Monday, April 14, 2014

Five Destinations, One lifetime

Travel, exploration, wanderer- Three words entwined together; three words that form the essence of the journey called life; three words that bring out the hidden you. Frankly speaking, a person who doesn’t travel hasn’t lived a life to be called worthwhile. Your life is a travelogue, each time you go around it gets added on your list. Life is all about discovering places so as to discover yourself. But there’s something I wish to add, simply being on the move without exploration and observation would just add on to your list, not your experiences. So yes, travel to introspect, travel to discover, travel to improve, travel to shine, travel to learn, travel to imbibe, and travel to befriend your inner soul. Well, life is a journey and mine has just begun. I’ve been through a few spots but there are many that lay unexplored. Like everyone, few places always attract you more than others. My list is a bit long but I’m going to pick the top five places I wish to travel in India, sometime soon.

Kolkata- The first city in my list has to be the Queen’s land. I don’t know why but this city has always drawn me towards itself. Maybe, it’s their food or maybe it’s the white and red cotton saris, maybe it’s the Durga Puja or maybe it’s the fish curry, I’ve reasons galore to be there but one strong that always remains on top is my fantasy to learn literature from here. Accept it or not, if you wish to study the best of literature in India then it’s nowhere but Kolkata.

Mcleodganj- The foodie in me has always been intrigued by Tibetan cuisine and there’s no doubt that it’s the momos and the thukpas that have been making me crazy to land in there sometime soon. Moreover, you don’t get to see Tibetan culture everyday. I guess, it’s going to be an enriching experience to learn something about their lifestyle. Not only this, I’ve even planned to open up a coffee shop there in collaboration with a friend.

Almora- That’s a small hill station in Uttarakhand and I’ve had some really wild thoughts on sneaking here without telling anyone, just to pen down my novel. I have fantasized for long about sleepy morning, chai ka pyaala, a desk by the window with my laptop. pens and paper and a cozy bed that has a small book shelf just above the head rest.

Vasco, Goa- Ever since I watched the movie ‘Josh’ I’ve wanted to be there. You know the churches, the sounds of the bells, the smell of baking, the Christian lifestyle, my God, it’s already giving me goosebumps. If I manage to go there, I’d like to spend some time at the public library reading about the history of the Portugal rule there.

Neemrana- That’s quite sad but you know I’ve just not got the chance to explore this beautiful hill station in Rajasthan. Like everyone, even I’d be interested in visiting those ancient forts but the catch here is the hot air ballooning early morning. I know I’ll have to save up a lot to be able to experience it but someday, I’d like to see the place from high above.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The MSY Drama: An Outburst

I am writing this post at a point when I’m in the worst of my moods. That’s how I have been since yesterday night, exactly the time when the news came out with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s outrageous comment on rapists. Somehow, the anger in me has still not cooled down and I know it will take a lot of time to get over my mind. Maybe, I’ll never get over this statement, ever and probably, I’ll take hatred for this man even in my grave. I’ve detested this man since ages and yes, they are truly personal in nature. I believe almost everyone from my city or state must be having a similar feeling for him. That is how it has always been in U.P. Every elections, it’s either BSP or SP that wins but why do I hate this party more than anybody else is something I might never be able to write on paper. May be, someday I’ll have to write a book on him and let him know how much I abhor him.
You see, ages back when he got into satta I was just a school kid in my teenage trying to come to terms with life and its dimensions. But there was something that was depressing. Every day when our school bus passed towards kacheri the guys and the uncles would look at us and comment. Some would pass lewd remarks while some cheap boys would throw chits inside which undoubtedly contained a language I had never heard of. Ours was a convent non co-ed school and one of the most renowned name in the city. However, our exposure to boys was confined to brothers, cousins and neighbourhood friends. Thankfully, my family was never against my interacting to opposite gender so I never had to go through that much of a problem that later unlike few of my classmates who belonged orthodox families where talking to guys was next to committing a crime. We were instructed to keep the windows closed after a few days of the gundagardi going around. That was the time when one of my friends had started going to coaching classes and one of those guys who’d throw off chits through windows started following her. He’d follow our bus, her home and to her coaching classes too. She was scared but didn’t know what to do. He’d keep passing lewd comments and then came a time when she was locked up in her house because things were becoming too tough for her. She didn’t even come to school for a week. Her parents tried ways to get rid of him but the authorities said that he belonged to the ruling party. He had connections with the CM and thus, no one could do anything about him. Days passed and that guy also got bored of her. Things came back to normal but somehow my dislike for him remains constant, unchanged since then. This may not be just his government, it happens everywhere.
Iska us se link
Uska PM se link hai to uska CM se
Sab jagah satta ka drama hai
I have witnessed SP raaj and the BSP raaj and have personally experienced the crime rate automatically goes exceedingly high when Mr. Yadav comes in rule. The eve-teasers who go low on their jobs during Mayawati’s times boom back during the SP’s rule. It isn’t that I love being under her rule but she’s a lot better than Mr. Yadav. She may increase reservations, she may build in statues but seriously people before criticizing, have a look at Greater Noida and then talk. What she has done to Noida and Gr. Noida and the way she has maintained Lucknow is something MSY won’t be able to do even in his next seven births. So yes, I abhor that man and hate him to the hilt. His concentration on Saifai and Etawah is pretty understandable, it’s his place but that surely that doesn’t mean that he simply forgets the fact that there’s a Kanpur that lies nearby. That very Kanpur which is known for its industrial benefits all over the country, that very city on which the whole of country is dependent for leather production, that very Cawnpore that gets dirty only to bring in the best leather in the market. But who cares? Let’s transfer the electricity and every damn resource to Saifai. Let’s just empty the state’s earnings. Let’s just rob off people. Let’s simply enjoy on the people’s hard earned money.
This post is going to be long so please bear with me. So yes, this was the story that talks about the past. Well, it’s just 2-3 points that I have listed, I am pretty suire by now that I need to write a book on ‘100 Reasons to hate MSY’. Marenge nahi usko, keh ke bhi nahi lenge…likh kar lenge!!!
Now comes yesterday’s story. This man has the balls…Uhh!! Sorry, this man doesn’t have balls...this man is a hawasi nomad. This filthy man had the guts to say these lines in his rally at Moradabad yesterday.
"Ladkon se aisi galtiyan ho jaati hain to iska ye matlab nahin ki phaansi de di jaye” (Boys do make such mistakes but that does not mean that they should be sent to the gallows)  
Read the full news here.
And soon enough there was an outburst by the junta. I couldn’t control my temper too and I did tweet some anger filled messages especially for him.

What amazes me is would he react in a similar incident happens with his daughter/sister/granddaughter. I mean is this man even worthy enough to be called as human.
If a kid misbehaves or indulges in an immoral behavior, he is expelled from school. Shouldn’t the same be done with him? Or may be, he’s himself planning to rape girls and then get out of this crime by introducing anti-rape laws. While I sit in the office, I shudder at the thought of the trauma a victim goes through and this man, this filthy pig has the courage to speak this out in a rally.
It’s evening here and just as I was about to cool down a bit, I read this piece of news where Abu Azmi feels that girl and the boy, both should be punished. The girl should be punished for not agreeing to sex, leading to the man indulging in forced sex, rape. I mean, seriously??? What is wrong with these people?
When the Nirbhaya case had happened, my roomie’s Dad was working in Dubai and his colleagues had questioned him big way about how can people in India be heartless? Infact, they were shocked to hear the figures of rape cases in India.I remember her Dad telling her that I seriously felt ashamed of being an Indian today. I have never felt so speechless ever in my life.  
And I know, all this will continue. This guy will continue to rule. Why? I question why should he be kept in politics? In fact, why should he even made to live? Can the court just not order to hang him without any trial?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Interview with Shivangi Ramsay

Today, we have an immensely talented author featured. Shivangi Ramsay holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh. Her debut work 'Passionate Love' released recently and has since then received positive reviews. We got in touch with the author who talks about her tryst with the pen and love affairs with characters.

Ques: Congratulations for your debut work, Shivangi. How does it feel to hold your baby ‘Passionate Love’ in your hand?

Shivangi: I feel absolutely ecstatic. I am yet to wipe the darn grin off my face (laughs).

Ques: What made you choose this title?
Shivangi: Passion is an integral part of a man-woman relationship. Hence, the title.

Ques: Tell us a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school and college? Was writing your ambition since the beginning?
Shivangi: I come from a renowned family of academicians. My mother is an associate professor in History in an all-girl’s college. My dad was a Nehru Cambridge Scholarship awardee. He served awhile in Magdalene College, UK.  I am an incorrigible bookworm and a die-hard pasta lover. Chocolates are my weakness. I was extremely reserved as a student. You will be shocked to know that I was practically friendless in high school. In college, I spend long hours in the library pouring over my favorite novels and books. Smart, intelligent, and unbelievably sincere I was the uncrowned star pupil. And yes, I always wanted to become a writer. 

Ques: Tell us something about your book?
Shivangi: My book-Passionate Love is a contemporary romance. It is the love story of a life style journalist and a computer engineer turned entrepreneur.

Ques: What inspired you to jot down and how long did you take to complete it? Does the story taken any inspiration from your real life?
Shivangi: I am an ardent fan of romance novels. Call it destiny, I had the good fortune of interacting with my favorite British romance novelist during one of my trips to Great Britain. Her effusive admiration of my articles motivated me to write this story.

Ques: How tough was it to find a publisher for yourself? How has your experience been with your present publisher?
Shivangi: I changed my publisher due to irreconcilable differences with the editorial team, and delay in printing of the book. My present publisher is God-sent. I am eternally grateful to Gaurav Sharma for being so supportive.

Ques: How close is Ambika to Shivangi?
Shivangi: We are poles apart, physically as well as emotionally. While Ambika is short and tiny, at 5’7” I am fairly tall by Indian standards (giggles). Both the hero and the heroine are a figment of my imagination. But truth to be told, I am more like Ayaan Ramsay.

Ques: Do you plan to write apart from romance genre?
Shivangi: I plan to write a young adult fiction in the future.

Ques: How has the response of your novel been?
Shivangi: That’s for my readers to tell.  

Ques: Are you working on your second novel? If yes, please give a sneak peek into it.
Shivangi: I am yet to begin work on my second novel. It is an out of the box concept that’s gonna raise hackles in the literary circles.

Ques: What are your favourite books? What kind of work do you like to read?
Shivangi: I am a romance junkie. Here’s a list of my all time favorite books- A Passionate Affair and Savage Innocence by Anne Mather, His Untamed Innocent, and The Seduction Game by Sara Craven, Out of the Night by Penny Jordan, Everything and the Moon by Julia Quinn. Apart from that, I absolutely adore Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. I also enjoy reading  Joseph Conrad, William Golding, Milan Kundera, Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Desai, and Jean Rhys.

Ques: What is your schedule like when it comes to writing a novel/article/post?
Shivangi: I am a pretty spontaneous writer. Due to my hectic teaching schedule, I can’t follow a particular schedule.

Ques: Among Indian writers, who do you think has exceptional writing skills?
Shivangi: R.K. Narayan, and Ruskin Bond.

Ques: If you were given a chance, would you like to change something in ‘Passionate Love’?
Shivangi: Not a word. Please don’t hate me for saying so (laughs).

Ques: Lastly, is there a message that you’d like to give your readers?
Shivangi: Love yourself. 

Get a copy of the book here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mommy, I don't want to bathe...

“Akriti, you know this isn’t going to work out. Going to school without bathing isn’t going to help. Stop your tantrums and get yourself a good wash,” Kiran almost shouted at her daughter.
“Mommy, I don’t want to bathe. It’s so cold. What’s wrong in not taking a bath?” the five year old kiddo replied. She, ofcourse, was unaware of the perks of bathing.
“No arguments, no questions. You are bathing and coming out in the next fifteen minutes,” her mother ordered.
“Hunny, what happened?” Rajat had just woken up from a deep slumber and was in no mood to hear the regular tiff of Mom and daughter.
Kiran wasn’t in the best of her temper and so replied getting all irritated, “Your daughter…she’s making me go crazy all day.”
“As if, she isn’t yours..”Rajat smirked and then smiled. One out of the two had to be in control in the family.
“I’m not in a state to handle your humour.”
She was angry, it was pretty more than obvious now.
“Okay, first of all, sit down and take a deep breath,” he came close to her and gave her a glass of water. “Now tell me, why is there so much of hullabaloo every morning between you two?”
“This girl, she just doesn’t listen to me. Every morning, I have to screech and shout, just to make her bathe. She simply doesn’t understand the importance of bathing. She’ll fall ill if she doesn’t imbibe good habits. And as a parent, it is my responsibility to teach her good habits,” she replied sadly. It was evident she was confused about the step that should be taken to make her child understand the advantage of bathing.
“Relax, you know this is what children do. It’s their tendency to not do what their parents instruct them. Akriti is no different, unless she knows the repercussions of the same, she won’t understand why you are after her all day,” Rajat tried to cool down his wife.
“C’mon, every day I tell her that if she doesn’t bathe then she’ll be itching all day with sweat and catch infections. But who listens to me?”
“Kiran, you remember the cashewnut story we were told by her grandmas?” Rajat asked Kiran.
Her expressions depicted that she was quite perplexed so she asked, “Which one?”
“Ohho! There was this kid who used to love eating cashew nut and would just not listen to his Mom when asked to stop eating too much of it,” Rajat started telling a story he had been told a hundred times.
“And?” asked Kiran. She always had a habit of interrupting with ands and buts. May be, that was her way to tell people that she was paying attention.
“And then one day, he ate a lot of them in the absence of his mother. When she returned, he came running to her crying and said, ‘I am sorry Mom, I didn’t pay heed to your advice and now, my stomach hurts too bad due to having so much of cashew nuts.’ This story not only made the boy understand the repercussions of having too much of cashew nuts but he also learnt to listen to his parents’ advice,” Rajat concluded.
“So should we make her realize the same the hard way?” Kiran asked.
“We will have to, we never understand the pros and cons of a particular situation unless we face it ourselves. You know she’ll also get to listening to so many things she generally ignores when instructed by you,” Rajat said thoughtfully.
“May be but I do hope she doesn’t have to face the wrath at her school,” Kiran said. She didn’t want her angel to go through any problems at school.
“Don’t worry,” Rajat hugged her tight. He knew his wife was worried.
Later that afternoon, Akriti came back from school and the first thing she said was, “Mommy, I love you.”
“I love you too, my little angel. How was school, today?” Kiran asked pulling her cheeks. She had acquired those chubby cheeks from her Dad. Kiran had almost gone back to her school days when she had first met Rajat.
“Mommy, I wanna take bath,” Kiran was woken up from her thoughts by Akriti’s voice.
‘What on earth, had happened to this girl?’ Kiran thought. This was such a big change in Akriti’s attitude but she was happy. Kiran got up to get clothes for her daughter from the wardrobe.
“Mom, I like this thing. Please switch it on. I like bathing in hot water instead of this cold water in the morning,” Akriti pointed towards Racold Instant water heater.
Kiran had never seen her daughter enjoy so much while bathing. It was quite evident she was having fun. She played in the water tub with her Mom and with all the toys they had specially got for her so that she enjoys the whole process. Sadly, her daughter had always avoided bathing although somehow, things were a little different that day. She didn’t know what miracle had happen with her but she was happy that finally, her daughter had understood her Mom’s concern.
Later at night, Kiran saw a card made by her sweet little daughter awaiting at the study table. She smiled as she read the words ‘To the world’s best Mommy’
It was 11 p.m. and Kiran and Rajat were lying silently on bed.
“You know what happened today?” Kiran told Rajat.
“Akriti herself went to freshen up after coming back from her. In fact, she even asked me to turn on the instant water heater. I don’t what brought this sudden change in her,” Kiran said smiling.
Rajat came close and hugged her. His wife was happy that their daughter had finally taken the right path and Rajat was happy to see both the females he loved the most were happy. Little did she know that Rajat had told the same story along with some additions about bathing to his daughter while dropping her to school in the morning. He was also happy about the fact that his daughter didn’t have to go through that #WhatsThatSmellBoss phase.

P.S: This post has been written as an entry for the contest on Indiblogger conducted by Racold Instant Water Heater