Monday, May 31, 2010

Please quit smoking

31st May marked one whole month since Sohan Kumar*, a manager at a multi-national company had quit smoking, or tried for the nth time in his life. But atleast for the first time in his life, he has reached the one month mark.
With a cigarette in his hands for the past 11 years, he has never gone more than a few days without a smoke. Infact he would smoke even before he brushed his teeth as well. So, why is he trying so hard to give it up?

Five years after his marriage, and after several unsuccessful attempts and two miscarriages, his wife finally conceived. After completing a full term, a day before the delivery, the baby had given up on life. The reason: Placental abruption, wherein oxygen was denied to the baby, thanks to second hand smoking that his wife has been subject to.

An apology will not bring back the baby they lost, but he is finally making an attempt to regain his life. If you can’t learn from your own lessons, learn from others. After all, not all of us can afford to make mistakes.

You do not have to wait for 2011 to take a pledge. Take one today. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Facebook women

First it was the two girls from Bulandshahr (UP, India) who boarded a bus to meet two men in Greater Noida, men they befriended over the Internet, to get raped. The audacity of the girls should not go unquestioned as they went in the pretext to write an exam. Men will be men. If the women suggest that they would lie at home and come to spend the evening with them, men will turn predators and turn these women to prey.

Who would have thought that they would open their mouths, especially since they already lied at home?
But sadly, the women were raped throughout the night, by not two, but four men.

Another 15th May report by IANS from Sydney suggests that Nona Belomesoff from the Cecil Hills area - who disappeared after going to meet two men she befriended on Facebook. She is believed to have been murdered by her Facebook friends.

How naive are we? Women are supposed to have a greater sense of intution.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finding Marsh

How many women have grown up with the idea of the TYPICAL guy we would want to settle down with? Tall, not-so-dark in my case, handsome; someone right out of a Mills & Boon.

I fell in love with Marsh Endicott in 2005. He is your typical stubborn, drop dead gorgeous and in one word 'irresistible'. So An Uncommon Affair it was, that opened my world to imagination running wild.

And then I began looking - here, there and everywhere to figure out that guys like that exist only in between the pages of a M&B. Sadly, thats not true.

On a very sunny afternoon of February, I met my Marsh Endicott, only he isnt Marsh and thankfully he is alive, and not a mere character from a book. And even ours is nothing less than an Uncommon Affair.

So, women who have been jilted or haven't found your Marsh, don't lose hope, cos unless you close your eyes, and your doors to him, he is going to walk into your life, and make it beautiful. Hang on!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When the world stops talking

And a dark cloud made it impossible to look beyond, making it difficult to breathe.
There was no rhythm in the night,
the tinkling of the chime didn't make music either.

Still. Waiting for a shriek to break the silence.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hippo's in the month of May

5 steps forward, three steps to your left and charge ahead. No! Stop, come back and go round the block.
Thats a message from my brain to every nerve ending, anything to keep me from yawning like a bored hippopotamus in the middle of the afternoon.

May has never been my favourite month - even though a lot of people connected with my life are taureans, there is no reason particular reason why May should be loved. Perhaps, that's why the term 'May be' was coined. Just let May be. Hottest month of the year (in almost all parts of the globe) is, like I emphasized in the above few lines, is not my favourite.

The heat saps not only my energy, but also the life from everything green and serene that surrounds me. I hate the fact that I am not in school any longer. Perhaps, I would have slept in deep comfort while the heat threatens to kill several organisms in the world I would not like to be a part of (in the month of May). And of course, now the soaring temperatures (52 degrees in Delhi last month), have slowed me down, and even the yawn that I try hard to suppress feels like a 10-sec ad commercial. I am not sure I like the comparison of my well received lips and mouth to be compared to that of a hippo, but atleast I must be an interesting sight to a child who has never been to a zoo before.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I am a Bose, and I like it. Here's why

Ralph Rueben LifsWHAT?
Lifshitz. That is Ralph Lauren’s real name. I don’t even know how to pronounce it. And who would know that Madonna’s full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone. It is a good thing that the world knows of only one Madonna, like there is only one Michael Jackson. If there were more than one, like Hugh, several names come to the mind – Hugh Jackman, Hugh Grant, Hugh Dancy… all charming, making-me-weak-at-my-knees kinda men. DROOL!

So yea, names. Names are very important for our identity. If Ralph went about with a Ralph Lifshitz on his visiting card (which he might have, who knows), he would be the laughing stock of the block.

Like Elton John. Elegant. And that name is synonymous with the image of Princess Diana and Lion king, and of course, candle in the wind. Imagine ‘Reginald Dwight’, for that is his real name :D

There are names and then there are names. I am not even going to bother accounting for Bollywood, Kollywood, Tollywood, Mollywood.. and I don’t know what wood names here. Like did you know Michael Keaton of Batman fame is not actually Michael Keaton. He decided to change his name because there was already a Michael Douglas in movies and a Mike Douglas in broadcasting.

When he realized he needed to change his name, he remembered an article he had read with a nice picture of Diane Keaton. He chose her last name with the intention of changing it later. However, the name stuck. Years later, he phoned her and thanked her. The two have never actually met. While he uses this stage name, he has never legally changed his name to Michael Keaton.

So here it is… to names and to names.. having a good name in showbiz seems to matter. Perhaps Lady GaGa wouldn’t have made it so big if she went by the name Lady Stefani or Lady Joanne, or worse, Lady Germanotta. But those who cut her cheque must go mad writing ‘Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’. No?

Of love, lost and found

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things…

.. When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.”

Blessed are those who can think of their favourite things and not have to worry about anything else – just a dreamy future to look forward to, and a man who will take you over the hills. For some the favourite thing might be a huge profit at the stock market, and for some it could be the stork carrying good news home.

But that was not the case for Nirupama Pathak, whose life was mercilessly taken away from her. Who knew that those who create life, could take it away as well; or did the 22-year-old really take her own life?
Even if proved right, could we believe that her mother took her daughters life. Unsuspecting. Cold Blooded. Or did Nirupama know what her fate was to be. Her last call suggested that leaving home so soon was not going to be an option. The mental trauma.. the horror of it all...

I cannot imagine how it must feel, to have your baby and lose it too. With dreams in her eyes and a baby in her womb, she lost what we all yearn for – a future ahead, nice and bright, with someone to have and to hold. She had what she wanted – a budding career as a journalist, a man who loved her, but for the light glitch that threatened to take her life away – that Priyabhanshu, whom she met during the course of her study, belonged to a lower caste. And who knew that a trip home could cost her her life, her future and her dreams.

Fingers would be pointed at many now, brothers, uncles, boyfriend, mother and perhaps even a jealous friend could come into the picture. Conspiracy. What were her dreams, her aspirations?

In India LOVE is still taboo. Moral policing is high and age old customs and traditions hold value. Honour killing – one after another. Young couples in love torn apart on the basis of a caste bestowed upon them. Traditions based out of practise. But finally, their applications have threatened to take young life away, and love takes the backseat. Forced into marriage, forced for divorce, trauma of domestic violence and finally the finale Death! The word love can still bring a frown upon many faces, and young couples like Nirupama and Priyabhanshu are kept waiting – to meet in an abode above – till death do we part.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


“Most of the time
He's the lord of the jungle
Everyone grins while he gripes
Usually he's found just
Lounging around in his stripes"

Michael Franks - Tiger in the Rain

A visit to China’s Wenzhou Zoo, in Zhejiang province might just guarantee a photograph with the dwindling beast. Here visitors are invited to come up close, touch a tamed tiger and pose for pictures as they pretend to ride the animal. This could mean that the picture might be framed and hung on the wall for years, and you could actually tell your friends, “the fur was so soft, and he didn’t even growl.”

It just might mean the survival of the tiger, in pictures. At the rate at which the tigers are disappearing from the face of the earth, we might just have to be satisfied browsing for images on Google and saving it as a desktop image. That is probably the only way your children might get to see a tiger. Ever.

The WWF has released on their website ‘Top 10 Tiger Trouble Spots in 2010’. The map clearly shows why tigers are dwindling day by day. In India, various factors such as an ever-shrinking area due to an ever growing human population has let to the conflict between the man and the tiger.
However there seems to be no conflict between man and the cat in Thailand. Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, or the Tiger Temple was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. The Buddhist forest temple is located in the Saiyok district of the Kanchanaburi province in western Thailand.

The 50 odd tigers that have found the sanctuary in the tiger temple are washed and handled by Thai monks, international volunteers and local staff. Once a day they are walked on leashes to a nearby quarry. Originally they would roam around freely in this area but now, with the increase in visitors and the amount of tigers who sit in the canyon, they are chained for safety reasons. Under guidance, the visitors as can greet, sit with, and pet the cats.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, of the 3,500 tigers around the world, 1,400 are found in India. But our Indian tigers are being threatened. Like many other animals, they are highly territorial. Even the weather now is not on their side. A study predicts that the rising sea level may cause the remaining tiger habitat in Bangladesh's Sundarbans mangrove forest to decline by 96 percent this century. Additionally, poachers are everywhere, and our national animal has lost its pride.

“… He is just a tiger in the rain
who’s frightened..”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

India - and how you want it to be

I recently read this in an article posted online at the Asia Times ... "How on earth are these countries still considered "developing" when their standards of living and technology are barely available in the Western world?
That's when you remember India. "Ah!," you say, believing that here is a country that will perpetually disappoint on itsinfrastructure. Abysmal roads, gridlocked traffic, poor sanitation and those positively lethal curries."  

And not surprisingly this was being discussed in an Afghanistan forum which stated something on the lines of 'oh look! while our country has been investing in arms and ammunition, these countries have actually done something good', and then I read about India. 

With a not-so-favourable beginning, it ended well.. and you can read it here.

But seriously, I am torn apart when I have to decide if the country is progressing. It surely has, at many levels. My family doesn't throw up a hue and cry if I come back late, my brother is very protective about me but will never resort to any measure that will hurt me and I live in a colony where I feel safe, even if the watchmen are falling asleep every half hour. 

But there is still discrimination, a bias that exists when it comes to the so called 'weaker sex', and I am saying this only out of experience. Touchwood, I have never been raped, or tortured at knife point, or threatened, but I had a stalker I dealt with, a crazy boss I have learnt to deal with, but whatever said and done, I ride by 21 year old Kinetic Honda at 1 am in the morning and have never been pursued, chased or stopped by drunk cops. 

I only wish my fellow countrymen had a better sense of rules and regulations and had a civic sense. If only they would stop honking so much, that even my uterus feels troubled. If only the roads weren't so bad that I come back with a back ache every second day and if only more people were educated, with the basics atleast. 

There is trouble in every nook and cranny of our universe, our country, our state and our homes. I am not sure if we should look at the bigger picture first or look at the details. What are the things that trouble you? I have an endless list, what about you?