2013 in review

Like game changing politics, balance of power and the theory of games, a year is a time in the life of a country, society or individual where things changes swiftly. 2013 'was' one such year where I faced flak, disappointment, defeat, unexpected twists, small victories, financial crunch and what's not. The year that soon going to be history was an eventful one where I had struggled to find a feet for my own self, stayed at home more-six months-than I worked. There were the ups and downs. Every dark cloud has its silver linings as I am focusing on the bad, good and degree of awesomeness. It's just that it was a year where things fell out of place, every initiative that I took fell flat on my face and failed miserably. But, the ups was that I made so many wonderful friends on the blogging space, connecting with so many on social networking platforms, reviewed a book for a friend, wrote column for a Yemen based newspaper on India's Republic Day, participated as a guest blogger, was introduced to the amazing writing platform called writetribe.com and, as the year is ending, I have written a piece on Nirbhaya for the women special issue for the Indian magazine in Dubai, The Indian Trumpet. So, I guess the year is ending on the right note. Nevertheless, I must admit that I was deprived of a hat trick in 2013 after two wonderful and super awesome years, 2011 and 2012. I was deprived of my holidays, was out of work and disappointment loomed large as I made a pale figure. 2013 was certainly not for me as I fell short of expectations. I shall focus on the high and lows of the year 2013. I so wanna the year to get over.

The Lows
1. Crashing of dream
It was the biggest blow I was dealt with as my boss informed on the phone that the company decided to close our newspaper. My world crashed and I felt that a dream spanning over almost three years came to an end. It was not just a job for me but a dream and unwavering faith in a good product as there was the feeling that we owned the product. It was our product and not just a job. Some dreams were not meant to be but there was a sense of satisfaction since the editorial team, journalists and our chief editor did a fab job. It's just that some people at the top didn't realize the management failure. I was shifted to another department but choose to live on basis of principles and the fact that I will not grow as a professional.

2. Financial woes
Job hai toh honey hai! It sounds true and one thing led to the other as the financial woes came back to haunt my very existence. I have a pending loan, Easy Money Installment on a super expensive handset and Ipad as well as a mounting credit card that I wasn't able to settle. I was hounded by the debtors with the constant nagging on phone and, at some point, mom stepped in to help me to a certain extent. Thankfully, I got a temporary job in October which I am doing to sort out the financial mess and some of the debts are still on my trail. But, I am on my way.

3. Fighting against the self
The six months I stayed at home was the most difficult and trying times of my life in 2013 where absolutely nothing was going right. I was fighting with myself where every endeavor met with failure. I felt that I was a failure and the world was no longer was my oyster. There have been instances in the past where I was out of job for a period of three months but I held my might where nothing affected me. But, not this time. I crumbled and my moral was sapped. I was no longer this strong guy who would surmount all possible obstacles that came on my way. I didn't know which door to knock and, if it hadn't been for my close friends, mom and online friends on blog and Facebook whom I never met, I would have suffered a break down. I love you my online friends.

The Highs
1. Interviews
As a journalist, I love doing interviews and the feature interviews of Asseem Chauhan vice chancellor of Amity University and Indie Pop Singer Shibani Kashyap ensured that I was on a roll. Certainly, both interviews ensured that I was on a roll and rocked like a King. I called myself, 'The King of Interviews' and my work made me proud of who I am. I worked hard for that.

2. Writing is thy world
Blogging has never been that fulfilling for me and Corinne Rodrigues 'Write Tribe' made sure that I got a platform as a writer where my skills and blog got so much praise. I also reached out to several blogs as part of the writing festivals and prompts which I enjoyed reading. I connected with so many bloggers acr0ss the world and learned so much. My blogs gained recognition and the shouts on my wordpress is testimony to that. It's such an 'ahaa' feeling.

3. Friends
Through the blog and Facebook, I made so many great and super awesome friends, so many of you whom I never met are on my FB and Google chat, we chat regularly and today, we are the best of friends. We not only connected with each other but strengthened our bond of friendships. Today, I vouch that I value my online friends more than the people I know personally and blood relations, for that matter. You guys are my support system and I am happy we met. You gals and guyz made the sweet moments in 2013 truly memorable.

4. Blog Awards
I got so many blog awards from you guys and Soumya nominated me first, Tazein gave me quite a bunch of awards, Megha joined the list and so many of you guys. I rocked on the blogging space and there are some awards that I am yet to accept. It's been great so far.

5. Recognition as a writer
As a writer and journalist, a friend and chief editor of Yemen Times, Fakhri Al Arashi whom I met in the IORARC now IORA conference in Gurgaon asked me to do a guest column for India's Republic Day. It set the pace for many more things as I did a review of the wonderful book of my very dear friend, Soumya Vilekar and Shaheen Dhanji 'Suroor of the Soul' which is an amazing book of poems. The review can be found here on http://suroorofthesoul.weebly.com/book-review.html. I also did a guest blog for http://thewhitescape.wordpress.com. Finally, my dear friend Garima Srivastav Nag who runs sweet sharing requested me to pen something on 'Is Bollywood Corrupting Young Minds?' and my take can be found here, http://www.sweetsharing.com/passing-buck-movies-answer.

6. Freelancing and blowing the trumpet louder and louder
Finally, I am a freelance for the Indian based magazine in Dubai, theindiantrumpet.com which is all about India. I am very proud to be part of the mag and proud to announce that my piece on the Nirbhaya rape case has gone live today. It's the best moment of the year on December 29 and not bad, na, to end the year on a high note, isn't it?! It is a matter of pride to be tooting happily and blowing the trumpet.
Life is made of ups and downs. If, on one hand, I suffered unexpected setback both professionally and personally, on the other hand, 2013 had much offer in terms of friendship and life as a blogger. Yeah, the blog now has a Facebook page. There has been plenty of awards, recognition and I can look forward to an exciting 2014 where I am looking to explore new horizons and discover my self as a person.
Wishing all of you a very belated Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year 2014. I wish to take our relations to a new high, cement our bond and plenty of happiness, health and wealth.
With Love

Homophobia, Human Rights and Indian Culture: Myth and Reality

Chapter XVI, Section 377 dating back to 1861 during the British Raj criminalizes sexual activities, men having sex with men, women having sex with women or both, "against the order of nature."

Indian Penal Code:
" Unnatural offences.-- Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of naturewith any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[ imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section."--Chapter XVI,Indian Penal code, Section 377

 Constitution of India:
"No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law." The rights to life and personal liberty are inherent in human beings and the Constitution does not confer them on persons. Article 21, thus, seeks to protect these inherent rights by prohibiting the State or any person from depriving a person of the right to life or personal liberty except in accordance with a procedure established by law.--Article 21, Constitution of India

Let's move over the legal technicalities of both laws, Section 377 is an archaic and retrograde law dating to the Raj Era while Section 21 protects human rights in line with the Constitution of India. Sadly so, the Supreme Court Judgement on December 11 which is a retrograde in nature and archaic has upheld section 377 that makes love between gay couples illegal and, in the same vein, overturn the landmark judgement delivered by the Delhi High Court judgement of 2009 which legalized homosexual acts among consenting adults. Certainly, December 11 is a black day for human rights.

It is revolting that we are living in 2013 and a legal stamp has been splashed on a law dating back to 1861 that makes gay sex and love illegal. The December 11 judgement is ironic since, on one hand, we term gay sex as illegal and, on the other hand, our constitution guarantee the protection of personal freedom and ensures the right to life and personal liberty. Are the learned judges saying that article 21 is illegal? Or is that, the court and police will come and arrest people who make love within the confines of the house, albeit, bedroom? 
Let's take a common example. I am heterosexual and, if tomorrow, I decide to have a homosexual experience with a partner in a hotel room or within the confine of my bedroom, will the police come and arrest me? If yes, on what basis? For making love. Isn't it ridiculous?!
The judgement treats homosexuals as criminals and it means that two men or women having a physical and intimate relations will be arrested based on their sexual inclination. It seems that we are back to the stone age when two consenting adults making love to each other are labelled as criminals. I don't understand how same sex love can be brandished as illegal and criminal activities considering that they are not killing or raping anyone. Let's face it: The judgment emanates from homophobia sparking violence and hatred against people with different sexual orientation. What hurts the most is when someone raping a girl is let off on account that the person is a juvenile at the time, the crime was committed but we declare homosexuality or love making as a crime. Love is love and doesn't matter if it's heterosexual or homosexual love.

 The SC judgement has missed the cue. It's not about sex or thrilling experience among men and women just for the sake of it. Activists campaigning for the legalizing of homosexuality and, ultimately, same-sex marriage want a society free of discrimination and where human rights are respected. Some people are putting too much emphasis on the whole heterosexual and homosexual debate which is ridiculous, according to me. There are several instances where gay people are discriminated against and they are scorned upon in society in instances where they want to file a police complaint on account of harassment or violence against them. This is just one example but there are cases where their partner indulge in violence against them. I mean where do they go to ensure that their rights as human beings are respected with the archaic and retrograde Section 377? The victims become the perpetrators of a crime that was never committed in the first place existed. This is simply ridiculous.
As far as terming gay sex as unnatural, I just want to ask how does one defined natural sex? In that sense, even masturbation or kissing between a man and women should be considered to be a criminal act or an un-natural act.

The book of love or sexual guide, Kamasutra describes independent women who frequent their own kind or others as Svairini, the liberated women, who refuses a husband. In the same Kamasutra, Svarini is also described as a women with no sexual bars, makes love with her own kind and strokes her partner at the point of union which she kisses. ( Jayamangala on Kama Sutra 2.8.13). Therefore, the issue of unnatural sex doesn't arise at all and it is, in fact, a blurred definition of what constitutes natural sex.
The ninth chapter of Kamasutra alludes to Tritya-Prakriti (third sex)  who are emotionally attached to another and who eventually marry as well as men with masculine and feminine leaning who love each other. Such relationships between men and women involves love and trust. Therefore, the argument that homosexuality is unnatural and it is a West import doesn't holds ground at all and is a ridiculous argument to contend with. It is a fact that sex as an emotion and unifying factor to express love has always been part of the Indian culture as early as the fourth century and those belonging the homophobia should visit the Khajuraho temple which will remind them that they are living in constant denial. In short, homosexuality is described as an art form of love making and there is nothing that says it is alien to Indian culture and it has always been ingrained in India since times immemorial. Moreover, Rig Veda which exist since 1500 depicts sexual acts between women as revelations of feminine world where sexuality was based on pleasure and fertility.
As a heterosexual, I respect the rights of homosexuals to love and live their life on their own terms. Our scripts and sculptures have always recognized the rights of same-sex people to indulge in sexual pleasures based on trust and love. Homosexuals doesn't bite and it is a big human tragedy to prevent people from loving each other and treat them as criminals in society. It is not just about sex or erotic pleasure for that matter, but a recognition of the rights of LGBT as human beings who have the right to love and life in society as human beings alongside any other ordinary morals. The logic is simple: If we are perpetuating discrimination against homosexuals, it is the same as discriminating against a person on account of ethnicity, race or sex.

India is considered to be the biggest democracy in the world and the Government and opposition should cast aside their political differences to come out with a legislation that will repeal section 377 that discriminates against human beings on account of their sexual orientation. One cannot accept an outdated and archaic law that spark hatred against human beings. We are living in 2013 and we will soon usher in a brand new year where we must celebrate human beings as unique individuals and not necessarily as men, women, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husband or wives. It is the biggest tragedy on earth to devoid someone of their rights as human beings.

Make Love Not War


Celebrating 3+ Years on Blogspot

Who has the nerve to forget birthday celebration on the blogosphere? Well! I did and the birthday came and busted like balloons out of thin air as the memory suffered a momentary collapse. The blog was born on November 22, 2010 and it's been three wonderful and memorable years since new kid on the block was born. As they say, better late than never! So, please join me as we raise the toast with the glass of wine to celebrate vishal-newkidontheblock.blogspot.com that turns three this year.

At that time, I was blogging on wordpress.com and looking at the awe-inspiring, super cool and sexy blogs on blogspot, I was toying with the idea of starting something youth and jazzy for the young gen. I wanted the blog to connect with gen X and speak our language, the language of the youth. It took me one whole year since I wanted to zero on a name that would struck a chord, a kinda youth anthem. On November 22, new kid on the block was born and, today, it's post number 303 that find its way on the special birthday.
Short stories, poems, venting out, ranting and what's not found its way on the block. We all learn as we blog and there were innumerable mistakes since I am a lazy bum and didn't bother to check typos, spells and grammatical mistakes. I wrote about movies, heroines, feature blogging, memoir in Mumbai and writing challenges. It's been a beautiful journey where I met so many beautiful blogger who write awesome stuffs and connected at a soulful level with so many of us. Today, I follow so many on blog spot and have quite a few followers, made great friends with fellas I have never met and with whom I share so much about life. It's all about dreams, fulfilling of inspirations, sharing stuffs and cute things. This is one blog where I can be myself without being judged by anybody and I not only appreciate but love the feedback received. Folks! It can only motivate me to write better and churn out original stuffs. What I love on blogspot are the various images and animations that one can create to make it super cool and colorful.

It doesn't go without saying that SEPO has been a motivation and an inspiration so that I don't shut the blog since at one time, I was toying with the idea. Here is one chick who got the patience and love to write beautiful stuffs..here is the result, the blog has been there for three years where I learned so much from my beautiful friend with a heart of gold, SEPO. Shez been a very loyal follower of this blog and, thank you, SEPO.
In the process, I met so many awesome bloggers and some of you, decided to shut your blogs. Dunno why! I so want you guys and gals to be back on the space where we express ourselves freely and learn from each other. I wouldn't say, Such A Long Journey but it's been an adventurous one. 
I love writing the column stuff where I express myself on issues such as Indian Politics, corruption as well as burning topics such as sexuality, status of women in society. However, let me tell you that new kid is not departing from its sole intent, its reason for being, i.e, writing about the youth and the stuffs they face, identity crisis, relationships, love, eroticism, sex and what matters.
Thanks a ton, fellas, for believing in new kid on the block and making it sustain for 3+ years. Looking forward for blissful years ahead and together we rock.
Lotsa Love


X-Mas wish list, oh! Santa Claus

Hey Santa Claus,
I've been a superbly cute and good boy this year..I mean, you know-it-all, right?! But, just feeling like telling you and reminding you in case you feign ignorance..I know, I know, you have showered me with love and unexpected surprises during the past two years, but, this year. you seemed to tell that I can'g get everything perfect and right. Well, it's just that I've been denied a hat-trick and was denied a sixer a la Sachin..I know! I know! You've bestowed upon me gifts, unexpected twists in the tale and surprised gifts. It's just that I fell short of expectations that came crashing on the floor but, Santa dear, you've also showered me with some love and blessing.
Okie! I just cut the crap of whining of what's not and come soon coz I wanna you to surprise me with lovely gifts and an amazing life full of happiness,love and, of course, the moolah. Here'z my X-mas list this season and be good, grand old' opps sorry! young at heart Santa Claus.

X-Mas List
1. Settle my credit card
Paisa hai to honey hai!! Santa Claus. you know it..ahem! ahem! I hate to admit it that I have a huge balance running for a year on the credit card and, this season, show me some love and settle the pending queue on the card. Okie! I gonna close ma eyes till 25 December till you sort out ma card.

2. Pending Loan
Dear dear, Santa Claus! I gonna polish my shoes, keep my room neat and clean, make my bed every day..promise promise promise..pakka nakki...kuchi pakki..i wanna be a good boy and rocking..bring some miracle coz I wanna finish off my loan in 2014. It is a big burden on my small head and Santa sow the seed for a money tree which I can pick up like mango and give back to the bank.

3. Holiday
Moolah..moolah..moolah..i wanna rake the moolah so that I can afford a yearly holiday, sipping beer in Goa..see, I was deprived of ma holiday and I'm dying of envy this year coz during the past two years, I enjoyed holiday. Bring some stars when you come and create some magic so that in 2014, I gonna rock and afford my holiday in India.

4. Relocating in the desert
I am dying to relocate in the desert of Dubai for work and for better opportunities in Dubai. Grant my wish Santa Claus..okie, I know you are Santa Claus and not the genie but dying to be in the Sheikh Land and lazing in the Arab desert..this is what I am dying for. So, grant me my Dubai wish in 2014.

5. New Job
I am looking forward to an awesome 2014 with a better job, better pay and fantabulous perk..surprise me Santa Claus and you gotta open the Pandora box for me..I can't wait to have the super awesome job...coz I don't wanna stuck in a rut..see it's not too much too ask and I'm sure u gotta help me bounce back.

6. Novel, my novel
Santa! Oh! Santa Claus! I know I gotta pull my sock since I am a lazy bum..bring motivation and inspiration in huge package so that I push myself to write my rom-com novel. I can't wait to see my name on the shelf of Indian authors at Landmarks and Crossword..why do I keep postponing my book project?! ahem! ahem!
Spread the cheers and make the world a better place for us, humans, to live in peace and happiness. See! Santa Claus! I am not just asking for myself but the whole world. It is not too much to ask for. Come fast, Santa and can't wait for you to make my life bigger and more beautiful.

Merry X-mas


Alchemy of 'sexual desires', sex fest, laceration for Tejpal aka Tehelka lies

Feeling impelled to atone..lacerate me..sexual liaison on two occasions..political conspiracy and consensual sex sums up the Alchemy of Desire...It's like the new smart phone with touch point as the man has been finally arrested in Goa. Speak about Think Fest and what a fest it's been with Tarun Tejpal's usage of various adjectives, each in conflict with each other.
Tejpal's somersault will go in the book of history as an entire bundle of contradiction and his own legal definition of okie..lemme take a six months break for attempt to rape a young woman of the age of my daughter. Guess, the makers of jail break will get a complex now and the man who spent the whole day at the police station in a bid to avoid arrest make matter laughable. Oh! Finally! That's been a proper reaction as Tejpal's drama is brought to an end. Retributive justice to the victim? Not really!
The poor girl must be prepared to a slew of personal attacks, casting aspersions on her character what with chilling to the beach and partying. Courtesy, Tejpal's lawyer. It's another matter that they have been rebuked in the court of law for the sex banter, read, consensual. Oh! Really! Mr Tejpal! You will go to any extent in maligning the girl's character by putting a charade and indulging in self-victimization. Looks like you are on your way to become another Asaram Bapu in your quest for alchemy of spiritual 'sexual' desires.
Tarun Tejpal has so far failed to zip his pants as his two piece keep falling down his toes at the sight of a very young girl. Do you drink Black Dog? Reminds me of the character of Amrish Puri in the Amitabh Bachchan's super successful Shahenshah, "The dog in me comes alive when I see a hot girl and I always order for Black Dog whisky."
Tejpal is not alone in his wrong doing and what with changing his statements like Chameleon after the famous six months atonement, sex banter and vile conspiracy theories. Madame Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP just found that her handset was hacked after tweeting the victim's name. Wow! Miss Lekhi! You suck as the politician and it's not even white lie. You just woke up to realize some toddler fidgeting with your phone and not you..living to the adage, Not me it's You who said that. It's ridiculous to see how the politicians have made the whole Tehelka saga as a slug fest, battling out on who is pro Congress or Anti-BJP. What does the poor girl gets in return? She simply becomes a punch bag for the likes of Tejpal and the political class, not to mention the character assassination she is facing now, with the defense lawyers make her sound like the perpetrator rather than the victim. It will come as no surprise if tomorrow the ruthless lawyers will come up with the ridiculous, Tarun Tejpal was molested at the Think Fest in Goa.
Shoma, our dear columnist, with whom I have fallen out of love-pun intended, remember I had immense respect for her-cannot be seen anywhere. What the hell with her telling the victim to delete the word 'sexual molestation' in the e-mail to telling journalists, 'You are more aggrieved than the girl' and you know what? Last heard, she threatened the cops with dire consequences by taking names of power toni in the political class? Wow! Shoma, now that you resigned as the managing editor of Tehelka, you may well make it in the soap operas and howz bout becoming a second Tulsi Virani? I am amazed Dear Shoma for being so vocal about rape, sexual molestation, corruption and what's not?! Anyways, wishing you a peaceful break.
A tale of everything goes wrong with a brand that was a reference for honest but courageous  journalists and how the name TEHELKA is crumbling. As they say, the rest is history! But, the fight against sexual molestation, violation of privacy continues against the ones who, in the recent past, cried hoarse over crime against women. Long Live double standards and blatant hypocrisy. Next time, you commit a crime, remember you can atone by going on six months break..remember, it's the Alchemy of Desire.