Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Day I Became a Woman.

Is it a question? Is it a statement?

I don’t know.

I didn’t know what it would lead me to when I started watching the film. Set in the rocky seaside country of Iran, the film begins with a coming to age of a little girl- Hava. Nine years is all that she is. Set apart by her grandmother already from her best friend- a boy. Traditions speak in less words, more actions. Words merely cajole out the liveliness, the need of an action. Words could be soft, endearing, flowing as the smooth glacier flows when the summers run wild and loose. Words could be harsh- the sound of a typhoon starting and then gorging up everything that comes in its way. Hava’s mother, her grandmother, and Hava herself use words. Dull but endearing words devoid of any use of their faces. Only the little girl so long uncovered, unhidden in the blackness of a veil that her mother and grandmother have been cajoled or forced to wear around them. Cajoled or forced- one will never know.

Hava is to turn nine today. Her birth time, mid noon, rocks forth in her prospects of becoming a woman or continuing as she is- a young girl turning nine. Her mother teaches her a trick to know time- to hold time in her being, in her actions, in her hurriedness, in her lateness, in her every step as she takes along the sea shore, even when she sits, even when she stands, even when she watches as the sun moves along- without stopping for her. She runs out of her home, running against the wind, her scarf up and down in folds. Her veil- her new possession, a gift from her mother and grandmother. In all likeliness, a beautiful satin black veil, a shimmering piece of cloth, meaningless otherwise, unless it falls on the head of a little girl turning nine. Meaningless otherwise unless it rests on the shoulder of an old woman guarding her womanhood, her dignity, her last years. So, holding the sea-breeze in her scarf, Hava runs. Hava runs like the hava (wind) itself.  

In the ticking minutes of her last hour as a girl, she checks the remaining time with the stick that she carries. Every time she checks, the sun has moved a little close to overhead, the minutes run a little too long, and the time to her womanhood, approaching sooner than she knows. And, yet she tries. She runs to her friend- Hassan.

Hassan asks her to wait for her near the shore. And, she traces her way to the shore, the scarf now and then, shifting and falling off of her head. Her tiny hands reach for it, the satin of the cloth slipping between her fingers- mellifluously. Sitting on the white sand, she waits and watches. She digs up a little hole, puts her stick once again just to reaffirm her saved girlhood. Oh! Yes. Few more minutes come to her rescue again. Her eyes follow to the outlines of the remnants of a newly-built boat. The boys working on it, send forth stolen glances aimed at her innocence, of finding some hidden treasure with her that could complete the object of their adventures- their boat and Hava’s black veil. The veil hasn’t yet recognized Hava as its owner and neither has Hava learnt what the veil would become for her in the forthcoming minutes. Alas! Freedom. She exchanges her veil for a little toy. Happiness. The blackness of her veil now the sail of the boys’ boat. Her head uncovered again- the head of a young girl.  

Tired of waiting now and the stick still defiant in becoming her accomplice, Hava runs back to Hassan’s house. There by the window, she shouts her pleas. Oh! The beauty of their conversation. Oh! See them talk- a conversation warmed by the knowledge of each other for so long, a conversation that has an understanding far beyond their ages combined, a conversation that has anger, a little disappointment, and instant reconciliation. A friendship surviving on the grounds of a city alongside the seashore.

And, yet in the comfort of their friendship and the sweetness and sourness of the candies they eat, Hava checks the time allotted to her by her mother. She measures the length of the stick’s shadow in the tininess of her hands, her fingers outreaching beyond their dexterity. No matter how long it was before, no matter how short the shadow has become now, Hava eats her candies in a hurry- a hurriedness known only to her and the stick that tells her the time to her womanhood. Oh! She is okay with it. She is aware of her limited time. She is aware of the hurriedness with which her sweets disappear as they exchange the sweets between them. Hasaan and Hava. Hava and Hasaan. A little giggle. A childish whisper.

At last, her mother comes to pick her up. A black veil in her hand, she skilfully covers her daughter’s head. Her daughter, now a young woman. One hour between forgetting her daughter as a girl and learning her as a woman. The difference- a black veil. 

A girl in every minute of the eleventh hour.

A woman from every minute beginning the twelfth.
Inspired by watching the film The Day I Became a Woman.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Rape is Not an Agenda and What Women Fear?

I have been meaning to write this post since we, women were asked to recheck the meaning of the word "rape".


1the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will

2 (especially of a man) force (another person) to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will
For all sane reasons of why I don't pray to a named God, I now, worry that I should have. The truth, however, is that I am angry. I don't want a man to tell me what rape means, what happens when a girl or a woman gets raped. His position in the government does not sanction him any power, any authority, any right to say things which cannot be processed in his chicken-headed brain.

For all similar reasons, I don't want a man telling me that some girls rape easy.

Factually, if you look at the statistics, no woman and for that matter, no man wants to get raped. 

Secondly, rape has nothing to do with politics. So, let this be the last election that I am made to listen to rape as being an agenda to be discussed in such demeaning ways.

Thirdly, a rape victim is a human being. He/she deserves respect whether he/she was raped twenty years ago or three months back.

Lastly, God cannot be so cruel as to intend rapes or pregnancies through rape to happen. Human beings are. A rapist chooses to rape. A person who is raped does not choose to get raped. Let that be cleared once and for all. Let's not bring God into issues that are even beyond His comprehension.

“When I was in college, a teacher once said that all women live by a ‘rape schedule.’ I was baffled by the term, but as she went on to explain, I got really freaked out. Because I realized that I knew exactly what she was talking about. And you do too. Because of their constant fear of rape (conscious or not), women do things throughout the day to protect themselves. Whether it’s carrying our keys in our hands as we walk home, locking our car doors as soon as we get in, or not walking down certain streets, we take precautions. While taking precautions is certainly not a bad idea, the fact that certain things women do are so ingrained into our daily routines is truly disturbing. It’s essentially like living in a prison - all the time. We can’t assume that we’re safe anywhere: not on the streets, not in our homes. And we’re so used to feeling unsafe that we don’t even see that there’s something seriously fucked up about it.” ~Jessica Valenti

As women, this is what we do. We have a "rape schedule". We rush to our homes before it gets dark, we take a man-friend along to places we have never been before, we ask our boyfriends or fathers to pick us up from the subway, we dress according to the place (not too tight, not too loose), we tend to avoid eye-contact with men, we are told to walk demurely, we are reminded again and again and again that we are women who are on a "rape schedule". And, whether we want it or not, we have accepted it.

We analyse the first man we talk to in a party- scan him, think a thousand times before saying hi. We do things that would probably help us not become rape victims. If we live in big cities, we ensure that we avoid all those dark alleys where "bad things" happen.

A lot many things. As women, we do a lot many things.

As women, then we are also told to believe in love, to meet men, to fall in love with someone, get married, have children, live life without fear.

It is a lot difficult than it seems, trust us.

We are scared. We are scared when we look at the men in our lives- our fathers, boy friends, husbands, sons. We see them when we sit together a watch a story on a woman who was raped in one of those dark alleys. We see how they react. We want to know what their stand is. We want to know whether they will stand up for those women as they stand for us. We try to talk to them about these issues, about womanhood, about rapes, about the elections, lest they become indifferent about these issues.

As women, we live in a constant fear.

So, let this be the last election when I am being told what rape means. Rape means rape. Rape victims are regular human beings as they were before they were raped. Some girls don't rape easy. Most rapists however, do. They rape easy.

Any party, any representative, if they want to win anything, take us- the women, in your support. You know, we will be there braving storms and earthquakes rooting for you just because you stood for us. We will be there dancing and crying our hearts out because you would do the same for us. We don't need empowerment through your policies or plans or schemes. We want acknowledgement for being women, for being half the population, for being us. We want respect, to be believed in, to be trusted with that we are more than just capable.

To put it in a simple way, you cannot tell me that I rape easy and expect me to vote for you.

That's all.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why We Think This Woman Is Amazing.

Sometimes it's amazing to see how some people handle criticism and come up with a response that is not just 'not attacking' towards the person who makes fun of you but at the same time the most beautiful response. It amazes to know how some people can be completely 'hate-less'. 

Follow this link and read the article to know what we're talking about.

"By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?" - Balpreet Kaur

Sunday, August 19, 2012


In this life, we meet so many people.

There a few who will let you rise. Then there are others who pull you down.

There are some who would want to fly with you but their fears would not let you.

Lastly, there are some who let you go.

You. Have. The. Power. To. Choose. The. Person. You. Want.

You deserve someone who makes you feel better about yourself. Not with manufactured lies but with the sole knowledge that you have a power within, untapped, undiscovered, unknown. That power, when it comes out, it shakes the roots of your existence, it brings together all of your self into one being. 


image source: thisiswhatimean

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I am Conflict.

I, recently started with my Masters program at one of the premier colleges for social work. 

On the very first day of our 9-day orientation program at college, our field director asked us to use this time to introspect upon our decision to choose social work. 

All of us thought, she was being arrogant. That she was wanting us to willfully leave because in her opinion none of us deserved to be here... to be in the field of social work. But, sure we were. Hadn't we prepared for months altogether to get in here? Hadn't we survived the interview sessions where our professors grilled us to our core? 

Sure, we deserve this! We deserve this and more. 

A couple of days before, another professor asked us to define conflict. We all had our own definitions. Some of us believed it to be a clash of ideas, of philosophies. Quite a few believed conflict to be the difference between needs and wants. When wants are more than can be satisfied- boom! there was a conflict in the making. I, for one, didn't have a definition. 

I am like that. I make my opinions later when all has been said and done. 

On the last day of our orientation program, we were taken for field visits- a  very important component of social work. 

There, we were, 96 of us, walking carefully on the mud-bathed roads of a thriving slum.  

It had been raining the day before and it will continue to rain for another couple of days. Flies burst out like shooting stars on a black night. People walked with conscious steps, skipping a puddle or two. Thatched roofs leaked in the merciless rains. Children ran and laughed, nonetheless. 

On another rainy day, as I sit and think about tomorrow, my tomorrow includes what dress I will be wearing, what classes I can bunk or attend, I am warm, protected, and blessed. 

I am blessed with the knowledge that I have a dream that I am working on. I am blessed because I have more than I need. 

But, how is it that we are so comfortable and warm even when it rains outside while for someone else, everything would be similar if not worse? How is it that I get a chance to better my life when someone births and dies without much promise?

I believe, this is conflict. 

If I get a chance, so should everyone else.

Maybe, I am conflict.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is It So Hard To Find Happiness?

Image Copyrighted
We bring to you our very first contributing writer Pritika Khera.

Of what we know of her, we could easily bet that she is a sunshine girl with the kind of vibes that make people happy if they are sad, happier if they are happy, and smile if they have forgot how to. She is the girl who loves bangles, dancing, and her friends. She is the person you would want to have around you because her cheerfulness is incredibly contagious. 

We leave you with her thoughts on happiness...

I have heard people say that happiness is hard to find, but is it really that hard….???

What is happiness? Maybe how we define this word is the answer.

Happiness is something that brings a sweet smile on your face. It is something that brings a tear in your eyes. It can be a snorting laughter or a sweet smile through blushing cheeks. Happiness is what we call Khushi in Hindi.

But, is it really that hard to find this Khushi?

I believe no. I believe finding it is as simple as the belief in God. If you believe in happiness no one in this whole wide world can make you sad.

And I found this answer today while coming back home from office in the same small RTV bus named 'Prateek' that I take from office everyday. I know it sounds like a guy’s name but no, it's the bus I travel in. Although I take this bus almost every evening but it was a special journey today. People who travel with me in the bus were also the same yet something was different.

May be the belief….The belief in happiness that I just talked about.

Yes, I could see that everywhere today. That happiness on everyone’s face. Be it the teenage girl sitting next to me smiling while talking to her boyfriend; a woman  sitting across from me who met her old friend after a long time; a group of old friends who were gossiping and giggling, filling the bus with sounds of laughter and positiveness all around; or the man on the last seat of the bus who swung left and right on every turn the bus took.

The best part of today’s journey was offering my seat to a  5-month pregnant lady . The charm and the glow that she had on her face was incomparable. Everyone seemed to be happy today as I wished to find that happiness even on this boiling and humid evening, because today I realized that I should believe in finding my happiness in the happiness of my loved ones or even strangers.

realized happiness is so simple to find in small things, things that may or may not be connected to us. It is we who decide what we want from life, how we want to spend this day which we call present, a gift.

And, at the end of my bus journey today, I must confess I noticed the bus’ namePRATEEK—meaning symbol, which too sounded funny to me. It made me smile once again.

You can spill your thoughts, advises, opinions, blunders, and wisdom on the pages of  Oh! Dear Giggles. Write to us at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

For Every Villain, There is Another One.

I read a news story on Yahoo News this morning. And the following is my reaction to it.

A village panchayat (a village council) in the Baghpat area of the state of Uttar Pradesh (India) has found an interesting way to tackle incidents of harassment of girls. 

It has issued an order that women below the age of 40 are barred from going to the market unescorted. (Because yes, there has never been an incident where a male escort was beaten up and the girl was raped; Because yes, the men in the villages don't need to go to work. All they need to do is take the women to the local market. However, if the men do need to go to work out of necessity, the women should be wise enough to know that they should lock themselves up. Because yes, women over 40 have never been raped. And mostly because, women do not deserve to have the right to free movement. Because women should be responsible mothers, daughters, daughters-in-law but they should never be treated like adults.) In a way, it's a good idea because anyways, the crowd in the marketplace will never come to the rescue of a girl who is being harassed. Why get ourselves into the mess for a random girl? It's not that she's someone I know. I'd rather discuss about the incident later with my kind of people over a cup of tea or while traveling in the metro. It's a good way to pass time. Oh, and you know what we can talk about: She was harassed!! Why did she go there alone? What time was it? She should have known better. Was her T-shirt too tight? She must have provoked him.

The Panchayat has also issued an order that people who would enter into a love marriage and people helping them do that will be ostracized from society. Great! Love is the reason for all the problems in the world. If we could only nip love in the bud, the world would be such a better place to live in.

And yes, who can forget about mobile phones. They've barred women from using mobile phones too because youngsters talk over mobile phones and fall in love. That's three in a row! Great job. (Because there is no right way to use a mobile phone. Because when you are actually harassed, when somebody is actually following you, a mobile phone that allows you to call up for help is the biggest evil. Ah, yes. An instrument. Not the follower. The biggest evil in today's world is technology and not the mind that has evil intentions.)

They say for every villain, there is a hero. Here, for every villain, there is another one. You don't get to see that often, do you?

Interestingly, the article on Yahoo ends with the line -- But the panchayat also decried the practice of dowry, calling it a punishable offence.

Dude, did you seriously think that was going to impress me? Oh, just in case, it wasn't clear- I am mad. Provoked. Furious.

PS: Personally, I do feel the need to have company when I need to go to a certain place but that is not because there is something vulnerable about me or something wrong about the place. But because of reasons so obvious. HOWEVER, it would be better if a need like that did not exist at all. If, men like that did not exist at all. Why should I be locked up, reach home by 8, and completely vanish from the streets while the perpetrators can roam around the city freely at any hour of the day without any fear for their bodies or for fear of being punished for their wrongdoings?

Oh, why do I need to be out after 8? None of your business. Just like my body. None of your business. If you can't help me when I am being harassed, if you don't have the balls to question the perpetrator for his actions, if you tell me "Maana ladke kutte hote hai, magar har ladki ko toh nahi chedte. Tumne hi kuch kara hoga" (Though guys are dogs but they don't mess with every girl, you must have done something to provoke them), then I am gonna KICK YOUR A**.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Remember: 25 Years.

I remember not feeling a tinge of loss... because I got everything I asked for. The little he-man action figure still lies in one of the boxes in our garage, sitting silently, pock-marked with scars- his attempt to achieve glory and sacrifice for his country. 

I remember watching the sunsets from the window... sitting compactly on the windowsill- the colors changing from yellow to orange to red... a faint violet rising and pfft... then gone. 

I remember mother calling after us for doing our homework, her shrill yet tender voice beckoning us before the impending night. The pressure cooker releases its withheld steam- one whistle at a time. My mother's anklets jingling... as she walks from one room to another tending to one child and then another. Her silhouette barely visible in the kitchen and yet her presence marked clear. There is mother, wearing a loose pigtail- her black hairs soaked into her skin.     

I remember watching my father walking silently up the stairs, head bowed, shoulders taut, legs a little slow than the day before- another day gone, another day of his youth taken away for his family, his children. Another day added to his countless home comings. Another day when his daughters waited for him at the door, smiling, hands stretched out. Chocolates? Candies? And, there always was. 

I remember the steamy summer nights in a small, upcoming city, drenched in the pathos of religious differences, in the throes of pathetic casteism. The heat rising above the salty Ganges, its waters laid there to be tested for ages. Before and after. 

I remember my parents taking turn in the nights when there were power cuts. A single tattered hand-fan making a chapping sound. We pretended to sleep having woken up a moment after the power cut. The fan taking its rounds as my parents shifted and stirred. 

I remember believing in parents never getting old.  

But, in the fall of 2008, when I turned 20, my father turned 46 and my mother turned 44.

Silent wisps of  silver hair appearing overnight. Getting up early a little too difficult. And, sleeping at a night a little more welcome. The robustness of my father a little too invisible. The shrillness of my mother's voice a little too dull.  

I remember 2009 when our world was still fresh with hope and beliefs.   

I remember 2010 when suddenly we flourished.

I remember 2011 when things fell apart. Lost, found. 

I will remember this moment as they sit and watch another rerun on television. My father in his shorts riding up to his knees, squinting into the flat screen. My mother in her maxi, her hair- still black, reaching up to her waist. 

Together. Like they had been doing for so many years.
For 25 years. 

The very secret of life for me was to maintain in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquility. I had picked a life that dealt with excitement, tragedy, mass calamities, human triumphs and suffering. To throw my whole self into recording and attempting to understand these things, I needed an inner serenity as a kind of balance.” - Margaret Bourke White


“I remember…” Writing Me series!, Bigger Picture Blogs. You can catch up with the best lot of writers here. Bigger Picture Blogs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

birthdays and siblings...

Over the weekend my brother celebrated his 29th birthday. When my son asked him "how old are you?" my brother smiled and replied "not as old as your mom!"

Which is true. 

We are 21 months apart. He is the youngest, I am the oldest. My children adore him. They ask almost daily "when can Uncle Toby come over?" "what do you think Uncle Toby is doing right now?" "Uncle Toby is my best friend..."

When he visits they dive bomb him with show and tell and questions and watch this and watch me and talk to me and listen to this and oh did you know... 

I think he kind of loves it. 

But the other day I had to say "he's MY brother. I want to talk to him!" and then I thought it'd be a great teaching moment to talk about how we are siblings, and my two are siblings, and we get along, so maybe they should see that... oy. It went all wrong and we ended up laughing because I was making no sense. 

I want them to have what we have. 

We were best friends growing up. Confidants. Playmates. Yes, I might have tried to sell him a rock from our gravel walkway for his only two dollars... but mostly we got on just fine. I remember conspiring to stay up all night in sleeping bags on Christmas Eve, only to fall asleep just as I'm sure things got interesting around the Christmas tree. Riding bikes together to the library across town. Adventures when I started driving and we could go off the two of us for real. We crossed a state line and laughed like crazy, wondering what mom and dad would think. We were always in cahoots. 

This is the summer of getting along for my children. They are 5 and almost 3 {21 months apart...} and can spend hours either playing together seamlessly or they spend the day at each other poking and taunting and driving each other mad. 

I remember having those crazy at each others throats days with my brother as well... but they were the minority. 

But then, I don't really remember when I was 5 and he was 3. There's probably a reason for that. 

Watching my kids and their relationship unfold is fascinating. Complicated. And utterly silly and hopeful. 

{and now... I have to cut this short to end a stomping screaming match of wills upstairs.... oh yes there's a reason why we have selective memories from childhood!!}

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rain is a Beautiful Thing

A couple of days ago, the city experienced the first rain of the Monsoon season this year. The weather is still rainy. It's a good feeling. 

The kind of heat that the city of Delhi faces during its summers cannot be cooled by the air conditioners at homes or in cars, or by ice creams or water parks. The city needs to drench. It needs to soak its sun-tanned feet in the rain water. In moments when needed, rain is a beautiful thing. 


I was out, without an umbrella, when it rained a couple of days ago. Like everybody else, I rushed towards the metro station that evening. While I was rushing, I noticed a few cliche rainy day scenes.

People hurrying to find a place under the roof of the near-by bus stop. 

Fruit-sellers hurriedly wrapping their fruit baskets. 

A guy running past me.

Cars splashing muddy water as the drivers drove through puddles. 

This was not how I was going to experience the first rain of the season. I slowed down. I decided I was going to enjoy it. Though I knew I could not spread my arms, look up at the dark sky to feel the raindrops on my face, and sing or laugh in the middle of road. But I did not want to rush anymore. Because the rain did not annoy me. Because the cool breeze did not make me lose my mind. I had always been somebody who enjoyed rains and I wanted to continue to be that somebody. 

The best thing about rains is that they bring a smile on your face and you don't mind the cool breeze tangle your hair. And because suddenly romance is on your mind, all you start to wish for is for that one person to be there with you; to walk hand in hand in the rain, or to find a shelter together and giggle all the time until the rain stops. 

Rain makes me feel like I am beautiful.

Like I am relaxed.

Like I am happy.

Like there is somebody right out there for each one of us.

Like it's Paris or Rome. Because love is always in the air when it rains. 

Weekend Wishes.


Happy weekend.

What are your plans this weekend?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Missed Home.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.- Maya Angelou

The sojourn is over. It was exhausting. Contemplative. Confusing. A hurt on the ego.

But, the good thing is that it is over. 

I missed home. 

I missed the compress of my bed's mattress- its conformed, subtle, honest stability. 

I missed the knowledge of my room- how I know every corner of it, how I could point out at an object in its very place. I missed the comfort of the settled dust that seems to crop up every night, gathers up a little more. I missed the familiar pattern of the dancing motes in the single ray of sunshine that enters our drawing room. 

How every fallen hair gathers itself among its compadres in one corner, putting on solidarity, mustering more courage.

Or, how every little act transforms itself into a self-composed display of synchronicity.

I dwell on these things when I am away. I dwell on the little glow-in-the-dark stars that line my bedroom ceiling. How they stay there pointing to me a simple, well-guarded fact that here is now. In this place, in this moment, in this time, in this person- that is me.

Above is the shuffling of the last furniture that finally finds a place in a home.

Below is the rustic familiarity of an alien home, one could never relate to.

On nights such as these, I wait and watch. I wait for a tear to creep its way because this missing makes me want to hold on to everything that composes my life. And, I watch everything that surrounds me- every little book in its place, every furniture stuck in time and memory, every person- the same as before.

It is not so much that I love everything about this place- this little shack of a place that we have come to acknowledge as our home. But, it is more of the feeling of lack of origin... when I am away.

No one else's bed could have the right amount of bounce.

It is as simple as that.

No one else's home could have the exact wall patches that have formed in my room over the years.

Some things just belong to us. And, we belong in some things.

No wonder, I missed home.

Friday, June 29, 2012

People. Just people.

Sometimes I think people forget that other people are just like them. Human. People. With stories and hearts and hurts and reasons. 

All of us. We're just people. 

I wonder if we'd relate to each other better if we remembered that. Instead of looking at each other as walking agendas, or time bombs, or obstacles. 

Recently I read Bob Goff's beautiful book, Love Does. It's one of those books that I might never lend out. Not because I wouldn't recommend it, but because I want to keep it within eye site at all times because it reminds me that people are people. And that there is good. And love, well, it does. 

In one of my favorite chapters, Goff tells the story of how his children wrote to world leaders and asked for a chat. A visit. It was post 9/11 and he had asked his three kids "...what would you ask them [the world leaders] to help make sense of life, faith, hope, and the events that are unfolding around them?" and his children responded 1. invite them over 2. ask what they were hoping for 3. if they wouldn't come for a visit, could we meet with them and do an interview to capture answers from question #2. 

So they wrote letters to all the world leaders, sent them off, and then started getting responses. And they went to visit world leaders. Bob Goff and his wife and three kids. A world road trip of sorts.

As people. 

{this story is much better told in Love Does. I'm summarizing, and can't help but share the story, but it is really worth the read. As is the rest of his book!! I bought the book myself... no one told me to write these words...}

Goff writes:

"Now, if the leaders were talking to grown-ups like me, they would talk about boring things like having more jobs, gross domestic product, better schools, and more roads. You know, the kind of stuff crafted for public consumption. But they weren't talking to me they were talking to our kids. Sweet Maria and I were just roadies carrying the cameras.
What would happen more often than not is that the kids would begin in an official reception room and have an official meeting with the leader. But then the leaders would realize these were just kids who had no agenda other than to be friends and they would invite us back to their private offices where they could just talk as friends. The kids would ask questions about the leaders' families, how they got into public service, and what their hopes were for the future. The Leaders would talk about their children and grandchildren, what they were doing when they were our kids' ages, and their dreams of friendship between people from our two countries."

People. Talking. Listening. 

I wish we could all keep that child like naivete that understands that there are important things to discuss, but that the most important things in life, like family, our hopes and dreams, are what bind us all together. And ask about those things. Not just the stuffy political stuff that - yes - matters... but we speak with compassion when we understand and remember that we each have hearts. We're just people. 

My favorite quote from the chapter, maybe even the whole book is,  "I want to live in a new normal where I can reach out to people who are different from me and just be friends."

Yes. Let's make that the new norm. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Child Brides of India.

It is May 2012.

The heat reflects off the untarred roads creating simmering images of the infamous Indian summers.

42 degrees. 43 degrees. 44 degrees.

You can have a safe bet on the temperature unlike the rupee, unlike the country's economy, unlike the country's GDP. It will never fail you.

In this heat, a cooler buzzes in a one-room house in the Shakurpur Basti. Occasionally, a goods train passes by while passengers wait for their locals. In this basti, I meet three women- all the faces of a common woman of India. Dressed in sarees as is still the tradition, their foreheads beautifully decorated with the symbolic bindi, they are mothers to little children, they are the wives to the men who remain out of their homes working, bringing whatever they can. There is another thread that ties these women together, I realize as I step out of one house and enter the other.

There were all child brides.

No fathers were punished. No grooms were punished. Nothing was reported.

No history comes out to haunt you even when you have committed a crime. No enquiries called for even when the brides shyly tell you that they were married off when they were 15 or 16 or 17. No one is accounted for.

Except for the bride.

Of course, some are happily married, as they say.

But, some of them, they have a little voice that hesitates when they talk about their marriage. It could be anything… and yet.

And, this is Delhi, the country’s capital that I am talking about.

I wonder what happens when a child is married off- what circumstances surround her, what people tell her about marriage. I fall in the "lucky women" category and for the most part of the rest of my life, I will fall in that category as will my daughters.

India will celebrate its 65 years of independence from Britishers. 15th of August will be another day when the schools will be off, offices will be closed, another speech by our Prime Minister, and another day come and gone. God knows, we still have lots to be freed from. Freedom from Britishers, comparatively, looks easy.

Yes! Our forefathers, the creators of independent India thought about us- their progeny. They thought about how we will live in an independent country, and they thought about what we will have to our discourse. They raided the constitutions of the developed worlds to write a Constitution of our own- a remarkable achievement, a symbol of pride, a heritage.

India, though, still continues to struggle with child marriages.

India- A country where more than one-thirds of all the world’s child brides live. 

India- A country where marriage is celebrated for what it is- an occasion to rejoice, a union of two souls into one, even if the bride is 16 and the groom 18. Even if the bride is 12 and the groom is 14. Even if the bride is 13 and the groom 18. Even if the bride is 17 and the groom is 30.

India- A developing country.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cozy Weekend Wishes.


Tonight, I plan on having such an awesome night, Morgan Freeman should narrate it. -Unknown

What are you guys doing on your weekend?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Letter to My Future Daughter- YOLO & Other Things

Hi baby,

The past couple of days have been plain tired. 

But, I feel so much better tonight. I am starting with my 18th book for this year. I just had my cup of green tea. It is helping me to cope better. I have a calmer head today. I went to the library. I meditated. They helped me, these things. 

I guess, my life is composed of such moments. 

Such as having an ice cream at the least expected hour. 

Singing without hesitations. 

Sending wishes to people. 

And, just being. 


I like this moment, when I have epiphanies hitting me like the first falling snow. It is like the little droplets of rain, which brush against your skin without hurting you, without offending you, just letting you know of their presence. 

It is like reading a good book- where you cry when your heroine cries, or laugh your heart out when something funny happens. It is like getting lost in a few words and reading them over and over and memorizing them because you know that those few words have changed your world already. 

Now, as this night ends and I know that I have knowingly shut myself from everyone, I feel like I am at peace. I am out of expectations, out of wants, and out of wanting to impress upon anyone. I am just me tonight. 

It is alright that I have tied my hair in a bun, crossing my legs, and writing everything that comes to my mind.  It is alright that I don't have to put on makeup, or my best clothes. I wear my most comfortable dresses, a pair of shorts, and my glasses. It is so much easy like this.  

I wish we brought ourselves to this kind of a moment whenever we wanted it. 

As we grow up, we lose so much. Trust me. It is a treasure if you can muster your courage to be silly even when you are twenty. I wish you never ever lose your inner kid. I hope that you can still enjoy jumping into a puddle when you see one. I hope you still like ice lollies when you are eighteen. I hope you still love to sing at the top of your voice even if they say you don't have a singing voice. I hope you can still snuggle in your bed in your pajamas, tousled hair, and yet enjoy yourself in every single moment you create. 

In the end, it is your life... your only chance to claim it, live it fully, love it fully...... (YOLO- as they call it these days)

Just be yourself.

Just that. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Advice Column: Tina L. Hook

Guest Advice Column is the place where we will bring people who are an inspiration to us and who have something to share with our crowd. This is the place where they offer tips, advices, and ways to let us keep swimming towards our dreams. 

And, today we bring to you our very first guest Tina L. Hook in our Guest Advice Column. (Boy! are we excited!!!)

Picture Used with Permission from Tina L. Hook
-Image Courtesy of Tina L. Hook

Tina is a generous writer, a great support, and a perfect blogger friend. She has got her first book published- Enchanted by Starlight. If that title doesn't make it alluring, we don't know what does! We asked Tina to share with us her experience as an author- how she managed to stay sane during those grueling months of writing and then later on publishing. 

Tina is one of those people who write with a sense of alacrity, rendering her readers with a vivid and live experience of her characters. We still remember her Disappearing Girl- a piece, which we go back to whenever we are struggling with words.   

We leave you with this amazing person and author. 

And, don't forget...

Enchanted by Starlight is now available on Amazon. In stores in July.

She also writes at (Fl) Girl with a New Life.

She is also available on Twitter and Facebook.
Writer for Life. My Best Advice. 

When Rathi asked me to write this post I was thrilled, and not because I deem myself to be anyone of great importance, because I don’t. Rather, I was thrilled because Rathi is an important part of my online writing community. I care about her words, and about the vulnerable soul she manages to express through them. I look forward to her comments on my blog each month, and savor the moments when she is inspired by what I have to offer. Rathi is part of the tribe that cheers me on and motivates me to keep writing, and that is something every writer needs.

"Solitude, competitiveness and grief are the unavoidable lot of a writer only when there is no organization or network to which she can turn."—Toni Morrison

When I think about the engine that powers me through my writing I often come back to this quote from Toni Morrison. While it is true that writing is a solitary act, it can be difficult to impossible to navigate it alone for the long haul. If you want to turn your writing into a life long pursuit, this is my greatest advice to you. Build a community.

Whether your writing tribe is an online community of many or an in-person group of two, writers benefit from the support of other writers. We hold each other accountable. We inspire one another to keep going.  When our own passions dim with self doubt, which they will, we can lean on the enthusiasm of our tribe to buoy us up again. And when the day comes when your work goes out live to the world, your writing community will be the first to devour it, celebrate it, and pass it along to their friends.

I should add here that building a writerly community is not a piece of cake. Creative people are sensitive creatures, and we don’t always react well to critique, even when it’s constructive. Add to that, we don’t always know how to deliver critiques in the way that they need to be heard—with gentle consideration. At times, unfortunately, we measure the success of another as a measure of our own inadequacy. For these reasons the members of your tribe will come and go. Some will come back and others never will. Don’t allow this to discourage you. Wish them well and continue your work.

Being as that we humans are insecure, we sometimes flock to groups where our work will be more easily praised instead of challenged, and wilt from writers we presume to be better than us. I say do the opposite. Embrace as many great writers as possible; they will become your mentors. Support the dreams of the fellow writers in your tribe, and they will return the favor.

Picture Used with Permission from Tina L. Hook
-Image Courtesy of Tina L. Hook

An excerpt from Enchanted by Starlight.


My name is Grace.  Tomorrow is my wedding day.

Staring across the dark waters of the Gulf, I am uncertain.  I am exhausted and hopeful.  I am both completely in love and irreparably heartbroken.

After these long months attending to the minutia, the black and white stationery, the elegant table settings, the tropical flowers, the chocolate dessert course—I suddenly find myself detached from it completely and, now, with the night sky rising up around me, I have surrendered myself to the deeper implications.  I am standing in the moment that has defined my life.  I am finally here and yet so much has been lost.

It was a delicious ache that lured me from my bed tonight, drawing me out beneath the cobweb of stars.  Liam’s memory teases me, calling from the water’s edge as if he might materialize there, simply by my wanting him to.  I thought for sure I had pushed him so far back into my mind that I had forced him away for good.  Still, as much as he has denied me, as much as I have refused my heart, it seems he is determined to make an impression on this day.  Agonizing really, how enduring love can be.  Even after you have packed it up and put it away, it is still there—always there, yellowing around the edges and begging you to turn its pages again.

Ask Tina your questions in our comments section.