Friday, 14 October 2016

The Untold Story!

Recently, I had the opportunity of watching the amazing biopic on the magnanimous Mahendra Singh Dhoni. ‘MS Dhoni-The Untold Story’, as the name suggests depicts those elements of his life and career that shaped him but which remained hidden from glares of the media. I loved this, especially because MSD is my favorite, he is the reason I watch cricket! But more than that, this sent me into a contemplation regarding my own life. What would be the untold part in my story? I wondered.
All of us dream big, aspire high and think we’ve put in our best possible efforts to achieve that ultimate goal in life. But how many among us would dare to accept that life for us has rather been a bed of roses? I can’t think of a situation where I had struggled to get something, faced rejection, been depressed and yet felt positive. It is easy to merely talk about inspiration and perseverance during happy times, but extremely difficult to implement the same during a low point in life.
Not just in biopics or biographies do we witness such incidents, this is reality. Who has ever achieved something with just a mere dream? It takes blood and sweat to build that dream, to mold oneself in the desired shape. Be it academics, sports or art, there is always an untold story that powers your ambition. Something that may not be known to others and which makes them think you’re just lucky to be successful. But reality is different, and only you know it!
I often sulk at times thinking that perhaps I deserved better. A better college, improved grades and an interesting life (contrary to my current dull existence). But today, when I look back, I feel life has been more than fair. Maybe this is the part of my untold story. The struggle, the rejections that I need to face before I’m capable of accomplishing that goal. No one can foresee the future. But we can all definitely try. So the next time you fail in an endeavor, don’t be discouraged. It’s all a part of this bemusing cycle of Karma. Maybe you didn’t deserve it or perhaps if you deserve something better, it will be this rejection that shapes you. A fragment of your untold story!

The Bursting Bubble

Myriad of feelings, web of desires, hopes and delusions all combined into one word- Love. It looked so easy to draw those little hearts and feel being in love. But reality surfaces like water on fire, and with it submerges the cluster of dreams that one has been building since childhood. Love has multifarious roles in shaping an individual, or destroying him. Believe it or not, true love is indeed hard to find. One without any impositions or conditions. No demands, no complaints.
  As I reflected on my opinions regarding love, it began raining. The sultry weather which others considered romantic even though it totally bemused me. Never knew why, but perhaps it reminded me of my desolation and solitude. It felt like being ostracized from a circle of friends who all happened to have found their soul mate. It intrigued me, even though I was not totally oblivious to these emotions, and had known what falling in love was like. Unreciprocated, yet true.
  At first, it felt like a mere crush during college. He had deep eyes and a charming smile that mesmerized me, his chivalry and composure that seemed so different from others. We worked on many projects together and his dexterity and efficacious spirit fascinated me more than his persona. He seemed perfect, just like a character emerging from the book of my dreams. He inspired me to aspire high, to achieve more and made me realize the significance of simplicity in life. That's what he was, someone who didn't make me fall in love, but made me rise with it.
  College ended, and even though I deeply adored him, I could not tell him what I felt. Not that I didn't want to, with every passing day I dreaded the life I would have after he was gone. It wasn't something I could imagine, each memory reminded me of the times spent with him. More than anything, I feared if I could manage living without him. It felt like a wonderful phase of my life had ended. I could have told him my feelings but honestly, I was scared to hear his response. Scared to lose him, to let all memories fade away and worse than that, I feared that my confession would spoil the magic between us. It felt better to let those emotions persist, to reminisce those splendid years spent with him, to cherish those memories beyond all hopes. Somehow, it felt better to prevent that bubble from bursting.
  Years later, both of us met at our college reunion. As he smiled and hugged me, I felt the urge to tell him what had been a secret all these years. Of all the times I had regretted my silence, of the tearful moments spent while missing him. About the times when I had glowed with pride, basking in the glory of his achievements, praying for his well being and success. I wanted to thank him for all that I had learned under his mentorship. I had so much to say, but words eluded me once again. Pictures were clicked, numbers were exchanged, but I was unable to confess.
  Letting him go again, felt even more terrible this time. But as I noticed how happy he seemed, carefree and jocund, my intuition gave me an answer. One that I could live by. I was not ready to lose him or to let that smiling face evade me, even after so many years. It felt fine, missing him and longing to be with him, hoping and dreaming. He did not seem to have any such feeling. And I could not force him to. My confession could have ruined the bond of friendship that we shared. I couldn’t afford to lose that.
  Maybe, I had presumed things and perhaps the situation could have been entirely different. It was possible, that he would have reciprocated my feelings and we could have lived, happily ever after. But some endings don't need to be perfect. They have to lurk around, without conclusion. My unspoken love could have been the biggest mistake of my life or perhaps my best decision. I don't need to know. All that matters is that I had once unconditionally loved someone who was perfect for me, oblivious to any demands, complaints or reciprocation. And I will, always.  I'll remember him with every rain during monsoon and with each romantic song that I will ever hear. Filled with nostalgia, I’ll miss him, but without any regrets. Not all love stories have happy endings. Ours was neither a tragic Romeo-Juliet nor a sweet Bollywood romance. It was like Severus Snape and Lily Potter. Unrequited and unknown, yet the truest of all. Sometimes, the bubble does not burst. And trust me, it doesn't need to!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Golden Girls

It seemed like the most important day of her life. As she stepped into the court, the entire arena resonated with applause. It was a divine feeling, to be the hope and pride for a nation of 125 crore people. Till today, she had thought that India’s heart only beat for Cricket. Her sport was an underdog in terms of popularity, just like her. But today, history had to be created. An enormous responsibility rested on her shoulders. The hopes of her family, her great coach and most importantly, the crowd of millions that cheered her on each strike. The result of the umpteen sacrifices made by her, those rigorous practice sessions and the massive courage that she derived from them.
Badminton had been her passion and she was fortunate to have a family that supported her ambition along with a coach that accelerated her efforts to uncork her dexterity. She had been victorious many times before, but this was a victory that the nation had waited for, with baited breath. History had already been created as she was the first Indian woman to compete for a Gold in Olympics and also the sole Indian badminton player to reach this point. A silver was guaranteed but she still gave in her best to bring home gold.
Despite blazing stress levels and competition by an opponent with more experience than her, she managed to win one set. Literally, she knew she had lost her chance of Gold and will have to wait for four more years to accomplish that task. But, her heart knew that she had been more than just victorious. Being christened as the ‘Golden girl’ who brought Silver for India, Sindhu’s face was radiant during the felicitation. Her charming smile conveyed the intense patriotism she felt and the applause by her countrymen was a witness to her success. Social media roared with pride as the entire nation congratulated this prodigy who at the tender age of 21, had been the plume of hope and victory for India. 

Her journey till here had been really tough but it is definitely not the end. Many more tournaments have to be won and much more honor is to be brought for the nation. She has redefined history, broken stereotypes and earned tribute for her coach as well as her game from the entire country. Sindhu, we don’t need a Gold medal to make you our hero. You have given us much more than that. You’ve built a hope that will linger on for years to come, that will empower many youngsters(especially women) to chase their dreams and most importantly, that slammed hard on those critics who feel that our sportspersons are worthless. You not only proved your worth but also inspired 1.25 billion hearts that unanimously beat for you.
Even though I seldom watch sports, your game truly enthralled me. Just like Sakshi Malik, the Indian woman wrestler to win a Bronze (another exemplar of strength and prowess) and Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian gymnast in the Olympics (she didn’t win a medal but won our hearts for sure), you too recreated history. Indian women seem to be on a storm in sports! For us, all of you are the real ‘Gold’. I don’t care what your medals say, but you are indeed the ‘Golden Girls’ of India. Thank you for empowering us and for proving once again, that when it comes to pride and honor, Indian women leave no stone unturned!
Note: The article is focused on PV Sindhu as hers was the only match I watched and she also happens to be a personal favorite. I'm sure though that all other women athletes are equally great and have made similar contributions to India's honor.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Rain...

The hue was dark, and the winds were cold,

She still felt in love, truth be told.

The misty rain with the drops and hail,

Settled on her window, while she reminisced her tale.

All her life, she had hated rains,

Until she met him, and that brought a change.

The aura seemed romantic when he was close,

Smelling the petrichor, with the winds she rose.

It all felt eternal, this joy and bliss,

Her loneliness and sorrows vanished like mist.

The troubles and miseries which she had endured,

In a moment, it felt all had been cured.

She could dare to dream without any fear,

It all seemed possible when he was near.

His presence gave her the hope she never had,

And made her believe, not all love stories are bad!

Feeling sure that she will never be alone, again,

That he would accompany her through all struggles and pain.

Alas! The rain ended and the sun shone bright,

And in a moment, she returned to her plight.

Emotions faded when reality paved way,

All of it seemed unreal, with each passing day.

He was an illusion, a figment of her dream,

But her hopes confided in him, even though odd it seemed.

She knew he never existed and she loved him in vain,

But it gave her a reason to live, hope and cherish those rains.

A moment of happiness crept into her dreary life,

And it was worth it, as she forgot all her worries and strife.

Feeling numb, she reluctantly returned to her chores,

And waited in her heart, to meet him when it rained once more.





Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Feminist Front

How often have you heard of women fighting for their rights, empowerment, and equality? It makes you wonder if feminism is something you should be proud of or just a banal act of proving superiority in this patriarchal society. Firstly, let us make it clear, being a feminist does not mean hating men or thinking you’re better than them. A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men, considering them to be equals in a society. Feminism is an ideology that initiated as a surging movement, and the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.

We still live in a world in which a significant fraction of people, including women, believe that a woman belongs and wants to belong exclusively in the home."
—Rosalyn Sussman(Nobel Prize-winning medical physicist)

Most of my male colleagues feel intimidated with the fact that I’m a feminist, as the first thought that strikes them is that feminism is overrated, and that women often enjoy more privileges than them. I defy them on facts that we’re not treated as equals, don’t get paid as much, or that we’re the ones being judged at every point of our lives, even on grounds as simple as driving or partying or even travelling. Right from what we wear to where we go and now even, which temples we worship, is judged. It gives the society an insight into our character and upbringing. Isn’t this unfair? Don’t we deserve to be allowed to do what we like? The answer is NO. We’re women after all, we may prove our worth to be more than men but still we’ll be considered incompetent and be critiqued for all choices that we make. If we don’t know to cook or clean, we’re judged. Or if we’re too ambitious, we’re out of our minds. But the point here is, does it really matter? Do these constant criticisms affect us in any way? In a country where a rape victim is always at more fault than the criminal, and which worships goddesses but has uncountable cases of female infanticide, I don’t think judgements matter. It’s what we think about ourselves and what our consorts do. So, to all those who think that feminism is overrated, just try fitting into the shoes of a woman. You’ll know. I understand that times are changing but, equality is something we should strive for together. We are two sides of the same coin.
On the other hand, considering some grounds, I second their opinion. If the fight is for equality, what is the fuss around reserved seats in colleges/government and stereotypes like pulling chairs for them, paying for dinner or being the sole breadwinner? It’s true that the world has been unfair to women, but we can only be empowered when we believe in the notion of equality. We struggle to be independent, socially and financially and what we fail to realise is that on the bigger front, it’s these demands that sabotage our clan, even though we think it empowers. It is agreeable that society has been unjust, and that reservations can help us bring more women into power, to fight the system that is ignorant towards them. But it often does more harm than good. Your competence is often neglected and even if you deserve, you’re apprehended to be on favours for your womanhood.
In a world where crimes against women are surging, it’s hard to believe that good men exist, who aren’t rapists or chauvinists and who can respect your dignity. But, we’ve got to be vigilant and trustworthy at the same time. That’s the struggle of being a woman. We have a sharp insight, and I think it’s the best if we use it. Our concern isn’t about how the world sees us, it’s how we present ourselves to them. The more fortunate should endeavour to empower and educate the less privileged ones, as the only way to curb these injustices is by education. An educated and strong woman can teach her daughters to be independent and her sons to be respectful. It is the only way to equality and to end the deplorable state of women in society.

"I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back." ―Malala Yousafzai

If freedom from the bonds of patriarchy is what we desire, it’s only our spirit that can liberate us. Stop thinking of the roles in a society, don’t wait for a man to offer you his seat and don’t be offended if he does (he’s just being nice, don’t think he’s undermining you), pay your own share and pick your own luggage. If dowry is unreasonable, so should be alimony. This reminds me of a case where a High court judge rejected a woman’s plea to alimony, suggesting her to find a job instead. If you’re not below them, why do you want to be supported? It is fine if the woman is uneducated or incapable of working, but on any other grounds, I find it intriguing. Women have proved their worth in space and on Earth; look around you, there will be millions to be inspired from. True equality is when men and women work in concord. Any work is neither demeaning nor restraining, be it homemaking or working on a professional front. The image of women as mere homemakers is blurring as their partners encourage and support them now, and that’s for good! You can get the best of both worlds if you’re ready to defy gender roles and work together. The win conditions would be one in which all people are able to pursue their passions, develop their talents, express themselves, and live their lives without regard to prejudice, traditions, dangers, or limitations based on gender.
Feminism has lost its real essence due to the burgeoning exploitation of this equality movement, which has resulted in its demonization. We may differ in anatomy or emotions, but our potential and strength co-exists. One needs to stand against exploitation, be it of men or women. Believe in equality and stop judging people around you. And my advice to those ladies who drag every menial issue as anti-feminism is, that people make mistakes and are supposed to be corrected, so if a woman faces any criticism due to her own fault(irrespective of gender bias), please don’t relate it with feminism and women subjugation. There’s a lot more to it than you think. Not every woman is right and not every man is wrong. Sometimes, the perspective is broader than mere prejudice. A real feminist is not out to set all men to fire, to say the least.

"Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength." —G.D. Anderson

Let’s not try to overpower men, and let’s not remain oppressed by them, what a true feminist strives for is to be at par, on the same level as men.
Here’s to strong women, may we know them; may we be them; may we raise them!!