Get updates on my upcoming novel. "Love goes beyond togetherness", which has some posts from this blog too, only on my facebook official author page:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Of Buses and Trains!

This post is especially written for all the men who ask:
1. Why women need a separate compartment in local trains when they demand gender equality?
2. Why women have around 12 seats reserved in a bus (A lot of men ask it, especially in Mumbai, where about 12 seats are reserved for women in each bus.)?

And the gentlemen who understand the reasons for the above situations, I request you to kindly share this post so that it reaches every man who has the above mentioned questions.

August 2006, aged 15:
An afternoon, at around 11, I was going to my school. I was in Grade 10 then. On my way I met someone who I had known for a long time. He'd been a family friend and was hence in a "position of trust". Another reason why I could trust him was because he was at least 30 years elder to me. Even his children were older than me. So, when he offered to drop me to school in his car, I agreed. Back in those days, it was permissible to have tinted car windows. On our way to school, he stopped the car on a "not-so-busy-road", but it wasn't isolated either. He wanted to have a smoke. He was smoking and I was talking to him casually, like always. All of a sudden, out of the blue, something pressed my lips and blocked my vision. It was him. His lips on mine and his face in front of my eyes. I went numb. Nobody ever did that to me before. Even before I could realize, his hands entered the space between my shirt and the upper part of the V-neck maxi skirt of my uniform. He was looking at me intensely. I could feel his gaze on me, but I did not look back at him. He kissed me 2-3 times more and repeated the same gesture on the upper part of my body a couple of times and then started driving back towards my school. I asked him to drop me at the by-lane that goes to my school. I got down of his car and even before I knew, I had tears in my eyes. Nothing of that sort ever happened to me. I felt disgusted. I felt partly angry and partly guilty, for reasons unknown. I never shared this bit with anyone, except my best friend, Asmita. Once home, I locked myself in a room and cried myself to sleep. I was just too young to even comprehend what happened to me.

February 2008, Aged 17:
Dressed in jeans and a casual t-shirt, I was waiting for a male friend of mine at Santacruz station, as we had to pick another friend who was coming all the way from Delhi. As he was with me, we could not enter ladies compartment so we entered the general compartment in Mumbai Local on our way to Borivali. It was 9 am and peak hours. The rush was mad, so mad that you could not even move from the position you are standing in. Due to extreme rush, my friend could manage to find some space to stand at the door of the compartment after he safely moved me inside the compartment. In that rush, I suddenly started feeling a sharp pain in my breasts. I did not know what was happening. For a minute I thought its some medical emergency. A few minutes down the line, I realized that somebody was groping me, taking advantage of the crowd. A feeling of disgust engulfed me. I did not start crying, but my eyes were moist. My friend thought it was because of the rush and he kept assuring me that its just a matter of 2-3 more stations, but that did not help. And I did not understand how to tell him what was happening to me. I did not share this bit with him. As Borivali came, I felt a bit relieved, yet the horror of the journey was in my mind for days to come. After the incident that happened to me in Grade 10, I was so sure that public transport is always "safe" for a lady.

December 2011, Aged 20:
Happily dressed in my favorite salwaar-kameez with a dupatta, I was in a bus with my cousin brother and we were going to a "traditional" family function. We were sitting on "general" seats as he was accompanying me. After a few minutes of starting our journey, I could feel that the man sitting on the seat behind me, in the pretext of holding the sides of my seat for support, was trying to touch me inappropriately from the sides on the upper half of my body. I re-positioned my arms and that left no room for him to trouble me, or at least I thought so. However, a few minutes later, I could feel his fingers on the lower end of my neck, this time in the pretext of holding the upper handle of my seat for support.

The Buses and Trains:

I hope, it is now that all the men out there understand what all the gentlemen already knew. This is the reason why a lady, who demands gender equality, also asks for reservation in several means of public transportation. Because the moment she dares to travel with men, in general sections of public transport, she knows that she is not really "safe". And taking a lift in somebody's private vehicle is not a great option either. Not every lady has the luxury of a car. Even few have the luxury of a chauffeur, who again, cannot be trusted blindly.

I am not the only lady who went through this harassment. In what we call as the "safest" city in India, Mumbai, approximately 90% ladies who travel in public transportion means have had similar experiences. But as the saying goes, "It is easier to prove rape, but not harassment." Most of the cases thus go unreported.

At the point when I went through all this, even I did not report it, because I somewhere felt that I was the "only" one to whom it was happening. Deep down, I blamed myself. But now, as I realized that I was not wrong, I choose to speak about it and make an attempt to make men understand the problems that a lady faces while travelling.

As I started writing this post, I was confused if I should go ahead with it. If I should just say that all those experiences were not mine but instead, were those of my friends. But then a part of me was asking:
"Why am I being so apprehensive? What wrong did I do? Was going to school a fault? Is it wrong going to pick up a friend from a station? Should I have not gone out with my cousin?"
And finally, the rebel in me won. The one who believed that it WAS NOT MY FAULT and that as a lady, when I support reservation in public transport, I do it only to protect my body, and I have every right to do that.

While talking of feminism or gender equality, it is not really about being superior to men, its simply about being equal to them. Of course, there are some things that men are better at as compared to women, but then there are things vice-a-verse too. So ultimately, that is balanced.

One of the core arguments of gender equality is: "As a human being, we want to have the "same feeling of security and safety" as men." Simple as that. There is nothing wrong in it. And being an individual, every lady has the right to protect her body and ask for protective mechanisms when she sees a threat. And this is the simple reason why in spite of demanding gender equality, women ask for reservations in public transport. Now is that too difficult to understand?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Rebel's Way!!!

The mystic poetry,
The broken glass,
The brittle iron
And the damaged vase

The wandering eyes,
The deep gaze,
The thorny rose
Lost in a maze

The clutter of silence,
The stillness of noise,
The smartness of ears,
And the dumbness of voice

The stagnant crowd,
The mad solitude,
The feeble might
Around impavid fortitude

The elegance of furor,
The poise in brawls,
The beauty of scars
And the love for flaws

Light in the night,
Darkness in the day,
Unconventionally conventional
Is a rebel's way!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, my friend!

Today, is the birthday of a very dear friend of mine. Of course, I need not write a blog post to wish someone a Happy Birthday, but sometimes, some unusual things are what that make all the sense.

This friend of mine, let us call him "Saksham" (Pseudo name used on purpose due to unavoidable circumstances), has been an integral part of my journey from a simple student to a woman who discovered her passion for writing.

If it wasn't for him, probably, I wouldn't have been a writer today, and must have been sitting at home with a frustrated mind and just studying to get good grades. Saksham gave a beautiful phase to cherish in life and memories that would last a lifetime. Of course, we had our own lows as well, but they were nothing but moments of self-introspection and an opportunity to understand each other, to understand the complexity of human bonds and more over, these lows played a major role in bringing me back to writing.

A very Happy Birthday to you my dear friend! Wish you loads of happiness and success in whatever you do. And just as every year, a small little prayer for you:

Whatever is beautiful,
Whatever is meaningful,
Whatever gives you happiness...
May all that be yours....
Today, Tomorrow and forever :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In pursuit of Dreams!

On October 19, 2014, I announced my debut Novella titled. "Because Love goes Beyond Togetherness" and the encouraging messages haven't stopped since then.

Because Love goes beyond togetherness is a collection of Short stories, articles and poetry describing the intricacies of Love, exploring various traditional human emotions and how they affect love and relationships in the 21st century! (some short stories, articles and poetry are from this blog and some written exclusively for the book)

Indeed, it is a dream come true. It was 7 years ago that i first dreamt of writing a book, and now, it is soon going to be a reality. And this journey of 7 years taught me an important lesson:

 "Dreams don't come true, you MAKE them come true"

I first dreamt of writing my own book in 2007. After a good wait of 7 years, I am about to turn this into reality.

So, what kept me waiting for so long? the answers to simple questions like, is my story good enough? Will people buy my book? Will I become a successful author? What if I fail? What if people laugh at me? and a lot more.....

And in the course of time, I realized that these questions don't really have a concrete answer. They are always going to be there. Even today, what I am writing is not conventional for a first time author, so I don't know if people will like my book. I don't know if my book will sell. I don't know how good/bad my writing will be and I don't know if I will ever be a successful author.

But I do know that inspite of so many ifs and buts, in past 7 years, writing never left my mind. I do know that even today, writing is what that liberates me. And I have finally come to a realization that this is what my calling is and this is what my passion is. This is what that gives me satisfaction, and hence, in spite of all the ifs and buts, it deserves a chance. So, here I am, armed with a little courage, lots of hope and immense belief in the beauty of my dreams, taking baby steps towards it, because dreams don't dome true, you make them come true!

To catch all the updates on my debut novella, "Because Love Goes Beyond Togetherness", kindly Click here and join me on my official Facebook author page.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The cost of being a free bird!

And the child was born! A girl.
Attempts were made to keep her in the well that was considered to be the "ideal" place to raise an "ideal" Indian woman/daughter.
The well! It was a deep, dark well where right from a tender age, she was subjected to various degrees and types of gender discrimination; where the guardians of culture made every effort to program her mind and make her believe that "silent suffering is a matter of pride" and that being a women, it is her duty to protect the honour of her people even at the cost of her own honour and chastity! She was programmed to have no self-esteem, to believe that existence of men is a favors on her and that she is unwanted and worthless.
Worst of all, the "well" forced her to be a witness of horrific crimes of violence and abuse in her formative years and then, the guardians expected her to silently accept it all as an integral part of her future; because apparently, that is what that makes a good women!

Many young girls in that "well" gave in. Some agreed to suffer silently, but without having any conviction in what they were being made to believe. And then, there was she, the difficult one. The rebel!

The one who knew that she deserved much better a life. She had realized the fact that the purpose of her life is much more deeper and meaningful than "silently suffering" for the sake of "hollow honour."

The rebel chooses to not let her life be a victim of fate and chances. She decided that when all were trying to pull her deeper and deeper in that "well", she has to make efforts to move up. But the climbing up wasn't easy. Each time she made efforts to liberate herself, all the hands in the "well" ensure that they unite to pull her down. Yet with her determination and inner strength, she somehow managed to rise above the level of the guardians there. But people were still making attempts to pull her down by firmly holding her legs, so that she doesn't leave the "well" in order to "fly"!

Because flying was meant only for men.

Years of social battle had left her with little strength remaining yet she had somehow reached the brink of the "well" with the guardians still holding some part of her, with the hope that they'll be able to pull her back. All that she now needed was a "little" external pull from the outside of the well. Just a "slight, little pull."

The "well" was not located in isolation. It was placed well in the center of the society. Millions of people walk past it daily and hardly any of them was unaware of the plight of women in that "well". Many even saw this young lady struggling at the brink of the "well" to break free from it, but no one bothered to help, because many of them were themselves convicted that it was the right place for women. Some did pity her, but lacked the courage to express their opinions and rescue her.

And then, one fine day, there came her knight in the shining armor. He was above this societal circus. He saw from distance this beautiful lady struggling at the brink of the "well", not to do any harm, but just to live her life, in her way, on her own terms.

Admired by her courage, inspired by her determination and mesmerized by the beauty of her soul, which was reflected in her picture perfect outer appearance as a woman, he came close to the well and offered her the much needed "slight little pull."

Just as he started pulling her, he could see her beyond the picture perfect outer appearance. He could see the real her. The real her; which was beautiful but had shades of brown and marks in red. Astonished, he left her hand. He wasn't expecting this from someone who looked so beautiful from a distance.

The shades of brown, that he considered dirt, were symbolic of her intense struggle and courage to come out of the circus of mentally sick people who promoted chaining a woman, in the name of culture.

The red marks were the scars of all the bruises inflicted upon her, over the years, in the form of physical, mental, emotional and at times even sexual abuse. That too from a very tender age, just for being a girl. The scars were symbolic of her battle with several years of insult, abuse and belittling. They deserved to heal.

But instead of helping her heal those scars and bringing her out of that darkness, he left her side at the first sight of her struggle. All she could do was just keep looking at him going, leaving her body mind and soul hurt and bruised, even more than before.

Fear, irritation, restlessness, pain, anger, anguish, self-pity, frustration etc are just some of the feelings that engulfed her. She went through a miserable phase of complete numbness and stagnancy. A loss in the ability to trust people. In some moments, she even contemplated giving in to the societal norms. But that wasn't her nature.

After a phase of complete stagnancy and deep darkness, light emerged in her soul. She mustered all her remaining inner strength and courage and decided to move. Even if it meant, moving just a millimeter, she just had to move and she had to keep moving, no matter how little. And finally, with determination, she once again started to try to move, in order to finally "break-free". Something, she knows she will do.

Because she deserves it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Behind Relationship Failures

Friction and/or problems between two people are common, not just as lovers, but even as friends, parent-children and many other bonds that exist without labels. All these bonds are some or the other form of relationship. Problems between two people can sometimes be so intense that it might end up crumbling the bond in to tiny pieces. And what gives rise to such dissonance? Misunderstandings. Surprised? Don't be, if you sit and reflect, you would realize that misunderstandings are indeed the single most effective factor that can manifest itself into several other issues and lead to a relationship failure. If I have to simplify, I would say:

When it comes to dissonance between two people, 
  • The main cause is: Misunderstandings
  • Major cause to misunderstandings is: "We don't see the world as it is, we see it as a reflection of who we are." (Thanks to our fears, insecurities, ego etc)
  • Most suitable solution: Having an attitude of listening with an empty mind to understand, rather than listening with a mind full of presumptions and judge. Focus has to be "understanding" not judgement.
Now, let us look at each of these three points in detail:

Misunderstandings can simply be comprehended as "difference in perceptions". Difference of opinions and perceptions between two people is a common and natural phenomenon, but when it exists for too long, it breeds negativity between two people. When two people fail to understand each other's perspective COMPLETELY, there are very high chances that they develop negative presumptions, if not grudges, with respect to each other, which in turn, will lead to a chain of negativity and will eventually start reflecting in all aspects of the relationship, creating problems that didn't even exist in the first place!

World as a reflection of our own self:
Now, time for the credits. The idea for this blogpost came in after I saw a video of Chandresh Bhardwaj , a USA based lifestyle speaker and spiritual guide, speaking on relationships and how ego are the main cause behind most failed relationships. And then, I went into my introspection mode, and realized how true it was! After all, isn't it ego that serves as a prime support to the creation and sustenance of misunderstandings between two people?
"We see the world not as it is but as we are"- Robin Sharma
 Now that is one quote i live my life by and repeat every morning before I talk to anyone. Does it help? Yes, it does. Every time I am urged to feel anger or irritation at someone without LISTENING to his or her perspective of the situation, I am reminded that since I have not made an attempt to UNDERSTAND h/her, whatever chain of thoughts are provoking negative feelings in me are nothing but a reflection of my own self. Or else, why on the earth will I think that an "x" person, behaved in a "y" manner, in a "z" situation, because of these "abc" reasons? Who am I to declare their thought process? A mind reader? No, I am not. These chain of thoughts are nothing but the most likely manner in which I would have behaved in that situation. What has the other person got to do with it?

And where do these presumptions, judgement and negativity come from?  EGO, FEAR, INSECURITY. In my opinion, these three words are the cause of all misery that we suffer in human relationships. It is because our ego doesn't want to understand anything, it is because we are afraid of several things/outcomes.feelings that even we can't comprehend and it is because we are insecure owing to these fears, that we seek "guarantee" in everything, including "relationships". And the moment "human relationships" deviate even a little from the expected path, we panic, judge and misunderstand. All this while, we forget that human mind is flexible and grows with every damn minute and we cannot anticipate the direction in which it will mature and in how much time. 

We need to keep in mind that:
  • Every individual is a distinct being, with a unique thought process, that only they can explain.
  • Most likely, even the same person may have different response to the same situation occurring at two different time instances.

The solution: Listen to understand, not to judge:
In the above paragraph, I have highlighted the importance of listening to the other person before jumping to conclusions. The major problem here is, many of us listen just to complete the formality of listening. We have just one agenda in mind, to prove the other person wrong. And that is so miserable! Coming to conclusions without understanding ALL aspects of the situation can be dangerous and hence it is very importance to keep "understanding the other person" as the priority of the exercise instead of giving importance to proving ourselves right. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The second Choice!

NOTE: This story is the sequel (second part) of the short story titled "Choice", which I had published on this blog earlier. To read "Choice!", Kindly Click here

Her phone rang and her smile instantly reached her eyes. It was him. They had dated for 3 years until they broke up a month ago. As discussed, they were "very" good friends but she still loved him, "unconditionally", and this was the first time he called since the break up. Smiling, she picked up the phone.

They spoke to each other, just like close friends do. And he shared with her the fond feeling that he had developed for this another girl by the name of "Nisha". But his confusion and yet prevailing attraction for her was evident too. Knowing him to his depths, she understood that his feelings and confusions about her were a mere attraction, while his feelings for Nisha were nothing less than love.

Owing to his confusion about her, he gave her several chances for a possible patch up while talking, she too wanted this patch up, bad enough, yet, for reasons unknown even to her at that point, she could not grab them. The man she loved was in love with someone else, she realized it even before he could and even before she could realize, she found herself making efforts to make him realize the value of Nisha in his life. She was dying for his attention, but she couldn't stop herself from making him understand that it was Nisha who deserved his time and attention. She had no idea as to why, even after having a strong yearning for him, she was doing this.

Yes, she was in pain, immense pain, but she had no regrets. Next day, he texted her that he loves Nisha and told her that she made him realize this. Tears filled her eyes, she could feel a lump in her throat and she broke into silent screams. Yet, she couldn't stop herself from encouraging and congratulating him for his new relationship. Her eyes had tears, yet her smile reached those eyes. A part of was in immense pain and longing, yet the another part of her was genuinely happy because the man she loved had found love.

For his happiness, she could smile through the pain and see her biggest fear come true. She'd let go of him, but she could not let go of  love. Although he made an exit from her life, she was at peace and was genuinely happy for being by his side and making him realize his love. Maybe that strange peace was nothing but the strength of her love and her belief in the labour of love.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

For the labour of love!

For the labour of love;
You understand beyond the surface,
and listen what is left unsaid.

For the labour of love;
Even when your heart breaks into a million pieces,
You put up a million dollar smile to make them comfortable.

For the labour of love;
You send them to the one they love,
But still smile because they are happy.

For the labour of love;
You suffer silently,
Yet love being there for them.

For the labour of love;
In spite of being in immense pain,
You choose not to give up on them.

For the labour of love;
Just when you feel that your world has shattered,
You get up and walk, to stand by them.

For nothing,
but the labour of love,
you give love a new meaning.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What exactly is being in love all about?

Ever wondered what is love? How to differentiate love from infatuation? Being an avid reader, I have personally come across several, several and several quotes that go on and on about love. And then, i came across this piece that I am mentioning below, and believe me people, it is the FINEST description of love that I have ever read. These are the lyrics of the song "You owe me nothing in return" by Alanis Morissette. Before listening to this song, i happened to read the lyrics and the effect they had on me is enormous. It was just 10 minutes ago when I was doing research on these words that I discovered that it is a song. I would still urge you all to read these words before you listen to them. They are AWESOME. If you have the heart to love someone this way, only then, in my opinion, are you strong enough for love, for this is how love is supposed to be. Here it goes and as you read it, think if you can ever even imagine saying all this to someone you love:

"I'll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance, if you want it. I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want, if you need it. You can speak of anger and doubts, your fears and freak outs, and I'll hold it. You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life, and I won't judge it; and there are no strings attached to it...

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give. You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have. I give you thanks for receiving it, it's my privilege, and you owe me nothing in return.

You can ask for space for yourself, and only yourself, and I'll grant it. You can ask for freedom as well, or time to travel, and you'll have it. You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I'll support it. You can ask for anything you want, anything at all, and I'll understand it; and there are no strings attached to it.

I bet you're wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop. I bet you're wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up. I bet you wonder how far you have now danced you way back into debt. This is the only kind of love, as I understand it, that there really is.

You can express your deepest of truths even if it means I'll lose you, and I'll hear it. You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss, I'll empathize with. You can say that you have to skip town to chase your passion, and I'll hear it. You can even hit rock bottom, have a mid-life crisis, and I'll hold it; and there are no strings attached to it.

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give. You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have. I give you thanks for receiving it, it's my privilege, and you owe me nothing in return" —Alanis Morissette 

This is how, as I understand, love is and this is how it is supposed to be. Totally unalloyed, pure, selfless, compassionate and detached.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Women; A Bitter-Sweet Symphony!

On the composed exterior:
In my capacity, I know I have given the best that I could have. Now, it is up to people if they really want to understand "my heart". If they don't want to, its not my problem, its the problem with their understanding. I have tried my best, with utmost dignity and compassion, to make people see the reality, but if they still choose to live with illusions, then its their decision. But yes, when-and if-the wall of their illusions will break and they will realize their fault, I will be gone, taking care of people who understand my heart and value me.

In the insecure interior:
I did the best I could have. I genuinely have but I still don't understand why people fail to see that!Where did I go wrong? What is it that I should have done, but I did not do? Why people I care about are not ready to understand me and stand by me? Am i that wrong? But I never wanted to be that way. I genuinely wanted to do the best I could for the people I love, I tried, but I don't understand where did I lack.Many a times I even dealt with immense discomfort, only because their comfort was a priority to me. Where the hell did I lack?

At the calm core of her soul:
Its OK! I have always kept my intentions pure, my heart never had even a tiny bit of negativity for anyone and of course, in my capacity, I have ensured that I put in the best of efforts for the people who matter to me. Now, it would be wiser to leave everything on my destiny, which, will be a result of my KARMA. Life is all about the law of "cause and effect", the principle of "you shall reap as you sow", in simple words: KARMA. Yes, i do desire certain outcomes to my efforts, but I need to remember, that only efforts are in my hands, not the results. Moreover, I need to have faith in my intentions. I may not get what I desire, irrespective of the dedication of the my effort. But it is not necessary that the reason behind this is lack of effort, maybe, it is that I deserve something better than what I desire and at this point, I am not able to understand it. I just need to wait and hold on. What is meant to be, will always find its way.
Yes I am deeply pained and I want many answers, but its OK to not have answers all the time. It is OK to live in ambiguity, maybe I am just not prepared to know the answer. Let me understand the questions first, and when the right time comes, the answers will reveal themselves. All I need to take care of, is that, in all my suffering-which is an essential requirement for my growth-I do not let even a tiny bit of negativity enter my heart. My intentions have to be pure, my heart has to be compassionate and my efforts have to come out of the same compassion. Rest will be taken care of!

That is a women! A bitter-sweet symphony. She has the tendency to be insecure, confident and a believer...all at the same time. Of course, she goes through her own journey and although all these traits are an integral part of who she is, their dominance in her thought process changes as she grows in life.

When she begins her journey from being a girl to a women and faces the world in their eyes, its usually the insecure side of her that is of high dominance, and nothing is wrong with it, that too is a part of her journey. Then, when she realizes that life is not a fairy tail and no matter what happens, LIFE GOES ON, she learns the art of balancing the confident exterior and the insecure interior with perfection. And then, as she grows, as she gains experience in life, observes people and makes learning an integral part of her daily life, she understands the importance, relevance and authenticity of the calm core of her soul. At this stage, its a calm soul that dominates.

It is this roller-coaster ride that enables a women to see through and believe even in times of ambiguity. She has faced every aspect of life and hence, develops an attitude of Compassion, understanding and non-judgement in her daily life. And this is why, she has the tendency to be considerate even when she is in intense pain.