Apology Unaccepted

One of my Mum’s oft-repeated story about my school-life is of¬†my habit of picking up frequent verbal fights with random people. It is a trait of me, that has rstood the test of time. I absolutely can’t let go of an argument I know I am goddamn right about! I have been accused on more than one occasion of being vengeful, and even petty. I am told it is “wrong to harbor grudges”, and that I should be “magnanimous enough to forgive.” But what if I tell you that forgiveness is overrated? That letting go is actually harmful to your sense of being and happiness? Crazy? Well, allow me to explain.
We are a privileged generation. We have access to the biggest boon of all times – Internet. Our forefathers(and mothers), did not have the luxury of having all the knowledge of the world on their fingertips. They were restricted to airing their opinions about current affairs, people, culture, traditions, weather to small gatherings only. But we, the millenials, are crazy lucky! Have an idea you want to share? Go right ahead and post it on any social media of your choice! It doesn’t matter that you wouldn’t have shared it, had you thought over it for more than a few seconds. You just got a 100 people affirming your belief, so it can’t be wrong, can it?
Except that it is. To some people. For valid reasons. And since it is online, people will choose to digress more publicly than they would have, had they met you over a drink. You can choose to respond, or you can choose to respond disrespectfully. But here is a thing, disrespect is uncool, even in today’s digital age. And it is also an oft-repeated assholery in social media.
Most of the follies people commit don’t launch nuclear missiles mistakenly; they are about how they disrespected someone by their actions or words. The disrespect can manifest in more ways than one. You might be getting bullied at school, at home, at college, at workplace, or at social media. But each time you choose to ignore it, and cover it in the garb of “forgiveness”, you are only deluding yourself, and harming your own sense of self-respect. Forgiving people might sound all zen, but it can cause great havoc to your happy state when you know in your heart that you were supposed to be retaliate but did not, because hey, forgive and forget.
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” The crucial word here to me, is not “forgive”, it is “divine”. Don’t try to be Him, even He doesn’t pardon that easy. Because if He did, “Karma” wouldn’t exist.

So forgive all you want, just don’t use it as an excuse to tolerate shit. Bhagwan banne ke chakkar me idiot mat bano please!

P.S : The word “Idiot” has been used to censor the original content for under 18 and above 50 ūüėČ

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

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Lovelorn

Sometimes, when it is dark
The fan whirling away
I see you.

You come unexpected
Smiling just like we met
The other day
You use your hand to
Push away the bothering
Strand of hair across
My eyes, which I close
To see you.

You ask me how I am
If I miss you
Because you do
Not the one who left
But the one next to me
I open my eyes
To see you.

And through the tears
That fall free
Of memories
That slowly fade away
As I hear you
Whispering goodbye
In my ears
But I can’t
See you.

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Abstract

She woke up, startled
In a dark, dank place
It seemed eerily familiar,
and yet so strange
The noise was deafening
A cacophony like monkeys make

“Come here, look at me”, a voice yelled
“Not that, me, come to me”, the other wailed
“You are a loser”, snickered one
“How fake can you be”, chided the other

The voices went on,
screeching and singing and crying and laughing
At first she cupped her ears,
trying to make out what each said
Then got tired, and looked some way
to block the mess they made
She was embittered, and so added to it
Screaming out loud, just to get herself heard
But realized soon she wouldn’t win
and so sat defeated, in despair and a temper frayed

It smelled like honey turning vapid
and felt like nails scratching chalkboard
Scared out of her wits, she prayed
Wondering if there was something she missed
She searched wildly, looking for a needle in hay
and found it, crushed, and little grey

She tapped it, and lo behold,
the light arrived, like nothing happened
Funny how a simple “Log Out”
can make a brighter day.

via Abstract

Featured Image : 3rd Perspective Photography

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Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Who am I?
Silence is my Refuge,
Words are my Hideout.
Extrovert,
or an Introvert in the garb of one?
Social,
or Anxious, eager to get home?
Netflix and chill,
or Tequila for the win?

Who am I?
Single by choice,
or Lovelorn?
Red lipstick,
Or Grey laptop?
Stilettos,
or Sneakers?
Water,
or Fire, raring to burn?

Who am I?
Stereotype-défier,
or Girl-Next-Door?
Durga,
or Savitri?
Serious, committed sorts,
or The Tinder types?

I don’t need a man to be happy, I tell myself, as I scout through the dating/marriage apps on my phone. I am fit, I tell myself, as I scoop out the last of chocolate ice-cream in the deep freeze. Maybe I am all of that, and more. Maybe I am, maybe I am not. When I don’t know, how would you? Stop judging now, will you?

Picture courtesy: 3rd Perspective Photography

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The Break-up

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me…I know that I had vowed to write¬†regularly at the blog. I had promised myself to post at least three entries on the blog every week (3!!!!). And I know that 5 weeks are over and I have done just 2 posts till now (2!!!!). So when my good friend messages me everyday reminding to write something, I tell him that I am not “feeling it” or “I have no time” or “I don’t know what to write”. I talk about you, tell him that it is you, who doesn’t let me fill pages with my words, who doesn’t let me complete the last part of my story series, For the love of Food.

But I know it is not you. I know it is me. I am too jarred by all the things happening around me. I am too distracted, too volatile in temperament these days. From past couple of years, the first few weeks of a new year almost always bring with them a lot of uncertainty for me. This one seems to be taking the cake from all the past ones though. There is not one thing today in my life, where I can call myself “sorted”. Who knew adulting was this hard?

10 years ago, at this point of time, my worries were about getting a good grade in boards and getting admission into a decent college. And I used to tell myself,”I just need this, and I will be done forever.” I wish someone had told me that there would always be something-and that apprehension and anxiety about future, is the way of life.

So forgive me for putting the onus of my irregular writing on you. I have realized that life is like that, and that if I need to do something, I must take out time for it. And with my time invested in more fruitful pursuits, I am afraid I no longer have the luxury to spend it with you.

It’s over, Writer’s Block.¬†A break-up 10 days before Valentine’s Day can be heartbreaking, but it is usually a good idea to quit things/people who are no good for us, isn’t it? It’s my time to shine through the darkness of uncertainities, and this is my journey, alone.

Sorry for all the pain,

A struggling writer

Featured Image: 3rd Perspective

 

 

 

 

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Invitation

ConfRm-BLR-1st Floor – Tanjore

It is 8.30 pm in the night. You are at office,¬†working on that issue customer reported two hours ago. It was a small change in configuration, and you have emailed the customer, keeping all the required people in CC. It is Thursday, and you really want to head home now. The cook didn’t turn up today, and so tonight’s dinner is going to be Barbecue Chicken Pizza, your flat-mate has messaged.

You are about to shut down your laptop when you see a meeting reminder from Outlook. The meeting doesn’t have a subject, but it says “ConfRm-BLR-1st Floor – Tanjore”, starting now. You are surprised, you don’t remember accepting any meeting invite for this late in the evening. You check for the email¬†Invitation , but you can’t find it. You are annoyed, but you might as well go and check once, isn’t it? So you head to the 1st floor from your cubicle at 6th Floor, taking stairs of course, to compensate for the beer you would be having later with your pizza, and reach the conference room.

The room is dark, and there is no one on 1st floor. You switch on the lights and decide to wait. You fool around with your laptop, look for the email again. And this time you find it, it is from project@company-name.com . But that is an alias for automated emails, how could an invitation come from it?

15 minutes pass. The meeting is officially over. You decide to leave, you need to ask the IT guy about this tomorrow. You go to your cubicle, taking the lift, pack your laptop and leave for the parking lot. Once you reach the ground floor, you hear some commotion. A lot of people seem to have gathered outside the office. There is a tempo standing outside the parking lot, but you don’t know what is that for. You come out of the office gate, and ask the security guard who is standing at the outer edge of the crowd, “Kya hua Bhaiya?”

“Arey Sir, that tempo was over speeding and came¬†from opposite direction in the one-way street, ramming into the tree. Fortunately no one is hurt, because had someone been leaving from our parking lot 15 minutes back, they would have died on the spot.”

You freeze. You think about that invitation. Or was that an intervention?

Image courtsey : Outlook

 

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Tempted

He decided to teach her a lesson.

It was raining incessantly from past couple of days. The weather was perfect for a cup of tea with a smoke. He decided to go to his favorite tea shop just 2 kms away, but it took him a mad 30 minutes of honking and breaks to reach. The tea shop was hardly crowded, the rains had probably deterred most of the regulars. He was about to leave, when he saw her.

It looked like she was heading back home from a gym. She seemed to be lost in her own world, walking on a desolate lane without any care in the world. But it was past 8 pm, what was she doing walking on a road so late? Shouldn’t she be at home, in such a weather? How dare she step out in those shorts? Anything above ankle is short, isn’t it?

He decided to teach her a lesson. He sat on his bike, the girl turned to see a bike starting but didn’t think much of it. She continued to walk. She was thinking about the workout she had today, she managed to dead-lift 15 kgs today. But she could do better, she should try for 18 kgs next time. She thought of taking out her phone, but remembered she had left at home to charge. Anyway, her home was just 300 meters away.

“SMACK”, she heard a hand go at her butt, bringing her out of her reverie, leaving her stunned for a second as she saw a bike sped past her, the same bike she saw standing 50 meters away a few minutes back. She screamed expletives, and yelled him to stop. She was shivering with anger, and she was..scared. It was a relatively lonely lane, completely residential, but due to rains everyone was inside their houses. One of the street-lights wasn’t even working, else she could have seen his bike’s number.

She saw a guy coming from the opposite side, who had stopped hearing her screams. She ran up to him, and told him what happened. And then, the guy said ,”Look he is coming back”, as a bike went past him. But she couldn’t be sure, he was wearing a helmet and she couldn’t see the bike’s number plate again.

She reached another lane, which was well-lit with more people. But she was frightened. She absolutely had to reach home as soon as possible. She walked as fast as she could. Suddenly she heard a vehicle coming behind her, and she stopped and turned. It was a bike, the guy wasn’t wearing a helmet. And he told her “Nice shorts, baby.” She managed to see the number plate this time, and kept reciting the number of his bike to herself till she got home, so that she didn’t forget.

That girl was me. This happened in June 2015, just a few lanes away from my home. And what did I do about this? I filed a FIR with the police. When I reached the station, the constable tried to dissuade me, saying that the bike’s number wouldn’t help and that there is no “proof”. I also saw him telling a girl who had come to complain about a boy harassing her on phone as to why did she befriend him and gave her number at the first place. I didn’t leave the station. I waited for more than an hour, till the SI agreed to see me. He took me to the spot of crime, and I was asked to recount the details again and again. I wrote down the complaint, with all the details and the address of the place where the incident happened.

But you see, I live alone in Bangalore. And needless to say, my parents were freaked out by my dare-devilry. Over that, I did not even know the local language, so I was kind of taken for a ride by a middleman, who insisted he was just a good Samaritan. The SI would only talk to him, instead of talking to me directly, probably because of the language gap. Since I had noted the bike’s number, they found out all the details of that guy the same day. But he probably by then had realized what he had done, and had fled along with his bike.

They kept a watch at his place for two days, before he returned home and they caught him. And mind you, he was no roadside urchin. He was an employee with a reputed IT firm, and married. His wife was out-of-town, and he had come with a lawyer and his brother and sister-in-law to the police station. His lawyer told the SI that the guy “was a family man”, and that I was mistaken, it must have been someone else.

A charge-sheet was filed and I went to the District Magistrate’s court to give a statement. My closest friend’s father is a lawyer, and though both she and her father weren’t even in the country at that time, they helped me as much as possible. I was scared to go to the court, I had zilch knowledge of the law. But the legal code required me to give my statement, and I went. It amazed me to no extent that at the court too, there were men leering at me, they were shameless and fearless.

The law mandates that the statement of such a crime has to be given in presence of a lady magistrate, with no one else in attendance. And that was followed. Once my statement was over, I left. I got to know that his lawyer in the bail application had stated “How can anyone recognize anyone with a helmet on?” I never mentioned a helmet in my FIR. Apparently, the middleman had given them the details in lieu of some money.

I didn’t follow-up on the case after that. I was advised by some of my well wishers to change my address, since the guy had all my details now. But it pissed me off. Why should I go through inconvenience when he was the criminal?

It has been 1.5 year since then. I changed my gym, and have never gone on that lane since then. I make it a point to walk through well-lit, crowded roads. But as the mass molestation case shows, even crowd can be dangerous. I never wore that clothing again, and for those interested, it was a knee-length sports tights. I don’t know if that was what¬†Tempted him to do what he did, and then dare to come back twice. But I know for sure that it was his blatant lack of respect of my being that outraged me, and gave me the courage to go to a police station in a strange city. I just couldn’t bear the thought that he believed he could get away with this.

I have not stopped living my life, but I made changes, to be “safer”. Each time, one of the morally righteous Facebook crusader screams “Not all men”, I feel like banging his/her head in the keyboard of their computer.¬†Because it may not be all men, but it is #YesAllWomen . There is no excuse for a sexual assault, not my clothes, not the time, not my lack of knowledge of local language.

It is shameful that our education doesn’t teach us the basics – I think every school-going child must know the basic procedure of filing a FIR and what ensues after that. The reason I wrote this today, is because not even one woman filed a complaint regarding the mass molestation. Even the girl whose assault was captured on CCTV didn’t file¬†a complaint – we have such huge misgivings about the law and police in our country that we think that nothing fruitful would come out of the complaint. But that is wrong. You might be shivering down to your bones when they call you to the police station to identify the perpetrators, but you can still make sure that they don’t dare to do this with someone else, by speaking up.

I didn’t think the first post of 2017 would be my re-telling of such a traumatic experience, that I could never pen down before, but the recent news reports have given me a new strength to do so. And thanks to all my friends and family who supported me through that time, for it would have been quite hard to do that without your help.

Featured Image: Here

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Romance Retreat

We Indians love our elaborate traditions and gaiety. We have many festivals all through out the year, and each is celebrated with joyous splendor and magnificence. But there is one festival that we love more than others, even more than Diwali РWeddings. The union of two souls is memorialized in grand ceremonies and extravagant show, and the Indian wedding only seems to get bigger and fatter with every passing year.

Since November-December is supposedly very auspicious for weddings, every year my Facebook news feed is religiously occupied during the marriage season with lovely pictures and picturesque check-ins of weddings and honeymoons and everything that¬†precedes and follows¬†it. And a very amusing trend in the matrimony “industry” (and I use the word “industry” because a lot of people mint good amount of money during this period) is the pre-wedding photo shoot. I saw it the first time couple of years ago, and it was absolutely adorable!!!! It has been long since then, and looks like this one is here to stay, except now, it has become kind of, cringe-worthy.

I don’t get it. What’s with these mock-up, larger-than-life pictures that look so unreal, like the romance has retreated from the life of the couple before it even started? ¬†I saw a photo-shoot recently that left me astound¬†– one picture of the couple was overlooking the ocean, the other on a mountain top with the obligatory Titanic pose, and yet another was in a forest! I mean, is it a photo-shoot or a 4th standard Geography-text book?

At the risk of getting unfriended by truckload of married friends, who have wasted precious money on those mushy and pretentious pictures,me Рyour oh-so-single friend is telling you that you that those photo-shoots are actually, very silly.

Tell me something, is¬†the romance really about exotic locations or filmy postures? Ask yourself if this is how you fell in love with your partner, while getting photo-shopped on the top of Himalayas, or when he/she reminded you to go easy one that ice-cream because you are still recovering from a cold? Why is romance, or love, supposed to be so mythical and beyond the realms of a normal world? Isn’t it about practical wisdom, dealing with each day as it comes, and stealing moments here and there to express how mad you are about each other?

My parents didn’t have a fancy wedding photo-shoot, and neither did yours. And they still turned out pretty well. Look around you, don’t you squirm uncomfortably¬†when you hear of young married couples struggling to make it work, irrespective of their marriages being love/arranged, because they are incompatible? Why can’t love be more, honest and straight-forward, instead of fake? Why not have a photo-shoot that shows the two of you living life like you normally do – enjoying that occasional glass of wine or goofing around each other?

As I sip my coffee and go through some really crazy photo-shoots, I have no clue whom I am getting married and when. But I sure as hell know what I am not planning to do Р A down-on-one- knee proposal picture with relatives in tow. Eww, no! Doing headstand together though, now that sounds interesting!

ASANA_C
                                       What a beautiful inversion!

Featured Image : The most realistic honeymoon picture ever

Image source: Yoga Journal

via Retreat

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Free

It had been a tiresome day

It had been a tiresome day. She was¬†up since 5 in the morning, out on the roads. She had been struggling with a photographer’s block from past 2 weeks, and so she clicked everything and everyone in her sight. She absolutely had to finish the photo assignment by tomorrow, and she was short of one last “magical” picture. It was already sunset, she would have to figure something out later. She booked a Uber from Nariman Point – going to Malad would easily take her 2¬†hours in the evening rush.

“Kamal? You in there?”, she spoke as she opened the door to her humble abode, a 2-bhk with a posh builder in the city, something her father gifted her on her marriage with Kamal. It has been 7 years since they married – he worked with a talent agency and she was a photographer. Their friends often marveled at their compatibility – no one remembered them arguing about anything. They understood each other perfectly, they supported each other through all thick and thin. Due to¬†crazy demands of their respective jobs, they had mutually decided to not have children. Of course their families and friends weren’t happy about that, but they had made their choice, and didn’t have regrets.

As she stepped into her apartment, she knew something was amiss. The house seemed – disturbed. There was a three-quarters’ full bottle of Jack Daniels on the table, and a glass with a last sip left. The sofa rug was lying on the floor. And their picture, the one they took while holidaying in Seychelles last summer, was lying face down.

“Kamal? Where are you?”, she didn’t even bother to put down her apparatus, and rushed to the bedroom, her camera flying across. The closet was open, and half of the hangers, were empty. Kamal sat at the edge of their bed, face down, staring at the packed suitcase in front of him.

“What’s wrong? Where are you going? What’s going on?” All the questions ran through her mind, but she knew better than to ask. She stood at the doorstep, waiting for Kamal to speak.

“I called up Dad today, told him all about us.”, Kamal spoke, not even looking at her.

She waited for him to go on.

“More like me, I told him all about me. He was shocked, I hope it is not too much for his weak heart. I was fed up of hiding it from everyone, and I felt too guilty when you lied on my behalf to all. I feel so… unburdened. Is it wrong to feel so?” He looked at her, and there it was, her cue. She took several pictures, all close-ups. Her photographer’s block finally freed her, as she captured the¬†glitter of freedom.

 

Featured Image : 3rd Perspective Photography

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Him

 

I saw him today. He had come for the evening Aarti. He looked just as I remembered him –¬†unassuming, quiet, unremarkable. The kind of man you wouldn’t give a second look in a crowd. He is dutifully¬†religious, he comes for Ganga Aarti every full moon day and Ganga Snaan on Thursdays. It is hard to believe he is the owner of Rajshree Jewels,¬†he bears no¬†airs of a rich man.

They say he started small. His father had a small shop in the old market area, but he made what Rajshree Jewels is today – opulent, regal and one of a kind. Apparently, Bollywood stars specially order jewels from his shop; his daughter’s wedding graced by so many VIPs was a testimony to his powerful network.

His daughter, they say, is a splitting image of his wife. His wife was the daughter of his gardener, and she was so beautiful that he fell in love with her the first time he saw her. He fought with his traditional family to make sure he married her; his parents gave up in front of his strong will. They were tied in a wedlock in a quiet ceremony, and were blessed with a daughter within a year of the marriage.

Nothing is forever though, isn’t it? The wife died in a terrible incident 10¬†years ago, she was on her way from her morning walk when she was shot three times in the chest at point-blank range. Paid assassins, the police said. The motive was to kidnap her apparently, to seek a ransom. But when she resisted and fought back, she was killed. The police, despite all sorts of political pressure, couldn’t find anything about her murderers. People speculated that they were foreign nationals, who ran away to their respective countries after the killing.

The man was bereft at her funeral.¬†He turned to religion to overcome his grief, and hence began his¬†faithful evening ritual at Har ki Paudi, followed by feeding orphans and beggars.Today is his wife’s birthday, so he will distribute Moong dal halwa with Matar Poori. My dinner for tonight is already fixed. Sometimes I feel guilty though, shouldn’t I let him know how his wife stopped screaming the moment I fired the first shot¬†into her heart?

Featured Image : 3rd Perspective Photography

via Moody¬†. My dear friend at 3rd Perspective Photography asked me to write something for this photo and though I have been crazy upbeat post the dance showcase on 17th (more about that later!), this picture made me write something very dark and melancholic. Maybe I had a not-so-discreet mood swing ūüėÄ

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