Tag Archives: blogging

No, she said.

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Demure, quiet, she kept to herself as she walked down the road of life.

Wary, alert, carefully she kept her distance from people.

She hurried if she felt people approaching.

She hastened her steps when men asked her questions, quickening her pace, mouthing the same word over and over again, “No.”

She walked on too fast and too long, alone, the voices in her head keeping her company.

She stopped for breath, the voices ebbing, feeling lonely, struggling to breathe easy.

She wondered why she didn’t hesitate before saying, “No”, why she thought later but answered before.

She questioned herself for the first time. All the men she’d said “No” reappeared beside her, imploringly staring at her, waiting for her to say something. They demanded answers to the question she was asking her own self.

“No,” she said. Her mind kept repeating “No” until her legs took her far away. The voices came back stronger than ever.

“Don’t let men touch you.”

“Never talk to strangers.”

“Men cannot be trusted.”

“He won’t want to marry you.”

“Don’t heed to your body.”

“He doesn’t care.”

“..not..”

“Never..”

“Don’t..”

“..no..”

That is why she said, “No.” Because that is all she’d been taught!

Graciously Yours!

 

Calcutta Calling!

Oh, Calcutta. You beauty.

The moment I stepped out of the airplane, the air came down on me warm and heavy! My body knew it was in Calcutta before my brain could even decode the neural transmissions. I can feel dampness in my breath. My hair feels sticky all over. And my jeans feel like they’ve shrunk two sizes. Time to tie my hair in a bun. Calcutta, here I come!

As I walk down the too familiar lanes of the neighbourhood I was brought up in, I see known faces, known shops, the same muri seller, fruit vendor, cobbler, security guards and even beggars. I smile at them, some smile back, some don’t. Some remember me, throw a greeting, others don’t, wondering if the heat is playing with their mind. Even the graffiti on the wall seems the same! A wave of nostalgia washes over me again, yet again. I say yet again because every six months that I head back to town, I realise how little it has changed and how the comfort of knowing the place makes me feel happy and sheltered.

The more I look around, draw comparatives, recall memories of times spent in the nooks and crannies of the city, the more I realise nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed and yet something has. The city has moved on without me yet it remains the same. I can smell the sweat, hear the shouts of the boudi in the bus, see the kids taking a shower under water tanker tap, feel the camaraderie only this city exudes. And yet I too have changed. The nostalgia washes over as waves but I know that I will swim through these too. Home still feels home but I don’t rush to read through my scrapbooks or run my hand over the trophies I’d won.

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Maybe, like the city, I too, am growing. Older and wiser, each day.

Graciously Yours!

Open Up The Spaces.

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There I was, sitting on the topmost stair of the spectators’ gallery of a playground, writing, when a soccer ball landed with a thud right on my foot. I was taken by surprise and flooded with a flurry of apologies. I wasn’t hurt, no. But I roused concern among the boys. But why only the boys? Because there were no other girls around.

Why do men have a monopoly over open spaces? Why, if you look at the massive green stretches of open spaces in our cities and possibly even towns, do you find scores and scores of men playing all sorts of sports but no women? Why are we women still found standing by the entrance watching them play from afar, waiting for the men to return to us? Why can’t we swing the bat hard? Why can’t we kick a soccer ball away? Why can’t we dribble in sweat and exhilarate with ten others at a game played well? Why can’t we grab and hold in kabaddi? Why are we at the edges? Why are we scared of injuring ourselves?

Why do I see girls play badminton? Or cycle? Or skip? Or just choose to go for a walk? Why not put them together in teams too? Why not teach them to be a leader, a team player, bond with each other over match strategies and get that competitive spirit going? Why not teach our women to pull up other women and not push them down? Why not familiarize them with the touch of men so that they know the difference between the touch of love and lust? Why don’t our brothers teach us to toughen up? Why are our cuts and bruises scolded for and theirs disregarded? Well, that actually shows women are more careful about first aid, but you get the point, right?

What are we so scared of?

That our women will get hurt? Or they might disagree to sit inside homes any longer?

That our women will bring the team down? Or that they’ll become strong enough to form their own teams?

That they might overexert? Or that they will learn to embrace their bodies as they are?

What in the world are we afraid of?
Are we more fearful of our insecure men?
Or are we fearful of making our women secure?

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The author is well aware of the countless women who have made a superlative mark in the world of professional sports and is in no way trying to belittle the spectacular magnitude of their efforts. The author is well aware of women who are pushing all limits exceedingly well and breaking glass barriers every day. This post is not intended for those women. Instead, it is intended to bring out the other ladies, young and old, strong and weak, into the open so that they find out for themselves what wonders their graceful, lithe bodies can do, if only they allowed it to!

Graciously Yours!

Boots.

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She trudged along the gravelled path,

Far from home, lost in the rush of the world,

Her boots worn, her back stooped,

The winds, cold and brazen, cut across,

The skin on her face drooped.

 

Her eyes stung with tears,

That refused to fall out,

She shut them close,

Wanting to push the world out.

 

Alone and desolate, she bawled,

Her cries ringing, echoing in her own ears,

Her thoughts drowning out what little sound was left,

Over clicking boots and howling winds,

She didn’t hear the answers to her calls of help!

Help may not always come in the shape you desired but it will be there, in the most unexpected circumstances, from the most unexpected people. Never cease to believe that you’re cared for, loved by and the pride of someone among the 7 billion of us and counting!

Let those boots take you to places but never forget what coming back home is like. Home, after all, is where the heart is. ❤

Graciously Yours!

 

 

My happy place.

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The Internet, as we all know it, can be a vicious place to be. If you still don’t know it, well, you haven’t explored enough. Right from seeking gratification to fake news, keeping up with TikTok videos and the latest record-breaking egg, medical remedies to tips on how to build your own rocket, you will find it all. It’s brought the world closer together but it’s also taken us apart.

I am sure each of you has had days where you just want to keep the phone aside and not look at what the internet had to offer. The deluge of information can be overwhelming and a detox work sometimes but then you get hit by FOMO! In all of this confusion, what do you really do with those twiddling thumbs?

I try to detox every once in a while but I am left with my own thoughts which do not really help because they’re, if I may say so, contaminated by social media. Everything seems so peachy and perfect on social media that I start questioning the daily rigours I face in life. For once I’d like to know the challenges people face, the scars that are healing, the pain hidden behind those smiles. I’d like to know the people for who they are and not for what they want to project.

So how do you find a happy place on the World Wide Web? One that assures that it will take care of you, it will not let you down, bring a smile on your face. I found mine! Pinterest. And I cannot swear by it enough. It’s helped me through two heartbreaks, endless writer’s blocks, restless hours of melancholy, dried spells of humour, DIY craft spurts and hell, even when I wanted to drool over the hotness we can never seem to find in our daily lives. No one’s competing for attention there, no one’s trying to up the ante further, no one’s liking or commenting and if they are, I am blissfully unaware. All you find are pictures people have pinned on to their boards, private or public, and the algorithms do the rest based on your search keywords.

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Pinterest to me represents the true collaboration of how far one’s choices and ideas can go if one only has the intent of not seeking validation but instead sharing it because they wanted to. I love the quotes, life stories and confessions that you find up there! They restore my faith in humanity. Pinterest makes me come to terms with the fact that whatever be my life story, someone else is also living the same story somewhere out there, if not worse.

In a world of seven billion people, I may be unique but I am not alone!

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: This is not a sponsored post, though I wish they did sponsor me! If only. *Sigh*

Ten years on.

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It’s been ten years since our country along with the city that never sleeps, Mumbai, had come to an unexpected and grim halt. I don’t need to describe the horrors that unfolded in those three days, the lives we lost, the screams that rang through the carpeted corridors and the stunned silence thereafter. My sixteen-year-old teenage eyes were glued to the television and life had never seemed so delicate. For more than 72 hours, I spent all my time at home, sitting in front of the television, looking at live media feed of the burning Taj, the admonishment from the Department of Defence and Army for telecasting our commandos, the re-runs of earlier videos, the winds, bullet firing, glass, shrapnel and the successful but painful rescue of the hostages. I was too young during the Kargil war to remember Barkha Dutt’s reporting from ground zero. For me, this was the attack that etched itself deep, deeper and closer home than the 9/11. There were several reporters lined up outside the Taj, covering the place from all angles, trying to relay, as much information as possible, to the nation. I now distinctly recall one of the reporters – completely unaware that he’d stayed on in my mind till today, ten years later.

That young face on the television which I kept looking at, not leaving his base, forming his thoughts into words, reporting from the promenade of the Taj, trying to give us news even when there wasn’t any, stayed on with me. The ticker below read his name as Arunoday Mukharji. Times have changed, news reporting styles have changed. I moved from television reporting to news on apps and Google news. But today when people all over are attending memorials to a decade of 26/11, I can only think of the young face again, who in the face of the harshest man-made adversities kept a calm and composed demeanor to allay our fears in the best way he could.

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Yes, there is fake news and crass media reporting but there are also brave, passionate and unflinching men and women who use the skill of the languages and strokes of pens to keep us from getting blinded in the darkness of lies and betrayals. To the innumerable journalists, reporters, news anchors, camera crew and all staff associated with bringing news to us – thank you!

Graciously Yours!

Peering In.

Weekend getaways are a solace I look forward to. I find myself in the middle of nowhere, no networks to connect to, innocent, city-oblivious eyes peering out from house windows, lush green or azure seas or b both inviting me to lose myself in the peaceful insanity of it all. These short trips don’t happen as much as I want to or happen much more than my Mom wants them to. Either ways, at the end of it, both of us are happy – me with a lighter wallet, she heavy with my experiences.

But. There’s a but. While I’m on the trip, there’s a guilt accosting me often. The guilt of either knowing too much about the place or too less. Striking a balance between reading up about the most interesting places to see and ending up with a list of twenty places to cover in thirty hours is a task for me. With the extent of the reach of internet, there is not a place worth the penny you wouldn’t find a blog on, along with photographs revealing the beauty that a camera can manage to capture. But that ends up unveiling the surprise the sight has to offer! Well, and if I don’t read about the place, how would I know where from to extract the best of the experiences the place has to offer?

More on this in detail in the next blog! Meanwhile, what do you prefer? Blind dates with a place or well prepped for an apocalypse?

Graciously Yours!

Setting Sun.

I looked up from my Kindle and out the window. The air turbulence was distracting. I wanted to stretch my legs that were getting cramped in the narrow leg space provided these days by airlines. Just a few minutes ago, the view from the window had been drab – blues of the lightest kind with fluffs of white cloud in the foreground. Or was it more than a few minutes ago? I wouldn’t know. My phone was on flight mode and my mind grappling with an Agatha Christie whodunit. Keener observation of the clouds would allow the brain to identify patterns. Sometimes it would be a horse’s head, other times a trophy and then a flock of sheep. But right now? Right now provided a view that would make it to Instagram stories, photography contests and lure amateurs towards professional photography. But I sat there watching unperturbed, unhurried. I was flight bound to home. The Sun was going home for the day too – home being the horizon. My eyes went in and out of focus, the portrait mode some call it, others name it bokeh. In an expanse of white, to the far right, soft hues of orange meshed with lighter yellows which faded into whites of the clouds. The mixed streaks seemed painted, with the flourish of pulled brush strokes. The center was a deeper, brighter, concentrated shade of orange, like the Sun itself was shining out – but you knew this was an illusion – more science than mere fabrication. The Sun was closer it to its home than it let on – this was simply a delayed telecast you were viewing. Closer to my window, making way for the scene were the clouds – bigger clouds, fog-like, misty, as if dewy-eyed at the beauty out my window. And then came the window – double paned, corners curved, waiting to be flapped down; a hole at the bottom edge of the outer window, scratches on the outer pane, whether flying bird wings or key marks, no one knows. And then I return to my Kindle, back to Christie, because I know, no matter how good the camera, it wouldn’t capture the scene my bare eyes saw. But I hope my words did.

Graciously Yours!

Mugger.

He heaved deep breaths, silently. The room was lit up and the windows closed. How do I know this, he thought. He re-traced the conclusions his brain had arrived at. He couldn’t turn around but the steel mug placed in front of him reflected a light source, looked like a bulb. If he tilted his head slightly, he could see the outline of a bulb, yes. And the closed windows? The air was still and stale. He could feel the dampness of stale breath in the stillness of the room. Even his closed eyes could figure it out. His mouth was dry and his hands numb. As he sat with his head hung, fatigue trudged upon him. A door creaked open in the distance, heavy footsteps lining the carpeted floor, now an empty commercial space. He could see the reflection of a man in the mug in front of him. And that was the last thing he saw before a bag was pulled over his face.

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Graciously Yours!

Forever?

I’d lie if I said you had me at hello, but once you had my attention, dear fellow, there was no looking back. I waited for you all day long and it was only by the night that you came – in my dreams. I stuttered when I spoke to you, flushed when I spoke of you. I’d be surprised if you even gave any second thoughts to my presence while you were the only presence that persisted in mine. Soon, you walked away out of my life, I flailed at your memories to keep you on my mind until someone else had me at hello. I say love. Others, infatuation.

I ask – is love only meant to be forever?

Graciously Yours!