A Little Honour


Every year, diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya and other tropical monsters take a toll on Delhi. People fall ill, some die, some survive, to remember the pain.

This year, in the summer of 2010, Delhi faced the worst outbreak of dengue fever in which numerous died. Yes, probably even hundreds. The newspapers were too timid to admit the numbers. The official number of  dengue deaths  probably never went beyond 10. But I know….I know because 2 of my friends succumbed….they fought and fought..only to lose.

I believe that every soul on this earth does smothing good. Even the worst of criminals deserve a little honour when they die. In the case of my senior in college: he was probably one of the best people I knew…one of the best that I will ever know.

He was the typical sweet, helpful kind. Ever-so-bright and smiling, Kinshuk would hobble towards us every morning in college and greet us, never letting us feel like strangers in this new place. We were in the first year and he was in his second. He guided us, he inspired us. one day before the exams commenced, he texted us all to wish us good luck, and to remind us that the real tests of life have begun.

Yes, he was right. The real tests had begun. It is a test for us to remember him and his memory. To remain inspired by that bright smile and brighter personality. I dont know if I will be succesful…but I do know that I want to try my best to become like him. A friend-guide to all the poeple I know-close or distant.

Here is my little ode to him. Thank you Kinshuk for coming into my life. Wish you would have stayed longer.

I miss you…

Only So Far

I never knew you quite well,

but I knew you enough

You touched a chord,

and that is what matters

Its amazing how wonderful people can be

and heartbreaking when they leave thee.

But how far have you gone?

I wonder…

only so far as we think


for the world you have entered

spaces unknown,

where the line between hell and heaven

comes into view.

But me, I think you are still

trapped within the walls of my heart

unable to take a step out of it.

It is perhaps the body which decays

perhaps the soul which travels,

but the memories, the emotions

never go away

unless we

push them into the far corners of our minds.


But with you

this is going to be difficult,

every step I take,

everything I do,

I will try and get some inspiration from you.

So that someday I too become

and feel a person as lovely as you

So that one day people

remember me for that smile

as beautiful as yours

I will never push you out of my heart

that is not a promise

that is a binding,

a compulsion

because it is not easy

to forget someone

who leaves a mark, teaches you

and changes your life forever!

I will miss you! But how much I wonder!

After all you are in my heart

you are only so far as I think you are




Bless the Internet


I am tired and unsatisfied. For the past week I have been stuck in various tasks in my life: learning a new language, trying to write a tutorial for my college grades, and reading about my country’s ancient heritage…all at the same time. And I reach a dead end.  I cannot understand what my forefathers were thinking when they did in USSR what they did, I am sick of random people’s thoughtless viewpoints on the Mahabharata, and I am tired of trying to figure out the many grammatical complexities in this new language that I am learning.

So what do I do? I decide to take a break….I switch on the computer, log on to facebook and start chatting in real time with a friend who is sitting 4 seas and a dozen countries away. Simultaneously, I put on some good music on the Internet radio and do a little jig to the tune playing. I look up the best recipe to make the best coffee and find amazing facts on the ‘golden beans’!

After an hour of relaxing, I decide to go back to my studies, but I cant seem to be able to touch my books. So I just google USSR’s New Economic Policy and choose out of the zillion sites which pop up!

The magic of this wonder-invention has left me flabbergasted. What better source of entertainment, education and relaxation than the very renowned internet? At the click of a button, it seems that the whole world is spread out there on a 14 inch screen in front of me. I can travel to Kerala, and listen to authentic Spanish music at the same time while on my ‘boat ride’ to Italy. I can ‘poke’ someone I haven’t spoken to in a long time. As I learn about the Ramayana on one hand, something about the modern architecture pops up on my laptop beckoning me to explore it. I can watch a football match aired 20 years ago on YouTube like it was just yesterday when Pele made the most amazing goal.

The internet, is thus, and most would agree with me, a wonderful thing.

But, at the same time, I also wonder, how wonderful it actually is….

Sure, it is a great source of good music, and great movies…but isn’t it an equally good source of porn? While 10 years ago, a father could simply hide his porn mags from the son…now, it is easier for the son to just find better stuff on the net.

The line between good socialization and bad socialization is becoming less clear day by day. What was just ‘modernizing and culture dissemination’ a few years back…is now turning into ‘decomposition of culture and ethics’. The use of foul language, bad dressing, and simply rotten mannerisms are now being adopted in the name of learning.

Facebook has become the new medium for mutual flattery and hatred for the new generation. A single sick insult by a jealous teenager triggers depression or even suicidal thoughts in young ‘responsible’ adults. The social image, even in the virtual world has become the most important thing in today’s world.

And of course, is not the internet a haven for hackers, money makers and cons? Do I even need to start counting the number of sited which are potential pests in your bank account, your offcial documents, or even your life.

But then, I also think, how there is a good and a bad side to everything. The crux of the matter is to pick up the good points and work on them. The careful, responsible usage of the internet becomes the foremost concern and safety measure while diving into itsworld of knowledge and entertainment. Keeo your mind open, keep your eyes open.

And please, a message to all my fellow teenagers in this world: Move on…the internet is not your life. One missed email will not ruin your life. One stupid, insensitive insult by some frustrated soul will not push you to the depths of the dark world. But probably, a thousand porn sites will, abusive language will, what you might consider cool and others consider disturbing MAY mean something serious. Pay attention to the right things. Make the right choices…at least attempt to.

The Opinionlessly Opinionated


I’m sick of all those people who pretend to have such good intellectual knowledge of things when actually, they very well know they dont.

After the introduction of the women-only coach in the metro, while some expressed irritability at the fact that the women got their own coach, some expressed happiness for the women. But weirdly enough, there was another breed of men who started to voice their so-called opinion when they actually had none! Just because most of their friends were unhappy with the new coach, they joined the flock proclaiming their hatred and male chauvinism to the women of the world.

-“This new coach is just a bad idea!”

“Why sir? May I ask ?”

-“Bacause, well….the…the women dont need them. We do.”

“And what makes you say that? Aren’t you worried that your girlfriend might get groped in her next metro ride?”

-“……..No, she’s fine.” Period

And then there is another breed of people who want to get into every debate and every discussion just to look cool and knowledgeable. Pity these people, when we (obviously) find out that they dont really ‘know’ stuff and basically, have no opinion.

“So, what do you think about the new foreign policy of the State?”

-“Yes”

“Umm…yes what?”

_”What he said…”

“What who said?”

-“The person who spoke before I did”

“Oh! so you agree with that?”

-“Yes, He is very sweet, he is always right”

Believe me, I am not making these conversations up. I bet you too have met at least one person who fits in the category of the ‘Opinionlessly Opinionated’.

I would also like to ask all those people who comment unneccesarily, Why the hell do you talk about something you dont understand? If doubts, listen to other people, then make your own ideas. If still in doubt, research.

There is nothing shameful in admitting that you do not know about a certain topic. Believe me, it will bring you respect. All you need to do is say “I am sorry, but I do not know much about this…but I will get back to you on that.”

I fact, the other person might just tell you something about what he knows. There is nothing wrong or shameful about having less knowledge, but the stupidity is in pretending to know something you don’t. Have the guts to admit the truth…or shut up!

End of story.

case studies – Reserve coaches for executives: ‘Class’ified!


case studies – Reserve coaches for executives

Amit Mehta, a resident of Shatread more…

The introduction of the ladies’ coach in the Delhi Metro has triggered an array of reactions. To the women, the coach is a blessing in disguise. While most men have chosen to crib about the fact that they have one less coach to travel in, others have taken to ridiculing this new development. Obviously, the insenstive, chauvinists do not realize, or perhaps are unwilling to admit that this ladies’ coach has been introduced in reaction to their wonderful acts of eve-teasing, groping and sense-less commenting on women.

But recently, and very surprisingly, I read another kind of reaction from a not-so young and not-so-humble gentlemann in the newspaper. The poor fellow, who is sick of travelling in the over-crowded metro coaches, has brought up the idea of a seperate coach for the Business Class!

What I would like to ask this gentleman is, did he think before saying such a thing? The Delhi metro is a mode of PUBLIC, not private transport. It is meant for the commonfolk of the city, not for hot-shot business executives if-you-please! If you want such luxury, and if you are willing to pay extra for another class in the train, why not just travel in the comfort of your car, Mr. Business man?

Why bother us?

The ladies coach has been introduced not for the comfort of women travellers,but for their safety.  I would like to add before you reach that point. So, before making such remarks, please Mr. Businessman, and all you snobbish rich-jerks in the crowd…do think twice….or travel in your own 1st class-AC cars. Thank you very much.

 

A treat for the nose, is a treat for the soul


It has just stopped raining and the air is filled with a fresh, clean smell of wet earth. There is a cool, light breeze that carries the fragrance of the grass and earth with it and fills my nostrils and overpowers my senses. The first word that comes to my mind is “YUM”…

It is amazing how certain smells can really invigorate us, clear our minds of all staleness and bring a certain calmness to our frayed nerves. The smell of wet mud after the rains is one of those heavenly smells that I always look forward to after the gloomy darkness in the skies goes away.

And what better than to get a whiff of hot pakoras, the ever-popular rainy season Indian dish immediately after the rains. Or even that spicy aroma of Maggi just off the stove.

Better still, the warm and comforting vapours of ginger-basil tea- the perfect recipe for a congested nose and a bad cold.

That sense of upliftment I get when I hold a cup of hot coffee in my hands lasts for hours. MMmmmm…..that smell….my nose starts to tingle just thinking about it.

Its wonderful how certain smells evoke wonderful memories too….the smell of vanilla immediately brings back memories of walking down the streets licking on an icecream in my childhood days. The smell of ghee and gram flour invokes memories of my Grandma making me tins and tins of Besan Laddoos. The smell of wheat reminds me of my mom making me rotis for dinner and sometimes, even of that walk in the fields while on a camping trip.

The smell of chocolate takes one to another world altogether. And each person is transported to a different realm of imagination. For someone, it might just be a sweet reminder of the numerous birthday parties (same with butterscotch), for the other it might take one on a lustful journey, for me it is the perfect mood-lifter when things go wrong and nothing seems to cheer me up.

Oooh…food and memories have such a deep connection. And a pleasant one too!

What are your favourite smells? What do they remind you of? Do tell me!

Young Love


Like the little school mate in the school yard
We’ll play jacks and uno cards
I’ll be your best friend and you’ll be my Valentine
Yes you can hold my hand if you want to
‘Cause I want to hold yours too
We’ll be playmates and lovers and share our secret worlds

-Fergie

I was listening to ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ after a long time and the song made me nostalgic. It made me think of the time when we were little kids and nothing was so complicated as it is now. We had no qualms about who we loved and who we should love. No shame, no future planning to do. Just to enjoy the presence of that secret crush and that feeling of bliss everytime that person held our hands.

So, I couldn’t help but  write my own poem about young love.

I miss the innocence of childhood love.

That purity of the peck on the cheek

The fun in the games we played in the park

That coy laughter when we shared a secret

And knew that no one could ever find out what we were talking about

No commitments

And no liars

No cheating

No drama

We knew we were happy

Just with each other

Didn’t need anything else to discover

When we had our own secrets

Our own stories to tell

Our own stories to believe in

We knew it wouldn’t last

But that didn’t bother us much

The present mattered the most

The future would hold a lot

I miss that innocence of the past

When there were no heartbreaks

Only joy and laughter

There would be no goodbyes

Only love that would last

Kaliyug: Dark age or a Liberated one?


Kaliyuga: ‘the age of vice’ is often described as an age where dharma ceases to exist, where the human race is subject to pain, misery, and immoral thinking,where lust and sex becomes the central requirement of life,  where no respect is given to elders and equals, basically where all goodness comes to an end and human civilization degenerates and distances itself from God.

This age, the age of Kaliyuga, in which we are currently living, is often described as the ‘Dark Age’ in the history of mankind. God is as far removed as possible, and all negativity envelopes the Earth. Now, the ultimate  wait is for  ‘Satya yuga’ make its way through God’s blessing himself.

I wonder though, how one is supposed to react to the end of Kaliyug? Should one be happy that all evils will be gone and happiness and truth will be back in our lives?

I, for one, will be disappointed if the supposed cycle of  Yugas turns to bring us back to where we might have been centuries ago. And so, I think will be the women of my time.

We will be back to an age where women are perpetually subjugated and humiliated. Forced to live a life of hardship, they will back to that state of slavery at the hands of men. Be it in the sphere of the household,  political or even personal, they will be captured and stuck amongst  ancient behavior and outlook.

Restrictions on clothing, on food habits, on social behavior and other ropes of moral binding will hover around them. No longer will they be able to raise a voice against the evils against them, something that they have fought for, for decades. No longer will they step out of the house without giving a thought to if they are fully covered.

The stigma which is finally leaving the widowed or differently abled will once gain breed in the society. They will no longer be able to hold their heads up high and continue living without a husband, raising their children to be confident and self-assured, independent adults.

A menstruating woman will once again be confined to a dingy room in the corner of the house where she sleeps on the hard floor, living amongst bacteria and humiliation.

On the whole, this whole idea of the age of  ‘kali’ ending and the start of satya yuga is quite dreadful in my opinion. At the same time, I also think about why we need to make, and call this age of Kaliyug the ‘dark one’?

Isn’t it quite possible for a woman, who has always balanced multiple things in her life, to balance her self-confidence, self-realization with her ‘Dharma’? Every woman may just follow her own dharma: to take care of her husband and family, raise her children, be a success at the workplace and be happy in her own life? Will she not automatically spread happiness around her once she is in the same state?

I believe, once the little things start falling into place, the bigger ones will fall into place themselves. The freedom and happiness of women will ultimately lead to the freedom and happiness of all. Will lead to much more positivity in life…on Earth.

So, to me, Kaliyug is not a ‘Dark age’ in history, but a ‘Liberated one’.

Bye-Bye CWG, Hello Delhi


“Madam, badhe saaxy lag rahe ho”, the guy on the cycle shouts out to me as he passes by. Unfortunately for him, I do not respond. He continues to make intimidating remarks till he is sure that I will not look his way and then goes away dejected. I breathe a sigh of relief. This is not the first eve-teasing incident I have seen, but it still makes my heart beat at the rate of that cyclist’s wheel.

This got me thinking. The Commonwealth Games are over. The battalion of police and army personnel are no longer to be seen on every street. Delhi is no longer a ghost town that it had become during the Games. The normal (and slightly chaotic) traffic is back on the roads and so are the roadside romeos.

Shedding the image of the crime-capital of the country, Delhi had become the Games’ and cultural capital for a short (and blissful) while, but now that the CWG is over, it looks  recognizable once again.

The garbage that had disappeared is back, so are the paan-spitting people, not to forget the peeing ones at the corner of every street. Dengue and malaria are once again in full swing.

The CWG is over, and ‘saadi Dilli’ is back, and back along with it is ‘gandi Dilli’. The lack of etiquette among people, and the variety of non-sensical abusive words have found their way back home. The cons are back in business after their brief sabbatical.

The traffic snarls and chaos on roads is back after the much-liked order and conformity to rules during the Games. Tourist spots are no longer lit up and even the Government sponsored advertisements promoting etiquette and tourism are off the air. After a short  phase of progressive movement, we seem rolling back to the old times.

The few saving graces are still there though. Thanks to the dedication of Mr. Sreedharan, the Delhi Metro has covered a considerable area of the city. The new and swanky red and green (AC and non-AC) buses are a pleasure to ride on. Thankfully, the ever-convenient roadside kiosks, paan-wala, shoemakers and stalls are back. And of course, the much loved and much missed  Bhelpuri-walas and Golgappewalas are back! A pleasure to the eye, nose and tongue!  Now doesn’t that make you want to say “Hello Delhi, Welcome back!”?