Friday, February 27, 2015

Why O life...why?

Each day it thinks of a new scheme,
A plot it never played ever before;
I am not sure If it does so with everybody,
When I look around I feel I must be extraordinary,
For there are smiles around,
But I think of the moment I last smiled,
Not the one that you stick on the face to appear normal
But the one that starts from the heart and ends in the eyes;
It seems like once upon a time tale,
And I ponder...why is life testing me so much?
What have I done to it to make it put a challenge on every road I turn to,
Why is my path not relatively smooth?
I don't mind challenges, I have been a fighter,
I am neither cribbing or crying,
I am just a spectator of way things work,
Why is there always a challenge, one more difficult than the last
Why is there no reward somewhere
Why is there no time where one can sit back and enjoy the fruits of ones hard work, the victory...afterall
I continue to beat life and I continue to ponder,
If it wants to be my enemy or just a strict teacher.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

She Is A Woman And A Wife And A Mother And An Iron Lady Entrepreneur

She clad in the simplest Gujarati saree will not strike you as any different or special in a crowd. Walking in the heat of the sun all alone delivering lunch boxes in offices is how I have seen her since a very long time. This is the story of my friends mother Kavita aunty (name changed for anonimity). This story is not uncommon in India. Parents get the children married early, especially girls thinking they won't find a better match later and then leave it to luck, her entire life. If she had the right destiny she will get the man of her dreams and if not, then she has to live it the way Nargis struggled in Mother India the movie. She will have to still look after the family that mistreated her and bring up the children of the man who uses her for child bearing and as a maid that maintains his house. He believes he supports her by running the family and has all the freedom to do what he wants. A woman being economically dependent cannot do anything for her honor. She rather wishes her parents killed her the day she was born to save her from this. 

Kavitaji's story had two characters without whom her life wouldn't be this; a tyrant mother in law and a drunkard husband. As a young bride Kavitaji had dreams of a happy family, crashed the day her mother in law physically abused her for dowry. She endured it thinking her husband was okay and tried to find a little corner of satisfaction in his existence, but alas that wasn't to happen. After the initial days of marital bliss, her husband started it too with whatever he could find. That wasn't all he was a drunkard and a gambler. He would win big and drink it out or loose and drink out of loan. There was barely money for food. The mother in law taunted her that her bad luck brought it all on the family. Even when she was pregnant twice she could hardly get food, her mother would come to give her some food and money or neighbors fed her feeling pity, but not once her husband or mom in law would though in that womb was the DNA to their lineage and would carry their surname.

She endured the pain even with two children every now and then, smiling through tears, operating through neighbors who would often feed her children. Then her mother in law took to bed, She did her duty with grace though there was no money she borrowed, but for how long. Then a friend suggested she work for a pencil and sharpener companies who would give raw work like putting on labels and she could do it. She did it when her husband wasn't around. When he would discover he would burn every little thing that she brought home to generate some income and feed her children. Then the husband took to cancer (courtesy all the bad habits) and there was no money. She decided to take on her age old love for sewing and started that. He complained he couldn't endure the noise. She worked for someone else while the elder daughter (my friend) not so old enough (only ten) would take care of the father and the little son (five) cried for the mother or clung to his sister. Her efforts couldn't save the husband who went through a worse hospitalization phase generating bills and one day took a safe exit from this world. It was a momentary relief for her if at all.

After the respects were paid to the undeserving yet departed soul (then suddenly becomes deserving) as people he took loans from, she had no idea of started demanding money. They has barely managed hospital bills. there were little children to be educated. So then Kavitaji requested them all for time. She started cooking and sending lunch boxes, making snacks on contract and would go and deliver them herself. Some she paid with money, some with food and some with both. She was generous and as word spread about her food so did about her story and many women with similar problems joined her. They started the first "Mahila Gruh Udhyog Bhandar" of the town. 

Its 15 years now since her husband passed away, she has started smiling recently. The business is running well and she also go her own house, her little son is studying engineering at a reputed college and daughter married after completing CA to a well deserving gentleman. She managed it all out of her business that started with a small kitchen and now has a hall like working space where I go when I have to stock up my khakhra's for hostel life. When you walk in there you see women who are beaten up, mistreated, abused in many ways and have no money get a new life while working there. It isn't easy for Kavitaji, many a times she has been attacked by husbands and families of these women she tries to save. She is strong, nothing scares her and that scares most. She stands brave when someone comes to fight and attack. She has rescued many. Being alone in her darkest days, she knows what its like and tries to be that support for the other women (she calls and means sisters). 
She inspires many and is invited to speak in public at many gatherings.

You see a short woman in a while saree speak in Gujarati and when she does you know this speech will make you conquer every darkness around you like she did. It is said every adversity is opportunity but complexed with pain, you can only imagine the magnitude. She was a good daughter-in law, a good wife, a responsible mother, a successful entrepreneur and above all an iron lady.

 'This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus'.

Here is what you should do, reject the OR and embrace the And with Gillete, watch this not to miss inspiring video:

Three Things I Wish To Do Right Now

We the human beings on planet earth have formed societies that we chose to operate as. The doings of these societies collectively has helped us evolve from being animal-like to what we are today. That is what they say when you got what you wanted in life "give back to the society" and its true,for its this society that sustains and helps those that weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I a person who has traveled from living a small town sans any facilities even today to making it to doing a doctorate with United Nations wouldn't have happened if there weren't those that made me believe that it was possible. Those that fueled my imagination. Those that helped me with books in their collections for we had no, correction even today have not even a single bookstore or a good public library. I owe it to those who started small astronomy club where we for the first time saw the Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. My interest in science developed because I had the right kind of teachers who would work hard for a meager salary to get our concepts right and wont mind us disturbing them with our doubts. Where we didn't we never loved those subjects and don't have the hang of it till date. The place I belong to till today doesn't have an internet connection good enough for you to buffer a TedTalk and watch it. So people are its only resources. 

Everyone has intentions to give back and time and money are huge factors there. I haven't been able to do things to the scale I wish to but would definitely do it once my education is done with and I have the economic resources. So here are the things on my list:

1. Setting Up A Public Library: If you take a tour around the content of this blog, its facebook and twitter handle, all you will find is book reviews and interviews. Yes, I am one of those bookworms who buries their face deep into them and can live with books alone. Books have motivated me more than people sometimes and hey have been with me in every stage inspiring me to go on. The sad part however is I developed the hobby very late. It was in graduation that I touched my first novel and started backwards to Famous five and Hardy boys which was much below my age. Reason I never had access to those. As a child I just read the fairy tales book my uncle gifted (each one still safe with me) when he came from Australia or the few encyclopedia's my friends dad's would lend me. I never went to more refined reading but today Paulo Coehlo is my Guru and its his book the Alchemist that inspired me the most when I failed most miserably so far. Had I not got that philosophy to stand there longer till I changed my starts, will I be the fighter I am? Not sure, I therefore wish to set up a public library for even today the books I donate have a minimum reach (the people I donate it to). A library however can be accessed by so many children and it would be amazing to see those books in little hands that I never got and those little eyes wide with suspense when reading Enid Blyton. 

2. Setting Up A Non Virtual Science Club:  If you read the first paragraph well, you know that practically showing a scientific principle at work or a planet inspired me. I would love to do the same by going into school and demonstrating these to the children. Theory is boring, sometimes too difficult to imagine. What is inspiring is looking at the onion peel or your own blood sample under a microscope and see the world beyond our imagination and reach come alive. That is the only thing that can motive children towards doing and understanding Science.

I being a student of Biology feel that there is a huge gap between people who do Science and those who don't. For example most people do not know the generic alternatives to expensive medicines that can save so much money doctors wrongly make. Many people in India still believe in myths that have no Scientific basis like "A black cat crossing your way is a bad omen". We are a country full of such nonsense. Science is rational and the only weapon to gap the religious, caste and creed and any form of divide and logical reasoning by science, the fact that its not Lord Vishnu or Jesus that created the world, the big band did can avoid humanity and lot of wars and save a lot of lives. In the era of artificial intelligence it is only a paradox that these extremes exist even in developed nations who can kill for their God. Imagine all these barriers vanishing if we connect the long gap between scientists and society.

I run an online club called Science Matrix on Facebook but I would like to expand it into doing all of the above soon. 

3. Take A Short Break And Write That Book:  Its not uncommon for an avid reader to love writing. I started this blog for the reason and writing has helped me evolve too. Like the books that inspired me I wish to tell stories around me that can inspire people, I wish to write popular Science that can make it more interesting for people who find textbooks boring. I have also tried writing character sketches an Indian Voldemort or a super villian, a robotic super hero( way before I knew about Optimus Prime :P). I love when I gave to the little children in my family and they asked me wondering where I found such a man and then what all could he do, etc. endless questions. Thoughts when put on paper gives peace, inspires people and sometimes entertain them. I wish to be a part of someones life journey like Paulo Coehlo or Brian Greene is now of so many students. But writing cannot happen for me without isolation. So as soon as I submit my thesis with my savings I shall take a sabbatical and go to a calm place like Dharamsala and write that first book and do it till I think its worth a read. 

 “This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance”.

No Fikar Shop with Quikr

Women love to shop and unmistakably I am one of them. Online shopping has its own merits and so the busy 21st century living forms are now online to do even that.  Quikr a new platform in this arena helps you buy and sell your products online. The best part is they have an equally efficient and well designed mobile app that helps you shop, chat and sell with the comfort of a device as small as your mobile phone. There are a lot of reasons you should use it especially because you can chat before you buy and sell. Thinking about it? Well check out why I find it the coolest one:

1.  Saves Time:  You would ask me how is chatting better? Since you have to type it out. But think about this, a situation especially with 12-14 work hours of your ambitious early life when you also have to get done with shopping that most important commodity you direly need, you will have to do it in between assignments. There is no other choice? Haven’t you faced it a lot of times? Your family cursing or even you yourself for you didn't just have the time to get the simplest screen guard for your phone. Trust me mine is lying with me for two months and I haven’t had the time to go and get it put on my phone. This is you sometimes too isn't it.

Now think about selling, when you wish to sell your old mobile phone, will you have all the time in the world just for that? Certainly not and that’s just lying with you. So now you placed it on a website where you can sell and people keep calling you at all odd hours, disturbing every significant aspect of your life not just work. You are working, there is a query. You are in a meeting, you would miss that call. You are with your boyfriend watching a movie, you have to miss many calls.

When you say why chat, I say why not? The only way to manage time is to multitask and if that is possible with me chatting occasionally with a potential buyer or a seller in between assignments it just makes me relax a little. I am anyways on my laptop, so two things at one time. Meanwhile as you can choose when to reply, you can shut it off when you do important work and carry on when you are doing something less important like downloading a movie :P.

2.   Saves Money: Now think about all the phone calls that you will have to return because you missed them when you were doing something important. It will cost you time and a lot of it (trust me I tried doing it) but it will cost you money. Now if I spend 5000 RS in calling people back when I have to sell a phone where I may settle for even lesser than that amount, what do you think is wise?

3.   The Chat is Saved:
While dealing a lot of times it happens that what you thought initially wasn't that good, might become your only great existing offer and you want to take it. It’s difficult to do so when you have turned someone down on the phone. Also people forget, you make hundred phone calls, you might not even have saved his number, thinking it wasn't working out anyways but as opposed to that a chat is great, its saved

But here you can always get back to the original conversation, refresh your memory and when you ping again you don't have to update the person on the Ramayana again, he just has to scroll up the chat and begin from there on.  The same applies if the other party needs to renegotiate the terms.

Well save efforts and time isn't it?

So next time you think of shopping, buying or selling without wasting too much time, get quicker with Quikr ;)

You can check the site here:

This blogpost is a part of Indiblogger Happy Hours with Quickr:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jab Nahi Tha Garnier Pure Active Neem Mere Pass...

Chalo sunau main tumhe ek kahani,
kyuki ye hai mera kaam,
kahani hai har ek aam admi-aurat ki,
aur kar rakha hai ek marz ne sabko pareshan,
pimple hai jiska naam,
har roz ye badhta jata,
twacha ye kharab karta jata.

Thi main thaki isset,
kyoki na tha koi upay,
koi na dekhta mujhko na office main na ghar,
Simple naam mera, ab ban gaya that pimple.
Thi main bahut udas, kyoki na koi karta invite,
sab karte party mere bina till late night.
Maine dekha tha ek khwab,
ki main banu woh jo chuye asmaan.

Tab sunai ek dost ne sunai kai kahaniyan,
jisme sabki thi wahi pareshaniyan,
Ek tha Raj aur doosri simran,
Raj ko thi mere jaisi tension,
Simran ke papa shadi ki na de permission,
wajah thi bas wahi purani,
pimple aaya beech pyaar ki kahani,
Tabhi Raj ne lagaya active neem aur ban gayi hit woh film.

Tha ek mast maula,
naam tha uska Chulbul Pandey,
hui usko bhi wahi pareshani aur Pandey kehlaye Pimple,
Tab mila use Garnier active neem,
Pimple ki hui bang bang,
Bhai ne machaya dabang.

Tha sabse khatarnak ek,
Ukhad deta handpump anek,
Pimple pe pada uske dhai kilo ka haath,
Pimple to gaya, reh gaye daag,
Jahan haath ne diya dhoka, saath mila Garnier Active Neem ka,
Phir hua Deol Sunny.

Crime master Gogo ki thi ek pareshani,
Kaun tha Teja aur kaun uska bhai,
Pimple aur mark the dono ko anek,
dete sab mark ki duhai,
Tag Garnier Active Neem se ki dhulai,
Na raha mark na pimple,
Ab gogo kaise pehchanega kaun Teja kaun uncle?

Marks se tha ek aur shayar pareshaan,
le rakhi thi pimple ne uski aan baan shaan,
mila usa Garnier Active Neem Ka Power,
kehlaya woh sabke dil ki dhadkan Shahrukh Khan....Jab tak hai jaan...aur uske baad bhi

Sabse bada tha masla Don ka,
Jahan gyarah mulkon ki police bas dhoondhti rahi pimple ka hai,
par pimple ko pakad pana tha mushkil hi nahi namumkin dhi,
Phir aaya Garnier Active Neem,
Jisne bhagaya pimple ko,
aur khud bangaya ndustry ka Don...
Mujhe bhi darta pimple ke marks ka,
Exam me jitne aate, chehre pe usse zyada aate,
Tab mujhe mila Garnier Active Neem,
Aur hui meri skin baby jaisi clean.

Ab abko active neem ko dhoondhne gyarah mulkon ki police ki nahi, bas ek click ki zarurat

This blog is part of Garnier Pure Active Neem Contest on Indiblogger:

Being someone who is a brand enthusiast I loved the way they came up with the most creative ideas in the history of Indian advertisement,  linking their product with the characters of Indian cinema close to our hearts. This post is my tribute to their efforts. Cheers to Team Garnier.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Breaking Barriers Created By Loved Ones

"I think I haven't seen the hardships of woman near to what my mother's generation saw, therefore I chose to write about the woman who created me."

More of then than not a girl born in an Indian family, even in an educated one is taught everything from a very early age about things that would help her have a family of her own happy. The chapati should be perfectly round, the tea with the right amount of sugar, the veggies with the right amount of salt,even the papad roasted in the manner that there is not a single, tiny black burnt mark. As she grows into a woman she is told to talk softly, keep her head bowed while talking to elders, talk in low soft tone and laugh well like a lady. These are the things I never understood as my mother still tries hard to make me imbibe them but when her mother (my grandmother) taught them to her, the times were those of understanding.

You might think my mother was brought up in a very conservative family and hence the rules, but it sadly wasn't so. The family was broadminded, yes but as far as women were concerned there were norms to be followed. There was even more pressure to be all of the above to maintain the family name when you marry into another. My mother did a B.A. (Hons) in English literature from Cambridge. She took up a job with the airlines and traveled many countries and then she married the man of her father's choice as was the norm then in India. My dad was more qualified, an M.B.B.S but the family orthodox. Thanks to the training by her mother, the bride survived a small town after Cambridge and the airline life. The old way thinking of my grandfather dictated that the daughter-in-law of our family doesn't go to work. So my Cambridge educated mother was given a dose that education was important but family was more and then she had two kids me and my brother subsequently and she dedicated her time only being a mother. 

When both of us were old enough, she got bored and the boredom got to her. Being very active always this was the worst phase of her life. The next stage was irritation getting into her being and becoming her. She used to scream at our smallest mistake and the prisoner in her had its time in captivity, the bird now wanted to fly. I clearly remember speaking to my aunt then because somewhere I a free spirit and somebody who always does what the heart wanted understood the layer within her being that surfaced, it was the being pleading to go out and it was my mother. During all her years at home she had been offered various jobs but couldn't go against my grandfather to actually take up one. So she convinced and consoled herself that her primary duty was being a mother and looking after her family.

I was furious and the rebel in me motivated her. Now I thin I either motivated her (her version) or she did it because I was on her head (my version). It wasn't easy. There were heated arguments but in the end she just said it "Give me one chance to be what I want to be. I can be a good mother and a teacher. I wish to educate children. I will go crazy doing nothing and you will loose me." I think that changed my grandfather's mind. He told her to do whatever she wants as long as her duties as before weren't affected. She was the happiest that day.

10 years later...."Mrs Vasanti Vashi (mom) gets the best teacher award". Its her Nobel prize and she thanked many people starting with me and my grandfather. He was to be thanked, for after his initial resistance when he saw her work, her happiness and the appreciation he heard about his daughter in law, he was the most supportive person in the house. The equation changed, trust me I don't get how the minds of people of that era worked, but it worked towards the best. I now at an age where I walk towards marriage I realize that what she did was a great sacrifice at one time and a very bold step at the next when she chose the "And"  for as Albus Dumbeldore told Neville Longbottom "Its easy to fight an enemy but very difficult to find your friends" and in my opinion hardest to fight the ones you love and respect, your family, your people, which in my mother's case was a father (though by law). When I talk about mom I proudly say she is a good daughter-in-law and a great wife and an inspiring mother and a talented teacher.

"This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus". 

Here is what you should do, reject the OR and embrace the And with Gillete, watch this not to miss inspiring video:

Monday, January 26, 2015

How Would I Make Valentines Day Special With Unlimited Powers

I have always wondered "What If I ever could have a Harry Potter's wand?" the answer to it was always going towards being someone I am not. If I really had unlimited powers and wish to make it a Valentines day worth it, before the significant one in my life, I would like to gift my parents - the reason behind my being in the first place, the happiest Valentines Day of their lives.

Like every middle class home, my parents have lived to save and sacrifice for their children. Even though one of them now (me) is economically independent they see to it that our needs and wishes are met before theirs. So If I had a chance to repay them it would be by being the perfect daughter (which I am not) and gifting them a holiday which I feel is the most romantic one.

To begin from the beginning, I would try to be a good daughter. I am a person who firmly believes that entropy (disorder) in the universe is ever increasing as the laws of  thermodynamics teach us. So the first goal is to clean up my room. That would be done in seconds thanks to the magical powers. Though dad is cool with my ways but this is going to be a day my mom wouldn't forget.                   
                              My room mostly looks like the one in the picture, so now imagine the rest :P

The next thing I would again do is cook them a perfect Gujarati meal. A dream for every parents. Now I am an average cook, so to make a great meal at least on one day that would require some special powers and I would invoke them for this.

                                                        The Taj Mahal - from my lenses

The next thing I would want is to help them travel without being crowded by people to the epitome of love, Taj Mahal, Agra. To me the most perfect valentines day would be them spending an entire day there. What better than an emperor's entire life laid out to make that one monument for his beloved queen after his untimely death. It is said that Shah Jahan spent every waking hour of his focused upon the creation of the Taj after Mumtaz's death for it was in her memory. Story writers of the era write that after her death the emperor lost the sense to eat or drink for months and aged rapidly. In his last days while being held captive by his own son Aurangzeb at Agra fort, he wished for a prison cell that had a Taj facing window so that his eyes would open and close only to see his beloved till they closed forever. And today in that very tomb he made in the likeness of her beauty, they lie next to each other, immortalized, united torn apart and then united by death. Undoubtedly no monument in history can be a symbolic of love that spans a lifetime like the Taj. Therefore that is the place my parents, who spent their entire lives caring just for us, spend their day giving time to each other, like the good old times when they were young and their lives were free of our responsibilities.

That' not all. The Taj looks the grandest and most beautiful at night. As the Taj closes at 7:00pm for visitors, and luxury means Taj - the hotel I would like my parents to spend the rest of their time in thebest suite in Taj Mahal facing the Taj and that is what is my idea of a perfect valentines day for the two people I owe my life to. 

"This post has been written for Baggout's blogging contest on Valentines Day. Baggout provides awesome deals on Flipkart, Myantra, Jabong, Snapdeal, Amazon and 100+ other online stores"

You can find coupon codes for specific stores here: