Stormtroopers

A long time ago.

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Light sabers

In a galaxy far, far away.

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Yoda

DO or DO NOT. There is no TRY.

Darth Vader

No, I'm your father.

Villains

You don't know the power of the dark side.

The Force Awakens

#AwakenYourForce

X-Wing Fighter

Long live the Rebel Alliance.

March 31, 2012

100th

To My Dearest 100 th Follower,
Would you come already?You have made me wait longer than Sachin's hundredth ton.Longer than India's second world cup.Longer than Sholay's run at the box office.Longer than all the ice ages combined.Come to papa now!!!

The journey beyond my 90th follower had been a rickety one to say the least.People have unfollowed me.People re-followed me.Friendships got strained.I started ranting like a woman suffering from a bad dose of PMS.People raised their eye-brows,wrinkled their noses,shoved my blog under the rug.My outbursts brought in everything from sympathetic comments to indifferent suggestions to a general bored yawn from most of my regular readers.And for the billionth time since I opened this blog 6 months ago,I threatened to leave,my index finger hovering over the nuclear button of blog deletion,which I don't have the balls to press.

But you know- every journey is fascinating in its own right.This particular journey saw me witnessing the rebirth of a friend.I saw her fight against her situation and emerge victorious.I saw her suffer,I saw her conquer,I saw her grow.I saw her inspiring ability to keep faith in herself and her abilities in trying times.In an earlier post(which was another mad cow disease induced hyperbole and so deleted mercilessly),I mentioned that ..well...let me just put those lines here-

"As someone who can see people from the sidelines,I see your amazing strengths,your stubborn nobility,your greatness,and your kindness and your generosity and your willingness to aspire,to sacrifice,to struggle over the mountaintop no matter how big the boulders are coming your way.I am blinded by the light that burns in each one of you.
In that light,one truth emerges:if the term "hero" is to be applied to anyone,it should be applied to all of you,to all of mankind.Against that truth,against that light,I am nothing."
So once again,my faith in all the good that we are capable of stands validated and attested.:-) It is a wonderful feeling,I tell you,when amidst all the shit which goes around in this planet,something happens which makes you believe that you had not been so wrong in your beliefs after all.
Cheers to our fighting spirit.Cheers to life!!!!!

But now,coming back straight to the original point-my dear,dear100th follower,when do you plan on making me happy?;-)

March 28, 2012

R.A.W affair

You know sometimes I wish I were a secret agent.Join the ranks of James Bond,Ethan Hunt,Agent Vinod and do all sorta crazy stuff which these guys with guns and babes do.I would be an agent of R.A.W,exuding  raw appeal,and dishing out a load of raw deals to wannabe dictators, anarchists, schizophrenic megalomaniacs and homicidal terrorists,among a host of other scum on the face of this earth.
Girl:You gotta have balls for this kinda work,Agent!
Agent:WTF! I think with them all the time!!

I would be brandishing semi-automatics,high velocity shotguns,LMGs and a host of hi-tech,expensive shit which  doesn't exist. I would be fiddling with X-ray goggles and smile naughtily at the pretty lab-assistant after discovering she is wearing red,lacy lingerie(there is almost always a cute lab-assistant, who wears cuter lingerie or none at all, in spy labs).
Every post-puberty kid's dream come true!

And obviously,I will accidentally shoot somebody/blow away a portion of the room/damage something expensive while I am being given a hands-on tour of all the weapons and gadgets.The whiz-guy with an IQ of 324 who has invented all that awesome stuff will make no attempt to mask his disapproval.To him,my cocky,trigger-happy self is akin to a skin rash he desperately wants to get rid of.Who can blame him?I have that effect on people-bosses,women and baddies in particular.
Hey!What does this button do?Ohh...Look at that wonderful screensaver on your desktop!What?!!!!I blew off half of Russia?Oops!

Every alternate day on a mission,I would be apprehended by some crazy deluded goon ,who will remind me what a pain in the ass I am becoming for him and his bosses.A corny exchange of meaningless gobbledygook would ensue like this-
"Baddie:Say any wise-ass dialogue which you want to be going down in the IMDB Quotes Hall of Shame.Coz it's gonna be your last.
Me:Do you expect me to talk?
Baddie:NO,I expect you to miraculously escape,shut the fuck up and beat the crap out of me.Not necessarily in that order."
Oh never mind us.We are just gonna give you a chance to show off your fighting skills,your amazing ability to stay cool under stress ,make sure you impress the gal and we will be on our way!!

And somehow a fist-fight/gun-fight would ensue where I would disfigure the crony/beat the living daylights out of him/throw him into a pool of crocodiles or sharks or in a cage with some hungry,starving big cat roaming in it.And finish it off with a quip like "Bon appetit!".
Shuttling in and out of hi-tech spy headquarters which are sheltered behind a harmless,innocuous office setup;jumping from and into futuristic cars,snow-mobiles,bikes,space-shuttles,nuclear submarines,dodging bullets,blasting off enemy fortresses,crawling through claustrophobic tunnels,setting Olympic records for high-jumping,long-jumping,sharp-shooting-do all those incredible, mind-blowing , physics-defying feats,and still nonchalantly shrug all that off with a "Aah,all in a day's work." kinda one-liner.
Yeah...it's nothing!It's as simple as brushing your teeth,tying shoe-laces,forgetting you met your fiancee 5 years ago on this very day...Wait what???I for..got ..???!!!Are bapre..Kareena is gonna deep-fry my ass..

And while I am fooling around with genetically modified ultra-virulent pathogens,or tinkering with a nuclear warhead,or fingering a bomb ticking down to annihilation,or twiddling with an impenetrable program which will ultimately get magically unlocked by a password which will pop into my mind at the last moment,I will manage to wear my favorite tuxedo at least once during the whole mission.
It's your TUX!Make it large!!Proudly brought to you in association with  Seagram's Royal Stag.

Inevitably it will be at some kinda gala event hosted by the central baddie or someone close to him.And change my name if it turns out otherwise,but there will always be a sexy,alluring,mysterious woman at this event who will give me a clue to whatever riddle I am trying to unravel.An intimacy will develop.The grave terrorist threat, causing my government to send sleepless nights, will conveniently take a backseat ,while the romantic interlude plays out ,eventually culminating somewhere where there is a bed or something close to it.Hammocks,carpeted floors,sofa or any other soft surface will do just fine,thank you.
Err..sorry to interrupt..But my grand diabolical plan of world domination has been waiting for you to stop it since the last two hours!!!Get done with it already!!

My missions will be exceedingly difficult,so difficult that they could only have been entrusted to a reckless,womanizing,over-confident agent like me.And somewhere during the mission,someone or the other would ask for my intro,giving me the perfect opportunity to shoot off the line I have spent 3456 hours rehearsing in front of the mirror.I am a Bong,and given the peculiar way we pronounce things,well...
My name is Binod.Agent Binod.Ba..Ba...Binod..Va...Vinod nahin..
Of course,these days with all the hi-fi computer wizardry which the good-for-nothing villains employ,I would  have no choice but to rely on a computer nerd of a sidekick who is fantastic at cracking open programs and cracking up the audience with his goofy doofus antics,and who is not much  good at anything besides.But miraculously towards the end of the mission,he will save my ass.Somehow.I don't know how.The details vary from mission to mission.But he will.
Weirdly, sometimes the nerd doubles up as the glam-doll heroine.Yeah,yeah. I know.Must have given all her nerdy classmates a hard time concentrating on their textbooks while pursuing Nerddom in the University of Geek-ville.
Watch my glasses come off.As well as my inhibitions...

Top all that off with a chart-buster of a theme music,and Agent Binod is ready to rock your world!!And this brings me to the point as to why,why and why,I desperately want to do a Agent Binod.It will give me a chance to do this-

Sing and dance like a clown to Pyaar Ki Pungi.What more can a suave,sophisticated,debonair agent ask for??!!!!
So sing along with me folks.Give it up for Agent Binod...
"Gaane Ke Piche Hai Taala
Ghusun Kahaan Se Main Saala
Court Ki Khidki Khuli Hai
Khidki Ke Neeche Hai Naala
Khidki Pe Koi Khada Hai
Iran Ka notice Bhida Hai 
Maze Udaati Hai Meri 
Sue Ki pooch Maarke
(An Iraninan Band sued Pritam  for lifting the song,you see.:)
Oo Meri Jaan, O Meri Jaan
Mere Ko chor Bana Kar
Kahan Chaldi Kahan Chaldi 
Gaane Ki Pungi Bajakar.."

P.S.I am pretty happy today.A friend of mine finally cracked the interview she so deeply wished to bag.GIve it up for her,folks!!!And while you are at it,don't forget to give it up for Agent Binod as well.It's B-inod.Ba--ba..Not Va...:-P

March 25, 2012

Phatichar

Waddup???!!!!!!!!:-D
So you know yesterday I was ranting my underpants off about how the blogging universe has become full of self-obsessed scum wiggling their way in the murky sewage of meaningless follower-ship and comments.So much so that I feel praising another blogger is on the same plane as expecting petrol prices to come down one day.Utterly  useless and self-delusional.
And ironically,this very day-I stumble upon a super duper blog which made me put my thinking cap on again.I mean the cap is always on.It had a lice infestation recently so I put it away for some time.But no matter,the cap is back on again.
And get a load of what I stumbled on-Phatichar. You should check out his story-The Blogosphere.It is just mind-blowing at so many levels.At par with Big B crooning Ekla Cholo in Kahaani and Aamir getting a 8-pack for Ghajini.Do check it out.You won't regret it.Promise.*pinches his Adam's Apple so tightly it gets swollen red*

March 24, 2012

Hell Yeah!!!!!

Dragging a 500 kilo full grown bull away from the highway doesn't exactly top my wish-list of things to do on a weekend getaway.Panting and heaving,with our heart muscles pounding their hammers in our heads,our hands a sticky mess of blood and sweat-the three of us heaved the mighty beast with all the adrenalin-boosted spurt of strength we could muster.It seemed a twisted culmination of an otherwise thoroughly mesmerizing trip to Ooty.

It was hard to imagine that just thirty hours ago,a gang of 3 guys and 2 gals were happily pulling each others' legs in a Tata Sumo, and yours truly was dreamily eyeing the prospects of making his inroads to one of the dames' heart with his quips and wise-cracks.She had been in my cross-hairs ever since I had first met her,about a month ago.The Ooty trip had been playing on our gang's mind for quite some time.And once an opportunity materialized,I jumped at it.Nothing like nature's soothing romantic appeal to boost one's chances in matters of the heart.

Plus,Ooty or the 'queen of the hills' as it is lovingly called,has a very palpable connection to love and romance.A host of Bollywood romances have been shot in the Nilgiris.So while I was staring into those deep dark doe-like eyes of hers,second-guessing what she might be thinking about me, the guide-cum-driver stopped the cab under a shade. Pointing out to a vast yellow-ochre shaded ground where the pine and Cyprus dominated the landscape, he proudly informed us, “The film Raja Hindustani.Seen it?Aamir Khan  riding a bicycle with Manisha  Koirala? That song has been shot here. ‘Raja ko raani se pyar ho gaya.Pehli nazar me pehla pyaar yaahin ho gayaaaa'”. Somewhere in my mind,I was already riding a bicycle like Aamir Khan with her beside me.I even started humming the song.I looked at her eagerly,expecting her to do the same. Somehow in the euphoria of the moment,it quite escaped me that the song in question actually belonged to Akele Hum Akele Tum.Raja Hindustani had Karishma Kapoor in stead of Manisha. The fact that the cute chic with the doe eyes was called Manisha too might have had something to do with it.


Lush green forests of eucalyptus followed. Somewhere that deliriously romantic driver stopped our chariot again. Apparently,this was where a scene from Roja was shot.“Seen Roja,right?" he smiled a goofy smile."The hero has been released from the terrorist baddies and he joins with his wife lumbering over a long metal bridge in between the India-Pak border. That very place is this..” At this point, I didn't care if the driver was hoaxing us or telling the truth.In my mind,I was staggering,with tattered clothes,disheveled hair and the entire prisoner of war look,staggering to get close to Manisha by running across the bridge.Unfortunately,she wasn't wearing a red saree,like the heroine in Roja,nor did she have anything remotely red on her person at that time.But my imagination never cared for such trivial and mundane details.

As we blissfully traveled through the world of lofty mountains, aromatic eucalyptus forests, and pine and Cyprus trees,it was difficult to imagine that hardly a day later,we would be sweating our undies in dragging the dead-weight of a bull. Life certainly has a twisted sense of humor.

Pykara waterfalls happened next.And then,the second highest peak of South India, the Dodda Betta. While standing atop the huge cliff protruding towards the infinitude, her soft hands grazed against mine. At first,I fearfully dismissed it as a chance accident.But then it happened again. And again. I smiled to myself. Did I just see a coy smile on her lips too? Looked like I was going to get lucky. So there we were,in the midst of the vastness and majesty of the mountains.My heart skipping beats every now and then as I kept looking at her and at the lush green forests, the divine marriage of Western and Eastern Ghats, with fissures and ravines sliced by streams. Manisha sidled close to me."All the trees around," she said cutely."They seem to be saluting each other, looking upward,like soldiers preparing for war.Don't they?" I could have replied something intensely poetic,but,stupid old me,I had to bungle up the moment by pointing out that the "soldiers" were standing absolutely "naked" and also by commenting that in all of human history no war had been fought where Cyprus,pine or eucalyptus trees had been drafted into military service.

"Do you know that our brains have two hemispheres-the left and the right?" Manisha asked with what I thought was a wicked smile.It turned me on.

"Yep,the left is concerned with logic and math. The right with imagination and color.Fantasies and daydreams," I asked,proudly showing off my knowledge of neuroscience,hoping desperately to impress."So what?"

"Some people use their left more and some the right," her naughty smile spread more.

"Uh..huh".

"I think you use the crack that runs down the middle of them." She demolished my ego with a malicious relish.
All the others in my gang started roaring with laughter.I just started looking for a place to go and shoot myself.

It slowly became darker,mistier.Suddenly it was evening and cold. When we returned at the hotel a couple of hours later, we were shivering.At that dark and dull moment,if someone had said we would be dragging a dead bull the next day,I would have readily believed him.

Next day,we ventured to the tea estates of Kodanadu. I noticed that Manisha wasn't laughing so hard at my jokes as the earlier day.In my lousy state of mind,I couldn't care less for the tea and eucalyptus oil which the sales guys out there were trying to shove down our throats.And pretty much,as expected,the gals in our group ended up buying them.

In the lousy mood that I was,all the delights and pleasures offered by the exotic flora and fauna of Ooty hills, seemed to dwindle in the region of my brain which I still don't have access to.We drifted along the tea estates and for a brief moment,I remembered the Geography lessons related to the intermittently planted tall Silver Hawk trees and their role in "holding together" the earth from erosion through the fragile slopes.

Lamb’s Rock was waiting for us next. The hollow slopes wrapped with Shola trees, flowering montane grassland greenery and thick coarse shrubs gave away a sublime feeling. Manisha was wearing white that day.I am really bad at remembering what dresses people wore and when,but to this day the vision of her white grandeur against the verdant fauna is just too difficult to shake off.We started posing for pics, standing  at the tip of the protruding rock,throwing caution to the wind. Our driver told us “This is another suicide point.” Manisha wasn't talking to me yet.The thought of winning her love by pretending a desire to commit suicide fleeted across my mind for a millisecond.Just a millisecond,mind you.I love myself too much.

Finally,it was time to get back to Mysore.We had to use National Highway 67 to get back to our hostels.On NH67,the roads were not really that well lit.The driver stopped the car to relieve himself and all of us got out too.It was then that we saw it.There was a bull lying in the middle of the road,presumably dead.A big vehicle must have run over it.Even in the dim light,we could make out the pool of blood underneath its massive body.The trouble was-in the low lighting conditions,several vehicles couldn't make out the shape lying on the road and at the high velocity they were approaching,almost inevitably their tires were skidding out of control as they rushed over the bull's body.Fortunately,no accident had occurred yet.But the scene was just a potential calamity waiting to happen.Somebody had to drag the bull out of there.

The driver refused to help.Luckily,it wasn't too hard to convince my buddies,Rudra and Arijit to do the needful.Manisha and Kanika volunteered to stand in the middle of the road ,signalling and warning other vehicles to stay clear of us.

"You jack-ass," Arijit punched me in my ribs."Anything to impress the gal,right?"
In retrospect,I think there was a grain of truth to what he said.In fact,it might have been more than just a grain of truth.But I never pondered too much on it later.

Arijit was still recovering from a leg injury.So he couldn't really put his back into it.But that still didn't stop him from trying.It was mainly left to Rudra and me to do the heavy-lifting. I felt my muscles crack as I pulled on the bull's legs with all my strength.My body must have been gleaming with sweat,the veins on my biceps and forearms were on the verge of explosion,and my face was contorted in pain.Rudra screamed at me,"We can do it,Rahul!Just a few seconds more!".I knew I had to squeeze out the last drop of juice I had left in my biceps to do the trick.Going beyond the threshold of pain gives its own high. Endorphins and adrenalin ,surging through my blood, pushed my limits skywards.

But the bull, or well, its carcass had other ideas.I really don't know how much it weighed but it felt as if I was dragging a battleship.After five minutes of huffing and puffing,we just managed to slide the beast by a few feet.
Again luck came to our rescue.A bunch of truck drivers climbed out to help.Together,six of us managed to pull the bull to the side of the road.

Mission accomplished!After the ceremonial high-fives and gloating over the successful validation of our male machismo,I turned to Manisha.Her eyes were shining with the same light of admiration which must have shone in Hilary Clinton's eyes when she realized despite her husband's fooling around ,he was still popular enough with the US folks to remain as President.And that moment,I realized that it is true-a man's pride thrives in the presence of a woman's eyes.I felt like a freaking superhero that day.Hell Yeah!!!!!!!

"You look like shit," Manisha smiled teasingly,tugging lightly at my fully soaked tees."Bull shit!"
I assumed it was as good a time as any to take the bull by its horns,but that's another story.

Well yeah,sure I didn't do anything on my own.Someone else would probably have done it sooner or later anyway.But still,it felt good.:-) My love life was back on track.And I had a super-duper story to regale everyone with.Sure,all this happened four years ago.But,some memories never fade away.
P.S.This post is for the 'Incredible Experience' competition hosted by Indiblogger and Mahindra XUV 500. Please do go through the link http://www.mahindraxuv500.com/ to learn more.You can know more about the contest here.

KaBoom

:-) Evidently some bloggers are a narcissistic,self-obsessed lot. Full of self-importance and armed to the teeth with a belief that they are doing a service to other bloggers by penning their thoughts,ramblings and anecdotes on an electronic piece of paper.And as they have to live by their motto,"I give a shit to others think about me and my work.",they most generously ignore the comments others leave on their posts.I fancy if their minds are whirring like-"Duh,I am gifting the blogosphere one Pulitzer prize-winning material after another.I give an insight into my rich,exclusive-entry mind,that others are so desperate to peep into...why do I really need to reply to some stupid comments people invested time and energy in writing to me?Sure I have that wonderfully effort-saving commenting feature called Word Verification on at my blog.Makes commenting such a breeze,like blinking one's eyes,doesn't it?People just love commenting when that annoying pesky nuisance is in the comments widget.Allowing them the privilege of commenting on my blog is reward enough for their efforts...and c'mon it's like...I am entitled to have those comments floating around on my posts,ain't I?Just as day is entitled to have the sun stuck right in its center and the night can serenade the moon in its full glory once every full moon.Blah blah...more self-delusional egoistic ego massage..blah blah"

And then there is another kind of blogger who indulges in heavy hubris.These people have made it a principle either not to FOLLOW you,or NOT COMMENT even if they FOLLOW you.Explanations range from being too lazy to even scratch one's back TO being neck-deep in work for the next 10 years and the next 10 years after that.OK.OK.I get it.YOU ARE BUSY DOING SOMETHING WAY BETTER THAN READING INANE,SILLY,MEANINGLESS THINGS WHICH OTHERS PEN ON THEIR BLOGS.:-) Peace out!!!!!!!
I am all for peace,but my index finger can't stand too long.You will have to make do with the other one.

And you want to know what the funny thing is? I used to visit all the blogs of people who left comments on my blog. I used to read their stuff, drop a few nuggets of my stupid thoughts and dumb opinions on them, leave a little bit of appreciation for stuff I really liked and which I felt deserved encouragement. I USED TO. I used to praise some bloggers to the skies in my space.  I specifically created an unfinished,screwed up series called Nine Lives where I would promote known and unknown bloggers,so that in turn,they be inspired to do the same.LOL.:-D I used to urge people to promote new and unfamiliar talent.Now even I have joined the ranks of those wise and esteemed bloggers who don't care who comment on their work or who follow them.I have become one of those elite high-brows who thinks promoting unknown faces is what losers and people with lack of creative ideas do.

Problem is-I can't seem to get wise enough.Even now,like a foolish gnat attracted to a deliciously attractive candle flame, I visit all the blogs of the people who leave comments on my posts.I put in a word of encouragement here and there.Sometimes I even think about writing on them on my blog.Trouble is-I can't seem to find the words anymore.

Reality check:
Ok.I was just blowing things out of proportion here.
So now you are getting the drift of my post title,ain't you?
Pay no heed to the ramblings and rants of a mindless,old fool like me.Go about your business.Go tell your boyfriend some weirdo almost was on the verge of spoiling your weekend mood but you saved yourself by directing your thoughts to him.:-P ;-)

People have different priorities,I know.:-) No issues.Enjoy the weekend.Have fun.Adios!!!!!

March 22, 2012

Amen

Rejection hurts.I mean it hurts me at least.It is like I am emotionally investing in an association with a person,and somewhere deep down,I can't help feeling bad over that investment not reaping enough dividends.Somehow,rejection seems to imply,no matter how highly I regard a person and how deeply I respect him/her, to that person I just don't come across as 'good enough'.I am not  'companionship material' to the person in question.Trust me,it hurts.

Of course,with hurt comes anger and bitterness.And we tend to become victims of distorted thinking which seem to imply that there is either something wrong with us for being rejected or something wrong with our 'rejectors' for not seeing the good in us.None of these viewpoints really  help us in any way.People might reject us due to a variety of reasons-most of which have something to do with them rather than us.Subjective preferences and a host of factors in a person'r life go to determine whether he/she really wants to open up to your companionship or not. The key is-never take a rejection too personally.Being disapproved by another person no way reflects poorly on your own worth or value.It doesn't make you any less desirable or less lovable.It is just a temporary setback,and the more importance you attach to this disturbing episode,the more insidious and harmful its effects will get.One should develop a high tolerance for rejection and just get on with life.It never really benefits to mope about it for days on end.Life is too short to indulge in such fruitless pursuits.And actually,one might actually learn a couple of valuable lessons from such experiences in life.It might be a mistake you made,or it just might be recognizing a hitherto unfamiliar aspect of human behavior.And above all,it gives you a chance to outgrow yourself.Combat your self-limiting beliefs,destroy your mental blocks and shatter the ugly clouds of melancholy in which your mind might get enshrouded.

And also,there is really no point in being mad at that person.Very recently,I broke off ties with a person I really admired and cared about.I still do.The only thing was-for some reason or the other,that person probably didn't care about our friendship the way I did.And as I already mentioned in my past post, I hate being in a relationship where the dynamic is being controlled by another person. To me,friendship or any association of any meaning doesn't work that way. Interestingly,the person was least bothered to see our friendship come to an end.But then again,there must have been reasons for whatever the person did.I was mad at the whole episode yesterday,but today better senses and judgement ultimately prevailed.:-) I whole-heartedly wish that person spends a happy satisfied life.No complaints,no issues,no objections.

Peace.Amen!


March 18, 2012

Power Imbalance

Female empowerment without female equality is a meaningless bag of hot air.Until and unless we recognise the importance of equal and fundamental rights to all the members of the society,the concepts of freedom,justice and egalitarianism go for a toss into the trash can.






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Let's get a load of some figures.Fair warning,it might seem like an overdose of numbers,but without proper data,it is difficult to drill in the truth.
  • India, with a population of 1210 million, is the world’s second most populous country. Of that number, more than 60 percent of women are chronically poor.
  • Our glorious country is one of the few countries where males significantly outnumber females, and this imbalance has increased over time. In 1901, the sex ratio was 971 females to 1000 males. In 2011,the figure shrunk to 940 .
  • India’s maternal mortality rates in rural areas are among the world’s highest.
  •  According to UNICEF, Indian accounts for 19 percent of all lives births and 27 percent of all maternal deaths. 
  • And this might come as a wake-up call,but the sad truth is-out of the 15 million baby girls born in India each year, nearly 25 percent will not live to see their 15th birthday.18 percent more girls than boys die before their fifth birthday.
And you were wondering why there were so few girls around?

From primitive agrarian societies to the contemporary information age, the role of women has changed drastically. The role of a typical home-maker was itself an overwhelming responsibility.It still is.The woman is expected to cater to all the requirements of the households including the rearing and upbringing of children.But human life is in a state of constant flux,subjected to socio-economic and psycho-cultural pressures. The three-pronged Renaissance of Industrialization, Modernization and Globalization has fundamentally altered the role and responsibilities of women.Additional responsibilities,additional roles,as well as the concept of female liberty have been delivered to woman as a package deal which society is still trying to come to terms with.

The scene isn't totally bleak.There has been relatively increasing economic participation from females in past one decade. The educational and occupational demographics have also changed and widened with women entering the domains, which till a decade back was an all-male playing field. India has the world’s largest number of professionally qualified women. India has more working women than any other country in the world. This group includes female workers at all levels of skill, from surgeons and airline pilots to bus conductors and manual laborers. India has more women nationally certified as doctors, surgeons, scientists, and professors than the United States. Over the past decade, India has had five international beauty queens. And yet, on average, women in India are socially, politically, economically, and even demographically weaker than men.Change has taken place,true.But women's rights and freedom still face insurmountable challenges even today.

Women's rights isn't just a thing to talk about.You have to grant her the rights which will safeguard her privileges. You have to respect her basic fundamental rights of speech, freedom and decision-making.You have to respect her right for education and employment. And you have to grant her the POWER and OPPORTUNITY to exercise these rights.Respect her choices,respect her individuality,respect her decisions.

It's all nice and all to be sitting in the 21st century and claiming that our culture has a value-system which is envied by even the progressive Western cultures.But what exactly do these values teach us?Following are some excerpts from the “Laws of Manu” (Manusmriti or Manava-dharmasastra). It is the first and the most important law book (Dharmasastra) of Hinduism.It dates back to the B.C. era.So yeah,it is ancient,but its message is still blindly followed by many even today.
  •  by a young girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house.
  • In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.
  •  She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible.
  •  She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure.
The funny thing is-the Indian constitution grants women equal rights with men,at least in letter, but strong patriarchal dogmas persist, with women’s lives shaped by customs that are ancient and are rendered inappropriate in a modern context. You and I can still it in action-in many Indian families, a daughter is viewed as a liability, and she is programmed to believe that she is inferior and subordinate to men. Sons are idolized and celebrated.

Let's take a stock of the problems the Indian Woman grapples with even today.
Maternal Mortality Ratio is 212,which means per 100,000 live births,212 mothers succumb to death during the course of pregnancy.You might wonder why.One reason behind India’s high maternal mortality rate is the reluctance to seek medical care for pregnancy – it is viewed as a temporary condition which will magically take care of itself. Even a woman who has had difficulties with previous pregnancies is usually treated with home remedies for crazy reasons: taking the wife to the doctor is the mother-in-law's or the husband's call to make; money; and fear that the treatment may be more harmful than the ailment.Inadequate prenatal care, delivery in unsafe conditions with inadequate facilities, and insufficient postnatal care-a woman in a rural area has to literally negotiate a land-mine zone to deliver a baby and live to tell about it.

Literacy wise,this is what census has to say-
  • According to census held in 2001, the percentage of female literacy in the country is 54%.
  • The literacy rate in the country has increased from 18% in 1951 to 65% as per 2001 census. 
  • The female literacy rate has also increased from 8% in 1951 to 54%.
Despite these improvements,India still has the largest population of non-school-going working girls.Sixty-one percent of girls are not enrolled in school. Of those who are enrolled, 59 percent drop out before completing grade five.Sad, but true. Compared to a male literacy rate of 82%, the female one cuts a sorry figure at 65%.

Sad,but true.

Male violence against women is a timeless,global phenomenon. Fear of violence is a pervasive factor in the lives of most women. It spreads its ugly tentacles into almost every sphere of activity related to them. Fear of violence is a cause of women’s lack of participation in activities beyond the home, as well as inside it.In India, the problem of violence against women is a result of a long standing power imbalance between men and women. Men have control over access to property and resources. All these lay a fertile soil for female exploitation–physically, mentally, and commercially. Within the home, women and girls may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse as punishment or as culturally justified assaults. These acts shape their attitude to life, and their expectations of themselves.
In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India.
  • Every 26 minutes a woman is molested.
  • Every 34 minutes a rape takes place. 
  • And every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death over dowry.
  • In Delhi in 2007, there were 587 reported cases of rape. 
  • Of the people arrested in rape cases, 340 were neighbors, 94 were friends and 62 were relatives. Only in ten cases, the accused were strangers.
  • One-quarter of the reported rapes involve girls under the age of 16 but the vast majority are never reported. Although the penalty is severe, convictions are rare.
Female infanticide is quite common in Haryana and Punjab because there is a preference for sons because male children carry on the family lineage. The education of sons is also considered much more important. In these two states, the sex ratio is lower than the national average.Punjab scores a measly 893 and Haryana a measlier 877,compared to the national score of 940.

The Indian Woman has to contend with child marriage,dowry,the stigma associated with divorce,and her rights to inheritance are screwed by society in a lot of instances.In the recent past, India’s abysmal gender inequality statistics seem to have taken a turn for the worse. New data shows the country's Gender Inequality Index (GII) worsened between 2008 and 2011, and India now ranks 129 out of 146 countries on the GII, better only than Afghanistan in south Asia.

Evidently,economic independence is one of the most crucial factors contributing to female empowerment.In a country like ours,stregthening women is a gradual and intricate process.It is hard,I am not denying that there are major obstacles to surmount here.A lot of beliefs and perceptions have to be changed. From ancient eras, it has been culturally infused into the minds of the people that women are inferior to men. It is not easy to change the stubborn attitude of the people. In rural India, women have inadequate access to education, health facilities, healthy diet etc.
Thankfully,there are positive trends.In India gradually the percentage of working women is rising. They are slowly extricating themselves from the quagmire of being labelled as a financial liability.
Entrepreneurship and self-employment are other things which can be considered for women emancipation.Entrepreneur women can positively contribute to attain the goal of women empowerment.It offers a lot of benefits-flexibility to play with your own resources,the liberty to frame your own decisions and most importantly,the scope to provide job opportunities for many other deserving women.I cannot stress this enough,because let's face it-India doesn't really afford too many employment opportunities.Self-employment can go a long way in alleviating that issue.
Small-scale industries are another option worth looking at.The small-scale industries sector plays a vital role in the growth of the country. It contributes almost 40% of the gross industrial value added in the Indian economy.It has been estimated that 100,000 rupees of investment in fixed assets in the small-scale sector generates employment for four persons. women can be given training in a specific field like making homemade papads or pickles, handicrafts and many such things and can start their own small enterprise.

Of course,it would be highly unfair to the government,if I say that nothing has been done to improve the lot of women in our country.Laws have been enacted to protect married women,to prevent child marriage,to prevent bigamy,to punish men for domestic violence,and the government has also enacted several welfare schemes for women.But there is a dire need for more mobilization of resources to protect the interests of women.We don't live in a perfect world.A solution to a problem often gives rise to several new problems.But we have to hold on and keep trying.The ideals of liberty and freedom will be doomed if we don't.

P.S.I would like to convey my appreciation for the gesture Stayfree India is undertaking in its efforts to promote ideas for a better ,"irritation" free world.For details,please visit this link:http://facebook.com/sftimetochange
I always held an admiration for the way the Stayfree brand has upheld the rights and liberties of a woman to seek and pursue her well-being and personal welfare.This post is meant to be an entry for the Indiblogger contest organised by Stayfree India.For more details,please visit this link:IndiBlogger StayFree Contest.


March 17, 2012

Self-Love

How do we measure our worth as a human being?On what do we base our self esteem?
Approval?Love?Achievements?
Looks?Talent?Fame?Fortune?
Interesting.If that be the case,one might wonder why Marilyn Monroe,Kurt Cobain,Freddie Prinz,Ruslana Korshunova and a multitude of famous,popular and successful people flung away their lives to suicide.
You might think love,friendship, and a capacity for forming close relationships make us feel worthy. Yet scores of depressed people thronging the chambers of counselors and shrinks are very much loved and adored by their near and dear ones.Something clearly is very wrong here then.What indeed does make a person truly happy?
We all know how important and vital our sense of self-worth is to us.It is as important to us as the food, air and water we need for our sustenance. And yet, so many of us question our own merit, so many of us pine away our lives wondering what we can do or achieve to escape the murky feelings of inferiority and melancholy suffocating and strangling us.
The answer is simple.Surprisingly simple. A deceptively uncomplicated and elementary idea.Its simplicity makes it powerful and yet it is its very simplicity which belies the world of good it can do to whoever who whole-heartedly subscribes to this idea. Just learn to love yourself unconditionally.Yes,it does require a change in your thinking patterns, a readjustment and realignment of your value system and credo,but I think the trade-off is worth it.
Before we delve further into how this idea works and how we can possibly practically apply it in our lives,let's look at some common beliefs which many of us can probably identify with.
1.Criticism upsets me.
2.My own interests are subservient to those of others.
3.Approval from others is very essential to my happiness.
4.My value as a person depends greatly on what others think of me.
5.I cannot find happiness without being loved by another person.
6.If people I care about reject me,it means there is something wrong with me.
7.If I am to consider myself worthy, I must have 'made it large' in at least one aspect of my life
8.If I cannot do something well, there is little point in doing it at all.
9.A person should try to be his best at anything he undertakes.

A lot of us make the dire mistake of basing our self-esteem on what others think of us and how they react to us.When someone insults or humiliates us, many of us automatically tend to look down on ourselves.It is essential to remember that-if we make our self-image so overwhelmingly dependent on what we perceive people to be thinking about us,we expose ourselves to manipulation and put our emotional well-being at the mercy and whims of others.

Many of us perhaps are "love addicts".Love addiction is often perceived to be "less harmful" than other process addictions i.e. substance abuse,eating disorders or self-harm / mutilation addictions. Perhaps because it sounds "softer."  In reality it is extremely painful and can be very lethal to both the addict and their partners.  Many suicides, murders, stalkings, rapes and other crimes of passion have their roots in this addiction.  Our culture has traditionally glorified love addiction with the notion that we fall in love and live "happily ever after." This ignores the groundwork that relationships require. Many love relationships depicted in the media are really love addicted relationships.Rockstar, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, for example?It did not boast of such a happy ending,did it now? At the heart of all this, is the belief that love is a deep-seated,psychological necessity without which we cannot survive,much less be happy.Maybe you have seen some friends or acquaintances assuming inferior, subordinate roles in a relationship with people they care about for fear of alienating them.The irony is that, despite their apparent sacrifices,these people get rejected by the very people they care for. It might be because others get turned off by the clingy attitude which conveys that without love they wouldn't survive.And as others drift away from the love-sick person,he/she gets gripped by a agonizing and debilitating withdrawal symptom. Look all around you. Numerous poems, stories, blogs- all dedicated to the concept of unrequited love and heart-break. Is love really that important for our happiness?Do we really need to measure our worth in terms of how much others love and approve of us?Do we really need to thrust the remote control buttons of our emotions into the irresponsible hands of others?Can we really be so irresponsible towards ourselves?

Now let me come to achievements,success and accomplishments.Are they necessary for our happiness?You might like to think so.It is a very common tendency to equate personal worth to one's accomplishments and achievements.On face value,it is quite a simple,innocuous belief.It is systematically drilled into us from a very young age,urging us and goading us to perform better and better in an intensely competitive pressurizing environment.Problem is,this belief only makes us vulnerable to a host of negative thoughts and conceptions about our self-image.We have been programmed from childhood to base our worth on our feats and triumphs.The funny thing is that-many of us tend to become so preoccupied with work that we just slog our asses off,potentially cutting ourselves off from other sources of enjoyment and satisfaction.Sounds familiar?As people tend to spiral deeper and deeper into "workaholism", they feel an intense pressure and compulsion to be more productive, and if they can't keep up with their own past achievements, they tend to sink into despair and emptiness.Why?Since they have no other basis for self-respect and fulfillment.

One common theme in all the above cases is that people make the  fundamental mistake of attributing their happiness and self-worth to factors external to themselves and hence,outside their sphere of control.So that brings us to an important question?Just what exactly is self-worth? What does it truly depend on? How exactly am I going to compare my worth with those of others?How exactly am I going to convince myself that I am a better human being than Tom,Dick or Harry?Before I delve into the answer,let's consider two stories of two very different human beings.

Timothy McVeigh was involved in the bombing of a United States Federal building in Oklahoma City, on April 19th, 1995, and was ultimately executed for his crimes on June 11th, 2001.You may find yourself arguing that he was a monster or a madman, and being unable to even accept the possibility that there were "reasons" for what he did.There may be no doubt in your mind that you are a much,much "better" human being than he was.But hear me out.

McVeigh had his reasons. He saw the pain and suffering in the world caused by clashes between central authority and people with different ideas about how to live their lives. Specifically, he was aware of the events of August 1992 at Ruby Ridge where a family was killed by US Marshals and FBI agents on their own property. He also had in mind the events of April 19 th, 1993, in Waco Texas,where, after a 51 day siege, 76 people were killed by ATF( Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ) agents burning their homes.

These events bothered him greatly. He saw the bureaucracy as the source of the death of innocent people, and he decided to fight it. This was a brave choice to make. However, he chose a grossly erroneous path and missed any real opportunity to reduce the bad effects of the ideas that he opposed. Instead he brought more death to innocent individuals – these deaths by his own hand.


And again,consider Hitler.A man who raised Germany from the ashes it was rolling itself in after the First World War to the military powerhouse it grew into by the Second World War.A charismatic leader, a shrewd strategist, a high-achiever by any standards.Yet,would you necessarily consider Hitler to be a more worthy person than yourself?

I used the above two examples to demonstrate a simple point.You and I might consider both the above persons to be morally indigent and thereby inferior to us,but in certain aspects,these persons might have been better than what you or I ever will be.

Essentially,you will discover that the very concept of trying to evaluate a person's "worth" is self-defeating."Worth" and "value" are just abstractions-short-cuts based on which we tend to "measure" other people.We might use morality,performance,popularity and a host of other criteria to judge other people and judge ourselves.But essentially, all of the above standards have the potential to turn into harsh,unforgiving yardsticks which will do nothing productive for our personal well-being and welfare.We will only loath ourselves if we fail to score high in the grading systems we devise for ourselves.In raw terminology,we are reducing ourselves to commodities in a marketplace whose caliber,utility and valuation must somehow be "measured".

But then what indeed do we do with our lives if we don't spend it building up our "perceived worth"?What goals do we set for ourselves?Well,I will leave that decision up to you. Although,if you ask me,I think aiming for satisfaction,happiness,learning,earning skills, and communication with others every day of my life is a good enough goal for me.I set modest,realistic goals for myself and try to achieve them.I don't do all these to "earn"  my self-worth.It's already there with me and I don't have to snatch that away from something.Involvement and commitment are rewarding in themselves, irrespective of the outcome I achieve at the end.

This is a point which is gaining high acceptance in the field of cognitive psychology.That self-esteem is mostly just a state of mind which exists when we are not unnecessarily haranguing or torturing our brains with ideas which are based off the notion that our happiness lies external to ourselves.That we have to somehow "earn" it.But self-esteem is just a pledge we have to make to ourselves.A pledge of loving ourselves unconditionally,irrespective of what we achieve in our lives-love,approval or success.We need to fully acknowledge ourselves as who we are,with our strengths and blemishes,with neither false humility or shame.This attitude embodies the essence of self-love and self-respect.I am not teaching anything new here.This idea is everywhere.Staring right at us.If you ever Google "love yourself", you will be hit with 555 million entries in a matter of half a minute or less.

Perhaps when we learn to be more accepting of ourselves,we can learn to be more accepting of others too.Tolerance towards people of different religious faith,tolerance towards people belonging to a different gender,tolerance towards people with different sexual preferences,tolerance towards people with different ideas,tolerance towards people who make mistakes- a more tolerant world will probably be a better world, a better place for us and our children to live in.Denying a woman her right to education, denying one's child the right to choose her/her own life-partner, denying a girl of marriageable age the privilege of devoting time to her career,denying a homosexual the freedom to express his/her sexual identity,hating others for believing in a different God, for belonging to a different ideology-denying all this will never help the world become any more conducive to our existence.

I would like to convey my appreciation for the gesture Stayfree India is undertaking in its efforts to promote ideas for a better ,"irritation" free world.For details,please visit this link:http://facebook.com/sftimetochange
I always held an admiration for the way the Stayfree brand has upheld the rights and liberties of a woman to seek and pursue her well-being and personal welfare.This post is meant to be an entry for the Indiblogger contest organised by Stayfree India.For more details,please visit this link:IndiBlogger StayFree Contest.

That's it from my side.I will be very happy if the ideas I presented in this blog happens to help any of you see things happening around you in a better light.Just remember,it is not the events around you which make you happy or sad.It is your interpretations and thoughts about them.If you learn to love yourself,it will dramatically change the filter you apply to view the world around you.Try it.:-) It isn't so hard to change.

March 13, 2012

Wishes..

There was once a girl,
Her name was Philo.
She was a fine pearl,
All pleasant and mellow.
Delightfully naughty,
And smoothly nice.
Not a tiny bit haughty,
A precious friend,a prize.
I wish her good fortune,
Exams being near and close-
She studies from morn to noon.
So I think,so I suppose.
Best of luck,dear friend,
I kept my promise,my word,
A poem of wishes I did send,
Tho' it may sound absurd!!!! :-D

P.S.Best of luck to any candidate slogging his/her ass off for any exam whatsoever...:-D It's exam season after all!!!!!!

March 12, 2012

The Princess and The Scribe-III

"In some other place,in some other time,I wish I were born,
Right now,my days are all dark,and there is no sign of morn.
I am torn between my family and me,our wishes clash often,
The agony and pain I feel,no fake sympathy can soften.
I fail in my goals,and I wonder if I am any good or worthwhile-
My self I despise,friends I have few,my life is a bane which I revile."
Saying so,the princess started weeping,and like early morning dew,
On a beautiful flower,from her eyes the first drops of tears flew.
"Princess",said the friendly scribe,"Yourself you must always cherish,
Irrespective of success,love or approval-these things may always perish.
Happiness isn't something you have to earn ,struggle and fight for,
It is like the boat in a lake of life,and you yourself carry its oar.
I spent so long,searching for joy outside of myself,outside of my mind,
Foolish that I was,I didn't see the greatest treasure was so easy to find.
It is now easy to see contentment and satisfaction are gifts we are born with-
That we need to achieve something to be glad,is nothing but a myth.
With yourself,you have all the tools,all the ammunition,all you require,
To have your birthright-your joy,and pull yourself out of your quagmire!
Why do you expect so much of yourself,why use so harsh standards?
Your thoughts and beliefs become your worst enemies,those unholy bastards.
Talk to thyself like you might with your bosom friend,in that sweet voice.
I wish thee all good fortune,I wish you all good cheer,may you rejoice!"

March 8, 2012

Set Fire To The Rain

 “Imagine meeting my heart-breaker after six long years. And what do you know? He turns out to be my bf’s bestie. It’s a small world after all,” Pritha chuckled impishly.

“Look, Pritha, I know I am six years too late in saying this,” Rohit started apologetically, “ but I am really, really sorry for the way I had treated you back then. I was such an insensitive pig then. Gawwd!!!  I know it would be too much to ask you for forgiveness now...But please do know that I genuinely regret...”

“Oh, hang all that bull-shit,” Pritha waved her hand dismissively, the smile still sitting on her lips. “I have moved on. Plus, life has been good to me ever since you left. What do you think, huh?”She asked playfully, gesturing to her shapely bod. ”I didn’t turn out to be so bad now, did I?”

Rohit didn’t reply.
“I dropped sixteen kilos since then,” her eyes gleamed with a hint of pride. “I hit the gym with a vengeance. Badminton and rowing followed. I’ve come a long way from the triple-X L sized tops you used to fidget over whenever we went out together.”
She paused and then finished with a malicious relish,”I hope you will agree, won’t you?”

“You are really enjoying rubbing it in, aren’t you?” Rohit replied after a momentary silence. Not that he blamed her for it. He had broken up with her just because she had been, in his own words to his friends, “a pea-sized brain in an oversized chassis”. Though he had never spelled it out to her, he knew that she had realized full well that her anatomy was the major reason he had wanted to split up. She had been stupid and dumb. A more discerning girl would have seen straightaway that he never did actually love her. But not she. She trusted him blindly.
And he strangled that trust, butchered her faith and made a mockery of her adoration.

And now six year later, his ex-gf, Simran had done the same to him. She had thrown her morals to the wind and gone ahead and kissed another guy. Life had come back full circle. To punish him for his shallowness and cruelty.
Poetic justice?

“Who me?” Pritha touched her breast lightly, feigning surprise at Rohit’s accusation.”Perish that thought. Look, I will tell you something.” Her tone suddenly assumed a sombre timbre. “You are important to Vishal. And he must have told you, so am I. So for his sake, let bygones be bygones. He doesn’t need to know what happened between us. And anyway, the whole thing happened so long ago. I had even forgotten how you looked like. Let’s just pretend to be friends, right?”

Rohit had been avoiding Pritha’s eyes for so long, but now his eyes met hers; for a moment her eyes seemed to sparkle, as if searching for something in his gaze. He could swear she kept on looking at him even after he had turned his gaze away from her.

“Catching up on old times, eh?” Vishal’s voice startled them both, as he approached them from a distance, with popcorn and soft drinks in his hands. They were at the movies, and Vishal had left his best-friend and girlfriend to buy some snacks and beverages.

“Yeah,” his girlfriend crooned mischievously.”Just catching up on old times.” She flashed a wide grin at Vishal and then winked imperceptibly at Rohit.

Rohit realized that Pritha would drop in often at Vishal’s place, where he had decided to lodge temporarily. He was already starting to have second thoughts about moving in with Vishal.
But to his surprise, over the next few weeks, the three of them bonded quite well over dinners, movies and long drives. Rohit had been awkward in the beginning, but Pritha’s infectious amiability gradually disarmed him. She was genuinely trying to be warm and friendly. That, coupled with the elation in Vishal’s face. Rohit didn’t want to spoil his friend’s happiness in any way. Vishal was profoundly in love with this girl and he found himself wishing fervently that nothing untoward happened to botch up his blissful gaiety in any fashion.

Wishful thinking.

One night, Rohit was awoken by a warm body climbing under the covers.  It was a woman's body. He felt a pair of warm hands caress his just shaven cheeks.
"Pritha?!"
"Shh," she said, and sucked his upper lip into her mouth.
Rohit pulled loose. "But what about Vishal?"
"He's gone out," she said.
"Did you and he...?"
"No," she said with a contempt that surprised him.
Over the past couple of weeks, the two of them had hit it off beautifully. Old embers of a past flame were being ignited and rekindled. During college, they had liked the same things and that aspect of their personalities hadn’t changed much over time. That night, they had flocked to a night club and danced together for so long that Rohit felt sure Vishal was growing uncomfortable seeing his gf and his best friend so close. She had made a pass at him at the night club, and he'd pretended not to notice. But it was harder not to notice her when she was in his bed, in his nostrils, in his mouth. Sure, she'd had a few drinks, but alcohol has never caused anyone to do something they didn't want to. It only enables them to do what they've always wanted but repressed. And right now it looked like Pritha wanted to be with a man who had broken up with her six years ago.
“I never ever forgot you,” she said, nibbling his lips.”You were always there. All those hours in the gym and badminton court, I ruthlessly punished my body because you rejected it.”

Logically, it's easy to say that it's wrong to sleep with a girl your friend is pursuing. But when her body is pressed against yours so submissively, and you can smell the conditioner in her hair (strawberry), and that storm cloud of passion created by her desire has begun gathering around the two of you, try saying no. It's just too ... right there.

Rohit ran his hands beneath her hair and slowly dragged his fingernails up-ward along her scalp. A shiver of pleasure ran through her body. Their lips met, their tongues met, their chests met.
He couldn't do this. "I can't do this."

"Why?"
"Because of Vishal. He loves you."
"Vishal?" she asked, as if she'd never heard the name before. "He's sweet, and it helps that he is rich. But love? We have just been going out for a couple of months now. He is more of a friend to me."

In those six years, she seemed to have shed her morals along with her sixteen kilos of flesh.

"Listen," Rohit said. "You should go. Vishal will probably be back soon."
“Shh,” she said again as she moved up the last half inch so their lips could touch. Softly.  Lovingly. To Rohit, it seemed as if she breathed her soul and her love into him in that kiss. That kiss; hard, but soft; fiery but cool; a split second but also forever. In that one kiss, he knew what it was like to give into sin.

“What the fuck?!!!!” Vishal’s scream tore them out of their embrace. He was standing in the doorway, eyes wide in terror and shock at what had just unfolded before his eyes.

Pritha, seemingly unperturbed, leaned in once more and whispered wickedly in Rohit’s ears, “Best of luck saving your friendship.”

Suddenly it dawned on him what she had been doing to him and Vishal all along. She loathed him venomously for dumping her. And in order to get back at him, she had used Vishal as an unwitting pawn in her game of deceit and betrayal.

A minute later, Rohit heard Vishal and Pritha arguing in the hallway. Five minutes later, a door slammed.
Vishal walked wearily into the room and collapsed onto Rohit’s bed.

"Well?" Rohit asked hesitatingly. Vishal was never one to show much emotion.

“I want you out of my house before I wake up tomorrow, do you hear?”  He stated with an air of finality which sent a chill of loss running through Rohit’s spine.
Their friendship was over. Rohit wondered if he should try and explain the truth. But he knew Vishal would never believe him.

The next morning, Rohit was back in his old flat. Back with his old memories of Simran. Simran loved to write and she used to maintain a blog. Very few people read her, but he used to follow religiously every syllable she uttered in that space. He noticed she had put up just one blog after he had stopped talking to her six weeks back. He began to read it.

“It wasn’t his words...it was his silence. All of a sudden she had to make an attempt to breathe. He was scarred. She hated herself for being the reason...for being the vile mottle on the painting that was so vibrant and beautiful. The painting may not lose the beauty of the painter’s imagination...but the blotch will never go unnoticed.  
She, like a lone cloud, wafted past the moon. Her moon of calm and love. The silver light of her life. She had to move away...for the moon to shine bright. To let it glow in its own existence. Darkness is blinding. Darkness makes way for no path. She walked in his light...but no more.
She saw his jaw tightening and his eyes pouring into hers. Deceived and hurt. He turned his back and strode away. She stood there looking at him go. She felt hollow inside... but her body felt heavy...Cloud of strange feelings surrounded her. .but the space around her was void. “

Rohit felt his senses growing dull and his breathing getting heavier as he reached the end of that post. He quickly opened his Gmail Inbox to check if Simran had sent him any mail. Sure enough, she had sent several. Rohit clicked on the topmost one. It was sent just yesterday.

“Dear R,
I now know that you will probably never, ever want to see my face again. I hurt you deeply and I am sorry. I truly am. You meant so much to me. You mean so much to me. Every morning, I wake up to need you again. I will need you like this every day. I will need you till forever.
I wanted to explain this face to face, but since that is never going to happen, I want to tell you why I did what I did to hurt you so much. Prasad had been my childhood crush. I remember him being the first ever guy I thought I was in love with. But he fell for another one of my classmates, Sheetal. Throughout school, he was the only guy I could imagine myself being with. And seeing him and Sheetal so happy together made me immensely jealous.
He truly loved her. As much as you loved me. He came down recently to Pune. We met up and he told me that Sheetal had just broken off their twelve year long relationship. He was shattered and was in pain. I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to be all right, that he would find someone better, and well-one thing led to another and he ended up kissing me. I know I should have left that instant. But I couldn’t pull away. I gave in.
I could have chosen not to tell you anything about the kiss. But I needed you to know. I knew I might lose you although I desperately need you. But it is ok. You deserve to know. This is the real me. A girl who might give into her temptations and who hates herself for it later.
Good bye, R. God bless! I still love you the same way.”

It was raining again that day. Simran unlocked the door to her flat, getting rid of her raincoat which was all drenched and soaking wet. But she wasn’t prepared for what she saw immediately on entering her living room. Rohit was sitting on her drawing room sofa, with a quirky smile on his face. She had completely forgotten that he had a set of spare keys to her apartment.

She tip-toed to him softly. And they sat cuddling in the corner of her dully lit room, the windows almost bursting at the seams with the heavy pounding of heaven’s tears. A nostalgic feeling had indulged itself onto both of them; giving a feeling that this should have been for a long time. His arms were tightly wrapped around her shoulders, hers, clinging to his hard muscular chest, and her head on his shoulder. Basking in each other’s ambience, creating each other’s warmth. He looked down at her, his eyes dulled by the darkness of the room. He gave that quirky smile, that one he knew that she had loved from a long time ago; it gave her the feeling as if he knew something that she didn’t. Caressing her supple cheek, he lifted her chin; their noses almost touching. She could feel the warmth of his breath brushing the top of her lip. He looked into her eyes and felt as if he was standing alone at the edge of the world, on a wind-swept ocean beach.

“I love you,” his whisper poured  softly into her waiting ears.

**The End**
P.S. And so ends my story which began here and continued here. Don't worry. I have tried to write in such a way that you really don't need to read the earlier parts in order to enjoy this story.:-) A small part of this story...the blog part..was written by a special friend of mine. And I dedicate this story to her. To all those, who read this story, a big thank you.:-) You guys really made my day.....Happy Holi to all of you

March 7, 2012

Set Fire To The Rain

“I just need some time to get over her, that’s all!” Rohit stubbornly tried to protest.

“Oh yeah?”  Vishal raised his eyebrow at his friend’s dissent.”How long has it been since you stopped talking to her? Three weeks? You have been sitting and moping about Simran all along. C’mon dude! Listen to your ol’ homie for a change. Come and live at my place for some time. It’ll do you good. Trust me.”

For the third time that week, Rohit pondered on Vishal’s suggestion. It was true. Ever since he had come to know about how his gf had kissed another guy, sitting alone in his 1 BHK wasn’t doing him much good. Simran used to drop in often at his place when they had been together. Every corner, every piece of furniture in that house kept reminding him of her in some way.

“Ok,” Rohit relented finally.”I guess I can shack up with you for a month.”

“Awesome!” Vishal punched Rohit playfully in the abs and said excitedly,” You will finally get to meet Pritha.”

Vishal and Rohit had gone to kindergarten together and had been fast friends since. They went to different colleges, and after landing jobs in different cities, they had kind of drifted apart. But recently Vishal had switched jobs and they were now in the same city. He was filthy rich, with his father owing a textiles plant and all, but oddly,even with that kind of dough to dole out on chicks,Vishal hadn't dated a single woman since he'd left college. Maybe this was not that strange, considering he had always been a shy chap, especially reserved around women folk. But a few months ago, through friend of his, he'd met a girl named Pritha, and he was sure she was the one. He took her out on dates, bought her flowers, treated her to dinner, and dropped her off at home afterward, like a perfect gentleman.

"Have you slept with her yet?" Rohit asked him.

"No. I haven't even kissed her."Vishal answered in a matter-of-fact tone.” Some girls are different.”
That's what Vishal thought. After everything he'd heard about Simran’s betrayal, he was in no way a convert. Pritha wasn't like those other girls, he insisted. She came from a good family, she was well-educated, and she had morals, unlike the materialistic trash Simran turned out to be.

And so it was that Rohit found himself out on the next Sunday, waiting beside Vishal’s Hyundai Accent for his gf, Pritha. Rohit stared hard at her as she stepped out of her building gate. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Christ! Please let this just be a fucked up dream!!!!This can’t be fucking happening!”He found himself wishing desperately.

She seemed like a bright, successful, well-bred girl. She was tall with long dark hair, gentle eyes, and a smile that arced just a little wider on one side. Rohit had to admit that Vishal was right: She did look like the marrying kind. But that was hardly what was on top of his mind right now. He knew this girl. Intimately!


Vishal was walking beside her as they approached towards the car. He saw Vishal saying something in her ear and pointing in his direction .He braced himself for what was to come next.
“My god!! Rohit Gupta? Is that really you?” Pritha blurted out in open-mouthed wonder.

“What???You two know each other?” It was Vishal’s turn to be confused as he looked from Rohit’s face to hers.

“Umm..Yeah,” Rohit said after clearing his throat.”We attended tuitions together during our Plus Two.”

“And kept in touch even during the first few years of college,” Pritha narrowed her eyes as a sphinx-like smile spread across her lips. Rohit had no idea what to make of that smile.”But then..”  and saying this, she paused, studying Rohit’s impassive face for a moment. ”We kind of lost touch,” she finally completed her sentence, after what seemed like an interminably long time to Rohit.

“Woaah!” Vishal burst forth in an animated smile.”So you guys are friends already? That’s just fantastic!! We three will get on together like a house on fire!!!”

Rohit swallowed hard. He couldn’t share Vishal’s optimism .He and Pritha had been romantically involved during college. Of course, things had been different then. Pritha had been blissfully overweight in those days. She must have lost at least fifteen kilos after they had stopped seeing each other, Rohit concluded. All that overabundance of cellulite, that surplus flab,her bulging limbs,her ugly hate handles-all  had magically disappeared. Her layers of overflowing lard used to make him squirm. Seeing the statuesque, classy, gorgeous girl before him NOW, he could not help feeling a tinge of regret at having dumped her six years ago.

“Just tell me the truth, dammit !!!!” she had screamed over the phone.”Why are you  dumping me like this??It’s because of the way I look, isn’t it?Spit it out,Rohit!!!”
“It’s nothing like that,” he had said, forcing himself to stay calm.”It’s just that....I don’t think things are working out between us anymore...we just don’t make a good item, I guess..I just want you to underst...”
“Shut the fuck up, you filthy ass-hole! It’s all about the looks with you dumb pricks,isn’t it?I don’t need to understand anything. I see everything crystal clear now.Just answer me this.Why?Just why did you play this sick game with me?If you never loved me,why the hell did you propose to me on my birthday?WHY?????Fuck...fuck....fuck....WHY????????”
He didn’t have the answer to that. Not any that could please her anyway. He wasn’t being able to get a decent chick. She was the only option left. That was it. The plain, simple, ugly truth. Pritha had a soft corner for him ever since their school days. He knew that. And although they attended different engineering colleges, their relationship post-school had thrived mainly due to her initiatives. She used to barrage him with endless texts and missed calls. She gifted him a Playstation on his birthday.She did almost anything a chick can do to express her interest in a guy, save actually proposing to him. What was a single, lonely and frustrated guy to do? Decide to shower some love on another single ,lonely and frustrated individual, that’s what.It wasn’t as if Pritha’s life was overflowing with romantic advances from guys. The day he had proposed to her must have been the happiest day of her life,he had reckoned.Too bad,his love ran out. Even worse, hers didn’t at the same time.He was becoming her obsession,her fixation,her dependency.He was her drug,and her attraction towards him slowly transcended into a fierce craving,which scared the shit out of him.He had to get out of the goddamn mess he had put himself into.And fast!!
Even if it meant detonating her heart, demolishing her trust and decimating her affection in the process.
C’mon!She would get over all that,wouldn’t she?
Wouldn’t she?
“Gee,Pritha!” He had tried to explain in a feeble tone.” I dunno.I guess we just lack the chemistry..you know...it can’t be explained...it just doesn’t click between us...”
“Fuck you,scum!We are through!!” And she had slammed down the phone, never to speak to him again.

Not that he had a problem with that.Like an insensitive bastard,he had thought of it as a good riddance then. But,now,six years later,he wondered if he should have been so hasty in splitting up with her.Back in those days,he had been a jerk.And he wasn’t too proud of that.Somewhere deep down,he still hated himself for what he had done to her.She hadn’t deserved this,he knew.And now,meeting her suddenly,after so long,brought back all those memories in a torrential downpour of guilt,blame and bad conscience.

“Yeah,we are going to have loads of fun!” Pritha laughed,breaking him out of his reverie,her  soprano voice reminding him of bells chiming in the distance.

Loads of fun?Yeah,right!

To be continued...
P.S. This is the continuation of Set Fire To The Rain.But don't worry,you don't need to read that part to enjoy  this story.:-)