Baba Black sheep… Please leave us alone

So Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ‘ Insaan’ is being sentenced to 20 years jail for raping two women who were apparently his Sishya. His followers are going berserk, ready to kill and ready to die ,leaving us wondering why are they still defending this ‘ Godman’ who is a convicted rapist. Are they not ready to believe that their Baba can commit a crime as heinous as rape? Or they don’t even consider rape as a crime?  Why else they would take to streets and create ruckus all over the city?

rockabaaye

Couple of years back,  Asaram ,another ‘self-styled’ baba was arrested for raping a minor. He is rotting in Jail for good but then that didn’t change a thing for his staunch followers. They are still hanging in there, ready to do anything for their Guru.

Why do people need Babas and Gurujis in their lives? True that we all need mentor  but who says that giving it all to that mentor should be the purpose of our existence? This young girl Harnidh Kaur beautifully puts up “For lost, it doesn’t matter who is showing the way”.

Yes, we all are lost in some way or the other looking for something we don’t own. We try; we fail and then surrender to that unseen power. The power that these Gurus, Babas or Swamis claim to posses. And those who believe in this power make it hard for those who don’t. People in Sirsa know what I am talking about.

I personally know someone who is victim of one of those Babas. No, she is not raped but then her life is no less than hell. The Baba is no biggie but boasts of many local followers who would shower him with offerings ( read money).

 

Nidhi is a 31- year-old woman who has committed gravest of sins in her past life, which is why she is still not married. Nidhi is okay but her mother is not. Mother dearest is really worried because Log bol rahe hai( That’s the reason why people get married, right ). Matrimony sites failed and the well wishers ran out of potential grooms. Now only Guruji could help her getting hitched.  He came, he saw and he conquered – Nidhi’s mother’s mind.

 

One look at the Horoscope and he told her that Nidhi is one ‘characterless’ girl who is ‘ harmful’ for the family. She would curse the poor girl day and night for being what she is because all Guru ji could see were the fault in her stars.

Those Puja ceremonies could fix everything. Nidhi, an atheist had no choice but to give in.  From getting married to tree to feeding cows, she had done it all. Along with money, the Guru ji took away the family’s harmony but then does it even matter.

Nidhi was on verge of depression when her mother told her that Guruji ‘ mistakenly’ prepared the wrong horoscope because he couldn’t get the right date of birth. Which only meant Nidhi had to perform different ceremonies now as the previous ones went wrong. Now, Nidhi is actually depressed.

Gurju ji’s son keeps whatsapping Mantras on the mother’s phone all the time for Nidhi to chant and one fine day he sent a porn Video. Nidhi was the first to see it. Mother panicked and deleted immediately. “So what, he is a man, all men are like that. You go and recite that Mantra,” she said.

Now Nidhi wants to know if there’s any Puja that can help this Guruji getting arrested ?

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Cracking the BFF code

 You can’t deny that whatsapping those ‘ Happy friendship’s day’ Memes and messages to your friends  brings back the memories of those you no longer can send texts to. I meant your ex friends, the ones who were your friends once. The ones you lost to misunderstandings. The ones who you miss yet don’t want in your life. You do know what I am talking about.
A few weeks back, I came across an article in which the author wondered why friendships end and why we get ghosted by our women friends we considered as ‘close’ and why it’s okay.  I have ghosted and also got ghosted.
Let me tell you why I got ghosted by this girl, T,who I really like and still remember in my prayers. We both attended college together and it all started from there. Having lost her mother at an early age, she was strong and emotionally stable. Too mature for her age, she was headstrong and knew what she wanted and what she definitely didn’t. I, on the other hand was still a kid and yearning for new experiences.
I cherished every moment with T, there was so much to learn from her after all- about fashion, about food, about relationships and about life. The coffee that I learnt to make from her gets me tons of compliments till date.
 We would roam around and eat at fancy restaurants and talk about various things. And then she stopped taking my calls.
For years I could not understand why she distanced herself from me and when I moved out of the city to work, I suddenly knew. She was dating one of the richest brats in the city who was giving her hard time. T being T, hardly discussed her relationship with me and would rather repeat how it sucks when you look for happiness in other people who are not you. She didn’t need me when things got better with her boyfriend. She surely believed that she didn’t connect with me intellectually and I am totally okay with it. Trust me I don’t begrudge her at all. I am still dying to meet her and would send her good wishes even if we never met.
Years after T stopped talking to me, I ghosted this friend who I once called my ‘ best friend’. I was going through a rough patch during the time she got engaged to this guy who she met at matrimonial site. She would talk about him when all I wanted to do was to think about painless ways to commit suicides. I requested her to leave me alone but she would not listen. I understand she was getting married and wanted me by her side but then I couldn’t be there all the time. Besides she had annoying habit of cribbing about her fiance and his family which didn’t go down well with me. Also she was fat shaming me all the time. So, you see I had all the reason to stay away.
We were friends for five years and for the old time’s sake, I tried to make it work again but all in vein. I stopped taking her calls which made her really angry and we ended the friendship on bitter note.
The funniest part was she could never understand that she was crossing that thin line between friendship and obligation and she still keeps wondering why I ghosted her.
You have known them for years, you open your heart to them, you think you share same interest, you think you are going to be BFF ever and then you feel ignored. They start behaving in a weird manner. You ask them again and again if everything is okay and they tell you not to worry. Yet you feel they are turning cold. You feel your friend is not the person you used to know so well and then you stop trying.
I am sure this sounds familiar and you are thinking about someone as you are reading. But a bit of self reflection doesn’t hurt. When that special friend start acting weird, ask yourself
1)      Are you always talking about yourself ? How you like this, how you hate that. How that person thinks you are hot. How you feel about your job. Is it you, you and you eight out of 10 times ?  if the answer is yes, then I am sorry to say that you are being simply self- centered and this attitude will definitely put dent in your friendship
2)      Are you married while your friend is not ? Do you call her thrice a week just to let her know that your mother-in-law sucks and your husband is a Mumma’s boy. Do you discuss about your kids’ homework, their school projects and how they fall sick ?  Don’t do that. Discussing about your marital discord with your single friend once in a while sounds okay but not every time you are talking. Always remember, you are married, she is not. Don’t be surprised if you have been getting random ‘ I am busy, will call you back ‘ as soon as you open your mouth to crib about your husband.

3)      Have you been asking her to lose or gain weight ?  Do you tell her more than often that she should lose some weight before slipping into that pink floral dress? Or she is ‘ too flat’ to wear a halter neck top ? Stop that. Stop right now. With continuous body shaming you will only chase them away.      

Besides  all that, please understand that even closest of friendship demands space. Please don’t panic when they don’t take your calls or don’t call you back. They will still be your friends even if you don’t talk every day. Give some space, ask for yours, listen to them and help them embracing the way they are. While in school and college, you were allowed to get as random and crazy as you could, things do get different in late twenties or early thirties.They can’t be the way they were in college. People change as years pass. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. My friends couldn’t digest this change and that explains why we drifted apart.

If this blog post didn’t make any sense to you, just remember that people who are meant to stay will always stay!

You are my Kleptomaniac

Last night a friend was telling me about her cousin, Radhika, who has this annoying habit of correcting people’s grammar and pronunciation all the time. Like ‘you don’t drink soup, you always EAT soup . It’s not development but DEVELAPMENT. It’s not GORMINT but GOVARMENT’.  And drop the idea of using ‘entrepreneur’ in your sentences when you are talking to her. You utter and Radhika will correct, such is the urge.
While some people think it’s absolutely cool to be a ‘Grammar Nazi’, some get seriously offended. But did you know the urge to correct people’s grammar is being linked with some kind of OCD? So, Radhika could be possibly ill and not rude. Such a weird organ human mind is.
Now that we are talking about OCD, I must tell you about Kleptomania, a disorder where people have an uncontrollable desire to steal. Yes, they steal things they don’t even need or like. They just do because they feel that strong urge to do so.
I always knew about Kleptomania but somehow always believed that it’s something that could happen to people living in far- off -land until I met this beautiful girl Vaishali who came to live in my PG ( Paying guest accommodation ) for a month. Vaishali was a rich Marwari fashion designing student from Kolkata who had come to Delhi for an internship programme. Her room was next to mine, so it was an instant connection and soon Vaishali became friends with everybody living on that floor.
We all were working and got chance to interact only during dinner time. That night five of us were sitting with plates full of Chole and Chawal when this air-hostess stormed out of her room almost screaming. “ My lighter has gone missing from my room. I don’t know who took it”. Only 3 of 12 girls who lived on that floor smoked and two of them were sitting there with their dinner plates on their laps. We would have let it go if it was just a lighter but it was not. That was an Archie’s gallery lighter that her boyfriend gifted her on their first Valentines’ day ever. We looked at every corner of that shoe box size room but that lighter was nowhere to be found. The air-hostess soon forgot about the incident with a pledge to be careful in future.
It was Sunday next day and vaishali, I and a girl named Farah decided to raid Sarojini Market. While Vaishali shopped till her hands couldn’t carry more carry bags, Farah zeroed in on a pretty white lacy dress after much bargaining. And I got a sexy black bra from a branded shop at a discounted rate. We savoured those Choley bhature that we got packed from a nearby restaurant at Farah’s room and we soon crashed.
Two days later, I decided to wear a strappy black top to work and opened my old rusty Almirah to look for my newly purchased black bra. To my much surprise, the bra was missing from the carry bag. Now this was crazy. I remember keeping it inside the Almirah the day I got it. I clearly remembered that. Who could have stolen it from my Almirah ? And why would she steal that bra and not my laptop? I must add that this was actually second time we came across such kind of incident. We never locked our Almirahs or room and none of our things ever got misplaced.
Why would anybody steal my bra ? Only few girls were as blessed as I was in that entire hostel! I asked Mashi ma ( the cleaner) if she had seen anybody entering inside my room. She obviously hadn’t and I couldn’t agree more. Yes, nobody entered our rooms once the cleaning was done. I was getting late for the work and I chucked the idea of wearing that black top altogether.
Same day, when I came from work tired and grumpy, I heard Mashi ma inquiring about half a dozen spoons that went missing. Spoons, bra and lighter? Noway we could connect the dots.
I clearly remember it was Sunday and I was getting ready to go out with my friends when a girl named Ananya knocked my room to ask if I had seen her newly brought Haruki Murakami book. Oh no, not again. We all went to Mashi ma and asked for locks, something that we had never thought we would do.
Few days later, Farah gave me a missed call which meant I had to rush to her room. She realized her white dress had gone missing while getting ready for a date  “ The white lacey dress that you had got from Sarojini ? Didn’t you give it to Vaishali as a parting gift,” asked Nancy clearly puzzled. Nancy was Vaishali’s roommate and had seen her stuffing that white dress inside her bag. “ I clearly remember, it was your dress and I thought you gifted it to her since she liked it very much”.
Vaishali was done with her internship and had left for Kolkata last night. Her phone was out of reach so we got her mother’s number from the hostel owner. We dialed the number and put the phone on speaker’s mode. We asked her if she had erroneously taken away Farah’s white dress with her. There was a complete silence for 30 seconds and then she hung up after saying ‘ No, I didn’t’. Her voice was shaky, we could sense that. She was clearly lying and I knew where my black bra was.
Next thing we knew that we all were blocked from Vaishali’s Facebook account. But Farah was not ready to let go. She decided to call Vaishali’s mother and told her that the white dress in her daughter’s cupboard belonged to her. The mother thrashed her. We all heard that. “ We belong to renowned Marwari family and Vaishali had gone to prestigious boarding school, why would my daughter steel your dress, bra or lighter. My daughter doesn’t smoke. She is very sanskari,” said the voice on the other side of phone.
We knew we had to give up. We went to our room to sleep after bitching about the mother and her daughter till our hearts’ content. What else we could do?
Life was all good and Vaishali became a distant memory until one fine evening when I returned to hostel from work, tired and sweaty. I was greeted by a young man I had never seen before asking for me. He had a parcel sent by one Mrs Agarwalla from Kolkata. I took the parcel and headed towards my room to open it.
What came from Kolkata that evening was the biggest surprise of my life. I screamed everybody’s name and they all rushed to my room. The box had my bra, Farah’s dress, that girls’ book, airhostess lighters, hostels’ spoon, my roommate top that she wasn’t aware had gone missing, a knife, a few nail paints and of course those spoons. We laughed till our stomachs hurt. After we were done laughing and bickering, we called Agarwalla Aunty from Farah’s phone. We thanked her for sending our stuffs and after a long pause, she said “Actually beta, Vaishali is a careless girl. It must be just some confusion. I am sorry for my behavior.”  
“She might be having this syndrome called Kleptomania. My cousin has this weird habit of stealing pens. He says he can’t do anything about it,” said one of the girls. Most of us were aware of this term yet we were shocked to know a kleptomaniac. We discussed Kleptomania over dinner of Matar paneer and Roti and I finally wore that top next day! 

Blast from the past

I miss smoking. I didn’t say I crave for cigarettes, there’s a difference. Or maybe I just miss the time when I used to smoke Gudang Garam sitting at the office backyard while watching the rain fall. I was never a heavy smoker but used to smoke a cigarette or two or 5 almost everyday. Such a great way to initiate conversation it is. I think lighter has connected more people than Nokia could ever. Just walk to anybody and ask for a light and get talking! 

And then I came back to the city where I smoked for the very first time. It was one of those rainy days when I heard some boys at University talking about this place called cappuccino blast. I was eavesdropping all the conversation while staring the Economics book. I paid extra attention when one of them said ” Girls smoke openly there”.   
And the next think I remember convincing, no actually begging this friend to take me there. I had never been to that part of the city and was clearly not impressed with the location for I could have never reached there on my own. The open sitting area was good and I knew what to do next. I ran to a pan shop nearby the cafe and got two classic ultra mild ( It was my first time, remember) and a box of matchstick.  I remember what a struggle it was to look confident while buying my first ever cigarettes with my parents money of course. The friend refused to smoke which means I could try another one, if this one turned out to be disaster. I looked around, the place was half empty. A couple was sitting at the table behind and they looked busy holding hands. Group of boys was having fun over Hukkah. I finally lighted my cigarette, took the first puff, the the second and then the third and I quite liked it. And then the friend said ” You are not inhaling it properly.”. I took a long drag and started coughing like a TB patient.  The couple was looking at me while still holding hands. Some boys from the group almost laughed at my ‘ poor smoking skills ‘ 
The first cigarette was over and I lighted the second one after some time which was not the bad. It went quite smoothly. We soon left the place after I finished our coffees. We headed to my friend’s place where I almost bathed in deodorant to chase away the strong whiff of tobacco. 
Needless to say that there was no looking back since then. I used to smoke at my terrace, my friends’ place, at parks, inside friends’ car, restaurants but never at that cafe. In fact, I never went there during my college days. 
I left the city and smoking began a habit but then I really knew I was not addicted and I actually gave up after I came back.
Today, I went to Cappuccino Blast after nine years. Sitting there, sipping on my coffee, I was looking at this young girl smoking and now you do know why I wrote this. 

To the girl who never dates

“ Hahahahha, I am Dalit, I have limited options when it comes to marriage,” she said as she punched the keys of her computer. The newspaper office was buzzing with activities at 10:30 pm and three of us were working on special features pages. Amongst coffee and sandwiches, the conversation turned towards marriage and dating. While me and this guy V were continuously yapping about out bizarre experiences, Malhar just nodded and smiled. when V asked about her plans, that was all she had to say.
I don’t remember how exactly I felt  then. It was 2009 and the nation was not discussing the Dalit issues the way it does now. I think I was a bit surprised. She had the complexion fairness creams are advertised for, She had the body to kill for, her hair shined like polished coal and she wore trendiest of clothes. She was a trained singer and had impeccable sense of humour. Dalit or not, who cared ?  Are guys mad or what ? We both moved on with our lives and then this New York –based journalist Yashica Dutt decided to ‘come out’ as a Dalit after Rohit Vemula, a dalit PhD scholar killed himself.

What do I say about Dutt ? She was working with the newspaper I was interning with and had prettiest curls I had ever seen. Although I had never interacted with her but I knew she was gifted. Her open letter instantly reminded me of  Malhar who was completely out of touch. I sent her mails that she never answered and then she called me last month.

I couldn’t be happier to know that she was here in Lucknow for a two- day trip. All eyes turned towards her as she entered this quaint little café, such is Malhar. Over 4 cups of coffee and cheese puffs we talked about everything from career to families and then once again the conversation turned towards marriage and dating. She patiently listened to my rantings about my recent heartbreak while sipping on her coffee. “ Nobody has it easy. I know guys would do anything to date me but they wouldn’t marry me because I am a Dalit,” she said.That’s why I never date. Can you believe I never had a boyfriend,” she went on.
I knew what she was talking about, for every word of Dutt’s letter holds true for Malhar.

PS: Those who believe castism is a thing of past hence reservations should be abolished should wake up and smell the coffee 

April 2

I was playing awesome songs on guitar, I was reading more than I usually did, I was eating healthy and going for jog and of course I started this blog. I was focusing more on things I loved. Journey of self-love was not easy but I was completely at it. Talking to friends and listening to their heartbreak stories helped. The world is full of scarred hearts, everybody is longing for someone else’s love neglecting themselves completely. We, especially women need to have solid earth beneath us before we decide to love someone else. From the early age, we are told that our stories are not complete stories unless we have men in them. And then there are some who live for Bollywood and call themselves hopeless romantic. Of course, the idea is good but things do get wrong when we forget to love ourselves. When we don’t love ourselves enough, we end up falling for those who don’t love us either. Yes, you have to love yourself with all that fat and pimples. You still have to love yourself while you are stuck at that low paying job. Love yourself unconditionally, work towards betterment everyday because you are precious and you have to repeat everyday till you start believing it. Also thank that guy who broke your heart. 

March 16

I woke up at 3 am with a jolt to his thought and memories. This was not going to be easy but I had no choice but to keep trying till I succeeded. I woke up feeling groggy in the morning and called this friend again. She said that it’s okay to feel hurt but now that I know the root cause, I should try to fix it. The focus now should be me not him. I quite didn’t understand what she said. I looked myself in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. That was the problem- the way I looked at myself. The world is nothing but the reflection of my own thoughts. There were times when that guy was not all that lovable but then that was the time when I chose to love him. Why can’t I love myself that way ? I am all I have and I will strive to make myself better. Not because I hate myself but I really love myself. 

March 10

Yes, I didn’t love myself. Why else I would have fallen in love with someone who didn’t even love me back. But the good news was I knew he was not responsible for how or what I was feeling. I can’t change something that I don’t own and I own my life, it’s totally under my control. I decided to focus on myself and my work from that moment on. Everything was going wrong in my life and I found my solace in that man. This was the problem. He was my comfort zone and I thought he could save me from my life. My real life was painful so I created a different world in my head – a world with him. I found the reason behind my deep suffering, can happiness be far behind ? That night I slept peacefully. 

February 22

Reaching out to this friend who I trusted was the best decision ever. I talked, talked and talked till I had nothing left to say. She asked me some hard hitting questions that not only changed the way looked at myself but him also. I came back and applied a soothing facepack. Lying on my bed, looking at the ceiling, I was thinking how life had changed in these weeks. I was grieving over someone who was very much alive and kicking. Was this I was looking for?  How long did I want to cry ? The ball was on my court, either I could lament over it all my life or make most of that pain. Scrubbing the facepack off my face, I observed my face closely. The pacepack didn’t do any wonders. Yes, I was in pain, yes I was hurt but I was determined to move ahead. I will move ahead.