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My Mango tree

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Have you ever imagined what happens when someone says that after x years you don’t belong here? Well, I can tell you for sure that it hurts. A lot.

I fail to understand why you have to stop belonging because your position has changed – does that mean you become a lesser human being? Or does that mean that no matter what you do or how much you do at the end of the day you have no RIGHT- no right to belong.

I find it amusing and the loss is too much to even describe. No we aren’t talking about the finances or money, we are talking about feelings. I find it amusing how one person stops belonging because of one’s gender or marital status. I would want to believe that I might belong somewhere someday but yesterday’s one incident taught me a big lesson – Never tell a child that you don’t belong somewhere and you have no right to come back after x years when things vanish and people fade away. It’s too painful a situation to even imagine. It doesn’t matter how old you’re but no1 likes to be told that you aren’t welcome here after we die because you have no right and your identity will also die with that person. I wish no1 has to go through this situation but I am not sure what hurts the most – being told that you have no right or you have no right because of your gender. In any which ways it’s a painful situation. No1 should tell you that you have no right to belong but when I think about it I feel it’s unfair on multiple levels. I have a small story to tell :

Many years ago, me and our help at home decided to plant a mango tree. We moved out of Ledo 18 years ago and in 2014 I came back to Ledo to have a look at my Mango tree. I thought that mango tree belonged to me so I again came back to Ledo in 2016 to have a look at the lovely mango tree. I cried like a child when I looked at it. It was beautiful. But suddenly I realised that someone else lives in our home- my father works for Coal India and we moved homes/cities every 2 years. We were moving from one home to another. And now someone else lives in our home. I agree that the house in Ledo belongs to someone else at the moment and in the next 10 years it might belong to a different family but no1 can tell me that the mango tree doesn’t belong to me. It’s too painful to even imagine. I am not sure if I will come back to Ledo after 10-15 years to re-live my memories of our home but I will definitely come back to Ledo to have a look at the mango tree. No1 can take that memory away from me. That memory belongs to me. I have the sole right to that memory. I might not have the right to a lot of things and people after couple of years but the joy that I get every time I have a look at the tree is priceless. No money can buy that feeling.

People die, situation change but never let go any memory that once made you soo happy. The memory belongs to you and no1 can take it away from you. There are few things that money can’t buy or gender roles can’t take them away from you and that my friend are your memories. Hold on to them tight!

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Family….

Family holds a very special place in my heart. I absolutely love my cousin sisters. There are days I hate them and I want to bash them up and there are days I laugh at their silly jokes. Last evening I heard that my baby sister met with an accident. My mom didn’t give me all the details but whatever I got to know later scared the hell out of me! The first thing I did was download her pics from whatsapp and look at it for sometime.

It’s been 12 hours and I am still shocked. I remember one small incident. She asked me something which ticked me off and I told her that I wouldn’t want to talk about it. I was really mad at her for asking me about something I didn’t want to talk about. She sent me sorry messages for the next few days and promised never to ask me anything that would upset me.

I read somewhere that one must first find their best friends in their family. I always hated the fact that I had an elder brother. I always wanted to have a sister as I felt they are more sensitive. There was a void in my life and this little sister of mine made me happy when days were difficult, sent me stupid jokes when I was upset. Now seeing her struggle for her own life is difficult. Well she is just 22 for crying out loud! But I hope she will recover. My sister is a fighter and I know she won’t give up!!!

As Carrie Bradshaw would put it – The most important thing in life is your family. There are days you love them, and others you don’t. But, in the end, they’re the people you always come home to. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born into and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.

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Now go home…..

She looked away,packed her bags and called a taxi at 1:30 am; prayed that she doesn’t get raped and sat in the cab. Cried for sometime and read couple of nasty messages that she got. Reached the airport only to realise she didn’t have the flight tickets with her. The security guards weren’t very happy with the digital ticket on her phone. At 4:30 she got a phone call and he said- go home, may be in a way it’s good that it happened. After 10 minutes she sat herself down and cried for 20 minutes. People started asking her what’s the issue but she had no words to explain what she had witnessed.

It’s been 3 years and she still doesn’t understand what went wrong, why was she punished, what was her fault.

After 3 years………

”we are coming. have to cancel our tickets . We will be there soon.”

Suddenly words stopped making sense to her and she stopped pretending that everything was fine. She realised that she was being used. Why didn’t they want to come and see her when she  was battling in the hospital.

Life sometimes doesn’t make sense. Sometimes she just sits and cries and doesn’t know what is the problem. She decided to stop pretending that everything was fine. She realised that she is all by herself and it’s going to be a  difficult battle. What she was aiming to achieve was a figment of her imagination but it sure did feel good.

Sometimes life throws you in such tricky situation and you’ve no clue what to do next. How to deal with people and their feelings. Sometimes you don’t want to tell people how hurt you’re. Sometimes you want to keep it to yourself cry for a while and you feel the problem has gone away the moment you wipe you tears. Only if it was that easy.

She was dealing with it for the last 26 years. They didn’t stand up for her when she needed them the most and now the time has come to leave them behind and move ahead. She might bump into them sometime and she is waiting for the day when she doesn’t have to block their calls and seeing them won’t make her unhappy. She is hoping that someday she will be able to see through them. Yes, sounds weird but sometimes people push you away, far away and even their existence stops making any difference to your life. She is waiting for the day when she forgets about their existence and moves on with her life.

As he said its good that it happened. Now go home……………..

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I BELONG TO MYSELF

solo girl

I’ve a small story to tell which might be a bit disturbing in multiple levels. I love travelling and I always wanted to travel on my own to far distant countries. I would love to go to Greece, Paris or Dubai all by myself- just me, my satchel, my bags and my magazines. Sip a glass of champagne and read my favourite magazine. Yes, travelling alone can be a bit daunting but I’ve done this before and it’s really nice. I remember two months back my mother was visiting me and I was telling her all about my solo travels in UK and she was quite surprised. She asked me how I did it and if I was scared. My answers surprised her and she was happy that I had a good time travelling alone. I have been married for little over 3 years but solo travels are really nice sometimes. It gives you time to think about your life, failed relationships and above all gives you alone time. Just few days ago I wanted to get myself a visa to travel to Dubai. Man, travelling to Dubai would be nice, is what I thought. 6 days getting away from the city, shopping and having tea and macaron at Paul sounded brilliant. So, I got my visa papers sorted and I was quite kicked to submit my documents when one of the visa officers asked me for the NOC letter from my father or husband and I wasn’t sure why he wanted it in the first place. I tried telling him that I am 27, I am independent and I have a job and for Christ sake I don’t need a bloody NOC to travel anywhere. 45 minutes later, this conversation wasn’t going anywhere and his last statement pissed me off. He said that the UAE govt would want to know who I belonged to. I couldn’t believe his words and decided to just leave.

I was quite upset and I wanted to punch the visa officer really hard but actually it wasn’t his fault, may be. He was just doing his job. Unfortunately we are living in an age where women can’t travel alone, if they choose to travel alone then the society starts doing trash talk. If we buy an expensive bag or perfume, the society will ask you if your rich father or rich husband paid for it. If we decide to watch a movie all by ourselves then people will ask you if everything is fine and if you are still married. Seriously, being a women is tough. We’re so screwed. Trust me the society will suck the life force out of you. I am a bit tired of the so called rules of the society. I have faced a lot music from the society on travelling alone, on buying expensive bags and shoes and on going to watch a play just by myself.

So dear Mr Society/Mrs Society, I would want to know what’s your problem. Why does it bother you so much if I travel alone or decide to buy an expensive bag for myself. I mean how jobless are you? Do you pay any of my bills? Please stop passing judgement. I don’t need anyone’s permission to travel or to buy a bag. So please mind your own business. I will do whatever I want to. I don’t need anyone’s approval. And yes, don’t tell me that I am a girl and I need to be careful. Please teach your sons to be human beings and not rape girls. Don’t tell your daughters to be careful, ask your son to treat girls with respect. Don’t tell them that boys don’t cry, teach them better. Boys don’t make others cry. I think the problem with the society is bad parenting. Parents always seem to have an excuse to pamper boys but when it comes to their daughters they follow archaic rules. I hope every mother stops discriminating and stops being partial to their sons. I hope the next time a son misbehaves with the daughter, the parents have the courage to slap the son and tell him to shut up and not tell their daughter to forgive the son. We need to change rules. We need to start being human beings first.

I hope I can travel to Dubai someday without a NOC from my father or my husband because I am not a piece of furniture and I don’t belong to anyone. I BELONG TO MYSELF.

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Can Over-The-Top (OTT) TV be a reality in India?

It was the summer of 2002 when my love affair with Sex and the City blossomed. I was in a committed long distance relationship with the sitcom. I absolutely adored Carrie Bradshaw and I loved Samantha and her optimism. Unfortunately like any Indian love story, my love story had a villain in the form of the stone-aged Indian Television Industry; since Sex and the city wasn’t a mainstream soap it was available only on select channels where it was aired after 10pm. Back in those days the Indian television wasn’t as advanced as it now and it was the time when making a railway reservation physically was way easier than doing it on the internet.

I would religiously wait for the Sunday supplement of ‘‘The Telegraph’’ to know what had happened in the sitcom. I was kind of done with this waiting and I was about to break up when a friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of Over-The- Top TV in 2005. Over the Top (OTT) refers to video, television and other services provided over the internet rather than via a service provider’s own dedicated, managed IPTV network. Suddenly life was good and I had hope but honestly the hope died exactly 72 minutes later. I was trying to stream the episode and it took 72 minutes to just stream the first 15 minutes of the episodes.

As Carrie Bradshaw would say, ‘‘we are living in a world where no one has breakfast at Tiffany’s and no one has affairs to remember.’’ People are always on the move. The fact is OTT as a concept is lovely.  I wouldn’t want to be dependent on my television service provider’s timings to watch soaps and sitcoms. I would want to watch it on my i-pad per my convenience and OTT lets me do that. It would have been all hunky dory if I was born in the USA or may be the UK but I was born in India. We are still living in an age of ‘’Buffering’’. Indian online ecosystem lacks the needed infrastructure, broadband is in a pathetic state, the internet penetration is less than 16% and online commerce is still in a nascent phase in the Indian market and regulatory delays are not new to any of us.

I feel over-the-top television can be a reality in India eventually with time but the following factors are working against it at the moment:

  1. India has the 2nd largest population in the world (~ 1280 Million) but the internet penetration in India is just 16% and the average speed is less than 2mbps. This is rather disappointing.
  2. Online Payment is still an issue. The credit system isn’t as developed as the first world countries. The trust factor is not high and most of the times credit card payments do not go through. This has led to an increase in Cash on Delivery and Pre paid recharge cards.
  3. Content is the king when it comes to the success of any Over-The-Top television. In India, there is a lot of delay in acquiring the rights and permission.
  4. India is a diverse market. Every state has its own language and television channels. This gives rise to an increase in content however the Over-The-Top providers have very dated content and hence they don’t have a big fan base.

However all is not lost and there is still hope. There are a few growing ISPs which provide fast internet at a reasonable cost.  For example ACT broadband provides internet speed up to 80 mbps. This is a positive change and will definitely increase the internet user base. A number of telecom companies like IDEA, Airtel and Aircell have introduced internet in the rural India. They have lucrative internet schemes for the price sensitive Indian consumers. With the advent of CC Avenues Citrus and Paytm online transaction has started gaining trust .But again Indian market is quite price sensitive. Is an Indian consumer who has access to a good broadband connection willing to pay to watch a movie? With unregulated content easily available over the internet through torrents and other p2p sharing methods we are still far from it. In an age of increasing D2H competition, can OTT providers put a compelling benefit for mass adoption? These are few questions and I don’t have answers to at the moment.

The optimistic side, the early adaptor side and the side to me which appreciates anything new does say that Over-The-Top (OTT) TV can definitely be a reality in India.

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Relationships……..

Yesterday, I was trying to make a list of relationships that I have been in so . Such a task is never a happy one for most but for me it was a pretty easy one. Well, I moved to a boarding school when I was 16 . Things weren’t easy for me. I always dreamt of being in a relationship with a nice guy who would understand me, laugh with me, do crazy things and just don’t bother about the world. Well, you see it’s not really easy to get such a guy especially when you are studying in a girls’ school! So being in that one relationship was a herculean task for me. Of course I would get to meet a lot of guys who would want to take me out for coffee and such relationships were short lived. I think I have attention span of a 3 year old, I can easily forget people ! I am easy that way. So here I am , turning 27 and making a list of all the relationships that I have been in so far:

i) The weird one – I think when you are 16, you wear your heart on your sleeve. I met this guy and thought he was adorable. Fell in love with him in a jiffy and fell out of it in exactly 5 months. Ha ha ha. Now that I think about it, I find it soo silly. I mean what was I even thinking? He was horrible, would treat me like a trash bag and never respected me  and my friends never approved of him. Thank God for drilling some sense in me and I decided to show him the middle finger and moved on.

ii) The Charming One- I met this guy one day, I thought he was ridiculous. I hated him. He would call me every night and we would speak for 2-3 hours. My friend was madly in love with him but he had absolutely no interest in her. I thought he was just a friend but I realised after few months that he loves me and I was honestly not in love with him. He is a very good friend and I know that he would take a bullet for me but I never thought that he was the one. He was a buddy.

While I was on this crazy journey, trying to find ‘THE ONE’ who is perfect for me I discovered a thing or two about myself.. I am the happiest  when I am with myself. I enjoyed being in my room, not talking to anyone and just watching television. I enjoyed the loneliness. I enjoyed going for a movie all by myself. I enjoyed going to a spa and for coffee all by myself. Relationships have a big impact on you. There are some which put you in a spot, there are some that are old and familiar, some which answer all your questions, some which make you get a partner visa and move to a different continent altogether but the most exciting relationship of all is the relationship I have with myself.And in this solitary journey I found the one who loved my madness and loved me just the way I am and that’s just fabulous.

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Who has got the Time?

It took me exactly five months to write this. I had created this blog five months back but never really had the time to write something. Well, that’s the excuse I had in my mind. I have been wanting to do a lot of things but I never really did it as I never had the time.

After 24 years I have realised that my mum was right. I am plain LAZY and if I don’t want to do something then I tell people that I really don’t have the time for it as I am soo busy. Today while I was having my morning cuppa, my dad called my aunt and she was really upset as her family doesn’t have time for her and then all of a sudden I realised that – I don’t have the time is the real villain here.

I have come to realise that human beings are of 3 types:

i) Ambitious Nutcases- They are really busy achieving. They are never happy with what they have and always want more; more success, more money, more happiness. They never have time for anything. Trust me ANYTHING. It’s ok to be ambitious. There is nothing wrong with it but one should know where to draw the line. I was the ambitious one. I was never happy with what I had. I would put in extra hours and work hard/work smart but there came a time when I realised that I am done with it. Things happened and that was the wake up call. I shall write about it later, may be .

ii) Satisfied Genie- I love this second group. This is my favourite. They are really happy with what they have. They don’t complain, they take life as it comes and are satisfied. They take time off to do things they like. They don’t complain, don’t whine. They don’t say that they don’t have the time. My best friend is a satisfied genie and I am soo jealous of him/her. I was a satisfied genie after I moved back from UK. I was taking time off to do things I liked. I made time for myself but good habits are a bit difficult to maintain and I moved out of this phase as soon as I got a big career back and I was back to square one.

iii) Wuss/Confused Ninja – These are the people who know what they want but are not sure if that is the right thing for them. I think I am currently a confused ninja/wuss. I know what I want in life, I know the things I need to work on but I am scared to take the risk. I am scared to make the first move and every night when I go off to bed I know I have not done what I wanted to do and I have failed myself. It’s very difficult to take the first step and as you grow older it becomes more and more difficult.

Let me tell you a small story, there was a time when I was working 12 hours a day, I had no time for myself, for my husband and absolutely had no time for my mom and dad. I would speak to them everyday-may be 3 times a day but it was more like a list I was following. Then one fine day I realised that I am done with it and I quit my lovely job. I know a thousand people would kill to have this job but I just gave it up in one go. I didn’t think twice. I knew that it wasn’t worth the trouble I was going through and then one find day I packed my bags, booked my flight tickets and bought a book- EAT.PRAY.LOVE and traveled to Assam to do some soul searching. It’s been two months and I know what I want to do, things which went wrong but I am scared to make the first move. Guess, I have hurt myself too many times and I am scared to take the same road again. But I am done being a wuss. I am done feeling victimised. This phase needs to go. I need to have time for myself again. I need to do what I love and may be not always think about the consequences and most importantly I need to let go. I need to forget the past and move on with a smile and that is a work in progress right now.

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