly that lest she got tainted being in my company.  I tried to talk to Prateek and you know what he said- “Maana, you can’t reject my best friend. He didn’t like it. We all didn’t like it”. Really Aunty? I was appalled. My mom’s best friend son Prateek, the same Prateek who is my Rakhi brother for many years, the same Prateek on whom my mom showers her Idlis on, turns into a  monster…all because I said NO to his friend. Huh! Do you want to hear more?”

“One sec Maana…let me understand….” horror-struck, Pallavi tried to absorb each word.

“Call anyone from my school, my girlfriends in this apartment who study with me, they will give testimonial to the mayhem I am going through. Two days back when I was out for basketball, they planted a porn letter in my bag. When I am in class, coming out of the door, they push the boys on me so that they can brush against my breast, all intentionally. I have just one friend- Rahul- standing by me. But what can one Rahul do when 100 Prateeks and Rajshekhars have made it their agenda to bully, to harm, to rape. Do you have any idea how it makes me feel? I feel the x- ray eyes piercing my body, 65 pairs of eyes on one girl. What is my mistake? Can anyone tell me? I feel like killing me but held myself back…Rahul held me back.” Maana collapsed on the floor, sobbing, her truth wetting the floor.

Naina rose to cradle her child, “Maana, why didn’t you ever tell me.”

“Because you are so consumed by your own fear that you don’t see anything else. You would rather take me out of the school to save me rather than give it back to the boys and earn my self-respect back.”

The living room clock chimed 8:30. The house sank into deathly silence, interrupted by Maana’s sobs. Minutes went by and Naina sat bewildered and disconcerted with Maana in her laps.

“Pallavi----did you have any idea?” She spoke accusingly.

“No Naina…I have no idea but it could also be just a prank.”

“Prank? Pallavi, 65 boys have no right to play prank with my daughter. No one does that, not even a single boy has the right to do with Maana or any girl. Today’s prank if let unleashed can become tomorrow horror for a girl’s life.”

“I will talk to Prateek but you are over reacting Maana.”

“Pallavi,” Naina sprang towards her like a tigress and bellowed “You talk to Prateek today, right now or else I am coming to school tomorrow. It’s not only my job to save my daughter, it is your job to teach your son too. And if your son learns his lesson well, I would not need this pepper spray.”

Pallavi fidgeted in her chair, embarrassed. Her eyes wavered everywhere but meet Naina’s. She gave one look at Maana and rose, “I will call you up. Let me go.”

“Pallavi, when a butcher’s child kills an animal for the first time, his hand and heart may tremble for the first time, however, if he keeps slaughtering, the hesitation would disappear and he  may start cutting animals as nonchalantly as if he were cutting vegetables while cooking. You see--- Check your child now before his conscience, his inner voice dies off.  I will wait for your call.” Naina finished in one go.

Once the door closed behind them, Naina scooped her angel in her arms. “Maa, it doesn’t help if I stay human and others turn monsters. You see. I am tired Maa. I cannot take this anymore.”
Naina sat motionless, holding on to her child and her fear. So much happened and she didn’t have an inkling. When did it happen? How and why? Questions bombarded in her mind as she carried the exhausted fragile body to bed. She made her drink water and covered her daughter with a light blanket.

“I will get some warm milk Maana. You don’t worry. Everything will be alright. I am so sorry for all this. You s-h-o-u-l-d h-a-v-e,” Naina stammered, caressing her daughter’s face. Few minutes later, Naina got her warm milk with turmeric. “Take rest Maana. I love you, remember that. Everything will be alright. I promise.”

As Maana drifted to sleep, Naina switched off the tube light. Standing at the threshold of the room, she wondered at the infirmity which consumed her daughter.  A girl, a woman either says YES or says YES. A NO only brings retribution- acid, violence, rape and death; as if that NO was a criminal offence. Was it? Who gave this demigod status to boys, to men? Isn’t there a woman behind every boy, every man; born from her womb, raised by her? Then where did the malevolence develop in them to trample over her, encroach upon and violate her sanctity? Such cruel indulgence? She recalled reading about rape of a 3-year-old and a young CBSE student two days back. The helplessness of the situation distressed her. How paralyzed, debilitated one stood in front of this brutal reality? How and why did Prateek and the 64 other boys think that Maana can’t say NO? “Tomorrow I need an answer from 65 boys and I will get one. Manna deserves to live…I will let her live, the boys will have to let her have her peace,” she resolved looking at the family portrait hung on the wall. Closing the door, she headed for the kitchen, dropping the pepper spray in the trash can.

Only if the boys, the men-----RESPECTED WOMEN.

Only if their parents/guardians raised them without  saying- YOU ARE A MAN, YOU ARE THE STRONGER ONE, YOU ARE THE POWERFUL, YOU DECIDE.

"Dear Prateek- You don't decide  for me."

Image courtesy-Pixabay

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The irony of ABUNDANCE!

Does excess make you unhappy? How is it possible in a life where everyone seeks ABUNDANCE OF EVERYTHING?
"I told you, I am not sure. I have been feeling trapped for some time now… trapped by this constant desire to compete, trying to prove, validate, to please, appease, pacify, to belong, to be accepted, to be liked, to be everywhere except with my own self. My fear is consuming me because I have so much to lose – name, fame, status, money and all that comes along with it."
Click on the following link to read the story-------------JUST LIVING IS NOT ENOUGH

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, 20 June 2018

Wife and Husband

So I was asked this question today by one of my readers who also happens to be one of my friends “Why did you change your name after marriage?  Nobody does this nowadays. Why should we women do this all the time? We are equal and not need to change our surnames or our identity. You went ahead and included his name and surname too.Phew!

I looked at her in bewilderment, because I had never thought of this and said rather meekly- " Our name together sounds really nice to me. It has a melody to it which makes me" That's all.

Sometimes it's really not about empowerment, equality, and identity. Beyond the frontiers of man vs woman, lies a sweet spot where I feel nice to be married to my husband, feel fortunate to have him in my life, cradle him to sleep when he is tired, serve him warm food because I know he likes it, dust his shoes when he is running late to work, try to keep his tea ready once he is back from work and stand by him at all times. I do it not because he asks me to, or commands or expects. I do, because I like to do it for him. He may not return in equal measure in the same proportion or in similar nature, but he does what he can with love, and commitment and I respect that. He doesn't fall off the cliff of manliness and respect when he washes the dirty plates in the sink  or changes diapers of our son, nor do I start floating  because I earn more than him.  

Sometimes... it's only love, care, companionship..whatever you call it.

शादी है, कोई प्रतोयोगिता नहीं जहाँ हार जीत, नफा नुक्सान का हिसाब किताब रखा जाये. दो कदम वह चल लें, चार हम, फिर कुछ कदम वह चल ले और हम थोड़ा आराम कर लें। 


Four Leaf Clover