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May I know your good name, Sir?


In the good old student days in Pune when carefree meant dripping the feet in splash of water and flowing with the breeze splaying from one end to the other, I had a peculiar way of addressing people encountered for the first time. “May I know your good name, Sir?” The hair was pulled endlessly by the crazy people around me who broke into a cackle of laughter and claims, there is nothing good or bad about someone’s name.

Thinking that I made a booboo and asked whether something wrong was told, my friend laughed and said nothing wrong but I am adapting the Lucknowi tehzeeb to the English spoken during the old days. “It’s old English,” he told, not without adding that too much respect is not good for health. Ha! That didn’t calm me in using ‘good name’ while addressing people that was fun, quirky, jolly and humorous at the same time. There were many such expressions that I injected into my daily interactions which in turn made me the subject of conversation around.

Or, addressing someone relatively older to me by few ages as Sir made our coffee table chat funnier and everyone going berserk on what has fallen on my head. “By the way,” was another spicy thing that adorned my usually simple conversation and chirruping, “If you don’t mind, can I ask something?” No, we don’t mind at all Vishal, they chorused, for we have our own mind.  Such expressions were rarely used among the cool people that we were and the days when I would go dry without the priceless words ensured that my friend made it a point to remind that ‘good name’ hasn’t been used by me at all. The best friend would be like, ‘Good, good, good’ and I don’t know when I stopped using them.

There were many such expressions that harmlessly popped out of my mouth right from, ‘I’m telling you’ to ‘she’s flat on you’ and ‘outstation’ or ‘she passed out’ so much that someone thought that the ‘she’ has died. No! girl! I told her, she completed her grads that made this girl look silly for not reading through our funny old English Indian words that could actually kill a cool chick in no time. The words were my 2 PM instant Maggi noodle that provoked not just easy peasy laughter but gave gratification at my expense.

“You know what” or “Do one thing” are the other classic and funny Hinglish expressions that I keep using till date with “Arrey”, “Yaa” and “Haan” being part of my daily staple with fellow Indians on social media or the ones that I happen to cross path with. “What’s your good name, Sir?” You see I can be very vernacular with my expressions and sentences.

Love

V

 

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Father’s Day: Infinite moments with Dad


The passport is lost. I am blithely unaware, enjoying the windy breeze in ruffling burst which curled past my window and the sight of the gentle sea at Marine Drive.  The perk of being a hostelite in South Mumbai. My life was going to change. Dreams came knocking and harassing me in succession to send a sign that life was going to alter drastically in the flick of days and weeks. Papa came in the dreams and pretending not to recognize me on the street and hailing him fell on deaf ears, as he marched ahead, turned to look at me with a stern face growing a shade dimmer.

The occasional monsoon became herky-jerky in the city. I woke up on Saturday in the city and picked up a copy of Economic Times to plonk my way on the wooden chair in the canteen mess, ordering coffee and sneaking a smoke, far away from the glares of the warden who may pop up. A couple of days back, I realized the pouch where my passport sat was missing and went to my bank, asking if they kept the document but no one did.

One Saturday my cousin called from UK, asking if I would like to travel back home to meet my Dad and then hung. I sensed something was bad. Another cousin called to say Dad is in the hospital but should be doing fine. I call home and after trying for a very long time, Mom was in tears telling me to come down by any means since Dad was seriously ill in the hospital. The cousin called and I asked straight away. No dilly-dallying. What I feared in the morning came true. Dad was in the coma.

The family shifted to a different country. I have two days to reach home. Banks are closed everywhere. I got no passport nor there was money in my possession but still gotta catch an international plane from India. It looked impossible. But, they say when you need help, the entire universe conspires to make things happen. Money pooled from hostel friends, some gave 500, someone else gave 1000 bucks and another family friend from Pune who tried her best to reach Mumbai in time but couldn’t make it.  Gitanjali Didi called and her voice broke down but I assured her things are ok.  I managed to get a travel document in place of a passport. Lalit, a friend and former hostel mate, accompanied me to the airport, where we took a train with luggage from Churchgate to Andheri hopped on the rickshaw to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. I was stopped by cops for routine checking but dealt with me in the most humane manner, saying next time travel home with a proper passport.

Finally, I reached the place my parents made their home and after hugging Maa, gulped tea, hopped to the hospital filled with ailing patients. I couldn’t recognize Dad who apparently survived from the coma. It was a small miracle. Miracles can be an illusion. I walked past Dad and Mom called me. We came in the afternoon when Dad was shifted from the ICU room to the normal hospital hall. He was hallucinating and they told it was the medicine’s effect to get out of the coma. But, I sensed trouble and told someone that he may not live for more than two weeks. But, with time, Papa’s condition improved. Apparently, the injection was given to keep Papa alive so that I can spend some time with him. He stayed with us for more than a week during the hospital trips, speaking normally and was discharged. He was able to get up out of his own from the car to the room, with little help from us, heading to sleep.

I vividly recall the day when I slept on the couch when Mom jettisoned me out of my reverie early morning to feed Dad with milk and corn flakes who was in my room. Papa’s body has become suddenly heavily stiff and was reluctant to take medicine and we took a harrowing time giving him pill that he spit. We ushered him on a chair to sit but the entire body wouldn’t budge, making it impossible for two persons to lift him. Mom broke down. The time, I called a friend who came to help us lift him back to the bed. The first time I saw someone dying right in front of me but still, there was some reaction on his part when an aunty visited, someone whom he was rather fond of, making an effort to speak asking to make her sit and give tea. The time was coming. I called a close friend and medical student who asked about tears in Dad’s eyes and sat by his bedside, pressing his forehead and the rare times, he thrust to grab my hand with tears in the eyes. It looked so surreal. We were close to each other and there was nothing I asked Dad that would be denied.

Finally, he closed his eyes in the evening and upped the neck with a crack, the pupil became whitish. Mom told me to call uncle, our next door neighbor who was Dad’s childhood friend, calling him, “Gyaan, what happened?” He opened his eye one last time with tears in the eyes to say bye to his childhood friend. It was the final good bye.

Dad would affectionately call me, ‘Babu’. I maintained courage and balanced my emotions coming to terms with things that at least was able to see him for one week. At the hospital, he asked Mom what I brought for him from India. It was a shirt and a Hindi film CD. Our loved ones stay with us forever and they really die the moment we stop thinking about them. It’s a firm belief that people we truly love never go anywhere. You know the biggest coincidence? Dad passed away on June 19 on Tuesday and tomorrow going to be 11 years. It will be on Tuesday. Dad would have celebrated his birthday on June 28. Cheerz to you buddy, the one people would call Shammi Kapoor. You were a crazy fan, right! You adored Dev Anand Saab and Raj Kapoor Saab, of course, Amitabh Bachchan, where you took me to watch several flicks of the angry young man.

Love you, Papa. Happy Father’s Day.

V

 

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Open the gate of unflinching love and unblemished prayer this Eid


 

Curled like imagined smoke,

coalescing into divine songs,

the pure moon,

morning azaan makes for unblemished prayer,

a race called human,

spreading colors, shade and depth,

lights shining and reverberating inside our souls,

sacred prayers offered,

to overcome war, hatred and prejudices,

verses of purity,

delicacies offered to bring hearts together,

knitting contentment on the sleeve,

maternal affection,

brotherly and sisterly bond,

strummed together,

to attain bliss,

Halwa,

Sevaiyan,

and kheer,

adding sweetness to our words and thoughts,

the creator, the all merciful Allah showering blessing,

we are children overcoming challenges and triumph,

in the face of hatred and darkness,

let the gates of unflinching love open.

Eid Mubarak.

Love

V

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Day 24: Sign of winter, stiff upper lip and hectic ‘May’


“Smile…don’t be stiff…you are looking too serious…relax posture now,” the photographer Adesh gently nudged me to ease out for the photo shoot. Our company bagged the best PR firm. Monday morning started on a roll and for 10 minutes, I tried widening the jaw to sporting a natural smile. Stiff upper lip. Gotta need to be more relaxed in tone and mood. The professional camera can be intimidating and makes me wonder how to face the arc light. I wouldn’t make a good actor, me think now, though always thought otherwise. Practice, practice and practice help to reach near perfection. June started on a high note and waltzing into the glory that doesn’t belong to me but the boss who wanted the team to share the limelight with her.

The weather is breezy on my side of the world coalescing into the wintery season that hasn’t yet hit the high note. Verging between summer and winter, the latter is preferred but, somehow feel that lack the immunity to sustain the cold, unlike the earlier times. The human body faces constant change, pretty much like the mind which is never static, at times we grow and in other situations, losing the plot. Take it easy, dude. It gonna be my mantra for change. Progress has been made over the past 12 months and I don’t face acute pain all over the body when sprinted the last time to catch the bus, unlike once when the body was exploding. It whittled down to personal effort undertaken to be more fir through regular yoga, jogging, running, and meditation. The improvement is there. I ain’t stopping at anything to get back in shape and lusting for my forever youthful appeal translating into reality. The time is now. Nobody gets ahead of me and there is no such thing as lapping behind.

Cutting back to May. The past month has been a pretty good one and hectic at places. One thing that I learned is to keep pushing and doesn’t matter if the situation is looking bleak for fortunes can change overnight. At some point, it was getting all frustrating with an assignment we were doing on a client’s behalf. The people to be chased were not responding at all and felt as if staring or speaking to a wall. The realization hit that it’s gonna be like a football or cricket match, running behind and chasing runs, ultimately proved me rightish. I let the frustration built-in. The ego in me occupied all possible space on the mind. The time when it was no longer about the money but the reluctance to be a failure. I am not one and will never be. It worked like magic and in the end, managed to get the people. You see, after all, ego may not necessarily be a bad thing.

The cholesterol test turned out to be normal this time and the statins taken twice a week helped a great deal. More reasons to cheer up but on the downside is the liberty taken to indulge in sweetery that gotta be curbed. The cheat day should be a way to get things rolling for me and Friday will be kept as one of the days to indulge in the sweet craving. Somehow, I haven’t been able to keep it once a week but indulge successively that can work against the good progress made. Time to cut the slack and fat. As it is, been on my mind to go off sweet for a long time and thinking to kick it off post-June 25. That way, I will get ample time to prepare the mind and stay off sweet meat.

On the book front, I read a super cool book penned by a millennial, Divyasha’s Cool dude 20 something that came as a compelling read trip and narrated in a youthful language that keeps one on the hook. Today’s kids are fresh and so much ahead of times in the approach and perspective which is admirable.  A book that I recommend everyone to read on how to live every single moment and breath free, in conquering dreams. The book speaks in a language and tone which is sparkling and down to earth, at the same time. I am presently reading Anuja Chauhan’s The Zoya Factor, her first book written in 2008, a complete page turner and toe-curling. She is the best when it comes to Indie rom-com and effortlessly penned to provoke easy laughter.

The month of May was also the time when I reconnected with a friend who is now in France and been trying to have a whatsapp call but unfortunately, with work and routine, I keep forgetting. It’s something that needs to be treated urgently and just apologized to him. I watched some amazing movies, right from 102 Not Out, Raazi and Veere Di Wedding in June, enjoyed to the hilt.

Here’s wishing everyone a blissful Eid Mubarak and may the blessing of your creator shine always. Trust in love and share the positive vibe for this is what we need the most. Have a lovely weekend.

 

V

 

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Why so much hate and double standards against Veere di Wedding?


Why does a movie need to flare up personal sentiments and stoke so much hatred on what constitutes morality or immorality? Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding celebrates women, freedom, and individuality in all its forms by declaring a war on patriarchy by saying it in a humor-laden manner that every opposing voice is stung and suddenly feels the movie is an assault on their personal turf.

It’s not the first time that the audience has made it a personal thing by spreading hate and venom against a movie that celebrates the individualistic women who have desires and needs, like any normal human being. The sudden hatred against its lead actors are not just laughable but reeks of sexual and patriarchal misogyny. First thing first, what constitutes morality and what doesn’t should cease to be a universal issue since this entire moral vs immoral is very subjective. Since when a masturbation scene has disturbed us so much that we have started volleying abuse against Swara Bhaskar for doing the scene. How does the scene offend us in the first place?

Image credit: Google/Indian Express.

Mass media has always made masturbation a male thing when it should have been gender neutral. Hello, hypocrisy! Suddenly, we have a serious problem when we see a woman shaking it up but it’s fun and legitimate with the American Pie series or Irfan Khan’s character taking the picture of his boss’ wife to have ‘fun’ inside the toilet. People should learn to take a chill pill. I heard someone saying on social media he felt like puking watching this dirty M act. Look within! If M is such a dirty act, then all of us should throw out every time we relieve ourselves in the morning or during the entire day. The entire problem lies with us as humans and hatred for this movie reached a new low and extreme level,  making vile attacks treading on this entire puritan or moral route showing how we have been educated wrongly on sex. Loosen up!

There is a need to lose not the virginity but inhibition, sexual repression or this whole moral argument. Why this drastic difference in rules for both boys and girls, men and women? Since when sex, casual or consensual, has become so dirty? The problem lies with our minds. We boys sleeping around make us dudes but when a woman does that, she suddenly becomes a slut! Wake up people and live in the real world or else we are all becoming like Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ‘boys make mistakes’ on rape.

This entire hatred of Veere di Wedding was so unwanted in the first place and we have suddenly become self-appointed experts on what girls talk or do among themselves. Let’s face it: Men have their dirty dude talk that we wouldn’t like the girls, no matter how close they are to us, know. If men can have some fun talks, girls have the equal right to do it among themselves. Call it what you may, bathroom selfie or girls’ chat, how do we know what secrets chicks spill among themselves!

It’s not a question about cuss words, Hindi expletives or the F-word that it should offend us by behaving like ‘society’s thekedar’. Some people have taken the high moral ground and still, want women to be the abla nari in movies to be saved by the angry young man thrashing half-dozen goons on screen. The most unfortunate aspect is that we still want women to play victims in movies which perpetuates the one-man show and the moment they take on the male bastion, we cry hoarse about the fuck word.  Get a life people and be real for we don’t live in a Saas bahu bubble. It’s not for the first time that characters are swearing in movies and why nobody cried hoarse when a movie like Omkara in the Hindi heartland or balatkar of 3 idiots were muttered. We had a good laugh over the cool quotient. As it is, so many of us use Hindi and English expletives in our daily lives and why this hypocrisy of moral police now over so-called bad influence. Time for all of us to discard this complex that we suffer from.

The biggest irony is that it’s no longer about the movie but the criticism became more political since we all know that Swara Bhaskar never flinched in airing her social views. More power to women and men like her. She has faced insults, abuse and rape threats on social media forums such as Twitter for daring to take on the political establishment and Veere di wedding is just an excuse for people to get even with her since the views don’t suit their political masters. There is a difference between art and politics but unfortunately, frustrated morons are mixing both things. Having strong political views on national issues doesn’t make one a bad professional or in Swara’s case a bad actor.

Veere di Wedding is a game changer in the way we view art, or for that matter, our conservative mindset when it comes to women, patriarchy or misogyny. The film doesn’t put down women but to the contrary, drives home important messages celebrating the Her,  reminding us that today’s India doesn’t need sexism. Intriguing how a movie has nurtured hatred and for fuck sake, it’s just a movie. Love or hate it, can we please move on and call this blatant misogyny. About the film being banned in Pakistan? The lesser the better said with trolls trying to get 2 minutes fame! Karma should be banned rather.

Spread love

V

 

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An abyss and phoenix’s rising to bliss


The abyss,

a wedge of heart and soul,

dark and infinite alley,

seamless possibilities,

trapped,

rising above the sea and flame,

like the Phoenix,

i am alive,

scathed and bruised,

the mark of victory,

fighting the odds,

the fire shall not consume me,

of sex and alcohol,

the party that ravaged,

an explosive cocktail,

weaving the tapestry of dreams,

don’t give them a bad name,

the pathway of bliss,

enjoying every second of intensity,

it ain’t a curse.

Love

V

 

 

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Day 23: I deserve the love


I was dying to munch on this jumbo cookie for quite some time since it popped right in from my eyes at the coffee shop. And, I waited for almost 10 days to land this super treat as Saturday’s breakfast. We all deserve the love and mustn’t shy away to treat the self.  We tend to feel guilty of tasting the sweetest meat. I know something about it what with my cholesterol verging between the borderline level and being kept in check, courtesy the statins.

On Thursday last, triumph struck for the second consecutive time as the cholesterol level was kept within the normal range and was elated. But, brownie point remains that I indulged in sweet meat thrice this week. But, it’s no reason to ring the alarm clock but make small efforts to limit the sweetery to once a week and choose a cheat day to indulge.

 

Love, indulgence, cookie, magic.

This post is not about indulging within limit. It’s all about showering love to oneself fully. The cookie is what the eye cocked for and the Saturday couldn’t make it better than that. Call it a sinful day or what you may, it came as a fluff of reward for me. Downed some scotch on Friday night and crashed on the sofa what with the sleep interrupting from time to time. I didn’t miss the yoga this time and woke up at 6 a.m to reach in time for a superclass. The day started on a bright note. The cookie and the favorite Cappuccino coffee landed on the lap reading Anuja Chauhan’s The Zoya Factor. Pure bliss. Shopping was on the card with a woolen track pant for grabs and a brightly patterned blue shirt which Mom gifted. She gave the money and I bought it.  The best feeling was landing the favorite Lakme Facewash that has been missing on the market and the store that I normally buy from.  The lady gave me a good price at a time when they are overcharging since it getting scarce on the market. Bliss. There are days like that.

The shirt was bought for a purpose since the company just bagged the best PR agency conferred by a British company and we gotta a photo shoot this Monday. The Saturday wasn’t over yet and after dilly-dallying to attend the meditation class or not, I finally darted my way in style. One of the most awesome classes attended that worked wonders and finally two pegs of Scotch in the night. There are very few days like that when we learn to treasure the self and yesterday was one such day filled with love, gratitude, and happiness.

One should never shy from loving oneself an extra bite and ladle this slice of life. Trust me, a magic spurns into our existence to bring unbridled happiness to near perfection and one day is made just for us ringing in the extraordinary. We deserve this love. I deserve the love after making extra effort to wake up in the morning for yoga. Revel in the beauty and go to treat the self. The universe has chosen us to spread love, accept it with grace and let it multiply among fellow humans.

 

Love

V