Monday, April 18, 2016

Kehne ko Kaafir Hain..

बेमंज़िले थे रास्ते, जिनके हम मुसाफिर थे ..
यक़ीन तो था बेशक, कहने को काफ़िर थे ..

मज़हबों पे ऐतबार न हो पाया अब तलक,
पर इश्क़-ए-मिजाज़ी से इश्क़-ए-हक़ीक़ी तक,
पहुँचना ज़रूर चाहते थे..
खुदा का खौफ़ नहीं, एक सुकून-ओ-सुरूर चाहते थे..
ये चाहत, ये ख़्वाहिश क्या समझेगा ये ज़माना,
जो मज़हब न मंज़ूर था, तो नज़रों में काफ़िर थे..

कुछ मासूम से ख्वाब थे, हक़ीक़त की दुआ करते थे,
ख्वाबों की ताबीर बताने वाले से हिज़्र की दुआ करते थे..
न मंज़िल मालूम थी न अंजाम,
वादों के अफ़सानों के राहों पे छोड़े निशान,
खुद से अंजान भी थे, थे थोड़े नादान

आज भी सफ़र के नए मोड़ में, बेख़ौफ़ मुसाफ़िर हैं,
बेइन्तेहाँ यकीन है खुद पे और खुदा पे,
कहने को काफ़िर हैं।

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mumbai Weekends: Slums and Smiles

If you really want to witness the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, you should stay in Mumbai, the so-called city of dreams and observe the lives of people in the tallest of buildings and the smallest of slums..
Mumbai is beautiful yet filthy..It is popularly known as the city that never sleeps..Its just that some stay awake to enjoy the awesome nightlife of this city, some are unable to sleep due to hunger..Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I am in a love hate relationship with Mumbai even now..
I used to go to my office in South Bombay from my place in Chembur.. I used to sit on the window seat of my bus every single day, just to watch people in an area called Reay Road, which happens to be a slum area in Mumbai where families stay in an area as small as your house's washroom, maybe even smaller...I used to stare at all adults- I saw expressionless faces everyday. I saw women with infants crying, I saw exhausted men..

No, this blog post is not about poverty stricken India, this blog post is not about the gap between the rich and the poor..Amidst those slums and the unforgettable sight of people trying to live in places so small that it was incomprehensibly difficult for me to imagine how they survived..I saw children, I saw small kids with ragged clothes, with their stomachs bloating due to malnutrition, with dark skin in the burning heat of May..And then, I saw their eyes..I saw real expressions I could relate to.. Fearlessness was the first thing that I noticed in those small eyes..and then, I couldn't concentrate on anything else throughout..Those eyes were so captivating that no novel, no song and absolutely no conversation could distract me at all..

I was wondering how there could be a difference between those expressionless faces of the adults in those slums and the fearlessness among all the kids..I used to watch them daily..They used to play with tyres, they used to run and run with bare feet, with ragged clothes or no clothes..They used to fight with each other, they used to play with things they used to find in the leaps of garbage around..And I saw the cutest smiles in those slums..I saw fearless dreams amidst rags and filth..They say those kids can steal for money..They say those kids aren't innocent..I call them brave..
And while writing this post, I recall Paulo Coehlo's quote, "A child can teach an adult three things- to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires".

Even though these kids in slums do not have the luxury to demand things, perhaps their fearless eyes tell me that they dare to dream..They find happiness in the smallest of things.. Maybe this feeling, this fearlessness is because of the fact that they have nothing to lose..The sky is their roof and the hot dusty roads where they walk barefoot are their playgrounds..Every night,they sleep without toys and blankets..maybe they stare at the sky and the stars before going to sleep..And when they stare at the sky,when they play with each other and smile, they are not poor slum kids, they are simply children..

There is this Punjabi song.."Bachpan vargi mauj ni labni puri zindagi chon"  (You won't find the joy and happiness of your childhood, ever again in your entire life..And I couldn't agree more..
When I look at these slum kids, I find smiles all around..Even after being poverty stricken and being devoid of basic needs, they are children at the end of the day..They dream,they play,they keep themselves busy and they stay happy..They are fearless..Whenever people tell me about stories of child abuse and child trafficking, rapes of minor girls, I feel so scared that I would never be able to put it in words..Poverty can never take away childhood and childlike spirit of finding happiness in the smallest of things..Child abuse can..

When I look at them, I wish I could be a child again..I wish we could do something to make sure that every child enjoys his childhood..I wish we could add more smiles to these slums..I find an inspiration.. an inspiration to have a child like keep walking, running and playing around.. If only, we could stay like kids forever!

Next Blog Soon :-)
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Saath Rupaye !

This is not fiction. All characters of this story are real. In fact, I should not call it a story. This is a real experience shared by an acquaintance, who had been traveling across the country for a business stint. Trust me, the conversation is not at all exaggerated. Do read.

"Sahab aapki umar kitni hai?"
"Baais saal"
"Kya baat hai sahab..itni jaldi bade aadmi ban gaye aap?"
"Koi aadmi bada ya chhota nahi hota"
"ye raaste se choodiyaan kiske liye khareede the saahab?"
"Apni chhoti behen ke liye.."
"Koi premika nahi hai aapki? kya kehte hain aap log angreji mei, 'girlfriend', 'girlfriend' nahi hai koi?"
"Nahi, koi nahi hai"
"Kya baat kar rahe ho Saahab, dikhne mei hero lagte ho, achchha khaasa kamaate ho, aap toh jise chaho haasil kar lo"
"Haasil nahi karna chahta..saath dena chahta hoon uska..khush rakhna chahta hoon use"
"Aashiq mijaaj maaloom hote ho saahab.."
"Aisa hi samajh lo..Achchha highway pe koi dhaba aaye toh gaadi rokna..bahut bhookh lagi hai.."
"Dhaba yahan se kareeb 7-8 kilometer pe hai..Peete ho sahab?"
"Nahi..main nahi peeta"
"Aur aapke liye aur koi intezaam karna hai ?"   
"Kaisa intezaam?"
"Yahin dhaabe ke paas..laal batti hai sahab..ek ghanta thokne ke saath rupaye..aap toh ameer aadmi ho, paanch sau bhi kharch doge toh kya jayega"
"Kya badtameezi hai ye..khabardaar jo aainda aisi baat ki mujhse toh..Agar gaadi aise kahin roki bhi toh tum.."
"Arre aap toh bura maan gaye saahab.."
"Biwi nahi hai tumhari?"
"Uske aage toh laal batti wali feeki pad jaaye..par kya karein sahab, hum thehre driver, mahine mei ek baar milte hain apni aurat se..Ab aadmi ki bhi apni zarurat hoti hai saahab"
"Tumne kaha tum laal batti apni zarurat poori karne jaate ho..kabhi socha hai uski bhi koi zarurat hogi..wo agar soche kahin apni zarurat ko pura karne ki..kya karoge tum?Achchha itne samay baad milte ho..Kabhi koi tohfa le ke jaate ho uske liye?"
"Tohfa kya saahab..Uski zarurat hum puri kar hi dete hain, mard se badh ke kya tohfa hai gharwali ke liye"
"Ek kaam choodiyaan rakh lo,,maine apni behen ke liye khareedi thi..tum apni biwi ko de dena..Usko achchha lagega."
"Rehne do saahab..Iski kya zarurat hai"
"Zarurat hai..kyunki tum uski zaruraton ke bare mei jaante nahi..."

Saath rupaye ! Only sixty fucking rupees ! And you can buy a woman's body for an hour..

We live in a country where a video by an actress talking of her choices goes viral in the name of feminism, where a TV actress having sex with a rich businessman becomes a headline...but neither the media, nor these videos for empowerment or the men and women busy talking about these over-rated subjects care about women who do not have choices, who are actually forced into prostitution, who are not even treated as individuals by their husbands, leave alone equals. "My choice" is a ridiculous, meaningless phrase for some women in this country. If at all we could do something for these women, I wish I could think of something.. I thought and thought, I had no answers!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cooking Together : Life is Delicious!

"It's fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That's what human life is all about - enjoying things." -Julia Child.

Some days are really unforgettable- the day you got your first salary, the day you got married, your first date.. But same days are special simply because you find happiness in the smallest of things, because an ordinary day becomes fun-filled when you are with friends, when you do something together, when you laugh together, when you cook together and when you eat together.

We had met just a few weeks back- four strangers who had now become friends- looking for a house to stay together. It was our first day in a new flat- a new home with new friends. We were excited, we were arranging things, we were cleaning the place, we were totally exhausted and terribly hungry.

We thought of making maggi, maggi with permutations and combinations of all ingredients that we had. But one of my friends, my first roommate, who is a close friend now, told us that the first dish to be made in a new kitchen or a new house has to be a sweet dish. Finally we made custard and added some grapes to it. We made maggi too. They say, too many cooks spoil the broth. I disagree. If I were ever asked to make a list of things one should do together in a group of friends, it would be cooking.

I know a lot of women who do not like others entering their kitchen when they cook. I really do not understand that. The very definition of kitchen, going by a quote, is a gathering place for friends and family, a place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love. All those who love cooking would be able to relate to it. All those who have spent time with their family cooking, talking about food and eating together would be able to relate to this. Nothing unites people like cooking and eating together does. For me, cooking together could be an awesome date too. Yes, I daydream of that quite a lot. 

It's amazing how those little things in life become so beautiful and unforgettable. A little sweet, a little salty, a bit bitter, a bit juicy.. Life has its own flavors.. One of my friends used to say, "Tasty food is the solution to all the problems in the world". Exaggerated though it may sound, but it's not completely wrong either. When life gives us so many delicious, mouth watering things to relish, why shouldn't we spend time cooking something together, to know each other better, to know our tastes and above all, simply to enjoy cooking and enjoy food.

Life is delicious !! Taste every bit of it !!

Cooking is fun! But when friends cook together, nothing like it !

P.S. Coming back to the memorable day, a new house, new life, new kitchen, new food, new cooking stories. Do check out this link for more.

Cheers !!


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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Miss Dum Laga Ke Haisha!

After watching a frustratingly slow and torturous movie like Roy, I had almost lost hopes of finding a story in a Bollywood movie..
And being away from my blogs for almost one year, I had been thinking that I've become too lazy to write something..
And then I watched a movie that made me smile genuinely..I mean, I felt like writing about it from the bottom of my heart..Before I start writing about it, let me tell you, this is more than just a movie review..

1. Beauty is Simplicity

90s' plot, cassettes, Kumar Sanu's voice, land line phones and missed calls..what else could you ask for nostalgia? This movie is all about small, sweet and simple things that would make you smile..It covers the minutest details of the characters, their lifestyles, their circumstances, their mindsets..
You do not always need a hot couple or a perfect cinematography for a romantic flick. The song "Ye moh moh ke dhaage" is simply bound to make you fall in love with the movie..

2. Bhumi Pednekar as Sandhya

You may call her fat, or you may say that she played the role of a fatso..but she was a real beauty..Sandhya was perfectly confident..And as I say, beauty is confidence, confidence is beauty..She loved herself and knew that she deserved to be loved..She was from a conservative family, but she did not succumb to the family pressure of being a part of a love-less, lifeless marriage..She valued her dreams, her aspirations, her dignity..
Hats off to Bhumi for being Sandhya, for performing with an effortless ease..

3. Marriage is not an event, it is a Journey..

Talk to a random girl in India who is about to get married..She'll talk about a Lehenga that costs more than 50k, jewels, accessories and make-up..I find it totally ridiculous when people tell me that I should marry before I turn 25, varna face ka glow chala jayega, dulhan wali baat nahi rahegi..
Talk to a random parent in India who is looking for an ideal bride or a groom.. They'll talk about a decent job, decent looks, decent family background..and yes, cliched though it may sound.."Jodi achchhi lagni chahiye"

Really??? So you think marriage is all about a perfectly beautiful bride, a grand event, ceremonies and two individuals who look good together? Why is it so important for a bride to look young or pretty or slim? Moreover, what would go wrong if jodi achcchi na lage? Are you buying a product with specific dimensions, features and configurations? No. 

Having said that, the movie talks about romance which is not only unconventional for Bollywood, but also unconventional for people like me and you, and that's the best part..

4. Accepting Imperfections

A not-so-good-looking girl with a not-so-educated, good-for-nothing-types guy..
But the movie doesn't preach about compromising, compromise for family or for marriage..

The story talks of giving time, forgiving for mistakes and accepting whatever seemed to be imperfect in the beginning.. As I always say, the first postulate of love is acceptance..If you aren't able to accept someone for who he is, you aren't in love, you have never been in love with the person..
For when you are in love, you accept all imperfections happily..Togetherness gives you immense support..

Overall, Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a cute movie that makes you feel good and makes you smile..

Rating : ***1/2

1. Ayushmaan Khurrana looks cute as Lappu ! :-D
2.Writing a blog after a long long break of 360 days feels awesome !
3. Planning to write more movie reviews.. 

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Saturday, March 8, 2014


This women's day, I simply could not stop myself from writing a post. No, this is not about women's rights, this is not about empowerment and this is not about sexual harassment, female infanticide, dowry and other social evils..

This post is against ridiculous ways of celebrating International Women's Day. This post is against all those who think women need special job offers, special rights or empowerment (I swear this word reminds me of Rahul Gandhi more than anything or anyone else). What girls and women really need is liberty and empathy and what we are giving them is the exact opposite. 

An Appeal to all Companies

When I had my first interview, guys around me said, "Getting core mechanical jobs is so easy for girls, all auto sector companies "prefer" girls in order to improve the sex ratio". When I had my second job interview, which was for a PSU, guys around me said, "Getting into a PSU is a cakewalk for girls. They would take them in any case, it is a government organization, they have to increase the number of women employees.”

Do you think I blame guys for such an attitude? I am not sure if I should blame them, but I do blame all those companies that are coming up with a "Special" Recruitment Drive for Women.
For God's sake, stop! Please stop these recruitment drives in the name of HR initiatives and CSR. Jobs for women blessed with affluent and well educated parents do not fall under Corporate Social Responsibility and it does not bridge the so-called gap in any manner.
Women are equally intelligent, deserving and competitive. A special recruitment drive for them is a reservation in a way and reservations of any sort have nothing to do with liberty. What you are doing is not empowering women, it is simply advocating and exemplifying what young guys feel about recruitment in Indian companies.
If you really want to do something for women and their liberty, invest in educating young girls.
If you really want to do something, tell workers from shop floors, Chai walas and sweepers in their company that their wives deserve to be respected, teach them not to get drunk and beat their wives, teach them that domestic violence is a criminal offence.

An Appeal to all Parents

You love your daughters and you want them to grow up as educated, independent women. The word independence does not mean being financially independent only. It is about aspirations, thoughts and desires.
Stop preparing her to get married, stop preparing her to be perfect. She is a human being and would always remain imperfect. Stop telling her things that you never mention to your sons. Why is it OK for her brother to abuse while she can’t? Why is it OK for her male cousins to get drunk at a family function while she can’t? Why is it OK for guys of her age to watch porn, while she can't even think of doing that?

Why do you expect your daughters to be sophisticated, pretty, naive, innocent and teetotalers? Why does society have different rules for girls and guys? For every MMS scandal, for every rape case, for every case of pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy, why do we say, “He was a guy, it is OK for a guy to do so, after all, men will be men, but she was a girl, she should have been careful. Why didn’t her parents teach her anything?”
I find this absolutely ridiculous. Why is it “normal” for a man to have sex or have the desire to have sex while it is “immoral” and “a sin” for girls?

Please do not let your ethics and moral values be gender based. The definition of right and wrong, moral and immoral must be the same for both girls and boys. That’s it.

An Appeal to the great Indian Education System

They say that Indian schools must introduce sex education for teenagers. Yeah, right, we live in a society where one can openly talk of Cancer and not of AIDS and we talk of sex education!

Teenagers do not need a biology class that includes facts about our hormones and reproductive system. What boys actually need is an open session to teach them that there is more to a woman than her boobs and legs, to counsel them about relationships, to guide them so that they grow up to be responsible men who respect women, who treat them as equals, who have the ability to empathize with them.

A message to all women

You do not need a day to remind you that you are special. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Respect your goals and ambitions, value your independence. You were not born to make sacrifices, you were not born to follow what society says, you were born to live your life on your own terms! Cheers!!

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mumbai Weekends : Keep Walking

Reminiscing the year 2013, I can't stop thinking about the way the year marked the beginning of a completely new phase - a new job with a totally unexpected job profile, all the great people I met and goes without saying, the city that has been the pivot of all my fascination, introspection and reverie - Mumbai.

Like all other Delhiites, even I had my own reasons to dislike a hell lot of things about Mumbai..But then, the year 2013 gave me many unforgettable moments, cognizance of my own desires. And amidst the plethora of emotions, amidst the changes and phases, I started liking this city for a really weird reason..They say that Mumbai never sleeps, I say that Mumbai never stops..
The people of Mumbai always happen to inspire me. I was amazed at the way the hopelessly heavy rains never seemed to stop them. I love the cosmopolitan culture and the zeal that Mumbaikars have for each and every festival. I like the way they travel in local trains, standing at the gate and enjoying the wind.

This city taught me to be fearless, to set myself free when I needed it the most. I met the best of the people in my life when I was at my worst. Its beaches gave me tranquility whenever I was anxious. I felt surrounded by a cobweb of uncertainties, but as they say, "you may be lost in ways more than one, but I've a feeling that sometimes it is better than knowing exactly where you are."

 The crux is that nothing should stop you. Life is like a long sexy road..And to keep driving on it, keep enjoying the beauty, with open windows and soothing music, must be its only purpose. You stop, you worry about the traffic, you feel afraid of accidents, you keep thinking about the road gone or the road ahead and you're gone, you're screwed.

When you feel afraid of your own desires, when the only way out seems to be forbearance and detachment, you never really understand how destiny has its own secret plans to introduce you to someone who would take you to who you really are and make you fall in love with yourself, in spite of your imperfections all over again, in such a manner that your past, your apprehensions and fears would become totally insignificant. Never regret anything at all that ever made you happy, for one day, you would be able to connect all dots and smile. The key is to keep hoping, even when everything is uncertain..keep thanking those who are with you, keep smiling even when nothing seems to be right ..keep forgiving, for your own peace..keep loving, for love gives you strength to have faith beyond all insecurities and apprehensions..keep walking, with no restrictions and no regrets!

Mumbai has been a new chapter for me, a new life with so many life lessons, and a change.. a change that taught me something, Keep Walking !!


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

That Girl With Blood Red Eyes

"Your daughter's beauty will mesmerize the whole world", the old astrologer had told her mother when she was carrying her. Her mother smiled, touching her belly. The man continued, "She would be born with a beautiful face, a milky white face, but.."
"But..but what?"

"But the moment she will open her eyes, people will be scared to death. She is cursed. Her eyes, as red as blood shall make her cursed." 

Her mother's eyes were blazing with fury. She abused the mad man and walked away, but for the next one month, his words could not let her sleep. Everyday, she convinced herself that he was a mad man, yet, his words made her cry. Exactly one month after the day that still haunted her, her baby daughter was born. Her baby was sleeping, when she took her into her hands for the first time, she felt beautiful, she felt blessed. Then the baby cried, she heard her voice for the first time. And then, she fainted out of fear. Her worst nightmare had come true. She had a baby daughter, with eyes as red as blood. 

She was born with an exceptional beauty- beauty that scared anyone and everyone. Any man who saw her once would fall for her beauty, any man could be intoxicated, but any man who looked into her eyes would run away.

She was taken to hospitals and all eye treatments resulted in only one thing- more and more blood falling from her eyes. Her parents stopped making any more attempts and it was accepted that she was born with a curse- a curse that scared people to death, whenever she laughed, whenever she cried, whenever she opened her eyes.

She was forced to live in isolation in her room, for people believed that she was born with a curse. She was known as the girl with blood red eyes. Nobody knew that the reason why she cried, nobody cared. She always carried a red rose, she always wore red clothes, she grew up playing with red chillies. She never had any friends. The only things she cheered in her life were these three things.

She cried and shouted whenever someone came to see her. She continued to live with her blood red eyes, red roses and red chillies. She had stopped crying, she had started laughing. She had got used to people being afraid of her. She used to show her red roses to her mother before going to sleep. She used to smile at her and all she saw was tears in her mother's eyes. 

Few years later, her mother was pregnant again. And this time, it was another daughter, a daughter who was a normal baby, who was not cursed. She was locked into her room right after her sister was born. She was not allowed to see her, touch her. She cried and cried, she wanted to show her red roses to her mother. She did not open the door to her. 

One fine day, she ran out of the window and went to see her mother. She started playing with her sister. The moment her family saw her, she was beaten brutally and she was locked again. 
Next morning, when her mother woke up, she saw a red rose in the new born baby's tiny hands. Her heart skipped a beat. The baby's face was covered with a blanket. With trembling hands, she removed it and saw something worse than the biggest shocker of her life. Her eyes were enucleated and removed, all she saw was blood falling. 

That girl with blood red eyes had finally proved that she was born with a curse- but what was the curse about, her blood red eyes or the curse of being called cursed? She never realized this, she simply ran away! 


This story is an outcome of a horribly scary nightmare! And this is for the first time that I am writing something for a competition, I know its crazy!

Do check out this link, its really cool..#Jacob Hills on Amazon 
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Monday, August 19, 2013

A Tale of Three Cities

On 18th August 2012, from Hazrat Nizammudin Station, along with some college buddies, I had started a new journey, away from the city I love to call my birthplace and hometown.. 
Three hundred and sixty five days gone..And I still remember everything like it happened yesterday..I still remember how my parents were anxious and worried, I still remember the endless packing, I still remember our gossip sessions, smiles and tears throughout the train ride.. I remember every damn emotion associated with the commencement of this new phase.

Now when I think of writing a flashback post, trust me, its really hard for me to decide where to begin from.. One year, two completely different jobs in two different cities, independent life away from home, new people, life lessons, what not..

I used to feel that every time one retrospects, the pattern remains the same, the flashback is all about changes, about people coming into and going out of your life, experiences and turning points,smiles and tears..But this is for the first time that I realized how much your life changes just because you shift a few hundred kilometers, as and when you come to a new city! And both fortunately and unfortunately, I have seen such changes twice in the last 12 months..I dedicate this post to the three cities I have lived in - Delhi, Pune and Mumbai..

Dear Pune, I simply love you! 
I don't know how to put this into words, but there is a feel good factor about this city that words can't describe..I may be biased for whenever I was in Pune, I was happy, I was calm, I was free.. 
Coming from a city like Delhi, I tasted freedom and safety for the first time in Maharashtra, I fell in love with the weather, I admired the simplicity, I respected the people there..
Right from learning Marathi to doing household chores, right from fun with office colleagues to movies with my roomie, everything was fun.. I saw happiness in the smallest of things! 
I still remember how I used to call the flat where I stayed "my second home"..
The best thing about this place is that it gives you a balance, where life is not 'fast', where you neither run nor escape, where you simply live!!

Yes, I always missed Delhi, but I feel like thanking this city for memories I will always cherish, for four months of sheer peace and happiness and a sense of real freedom! 

Dear Mumbai, the love-hate relationship continues....

Mumbai fascinates me, intrigues me, amazes me everyday..
It has been 8 months in Mumbai now, but the weird feeling that I share a love-hate relationship with this city, does not seem to fade away at all..

I still find it hard to believe that I can roam around freely at 12 AM and nobody gives a damn, I am enjoying every bit of the night life of the city that never sleeps and I simply love that!
But its ironical how the so called glamorous city with tall buildings and beaches totally sucks as far as infrastructure is concerned..Stinking roads, filthy slums, crowded areas everywhere and travelling becomes a real pain..I swear I hate that more than anything else!
Cliched though it may sound, but life here is actually fast! You don't really get the time to understand, think or realize why you don't have time..This city inculcates in you a weird tendency to be emotional yet indifferent..You start dreaming big, but you learn how to detach yourself from attachments rather quickly, you learn how to keep walking, keep moving ahead, yet, there is something that makes your life melancholic, tired and restless..

But then, you visit Marine Drive, you feel the sea breeze, you observe the sea waves and you smile continuously! Your restless mind discovers peace, your impatient heart feels calm and relaxed.. You are blessed with an amalgamation of tranquility and exhilaration and I love that feeling beyond words!

I saw the worst of myself in Mumbai, it was un-Sonia-ish-ness at its peak in my words..But then, Mumbai gave me people who always loved me, who chose to stand by me even when I was at my worst..

I still happen to be a part of the crowd living in this city and I am continuously exploring it..Mumbai has been challenging so far, but it makes me feel proud all the same!
Back to back blogs dedicated to Mumbai, coming soon!

Dear Delhi, all I have to say is that..

It does not matter where I go or what I do, it does not matter how many years pass by, I hate it when people associate me to any caste/religion/language/community, but I call myself a Delhite, I belong to Delhi... Speaking directly Dil Se, my heart belongs to places inside Delhi, and that's the reason why I call it "Dilli Meri Jaan"

Somewhere close to the Kashmere Gate Campus where I had spent four unforgettable years of my college life, somewhere close to its classrooms and walls where I used to laugh out loud and gossip..
Somewhere close to the Metro Stations and somewhere inside the Metro trains..
Somewhere close to the roads of Rajiv Chowk where I used to hang out with friends..
Somewhere close to the tranquility of Bangla Sahib..
Somewhere close to the delicious Gol Gappe, Tikki and Chhole Bhatoore you won't find in any other city in India..
And of course, somewhere close to the place I call my home, with my mom and dad..

Yes, my heart belongs to you !! 

Next Blog soon!

Wishing myself a happy 'Life in Maharashtra' anniversary!


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Thursday, June 20, 2013

If Every Child is Legitimate Now, I Support Madras HC

Madras High Court order on pre marital sex and marriage has sparked a controversy which is going viral on net. I have lost the count of the different versions, opinions, judgements, views and above all interpretations that I have read about the same.

Let me just begin with sharing the links for the news :

Couples who have premarital sex to be considered 'married' : says HC

However, I still believe that the title by The Hindu for the link above was somewhat misleading.
Therefore, I would also like to share TOI's article. Its an interesting read.

The very statement "If a couple in the right legal age indulge in sexual gratification, it will be considered a valid marriage and they could be termed as husband and wife." has raised eyebrows, made headlines, been the hot topic for debates all over the country.

While people have been criticizing and ridiculing the verdict, while there have been funny facebook posts "trolling" the pre marital sex=marriage part (without looking at the exact interpretation), while people are questioning the fact that there can't be documentary proofs for sex between a man and a woman, while some say this would actually mean polygamy for those who casually sleep with more than one woman, I feel that considering the present case, there is one aspect that simply can't be ignored, and that is, according to Justice Karnan,

" the petitioner’s rank has been elevated as the `wife’ of the respondent and likewise, the respondent’s rank has been elevated as the `husband’ of the petitioner. Therefore, the children born to them are legitimate children"

And, this statement, precisely, is the reason why I am writing this blog.

No Child Should Be Called "Illegitimate". Period.

For a moment, forget the case, forget the verdict, forget the controversy and the endless articles and blogs about the same. Consider a case where a man and a woman have sex, but they are not married to each other, the woman gets pregnant and eventually gives birth to a child. Now, since they are not a married couple, the child born to them would be an "illegitimate child" for s/he would be born out of wedlock, where the marriage is invalid or void in the eyes of the law. More importantly, such children would be termed as "naajaayaz aulaad" in the eyes of the Indian society forever!

Was it the fault of the child that s/he was born as a result of pre marital sex and not sex after marriage? Why should the child be devoid of proper education, nutrition, bringing up and care? Why should the child carry the psychological and emotional burden of being called 'naajayaz' throughout his/her life?

If Justice Karnan's verdict implies that such children deserve a life beyond the tag illegitimate' ,deserve financial support,education,love and affection ,deserve a life like that of so-called legitimate kids whose parents had had sex only after getting married ,I support such an interpretation of the case!

Yes,I understand that two individuals cannot get married just because of a sexual intercourse and a one night stand. I admit that people,particularly women ,might use such laws for blackmailing others, this may lead to forced marriages too. I do believe that if a woman or a man wishes to be a single mother or a single father to the child, s/he can't be forced. But then, the child will have to suffer because of the word 'illegitimate' as long as he is alive, and may be his own children will also have to suffer for the same.

Thus, in spite of everything, this verdict does hold good for cases where pre marital sex leads to pregnancy and/or child birth. Many girls in India commit suicide in case if they get pregnant and they can't abort the child. Many men in India still use and throw women for lust in the name of love and commitment. Almost all kids born out of sex without marriage go through the mental torture of "being illegitimate"

And the worst part is that irrespective of laws and legal terms, indian society would continue to be equally rigid. Gays and lesbians are still not accepted in our society even after Section 377. Do you think we will ever accept pre marital sex and unmarried pregnant women? Even if a law is introduced to support such kids in all similar cases , society would continue to call them "Naajayaz Aulaad", unmarried pregnant girls would continue to go for illegal abortions and suicide attempts!

The irony is that Indians do not condemn something as brutally illegal as rape as much as they condemn pre marital sex which involves mutual consent. And just like they have no sympathy for rape victims, they have absolutely no acceptance for the "illegitimate children". Perhaps people in India have decided that they would keep their notions, their so-called values and culture above all logics, all ethics, all sympathy and humanity.

Justice Karnan and his verdict has been like a proof to the fact that we, the people of India, love to look at only one side of the coin, and that side is the side which deserves criticism, blames and sarcasm.
If at all we could think of accepting children born after sex without marriage, if at all we could let unmarried pregnant women live their own lives, such a verdict would not have been needed in the first place.

Every newspaper, every blog writer, every other person may have come up with his/her interpretations and views. I have just one thing to say.

I reiterate my words.. "No Child Should Be Called Illegitimate. Period"

Sonia Bhatia

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Friday, April 19, 2013

जो लफ़्ज़ों में न हो पाए बयाँ

जाने क्यूँ वो पूछते हैं हमसे हाल-ए-दिल की दास्ताँ

बेबाक धड़कनों को सुन सको तो जानो

नज़रों का नूर नज़र आये तो जानो

वो जज़्बात ही क्या जो लफ़्ज़ों में हो पाएँ बयाँ

जो ख्व़ाब का हिस्सा हो

जो तसव्वुर का किस्सा हो

वो जो हकीक़त बन जाए तो जानो

वो जुनूँ ही क्या जो लफ़्ज़ों में हो पाए बयाँ

जो अश्कों की हो रही हो बरसात

भीगी पलकों की ख़ुशी समझ सको तो जानो

अधूरे से अल्फाज़, अनकही सी बात

महसूस कर सको तो जानो

वो ग़म, वो ख़ुशी ही क्या जो लफ़्ज़ों में हो पाए बयाँ

जुज़्व-ए-ज़िन्दगी हैं वो पल जो हँसा के जाते हैं

जुज़्व-ए-ज़िन्दगी हैं वो पल जो रुला के जाते हैं

न जाने कितनी मरतबा ये मोड़ आते हैं

न जाने कितने शक़्स आते हैं जाते हैं

ज़हन-ओ-दिल पे मग़र बस कुछ लम्हे छा जाते हैं

वो लम्हे, वो एहसास , वो जूनून, वो सुकून-ओ-सबात

वो हर एक जज़्बात

जो लफ़्ज़ों में न हो पाए बयाँ

This poem is dedicated to all those moments that render us speechless, when the plethora of emotions, the nostalgia, the surreal feeling intoxicates us!
Life is perhaps a summation of all these turning points- those unforgettable moments, when you could not find any words to express yourself !!

Being speechless is an amazing experience, always !!

Feels great to be back to Urdu :)

Next Blog soon !!


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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Marriage MATERIAL or a LIVEly Daughter??

Ever since I have started working in a government organization, people around me keep saying, "your prospects of getting married to a nice guy are brighter and better now " I always feel like laughing at this illogical statement and I fail to understand why a job or its type is linked to marriage in India, more importantly, why is every fucking thing treated as an eligibility criteria for being an ideal marriage material for Indian girls? Right from her looks to her education, right from her health to her job, everything perhaps has one primary objective- to make her eligible for getting married, to make her perfect in every sense, not with an intention to teach her how to be a good citizen/woman/daughter/wife/mother, but with a fear in their minds, a fear that one day she has to get married and her future in laws expect her to be perfect!!
Confused?? Read the following points one by one, please note that every word is TRUE and REAL
  • She is a school kid, like all kids of her age ,she loves playing and watching TV much more than cooking and other household chores, but her mother always tells her that if she does not learn how to cook ,she will be in deep trouble after she gets married, in fact ,this would act as a hindrance in their path to find a suitable match for her.. Why do we have to teach our kids in such a fashion that inculcates fear in them, that makes them feel scared of marriage and in laws at the age when they don't even know what marriage is? Why can't we simply tell them that they ought to learn things for their own good ?
  • She is a bright student. She has always been a hard working and sincere girl. However, one fine day, when she could not score well in an exam, her mother warned her about competition for jobs , telling her that everyone 'asks' and 'demands' for working women these days..People say that nowadays parents consider education of their daughters as important as education for their sons, the exact reason lies in the previous statement! Can't she have her own ambitions? Shouldn't we ask her to work hard and be independent? Perhaps her own ambitions don't exist for all those people who think she should work only to meet the 'demands' of people looking for a working wife for their sons!
  • She was a lively,bubbly college kid, she never cared about what others thought of her, her friends used to call her 'fatty' for she was slightly overweight, it never affected her much! One fine day , her mother told her, " Nobody would marry you if you continue to gain weight like this" and that was the first time when she was affected by a comment! Why can't we ask our daughters to take care of their own health and fitness in the first place? Isn't her well being important otherwise? Why is her being perfectly eligible for marriage more important than her being perfectly fit and fine? Aren't we responsible for making them feel confident ?
  • She was a talented, creative fashion designer working for a boutique ,she wanted to have her own startup, but her family insisted that she should think of getting married now for she was 25 already! Why is society's pressure valued more than a girl's dreams and plans? Doesn't she have a right to be ambitious? Who makes these ridiculous rules? 

A mother can never even think of doing something that makes her daughter sad, yet,without realizing the emotional and psychological impact of all these things on her daughter, she continues to do so..why? The answer is simple. Indian parents are the victims of Indian society, they can't stand their daughters being not suitable in the eyes of the society! Sadly, even TV serials and movies promote the same culture, the same ideologies that preach that a girl's life is all about one major life event- marriage and her parents ought to prepare her for that right from the day she is born.

Marriage, undoubtedly , is like the biggest turning point in a person's life! But why do we expect a person to be perfect when we think of getting married? I find it incomprehensibly difficult to believe that people totally forget things like compatibility and mutual understanding! The irony is that they fail to realize that they are looking for a daughter-in-law, who is a human being, with her own flaws, her own qualities, her own beliefs, they are not going to buy a product with desirable configurations and specifications!

The message is simple and is dedicated to all Indian parents with an intention to make them understand something very important. She has her own life, her own identity! She doesn't deserve to be treated like a commodity in a market of cut throat competition! She deserves to be respected!
Love her, care for her , make her feel confident , make her feel beautiful, ask her to respect herself, teach her to love herself the way she is! Ask her to explore the whole world, teach her to be bold, be optimistic! Let her be free, let her discover herself, let her dream, let her aspire, let her strive for success, let her smile, let her be !

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mumbai Weekends : Marine Drive!!

Wake Up Sid, one of my favorite movies, ends with a beautiful song, boondon ke motiyon mein ghul ke ehsaas aaya, waqt se nikal ke lamha dil ke paas aaya..I have lost the count of the number of times I have watched that scene on youtube, but whenever I think of writing a blog about Mumbai, I tend to recall these lines from Konkana Sen's article, 'New Girl in the City', "jo bhi likhti, lagta ki kuchh kam hai, iss sheher ke bare mei aisa kya keh sakti thi jo pehle nahi kaha gaya" ..for now I can relate to these lines completely.. Right from its beaches to its people, right from its tall buildings to slums, right from its glamour to its lifestyle, there is so much about this city that evokes and arouses the observer, the philosopher, the day dreamer and above all the writer in you, that I simply could not put an end to it in just one article..And, hereby, after a hopelessly long phase without blogs, I am back with a series : Mumbai Weekends!!

Everyone here talks of a so-called fast life, where people fail to find time for themselves, time for their family, time to interact with their neighbors, but even with this fast life, you might not realize but you would always have time to think of your problems..So when you are fed up of your job or your boss, when you are heartbroken after a breakup, when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, or simply need a break from your monotonous life, there is just one place that offers you incredible peace..and that is the subject of the very first blog of the series- Marine Drive.

You will find hundreds of articles describing the place, but you won't find any wiki-google-ish article here, I know nothing about its location or its history, for me, Marine Drive is all about desire, tranquility, ecstasy, love, happiness, freedom, inspiration, fantasies, romance and much more !!

You may stride along the beautiful walkway, you may simply sit and keep on looking at the waves, the rocks, the tall buildings, the enthralling scenic beauty of the palm trees, the heavenly breeze and the amazing view of the horizon which seems totally mesmerizing when the sun sets!
At night, the street lights on the C-shaped road look like a string of pearls and diamonds, popularly known as the 'Queen's necklace'

When you sit on the wall and look at the sea waves hitting the rocks, when you are walking along the promenade and the breeze caresses your hair, even when you are surrounded by so many people, you feel lost for you forget everything else and you tend to enjoy being free, emancipated from all inhibitions and apprehensions, all cobwebs of negative thoughts that preoccupy your mind, which are replaced by the feeling of letting yourself go, getting high !!
Your romantic side turns on when you come to this place, perhaps it is the most suitable place for going out for a date, or for simply sitting and talking to someone, or for day dreaming and fantasizing !!

You will always find a lot of couples there, couples with their public displays of affection, groups of friends clicking pictures, old couples sitting and talking, kids jumping around and people like me, sitting and smiling, enjoying the breeze, the freedom, the feeling that can't be put in words..

One may say that I take it as a medium to escape, but sometimes its better to take a break, when the past and the future becomes unimportant.. Perhaps everyone deserves someone like Marine Drive, someone who can make you feel free, someone who can make you forget everything for a while, someone who won't walk away, would always be there, would always stay, for you...
Such places and such people, aren't about escapism, they are about spending time with yourself, being happy and looking forward to life, for it happens to be beautiful, as beautiful as Marine Drive is!
Whenever I tend to forget this, I just walk around this place, and it get the same feeling again.. life is as beautiful as this place!

Cheers !!

Mumbai weekends always have something interesting to offer, next blog from the series from a hard core Delhite trying to explore the city that never sleeps, coming soon!


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Itti si Hansi.. Itti si Khushi

"Itti si hasi, itti si khushi, itta sa tukda chaand ka"
If I say that I'm crazy about this song, it would be an understatement.. I could not let the lyrics off my mind for a month..The reason why I love the song so much is that it reminds me of those small joys of life, those little things that make us smile, that remain unnoticed by us, most of the time, that make us feel that we really don't need big reasons to feel that life is beautiful, all we need is happy moments with small yet great sources of happiness!

Who doesn't feel happy when India wins a match? CWC 2011 wasn't less than a festival for the whole country and the celebration continued for weeks!
Think of those moments when you think of some good old moments and start smiling, when you are with your friends and even the simplest of conversations make you laugh out loud! Don't you feel happy when someone does something just to give you a sweet surprise, just to make you feel special?
For a crazy music lover like me, sometimes, even a song is more than enough to make me happy, to get me high! I keep singing, whistling n humming all the time, and I always have a broad smile on my face, whenever a song is on my mind.
First rain showers of the season..playing with a baby and watching him or her smile at you, holding your finger..receiving naughty, romantic texts from someone and blushing..finding money in pockets of an old shirt or getting free gift vouchers..receiving compliments or listening to simple words of appreciation or praise from people around you, unexpectedly!

I can go on and on with this random list..As the song goes, "dabe dabe paon se, aaye haule haule zindagi", you never know when life would come up with something or someone who makes you smile, you just need to cherish all those moments, the presence of all those people! And, therefore, I respect all festivals and special occasions, birthdays and anniversaries!

Almost all of us must have received "This Diwali, spread happiness" messages from our friends today.. All of us must have exchanged gifts, sweets, chocolates, what not! No other festival comes up with such extravagant expenditure like Diwali does..But, while we spend thousands buying sweets and dry fruits that actually go wasted, while we spend money for crackers that give us nothing more than noise and pollution, there are kids who beg for some food outside the same temples where we go to light candles and diyas..While we decorate our houses, while we get dressed in the best of our traditional clothes, there are rag pickers who wear torn clothes and search for food in garbage..

They say, the best source of happiness is to see a smiling face and know that you are the reason behind the smile! Why don't we celebrate this Diwali trying to give "Itti si hansi.. itti si khushi" to all these kids! While we keep spending money for crackers and sweets and clothes every year, why can't we buy toys and chocolates for kids? Trust me, nothing else can be a better way to celebrate the festival..

From the past half an hour, this blog post was a source of happiness for me! And, I have decided that when I'll go out to a gurudwara or a temple to light candles, I would definitely buy sweets and chocolates for kids there!
For the best way to find "itti si hansi.. itti si khushi" for yourself, is to give the same to someone who really needs it!

A very happy Diwali to all readers! Stay safe, stay happy!

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Friday, October 12, 2012

From 'Hello Dilli' to 'Kasakai Pune'

After a long long break, it feels really great to be back to blogging.. The past 50 odd days of my life were all about a new phase, a phase of life away from home, away from internet and blogs, exploring new places, new people, new languages..I can go on writing about it all, describing a plethora of emotions, but this blog particularly talks of the city where my second home is, the city that brought a new phase, a drastic change into my life, Pune, Pune (Pimpri Chinchwad) to be precise!

You know you are living in Pune when:
  • Every other area of the city has a hopelessly weird name.. Chinchwad, Pimpri, Nigdi, Chikhli, Talwade, Kondhwa, Wakad etc to name a few.. Trust me when I say this, some of them actually sound like swear words.. “Bhosri” tops the list.. Imagine speaking this out, “Bhosri mein jane ka hai”.. For one moment, you would actually feel that you are abusing someone!
  • Wherever you go, you’ll find manufacturing firms, plants, IT sector companies, ABC companies, XYZ companies.. In short, this place is a hub for all engineers and MBAs.. You will find young people all around and this is what makes this city so lively!
  • On every fucking road, after every 100 odd meters, you will find a hoarding/board that says, 1BHK, 2BHK flats for rent..You will find the same advertisement during commercial breaks of all radio shows..
  • The most lovable thing about this city is the incredible weather..Your day would start with the sun shining bright, you’ll find clouds and clouds in the afternoon and you’ll be blessed with “halki halki barish and tez hawa” in the evening..You might keep on walking and you would not get tired at all..You would feel like going out for a long drive, singing out loud, you would discover how weather can affect your mood.. Now that the rainy season is over, I really miss those early September days.. nevertheless, even the October heat is better than the extreme temperatures at Delhi..
  • Even outlets like McDonalds and Dominos have their signboards in Hindi/Marathi..You'll find funny Marathi signboards on roads that say, "vaahan hallu chala, kaam chalu aahe" (Go slow. Work in progress) but the irony is that only chaat walas and pani puri walas have their list of items written in English, with abbreviations on top of that..Yes, every pani puri wala's long list of snacks has an abbreviated term called S.P.D.P. included in it, which stands for Sev Puri Dahi Puri..
  • Almost half the girls of the city walk with their hair, their face totally covered with a Dupatta..I took a week to understand the logic behind this.. Unfortunately, air pollution is a major problem in the city, and apparently, the most noticeable consequence of the same is hair fall.. Girls are forced to adopt the daakoo style.. Sigh! 
  • Even if you are a hard core Delhite, even if you do not know how to speak in Marathi, you develop a tendency to talk in the Marathi-ish tone..Phrases like 'barabar hai', 'aane ka hai', 'jaane ka hai' become a part and parcel of your vocabulary..
  •  If you take a direct auto from one place to another, you’ll have to spend 200 bucks, while if you change 3 shared autos for the same distance, it will cost only 15 odd rupees..The same shared autos would never agree to take you to the place directly even if you offer them more than 100 rupees..
  • When you come to Pune from a place like Delhi, all of a sudden, you taste freedom that you could never even imagine.. No matter what you wear, no matter at what time you go out, you would always feel safe, nobody would even stare or look at you, leave alone eve teasing.. For this very reason, I not only love this city, I actually respect its people.. Sometimes, I feel like settling into this city forever..Jai Maharashtra!!

Pune has been an awesome place so far and no matter how much I like Pune as a city, whenever I have to travel in shared autos and six seaters, I miss Delhi Metro badly.. I miss metro stations, I miss Cannaught Place, Kashmere Gate, I miss the way I used to read novels, observe people in metro trains.. 
When I say, "My name is Sonia and I am from Delhi", people can never attach any religion, any language, any caste or community to my identity, and this happens to be the best part of being a Delhite! I miss that feeling when people attach religions/communities/languages to different places..
Whenever I have to eat tasteless food at office, I badly miss Delhi’s unbeatable awesome food and above all I miss mom ke hath ka khana.. I miss Delhi’s style..I miss my college, I miss my home! 

Dilli Meri jaan, I will be back soon! 

This is a new chapter, a new life for me..


Guys do check out this link here..

Every city is special, and the house where we live in is even more special.. I am in love with my new house in Pune..It is my second home..On that note, do check out this video from


Next blog soon! 

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