Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mera Bharat Mahan?

Dear All

Welcome to 21st century India. To the world's fastest growing economy, to the nation that's a rainbow of vibrant colours and cultures, the land of Aryabhatta, Gandhi, APJ Abdul Kalam and the Slumdog who became a millionaire. The place I have grown up in and the place I've grown to love, more and more with every passing day. People here are all united to the rhythm of Munni, Sheila and a certain Mr DK Bose.

Welcome to the country of hope, faith and promise. Our preamble vests the ultimate power in our hands, a democracy where our constitution gives us fundamental rights which include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before law, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom to practice religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights. Our national emblem has the words "Satyameva Jayate" inscribed on it, hereby stating that we as a nation support nothing but the truth and truth always triumphs.

Welcome to 21st century India, one of the most corrupt nations in the world, the nation where your caste can make you feel unwelcome in a place, an economy run by leaders who are mere puppets in the hands of an Italian puppeteer, Sheila here got molested and Munni was letched at, DK Bose tried to voice his opinion but he was made to shut his mouth by controlling authorities. Our fundamental rights, like several other laws are just limited to the very paper they were written on, and truth doesn't fucking triumph. It is the country I grew up in but I'd be wary of letting my children grow up in. And it is the India I love to death yet I'm beginning to despise. Reader, do you still feel welcome?

I'm 23 and counting, and by all means sensible enough to know this country is run by a bunch of betel leaf chewing potbellied cowards. A democracy choked to death by the entangled wires of its corrupt nervous system; here everyone wants their own 60 seconds of fame and a Swiss bank account with billions in it.

There seems to be no place for the ones with a voice or an opinion. We take years to solve a crime, even longer to punish a criminal while aa honest and brave crime journalist is killed in seconds and no ones to blame. It’s sick how our government changes stances like a model changing clothes back stage and it is time this tamasha comes to an end. For it’s either now or never. They can shut one person, they can shut a thousand, but they cannot shut a nation. We can either sit back with a tub of popcorn and watch these autocrats make a mockery of this country or we can pull up socks and pull down the curtain to this crap that is thrown at us every day. The choice is yours to make, which India fits your description of a better tomorrow? Introspect, think and decide the tomorrow is yours to wake up to.

For the ones who care, start at the basics, refuse to take no for an answer when interacting with government bureaucrats, follow the law, do not bribe anybody, use your right to information, and exercise your right to vote. If you have something to say, make it heard. Blog, facebook, tweet, use the available media to your advantage and never ever feel alone, look around and see, there are many more waiting to be heard. And finally, speak the truth, even if your voice shakes; for justice needs to be done, and for justice to happen, the truth needs to be known.

Let’s show it to these douchebags – we exist; therefore they are!

Much love,

A frustrated Indian.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dreamy Delusion

The man at the reception looks at her quizzically, he’s seen several Indian travellers with a heavy accent, some German, some British, some American, and he has always taken pride in his ability to be able to identify them, but this one was simply strange. A mix of German and Russian with a hint of British; he had guessed. She is standing in front of him, getting impatient, her hands tapping on the table, forming a rhythm of their own; he shuts his eyes for a second, and then hands over the keys to her.

The bellboy ushers her into the cottage, it’s small and scantily furnished, yet it’s the best a grand a night could fetch her. Consumed by her thoughts, she lights a smoke, walks up to the window and opens the blinds. She looks around her cottage and behind the haze of the smoke and the ochre yellow rays of the sun; the tiny almost shabby cottage seems cosy, this, she knows, is going to be her home for the next week. The week she can’t wait to live. Her phone beeps, she looks at it and smiles, puts out her cigarette, and walks into the bathroom, on the clock, she has half an hour to get dressed, in her mind, a quarter of that!

Northern India isn’t exactly the ideal place for someone who hates walking, but for two people, one with the spirit of a wanderer and the other with the soul of a nomad, this North Indian sojourn is a cross road on the highway of life.

She steps out of the bath, smelling of white lotus and morning dew; picks out her favourite jeans from her backpack and a t-shirt she picked up at a flea market in Brazil, throws on her stylish cardigan, she looks into the mirror and smiles. She looks at her watch and starts pacing the room anxiously. Seconds turn into minutes, it’s half an hour and a smoke later, that there’s a knock on the door. She can feel her stomach flip as she opens the door with all the expectations she had buried in some remote corner of her mind.

There he was. The boy she had dated almost half a decade ago; the man that stood before her five years later. All it took was a nervous laugh and a warm hug, and suddenly nothing had changed, the picturesque mountains of Kasauli had turned into their college campus, and her cardigan turned into her sweatshirt. One look and she noticed, his lose jeans and graphic t-shirts were replaced by fitted pants and a chequered shirt, her high fiving college boyfriend was now a high flying investment banker, but for him she was still the nomad who’d keep whispering rhymes to herself and quote Shakespeare at every occasion, except for her hair colour nothing about her had changed.

They had decided to meet here, in Kasauli just because Facebook messages and Gmail chats had stoked such a fire that only reality could douse the flames or bring the house down. It was a risk they had decided to take; a risk that gave their wandering souls an adrenalin rush that very few things could.

Away from home, everything feels brand new. Like neophytes lobbed out of the concrete jungle and into the bare. Everything is nourishing and cherishing, the colours in the clear skies, the fresh air, the several shades of green and brown of the mountains, it's an entirely altered experience.

Together they travelled through the mountains, Sanavar, Dharampur, a day at Shimla, a day at Chail, long walks along the banks of the Kewal River; it was pristine, like a moment of calm in their rootless lives.

There’s something achingly beautiful about the rhythm of water, it puts you in a trance. Watching its flow, she gets engulfed with emotion. The liberating feeling of experiencing such splendour. There is so much of the world to see and always so little time. Yet, for all the limited experiences life has to offer, to discover a new side to oneself, to accept a flaw. Ah, the journey called life!

The week slips by. She, the organizer, the nagger, the perfectionist… He, the calmer one, the listener, the anchor. He liked asking for directions, she liked taking the road less travelled. He liked fresh air, she loved cigarettes. He’d want to hire cabs, she’d want to walk. Yet, they’d make it work. And how! Two stubborn companions who grudgingly, nudgingly, teasingly took decisions to adapt to the other….to leave their footprints behind on these untouched mountains and their rugged roads!

It’s their last day in the mountains; the dream is coming to an end. It’s time to go back. Back to two worlds where nothing’s new anymore. America – Dublin – Same thing.

It begins to pour. They had been seeing the weather reports all week; finally here it was. They decide to walk it to the bus station.

She suddenly finds herself quoting Shakespeare again.

“Love comforteth like sunshine after rain, But lust's effect is tempest after sun; Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain, Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done; Love surfeit's not, Lust like a glutton dies, Love is all truth, Lust full”

She quietly slips her hand into his. A twinkle in her eye, a smile on her lips and a lump in her throat.

He smiles. It was a fine investment that he had made.

They reach the station. The rain continues to fall, they sit onto the bus, she gets the window seat. She looks out at Kasauli, which now looks slight, dewy, and yet still beautiful like the dreamy delusion that was their vacation.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Be a first place girl, not a just in case girl

Most of us have read “He’s Just Not That Into You,” or at least seen the movie. We know the rules. We know the score. We can weigh in on our friends’ love lives with perfect clarity, giving them advice, showing them the error of their ways; but yet, when it comes to our own lives…and to that ONE guy…the one that makes us weak in the knees…the one that can pluck at our heart strings with both hands tied behind his back…the one that we hear the opening chords of “Take My Breath Away” every time he’s within a 50 mile radius…our girl power goes out the window faster than you can say “I am woman, hear me roar.” This guy is our blind spot. Our strongest weakness. Our kryptonite. Our Justin Case.

Justin Case (more commonly known as “Just In Case”) is a smooth operator. He knows how to push our buttons. He knows how to get under our skin. He knows how to offer just enough of himself to keep us hooked, sometimes for months and even years at a time. He doesn’t really want us to stay, but he doesn’t really want us to go. He doesn’t ever come out and say yes, but he also doesn’t ever say no. No matter how black or how white we need the terms of our relationship to be, we are willing to stay in a perpetual state of gray just to keep him around. We quite obligingly allow ourselves to take up residence in Relationship Purgatory because we’re not willing to give up the ghost and move on, but we’re also not willing to give up the most and sign on for what could be a life of always being second place. And therein lies the crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic conundrum of Justin Case.

Here’s the bad news: Justin Case will be perfectly content to keep you around, indefinitely, JUST IN CASE something “better” never comes along. And here’s the real kicker: his definition of “something better” usually involves someone that is clearly inferior to the fabulousness that is YOU. For whatever reason, somewhere along the way, he started to see you as the “safe” choice, the in-between girl, the backup plan. Not because you are any of those things but because he is incapable of seeing you clearly enough to realize the diamond he has standing right in front of him. Perhaps his blinders are there out of fear, or immaturity, or (as much as we hate to admit this) maybe he simply prefers Jello to Crème Brulee and no matter how many times you hand him the menu, he’s going to keep choosing Jello. Whatever his reasoning, do you really want to spend another second waiting around for him to realize how incredible you are? Or do you want to make today the day you move on to someone who wants to rock your world, and wants to blow your mind, and will never hand your glass slipper to the wicked stepsister when he has Cinderella standing right in front of him?

Here’s the good news: You’re not a “just in case” girl. You’re a first place girl. When you realize you're worth so much more, it won't be so hard to finally close that door! You have to know when to say when to what might have been and get in line with what can still be. The hardest part is realizing his part in your story is over. Yes, you were crazy about him. No, you can’t just make your feelings disappear like magic. And yes, it’s probably going to hurt for awhile. But here’s the best part: You are stronger than even your strongest weakness. Know your power, lady! There is no one that you are not strong enough to walk away from, so put on your best stilettos and start walking! If he can’t say yes, it’s time for you to say no and GO. The time for hesitation is over. The Future is waiting; and it will never fight with the Past to get your attention. And once you've made the decision to move on, don't look back. You will never find your Future in the rearview mirror.

Ultimately, Justin Case might have been one of those fun tunes to hum along to for awhile, but you can only sing the chorus over and over for so long before you realize the record is skipping; never moving back but also never moving forward. It’s time to stop singing the chorus and start rewriting the verses. Remember: Mr. Right will recognize the music of your heart and sing along to a tune that could never be heard by Mr. Wrong. So go ahead, First Place Girl. Rock his world. In life and in love, there are no points for second place. Mark this night as the night you moved on from Justin Case.

Read it online... here's the link for the original article..

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The City of Blinding Lights....

“Like a mother she nurtures her children… endures all the blows thrown upon her; silent with her suffering, yet always abuzz… delusional but never deceiving. Like a true friend she stands by you when you fall, picks you up and teaches you how to walk again; never lets you feel alone. Hopeful and forgiving, here, thousands of dreams are fulfilled everyday; thousands of lives change everyday; shinning with the glow of her wide eyed people; as they walk through her streets, with their hearts on their sleeves. Call her Mumbai, call her Bombay, for her it’s just a name, nothing will deter her spirit… For she is the city of blinding lights…”

They say, HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS! This is why I don’t think I would ever be able to call any other city, MY HOME! My love affair with this city started years back, when a five year old I would roam around Nariman Point and Chowpatty, gawking at the beauty of the Queen’s Necklace… on a horse carriage! That was romantic for me… like a silly five year old with missing front teeth I would stare at the skyscrapers, the beauty of the Haji Ali Dargah as it shone with all its might under the full moon… The ice cream at Yankie Doodle, the chat at Juhu Beach, Fantasy Land, Buddi Ka Baal at the Gateway of India… that was my Bombay!

Over the years, a lot of course has changed, along with the name… from being the sone ki chiddiya , this city has now become the biggest target to communal remarks, terror attacks, economic instability, natural calamities and above all abuse from her citizens… The ones who claim to be her well wishers… blah blah blah! The question here is: when is this going to end? The answer; (coming from another so called well wisher!)… Get the UPites and Biharis out of this city… it will end. In actuality; this has just started another controversy altogether. The solution: Peace Marches? Tried… Candle Light Vigils? Tried… Violence and Destruction? Tried… Result: None worked… Moral: Let this city be, let the people be… overpopulated or not, corrupt or not, She still one of the most welcoming, safe and friendly cities in the entire world… She still is the financial capital of the world’s fastest growing economy… she still is the city of never ending hope… here no one is just a face in the crowd… everyone has a story to tell… everyone has been touched by the humility and affection this city has to offer in some way or the other.

Guess that’s why they say that the spirit of this city is unbreakable… but to say the truth… it’s not the spirit… it’s the faith that the millions of people living in this city have in her… it’s the hope they have in their hearts, when they set out of their houses every morning, that they will at the end of their day get back to their houses safe and sound, for this city, true to her motherly nature, will embrace her children and shelter them from the evil… and the extend of her love shall not depend upon whether you are a Khan, a Kapoor or a Kadam...

Who said it’s all about the name? That’s why she is the city of blinding lights!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

love beyond the forbidden lines...

“Noor! Noor! Kaha thi itni der?” her mother yelled at her, as she tiptoed into her house. “It is my anklet, it has to be”, she thought to herself.

She knew wandering around so late in the evenings was not very safe, and besides it gave a bad name to the family, but she enjoyed the thrill these escapades of hers gave her. And above all, this was the safest time to meet Imran.

Imran, the very thought of him lit up her midnight black eyes and a warm shy smile appeared on her face!

Imran entered his house, smiling, only to be greeted by his father’s grim, disapproving gaze. He knew it, he had sensed it. Imran’s instincts were at work again. For the 21 years of his life, and for as long as his memory allowed him to remember, he knew that his father would always know what he has been up to without him having told him anything. He dreaded it, he tried to hide, lie, and nothing worked.

“Kaun hain woh? Kya karti hain? Kya tum firse who Anwar ki beti, kya naam hain uska, ha, Naaz, uske saath toh nahi…” Salim Mohammad Khan’s stern and powerful voice breaks through the awkward silence in the room. “abhi se he bol deta hun, accha nahi hoga yeh, tum jaante ho na ki Anwar ka mazhab bhale he islam hain, par woh hindustani nahi”

Imran is speechless. He looks at his father coldly, his blood boiling inside.

Anwar Rahman Sharif is one of those unfortunate Indian Muslims who haven’t got their due in their own country. Born to an Indian mother and Pakistani father, at the time of partition, his mother, decided to stay in her country. His father had been killed in the post-partition riots; a few months before Anwar was born.

He had never seen his father’s face, which is probably why he was hostile towards emotions, barring that of hate, towards love. He had been bought up in a torn country, still healing from years of slavery and then a part of hers being brutally cut away. In the beautiful snow covered valley of Kashmir, Anwar could only hear painful screams echoing through his growing up years.

“Abba ko pata chala na to tumhari khair nahi”, Naaz’s thoughts are interrupted by her mothers voice.
She looks at her mother and quietly walks into the kitchen, avoiding meeting her eye.


Anwar Rahman Sharif is sitting in his courtyard, smoking a hookah, when Iliyas, one of his employees comes rushing to him. “Maine un dono ko aaj fir saath dekha, wahi jagah par. Main, maaf karna, eek chotey muh badi baat kehta hun aapse, yeh thik nahi ho raha”
“Utha lo use, maar do” Anwar says cooldly.
He waits for Iliyas to leave. And then he storms into the house.

“Naaz!” he yells.
She comes running out to her father, her heart beating fast.
“Aaj ke bad dum is ghar ke bahar nahi niklogi, aur agar Imran se milne ka socha bhi toh bas…”
She tries to speak, but words refuse to come out of her mouth. She has never seen her father this furious.
Quietly she walks into her room, shutting the door behind her.
“Main usse kal milungi, dhopahar ko jab ammi-abba so rahe honge tab bhaag jayungi, aur wapas nahi aaungi”, she tells herself.

Imran is walking back home after meeting a friend. It is close to midnight and the streets are deserted. Suddenly he feels something hit his head really hard. He falls on the ground unconscious.

His head hurts, his body is tied, his throat is dry, its dark around him, he tries to move, that’s when a light comes on, and Iliyas’s face appears from the dark, “Yeh Naaz se pyar karne ke liye hain”, and stabs him in the stomach.

Imran struggles to say something, his body giving up. His mind is running wild. He can hear Naaz calling out his name, giggling on his jokes, the sound of her bangles, her anklets. He makes one last attempt before he gives up forever and shuts his eyes for the last time picturing Naaz looking at him her hands stretched out, smiling.

Naaz packs her bag through the night, her heart beating fast with excitement. She occasionally stops dreaming of her life with Imran. At noon the next day, as planned she sneaks out. She goes to their secret place, where they meet everyday. Half and hour and she knows he’ll be there.

“Abbu ne kaha tumse kabhi na milu, toh main bhaag ayi. Hum saath rahenge. Ab toh mere ammi-abba ko pataneka dar bhi nahi!” she thinks about what she is going to tell him again and again.

He is late, she is getting restless. She fidgets with her dupatta, looking around. The sun is about to set. She can’t even think of going back home; Atleast not without him. He doesn’t come. He never will, but what has happened of him, she will never know...

*I'm not too sure of this one so comments would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Playing Poker with Hearts!!!

Just a dark room,
with no doors or windows in sight,
the walls closing on me,
squeezing me tight,
I'm scared and unsure,
I don't know what to do,
with no way out,
no hiding away from you,
your words hit my head,
as you sit and play your game,
the stakes are high and I am going to lose,
yet, I don't know whom to blame,
at times i wish, to just run away,
break free from these invisible ties,
I feel suffocated and blinded,
by your fake promises and lies,
but as they say, its beginners luck,
I win on the king of hearts,
I think I have won over you,
oblivious its just because its the start,
you are the master deceiver,
with a poker straight face,
while I am still the rookie,
betting it all on just an ace,
the flop and turn have opened,
hoping for a heart flush to be there,
little do i know, you already have a queen on the table,
and in your hand, a queen pair!
ours is a game of bluff,
where I have blindly let it all go,
But you'll never know what I am playing on,
If I'm losing, I'll fold before I have to show!

*Hope you guys get the metaphor!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer's Last Dusk

Yellow, a melancholy yellow was the sky,

the sun hidden behind the blue-gray clouds,

Birds returning to their nests,

Everything else, as if laid to rest,

A time when everyone was heading home,

Waiting to embrace love and warmth,

Her eyes, captured every moment perfectly,

Not missing a single beat,

She stood there cold,

Oblivious to the humid summer heat,

The twinkle of her tears,

Shone through her painfully beautiful eyes,

With the last dusk of summer,

She had said all her good byes

Escaped from that warm embrace,

With all her pride, vanity and grace,

The skies slowly turned into a beautiful gray,

She looked up, smiled,

For the last time she silently prayed,

The thundering echoed,

With the shattering of her heart,

As the rains came down,

Ripping the sky apart,

She drenched herself,

In her tears and the rain,

With summer's last dusk,

She finally parted with her pain.