A Gujju’s American Dream

A Gujju is a creature also called as a Gujarati, known for their awesome food and stringent mindset. From time unknown a Gujju has had few basic ambitions in life. One is to do their own business (main aim to earn lots of money to be more stringent about and to not work for anybody else). Second is to go to America. Time has changed but these dreams remain the same. Mostly every household has at least one member living in America. With time the boundaries have changed and the Gujju’s have expanded their dreams to Canada, Australia and New Zealand to name a few. But America stays in the heart of any Gujju.

Well, I being a Gujju have temporarily shifted base to the United States of America. No-no; I had no plan to stay here but my brother has been here for some years now and it was time for me and my parents to visit him. Despite of the fact that I never wanted to leave my home-town, I am now engaged to a person who also resides in the United States of America (As they say, it’s not about the place, it’s about the person). So sooner or later I’ll have to permanently shift my ass here.

Arriving here in America as a first timer, I had lots of observation. Some things disappointed me, basically failed to impress me. When people got to know that I am soon flying out to USA, honestly, their excitement level exceeded mine. Their “Ohs” and “Ahs” made me feel so dull. Anyways so I flew out somewhere in April. First time in an airplane – check; foreign destination – check; low excitement – double check. I figured the low excitement level had two reasons, first that America is too hyped in India and second I had seen it all in movies and stuff.

I was right, as I had seen it all in movies and all I wasn’t as alien to the ways here as expected. I wasn’t wowed about it all. I knew that you had to push a button while waiting on the curb for signal to turn red so you could walk across; even though the button basically does nothing. I knew that you had to tip each and every person (which broke my Gujju heart). I knew that one simply does not shout or honks down on the road as we are so accustomed to do in India (I frankly miss the traffic noise of India).

But yes I was more of a house guest here than a tourist. So I had stayed at home here as much as I had travelled here. And as against people’s expectation no, no one goes to discos and clubs or are out partying late at night every day. Most extravagant and extended plans are formed for the weekends. But America is not superior or inferior to any country. It’s just different here. America isn’t something to be intimidated of. Of course as an Indian or an immigrant a person has to stay in fear because of the visa status. This is what I found the most annoying. Many people want to stay here but stay in constant fear, and well, the Trump situation has only made matters worse. To each his own!

Not everything here is bad as well. I mean sure it can be a onetime tourist thing to satisfy the travel bug in you and to put it off the checklist. I saw two states very minutely. Both are very different. Boston is more like a Karan Johar film, larger than life picture with big and old palatial homes and sophisticated people (majority of them clad in suits). Whereas New York is more like a Madhur Bhandarkar film, lots of people, commotion and shows the real face. I enjoyed the small eating places, new food (even though I miss the sev-puri, dahi-puri type food), and people performing on streets more than the touristy spots. So I won’t go in detail about all that.

But I want to share all the small annoying things that make India definitely a better place to stay. Basically people come to America with the dream that you become independent. Here nobody will interfere in your life, no one will comment on how you dress, what you wear and no one questions you. THAT IS ACTUALLY TRUE. No one asks you anything. Imagine putting on a 100 bucks dress and do make-up to kill for and literally no one asks you. As opposed to India, you cannot simply knock on the neighbor’s door and ask for an onion or a cup of milk just because you are in the middle of cooking and realize that you haven’t got it at home. It does not work that way. If you are not working or studying, you are honestly cooped up in the house entire day. Basically, have to wait to your significant other or your children to come home so that they can take you out. Ironically, one comes here searching for independence but gets everything opposite of it.

The thing that bugs me more than anything else is that you wake up in the morning and have to find the perfect balance of hot and cold water to wash your face. It still takes me a couple of minutes to do that every morning. The kitchen here is built as per American cooking style which is not as elaborate as Indian cooking style. So first the problem was of the gas temperature, as most homes come with coil or hot plates. Initially, most days the food got burnt. Then comes the so good machines to make life easier – the dishwasher!! Sounds god sent, right?? Let me tell you a secret, it doesn’t work for Indian style cooking. I mean sure all the plates, crockery gets cleaned there, but only after you rinse it once. But all the non-stick pans, pots and cookers are a big no-no. All the grease and sticky leftovers won’t get cleaned in the dishwasher. So, since here I do the dishes a couple of times every day. I did not even rinse them when in India. For that we had our god sent maid. I now understand her importance. Again, you do the laundry and the ironing. I just can’t shout “Vinod” from my veranda to call the “Ironman” of our society, to ask him to take the clothes for ironing. Gosh! We Indians are so pampered and spoilt. Then the using of tissue to wipe your tooshie, the bra-less girls walking confidently down the road or mostly nude girls standing at the Times-Square and other stuff does add to the cultural shock for any Indian, especially if you are travelling with your 60 year old parents.

Sure, America is all clean and non-polluted and Indian streets are as dirty as a garbage can. Sure, here if the neighbor gets married no one even comes to know about it, while in India we can hear what time our neighbor brushed his/her teeth. Sure, America is all silent and India is known for its hustle-bustle. For me India is the best place to live for any socially inclined person. America just didn’t appeal me as much as there is no human touch here. Sure they will exchange pleasantries and talk to you as if you are the most special person but it is all empty.

And the worst is that the Indians here are the most selfish, rude people I’ve met. The American dream is as empty as it is beautiful from the outside. In other words, the grass is always greener on the other side.

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Blocking Writer’s Block

Laptop fired up. Spectacles perched on the nose. Deep breaths taken. Mind cleared. But no words come out.

Thinking about what topic to write on. Since I started writing the blog, I’ve had people come and tell me it’s so cool. No, not because of the creativity or voicing my thoughts; but because they think it’s so easy. It is thought that it is easy to be a writer. What does a writer do? Sit at home; Sleep; Eat and be merry; put up the legs on the table and write. That doesn’t sound that difficult, now does it? Whereas others are stuck in a 9 to 5 job. Well let me just tell you, it’s not as simple as it looks.

Technically I am not a full-time writer. I had a job that I enjoyed. It was fun. It was a typical 9 to 6 job but some days I spent almost 10 to 11 hours there. Somehow I am now at a stage where I had to leave the job and have some spare time on my hand (6 to 8 months mostly). I can’t begin to say how much I dread it. But well, no option! So it all started then, everyone started saying you’ve got time, pick up writing as full-time. “It’s so easy,” they all said. But what they don’t get is, if I don’t have anything to do, no activity, how am I going to get ideas/topics to write about?

Also then I am not a well-established writer. I am just taking baby steps at it. It’s just what I started to do because it made me happy. So now with nothing to do all day long, I have drained all my creativity. All that is there is bottled up anger. A writer gets inspiration from happiness, depression, imagination and anger as well. But this anger has given me writer’s block.

Writer’s block is when the writer wants to write but is unable to. My block comes from the point that I come from a country that easily get offended at pretty much everything. India is a place where most things are run on basis of one question only, “Duniya wale kya kahenge?” (What will others think about us?) Then comes the people i know – family, friends and acquaintances. What have you written? Why did you voice it publicly? And so on and so forth. Whatever topic I think of writing now comes from my anger and then I have to ask myself will somebody reading my post be offended? What will my family have to say? So my writing goes down the drain. The bottled up anger leads to inner frustration which ultimately shows in my behavior. I am angry at everything and every person. It’s a very unhealthy way of living.

Well I don’t want to stay that way anymore. I will write to my heart’s content and about the topics that make my heart sing. Maybe I’ll be the field of sunflowers or the deserted alley. Maybe I’ll write about happy topics or on dark twisted plots. I’ll give my heart whatever the hell it desires. I am forever more blocking this writer’s block.

Pick your Poison

It’s always difficult to choose a path. Good or bad, right or wrong, walked or undiscovered. It’s always difficult. But you do. You don’t or rather you can’t walk on both. You have to choose one. You have to pick your poison.

Off lately I have had a few people in my life who gave me difficult options to choose from. And the options that I have is either to fight with them, get all hot-headed with the shouting and crying or simply stop caring and giving shit about such people by ignoring them. To be honest I have tried both.

The thing is I hate people coming up after years of silence and acting as if they care about me. I mean you can’t just turn up after years and decide that now you give a shit about my life. I want to ask a question to all of them, where you were at my times of need, or when I was happy. Do you know what makes me happy now, what is my favorite color and food?

I agree we might have been close friend, relative or confidant at some point in life. We might have spent some good times together which are still good memories for me. But I have grown as a person since the last time we possibly were close. One seriously can’t expect to barge into my life after 10 years of silence or 10 months for that matter and demand my time or my attention. I understand it is not possible to talk every day as we all are busy building our lives brick by brick, one day at a time. But the least you could have done was to maintain continuous contact to be in my life.

Since the last time we saw or talked to each other I have evolved into another person. So now you demanding things or space or asking personal questions makes me uncomfortable. Sure, I am familiar with your name and your face, but I am not familiar with you. And so now you are no different than a stranger to me. And as far as I go, I don’t share stuff with strangers. So if you have maintained a distance from my life for some time please continue doing so. I don’t hate you, it’s just that you no longer matter to me. I am indifferent to you.

In such situations one can pick either to fight and try to mend ways with the estranged friend, relative or confidant; or you can simply keep silence and ignore them. Both are poisonous options. Why poisonous? As either way you’ll be the bad guy at the end of the day. As you fought or you ignored. As much you would like to mend ways and keep the person close, you can’t as things will have changed tremendously between the both of you.

So, whatever the case maybe, you have to pick your poison.

Book Hangover

I am writing after a long time. I was in mourning all this time. Mourning for the fact that I completed a really good book. I am a voracious reader. I devour books at a great speed. I have been reading for many years now. When in college I used to stay awake till 4:00 in the morning only because I couldn’t bring myself to put down the book and sleep, even if it meant that I will be tired the entire next day. Because of this habit I used to complete any novel in 2 days max. I buy used books in bulk and keep them ready in case I finish my book early. So in my book case I’ll always find spare books. At one point there were nearly 15 books that were left for me to read. I might be reading one book but I still keep buying others. It feels like I am cheating on the book that I am currently reading, but I can’t help it. Books make me happy.

I have been off my game for some time now. And now that I wonder why, I found that the reason behind this is a particular book that I read some 12 weeks back. I am still wrapped in the words and memories of that book. I particularly prefer foreign authors to Indian authors just because of their writing styles. But this book “Lanka’s Princess” by Kavita Kane is what has caused this book hangover that I am feeling. It’s not that I haven’t read other books after this one. But my mind keeps going back on this particular book by Kavita Kane. This is the first time I read her work and I am awed by her writing style. The book is about Ravan’s sister Surpanakha and her misdeeds, how she manipulated everybody. (They are all Indian mythological characters from the epic Ramayana) Being Indian I have read and heard about this story, about how bad Surpanakha was. But the author has written this book giving a new perspective to the evil character whom we are accustomed to dislike from time unknown.

I thought it was very brave on the author’s part to dedicate an entire book on a negative character, stating the fact that we Indians take our mythology very seriously and we are very touchy when it comes to our history. I was impressed by the writing style and the character formation, the plot, how the author wrote the story from the character’s side without compromising the story itself.

The book did make me see that the negative part isn’t that bad, if we just stop whining over it. We can make success based on the negative part of life. It’s the risk that makes it all worthwhile. I am so in love with that book. I will be reading other books. Writing this post is my first step to get over the book hangover that I am facing. But this book has definitely made it to my list of favorites.

For any book lover it will definitely be an annoying part when someone asks them, “Oh! So you read, what book you recommend?” this question annoys and scares a book reader the most. The reason is that reading is a private matter to us. It’s a part of us. Asking us to recommend a book is asking a personal question as a book can reveal a lot about a person. Also we fear that if we do recommend a book and the other person does not have the same or even similar experience with the book, it will break our heart.

So writing about a book I have enjoyed so much and the fact that this book caused a hangover for me is a big risk for me. Because even if one person based on my article reads the book and does not like it might be a bad experience for both of us. But I would just let you all know that this has entirely been a personal experience and I have written about my views.

Being Unemployed

After 2 years of total working, I finally gave in my forced voluntary resignation a few weeks ago due to some family needs. No the Titanic wasn’t drowning and they didn’t need me to save it!!! But what needs to be done has to be done. So I stepped down the throne of employment to get the title of being “unemployed” (Even though it is a temporary situation).

Okay, so now the boss is replaced by parents, handing out tasks for the day the moment I step out of my room; nosy colleagues replaced by neighbors and the office confidant replaced by my fiancé. I getting bored tend to make him irritated. I wonder why? Maybe it is because I eat his head too much. We actually had a 20 minutes discussion over “Bhakri” (Indian bread). Can’t believe what topics we talk about.

I thought a break would do me good. I could focus on myself, read more and attempt to write, exercise, learn to cook (Ok, so I rolled my eyes at the last one!). But I got bored on the very second day of my splendid break. Roaming the house without purpose tends to get a bit boring. I’ve watched so many movies in the past 15 days than I have watched in the past year. Hell, I’ve even watched 4 movies in the same day. I’ve started religiously reading again. I now finish a novel in like two days, which I haven’t been able to do in the past six months or so. Re-watched the entire “Friends” series, day-dreamed about random stuff I don’t remember, stare at the wall and sleep like Kumbhkarana now. (Kumbhkarana is an Indian Mythological Character who had been cursed and he used to sleep 6 of the 12 months at a stretch.)

Well, my parents have taken this little situation in their stride and make me the “Princess in training”. I am now torn between the teachings of my father and my mother. My father being the most responsible and organized person I have ever seen wants me to learn all outside work like bank work, maintaining documents, packing to name a few and my mother is hoping to take a challenged girl (who by the way is awkward with spices and utensils) in her stride and magically turn her into some sort of a Master Chef. I doubt that seriously. I mean I do cook now but out of compulsion and not by interest. I don’t see myself searching and watching cooking videos rather I’d be someone who will start watching some stand-up comedy video and end up watching some cat video for like an hour or so, wondering what life will bring up next.

I wasn’t the employee of the year or so. But I worked. I had some purpose, getting up every day and going to work. As they say “An empty mind is the devil’s playground.” I figure mine will be the devil’s city at the least. It becomes difficult for people around me as I turn to be a tad bit tempered. I randomly start shouting and bickering just because I am bored now. I throw tantrums at home (yes, even at this age.). Basically I am doing a great job at pissing everyone off.

But well, I got to say this, staying at home and working takes a lot more time. The work never ends. There’s always the plants that needs to be watered, 4 times food to be prepared, furniture to be cleaned, car to be washed, groceries to be bought, get cash from the ATM, add phone number on my father’s mobile, charge my mother’s mobile,(Well at this age both my parents are technologically challenged) pick up my mother from her friend’s place. Oh, there’s just so much work.

Initially, I wanted to work for a few years and then start pursuing my hobbies, travel the world, do other artistic work (yes, well i am a bit filmy and live in my own world, where everything seems to be happy happy). But I got to say that isn’t happening anymore. I feel Being Unemployed is really hard for me.

She is my Business

As I looked at the woman scurrying around the room searching for something, I thought to myself about the love that I have for her. She is a sweet lady that has been my support system for a long time.

“Put down that wretched Ipad of yours and come and help me,” a shrill female voice breaking my thoughts. So much so for being sweet!

I got her when she had already passed her youth phase. Confused? Well, we are two siblings. My elder brother has been away from home for almost 10 years now. So I got the undivided stay with my mother when she was already turning into a wrinkled person and everyday would bring a new body part to pain.

I most definitely can’t say that she is a friend to me. She has never been a friend, but she has always been a mother to me. Even though I am 25 years old independent girl, soon to be married, it is difficult for her to let go of me. If we are visiting the doctor and we get seats that are apart, she’ll come and keep on checking on me time and again, or worse yet, she’ll shout my name to get my attention.(Sometimes I think she does it on purpose, like her only aim is to embarrass her kids) If I get late from office, she’ll give me calls every 15 minutes to ask if I’ve left for home or not, and if not how will I reach home as it’s already dark out there.

She’s a funny old lady, never content with any amount of food that I have eaten any particular day. Any problem of mine will magically be connected to the fact that I don’t eat enough. Like if I met with a small accident, her logic is that it is because I had not eaten properly that day and so I didn’t have the strength to stay on my scooty, or I complain about the hot weather, her reasoning will be that I am feeling hot because I do not eat properly.

In both my brother and my life, she has played a vital, typical Indian mother role. When it was time to enroll us in school, my mother had put her thoughts very clear that we will be studying in English medium school and not the regional language school. I am so grateful to her for this decision of hers. When we were kids, my mother used to make us walk approx 9kms to take us to watch animated movies in English. She used to buy used comic books for us and give us to read while having our lunch. I guess, I got my passion to read, watch and write from all this. If I get excited at the “Columbia pictures statue”, or watching the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie (Which she reluctantly accompanied me for), or love the smell of a book, I owe it all to her. I still prefer Hollywood movies to Bollywood movies, I still buy used novels than new ones. When someone compliments me on my command over English, it is because of her. These traits were formed early in life.

But now she has turned really old. Nonetheless, it hasn’t stopped her speed in work. Every morning it looks like a tornado has hit our house, she is like this insane chucking train that won’t stop till everything is spotlessly clean. I am the exact opposite of her. Lazy and really slow around house work. I still remember how I used to stand on other side of our kitchen window and watch her cook. Now I do that, while she works outside in the veranda and if needed she stands by the kitchen window peeking inside whether I put in the right amount of spices or not. (I still am learning how to cook! I still give her a hard time for it.) I remember the times when she used to comb my hair and make them school ready, otherwise I was always the wild child. Now, I am the one who plaits her thinning hair. How time changes!

Today, when people say, now that you are going to get married, leave her dupatta alone. (I still have the habit of holding her dupatta and walking in crowded place.) She is no more your business. It is the duty of your brother to take care of her. I get pissed off. This short, plump, wrinkled person is and will be my business. Now and forever.

HOT PURSUIT…

“No. No. No. I will not listen to that mom. I want to and I will do what I want to.” Shouted Rory and got up from the table.

“Rory, just listen to me for once, you can’t…” Judy tried to make him understand but Rory had stormed out of the room already.

Judy started cleaning the breakfast table, tired by her boy’s behaviour lately. But right now she did not have time to think about this. She was already late for work. This was the third time she would be late this month. Soon enough she’d lose her job if this continued.

Being a single mother was already tough, she loved every bit of the life she had but off lately Rory’s behaviour had her worried. She did not understand why he was being so tough. Rushing through the morning traffic to her work she thought, she’d take Rory to his favourite food-joint this weekend. It would be just the two of them. And have a conversation about this. Rory was a sweet boy who understood life just as it was. Putting on the apron and a smile she was ready to take orders of her regular customers. Judy had worked at this diner for about 2 years now. But she was thinking of getting another job now that her expenses were increasing, with the increasing size of Rory’s shoes.

                                                                       

“Why do you keep on coming here if you are not going to buy anything?” shouted the irritated shopkeeper.

Rory dashed from there. He had a plan. And he only had today to complete what he had in mind. But he first had to go to Mrs. Ottoman’s house to finish his work. He went there quietly, attracting minimum attention to himself. He did not want anyone to know what he was up to. It was a small town where everybody knew everyone and everyone was in each other’s business all the time. Rory did not want his mother to know what he was up to. He completed his work, pull up his jacket, and put his hands in his pocket where the cash was burning in his hands. With a smile of someone who finally got his way, he was on his way to the shop. The shop would be closed in 15 minutes and he had to get there as soon as possible.

“Again? Didn’t I tell you to go away? Why do you keep coming back to get insulted. I’ll call your mother, Rory. You’ve been nothing but a pain to me for the past week. Coming here and asking my staff the same question again and again. Go away you dumb boy.” The shopkeeper kept muttering insults at Rory.

                                                                       

Fuming with anger, Judy turned the keys to her one bedroom apartment. Rory had never given her any trouble, but she thought this was the start of it. She had to talk about it with Rory. He had never been difficult to deal with and she wanted to keep it that way. She wanted her bond with her boy to be the way it was, bond of friends. When she came in the apartment, all things were at its place. Rory was good at cleaning. He, like his mother was obsessed with cleaning.

“Rory, come out this instance.” Judy shouted.

Never had Rory heard his mother shout. Scared, Rory came out of the room with his hands behind his back.

With an attempt to keep her voice in check, Judy said “I got this call from the shopkeeper today, Rory. What is it all about?”

Rory remained silent and brought his hands forward. He had a packet in his hands.

For one moment, Judy thought that her son had resorted to theft. The shopkeeper had called and told her that Rory had been at his store regularly for a week, buying nothing and annoying his staff. He said that he thought the boy was like in hot pursuit of something.

“What is this?” She asked afraid to know the answer.

“Maa, you had seen this dress last week when we went there to buy my shirt. I saw you seeing this dress. So I wanted to buy it for you. I knew you wouldn’t buy it for yourself. So I worked for Mrs. Ottoman in her garden. Earned the money and bought it for you. I hope you like it.” Rory smiled that melted her mother’s heart.

                                                                       

Later that weekend, Judy took Rory out at his favourite food joint like planned. She looked pretty in the dress that had caused such fuss. She blushed when Rory commented she was looking very stunning in it.

Her 8 year old boy’s hot pursuit for her happiness, made her sure that her decision to not get married and be a single mother was right all along.

The Ring of Change

I’m having a hard time choosing what to believe.

It had been a crazy ride for me these past few weeks, wherein my supposedly Prince Charming came to sweep me off my feet. I didn’t have a moment’s time to get my head straight and think how my life will change forever. And now that all the festivities are over and I am back to my routine, I have a chance to think this through. All I can say is I am confused. Confused by my own feelings. How I am finally happy that I found “the one” and how I am truly sad that I’ll be leaving the comfort of my home in the near future. I am having a hard time choosing which feeling is stronger.

“Solitaire is what I want”, I had told him. I got my wish, only to realise later that the solitaire that I wear so proudly on my finger comes with great responsibility. I no longer will be the chirpy pampered little girl of my parents. I’ll now be seen as a responsible, mature woman who takes care of the home and family. This is the change people expect the girl to go through overnight, just because of a ring.

It hardly is ever. At least not in my case! Even on my engagement day I had my sporadic moments. For once travelling while on makeup and heavy clothes is really tiring. I had to travel for 2 hours to reach my engagement venue in another city. Getting out of the car, the first thought that I had was to meet him and run away. Being the minimalistic person all my life the heavy dress really bothered me. I had always dreamt of a big engagement party with all the glam and glitter. I realised it on the day of my engagement that all the dresses, makeup or gifts weren’t important to me. I couldn’t care less to get engaged in my old jeans. All that mattered was Me, him and our families being together (Yes I’ll keep ME first).

With juggling all these emotions all at one time, the only thing that made me rise to the occasion and actually putting in efforts to get dressed on my engagement day was him. I was looking forward to spend those few hours standing proudly beside him (and of course my ring). All I got was exactly what I wished for. I was jumping and hopping around my engagement party and wasn’t even a bit of the nervous shy bride that people expected to see. My new family was really happy to see me so happy and both of us so comfortable with each other.

While, my family was searching a groom for me, many people told me what to look for, what to search in a guy. I was advised that the guy should be mature, should be from a particular caste, this tall and that handsome. When I actually met him, there was a feeling of familiarity, like “Oh Hello! It’s you. It’s going to be you.” I can’t particularly say that we fell in love at first sight. I wasn’t even looking for love. All I ever wanted was a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Things will be different for both of us now onwards. We’ll have added responsibilities and duties to do and social obligations to perform. Indian society can be a bit intimidating at times. Especially during such occasions. I remember, people who could not attend the function were online on video calls to see us and wish us. All mobile phones and tabs stuffed in our faces and it seemed to go on forever. I really felt like the function turn into a social media circus. I do appreciate their efforts that they took out time and despite different time zones they were there. But by the point all the ceremonies got over I could not wait to have some quiet time with him so that I could make fun of everything cliché and laugh out loud with him.

This is actually what I felt good about my relationship. That we are equally weird and fist-bumpy types rather than the romantic couple. Every girl wants a romantic and one of a kind unique relation/partner for herself. All I ever wanted was a normal guy who got my kind of weirdness.

Now that things are settling down again, I am getting time to think of all the changes that’ll come with this new phase. It does put me in a nervous state of mind that now I won’t have my mother run around me all the time to drink that cup of coffee. Because now I’ll be the one who has to make the coffee.

I guess at every point of life, from home to school, school to college, college to job, getting married, all these events brings an uncertainty with it and thus the nervousness. Leaving something behind is always difficult, but you do it anyways. I’ll miss all that I have created here. But a New Year dawns and it brings with itself new possibilities and new adventures.

I think I’ll be able to do it.

Paint your Nails

This isn’t the regular article or post about women’s day or that how strong we women are.

Actually it’s quite the opposite. Yesterday morning when I woke up I had like 15 Whatsapp messages wishing me “Happy Women’s Day” and none today. And I sat there thinking why it is only on that particular day, that I am being acknowledged as a woman? Am I any less of a woman on the rest 364 days?

No offence to anybody, but I feel that in today’s world we have become so busy in proving that females are equivalent or greater than their male counterpart. Why can’t we just go on with our lives peacefully instead of creating such a havoc about feminism? I mean what is so wrong about being feminine or not for that matter. I myself am not that “girly” but I don’t feel there is anything wrong in being one. Why is there this constant need of labeling or categorizing ourselves? What do we really want to prove?

Recently I was going through my Facebook feed, and I saw a photo of few middle-aged women clad in sarees with a caption that they are working for ISRO and how we would have judged them as housewives based on their dressing. I thought why to define them? I don’t think these women have such time in their lives to click a selfie and post on social media sites with hashtags like, #indianclothes #workingwomen #feminism. They are simply going on with their lives, doing their job taking care of their families. It is us who are so desperate to be called feminists and that we are equal and proud to have a vagina. Others who actually work equally, quietly do their work. They don’t feel the constant need of updating others of their lives.

Gosh! If we are seriously so equal and proud of ourselves, do we really need to march around shouting that we have vagina and we are proud about it. I am also of the same “XX chromosome”, but all these feminist talks choke me. One way we say that we are equal then why do we resist getting our hands dirty? When it comes to changing the tires, why do we search for male counterparts? If we really are equal why don’t we step out of our houses without make-up?

For everybody out there, if you really want to respect your female counterparts don’t just send them a cake or card on Women’s day. In fact, celebrate it every day. Make them feel cherished and loved every day. And specifically for females, just love yourself and don’t try too hard to prove anything. Paint your nails or paint the world, it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy. Just be yourself!

The Magical Hiccup.

It was a normal day, the café bustling with customers. She ordered her coffee and sat down reading her book.

“Hey, aren’t you the writer who wrote about ‘The magic in you’?” the guy on the next table asked.

“Yes, I Am.” she said politely.

“So do you really believe that magic is real? I had heard that you had left writing. Where is the magic in that?” he asked with smirking interest.

She smiled and answered, “Isn’t magic real? The way a child looks at his ice cream or a 3 year old girl looks at her new pink frock. Of course magic is real! All you need is to believe that it is real. It can be found, bought and shared. Magic prevails in good times and in bad times, more so in bad times. Because, it is in those dark times that you at least have some hope. Hope to find that magic and hold on to it.

I for once know what magic feels like… just the way my fingers were tapping away happily on the keyboard to give words to my thoughts in the form of this novel that I am working on.

I was at a good place in my writing career. Thousands of copies sold. People knew my name. I was the local celebrity (at least, I think I was). I was happy. Content with what my life was. I was not doing any more hard work. I no more wrote for my happiness, but for the yield that it got me, for the fame.

I started losing grip on my writing. My stories no longer held soul. It did reach the mass but wasn’t accepted that much. My agent warned me about it but I kept ignoring because the projects were still flowing in.

Eventually, it so happened that due to the bad response to my writing, I lost my projects, people remembered me but as someone who used to write. It drove me insane, into the darkness. I no longer went out. I avoided any human interaction. I used to be cooped up in my room reading my past writings. It gave a bitter-sweet experience. I was both happy and sad reading them.

One day, exhausted from crying I started reading my writings (God knows for the umpteenth time). I got this insane idea of reading it from old to recent ones. I read and re-read it in the same pattern for hours at stretch. And finally with tired eyes I found the mistake that I had made. I had actually lost my charm, the essence of my writing. I read it from my reader’s perspective. I thought to myself, if I did not connect with my writing, how would the readers. I understood that lately my writing wasn’t about me anymore. It was about the fame. It shouted desperate call for fame. I started resenting myself. But I finally felt a little better that I at the very least had found the cause of my problems. The article ‘The magic in you’ particularly caught my eye. In my chasing the fame, I had forgotten about the magic. The magic I felt when I used to write, pick up a pen and write the first word in my notebook or the busy sound of the keyboard while I framed my articles.

I forgot the happiness of little things in life. How simple it is to be happy. I took time, but I did it right. I spent some time finding myself. I developed myself as a person. I indulged in reading, eating right, meditating and finally after a few days of work on myself, I felt ready to write again.

I was insanely happy when I opened my laptop to write what I had been thinking about. I called my agent and broke the news that I am writing again and that what I would be writing this time would be loved by all. He was happy and on-board with the idea I shared with him. I started writing and when not writing I spent time on myself, treating myself to the simple joys of life. But writing again was what filled my soul. I finally started feeling like a whole person. I realised it was necessary to have dark times to appreciate the light”

“So are you really okay now?” the guy asked. His smirk lost now, he was in awe by the gleam in her eyes she had when she talked about her writing.

She stood up, offered her hand to bid goodbye, smiled and said, “Completely. It was just a Hiccup.”