New Year, New Beginnings

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Each year, in the first week of January, we are joyful and hopeful. We hope that the New Year brings us bucket-loads of happiness; we hope that everything that had disappointed us in the previous year will straighten up and present itself in a better way. We hope for many such little things that might make our lives better.  It has been two years since the horrifying news of Delhi gang rape splashed across newspapers, and the protest it had generated has mellowed out.

Recently, I read a post that said- “This incident happened two weeks ago. I had an exam and my exam centre was at Nangloi, near Kashmiri gate Metro station, Delhi. As I reached the metro station, I took the escalator. On the escalator, I had a guy standing in front of me, who had a girl in front of him. The girl was wearing high-heeled footwear and was carrying a big trolley bag. The girl lost her balance for a moment and was about to fall down. This guy in front of me noticed this and out of reflex and courtesy opened his hand facing out to support her. His hand happened to touch her back. Her balance was restored. As we reached up the platform, to my surprise she slapped the guy and yelled at him “How dare you touch me?!”

You probably think that the girl is ungrateful, and arrogant to first accept the help from a stranger and then turn all the fury on him as if he had molested her rather than helped her. In india, even though women trot in high heels and short skirts, they cower in fear. To them, every man walking on the road is a rapist. Women are suspicious of any benevolent act. If a guy offers you a ride- he could be a rapist, if an auto-wallah is willing to drop you to your destination at night- he could be a rapist, if some men are standing beside you at a bus stop- they could be rapists, if a male friend asks you to come alone- no matter how much you trust him, he could be a rapist. A woman feels unsafe even in the protection of her own family, because who knows if her own father or uncle could force her into doing things she never wanted to do.

In a time when people ask to be treated equally, women in India silently pray with hands clasped and quivering lips to keep them safe from any attention that might lead to her “shame”. This year, I hope that we take a few steps towards making women feel like they have their own space to breathe in, and that they do not need to feel defenceless against those who disrespect them and do not care about their wishes.


Alone? Really?


Nothing that exists is simple. Everything, as simple as the roti you eat is made up of complex substances. So it is very obvious that a human brain is made of more complex substances, and performs even more complex actions. I am not sure about how thoughts come in one’s mind, or how they hold the capacity to drive us to the extent of taking our own lives, and I am very unsure of how we think of doing something but end up doing something entirely different.

Loneliness is a luxury no one can afford. It is unattainable. If you live in a large joint family, you can do nothing, but crave for a minute of being alone with yourself. And you don’t ever get it, because just as you sit in your room, a cousin of yours barges into your room to ask for a pen or use your bathroom. Just as she goes away, a toddler runs along in your room and messes your bed. When you make your bed mentally fuming, your mother comes in asking an irrelevant question. When you finally get rid of the din that has been happening around you, you start wondering why nobody has disturbed you yet because you don’t expect such silence around. So you get tired of waiting for others to barge into your room, and you shrug that craving of being alone and stride in someone else’s room and bother them just like they bothered you. And all of this goes on and on.

If you live in a family where no one can resist taking turns jabbing at you, and you are the same, you end up fighting with your family every second day. And then you storm into your room, telling yourself to never go out of it because no one wants you and you can only rest your soul in this confinement. But three days later, you get restless and start eavesdropping at what the rest of your family is talking about. You get tired of being in the confinement you have created for yourself and you trample your ego and smuggle yourself in their conversations and then have a good time and promise to be good to everyone the next time.

But if none of the above applies to you and you cherish your loneliness and you think you two get along, you are wrong. Because like I said, brain is a complex thing. You might have the illusion of being alone, but do you ever stop answering messages on your phone, or your mails? Do you ever stop thinking of what happened to you the previous morning or someday the previous year?

You are fooled into thinking that you are the solitary person, but you are really with either real people, or your intangible thoughts. And although your thoughts might make you feel like you are at peace for a while, you will realize that it eats you on the inside to be with someone and share your thoughts, or just be among people so that you don’t feel restless.

“We Don’t Love You”



When does a parent feel distraught, exasperated, annoyed and anxious? When their children are in some sort of trouble, when they feel that their children are shutting them out of their lives. Everything that could possibly bother children bothers their parents. Imagine how broken a parent must be, when her/his teenage daughter screeches, “ARGH! I hate all of you! I wish I was dead! I wonder why you brought me into this world, when all you had to do is love him!” (Him- the younger sibling), or a child nonchalantly repeats, “I know you don’t love me mother, don’t fret over it”

The parents claim that they do not understand why the elder siblings are so jealous of the younger ones, and why they believe that their parents love the younger one more. I believe parents themselves play a major role in making children believe that. A child who has been reared alone for say, four or five years, is used to being pampered and has been the only one with all attention showered upon her. She realizes that she can wrap anybody around her little finger, and that even if she throws a tantrum, it will be borne with patience. She never has to share her belongings with anyone, has everything at her disposal. She can preen like a princess and nobody would bring her down. Even the parents are blissfully happy to have a child so pretty and adorable and smart, because they are blinded by parental love for their only child.

The parents are happy, and so is the child. But it is after the second child is born, that the problem starts. Parents expect their first child to be very happy and excited to have a new playmate. And initially, the child is, she asks what her sister/brother is doing in her mamma’s tummy, or if she/he is listening to what they are talking about, or if she can talk to her sister/brother. And all is well.

When the second child is born, there is a flurry of activity. In India, a function is held to welcome every child- every relative visits the parents and the second child, coo over her, gift her clothes or toys, eat, and leave. The first child does not care much about it all, because she believes all will be normal in just a while. And that is when it gets ugly for her. As the other child grows, she realizes that the attention that was previously bestowed upon her has now shifted to this alien creature that came from mamma’s tummy. She will scream, or cry, or even be violent sometimes to gain attention. This makes the parents wary of her. They shrink a bit away from her and bestow even more attention to the younger one as they see her as a prey to the older one’s scathing attacks. That agitates the older child more, and thus the cycle goes on.

This goes on for about ten or fifteen more years, when either the siblings come to terms with each other, or the rift deepens. And thus it is embedded in the older child, that no one will budge to take it back to older times, to make her feel loved and attended to again, that no one loves her anymore. And when these declarations, passionate or nonchalant, are made to parents, they are appalled. They agonize over the times they had sacrificed to spend with these ungrateful children which had come out of them. Of course there is a child’s fault in being selfish and unthinking and uncooperative, because she has to bear with the younger one’s tantrums, but aren’t the parents a wee bit responsible for being too consumed by everything other than the first child? The reason parents give for being so apathetic is, “why, the first is always the first! She has always been the privileged one! Poor child (second child) has always worn the worn out clothes and never complained!”. But little so they realize that it is never JUST new clothes or toys a child craves for, she craves for attention, and love and care, which the parents forget to divide as the second child comes in. It makes the parents look like they are screaming “We do not love you”, but silently.

So even though it is agonizing and annoying to hear a child whining about how her parents don’t love her, parents must accept it, if true, and try to make it better, at an initial level, because then the thought becomes deep-rooted, and hard to be rooted out.


A Happy You


Youth is the future of the world. Everything depends on them. Economy, politics, environment as well! They are expected to set goals for themselves, and achieve them. That is certainly a very nice way of setting your child on a path of success. It helps one concentrate and streamlines the path of one’s thoughts. It makes them determined and inculcates in them, many admirable qualities and shape them into a better person.

There exists an enormous population of about 2 billion people in India. There is a dearth of human resource available here. So many multi-national companies have been set up here, luring young and able people to apply for their companies with great money packages. The number of people employed has steadily risen up and now there are loads of people flocking to them. But that is the good part. The major demand had been for engineers, and well, India has been one of the major suppliers of just that kind. With more job availability in this sector, there has been a considerable shift towards opting for subjects like science and maths rather than literature or art. Every second person I talk to, either opts for science or will do that in future. It is not just about the level of employ-ability, but it has become a type of status symbol.
I still remember my aunt asking me what i was going to opt for. Although I was mostly unaware of what I liked, I said nothing. But then she made this weird face and said, ”Do anything you want to, just do not opt for arts”. Well, that is mainly what made me opt for science. And to be honest, I failed miserably. Perhaps if I had worked harder and decided to stick to what I had opted for, I would have been someplace better. But looking at the whole thing with a different perspective, I come to the conclusion that it is mostly the social pressure that decides what we decide.

The sad part is the loss of people with real knowledge and neglect to other streams of study. India is a beautiful country with innumerable historical stories, awe-inspiring structures and landscapes, mouthwatering cuisines, interesting wears and many other things which I fail to acknowledge, mainly because of my ignorance. All of these, mere tourist attractions, have people ignorant of the intensive studies that can be undertaken here. There is so much potential undiscovered in India. The lack of initiatives undertaken towards promoting anything other than production of mindless workers is disappointing. Because of a low number of people doing what they want, they fail to venture into their subjects. There is ignorance, restlessness and frustration. Certain sectors pay you more. Sure. But that is not what keeps you happy. That is not what makes you feel satisfied. To be blissfully happy, one needs to do exactly what they want, no matter which stage of life it is.

So ask yourself. Realize what is right for you. And that nagging feeling that keeps you frustrated, agitated and restless will vanish like it was never there.