Environment, Life, Male, Female

Delhi : Smog Chal Raha Hai !


“Kya chal raha hai? Smog chal raha hai” This parody of a TV commercial has become a hackneyed joke this time. The health-threatening smog settling down under 10 storeys of buildings has cast an eerie spell in the capital and the adjoining areas. I saw a parody of Dum Laga Ke Haisha on my Instagram account with a piggybacked Bhumi Pednekar and Ayushman Khurrana in the poster with the masks. But this situation is no joke. This is the first time the winters in the North started with a ban on firecrackers.

The coal-based Badarpur power plant has been shut down for 10 days. For five days, no construction or demolition work will happen in Delhi. Roads will get vacuum cleaned. Water will be sprinkled on the roads. We mean serious business this time around. I saw a TedX video on my Twitter account, which shows how China fights the smog. They have built the largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world. It sucks around 30,000 cubic meter per hour.

Cleans it at a nano level, using very little electricity and releases clean air. This process makes the place cleaner by at least 50 per cent. Which is huge! And the need of the hour is to install such machines in our major cities which are definitely one of the most polluted ones in the world.

I saw at least 4,000 re-tweets on this video. I observed many people tagged Arvind Kejriwal and coaxed him to install one in the capital city. They were of the argument that the public money should be utilized to fight such issues of health and pollution instead of expensive statues and over-ambitious bullet trains.

At this juncture, I would go back to my roots. Live in cleaner greener places, where your future generation will not develop respiratory diseases, eye irritations, etc. We will live 10 years longer. We will know the difference between fog and smog. Fog – The former symbolizes love and nostalgia for me.

The foggy winters with smoke-like hot breaths coming out of our shivering mouths. Smog has killed the nostalgic fog for me. You can’t gauge the difference between a smog and a fog through the naked eye. Smog is just fog with a dark evil soul. Most of us live in a smog. It’s like life in a dark depressing movie for which we have arrived 25 minutes late.

You know something urgent seems to be going on. But we can’t figure out the story or the exit door to the core issue. We don’t know what part we are supposed to play or what the indecipherable plot is. I belong to the generation, that was fascinated by fog machines and movie lights. I remember using laser lights in the Nashik fog in the late ’90s. It used to form a sleek straight-line illuminating the particles suspended in the air. Just like we are suspended in the middle of nowhere in 2017. Life for us may become like a messy vehicle pile-up on a Eastern expressway.


Indian Society, Parenting, Life, Male, Female, Women Empowerment

Indian Women – Sati Or Shakti ?


India is a difficult country. With abject poverty, lack of basic facilities like water, electricity, sanitation and housing, corruption, inefficiency and social disparities, if you are not the privileged one, it is not easy to survive in a country like India. Worse, if you are born as a woman. It’s a general perception that if a son is born he is your retirement fund but if a girl is born the same fund becomes dowry fund. Women are not preferred as a child. Women are not wanted. Women are not respected. Women don’t have status. Women are perceived and treated like inferior’s worthy of only compassion, pity or help.

In last to last year’s election, Mr. Narendra Modi spoke a lot about Indian youth as demographic dividend. Unfortunately, when it comes to women, nobody sees them as another demographic dividend. It’s time that we recognize our women as most productive, efficient and economical asset of our society and celebrate her.

Indian Woman plays the most important part in our society yet she is the most ignored member of our society. Indian Woman, from the moment she is conceived, spends rest of her life fighting against a male chauvinistic society. Inside her house she is fighting for equality with her brother. Outside in the society she is battling eve teasers, men who smirk when she drives a vehicle because she is a woman and so many other battles on a minute-to-minute basis. She has been fighting it for centuries. And this is the reason, I think, Indian Woman has emerged as an extremely strong person as compared to woman of any other country. A woman who fetches water from a well, walks back several kms in scorching heat with ogling men and a latent danger of rape looming over and then she uses the water in most economical way can’t be an ordinary woman. Perhaps, she knows better about hard work than any man. This is why she should be celebrated.

Tragically, whenever women are discussed, we start thinking about a woman who is a suffering from illiteracy, ignorance, dowry, honour killing, eve teasing, rape, abuse, financial slavery etc. Is that what Indian Woman is all about? Who has made her illiterate? Who takes dowry? Who kills her for honour? Who is behind molestation, eve-teasing or rape? Why is it that all the evils of the society are associated with the victim? Because, it’s a design. The biggest trick rich play on poor is that they never let us see poor without their poverty. If one inverts the pyramid and see it from a woman’s point of view, men will come across as abducters, exploitators, molesters and rapists. The pyramid can’t be inverted because the narrative is in in the hands of the people who want to see women as abla nari (hapless victims). Indian Woman is abla because the narrative has always been with the men. Just to substantiate my point, let me illustrate a very interesting example. It came to notice that the incidence of HIV was increasing at an alarming rate of 15%-20% amongst women. A lot of men started questioning the character of their women. After a sustained, pan-India research, spread over two years, by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) o it was found out that this incidence was due to ‘condom failure’. They took a large sample size, measured their penises and discovered that over 60% of Indian men have penises too small for the condoms to fit WHO (World Health Organization) specifications. Since men control the narrative, the small size of their penis remains a well-guarded secret. Isn’t it remarkable that despite being surrounded by such social evils, prejudiced narrative and inspite of social support, Indian Woman stands strong, calm, loving, compassionate, forgiving and beautiful? This is why she should be celebrated.

Indians believe there are two worlds – Mythological world and the real world. In our mythology, there is a concept of Panchkanya. Panchkanyas are made of Panchtatvas (five elements)earth, fire, water, air and space. Like earth (Sita) she is strong, ever-giving, sacrificing and stable. She is fiery, passionate, sexy and strong-willed like fire(Draupadi). Like water (Mandodari) she is in a ‘flow’ with strong undercurrent, turbulent on the surface yet deep in her spiritual quest. She is like wind (Ahilya) for her free-will, ethereal nature and freshness. She is likened to space (Tara) for their infinite intelligence, emotional range and vastness of heart. In a society where a woman’s greatness is measured by her chastity, where her patience is measured by her capacity to tolerate great injustice, one can still find many Sitas who happily sacrifice all comforts in lieu of their duty and devotion for their family. This Sita is constantly fighting Ravanas with her sacrifice and penance yet she doesn’t compromise on her dignity and righteousness, she instills right values in her children and protects her family’s honour.

There are Draupadis all around us with storms of anguish and anger. In every house, there are Mandodaris, trying to create a balance between the injustice of society and the stability of her family with her wisdom. Whenever her family faces turbulence, she is the one who chooses the right path. We meet Ahilyas in colleges, at home, at work who are subjected to unforgivable wrongs yet they forgive and spread their compassion. Indian Woman displays some or all of these qualities despite her financial status or social reality. She is suppressed yet liberated. Illiterate yet wise. Discriminated yet strong. Unaware yet innovative. Deprived yet rich in emotions. She is the unpaid labour of the household yet she controls the intricate economy of the house. She follows everyone’s wishes yet she is the moral leader of the house. She is bound by the dogmas of the society, yet she designs the life-graphs of a new generation. She is the hope in a hopeless situation. This is why she should be celebrated.

If ancient texts have to be believed, Indian woman was always free, equal and in many cases superior to men. She is found seated next to her man and no religious ritual could be completed without her. She is always portrayed as sensuous, charming and beautiful. In fact before the invasion of Mughals and spread of Islamic social taboos, Indian Woman has always been depicted in minimal clothes. Her beauty, body, and sexiness are celebrated in almost all the texts, literature and paintings. Be it Laxmi, Saraswati or Durga. Indian Goddesses are described as:

“eye-ravishing, smiling-eyed…  Swelling breasts…  Shapely thighs…  fragrant like the lotus…  extraordinarily accomplished, soft-spoken and gentle… slim-waisted… long-haired, pink-lipped, and smooth-skinned.” (Adi Parva 169.44-46, Sabha 65.33-37)

Management Guru, Stephen Covey, in his book ‘Seven Habits of the Highly Effective People’ talks about role-playing quality of leaders. Nowhere in the world one would find such a multi-dimensional woman who is a leader of the family, dutiful daughter in law, sacrificing mother, indulgent bhabhi, obedient daughter, concerned wife, shy bride, cultured hostess and a brilliant chef. She is a nurse to parents/ parents-in-law and baby-sitter to grandchildren. And, Mr.Covey, she can play all these roles at once. Edward De Bono has professed the theory of ‘Changing Hats’ for leaders. De Bono could think of only six hats because, perhaps, he never met a typical Indian Woman. She looks after her family; her parents’ family, keeps helping neighbors and relatives. She is extremely hard-working, sincere, loyal, friendly, proactive, quick decision-maker, team-builder, resource manager, inventory planner, cost-cutter, quality controller, an efficient floor manager, productive worker, great negotiator, recycling innovator, fire fighter, 24*7 doctor, engineer, plumber, baker, tuition teacher, hostess, trainer, consultant, HR manager, R&D manager, maid, dish-washer, laundry-person, baby sitter, event manager, PRO, bearer, producer and nurture of human life. With limited resources, time and money, she creates human wealth. And she does all this for free. In corporations they say love your work like it’s your life. Nobody executes this work-culture better than Indian Woman. When Indian men are recognized, world over, for their hard work, humbleness, loyalty, honesty, knowledge and intelligence, it’s the result of this result-oriented, value adder Indian Woman. A day is not far when Indian Woman will show the path to this world. This is why, Indian Woman should be celebrated.

The themes of loss and humiliation are common in an Indian Woman’s life. They were abducted, raped, tortured, punished, abandoned, left to live miserable lives as widows and even sold as slaves by powerful men. Its because of this constant struggle, Indian woman possesses native intelligence, hidden wisdom, and a superior knowledge of life. The traumas, sufferings, hardships and a constant struggle to assert her space in a misogynistic society has given Indian woman maturity and foresight, the ability to find simple solutions and use the learning from experiences to arrive at intelligent instincts that benefit both her family and the society.

A woman who can survive such traumatic evolution cannot be a Sati but predominantly and fundamentally she is Shakti. It’s entirely our choice whether we want to see Sati with pity or celebrate her as Shakti. I think, it’s time to change the ‘negative’ narrative and celebrate Shakti.

It’s time to post a #SelfieWithIndianWoman.

Life, Male, Female, Pursuit of Happiness, Yoga, Society, Uncategorized



The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I’ve promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.”

— Robert Frost

These lines were also the favourite of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It talks about giving up on sleep and carrying on with life, in general. It’s a sort of self-motivation. Sleep has been termed as a luxury.

This activity, which consumes almost 1/4th of our life, is the key to happiness. It is the answer to the toughest questions. It is better than sex. In fact, sleep post-sex is better than sex (I have not experience yet: P). But sleeping immediately post-sex could be the worst thing ever. Talk, pretend, cuddle and just sleep. Okay.

The kind of clarity you get post-sleep, is magical. But sleep deprivation has become a state of life. There was a time before 2012, I used to get no-frills sleep. I used to sleep for a minimum of eight hours. I haven’t slept really well since the day I left hostel. My mind has never rested in peace since then. It’s always working.

The diverse purposes and mechanisms of sleep are the subject of substantial ongoing research. Sleep seems to assist with improvements in the body and mind. Research in the 21st century is investigating whether sleep is a period of maintenance for removing metabolic waste compounds from the brain. Post a good sleep, you look bright and feel bright.

Have you ever heard about the American band called R.E.M.? I love their song Losing My Religion. The song was a hot favourite on radio in UK. By the way, the full form of R.E.M. is rapid-eye movement. It is a form of sleep. Dreams occur only during R.E.M. But most of the dreams I’ve had were dreams with my eyes wide open.

The dream of becoming Corporate Leader, Leader who could individually do Sales, Marketing and Operation and become a triple threat in the performing years. I may not sleep till I become really awesome in these things. And I’m too self-critical to achieve awesomeness. Anything I do would be an inch less than awesome. So, sleep will always elude me.

But I’m still happy. My mind keeps getting excited about the day. The beauty of the early morning sun. The lessons I learned with my every project are so profound, that sleep eludes me. Yet, my eyelids don’t feel the heaviness. My soul sings as I’m a born singer.

Sleep eludes me because I’ll never let life elude me. I’ve seen politicians sleep in Parliament. I’ve seen my batch-mates sleep in class during the last period of the school. I’ve seen travelers sleep in the bus/train/flight or at the airports. I’m not one of those travelers who always carries a neck pillow with an eye mask tucked in. The idea is to sleep whenever you find a dull moment in your life.

Sigh. I don’t find any. That’s the best and the worst part of this beautiful life. But you also detest the time right before you go to sleep when you automatically think about all the things you want to forget. Sleep well.

Indian Society, Parenting, Life, Male, Female, Uncategorized

Finding Freedom in being fluid (Just Maybe):


In my delusional space of randomness, I often wonder about freedom. Am I really that free? Yes, I am living on my own. Yes, I take my own decisions when it comes to my life. Yes, I have chosen my own field of work and yes, I have chosen my own sexuality. But is it really true, especially the last choice?

I mean, rewind your life to the day you were born and your nani made halwa and daddy distributed ladoos in his office and mummy took out the stock of hand-knitted booties and caps. It was the day when the doctor declared, ‘It’s a boy’ or ‘It’s a girl’. I mean the bias starts creeping in from that moment on.

Nobody gave time for that ‘it’ to become a girl or a boy, the doctor declares it and we abide by it like a rule book for the rest of our lives. And if the declaration isn’t enough, we have an ardent conditioning taking place over the years —whether it’s in the form of clothes you are made to wear, or the gifts you’re given, or the uniform that you wear or the queue that you select or the washroom you use or the sitting posture on a bike or the type of perfume you wear — just about everything is gender-based and gender-biased.

A lot of people realize their sexuality late in life and often, are confused as kids. Confused because other kids were clearly boy or girl-oriented. But what if there was freedom to choose your identity yourself? What if you could choose whether you want to put yourself out as a boy or a girl or whatever you are comfortable with in your birth certificates, ration cards, driving licenses, passports, Aadhar cards, voting IDs, educational admission forms or the character certificates issued to you by your education institutes yourself? What if there was absolutely no conditioning of a patriarchal or matriarchal society around you when you were born and you were just declared a homo-sapiens and then with time, with no judgmental eyes or scathing remarks or benefits for some gender, would you choose your own sexuality? What if such boundaries were so fluid that it would ultimately boil down to own your choice? Some may call it being experimental, some may call it being characterless, I say you are just trying to figure out and that in true sense, is freedom. Could this possibly be the end to sexism and maybe foeticide, infanticide and many other such conflicts that plague humanity?

Since I am working in Lucknow for project (Duration is around 2weeks), I want to take this analogy of the “Bada Imam Bara” that I just went visiting. It has the famous bhul bhulaiya in it. So every passage has four entrance points, you get confused which route to take and it takes a whole lot of time to figure your way around, but to exit, it takes less than 30 seconds, if you have figured out the route.

Similarly, when it comes to sexuality, it may take some time — perhaps, a few years for some or a life time for others — but once you are sure of where you stand, it’ll take only a few seconds to take the right decision. And that right decision would mean freedom in every sense of the word.

Sounds crazy? Yeah I know…since when did being random make sense! But the day it does, we might just feel more connected, more rooted, more happy, more human. Just maybe.