12 Most Favorite Things

Our life can be crazy and chaotic, isn't it? A roller-coaster ride filled with fun stuffs and doing our perso-cum- favorite stuffs like a strict disciplinarian in life. As we grow more mature in life coupled with unexpected surprises, twists and turns flung at us, we never stop doing our favorite things.
Here's linking this post to Write Tribe, Wednesday Prompt: 'Write a post listing 12 Most.....Favorite Things'.

WT's 12 most only on http://writetribe.com/12-most/
Write Tribe

1. Reading
I loove reading a lot, be it romance, biography, poems and fictions. Books has been my loyal companion since childhood and it's the most trust worthy friend that accompanies me in tedious bus or train journey. I often sit in the cafe, relaxing with a book. Recently, been reading quite a few e-books which is quite a task but I lap them on my I-pad. Trust me, I can do with 100 pages e-books but not the lengthy ones. Give me a printed copy any day. There was a time I used to buy paper back every single week on the road stalls in South Mumbai or on my way at Bandra. Does it get better than that?

2. Coffee

Nothing beats a good cup of coffee to kick start the lazy morning and enjoying the coffee grains that stimulate the brain. I am a coffee person and there is no excuse to skip the grains to help me face the day.

3. Blogging

Blogging has become the love of my life where I pour out my emotions, script stories and poems. It's a space where I connect with like-minded souls, reading their thoughts and bonding. I made so many good friends in the blogo-sphere and they never shy away from making me laugh, point at flows and motivate me in life.

4. Movies

I cannot live without movies. It's my first love and a passionate affair that makes it two hours of non-stop entertainment. It won't be wrong to say that it gives me the kick to laugh and think passionately about issues. I love all of them, brainless entertainment, artsy and meaningful cinema since I believe either you make a good or bad movie. So, what if I have not been able to make it in films? At least, I get to enjoy them full swing.

5. People

I loove meeting, speaking to people and, man, I can be quite a good listener. It's always good to meet people physically or the online space, get a hook of their thoughts and may be, translate into stories. I love the entertainment quotient and the bond cemented over time. Nothing beats a good conversation. Ok! There are people whom I wished I'd never met coz they can bore me to death. But, then, I guess, every child is special.

6. Music

I crave for good music that makes the day go rock steady. I was never able to study for exams without my precious music and have quite a collection of songs on the lap top, 70s. 80s. Awesome 90s, Indi-Pop and recent ones accumulated during the years. As a student, I spent a fortune investing in cassettes and audio. Guess, now, everything is available at one click.

7. Television

Yeah! Me love watching TV but not the typical idiotic Saas Bahu soap operas but shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati. Comedy Nights with Kapil, Jhalak Dikla Jaa, MTV Splitsvilla. It's fun. And, of course, news and debates on NDTV and Headlines TV coz this is what I get in my part of the globe.

8. Magazines and newspaper

Social media and e-stuffs or not, I loove collection magazines and stuffs. I have quite a few treasure trove made of Filmfare, Stardust, Cineblitz. Femina, Society, Cosmopolitan and, of course, TOI Sunday that I get to quite late. I would buy filmi mags every week during the college days and I am very proud of my collector's edition. Nothing can beat the joy of holding glossies in the hands.

9. Trains

I loove traveling by trains and the act of hopping on a crowded local still excite me like I am traveling for the first time. It's like falling in love. The rattling sound, mad dash and the crazy people. It's something I truly miss since I am not in India right now.

10. Chattting

First there was yahoo chat, then Orkut, Facebook but loove pinging friends on G-chat. I prefer the G over the FB thing. which I have de-activated to get a life. My favorite people are on G-chat and indulging in some fun is a routine activity that can never bore. It gives the feeling that we've never left and we are so close to each other. Thank to the almighty for that.

11. Long walks

Enjoy taking long walks which is so refreshing and can recharge my energy cells after to beat tiredness and depression. I love winter walks but also sweating it in the summer.

12. Talking to self

I love talking to myself and do it all the time, on the street, at the desk or while lazing on the bed. Self-talk brings out the best in me and blog-cum-short story ideas often sprout from the crazy conversation with yours truly.

Hope you enjoyed my list.


WoW: Mother India visits

This post is written as part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Write Over the Weekend inspiration for this time

It is the night of August 14th. You are sleeping peacefully until a lady, who identifies herself by the name of Mother India, wakes you up and starts talking. What does she talk to you?

On 15 August, India celebrated its 68th Independence Day throughout the globe. Wishing all of you folks a very Happy Independence day and hope you like my take.

Mother India visits

I am carrying the Indian tri-color in my hands at Red Fort in Delhi, running with pride as the mammoth crowd clap for me as I dash around the venue, running through the vast swathe of humans. Suddenly, I over hear AR Rahman voice, singing in my ears, 'Maa Tujhe Saalam.' It feels like a lullaby.

I turn around and saw myself on the bed. Somebody caresses my forehead. I look up to see a beautiful and attractive lady in her late 60s, smiling to me. 'How can anyone be so perfect and divine?" I ask myself.

I am astounded and look around the room. "Who are you? What are you doing in the house?" She sports an angelic smile and caresses my forehead, "Beta! I am Mother India."

Mother? What? India! How can it be?

Everything is possible, son. Haven't you been calling and imploring for my presence? I know what my child wants. Listening to my songs on your computer, standing in deference to me, watching Jnana Gana Mana, Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, Saare Jahan se Acha Hindustan Hamara, Aye Mere Watan Ke logon and Dil Diya hai Jaan bhi Denge Aye Watan Tere liye on You Tube. What do you think? I can see the tears rolling down your cheek when you think about me?

"You? Mother India. Do you know.....?"

"I know everything, Beta. Your dedication and love for me. Some call me, Dharti Maa, some Mother India?"

I can't control my tears. Mother India, you don't know what these people are doing? Fighting and killing each other in the name of religion and caste, raping innocent girls, exploiting women, dirtying India. How can we be united? Why don't you do something?"

Mother India makes me sit and hold my hand. "My son! What's the point of standing in deference in front of my image and singing my anthem, Jnana Gana Mana with pride twice a year when they abuse me and break my heart? They don't understand and think they can fool me. I know everything."

"What don't you do anything?", I ask.

"I am angry at every point when I see how they abuse me. They throw their filth in river Ganga and at holy places where I am present. For how long, I can sustain abuse? Sadly, so many people lost their lives in Uttarakhand last year and every monsoon, lives are lost. They don't realize that they are the ones who took innocent lives. I feel so hapless. My heart cries when I see so many atrocities when people don't respect their wives and daughters, destroying their souls."

Mother India bears her heart out. "May be, they don't realize it. When they jump on the ground like crazy, I feel the power of their legs on my soul. I am happy when I see them stomping their feet in joy but it hurts me when they use violence in their acts. When they kick someone, I feel the pain inside my body and soul."

"Mother India, why don't you do something?"

"Sometimes, people need to realize on their own, what they are doing. All of you must do something to make India a better place to live. It's very easy to criticize me. I can be ruthless at times. I may be ugly but that doesn't mean you should stop loving me. You speak of finding another attractive Mother, going to a new land but, if you don't anything to make your mother loving, who will? Be the change. You will win my heart when all my children will teach each other love when stoking up communalism, casteism and sexism will be a thing of the past, respecting each other in a world filled with love and peace."

"Son, I know what you are thinking? If you wish for something with your heart, you will get it. I know you really want to come to me. I know you will. I will always call you for a mother never stops loving her children."

I smile. Mother India disappears.


On the occasion of Independence Day, I dedicate my favorite patriotic songs to Mother India.
1. Jnana Gana Mana

Every time, I listen to Jnana Gana Mana, my eyes grow moist and it's simply divine. It touches the heart to see the devotion for Mother India.

2. Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon

Another gem by Lata-Didi. One is left speechless hearing her singing, showing her devotion to India and the sacrifice of our army Jawan.

3. Vaande Mataram

This songs sparks passion and love for the Motherland. It evokes patriotism fervor in us, reminding us that there is no place like India.
4. Saare Jahan se Acha

I remember listening to this song during the innocent childhood day which shows the beauty of our country and a dream where nothing evil can happen. I hope that one day we can call India, 'Saare Jahan se Acha' where there shall be no evil men and women.

5. Maa Tujhe Salam

Another song full of passion, love and devotion for Mother India. It makes us so proud to be Indian.

6. Haqeeqat-Kar Chale Hum Fida

Another song that expresses patriotism and love for the country, reminding us of the sacrifice of our freedom fighters and army Jawaan to make India a better place to live.

7. Karma

This is another favorite song of my mine, a kinda national anthem, that bring the people together, irrespective of their political or race differences. A song that touches the soul and brings heart together, reminding us that united we stand as a nation.

8. The Legend of Bhagat Singh-Mera Rang de Basanti

This is one song that stays with us forever and carries an element of pride, speaking of sacrifices made by the freedom fighters of this great nation.

9. Diljale-Mera Mulk Mera Desh

A song that speaks of the innocence of a child, dreaming of an India where men and women, will never be discriminated and that we are ONE. It's a call for peace and unity. It has a certain sweetness and idealism. Hope the dream become true some day.

10. DUS-Hindustani

A beautiful song celebrating the India that we live in. Let's make India a beautiful and perfect country that the world will look at us in awe. It's very easy to criticize but we can ask, what have we done to make the country better?

11. Pardes-I Love My India

Another favorite in my list on the love one feels for India. It is simply breath-taking and touches the heart.

Hope you guys like my take on the prompt and the small gift made of patriotic songs on my list.
Jai Hind. Vande Mataram
Proud to be an Indian


Raksha Bandhan, patriarchy and economics of inequality

Raksha Bandhan, the Hindu festival, celebrating the bond between brother and sister, was celebrated last Sunday. On the occasion, the sister ties a sacred thread on the wrist of her brother to protect her from all evils.

Over the years, I always looked forward to Raksha Bandhan where my Rakhi sisters tied a thread on my wrist as an expression of love, affection and respect. It strengthen the bond between brother and sister. Being the only child, I always miss a sister in life. But, over the years, I started thinking about Raksha Bandhan, wondering whether a sister needs protection from the brother, a male in the family. Unfortunately, I feel celebrations like Raksha Bandhan and Karwa Chauth are products of the patriarchal society hell bent to reduce the status of a woman to a non-entity and confined to submissive role in our society. I don't have anything against Raksha Bandhan and I respect people who follow the tradition.

The intention is not to provoke people or declare war on the religious sanctity of the celebration. What I am only trying to discuss is why a woman need a 'male' protector to shield her from evils in society. I wonder why we treat our girls as inferior beings who can only be better in the presence of a male member of society. If we really want to pave the way for more equality in society, why do we judge a woman and type cast her in the role of a wife, sister and mother. C'mon! A woman has her own identity as a human being and her role is not to sit at home, prepare food for her husband or brother, watch Saas-Bahu drama. Let her be who she is to carve her identity and fulfill her aspirations as a complete human being. She has her own needs and urge. She is not a doll where the remote control is in the hands of the male patriarch and she would laugh, cry or sleep when she is told to. A woman is no commodity on the market who is expected to follow certain courses at the university or enter career at the work place that women should do. She has the right to fall in love and follow her heart.

Unfortunately, celebrations such as Karwa Chauth and Raksha Bandhan reflect a certain conservative mindset where there is a hidden meaning, 'A woman's place is in the kitchen or to fulfill the obligations as deemed by society. Why let this old patriarch decide what is good or bad, morally right or wrong for her to do? The whole purpose of being a complete human being is destroyed by a society hell bent on promoting old age concepts of superiority and inferiority. Why can't a woman work in a corporate world and her partner or husband, for that matter, stay at home, look after the kids, cook and do the vessels? 

Today, we stand at a very critical juncture in society where women have been exploited, sometimes as the house wife, sister or mother.My take is simple: Do we need a Rakshak? I am speaking for both men and woman, where sons and daughters rely on their father to take all decisions for them, be it toys, career and who to marry. For me, a brother is someone who let his sister grow by being herself, carving her place under the sun and she needs no moral certificate or male patronage. For me, Raksha Bandhan is all about love and uniting souls, being each other's strength. My issue with conservative patriarchy ingrained in such festivals is that there is something terribly wrong with our society, a grave injustice perpetrated against human beings who are terrorized at every end to fit in certain roles. Remember the old age stupid crap, 'Don't cry like a girl'.

I rest my case. Let me assure again: My perspective on Raksha Bandhan is not meant to hurt anyone who believes in the celebration, forging love, among siblings. I am opening a healthy discussion on ugly patriarchy, conservative mindsets and whether these festivals have contributed to create inequality which is rampant and works against the interest of woman in society. I don't need to be a 'Rakshak' to my sister. If she can carry a child in her womb for nine months, she can very well dictate her life and live on her own terms.



Remembering the one & only, Kishore Kumar

There is never a dull moment with Kishore-da. The teasing like Kanhaiya, stealing his Makhan the singing way, tragedy in love, romance, passion and lust. That's Kishore Kumar for you. Timeless voice that makes you sing along with him. Playful at times, his voice touches your heart and takes you along with him to a destination filled with love and magic. There is a mystery behind his voice.
I have immense respect for most Indian singers who won our hearts, right from Rafi Sahab to Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Shaan. Honestly speaking, no one comes close to the range, repertoire and intensity of a Kishore Kumar. A voice that transcends ages and generation to find echo in our hearts. Whether it's singing for Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Anil Kapoor or Sanjay Dutt, Kishore-Da's voice enthralls listeners and made music an ongoing romance. There is nothing like Kishore-da.
Kishore-da celebrated his 85th birthday on Monday, August 4. It's a small tribute on my part to reminiscence on the days of yore where the man, larger than life persona, exuded streak of sadness, naughtiness and playfulness.
Leaving you with some of my favorite Kishore-Da songs.

A versatile artist-singer, actor, music composer and director, Kishore-Da was the complete package. He has no formal training as a singer but left a mark in our hearts and I am sure, generation to come will always remember the one & only Kishore-Da. Yes, he is my all-time favorite,despite the fact that I don't belong to Kishore-Da's generation.

With Love


Happy Friendship Day!!!

True Friendship withstand the test of times

A prayer for togetherness,
the season may change but vows and bond of friendship stand strong.
The waves will turn strong and wild,
but our friendship and unflinching belief in each other will sustain the rough weather.
Happy Friendship.

Hey folks,

Today is Friendship Day. A day when we remember our friends with whom we made memories, laughed like crazy, shed bucket of tears and played pranks. True friends are the ones with whom we shared our dreams, no matter how silly and with whom we can be ourselves.

 Our belief in friendship is beyond the colorful bands tied on the wrist and with every passing year, our ties grew stronger. Some have moved places and made new friends, the rest have forgotten us in this materialistic world. But, the emotions remain the same. Friendship is a sacred prayer where we were taught to move the world for each other and with whom, we spent priceless moments.
Happy Friendship Day.
With Love


My UBC Journey


How I survived the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014? To be honest, I was clueless bout the UBC Writing Challenge spanning over 31 days during the month of July.
It was the first day on July. The routine task of hanging on whining my time on Facebook was going to pay big time. It was a chance encounter when I stumbled upon Corinne Rodrigues (http://everydaygyaan.com/) status bout' registering for UBC. I wondered, 'What's that?" and out of sheer curiosity, I clicked on the link.

The very thought of posting every single day. was scary and sent shiver down my spine. No! Not possible! At the same time, my pal Meghna pinged on Gchat, 'Orkut is closing down.' After all, Orkut was and remains my first love when I discovered something called social networking. It was the tube light moment. 

We discussed on the possibility off saving our scraps, testimonials and pictures on Google drive. My fingers magically typed a message to Meghna, 'I am doing a love story, a kinda novella with Orkut as the backdrop..my way of paying tribute to Orkut.' I was wondering, 'Doing a novella for 30 days and let's see how I fare.'

It was pure bliss. Opened Microsoft Word and in a jiffy, wrote the first chapter. It was quite an easy affair and one thing led to another. It struck me that I need to pre-plan my posts, saving them in a word document and hit publish the next day. Finally, on July 30 for Day 31, I couldn't believe that I've sealed it. A cute novella, set in Mumbai where a boy and a girl meet on Orkut, separated by the sea. There was break up and like in many fairy tales, they fell in love all over again..the classic happy ending. I kept it light. Short chapters, at times, not exceeding my standard yard stick, varying between 500 to 700 words. I had no reason to make the chapters lengthy and boring, to scare away readers.

Writers' block? Quite surprisingly, I didn't struggle a lot to write. For sure, at times, I fought to become more creative with the romance, fighting over laziness for the novella to take shape. I didn't want it to drag endlessly and, initially, was toying with the idea of 24 chapters plus 7 short stories. But, glad I wrote 31 chapters on 31 days. I lagged behind only twice or thrice, if my memory not failing me but with proper planning for the first time, I was able to keep up with the challenge. UBC taught me one thing: Discipline and consistency matters. Everyday, I would pen small chapters and saved them to be published on the next day.

What UBC taught me?
-Writing is one big party. One can never know when the next big idea will strike like thunder. There are so many amazing writers around the globe from which you can learn a lot in terms of narrative, scripting and sketching character. It doesn't go without saying that reading blogs goes a long way in not only earning you comments, followers and friends but also teach you how to hone cum polish your craft.

-Be open to criticisms. Taking criticism in a positive vein goes into teaching you a lot how to buck up your writing and tighten your narrative, grammar and spelling. I was fortunate that some bloggers, including established writers dropped honest words how I should firm up my writing, make someone read the final draft and avoid grammar confusion. Honestly speaking, it was the first time I was writing fiction in the present tense and was quite confused at times. Thank loads, People.

-Motivation. UBC is a huge, huge motivation at a time when you are writing crazily every single day, keeping up with your hectic work schedule. I would warm up to the motivating words of fellas, telling how much they enjoy the stories weaved. It's such a huge high. Trust me, you may be toying with the idea of abandoning the whole challenge but such encouraging words keeps you going from strength to strength. The more, the merrier.

-Comment on blogs. The UBC page elaborated a strategic but effective rule. Paste your link and make sure you comment on the above links. This way, each blogger is ensured to get at least two comments so that their work is not only read but shared among folks. I always make it a point to comment on blogs which runs like a circle, spread some happiness and it will come back to you. You learn so much by commenting on each other's blog. The challenge may be over but I will keep commenting on blogs I may have missed. I intend to do it for the next five days.

Yay!!! Yippie! I can't believe the challenge is over. It still seems like a dream to me. But, yeah, I've done a rom-com novella. The best thing is that I made so many good friends during the challenge and many of them are on my facebook. Time for a short break from blogging to be back with a bang. Hope to see all of you for another month of blogging. This time on my other blog, www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com
Yeah! We've all done it with a bang. Congrats everybody:)

Finally, Big Hugs to everyone taking part in the challenge and, of course, the new friends made. I am not taking the names of specific people. They know who they are. Nevertheless, drop in to see the amazing work of writers on the FB Page:

Drop on write tribe to read amazing posts you may have missed:

Loads of love N See you, soon

Disclaimer: So many asked me and assumed that 'An Orkut Love Story' is about my life. No, it's not. The novella is pure fiction and I drew analogies from the life of fellow blogger, in terms of mushy and cute love stories that happened in their lives. The rest is fiction.