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March 26, 2014

Life in teacups...

Two cups of chai in front of you.
One, you drink. The other stays untouched.

"It still belongs to you." I hear you murmur as you push the tea cup towards me.



The waiter tells me it has always been this way. Two cups of chai you'd pay for, every time you stopped at what once used to be a regular haunt. Two cups of chai you'd now sit alone and nurse. Two cups of chai...since the day we left in opposite directions.

I laugh at the irony. But I still don't have the heart to explain.
I have always been a coffee person! :)

March 08, 2014

Lets face the truth...

 

While you are watching this video...
Some helpless woman in India is getting raped for no fault of hers (except ofcourse that she is a 'woman')...
Some unsuspecting school girl is getting bottom pinched and touched (in the wrong places) in a crowded bus on her way home from school...
A bunch of street loafers are passing lewd remarks at the dutiful housewife, making a cheap spectacle out of her as she buys vegetables in the market...
An independent professional in a multinational company is filing a case against her colleague or senior for sexual harassment...
The same senior or colleague is sneering behind her back with his friends, knowing that she would never be able to prove it...
A doting wife has just discovered her husband's clandestine affair and is wondering where she went wrong...
An office secretary has agreed to compromise with her boss because she cannot afford to lose the job during a crucial family emergency...
A young tired daughter-in-law of a renowned political household dreads her unborn child's fate as she is literally dragged into the radiologist's clinic by her husband to determine the sex of the baby...
A seventeen year old is scarred for life because some boy just called her 'ugly'...
A new bride shudders with fear as she ices her trembling skin singed by the cigarette butt her perverse husband has used on her last night...
An innocent eleven year old girl has been touched by her favorite uncle and feels angry at herself...
A kitchen 'accident' is been planned for the docile daughter in law who has been exhausted from fulfilling never ending dowry demands...
A young college girl is oblivious that she is being followed by a masked scooterist with an acid vial in hand...
A house help is being brutally beaten and called a thief because something in the house is misplaced and cannot be found...
A woman is called 'loose' because she has more male friends than females...
A rape victim is being judged as having 'asked for it' only because she had been wearing a short skirt and a tank top at the time of the heinous crime...
A twelve year old village girl has been bought for Rs 25,000 from her family, while the poor child is unaware of the trafficking scandal that lies ahead of her...
Nothing is making sense for the pregnant woman just diagnosed as HIV+ve, to whom the world will cease to exist only after the confession from her coward husband who will refuse to meet her eyes...

And all this was happening to some woman somewhere...while you were busy humming the song in  that video.

Happy Woman's Day? Really?? 


Promise me a society where every woman is appreciated as an equal, where her mind is valued and her body is respected and her vulnerability is not considered a weakness, where her physical strength is not exploited to prove her inferior.
Promise me that kind of a society first...and then maybe, you can wish me 'Happy Woman's day'

March 05, 2014

Still?

Last night, after almost an eternity, I dreamt of you again.

It was absurd, the way my dream has changed over the ages. Last night, you were just standing there, in a quiet little corner, smiling to yourself. I seemed busy in a blur of activity---the random humdrum of an otherwise monotonous day. It didn't seem like I did not notice you standing there watching me. But somehow, even in that dream, I was not giving that fact much importance. You didn't say anything. I was speaking to everyone else but you. A loose strand of hair carelessly tucked behind my ear, I was scribbling something furiously on the notepad in hand. I seemed like someone enjoying a lot of responsibility. It seemed you were enjoying it too, watching me like that. But we did not speak, not to each other.

I cannot recall the details but the waking point was the one that surprised me most. There was a merger---a dream plus reality mix...a surreal time travel of sorts, from a reminiscent past to a hypothetical future.

We were suddenly holding hands...in another frame...another scene rolling out miles away as if in another time and space.

"Its a small world," you were saying..."We will meet again..."

"Don't be so sure...We might go the rest of our lives pretending the other does not exist."

Then the scene changed, there you were again, standing in one corner of the busy room, smiling softly at me...me who was trying hard to ignore your presence now.
You were still smiling...and as our eyes met, I let out an exasperated sigh.

"So, we meet again," I said and smiled.

"When did we ever part? We were only pretending we did," was your tongue in cheek reply.

..and then I woke up, trying to decipher which half of the merger was more real, the past that  happened (and got left behind), or the future that never will...

Last night, after almost an eternity, I dreamt of you again.

March 03, 2014

Book Review: 'The Other Side' By Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee

Title: The Other Side
Authors: Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee

Pages: 320

Publisher: Mahaveer Publishers

Price: Rs 150/-

Genre: Fiction


I was one of the first few people to have ordered this book on FlipKart. Having known Faraaz Kazi for his prolific writing and equally warm persona, I had been waiting for his second book to hit the stalls. So when I was told that 'The Other Side' would be the end result of the brainstorming sessions of two literary geniuses (the other being Vivek Banerjee of 'The Long Road' fame), I knew for sure that I had to read it.

Why the late review, then? Well, as you folks must have noticed, I have been pretty much out of the loop since some time. There have been personal reasons and then there have been personal reasons. Lets just say life kept me busy. But believe me, I am not dead. Speaking of which, its quite an eerie come-back announcement to make when I am all geared to write on 'The Other Side'. (pun intended)

So without further ado, let me begin by saying that this book was, in one word, unputdownable, right from the word 'Go'.
'The Other Side' is a collection of thirteen spine chilling stories of the paranormal world, that do not fail to leave you with a lump in your throat. The book begins with a foreword that explains the philosophy of fear---the one extreme emotion that lives in all of us, and yet we try so hard to ignore. Next, follows the prelude which is a well corroborated conversation between the two authors, Faraaz and Vivek, speaking about their bizarre experiences, and this aids in creating the whole 'chill in the air' feeling before we proceed on to reading the subsequent pages.

There is an element of wide eyed surprise in each of these narratives, be it 'Starangers in the night' or 'The lady in the pub'.. Frankly, its impossible to pick a favorite, but 'Red Bangles' and 'Dream Girl' makes your hair stand on end.
However, what I particularly liked about the book is that there was a sense of right doing and wrong doing in each of the stories. While the unadulterated horror gave me goosebumps, the subtlety which hinted that perhaps there is justice after all..at least on the other side, brought a smile to my lips---an act of kindness gets repaid, a perverse murderer gets his due, a mother's love is answered and so on.
Each narrative is written with lurid details. The sombre undertone evokes a panic within the reader and the writing clearly reveals the literary talent possessed by the authors, as each story rolls out scene by scene in your imagination.

This combo pack of thirteen gut wrenching stories will definitely make you explore your innermost fears and wonder about superstitions and the world beyond our own. From the honeymoon in the hills that goes terribly wrong to the obsessed lover who craves his love, in life or death to the psycho who mutilates body parts to build up his 'dream girl', this book is filled with grossly petrifying, terribly unnerving and overwhelmingly alarming tales that will make you miss a heart beat as you gulp with fear. What takes the cake, however, is the epilogue that is in continuation with the prologue involving the two authors and their adventure---the final nail to the coffin. (oops! pun intended or maybe not...)

To conclude, I would say, reading the other side was a nail biting experience and that just goes to say that it definitely lived up to its genre, and needless to mention, the authors' names. Would surely recommend it.

Oh yes, I dared to visit alone and felt the chill in the air. Did you? :)

Personal Rating:  4 out of 5