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Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote Oh! What are these days I have found myself in! The bagpacks I carry n...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Some “Over-friendly” Auto-drivers in Delhi – A true incident

First published on Springtide on 12th December 2014

Perhaps it is not the right time to share what I faced in Delhi, not after “the Uber incident”. But then, there’s never a right time. And no matter what hour it is, reality is always the invincible truth.

I’ve been staying in Mumbai from the past one year. I’ve been to Delhi before, but from Mumbai my first visit would be only last week.

It was at around 4:45pm when I took a train from INA metro station to Kashmere Gate. I had to transport my luggage from my friend’s place at Yamuna Vihar to another friend’s place at Katwaria Sarai. It was my first evening there in Delhi and I did a quick imprecise calculation and assumed that I’d reach Katwaria Sarai after picking my luggage, at around 7:00pm.

I assumed that dusk would fall at around 7:00pm like it is the case in Mumbai.

I was a little disappointed to realize that by the time I reached Kashmere Gate it was almost dark although it was only around 5:30pm.

After being rejected by three auto-drivers, I finally found an auto-driver who was willing to take me to Yamuna Bihar, B Block with the condition that I should pay him 30 INR extra as he might not get a customer while returning. I told him I had to return back to the station and thus, the to-and-fro drive was fixed at 200 INR. I was quite happy that I saved a few 10-rupee notes.

The battery in my cell-phone had only 3% charge, and the faulty phone wasn’t even getting charged by the battery bank I was carrying. Opening Google maps on my phone was out of question.

I was also carrying a tab but I, the lazy person that I am, was feeling too tired to search my bag for my tab. I trusted the driver and almost dozed off in the backseat of the auto while he drove using his best judgment of the shortest of routes leading to Yamuna Vihar.

It was after a drive of five minutes or so, that I woke up from a very short nap and I realized that I should try to be alert from then on. I looked outside and it was a narrow road – definitely not a main road.

It was dark enough to scare me. The devil in my mind reminded me of the all the bad incidents that happened to girls and women who were found alone by rapists and muggers. I was reminded of the incident where an acquaintance of mine was raped at 8:00pm, who was picked from a crowded place by a taxi driver luring her by quoting a low-price for the drive.

I had mentally noted the number on the auto-rickshaw’s number plate before getting inside; so, I, in my fear, quickly sent the number to around three friends via Whatsapp. That moment, I was thankful to my faulty phone for not giving up the 3% battery it had.

Within a couple of minutes I realized the auto just stopped in the middle of that dark, narrow and deserted road.

My heart skipped a beat; I clenched my fist, I picked my bag and slid myself towards the exit to be able to run from the auto at the very next second.

Before jumping out, I gave the driver a last-chance and asked in an angry tone, “Why have you stopped it?”

He turned his head to look at me with a stupidly wide grin on his face as he spoke, “A cat just crossed the road.”

I was more scared than angry and I realized that even if I jumped out of the auto, there was not a single person on that narrow road to help me out of that mess.

In that tiny moment, I, the not-so-religious person, quickly muttered the name of God. I asked him, this time in a louder voice, “Move, now.”

He laughed a little and started driving; my heart was in my mouth until we reached the main road full of traffic again. By then I also had opened Google navigation on my tab.

It was when the driver started talking that I realized that he is constantly smiling. He was talking of superstitions such as the cat crossing a road might bring bad luck to the person who didn’t stop for a minute or two as the cat went. I was just uttering a “yes” in regular intervals as he talked; I just wished he stopped talking.

As we reached Yamuna vihar, a traffic jam blocked us so that no vehicle can move ahead towards Yamuna Vihar B Block. The path to return was jam-free.

I gave the driver a 100-rupee note and I instructed him to take a U-turn whenever he gets the chance to and wait for me near the traffic signal for the return journey while I’d walk towards my destination, which was hardly 500m far and get my luggage.

Somehow I misread the navigation on the tab and walked towards C block. I ditched technology and started asking women I found walking on the street, for directions.

I was warned the previous day that that area was not so safe for women, especially after dark. I was again not feeling very safe.

After asking here and there I finally found my friend’s house, I picked my luggage and then returned towards the signal. The jam was still there. There was not much space for even pedestrians to cross the road. I looked at my watch and it was already 7:30pm – almost half an hour gone in searching for the house and bringing the luggage. I doubted that the auto-driver would be there – he would either be stuck in the jam or he would have left via the free road.

I asked almost ten auto-drivers to take me back to Kashmere gate; all of them scorned my question by saying who would go anywhere in this jam. My baggage was heavy and I somehow crossed the road near the traffic signal, in the verge of breaking down into tears.

And then I saw the same auto-driver waiting near the signal for me, on the free road. My lips formed a genuine smile and I asked him if he wondered I have left. He replied to me with the same smile, the smile which now seemed quite innocent to me, and said, “Why would you?”

P.S. This is a true-incident which almost seems like a fairy-tale now that I look back at it. It may not be a big-deal for people who experience kindness and humanity every day. Neither do I intend to encourage such affairs nor to trust strangers. Safety first, always. But some men, some auto-drivers, may be simply misunderstood. Needless to say, he drove me back safe to Kashmere metro station and I paid him a little more because in that helpless moment of mine he restored my faith on humanity.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Infinite Equinox – A Book-Review

First Published in Springtide - Inspiring Youth Igniting Minds on 11th December 2014

Author: Bhavya Kaushik
Published by: Petals Publishers
First Edition: December 2014
Number of Pages: 200
Language: English

After hurriedly reading the blurb on the back of The Infinite Equinox (TIE) first, my inattentive mind assumed that it is the journey of a girl from the streets of India to a well-settled life in Seattle.

Only after I reached mid-way of the journey of TIE did I realize that it is not just a single journey – there are two.

The first being the escape of the protagonist from the cruel begging rackets prevalent in the country and the second being the quest of the protagonist to find her origins not only for mental peace but also to be able to survive.

It is essential for Tamanna, the protagonist to find her parents or siblings in order to survive the cancer she was detected with – Leukemia.

Being abducted at an early age, Tamanna has no memory of the place she used to live in with her family. She remembers the tiny apartment she was brought to in order to beg on the streets and fill the purse of a cruel “mother” of such children –  Amma, her real name being Meenakshi.

Some of the other children she meets during that phase, become her friends for life – a girl of the same age, Radha, a younger boy, Sonu and an elder-sister-like-figure, Sunita didi.

It was serendipity (or “destiny” as people call it) and a little courage that helped Tamanna and her mates escape the clutches of Meenakshi to lead a better life in one of the Orphanage cum Shelter Houses in Jaipur. Tamanna’s determination and act of courage makes her overcome the fear of Amma and turn her (Amma) in to the cops.

Another stroke of destiny and Tamanna is in Seattle with her doting husband, Vikram. The love between them is depicted quite beautifully in the book. Sometimes, love does feel like the stroke of a magic wand.

It’s the grief and the loneliness that the protagonist feels at times, that is portrayed so beautifully in the book that makes the reader break down into tears. The story doesn’t end in love because love is not always an ending, death however is.

Tamanna and Vikram are appalled by the news of her cancer, the remedy being bone-marrow transplantation. Tamanna determines to go back to India in search of her parents not only for a matching bone-marrow but also to find the answers of the numerous questions she asked herself her entire life.

Radha and Vikram help her in the quest to find her happy ending.

Although TIE talks of destiny but it is not entirely about fate – it is about making peace with what one gets in the name of destiny. Not all endings are happy and sometimes it depends on the way you look at it.

TIE is about the ugly truth that the beggars we see on the streets are a part of a much bigger world of criminals, not by choice but by fate that was written on their hands by a bunch of cruel felons. TIE is the reality that although we know of the existence of these rackets, we do nothing about it and simply pay the child or turn our heads away.

TIE is not about moving on without looking back; it is about reminiscing and recalling the past not just the way you want it to but the way it is – both good and bad. TIE is about the beautiful gift we call life; it is not only about surviving it but also living it. It is about the immense love one person can give to another be that person a lover, a parent, a sibling, a friend or sometimes, an acquaintance.

The book is indeed beautifully written. Bhavya Kaushik, who had previously written The Other Side of the Bed, is known for the grief-stricken poems and quotes he writes. One of such beautiful poems is hidden in his second book, TIE, which is named the same.

Here are my favourite lines from the poem-

She sits there, bare, denuded, without any skin to cover or hide
Her abyssal wounds dancing on her bones, and her skeleton…
Her soul resurrects and suffocates, with the passage of dusk and dawn,
When aphonic nights eats the seeds of every animated days burning with passion.

I steal a star as I rate it 4/5 since it contains some grammatical errors; but in comparison to other books by publishing houses which allow errors to slip through, these errors are too few.

But he never understood, how humiliating and embarrassing it was for me, to expose myself with t.hat disgusted condition in front of my husband. The problem didn’t lie inside of him, it lay inside of me”

-          - Page no. 186, The Infinite Equinox


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I was You

I bleed blue,
I bleed it all out;
A single gun-shot,
And a deep wound.
Like a broken ferry
on a vast, vast sea;
I tremble,
I shiver,
Drenched in the cold memories.
They still know your name;
They ask where are you.
For I was you then-
For they still are there
In the old battlefield,
Fighting another war.
I've changed;
I've been soiled.
I've bled all hues;
I've seen it all.
My sore wound rots;
I await no war.
I collapse, I shiver.
Broken and twisted -
I am you now.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Readoholic / Foodoholic / Movie-oholic’s Utopia

Everyone must have a different Utopia. And if I had a place in mine, it would be all filled with food and books and food and books, an occasionally a movie or two.

When I was in my final year of Engineering in Guwahati, I “nurtured” the habit of going out to eat every day and for a movie, every alternate week. When I landed on Mumbai, to my utter delight I found that only a kilometer away stood the building of my dreams – the Movie Hall. No wonder, Saturday and Sunday evenings were spent watching the latest show in the Movie Complex.

Eventually, some of my friends and I decided to go for a movie on every Friday evening, after office hours. Bookmyshow came into picture and hours were spent deciding on the perfect time to leave office and on reaching the place before the trailers are shown. As we realized we are spending a lot of money on our movie-affair we relied on discounts and coupons – early bird discounts at the hall and Rs. 50-100 off on CupoNation.

Now that ten months have elapsed being on Mumbai, I realized that watching every other movie might not be a good idea. Movies like Shaadi ke Side Effects, Bewakoofiyan, Annabelle were nothing but disappointments. I pledged not to go for a movie without knowing the plot/watching the trailer/knowing anything about the actors/director. Movies like Queen, Interstellar, Daawat-e-Ishq, How to Train Your Dragon 2 were good decisions made.

Of late, the frequency of my visits to the Movie Complex has lessened. I have opted out from going along with my friends for Telugu (a language I do not understand) movies unlike before. This may partly be because I have bought a dangerous number of books recently yet to be read by me.
When I came to Mumbai I brought only a magazine with me. Now I have more than 30 books kept neatly on the table near my bed, around 70 magazines and 6-8 diaries. I had bought only three books in the month of January, but eventually I learned about the Book Deals available on the Internet (of course, CupoNation and other such sites that rescue mere IT engineers like me) and saved an awful amount of money and bought an awful number of books. Have I read them? The Signature of All Things is read 1/5th, Kahlil Gibran 1/20th, Bhagavad Gita 1/10th, The Winning Way 2/3rd, Her Story ½, etc.

I’ll read them eventually, I know. And there are just so many more books to read and life is just so short. Phew.

My recent obsession is food. I have always been obsessed with food but in August-October’2014 I had actually stopped eating a lot/outside/junk. I have again developed the usual cravings. Every weekend is a feast. Every alternate day in office is spent ordering food online. The delivery guys can recognize me. The address of my flat and office is no more a place unknown them. And now that I sit and write this post on a lazy Saturday morning, I also open the site for all kinds of food/restaurant deals on my browser, order an awful lot of food which will, no doubt, be more than sufficient for me and my roommates, and eat them all up and go for a sleep dreaming about the Utopia I live in.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Interstellar : A Retrospection

  • Initial release: November 4, 2014 (London)
    Director: Christopher Nolan
    Screenplay: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
  • Cast : Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Wes Bentley, etc.
  • My Ratings : 4.7/5   5/5

  • They make movies so larger than life, and then they throw us back into reality, leaving us wondering about it all that happened in just a span of a little less than three wee hours.

    Watching Interstellar was more than just fun - it was thought-provoking, and for an emotional fool like me, it was emotions-provoking too.

    A story well-thought-of, a movie well-made.

    The 169 minutes I spent watching it made me awe at the immensity of everything.

    There are times when I think that the human race just screwed it all up by inventing money and making us all so materialistic about trying to achieve something great in this illusion called life. But there are times like this when we realize there's more in the world than just a mere life to live; there's just so much to explore, and some people are doing it almost everyday.

    There's so much sacrifice involved for those who have pursued to explore the world outside of the sphere we live in. And there is, involved, a lot of curiosity, too.

    It's really something to ponder upon that there is a space where time doesn't fly as swiftly as it does on earth. There might be a wormhole where time is not linear. And even if the wormhole is nothing but just a literary device, there indeed exists places where things are not the same as we experience them here on Earth.

    These are the times when I just look with pity at my life that's going to end without knowing the realities of the other worlds. And these are the times that I marvel at the capabilities of the human mind when they can think of such stories and make such movies. And I marvel more at the minds who work day in and day out, in real, to search for the truths the Universe is veiling us from.

    A movie that questioned not only my existence and the existence of other dimensions and worlds undiscovered, but also my feelings as I cried when the lead actors did at the thought of not seeing their families again.

    A great movie indeed. And I believe that the movies that leave you crying or spellbound are worth cherishing for the rest of your life. Interstellar stands to be one of those movies that leave a mark on you.

    [P.S. I could give it a rating of 5/5 but I took back 0.3 since it was but difficult to realize the fact that Teenager Murph understood that it was no one but her Dad sending her signals by looking at the code on her watch. Okay, on second thought, only she and her Dad knew about the watch so may be it's plausible. Fine, I rate it back to 5/5. :-P . Any movie that goes on my favourites' list deserves 5/5. I am not an unbiased critic :-P ]

    [P.P.S. Anne Hathaway, I love you :-D]

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Chasing Tomorrow

    They say that if you take care of the present the future will fall in place.

    I doubt it.

    Almost two months ago I was all at sea on what to do to make my future better than my present.
    "Priorities" was the word and I had a handful, all at the same level.
    I took some time and prioritized them into various levels, my first priority being "today".

    A week later, I was happier than never before - fewer worries, fewer goals, all focused.

    Two months have elapsed and now I feel I am just stuck with today. I don't know what's in store for me in the future (Well, nobody does). But even my today is slipping out of my hands.
    I'm losing my grip. I am losing control so I am letting it go.

    But sometimes, I repeat, sometimes life's not so much of a fairy tale when you let go of things.

    May be you need to let go of only the wrong things and stick to the right things and hold them till your hands bleed.

    My hands aren't bleeding. I let go and it doesn't take me anywhere. I hold on but there's nothing in my hands' reach.
    I am just stuck.

    Yesterday, life was a bed of roses;
    I introduced a few thorns
    And they left me bleeding.
    I held them close
    Till it hurt no more.
    I let go of them
    So I bleed no more.
    I smiled and I hoped
    For scented haze.
    There was no pain,
    But no beauty stayed.
    The petals were gone
    And away were the leaves.
    And when Tomorrow looked back,
    He laughed and said,
    "Oh, life's no fun,
    Without a single thorn."
    He was out of my reach,
    So, I clung to Today
    Till Today came to me
    And whispered, "You fool,
    I never leave,
    I always stay,
    Like the thorn in your heart,
    Your glee and your sorrow.
    Now forget the roses of Yesterday.
    And go, chase Tomorrow."

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    Attending Book Bond : A meet and greet with Ashwin Sanghi

    In a lazy afternoon, my friend and blogger, Rafaa Dalvi called me up to ask if I'd like to go to attend an event the next week.

    I was too sleepy to be excited about it. I said no. He, then, explained that the event was not a regular one but an exclusive meet with author of Chanakya's Chant, Ashwin Sanghi.

    A year back, I had participated in a story-writing contest and Ashwin Sanghi was the judge. My story bagged a position in the list of top 25. The memory of the book, Kaleidoscope, where my story was published, was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the name, Ashwin Sanghi.

    I changed my lazy mind and said, "yes, I'd love to attend the event." 
    The next ten minutes was spent telling all my colleagues that I'm going to meet Ashwin Sanghi at Vivanta by Taj, Cuffe Parade.

    Proper Invitation (including mails and phone-calls) by the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest Team followed. The feedback on their way of inviting - great! They did not make calls just to ask if you're coming or not. They made calls to connect to people the way one should. It didn't seem like a forced conversation at all. After each follow-up phone-call from their side, you feel more excited about the event you're going to attend.

    On the 20th of October 2014, I landed at Vivanta at 4:45pm; the event was to start at 5:00pm.

    The host of the event was the director of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest and famous journalist - Anil Dharker.

    The next hour was spent discussing the present and the future of  literature in India.

    I was in class 8th when I had first questioned the epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. A discussion with my sister about the same led us both to the conclusion that ages back there were some great novelists who wrote these novels and now people pray to the characters. It was , to me, like praying to Harry Potter for the well-being of our family. Makes sense? No way.

    I never did any research on the conclusion above yet I had been sticking to it.

    It was only when Ashwin Sanghi explained that there are around 300 versions of Ramayana, a fact unknown to me till that day that I mentally confirmed my conclusion.

    But what made me open the doors of my mind was his question that may be, just may be, those character were not entirely fictional at all. What if the stories were inspired by real characters and then played upon? What if there actually is history behind the myths? 

    No one can know for sure what is true and what is not. But we should always be open to possibilities we might have never thought of before.

    Ashwin quoted an example by talking of temples created for the veteran actor, Amitabh Bachhan. What if some ten thousand years hence, when such temples flourish across the land, people consider Amitabh too as a mythical character?

    This statement reminded me of my discussion with my sister some ten years back. She was in class X and I, in VIII and, while reading her history book about Mahatma Gandhi, she questioned, "What if after a few hundred years, people consider Mahatma Gandhi as too good to be true? What if we consider history to be a myth?"

    History, after all, is written down by people with whatever content they have in hand, whatever they know to be true or whatever they have heard to be true. How much of that is actually true is known by none.

    We went deeper in the conversation and when it was time to end the discussion we all felt like we should talk even more. So after Ashwin descended from the dais, we crowded him with our questions and our books to sign.

    I got my "Rozabal Line" signed and a friend's "Chanakya's Chant" signed. Another hour passed informally discussing about books and publishers.

    What inspired me was the fact that Ashwin never gave up. After facing tons of rejections from traditional publishers he finally chose self-publishing because he believed in his work even when nobody else did. He took the bad reviews with a pinch of salt. He did everything he could to get his books be on the top-shelf of the book stores. And now, he who started like a just-another-writer has become not only a best-seller but a source of inspiration to many.

    If I have to say in one word what I would take home from the event, it is Perseverance.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Surprise of the Day

    It's middle of October, 10:00am and I am most certainly not doing what I thought I'd be doing at this time of the year, a year back.

    But when does life ever go as planned?

    Surprises and shocks are what makes life more and more unpredictable.

    For me, my surprise of the day is this post by a blogger from Indiana, Martina McGowan -

    She, someone who doesn't know me, spent time to create a picture for my quote. Life can't be better than this, can it? I have seen people copying and pasting others' quotes without giving them proper credits. I have seen people using my quotes as their Facebook cover photos and removing my name from the quote so that other people think it is their own creation. And in a world of liars, here's Martina who, without even knowing about me, decided to give me proper credits. May the world have more such souls. :-)

    Here's the picture she created -

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Set You Free

    I saw the shackles
    That made you bleed.
    I wiped your tears;
    I, too, wept.
    I saw the shackles
    That bound you so;
    I saw them cut into your flesh.
    I didn't see-
    They were, but, me.
    My tears and my hopes,
    Expectations and more so.
    When I did remove
    My blindfold,
    I set you free,
    I let you go.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Another Starless Night

    Dreary and Tired,
    Eyes of the night.
    Words too worn out
    To yell, to fight.
    Drained out of
    The hope for tomorrow,
    They look at each other,
    At each other's sorrow.
    Eyes too used to cry;
    They are shut now.
    A dark sky,
    Another starless night,
    3:00 am
    And the tale called life.

    - Sanhita Baruah

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    Write a Poem Instead

     My child of grief!
    Hurt you must have been,
    Inevitable, crying may seem,
    But dear, whenever you're sad,
    Just look at yourself,
    And ask if it's necessary,
    Weep, if you must, 
    If you really really must,
    But do not forget
    To ask yourself,
    "Why not write a poem, instead?"

    Wednesday, October 1, 2014

    The Cursed

    Sitting on a rock near the lake, Tisha was ruminating on what went wrong in her dream. Alas! She couldn’t recall how her dream ended; but she wished she could. Playing with her dark brown hair with her fingers, she wondered what if for once her dream didn’t come true. When she realized that she was hoping for something people pray the contrary of, she laughed at her cursed life.

    It is time. She looked at the sky above and a tiny drop of water fell on her right cheek. It began to rain and she turned around to find her little sister coming towards her in a hurry carrying a red umbrella with her tiny hands. The umbrella, how could I forget it?

    It was common for Tisha to have weird dreams; dreams of people she didn’t know, dreams of people she knew, dreams of herself, et cetera.  It was when she was 10 years old that she realized her dreams come true; or rather whatever would happen the next day she would see it beforehand in her dreams. At first she used to dream about falling in puddles and getting her school uniform stained. And the next morning, no matter how much she avoided the big puddle in the middle of the road, she would fall in it some way or the other. After a couple of years things went sinister and grave for her when her neighbour, Uncle D’costa kicked the bucket. When she had told her mother that she saw his death in her dream the previous night, her mother consoled her with the words, “Uncle D’costa was confined to bed with his paralysis from last two years, you worry about him and you feared he would pass away. It’s just a co-incidence that you had a nightmare on the day he died. But it’s natural, trust me.”

    Little Tisha understood what her mother told her and the fact that she should actually forget her dreams and be quiet about them. Her mother passed away after a few months in a road accident. For a second, Tisha was thankful to God that she didn’t dream of her mother’s death or else it would have been the worst feeling for her. But later on, it dawned on her that if only she had dreamt of the accident she could have saved her mother. And the regret of being glad of not dreaming about the accident killed her from within.  She lost her childhood by beating herself up for not being able to save her mother. Now that her mother was no more, Tisha had to play the role of her mother and look after her baby sister Tupshi. And amidst all the responsibilities and work on her shoulders, she didn’t realize when she stopped having those weird dreams, or any dream at all.

    It was when she turned 20 that she started having those dreams again. The dreams would comprise of her day-to-day life events and she would not give much heed to her dreams. Although before sleeping when she would recall her dream and the day’s events she would realize they were all similar, but she would push the thoughts aside and go to sleep without praying for her dreams to stop or to continue.
    Her relationship with her future-showing dreams was working fine. But the dream she had that morning scared her out of her wits. She decided in the morning itself to act upon her nightmare and to confute it.

    She jotted a mental note when she woke up to carry her red umbrella with her so that little Tupshi doesn’t have to run all the way to the pond to hand it to her. But she failed to remember that and now she could see her sister dancing in the rain with the umbrella, a scene so similar to what she had seen. Scared she pulled Tupshi and insisted her to leave for school.

    But Tupshi wouldn’t. “It’s raining, so no school today, Papa said.”

    Her drunkard father would always find some reason or the other to resist her from going to school. Tisha sighed and replied, “Ok. But don’t get drenched in this rain. You will fall sick.”

    Tupshi didn’t seem to listen, dancing wildly with bare feet on the wet green grass. That’s when Tisha decided to leave her alone so that she would run after her elder sister seeing her leave. But she didn’t. She was dancing with the umbrella on one hand and extending the other to catch the drops falling from heaven; exactly the way Tisha had seen in her dream last night. No way, I can’t let this happen. Tisha carried Tupshi and ran home hurriedly while the latter cried being deprived of the wee moment of happiness she sought.

    While her father, half-drunk, lay on a sofa in the parlor, Tisha cooked some soup for her sister fearing what she had seen in her dream. She decided not to go to work for the day as it will just help to match the bits and pieces of her dream with the reality. I am gonna stay at home and look after Tupshi. She was placing the bowl of warm soup on the dining table for Tupshi as a ring on her cell phone alarmed her. It was a call from her boss. “Just an hour’s work”, he mentioned, “It’s urgent”. She didn’t have any choice but to leave for her office. Half satisfied that Tupshi was safe at home, half worried that she had to leave her alone even if just for a couple of hours. Little did she know that when she left for work Tupshi sneaked out from the back door too to get dowsed in the rain again.

    Tisha prayed incessantly on her way to her office so that her dream proves to be a lie. How she hoped that she never dreamt anything, how she hoped she had forgotten what she dreamt of. On reaching the office complex she noticed there was only one security guard at the entrance. “Singh caught a cold today, madam”, answered the other. She could bet she saw this in her dream too and a tear trickled down her cheek. She wished she could make a call at her house to check on her family but they had only one phone at their house, the cell phone she carried with her to work. Crap! I should have left it at home.

    She completed her work as soon as she could, maybe not perfectly. As scenes from her dream flashed in front her eyes haunting her she ran down the staircases of her office. SNAP! She accidently missed a step and fell on the next snapping the ligaments of her left ankle. Didn’t I see it in my dream too? She tried to pick herself up as two colleagues came to help her. Her aching ankle tried its best to not let her walk comfortably. “We should take you to a nearby hospital, you must get your ankle treated.” said one of the colleagues. Hospital? No. I had seen myself in the hospital too. I can’t let all this happen. I must go home.”No. I am fine. Just call me a cab, please.”

    Tisha, satisfied for being able to falsify the details of her dream, mentioned her address to the cabdriver. Her ankle was painful but she gave no heed to it. The idea of being admitted in a hospital, she shoved away. It will only make matters worse. Tupshi will be home alone for a long period. And every single detail of my dream will be proved true. I can’t let this happen. As fate would have it, the slippery road owing to the rainy day, made a nearby two-wheeler slip and collide with the cab she was in. Pieces of glass struck her forehead as the bike’s handgrip hit the cab’s window. She passed out.

    A woman draped in white was stroking her arm when Tisha gained consciousness. And then a sharp needle pierced the skin of her arm where the woman was stroking so gently. Tisha opened her eyes to find herself in a hospital getting injections from a nurse. She felt the bandage on her forehead with her hands. “You’re fine now and fit to go home. It’s just a minor wound in the forehead.”  A doctor standing nearby informed.

    No matter how much she avoided spending even a second in a hospital she ended up being there for an hour or two. She sighed and took a cab home.

    Tupshi was lying on the bed under a blanket trying to get some sleep, shivering with fever due to soaking in the rain for more than an hour. Her elder sister got scared out of her wits as she saw Tupshi down with fever and cold. Their father not bothering to treat his daughter or even to know about her well-being went out to gamble with his neighbours. Tisha cried her eyes out as she called a doctor and caressed her little sister. Pneumonia, she had dreamt of last night. She hoped it wasn’t, she prayed it to be just common cold. Tupshi’s little arms were stone-cold, and her forehead warm. Death, Tisha had seen in her dream. She wept and wailed and did everything she could to keep her sister warm. She lit a fire in the room in a enamelware with some woods and coal they had left. She blamed herself of bringing bad luck to her family. She blamed her cursed dreams. She blamed her eyes and thoughts. She blamed her carelessness. She blamed everything she owned. And she prayed, she prayed ceaselessly. She chanted the names of all the Gods of all the religions she knew of.  She knew she wouldn’t be able to live with the burden if she couldn’t save her sister that day.
    Within a few minutes the doctor arrived and began to examine Tupshi as her sister cried and begged him to save her.

    “High fever but she will be alright. Not much to worry about. Just feed her with enough nutritious food.” Those words of the doctor sounded like blessings to Tisha. A miracle, she thought. The doctor handed her the medicines he had brought with him, while she thanked him as if he gave her life.
    Did I disprove my dream? Did I wipe the curse away? Yes, I did. Everything will be fine now. No dream of mine will ever come true. If it seems to be, I will confute it with all my might. And I will pray. I will keep my family safe. Nothing bad will happen to my family.

    Little did she know that her father on his way to the gambling house had slipped and fallen on the muddy road. Unable to stand up, being inebriated, he lied on the ground getting drenched in the heavy downpour for almost an hour, unattended and unseen. Little did she remember that it wasn’t her sister but her father she saw dying with pneumonia in her dream.  Little did she know that she had to live with a heavier burden of not recalling her dream properly that had come as a caution to help her save the day. Little did she know that she herself was responsible for turning the boon of saving people to a curse of endless regrets.

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    Mumbai, Movies and My Last Weekend

    When I had just started blogging I planned to write fictions only. Eventually, poems happened and then articles. True stories, there were none until “Was She Raped?” happened. People reveal their inner selves in their blogs and I still do not have the guts to. Nor do I intend to (Nope, I don’t :-P).
    But then sometimes a diary knows too much of you and you just want it (which is basically you) to shut up. These are the times when you need to blog. Acknowledging the fact that not many people read your blog helps you even more (Not now, they don’t. The number of my readers, of late, has only decreased :-/)

    It so happened last weekend that I just couldn’t face my diary no matter how much I tried. So at my time of despair, I just couldn’t find the solace of it. I couldn’t because I didn’t want to, being aware of the fact that confronting it, would only break me down into smaller pieces. Yes, I was broken and I very much wanted to escape the fact and yet, face it at the same time.  I had arguments and fights with almost everyone I cared for. I had no one to talk to. I just spent my Friday night burying my head on my pillow and crying. Those were not tears of being sad. Although I was sad, what had bothered me was the fact that I was behaving like a coward. There were people pestering me and I was more scared than angry, unable to muster up the courage to give them a thrashing they would remember. No, that’s not really me; when people give me a hard time I usually try to return them the favour. But last weekend (and at other times in history) I just couldn’t. I felt vulnerable and weak being a woman(Oh, I had no reason to be, I know now). So that was me- a cry baby, whining and tearful, spending a Friday night like a miserable person.

    The next morning I woke up, I decided to chuck it all and go for a movie instead. I was never a movie buff nor am I now. But somehow, I discovered, watching a movie in a hall just cheers me up. So that was the antidote, I think, I needed.

    Since I had a row with most of my friends, I didn’t want to talk to others either. I decided to go alone for the movies. I usually love my own company and I never shy away from going to restaurants or movies alone, but last weekend was different. Although it was my choice, but I was sad too.
    The first movie I picked was Disney’s Khoobsurat at Wonder Mall in Thane. I travelled in a train so crowded that you can hardly breathe, just because the prices were cheaper there (I’m an IT person, remember :-P).

    The problem when you’re sad is that you cry for no apparent reason and even smaller issues seem bigger. So when on the big screen they were playing Preet, I was wiping tears off my cheeks. Not that the movie was so emotional but I was just so sad. When I came out of the hall as the movie was over, I realized my mood was a lot lighter. No wonder, I liked the movie.

    The second antidote (which usually was my first) is food. I helped myself with some gorgeous Italian food at Pizza Hut.

    By this time, I realized that probably there’s no substitute to good food.

    The next movie to watch was a Telugu movie named Aagadu at Big Cinemas in Vashi. No, I do not know what Aagadu means but I had to watch it as my friends insisted I go with them (they realized I was upset and so they insisted even more). The movie didn’t make much difference but I had a good time laughing at the jokes. The next movie was Daawat-E-Ishq in a hall very near to my house.

    I loved Daawat-E-Ishq for three reasons –
    1. Kebabs <3
    2. Biryani <3 <3
    3. Firni 
    4. Parineeti being “Hard-core Non (Veg)” :-D
    5. All the other food items they had

    Apart from these reasons, the other reason was– fighting against the social evil they call as “gift” or “help” (dowry, for those who do not know the core message of the movie).

    The day ended at 3:00am the next morning when I finished watching Disney’s Frozen – one of the best movies ever. I loved it the way Disney considered sibling’s love too as true love and not just the plain old idea of a “true love’s kiss”. Also, they broke the myth about love at first sight being true love (Shakespearean Theory) because let’s be honest, the probability that a handsome stranger is someone trustworthy is just very less. Also, your “Prince Charming” may not actually be a prince by blood but can be an orphan adopted by trolls too.

    Okay, I admit it, I’m a girl and unlike earlier times, these two Disney movies plus Daawat-e-Ishq totally spoiled me :-P.

    Lessons I learned over my last weekend –

    1. Reality may disappoint, but movies and food will always help. :-P
    2. Going for a date via Mumbai ki local train is a bad idea because it will simply make you end up smelly and sweaty unless you are the Santoor soap girl :-P
    3. Never spend more than 1/15th of a second crying for people who do not care for you even 1/100th of the tears you want to spend on them (I hope this sentence makes sense)
    4. In case they do, patch up the differences as soon as you can. Say sorry if you have to. Life is too small to live with grudges, tears or broken friendships.
    5. I understand that you can be happier if you simply don’t give a damn. But sometimes giving a damn is just so beautiful that you can’t help but give a damn. (Give a damn :D)

    It took me a weekend to recover but by Monday I was back to being myself - I mended the fights and did what I should have done on Friday eve itself instead of crying. But if I hadn’t cried, I would have missed spending time with these nice movies, wouldn’t I?

    Monday, September 22, 2014


    My brave warrior,
    Thou art no Lazarus.
    Thou will not resurrect.
    Thou dig thy own grave.
    Thou cannot bequeath
    Thy slayings to the soil.
    The soil shall not bury
    Thy charred soul.
    Eden waits not for thou.
    Thy scars won't go;
    They won't leave,
    They won't heal.
    Wear them as a curse.
    Wear them as a curse
    Till thy corpse rot.
    Thy soul shall suffer
    While the blood-stained
    Weeds will shout,
    "Wear it as a curse,
    Wear it as a curse!"

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Blood Red

    From a tiny crack
    On the lush wrist,
    Out, flowed
    A thick liquid,
    Crimson coloured,
    From the deepest
    Of the bluest
    Of veins in it.
    "Let us go,"
    Said each drop
    That dripped on
    The floor,
    As it gave away
    Its hue.
    "Let us leave too,"
    The liquid screamed
    From within.
    The floor
    Each drop that spread
    And so it
    Slowly, blood-red

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Like a Piece of Paper

    She stares at the blank paper
    Crumbled a million times,
    Like her own life.
    She stares at the glass of wine,
    As clear as her heart could be,
    Sparkling only when it should -
    Every time you look at it.
    He looks at the mess she is now,
    Oh, didn't he love her once,
    For the tears and the scars?
    Time plays its part
    As it moves on,
    He too moves on
    And she, like the paper
    She holds,
    Holds a life that needs
    Someone to unfold it,
    To wipe the wrinkles
    Off her pale white face.
    A tear-drop finds its way
    To her soul, bruised,
    He laughs and goes off
    While she awaits 
    Another tragedy...

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    I Dare Not

    Ever tried dreaming of those broken shards again?
    Nay, I dare not.
    Not now, now that I dwell in this forest
    Of that what cannot be found,
    Of the pieces she picked up
    And stubbed on each branch
    Of the tree I so loved.

    Ever found those pieces?
    They say they're gone now,
    Lost in the forest of memories.
    They say, love still remains;
    I see fire, I see destruction
    And a dark night of vengeance.
    To dream again of those shards
    I dare not,
    I dare not.

    Monday, September 8, 2014

    The Liebster Blog Award I and II

    So I just found it out today that Geeta Nair ( nominated me for THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD (liebster meaning “favourite” in German, which reminds me of the first German sentence I learnt - ich liebe dich :-D) last year.
     Also on the same month of November 2013, I was nominated for this award by Bhavya Kaushik ( too.
     I understand that I am too late in honouring the two nominations of the Liebster Award  but I am a big  fan of the saying – “ better late than never” , so I am going to accept it anyway.

    Rules of receiving the award :

    • To accept the award one must link back to the person who nominated him/ her.

    • Nominate 10 more bloggers who you feel are deserving of more subscribers.
    • Answer all questions posted by the nominator.
    • Create 10 questions for the nominees.
    • Contact the 10 nominees and inform them that they have been nominated for this prestigious award.

    I further nominate the bloggers whose blogs I like.

    My nominees are –

    Janaki Nagaraj @
    Suresh Chandrasekaran @
    Prabhat Singh
    Himanshu Chhabra
    Dhristy Dasgupta @

    My answers to Geeta’s questions :

    1)      Blogging to you means?
    Ans: Saying what I want to convey to the masses in order to bring a change, Connecting to my own feelings which I don’t notice when I am not alone, revealing a side of me and not ;-)

    2) You are walking alone in the middle of the night. A black cat jumps on you. Your reaction?
    Ans: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. Infinity!!

    3) The climax is nearing. You are anxious to know it. Suddenly your mother-in-law calls you saying it’s urgent. What would you do?
    Ans: Climax of what? A movie? I’m going to attend a call anyway. Wait a sec, did you say mother-in-law? Umm… whoever it is, urgency comes first.

    4) A day at home or a week at sea. Which would you prefer and why?
    Ans: A week at sea; home-days are often, sea-days sound fun.

    5) Your best companion?
    Ans: Myself

    6) You are in the middle of something important at office. Your spouse calls you up just to tell you he/ she loves you. Your reaction?
    Ans: Spouse? I’d say “love you too” to almost anyone who calls me to say it at any time of the day, provided he/she is someone I know well. (Not to stalkers, obviously)

    7) People appreciate you for?
    Ans: Kindness, Boldness, Helpfulness, they say. I’m not very sure if anyone really means it. (I am quite paranoid at times) I accept their appreciation with a wide grin anyway.

    8) Your musings on life in 3 sentences.
    Ans: Your life is an examination, you don’t have any competitors so you can top easily but my friend,  the cut-off marks are too high.

    9) The one thing you are really scared of?
    Ans: Umm… I have a fear of slippery surfaces (If anybody knows what is it called in one word do let me know.). I am trying to overcome it, of late.

    10) Three things you are really crazy about and why?
    Ans : Reading some great lines before sleeping – they just bring peace to me for no apparent reason.
    Having good food – a day spent without eating some delicious chicken is a day wasted
    Diary Writing – It lifts my spirits up no matter what the situation I am in.

    My answers to Bhavya’s questions -
         1.      Why did you start blogging?
    Ans: To write a short story every day and get proper suggestions on it. No, it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.
     2.      How did you choose the title of your blog and how is it relevant to what you write?
     Ans: Years before I started blogging, I was just hooked to this name – “Pens and Pages”. It was to be the name of my first book – a compilation of short stories. No, that never happened and I grew up realizing the world’s not an easy place for those who are lazy.
     3.      If you could travel anywhere in this world, where would you go?
     Ans : Everywhere
     4.      What is your favourite book and why?
     Ans : Eat, Pray, Love, The Bell Jar and Absent in the Spring – they are equally close to me and I can just relate to the protagonists on these books, feeling as if they can be no one but me.
      5.      Who is your biggest inspiration? 
    Ans : I get inspired by a lot of people by their simple acts. Can’t name them all.
    6. If you were writing an autobiography, what would the title be?
    Ans: Let’s not hurry into naming imaginary stuffs. I am bad at naming anyway. :-P
    7.      Do you have any short term/ long term goals that you’re working towards?
    Ans: Short Term – Yes. Long Term – Confused. 
    8.      If you could pick one character from a book to be your best friend, who would you pick and why? 
    Ans : Harry Potter would make the best best-friend ever, wouldn’t he?
    9.      How long have you been blogging? What was the experience like?
     Ans : Three Years. My blog has become a part of my life, I love it but I don’t show it all the time. (Sorry blog L for not loving you the way you deserve to be loved. Damn! I am pathetic.)
    10.  What is one of your fondest childhood memories?
     Ans : Coming home from school and talking with my sister for an hour or two, describing the events of the day, EVERY DAY. I miss those days. No wonder, I didn’t need a diary then.

    My questions to the bloggers I have nominated –

    1.      When was the last moment you were unkind to someone?
    2.      When was the last moment you complimented someone you do not like/appreciate?
    3.      Name the blog you follow the most.
    4.      What’s your favourite quote and why?
    5.      What’s the last book you read?
    6.      When’s the last time you wrote something creative?
    7.      If you could only read books or write your own stories, what’d you choose? No, you can’t choose both.
    8.      What’s your favourite poem?
    9.      Did you like/dislike the questions asked to you?
    10.  Why? (Ans of q. no 9)