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Saturday, 6 August 2016

My affair with the nights and the darkness in them






I have always loved the nights more than the day times..May be because of this unique character of darkness that keeps all your secrets safe and locked. It does not judge you..It does not question you why are you the way you are? It’s like my best friend, even more than a best friend. A best friend can still ditch you at times but the darkness doesn’t even know what does that mean. All it has got is acceptance and no denial..I hate the day times much more than I love the nights..It stares at me as if I am worthless..It makes me nervous about accepting my own self. The brutally judgmental light peeps into my conscience and tries to stir up my whole existence..The confidence that I gain from darkness is left shattered in the daytime..That’s why I don’t even like waking up in the mornings and all I do is cursing the normalcy of the sleep cycle..I hate that from the core of my heart..Perhaps I am the only person in this world who wants the entire span of 24 hours to be immersed in the serene darkness and make the light jobless.

Even love seems to be an ephemeral feeling that would stay forever in the darkness of the nights…Not even for an instance does it let the truth pop out that it would stay as long as the darkness prevails, that it is short-lived. Yes we do live in the this illusion of love-is-forever and nothing-can-change-our-love…and the darkness enhances that feeling altogether..rather it takes utmost care that our faith in these bookish and filmy illustrations of love remains intact…but how helpless it becomes when at dawn it has to bid goodbye to make space for light, who has got ideologies that are polar opposites?.. but still it leaves with a faint smile only to come back to restore the feelings which it knows would be knocked down by light…Who better than darkness knows what is the pain of loving someone in spite of knowing it will never be able to get united with that someone???? No one does and whenever my love life depresses and frustrates me I feel its agony and find mine much less compared to that. I calm down. I will always owe a lot to it..It will be my friend. It will be my guiding star. I know it will always come to my rescue. It is designed like that, to come back to me with all the hopes and above all to give illusions a real existence.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Film Review: Nil Battey Sannata



Nil Battey Sannata = Emotions + Hope - Melodrama...
At the face of it, it seems to be a cathartic journey of a mother- daughter duo but as the film takes you smoothly towards the denouement, you will surely feel a whiff of sensibilities related to so many minute details of humanitarian aspects..love, faith, dreams, struggle, roadblocks, friends, well wishers, hurt, jealousy and nevertheless REALIZATION & REPENTATION..This film again reminded me that there is no alternative to "hard work" for people who are not blessed with luck or monetary facilities, that sheer determination can remove any roadblock on your way and above all " a mother's love" cannot be substituted by anything in this world.. Hats off to the director for daring to make a commercial , very well researched( especially the UPSC EXAM. DETAILS) film out of an inferno of emotions, swara bhaskar for the flawless natural acting, "the principal" aka Pankaj Tripathi for making the character much more than a comic one and of course Ratna Pathak Shah for showcasing an unconventional relationship with her maid played by Swara...a soulful film which I feel should be shown in each and every school of the country...


Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Letter!

My latest story..Find out how Rhea made her 30th Birthday special..Published on Soulgasm..



Few more hours to go before Rhea would turn 30 and she was concerned. “30” hits you hard you know. Suddenly you are out of the “youngistan” league and can’t even tell people that you are in your late 20’s. Even if you feel young inside, crazy aunties and the sarcastic world around you will make you feel as if it’s end of life; as if you are the only one who has turned 30 for the first time ever and you have nothing left to achieve. Suddenly the “womanish” attitude overshadows the “girly” streaks in you, psychologically though, and you are ready to be another replica of your mom, masi or any other boring, “gyan showering” oldie!!

But these were not what bothered Rhea. She has never been affected by superficial factors like “getting aged”, “getting fat”, “having pimples” and bla bla bla! The only thing that was eating her up from within was the fact that “turning 30” meant half a life spent. Even worse, “half a life spent living on other people’s terms”.

“It’s time to reconcile my real self with reality, my existence”, Rhea’s inner voice told her as she was waiting at the station to catch her train to Delhi for a teachers’ training programme. She has been going for these monotonous duty trips for the past 5-6 years but still couldn’t develop a mere liking for them. But this time it was not just boredom that irked her. Her constant fidgeting with her earrings, hair and other silly little things indicated towards something beyond her normal dislike.

She reopened her mailbox. In the last five days she has browsed her Gmail account a number of times that anyone wouldn’t be able to do in even a month! Reason being a particular mail that acted as an uninvited trigger; something which had the potential of being her life changer. It was a mail from Shaimak Davar Dance Institute calling her for an audition for a paid internship position. Her repeated mails to them with attached dance videos, secretly taken at everyone’s absence, were finally answered after years. And unknowingly, the mail acted as a huge perturbation in her otherwise commoner’s life. It was a “Karma vs Dharma” situation for her and it pulled out all the naked emotions, frustrations and complaints that were carefully suppressed so far.

For the last few days she gave her neurons enough stress thinking over whether to be happy or sad for receiving the offer. Happy, as her “secret passion for dance” saw the light of the day and sad, as she may not even pursue it further. But the almighty had plans for making Rhea’s 30th Birthday special!

She opened her mailbox, but this time to compose the most bold and controversial mail she has ever written. For she felt it was important to let her closed ones know that she was going to step into the forbidden land where except her own terms and conditions, everything else was blurred!



Statutory warning: I am going to sound paradoxical; so both of you, before reading this mail, please pull yourselves together!!

Papa,

You have been a loving father but only then, when I have followed your instructions religiously. Your typical “sarkari babu” type attitude has always scared both Ma and me to death. It was all fear for you and not respect that made me obey you. You never realized that having friendly conversations with you would have made me more content than your lavish materialistic gifts (more of a show off for me though!). You made me do all that you wanted to, but couldn’t achieve in your life. In the whole process you forgot that I was not you but a different individual. I didn’t like taking singing and art classes, felt suicidal when I had to take up science at higher secondary school level and have got bored to death while teaching my students fake ideologies that I myself don’t believe in. All I wanted to do was to learn dancing and pursue it as a profession as well. When I gathered courage to confront you about my passion, you married me off to even a bigger control freak entity, Pradeep. You checked his job security, character certificate, salary slip, family background but forgot the most important thing Papa. You didn’t even care to check his compatibility with me. Rather it must not have occurred to you at all.

To cut all these short, you have failed as a father and I am sorry that I had to break your heart like this. This was important.

Pradeep,

From the above revelation you must have understood by now, that I am not at all happy with you. First and foremost, I am not at all a “Sati Savitri” type girl that you think me to be. If you ever cared to be friends with me, at least you would have known the real me. Please accept my apologies for faking it with you till now, but I had no choice. I tried a lot but just couldn’t grow an iota of feelings for you. All this while both you and I have only given importance to your feelings, your needs, your family (still YOUR FAMILY as you people couldn’t make me feel otherwise). There was only “you” in the relationship and not us. You can never own me and thus don’t waste your energy in doing so. I have always neglected my emotional and materialistic needs just for the sake of keeping peace in our marriage and lives. But I realized that I was being highly wrong as it was not only my responsibility but yours as well. You have been more of a dictator than a husband and our marriage is a failed one, needless to say!!!

Papa and Pradeep,

I know both of you are shocked and may be hurt too. But I don’t care anymore. Till today I have bottled up my feelings; but today, my 30th birthday, seems to be the perfect day for getting things out of my system. You must be having one question in mind that what led me to come out of my shell?! I strongly believe it has been scripted like this. I have been secretly going to dance classes all this while and have got an opportunity to pursue my dreams of making it big. To your dismay, I am heading towards that. This is for your info and your consent is just not needed anymore. You might be thinking that I have lost it completely and I don’t even want to reason with you two; as I know it will fall on deaf ears. I really hope both of you can cope up with this unexpected situation of losing control over me.

Rhea”






She signed out from her Gmail account and the station too. With a newly found freedom, courage and self-confidence, she headed towards the airport to take the next flight to the city of her dreams, Mumbai.

Rhea: Till now, I have always avoided confrontations just to maintain peace and not to hurt anyone. But today…

Her inner voice: But what about your inner peace?? Haven’t you hurt yourself the most in doing so?

Rhea: I know! I am happy that finally I am going to be myself, but I am scared too. It’s going to be tough…

Her inner voice: You have taken the easy path of obeying others so far. All you have been is unhappy. Isn’t it worth to follow your heart, however tough that is, and be happy?

Rhea: Yes, it is!

She knew it was going to be a difficult path for her, but she was all game for it; for, it was the first time that her heart and mind were in sync. She took 30 long years to make this happen.



Saturday, 30 January 2016

PhD Blues vs Survival Strategies



“How is your daughter doing Mrs. Saha? She is in Delhi I guess after her marriage”, asked Mr. Sudip, a typical “ever so curious about other people’s lives” Bengali, my mother’s next door neighbor.


“Oh! She is doing absolutely fine! She is doing PhD that too at a prime institute. Not everyone has the acumen of doing a PhD you know”, boasted Mrs. Saha, a typical doting Bengali mother who knows well to give it back to species like Mr. Sudip.


Yes our parents, friends and all the well-wishers, somewhere down the line, are all similar in their attitude towards “PhD”. To them a doctorate degree earned by us gives them more pleasure and pride than earning big bucks in financial banking. “You get respect in the society” is what they have to say to But doing PhD is just not a cakewalk; rather it is having a walk on the bed of thorns. Before one realizes, years pass by, hair turns grey, sound sleep divorces you and you have turned into a frustrated blabberer. The trick is to know how you can avoid them. Let’s have a quick look at some of the mantras to sail through your PhD and retain the most important aspect of life, peace of mind!


Find the full article on the following link at skithub:
Enjoy reading and do give your feedback in the comments section!!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Happy Birthday to Swami Vivekananda!



Happy Birthday to the man who was ahead of his time in all respect, who is the father of "giving inspiration to the human race" and who hasn't left any inspirational quote to be invented by his future generations. Whatever quotes we read today are all, in some way or the other, derived from the masterpieces that he has left for us long back. Happy Birthday to Swami Vivekananda!! I feel proud to be born and brought up at a place that he hailed from..

To me he acts like a sink for all my demotivation and miseries. I have found a quote written by him for every situation that I have faced so far. His understanding of life affairs is the ultimate source of whatever little sensibilities and maturity that I have developed. I am sharing my most favorite quotes, gifted to us by him, that have truly motivated me and kept me going..

I am sure you have related to at least one of them, at some point of your life....













LOVE
Sayantani..



Monday, 4 January 2016

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Cheers to my Angels!!

Cheers to my Angels!!



Ding Dong! Ding Dong! Ding Dong!

The doorbell kept on ringing frantically and no wonder, a bunch of hooligans were doing it..Oops!! That bunch refers to my friends though..I had to literally run through my tiny apartment to prevent myself to be thrown out of the complex.

Me: Oh my god!! Can’t you guys wait for even a mi….

I couldn’t even finish my sentence when I got a huge yet warm hug from my besties, popping one after the other out of the group. And I melted instantly with my lips curving to the fullest.

All of them (in chorus): Hey Mihika!!! How is the newbie writer doing?

Me: The newbie writer says “Grrrrrrreattt!!!” Now come on in before my neighbor gives you all a good spanking!

Ricky (while finally entering my apartment): Oh! I would love to have it..How old is she? Okay, leave the age part..Is she sexy enough?

Me: Shut up Ricky..that was gross..

Nambi: Wow!! Guys come to the balcony..Mihika kaise karti hai yaar??..You have transformed this into a “mini Hauz Khas Village”..

They were amazed by the earthy feeling that the simple décor of the balcony, especially the floor bed style, evoked. But I knew them through and through; so I also knew that they were more mesmerized by the varieties of hard drinks kept over there.

Raj: Wines, Vodka, Whiskies and what not re!! A mere “I only take Vodka with lime cordeal” person has arranged for this variety of drinks?? “Pushpa, I like your chupa rustom avatar re..” (imitating Rajesh Khana, who else?!)

Minket(from the kitchen): Guys the food looks damn delectable…cream chicken, this is some fish starter I guess..Chilli chicken, and wat’s this? (She tasted it and what reflected on her face was lip-smacking satisfaction) This is super yummy!! This is Dahi Rohu ( a popular fish preparation of Bongs) right?

Me: (with a naughty proud smile) Right you are..

Nambi: Hey..This is all non-veg man..where is my veg. food?

Trust me, Nambi was seriously sad until I helped her locate her two favorite dishes that is responsible for her “Veg-gasm”..

Nambi (with a broad smile as she was not left out too) Love you girl..

Minket: Let me see. Matar Paneer and mixed veg too? See Nambi, you made her put in extra efforts for you..why don’t you just start having non-veg? It’s heavenly I am telling you.

Nambi: Even better! Why don’t you guys stop killing animals and try to earn some “punya” by converting into veggies ha? You monkey..

Ricky: Oh stop it you two. Mihika, where is “DOODHPUPIKA”?

Me and Nambi (in chorus): What??????????

Ricky: You naughty girls, I mean “Gulab Jamun”? Wo kya hai na, I am learning Sanskrit nowadays, so..

Me: Do you want me to believe that Gulab Jamun is called by this weird vulgar name in Sanskrit?

Raj (somehow stopped laughing): No way yaar!! How do you come up with these ideas every time yaar Ricky? You are the next stand up comedian in India for sure..

Ricky: Oh thank you my lord!! But this lady, our host for tonight surely deserves “the multitasker” award of the year..What arrangements man!

Raj: Seriously! How do you manage all these things single-handedly yaar? Whenever you arrange a party for us, that too in such a short time, it reminds me of my failures as a host always, you know!

Nambi: How do you take care of drinks, décor, food all by yourself yaar..Amazing!

Me (trying to be a bit funny): Hold on, hold on! Rulayega kya pagle? Well thank you for all your appreciation. But it’s not me only..I have friends who help me out anywhere and everywhere. Rather I will call them my angels. A good chunk of the appreciation given to me goes to them!

All of them: Angels?? Who??

Me: The startups providing us services, who else?!! I mean, as pointed out correctly by Raj, I don’t have that much knowledge about drinks? But with Hipcask.com, even that’s not a problem anymore. I got all the related information about what wines and whiskies to go for. Except the Dahi Rohu and cream chicken, everything else has been delivered at my door step by Swiggy. And yes Ricky, even your,.what was it.. oh ya “Doodhpupika”..(I chuckled and so did they).

Raj: Hmm..We utilize their services every now and then and yet, never have given a serious thought about it. They are so very part of our daily lives. Ab mujhe hi dekh lo, every day I take an Ola cab to reach my office and then come back home. I don’t whine anymore for not owning a car. J J

Minket: I agree too. In my field of work, I have to travel so much and “OYO Rooms” is actually a bliss to get service from. I used to be so cranky whenever I had to travel but now I love travelling as I get to stay in these awesome hotels through OYO!!

Me: So you see, with loyal and dutiful friends like these, arranging a great party is a cakewalk!! For every task, there is a startup! You want to go for a late night party. It’s no more scarier! Just call Ola cabs. You need what drinks to order along with tandoori chicken, click on the hipcask app and you are done…

Raj: Exactly..whom do you go to when you are hungry but too lazy to step out of your home? Swiggy! To me it’s the true rescuer for every foodie.

Minket: Even you don’t need to go to the laundry for dry cleaning your clothes. Your laundry and ironing needs are fulfilled by just scheduling a pick-up and delivery, by few clicks on Jetsetclean.com!! I can’t ask for more yaar..I mean how convenient is that!!

Me: Minket, have you heard of the latest one? It’s called Runnerbee.com. All those work that doesn’t need your physical presence, are done by them with elan. Beat this if you can..

Ricky: I am sure very soon there would be startups doing our physiological activities by just a click.

Raj: What it will be called “Doodhpupika” ???

And we all burst out laughing.

Raj: Arey, only 5 mins left for 2016 to peep into our lives. Time to raise the toast to 2016, guys.

We all picked up our glasses with hearts full of new hopes and past memories..

We all: Cheers to 2016.


Cheers to our little angels!!


“Seldom have we thought about them in the way of thanking them deeply from our hearts, in spite of the fact that they are highly a part of our daily life. Yes, we often read about them in newspapers, online articles, blogs and see them becoming one of the next unicorns, and keep on using them to the fullest. But that’s it. Even when the feedback link is sent to us either we do not reply or we choose the “no thanks” option. But that isn’t what they deserve? You may argue that we are paying for what they are providing us. But in that case, we are no different than our rude and emotionless employers when we generate crores of revenues for them and what we get is only peanuts and importantly less or no appreciation. We complain about them and do not like their attitude right? Let’s not be like them and instead extend our gratitude to these startups who are making our lives easy, be it a lazy person or be it a multitasking super busy tycoon. In some way or the other, they let us spend those moments with our family and friends whom most of us are going to thank at the year end. They have made our transformation from a hard worker to a smart worker (something which is necessary to survive in today’s world) so very smooth. On New Year’s Eve, I raise a toast to them. As far as thanking my friends and family are concerned, they know well, how much I feel for them. Instead, I would like to thank all those startups or rather initiatives that I have utilized the most throughout 2015.

I hope to keep on sharing a lovely relationship with each one of them and many others in 2016 as well.

Published on Soulgasm, weekend online magazine today.

https://soulgasmsaturday.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/cheers-to-my-angels/

Role Reversal!!


It was Diya who popped the question to Mia on SU's behalf. Since then, it has been a long journey for her. Whether it was convincing Mia about starting her life afresh with SU or removing the mental blockages of her immediate family, Diya was managing all single-handedly. Like always she came out winning and again proved the saying "where there is a will, there is a way".
Finally the D-day has arrived; the day she longed for since she started looking at life in a way, very different from most of us. She put her heart and soul to make this day as grand and special as possible for Mia. Starting from teaming up the red Banarasi saree with Mia's favorite P.C.Chandra jewelry, to finalizing on the city's best wedding hall, caterer, decorators, shehnaiwala and bridal makeup artist, she was all knee-deep in the arrangements. After all it was Mia's wedding; Mia, the apple of her eye. Mia, whose determination, love and silent sacrifices paved the way towards Diya carving her own niche. Diya is a successful girl today- a scientist, a passionate writer and an occasional designer. Every facet of her has Mia's contributions.
The wedding hall was flooded with dazzling lights and beautiful flower decorations. The sublime sounds of shehnai sanctified the occasion as well as the hearts of people gathered for the auspicious occasion. The dining area was ready to cater for the most delicious food. The most coveted ice-cream corner was gearing up to satisfy the crowd's sweet tooth. The mandap at the rooftop had its eyes on witnessing a holy union and giving a name to the match made in heaven. The aroma of happiness and blessings was everywhere.
As Diya was walking towards the dressing room to bring "the woman of the hour" to the mandap, her poem for Mia, scribbled during her schooldays, was ringing in her mind:

                                 There was no place to live called hut
                                 But there was your love-filled heart
                                 There were no clothes to wear
                                 But you had your warmth to share
                                 There were no luxuries to enjoy
                                 But your love gave me joy
                                 There was no god for me
                                 There was just you who stood by me.
                           
"Ma, it's time", said Diya, as she entered the room, that was testimony to Mia's dilemma and other mixed feelings. Mia, as she was lovingly called by her daughter Diya since her chilhood, was looking as beautiful  as any other young bride. She has aged gracefully over the years. Her heart stood still as Diya's arrival made her realize that the moment has come. She walked towards her beloved daughter, the light of her life, and kissed her forehead. Diya's face lit up by her affectionate touch and so did her mother's. But Diya could sense her mother's state of mind in spite of her strong efforts to hide them. She gave Mia a warm hug and she knew it would comfort her.
Diya said, "You look beautiful Mia. Let's go, Shantanu uncle (SU) is waiting eagerly to see his bride."
She smiled and winked at Mia. Diya's words and gestures lightened Mia's mood and it brought a big smile on her face, that still has the power to kill many. She was all set to proceed towards a new beginning with an open heart. 
While the pandit was reading the marriage mantras, Diya looked on with a sense of fulfillment. Yes, she was that rare and privileged daughter to witness her mother's wedding. It was a role reversal for them. The daughter that Mia was always proud to give birth to, gifted her with a second life.