Veere Di Wedding IS a chick flick and there’s nothing wrong in it

Four women constantly talking about sex, marriage, and men while having ample amount of alcohol and smoke and yet the makers didn’t want it to call a chick flick. Okay, it might be their marketing gimmick and I don’t know whether it helped to pull the crowd to the theaters or not.

 

Okay, Veere Di Wedding had flaws, I won’t deny that. It hardly had any storyline to talk about and had a very predictable ending. But that doesn’t take away the fact that there had not been a single dull moment in those entire two hours. The film had me in ten minutes and I knew it was going to be a flick to remember.

 

The film as you know is the all about lives and times of four female friends. Sakshi ( Swara Bhaskar), Kalindi ( Kareena Kapoor), Avni ( Sonam Kapoor ) and Shikha Talsania ( Mira) are childhood buddies who unite for Avni’s wedding. All these characters are absolutely different from each other yet had a common problem- men. Sakhi is a rich brat who married in haste and now all set to get divorced, Kalindi is somebody whose parents set a bad example of marriage when she was a child, Avni is a divorce lawyer and has a mother who continuously tries to fix her daughter with men she shortlists on matrimonial sites and finally there’s Mira who married a white guy against her parents’ wish. She has no problem with her partner but has her own issue to deal with like lack of sex after gaining weight due to pregnancy.

As the film progresses, the four women face their worst fears, layer by layer and by the end, everybody is happy. Sakshi is divorced, Avni finds a guy who she thinks can marry, Kalindi is married and Mira sheds her inhibition and clothes.  And all this happens amidst copious amount of alcohol and smoke, sexist profanities, ultra designer clothes and a holiday in Phuket.

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Men have had their share of ‘bro films’, Right from classic Dil Chahta Hai to trashy Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Bollywood have been depicting men, friendships and their take on women and relationship. In the recent years, some bold filmmakers have taken the risk and come up with women-oriented films like Angry Indian Goddess and  Lipstick under Burkha. Both the films showed the side of women unknown to Bollywood and in both the films women had to fight really hard for their basic human rights. While those films leave you numb and shocked in the end, Veere Di Wedding will only make you smile or maybe laugh.

Avni’s encounters with men for arranged marriages were hilarious. Kalindi’s fiancé’s (played by Sumit Vyas) parents’ obsession with Big fat Punjabi wedding will definitely leave you in splits. Then there are dialogues and scenes which that some ‘Sanskar bound’ people might find too brazen.  But guess what? Women actually enjoy sex and they are not afraid to talk about it.  They know how to have fun with their girls and they are not apologetic about it.

All right, you can call it shallow with all your might but that the makers had been making it very clear that this is not a feminist film.  This is a fun film chick film and should be taken that way only. Don’t worry about the lesson and the messages. The message could be – have fun with your friends. Whosoever has amazing female friends will relate to the film.

 

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The problem in Veerey Di Wedding

 

The trailer of much talked about film Veerey di Wedding is out and it’s quite refreshing to see industry’s big players coming up with a film where all main characters are women. And two of them are the mainstream actress and one of them is Swara Bhaskar, the very talented actor, and controversy’s favorite child. By the look of it, it looks like the Desi version of Sex and the city and I am not complaining. I often wondered how Carrie would react if her mother showed photographs of men suitable for arranged marriage. Or what would Charlotte say if society would blame her for being divorced? And Samantha, what does Indianised version of her look like? How would Miranda’s parents react to her cynicism?

It would always be fun to watch four women talking about sex, condoms, bras and everything else society doesn’t want them to talk about. I like everything about the trailer except for one thing- the copious amount of Ma Behen stuff uttered by everyone.

I know Behenchod or Ma chod is just a cuss word, just like ‘ damn it’ or ‘ holy fuck’. English translation of it doesn’t make it any cheaper. Of course, sister fucker doesn’t sound any better even if you don’t mean it literally. Last year I met an NGO owner who totally believed ‘if a person can say it, he can do it to’.  Now, that might not be true but it certainly sounds cringe-worthy when somebody who claims to be a feminist utters them. Feminists fight against rape, it’s every feminist’s dream to live on a planet where rape doesn’t exist. Then how can they utter cuss words that essentially mean rape?

Those who know me or knew me in the past might think that I should be the last person to write this blog post. Yes, there was a time when I was known for my cussing. I could cuss like I breath, it came that naturally. In fact, I made my twitter account just to swear to my heart’s content. But then I realized my feminist ideologies and Ma behen gaalis don’t go together.

And that’s why I have a problem with Veerey Di Wedding.

Hi, what is your caste ?

 

The year was 2011 when I shifted to Jaipur from Delhi for new job. New city, new job, new hostel and new roommates, life couldn’t be more exciting . I had just unpacked and was getting ready for work when my roommate asked my name. Right after I told her my name, she asked me my surname. I easily guessed the intent behind asking my surname and then she made it quite obvious. “Are you Jaat or Rajput,” she asked as if she had to take some important decision. ‘None’, I said rather rudely as I finished my coffee and rushed to office.

I was a bit taken back. She was not some middle-aged khaap panchayat  woman living in a village but a young woman who left her city to study law. In Delhi, I shared room with two girls, one was a Kashmiri Muslim and another was from Shilong . None of them ever cared to ask my caste. Why did it matter to this girl ? I forgot about her as soon as I reached my office and when I came back, I couldn’t think about anything but food.  But it seemed like she was still waiting to finish the conversation I walked out of in the morning.

“ You eat non veg, “ she asked as she filled her plate with Allu Palak sabzi and Roti. “ Umm , yes but I love my veggies more,” I replied. “ Lekin Khate toh ho na,” she asked in a tone that can give any Mohallla Aunty run for their money.

I chose not to reply to her believing my silence will hint her that I was not interested in talking to her.But damn she was my roommate!

Lights were off and I was tossing and turning on my bed trying to sleep. And next to my bed was her bed where she was doing the same with her quest to know my caste.  “ Aapne batayi nahi apni caste. Apni caste batane me kya sharam , mein toh shaan se kehti hoon k mein Brahmin hoon,” she  said.

I was very sure that I am not going to tell her my caste but I thought having a chitchat wouldn’t hurt. She was my roommate after all.

“This is 2011, caste should not matter to young people like you, me and others in this hostel. We all left our homes to do make something out of our lives, we all are same,” I tried to explain her.

“ Arrey jisko apni caste pe garv na ho voh kya karega apni life me,” I knew I was wasting my time. I was turning towards the wall when she said , “ Kahin aisa toh nahi ke caste batane laayak nahi hai”.

I didn’t answer her. She was still sleeping when I woke up in the morning but was up by the time I came out of Bathroom. She was behaving in a strange manner and was washing the bathroom with phenyl. We were not supposed to wash the bathroom, there was a cleaner appointed to do the job. Other girls in the hostel found it weird too. Too busy to care, I got ready and left for the office.

Apart from a mess, we had a small kitchen in our floor where we had our own utensils to use. To my much surprise, my mug and plates were separated from the rest of the utensils. I knew the reason behind this but I didn’t know what to do. I had heard stories about roommates from hell and I bet my story was worst of all.

I decided that having a separate place for my mugs, plates and spoon won’t kill me. My soul purpose for being in that city was my work and that hostel was nothing but a place to crash. I was totally okay with it.  She can keep my plates away and wash the bathroom after I use it, she can do whatever she wants to, I won’t ever lose my cool.

Within a week, everyone in that  floor knew of my ‘caste’. Some people still insisted I might be Rajput or Jaat but my roommate had perfect comeback to that ‘Anybody can have that surname, Rajputs are fair skinned and Jaats don’t live in Lucknow ‘.

I immediately made friends in my Delhi hostel but in Jaipur, I never went beyond awkward smiles. To my much relief, not everybody identified me with my ‘caste’, in fact a few young girls actually criticized the roommate for her vileness.  But then there were others who believed ‘people like me’ took away their medical and engineering seats. Hell broke loose when one of the girls asked me if ‘reservation’ got me my job.

That was the moment I revealed my caste. I had always believed caste discrimination is restricted to villages. Oh yes, I had heard people using castiest slur like ‘ Bhangi’, ‘Chamar’, ‘ Quota people’ etc. But little did I know I would get familiar with the severity of the issue in that manner and I am not even a Dalit.

That was the time when I came to know of my privileges. What if I was really a Dalit ? What would I have done?

My roommate, being the asshole that she was, was still not convinced. To be doubly sure, she reached out to the hostel owner to confirm if I was actually a Rajput. Later, she apologized for keeping my things away.  Also, she returned the phenyl bottle to the cleaner.

I gave her my piece of mind but all in vain. She had no explanation for her behavior. She simply said she was a proud ‘ Brahmin’ and ‘ Scheduled castes should have separate things’.  I told her it is crime to discriminate and being a law student she should know this.

Next day, came a new girl and she was greeted with the similar question as I was.

 

No Jihad, just love

TV actor Dipika Kakkad got married to her muslim boyfriend Shoaib Ibrahim and Fanatics have gone crazy . Ibrahim, like Deepika is also a TV actor and they both worked together on a hit weepy show called ‘ Sasural Simar Ka’. I don’t know how their love blossomed but I am assuming it might be during working for the show they were part of. They met, they fell in love and they got married. True that she ‘embraced islam ‘and even changed her name and you can call it ‘Love jihad’ with all your might. But the fact remains the same she is just a woman in love and love has got nothing to do with religion. Then why embrace Islam, you would ask. Why didn’t the husband’s family accept her with her own religion?  Why did Kakkad have to go through such a drastic change?

 

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My friend, let’s call her T, lived in Singapore all her life. Marwari by caste, T met someone in Singapore itself and the two decided to get married. The man is also Marwari and they make awesome couple together. After marriage, T shifted to her husband’s hometown Jaipur to help him open a restaurant.

Living with in-laws after having independent life in Singapore was not easy but she tried. She eats vegetarian food and doesn’t wear shorts and dresses when with in-laws. T, who loves her drink doesn’t drink at home.  But when in-laws go out of the town, which happens more than often, the couple parties like there’s no tomorrow.

This is how my friend adjusts who married the guy of her choice. People do make some or the other kind of changes in their lives when they get married. So what if Kakkad embraced islam ? She is an independent woman who was earlier married to a Hindu. That marriage didn’t work out and then she met Ibrahim. It was the person she fell in love with not the religion. And embracing Islam was more or less a formality, just to make Ibrahim’s family happy. Don’t women do things they don’t even want to just to make their partners’ parents happy? Most of the arranged marriages are designed that way. Women leave their parents, they change their eating habits and they dress the way their in-laws want them to.  All of us know at least one woman who has had horrible time adjusting with her new family.  My atheist friends often complain about overtly religious in-laws who expect them to be part of every religious function whether they like it or not.

And Kakkad did it willingly. She is smart and has a great career and she knows what she signed up for.

And it’s not only women who ‘convert’ for love. I know many men who ‘embraced’ Islam before they married their Muslim girls.  Shaurya, a defense personal is one of them.

Shaurya fell in love with Fareeha who was his sister’s friends. After courting for three years, they decided to elope because they knew their families would never agree to their union. So, one fine night, Fareeha packed her bags and caught train from Lucknow to Jammu where Shaurya was posted. They got married under special marriage act but later Fareeeha’s family insisted them to get married formally which required Shaurya to go through a conversion ceremony. “ Fareeha ran away from her home to be with me. Of course I could take part in that religious ceremony to marry Fareeha ,” Shaurya told me.  “If religion mattered to us, we would not have run away to begin with. We both knew that it was just a ceremony. People can call me Muslim or whatever they want to, but the fact remains the same that it really doesn’t matter,” he concluded. His family was not convinced in the beginning but after the birth of their first child, everything got fine.

It’s 2018 and people are still putting religion over everything, even human lives. There is no better way of changing this than inter-faith marriages. Let’s not condemn them.

Mojo Hi Mojo. 10 years of Jab We Met

I still remember that day. Diwali was around the corner and I was sitting on my parents’ bed with my friend. With chocolate pastry in one hand ( I like eating pastries with hand, big deal?) and TV remote in other, I was cribbing about my weight. ( I was at least 15 kgs lighter then and was in best shape of my life). My lean mean friend who was obviously not listening to me suddenly jumped ‘ Oh My God, don’t change the channel. I love this song and movie’. It was 2007.

 

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The hot Bollywood couple ( yes, it’s been that long ) never looked any better dancing on serene locations with lovely music on background. The song was  Tum Se Hi  sung by Mohit Chauhan and the movie was Jab We Met. My friend went on giving me rave reviews and yet I was not curious. I am not to be blamed; what was Bebo other than a Kapoor brat ? And what was Shahid Kapoor other than Bebo’s chocolate faced boyfriend ?

 

People were still orgasming about Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De India which released just two months ago, who wanted to watch Shahid -Kareena movie ?

 

Movies and the world in general had anyway taken the backseat for I had to write my MBA entrance exams that I ended up rogerring royally . That explains why I had no idea that this Mauja Hi Mauja movie was here to stay. So, one fine afternoon, after fucking yet another entrance exam, I straightway headed to the newest multiplex in the city along with my sister. Yes, they were still showing the movie even after two months of its release.

 

Early and mid 2000s were strange times for Bollywood. Barring few films, rests were well all about weak scripts with even weaker characters. We were introduced to a bizarre trend called ‘ Item number’ featuring skimply clad women dancing on catchy tunes and Janta happily bought tickets to just to see those women swaying.

 

No wonder the story of Geet ( Kareena Kapoor)  and Aditya( Shaid Kapoor) seemed like a breeze of fresh air. It was a love story; the only thing that set it apart from others was the simple characters carrying loads of depth. Geet was just a bubbly girl whose only goal in life was to get married to the man she loved ( Anshuman)and Aditya was a failed businessman looking for a purpose in life. They met, they traveled, they influenced each other lives, they walked separate ways and when they met again, they were the better versions of themselves. It was so delightful to be part of Geet and Aditya’s journey where they were doing nothing but being themselves. Geet’s madness was balanced by Aditya’s rationality and each scene and dialogue spoke for themselves.

My favorite was the one in which Aditya visited Geet in her hostel to take her back to her house. Geet thanked him for being part of her craziness which ultimately landed her to the situation that was beyond her imagination. In return, Aditya thanked her for changing his life. That was the crux of the movie. Geet saving Aditya from the man that he had become and Aditya reminding Geet who truly she was. And Imtiaz Ali succeeded in telling us this in most entertaining way. That’s why it hit the right chord gaining both critical as well as commercial success.

 

 

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Geet was sometimes irritating but she knew how to live. She might sound stupid at times but she owned her mistakes and flaws. She was not some Glamorous Diva but  just a normal girl from Bhatinda who went to Mumbai to study. She could be anyone. In fact every third girl in my college believed they were like Geet, happy, bubbly and talkative. And wow, striking conversation with cute guys who were complete strangers never looked this easy because that’s what exactly Geet did in the train with Shahid Kapoor. Some even said that they wanted to go to Mumbai and almost miss their train so that they could meet their Aditya Kashyaps. Mein Apni favorite hoon is still one of the favorite Instagram selfie captions.

 

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This was the movie that got Imtiaz Ali the recognition he deserved. Although Socha Na Tha was loved by many but not as much as Jab We Met. It’s been quite a journey for Imtiaz Ali, from Jab We Met to Jab Harry met Sejal. I am Imtiaz’s fan, honestly I prefer him over many filmmakers but then I also believe that he should get over male characters who are broken inside and waiting for their women to tell them who they should be. He should be done with stories where man meet woman only to travel and stay confused weather it is love or dove.

 

It’s been ten years since Jab We met released, please feel old.

 

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?

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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 get arrested ?

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! 

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