Magic

As real as it can be.

“Do you believe in magic?”
“Magic as in? Harry Potter kinds?”
“Ummm, yeah, depending on how you view Harry Potter in the first place.”
“I don’t know what are you talking about.”
“Okay, hear me out. So basically, Harry Potter series wasn’t just about the spells wizards did. It was also about the magic of life. And interestingly, you can be a Muggle and still witness and even perform that magic.”
“How so?”
“By being more hopeful about life in general. Hope is the most magical thing. It adds meaning even to the most mundane things and the toughest of troubles. It gives you patience, it makes you kinder. Hope sparkles. Hope is magic. Hope is forever.”
“Hmmm, seems legit.”
“It is also easy to spread. Watch me.”
Image Courtesy: Kanishk Rajput

Small Wins

This seemingly random picture ( no filters by the way) of my left hand has a very interesting significance. And I am going to go ahead and bore you with my musings. 😀
In 2011, I joined Masters in Engineering in a prestigious University. As a graduate engineer, I knew shit (Thank you, laziness and Indian Education System). I struggled through the lectures and lab hours in MS, and my lack of confidence led me to develop the most disgusting habit ever – nail biting. I love putting nailpaint, but my ugly habit made sure that my nails were never in a good enough shape.
Time passed by. I graduated MS with a great score, got a good job with a respectable company.  But the nail-biting did not go away. It creeped its head each time I was stressed, and by the time I would realize, the damage was done.
I tried to stop. I made resolutions, even contemplated putting little chilli powder on my nails! My mom lost her cool each time she saw me biting nails, and kept asking me, “What is wrong with you?” Each time I went for a manicure, the beautician told me “Grow your nails no, they will look so graceful.” But to no avail.
It was not till yesterday that I noticed my nails. They looked, pretty for a change. The cuticles seem okay too. In last year, I did almost reach this length, but for some reason couldn’t sustain.
My long nails, though insignificant, gave me food for thought. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves, during our attempts to achieve perfection, that we forget to celebrate the small wins. That jeans you couldn’t fit into, is loose for you now. That parantha you have been trying to nail for some time, came out as well as your mum’s. Or the nails are finally long.
There will always be new goals to work towards. No one is perfect. But don’t forget to give yourself a pat on your back every once in a while, for acknowledging the efforts you put in for your self improvement. Even if the right hand is still not up to speed with the left 😛

Happiness

We, the generation of privileges, often refuse to own the responsibility of our happiness, just like the rest of the things. We keep fooling ourselves and hurting others around us when we absolutely do nothing to keep happy. Who told you that staying happy is easy? Or that joy would be found in your next job, the next vacation, the next Rayban, the next drink, the next relationship?
Happiness demands work. You have to make an effort to stay happy, just like all good things in life. And mark my words, you wouldn’t be happy with anything or anyone else, till you are happy with your own self.
Not so long ago, I knew someone who categorically told me, “I am an unhappy person, I can’t keep anyone happy.” It took me a long time to understand what they meant, but when I did, it was like a light bulb switched on somewhere. You see, you absolutely can’t make a person happy unless and until they are happy in themselves. You can’t “fix” anyone, unless you are medically qualified to do so.
Work on being happy. That is the only way to be really, truly happy. As simple as that sounds, it takes a lot of time to sink.

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 😉

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

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.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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