Thursday, July 28, 2011

Much Affair About Nothing

When is it ok to have an affair? Now the majority here will say NEVER, but think about it for just one second. Do you think we have one life to live? Do you think that in this life it is important to strive for happiness? Do you think that if we are not happy, our souls will eventually rot, and we will need therapy? Do you think if we do our duty to society and our family, we still need happiness? So if you answered YES to any of the questions, here’s a last one: Do you think happiness to yourself is the most important thing we need to strive for? What if the “affair” was the only solution to happiness?
Scene 1:
Married at 18, Kaaya was bored with life by the time she was 30. She had two children and she ran a business from home making children’s clothes. Her husband worked in a bank. Late hours and many silent nights later, they had nothing left in common except the children. But the children had now grown. And there was barely any conversation left. She met a widowed father online. He had ordered some clothes from her business. He seemed interesting. She stayed away from him. She knew what it would do to her marriage. Soon enough she started following him through social media sites. He was fun. He seemed to share some interests she had forgotten in her. Soon they were on chats and then they started meeting. It wasn’t as if one thing led to another. It was consciously kept away. The affair didn’t start until much later when one night her husband came home drunk and smelt of another woman’s perfume. Having never questioned her husband, Kaaya felt it was the last straw on the rotting marriage’s back. After much struggle and depression, she left her husband and married the widowed father. All ended well that started a long time ago. But there was always a niggling feeling, was it right?  
Scene 2:
25 years of marriage is a long time. After the silver anniversary was over and the kids went back to their respective continents, Ashok went back to being the art collector he was. But it bored him. He had everything - Cars, foreign trips, a yacht, expensive art, and a beautiful wife. Even the wife had everything - Diamonds, Louboutins, Birkins and houses all across the globe. They had earned it. Hard work and a little luck had given Ashok pretty things, early in life. Now in his mid 50s, he had no challenge left. He wasn’t even interested in the women who were throwing themselves at him in parties. But one day, it happened. He came across this beautiful, intelligent, and completely unattainable woman. She was almost like Holly Golightly from Truman’s book. She was single. That was good. She was young. That was not so good. But he didn’t care. He hadn’t felt like this in 25 years. After all, what can you discuss with your wife every single night for 25 years? How many more whims of hers could you fulfill? He did not intend to leave his wife and he told Holly so. His standing in society was far more important. She understood but she still fell in love. His wife eventually came to know but didn’t care. The sex between them had died long time back. The wife got her diamonds and he got a little affair. No one got hurt. And love grew between Holly and Ashok. She never wanted to get married. She just wanted nice things and some companionship. If no one got hurt, was it right?
Scene 3:
They were both married. They both had kids. They never planned to leave their families. It was all too messy. Besides that, they were both from different backgrounds. Who wanted new in laws, new responsibilities, and new kids in their lives? They only wanted some fun. It started in the office. They both knew it would be transient. Rules were that no weekends were allowed together. Weekends were family time. It suited them both perfectly. High-pressure jobs and the same boss brought them together. Spouses were kept at a distance. Of course, the affair was a secret. An open secret. Everyone in the office knew about it. The whispers behind their back eventually caught up. One day one of the spouses suspected something and confronted the other. It was the moment of truth. He could have either walked out and married “the other woman” or stayed and kept the balance. He chose to stay. Therefore, he denied it. The affair ended in a while when he moved his job. It became difficult to continue the life he had. She understood. It broke her heart for a very long time. At least she had a husband to go back to. Moreover, she was an adult. She knew what she had gotten herself into. Affairs were never easy. Was it supposed to be right as well?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Empty: A Poem.A Life.

The sounds of the night are lonely
They creep in to the crevasses of life
Till nothing, nothing remains.
And makes you conclusively hollow.
You try desperately to connect to a world beyond the real
There is no one.
There never was.
There is no one left.
Where did they all go?
No don’t! Don’t hope.
Hope is a dangerous thing.
I dare not dream of a better tomorrow.
What if it’s like today?
Forgotten time
Lost souls
Heartbreaking memories
A maze, a race, a quest.
Let it stop
The energies have changed.
I refuse to be strong.
Let me cling to my loneliness.
In the death of night.
It is my comfort.
It resonates deep within me.
Even when the dawn breaks…
I am the Queen of Solitude.

Monday, July 25, 2011

LET IT BE


I can see the wrinkles on my face now.
The laughter lines are more prominent.
The creases, the extra ness and the spots.
 It’s not who I was just a year back.
How things have changed.
You made me change.
 Less looking after myself.
And more attention to you.
The worry lines became more prominent.
The anger lines a little more defined.
Let it Be, someone murmured.
I couldn’t.
I wanted to be the BEST.
The competition killed me.
You didn’t make it easy.
We were all vying for your time.
You never had any.
It was a heavy burden.
It killed me.
It made me bitter. And sad.
And then you left.
And chose another.
But I was always “me”.
The one you said you loved.
How can I change now?
I’m still me.
The laughter has frozen.
And the lines have set in.
My face shows my burden.
The etches of a torn past.
If Only I had listened.
If only I could have…
Let it be…

Saturday, July 16, 2011

RAGE AND FEAR

Anger and Fear are the predominant emotions of our times today.
We are a nation of scared people. The generation above us was scared for economic and social reasons and our generation seems to be scared of change. Contrary to what we might say, many people do not want the system to change. They hold on to things and claim it in form of tradition.
I asked a Hindu friend of mine at a dinner party, “Would you be ok if your only daughter fell in love with a Muslim?” And she smiled and said, “I’m sure that won’t happen.”
I asked another friend of mine, “What if your only son told you he was a homosexual?” And the man turned to me and replied, “Why even think of such things?”
I asked family members who had attended Anna Hazare’s fast, “Have you ever given a bribe to get off a speeding ticket? Or to get your passport done early? Or to an `agent’ to process your license?” And they laughed and said, “Everyone does that.”
So why are we not changing? Why are we not progressing? Because it is easy and blissful to remain in a state of unawareness. Our parents were fearful that their kids would marry different caste or religions. Somewhere we’re still fearful of that. Otherwise why would there be so many matrimonial ads slotted into a person’s religion, caste and region? Let us stop doing that at least.
Our parents were fearful that they would not be able to save up enough to give their kids a secure life. We are fearful that there will be no security.
Lawlessness stems from fear. Fear stems from anger.
If we don’t get our way, we have no faith in the system to provide help. We help ourselves. That is what we are being taught now. A boyfriend murdering a girl’s ex lover, spouses shooting each other, bomb blasts, rapes, theft, and burnings. It stems from anger at not being able to get what they want and an impatience to want it right away. And it is not only in urban areas, the rural villages are imitating what they see and hear from the urban centers. There was a recent incident in Karwas village, 20 km from the Jaipur-Delhi highway that shocked the entire village. Two teenage girls watched as their lover slit their parents’ throat because they were not allowed to have sexual relations with him.
Where does this come from? People are asserting themselves but in the wrong way. Everyone has an attitude. Adolescents’ mottos are “I don’t care” and “I want it now!”
We fear “What will people think?”
We fear “What will our neighbours say?”
We fear “What if we make a mistake?
We fear “What if it doesn’t look nice?”
But it won’t be. Uncomfortable situations will arise. Delays will be imminent. And feathers will be ruffled. So what?
We need to do the right thing for our country. Not just for ourselves.
We need to stand up for the greater good and not just for economic benefit or cheap publicity. 
We need to start believing that it is ok if Big Brother USA does not like what we do. Once we start believing that we will not take a single bribe or that we will not care if our kids marry Pakistanis, or that we will not fear the hand of the UN, we will rise above the pettiness of everyday and become a stronger nation.
And it needs to start today. With each and every one of us. We have to believe in the right things. We have to have an attitude of caring for a stronger future. We have to demand answers. And ask the right questions. We need to elect the right people. We need to work together.
We have to stop being angry. With religion, caste, creed, sex or a system. And channel the energy into being productive.
And we have to stop being afraid of the outcome.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How to be a celebrity…for cheap.

Today I was at a coffee shop and I saw at least 4 people entering at different times, all looking like celebrities, but weren’t. So I figured that it doesn’t take much to be a celebrity nowadays. All you need to do is follow the pointers and even you can become one. Ok, not as big as SRK or Pa. But someone cool enough for laymen like me to turn around at a coffee shop and notice you. Here goes...
1.       Always wear sunglasses. Even at night. Even if you’re indoor. If this is too hard, at least wear one on top of your head. Always.

2.       Practice your walk. Shoulders back, stomach in, one foot ahead of another in a line. You may trip and fall at home while doing this, but NEVER trip in public.

3.       Try and be slim. The thinner you are, the more fame you’ll get. Remember Kareena in Yaadein? No. Exactly. Now remember her in Tashan? Aahhh! You get my drift.

4.       Never eat in public. Even if you’re invited to the most exotic parties with food flown in from Milan and Paris together, do not eat it. It will look as if you’ve never eaten before. If however you are caught eating, wave your hand and say, “I’ve had better stuff at the Rue de Rivoli in Milan last month.”

5.       Read. Really. Not fat books if you can’t do that sort of thing, but a few internet sites that might be good in cocktail conversation. Like stuff on art if you’re breaking into a gala. Or stuff about the directors and producers’ works if you’re breaking into a Bollywood party. The news might also help but don’t be too involved with politics, sports or international debates. They may make you sound too intelligent and hence will give away the fact you’re not a celebrity.

6.       When you don’t know what to say, smile and look pretty. And nod your head a lot.

7.       Every 10 seconds look at your blackberry or an iphone. You do have one of course. Right? Right?

8.       Never get into an argument. If things are heating up, suddenly become vacant and walk away as if you are going to greet a guest at the door.

9.       Leave your hair open for girls and gelled for boys. Do not be caught with ponytails unless it’s been done professionally.

10.   Get an enormously expensive bag that you can carry all over the place. Hire it online instead of buying it. It’s way cheaper and makes the same impact. Please don’t buy a fake from Bangkok. The real celebrities can spot a fake and then you’re in trouble.
11.   Don’t be too happy or too sad. Be ambivalent about any relationship. Never commit that you’re in one.

12.   Have a lackey. Sorry agent. Sorry manager. Sorry, whatever they call it these days. It makes you look good for you to order someone around and then be nice to them in front of someone else.

13.   Have the lackey give out your card. Oh, get a few cards with your alternate mobile number so your lackey can pick it up if the offers do come pouring in.

14.   Research exotic places online in thorough detail Talk about your vacations to these places so you sound as if you’re a world traveler and not someone who take the Virar fast home every night.

15.   Wear black. Always. It never goes out of fashion. And match your sunglasses with it. You’re still wearing your sunglasses aren’t you? Aren’t you?????

16.   Don’t worry too much about an expensive car. You can hire one if you think someone will see you get in and out of it. But otherwise not too many people at parties, events and meetings notice you getting out of a car.

17.   Be seen everywhere. Do not be shy. Be bold. Go to all the functions you read about in the papers. The more you’re seen, the more people will remember you and recommend you to someone for something. Which then you can turn down.

18.   Be hygienic. Have a shower, with soap, twice a day. Brush your teeth. Wear deodorant. But not an overpowering perfume. It scares off everyone. Wear freshly washed and ironed clothes. Oh they have to be ironed. All this nonsense of crushed linen never works. Think Italian Armani and not bedroom khadi.

19.   And lastly, smile. But not before you have got your teeth whitened. Skip the pricey dentist’s chair and just buy a few whitening strips to use everyday. It’ll do the same trick.

20.   Did I mention the sunglasses? Ya. Put them on.
And now that you know the tips to be a celebrity, go be one now!
Also printed in the July 2011 issue of MARIE CLAIRE magazine.

Friday, July 8, 2011

TOP (ABSURD) EXCUSES TO BREAK UP:

In a fast track world, it is easy to be in and out of relationships. However, the excuses for breaking up are getting old. It is no longer “I need space,” or “It’s not you, it’s me” that are doled out anymore. The excuses need to be creative, modern, and semi believable! The top ways of breaking up are:
1.       The Astrologer Told Me –In ancient times, parents checked horoscopes of the couple to see if they matched. If the `kundalis’ didn’t match, it could be ominous. In modern day scenario, men have learnt to use this to their advantage. Instead of waiting for the last minute to get their astrological charts checked, they claim to their girlfriends they have already got it checked! This they will announce after a few dates once they’ve realized that this girl is not working for them. The woman has no choice therefore. No woman would want to go through a relationship where if something went wrong, he would blame her by saying,”See, I told you! My horoscope said I need space!”

2.       You Saw The Movie Without Me –Most couples love watching films together. It is a date that they enjoy while believing it is time well spent towards building a future. When there is a particular movie that is eagerly awaited for a long period, it is understood that the couple will go together. The plan has been made weeks in advance. At the time of release, a sudden incident in the life of a partner has left the plans in the lurch. One partner is at home. He is busy with work and will not be able to watch the film with you for another week or ten days. Your best friend buys an extra ticket. So you think, “I can see this film again when he’s free!” Wrong! The partner now has a fabulous excuse to break up with you. You have broken the pact! It was sacrosanct that you watch this film with him. He is hurt and angry. It was like a test God gave for your relationship in which you failed. The man now has the right to say, “We need to break up because you saw the movie without me!”

3.       I’m Travelling – No one knows where this person is going or when he is coming. He seems to be “travelling” all the time. From day trips to Delhi to longer stays in Bangalore. Urgent meetings in Hyderabad to pacifying clients over weekends in Pune, the man is travelling. And when one’s boyfriend is travelling, the phone is off, the messages aren’t delivered, and there is a high chance that you will be hearing a prerecorded woman who becomes your best friend. It is the new way of saying “I need space.” The space needs to be the air 30,000 feet above the ground. Men are using this excuse perpetually but saying with their sweetest tone, “Baby, I would love to meet, but I’m not in town!”

4.       I Have To Focus On My Career – Now this has been tried and tested and can never get old. The career trick in the book lets the man be in office until late, go out with clients, and even unwind with the boys because his job is getting stressful. Whether he is up for promotion or needs to prove himself, the man will use his career to avoid the woman in his life like the plague. This is a double-edged sword since the woman wants to support his career but would like more time with him. So instead of breaking up with her since it is too `delicate’ a matter to be done so bluntly, he leaves her with a choice. His parting words, “I really need to figure out where my career is going and I won’t have time for us. I’m just letting you know now!”

5.       It’s in my Genes– Commitment phobia is not new to women. However, men have started using it differently. With parents who may or may not have separated, the man claims that he’s seen his parents fight and believes that it’s in his blood to do so as well. While most women are not daunted by this idea, it does leave a bit of a dent if after some time the man starts repeating it. He also starts speaking about how his idols are Hugh Grant and George Clooney. The act continues right up to the point when he walks out one night and does not call for a few days. When he does return, he says, “Darling, I didn’t mean to, but you see… it’s in my genes!”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

SPIN - A poem

I give too much.
Too much.
And you throw it all away
When will this stop?
When will you just understand?

It started long time back
And I gave you a chance
And another
And one more.
Till we stopped counting.

It seemed ok at first
The voices begged and pleaded
But how did it matter
I knew what I wanted
And ran back to you anyway.

It wasn't a big thing
I don't know why it felt that way
But those last words you said
I didn’t believe.
I never wanted to.

And all I wanted was for you to stop
And then I understood.
It wasn't you.
I was the one who needed to end
From spinning this way.

Letter from a Hogwarts Teacher to Hermione

My daughter Ariaana is a big Harry Potter fan. For her summer holidays she's gone to spend time with her grandparents. So I thought I...