Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The clouds have cleared 
And the sun now shines
With you standing by my side 
My soul is free from misery.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Voyages to the Other Dimensions

This short story was written for IBL (Indian Bloggers League), organised by Write-Up Cafe. I represent Westerlies- Winds of Change, which is the West Zone side. This short story was selected as the best short story of West Zone and hence has been submitted for the final round.

Voyages to the Other Dimensions

I don’t know what really woke me up. Was it the eerie silence that reverberated or the soft chirping of the night birds in the distant woods? It is at times like these that I wonder about my decision to withdraw from the urban life and retreat back to the realm of nature. 

The night was bleak and the woods, cold and dark as they always were. Dead silence and endless darkness lingered with not a slight glimpse of light. It’s wearing when one hardly gets any sleep with all the long walks wandering through the woods for survival. Letting out a ragged moan I sank further into the soft wool blankets slipping into yet another fitful sleep.  

When I awoke for the second time the cold gray light of dawn was peeking through the clouds welcoming a bright new day. Running a hand through my ruffled hair I fumbled with the blankets stretching up and scanning the nearby area, blankets of dead leaves covered the surface as frigid wind blew. There was slight dampness on the ground and I realized it must have snowed when I was asleep; after all it was early November the near of winter. My thirst overruled my musings and I took a sip of water from the plastic bottle, gazing outwards the blanched forest. 

It was half past dawn, the light enough for me to sort out with my primal chores and later fix up a decent breakfast with all that I had; a cup of black tea with some biscuits as usual. Sipping the tea my mind habitually started straying to the journal I had planned on updating. My fingers automatically curled around the journal lying a few feet away. 

Feeling the contours of the old leather bound journal, I ran my fingers idly through the pages taking in the snippets I had written not so long ago. Writing was not a ritual but more of a way of preserving the memoirs of every place and emotion that touched me. I’m a wanderer and exploring the unknown is something that fuels my soul. It’s been nearly two years I left sailing to pursue the other adventurous side of me, exploring different countries intimately, meeting different people and acquainting to their diverse culture. Life is like a blank notebook waiting to be filled up, with not just memories and journeys but also with what we’ve learnt from these journeys. Sometimes they make us nostalgic with happiness, other times with anguish. 

I’m not much of a patriotic person but I’m not a misanthropic either. I’m loyal to everyone but of late I’ve realized that the world is harsher than one can imagine. It is full of people who are cold and bigoted. It hardly matters who you are or where you belong. All that matters is power; power as a means to acquire dominance in economics and politics, religious demands or making their voice heard. Terrorizing and causing fear in the minds of people who do not share the same set of belief. 

It was one such excursion three months ago where I witnessed a lone local gunman killing locals in the name of anarchism. One of my closest mate died in that attack.  It scarred me and made me question everything I ever learnt and saw. Actions define us but what about the actions that defame the very foundation of brotherhood and equality. It was a small attack, far smaller than what the world has witnessed but it made my soul recoil and all I wished at that very moment was to disappear to some place safe to clear my mind of such unpleasant thoughts. It’s difficult cutting yourself from the world but I needed something to reassure me. I’m not much of an emotional person and I cannot be diabolical by stating everyone to be the same but at the moment I didn’t expect people to understand me nor did I wish for them to empathize with me. And for that very reason I took to nature, a place where there are no people waiting with armour to attack me or slit my soul for being an outsider in their world. In a place where though I would be alone yet won’t be an intruder.   

My tea has long gone cold and my fingers held the journal loosely when a wisp of cool air blew making me shiver. The road ahead is empty stretching out miles with no sign of life apart from the occasional twittering of birds, dried flowers along the path and innumerable trees. The loneliness slowly creeps to me but there is nothing to distract me from my thoughts and I decide it’s time to move on. 

An hour later I’m on the road with my backpack. Watching the road ahead and glancing at the passing woods, I make my way to where the path may now lead me. 

Three days of continuous walking through the woods and crossing a frozen river I reached the hills of snow covered mountains. Absorbing the silence that enveloped me I let out a tired sigh sitting beside a huge rock watching the white layered mountains beneath the gray sky. It was very cold and it was then that I noticed her, wrapped in a blanket sitting in a corner of a rock. Contemplating if approaching a stranger was a good idea or not, I chose the former and made myself known. 

We sat together huddled beside the rock where I had rested. It was her, who broke the silence talking about why she was hiking in a place where hardly people ever ventured and how she never anticipated she would meet someone on this unusual trek. I sat there motionless listening to her enthusiastic chatter endlessly and observing the play of emotions that were reflected so deeply by the fire light that warmed us.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I started participating in the talk nor do I remember the reason of spilling out my deepest fears to her. 

“We all have episodes in our lives that we wish to forget and it is this one time I wish to turn back. It’s almost like I don’t wish to go back to embracing my life like it was earlier. Nor can I believe that one simple act of terror has me so immobilised that I have retreated from the mortal world. Or is it the fact that my friend succumbed to such an act of terror that has affected me I know not. It is almost like my faith that people are not prejudiced has absolved” I spoke in an almost hushed and puzzled tone.   

She was quiet for a while almost like waiting for the true impact of the words to seep in. She replied after long her tone kind, “I don’t think I’ve ever been in that place. Besides, one should view things from a different perspective. Apart from the healers who treat you contrary to the people who’ve harmed you. There are plenty of people still there who care, are there not?” she looked at me curiously before continuing, “We all seek companionship. It almost feels like one cannot exist without it. Everyone has their shares of trauma but that doesn’t mean that you run away. Agreed there are moments that may remind you of them but you’ve got to be strong and face them.”

I pondered for a while staring at the dark wide starless sky before letting my thoughts known. “Have you ever wondered that sometimes all one can do is continue living like nothing happened reassuring oneself that things might change. Or the other alternative could be retreating back, musing what happened and trying to let go of the dread before heading forward.”

She sighed. Looking at me she spoke, “I know where you are coming from. But there are times when we can’t stop things from happening, no matter how ghastly they are. Change is inevitable. Things happen in our life over which we have no control but to maintain our sanity we have to let go of them and move ahead. We can’t turn time back and reverse the loss but we can move forward and help others who need nursing and care. It is one thing to withdraw from everyone for a while but another to lose oneself in self pity and misery forever.”

Silence was our only companion for a long time. She didn’t know why but she spoke one last time before retiring for the night, “I’m a healer and I will always nurse people back to their health and fulfil my destiny. Now it is up to you whether you wish to linger in the depths of nature protecting yourself subconsciously or retreating back to the normal world and bring about a change no matter how small.”

Extinguishing the fire enshrouded in the thick veil of darkness, I finally let go of the burden on my heart embracing change.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sliding Doors

It was my last day at work, the place that was akin to my second home. Tears welled up in my eyes as I started gathering my belongings in a small cardboard box. So many memories bundled into one but none that I could cherish any longer.

From being an article trainee to becoming a full time Chartered Accountant; it was at this very office that my career shaped up. This is where I attained success and accolades for my upbeat performance. But my hard-work and hard-earned success suddenly didn’t matter as I looked around the room, staring at the faces of my fellow colleagues. Some were sad while the majority of them were averting their gazes while some silently talked amongst themselves.

“I feel so sorry for Aliyah, poor girl what was her mistake but then again we can’t let her roam freely around us too can we? What if, even we fall victim to it?”

Life seems smooth on the surface at one moment but one never knows the undercurrents below and when they finally surface out, you are left in a whirlpool of emotions with no place to go. Just an accident and a blood transfusion cost me everything. My career was over, my dreams shattered. And people who were my life, friends and family too grew distant.

Sighing softly I wondered would it have been any different, had I not been an HIV+? There were a million thoughts racing in my mind to which I had no answers; is the society really fair like it preaches to be and does it let everyone live in peace? To me it didn’t look impartial anymore and I felt as if I was living in an illusion all these years.

For days I kept myself locked in the confines of my home, roamed streets like a lost soul. Was I guilty and are people really ignorant? But it wasn’t my mistake then why was I being blamed? A million questions plagued me and I was drowning in pools of depression. I tried to see past everything but the tears came down stronger and the reality of my situation came crashing down on me like a nightmare. 

The days passed slowly, maybe even months had gone by and eventually I lost count of them. Thoughts of what-if ran in my mind like an infinite loop and I couldn’t find a way out. Once I even wished to end my life but I didn’t have the courage when I thought of my parents whom I still loved. With nothing much to do I cast the shadow of doubt and decided to venture out of my home for long walks. It was during one such walk that I stumbled across an NGO that counseled people like me. At first I was hesitant to approach them as fear cobbled me down but after a mental talk that I could not ruin myself more I enrolled, where I was given both proper medicinal guidance and counseling. And it was there that I first met Yasin; he too like me was HIV+ and was a counselor there. Meeting Yasin was the best thing to happen to me, he was the first person I befriended and talked freely in months and surprisingly he was both caring and a pillar of strength.

Time passed by but the struggles and hardships didn’t end. I worked in the NGO at morning managing the accounts and taught underprivileged children at another NGO in evening, glad that at least not everyone shunned people like me to make ends meet in this hostile society. For the next two years I survived in terrible economic hardships without the help from friends and family saving as much money as possible. I was not aloof to my medical condition and knew only money could help in time of need.

A year later Yasin suggested that I not let go of my dreams and start a small Chartered Accountancy firm. Though the idea seemed too far-fetched at that time it was not impossible. Then again setting up the company was not an easy job; there were several pitfalls. Right from renting a room, to the bank sanctioning the loan, hiring employees and getting clients. But recruiting employees was the hardest task not only was I a woman but an HIV+ woman and so, many shunned me. The West was comparatively more accepting but it felt like the society I was raised in didn’t want to see things from a different perspective. And it was at times like these when all I wanted to do was give up. But with Yasin’s support and help from NGO’s I started believing in myself and my dream again. Slowly but steadily the times changed, the society, my family accepted us and we finally made a place for ourselves.

Today Ten years later I can’t believe I’m standing on the podium of the college I graduated from receiving the “Inspirational Entrepreneur Award.”  To say I’m not proud of my achievements and my husband Yasin’s faith in me would be an understatement. When the world was against me and I had lost all hopes, he was the one who harbored faith in me and encouraged my dream. I would like to thank the medical science for their advancement and their efforts in igniting the minds of people. Also a heart-felt Thank You to Yasin for supporting me always and my two year old daughter who has brightened my life.

Last but not the least I would end my talk by saying, “Don’t be disappointed or afraid that you are different but work towards your goal with utmost dedication and your dreams will come true.”

I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with BlogAdda.com

P.S: Proof read by Eon. Thank You so much !

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nautanki Saala - Movie Review

Nautanki Saala is Rohan Sippy's fourth directorial and an official remake of a French romantic comedy Après Vous. At a time when mainstream Bollywood is all about floss, hindi remakes and high budget this small budget contemporary movie comes out as a refreshing one. 

The plot of the movie is nothing out of the box that leaves you gaping for more but the star cast is good with the acting being very poignant and natural. Unlike most movies that are action oriented with less interaction, this one is dialogue oriented and character driven. This is the best aspect especially for people who love movies that relate to real life and not just the glamour of an alternate world that doesn't exist. 

The movie stays true to its word and there is full on drama involved in their everyday life. Ayushmann Khurrana and Kunaal Roy Kapur keep the story flowing with timed humor, comic punches and loads of dramebaazi. The movie kicks of as a flashback with a sappy Ram Parmar: RP (Ayushmann Khurrana) a stage actor hugging a teddy bear and reminiscing how he met Mandar Lele  (Kunal Roy Kapur) dubbed as 'zakhmi narcissist' by RP's girlfriend who was on the verge of committing suicide; only to be saved by Ram who takes him home thereby turning his own life topsy-turvy. 

The movie evolves further from then on unraveling a genuine friendship and a love story that soon turns more into a complicated love triangle combined with a theater drama going on in the background. In short, a big jumbled puzzle courtesy all the drama that is the core ingredient. 

Although the pace of the movie is slow, it is clean and crisp with no loose ends. The music is light making you want to groove and compliments the movie beautifully at every step. Also the cinematography is good unfolding Mumbai artistically. 

Like every movie, this movie too has it's flaw. And sadly the pace is not it's weak point but the characterization of Nandini the female lead. Her acting does not look natural but more of a overdone made up act that doesn't really gel with the smooth flow of the movie and other actors. 

Lastly, though the storyline has a little flaw but overall it is acceptable. After a series of not so satisfying movies in the recent past few days this one is genuinely pleasant both story-wise and performance wise. 

Overall the movie ends up holding the audience till the very end and so I give it a  3.5 out of 5.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Alone We Can Do So Little Together We Can Do So Much

It was a varied group comprising of both men and women tied together by the bonds of blogging that met on the warm summer afternoon on Saturday the 30th of March at the Times of India, Mumbai Office organized by IndiBlogger to discuss the issues affecting women following the recent cases of abuse and need for safety under “Mumbai For Women” initiative. The discussion focused the city’s duty towards the female populace irrespective of their social standings and age.

From teenagers to senior citizens, to women who are homemakers and breadwinners and even men sharing horrifying incidents happening to colleagues and relatives sparked off the discussion. Not just deserted or shoddy lanes but even busy roads, local trains and platforms are common target areas. In a matter of few seconds everything dissipated but just one question, “Is this really an Independent India where women are neither safe in broad daylight nor after the night lights are out?” remained unanswered.

According to the graphs and reports, Mumbai is by far the safest city for women. But is this what we really are aiming for, safety in the name of submission? And yet in spite of Mumbai being termed safer there are still cases of manhandling, rape, sexual harassment to name a few on daily basis. It is barbaric to know that age doesn’t matter when it comes to being a victim. “I feel safe in other countries but not my own,” said one female travel blogger. While another blogger, narrated a grab and run case that happened with his wife just outside a busy railway station.

When we say safety, it’s not just linked to the upper class of the society but to even the lower one. Not to forget, there is still a section of society that lives below the poverty line where there are hardly means of earning a livelihood let alone ensuring safety for women. Bridging this gap between the middle class and poor is easier said than done. Inculcating the boys with equality, teaching them they are not superior to women but equal on every front is the need of the hour.

There are so many cases where the wife who is the sole breadwinner of the family gets beaten by her husband whenever he is drunk, moreover she accepts this and says, “He loves me he is just a little put off as he is drunk and I don’t make more money.” And this is not just the story of a maid this even happens in upper class houses but women are afraid to speak wherein they should break their silence.

All this liberation and unity can only be attained by education, still how many of us who are educated are willing to step out of our comfort zone volunteering to teach and guide these people? There are only a few handful of people willing to help, rest of them just blame the system.

Time and again the police forces, the government and even the railway police are blamed for lack of adequate security, helpline numbers et al. What people really need to understand at this stage is that, the system is what we make of it and not what it makes us. There might be some petty officials who are corrupt but not everyone is the same. “Some days back my friend forgot her laptop in train, she immediately called the Railway Helpline number 9833331111 and to her relief she got back her laptop back within an hour,” said a fellow TOI employee during the discussion. Another quoted, “I travel by train daily and I once noticed that the railway helpline number written on the inside of the compartment was scratched yet the various meaningless posters that are put up were left untouched.” If, this is the attitude of citizens then what help would the government officials be? It’s high time the blame game is stopped and even citizens take their duty seriously.

When you see something wrong, raise your hands and stop it. At the same time when someone does a good thing encourage and reward them. Appreciation and motivation go a long way thereby making people responsible. Change is inevitable and it begins in small steps. Encourage the Times Of India, Mumbai For Women initiative and also look out for the Job Fair for women at R A Podar College, Matunga(CR), Mumbai on the 6th and 7th of April between 10am to 5pm.

 Mumbai, the city of dreams bustling with busy life racing against time, where people don’t have enough time to stand and stare has finally come together and joined hands for the safety and betterment of women.

Today it is one city tomorrow it will the entire nation. Let us be the change, we wish to see. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little together we can do so much.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bruised For Life

The wind had an eerie calm yet it was captivatingly charming, as she left the dingy motel. She hated every waking minute of her life doing the unworthy work but unfortunately having no other choice she crumpled. The wind blew more sharply making her drape her flimsy shawl more tightly to her chest as she trudged through the thin veil of night. There was nothing in sight apart from the lone moon as her companion as she walked for miles. Finally stopping at a bare fountain, she let out a frigid breath. She longed to sit down and gather little strength but she couldn’t think of sparing any minute. She had to reach the cottage near the outskirts of the town before midnight. It was a night of great importance and she couldn’t afford to be late today. After all it was his birthday, her son’s first birthday. Her only savior, in this ruthless world.      


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A letter from Me to You

Wish you and I talked
Talked like a pair of strangers
Though I know your identity and you mine.

Still I wish we had a bond,
A bond that could transcend the ordinary companionship and time.

But, then when I think a little more about it…
I realize you’ve become my confidant
Like a puzzle fitting pieces of you and me.

Woven together inextricably,
Just like the grains of sand and sea till eternity.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

And The Award Goes To...

Whoa! Another award after a really long time and this time a Liebster Award. What is a Liebster Award?? It a German word meaning Dearest. And a fellow blogger Ashish who blogs at My Umpteen Thougts has nominated me for this award some days back. And today I found my name in Kiran Ashraf's Within My World  list of nominees too. There you see, being late in posting also has it's advantages; I post it together.

Following are the instructions given:

a. Post 11 things about yourself
b. Answer 11 questions set by the nominator (now I'm confused whose Q's to answer Ashish or Kiran so I've decided first I'll answer his and then hers..ta da problem solved :D)
c. Choose 11 deserving bloggers meeting the criteria
d. Set 11 questions for them.
e. Inform the nominee by commenting on one of their posts.

Without further ado let me begin with what I am supposed to. :D

11 Things About Myself:

1. I'm talkative yet at the same time I love solitude. 
2. Almighty is my best friend from the time I've known what it is to have a friend.
3. I'm a Final Year B.Tech student who wants to work in a publishing house, still stuck up here.
4. I love night and darkness more than the day.
5. Rains and winters are my favorite seasons. Don't ask which one first coz it keeps on changing on my mood.
6. I love to bury myself in novels and I prefer classics or the stuff majority won't be reading.
7. I don't believe in the concept that every girl believes in i.e 'Shop till you drop.'
8. I'm a big time day dreamer, so much that if I want I can publish a novel of the stories I've created  :D
9. As of now I do not believe in the concept of love and feel that it doesn't exist for me.
10. I love navy blue, it's my favourite colour.
11. I'm a fussy eater and a vegetarian but not pure as I don't like egg less cakes.  

Answers of the Questions: 
I: By Ashish 

1. Who is your favorite author?
A: None, it depends on the work. But currently it's Haruki Marukami totally in love with his works.

2. What is your profession?
A: A final year engineering student, so unfortunately another engineer. 

3. Apart from blogging, your hobby?
A: Reading and sleeping if that's counted as a hobby.

4. How many hours do you spend on blogging?
A: Hardly an hour or two these days as I don't get time to blog often.

5. What/who inspired you to write?
A: My dairy , it was overflowing with words that weren't coherent so I decided to give it a direction.

6. Do  you feel, you could be a writer in the near future?
A: I don't know but I want to give it a try.

7. Choose one: Money or Fame. Why?
A: Fame, money will automatically follow but the other way round is not always true.

8. Are you socially active?
A: Yes, but thankfully not addicted.

9. What came first egg or the chicken?
A: The earth and nature came first, the rest followed. And I wasn't there that time to check who came first, wish I were there this age old Q would have been answered ;)

10. Why is the word dictionary in the dictionary? 
A: How else would you know what it means, won't it just be a book then. 

11. Why is Liebster award so obsessed with the number 11?
A: No idea. Maybe the person who started this award was obsessed with it.

II: By Kiran 

1. Name the blog you would love to hijack?
A: None. Wouldn't want another, one is only hard to manage.

2. Does Gangnum style deserve to be turned into a dance routine?
A: Not really it gets annoying after a while.

3. What was the last lie you told?
A: What's the point in telling a lie, if I tell you what I told is a lie.

4. Your greatest weakness and strength?
A: Strength: Allah and Weakness: My loved ones.

5. Why are Men from Mars and Women from Venus?
A: Maybe John Gray *the author* would be able to answer that better because I'm from Earth.

6. Song that describes your life?
A: Never really thought about it, need to think now.

7. Call or Text?
A: Call. Why give pain to the fingers of the one you want to talk too and yourself too.

8. One word in your vocabulary that you use excessively?
A: hmm...

9. What is your addiction?
A: Chocolate. 

10. If you meet me, what would be the first thing you would say or do?
A: You know I would hug you and say "I don't believe we're finally meeting ashi." :)

11. A thing about you that you would never want your parents to find out?
A: One?? There are many and if I keep on listing them out here, the page would be never ending.

My Nominations for the award *applause*

And other's if you're not in the list doesn't mean I don't like you, I do :)

Now the Questions I'm supposed to give..

1. Driving, Flying or Sailing, which one would you prefer ??

2. Given a chance to live a fiction fantasy which characters would you choose??

3. What does Blogging mean to you??

4. Facebook or Twitter??

5. Which is your all time favorite novel??

6. What is love to you??

7. A moment you want to live in all over again??

8. Why is the night sky black if there is an infinity of stars??

9. What is the meaning of your name and do you think it describes you??

10. What is your most priced possession?? 

11. One of the craziest thing you've always wanted to do and still want too??

Thanks a lot everyone for reading such a long post.. *if you've read..I hope you did* :D

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kuch Ankahee Baatein...

NOTE: This is guest blog post I wrote for Nelton D'Souza's blog Just A Minute Here's the link to the post http://justamin.blogspot.in/2013/01/kuch-ankhaee-baatein.html

Something in Urdu for a change or rather something written by me apart from reviews and all after long for a change. :)

Jazbat aise hue hamse khafa
Hume toh laga hum askho ko hi bhul gae..
Dil mei unki yaadon k sahare,
Hooton pe muskan aur zindagi mei tanhayee
Liye hum yunhi chalte rahe..
Jab ek roz unse nazre mili..
Woh andheka kar ke chale gae..
Uss din dil roya
Aur aankon se aasu beh gaye..

woh kehte hai bhula dena mujhe,
na humsafar hun na hamnava,
teri zindagi mei ek rahi hoon..
kal tha kal kya pata...


Ek raat aisi aae hai,
Jab teri yaad satae hai…
Andhero mei ghum
Aankhen hai num..
Dhundli hai manzil..
Lekin tanhae hai sang..
Aaj phir ek raat aisi aae hai..
Jab teri yaad dil ko satae hai…