Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Please, don’t be nice, be yourself

I feel uncomfortable when someone calls me nice. It’s not as if I have something against being likeable. It’s just that the connotations associated with this tag have altered drastically over the last few years. This sobriquet is mostly reserved for someone who agrees with our perception we have of our own fabulousness. So, someone who rarely disagrees with us and has only good things to say is considered nice.

Truth be told, niceness these days has rarely anything to do with the individual and his/her character or the lack of it. It has more to do with how he/she makes us feel about ourselves.

The same holds true for us. In our desire to be liked, we often refrain from saying what we feel. So, when a friend shares her latest literary masterpiece that reads more like the scribbling of a six year old, or invites us to her brand new home that’s decorated like the house of horrors, we’d rather gush politely than blurt out that we’ve yet to see anything worse. Of course not. That’s harsh and we don’t want to come across as judgmental, do we?

I understand that the idea is to not hurt someone else's feelings even if we didn't agree with them. So we’ll continue praising Sneha Aunt’s snazzy new hairdo even if it makes her look like Paresh Rawal and insist that our tone-deaf cousin sings just like Lata Mangeshkar.

We want to be nice so that others are nice to us in return.

Precisely why we are overtly sweet with people we barely know, especially our friends on Facebook. We become more generous with our compliments and ‘heartfelt’ emotions. After all, the more we like, the more others will like us, in turn making us feel good about ourselves.

Even if we feel slighted by someone, rather than approaching him/her directly, we are happy posting generic updates, cribbing about insensitivity and meanness of the world at large.

Sadly, we reserve our true selves, read our worst side, only for those closest to us, snapping at them or throwing tantrums without the slightest provocation. I feel the ideal way of gauging someone’s true character is to observe how they behave with people they don’t need to impress. A lady who treats her household help as her slave just because she’s paying her a salary deserves contempt. The chap in his gleaming BMW, who’d rather resort to fist cuffs than admit he was in the wrong, is far from educated despite his made in USA qualifications.

On the other hand we have people who do not shy of telling Aunty that her new hairdo makes her look like a Poodle or that your masterpiece is a piece of trash. But rather than calling them nice, we are quick to dismiss them as rude, opinionated or even jealous of our success.

It’s as if speaking the truth has become the greatest sin of all.

Sadly, many of us would rather revel in false praises than pay heed to well-meaning criticism. It’s easier to be stung by censure and deceive ourselves into believing that it’s just evil machinations of a jealous mind.

I think the way we react to praise and criticism defines us. Believe in your greatness and rest assured you’ll be swimming in the sea of mediocrity for the rest of your life.
Only if we learn to sift out well-meaning concern, accept it gracefully and work on it to become better, are we truly deserving of praise.  

We can only learn from our mistakes only if we accept that they are mistakes, right?

Precisely why we need to surround ourselves with those who are ready to tell you the truth no matter how much it hurts. Your worst critic is perhaps your best friend.

So, if you are someone who really cares for me, please don’t be nice, be yourself with me. I may like you less but I’ll certainly respect you more.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

When Dilli met Kejri and Bharat took revenge on her behalf.

Image Courtesy -

It was a Jab We Met, just like the movies. When Dilli, Bharti’s favourite sister, met Kejri. The courtship was long and tumulus. It was fiercely opposed by the elders. The more they tried to defame him, the more she fell in love with him and wanted to take it to the next level.

Dilli had been in an uneasy relationship with a Sarkar that treated its riches like Commonwealth. Her heart was feeling as empty as her bank account. How long could she continue paying Rs 200 for a kilo of peas for her muttar pulao! She was tired of drowning her sorrows in the nearest pothole and wanted a way out.

Kejri’s timing was perfect. What’s more, he promised to sweep away her sorrows with his jhadoo. In his topi and muffler, he was no knight in shining armour. Kejri was dark and not so handsome. But for Dilli it was love at first sight. And when he spoke, Dilli swayed mesmerised.

He looked AAM but made Dilli feel Khaas. She wanted change, he promised her a revolution.

He was what Dilli had waited for all her life. No wonder she fell for him hook line and sinker. But when it was time to say I do, he hmmed and hawed and kept her on tenterhooks.

Oh how she sighed in relief when he walked up to the altar after a referendum.

K was no typical partner. He would be out most nights partying. He was stubborn and said he wanted to change the world with dharnas. When Dilli expressed her doubts over his fidelity - he’d say, whatever I do, it’s for you, meri jaan. He was mercurial, made her feel queasy, uneasy. Sceptics with their I-told-you-so looks, didn’t make it any easy. Dilli prayed, even hung from the ghanti at the nearby mandir and screamed – Why me, Bhagwan!

He walked out. It wasn’t even her fault. Dilli wanted him for herself, he said, my ambitions are many, jaane do na yaar!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Where’s my Mills and Boon Hero?

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Mills and Boons made an appearance in my life around the same time my parents discovered their daughter’s rebellious streak. It started with saying no to pig-tails, frilly-frocks and the hair oil my Mom lovingly plastered my hair with and progressed to a war of egos. It was a phase of life that also came with the realisation that boys were not that disgusting and annoying and could make me blush with their strange glances. I was afflicted with an awareness that made me check myself in the mirror again and again, hoping that the gawky girl staring back at me would transform into a comely maiden capable of making men collapse with ecstasy with just a flick of her hair.

For me, it was a natural progression from Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie. Mills and Boons was the holy grail of romance that teleported me to the world of Virginia as she sat beside Damien Savage, his chiselled, tanned features expressionless, his deep-blue eyes hidden behind Versace sunglasses. Still shocked at the intensity of her physical reaction to him, Virginia longed to be undressed by him; to feel his skin against hers … As she moved her body closer, her leg brushing his muscular thigh, she felt his heat.

Many tiny explosions of pain later, where Virginia gets kissed, mauled and manages to see all the stars and constellations, Damien the brute, who treats her like his sex slave admits that he’d been in love with her from Page 5 but took 300 pages to confess so that the author could pay for her vacation in the Bahamas.

I was hopelessly lost in the world of the lean and hard muscled hero, who was tough, brooding, single and insanely wealthy. His bed would unvaryingly have black satin sheets, which the object of his lust would discover on page 65. But underneath that scowling, tough as a coconut shell demeanour lay a softie, tortured by a secret past, waiting to be reformed by the slavish love of a virginal damsel with long legs and cascading blond hair.

Didn’t we all wait breathlessly for the dashing Damien Savage with a taut torso and tanned arms to sweep us off our feet, wilfully ignoring the awkward advances of smelly Shomit and buck-teethed Manish! How could we, they were nowhere near the fantasy we’d fallen in love with! Instead we chose to have a boulder sized crush on the unattainable school hottie, who couldn’t be bothered by our presence. We loved wallowing in misery because that’s what Virginia would have done!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hari-cane Rakhi strikes Mumbai

Courtesy-Google Images
In what is seen as the biggest blow to Modi’s 56 inch chest, Rakhi Sawant, superstar, world famous in Borivali, announced her candidature as an Independent from north-west Mumbai in the coming elections. She had earlier been offered the BJP ticket from West Bengal which she chose to reject. It was later given to evergold singing star and music composer, Bappi Lahiri whose Hindi can only be understood by Bengalis.

Ms Sawant, her own biggest fan, has always been vocal about her admiration for Modi and wishes to see him as India’s next PM. She sees a lot of similarities between her and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Both of us are devoted to our Mummy jees, love waving at our fans and are single and India’s most sought after virgins. What’s more, whenever I open my mouth – everybuddy starts chanting – Hurr hurr Rakhi!

If Modi Jee can run the country by selling tea, why can't I as an item girl?

When asked about her political agenda, Rakhi Sawant said that she will address only small problems since all bigger problems are already taken by other political parties. She also added that she was looking forward to die like Mahatma Gandhi so that people could observe 2 minutes silence for her and remember her good deeds. I want to be the change that people want to see and that’s why I change my clothes many times a day, unlike item number Kejriwal who coughed in the same muffler for six months.

Courtesy-Google Images
It is learnt that Ms Sawant is extremely upset that Kejriwal shamelessly copied her costume, a front slit gamccha from her hit number Chikna Badan, while bathing in the Ganges. Not to be outdone, Rakhi turned up dressed as Pakistan’s national flag while addressing her Press conference. When I heard Modi jee call AK 49 a Pakistani Agent, I wanted to show him that Rakhi can be a batter Pakistani agent. And to show my hard working, I even had sweaty armpits for the photo. The entire world knows what a hari-cane Rakhi is. 

The constituency of north-west Mumbai promises to be a war of the titans with Kamal R Khan, Samajwadi Party’s candidate and Mahesh Manjrekar from Maharashtra Apamaan Sena also jumping in the fray. An unfazed Ms Sawant was quick to dismiss them as made in China phuski bombs. I am the real bombshell missile. Even Airport security knows that and keeps checking me for explosives.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Secret Diary of a Selfie Enthusiast

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Whenever I get bored of staring at myself in the mirror, I point and shoot myself. With my phone, that is. My phone is my sweetie pie <3 <3 xoxoxoxo, my bestest bestie. It’s like, she’s never mean to me and super sweet, unlike those bitches who pretend to be my friends. Unlike you losers, I have a reputation to maintain for Sanju, Majnu, Rocky, Lauki and Dillu, my biggest fans. Even before I upload my pics on Instagram (Facebook is so last century, duh!), they flood comments section with so much praising like – your so hawt, waaao, *seeti seeti*, your beauty is the reason for my living etc etc, EVERY SINGLE TIME! It feels so awesome to know that I’m the sole reason for their happiness and I never ever let myself forget that. So, even when I’m sick, dying, coughing, barfing, buying a new dress or feeling sad :-( blessed, naughty and sexy(giggle giggle) – I pucker, pout, look with feeling at the shower head, tilt my head sexily and click. It’s like, I’m always discovering new sides to my popular personality by clicking selfies from different angles.

You know what, some days, I feel like Mother Teresa. Like her sexier version, spreading cheer among losers with my awesomeness. …. And if I can heal the world with my selfies, why not! I think one of these days I’ll cover my lovely head with a white and blue scarf, just like that wrinkly Teresa lady and show my kindness side to my fans and followers. I’ll use one of those cool filters and give it a saintly glow.

A picture is ways more powerful than a bunch of meaningless words, especially when it gets a thousand likes. Yea, I am selfless and I know it. 

OMG! Imagine when my teachers, Mumma and Papa see my Teresa style selfies. They’ll finally know how seriously I take myself and then they can chillax forever.

Nothing has lasting value but the selfie.

Mumma says, the only time my phone is away from me is when I hold it at an arm’s length to click my selfie. Whateverrr! You should have seen her getting on my nerves when we went for a vacation to Langkawi. She was soo pissed off that I didn’t take my eyes off my phone even once to soak in the beautiful sights. Ummm….I did, through my phone, all of it as background to the 233 selfies I clicked of myself.

Self-photography is my passion. What does she know!

The thing is, I’ve always been a girl with a mind of her own. You know the lone wolf types, just like Hugh Jackman in Wolverine? Why stress others when I can stress myself clicking my pix, like all the time! Mumma is worried that if the house catches fire, I might like die because I’ll be too busy clicking how distressed I am looking and uploading it. Umm...I think, for once she’s right. Why be alive if I can’t share every microsecond of my life with people I barely know?

Yea I know, I am not always this awesome. Like the time I uploaded my close-up, and that skank commented on my nostril hair and it got only 27 likes :-( I went like fucking insane refreshing my page again and again, wondering why nobody loves me anymore. Yea, I was pretty upset. Or the time I was feeling super sexy and trying to pout like Auntie Jolie and that bitch Red Handed wrote quack-quack in the comments. I cried so much that my eyes were looking like Irrfan Khan’s. So I clicked another selfie and it got 124 likes. That was such a cool way to get back at that jealous hag! Ha!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Arranged by parents, loved by choice

 Courtesy -

When women meet for the first time, they immediately get down to the business of knowing each other intimately by asking uncomfortable questions. Give us ten minutes and we’re ready to file vital information about the square feet area of your apartment, your dog’s dietary preferences, your child’s academic records of the past 10 years and the name of the nurse who pacified your Mom while she was trying to pop you out. Men on the other hand can be friends for months and still be content with knowing just each other’s first names. They don’t need to know a person’s background to decide whether they will like or ignore them.

If you are married, you can bet your ass that by the time you’ve sipped your tea and are about to reach out for the Britannia Bourbon, the conversation will typically veer towards your marriage and whether it was love or arranged. This question is usually popped after it has been ascertained by clever means how much older or younger you are than what their mental math suggested.

In India, we are used to our parents make most decisions on our behalf, thanks to their inherent faith in our capability to do nothing right. So, we find it perfectly normal when they line up a list of eligible life-mates for us, factoring in position of the planets at the time of his birth, his braggability factor, bank balance and not just his qualifications and social standing but also that of his parents and their ancestors. If you are a girl, it’s understood that if you’re not fair, beautiful, convent educated, working but homely, you have no business getting hitched.

With such a stringent screening process, how can we expect anything but a prized catch to land in our laps! And who has the time to look for a guy to fall in love with when we’re too busy either disappointing our parents or making them proud.

Don’t we all want a spouse who fulfils our family’s and their Pandit jee’s expectations!

Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s. The only difference between a love and an arranged match is Cupid’s timing – he either strikes you before or after you marry. But we all get the same time, that is the rest of our lives to fall out of love and discover, everything you found endearing about your spouse was merely a hallucination.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

You know women still have a long way to go when you hear them say, 'my husband lets me do what I want to'

Women have come a long way, yet we have a long way to go.

On the occasion of Women's Day, read my article on IBN Live's Special Feature on Women's Day......

When I was young, my ambitions were many. Be on Doordarshan reading the news at 9, rose tucked behind my ear, be a saviour of helpless puppies, be a genius. Anything but a teacher. My mother influenced that. As a high school teacher, she would come back home stressed and tired, pour her heart out to Dad about bitchy colleagues and work-pressure as she sipped her evening tea. I would sit beside her later as she vanquished piles of exam papers with red ink, her brows furrowed, oblivious to my existence. I found it daunting to visualise me teaching from the same books year after year with undiminished passion.

Famous last words. A decade later I was unravelling the mystery of computer coding to school kids, a halo of chalk dust around my head. Another decade and a half of loving and then hating my job, I went back to my first love, writing. 

Click here to read more....

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