Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When Would It Stop!

Today when I open the newspaper or switch on to a news channel, I do not get surprised by the reporting of the crime that is happening every single day. But what saddens to the core is the quantum and the way of committing them. We are not only degrading as a society, but at the same time we are putting ourselves in the dock where we will be questioned about our morality and our ethics. And we are same country which boasts of culture, ethics and values of 5000 years old. I used to be uncomfortable in my growing years reading about rapes and then I became ashamed of such cases. Today, I am simply tired with repeated anguish. Such incidents started questioning the law and order that we have in place, it questioned the judiciary system we have but more than anything else, it questioned my belief in my fellow countrymen. 

The next thing that we discuss is the self-protection tools for women. They should carry chilly powder, a knife, a gun, get trained in Karate and what not. And these statements are being released by Head of Police, Head of State & Home Ministers who are supposed to be the saviors. But my question here is, why does a woman need to carry all these stuff when her counterpart can roam around freely. Does her gender make her vulnerable or being a woman entitles you to remain in a state of fear of everyone around. At this rate, a girl will only have to stuff packets of chilly powder & guns in her wallet in times to come.

We are already living in a country where we are running uncountable campaigns to save the girl child and yet we are failing to do so. And where does such incidents drive us, what kind of message are we giving? That even if someone musters the courage against a panchayat to have a girl child, only to kept her in the closet, not to be given proper education, to meet the demand for the dowry, to keep her away from talking to her male friends or use a mobile. More so, to be treated like this when she steps out of home in the evening. This is not anymore sad, this is plain 'sick'.

Finally, when I sit and look at ways to curb such a heinous act, I feel neither death sentence nor a policeman in every corner will help us overcome this. Because no death sentence has stopped people killing each other and bombs have exploded right in front of Police Headquarters. It all begins from home, it all lies in the education. It's our upbringing & the education that helps us look at a women in a way that is respectful. And we, the males, are no one to give them respect, they deserve it as much as we do. I am sure that nothing can help stop such acts as it all lies within. For I know women are raped on their own beds behind four walls and no policeman can ever enter there.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My People. My Life.

10 Days:

I remember myself teasing my younger brother in the years of growing up. He never liked it, infact hated it. But I used to feel so great when he was irritated. As we grew up and stopped fighting over the cake Mom makes at home, I realize that I shared the closest bond during the 'teasing phase'. Today, when I sit with him to watch Bigg Boss to de-stress over watching nonsense by the in-mates in the show, I realize my fights with him were far more better :P I don't pull his cheek anymore, instead his leg. Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he does not. But with 10 more days to go, I believe I might miss all those days, fights and moments even more.


And yes, who is going to bat first post school hours was a life-altering decision at one point.

9 Days:


When I used to visit my maternal grandparents during my school holidays, I used to be quite ecstatic about it. Not just because I loved the city they used to stay, the locales or the big buildings there, but primarily because I was hopelessly attached to one my cousin brother (uncle's son). I just did not know why, but he was that one guy who used to be my idol, in every aspect. He always had got better video game discs, he always had a better bicycle, he always could give me solutions to my problems. He also was the only one close to my age-group, making it easier to spend time with him. But when I look back today, I try to find why I always used to be so close to him and I practically found no big reason for it, apart from one. I realized he has been the greatest story-teller in my life. Almost on every theme of life, he has got some story to tell. Though he specialized in ghost-stories, all sorts of fiction was his forte. And his story-telling capabilities made me believe in each one of those stories. Wish I keep on hearing them for the rest of my life.


8 Days:


I never have been a great student during my school or college days. My teachers were never so impressed by me (barring few). So, basically I never gave my parents (especially Dad) moments to feel proud. Then I reached a stage in my life where I realized studying should be about gaining, acquiring and understanding 'perspectives'. And it is my Dad, who only gave me all the liberty to go for what I wanted to pursue instead of what he wanted. May be he realized he would be happy if I would be. I chose Literature followed Human Resources, roads not many of my contemporaries did not want to tread. How successful they are or I today is irrelevant and subjective, but what matters is 'the way I look at things around me'. Yes, I have changed and changed for good. Perspectives.


7 Days:


Movies are a part of my life. Sometimes they define few (actually many) of my attributes, sometimes I feel I knew how a script would unfold. My relationship with films and film-making as a process has been beautiful and would remain so in years to come. It's a relationship of multiple commitments, and we both fight it out every week. I simply love the journey of sitting in a dark room for close to 3 hours and be a part of it without pretending. And I love to be amazed by the story-telling, the screenplay, the cinematography, the editing, the music, the lyrics. Every technical aspect of it. I love the actors, they are a different species. And last but not the least, the magicians, yes I call the Directors as magicians  They actually create a world around you and you believe in them, even if just for 3 hours. That's what they are capable of. Alas, we do not see many such good movies running in theaters these days, thanks to the 100-crore pressure and the 3-day-weekend-business concept. Yet, we are breaking new boundaries, with some great talent around and  making some real good cinema and I am insanely in love with it more than ever.


6 Days:


I mostly live in nostalgia. It keeps me awake, keeps me going. People around me keep reminding me living in present and planning for the future. But the few things that keeps makes me feel at ease is the days I lived and the moments I shared with the ones around me. I feel my past drives for what I do today and what aspire to do tomorrow. It allows me to rectify myself and it helps me understand myself better. It tells me about my upbringing, it prepares me for a future where I will have my conviction.


I live my last day today in Mumbai as a bachelor and leave to city where my roots belong tomorrow.


5 Days:


I have been fortunate enough to be known as friends of few such people who has been there with me since the time I have known myself as a person. One has taught me how to play hard Cricket, how to drive a bike and most importantly to reach late. I was late in schools and carried on the habit till date. And yes, it is terrible to reach late in office being in HR. But old habits, you know! There's one more friend who taught me how to live a life with almost nothing, absolute nothing. He lived his life on his own when he was 15, and his responsibilities did not just include himself. He lived through it and went on. In the true sense of it, we can call it his 'struggle', but that guy never made anyone feel what he was going through. I, today, stand tall for what he has achieved, though he is still not convinced with them yet. But he is the guy who made me realize what humility is, how hard the life can be and how better I am off today to think and write about all these!


There is a slowness in the atmosphere, is it just my tiredness or something else!


4 Days:


My father tells so many good things to imbibe apart from one. But watching him all these years makes me understand one thing which I believe is very crucial to become a better human being: be content. I know I have not even distantly close to the level of 'contentment' he has in his life, but I believe it's time I should learn that. He has lived a life that has got every aspect of seriousness and his motto was simple: time takes no holiday. I have told this before and I am saying it again, my life would be worth living one if I can become half of what he is. Whether his meticulous approach to each work, his passion and dedication to each of his assignment and his ethics towards life. Phenomenal.

As I sign off for the day, I wish I could write on forever. Bhubaneswar is little less cold this year, may be the season is also feeling nervous about the newness.


3 Days:


I lived my life in multiple places thanks to the nature of my father's job. I changed 3 schools in as many different location till 10th. Then changed 2 locations till graduation. But I lived the majority of my life where I understood and discovered life in 2 locations. Bhubaneswar and Mumbai, a city of temples and a city of dreams, respectively. The first city helped me leave my teenage back and strive for bigger aspirations in life, while the later one helped me become a true professional in every sense. While my hometown left so many beautiful memories to live on, the dream town gave me my identity. Both stand very close to my heart and I always believed I will never be able to give back what these two cities given me as a human being.


With that note, I think and realize how incomplete I would have been without staying in these two cities and the life I have lived in each part of it.

2 Days:


Ma, Mumma, Mummy... you may decide what you want to call the person who has been the one who shapes you emotionally, mentally and physically. So many roles, all put into one, one super woman, the Mother. There is no substitute, no replacements. The ever-compromising, the lovely creation who can never be questioned irrespective of her mistakes (if any!), because she is beyond any comparison. She rarely gets the recognition she deserves, she rarely is given the limelight, but in spite of all these she actually is the backbone of each family. In my case, I am very fortunate to crib a lot and she allowed me to do that. And today, when I sit back and look her contribution towards me, I feel lost. In my last 7 years stay away from home, I realized her worth everyday when I have food, when I struggle for my stuff, when I have coffee, when I forget to switch off the light and when I simply think of family. She is the binding factor in the family and in our lives. She completes me.


As I go to sleep tonight with 36 hours for 'the' day, I must confess, how much I love, admire and respect my Dad, I would ever remain a Mumma's boy.

I just had my last dinner with my 3 integral people of life. Happy. Sad. Happy.

1 Day:

I have written about multiple people, multiple places and multiple incidents. It may not interest you, but it has been my life and I felt my last few days which were melancholic for many reasons and nostalgic as always, deserved to come out. I am happy for the 27 years I lived as a bachelor and equally looking forward to the years to come where I would be sharing my life with someone. And these people, places & incidents make my life worth living and loving. If I am happy today, these things make me happy. 

From tomorrow, I have ONE more added reason :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Meri Pehli Panktiyan...

Maa

Maa kehti thi ki jab bhi dar lage toh ghar aajana,
Baba kehte the ladna apne dar se, kabhi haar na maan na.
Mujhe raahat  mili toh sirf Maa ke us aanchal mein,
Baar baar chhupta raha, hazaar baar roya bhi wahan.
Aur har ek baar sukoon mila mujhe, woh Maa nahi ek alag hi duniya thi.
Abhi  bhi sochta hoon, dhoondta bhi hoon, kabhi rona aaye toh sirf yeh soch kar aansoon behte hain,
Ki kya Maa itni door hai ya mein khudse.

Tum

Mujhe faasla pasand nahi tha kabhi, mazboori thi jo usko paal rahi thi,
Tum gaye toh aise gaye, mein abhi bhi lad raha hoon un raaston se.
Wapas toh nahi la sakta, woh beete hue lamhein,
Mod nahi sakta, woh gujre hue pal,
Lekin yaad karke hans toh sakta hoon, un haseen lamhon par, tumhare un waadon par,
Woh har ek baat par jo hamne saath mein kahi thi. Aur apne aap par.
Kab se dhoondh raha khud ko, milta hi nahin hoon,
Aisa lagta hai main chhipa nahin, laapata hoon.

Ek Packet Ummeed

Kabhi kabhi yeh sochke hairan hota hoon, pareshan bhi,
Ki tumhare aane ka ilm nahi tha, lekin door jaane ka itna afsos kyun hai.
Tum na  meri thi, na kabhi ho  paati,
Lekin  ummeedein tab bhi thi, ab abhi hain. 
Main bhi apni khwahish ke bojh ke tale daba,
Un saari chahaton ko yehi kehke samjha raha hoon, ki hum phir milenge,
Kuch der baad.

Chund tasveerein dil ke kuch kono mein, abhi bhi bikhri hui hain,
Unko sametne ka kuch aur hi maza hai.
Lekin jab jab woh yaadon bhari hawa chalti hai, apne aapko le chalta hoon un dinon mein,
Jab humne bhi duniya ki parwaah nahi ki thi.
Subah uthke tokri bhar ummeed liye nikalta hoon,
Yehi sochta hoon, ki hogi sunwaayi kabhi, aur lagegi haaziri meri bhi.

Meri chuppi meri humsafar kab se hai, 
Maine jeeti hain kuch jung bhi, chup reh reh ke.
Ab shayad haara nahi, par thak chuka hoon,
Neend nahi aane par jhooti neend sota hoon.
Mujhe kisi se shikayat nahi ratti bhar,
Bhala ho bhi kyun, maine bhi ki hai laakhon galtiyan.
Sawaal maine bahut poochhe apne aapse, jawab mile bhi, nahi bhi,
Lekin khush nahi ho paya main, aur na hi khush kar paya kisi ko.

[Would like to thank Suruchi for helping me edit this]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Tryst With a Kite...


They say marriages are made in heaven! But nobody ever thought where divorces came from! I have seen and been with many girls in my life, each having their individual place in my heart. They all have their unique identities. And I have been transparent enough with each of them about the feelings I share. The best part is they know each other; it has been only possible when you are true to yourself and with the person in front.

Life has moved on a lot since my first love. Loved many, few loved me back…. But today I still stand officially single. With no instant plans to get into the marriage-thing. I love being a single; it has got its own benefits and drawbacks as well. Finding love, being in love and marrying are three different things, realized it later, but a good realization.

I met different people at different stages of my life. Each came with their priorities, preferences and expectations. They are still there, quite in touch. They have been a part of my life and will remain so till I live. I had my priorities, they had theirs, and we still talk about it. And we agree to disagree on those things. It’s fair. Been scared of staying far from my family as already spend close to half a decade without them. So, it’s just a matter of time I will head back towards homeland even if I have to compromise on more than one thing. What better place is there than your home! No alternatives, no replacements, home is home, sweet home.

As I had made an announcement on our last trip regarding me getting married, let me just put forward a word on that. I have decided that if for a day, let me just get married to you. And here is what I thought:

For You who always hated dogs….. From Subhajit who always listened to her…

It has been 18 months of uncountable moments which defined my relationship with you. We have been questioned by people around us pertaining to the justification of this unique & interesting relationship I shared with you. My close friend always wanted to you to just say ‘yes’ so that I would be happy & settle down. He did not realize that things are not what it seems to be. I liked you, fell in love and then avoided you for just one reason…to come back & stay with you forever. Yes, I knew we are never destined to be together, never were. But this heart is too naïve to understand such criticalities of life. Mind knew it, from the beginning, always nagged me too. I listened to it at some point, and then just let my heart guide me. Today, all I am left with is just few days to count. Actually I always imagined you with ‘him’, never alone, that’s why it always helped me to have restrictions on my emotions. You made me to flow again, just to stop it when turning back would be more painful. You loved me more than I did, came so late in my life and going far so early. We know we won’t be apart, but we also know we have no future. So similar to Kites… hmmm.

Loved all your tantrums, dramas, little things and sweet nothings. It’s never easy to be a drama queen like you. And it’s never easy to find another Bindaash Girl like you. You may wonder why I am writing the sentences in past tense, but the reason for that is nothing new. I have started phasing out emotions from you, again, just like Maruti 800 from market! It’s not easy, but it’s the only way out. Hope you positively allow me to do that. As it won’t be easy for me to move ahead with such true & strong feelings for you. After ‘her’, it’s been you who moved me so much. Will miss numerous things, be it Sev Tomato or Prawns, be it Five Spices or CCD. Those late night bike rides will remain unforgettable. You have been really nice to me in spite of my expectations, and mostly I have hurt you by expecting.
 
Distance won’t change the attachment we have, but it will change a lot of things. You know it. We know it. I never left you, nor will I. May be, we have got better people to stay within our lives. 
Finally some of my favorite lines for you:

I have to tell you this and you need to hear it. I loved you since I met you, but I wouldn't allow myself to truly feel it until today. I was always thinking ahead, making decisions soaked with fear... Today, because of you... what I learned from you; every choice I made was different and my life has completely changed... and I've learned that if you do that, then you're living your life fully... it doesn't matter if you have five minutes or fifty years. Dear, if not for today, if not for you I would never have these moments at all... So thank you for being the person who taught me to love... and to be loved….

A man's real possession is his memory. In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor. You can close your eyes to reality, but not to memories. Will carry all these memories with each passing year of my life to reflect back and feel good about. Because, life has been of no regrets, it should not be. Memory is the storehouse in which the substance of our knowledge is treasured up.

Hey, all the luck to you girl in your career ahead, you got a lot of potential which is unexplored. All the love for your life ahead with your closed ones. And all the best for your future accidents with me whenever it occurs, I am sure it will.

Life goes on… So am I…

27th May, 2010

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's in a Name!


I always thought that we all have got name attached to us for an unique identity. Well, I do understand that it also has got the love & affection (and what not!) of the parents. The exercise that has gone into it. The amount of time spent on finding & thinking about it. Then the process of shortlisting, final rounds of filtering and then zeroing in on ‘the’ one. We are so very meticulous in handling this particular exercise.
But then starts the real humour, the moment we start calling a new born by the given (read ‘assigned’) name, people start moulding it their convenience. For example, a certain Rajeev becomes ‘Raj’ or ‘Raju’ or may be just ‘Ra’. By the time the same person becomes a complete grown up, he does not even care about the relevance of his name, forget about the effort (however nonsensical it is). And then it all boils down to the same old thing: What’s there in a name!
But all over the world, especially in our parts of it, we do not find the name complete without a surname or a last name. The name remains incomplete without it. Only difference here is, no one struggles for the surname as it is a part of the legacy of the family (depending upon the religion/caste/sub-caste, the last name is decided). And here starts the whole thing about this ‘name-game’, as I call it. I still remember a line: Hum Apne Naam Mein Mazhab Dhoondne Lagte Hain (We start finding ‘religion’ in our names). The whole identity of a person gets hijacked by his surname. The entire image of a person gets stolen in a moment with his last name. An entire community is blamed for someone’s wrong-doing due to their last names.
Is there a possibility of a world where we can just identify each other with things we can relate to! Can we stop finding out the religion in it! Can we stop judging people based on their caste! Can we stop having pre-conceived notions about people from a similar creed! We can actually understand & value the true meaning of ‘democracy’ if we do not indulge in such acts. I am not preaching any sermon on religious sentiments but isn’t it true that all are our mindsets have reached a level where we will raise an eyebrows to a ‘Mishra’ in Mumbai, a ‘Louvam’ in Bangalore or Delhi, a ‘Khan’ in US, a ‘Singh’ in Germany, a ‘Malhotra’ in Australia and so on?
Believe me; I have laughed loudly, smiled meaningfully & gleefully with my friends while I grew up without even thinking once what their name stands for. But then when I come across situations where my surroundings forced me to think otherwise, it struck to me. I asked myself and others as to why I need to treat different people in different ways. I respect the emotions that goes in while naming someone, I also value the sentiments attached to it. What bothers me is the way we treat them without even knowing or understanding them. And the end result is: violence, riots, feeling of insecurity, humiliation. All these amounts of national embarrassment and it question the very meaning of democracy itself. A world without borders & notions defined by names would be a world to live in. Or is that too much to ask for!!!
(First published as a guest post at http://alhaqumurun.wordpress.com/)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thoughts Uncluttered


I've found majority of things ever written about love to be so untrue. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinarily wrong thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, because I always believed it’s a start of a journey. I suppose, I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind". Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for a day or night! And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. It’s called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, who fall in love alone? I am the victim of the one sided affair. I am the cursed of the loved ones. I am the unloved one, the walking wounded. Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved you through last 18 months!

You represent a girl who is grace personified. There’s a way you deal with people. That automatically brings joy to them. There’s way you hide your sorrows. No one comes to know about it. There’s a way you handle so many problems in your life for so many years. Yet, you are just right there when someone is in problem. Like I asked you yesterday, what you are? How you can be so damn right! I won’t say you are a God. But you are also not just any other girl. You are a super girl. But you know what, to an extent you are becoming a machine. A machine that has all these preset buttons and manages to complete all the assigned activities told to her in a day’s time. Just how can you be so perfect? It requires amazing determination to do all such things. But each time you were in some situation, you not only handled it well, but also never let anyone of us know about it. It takes a lot, a lot. In one of my testimonials for you long time back, I have mentioned that you define a close-to-perfect-girl, but least I realized that you define even more than that. And believe me, these are not just praises to make you feel good or anything of that sorts, these are my real time experiences with you so far. I have seen so many instances that make me, my pains; my stories look so small, so less important. Yet you simply say… Hey, I am just fine. Hats off to you for moving on with your life. May be you get all such energies from your Mom….sorry the Super Mom. As I told you, there would be very few people who can manage to give so much happiness to their children with so much pain inside. You are just the same.

I love you the way you are, the person you are and the self inside you. It’s so much real with no plastic coats and artificiality. You are, it seems, made of iron, has a heart of gold and a billion dollar smile. Have I just quantified you? But how much can I quantify you, you will still remain a priceless possession, not just for me, but for all the people around you.

P.S. I Love You

29th January, 2010

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kissa Deidhso Ka


This is a guest post by a person who has seen many sides of life too often, Iftikhar Ashraf. 

Date was 21st September 2012 and day was Friday; the air was full with anger, Muslims in every part of the world were protesting against the anti-Islam film and the blasphemous caricatures drawn by the controversial French magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

In the protesting world, Kashmir was no exception, Syed Ali Shah Geelani had asked the people to show their displeasure through peaceful protests after Friday Prayers. But the government also wanted to show its displeasure and it didn’t want its displeasure to go unnoticed, which they made sure by enforcing an undeclared curfew and blocking all the mobile services, even not sparing the mobile internet services (gprs, wireless internet etc).

I had a flight to catch for New Delhi in the evening, seeing the mood of the government and the restrictions they had enforced, I was not sure whether I would be able to catch my flight. In order to make an attempt to catch my flight, I called up the only Call Cab Service providers, Snow Cabs and asked them to pick me up at 1:30 from Lal Chowk . They said they will be calling me back, confirming my booking and will give me the mobile number of the driver; but soon after making  that call all the mobile services were suspended and I was left in a lurch. Thankfully the cab came and half an hour well in advance. It was good to know that in Kashmir one can rely on one of the service providers. Finally I was at the airport, well before time and so was everybody else. Our flight took off before the scheduled time.

After collecting my luggage from Delhi Airport, took a slip for prepaid taxi and was assigned the Taxi parked at No 27. Came out walking to no. 27 and there was no taxi parked there, waited for a while but not a single incoming was parking at 27. Every incoming taxi was either getting parked around 27 or zoomed ahead of it. I started to wonder how come they were able to recognise that I was a Muslim, after all I was not sporting a beard, was not wearing a pathani nor was I wearing any head gear. I wanted to shout that Yes we are protesting but that doesn't mean you will deny me a service for which I have already paid!

After some time had passed and I had started to get anxious, a taxi driver came to me and said that  I should stand at a distance or to come forward, else no taxi will come at my place. So taking his advice I stood for a while at a distance but still there came no taxi. Finally I went up to a cop who was managing  these taxi stand, he assured that I'll get a taxi soon and asked to wait there. He finally got me a taxi parked  at 27 and I walked into it. This is how my trauma of getting a taxi got over.

But the story doesn't end here; after boarding the taxi, it seemed that the taxi driver wanted to cry as if he had been cheated into betraying his cause, cause of not giving me lift! He started banging his hands, disappointingly, on the steering and couple times even his head. Now I got worried about my safety, I thought that this driver will take his revenge on me, he will mug me and drop me on the road. So I began to think what I should do, could think of nothing but clicking a photograph of the of the window pane with the taxi number written on it, the least I could use my mobile for when the service provider with the tagline Vadaa Rahaa (I Promise) didn't keep its Vadaa (Promise) of converting  my phone into a post-Paid thus reducing my phone to just a 2MP camera outside valley.


When my destination started to approach, I started to breathe easy. Now I got some confidence and asked the driver whether he owned his taxi, to which he said no. Then I asked how did it work between the owner and him, he said that he had to pay Rs 150 on every trip from the airport no matter where the trip is and how much it is for. Then I asked him since when he was in line (waiting for his turn) at the airport, he said since 4 O'clock in the morning.  So I asked that out of the Rs 270 I had paid for the trip, 150 will go to the owners pocket and he will have to manage gas and other expenses from RS 120, he with a gloom on his face said 'yes'. While getting out of the taxi at my destination I gave him Rs 10, he smiled a bit and said that may be the next passenger from the airport will pay him well. I smiled and said that the it is 'Hope' only that keeps the whole world ticking!

The writer has his columns being published in dailies in Kashmir and a regular blogger. His works can be found at http://alhaqumurun.wordpress.com/ and can be reached at https://twitter.com/AlhaquMurun.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mixed Bag Updates, Views & Reviews...

Last one and half months have brought in quite a change in our country. Not because it has rained less than the normal, but we, as a country obsessed with just one sport, are thinking, talking and fighting over new sports. Sports, which were pretty alien to us few months back. They existed since long, but we never thought of giving them the due they deserved. So they never got the attention, exposure and funding. In any sports, in any country you look upto people who has gone for glory in the past, you need to emulate people who has created history. In wrestling and shooting, we are now creating a tradition, and that helps in the 'know-how' for the generations to follow. It's amazing to see when a game of Badminton is termed as 'Saina v/s China' over the built up to main event. We also cheered for the humble and unassuming Gopichand who shared the medal as a part the dream he once saw for himself. Now all of a sudden, every state government, parliament, activists, celebrities & corporate, all of them woken up. Prizes are pouring in, so are sponsorships. How hypocritical it may sound, but I am at least relieved at the fact that thanks to these 6 medals and stories like Mary Kom, money is coming from all ends. And believe me, it certainly motivates. The moment India began asking "how many" rather than "will we", it was evident that there was a change in mindset.

We have a Prime Minister who never speaks, and now we have a President who speaks which no one understands. Mr. Kalam withdrew his candidature at the right time realizing that he also has to reach low levels of ethics if he chooses to contest the Presidential polls. Then we had Mr. Sangma who made courageous statements like 'I never lost an election', 'I represent the lesser-known community', 'I am people's choice', but none of these worked in his favour and he was beaten hands down. And then Mr. President delivered his first speech which just proved my notion that how big a blunder he is in this role. But we are now playing the role of puppets with flesh and blood in the hands of some people elected by us only. So, not much of a choice left. In between, someone asked me on Independence Day: What'd have happened if there was no partition? I could answer only this much: 1. We would've been keeping our remote controls of new devices inside original plastic covers. 2. IRCTC website would crash every two minutes instead of current seven.

Now on to something which is in the blood of every Indian. India kick-started its new Cricket season by visiting Lankans. And they won 5 out of their 6 fixtures quite comprehensively. This series happened after a much-needed break for the players and happened in between the Olympics. It helped in two ways: fresh legs & less expectations. Both of these two factors are so critical in making a winning formula. But we always end of sparing none of these two attributes. A cramped schedule the whole year with expectations rising as high as a Eid-release of a Salman starer.

In the never-ending and ever-going Mobile OS battle, Windows certainly have taken a bigger market in last year or so, thanks to its Mango. Nokia & Samsung helped it along with their handsets as HTC was riding more onto the Android family. With Apple giving no clarity on it's new phone & Android making minor upgrades in its ICS update (though those minute upgrades are awesome enough), Microsoft should cash in on with its new Apollo (Windows 8 & 7.8 to existing 7.5) update on a priority. Because, looking at Apple's loyal user-base and Android's grip on the market, Microsoft should not delay the new OS launch. Sooner, the better for them. (More on technology will follow in this forum from now on)

I experienced the power of social networking sites and usage such mediums by brands for engaging, promoting & addressing issues. Two of my sour experiences have immediately been addressed, though I can not guarantee whether everyone had/will have the same experience. These platforms have not been streamlined yet, but it is only becoming a stronger medium day by day with its reach, transparency & accountability.

Talking about Salman, we saw the release and expected hysteria surrounding "Ek Tha Tiger". Another mindless masala potboiler after a series of Houseful-Rowdy Rathore-Bol Bachchan. Now mind you, I am not at all making fun of such movies (though I have not seen them), how can I, when they are collecting 100-crores each!!! I salute our 'taste' for movies in the year 2012. But how can I complain, when the same audience also appreciated 'Vicky Donor' & 'Gangs of Wasseypur' (though a little more appreciation would have been great!). Have written a full-fledged piece on it earlier, so will not delve much into it.

It has also been a monsoon with lesser rainfall across India (apart from regular floods in certain parts, as usual). for a person like me, travelling became quite easier in a city like Mumbai as compared past monsoons. But by the time I realized how comfortably I am thinking just about myself, drought was on the verge in many critical states responsible for major harvesting. The rain was not less, but it was uneven, adding to the woes of farmers. 

Another HR personnel killed in an incident involving Workers union & management. It high time, the management to wake up and start empowering the Human Resource function. HRs can no more act on behalf of the management as a messenger. They have a 'bigger role' to play, a 'bigger profile' to handle (MNCs & progressive organizations have already enabled it). Specially, the manufacturing set ups needs to take such matters more seriously than terming these as 'freak incidents'.

The greatest achivement of our government is the slow & steady erosion of the common man's ambitions & aspirations. And the opposition is helping them. Brothers in arms. Citizens still urinate on the streets in our privileged metros and we are now planning to give away cell phones to poor. Disturbing. CAG reports are shocking with scams ranging to figures I never read during my school days. I fail to count the zeros in it.

I have also decided to give my writing a 'special window' like IPL in ICC's Cricket Calendar. Else, I'll keep on missing stars in action and end up writing HR policies & draft-mails for bosses till eternity. I also deserve writing 'final prints' and come out of 'drafting phase' of my life ;)

And before I close this one, I see some important people leaving a void in their respective fields after an illustrious career. With Mr. Rajesh Khanna passing away, Hindi film industry will continue to miss its first romantic superstar. And when we will think of 'wrist play' in Cricket, we will surely miss Mr. VVS Laxman. He was, for sure, fed up of constant criticism. He carried on the legacy which Azhar left. But alas, who will carry it on from him! With such news coming in every month, I have decided to thank everyone everyday because I don't see any point in thanking people on Blog/Facebook/Twitter after they have left the world/their arena...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

That Thing Called 'Friendship'


Friends, family, forever. Eternal words. We keep everyone in our heart. Though we admit or not, accept or not. People whom we hate also have their share of space in the heart too. That's why we remember them. Sustaining 'friendship' is a full time job. Everyone is neither equipped with the skill to maintain a friendship devoid of anger, deceit, jealousy, hatred & so on. You keep on piling up friends right from the days you know who you are and the people around. You start categorizing them, in your words & in your own world. They all fit into a category in your list.

There are those who you know will come and ask you for things which will put you off, and yet you bear them. There are also those who will tell you things on your face and remain unmoved. There are those ones, who meet you less often, speak even lesser, but bring out a smile inside you with just a thought. There are those who will never wear a mask in front you. The moment you start realizing that there is only good people around, and then you find the ones who come to you with their own agenda. There are those who will pretend with those ‘everything-will-be-fine’ gyan. There will also be the ones who will use you to step up in the ladder of their career.

But whatever category they fall into, they give you reason to live on. The positive ones (though there’s not any definition to ‘positive’ or ‘negative’) will always act as your strength & support system irrespective of the distance, number of calls/texts shared or Facebook/Twitter communications. The negative ones are only going to make you stronger, better & more prepared for the ones like them to come in your life.

The last but surely the best friends who feature in the list are the ones whom we identify a bit late in our lives (some do find them early ;). They are the parents, brothers, sisters, teachers and bosses. The luckiest ones have all of them as their friends. And we do maintain these relationships day in & day out. It is an everyday process without any terms & conditions attached to it. But with time, we have started putting a ‘tag’ in each of this ‘friendship’ thing! Today, the amount of ‘money’ spent on someone is a decisive factor for a relationship, the ‘scale of a gift’ is defining affection & the number of ‘likes’ for a post or picture in a social networking site is a real achievement.

Because for me, and for all of us, much before Facebook/Twitter/Social media, there were ‘only friends’, with real ‘friend requests’, ‘pokes’, ‘messages’, ‘life events’, ‘likes’, ‘dislikes’, ‘fights’, ‘updates’. Back then, we never used to celebrate 'Friendship Day', for us everyday was a day to cherish & remember. Nostalgia comes out of things that you have 'done' & long for it. That feeling is surreal. Inexpressible. 

And for God’s sake there were friends who used to ask me ‘what is on your mind’, not a machine!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Infinite Darkness...


A handful of people, in the name of ‘mob-fury’, has beaten a professional with an iron rod, broke his legs. Then they put him on fire and waited till he died. All these happened because he was representing the management and was up against the union workers of a plant. He was doing his duty and was not letting the negative venom get into every worker. In the name of mob-fury, only a specific section of people instigated by political backing brutally killed him. And all that the Chief Minister of the state saying is: “no one can take law in his hands”. Is that what we deserve to hear after such a killing, is it any less dangerous to our democracy as compared to any communal violence! Or do we actually, need to wait for a mass killing of hundreds of thousands people before we wake up. The man leaves behind a 12 year old son, who will keep asking ‘questions’ for the rest of his lifetime why his father got a treatment like this. Now, the case here is, the management knew there was an issue, the police knew there might be violence and everyone knew how the union leaders might behave if required to. Still the man was burnt alive! What kind of system we are living with, and we, for God’s sake, are living in a democracy. Or do we even have a ‘system’ in the first place?

If we are so inept in front our police men, our beaurocrats & politicians, then on what grounds we stand to call ourselves a ‘free country’ and the ‘largest democracy’? Today, a common man fear of putting his faith in the system, instead of finding ‘courage’ in it. It is of no surprise that in a recent poll Judiciary, Beaurocracy & Politics have been rated as the ‘least preferred profession’ amongst the youth. Whereas in the first place, these should be the areas youths should be ‘active participants’. We have a failed political system in place today, we have a miserable judiciary system and we are burdened by corrupt babus. The nexus has widened to such an extent, even calling it ‘cancer’ would be an under-statement. The solution can never be arrived at, without doing the filtration right at the first step, which is by ‘not’ allowing candidates with a criminal background enter the parliament. Else, we will keep on hearing such photocopied statements by politicians time and again. The above incident is one of many that happens every day and we just get to know the ones that find ‘coverage’ in National Channels.

Today, the sad part is, page three has taken over page one. And we are facing the brunt of it. But it is also the same ‘us’ who let it take over. But this can be reversed, definitely. It is only ‘we’, who can do it, who can be the ‘change agents’. We do not need to do any some superman-act; we can take small steps in and around us to eradicate any sorts of lawlessness. With almost zero support from the legal system, only awareness and firmness from citizens can make a difference, however small it is. If we take time till ‘eternity’ to wake up and stand for things which disturbs us, then anarchy won’t be far away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Those Midnight Thoughts ...


I do this. I do that. I do so many things. I have moved on. So far. So long. Still every morning makes me believe I am behind. I am chasing. Actually, the families people like me come from, are meant to chase. Studies, career, money, growth, happiness and then die. We have an in-built fear to think beyond. Fear of failure. The pressure of society. The unfinished quest of success. The trouble of identity crisis. The madness of claiming victory. The heroics of grabbing a bigger pie of accomplishment. Pain of the distance of near ones, bitterness of the lost opportunities and hope of a better tomorrow. 

Then these unpredictable rains. Those late night hours. And some unforgettable moments goes off in a whisker. The melancholic evenings - on things which could have been done better, for people who could have stayed back, for those days spent on having roadside delicacies, thinking how Mom has always made me believe that every stranger has some motive to come near you. Oh God! I have been on search for "Who I am" and "What I want". I have not progressed as I would like, I suppose! And the fact is, after all this we only use 20% of our brain. Now take that. 

Dad retired. Gifted himself a car too. But Sachin denied the government quarter in Delhi. Nadal crashed out (how awesome is that!) after winning his backyard tourney. Spain nailed Italy. Anurag Kashyap showed his class. Lee-Hesh continued washing dirty linen in public. The Times of India degrades further with low ethics in journalism and quality of news (both online & offline). New people at work. Designation hiked (money too!).Life’s all the same. The race is on. One more morning. I am still running. Chasing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Being Single

Being Single (5th February, 2011)

Situation 1: You get down from train where u should, go home, eat, drink & sleep.

Situation 2: You get down 2 stations before, go to a mall & realize there's nothing to do there, take a rick, reach home, listen to some no-sense talks, eat while being watched, go for a walk, then listen some more, tolerate the mood swings and then get the feeling that your best friend should not be important, come walking back with a terrible mood, tired body & don't feel like drinking.

Which one is better! Situation 1!

Being Single is awesome & I am quite liking it. Do hell with all complications in life!

Work hard, party harder.

Being Single: 2 (22nd April, 2012)

I don’t' know, but when I thought of jotting down one more 'Note', it is the same idea which played as the catalyst again. There is this guy on the verge of getting married who has been boasting around since ages of how large-scale his bachelorhood is, suddenly says that how can I bring my fiancé with 3 other 'male' friends of mine to movie! I mean, this is beyond me ;) He has been flaunting his association with so many chicks over the years with so much pride. And more than just flaunting too ;) Then there is the other confused guy, who is on a joyride since he decided to marry a chick he found at his workplace. He stopped going to movies with us since a couple of years as he feels it is his primary responsibility to first check whether his girl wants to see the same movie or not!

Added to that they will start eating, talking and behaving (and what not!) the way they are being told to (or something like that;). Someone suddenly started eating 'baingan ka curry' and the other started drinking 'doodh'. This, according to management, is called real 'transformation'! No theoretical 'interventions'. Divine dispensation.

Now there are others too, like the ones I have come across during my B-school days. The ones in my school and college days. The moment a chick is in, they go into a dreamland. Can't generalize though. Exceptions are always there. Should be there. There was this guy who used to prepare breakfast, lunch and then snacks for the evening before taking her lady out for dinner. And guess what, all the utensils and Branding assignments were his responsibility too ;)

The more I made my mind up for this 'marriage' thing, these sparkling jewels around freak me out. And make me feel the awesomeness of the legendary bachelorhood (salute Barney Stinson).


Being Single: 3 (5th June, 2012)

Just like life, every day has got many shades too. Some of those are quite obvious, some are hard to understand and tough to explain. One has to undergo all these shades, so do I. As I'm nearing the day when I can no longer treat myself as a bachelor and fearing that what's in store, my curiosity increases towards the very concept of two people staying together day in & day out. I know I'm sounding like a jerk, but I'm saying this after clearing my mindset towards the typical fear of a guy of losing his freedom, his lifestyle & his way of living. 

What about me going out to Bade Miyan whenever I feel like with a bunch of friends, what if I go to a movie @ 9 PM with a friend who happens to be girl, what about my serious con-calls @ 11 PM with all possible abuses with buddies from 4 different states, what about me chatting with the ones whom I never could give any names, what about me spending my evenings over coffee shops where I talk all the non-sense & yet feel so complete with the ones who accompany me. They say it all can happen with a wife in place too, but I question the practicality of it.  Come on, life takes a turn, it has to. And sometimes, you don’t have a choice.

So I'm just moving on. With the tide, with the speed of the Mumbai life, with the order from high-commands, well-wisher’s advises, in line with the happiness of people around me, eating ice-creams, watching 3D movies, masala dosa with extra butter, reminiscing good old days. All these without thinking about the future. Perhaps, this has become the only phase wherein I'm not able to visualize anything about the future. So I've left it all to the hands to certain people to take control. Let them write few chapters of my life & I hope it all goes well.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

And This Is How It Went...

Sab ka khushi se faasla ek kadam hai, har ghar mein bas ek hi kamra kam hai...

Early teen age is not a good time to take important calls in life. Added to that, a bunch of crazy morons surrounding you with all sorts of inputs. To this mix, you add doting parents. And then a critical phase of studies. In between all these, the ever increasing love for the newly arrived MP3s n video games. With the freedom of getting into college and getting rid of the regular uniforms, the heart was pumping than the required speed. This early teen age you know! Now leave all these. Enters a damsel!

Year 1 and 2...

Kya kehke gaya tha shayar woh sayana, aag ka dariya doobke jaana...

Now what... Nothing, the game's over! They say enter a girl and your life will never be the same again. The guy never believed it, still don't too. But his results for next couple of years supported the argument. Studies were at an all time low, parents were big time upset, neighbors were at their spying peak and life was at its most beautiful phase in the weirdest way! Seeing her was a task and how he loved it.  Life was so colourful. It seemed (atleast to the boy) that there is just one world. The feeling of being in love never sunk in. Every night he went to bed, he thought the world might end the very next morning. Those salwar suits she used to wear, those staring for hours, gifts they chose for each other, meetings (don't read dating). Boy, those were days and how it went...

The Next Couple of Years

Mitti jaise sapne yeh, kitna bhi palko se jhado,  phir aa jaate hain...

The next two years were of consolidation. Mistakes were corrected, letter writings were improved (both the language and the content!), call durations increased, SMSs were introduced, meetings took place in locations which can be called as dating sites. The fear within was less, mind started going back to more normal things (read studies, people around). Life started showing its actual colours. Field of study went from Newton's Law to Shakespearan era, started understanding the language of moon and stars, college elections with first glass of beer. It was all happening.

That boundary of McGrath in the first over followed by an unforgettable match against Pakis with Little Master’s gem of an innings was running high in the veins. Then came the long distance romance. The first step. The lady goes to pursue 'higher' studies! And next year her family moves out. It was a difficult phase to the tender hearts. How can the moron stay back, he also made a successful persuasion to move to the same city. And so it happened, the happy years continued. The dating venues redefined. The lifestyles has taken a leap. New city, new people, new aspirations. The long distance has shortened. The first meeting with her parents. Quite a nervous moment. But the boy shouldn't have underplayed like Farhan Akhtar ;) But it worked, again like Farhan :-P. The first four years. Over in a flash like Rahul's trademark back-foot punch. 

The 5th and 6th

The 5th year begun with the downfall of BJP as they tried shining India but were outshined by Congress. ‘Love’ was being taken over by a lot of ‘reasoning’. The guy was just done with a degree in ‘literature’ and the senorita was a graduate in ‘electrical engineering’. The guy's preparation for getting into a good managemet school crossed all boundaries including his sweetheart's home. The co-prep at home was in full swing. Her mother was keen in feeding the guy looking at his physique. And her dad has confined himself into Sudoku and reading newspapers.  

They kind of liked the guy. They always did. The situation was the reverse at the guy's end. His parents never quite found the girl good enough. He never was explained why. But by now their resistance was far less than it was in the initial years. The 5th year was different; it wasn't as happening as the other years. Yet it was more satisfying than ever before. No more explanations were required to give, less pressure for the career; the questions were less from relatives regarding life. At the same time, friends started moving outside the city for 'growth', the boy could never understand what this growth meant. Was it a practical thing! 

The year no. 6 was the year when many things started again. Déjà Vu. The guy had to move to a different city for his management degree. Bigger, more noise, more aspirations, more opportunity. But he realized by now, that a long distance romance comes with its own share of complications. And tell you what, her highness was quick to do what the guy did 3 years back. She persuaded her parents to move to a nearer city for doing a short study and find a job. Two same people. Two different cities. Two really big cities. Glittering. Dazzling. The guy always preached a thought - men don't cry. It all fell apart when he left home and started staying in a hostel 1935 KMs away from it. He missed his home more than anyone else. She was kind enough to come to visit him once in a month. The boy could never manage to go her city. She balanced it out. This year also marked the lonely celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries. Less calls, least meetings, fewer moments together. The management classes were a different world experience for the guy. She starts her job hunt. He starts exploring new horizons in the field of human resources. She found few new friends. He found plenty of them. The experience of meeting new people in life is an enriching and fulfilling experience in some ways. The people around you completes you.

The Year No. 7

The seventh year started with a lot of promise. The World Cup was due. The guy did better in Accounting papers. Atleast he cleared it. That Winter had set the tone for the whole year. He gets a call that she's through a job. She was happy. So was he, almost. She asked for his view, he just said to go ahead. She moves to a city far away. The long distance thing was back in action. But this time she was pretty ecstatic. He spent the Summer doing his internship. He tried hard to do it in his hometown, so that he could meet her if she comes on a vacation. And the meeting was anticipated. She was about to tell her parents that the moron is the one she'd like to marry. 

She came. She met him. She left. He was told to inform his parents too. He requested her wait till next Winter. It was just the Monsoon in between that she had to wait. Both met again and the first trip outside the city. Hill station. It was just 3 months before his college placements. She goes back.  She goes back with a small fight with him. He saw her off with a positive intent. Monsoon was getting over. Imtiyaz Ali just delivered his first commercial hit & Mohit Chauhan got a second lease of life thanks to Pritam. The movie was a hit, but the lead actors got separated. India was ousted of the World Cup that year. They had a dream run 4 years back.

The placements kicked off. 
He received a call before that winter
His first two outings in placement did not click. 
He said he needs a bit more time. 
He was not at all worried. 
She was sounding indifferent. 
Winter has kicked in. People around were getting placed. He was missing her the most.
She said the relationship did not have any more 'life' left in it. He was not convinced. He tried. She made up her mind. He was clueless. She was pretty sure. 
December is a month he celebrates. He went to home for break. Wanted to come back with a stronger self-belief. But he could not. 
That was it. She never called back. He begged for another chance to bring back some ‘life’.
He thought he can turn things around. Then he realized there was this guy who made inroads into her life many a months back. 
She was composed. He was disturbed. He behaved terribly.
And he got placed. Better than many of his mates. But deep down inside he has lost everything.

The next 5 years

Iss ka rona nahin ki tum nay kiya dil barbaad, iss ka gham hai ke bahut der mein barbaad kiya.

He moved on. Atleast tried to. She moved on too. He kept remembering their last meet. But it kept on becoming hazy with each passing day. She planned her new life. People around the guy were always more concerned about him than he himself was and perplexed too as he never seemed to be taken aback by all such incidents. Sarcasm was also there in few statements while giving example of a 7-year courtship time & again. She successfully convinced her parents and happily married today while living in a close vicinity to him.

-------

Kabhi tto meri bhi sunwaaee hogi mehfil mein, maen yeh umeed liye bar bar jata rahaa…

He just got into the mad race where each hour had an objective attached to it. Weekly achievement in grocery shopping, fortnightly achievement in keeping jerks around happy, month end achievement in salary, quarterly achievement in telling his recruits how their life is going to change if they join the organization he works, half yearly achievements in doing training programs on leadership skills and change management and yearly achievement in updating his CV and getting a good hike.

In the transition, he came across few women who came close to him, each of them has their unique identities. Each of them shared a beautiful relationship. He found some peace. He always had his friends who were there for him. Through all his phases. They were his cheerleaders! They were his strength. But when he watches the moon on the second day post a full-moon, he thinks of her. When he visits all those places where he has spent countless hours with her, he thinks of her. And when that Christmas time comes and everyone is in a holiday mood, he thinks of her. 

--------

The guy still lives in that huge city with millions around him, calls it the city of dreams. She still is in that city two hours from him. The guy finally started visiting her city. He calls it official visits. I meet him sometimes. In a local train. In an auto-rickshaw. Chasing his employees to be loyal to the company, to return empty handed most of the time.

--------
It all started on a chilly winter evening on 25th December. He said I Like You. She said I am sure this is not what you want to say. The year was 2000. He could not pay the PCO guy the full amount. It was a long 'call'. But it was a 'call to remember'.

Kaunsa sher sunaoo mein tumhe, sochta hoon.... Naya uljhaa hua hai bahut, aur purana mushkil...



(This is my first piece which I have written in local trains, inside auto-rickshaws, next to parking lots, before going to sleep, inside restaurants, during lunch breaks and listening to songs that moves me from my Cell phone. Bringing all of those thoughts together was a task. And had to cut it down to small write-up, so that one won’t get bored with it. But more than anything else, the experience of writing it was quite fulfilling for me. The lines used in Hindi were mostly written by Javed Sa'ab.)