January 05, 2017

Aahista chal zindagi - A new year treat

As a new year treat, I am sharing this beautiful poem written by an anonymous poet. I actually came across it on Whatsapp during last new year when it was being circulated. The forward says it's written by Gulzar but I couldn't trace any source to confirm this, and any original source to link this to, so I am just pasting it here - It doesn't matter who wrote it. It is as beautiful as it is touching:

Aahista chal zindagi, abhi kai karz chukana baaki hai
Kuch dard mitana baaki hai, kuch farz nibhana baaki hai
Raftaar mein tere chalne se kuchh rooth gaye, kuch chhoot gaye
Roothon ko manana baaki hai, roton ko hasana baki hai
Kuch hasraatein abhi adhuri hain, kuch kaam bhi aur zaruri hai
Kuch rishte ban kar toot gaye, kuch judte-judte chhoot gaye

Un toote-chhoote rishton ke zakhmon ko mitana baki hai
Tu aage chal main aata hoon, kya chhod tujhe ji paunga?
In saanson par haqq hai jinka, unko samjhaana baaki hai
Aahista chal zindagi, abhi kai karz chukana baki hai

So how does the new year feel? To me, it feels like one of my favorite songs which soothes the mind, stirs the soul and gives hope. Music defines a language of its own and speaks differently to everyone, and somehow, I never found Phir Le Aaya Dil to be a tragic romantic song. Rekha Bharadwaj's voice captivated me first and the lyrics made me fall in love with the song. The lines make me introspect, seek hope and calm myself. The music and Rekha Bharadwaj's voice sound at once both reflective and hopeful, as though one is trying to seek lost memories and fulfil the past.

Enjoy listening to it here - I particularly love Rekha Bharadwaj's rendering of this song: link

Sharing my favorite lines in the long penned by Sayeed Quadri:

Dil keh raha use maqammal kar bhi aao woh jo adhoori si baat baaki hai.. woh jo adhoori si yaad baaki hai....
Dil keh raha use mayassar kar bhi aao woh jo dabi si aas baaki hai.. woh jo dabi si aanch baaki hai....
Dil keh raha use musalsal kar bhi aao woh jo rooki si raah baaki hai.. woh jo rooki si chaah baaki hai....

Translation:
The heart seeks me to fulfil that unfulfilled matter, that unfulfilled memory....
The heart seeks me to unveil that suppressed desire, that suppressed flame....
The heart seeks me to complete that unfinished path, that unfulfilled desire....

Note: If there is any authentic source which establishes the original source for the poem I shared, please notify me. I would be more than happy to link it here or take permission from the author.

Related posts:

1. Happy new year - Link

January 02, 2017

Happy new year

Happy new year everyone!!

And....I am back!

So you got it right - my new year resolution is: to write more. Whether it is on this blog or elsewhere, I want to spend more time doing this one thing which I love to do. So this isn't a 'fix the problem' resolution. It is more of a but this is more of a 'let myself free' resolution which I am taking to do what I truly want to do rather than what I am supposed to do.

First things first. I'm sorry for the long, mysterious disappearance. I have no explanation to offer other than that I lost track and things got in between and well, I didn't create time for this. To be fairly honest, it is hard to explain how much I really missed this space. Let me just say that I feel alive typing this now. So many times my hands have itched to rant here, and for too long, I kept myself locked away whenever my mind wandered and my thoughts swayed with these winds.

And finally, with the new year, I decided that there is going to be no more of shutting myself up. Sometimes, it is good to Let It Go (yup, I've seen Frozen and loved it) and indulge yourself without restraints. So, here I am again, all unleashed, and all renewed, with the promise to turn these sporadic rants into frequent ones.

And last but not the least, thank you for still sticking to my blog! I wish everyone of my readers and their loved ones a very happy new year. I would also love to know what your new year resolution(s) is(are). Please drop in a comment if you wish. Wish you all the best in acting on them!

Hope you'll enjoy my future posts. I'll make sure there are more of them coming.

Cheers!!

Related posts:

1. Ahista Chal Zindagi - A new year treat - Link

March 03, 2016

Turning into an insomniac

Seriously, I am supposed to be sleeping now. And try as I might, I simply am not able to soothe my mind to sleep. Last few months have been very, very restless. So much so, that even though no less than 70 odd drafts sit in this blog, waiting to be finished, and some 50 more thoughts would have captured my attention strongly enough to translate them into ideas for more posts, I hardly published anything in the last 3 months. Guilty conscience... writer's block.. whatever the reason might be, I simply could not bring myself to complete any post, and the most I could do was extensively rework a few drafts. At this point, I really need to thank those of you who have persevered enough to still come back to this page, despite the prolonged inactivity. And more so for bearing with this rant, as I have no idea as to what exactly I am trying to convey through this post, except that I know I am blabbering randomly out of sleeplessness. Besides, there is not much that I can do at this hour. I sincerely hope I publish this post before I fully read it - I will never publish something like this if I do read it critically.

Just now, I almost considered discarding this post before I almost considering hitting Publish button instantly in the fear of adding to the list of unfinished posts. See, THAT'S the thing: It has been like that almost all the time in the last couple of months, with everything - not just blogging. Just when I brace myself to start afresh on any piece of work, I work myself into inaction out of restlessness about challenges and consequences. It happens often. I become frigid to block myself from everything, restlessness included. And I am close to turning nocturnal now. At times, I simply can't sleep, and today, I found myself to be Googling 'How to make yourself fall asleep' and 'How to avoid restlessness'. And I ended up whiling away some more time not sleeping and not becoming any closer to falling alseep. None of the online tips helped of course, because mine is a problem of lack of will than that of knowledge. I know all those tips already, and I did try deep breathing, emptying my brain of all thoughts etc., but some things are easier said than done. The source of restlessness is something which I can't do much about, and thinking about it is only increasing it. Sometimes, waiting periods can be cruel, but I guess it all boils down to how you can handle uncertainty.

And now, I was almost close to discarding this post again, because the guilty conscience is in operation, and is drawing my attention to the clock ticking away with. This again, is also something which has been happening almost all the time of late. When I am doing anything I enjoy, I feel restless about other important things which are due from me, and I again become inactive. As a result of this futile inaction on anything meaningful, I end up whiling away my time on random things which just keep me occupied enough to not let me think or act, like reading Harry Potter. I really should not be saying anything against Harry Potter books: they have been my faithful companions during tough phases. I hope they will get me out of the blackhole this time too.

Anyway, my mobile battery is running out of power, and I have ranted enough. Thanks for reading till the end, and sorry for boring you with what can be surmised as inadequate, unsolicited excuses for not blogging regularly, and for not giving you a good post which I am sure you were hoping for. Honestly, I really care about you as a reader so I do promise to either be more regular in future or publish a better post next time (it's too ambitious to promise them both together, and I firmly believe in 'Under-promise, over-deliver'!).

I missed this space so much, it's hard to stop the rant! Good night...

November 21, 2015

Around the News

I share similar views as surmised in the quoted excerpts:

1) On the IS Attacks - Link by Melissa McEwan from Shakesville

// ...The attackers, whomever they may be and whatever their motives, went after the heart of progressive Paris. They did not attack the more touristy Champs-Elysées or Notre Dame, or the more bourgeois and conservative left bank, where most of the government ministries are located."

The reason for that is clear, from IS own literature: They are seeking to "destroy the 'grayzone' of coexistence between Muslims & [non-Muslims in] the West." They want to provoke non-Muslim Westerners into Islamophobia and violent retribution, and force non-radical Muslims to choose sides. //

// My sincerest condolences to those who have lost family, friends, neighbors, and/or colleagues in the IS attacks. I am so sorry. I am so sad and so angry for you. My sympathy to everyone in the communities which have been terrorized and continue to be terrorized, as well as to Muslims—and Sikhs and other people presumed to be Muslim—who will be targeted for violent retribution, for something they did not do. //

Please go through the full article: Link

2) Appropriation of Bihar - Link by Heartranjan from Heartranjan's blog

// Now suddenly, everybody wants to talk about Bihar. People who haven’t been to the state even once, have no idea what it was bifurcated into, or even the names of the parties contesting. Today, everybody wants a piece of Bihar. And the entire discussion is from two view-points.

1. Those who feel Bihar committed a gigantic mistake because by not voting for Modi. Which automatically means they didn’t vote for BJP, which automatically means they don’t want development. //
// The second opinion is of the kind I’d generously typecast as the ‘liberals’, which sadly, has been reduced to an anti-Modi brigand. // // You think the Bihari voter gives a fuck about your issues? Have you lived in Bihar? Apart from stopping Modi, does anything else about the election affect you? To cheer for Laloo Prasad Yadav, the poster boy of bovine corruption puts in question your support all along for politics free of corruption and dynastical politics. //
// Bihar has its own issues to deal with. Appropriating Bihar to fill the colour of the lens you see the world with, doesn’t amount to jackshit. //

Please go through the full article: Link

November 18, 2015

B.I.T.C.H. Diaries - 1

Babe.In.Total.Control.Of.Herself

'Damn all the bra straps! Damn all the bras!!', Madhoo muttered to herself, as she rushed into the nearest loo in the airport to adjust the length of her bra strap. She just got out of a 2 hour flight where she suddenly realized half-way through that her bra strap was hurting her back pretty badly. Left with no choice but to wait till she finds some private space to remove her bra and put it back on, she spent the next one hour cursing whoever was being popularizing bras and recapping some of her bra problems...

She first started wearing bras when she was in high school. She was introduced to the concept by one of her busybody aunts who advises everyone on all that is about their well-being and her business, a certain class of relatives one can never run out of in India. To be fair, her aunt had been nice enough to take her shopping and help her out with picking her first bra. Back then, she found it exciting for a while as she was at the start of puberty. But as age grew on her, the proverbial 'fascination is short-lived' idiom turned out to be true and she started discovering all possible annoyances that can be manifested through bras.

For one thing, she almost always managed to buy the wrong size, and it took her years to learn and detect when she should revisit her measurements. As she thought of that, the hurt in her back reminded her that the time has come for her to go bra-shopping again. For another, she has tried all versions of them: the padded ones, wired ones, lace ones, backless ones, front open designs, stick-ons - you name the model and she would have tried it from a range of brands, only to discover the flaws in each one. Most of the bras she purchased spending good money turned out to be nightmares and she knew she would be staying miles away from the wired ones after the wire in her most expensive inner came out and cut through her skin once. Finally, age has made her wise enough to realize that somethings just don't work for you however fancy they may be labeled as.

It has been two years since she overcame her apprehensions and completely stopped wearing bras at home. And she ruefully wished for a day when women don't have to feel any compulsion to wear bras when they go out. True, they do help in making one look sexy, which is useful at times, and often make you look better, but then, they are really not worth it, once you consider all the trouble. Besides, there are other aids to help you look sexy...

Giving a sigh of relief now that she has adjusted her bra strap, coupled with the happy thought that she can be bra-free in an hour, Madhoo headed towards the cab counter along with her suitcase. As soon as she got into the cab, she texted her parents that she landed safely. That reminded her that it has been a while since she visited her parents. Too many things to plan... And she switched her thoughts to the fun she had over the weekend. It has been an amazing trip. She got some really good girlfriend-time which was much-needed. She bought three new dresses, went through all the new additions to each of her friends' closets, and lazed around for one whole day chit-chatting and venting out with her friends, an activity she has always considered to be therapeutic. She then wondered about what she was doing to do for dinner when a nasty thought cut through her mind: She has to go to office the next day...

P.S.: This is my first piece of fiction. You are one of my first-readers and are special to me. I would really love to hear what you think of it. Please do comment.

August 30, 2015

Understanding feminism, sexism and sexual assaults III: Saying 'yes' doesn't mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity

Indianhomemaker posted this as a guest post (link) on her blog (link). I am resharing it here.

A Guest Post by Freebird.


I don’t think consensual sex which doesn’t involve any coercion should be treated as rape at any cost. So I find the statement ‘I said ‘yes’ but it was ’emotional rape” very contradictory.

But what I didn’t understand, and do find disturbing, is this:

// I nodded. But it was an unsure nod. I was still thinking but he started acting on it before I could know. Nobody could stop him from there. He undressed me and complemented my body.

He asked, he didn’t force himself on me. He was brutal and really wild but since it was my first, I didn’t know it was not supposed to be like that. There was no romance. He quickly got into me and enjoyed my painful shrieks. He didn’t kiss my forehead as in the movies. I couldn’t gather what was happening to my body. It was being twisted and twirled like a rubber band. I was in pain, I told him but he didn’t care. My lips were bleeding, my shoulder had a mark, I was suffocated by the weight of his body but he just didn’t stop. // - link

// Just a nod costed me my happiness. // - link

In this story, why didn’t this girl ever realize that it was OK for her to say ‘no’after saying ‘yes’? Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a blanket sanction to any sexual activity. It is perfectly right to set boundaries, or ask the other person to stop when she was getting uncomfortable. If he was hurting her and she was in pain, why isn’t it clear that she had every right to tell him to stop hurting her and not engage in things which were painful to her? And the moment this message is conveyed clearly and if he still carries on, it does become ‘rape’ (not an esoteric ’emotional rape’). Whether it can be proved or not is a different issue. That doesn’t change the fact that it is rape when the other person is violating your boundaries.

August 12, 2015

Taking a short break

Hello everyone,

I am a little too caught up with some important stuff, so I guess I will most probably not be posting anything during the next 3 - 4 weeks. I promise I'll be back as soon as possible.

Till then, cheers!!

July 26, 2015

Reflections from a Modern Indian Kitchen IV: South Indian meal finally

I been craving for good South Indian meal since a while: It is particularly hard to find good Andhra food in Mumbai. Finally, I decided to take it upon myself to make it happen. And so, today, I made a four course meal consisting of rice with toor dal chutney, ivy gourd fry, tomato dal and raw banana - curd chutney. We were in such a hurry to binge that I forgot to take pictures )

I am quite happy with the raw banana - curd chutney. The recipe I used is easy to follow and hard to go wrong with:

1. Remove the skin of the raw banana (I use knife and not peeler). Split it into four vertically and cut each split piece into 2 - 3 inch pieces (Don't bother with the size for this recipe as it is eventually going to be mashed).

2. Boil it in some water till it is fully cooked and becomes soft (I pressure cook it for ease, adding a pinch of turmeric in the water to remove the raw taste - I do this for most vegetables and dals when I pressure cook).

3. Grind the raw banana pieces with two medium length green chillies*, 3 tablespoons of curd and 1 cup water. The consistency should be slightly more diluted than tooth paste, so adjust curd or water accordingly.
*The original recipe calls for frying the chillies - But I've seen my mom add green chillies to chutneys directly and found that they taste better this way, so I skipped that step. You can choose either of the methods.

5. Chop a medium sized onion to small pieces and keep aside.

6. Heat oil in a pan and add half a spoon of mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, add a pinch of asofoetida, a pinch of fenugreek seeds, half spoon slit urad dal, half a spoon chana dal, a couple of red chillies (split), curry leaves as per your preference and fry them (Technically, you shouldn't add them all together, but if you stick to adding the ingredients in this specific order, it is fine). Fry them till you see the dals beginning to turn golden brown. Immediately add the chopped onion* along with a pinch of turmeric and fry till it browns in color.
*Onion is my own addition because I love fried onions in pretty much every dish. You can also add chopped ginger instead to make this taste interesting.

5. Add the curd - raw banana mash to this and take the pan off the heat. Add salt and coriander leaves to taste and mix well. Serve with rice.

If you ever try it, tell me how it turned out.

July 22, 2015

Women in the novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens

I am a die-hard fan of Jane Austen, and I came across this very interesting paper comparing the characterization of women in Austen's and Dicken's novels: link

If you are a fan of Austen, I strongly recommend reading the full article. This author puts in words very beautifully as to what makes Austen's work so endearing to us.

Sharing some excerpts (again, I recommend read the full paper, it is worth the time): link

// My big battle with Dickens is that I find so many of his women characters neurotic, yet to Dickens that behavior is the ideal. He approves of, even demands, neurotic behavior. His ideal young woman is self-sacrificing in the extreme. She is allowed to have no thought for herself, no desires, no ambitions. // - link

// Austen is ironic, observant, witty, able to depict young women whose manners and mores may be different from ours, yet whom we should enjoy and recognize as fellow human beings if we met them. Dickens is sentimental, overwrought almost to hysteria in dealing with the relations of the sexes. Despite the freedom awarded him as a man, despite his marriage and family, he seems more inhibited (or twisted) than the spinster Jane Austen. // - link

//  It is refreshing to find, in Pride and Prejudice, that Mr. Darcy at first considers Elizabeth Bennet merely “tolerable.” He is attracted and disconcerted by her wit and lack of the deference to which he is used, and moves from admiration for her “fine eyes,” to finding her “one of the handsomest women of his acquaintance.” In Persuasion, by the time Captain Wentworth returns to the scene, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has “lost her bloom,” a very Jane Austenian description. He falls in love with her all over again as she reveals her sterling qualities under stress (and a little because another man admires her). With his love, her bloom returns, to the reader’s satisfaction. // - link

July 16, 2015

Dedicated to the love of my life

Sometimes we fight, sometimes we are moody
But we still laugh and reconcile in the end
As we know we're meant to be together forever
Sometimes we don't like the same things, and we disagree
But we'll always like each other, 
And our principles will never differ

Sometimes we act possessive and feel jealous
But we always set things right, 
Because our trust is hard to break
Sometimes we are cranky and may say hurtful things
But we always know that it is not intended, 
And feel terrible about it later

Sometimes we're busy with other work, 
And we don't get to talk for days
But we always make time,
When the other one is in dire need
Sometimes we go through bad times, 
And things around us fall apart
We'll always find reassurance in each other

Sometimes we change to become different from what we are
But that doesn't bother us, 
Because we understand it is for the better
Sometimes I wish I had a cocoon wrapping us
So that I can bury myself in the warmth of your affection

We'll always keep ourselves happy by keeping each other happy
Because we cannot bear it when the other one is sad
We let each other free because
We know that we'll always come back
And can never belong to anyone else
We're free thus and belong to self
And yet we own each other

We'll always love each other because
It's the real love - the kind of love we know
It's not the incomprehensible fairy-tale love
We see, we understand, we know
And we still love each other...
The kind of love which is not blind
It is the whole and lasting kind
Which is not in parts or distorted in lies

Together we've embarked on this journey
Not in assurance of living happily ever after
Because we know we'll face hurdles in life
But we also know that we'll have each other
And we'll walk through the spines and bristles together

I love you because...
You love me so much!!
You make me feel beautiful
You make me strong
You let me think, you help me judge
You make me do the right thing
You own me by letting me free
And letting me realize than I can belong to no one else